Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, "An Intention" (Western Vinyl). Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith's new album, The Kid, yields many aural delights, including this shivering beauty of a ballad. Hovering somewhere between My Bloody Valentine's "No More Sorry" and a Björk fantasia (sans annoying vocal tics), "An Intention" emits a sacred ethereality, and damn if it doesn't heal ravaged areas of your psyche caused by living in America under he who cannot be stomached. (Smith performs at Barboza, Sunday, October 22.)
Morrissey, "Spent the Day in Bed" (BMG). I know, I know. Morrissey has become an embarrassing spewer of wrongheaded opinions and all good lefties are mandated to give him the gas face until further notice. NEVERTHELESS. "Spent the Day in Bed" does contain at least one cogent observation: "I recommend that you stop watching the news/Because the news contrives to frighten you/To make you feel small and alone/To make you feel that your mind isn't your own." My insomnia-beleaguered nights and chronic depression/rage would concur. Plus, our miserable Englishman drops an "emasculation/castration" rhyme, which is always welcome. And also, this music over which Morrissey moans sounds like a wonky Daft Punk-like electro croak laced with some soulful, Money Mark-style organ. Never thought I'd give a tentative thumbs-up to a Morrissey song in 2017, but nothing much makes sense anymore, so... (Morrissey releases his 197th album, Low In High School, November 17. He performs at the Paramount Thursday, November 2.)
Alvarius B., "GPS" (Abduction). Alvarius B (ex-Sun city Girls bassist/vocalist Alan Bishop, co-proprietor of the Sublime Frequencies label and world-class iconoclast) is about to drop his magnum opus as a solo artist, the 3xLP/2xCD With a Beaker on the Burner and an Otter in the Oven (out November 3). It displays Bishop's expressiveness with rock's polyglot lexicons and it's his most accessible work to date, including brilliant covers of Lee Hazlewood's "Dark in My Heart" and Johnny Cash's "Wanted Man"—but with ingeniously altered lyrics. Bishop transmutes his deep knowledge of rock history into songs vibrating with implausible freshness. Most musicians nearly 40 years into their careers don't sound this inspired, but Alvarius B's at the top of his songwriting game. I'm not down with his staunch pro-cigarette agenda (my mother died from lung cancer, the odor is noxious, etc. etc.), but the music more than compensates for such lyrical transgressions. "GPS" rampages with some galvanizing stop-start motion, like garage-rock Butthole Surfers, as Bishop spits hilarious stream-of-consciousness surrealism. One of the best rock songs you or I will hear in 2017.
Feed, "Different Life" (Help Yourself). Seattle's Feed feature former Rose Windows drummer Pat Schowe and ex-Ubu Roi guitarist Matt Kolhede and Chase Hoyt. The first single from their self-titled debut LP (out November 17) busts out of the gate with a wavy, quasi-motorik thickness and warped, swarming guitar tones. "I feel my head's in a different world," the singer sings, and you may share his sensation while this exceptional tune's playing. It's both heavy and fleet (and foxy), making an old art form sound shockingly vital for three-and-a-half minutes. In 2017, that is a remarkable feat. Do keep close tabs on Feed. They have potential to make you reassess your dire thoughts about the state of new rock.
Bully, "Kills to Be Resistant" (Sub Pop). This here is a wonderful straight-ahead rock song that makes an old man recall the ebullient charms of Bettie Serveert and early Superchunk. And perhaps the Breeders. Okay, yes, definitely the Breeders. What I'm driving at here is, Bully gonna make you nostalgia hard for that pure-cut '90s indie rock, back when the music industry was a robust, profit-making machine and you had no idea what "download" meant. I smell a hit... at least on college radio. (Do they still have college radio?)
Noteworthy October 20 album releases: John Carpenter, Anthology: Movie Themes 1974-1998 (Sacred Bones); Future/Young Thug, SUPER SLIMEY (Epic); Bully, Losing (Sub Pop); Destroyer, Ken (Merge); Circuit Des Yeux, Reaching for Indigo (Drag City); Bell Witch, Mirror Reaper (Profound Lore); Gel Set, Body Copy (2MR); Margo Price, All American Made (Third Man); Lindstrøm, It's Alright Between Us as It Is (Feedelity); Odonis Odonis, No Pop (Feite); The Smiths, The Queen Is Dead [Super Deluxe Edition] (Rhino); Lee Gamble, Mnestic Pressure (Hyperdub); Saicobab, Sab Se Purani Bab (Thrill Jockey); Sufjan Stevens, The Greatest Gift Mixtape (Asthmatic Kitty).