New Music Playlist: October & November 2018

NM Playlist Oct Nov
Top row left to right: Nao, Lena Elizabeth, Swearin’, Boygenius, Empress Of; bottom row: Esperanza Spalding, Adrianne Lenker, Weakened Friends, Tasha, Mia Folick

This fall definitely snuck up on me. Maybe it’s because by mid-September, my balmy Minneapolis neighborhood still felt like summer, and the next week snow was already accumulating on the sidewalk outside my apartment. Either way, these past few months have seemed to accelerate at a dizzying pace — which means that last month, I didn’t release my monthly playlist.

To compensate for my autumnal disorientation, I’ve put together a playlist of new releases from both October and November. There was definitely a lot to cover — October is already a popular month for new releases. So here are some of the songs and albums I’ve been digging into these past two months.

I have not been able to put down Common Blah, the debut album from Portland, Maine band Weakened Friends. The album has energized my morning routine, soundtracked my meal prepping, and given me the pep in my step to run to catch adeparting bus. Singer and songwriter Sonia Sturino has said that her process of writing songs is a “physical” process, and you only have to listen to one of the band’s songs, like the piercing single “Blue Again” to learn why. Sturino’s voice quavers, bends, and growls, catapulting her inner turmoils outward with explosive force.

If I had to pick three words to describe Tasha’s debut album, Alone At Last, I might choose soft, restorative, and compassionate. The album’s first track, “Take Care” is a bare, spoken-word intro to the album that acts as its thesis statement. “We believe in softness here,” speaks Tasha in its opening line. The rest of the album delivers that softness, reminding us of the importance of quiet, the importance of patience, and the necessity to “take care of your little body.”

Two new local releases include the EP Sideline Kid from Minneapolis duo Strange Relations and the debut album Get It Right from singer-songwriter Lena Elizabeth. (Sideline Kid is not available on Spotify, but you can listen on bandcamp using the player below.)


Of course, there is a plethora of other new releases that captured my attention; Esperanza Spalding spent a month in an Italian castle recording an album that reflects on the human body and energy. Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus teamed up to deliver ethereal vocal harmonies and an emotionally raw EP as Boygenius. London singer and producer Nao explored her softer side on her second full-length release, Saturn, reflecting on astrology and relationships through honey-soaked vocals and warbling synthesizers.

You can listen to these releases, and check out the full playlist below.

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