Waking Life: A Music Mix For October 2016

<p>(Photo: courtesy of the artist)</p>
<p>Leonard Cohen will release his 14th studio album, “You Want It Darker,” later this month.</p>
Photo: Leonard Cohen, &#039;You Want It Darker&#039; cover
Leonard Cohen will release his 14th studio album, "You Want It Darker," later this month.

When the season changes, so do my musical companions. There are just certain things I want to hear during autumn -- R.E.M.’s "Automatic for the People," The Cure’s "Disintegration" and Van Morrison’s "Astral Weeks," for example. They just sound better when the leaves are falling.

How perfect is it, then, that we were recently gifted new music by that most autumnal of bards, Leonard Cohen, who returns at 82 to give the people what they want -- which is apparently something darker. “You Want it Darker” is the title track from his 14th studio album, out this month. It’s not going to be anybody’s feel-good song of the year. But then, that isn’t the point.

On the other end of the career spectrum comes Kadhja Bonet, the L.A.-based singer who emerges this month with a debut called "The Visitor." The enlightened sepia-soul of the album’s first single, “Honeycomb,” sets a high bar. If the rest of the record is even remotely as good it’s the announcement of a promising new talent.

Also filed under outstanding debuts is Flock of Dimes’ "If You See Me, Say Yes." Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner is the sole musician behind it, and as it turns out the record serves as an excellent companion piece to "Tween," her main band’s latest, out this past summer.

A few other highlights to point to this month:

  • Worth the wait: long-awaited returns from American Football, Grandaddy, Hope Sandoval and The Minders.
  • Gap Dream’s “Rock And Roll” is not a cover, though it does quote the Led Zeppelin song. Meanwhile, Mo Troper’s decidedly un-ironic take on “If It Makes You Happy” removes the guilt part of the secret guilty pleasure we’ve all derived from Sheryl Crow’s original, making it palatable for all (at long last).
  • The Growlers’ rump-shaker “I’ll Be Around” comes from the new album "City Club," produced by The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas.

There’s plenty more, so dig in— it’s all killer no filler and I’d recommend using shuffle. Reactions? Want to talk it out? Find me on Twitter: @OpenAirJeremy.