New Zealand-born, London-based October and the Eyes released her debut EP, Dogs and Gods, this past Friday, and even at just six tracks clocking 23 minutes, it displays a diverse songwriter with a multi-faceted spirit and character, willing to court and explore the darker elements of human existence. October grew up in a family full of musicians, with her mother being a pianist and her older brothers both multi-instrumentalists, and her father an avid listener. It therefore follows that she should be boundariless and inquisitive in approach to her own music, which is displayed across Dogs and Gods‘ atmospheric and magnetic tracks.
This continues into her listening choices, which she has given us a delicious introduction to in the following On Deck. Harking back to 20th century classics, which she likely absorbed as a teen in a music-filled world, right up to more contemporary choices including Marching Church, a personal favourite of my own, and Cindy Lee, a BPM favourite that will appear again on this site before 2020 is out, October’s choices reflect the dark, stylish and explorative qualities of her own work.
Have a read through her recommendations and why she loves them below, but first enjoy the video for Dogs and Gods highlight “Playing God”.
Iggy Pop – The Idiot
I’m gonna go out and say that I think that this has to be the best album to ever exist. You simply cannot beat the winning combination of an Iggy x Bowie collab. For its time I think this album is so incredibly future-forward, and the mixture of punk and electronics seems so effortless. There’s something quite theatrical about the production, and Iggy’s lyricism and delivery has this rough glamour about it which I find so sexy. I remember the first time I heard “Mass Production” and feeling psyched out that such a song existed – it was unlike anything I had ever heard. If I can write a song half as good as “Mass Production” one day, I’ll die a happy gal.
Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood – Nancy & Lee
This album holds a lot of nostalgia for me. I think I must have been 13 when I first discovered it on the internet somehow, and was hooked the moment I heard “Some Velvet Morning”. That song!! The string arrangement gets me every time. I can’t tell you the amount of times I fantasised about a hot, grubby cowboy singing this to me as a young teen. I mean c’mon, the lyrics are HOT.
This album is a masterclass in songwriting. Lee really was a songwriting genius, and Nancy’s soft, cooing vocals were a perfect match for his rough and raspy cowboy croon. In hindsight, I guess it wasn’t necessarily a totally normal thing for a 13 year old’s favourite album to be that of Nancy and Lee, but there you go. It laid the groundwork for my lasting obsession with 60s western glamour. The music just never gets old, and it’s an album I revisit constantly.
Marching Church – Telling It Like It Is
[2016; Sacred Bones]
I reckon Elias Bender Rønnenfelt of Marching Church (and Iceage) has got to be one of the greatest living lyricists. He makes it seem so effortless as well: “all the while it feels as if the light of the moon is following me / like a spotlight is some bizarre theatre of loneliness” has got to be one of my favourite lines of all time in any capacity. Elias seems to have this magic ability to wrangle a bunch of musicians together and get them to create greatness. There’s something incredibly modern and fresh about Telling It Like It Is, despite having very few electronic elements about it. It’s another one of those albums that just never gets old – every single track is a revelation.
Cindy Lee – What’s Tonight To Eternity
[2020; W.25th / Superior Viaduct]
A recent discovery, but no less of a new favourite for sure. This is concrete proof that you don’t have to be in a fancy studio with expensive equipment to make great music. It’s incredibly lo-fi, to the point that it’s almost difficult to listen to at times, but it’s all part of the charm. It’s janky and imperfect but that’s exactly what makes it so likeable. It’s a weird blend of neo-blues, 50s-type ballads, and experimental electronics all in one, yet still manages to sound perfectly like Cindy Lee. “One Second to Toe the Line” and “Just for Loving You I Pay the Price” are my two favourites from this record. There’s something so beautifully bitter-sweet about this album. I can picture the music fitting perfectly within a Lynch film too. Cindy Lee gives me hope about being a bedroom artist and I’m so glad I discovered them.
October and the Eyes’ Dogs and Gods EP is out now on KRO Records. You can follow her on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.