October is always hit or miss when it comes to our faith in humanity—and this one stood out as a real miss. As Best Coast gets pelted by cheeseburgers and Arcade Fire proves that our reflektions are just as reflektive as we thought, it seemed there would be nothing good to come from the witchy month, and Mercury needed to just get right the fuck out of metrograde already. But in a serendipitous turn of events, music was at its height in October, and some unexpected favorites leaked into our psyche, lodging a place for all of eternity. The big surprise here is that the release that stood out to us most was a little unheard-of, free, self-released EP of B-sides by a musician named Cross Record. Every single one of us who heard this EP were floored, and one notable Senior Editor remarked it might help to listen to this in, well, the boudoir.
The Best Album of October 2013
Cross Record, Etc. (Self-released)
Austin transplant Emily Cross, whose album Be Good was just rereleased by BaDaBing! Records, casually put up Etc. on her Bandcamp last week as a compilation of extraneous recordings from the past three years. Etc. feels not at all like a collection of B-sides, but instead a photograph of sonic bits and pieces that fit together like an instrumental, experimental puzzle. Particularly in Emily Cross's confoundingly gorgeous and challenging cover of Chris Isaak's “Wicked Game”, you'll find that Etc. is a self-conscious title for a record that actually gives much more than it lets on. Tune in at the fifth track, “Stuart Beach”, to hear some gentle waves at the close of a minor-melody instrumental, and you'll be so captivated as to be entranced. It's experimental and lilting and full of immaculate depth, and does much to serve Be Good as both a companion in tone but also a complement in exhibiting her skill as an aesthete. For an example of what we mean, get buried deep by this Isaak cover, download for free on the Cross Record Bandcamp, and let the winter season begin to wash over you.
And without further ado, we present: