Coming up: the gigs and albums not to miss in October

The Observer’s pop critic picks the month’s musical highlights, from FKA Twigs’s tour to Taylor Swift’s 80s-inspired pop album

FKA Twigs tour
Having released her debut album, LP1, in August, the frontrunner for this year’s Mercury music prize has only ever played a handful of bijou gigs. All that has changed, with her recent deconstruction of a Sam Smith song, being papped with Robert Pattinson, and now, a world tour. Six dates take Tahliah Barnett and her shadowy musicians across the country before they hit the rest of Europe and the US.
UK tour starts Brighton 2 Oct; ends Bristol 9 Oct

Goat: Turkish psychedelia from Sweden. Photograph: Danny Payne/Rex

Goat tour
They are Swedish, wear outlandish costumes, and claim to live in a village above the Arctic Circle untouched by Christianity. Their debut, World Music, was a critical hit of 2012, fusing as it did tribal rhythms, krautrock, Turkish psychedelia, massed voices and primordial funk. Their second release, Commune, does it all again, with perhaps a soupcon more Turkish psychedelia. But it’s on tour that Goat’s communal ritual really comes alive.
Tour hits Brighton 1 Oct, Bristol (2) and ends London (3)

The Necks
The Necks: minimal yet powerful. Photograph: Lucie Goodayle/Guardian

The Necks tour
Pianist Chris Abrahams, percussionist Tony Buck and bassist Lloyd Swanton are the most minimal, yet powerful, of trios. Technically, these Australians play improv jazz. In fact, they make mantric, open-ended music more akin to post-rock or ambient. On tracks that can last an hour, changes start off microscopic, then become surging, as the three trade off melody lines and rhythms to no set script to considerable emotional effect.
Belfast 5 Oct; London’s Cafe Oto, 6-8 Oct

Vashti Bunyan
Vashti Bunyan: her new album, she says, will be her last. Photograph: Andrew MacColl/Rex

Vashti Bunyan
The crystal-voiced Bunyan was a lost legend of 60s pop, whose rediscovery in the early 00s prompted a second, highly moving album, 2005’s Lookaftering. Now comes Heartleap – her last, she says – often self-recorded, self-produced and plugged directly into her tremulous source. Next up is a memoir, but for now, Heartleap packs a delicate uppercut.
Out 6 Oct

Dan Snaith, aka Caribou. Photograph: Xavi Torrent/WireImage

Dance-pop doesn’t normally quite cover what Canadian electronic auteur and DJ Dan Snaith does. But this time around, it’s a more fitting description. Our Love follows Caribou’s 2010 album, Swim, universally feted for its emotional engagement. Now, Snaith’s stripped things down and prettied them up even further for an album about the realities of human relationships, romantic and otherwise.
Out 6 Oct

Pharrell Williams
Pharrell Williams: a man of many hats. Photograph: Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Anheuser-Busch

Pharrell in a stadium
It has come as no surprise that Pharrell travels with multiple hat boxes. Nearly a month separates his two nights at London’s O2 arena from the start of his UK tour in Manchester last month – plenty of time to still bag a ticket. The past two years have seen the 41-year-old producer and Happy man on a roll that would be unprecedented, if he hadn’t already pre-owned the early bits of the pop century. He gives great show, too.
9 and 10 Oct

Karl Hyde of Underworld
Karl Hyde of Underworld, who play their debut LP at the Royal Festival Hall. Photograph: Paul Bergen/Redferns

Underworld play Dubnobasswithmyheadman
Imagine, if you can, a time before Born Slippy (Nuxx). Underworld’s 1994 debut hits 20 this year, still sounding seminal; a remaster is nigh. But perhaps more interestingly the august electronic outfit will be playing it all the way through, for one night only, at London’s Royal Festival Hall on 11 October. An all-seater venue might not be everyone’s idea of the right place for this record, which turned indie kids on to dancefloors and deepened nights out raving, but there’s sure to be shaking in the aisles.
11 Oct

Julian  Casablancas
Julian Casablancas: sounding comprehensively fried. Photograph: Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images

Julian Casablancas and The Voidz
Last heard mumbling unintelligibly on Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories, the erstwhile Strokes frontman now sounds comprehensively fried. His sort-of second solo album retreats from Phrazes for the Young’s belligerent synth pop into deeply lysergic territory, lashing out at corporate greed (the album is really cheap). His forthcoming US tour promises to “melt people’s faces off”. For all the deranged goings-on, bits of Crunch Punch can’t help but sounding like a Strokes song, however.
Out 13 Oct

Charli XCX
Charli XCX: taking no prisoners. Photograph: Amit Lennon/Guardian

Charli XCX
When Hertfordshire chanteuse Charli XCX released 2013’s brooding True Romance, few could have foreseen how far her twisted pop would go. She’s now a proven hitmaker – Icona Pop’s I Love It, Iggy Azalea’s Fancy, her own Boom Clap – so this album takes no prisoners. Originality has been traded off for rabble-rousing on tracks such as Break the Rules, but Sucker still packs a surfeit of fun.
Out 21 Oct

Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift, who releases her first official pop album. Photograph: Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Taylor Swift
Shake It Off wasn’t truly great – funny, sure; confident, yes; but hardly pop plate tectonics. Hopefully there’s more Trouble-style landscape redefinition afoot on the 13 tracks of Swift’s first official pop album, 1989, named for the year of her birth, currently under armed guard on very few hard drives (her iPhone, Max Martin’s studio). It finds the 24-year-old taking inspiration from the 80s. There are still going to be songs about exes, though – like Style. Who could that be about?
Out 27 Oct


Kitty Empire

The GuardianTramp

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