TSI's Fall Playlist
Judging by how cold it was this morning when I left my apartment, it seems as though fall is upon us and in full swing. This seems like as good a time as any to make a playlist to reflect the season on leaves falling, pumpkin carving, and scaring children and elderly family members with unnecessarily realistic Halloween costume masks. So, here it is: TSI’s fall playlist, seven songs to help you ease into the season, complete with descriptions as to why each song was chosen (as if you’re actually here to read). Enjoy:
Sufjan Stevens – “Holland”
Greetings From Michigan always registered as a fall album to me. Maybe it’s the regional flora and fauna that grace the album’s cover, or the quietly plucked acoustic instruments that serve as the foundation for many of the album’s songs, but Sufjan Steven’s third album seems like a work best enjoyed in the throes of cold weather. “Holland,” embodies this aspect of the record, with Steven’s singing, “fall in love and fall apart,” over a minimal instrumental accompaniment. In short, the track is beautiful.
David Bazan – “Curse Your Branches”
David Bazan’s “Curse Your Branches,” pulled from his 2007 album of the same name, is calm and introspective – a song in which it’s singer contemplates the relationship between man and God, and finds little to hold on to. Tonally the song captures fall in it’s sparse instrumentation and Bazan’s raw vocal delivery. There’s also the obvious connection between the lyrics and the changing of seasons: “All the fallen leaves should curse their branches for not letting them decide where they should fall,” Bazan sings with a quiet intensity. It’s a moving, if not totally comforting song for a cold, grey afternoon.
Spoon – “All the Pretty Girls Go to the City”
Don’t have much to say about this one, other than many of the words associate with fall can also be applied to this take from Spoon’s Killing the Moonlight: sparse, changing, atmospheric. The track moves along at a brisk pace, and you can almost feel a cool breeze blow past you as you listen to Britt Daniel sing about where all the pretty girls go.
Ape School – “Marijuana’s on the Phone”
This track from Philadelphia’s Ape School is light and breezy, a lazily moving pop song complete with bubblegum electric guitars and synthesizers. It’s a wonderful distraction from the cold outside.
Grizzly Bear – “The Hunt”
What kind of a fall playlist would this be if it didn’t include a Grizzly Bear song? No kind at all, I’d say. It seems like no coincidence that the band’s fourth album, Shields, was released just in time for the band to go out on the road in October. It’s a fall record in every sense – it’s lush and moody, with instruments building and fading away within each song. “The Hunt,” is a particularly chilling cut from the new album, with Daniel Rossen providing eery guitar atmospherics to back Ed Droste’s croon.
Titus Andronicus – “In A Big City”
This track from the forthcoming Titus Andronicus record, Local Business, may not scream “FALL,” but it definitely screams something. It finds Titus frontman Patrick Stickles at his lyrical best, stradling the line between political and humorous in an incredibly impressive way. It’s a song about social change (thus qualifying it for the fall playlist category. “Change” is a theme of fall, right?), but Stickles does a great job of getting his point across without beating it over our heads. If this is any indication of what the entirety of Local Business sounds like, then we might have a contender for album of the year on our hands.
Lavender Diamond – “Everybody’s Hearts Breaking Now”
I had the pleasure of seeing Lavender Diamond perform last night they passed through Philly, and it was one of the most unique concert experiences I can remember. Becky Stark’s lilting falsetto is one of the more gorgeous sounds that any human has ever made, and it’s beautifully displayed on this track from her band’s most recent album, Incorruptible Heart.