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Monday, October 10, 2011

Fall 2011 Playlist

        Welcome back to my Seasonal Playlist feature, this time set to the falling leaves and cool breeze of Fall. Obviously, these selections are decidedly less sunny than the ones featured on my last playlist, so if you're not quite ready to settle into Fall's lull, these might not be the tunes for you (lots of acoustic guitars, balladry... you know the drill). As always, these songs are not selected from any particular era or genre; They're just a few tracks that remind me of the season. Play in order for best results:

***Each title is a clickable link to its respective song on Youtube***

1. The Wild Hunt---The Tallest Man on Earth
        The most emotional song on an album chuck full of them, The Wild Hunt is perhaps a meek tune to lead a playlist with, but when this much nostalgia and romance can loft off of a single man and a guitar, you'd might as well go first.
2. Revolving Doors---Gorillaz
        From last Christmas' free LP The Fall, Revolving Doors is a swirling, enveloping number that uses synths and acoustic guitars together like they were made for each other, calling to mind the wilting trees of autumn.
3. Hearts of Iron---Handsome Furs***
        Before they became the electro-poppers that they are today, Handsome Furs released Plague Park, an album full of down-tempo, slow-burning guitar jam. Hearts of Iron is my personal favorite, sounding both classic and immediate by virtue of Dan Boeckner's wierdo croon, and an impossibly hearty axe-part.
4. Remember the Mountain Bed---Billy Bragg and Wilco
        An ode to love found in nature and the passing of seasons, Mountain Bed slowly unfolds over Six and a half minutes into an intimate epic, as earnest and true as it is expansive and grand-standing.
5. Be Still---Big Boi featuring Janelle Monáe
        A highlight from Big Boi's incredible 2010 solo debut, Be Still calls a piano it's main instrument, the MC's slippery flow taking an early lead before handing the rest of the tune to Monáe's sweet, smooth sway.
6. Too Far Too Late---CANT
        Grizzly Bear multi-instrumentalist Chris Taylor made his solo debut this year as CANT, and Too Far Too Late is his best track to date. Layering his voice over a feverish, bizarro beat, Too Late is dizzy-making in the best of ways.
7. Curs in the Weeds---Horse Feathers***
        Lush allusions to forgotten pastures, and strings that drip with gorgeous misery, Curs in the Weeds is the best kind of downer, shimmering and beautiful to heartbreaking degrees
8. I'm Going Down (itunes Session Bruce Springsteen Cover)---Vampire Weekend
         An uncluttered cover that wrings a personal joy and meaning to someone else's work, I'm Going Down is blissful little ditty that ought to be heard by more people than its, 'itunes session,' designation will likely ever allow it, so it's up to you to spread the word.
9. Baby's Arms---Kurt Vile***
        From this year's Smoke Ring For My Halo, an album of similarly scaled offerings, Baby's Arms layers subdued, emotive guitar parts underneath Vile's placid yearning, putting you under its slowed-down spell.
10. Lalibela---Caribou
        Like a wiser, more contemplative relative of Ratatat, the shortest track on Caribou's mesmerizing 2010 offering Swim, Lalibela is a comely little instrumental offering that works as a perfect segway into the second half of the playlist.
11. I'm Losing Myself---Robin Pecknold featuring Ed Droste
        Probably the year's best song that no one has heard, Pecknold released this beauteous lament for free earlier this year via his personal website. Filled with stunning, moving lyricism and the match-made-in-heaven pairing of Pecknold and Droste's voices, I'm Losing Myself is One blue tune, but its the most deeply and purely blue to come along for quite some time.
12. Home---Glasser***
        Filled up all the way with swirling, hypnotic loops and stray hand-claps, Home is a song that manages to be both austere and inviting at the same time, strange and familiar the way that coming back home is.
13. The Birds Part 1---The Weeknd
        Anyone who has heard either of The Weeknd's mix-tapes can attest to just how awe-inspiring Abel Tesfaye's voice is, but no song puts it on display quite like this one, his desperate pleas set onto of furiously militant drums.
14. When U Love Somebody---Fruit Bats
        Hokey and, 'ah, shucks,' in just the right way, When U Love Somebody is a love song that doesn't need to over-think things to be both genuine and relatable, not to mention catchy and toe-tapping.
15. Cruel---St. Vincent***
        The stand-out track from St. Vincent's recent LP Strange Mercy, Cruel is an odd slice of peppy pop that boasts of Annie Clark's pitch-perfect delivery, and a guitar part that won't be leaving your head any time soon.
16. Mr. November---The National
        Really, the entirety of The National's Alligator sounds like Fall to me, but this one just happens to have it right in the name. Oh, yeah, and its a hell of a song, cathartic, grand, and full of ferocious percussion, breathing fire all the way.
17. Boat Behind---Kings of Convenience
        A band who's eternal calm is perfectly befitting of the season, Boat Behind show the Kings at their string-filled best, their sound something like lovely male counterpart to Feist.
18. Come to the City---The War on Drugs***
        A good old fashion rock song, escalating in intensity and sound as the tune progresses, pounding percussion taking turns at center stage with a grinding guitar.
19. Parents---Gold Panda
        Something of a curveball for the dub step artist, Parents is nothing more than simple guitar strumming with a sample or Two in the background, but its ability to bring you back to older, simpler times is fully-realized.
20. What Would I Want? Sky---Animal Collective
        Probably One of the best songs ever released by an impossibly prolific band, the centerpiece to 2009's Fall Be Kind evolves from the indecipherable chants of its first half to bloom into a glimmering sing-a-long, set to one of the most rare and head-spinning time signatures I've ever heard in a pop song.


  1. I'm pretty disappointed that you prefer If U Love Somebody over The Earthquake of '73, which is an infinitely more beautiful autumn song. But I'm glad you listed the Fruit Bats at all, as they are fairly excellent.

  2. Damn it. WHEN U Love Somebody. Also, I can hardly agree with "The Wild Hunt" as your number one. Though I will say that your playlist is pretty good.

  3. I am not sure if you meant it this way, but you know that the numbers by the songs are not rankings, but a suggested order in which to play the tunes? If your statement about The Wild Hunt just meant that you don't think it should kick off a playlist, then we just kinda disagree, but if you're saying that it's not the best song on the list, then I totally agree with you.

    Also, I don't know Fruit Bats all that well, and just really like When U Love Somebody. I just gave the old youtube a spin, and was reminded of the fact that Earthquake is a pretty damn great song (the only other time I've heard it is once when you played it for me). So, yeah, maybe a better choice, but I still dig on Love Somebody.