We’re another week and another tailgate into Michigan’s best season. Keep the autumn spirit alive with a few more of our favorite fall albums! Take a look at the first batch here.
Favorite fall activity: Buying an unnecessary number of scarves and sweaters
Favorite fall album: Kintsugi by Death Cab for Cutie
Fall is that transitional season that separates the happy days of summer from the misery that is a Michigan winter. The leaves change, so does your mood, and your favorite seasonal beer. Fall gets way too much hype for being the season that kills summer and inevitably leads me into parka. Nevertheless, the colors are pretty and I love scarves.
This album is too perfect for the fall. The songs are light enough to bode well with sunshiny days and orange leaves that last until mid-October, and just heavy enough to hold your hand through the all the fells that come with fall. It’s a perfectly melancholy album that pairs well with your thoughts and a cup of coffee on the porch. My favorites are “Black Sun”, “Little Wanderer”, and “Ingenue”. Ben Gibbard is wonderful anytime of the year, but especially so in the fall.
Major: Dual degree in International Relations and Journalism
Favorite fall activity: Ian didn’t write one, so we’re going to assume it’s jumping in leaf piles or something.
Favorite fall album: New Bermuda by Deafheaven
As an unintentional music snob, nothing makes me happier than to see other music snobs get flustered when a band comes along and upends their expectations and ideas of what a band or genre “should” sound like.
I’m speaking, of course, of Deafheaven whose 2013 album Sunbather created such a sharp divide in the metal community that just the mere mention of the band or the album would be met with furious keyboard mashing of “PINK. ALBUM. COVER.” and “NOT TRUE METAL” among other equally weak complaints.
For my tastes, Sunbather was a refreshing integration of the resurgent shoegaze sound with the punk sensibilities of black metal, creating something that was both parts coarse and shimmeringly dream-like. It was to my surprise, then, that the singles released for their upcoming album New Bermuda seemed to embrace a more traditional approach to metal, sacrificing the fuzzy glow of shoegaze for a raw, brutish approach to songwriting. It’s a testament to the band’s artistic integrity that they’re branching out into unfamiliar territory, as they could have easily released more of the same and still been praised for it.
From what I’ve heard in my two or so listens so far of New Bermuda (which is currently streaming on NPR’s website), the core sound is the same but the execution is vastly different from Sunbather. To say this record is appearing to be an album of the year contender for me is an understatement; this is some of the best metal I’ve heard in a long while. Further listens will more than likely confirm this. Happy moshing, everyone.
Major: English with a minor in French
Favorite fall activity: Carving pumpkins, picking out all the seeds and guts, and covering my body with all those pumpkin parts.
Favorite fall album: Shields: B-sides by Grizzly Bear
Grizzly Bear, a band with a unique blend of experimental music (jazz, folk, pop) and indie rock, creates distinguishable masterpieces with each album. Personally, I believe all of Grizzly Bear’s material is exceptional in evoking the “fall feels” which could be simply due to the fact that the majority of their work has either been released in late summer or early fall. However, I find many of the tracks to be reflective, and I think people tend to look back on their lives when they were younger in the fall because of the precious memories surrounding the season: chilly days, sweaters, hot beverages, Halloween, and the start of school – these things resonate with us, positively or negatively.
Shields, released in 2013, has remained one of my favorite fall listens since the time in conjunction with the expanded version of the album, Shields: B-Sides. The two albums create a distinct sound utilizing dramatic shifts in rhythm and instrumental builds in a way that I haven’t heard before.
The most interesting track is “Will Calls” on Shields: B-Sides. The song starts slow, with not much to it and just Ed Droste’s voice (one of the two lead singers, the other being Daniel Rossen of Department of Eagles) over simple percussion, a dark swelling bass, and the occasional iconic guitar tone that is featured in many of their songs. Its eerie essence reminds me of the first gloomy fall day that everyone secretly loves. Then, without warning, the song takes flight, erupting with the satisfying noise of slamming drums and screeching guitars.
I’m not doing the song justice, it is much more graceful than that, but the intensity is there. The listener can feel the emotion of the song build into something that almost seems unbearable to Droste because he cuts the section short after roughly one minute. It manages to be messy and crisp at the same time, replicating the brisk fall breeze that reminds us of the approach of winter. It’s a compelling tune, the drive of the beat is effective, and it’s going to make you feel something.