We’re still basking in the arrival of Michigan’s most beautiful season and still celebrating with the best albums that accentuate this time of year.
Check out Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 before diving into our newest fall album highlights.
Major: Arts and Humanities
Favorite fall activity: watching zombie movies long after Halloween is over
Favorite fall album: Dead Man’s Bones by Dead Man’s Bones
When fall comes to my mind, it’s not just the changing of leaves or the carving of pumpkins I think of — it’s goblins, ghosts, and ghouls. Fall is a time that reminds me aliens are real, and if they don’t get me then Freddie Krueger definitely will. This, along with my love of Ryan Gosling, is why Dead Man’s Bones is my favorite fall album. It transports me to the days when knowing “The Monster Mash” made you cool and liking candy corn put you on the social blacklist.
Dead Man’s Bones’ self titled album is the only of its kind. Ryan Gosling teamed up with Zach Shields and the Silverlake Conservatory of Music to create an album more morbid and macabre than anyone thought the Notebook star was capable of. The musical project is weird, and that’s why it works. With tracks that drip sloppy lyrics about zombies and graveyards, Gosling’s croon backed by the children’s choir makes the whole thing seem like an indie version of a Halloween Howls CD.
The album is fun and creepy, and has been showcased in horror movies like The Conjuring. It’s catchy; before you know it, tracks like “Buried in Water” and “Lose Your Soul” will be stuck in your head. I jam to this album long after Halloween, but I find myself overplaying it every time the temperature drops below 60.
Favorite fall activity: Listening to music, watching soccer games, going for walks
Favorite fall album: Campfire Songs by Animal Collective
I was introduced to Animal Collective during my freshman year of high school. At the time, I was just starting to listen to indie music after listening solely to classic rock and top 40 hits for my life up to high school, when a friend showed me AC’s 2008 album, Merriweather Post Pavilion. After listening to MPP exclusively for about a week straight, I started to search through the band’s extensive discography in search of more of their experimental goodness. This is the point where I discovered Campfire Songs.
When I was thinking of an album that perfectly embodies fall, Animal Collective’s Campfire Songs immediately came to mind. This LP, although sometimes overlooked in the band’s discography, is one of Animal Collective’s most impressive releases.
The album consists of 5 songs naturally transitioned into one another. Simplistic instrumentation of a few acoustic guitars, softly sung vocals, and the sounds of Autumn develop a comforting soundscape for the listener to relax and escape in. The combination of the music and the sounds of nature lingering in the background make for a warm and welcoming blend. The textures of sound bring to mind imagery of sitting covered in blankets around a campfire with close friends, or laying in an endless field, searching for shooting stars with someone special while orange and brown leaves slowly fall.
The way that each song easily fits into the next while also maintaining unique characteristics and charm is exactly why I love this album. To me, this album is truly beautiful.
If you liked this album then you should also check out Animal Collective’s set at Other Music in 2004.
Major: Media and Information
Favorite fall activity: It USED to be judging the underclassmen, but because that doesn’t fly anymore I guess I’ll say walking outside.
Favorite fall album: Signals, Calls, and Marches by Mission of Burma
So this is actually an EP, but apples and oranges; or pumpkins and squash rather… because fall. The Boston powerhouse alternative rock group, Mission of Burma, released their first fully-fledged “album” in 1981, a year after their college rock classic single, “Academy Fight Song,” hit the streets of Beantown. With more experimentation, more songs, and more integrity, MOB made something of a name for themselves as the “band doing what few other bands dared to do.”
Signals, Calls, and Marches doesn’t just describe fall, it yells it at the top of its lungs. An essence of cool breezy guitar, a dollop of biting edge bass, and of course, the infamous reverberating tape loop that set MOB apart. Right off the bat, the sounds of intense melodies scream: northeastern university in the fall time! It’s all there with ivy covered walls, calm winds, and a level headed sense of self. The lyrics are smart and biting and completely open to interpretation; which makes MOB one of those special kinds of bands that everyone sees a little differently. The album is even more complete if you get the newer edition, with “Academy Fight Song” and “Max Ernest” on it.
These songs carry weight. They hit you with changing tempos and bold uncertainty. Like autumn and it’s shifting weather, Signals, Calls, and Marches changes. It changes every time you hear it. Sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. But, every time, I can still listen and hear the shuffle of feet in a university hall, the brush of the leaves, the wind ushering in something I can never quite be too sure about.