Last week, I flew out of a 33 degree Toronto and landed in 15 degree Ottawa.
Which part of that is fall, I don’t know. What I do know, is that the chilled September mornings and a slew of new album releases mean that it’s time to bear farewell to summer. In gearing up for a new season, you should pack this playlist with you; the mix of new and old rustic ditties and bad ass school-ruling anthems will hopefully help you through the chilly transition.
Team – Lorde: If you live in Toronto and have been enjoying the sounds of our stellar new Indie88 radio station, there’s no way you’ve missed the release of 16 year-old Lorde’s edgy pop jams. Her smoky, accented harmonies are a solid pairing with deep bass bumps on her first two singles “Royals” and the brand new “Team” – leaving me positive this Kiwi firecracker will be around for a while yet. Look out for her debut album Pure Heroine at the end of the month.
Blood – The Middle East: A faithful fall tune from the vault, these Aussie pre-Monsters and Men soundalikes are a gorgeous accompaniment to any woodsy endeavour of yours. I always look forward to songs like this for the first country drive of the year; the finger-plucked strings and charming xylophone are all the warming up you’ll need.
Runner Ups – Kurt Vile: I’ve loved this ex-War on Drugs member for years, but my passion for his sound skyrocketed after the release of his third solo album Smoke Ring for my Halo, which is jam-packed with low-fi gems like this one. The shaggy musician’s blend of Americana and lethargic psychedelia are perfectly pleasing in almost any scenario, but this ramblin’ anthem, in particular, was made for the open road.
Ghosts – ON AN AN: The surviving members of Scattered Trees make up this rising indie-rock trio; a group whose sleepily melodic first single, and the rest of their Dave Newfield (Broken Social Scene)-produced debut, are hard to listen to just once. A beautiful fusion of Nate Eisland’s effortless vocals and some chugging percussion, “Ghosts” is a totally captivating point in their live set.
Reflektor – Arcade Fire: Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the past month, you’ll know that indie-rock veterans Arcade Fire have been relentlessly hyping up their fourth release of the same name, before releasing the first single and playing a 100-person secret show at Montreal’s Club Salsatheque last Monday night (9/9/9). Whether or not you buy into the hype, I certainly did – and nothing about it disappointed. This first infectious disco-rock single – which features David Bowie and was (so obviously) produced by LCD Soundsystem mastermind James Murphy – is easy to get lost in after the tenth consecutive repeat. The October release could be the album of the fall, and potentially the year.
Until We Get There – Lucius: One of the most talked about new female-fronted bands right now, Brooklyn quintet Lucius have recently been blowing up the blogosphere with their debut studio album Wildewoman. Channeling a romantic, 60s-reminiscent blend of folk-rock, former classmates and roomies Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig nail the angelic harmonies on these sweet numbers.
Shine – Wild Belle: This quirky dance-rock addiction from siblings Elliot and Natalie Bergman was one of the funkiest flavours of my summer playlist. Off their debut album Isles, “Shine” is only a taste of the duo’s indie-pop debut, which has more than enough vigour to warm up your living room dance parties this fall.
Ghost Town – First Aid Kit: The Emmylou Harris/Joanna Newsome-style howls from these Swedish folk-rock sisters are completely enchanting. Without sounding the same, each of their melodic odes follows a similarly gorgeous formula: pretty strums and unified vocals that sound extra bits of beautiful with a colourful, leafy backdrop.
Line of Fire – Junip: On another Swedish note, I’ve recently been getting better acquainted with this Jose Gonzalez-fronted folk group and their delicate campfire-ready songs. Although the band was put on hold while Gonzalez launched his solo career in the mid-2000s, “Line of Fire” is a perfectly airy example of the beautiful artistry you’ll find on their 2013 self-titled return.
Would That Not Be Nice – Divine Fits: Although they have new music on the way, this 2012 scorcher from Spoon/Wolf Parade/Handsome Furs collaborative Divine Fits is still one of the best ways to heat up the new season. With Spoon frontman Britt Daniel’s raspy wail at the front of any rock song, it’s usually destined to be electric.