5 songs to usher in autumn
Gimme Noise thoughtfully compiled a playlist to help ease you into the new season.
Beat Happening, "Indian Summer"
For some reason, this song always makes me imagine Beat Happening playing a middle-school gymnasium in, like, 1989 or something, with some uptight assistant principal threatening to pull the power plug for the entire duration of the song, but actually the assistant principal is gently yanking the plug just so, a few millimeters here and there, and then pushing it back into the wall, and then repeating the process, so that it sounds washed out and anemic and weak. Fading. Impotent. Hopeless. All of which adds to the desolate, dislocated vibe Calvin Johnson gives off here and on pretty much every song he's ever contributed to. Also, this video makes me want to watch the Sixteen Candles and first season of Beverly Hills 90210 again.
The Mamas and the Papas, "California Dreamin'"
You probably know this song; it's okay to admit that it makes you wanna cry.
Yo La Tengo, "Autumn Sweater"
Yo La Tengo don't really make out-and-out bummer songs; that's not in their wheelhouse. They don't make bouncing-off-the-walls-happy songs either. The storied New Jersey trio exist somewhere in between those two extremes - well, more like exactly between - and "Autumn Sweater" is a great example of how hard it can be to suss out how one is supposed to feel while listening to them. Nothing bad really happens, but nothing amazing really happens, either, unless you wanna count Ira Kaplan's kindergarten-simple/Northern Lights-mesmerizing keyboard chords and Georgia Hubley's shaggy, shuffling drums, which are totally great and have yet to lose any of their dreamy luster.
Guns N' Roses, "November Rain"
Hey, remember when Axl Rose was actually interesting? He wouldn't be caught dead in that ruffled pirate shirt now. Did they even make any videos for Chinese Democracy? Does it even matter?
The Microphones, "Instrumental"
At first it's just a bit of tricky sideways slide guitar, really, without words but with a definitive mood and melody that leap to mind whenever the temperature starts to drop and the leaves begin to turn. There's a depth-less sadness to Phil Elverum's strum. But then the arresting, splayed pianos kick in, plus some sort of percussive thunderclap that's a cross between handclaps, wood blocks, and finger snaps, and the vibe turns from teary-eyed to tragic to outright doomed. "Instrumental" is the kind of song that's best to listen to while seated, holding a mug of something warm in hand, watching as snow flakes tumble down outside or stiff winds harry bare trees.
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