Looking for some music that’s the perfect fit for this time of year? Then look no further – here’s Impact’s countdown of five albums guaranteed to suit your autumnal mood…
- Antisocialites by Alvvays
Still in a haze after the long, long summer? Or just struggling to adjust to nine o’clock lectures? Alvvays’ new album may almost be as dreamy as you are. With a soft, sleepy vibe provided by Molly Rankin’s vocals and the plush synth of songs like ‘Dream Tonite’, Antisocialites is a great album for daydreaming, reminiscing, or just chilling out.
What makes this album such easy listening is that it’s made up of great hooks. The jangly guitars of ‘Plimsoll Punks’ leads into a simply catchy chorus, as does ‘Your Type’, with its declining half-rhymes – “You will never be alright/ I will never be your type”.
Whatever the theme of the song, Alvvays create a sense of nonchalance that is enviable – especially when you realise how quickly time passes and that your deadlines aren’t as far as you thought. Songs that could sound overwhelmed and busy remain soothing through their simplicity and the light voice of Rankin: ‘Already Gone’ goes along gently, and like the album as a whole, provides a little room for doing nothing at all.
- What Did You Expect From The Vaccines? by The Vaccines
If you’re planning to spend your first term indulging in post-summer benders, this album’s drum-driven hedonism is perfect for you. Packed with short, energetic tracks such as ‘Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)’, the light and infatuated ‘Norgaard’, and the gap year-channelling ‘Wolf Pack’, the album is spot on for any freshers trying to figure out where exactly they fit into university life (while getting very drunk along the way).
The aforementioned songs, which are bound to liven up any indie-friendly pre-drinks, are undercut by a selection of less secure and much moodier tracks. ‘Family Friend’ sounds like the boozy tears of any homesick fresher, while ‘Post Break-Up Sex’ is sung with the cynical self-disgust that is bound to follow any ill-informed, impulsive decision. ‘Blow It Up’, with all its moodiness, is every infuriating conversation you’ve ever had with your parents.
The Vaccines’ first album captures the expected highs and lows of university life, whether you’re experiencing your very first term, or looking back over your first year at Nottingham.
- Carrie and Lowell by Sufjan Stevens
This album travels from summer to autumn and onwards. Stevens’ beautiful mix of guitar picking and banjo is a wonderful accompaniment for walks through fallen leaves and chilly evenings, somehow making the beauty of Oregon right at home in your earphones.
Part of the album’s beauty is mixing the lightness of Stevens’ voice and music with the upsetting subject matter of the album; even in his most hopeless moments, there is an uplifting sound in his wispy vocals and finger-plucked melodies. All of his songs are searching: ‘Death With Dignity’ reaches for human connection, while ‘The Only Thing’ is somehow still in awe at the abundance of the world around us, despite the despairing theme.
Though Carrie and Lowell may be an album most fitting for your next tear-wrenching existential crisis, the imagery it carries along with its misery remains moving. From the peak of Spencer Butte in ‘All of Me Wants All of You’ to the pear trees and meadowlarks of the eponymous ‘Carrie and Lowell’, the album reminds us of the beauty around us – all the more ideal considering this year’s raised student bus fares and the extra walking we’re all bound for.
- Bury Me At Makeout Creek by Mitski
Mitski’s first album ranges from chaotically, screechingly noisy to vulnerably gentle. It’s all tied together by Mitski’s wavering vocals and the steady beat of bass and drums, and is an album best suited for blustering winds and indulging student angst.
Although songs such as ‘I Don’t Smoke’, ‘Drunk Walk Home’, and ‘Texas Reznikoff’ burst with the heavy distortion of punk inspired guitar, Mitski is never drowned out by her instrumental backing, rising above with fervent emotional strain. The aggression of these songs, teeming with scratchy noise and heavy hits of sound, is hugely satisfying, provided your ears don’t succumb to tinnitus.
If you are concerned about your hearing, the album’s lighter offerings are just as listenable. ‘First Love / Late Spring’ is a wash of heart-breaking pop, while the more folky ‘Last Words of a Shooting Star’ flows from the steady strum of acoustic guitar to a hollow dead-end. Bury Me At Make Out Creek is a defiant album, and one to listen to if you’re dreading the descent into the post-uni career search: in the words of Mitski, “Fuck you and your money!”
- Aromanticism by Moses Sumney
Aromanticism is an album best enjoyed with rain pelting your window and a warm drink in hand. Sumney’s mellow harmonies bring warmth to often simplistic instrumental backing, and will surely bring a sophisticated ambience to your next study session.
Tracks like ‘Plastic’, with a meandering mix of guitar and drawn out vocals, and ‘Quarrel’, with its rising harmonies and ethereal arrangements, fade to a glow despite the entropy of their lyrics. ‘Make Out In My Car’ remains unhurried and leaves a lovely calm, but is never boring with its use of jazz flute and mix of falsetto harmony.
The album is impressive in making its music all the richer through sparseness. ‘Doomed’, with only Sumney’s voice and a little synth to fill a cosmos-like void, feels deeply intimate. ‘Indulge Me’ is a soft intertwining of longing harmonies and an acoustic guitar, which creates a pining eeriness.
Calm despite its wariness, Aromanticism is a fitting soundtrack for the ever-darker Autumn nights, and grants a peacefulness to the bleakness of Winter.
Featured image courtesy of ‘Paul Hudson’ via Flickr.
Image use licence here.
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