The Harbinger Online

November Playlist

playlist profile

Here’s a monthly collection of recent releases and old favorites to inspire your latest playlist.Scroll to the bottom to listen to the full playlist.

Click here to revisit the October edition.

 

Traveling Light  |  Leonard Cohen

1

Remarkably influential singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen passed away suddenly on Nov. 7, leaving behind a legendary legacy. He also left us one last album, “You Want It Darker,” released only three weeks prior to his death. The album is as spiritual and lamentful as ever, with a tone as dark as Cohen’s voice: soothing but bordering on sinister. It has the kind of sound that will remain unforgettable for decades to come. As Cohen said only recently in light of his health issues, “[he intends] to live forever.”

My favorite track from the album was “Traveling Light,” which snatched my attention from the beginning with an intro built from the exotic sounds of a Greek bouzouki (similar to a guitar) and the familiar sound of a violin. Supposedly written in reference to Cohen’s past relationship with his muse Marianne Ihlen, who passed away earlier this year, the song is unlike many contemporary pieces about former relationships. Cohen is refreshingly, bluntly self-critical at times within his lyrics, but he did not forget his enigmatic style, still layering ambiguity and double meanings throughout the song.  // folk / soft rock

 

Quantum Immortality  |  Crywolf

2

Rich beats and crisp vocals introduce another moody track by Crywolf. But unlike the instrumental, atmospheric tracks of his previous album “Cataclysm,” this single relies more heavily on lyrics and places more emphasis on the vocals. It’s a fitting — and tantalizing — preview for Crywolf’s next EP, which supposedly will convey a cohesive story, rather than a loose collection of songs.  // electronic rock

 

til your legs give up  |  pronoun

3

There’s something in the husky voice and pronunciation of Alyse Vellturo, the face behind pronoun, that brings back fond freshman year memories of listening to 2013 phenomenon Lorde. But Vellturo has her own attitude, her own themes and distinctly self-made, DIY beginnings. “I had an old iMac, a Squier Fender guitar, an interface from 2009 and a practice amp with preset guitar effects,” Vellturo told UK website the Line of Best Fit. Despite humble origins, there’s an otherworldly quality to both slower tracks like “til your legs give up” and faster pieces like “a million other things,” my other favorite from the EP. A pensive feeling will hang in the air long after the song ends.  // pop

 

Holy Ground  |  BANNΞRS

4

Banners has not once disappointed since his debut a year ago. His most recent release, “Holy Ground,” is a gentle rock track that is low-energy enough to send you dozing off in that perfect spot next to the fireplace. Singer Michael Joseph Nelson’s soft falsetto and natural crooning is the definition of dreamy, but the vocals are grounded by rising instrumentals that drive the piece forward with uplifting energy reminiscent of Christian rock.  // alt rock / pop

 

Natural Blue  |  Julie Byrne

5

Here’s the female vocal counterpart to “Holy Ground” for dreamy fireside ambience. Only an acoustic guitar accompanies Byrne’s stunningly serene voice for a far greater resonance. Free and open in sound, you could treat “Natural Blue” as a last tribute to autumn. Imagine every road trip you’ve taken — this piece captures that real between-sky-and-sea feeling.  // folk rock

 

Hollow Tune  |  Brick + Mortar

6

I first found Brick + Mortar when I sent their song “Train” to a friend as part of a joke (he’s obsessed with trains). Surprisingly enough, once I gave the song a listen, I immediately looked for more work by the duo, bassist/vocalist Brandon Asraf and drummer/vocalist John Tacon. “Hollow Tune” has quickly become one of my favorite songs this year. It sounds counterintuitive, but there’s some sort of unmusical creak hidden in Asraf’s voice that brings out a rare emotional sincerity and vulnerability. “Hollow Tune” and “Keep This Place Beautiful,” another favorite, are capable of bringing real tears to my eyes.  // electrorock / alt-rock

 

MASITNONSOUL  |  Hyukoh

7

Hyukoh’s latest song was written for the soundtrack of the Korean remake of HBO’s “Entourage.” It’s a fast-paced rock track that matches the tone of the show and the show biz world it depicts. After hearing the song, I did some digging and discovered a new infatuation with the Korean indie rock band’s diverse sounds. Another of my favorites is “Our Place” from their impressive 2014 debut album “20.” This track, written in English, might be more digestible for some American listeners. But even in their native language, Hyukoh’s broad range of sounds and dedication towards creating distinct rhythms in each piece will still interest the unfamiliar listener.  // indie rock

 

Hotel  |  Dog Orchestra

8

My attention was first caught by the album title, “Meow.” Dog Orchestra released an album titled “Meow.” But don’t let any of that fool you, because “Hotel” and the rest of the Swedish duo’s EP is as bleak and melancholy as they come. The track serves up sober criticism of drinking culture and shallow society, but it is full of the angsty heart of a teenager. The vocals rise to something more angelic and ethereal by the end of the song, before returning to a bleak synth pulse. Perfect for winter.  // synth pop

 

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Sunny  |  Papa Ya

9

I loved this song, but let’s face it. Even if we’re experiencing some irregular weather this year, “Sunny” was a bit too beachy for a late October release. We’ll consider it the go-to song to keep you from sinking too deep into subdued winter playlists, like that bright winter sun in the sky after a snowstorm. The upbeat track is an unmistakable mood lifter but doesn’t require high volume and the lyrics are fairly simple for easy listening and singing along.  // dance

 

Cake By The Ocean  |  DNCE

10

DNCE is an up and rising band, led by Joe Jonas of Jonas Brothers fame. A year after the release of “Cake By The Ocean” as a single, they returned with the full album on Nov. 18. It’s a fresh, fun song — one of the few to make its way onto my radar since last year’s “Uptown Funk” — and the lyrics are catchy but clearly not cliché (‘cake by the ocean’). Sort of like that inside joke you have with your best friend. You might laugh at it in ten years, but you’ll laugh at yourself too for ever thinking it was funny.  // dance rock / funk

 

Frozen Water  |  Belly, ft. Future

 

The dark identity of this mixtape and the showy album cover, embellished with a zombie, would have been more suitable around Halloween. But despite initial reservations, I grew to appreciate this album and Belly’s weighty melodic rap. Every track drives the Palestinian-Canadian rapper’s ‘dark’ past into your head, one slow, hazy beat at a time. “Frozen Water” and “Consuela” were standouts and also relatively tamer, for the purposes of this playlist.  // hiphop

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Yashi Wang

Junior, Co-Art & Design Editor Yashi is fairly normal outside of an odd obsession with fonts (her computer died from an overdose, so she had to downsize... to 423). She has a very theoretical love for furry animals, and a genuine love for creative writing, drawing, music, design and sleep, among other artsy things. Outside of Harbinger, she’s a staff member of the Freelancer, a violinist in SME’s orchestra, the Junior Co-Treasurer on Student Council, and the ... Read Full »

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