In the mood for a playlist that mourns sunny summer days gone by but also welcomes in the crisp Autumn air? I’ve got you covered, with the perfect combination of slow, cool, indie mixed with some hyped up electronic, and finishing things off with a bit of kick-back rap.
1. Hand-Made – alt-J
I thought I knew alt-J, I really did. Breezeblocks was on my most-played list for a long time, but after I while I began to lose interest. But after their newest release this summer, “Left Hand Free,” I couldn’t help but take a second look. And what I found truly did surprise me. This band has depth, and a concept of music that is undervalued in modern pop culture. They just play.
The reason I chose this song is because it shows just how far they can reach. The riffs aren’t actually that different from some of their more popular stuff. But this slow, haunting, wailing of a song that is over before it even really begins is not only good to the ears, it toys with the mind. By the end I’m always asking for more, barely satisfied. It’s the perfect end to summer song, good vibes, good memories, but a longing for more.
2. Tennis Courts – Lorde (Flume Remix)
For anyone who has ever really felt the power of a bass drop, this song is for you. I’ll admit that I didn’t know who Flume was, and wasn’t the biggest Lorde fan. I hate remixes, and dubstep too. But this song has changed everything. This song is interesting and fast-paced, but also borderline beautiful. This is the Mona Lisa of dubstep remixes, and when the bass drops, you’ll feel it – trust me. Crank your windows all the way down, blast this and drive at least ten over the speed limit down Ward Parkway on a late September evening.
3. Cecilia and the Satellite – Andrew McMahon in The Wilderness
During the first concert I ever attended, Andrew McMahon was jumping on top of the keyboard keys and flinging his punk-rock skinny-boy body around the Starlight stage. In that moment I realized my true calling: indie music lover. While the band he used to play with, “Jack’s Mannequin” was just about the only music I listened to between sixth and eighth grade, I just found out they have since broken up. Usually this band conjures up some awkward memories of pre-pubescent me waiting at the bus stop. So, since I’ve evolved past my punk-rock roots, I didn’t check up on them very often much past middle school.
But last week this song came on my Spotify and I was itching to see who sang it. Andrew McMahon has also evolved, his solo projects are aching, beautiful and catchy. This music is for late nights spent studying, when you need a nice piano riff and a nice voice to comfort you and some vocab terms.
4. Gotta Get Away – The Black Keys
Okay we all know how good the Black Keys are. They’re just consistently awesome, no getting around that. They make music that kicks other music’s butt. It’s like if there was a boxing match of greatest new music, I’m pretty sure this band would come out on top every single time.
So obviously anything remotely new from them I just had to check out. And this song does not disappoint. However, anyone used to originals like “Gold on the Ceiling” or even “Fever,” should be warned. This is the Black Keys as you’ve never heard them before. They’re folksy and happy. Sounds strange, but of course it just works. They’re the Black Keys, what did you expect?
5. Whoa Whoa Whoa – Watsky
I know nothing about rap, but I know enough to know that this is a good song. While it might conjure up some circa 2012 Macklemore vibes, this song is definitely still a fresh take. I think that’s mainly because this guy can seriously spit rhymes. I really enjoyed the pace and the beat. And the lyrics weren’t anything typical; the rap was fast but it captured some solid anecdotes that didn’t have to do with molly or gang violence, rap that fits my lifestyle a bit better. Watsky’s old stuff isn’t much and I’m not a huge fan but this song just sort of spoke to me. The choral back ups bring a more musical aspect to it, which is much-appreciated for a indie music fan.
6. Casual Vibes – The Lonely Biscuits
Ever searched for the perfect song for sinking into a hammock, sipping an iced coffee, and swaying away in Loose Park? Well, I have found the ultimate jam to pump from your cordless speakers this Fall. Appropriately named “Casual Vibes,” by The Lonely Biscuits, this song combines modern slow-rap and throwback blues and funk. Touting some KC roots, TLB is on the verge of making it big outside of the Midwest. And on the plus side, next year when everyone can’t stop talking about their newest releases, you’ll already have their old stuff downloaded. You’ll be on top of the music trends.
7. Obvious Bicycle -Vampire Weekend
This melody is the ultimate closer to summer and opening to Fall. Vampire Weekend’s stereotypical Ska vibes take a dip into the darker tuneage on their newest album. The first track on “Modern Vampires of the City” released about a year and a half ago, this song really opens up a great album. This song is true, honest and affectionate while capturing a certain sadness that uncharacteristic to the band. It’s a fresh sound from a classically good band.