They say it will snow in October. I say: whatever. They say winter will be devastating this year. I say: bring it on. They say wake up, little girl. I say: I’d rather dream just for a little while longer.
This is my favorite part of the year. It might be because it suits best the music I love. Those records, the ones closest to my heart, they simply sound better when summer is already dead and still some time is left until winter comes. Air smells like all the yesterdays dipped into an apple pie. Coffee cries out for a bit of cinnamon. And chocolate tastes amazing served with red wine. The three things defining autumn best to me are apples, leaves and trench coats. In this particular order of importance. So this one today will be divided into three parts, each one dedicated to a different artist and a single record representing this very special time of the year. Not the greatest, not necesserily the mind blowing ones. Those I save for later. These are the sounds that are supposed to comfort you. Imperfect, but still seductive. Melancholic, but not cheesy. Pretty, though not breathtaking. Here’s something for all the autumn dreamers out there. Something harsh, something nice, something sentimental. Beacuse we all need different tunes to prepare ourselves for winter.
APPLES [THE FELICE BROTHERS, YONDER IS THE CLOCK]
From what I know, apples all around the world taste differently. Those red things you can buy in US or UK are definitely not eatable, some kind of artificial fruit wannabies. Here, in Poland, we have a whole variety of choice, numbers of different kinds. From sour to unbearably sweet, cherry to raspberry like, hard to soft (so it melts in your mouth before you even notice…). Well, we may not be the country of great indie musicians, but one thing is for sure: we are the kingdom of apples. Felice Brothers’ Yonder Is The Clock starts with a gentle and soft sound, with each track bursting more and more into a rich palette of colors and textures. It is everything you could imagine a modern alt country record would be like. It surprises you with unexpected chorus or a rythm twist, reveals a crazy folk phrase or out of the blue turns into an intimate, bluesy ballad. Rough vocals and piano among bunch of all the other instruments (including accordion) combine into a raw mix of Tom Waits, Louisiana and an oldshool cabaret. You will not find a twin sister of The Ballad Of Lou The Welterweight here, but try Katie Dear or Boy From Lawrence Country. Unlike two other records listed in this article, you probably won’t hear any of the tracks from Yonder Is The Clock while watching your favorite tv series. But trust me, discovering beauty among dirt and dust is much more fun than enjoying ready-to-go perfectly produced sounds. As an expert, I can assure you: the ugliest apples make the best apple pie.
LEAVES [PRISCILLA AHN, A GOOD DAY]
The colors of autumn are warm and uplifting. Golden, red, yellow and everything in between. Though people often consider this season depressing, it only means change. Time passes by, the summer is over and whatever happened transforms into a memory that you can either keep and cherish or throw away. It is your individual choice. Like trees losing their leaves. Some see sad naked branches, others – myself included – golden pavements crisping with every step. Take a moment and clear your mind of all the things bothering you. Take a look around. The world is not dying, it is changing. A Good Day is like a ray of sun filtered through autumn leaves. It does not have the power to blind you anymore, but it touches your cheek gently and makes you smile. Just like that, without any greater subtext or strings attatched. Pretty is the right word here. And sometimes pretty is enough to make your day. To take you someplace else, where you do not have to run around, where you can stop and breath slowly. So stop. Her voice is adorable. And yes, the music is more pop than folk, but valuable pop is so hard to find these days. I give in. Because the melody takes me someplace else. Because the vocals are lovely. Because I missed those autumn walks on golden pavements so much, while dehydrating in the summer heat.
TRENCH COATS [WILLIAM FITZSIMMONS, THE SPARROW AND THE CROW]
A trench coat is a statement. It says Humphrey Bogart. It says nevermind the rain. It says I like my coffee black without any additional crap like ice cream or almond syrup in it. A trench coat is one of the basic ten things you need in your closet whatever your sex is. You can wear it with jeans or a coctail dress and still look perfect. It is simple, comfortable and effortless. This is how William Fitzsimmons’ music works. With this record each and every track could be used as a score to another heartbreaking episode of Grey’s Anatomy. You know, somebody dies. Somebody cries. Somebody leaves. All that shit that looks pathetic on tv, but actually is probably even more pitiful when happens in the real life. This is the kind of record some of my friends will fall in love with instantly, though it has all been done before, so many times. Must say I was a bit disapointed when I first heard it. Fitzsimmons looks like one of the members of Fleet Foxes with his beard grown so big, so I imagined his music way more complicated, more alternative I guess. But with the half-whispered vocals and a warm acoustic background it is still better than eating a huge box of chocolate ice cream. Yes, he speaks very literal, while it is images of situations, recollections of things that work better when it comes to the lyrics of a singer-songwriter, than actual description. If you do not pay so much attention to the words [helps when English is not your first language], the rest can be a soundtrack to every possible situation. Including autumn evening and a need to go cliche sentimental on yourself. After all, it is a statement. It says give me a break. It says I do not need another sophisticated metaphore to tell me I feel like shit. It says where is the fucking rain when I need it?
This is more of an introduction to the subject than my personal choice of autumn music. If I wanted to write about sounds that really mean autumn to me, the very few readers of Plexus would probably go suicidal. Plus, from time to time it is good to try something new.