The days are shortening, and leaves are falling. Fall is here. Squished between the long, partying days of summer and the short, freezing days of winter, fall is a time to enjoy the crisp air, reminisce about seeing the sun, and drink a pumpkin spice latte.
Fall is about cuddly sweaters and the first layered outfits. These songs call exactly that to mind. Warm and slow and soft, they're full of layered sounds, whether in vocals or instrumentals.
Here's a playlist to celebrate crisp air and blustery days:
"My Favorite Faded Fantasy" by Damien Rice
Damien Rice's breathy Irish voice and carefully strummed melodies are too slow for the hot days of summer and too upbeat for winter. He's a perfect fall artist, and "My Favorite Faded Fantasy," off his new album, I Don't Want to Change You, layers chimes and guitar to create a soothing, momentous love song.
"Helplessness Blues" by Fleet Foxes
"Helplessness Blues" is probably this premier indie band's most famous song, but it still fits fall perfectly. The vocal harmonies by Robin Pecknold and Christian Warjo blend together and create a warm feeling that permeates the swirling melody.
"The Garden You Planted" by Sea Wolf
The lyrics for "The Garden You Planted" describe the crisp fall air and "All those east coast leaves/Floating round like embers from burning trees." Lead singer Alex Brown Church's comforting voice drifts over the gentle, rhythmic guitar, an echo of those leaves falling in the late afternoon.
"Another" by Greyjag
With twangy guitar backing rustic rock and roll sounds, "Another" builds into a chanting, catchy anthem perfect for plopping into a pile of leaves. Greyjag released Yours to Shake, its first studio album, on September 10, and the three-man rock band is definitely one to watch.
"Tides" by Hey Marseilles
"Tides" is a simple song. Lead vocalist Matt Bishop sings a melancholy song over gentle guitar chord progressions. But it never sounds boring; it sounds clean and beautiful and gentle, like a brisk fall morning.
"I Keep Running" by Ryan Adams
Ryan Adams is one of the best indie-rock producers working today, but his own music is just as engaging. "I Keep Running," is a great example of just how much he has evolved as an artist since 2003's This Is It. It's more country, and Adams nasal-y voice sounds more in tune with his guitar than it ever did in straight rock-and-roll.
"Dorian" by Agnes Obel
Agnes Obel's first album, Philharmonics, sold well in Belgium, but her gentle, soothing sound hasn't quite caught on with American listeners yet. She sounds like the next Norah Jones, and "Dorian" is a great song for drinking tea and staying in your house, the perfect fall activity.
"Country Road" by James Taylor
James Taylor is most famous for gently upbeat tunes like "You've Got a Friend," but on "Country Road," his voice stays in the lower octaves and creates an upbeat song that wedges somewhere between classic rock and pop melody.
"Wide World" by Blessed Feathers
Donivan Berube left the Jehovah's Witnesses faith to marry Jacquelyn Beaupre, and the two now live nomadically, playing shows and recording songs like "Wide World" that hang on their vocal melodies and ah-ing. Does this make them the most indie of all indie bands? They certainly have a good claim to the title.
"Daykeeper" by The Foreign Exchange
R&B electronic duo Foreign Exchange's "Daykeeper" pairs the thumping bass of electronica with the call and response of R&B to create a song as warm as your coziest sweater.
"Girl From the North Country" by Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash
No autumn playlist would be complete without a Bob Dylan or a Johnny Cash track, and here's one that utilizes both of them. "Girl from the North Country" pairs the two musicians perfectly.
"Autumn Tree" by Milo Green
This playlist concludes with a song that winds and twirls the way a leaf might fall from a tree. Milo Green's four (four!) vocalists layer themselves like so many sweaters being pulled over your head.
Listen to this week's playlist here: