If there's anything hipsters like to do in autumn, it's to walk around breathing in their own melancholy, feigning solitude while trying to suss out meaning from their iPod earbuds while kicking around dead leaves. In their self-conscious sorrow, wearing earthy-toned cardigans and beanies in 75-degree weather, hipsters of Orange County will rejoice in this most emotionally downcast of seasons. (Because looking sad is cool, right?) If you're one of these hipsters and want some recommendations, here are some our favorite autumnal albums to soundtrack your dejected promenades.
5. Built to Spill, Keep it Like a Secret
While not technically indie rock (more Seattle, less hipster), Built to Spill's Keep It Like a Secret is perfect transition into early evenings and whatever residual angst the summer months had left your way. Distortedly self-righteous yet apologetic rifts in songs like “Time
Trap” and “You Were Right” are perfect for contemplative walks in whatever boulevard your pensive soul might occupy on any given twilight. Conversely, “Carry the Zero” and “Else” might dominate a wistful sense of whimsy at the turning leaves. Apart from lyrics like “Just this side of love / is where you'll find the confidence not to continue,” dreamy slide guitar riffs promise autumn in ways only music can.
4. Andrew Bird, Noble Beast
For some reason, sweeping strings are always indicative of autumn; Andrew Bird's layered tunes are no different. Take the duo of “Unfolding Fans” and “Anonanimal” out with you and you might find yourself a bit chillier than before, if only swept up by the multitudes of pizzicato violin. The whistling track on songs like “Souverian” almost imitate the wind picking up, only warmed by the scarf of sensible riffs that somehow maintain their catchiness despite unorthodox song structuring and instrumentation.
3. Tallest Man on Earth, Shallow Grave
While a lot of Kristian Mattson's work is compatible with crestfallen walks alone, this almost countrified sentimentality of folk seems too brash and summery on his latest LP, The Wild Hunt. Shallow Grave takes it here, mostly because of tunes like “Where Do My Bluebirds Fly” and “Pistol Dreams,” both of which imply a simplicity in heartfelt emotion mirrored in the straightforwardness of the Tallest Man's warbling intonations.
2. Grizzly Bear, Yellow House
Yellow House has always been a favorite because of the way the album works as a whole, but it also has some very strong autumnal tones for those of you more inclined to take to the streets at midnight than during the day or in the early evening. “Knife” is the obvious stand-out track, one whose piano outro syncs well with the feeling of total solitude in an unoccupied street, but don't count out “Little Brother” or “On a Neck, On a Spit” to guide you along your way like only the fractured sentimentality of Grizzly Bear can.
1. Death Cab for Cutie, The Photo Album
It's very apparent in a lot of Death Cab's albums, upon close inspection, that each has a clear seasonal association. While also not technically indie rock, Death Cab's Photo Album is laced throughout with heavy hints of autumn. Present from its first track, “Steadier Footing,” Gibbard and his cohorts seem to have made the perfect autumn album. Continuing onto songs like “I Was a Kaleidoscope” and finishing off with “Coney Island” and “Debate Expresses Doubt,” it's practically inexpressible how this album must have been designed for walks on fallen leaves. As the line goes in “Blacking Out the Friction,” those inclined to leave their houses will be like Ben Gibbard in their autumn attitudes: “I don't mind the weather / I've got scarves and caps and sweaters.”