Friday Playlist: Fall Has Sprung!

"Fallen Leaves" by flickr user Cherice
Fall has sprung!  I can feel it in the air!  Well, I could...for a day or two...before it got ridiculously humid and then it rained for 3 days and then got more humid and then was really hot for an afternoon.  But I refuse to let that get me down.  Fall is right around the corner (ignoring the fact that October is hot every year on the East Coast) and I am excited.  Not excited enough to curate an actual autumn-themed playlist (saving that one for real Fall), but excited enough to put together a great playlist of some new stuff I've been enjoying lately.  I hope you enjoy it too.

The songs:
  1. Viva Voce - "Plästic Rädio"
    First track off their amazing new album.  Higher level of production and tighter songwriting than I've heard from these guys before, and all of it sounds fab.  Plus they're really nice in person!

  2. Thao & Mirah - "Eleven"
    I was never a huge Thao Nguyen fan before, possibly because she's from Virginia.  But she made a really interesting album with Mirah Zeitlyn, and it was produced by Merrill Garbus (of tUnE-YarDs), who really wasn't shy about letting her rather distinctive style seep into the duo's sound.

  3. The Antlers - "French Exit"The Antlers' latest album grew on me slowly but surely, but it's really a beautiful, tender album and shows some subtle but sure growth for this great band.  If you get the chance to see them live, don't miss it.

  4. TV On The Radio - "Will Do"
    I kind of tuned out through TVOTR's last album or so, and I think I'm not the only one. So then "Nine Types Of Light" came out earlier this year, I was definitely skeptical, and I actually wrote it off at first as a failed experiment.  But somehow over repeated listens, the songs started to open up to me in a new way, and that experiment started really working for me.  I saw them play live the other night at the Williamsburg Waterfront, and they blew me away.  They had a great mix of styles on display and the band's sense of fun really came out.  Definitely one of the better live shows I've ever seen.  This song in particular took on a whole new life for me last night - makes me wish they would release a live album.

  5. Handsome Furs - "When I Get Back"
    I go back and forth as to which Wolf Parade side project is my favorite, but I'm split pretty mcuh 50/50 between Spencer Krug's Sunset Rubdown and Dan Boeckner's Handsome Furs.  Their new album is a nice mix of electronica and good old rock and roll.

  6. Mother Mother - "The Stand"
    I've been waiting for years for these Canadians to release a new album, and now that they have, I am pleased.

  7. Wugazi - "Another Chessboxin' Argument"
    Wu-Tang Clan + Fugazi = awesome.

  8. Okkervil River - "Rider"
    I kind of feel like Okkervil River has taken over where Wilco left off several albums ago - i.e. by writing good American roots rock.  Their sound has very little in common with Wilco, but I think they're going where Wilco was headed, before Wilco took a terrible left turn into mediocrity.  The new Okkervil album is better than I expected, and has an edge to the production that wasn't there on previous efforts.

  9. Gillian Welch - "The Way It Goes"
    What can I say?  There's a new Gillian Welch album, obviously you should go buy it.

  10. Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - "Senator"
    I'm not half the Malkmus fan that the Abstract Citizen is, but even I can tell that "Mirror Traffic" is both an excellent return to form for Malkmus & the Jicks as well as an exploration of some interesting new ground.  Elsewhere on the web, much has been made of Beck's influence as a producer on this album, so I'll leave it at this:  it's good.

  11. Portugal. The Man - "So American"
    I think their new album is their best effort in a while.  Still not quite what I know they're capable of, but really good nonetheless and definitely worth a listen.

  12. TV On The Radio - "Killer Crane"
    Yes, that concert made me like them so much I had to include another track from this album.  This isn't their typical sound, but it's really pretty and somewhat haunting and it ends up working better than it should.
What are you listening to now that Fall is (nearly) upon us?  Tell me in the comments.


    Reading Roundup

    Yay, it's time for another news roundup!  I just got back from a few weeks out of town (apparently the universe did not like the fact that I was out of New York, and decided to get all pouty and start throwing around earthquakes and hurricanes - hopefully now that I'm back, things will settle down considerably).

    Anyway, here's what's been happening lately in the digital music world:

    • Not content to own all of our private data, Facebook is launching a music platform in conjunction with Spotify, MOG, and Rdio.  It will apparently allow users "to listen to music from within Facebook.com," since it's not convenient enough to simply have music on in the background while you spend all day on Facebook.  Interestingly enough, a Facebook rep apparently told Mashable “There’s nothing new to announce,” so take this one with a grain of salt.

    • eMusic and The Echo Nest have teamed up to create a new streaming radio offering.  It's an interesting mix of human-curated content (by the music nerds at eMusic) and computer-based playlist generation (by the tech nerds at The Echo Nest).  If, like me, you feel that Brooklyn has been woefully under-represented in the musical arena, you might want to start with their Brooklyn station.

    • The Atlantic has an interesting piece on The Loudness Wars and how they might possibly be over.  Let your eardrums rejoice!  The piece has an interesting take on Sleigh Bells' use of extreme compression as a purposeful technique as opposed to a last resort to make a record sound louder than it really is.

    • Not really news, but a useful roundup of Spotify playlist tools that help you create, discover, share, and collaborate on Spotify playlists.  Enjoy them now before they implement streaming caps in the US!

    • If you're feeling generous, take a look at all the cool SXSW Interactive 2012 panels that Echo Nest is proposing, and go sign up and vote for them!  While you're at it, you might as well go ahead and vote for my panel, "Change Happens: Improv For An Unpredictable World."  Thanks!
    That's all for today, folks.  Got any cool music-related news?  Let me know in the comments.