Fall 2013 is hitting us with some seriously spry dance floor anthems.
Adam is an entertainment reporter who writes album reviews for Glide Magazine, an online publication celebrating independent art, culture, and music.
Fall is usually reserved for Bon Iver and other artists whose music conjure images of leaves shuffling in the wind and introspection. But fall 2013 has hit us heavily with some seriously spry dance floor anthems. Here are five albums that should tide you over for the season, or at least until "Reflektor" comes out.
1. Haim – "Days Are Gone"
If you've never heard of upstart indie poppers Haim, give it a week. The group consists of a trio of silly talented sisters (plus drummer Dash Hutton, balancing out the chromosome scale a bit) who've been hovering around the Los Angeles music scene for years. And with their outstanding debut LP Days Are Gone, made up of eleven spit-shined tracks that split the difference between inspired dance music and glitchy R&B throwbacks, Haim is inevitably coming to a radio/dance floor/party playlist near you. The quartet built some well-deserved blog lovin' following standout live shows on the festival circuit, where they drew raves at the likes of Glastonbury, Leeds, and CMJ, gradually achieving a level of debut album anticipation usually reserved for hip hop up-and-comers. Don't have time to sit through the latest art rock critical darling waiting for it to click? Check out "Forever," "Falling," or pretty much any other song here. You'll be in love in, oh, about ten seconds.
2. Chvrches – "The Bones of What You Believe"
If Haim whets your appetite for tasty electro pop with pristine female vocals, ChVrches will make for a savory main course. Not quite as sugary sweet as their fellow debut buzz builders, ChVrches hits with sneakier hooks and a vibe more entrenched in the '80s, with synths and industrial beats that pay homage to Depeche Mode and vocals with an emotional pull that begs comparisons to Kate Bush. They pair from-the-gut lyrics ("I will be a gun/and it's you I'll come for" sings lovelorn leading lady Lauren Mayberry) with the kind of inventive melodies that bear instant repeat listens. "Gun," which summons the image of a glow-in-the-dark disco dance party, is one of the better tracks of 2013
3. Mazzy Star – "Seasons of Your Day"
Considering how well the low key dream pop of "Seasons of Your Day" fits in the current music zeitgeist alongside atmospheric shoegaze-inspired acts like Beach House and the xx. it's hard to believe Mazzy Star is best known as a '90s band, with their last album coming out in the heart of the Clinton years. Even if you don't recognize the name, you'd recognize their 1993 hit "Fade Into You" after about two bars. I wasn't old enough to watch VH1 when it came out, but I imagine they played the shit out of it. There's nothing as radio ready on "Seasons," which is all about atmosphere. Open track "In the Kingdom," is a sleepy standout, pushed ahead by electric guitar bends and muted keyboards that give the song a "And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out" quality. In fact, any number of songs on here might just put you in a deep, trance-like sleep, but I mean that in the best possible way.
Listen: "In The Kingdom"
4. Kings of Leon – "Mechanical Bull"
Fall is all about dancing and comebacks this year, apparently. After a slow climb to success, followed by a wave of overexposure, and another wave of "how dare you get famous?" backlash, Kings of Leon wake from a well-earned and useful three year slumber with Mechanical Bull. This album that stands up to anything they've done, and really, anything that's been labelled as Rock n Roll this year. You've probably already heard "Supersoaker," a fine summer tune both in name and frisky sing-along-ability. Over the next few months, you'll also probably spend unavoidable radio time with mellow slow-builder "Wait For Me" and polished sway-along "Beautiful War," which features a beautifully sorrowful vocal performance from lead man Caleb Followill — one of the better rock voices of our generation. Haters gonna hate, but the Kings appear to be above the hype machine, and in it for the long haul.
5. Delorean – "Apar"
For the next selection, let me take you all the way back to the September of 2013. Office water coolers were abuzz with discussions of Twerkgate, the United States had a (semi) operational government in place, and Spanish dance quartet Delorean had just released Apar, their stellar followup to 2010's equally stellar Subiza. The album was technically released during the summer, which is appropriate enough since every one their bright keyboard and vocal sample-laced tunes sounds like a ray of sunshine forcing its way through a cloud. Variety isn't their strong suit, but Apar is glimmering, celebratory music that will put you in a good mood in a hurry.