Fall brings shorter days and longer sleeves, but it also delivers waves of nostalgia! Perhaps it’s because the months are punctuated by Halloween and Thanksgiving and the memories they conjure. Or maybe it’s a holdover from childhood when the new school year promised a personal reset where anything was possible. Here are five albums to enjoy while you look inward!
For Almost Ever Scooter, The Mice (Scat Records, 2004)
Cleveland’s The Mice specialized in dizzying three-minute blasts of power pop long before Guided By Voices tapped their keg. This essential compilation collects their two records, For Almost Ever (1986) and Scooter (1987) and plays like the soundtrack to an imaginary 1980s coming of age flick. Every song recalls the hallway anxiety of walking past your crush, slipping notes, wondering if they’re also consumed by love songs.
I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One, Yo La Tengo (Matador, 1997)
Possibly Yo La Tengo’s finest hour, I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One blends lovestruck pop and cerebral experimentation. Of course, there’s the seasonal anthem “Autumn Sweater”, Elsewhere, washes of noise and drone, wavering feedback, and the hum of crickets hint at something deciduous, but the fuzz guitar of “Sugar Cube” and “Little Honda” regenerates, radiating like a space heater.
Beachwood Sparks (Sub Pop, 2000)
Recounting the demise of his band, A New Personality, Brent Rademaker said, “As the ‘80s wore on, Darren [his brother] and I moved to Los Angeles to become the next Byrds.” Improbable, but almost. Their new band The Beachwood Sparks indulged their Sweetheart of the Rodeo fixation on their blissed-out self-titled debut. Pedal steel, 12-string chime, and harmonies meld, setting listeners loose in the cosmos.
Walk Among Us, Misfits (Ruby Records, 1982)
Everything’s iconic– the logo, the devilocks, the pageantry, all of which threaten to overshadow their real weapon, their undeniable melodies. Misfits gave the Ramones’ downstroke blitzkrieg pop culture infatuation an NC-17 makeover, exchanging “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend” for “Mommy, Can I Go Out and Kill Tonight?” Yes, the band promises a horror show, but with choruses like this, they are more Bay City Rollers than bite.
Glen Danzig, Jerry Only, and company should never have to endure another honest day’s work because of all they’ve done for you.
You Got My Mind Messed Up, James Carr (Goldwax, 1967)
Perhaps the title of James Carr’s debut should have served as a warning. The irreparable ache that characterizes Deep Soul proved too real for James Carr, whose struggles with depression derailed a career that should have rivaled his contemporaries. Through the record, the heartache is relentless, the voice absolute. Yet it’s his version of “The Dark End of the Street” that assures him immortality. Ordinarily, we need to see sin punished, but Carr offers us a more nuanced, more realistic portrait of unchecked desire. By the end of the song, we’re also hoping for the impossible. We understand.