Here’s a perfect fall soundtrack for watching the leaves change color.
Big Thief – “Forgotten Eyes”
My googling expedition to see if anyone had compared mystic warbler Adrianne Lenker to Victoria Williams (we all loved her in the ’90s—start at Loose if you’re curious) was thwarted by the discovery that Williams herself had opened for the band in L.A. earlier this year, with Lenker offering her elder thanks “for showing me another way to move through time.” Meanwhile, they have their second album of the year coming out this year, they just keep getting better, etc.
That Dog – “Just the Way”
Speaking of the ’90s. It’s too soon to say if my fondness for this L.A. alt-pop band’s reunion album is driven by wistful memories of their under-appreciated prime. But fond I remain: of Anna Waronker’s brightly toned vocals, of the dissonance that roils within, of the way they fill their Petra Haden-shaped hole with sister Rachel doing double duty on backup and session folks sawing violin. It sounds like old times—but not just like old times.
Doja Cat – “Bottom Bitch”
Speaking of speaking of the ’90s. For her latest track, Doja screws Blink 182—in terms of tempo that is, slowing the “What’s My Age Again?” guitar arpeggio to a meditative pace. Also, like her pal Rico Nasty, she’s singing more these days. I love her, even if she is 23.
Wilco – “Everyone Hides”
Speaking of speaking of speaking of—ok, you get it already. Anyway, I think simple Wilco is the best Wilco, an opinion I understand is not widely shared by Wilco fans, which, being as I am a mere Wilco appreciator, is maybe how it should be.
Karo Kero Bonito – “Battle Lines”
YouTube commenters are hung up on video game soundtrack comparisons, but I hear... Herbie Hancock adapting a Scritti Politti song for a Michael Mann soundtrack? Well, not exactly, which is probably for the best. Then there’s Sarah Midori Perry’s blithe and femme and impressionistically matter-of-fact evocation of fascism, spiked with lines like “I see blood in my dreams.” In short, the makings of a Stereolab for our times, with updated and era-appropriate preferences in froth and austerity. Dammit, I wasn't going to bring up the '90s again.
Diana Gordon – “Becoming”
This Queens music biz lifer ditched her stage name “Wynter Gordon” around the time she hooked up with Beyoncé to co-write three of Lemonade’s strongest tracks, then released the sharpest songs of her career on Pure in 2018. And she’s holding strong here. I especially like the bit here where she scrunches her voice in the back of her throat to suggest Shakira at her most goat-like.
Every week, music editor Keith Harris scours the vast musicscape for six worthy tracks to add to City Pages' ever-expanding 2019 playlist.