6 albums to fall for this season

Erik Adams, Multimedia Reporter

The leaves may not change color in Los Angeles during the fall season, but the playlists might.

Brisk temperatures, rainy days, gusts of wind; now that the season is in full effect, things might be feeling cozier, earthier, gloomier or some combination of the three. Whatever feelings fall might spark, there’s probably an album on this list that can act as a good companion to them.

Nick Drake, “Pink Moon” (1972)

Nick Drake’s short, mysterious career may have ended in tragedy, but he left a moving body of folk gems and “Pink Moon” is his most impactful one. On the folk legend’s final album, his stifled yet intimate vocals accompany warm, lush guitar arrangements, making it a perfect piece of contemplative soundscape for a slow, overcast afternoon.

Best songs: “Pink Moon” and “From The Morning”

The Smashing Pumpkins, “Siamese Dream” (1993)

Something “Siamese Dream” captures unlike any of its contemporaries was the amazing feat of being loud and heavy, but all while sounding controlled and delicate, too. In a way, it reflects the fall season. Where it might be dark and gloomy, there’s a place indoors that’s warm and comforting. For what it’s worth, the 1990s style and culture has made a comeback in the last few years and “Siamese Dream” captures that eccentric 90s alternative energy in a way uniquely linked to the spiritual dynamics of fall.

Best songs: “Cherub Rock” and “Geek U.S.A.”

Madlib, “Shades Of Blue: Madlib Invades Blue Note” (2003)

This album personifies jazz hip-hop on a different level than much of what came before it. Madlib’s manipulations of classic Blue Note recordings deliver a soulful collection of remix tracks that are a pleasure to listen to both intently and passively. “Shades Of Blue…” is a record best played on vinyl and during a rainy fall day spent indoors. The versatility of moods on this record makes it one of the most utilitarian picks on this list. 

Best songs: “Distant Land” and “Stormy”

John Fahey, “Days Have Gone By, Vol. 6” (1967)

This album’s warm production, impressive fingerstyle guitar picking and woodsy aura make it the closest one might get to living in a cabin in the woods or train-hopping through rural American landscapes. Any John Fahey record could have made it onto this list, but “Days Have Gone By, Vol. 6” is special because it’s his best expression of these qualities. Campsite approved.

Best songs: “Impressions of Susan” and “Days Have Gone By”

SubRosa, “More Constant Than The Gods” (2013)

Now, for a bit of doom and gloom for those particular types of autumn days. Salt Lake City’s mighty SubRosa mastered their largely unrivaled brand of crushing, ethereal doom metal with this release. Slow, brooding tempos intertwine with SubRosa’s violinists’ impenetrable walls of melodic texture. “More Constant…” gives warmth with an oftentimes frigid delivery. It might not be for everyday listening, but it has a rightful spot on this list.

Best Songs: “Cosy Mo” and “Fat of the Ram”

Kendrick Lamar, “To Pimp A Butterfly” (2015) 

“To Pimp A Butterfly” is as heavy as hip-hop albums come. It’s a fall album, but it’s not the album to listen to while, say, picking apples at the orchard. Rather, it reflects much of the emotional weight of seasonal change, phases and self-realization. The darkness of “TPAB” coincides well with the contemplative fall season because of its small beacons of brightness throughout its runtime. It recognizes the shadows, but steps into the sun every now and then. Sometimes cold, sometimes gloomy, but always with some brightness around the corner.

Best Songs: “Alright” and “Complexion”

Here’s a Spotify playlist of some of these songs, plus several others that fit the fall vibe in one way or another.