Where I come from, October is a scary word. It sneaks up on you like that earliest tug of smoky autumn wind, surrounds you like a big woolen sweater and smells like a box of freshly sharpened #2 pencils. There’s the thrill of change mingled with the melancholy of saying goodbye to another summer. It’s a process. It takes time to accept it, like when somebody dies — well, not a person, but maybe a small animal you really liked.
First comes denial: with Halloween somehow already around the corner, how quickly you forget those sticky sleepless nights tempered only by the A/C unit’s frosty blast. How wistfully you start to reminisce over that slick, giddy explosion of barbecues and bike rides, the warped piano rag of a passing ice cream truck, the fine rime of salt and sand that clings to your sunscreen-anointed skin after a day at the beach.
Before you know it, you’re thinking about things like broken hearts, getting old, and presidential elections. Nostalgia will kick you in the pants every year around this time...if you let it. Kick it right back with this Indian summer playlist, a potpourri of spicy-sweet tracks from the past few months that will help ease the seasonal transition.
Tennis – "South Carolina"
Why it’s on here: Slip on your Sperry Top-siders and white seersucker shorts. We’re going sailing. Keywords: cute indie pop made by cute indie couples Listen: Check it out here.
Why it’s on here: Don’t let the title fool you: this track is soaring and optimistic in spite of itself, like waking up from a bad dream to an unexpectedly sunny morning. Keywords: fresh artists to watch, sample-based bedroom pop Listen: Stream it on Soundcloud.
Atlas Sound – "Terra Incognita" Why it’s on here: This luxuriously reticent melody will slowly surround you like dusk settling on a field of poppies: its muted brightness and introspective beauty are aural autumn itself. Keywords: music to nap to, Deerhunter solo acts Listen: Get the track on Pitchfork.
Why it’s on here: Search-engine optimized they’re not. With a virtually un-googleable name, these fresh faces might need a little nudge before they start getting the internet’s ears perked, but not much. This track has all the ingredients of a folk rock hit: confident momentum, smart didactic lyrics, and a refrain that is pure percussive joy. Keywords: indie folk rock from Boston Listen: Hop to their bandcamp page to stream or buy this little number.
Why it’s on here: We dare you not to dig this stylish-without-taking-itself-too-seriously electronic spaz pop in the spirit of Crystal Castles or Le Tigre. Plus everyone knows whatever Ratatat touches turns to a dance floor diamond. Keywords: Brazilian new rave, winning collabs, house party playlist Listen: Take in the track here, or stream the whole LPhere.
When Saints Go Machine – "Kelly"
Why it’s on here: This catchy track’s subject matter (first kisses) and candy-coated electropop beat make it just the right back-to-school theme song. Keywords: Danish foursomes, feel-good tunes, synthy dance pop Listen: Stereogum’s got the hook-up.
Kreayshawn – "Gucci Gucci"
Why it’s on here: Rocking that pink Minnie Mouse bow like a pro, Kreayshawn spits a languid manifesto of her own inimitable style that sounds like an ode to the frivolous swag party that was summer; don’t fret, it’ll be back again next year. Keywords: West Coast, YouTube celebrity, female rappers who aren’t Nicki Minaj Listen: Watch it here.