EAR TO THE GROUND: With changing season comes new playlistsAs summer officially comes to a close and the cold weather slowly creeps back, I’ve been scrambling to get all of my fall and winter clothes unpacked so I’m ready.
By: Tom Carbone, Grand Forks Herald
As summer officially comes to a close and the cold weather slowly creeps back, I’ve been scrambling to get all of my fall and winter clothes unpacked so I’m ready. This isn’t the only preparation I’ve done for the season change. Every fall, I comb through my music to make cold weather playlists. It’s kind of nerdy, but it’s something I’ve always done. This fall, there’s already been a substantial amount of music released that’s perfect for the changing leaves and inevitable frost. Here’s a few brand-new albums you should add to your collection immediately.
The xx, “Coexist” (September 18)
Last time we heard from this English trio was in 2009 when they released their self-titled debut to critical acclaim. Seemingly popping out of nowhere, songwriters Romy Madley Croft, Oliver Zim and producer Jamie Smith dropped a record of minimalist beats laced with catchy hooks and airy vocals about lost love. They were able to create so much with so little. Their songs felt huge, but in reality, had very little instrumentation. They kept it simple.
Their new album, “Coexist,” follows this formula, but it is certainly more refined. Jamie Smith (now Jamie xx) takes care to experiment a bit more in his production, as seen on “Reunion” with a steel drum section, but the two key songwriters bounce verses off each other just as they did on their first album.
Grizzly Bear, “Shields” (September 18)
This is frontman Ed Droste and company’s fourth full-length album, and it’s their most cohesive to date. On the heels of their wildly popular 2009 album “Vekatimest,” and the ensuing world tour they embarked on to promote the record, the band took a creative hiatus for six months before heading back to the studio to write and record “Shields.”
They initially started to record in Texas, but instead moved to Cape Cod in early 2012, back to Droste’s grandmother’s house (where they wrote their second album) and began collaborating more than they had before. The result? “Shields” feels like the album they have been building up to all these years. It seems they finally reached their full potential. Deals have already been inked for the new album to be played in Starbucks across the country, they even have two late-night talk show performances lined up this fall and a U.S. and world tour are upcoming as well. This is an album that will be on a lot of year-end best-of lists.
G.O.O.D. Music, “Cruel Summer” (September 14)
Ask anyone their opinion on Kanye West and they will surely have a strong one. Positive or negative, the guy gets a lot of press. It’s been a busy year for him. His collaborative record with hip-hop legend Jay-Z and his seemingly overnight relationship with Kim Kardashian were two of the biggest stories about him over the past 12 months.
But this fall, everyone is talking about his record label’s collaborative album, “Cruel Summer.” We’ve gotten glimpses of the album all summer, as Kanye released the popular songs well in advance to whet everyone’s appetites. On “Cold,” Kanye claims that “(Kris Humphries) is lucky I ain’t have Jay drop him from the team,” throwing around his clout (Jay-Z is a partial owner of the team Humphries plays for) while at the same time humiliating Kim Kardashian’s ex-husband.
But this is much more than a Kanye West album. All of the G.O.O.D. Music artists that Kanye has signed over the past few years are featured: Big Sean, Pusha-T, Kid Cudi, 2 Chainz and R. Kelly to name a few. With a title like ”Cruel Summer,” it doesn’t seem fitting for it to come out so late in the season, but it works. There aren’t a lot of songs that will make you want to head to the beach, but there is plenty of good rapping to last you through the season change.