For a lot of people the end of summer means sweater weather and pumpkin spice lattes, and though these hipster staples are lovely, I personally feel a sense of nostalgia and serenity with myself and the summer that’s just past.
One season is ending, and with the (what feels like) almost immediate change in climate and the world around me, a new outlook follows. I blame my love of Mary Poppins growing up but I also imagine that it’s the same sort of feeling people get around New Year’s Eve. This time of year means more outdoor walks as I contemplate the decisions and the small accomplishments that I’ve made over the summer months. I am not ready to let the dancer in me go into hibernation, so instead I will default to some haunting melodies that I can’t help but move towards.
You can hear the playlist in its entirety on YouTube here.
The War on Drugs – Under the Pressure
When I first heard The War of Drugs I was struck with the same feeling that I got when I first really sat down and listened to the greats of classic rock at the age of about eight or nine. I felt like I hadn’t grown up yet and that I wouldn’t know what growing up meant until a great heartache would send me into spiral of neuroses and anxiety that I would eventually be able to base my hidden creative genius on. OK, maybe I wasn’t able to pinpoint those exact emotions, but “Under the Pressure” always swallows me up and spits me back out again, just like the classic Americana that I grew up on.
Depeche Mode – Never Let Me Down Again
Probably one of the most influential new wave bands of all time, and one of my all time personal favorites. I purposefully put in the live version to show how much energy can go into a song that is dark, brooding and, quite frankly, sad as hell.
Perfume Genius – Queen
Only a guy who’s had serious struggles with sexuality, domestic violence and drug abuse growing up as a teenager could create a song that makes you imagine someone’s heart breaking in slow motion. Perfume Genius’ entire repertoire makes me feel like I can get lost in the chaos.
Zola Jesus – In Your Nature
Zola’s vocals remind me of a darker and more intense Florence Welch and, to be honest, I didn’t know much about her before this playlist. Turns out she is Russian-American and grew up in the middle of nowhere, Wisconsin, and had little interaction with other people before taking it upon herself to learn opera. Go figure.
Fever Ray – Leave The Streets Empty For Me
I can’t speak about haunting female vocals without including Swedish electro queen Karin Dreijer Andersson. She has been making music with her brother (The Knife with Olof Dreijer) as well as collaborating with other Swedish artists such as Royksopp, but Fever Ray is Andersson’s own exceptionally personal solo work. The fact that she is so elusive with interviews and is usually behind smoke and mirrors during shows makes her all the more interesting.
Frank Ocean – Thinking About You
I love Frank Ocean. For someone who is still moderately new on to the hip-pop scene he manages to stand out in the crowd. Why? Not necessarily because of his vocal range or his ability to poetically move in and out of rap and melodic chorus, but because as an artist he presents himself as a vulnerable human being. Pretty fresh in his genre.
Hang Massive – Once Again
Though I am including the duo that is Hang Massive, this slot is less for a song and more for the instrument that is the hang drum. The instrument itself was developed in Switzerland about 15 years ago, which means that anyone picking up it up is essentially self-taught. The range and sound that comes from these things is fantastic. If this is up your alley I recommend Daniel Waples and/or a collaboration with a didgeridoo.
Pogo – Forget
About eight years ago, Pogo came out with one of the strangest sample tracks at the time called “Alice“. He used sounds and vocals from the movie Alice in Wonderland and made a semi-basic electronic loop. Years later, still sampling movies and creating whole new tracks, I needed to include his newest creation. It is almost seamless and you can hear the development in his production skills. Check out his Pulp Fiction and Borderlands remixes to really see how innovative he can be.
Diamond Rings – It’s Not My Party
I have been following Toronto-based Diamond Rings for years now and as strange as he can seem, I adore his rich voice, unique style and fun electronic-synth style. However, this song in particular is a perfect finale to this list not only because of its deep melancholy theme but also because it serves as a reminder that fall is short and winter is on its way. Instead of getting depressed about it, I’m ready to cuddle up at home and make some moves creatively.
Nat Yorski is the effervescent and unapologetic female voice of The Coost. With her love of music and her second love of telling people what’s what, she spends most of her time playing with puppets and signing karaoke to her dog.