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Music

SOCC Writers’ Favorite Fall Albums

Our first collaborative post of the school year brings new names and faces to the blog! With autumn in Colorado Springs coming to an end, SOCC writers reflect on their favorite fall albums- old and new- as we gather in the amphitheater under snowy Pikes Peak.

Sam Briley

This fall I have been listening to Dots and Loops by Stereolab. I really enjoy is relaxing instrumentals and the friendly voices throughout the album. Its a very light album that I love listening to while I drive and appreciate the changing weather!

Charlie Marks

One of my favorite albums ever, and what you can hear me blasting in the shower is, Steven Miller Bands Greatest hits 1974-78. This album is put together so incredibly well that every song flows in and out of the next. A mixture or rock and roll and psychedelic synth makes it my jam

Emily Faulks

Negro Swan by Blood Orange (2018): I have been listening to this album since it came out every fall! This album feels very autumnal to me, specifically located in DC: with ambient traffic in the backdrop of a relaxed yet moody atmosphere- something is in the air… other than midterm elections! Blood Orange creates a dysphoric image of change and that’s how I view fall: disorienting and sometimes dreadful while sonically serene. This album always feels new as there’s so much going on thematically and instrumentally, I can dip into new sensations and the old nostalgia of when I first discovered the album.

Finn Russell

This fall I’ve been listening to an old album from Ezra Bell titled “Don’t all look up at once”. It’s a short album which makes it a great album to binge listen and the alternative bluegrass style of Ezra Bell fits with well with fall weather. Song highlights from the album include, “Pick a place and read”, “Junk food chimney”, and “Dear old dad”.

Royce Hinojosa

Bad Self Portraits by Lake Street Drive captures, nearly perfectly, the essence of the fall season. As fall transitions between the warmth of summer and the coldness of winter, so does Bad Self Portraits. The longing for different types of love throughout the album mimic the ways in which the leaves fall, almost as if each yellow appendage that leaves the tree is an expectation not met coupled with some notion of new beginnings.

Linnea Anderson

Either/Or by Elliott Smith: No matter my mood, the time, or the season, this album is in my rotation. It’s sweet and soft and quiet and effortless. It reminds me of the rain back home and all the things I miss about Portland’s charm.

Sadie Fleig

Feeding Seahorses by Hand by Billie Marten: This 2019 album is the quintessential fall album and the perfect thing to curl up into bed and drink tea to. She’s managed to fill it with soft indie folk that’s loose and dreamy, yet streamlined. From the croony and upbeat Blue Sea, Red Sea to the whimsical and melodious Mice, she does it all.

Annie O’Neill

Demon Days by Gorillaz is THE album of fall. Demon Days is the perfect transition into ski season; it’s a British pop masterpiece perfect for shredding the slopes. The album is a definitely a journey with its harsh beats and hip hop undertones, perfect for this winter’s ski playlist.

Crosby Williams

For You by Parmalee. I love this album because it tells a love story and all of the songs are so sweet. The songs each talk about something different however each is also unique. They are all sing along songs and just makes me happy.

Issa Nasatir

This fall I’ve been listening to Some Rap Songs by Earl Sweatshirt. For me, his instrumentals really encapsulate a dark brooding feeling that comes with the season. Inspired by the loss of his father, listening to it will make you feel like you’ve lost something as well.

Ruben Margolis

I’ve been listening to Death Cab for Cuties new album “Asphalt Meadows” this fall. the singles released before the album convinced me that the band was unenthused and a bit burnt out. I was pleasantly surprised when the album itself followed the rugged and upbeat indie pop rock/focused and purposefully placed acoustics and light synths that death cab is known for. Although it’s not my favorite album of theirs, it still has the same death cab effect, where after listening, the songs bounce around curiously in your head ready to be played aloud again.

Marina Malin

Fleet Foxes’ Helplessness Blues is absolutely stunning and audibly pleasing, I cannot stop replaying it in its entirety. This album is especially undercoated in fall melancholy which is not only telling in its harmony, but the golden fall hues of its album cover. There is so much to be said about what makes this album so special, but it’s better to hear it for yourself then me attempt to tell you!!!

Peter Gottsegen

The album I’ve been listening to this fall is Cooking it: Legends of the Sesh by Tricky Mac and Benny T. These 2 Australian rappers explore a bunch of different styles through the album, but always focus on their love of partying, drinking, and doing drugs. The album has great vibes, and you can tell that both Tricky Mac and Benny T are having fun on every track. The album is goofy, it doesn’t take itself too seriously but each track has a couple lines on it that are fun and catchy enough to get stuck in your head. The perfect album to put on and not think too hard about

Theo Tannahill

For just about the whole fall, I’ve had Live At the Shoals Theater on repeat. It’s a live album/concert recording from Jason Isbell, Mike Cooley, and Patterson Hood from 2014. This was the first reunion of the group since Isbell left the Drive-By Truckers, and the collaborative skills are not lost from time. Isbell’s notorious voice and song-writing shines through, and the group performs an amalgamation of the band’s and Isbell’s best songs. The crowd, as well, makes the recording feel like a celebration. The album isn’t really related to fall, but captures an amazing moment in time that fully meets its auditory potential.

Oliviero Zanalda

Bladee’s 2022 project Spiderr has been dominating my headphones for the past few weeks. This album is a victory lap for Bladee as his last album “Crest”, a collaboration with Ecco2k, received stunning reviews from major music outlets after years of Bladee being neglected by the industry. The album is mostly produced by longtime collaborator Whitearmor and features Bladee’s signature autotune crooning over a variety of psychedelic and playful beats. What’s really exciting about this album is the introduction of drill production, an area that Bladee has just begun to explore. While Bladee’s lyrics are simple, his exploration of spirituality and Taoism is deepened in this project. This is one of Bladee’s best solo projects in years, and can be enjoyed by both newer listeners and the ones that have been there since 2013.

Grant Thompson

The album I’ve been listening to on repeat this fall has been Melophobia by Cage the Elephant. I really enjoy the album as a whole and have found that the juxtaposition of the more abrasive songs like Spiderhead and Teeth to the softer songs like Cigarette Daydreams and Telescope encapsulates my current college experience and the roller coaster the first few months have been. I also feel that this juxtaposition reflects how fall makes me feel. Going from aggressive windy and cold weather days to cooler, more mellow and colorful days ties in to the overall mood of the album and is a great reflection of how fall has made me feel recently.

Isabella Garcia

The Sugarcube’s 1989 album Regina has always been in my headphones, but especially this fall. Bjork and Einar Orn’s emotive, unpredictable, and sometimes ominous vocals wake you up on the dreariest fall days. The band’s animated sound will throw around the thoughts in your head and make you feel like a tiger is about to rip out of the music and jump at you.

Jack Madison

The ghostly voice of Nick Drake tends to reenter my life when the leaves turn from soft to crunchy. His gentle call reminds me of the wooden noise you hear when you tap on an acoustic guitar. His final album, Pink Moon, is almost entirely him and his finger picked guitar filled with delightful autumn colored ivy growing on it. This album is a home base for anyone that needs to be grounded in a time of changing colors and weather, anyone who needs to Indulge with an eternally beautiful soul.

Matan Fields

John Vincent III – Songs from the Valley. This is the perfect electric folk album for you to listen to as fall turns to winter. To me, I am reminded of home – as though I’m sitting next to a warm fire or driving down curving country roads in Western Massachusetts. I don’t have a car and it hasn’t quite snowed yet, but this album makes the cold feel a little warmer.

Liv Normandeau

I’ve been listening to Pinback’s 1999 self titled album this fall.This album has a perfect autumn moody sound while still being unpredictably fun. I’ve been on a big nineties kick recently and this has bits of everything I love. It’s a great album to listen in the late afternoon or twilight when walking around, comfortingly nostalgic. My favorite songs are Crutch, Shag, and Tripoli.

Categories
Local Shows: Previews & Reviews

Black Midi Commit (sonic) Arson in Denver

My head is a flaming 1998 computer with fans whirring and every time I hear a noise I want to catch those jagged soundwaves and catapult them away to Andromeda. I just got back from the doctor, and I did get a concussion after colliding heads with somebody at the Black Midi concert. This is not me looking for sympathy, but my concussion – as well as the destruction of my friend’s seemingly indestructible Doc Martens – just goes to show what a septic tank the pit at the Black Midi show was. 

Black Midi is a chaotic band of many pretentious dashed genres: brutal-prog, jazz-rock, post-punk. My dad would probably call them ‘weird for the sake of being weird,’ and I would’ve agreed a year ago. Over time their arsonist approach to music warmed up to me with its redeeming qualities in mastery of tension and release. I arrive at the concert to see a fandango of “I Love Black Midi” or “Jesus Loves Black Midi” shirts. The most notable conversation I hear around me is also an alarming one: “I’ve heard Black Midi’s shows are louder than a My Bloody Valentine set.” As the lights dim, a WWE commentator’s voice hollers an introduction of the “world’s hardest working band,” hyping up the roaring crowd for the “super colossal heavyweight champion of the world: Black Helllllllfire Midiiiii.” The Verve’s “Bitter Sweet Symphony” starts playing and vocalist Geordie Greep runs out to that cinematic string arrangement in a boxing robe. The crowd goes nuts at the sight of this mischievous looking Englishman. Cameron Picton has a pair of shades on that shield his deadpanned face and a brain that would set music theory books to 451º Fahrenheit. He picks up his bass and the distorted notes overpower The Verve’s prerecorded opener. Geordie Greep grabs his guitar; the end of its strings hang off the headpost like a geriatric cat’s whiskers. The band begins their set and opens with a face-melting “953” at an unholy level of the decibel scale.

I look into the crowd from the photographer’s pit to see about ten or so people clinging to the barricade for dear life. Behind them is a sight I must point to Dante’s fifth level of hell to describe: The Divine Comedy author describes the river Styx as filled with people “in that lagoon… they smote each other not alone with hands, but with the head and with the breast and feet, tearing each other piecemeal with their teeth.” Maybe this is a dramatic analogy, but the pit was true chaos. During “Welcome to Hell,” I joined the pit to find that this was an obscure type of mosh. Because of the ‘stop and go’ nature of many Black Midi songs, members of the audience are given time to stabilize and stop to pant like dogs during the calm moments of many songs. I often see faces of friends during these 5-second pauses, but as soon as the mayhem begins again they are swept away into the storm of band shirts. 

Painting violent impressions into the crowd like an evil Jackson Pollack, Greep stands villainous and postured in his buttoned shirt above the chaos. The WWE commentator’s voice returns at the beginning of  “Sugar/Tzu,” a song that tells the story of a fight between “Sun Sugar, a simple man, cut from coarse cloth and Sun Tzu, seeking strength from a snakeskin broth.” The fight takes place on the impossible date of “February 31st 2163.” Greep’s storytelling is gilded in an eerie elegance, bolstered by drummer Morgan Simpson’s manic jazz tempo changes. Fans yell out every word to “John L,” the tale of a cult leader being torn to gory pieces by his subjects. The brain-rattling instrumentals and jargon are what I imagine the folks that took Woodstock’s infamous “brown acid” would have heard at a King Crimson show. 

Geordie Greep on vocals and guitar

Cameron Picton trades his bass for a six-string guitar and steps up to the mic to perform his own Black Midi songs. Fans belt out every word to “Eat Men Eat” along with him. This is the story of two miners (most likely in love) escaping the wrath of their blood-drinking cannibal of a captain. Picton wails the words of the captain like he is possessed.

“You f*****g f*****s ain’t seen the last of me yet

I’ll have the last laugh, you c****, soon you’ll see

Each day you wake, and each night you sleep

I’ll be camped in your chests, burning! Burning!”

Greep looks at his drummer impressed, he flashes a grin and raises his eyebrows as if breaking the fourth wall. By the end of the show, the pit is festering with stench, human and otherwise. A whiplashed crowd bangs around to “Slow,” and the sweaty stew of fans throws their bodies and elbows with what energy they have left. People that were just at war with each other in the pit tenderly introduce themselves to each other as they babble about how wild the concert was. 

After the show, I sent a cool teacher of mine a Black Midi song, I was curious if he would call it progressive-rock or not. To copy and paste part of a diplomatic response from the true prog-rock connoisseur, he muses that “Prog wants to draw you into a dreamscape of expanding ideas, but this feels more like a temper tantrum.” I’d agree, Black Midi is the corrupted child of a Yes and Genesis soundtracked Middle-earth, a corrupted child with an urge to commit arson and steal some magic sword from the Shire. As I write this article two weeks later and am still concussed, I can fondly recall that the concert was less a dreamscape and more like a self-aware nightmare in which you bear witness to some talented musicians spilling cathartic oil onto the flaming nooks and crannies of their mind. 

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