Arts

Photo: Mutual Benefit via Youtube.

Now that fall is finally upon us, get cozy with these kickass indie albums!

Whitney – Light Upon the Lake

Whitney’s inaugural album is not only one of the strongest alternative folk and country albums released this year, it’s arguably one of the best debut releases from any band in recent memory. Channeling 1970s-era folk and blues rock influences, Whitney creates some of the most imaginative and compelling folk music in years.

Thanks to a collection of band members from the now defunct indie rock outfit Smith Westerns and the synth rock group Unknown Mortal Orchestra, this debut effort will undoubtedly serve as a soundtrack to many autumn campfires and late night drives for years to come.

Standout Tracks: “No Woman,”“Polly,” and “Golden Days”

The Head and the Heart – Signs of Light

The title of The Head and the Heart’s third record  is unapologetically literal. While the band’s popularity largely stems from dreary, wintery ballads like “Rivers and Roads” or “Lost in My Mind,” The Head and the Heart appears to pursue a more upbeat musical direction this time around.

The first half of Signs of Life sees the band channeling their inner indie rock: “All We Ever Knew” features electric guitar on the hooks, “City of Angels” has a heavy base guitar line chugging along in the foreground of the track, and “False Alarm” is a pop ballad of sorts.

Thankfully, The Head and the Heart doesn’t leave their existing fans in the dark on Signs of Life.  The latter half of the record slows down and sees the band return to the tried and tested downbeat song writing formula they’ve become famous for.

Standout Tracks: -“All We Ever Knew,” “False Alarm,”and “I Don’t Mind”

Wilco – Schmilco

Whether they’re experimenting with genres or releasing albums titles that parody their own name,  Wilco’s long and successful career is justified time and time again through their relatable songwriting prowess.

Schmilco is best described as a return to form for the dad-rock group. The album is chalked full of strong folk and country ballads, each track equally as moving and interesting as the next. Schmilco doesn’t entirely leave the band’s modern sound behind, occasionally dabbling with light experimentation and distortion effects on tracks like “Common Sense” and “Locator.”

However, Wilco largely scales back any desire for the overtly loud, and the final product is a cohesive record created by a confident band in their absolute prime.

Standout Tracks: “If I Was Ever A Child,” “Cry All Day,” and “Happiness”

Mutual Benefit – Skip a Sinking Stone

Combining a wide variety of instrumentation and musical influences (even noise rock), Mutual Benefit effortlessly creates some of the best atmospheric folk music of the last decade with their latest entry.

The songs on Skip a Sinking Stone are warm, cozy, and inviting, as well as lyrically poignant. It’s almost like Mutual Benefit is begging you to listen to their album while driving down a long country road or sitting on a front porch late at night in the crisp autumn air.

Standout Tracks: “Not For Nothing,” “Lost Dreamers,” and “Getting Gone”

Kevin Morby – Singing Saw

Kevin Morby is no stranger to the indie folk music scene, and his long career has paid off on his third studio record. Singing Saw is arguably the strongest collection of songs in Morby’s discography. From the slow and melancholy album opener “Cut Me Down” to the anthemic indie rock track ”Dorothy” the album covers all bases.

Morby keeps listeners on their toes with Singing Saw, experimenting with the typical folk formula from song to song. Through sweeping string sections, a wide variety of percussion, or even a dash of saxophone, Morby masterfully assembles powerful yet simple tracks that are punctuated with his low, Southwestern drawl.

Standout Tracks: “Drunk and on a Star,” “Dorothy,” and “Destroyer”