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Nine new fall albums to listen to

Three records lay on top of several boxes of albums.
Credits: Ivy Chen / The Daily Princetonian

Throughout the fall semester, many students may have searched for music that perfectly captures the feeling of waking up to the crisp, cool air and looking out the window to see warm-colored leaves drifting from the trees. From indie rock to singer-songwriter folk, there has been a plethora of excellent albums released this fall. If you are looking for some new albums to listen to, read on for a roundup of nine albums released between September and November that I’ve been enjoying recently. 

Slow Pulp, “Yard” 

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Wisconsin-born, Chicago-based indie rock band Slow Pulp returns with a lush record that draws on slacker rock, alt-country, and indie pop influences. The result is a dreamily introspective album that tempers emotional potency and themes of dissatisfaction with catchy hooks and mellow instrumentation, occasionally breaking into louder moments of distortion-heavy guitar. Standout tracks include “Doubt,” a bubbly pop song featuring an addictive repeat of the title word, and “Yard,” where vocalist Emily Massey delivers casually painful lyrics about growing up. “Slugs” and “Broadview” epitomize what makes the record so great: both tracks advance at a deliberate pace, with an intimate confidence in their sound and message.

Wilco, “Cousin” 

From Chicago-based alternative rock outlet Wilco comes their 13th studio album “Cousin,” a slightly strange, more experimental take on their eclectic rock sound. “Cousin” plays with tension and dissonance, using layered soundscapes to create an evocative, complex sound. The chaotic opener “Infinite Surprise” features muted vocals over swirling synth and guitar. Standout tracks include “Levee,” a rambling, poignant reflection on a relationship that heavily features minor chords, and “Pittsburgh,” an atmospheric song whose sense of unease is intensified by screeching organs and eerie lyrics about transience. 

Sufjan Stevens, “Javelin” 

Singer-songwriter giant Sufjan Stevens returns with a quietly luminous and moving folk record that questions the nature of love and the temporality of loss. “Javelin” is dedicated to Stevens’s late partner and is filled with raw, quietly devastating songwriting. With immediately classic tracks like “Will Anybody Ever Love Me?”, the album is dazzling, gentle, and seemingly timeless. The acoustic instrumentation often expands into moving, sweeping arrangements, like on the album opener “Goodbye Evergreen.” This is Stevens at his very best — pairing hushed, intimate vocals with intricate lyrics steeped in detail. Ultimately, empathy and hope are able to break through. 

boygenius, “The Rest” 

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In March, supergroup boygenius — composed of Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus, and Julien Baker — released its full-length debut album “The Record,” catapulting itself to the forefront of indie rock. Six months later, “The Rest” serves as a bookend extended play (EP) — one that holds plenty of new value. The tracks bear all the hallmarks of what makes the trio great: beautiful harmonies, complex lyricism, reflections on love and friendship. The folksy Dacus-led track “Afraid of Heights” features naked vulnerability that becomes revelatory as their voices cascade together, while the propulsive Baker-led “Powers” crescendos with space imagery. The microscopic details pair well with the minimalistic style of the EP, coming together for moments of startling clarity: “I used to believe no one could love you like I do,” Bridgers confesses on “Voyager,” laid over a sparse guitar melody. 

Drop Nineteens, “Hard Light” 

The 1992 release “Delaware” cemented Drop Nineteens’ place among the iconic shoegaze albums of the era. The band began as a group of Boston University college students who reached notable heights and recognition but ultimately split in 1995. Thirty years later, Drop Nineteens has returned with “Hard Light,” an album that retains the compelling, confessional nature of “Delaware,” but moves away from the youthful noise of the original record to create a sonically and thematically mature album that looks back without regret. The title track opens with sparse chords that develop into a layered, hazy reverie, with carefully crafted guitar and bass lines. As a whole, the record is a fresh, compelling take on shoegaze. 

Del Water Gap, “I Miss You Already and I Haven’t Left Yet”

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Del Water Gap, the solo project of singer-songwriter Samuel Holden Jaffe, leans into energetic indie pop for the sophomore album. In his signature style, Jaffe layers longing, sorrowful lyrics with hypnotic, upbeat melodies, casting a romantic, dreamy light over the record. The album is often melancholic but rarely downcast: the opener “All We Ever Do Is Talk” is a sparkling, fast-paced retrospective on love and desire, “Losing You” is indelibly catchy pop, while “NFU” leans toward anthemic indie rock in the wake of a breakup. Jaffe also ruminates on mental health, recounting at one point how a lover tells him, “I think your music got worse / since you went fully sober.” The record packages simultaneous heartbreak and romanticism into pleasurable indie pop. 

Hotline TNT, “Cartwheel”

Rock band Hotline TNT pulls from punk, shoegaze, and power pop for a noisy, fun record. “Cartwheel” is a loud, propulsive rock album, full of pulsing expression: blown-out guitars crash into one another over energetic drums while songwriter and vocalist Will Anderson sings introspective lyrics that are alternately disillusioned and sincere. At the center of the noise and chunky distortion is an ultimately warm record that isn’t afraid to be heady and romantic in its reflections. Tracks like “I Thought You’d Change” and “History Channel” feature infectious fuzzy guitar riffs that add to the album’s dynamic, energetic nature. 

Cherry Glazerr, “I Don’t Want You Anymore” 

The latest from LA-based Cherry Glazerr is an addictive, sugary album unafraid to push its sound to extremes. Guitarist and lead vocalist Clementine Creevy has plenty of fun, reaching for inspiration from grungy garage rock and sparkling electro pop and adding a wild, freedom-filled edge. “I Don’t Want You Anymore” feels completely fresh; the tracks are exploratory, unburdened by expectation or strict genre. “Soft Like a Flower” is a little sultry, a little emo; “Wild Times” is a sweet, danceable standout with an unbelievably catchy hook; and “Eat You Like a Pill” and “Ready For You” rock out with sly lyrics, fuzzy guitar, and hurtling vocals. 

Slowdive, “everything is alive”

From an iconic UK shoegaze band comes an ephemeral new album. Slowdive’s “everything is alive” is a little more delicate and wispier than the band’s previous work, but it retains a glittering, atmospheric sound. The record feels cohesive and mature, utilizing dreamy reverb and near-unintelligible lyrics beautifully. Standout tracks include “prayer remembered,” a haunting, cinematic instrumental that swells to a gorgeous climax, and “alife,” featuring lush vocals set against an up-tempo beat for a surreal, evocative effect. 

Ivy Chen is a first-year and a contributing writer for The Prospect from Naperville, Illinois. She can be reached at ivychen@princeton.edu.

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