We ambled over to the beach to learn the truth: The sun sets at 4:15 pm. The three of us stood in the sand and watched the thick fog unfurl over the ocean, the departing sun leaving lavender and grey smudges over the cliffs. When it was over, it was maybe 5:00 pm, voluptuously dark and cold. Lights twinkled in the trees on the drive home. The idea of dinner bounced around in our brains.
At 5:00. 5:00! I know I’m an adult person who shouldn’t act surprised about seasons, but after three months in sweaty, sunshiney climates, this it-looks-like-it’s-midnight-before-I’m-even-finished-working routine is a gloomy shock. Welcome back to the US! Here’s some seasonal depression.
I spent last December listening to “Young and Cold” by The Raveonettes on repeat and only wanted to listen to similarly evocative, cold weather songs. But I need some bounce and verve this year, the mixtape equivalent of a light therapy lamp. “Lightning” by Air Waves is slow burning pure joy, unexpectedly dance-worthy after a gentle start. “I Can Hardly Make You Mine” starts big and somehow grows more expansive and thrilling with each verse, with it’s steady heart-racing drums, twinkly reverb laced sound, and Madeline Folin’s sweet pleading vocals. Look forward to appearances by “The Mother We Share” by CHVRCHES and most of Haim’s debut album Days Are Gone on all worthwhile New Years Eve playlists.
I know we’ve entered 2013 music catch up season—can we be honest here? Some of the 2012 catch up I’ve done for this month has knocked my 2013 favorites out of rotation. Sorry topical music fans. Vivian Girls spin-offs killed in 2012—-all of Our House On The Hill by The Babies is worth a listen, but “Alligator” is a great start. La Sera’s dreamy “Love That’s Gone” already sounds like a classic, and is maybe the loveliest “Screw you” breakup song ever. On a non-Vivian Girls related note, Tame Impala’s Lonerism has never stopped sounding fresh and delicious. I find new things to love on that album every few months; right now “Elephant” is my walking-through-the-city anthem.
So we’ve got new and not-quite-new covered—how about not remotely new? If it’s cold outside, I’m listening to Astral Weeks. Humming “Sweet Thing” and daydreaming is my favorite variation on wedding planning at the moment (so much better than skimming the overwhelming “buy this!” and “lose weight!” buffet that is wedding blogs). A few months ago, Pavement kept me mostly calm as I sat in a car that nearly careened off the highway in Bangkok. “Range Life” reminds me of the hyper bliss of stumbling out of that experience, alive, intact, relentlessly grateful. (Also the mini 90′s rock history lesson towards the end of the song is pretty great. Read Hey Nietszche! Leave Them Kids Alone if you, like me, have the urge to know too much about The Smashing Pumpkins).