So, another Autumn is here. From the window I see grey skies and hear the persistent tapping of rain. But despite the dim light and the muted atmosphere, it's always been my favourite season. Hot soup, mulled wine, darkening evenings, long scarves, warm radiators with the windows sealed firmly shut - and a suitably warming soundtrack.
It might not be new, but Trouble Books' opus falls from the speakers like swirling orange leaves. Soft-focus and heart-meltingly gentle, The United Colours Of... is a perfect autumnal record, wrapping itself around you like a warm blanket. Comforting, considered, wholesome, sweet, funny and more than a little bit twee, the album embraces elements of folk, post-rock, melodic pop, and even a burst of noise or two, to create something enduring and nigh-on perfect.
Fuck Buttons follow up their breakthrough album Street Horrrsing with Tarot Sport, a seven-track epic produced by Andy Weatherall. The first single 'Surf Solar' seemed to suggest a heavier techno-influenced direction, but thankfully Tarot Sport is rich and varied, flitting between airy, psychedelic repetitions and shattering rhythms, staccato melodies and tectonic planes of distortion. The heightened production values add a gloss to the sound, but this is a Fuck Buttons record through and through - optimistic, wide-eyed, emotionally generous and sonically powerful. If you want to pre-order it, you can do so over at Norman Records now.
Portland's Peter Broderick was a quiet revelation at Green Man Festival this year. He takes the familiar solo-loop-pedal-guy format and does something genuinely interesting with it, flicking with ease between instruments to create beguiling, haunted, gradually unfurling songs. Home is an extremely pleasant listen; thoughtful and gently engaging throughout.
Town And Country, for such a long running project, are a pretty obscure band. Then only mention on eMusic is for a more recent band of the same name, with some comments from disgruntled fans. A little further research shows that they have disbanded and now operate under the monicker DRMWPN. But Town And Country's output was phenomenal, nonetheless. I first found them supporting Godspeed You Black Emperor on the F#A#(infinity) tour: a hushed little bubble of rapt admirers watched in a sold-out room teeming with chattering, drunk Mancunians. Town And Country played on, sharing conspiratorial smiles with the attentive few. Their purposeful instrumentals slowly unfolded, melding together traditional folk ensemble instrumentation with elements of upbeat post-rock and earthy jazz. It All Has To Do With It was duly bought from the merch stand, and at this time of the year it sounds better than ever.