The darkness set in around 7:45 last night – the Fall is relentless in its approach this time of year. Rather than lament the summer now gone, it is time to start thinking about bonfires, pumpkin beer, and flannels (I’m in the Seattle area, after all). The perfect complement to those mandatory Autumnal delights is music that revels in the spirit of the season. Some of my fondest memories involve sitting around a fire, listening to friends play songs by The Smiths, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and whatever other tunes are easy to sing along to. Each Fall brings some variation of this bit of nostalgic story telling, but what can I say? A good time was had by all. Records that evoke those feelings can be hard to come by – if an artist tries too hard, it can sound a little too earnest. Off the cuff recordings bring the opposite problem – it can sound a little ragged. Malleability is the new record from Connecticut based indie artist Dan Florio, and it delivers a strong set of tunes in an Autumnal spirit.
In Washington State the Autumnal rainy season strikes almost immediately, summer becoming a distant memory overnight. The summer just passed becomes a topic approached in waves of nostalgia as kids bury their noses in homework and the big people go about their big people business. Those busy Fall days need a perfect soundtrack, and I usually reach for a Neil Young inspired, folk tinged kind of record. Last year my soundtrack was a mix of Neil Young himself, Honeychurch, Heyward Howkins, and Neil Halstead. This year I’ve been reaching for the debut EP from Dan Florio.
I’ll probably repeat myself many, many times over the course of my reviews when it comes to one topic that puzzles me – the term “hipster”. What does it mean? What does it denote? I’m still not certain, even after reading about how I live in the hipster capital of the United States (Yes, Seattle beats out a few other cities I thought would be ahead of us). Death Cab for Cutie were considered an up and coming indie band up through 2003’s Transatlanticism. This, along with The Postal Service‘s Give Up (Benjamin Gibbard’s side project with Dntel’s Jimmy Tamborello, also released in 2003) appears to have been the peak of anything about Death Cab for Cutie appearing hip. From there, the band adopted mass acceptance which in turn turned the hipsters against them. I’ve liked or loved everything they’ve done though, and I approached the news of a solo Benjamin Gibbard album with curiosity – how would it differ from the band’s albums?