Black Hearted Brother is the latest project from Neil Halstead, who made timeless ethereal guitar-pop classics with both Slowdive and Mojave 3. Stars Are Our Home, Black Hearted Brother’s debut, falls somewhere in between both worlds, blending the woozy heft of Halstead’s earliest days with flashes of the pastoral calm — albeit gilded with space-age synths — that made Mojave 3 so memorable. Given the album’s wide-ranging sonics, we asked them to put together a list of songs from across the musical spectrum that they choose to soundtrack their autumn.
Youth Lagoon, “Montana”
Neil Halstead: I remember I almost choked on my on beard when I first heard this, and woke up in what I can only describe as an autumn stupor.
Mercury Rev, “Holes”
Nick Holton: Deserter’s Songs set the bar so high that it changed everything (as did The Flaming Lips’ Soft Bulletin, which was also produced by Dave Fridmann and followed hot in its heels). It was so focused, imaginative and amazingly put together that it made me almost give up recording. I was so jealous and humbled by it. It’s a good way to enjoy those dark, long evenings. Thankfully, I did recover.
Lee Hazelwood & Nancy Sinatra, “Some Velvet Morning”
Holton: Put the garden to bed, start thinking about pies, pull your loved ones near, light the fire and dig out Lee (not him, but his recordings).
Emeralds, “Does It Look Like I’m Here”
Halstead: Great for an autumn bath with loads of bubbles. You can put leaves in it, too!
The Flaming Lips, “Convinced of the Hex”
Mark Van Hoen: This is as close to Can as you can get, whilst staying the right side of the pastiche line. Flaming Lips have been on a roll for their last few records. Almost flawless .
The xx, “Crystalised”
Van Hoen: My wife’s been playing the xx to death last few weeks — it really gets under your skin. Perfect night music, and the nights are longer in the fall.
James Blake, “Wilhelm Scream”
Van Hoen: Beautiful combination of electronics and Blake’s blue-eyed soul vocals. Rich and emotive.
Wilco & Billy Bragg, “Remember the Mountain Bed”
Holton: One of my favorite songs, which heightens any setting or season you’re in. I think it is set in the autumn, if you listen to the words — and you must listen to the words, as they are so beautiful. Written by Woody Guthrie and set to a tune by Jeff Tweedy.
Oneohtrix Point Never, “Returnal”
Van Hoen: Daniel Lopatin’s only vocal track to date (to my knowledge), but he should do more, because this is great. Oblique poetry from a dystopian future.
Bonnie “Prince” Billy, “Missing One”
Holton: “Missing One” is from Lie Down in the Light, which I think is Will’s best and most complete album. If you are missing anyone, or if you have a heart that beats, you’ll be carried along by this little gem.