October 26, 2011

nothing gold can stay :: the Fuel/Friends Autumn Mix 2011

October means we’re happily knee-deep in baseball, surrounded by seasonal pumpkin ales, and, regrettably, wrist-deep in the slimy insides of jack-o-lanterns. Music has been my quiet oasis. I figure it’s high time I stop futzing over my autumn mix and share it already.

The fall mix is one of my favorites to make. In addition to being generally hyperaware of everything around me in life, especially subtexts and undercurrents, I notice an acute sharpening of my senses every time the seasons change. It’s why I make you guys these seasonal mixes: as everything in the natural world around me transforms, I have this nerdy compulsion to soundtrack it, to sharpen that moment. Autumn for me often hits like a jetstream of melancholy, and I’ve found after listening to this mix a few times through that (coincidentally) many of these songs have themes of: bones, rivers, empty beds, and gospel backing vocals. Make of that what you will.

Suddenly the hedonistic humidity and verdant ease of summer is replaced, seemingly overnight, by a chill in the air that makes you take in a sharp and marvelous breath. Sweaters come out of the back of the closet and it becomes much harder to get out from underneath the down comforter in the morning. These are the songs for that.

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

-Robert Frost, Yale Review, Oct 1923


The Wind – Cat Stevens
This is probably and very possibly the most perfect song ever written, coming in at under two minutes and sounding just exactly like twirling orange leaves drifting to the ground.

Do You Remember – Ane Brun
I picked this big song here because it boldly sounds to me the way that autumn looks - all vibrant and audacious, thumping right into your lush summer and startling it with crackly fiery colors. It sings of us finding the first position (ballet reference, i think) and every muscle resting, but also knowing it was the last time. You also must watch the video.
[thanks Dianna]

Sorrow – Tyler Lyle

After posting the title track last month, “The Golden Age and The Silver Girl,” I cannot stop listening to this whole album. Seriously, you guys — it’s one of my favorite discoveries of the year. Tyler’s timbre and vulnerability in his voice when he climbs an octave at 2:45, over that longing banjo and strings, keeps killing me every time. If I could run away, I’d run away, drag you back to my bed / It’s the sweetest memories that hurt the worst in the end…

Always Gold – Radical Face
This is my favorite new song on this mix, and it speaks directly to the title of the mix/poem also. From the latest Radical Face album ‘The Family Tree: The Roots’, I love the way that Ben Cooper can weave stunning melody and woolly atmosphere together so effortlessly, with the warm shuffly handclaps and choirs of humming.

California – Iron & Wine
Sam Beam is the epitome of autumnal music, isn’t he? Along with Elliott Smith and Bob Dylan, he’s a seasonal prerequisite for me. This early demo somehow references both California and the Springsteen riff from “Glory Days,” in warm, slow tones. Never thought I’d see that pairing in a Sam Beam song, but I love it.

Kitchen – Vinyl Skyway
This song feels warmly burnished to me, and when those harmonies burst in all “oooooh”ing, it reminds me of Colorado Octobers, shot through with seriously gorgeous sunlight. Very Teenage-Fanclubby and golden nostalgic.

River Song One – Wooden Sky
I keep cueing this one up on repeat and just letting it play. No seriously, like fifteen times in a row. It’s a bittersweet slowburner of a song, from The Wooden Sky, out of Toronto. Thanks, Adam (who also has an ace fall mix).

Dark Turn Of Mind – Gillian Welch
The new album from Gillian is on constant repeat for me this season; it is amazing, as is she. I like the way this song wrestles with the shadows that unkind love can leave on our psyche (“I see the bones in the river”), but also the gentle embracing of those dark currents and how the nighttime is so lovely, and how the nightbirds sing so sweet. Haunting song.

When You Are Still (live on WNRN) – David Wax Museum
With this song that celebrates that welcome stillness that I rest in this time of year, the flawless harmonies of David Wax & Suz Slezak get their third consecutive seasonal appearance on my mixes this year, from spring to summer to now. This means I am listening to their album a heck of a lot, and also that there’s a variety on there that strikes me in just the right ways (reference: The Head and The Heart, the only other band I can remember featuring three seasons in a row). I chose this live version of the song since the album version doesn’t have Suz’s superb harmonies (that I like to sing along with).

The Ground We Stand On – Hawksley Workman
This is the third song that coincidentally ended up on this mix that speaks of climbing back in bed / too much space in my bed / too much now that’s vacant. Hmmm. First off: stop it, Autumn. Lay off. Secondly: perhaps it’s the awareness that happens as the temperatures start to drop — you want to spend more time huddled under the covers, but maybe you also realize with a sharp stab that you don’t necessarily want to do it alone. Hawksley’s Canadian. He gets it.

Years/Cleo’s Song – JBM
JBM is another artist that is just completely quintessentially an artist for the autumn time. Close your eyes and listen to this and tell me that all you can see is yellow aspen groves.

Open Air – Lemolo
These two ladies are from the Pacific Northwest and have known each other since they were kids, naming their band after a street in their childhood neighborhood. They completely blew everyone away in their sweaty yoga studio set at Doe Bay Fest this year (I’ve watched this video too many times). [Sidenote: in addition to being incredibly musically intuitive, drummer Kendra also made the raddest slip-and-slide accomplice that I've ever met. We rocked it at that fest, and had the brutal bruises to prove it.]

Ohio (Damien Jurado) – Strand of Oaks
Somehow Tim Showalter (Strand of Oaks) takes what is already a devastating song and makes it almost moreso, from that resigned opening sigh. I just found out that my paternal great-grandfather worked in the steel industry in Zanesville, Ohio (I’m totes claiming this song now), but we can all relate the the feeling of searching for a home, and wanting to come home. Been a long time.

Hope You Know – Megafaun
I still think this band would have the perfect name if they were very, very metal, but as you can hear here, they are not. But rad nonetheless, this track is from their new album on HomeTapes Records. The heavy, clear evocative resonance of piano also plays strongly throughout my fall mix this year.

At The Bird’s Foot – City and Colour
From the cowboy-sounding-but-actually-Canadian Dallas Green (City and Colour), this mysterious and gospelly song is about the burning fires of oil spills. I saw Dallas perform under gorgeous skies at Sasquatch this year, and I think his music sounds better with woodsmoke and October in the air.

Golden Days (acoustic) – The Damnwells
Me never featuring this on an autumn mix before is a grotesque, abhorrent oversight. God, I love this song, and this version somehow even improves on the original. It makes me long for things that haven’t even happened yet.

Into The River – Portage
More river imagery, more gospel voices rising strong. I think I need to go spend some time in a cabin (or a tent) by a powerful river again, before stuff starts freezing. Proclivities in my listening habits are trying to tell me something.

Northbound 35 – Jeffrey Foucault
Another song that should have been on every fall mix ever made since long ago. I am not sure if I’ve ever raved adequately about how much I love this song. Some days I will leave it on repeat and just sing along and feel that deep lingering sadness. This song seeps and burns. There are two lines that will always, always get me, no matter how many times I listen: “And we fought all night and we danced in your kitchen, you were as much in my hands as water or darkness or nothing could ever be held,” and “what’s beautiful is broken / and grace is just the measure of a fall.”

Things I Never Needed (acoustic) – Grace Potter & The Nocturnals
This is a song about brutal realization of our shortcomings and a shedding of the things that we’d be better without. As such, it is a perfect soundtrack to this season and also works well for masochistic late nights. [video]

Hear The Noise That Moves So Soft and Low – James Vincent McMorrow
McMorrow gives me chills like Jeff Buckley and Bon Iver and Patrick Watson and other men who sing falsetto but are yet are fine specimens of men. His whole album is gorgeous and haunting.

I’m Losing Myself (featuring Ed Droste) – Robin Pecknold
The voices of Fleet Foxes and Grizzly Bear team up for a woodland autumnal spectacular. Lonely, darkly introspective, and self-damaging, this song is. “All alone at the end of the day I am just like the gathering fog.”

A Minor Place (Bonnie “Prince” Billy) – Fanfarlo
Fanfarlo takes a kicker of a song from Bonnie “Prince” Billy (oh wait, they’re all kickers from him) and make it their own during their iTunes Session. They’ve got a new album coming out too, and I am excited since I loved their debut thoroughly.

Lightning Rod – Drew Grow
I once heard Drew call “Friendly Fire” the saddest song he’s ever written, but I think this could be a runner-up. It’s a brave song. From last winter’s Comfort Feel EP.

The Loneliest Place I’ve Ever Been (Is In Your Arms) – Damien Jurado
The most wonderful thing about Damien is that I think he just pens songs this marvelous by the dozen and posts them on soundcloud, like a terrific overstock sale of heartbreak. I’ve been thinking of this song a lot lately, the bald-faced way he nudges “don’t you know / it’s time that we let go.” Yes. It is.

Graveyard – Feist
This is the track I’m stuck on the most on the terrific new Feist album, unable to get enough of the choir that swells all around in the later half of the song, “Whoa-ohh, bring it all back to life.” As it pertains to our seasonal wanderlusts, it’s just a reminder that after everything green dies, there’s gonna be the quiet icy silence, but someday all will be brought back to life.


PS: Last year’s autumn mix is also still available.

To stream this year’s mix on 8tracks (for android users and other streamers), click here.

[cover image is of the tree outside my house, a gorgeous combination of red and gold / many many thanks again to Ryan Hollingsworth for the great graphic cover design!]


  • Stay Gold PonyBoy, Stay Gold!

    Thanks for the mix. Cant wait to get a good listen. I’m just throwing this out there, if you are on twitter and want to look me up, @CreativeFTP, i have quite a few mixes on there. Not of them are chill music, some more indie rock but you never know. This set is labeled as Sunrays + Lightscapes, I just posted three today of you would like to grab them. A small thank you if you will! Have a great day! :)

    @CreativeFTP — October 26, 2011 @ 2:36 pm

  • Great mix as usual Heather, loving it so far, have gotten to California by Iron & Wine, the riff reminds me a bit of a slowed down Glory Days by Bruce if thats what youre thinking!!

    Steve Murts — October 26, 2011 @ 2:40 pm

  • I have close connections to three of these songs – is that a record. Strand of Oaks and David Wax both played these respective songs in my living room. Plus, the Grace Potter thing.

    Thanks for the great mix.

    Billsville House — October 26, 2011 @ 2:43 pm

  • steve, that’s totally it! (and – duh)
    editing now, thanks.

    browneheather — October 26, 2011 @ 3:03 pm

  • Great mix – I was especially pleased that the first track was “The Wind” and that you nailed the reasoning for it. Very nice. :)

    Larissa — October 26, 2011 @ 4:53 pm

  • Hey Heather,

    thanks for this mix, another stellar one for sure. I’ve been reading your blog and discovering great new bands here for so long and I jus trealized that I don’t think ever took the time to say thanks before.


    Simon — October 26, 2011 @ 4:56 pm

  • Love your mix, Heather – as always! Hey Rosetta’s Yer Fall would have worked beautifully here as well, it’s actually my favourite track off Seeds http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1xegyTordE.

    Cindie — October 26, 2011 @ 5:14 pm

  • Get your dance party on with NERVO’s new video for http://shar.es/bdBIl

    geoffrey — October 26, 2011 @ 7:35 pm

  • One of my favorite mixes ever. Thank you so much. I love autumn, and I love this.

    Ben — October 26, 2011 @ 7:58 pm

  • The timing on this couldn’t be better – I’m about to get on a very long plane ride. And I am SO EXCITED – but also a tad bit sad to know that when I return, it will no longer be autumn here. Winter will have come to Montana, with a vengeance.

    So I’ll put this on my iPod and think of autumn and tromping through leaves and jackets (not coats, yet) and revel a bit in fall while I fly over the Atlantic. Thanks for that.

    Emily — October 26, 2011 @ 8:04 pm

  • Nailed it. This feels like autumn in all the best and worst ways.

    Mallory — October 26, 2011 @ 8:20 pm

  • God I love that it’s fall and we get another amazing mix from you. Thank you!

    Carter — October 26, 2011 @ 8:26 pm

  • Thanks for the seasonal mix, as always. This is the beginning of Spring in the South Hemisphere, so it’s a curious exercise to listen to this great “chill mood” compilation while the temperature keeps getting higher and higher.

    Andre — October 27, 2011 @ 5:35 am

  • Mmmm, wonderful choice. Regards from Prague, the one in the Czech republic

    Petr — October 27, 2011 @ 6:18 am

  • thank you! love love love it! i was looking forward to this mix

    kenzie — October 27, 2011 @ 9:06 am

  • Thank you so much for your wonderful blog. I’ve been coming here on a daily basis for over a year now-I still listen to the last fall mix you made pretty consistently. Your mixes always make me slow down and reflect on the parts of my life that shimmer when I hold them to the light. When I think about the lasting impact that your collection of music has had on me over the course of the year, it makes me feel more substantial, more complete somehow. Listening to this mix and thinking about the effort you put into it no longer makes me feel like “we alone fly past all things, as fugitive as the wind.”

    Thanks a lot.

    meg — October 27, 2011 @ 6:03 pm

  • Great Blog, Thanks for the Mix – I’ll be spending the weekend digesting it!

    Chris — October 28, 2011 @ 2:26 am

  • Another perfect mix! Thanks for slipping some old Damnwells in there too. Golden Days is usually one of my summer classics, but it’s perfect for a sunny London autumn too.

    Vicky — October 29, 2011 @ 9:42 am

  • Awesomes tracks!Heart the Feist song.

    Pop Blimp — October 30, 2011 @ 5:13 am

  • [...] buddy Heather over at Fuel/Friends unleashed her autumn mix, Nothing Gold Can Stay, this last week. It is, quite obviously, pretty [...]

    Monday Links | songsfortheday — October 31, 2011 @ 7:05 am

  • I fell so much in love with last year’s mix and this year I didn’t listen to it straight away for lots of inexcusable and stupid reasons. Yet even though it’s late, right now is just the most perfect moment for listening to this mix for the first time, just when I’m feeling a little scared and a bit sad and somewhat lost. Some of the songs are humbling that part of me that keeps whining and complaining by their sheer beauty, while others are like balm on my tangled nerves and force me to breathe slower. It’s a very powerful mixture. Thank you so much and thank you for always making my heart skip with excitement when you post something new.

    Antje — October 31, 2011 @ 12:19 pm

  • The beauty of this mix is apparently also clouding my mind, since I forgot to say the most important thing: as wonderful as these songs are by themselves, and as evocative as you have made them by linking them up together with the autumn theme, what makes it all so important to me is the way you write about them. I cannot express how much I admire and love the way you write about music. Your words can make the songs not only visual, but gain smell, taste and touch as well. It’s a wonderful gift.

    That’s it. No more gushing. Just wanted you to know how much I appreciate your blog. :)

    Antje — October 31, 2011 @ 12:55 pm

  • Lucked out and had along drive home. Saved this for the ride. Wow, Heather’s done it again. Every mix lives in my mp3 player never to be deleted. But this one, this one you have outdone yourself. A heartfelt thanks. The Grace Potter track brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for reminding us how powerful music can be at just the right moment.

    Dave — October 31, 2011 @ 9:47 pm

  • Best mix yet. I absolutely love you and everything that you do for the wonderful music that is out there, to be discovered

    PS. I live not too far from Zanesville, Oh. Which I never really thought was cool…until now.

    Shaun Reed — November 1, 2011 @ 10:53 pm

  • [...] fall mix from fuel/friends. Especially diggin’ the Portage [...]

    Fall Mix | "Long/ Live/ the..." an interweblog by Marc Hummel {Philadelphia, PA} — November 2, 2011 @ 4:45 am

  • i love you and what you choose which enhances my life exponentially with aural bliss. this is the best mix yet.

    ali — November 3, 2011 @ 11:06 pm

  • Wow! I didn’t think it would be possible for you to top last year’s mix, but this might just do it. Thanks for yet another lovely mix! :)

    Jon Martin — November 4, 2011 @ 10:04 pm

  • [...] Settle into Blue Nights to read for an hour or two, while listening to the new Fuel Friends Autumn mix.  Every day would be perfect if there was always a new Joan Didion book and Fuel Friends [...]

    A Good Evening Ahead… | required writing — November 6, 2011 @ 4:17 pm

  • Wow – great mix, amazing picks – thank you!

    debra — November 16, 2011 @ 6:40 pm

  • Thanks for the mix, if Australia ever turns up on your list of travel destinations let us know!

    BondiBen — November 17, 2011 @ 12:38 pm

  • [...] to: The Fuel/Friends Autumn Mix 2011: Nothing Gold Can Stay.  It’s free and you should download it. And read this blog, if only to get really great [...]

    {Q} questions + answers, for a monday morning. « sara, darling. — November 21, 2011 @ 7:16 pm

  • [...] Girl” over on I Am Fuel, We Are Friends (my favorite blog!) as part of  the  “Nothing Gold Can Stay: Autumn Mix“, if you dug the Heycoolkid! Hooded Sweatshirt playlist you will absolutely love what [...]

    Just One Dream We’re Living In « Heycoolkid! — November 22, 2011 @ 3:42 am

  • [...] Girl” over on I Am Fuel, We Are Friends (my favorite blog!) as part of  the  “Nothing Gold Can Stay: Autumn Mix“, if you dug the Heycoolkid! Hooded Sweatshirt playlist you will absolutely love what [...]

    Just One Dream We’re Living In « Heycoolkid! — November 22, 2011 @ 3:42 am

  • I really like and appreciate your article post.

    Nathanael Simkins — January 9, 2012 @ 8:54 pm

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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