I'm not even religious, but when I hear these songs with a proper choir behind them, holy shit, you can just feel how people used to actually care about this holiday once upon a time. It lends it a sense of gravitas and makes this time of year feel like so much more than hokey novelty songs and plastic bullshit.
I've never actually stopped to read the lyrics, and it would seem they are both very dark and hopeful at the same time. It is a story of a starving sparrow getting fed by a small girl in a cold Christmas morning, but apparently the sparrow is actually the girl's dead brother (if I'm reading this right), who has come from heaven to greet her. Not sure if grim, sad, or optimistic.
For me, there is absolutely no album that is more summery than Operation Ivy - Energy. Maybe it's because I am from Florida and lived like 15 mins from the beach my entire childhood, but that album is the essence of driving to the beach with the windows down on a hot summer day. The albums that have always felt the most wintery to me are Sigur Ros - ( ) and Agaetis Byrjun. The bass line in Olsen Olsen particularly feels like snow falling. When I went to Iceland in December a few years back, I was taking the shuttle from the airport to downtown Reykjavik and as we were driving, Olsen Olsen came on shuffle. So one of my first moments in Iceland, driving through the snow on this shuttle bus, was listening to that song.
So far I've liked everything they've done. Their latest album is a bit weaker than the rest but still good. I think it's just lacking in memorable hooks and melodies. Tyler's vocals are great and Tim's synths are catchy as hell. I like the trance influence you can hear it a lot in how Tim produces the songs. Trance is another genre a love so it's a great combination. If they ever come nearby I'm definitely going to see them.
Brand New’s The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me has always been a fall record for me, both sonically and because I got into it in the fall of my junior year of high school. There’s something about the moments of empty cold interspersed with precipitating emotion and pain that play off the instrumentals and just sound like fall to me. Death Cab’s Plans is another fall record, though I got into this one my freshman year of college on long, lonely walks in the autumn twilight.