The November survival guide

So now it’s November, and we’re all suffering from that post-Halloween letdown that settles in with the cold weather and even more rain than you thought was possible. November is just one of those months you have to drag yourself through. You’re kind of near the end of the semester sort of – but not really. And you’re creeping up on the December holidays, but you still have a lot of time before you can really do anything holiday-oriented (and I’m sorry, but it is still too early for Christmas music… I’ll talk to you after Thanksgiving).

So how are you supposed to survive? What is one to do in this dreary, rainy, dragging month?

Well, here’s how I’ll be surviving.

1. Watching constant replays of Foster the People’s newest video.

Mark Foster and Co. get crazy in the backseat in the new video for "Call It What You Want"

Yes, just released November 2, Foster the People have a new clip out for “Call It What You Want.” It’s the next single from their debut album Torches (which you should get if you haven’t already) and will probably end up being the soundtrack to your winter – much like “Pumped Up Kicks” was the soundtrack to your summer (no point in denying it now). However, the video doesn’t deserve constant replays just because it features the more-than-slightly-attractive Mark Foster and crew but because the video itself is, quite literally, insane.
No other word describes it. Bacon and other assorted breakfast foods sing. Girls bleed blue. There are subtitles! Is there a plot? Not that I can decipher! Does it need a plot? Nope! Wall crumble. More girls sit around in black. And there’s also this whole thing with hiding under a blanket surrounded by lamps.
If you’re not intrigued, well, I don’t know what to do with you. And you will not be surviving the month of November. This video is crucial.

2. Getting free music everyday from Brassland.
So Brassland is turning 10 years old this month. Don’t know what Brassland is? Don’t worry; I’m obviously going to tell you in the next 20 words. Brassland is an independent record label that operates out of New York City. However, it’s not just any indie-pendent label; it’s the label that the Dessner brothers from the Nationalrun. Aaron and Bryce Dessner, along with their friend Alec Hanley Bernis, have decided to give away free music from their label – a song a day – everyday this month to celebrate the anniversary.

The National's Dessner brothers, in a still taken from "Conversation 16"

Most of these songs are considered rare or are completely unreleased, and the website claims that you won’t be able to find these recordings anywhere else – so get them while you can! Today (Thursday, November 3), a previously unreleased demo from the National will be offered on the website – and how can you say no to the National (they’re seriously my favorite)? If you’ve never listened to the National, just take a gander over here, and then go to Brassland and download the song.
Then rinse and repeat everyday until we hit December!

3. Obnoxiously singing along to Hurts’ album Happiness.
Okay, I admit it: I’m a little late to the party here. This album actually came out in 2010, but a rereleased deluxe edition came out on Halloween in the U.K. Hurts has been all up and down the charts in the U.K. while quietly simmering on our side of the ocean. This is a trend that keeps happening, and it just needs to stop. We’re just going to take all of the British music and dump it here.
Anyway, that’s kind of beside the point I’m trying to make.
Happiness is going to be my happy music for November. It reminds me of Scissor Sisters but also of Depeche Mode, and I’m not sure how to explain why it works so well. All you need to do is listen to Theo Hutchcraft’s voice for maybe three seconds, and you’ll get it, too. Honestly, the songs should probably be depressing, but they’re so jittery and jingly that you can’t help but dance along.

Theo Hutchcraft of Hurts in the video for the insanely catchy "Stay"

The songs here also really, really lend themselves to sing-alongs. I mean, I’m sitting here typing this right now, and my roommate is trying to sleep, and it is just taking all of my being to not belt “Stay” while it’s playing at the moment.
Also, you may as well click the link to the video – if you’re going to click any link here, let this be the one. Theo Hutchcraft stares at you multiple times, and you will enjoy it.
You will.
(Watch this one, too.)

4. Digging in to PBS’s Austin City Limits.
You think I’m kidding right now. I can tell. But I actually came across this on accident, and now I’m intrigued, and I believe that concerts are going to be a great way to kill November. PBS has a program called Austin City Limits, and it’s essentially an hour-long concert series.
The thing is, though, is they have great performers, and they have great performers pretty consistently! The National, Band of Horses, Mumford and Sons, Flogging Molly, Widespread Panic – the list goes on and on. Fifty-four (more or less) glorious minutes of concert, and because it’s PBS, there are no commercials throughout or anything. You can watch it on your TV when it airs or online whenever convenient for you at the link above.
You have all kinds of options, so make yourself as comfortable as possible and settle in. The next time you wake up and see it’s a gray, rainy day in Kent, Ohio, (probably tomorrow), just stay curled up in a blanket, maybe make some tea and flick on your Austin City Limits. You’ll be seeing all kinds of concerts before you know it!

So how will you survive November? Will you be getting the new albums by Drake and Tegan and Sara (both out November 15)? Or are you holding off for the new Mary J. Blige and Rihanna releases that are out at the end of the month? Are you going to Watch the Throne anywhere (I’ll be in Pittsburgh!), or do you have another concert you’ll be attending? Whatever you do, best of luck! Survive November.


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