Every summer needs a playlist. I usually make mine a week or so before Memorial day and update throughout the hot months. For me, the perfect playlist is a mix of power pop, punk, rock, alt country and electronic. My top summer song may be an anthem or a dance track.
While it’s not required that the word summer actually appears in a song, album or band name to mark the season, there’s no shortage of references.
Dana Buoy beat almost everyone to the beach this year with the May release of Summer Bodies, a rollicking Caribbean music-inspired album. Dana Buoy is actually Dana Janssen of the band Akron/Family, a group that sounds nothing like Janssen’s side project. The music on Summer Bodies is bouncy and uplifting. It’s definitely feel-good music and makes a nice soundtrack or playlist for summer.
Indie rock veterans Superchunk just put out a single, This Summer, which gets closer to that anthem thing I mentioned. But mostly, it’s just a great rocker and a cool summer song.
I feel like I have to mention Summer Camp, which is following up its awesome debut from last year, Welcome to Condale, with a five-song EP out July 10. The EP is called Always. Check out the title track below.
I love the new album, Correct Behavior, from Eternal Summers, which also comes out next month.
Also, Sweden’s jj just released a free digital EP, High Summer. You can get it here.
New releases by Best Coast and Beach House also get my vote for summer albums. (And not just because they have warm-weather connotations in their names.)
Also see New Music: Best Coast, Beach House
Two years after a pair of impressive albums, the two-person bands Beach House and Best Coast are back with follow-up releases. For Best Coast, the album, The Only Places, stretches out from the hazy sound on the band’s 2010 debut Crazy for You. Singer Bethany Cosentino sings uptempo country-tinged songs on the slickly produced The Only Places. Jon Brion, who has worked with everyone from Robyn Hitchcock to Kanye to Katy Perry, produced the album. It’s a bigger sounding set of songs and at points more enjoyable than Crazy for You.
Beach House, on the other hand, stuck closely to the script of the stunning 2010 release Teen Dream. The band is not breaking any new ground on Bloom. It’s still a fine album and the approach is far more interesting than Beach House prior to Teen Dream, which was just flat out boring. On its fourth album, Beach House recreates that lush, dreamy soundscape defined by Teen Dream. Bloom is not the equal to that great album but it’s not far off.
Beach House plays Pitchfork July 15 and Best Coast plays the Vic later that month.
The up-and-coming band just released its debut Ghost Blonde in November.
Audio on the video below isn’t great.
You can watch the band’s NSFW video here.
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It’s always a challenge to narrow your favorite albums at the end of the year. I just published my list.
Picking the best songs of the year is hard as well. In addition to the tracks I included in my best-of list, here are some of the other songs I liked (and posted) in 2010. (There’s no order.)
There are a couple of new albums worth checking out. Best Coast just played Pitchfork. Its debut full-length, Crazy for You, got an official release today. This is the chill album of the summer. Menomena also released a new album, Mines. Both sound great.
Pitchfork’s Sunday lineup is strong from beginning to end with the reunited Pavement headlining. I actually saw Pavement play a pretty lackluster show to a small crowd back in the day. But I’m looking forward to this show. There’s so much hype around the reunion that these guys are up against pretty high expectations.
I’ll be checking out one half of Outkast, Big Boi, playing just before Pavement. I’m also eager to see the vey mellow Beach House, which made one of the best albums of the year. The band plays an early 3:20 p.m. set. Another afternoon set worth seeing: Surfer Blood at 4:45 p.m.
Other most recommended sets: Best Coast, Girls, Here We Go Magic and Neon Indian. But looking through the lineup Sunday, there really isn’t a stinker (with the exception of Sleigh Bells, which plays the small stage at 7:40 p.m.).
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