Re-posted: July 4th and the Soundtrack of Summer

Another day, another link. This one comes from a blogger (ADIgnorantium) who has made a great soundtrack for some summer partying. When will WordPress create a post to playlist app?

My brother has recently written about songs for the heat and songs for the rain

July 4th and the Soundtrack of Summer.

The only things I would add? Joe Cocker’s “Summer in the City” is one of my all time favorites:

But I also love the old Cole Porter tune “Summertime”, here performed in great style by the one and only Coltrane:

This Coltrane number is good for some deep contemplation (or intoxication). And, what’s a summer playlist without some cheese? Who can really hate Grease’s “Summer Loving”:

Ok, I hate it a little. But I like it a little too

But thanks ADIgnorantium for giving me a start on some songs to play tomorrow.

Heat, Heat and New Music

So, my brother recently talked about the heat (and not that basketball team from Miami). Our northern homeland has hit the 90s for the first time this year and he is undone by it. He asked me in the post how I, a scandinavian by birth and a Mainer by upbringing, survive the deadly temperatures of my permanent exile.

My last few weeks have been dominated by this and the sun

My last few weeks have been dominated by this and the sun

The answer? I don’t. I reverse hibernate. We stay inside. We have air-conditioned cars. We avoid direct sunlight like vampires. You never really get used to 110 degrees. You learn to avoid 110 degrees. So, I keep the lights off, drink lots of water, and wait for the fall to return.

Yet, the trade-off is that I have not only failed to gain any real capacity to manage the heat; I also have lost any ability to cope with the cold. So, now, I am a man without a place.

As my brother has intimated, the past few weeks have been busier than I planned, but it is not all work. I recently took up basketball again and have been wasting an embarrassing amount of time being very bad at a sport. And hurting. Oh, and drinking a lot of water.

So, here’s a delayed response to the Only D’s New Music:

The Neighbourhood

I am not quite sure why they use the –our spelling, but that besides, they remind me a bit of a blend between the Walkmen and Dishwalla, except if the members grew up listening to a lot more hip-hop. I don’t know if any band after Weezer can have a song about sweaters. So, there you go. This song made me think of two other songs I would rather hear. But, as the Only D puts it, there is some interesting blend of genres here. I don’t know about soul-revival, but I do think that as more and more future-artists grow up listening to all music genres, there will be more unquantifiable blends like this.

 

Weezer, “Sweater Song”

My college band covered this song.  I don’t know if we did a good job of it. I am sure, however, that you didn’t need to do a good job to get the crowd to like it. This is a great sing-along-song. Weezer sensed their talent for this and went from pretty harmonies to straight up yelling the chorus with their next album’s single “El Scorcho”.

 

The Walkmen, “We’ve Been Had”

Members of this band were in the short-lived but hard-rocking Jonathan Firestarter. I was so excited for this album. I love the old-timey yet slightly trippy feel of the combination of the piano rote and the vocals. I still think that the music business was way too 1990s radio and MTV focused for this band to be successful. Just a few years later, Arcade Fire was tearing up the world; five years after that, Vampire Weekend was huge. Listen to this song, you can hear some sonic influence for those bands. Maybe I need to listen to this album again.

 

The Dear Hunter, “Dear Ms. Leading”

I both love and do not love puns. I think that the name of this band is a little lame. That’s beside the point.  The music of this band reminds me of Incubus or some of the lesser tracks of A Perfect Circle. I wanted to turn the track off after 60 seconds, but I listened to the whole thing. But hey, if you make it to the third minute or so, you get treated to two very different guitar solos—different styles with some interesting production. My brother, I think you will like that part. The vocals? Uninspired and uninspiring.

 

Porcupine Tree, “The Start of Something Beautiful”

Since I have been obsessing about band names lately, I have to say that I like this name. I like the proggy feel (even though it slightly seems like the band is stuck in the 80s). I think my brother will like the bass player. I have to say that I actually like the vocalist more than I like Rush’s. I can’t say that this band really reminded me too much of anything. The combination of adventurous and sometimes gimmicky yet complicated instrumentals with hyper-clear vocals seems to be a dead end from the early 1990s, but hey, as a creature of the period it is not surprising that I like it.

(This is the first track on the list that made me think about buying the album…)

 

Trampled by Turtles, “Wait So Long”

I should probably just leave the band’s name alone. I should probably also try to ignore the fact that The Only  is trying to get me to cop to liking the Mumford Sons again. Unlike my brother, I don’t love the fiddle so much; I also feel like this singer misses his dip when he’s singing and is one trucker hat short of an ensemble.

The banjo player can really play; the fiddle player can’t take Charlie Daniels or the Devil, but he might give either of them a gun for his money. A serious run for his money. I think that this song is probably pretty good, but there is a little too much going on—I don’t think that the mandolin adds too much; the vocalist is a little overwhelmed by the instrumentals—the melody just gets lost.

Yet, I will probably listen to another track or two. There is something about the band’s sense that seems intriguing.

 

Phoenix, “Entertainment”

I am actually quite happy that The Only D included this song and I think that this is a really good harbinger for the whole album (which I will already have bought by the time anyone reads this post). The last album was really good but it was missing a lower gear, if that makes any sense. On the last album, every song is fast and harder—the band too often makes up for melody with tempo and urgency. This song seems a lot more melodic.