The summer provides plenty of time to think. Its contemplative nature, to us college folk at least, can sometimes come as unwelcome. Time to think about what we could have done, what we should do, and where we will be, both during this fleeting summer and in our futures at large.
Regardless of what we're feeling, there’s always a song to match. Or we always need a song that matches to help us through. Or something like that.
Hence, to follow: the ultimate summer playlist.
This collection of songs strives to not only provide a range of sounds corresponding to the various moods of summertime, but also presents the underrated, forgotten, or hidden gems from artists both recent and popular, with the occasional older track thrown in. Maybe you saw them, maybe they were lying under your nose—nevertheless, here they are.
1. Miasma Sky BATHS
Easily the best (and first) track on Will Wiesenfeld’s disturbingly dark, honest, and brilliantly resonant 2013 album, Obsidian.
2. Kerou’s Lament ELLERY JAMES ROBERTS
James Ellery Roberts of Wu Lyf (since dismembered) is all about the sweep and drama. He’ll sweep you off your feet with horns and a question like “what does it mean to be free?” until you realize, as a lyricist and musician, he’s also pretty damn real.
3. Doin’ It Right DAFT PUNK feat. PANDA BEAR
Daft Punk has done something awesome again but Noah Lennox is downright undeniable, and not only makes this track, but makes it one of the album’s best. And the French duo’s video, not surprisingly, is resonant of an M.C. Escher graphic. NPR’s "All Songs Considered" also conducts a worthwhile podcast “Daft Punk On the Music That Inspired ‘Random Access Memories’” by Sami Yenigun.
4. Hey Brother KING MEDIAN
We better all keep our eyes (and ears!) peeled for this talented band of students from Kalamazoo College. They’re right when they say “as an indie rock band blending aspects of jazz, baroque/chamber pop, psychedelic rock, and shoegaze, we’re bringing something new to you.” Their track Hey Brother is featured in the recently premiered trailer for Transparent, a documentary highlighting Shelley Hilliard’s murder.
5. Taro ALT-J
A band we already know and love, and one widely covered by Shei. As pointed out by a fellow University of Michigan friend, this song recalls the lives of two love-struck wartime photographers, a story the New York Times relays as well.
6. Ungirthed PURITY RING
A 2011 single off of Shrines, but an ever-enjoyable summer jaunt.
7. Ya Hey VAMPIRE WEEKEND
At first listen, “Step” may be the song to catch your ear off of Modern Vampires of the City (2013) with it’s music video full of quintessential shots of New York City, but as a slightly more dynamic overall song, “Ya Hey” is the one you’ll want to hear repeatedly. And the video, also set in New York, is inexplicable and completely enjoyable. However, the quartet may have actually gotten more (negative) attention regarding their video for Diane Young.
8. Hurricane (Remix) MSMR (CHVRCHES)
A dance party to ensue.
9. Organ Eternal THESE NEW PURITANS
This band likes to surprise its listeners, this track being a particularly happy surprise.
10. Alien Days MGMT
An impressively dynamic new direction for this duo.
11. Swan Dive WAXAHATCHEE
Liz Phair-esque and consistently good. The rest of Cerulean Salt is worth listening to.
12. Instant Crush DAFT PUNK feat. JULIAN CASABLANCAS
“And we will never be alone again / ‘cause it doesn’t happen everyday / kinda counted on you being a friend / can I give it up or give it away / now I thought about what I wanna say / but I never really know where to go / so I chained myself to a friend / ‘cause I know it unlocks like a door”
Anyway, don’t we miss the pure quality of The Stroke’s early albums that we grew up on? Here’s our window back into it.