May 31 is Memorial Day, the unofficial start to summer, the swinging open of the seasonal gate to backyard barbecues, lazing on the beach, and cruising around with the top down (or, if you live in New York City like I do, walking around with, uh, somewhat less clothing on than usual).
Naturally, the change in seasonal attitude requires a complementary musical shift. (See ya, dour folkies! So long, dolorous synthsters!) I need to hear upbeat music to soundtrack my days of outdoor drinking and ultimate Frisbee. I need to hear the albums I've listed below. Take a gander, give a listen, and then share your recommendations for best summertime music.
Band Of Horses, Infinite Arms: Anchored by frontman Ben Bridwell, this South Carolina by way of Seattle quintet has, on their recently released third album, proven themselves to be masters of breezily melodic country, folk, and ever so slightly grungey soft rock. Which is to say, the lilting title track, loping "Older," and crunchy "Laredo" are the kinds of songs that everyone from your earnest little brother to your painfully hip grandmother can enjoy.
Neon Indian, Psychic Chasms: Neon Indian is the nom-de-rock of Alan Palomo, whose full-length debut, Psychic Chasms, felt seasonally out of place when it dropped last October. With their laidback, watery basslines, stoned vocals, and, yes, neon synth lines, tracks like "Terminally Chill" and "Deadbeat Summer" strike a perfect balance between retro charm and modern cool. Play this album at night, under the stars, when people are already a little tipsy.
Teenage Fanclub, Shadows: Out June 8, Shadows is the long-running Scottish folk-rockers' tenth studio album, all of which sparkle with gorgeous songwriting and radiant guitars--and all of which seem to live forever in that moment when the sun has just begun to set on a hot summer's day. You can't really go wrong with listening to a Teenage Fanclub album between the months of June and September, but Shadows tracks like the slowly building "The Fall" and dreamy ballad "Sweet Days Waiting" are examples of a band working at the peak of their powers.
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