Since I have joined the ranks of corporate America, I have had to keep myself sane by filling the remaining hours of my days with as much music as humanly possible. As my time at the Gavel is coming to a close, I felt it necessary to dive into my record collection, iTunes, and pages of notes from the last few years to bring you a summertime playlist that you probably wouldn’t get from listening to a top 40 station or your standard pop music websites.
When I think of summer, a lot of different images and experiences come to mind: carefree pool parties, long drives with the top down, relaxing on the beach, playing volleyball, and just getting into general shenanigans that would be less acceptable in other seasons. This playlist is meant to reflect that “endless possibility” mindset.
12. “Summer Toons”—The Post Nobles
I’ll ease you BC folks into this one. The Post Nobles is a band from Long Island formed by BC student Denis O’Leary and some friends from home. You may have even seen them live this past year at Copperfields and some other bars around Boston. “Summer Toons,” off their self-titled EP, is a synth-infused wave of easygoing pop rock. Layering sampled beach sounds under a simple, wah-d out guitar part, this breezy tune is perfect for swaying and grooving on the beach with twenty of your best friends.
11. "Anna Sun"—Walk The Moon
Back in January, I saw Walk The Moon at the Paradise, and immediately recommended to people that their songs be placed in endless rotation on any darty playlist. I will now put them squarely on my summer playlist. An endlessly playful sing-a-long that never loses steam, “Anna Sun” is an anthem for always holding onto those years of youthful freedom that only college and summertime can give you. Driven by a powerful drumbeat and four-part harmonies, it’s a song that you will never be able to get out of your head, but hey, that’s a good thing.
10. "Sweater Weather"—Parks
The first released single by local indie junkies Parks, “Sweater Weather” is a party-starter. Try not to clap when you hear the chorus. This track blends fast-paced, lighthearted indie pop with doo-wop worthy harmonies, all backed by a foot-stomping drumbeat. Delicate keyboard accents add an even more playful layer to this upbeat dance track. Bounce and hop your way through this fun indie-pop track.
9. "The Runway"—The Gulls
Rhode Island folk natives The Gulls have been creating their own summer soundtracks for a while now, and this single from their first EP Anchor is no exception. With “The Runway,” the Gulls take their acoustic party folk to the beach and light a bonfire under your ass. Check out the video for some Sperrys, long-boarding, and partying in a vintage pickup truck.
8. "Ain’t It The Life"—Foo Fighters
It wouldn’t be my article if I didn’t have something by the Foo Fighters in here. This song, however, deserves its place. A much slower melody than most are used to hearing from the Foos, “Ain’t It The Life” is a subdued, laidback track about living a simple, relaxed existence free from worries and cares. Slow surf-style guitars and a light drum hit give this song that added chill feel. Relax, put your feet up, and enjoy.
7. "Ogunquit, ME"—The Field Effect
I’m biased here, because I’ve gotten to know this band quite well over the last few months, but honestly, when I think of summer, I think of road trips. And when I think of road trips, I think of this song. In constant rotation on WFNX before the shutdown, “Ogunquit” is a rocking good time for cruising along an almost-empty highway with the windows down and the speakers blasting.
6. "Down On The Corner"—Creedence Clearwater Revival
While not a country band, with “Down On The Corner,” CCR goes back to some old-timey Americana roots. With lyrics that paint a picture of a simple little town in the summertime, and a bass-driven beat that will put a spring in your step, “Down On The Corner” will bring you back to a time before every kid on the street had an iPhone, and had to entertain themselves the good old fashioned way: by just being kids.
5. "Trashcan"—Delta Spirit
Beginning with a trashcan taped to a tambourine, “Trashcan” by Delta Spirit is a soulful, gritty song that never really stops moving. If summertime is about action and getting out into the world and having fun, then this is its theme song. Dubbed a “northern soul” classic by the band and several radio stations when it came out, “Trashcan” uses a rollicking piano beat to bring together five musicians who truly know how to feed off each other’s energy in both the studio and onstage, and who make music just for the fun of it. What could be more summer than that?
4. “Heartbeats”—Royal Teeth
This song is what “Teenage Dream” by Katy Perry should have been. This is odd for me, because I usually don’t even start comparing anything to mainstream pop music unless I’ve had a few drinks in me, but the message of the song is the same: young love. What screams summer more than a fleeting romance? This song does it right; in a time when lots of bands are throwing synths into their arrangements and trying to be “indie pop,” with “Heartbeats” (a cover of the song of the same name by The Knife), Royal Teeth does it right. This small slice of personal sappiness is brought to you by watching way too much TV.
3. “Over the Hills and Far Away"—Led Zeppelin
It’s no secret to my friends in the music biz that this is my favorite Led Zeppelin song, or that I worship Zep to a borderline creepy degree (case and point, look at my right wrist next time you see me). But this song off 1973’s Houses of the Holy brings some serious summer vibes with it. Opening with an airy acoustic guitar and mandolin section, it quickly goes from the hammock to the most pit with Zeppelin’s trademark blues-rocking.
2. "King Of The Beach"—Wavves
San Diego slack-rockers Wavves hit Boston at the Paradise this past spring, and it was unbelievable. Even more unbelievable is their uncannily familiar, yet at the same time, unique sound. Drawing on Beach Boys-esque surf themes in their lyrics, Wavves get monarchical with “King Of The Beach.” Always willing to bring some extra grit to a seemingly relaxed genre of surf music, Wavves drive this track home with a simple, but always moving guitar-driven track that is perfect for surf-style raging.
1. “Pool Party”—The Aquabats
Did you know Travis Barker was the Aquabats’ drummer before joining Mark and Tom in Blink 182? Indeed he was, performing under the pseudonym The Baron Von Tito. Weird? Yes. But in no way does that take away from this fantastically goofy song about throwing the ultimate high school pool party banger, complete with hot dogs and floaties.