Summer is almost here, and we already have word of over 75 releases for June and July. In this feature, we’ve chosen to highlight ten tracks that sound like summer; for the full list, head directly to our News page!
2015 has been a spectacular year for music, following an average 2014. (See our Recommendations page for first half picks.) As the summer approaches, labels release music that they hope will be played in convertibles, on beaches, and on long jogs. The mainstream may make anthems, but the instrumental scene creates scores.
What does summer music sound like? The answer varies from listener to listener, but some principles apply across the board. In general, summer music is upbeat, accessible, and loud, rather than morose, inaccessible and soft. Dance music has an edge; so do rock and the fuller end of modern composition. Whether it accompanies us on our adventures or helps us to dream about travel while stuck at work, summer music creates excitement and hope.
There’s a big difference between music released in summer and summer music. We have not included a recent album recorded in an abandoned herring factory, or a new 10-inch duet between cello and a possessed man speaking in tongues. These may have intrinsic value, but they do not make us think of cotton candy, t-shirts, surfing or ferris wheels. Our selection does include an all-female post-rock band who loves the ukulele, and a calypso-inspired dance band. We hope that you’ll enjoy what you hear!
Yiying Lu’s surfing pigs image was created for a competition sponsored by the website Lost at E Minor.
1) Haiku Salut ~ “Bleak and Beautiful (All Things)”, from Etch and Etch Deep (How Does It Feel to be Loved, 31 July)
Haiku Salut takes a big step forward with its new LP, whose release is still two months away; for now, we have this ebullient lead single, which bursts into bloom at 2:20. This is the sound of summer!
2) Holly Waxwing ~ “Vibe”, from the Peach Winks EP (Cascine, June 16)
“Vibe” is music for when one has had too much candy and needs to run around an amusement park screaming at the top of one’s lungs about how happy one is that summer has finally arrived!
3) Container ~ “Eject”, from LP (Spectrum Spools, 8 June)
The loudest, most abrasive track on our list is capable of drowning out all other sounds. This blast of pure techno noise is perfect when the neighbors won’t stop hammering things.
4) Peptalk ~ “Podesta”, from Islet (Home Assembly, 16 June)
Random horns, finger-snapping rhythms and a sense of fun permeate this island-based piece, which begs for a pineapple-based drink.
5) Musette ~ “Apocalypso”, from A Cosmic Serenade (Häpna, late August)
This is one wild track: part spy movie, part kaleidoscope, and thoroughly unclassifiable. When the trumpets begin to blow, one imagines chrome, tuxedos and slicked-back hair.
6) Busto Power Trio ~ “Adios Palomita”, from The Deal Act 2 (11 June)
This track starts as the slowest selection on our list, and ends as one the fastest, with screams of “1-2-3-4!” It’s the perfect track to whip a festival crowd into a frenzy!
7) David John Sheppard ~ “A Thumbnail Sketch of Infinity”, from Vertical Land (Village Green, 8 June)
This is the track to play when one is calm, happy and at peace with the world; the xylophone hammers a healthy tune while the rest of the small orchestra offers kind support.
8) John Metcalfe ~ “Gold, Green”, from The Appearance of Colour (Real World, 8 June)
Released on Peter Gabriel’s Real World label, this gentle piece sounds like a relaxing vacation, well-earned: an afternoon under the umbrella, surrounded by vibrant sounds and colors.
9) Tilth ~ “Prairie Waltz”, from Country Music (Round Bale Recordings, early June)
Here’s some music for the hot, shimmering, late days of summer, when all one wants to do is sit on the porch with a favorite drink and catch the evening breeze.
10) Inner8 ~ “The Irony of Karma (Part 2)”, from Modern Matters (Modern Matters, 8 June)
A swift beat and seemingly wordless world music wailing provide a perfect soundtrack for out-of-country travel; the exotic world awaits!