In lieu of an album review this week, I provided a list of 10 songs that are sure to kick off summer to blissful beginnings. Some newer genres seem to be almost entirely based off the feelings and themes of summer, perfectly capturing the varieties of mood in just a few minutes. All of the songs on this playlist were chosen because they convey the carefree attitude everyone hopes to adopt best for the three short months of freedom. Given the independent nature of many of the artists featured, most of the songs can be found legally for free online — URLs have been included where applicable.
1. “Island on Fire” — Monster Rally
Start the playlist with “Island on Fire,” a bouncy tune that seems to drift in from some distant luau on an imaginary beach. Monster Rally makes terrific surf-inspired instrumental jams that are sure to take your mind to a more sun-and-sand place, no matter where you are, or what you are doing.
“Island on Fire” can be downloaded for free from Bad Panda Records at BadPandaRecords.wordpress.com.
2. “Fire Hands” — Pepepiano
Sampling “Pet Sounds” by the Beach Boys, Pepepiano’s track “Fire Hands” is destined for summer anthem status. The sample is tastefully employed with the perfect touch of '60s pop. Quirky, poppy and entirely danceable, “Fire Hands” is the perfect tune for any summer party soundtrack.
Pepepiano’s entire album, including “Fire Hands,” can be downloaded from his Bandcamp at Pepepiano.bandcamp.com.
3. “Surfer’s Hymn” — Panda Bear
When a song opens with the sound of waves washing onto the shore, there is no denying it should be enjoyed in the warmer months. “Surfer’s Hymn” is one of the most radiant songs from Panda Bear’s new album “Tomboy.” The kaleidoscopic marimba sample running throughout the background shines like a bright light over Panda Bear’s gorgeous harmonies and the thumping kick drum.
Panda Bear’s “Tomboy” can be purchased digitally on iTunes and Amazon, as well as on vinyl via Paw Tracks or Insound.
4. “K is for Kelson” — Bibio
“K is for Kelson” is without a doubt the catchiest track off Bibio’s latest album, “Mind Bokeh.” The song has a cheery, childlike quality to it that will be sure to put a smile on your face. The percussive elements in the background evoke images of kids having a blast banging on pots, pans and glass bottles. Overall, the song is a lot of fun and will be stuck in your head for days once you hear it.
Bibio’s album “Mind Bokeh” can be purchased digitally on iTunes and Amazon, or on vinyl from Insound.
5. “Frequency” — Unouomedude
Unouomedude is a one-man band from Jacksonville, Fl. that just released its latest single, “Frequency” on Old Flame Records. “Frequency” is more rock influenced than most of the other songs listed here, but the fuzzy guitars and overall energy of the song make it just right for hot summer days in the sun.
Download “Frequency” by Unouomedude from iTunes, or stream it from his Bandcamp at Unouomedude.bandcamp.com.
6. “After the Moment” — Craft Spells
Take a trip to the '80s for a bit with Craft Spells’ lo-fi dance track, “After the Moment.” Bedroom '80s pop at its best, “After the Moment” features an infectious hook and a great retro dance beat that will get you up and moving in a heartbeat. If you’re looking to play something a little different than the usual Top 40 pop hits at your parties this summer, definitely give Craft Spells a chance.
Craft Spells’ album, “Idle Labor,” can be purchased digitally via iTunes and Amazon, or on vinyl from Captured Tracks.
7. “Phoenix Wind” — Yeasayer