Seasons matter…I don’t know if it’s seasonal defective disorder, or just perhaps that I feel more in tune with everything around me…the intellectual inside me likes to think the latter, but the realist in me knows it’s more likely the former. But summer music is really something special…summer, more than any other season, is the time when I find myself revisiting old habits and loves. Summer is a time to throw away all pretentions and just listen to “good time” music…think The Replacements…think Weezer…think Tegan and Sara…all I want is good time, catchy, upbeat music to be my summer soundtrack…I want those songs that make me want to wear nothing but a bikini, cool off with a cold beer, and stand for hours in front of a grill; music that makes me get into summer body mode by consuming all the food that ever existed; and music that makes me scream sing along to every word, regardless of whether I can actually hit those notes or not. But also, I find, more than any other time of year, summer seems to be a time for me to listen to music from my friends…so my top 5 list for summer 2012 is comprised completely of music from people I know and love, not just musically, but also personally.
Turf War has been one of my favorite finds since moving to Georgia. “Years of Living Dangerously” was released last year, and was easily my summer album of 2011, but even a year later, I find myself revisiting it in my lazy days at the beach. It’s southern garage rock the way southern garage rock is meant to be. I dare anyone not to love this album, and will gladly buy anyone a drink who comes out to one of their shows and claims to be disappointed. They don’t just write great, downhome songs that we all can relate to as aging post-punk hipsters. They genuinely are great downhome guys just working really hard to share their view of life with the rest of us, and from here, that view looks like a pretty raging party. This album will make you want to shotgun a beer at 10 a.m., and then go in your backyard and shoot BB guns for several hours while grilling up a plate full of meat.
I easily could have chosen any track off this album for this segment. The entire album is available online or you can purchase a physical copy (CD only) through Old Flame Records. It’s well worth the purchase.
This band, partially comprised of ex-pats from Gainesville, FL, is one of the most exciting things I’ve found this year. I’ll admit to a bit of bias here because two of the members of this band come from one of my favorite bands ever, Oh No! And the Tiger Pit (You can find their album, Second Helping, on iTunes and it’s absolutely fantastic). But bias or no, there’s no denying the catchiness of this tune. Released earlier this year, on part I of “Same Damned Soul,” a trilogy of EPs to be released throughout 2012 (the second segment is due to come out later this month), I can honestly say that Parts II and III of this project are some of the music I am most looking forward to this year.
Allison Weiss is, hands down, the hardest working DIY musician I have ever met in my life…and that, really, truly is saying a lot…A WHOLE LOT. She also has a pop sensibility that could make Madonna jealous at times. She’s just amazing. This summer she embarked on a European tour with Lou Reed. Yeah. That’s right. You and all your parents are all thinking “Wait, what?” right now. But the fact of the matter is, I can’t think of a single person in the world who deserves such an opportunity more than she does. Seriously…make good music…make GREAT music…but also work your fucking ass off…and these are the kinds of opportunities that maybe…might…come your way.
Grape Soda have, since the moment I moved to Athens, been not just one of my favorite local bands, but also just one of my favorite bands, period. This song, in particular, has resonated with me. It’s a super catchy number that is impossible not to dance to (particularly when you reach the line “Everyone is dancing. You’re the only one not dancing.” Who wants to be caught not dancing during that moment?!) ”Form a Sign” was released last February, and is still one of my favorite get up and go, happy albums. A year and a half later, I listen to it just as often as when I first bought it, and it gets me super excited for the forthcoming release from the Athens duo. The Lewis brothers never disappoint, but this project surpasses even the biggest of expectations, and was easily the best $10 I spent in the entirety of 2011. (And that was for the most beautiful white vinyl LP…the digital download is available at the above link for a mere $3…seriously, buy it now.)
I met Andrew Sims earlier this year at SXSW in Austin at the Spin party…I had forgotten my lighter, and noticed he had a lit cigarette. After asking him for a light, I noticed that he was wearing a necklace from Ax and Apple and commented on it (because I also was wearing an A+A necklace). Over the course of the next three days there were many hugs and jokes and brief but somehow meaningful conversations. We discovered mutual friends, and I told him I would go buy “all his shit” when I got back home…I knew he thought I was just full of it, and after getting back home, realized why…between his solo stuff and his collaborative projects as a member of Doomtree, there was a lot of material. But when I looked at the catalogue I was undaunted, mostly because there was very little offered on vinyl, and (maybe because of my age, maybe I’m a music snob) I don’t buy CDs anymore if I can avoid it. I bought everything available on vinyl. But, as I browsed through their offerings, I came to realize that these kids from Minneapolis had the same strange affinity (obsession?) for teeth that I have…their logo is a pearly white set of chompers, and upon seeing that logo emblazened across the chest of a hoodie, I knew I was probably about to drop a hundred bucks. I did. He was appreciative, as was the rest of the crew. But, hands down, the best thing about this burgeoning “friendship” has been the fact that the music is totally great. Since my initial meeting, I’ve purchased digital downloads of several more of their releases, and am particularly looking forward to P.O.S.’s new release later this year.