sounds of summer

i’ve pretty much lost all hope that we’ll have a summer season this year (despite the local weatherpeople claiming the temperatures are currently hovering around “normal” for this time of year). but the rest of our great nation is suffering from heat stroke, which means they can break out the summer playlist. here’s a few that would be on mine, if the weather would just cooperate:

“evening chai” blue scholars – yes, i occasionally listen to hip hop. these guys are a favorite of mine. “evening chai” is from their debut album, and it’s representative of their style-outspoken, political, and eloquent as all get out. the beats they chose bring to mind the rare summer nights in seattle when the heat from the day still hangs heavy and people throng to the bars on capital hill, of house parties that last late into the night, and the neighbors don’t complain because they’re having too much fun to notice the noise.

“campfire kansas” the get up kids – some songs are so well written, you can picture exactly what’s happening. this is one of them. every time i listen to it, i see kids floating down a lazy river that’s overhung with huge leafy green trees. it’s also the perfect antidote to their most recent album (if you had the misfortune to listen to it, “campfire kansas” will erase the horror your ears were just subjected to).

“doin’ time” sublime – all right, so it’s an obvious choice. but it’s an obvious choice for a reason. the bastardized version of the classic “summertime” fits right into the reggae beats and smooth vocals of bradley nowell. it makes me wish that he hadn’t worshiped the opium gods.

“city livin'” g love and special sauce – “city livin'” sounds like a throwback to the sun-shiney songs of the ’60’s, but really, you could pick just about any g love song and it’ll make you think of hot, muggy weather, popsicles, and running through sprinklers.

“curs in the weeds” horse feathers – i first heard of this band when their song “heathen’s kiss” was featured in a recent episode of deadliest catch. the song was so haunting, i headed over to the library and checked out the album house with no home. this modern day folk band from portland, OR, are incredible. they create simplistic songs that stick in your head because of their sheer beauty. “curs” is like a slow, hazy august afternoon, where you’re out in the middle of nowhere, and all you’d hear was the occasional bird call as you watch the gathering thunderclouds.

“10am automatic” the black keys – i still think their 2004 release rubber factory was their best album. “10am automatic” puts me in the mind of san francisco in the 70’s, people dancing barefoot at a free concert at golden gate park, or middle school kids running around in the oncoming dusk, trying to be cooler than they really are.

“put your lights on” carlos santana featuring everlast – in high school, my choir teacher always knew we’d done a stellar job when we gave her goosebumps. this song, even though it evokes images of sultry, humid nights, gives me goosebumps every time. something about everlast’s low-pitched gravelly voice just sends chills down my spine.

what are some of your favorite summer songs?

*image via

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