Music on a summer day just sounds better. Here are the records that made it all worthwhile. TastemakerX: July Music That Matters Spotify Playlist
1) Lower Dens – Nootropics
Like Beach House on Xanax, Baltimore’s Lower Dens spins deep mellow grooves build on the beautifully androgynous vocals of Jana Hunter and the metronomic drum and bass lines. The ten songs here crash like gentle waves and then build into tightly spun futuristic dreamscapes. Weirdly and transcendently gorgeous.
2) Glen Hansard – Rhythm and Repose
I have been loving Hansard since his debut in the Commitments eons ago, and throughout a half dozen handful of beautifully emotive Frames albums. But it was the film “Once” and the beautiful collaboration with Marketa Irglova as The Swell Season that finally brought Hansard to the quasi mainstream. “Ryhthm and Repose” is another bittersweet masterpiece by one of the finest songwriters since Astral Weeks era Van Morrison.
3) DIIV – Oshin
I have a sweet spot for 80’s new wave music as I spent much of that period in my room reading Option and Spin Magazine, and drunk on Echo and the Bunnymen and New Order. DIIV, the side project from Beach Fossils Zach Smith, revisits that period with impeccable precision. Old wave for a new generation.
4) Friends - Manifest!
It’s been quite a while since I can remember a record as funky and beat laden as Friends debut “Manifest!’ In fact you could argue that the last band to channel this specific energy was Luscious Jackson. Singer Samantha Urbani has unearthed the sounds of Summer from the mean streets of Brooklyn, and in the process has put the East Coast on the same planet as Best Coast.
5) The Lumineers – The Lumineers
I am a sucker for earthy Americana indie folk bands. To that end, this summer’s answer to Fleet Foxes, Dawes, and The Head and the Heart, is Colorado’s Lumineers. These guitar-based rustic balladeers flirt dangerously with being overly sentimental, but I won’t hold it against them.
6) Young Magic – Melt
The Aussie/Malay Brooklyn transplants Young Magic mine the bins for eclectic relics and in the process channel MBV’s “Loveless” but mash it up with a more tribal Yeasayer vibe. The band’s dreamy angular world music drifts here and there, but eventually ends up under your skin in the best possible way.
7) Here We Go Magic – A Different Ship
Over half of the bands I am obsessed lately seem to be from Brooklyn. The best of which have to be Here We Go Magic. The impeccably produced “A Different Ship” is an impossible to pinpoint amalgam of indie goodness. There are jangly guitars, trance-like vocals, and deep colorful grooves that make it impossible to resist standing still.
8) Husky – Forever So
Like Australia’s version of Rogue Wave, Husky makes perfect pop music. It is a sound drenched with a soulful optimism. Like a new wave revision of 70’s era California rock, singer Husky Gawenda has a voice like a hipster angel and the band accompanies with just right balance of orchestral goodness.
9) Hospitality – Hospitality
I guess I’ve been a girl singer kind of mood these days. Hospitality is a band that asks very little of you, but gives you so much so easily. They write slender pop songs about everyday life, cut from the same cloth as Camera Obscura and Allo Darlin’. The bright and approachable vocals of Amber Papini, carry an otherwise straight forward indie pop sensibility into another strata.
10) Japandroids – Celebration Rock
Every once and a while you need a straight up rock record, with giant guitar riffs accompanied by melodious punk ballardry (think mid-career Husker Du, or select Hold Steady). Although Japandroids have been making music for five years, “Celebration Rock” is exactly that, and tribute to all that has come before it and all that will hopefully follow. Put the top down and play loudly.
Post by Marc Ruxin