Posted by Brandon Vesely on 05/28 at 03:41 PM
It’s almost June, the trees finally have leaves and the snow is finally gone. With the onset of summer, you’ll need some carefree music to put you in the mood for outdoor activities, cut-off shorts and tank tops, and warm days that last well into the evening. Here’s a playlist filled with some of my favorite warm-weather songs:
Sublime – Santeria
Sublime has always been a staple of my summer playlist. Their upbeat lyrics and breezy instrumentals create the perfect music for a summer party or any other warm weather activity. The lyrics in “Santeria” are conducive to relaxation and worry-free days.
Best Coast – Summer Mood
The title of this track is pretty self-explanatory. “Summer Mood” by surf rock group Best Coast layers Bethany Cosentino’s floating vocals on top of breezy acoustic guitar work. Like most of their songs, “Summer Mood” has a nostalgic feel and the lyrics are reminiscent of lively, unscheduled summer days. See them live at the Theater of Living Arts in Philadelphia on June 5.
Beach House Lazuli
Once again, this artist’s name makes it pretty easy to draw conclusions about the feel of their music. This indie pop group has been layering organ, slide guitar, and vocals to create dreamy soundscapes since 2004. Check out this track and the rest of their 2012 album, Bloom, for the perfect musical accompaniment to your lazy summer day or afternoon tanning session.
Broken Bells – The High Road
Broken Bells is an indie group that includes James Mercer (lead singer and guitarist of The Shins) and was founded in 2009. The group combines electronic and indie music to create tracks that are both edgy and melodic. (PAT’S COMMENTS: Better to break up sentence to avoid a run-on). They are currently working on their second full-length album. “The High Road,” the group’s most popular single, is wistful and optimistic, making it a solid track to put you in the mood for the beginning of the fun-filled summer season.
Walk the Moon – Quesadilla
Most listeners know Walk the Moon for their hit single “Anna Sun.” However, the group’s entire self-titled debut is fantastic. The tracks are diverse, creative, and well-written. Unlike most indie albums, Walk the Moon doesn’t blend together into one giant track of acoustic riffs and somber vocals. Each song is memorable and distinguishable. “Quesadilla” combines unique guitar work, synthesizers, electronic effects, and Nicholas Petricca’s unmistakable vocals to create a fresh, poppy track that’s perfect for cruising with the windows down on a warm day. Check them out on August 31 at the Made in America Festival in Philadelphia.
Cults – Abducted
Formed in 2010, Cults is an indie pop duo that specializes in keyboard driven soundscapes that feature both members’ unique vocal work. The cycling keyboard riffs and acoustic rhythm guitar in “Abducted” give the song a particularly summer-y feel and an aura of nostalgia similar to that found in “Summer Mood” and “Lazuli.” See them perform with Passion Pit on June 6 at Stage AE in Pittsburgh.
Manchester Orchestra – The Only One
Manchester Orchestra is one of my favorite contemporary groups. Andy Hull’s vocals are unique and unmistakable, and, unlike most indie guitarists, Robert McDowell’s playing is creative and innovative. “The Only One” includes Hull’s signature crooning vocals and McDowell’s adaptable guitar work to create a track with an optimistic and youthful feel. Check them out as Bad Books at Webster Hall in New York City on July 12.
Modest Mouse – Float On
Since their founding in 1993, Modest Mouse have built themselves a reputation as pioneers of alternative music, essentially revolutionizing the genre and providing the musical foundation for the majority of indie groups that have emerged since the early 2000s. “Float On,” the group’s most recognizable single, has become a campfire staple for acoustic guitar players, and the song’s unmistakable guitar riff reminds me of nothing else but warm summer nights gathered around a fire pit or gazing at the stars.
No Doubt – Spiderwebs
I’ve always associated Gwen Stefani’s versatile vocal work and Tom Durmont’s ska-influenced guitar riffs with summer, particularly the group’s earlier work that more obviously shows its ska roots. “Spiderwebs” includes both of these elements in addition to brass instrumentals, giving the song an upbeat warm-weather feel.
Oberhofer – Away FRM U
Oberhofer is an experimental indie group formed in 2008 that produces poppy tracks with added keyboards and electronic effects. The xylophone instrumentals and sing-along chorus in “Away FRM U” make the song unique and upbeat. Brad Oberhofer’s vocals are youthful and genuine and give the song an aura of adventurousness and optimism.
Pepper – No Control
Pepper is a ska/reggae band formed in 1996. Their music blends elements of reggae, rock, and hip-hop and their influences include Sublime, Shaggy, and Bob Marley. This blend of musical styles is the perfect recipe for beach-influenced warm weather jams.
Ra Ra Riot – Beta Love
Ra Ra Riot is an indie rock group formed in 2006. Wes Miles is a fantastic singer, who offers versatile, unforgettable vocal work that is integral to the group’s melodic sound. Like other contemporary indie groups, their music blends synthesizers and electronic effects with traditional rock instruments to create an innovative sound. Their latest album release, Beta Love, continues their tradition of melodic, musing soundscapes that drip with youthfulness and the occasional dash of teenage angst. Their single of the same name includes catchy hooks and other signature aspects of their music to create a memorable track that undoubtedly compliments the cheerful early days of summer.
Author: Brandon Vesely
Bio: Brandon Vesely is originally from the Pittsburgh area and is currently a junior majoring in Public Relations and Spanish at Penn State. In his free time he enjoys reading, writing, biking, and spending time outdoors. His musical interests are wide-ranging and include a variety of alternative genres including post-hardcore, indie, noise pop, and pop punk. Some of his favorite artists are Bayside, Yeasayer, Phantogram, and Fireworks.
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