Summer Is Here!

Summer is here, for me. Finals are over and I don’t even want to look back at the damage I may have caused to the city of GPA. To paraphrase Eric Cartman, “Schools out guys, I’m going home.”

I’m officially back at the Nathaniel Estate and have a TON of material to sift through. There are enough bubble-clad manila envelopes here to float a family of four from Cuba to Florida. It may seem like a daunting task but I, for one, am excited to give them a listen and see what I think of em’ all. Anyways, since my summer started I decided to post a few songs that are all about the awesomeness of summer.

[MP3] The Flaming LipsIt’s Summertime
Complete with birds chirping in the background- Wayne and Company singing about summer seems to make the sun shine that much brighter.

[MP3] Modest MouseUntitled #3 (Summer)
With a line like, “Just the smell of the summer can make me fall in love” I have to think that Isaac Brock could be capable of pulling a Vivaldi and composing some genius Four Season ballads. “Dance dance dance and go crazy!”

[MP3] HanaleiThis Is Going To Be The Best Summer Ever
Any summer is the best summer ever. Wait, what? Radiohead, Modest Mouse, and The Shins have new albums coming out? Ok Hanalei, you win.

[MP3] Jens LekmanA Sweet Summer’s Night On Hammer Hill
What do the Swedish know about summertime? One needs to look no further than Jens Lekman to hear his brassy take on that sweet summertime feeling.

[MP3] The Fiery FurnacesHere Comes The Summer
I am not sure if they meant to correlatee “waiting” and “summer” in this song, but it seems like people are always waiting on summer for some reason. I’d say people wait on summer more than Christmas. Except Jesus because its his birthday.

[MP3] GrandaddySummer Here Kids
Grandaddy breaking up was a pretty devastating blow to their genre of music. These guys are really talented and this is the first song I think of every time someone says summer.

[MP3] The Fire TheftSummertime
Jeremy Enigk is a quirky guy that makes some damn good music, both solo and with a band. I’m beginning to think that he has a fetish with summer. Summertime? Sunny Day Real Estate?

[MP3] LFOSummer Girls
As soon as I made this post- someone left a comment recommending I add this song to the list. I don’t know what I was thinking. Leaving off LFO? Finals obviously took their toll.. I’m really starting to lose it.

Question: What are the top three things that come to mind when you think about summer?

These answers should be rather interesting. I’m going to unpack all my crap and be back tomorrow with some new stuff.

Today was a pretty awesome day in terms of Pitchfork lining up with my hopes and expectations. You know, for all the smug reviews they peddle, the sweet moments like these just seem to make everything ok. They rounded out the edges nicely today in a number of ways:

1. Spencer and his Sunset Rubdown project nailed a Best New Music! It seems like Mr. Krug can’t be stopped these past couple years, with BNM honors for last year’s Wolf Parade debut and now he “wins” again for Shut Up I Am Dreaming! If you haven’t heard anything from Sunset Rubdown’s turf, check this out:

[MP3] Sunset RubdownThey Took A Vote And Said No
[MP3] Sunset RubdownStadiums And Shrines II

2. iGIF favorite Beirut picked up a great track review (4.5 stars!) today for the same exact track I raved about just a few days ago! It’s a brilliant song, and if this is any indication, Zach Condon will be the next Owen Pallett.

[MP3] BeirutPostcards From Italy
[MP3] BeirutThe Canals Of Our City

3. Another iGIF favorite and Pitchfork writer Cadence Weapon picked up a great review today, an 8.0, for Breaking Kayfabe, one of the best hip-hop releases of the year without a doubt. Check out these tracks, I’ll have more for you later!

[MP3] Cadence WeaponOliver Square
[MP3] Cadence WeaponBlack Hand

So I guess this makes up for Pitchfork’s neglect to give Final Fantasy a BNM nod yesterday… tisk tisk

Little Ones

I was just thinking the other day how it’d be nice to find another instantly likeable indie pop band… You know, one that I didn’t have to get used to, one I could play whenever I want, just to feel good. A band to clap along to, one that I don’t have to learn to like, one that, if I go to bed with certain substances effecting my brain and play their music while I sleep, will trigger crazy-cool dreams of riding on the back of that big dog-thing from Fantasia as he flies me over Eureka’s Castle as I wave in euphoria to my friends Magellan the Dragon and Sir Klank…

And then I found Little Ones (thanks to all you fine people) and I became elated once again. Little Ones are an infinitely likeable, superb band from L.A. that recall a Shins-like vibe (not to mention the Chutes Too Narrow-like artwork). If you’ve been following this site for a while and haven’t given up hope, you’ll probably love this band.

All highly recommended:

[MP3] Little OnesLovers To Uncover
[MP3] Little OnesCha Cha Cha
[MP3] Little OnesHigh On A Hill

C’mon everyone, head over here to buy their debut EP Sing Song for a whopping $7!

With Bishop Allen being 1/3 of the way through their 12-month EP project, they’ve safely produced some great great songs. Adding to their ever growing catalogue, they’ve just released their April EP.

The new EP is fantastic!! The range of instruments, from violins to banjos, adds new depth to their music. A lot of their songs seem to be taking on a more serious and darkened romanticism..but I am not complaining. “The Monitor” was one of my favorite songs they have ever recorded with eerie lyrics and haunting guitar. The track below starts out simple- quite instruments and charming lyrics. Then like a flash of lightning, two of my favorite instruments grab the song by the [insert musical body part here] and shake the living hell out of it.

Violin + Piano + Bishop Allen = a good time for your ears.

[MP3] Bishop AllenFlight 180

How somber is that track? How great is that track? Make sure to head over to their site and buy an EP for super cheap!

In other news, I have one exam left. What a relief! I can’t wait to get back into the rhythm of posting, I’ve been amassing some good tunes since “eat/sleep/study/contemplate suicide/take exam” mode has started.

Cold War Kids

Here’s a band that’s been getting considerable hype recently, a buzz mainly surrounding the three strong and notable EPs they’ve released in the last year, but one also trailing an apparently astounding SXSW performance they exhibited opening up for iGIF favorites Tapes n’ Tapes (they’re also doing a bunch of dates with TnT again in May/June).

Never one to be left out on some good ol’ hype, I first listened to Cold War Kids yesterday on a tip from a friend (thanks TimeGuy). First reaction: “This guy can SING!” Then, after listening to the two most recent EPs, Up In Rags and With Our Wallets Full, discovered the band’s possible downfall: a lot of it sounds pretty similar, probably because of the strength and uniqueness of lead singer Nathan Willet’s voice. This is a pretty trivial comment, though. I’m sure with more time spent on the music, the songs will differentiate themselves more, yada yada. At any rate, the music’s damn good, reminding me a little bit of U2 if fronted by a soulful Jack White (not to say J Dubs isn’t already soulful enough).

Check out these tracks, all highly recommended:

[MP3] Cold War KidsHospital Beds
[MP3] Cold War KidsWe Used To Vacation
[MP3] Cold War KidsPregnant

Check out this video of Hospital Beds Live @ the Troubador, LA (thanks Jaxxy)
Check out m3 online for a better analysis and more MP3s.
Check out this site to buy either EP for $7 or both for $12. Worth it, completely.