It’s almost summer; let’s jam
IN DREAMS Get out of the heat and into the Pageant Theatre this Saturday night (10:30 p.m.) for one of the coolest events during this hot month. Spooky Americana duo Bunnymilk is opening for a showing of David Lynch's Blue Velvet (Arts DEVO's all-time favorite film), a dark masterpiece that doesn't put the blinders on to the disease and rot working beneath the surface of the Mayberry vision of the world propped up by air-headed politicians like current Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum. (Do NOT listen to “Game On,” the ridiculous country-pop rallying cry for the candidate—it'll ruin music for you all day.) This will be a 21-over Late Show event, with KZFR catering a bar that better not include any Heineken!
SUMMER PLAYLIST PLANS It's that most wonderful time of the year when I scour my hard drive and the Internet, and reach out to my circle of music junkies and you readers in search of tunes for a new summer soundtrack. Next week, I'll post a list of 20 or so AD-certified summer bangers, and I'd love your suggestions. Email me now!
As always, my only requirement for inclusion on a summer playlist is that the song was released for mass consumption sometime after September of the previous year—that this is its first summer season. All styles are welcome, just as long as they can find at least one suitable spot in the rotation between headphones, the car, backyard cookouts, housecleaning and large public events during the summer. I'm not a club guy, but as always, pop/dance anthems are very welcome, especially if they are undeniable masterpieces (think Outkast's “Hey Ya!”). But even the most throw-away, teeth-rotting pop jam is fair game if it's inescapably infectious enough (think “Tik Tok” by Ke$ha or “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen).
Here are a few tunes that already have me fully hooked:
“Fatal Flaw” and “Dimed Out”—Titus Andronicus: Part of my holy trinity of currently active bands—with Vampire Weekend and Arcade Fire—Titus Andronicus is putting the finishing touches on its fourth album, The Most Lamentable Tragedy, a two-CD/three-LP “rock opera in five acts”(!). It doesn't come out until July 28, but the band has prereleased a couple of singles via video: the catchy-as-hell, sing-along rocker “Fatal Flaw”; and the fist-pumping punk anthem “Dimed Out” (“Don't wanna buy an ounce/ For me, the right amount is the entire pound!”).
“Back of the Car”—RAC: If I remove my personal bias for Titus Andronicus' style of hyper rock from the equation, this foot-tapping, sunny electro-acoustic collaboration between Portland indie-electronic producer/songwriter André Allen Anjos (aka RAC) and Kansas singer/songwriter Nate Henricks would be my summer frontrunner.
“Get to Know” —Charlie Belle: This Austin, Texas, three-piece—with 16-year-old singer/guitarist Jendayi Bonds and her two younger bandmates, brother/drummer Gyasi Bonds and bassist Zoe Czarnecki—is undeniably charming. This title track from the trio's debut EP has everything a perfect indie-pop song should: crystalline guitar tone, snappy foot-tapping drums, melodic bass line, infectious and evocative lead vocals and dreamy harmonies. Your new favorite band.
“If You Think She Didn't Hear,” “Rio! Get Your Pony!” and “Breathe Now Holy Water”—Harvester: I admit that including three tunes from this new(!) album by the semi-defunct one-time Chico/Davis band (featuring Sean Harrasser of Chico's Western Divide) might be a case of nostalgia getting the better of me, but nostalgia is a powerful ingredient for a magical summer. Besides, there is nothing nostalgic about a hyper, perfectly constructed, emotionally overloaded pop jam like “Breathe Now Holy Water.” Goosebumps with every single listen.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPf0YbXqDm0;—Mark Ronson (with Bruno Mars): Yes, the lyrics are kind of ridiculous, but, damn, I love the energy Mars brings to anything he does, including this guest lead vocal on Ronson's Morris Day-“inspired” jam.