Summer Sounds for Everyone

With two weeks of 95+ degrees heat, it's easy to realize we're in the thick of summer.  But at the end of the day, as the sun grants us reprieve, the evenings are ripe for spending time outside with a cold drink, friends, and music.

I can enjoy some of the catchy summer radio hits such as We Are Young or Pumped Up Kicks but here are a batch of recent albums that offer more substance without losing their backyard BBQ appeal.

  • Hospitality - Hospitality : If I had to pick one summer album of 2012, this would be it.  Rarely do I find a record that blends catchy songwriting, bright vocals, and the right blend of instruments without being overly saccharine or cheesy.  Almost everyone I've recommended this to has loved it as well.  Drink pairing: Vodka-spiked lemonade.
  • Boys & Girls - Alabama Shakes : Singer Brittany Howard's soulful, commanding vocals are something close to a combination of Otis Redding and Janis Joplin with a backing band that seems like it would be comfortable in any Southern blues or rock club.  The energy these young folks bring to live shows has already made quite a lot of noise in the blogosphere (and they'll be opening for Neil Young at Red Rocks this summer).  Drink pairing: Bottled Budweiser.
  • Fear Fun - Father John Misty : Be forewarned, this one could be a party-killer if you don't know your crowd.  It's best suited for later in the evening or a cabin's wooden back porch.  Father John Misty is Josh Tillman aka J. Tillman aka the past drummer for Fleet Foxes.  He is an incredible songwriter and as FJM he gets to flesh out his previously minimalist tendencies with a full band.  While it starts off slow, beware when the fiddle and organ tracks kick in.  Foot stomping may ensue.  Drink pairing: Maker's Mark Bourbon
  • Cancer For Cure - El-P : I don't listen to much hip hop, but when I find something I like, I tend to wear it out as is the case with El-P's latest solo effort, his first since I'll Sleep When You're Dead.  This year he also produced Killer Mike's album which is well worth a listen.  Both make most of what you hear on the radio seem ridiculously thin in both lyrics and sound.  Drink pairing: Irish Car Bomb (Drink selection compliments of Selecta Roswell because it "starts out like a punch in the face then gets smoother".)
  • Mixed Emotions - Tanlines : Using Afropop and other influences, Tanlines take their music into a unique dance-inducing direction.  Previously known primarily for their remixes, this album should solidify their place as original artists.  It's unassuming at first, but a few tracks in it exerts itself beyond background music and you might look around to see everyone's head beginning to bob along.  Drink pairing:  Bacardi Silver
  • Celebration Rock - Japandroids : Not for the intimate dinner party, but if you have 50+ people crammed in your backyard, this is the record you may want to play.  This Canadian duo plays so hard and fast, even at 35 minutes it can leave you short of breath.  Guitar, drums, and more carefree summer anthems than you can shake a fist at.  Drink pairing:  Schlitz
  • Sunkissed - Bad Weather California (This album is currently on order so check back if this link says "No Titles Found.") :  These locals are producing some of the best music coming out of our beloved city and with so many references to the sun, surfing, and skating they seemed like a natural for this list.  There is something for everyone here from psychedelic fuzz to 50's rock to Polynesian sounds.  Amazing musicians making music that sounds deceiving laid back and effortless.  Drink pairing: Oskar Blues Ten Fidy Imperial Stout

Curious, but not ready to commit?  Here's a Spotify playlist* with a few tracks from each album.  Also, some of these titles currently have wait lists so enjoy this until your hold arrives.

What's on heavy rotation for your summer soirees?  Let us know in the comments.


(*Spotify is a free legal online streaming music service. You need a Spotify or Facebook account to access the playlist.)

Written by Bobby on July 6, 2012


Anonymous on July 11, 2012


what an awesome and fantastic blog posting i can't wait to try out some of the pairings!!!

Roswell on July 13, 2012


Our evening began in Bobby's comfortable study in his New York townhouse,
Where the candlelight was just right, the hi-fi was in the background and the wine was delicious.
What's the secret, Bobby?
Naturally, I'll say the wine and CD's from the Library.
Mmmm, it does go well with the chicken.
*clink* Delicious again, Bobby.

Elwood on July 21, 2012


I'm putting these all on hold and hitting up the Argonaut. Thanks for the fun read!

Leave a comment

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.