Summer is an exceptionally good time to rock new music.
We’re outside mowing our lawns, dodging bird dung, in cars watching the corn go by, walking dogs, cats, lizards and generally out of our dusty homes, away from the flickering boobs on the tube.
Sure, half our collective minds may be on the big new summer movie blockbuster, but that means we’ve got an entire half-mind free (unless your other half is already overrun with witty jabs at Michael Phelps like mine).
You’ve gotta admit, a lot of the jams that hit hardest – the ones you remember at the end of the year – come out during the summer while you’re chilling around the pool, wondering why your Bud Light doesn’t pour as fast as Miller Lite.
Life’s all about timing. And dodging bird dung (seriously, watch out for that stuff).
I called it and was right in 2010: Vampire Weekend’s Contra did not leave my car stereo for the duration of the summer. Turns out upbeat, Afro-electro that sounds like Paul Simon goes down easy when it’s warm.
Last year, after hearing the single “Sunset in July,” I assumed 311’s Universal Pulse would be the clear summer winner. While that album was surprisingly excellent for the old-timers (“Weightless”), newcomers Grouplove dropped Never Trust A Happy Song – an album I’m still not fully over (especially after their intense show at the Metro a few weeks ago).
The omnipresent song of Summer ‘11, of course, became Foster the People’s “Pumped up Kicks,” which nobody could have predicted.
So far in 2012, Alabama Shakes’ Boys and Girls has destroyed all competition in my ears. It’s also pretty good summer music. Will this remain in heaviest rotation? Or will an upcoming album knock it from the top?
Perhaps your personal summer album is already out and the best single has yet to drop. Could be somebody old, somebody new or somebody impossible to pronounce (Goteyuh?)
Here’s a cheat sheet of some indie and bigger rock albums dropping ‘round this summer 2012….
Jack White, Blunderbuss (4/23)
Reptar, Body Faucet (5/1)
Marilyn Manson, Born Villain (5/1)
Silversun Pickups, Neck of the Woods (5/8)
The Cribs, In the Belly of the Brazen Bull (5/8)
Scissor Sisters, Magic Hour (5/8)
Beach House, Bloom (5/15)
Best Coast, The Only Place (5/15)
Garbage, Not Your Kind of People (5/15)
Tenacious D, Rize of the Fenix (5/15)
Cornershop, Urban Turban (5/15)
Gossip, A Joyful Noise (5/22)
Slash, Apocalyptic Love (5/22)
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, Here (5/29)
Sigur Ros, Valtari (5/29)
Regina Spektor, What We Saw From the Cheap Seats (5/29)
Japandroids, Celebration Rock (6/5)
The Walkmen, Heaven (6/5)
The Hives, Lex Hives (6/5)
Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Americana (6/5)
The Beach Boys, That’s Why God Made the Radio (6/5)
Hot Chip, In Our Heads (6/12)
Metric, Synthetica (6/12)
Motion City Soundtrack, Go (6/12)
Maroon 5, Overexposed (6/22)
Fiona Apple, The Idler Wheel… etc. (6/26)
The Flaming Lips & Heady Fwends (6/26)
The Offspring, Days Go By (6/26)
Everclear, Invisible Stars (6/26)
The Gaslight Anthem, Handwritten (June)
Alanis Morissette, TBD (June)
Passion Pit, TBD (June)
Dirty Projectors, TBD (7/10)
Wavves, TBD (August)
Yeasayer, TBD (Summer)
Also, “We Are Young” has obviously become a raging juggernaut. The band Fun. released Some Nights back in February (after hours of tedious fact-checking to see if that band name was already taken, then adding a period anyway just to make sure), but it’s getting hard to envision another “Pumped Up Kicks” dropping to keep it from being everywhere this summer. Jeebus help us.
Down to the business of predicting my own Summer ’12 album…
What I’ve heard from Japandroids was really, really rockin, and I consider it a major frontrunner. Although Hot Chip is on a roll and Edward Sharpe is always sharp. That Flaming Lips and friends album sure looks interesting, too (they laid tracks with the likes of Bon Iver, Ke$ha, etc.). This all sounds fun. But perhaps a surprise is on the horizon.
The public at large tends to clamor for their Maroon 5. I don’t think they’re too bad a group -- they just need to turn those guitars UP. The Beastie Boys’ Licensed to Ill has also reappeared on the Billboard Top 40. That kind of thing could soundtrack parties aplenty (in loving memory).
A lot of people are also digging Best Coast and it’s being heavily promoted around the web, but I can’t get over their whole Tee-hee-hee I live in Cali and it’s super AWESOME! vibe. Local H knows what I'm talking about.
This sudden resurgence of ‘90s alt-rock-that-time-forgot is really getting weird: add Everclear, Offspring, Garbage and Alice in Chains to a mix that already included Eve 6, Counting Crows, The Cranberries, Limp Bizkit, Creed and Candlebox. The new Offspring single isn’t too bad (just a little Foo-Fighters-ish, in the opinion of some), but since Everclear is now just Art keeping busy to drive away the demons, I fully expect lame (“Father of Mine”) over hardcore ("Electra Made Me Blind").
Happy summer, jammers!