For much of the U.S., the end of July 2012 is probably a blessing, considering it has been the hottest summer ever recorded. And yet we seem to hear that every year for the past decade (and the data shows it’s mostly true). Eight of the top ten hottest years on record have occurred in the past decade. Will average daily temperatures in the high 90s and low 100s across most of the continent be the norm rather than the exception in the summers to come? If the climatologist are correct, they will be. We remember a couple decades ago in the northeast when over 80 was considered too hot, and over 90 was a rare, and practically unbearable, phenomenon. So far this summer, it has been anything but rare. Last week came news that more than half of the United States is now in a declared state of emergency due to the worst drought in some 50 years.
To extend that analogy to music, there has been somewhat of a drought of outstanding album releases, and ironically, much less rock and roll sizzle, this summer compared to previous summers. While this week yielded another fairly small crop of new music releases – and pretty much nothing from ‘big name artists,’ there are still some good pickings from relatively unknown bands. To kick off this week’s top singles, we choose Blonde Summer, who blaze through with one of the best singles of the week – “Slow Days, Fast Company.” The song is light and loose – an uptempo indie pop anthem of sorts with jangling guitar riffs, echoey, well pitched vocals, a catchy rhythm and hook and infusions of airy synth layers that accompany the song’s climaxes- one of the finest ‘summery’ singles of the season.
– Blonde Summer from Slow Daze EP
The Los Angeles band fuse indie pop with California surf-rock. Their sophomore EP, Slow Daze, is steeped deep in melodies and wrapped in an effervescent sunniness that chronicles the vagabond wanderings of a post collegiate guy looking for his place in the world, and having fun in the process.
New-To-Us Bands Buttonhead, Junk Culture, Wildlife Control and Sacred Caves
The following bands are all new to us, and we suspect, to most other music lovers. Nonetheless, the following singles from the N2U bands are worth noting, including two debut singles. Buttonhead‘s new single, “Champion Bread,” is a lo-fi, garage-rocking, post punk blast that puts the band on the radar, and reminds us somewhat of Tokyo Police Club. The jamming continues with the track, “Analog or Digital,” from Brooklyn duo Wildlife Control’s self-titled, debut album.
“Champion Bread” – Buttonhead from
“Analog or Digital” – Wildlife Control from
Junk Culture adds to the mix “Growing Pains,” an electronic track influenced by West Coast pop sporting a steady paced beat, sound samples and glittering synths. Junk Culture is the side project of Girl Talk’s touring partner Deepak Mantena. His new release, Wild Quiet, is his third album, and first official full-length debut. Next, Sacred Caves‘ “On the Outside” is draped with synths, a disco-like beat, hand-clapping and dance infusions. It’s an OK track, but not one we are likely to remember a month from now. What do you think?
“On The Outside” – Sacred Caves from Sanctuarium EP on hausKat Records
“Sleep” – Allen Stone from on ATO Records
– NIKU from In the Tidelands
– Jason Haywood from A Thousand Miles Since Yesterday
Other Songs to Check Out: Black Swans, Shovel & Rope, Photek
The ‘Other Songs’ section that we sometimes include in playlist posts is to separate singles we recommend from those that we are not so sure about. The reason we do it is to give listeners more music to pick from, and to let them decide what they like.
For example, we were surprised that the Black Swans’ newest single, “Basket of Light,” is a yawner because we like the band’s previous work.
– The Black Swans from on Misra Records
– Shovels & Rope from O’ Be Joyful on Dualtone Records
– Toadies from Play.Rock.Music. on Kirtland Records
“Belly of the Beast” – Western Medicine from In Transit EP (self-released)
Best New Releases – One Click Purchase of CD, MP3 and Vinyl Formats
New releases of 31 July 2012:
The Alchemist – Russian Roulette | CD MP3
Black Swans – Occasion for Song | CD Vinyl
Buttonhead – 3D Opera Whale |
Dikes of Holland – Braindead USA | MP3
Evoken – Atra Mors | CD MP3
Gaelic Storm – Chicken Boxer | CD
Jesse Harris – Sub Rosa | CD Vinyl
Ice Choir – Afar | CD Vinyl MP3
IlldotLogic – Dreams in Stereo | CD MP3 Deluxe MP3
Junk Culture – Wild Quiet | CD MP3
The Locust – Molecular Genetics from the Gold Standard Labs | CD Vinyl MP3
Polar Bear Club – Live at the Montage [Live] | CD Vinyl MP3
Ponderosa – Pool Party | CD Vinyl MP3
Joshua Radin – Underwater | CD MP3
Reel Big Fish – Candy Coated Fury | CD MP3
River City Tanlines – Coast to Coast | CD Vinyl MP3
Aaron Roche – BlurMyEyes | CD MP3
Rick Ross – God Forgives, I Don’t | CD Deluxe CD MP3
Serengeti – C.A.R. | CD
Shovels and Rope – O’ Be Joyful | CD Vinyl MP3
Allen Stone – Allen Stone | CD Vinyl MP3
Suburban Living – Cooper’s Dream [EP] | MP3
Testament – Dark Roots of Earth | CD Deluxe CD Vinyl MP3
Thenewno2 – Thefearofmissingout | CD Vinyl MP3
Toadies – Play.Rock.Music | CD Vinyl MP3
What’s Eating Gilbert – Cheap Shots [EP] | CD Vinyl MP3
Wildlife Control – Wildlife Control | MP3
Willits & Sakamoto – Ancient Future | CD Vinyl MP3
With the Punches – Seams & Stitches | CD Vinyl MP3