If you caught our ‘Soulful Summer joints’ post last week, then you know that we’re actively trying to bridge the gap between these glorious spring days and the approaching summer by kicking out some serious summer jams. Soul and synthesizers definitely get the job done, but sometimes you gotta stick on them loose, hazy, beach rock jams. Have a little listen to our selection below:
Janis Joplin – Summertime
Mixing the Psychedelic with equal measures of rock and soul, the late Janis Joplin laces the rolling licks of the guitars here with her piercing, bluesy vocals. Her take on the jazz classic Summertime, composed by George Gershwin, holds its own against the hundreds of other much loved versions, including much celebrated renditions by the likes of Sam Cooke, Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday, to name but a few. The undulating melody of Joplin’s voice and the accompanying instruments can provide the perfect soundtrack for both sunrise and sunset – have a listen below:
Pavement – Summer Babe (winter version)
California’s ‘Pavement’ are hailed by many critics as one of the best bands of the 1990’s. Early indie-rock fore-bearers, Pavement remained signed to independent labels throughout their existence and built up a strong cult following. They nail that garage-y, lethargic sound but it’s underpinned by some pretty solid guitar work. Though Stephen Malkmus’ rolling vocals will definitely annoy some people, they compliment the bands sound pretty well.
Best Coast – Sun Was High, So Was I
Bethany Cosentino and Bobby Bruno, otherwise known as ‘Best Coast’, also hail from California, and their music has a lot in common with the garage/surf rock of the 1950’s and 60’s. The duo flirt with a Lo-fi sound, and their use of reverb and distortion helps to create that relaxed and laid-back sound that’s a perfect fit for the summer weather; even though they mask Cosentino’s vocals slightly, this only adds to the strong melodies and atmosphere of their tracks.
Ugly Winner – Sun Sweat
When we first heard Ugly Winner’s 2010 sophmore release Minutes, Years & Never, we were struck by the San Jose band’s mixture of raw emotion and controlled execution. Ugly Winner sound like they’re constantly about to either explode or disintegrate, but it’s the walking of this line that makes the music so appealing. The impassioned vocals, often backed by strong shimmering guitars, have a relentless rhythm…much like the rays of the sun. Have a listen below:
The Doors – Indian Summer
Psychedelic and rock heavyweights The Doors, formed by the sunshine, spirit, and drugs of 1960’s LA, are undoubtedly an iconic American band. Though their discography can be quite polarising, the slow, rhythmic licks of Indian Summer coupled with Morrison’s enchanting vocals creates a song that’s the perfect accompaniment to the start of a calm summer morning.
The Kinks – Sunny Afternoon
The Kinks provide us with an opportunity to represent our home island in this list that is otherwise dominated by LA bands; such dominance is perhaps understandable considering the unpredictability of the British weather, and California’s average of 284 days of sunshine a year. Regardless, The Kinks hold it down here with a summer song that also happened to be a tongue-in-cheek ‘protest’ against high progressive tax. Politics aside, the gradually descending, lethargic bass coupled with the relaxed but wry vocals, help to build a song that really will help you ‘laze’ on a sunny afternoon.