It seems like this week we’re finally shaking off the cold, rainy days of early May. The temps are shooting up into the 70s in the morning and steadily climbing throughout the day. We’ve turned on the A/C in the Casa, and are expecting to keep it on for the rest of the summer.
This has also given me reason to start breaking out the music that says “summer” to me more than the rest of the albums on my iPod. It’s music for road-tripping, music for dancing in flowy skirts and flipflops, and music for chilling outside by the light of a fire and sipping cocktails.
“Twenty-Three” and “Hello…X”- Tristan Prettyman
I first heard Tristan in 2006 when I went through an insane music-buying phase. It was post-college, and I really turned to music to identify with the minor identity crisis that comes with finally being launched into the “adult” world. I read about her smoky tone and sun-drenched songs in an issue of “Paste” magazine, and out of the many albums I sample that year, she’s one of the few that I’ve kept listening to.
“The Makepeace Brothers EP”- The Makepeace Brothers
This trio opened for Jason Mraz when I saw him live, and their laid-back acoustic sound is earthy and sunny. Since they’re brothers, they have similar-sounding voices which make their harmonies killer.
“Coco” and “Breakthrough”- Colbie Caillat
I love her, obviously. Her sultry alto voice combined with the acoustic guitar brings to mind humid summer nights and fireflies.
“We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things”- Jason Mraz
I love him. That’s really all. And an album that goes from the bouncy ukulele-driven “I’m Yours” to the sexy “Butterfly” and back to the sweet duet “Lucky” pretty much guarantees itself a spot on repeat. There’s something for any mood.
“Amanda Leigh”- Mandy Moore
After seeing her guest appearance on “Grey’s Anatomy” the other night, people were asking what happened to her career. In the last year, she released this gem of an album, which features her delicate voice over some awesome musical arrangements. I love that there’s a track dedicated to how she came up with each song, and “Merrimack River” is achingly lovely.
Another actress/musician, Zooey Deschanel intrigued me with her singing voice in the movie “Elf.” When I heard that she’d recorded an album, I couldn’t resist. Rather than sticking to lower, torchy sound of her register, she’s all over singing bright, retro-pop. I don’t know if that’s a term, I just made it one. They dabble in folk and pop, purposely using certain recording techniques so that it doesn’t come across as “too polished.”
“Vampire Weekend”- Vampire Weekend
This record hooked me with its catchy, unusual rhythms and the band’s collective nostalgia for Cape Cod summers. I didn’t feel the same connection to “Contra,” their second offering, possibly because it wasn’t as mind-blowing after hearing the first. The album is an intellectual’s dream, both in their creative use of the English language and the variety of instruments used.
“Curiouser”- Kate Miller-Heidke
I raved about this after I heard her perform with Ben Folds in March. It’s my current music love affair, and fortunately fits in with my summer mood. I even paused to compliment the music counter employee at a local bookstore when I heard it playing over the store sound-system. Her classical training is surprising and exciting when she unexpectedly busts out with insane operatic runs. I also love how she can switch back and forth from sass (on “God’s Gift to Women” and “Politics in Space”) to sentiment (“Our Song.” Simple and lovely.) .
What are your summer music loves? Please leave comments- I need some ear candy for the coming weeks at work while I count down to vacation! I’m officially under a month, and we’re into the most important AND most tedious part of my job- formulary review and submission. Pages and pages and pages of spreadsheets… GAH.
(images courtesy of Amazon)