Summer Songs Playlist
The summer months afford music lovers the chance to listen to fresh tunes laying poolside, at neighborhood BBQs, on roadtrips and at the beach. Summer hits seem to find a special place in people’s memories, harkening back to moments in the sun that can brighten up the dark days of winter when it’s all over. We tapped our friends over at Pigeons and Planes to find out what they’re going to be listening to throughout summer 2013 and they put together this special playlist just for us. Click through the list above and piece together your summer soundtrack with some of the bright and upbeat jams they tipped us off on.
1. Lorde, "Royals"
Ever get the feeling that you're listening to the next big thing? That's how we feel every time we hear 16-year-old New Zealand artist Ella Yelich-O'Connor, better known as Lorde. She's one of the interesting new artists out, and she's making the kind of music that has her clearly set on the path to mass appeal. For now she's a rising star, but give her a little more time and this young talent could easily be a household name.
Click here to watch the video for "Royals" on YouTube and keep up with Lorde on Twitter.
2. Vampire Weekend, "Step"
The particular brand of indie pop that Vampire Weekend has perfected comes through even more pristine on "Step," a song off their latest album Modern Vampires of the City that blends choral soprano, midi-organ and Ezra Koening's signature falsetto. The Brooklyn-based band offer a track that's a little slower and more mellow, for those lazy sunset moments when the day is blending into the night and everything feels like it stops. Only in summer can a song like this take on a shape of its own, casting a shadow on the season that is not quickly blotted out, entwining itself with your memories of a particular sunny day forever.
3. Magic Man, "Paris"
With bands like Passion Pit changing the sound of electronic pop, there has been an influx of indie-centric pop music that is as interesting as it is accessible. Still, when it comes down to it, good songwriting matters above all else. Nailing a style only goes so far, but with Magic Man's "Paris" the Rhode Island-based band proves that they've got more than just style. "Paris" is one of the catchiest songs we've heard this year, and if they've got more songs of this quality up their sleeve, this group is going to have a very good year.
4. Disclosure, "When a Fire Starts to Burn"
This isn't a song for sitting still too—Disclosure's debut album Settle is packed with house and disco elements and funky beats so catchy they seem to actually start smoldering. "When a Fire Starts to Burn" is no different, simmering with white-hot bass and synth lines behind the hypnotizing, repetitive sample. Put this song on when you need to turn the temperature up for any given summer evening. Stream it on Soundcloud and follow Disclosure on Twitter for their latest thoughts and releases.
5. Grouplove, "Ways To Go"
Back in 2011, Los Angeles band Grouplove scored big with "Colours." It seemed like the kind of hit that might be the band's peak, but with a new album coming this September, they let go of their lead single "Ways To Go" and dispelled that notion. Just in time for summer, this song's got the kind of big chorus and positive energy that will soundtrack beach trips, late nights, and rooftop hang-outs perfectly.
6. Smallpools, "Dreaming"
Smallpools are an LA-based synth-pop group that are about to take the world by storm. Their intial single "Dreaming" takes a tired trope and turns it on its head, using a euphoric, light vocal line and '80s sounding synths and guitars to build a track that crackles and pops right into an irresistible anthematic chorus. Nothing sums up the feeling of freedom that summer brings on that a song that breathes new life into the very act of dreaming—Smallpools are about to make a big splash.
7. MisterWives, "Coffins"
New York's MisterWives is new to the scene, but "Coffins" sounds like the type of song it takes most bands years of experience to craft. It's fit for a movie soundtrack, with dramatic strings and a powerful melody that strikes with such immediacy that you'll find yourself humming it for days after listening just once. Best of all, lead singer Mandy Lee puts her vocal skills to great use, proving that a classically trained opera singer can pull off a good pop song and, if anything, make it far more captivating than your average radio hit. Stream "Coffins," on Soundcloud and follow MisterWives on Twitter to see where they'll go from here.
8. Dornik, "Something About You"
Aside from the sexy vocals that have already garnered comparisons to Michael Jackson and Prince, Dornik has the whole sonic soundscape down. There's this undulating "dun duh dun duh" that contains echoes of old video game soundtracks, but still as a Carribean feel to it. The loved-up feel of this song makes it great to throw on when summer romance is blossoming, or if you're already involved in an affair, Dornik's sweet, slightly auto-tuned voice is sure to create an extra spark.
9. M+A, "When"
The zig-zag, gurgling rhythms of M+A's "Something About You" twist and shimmy their way into old-fashioned DJ scratching, snaps and handclaps—with all this going on it seems like the track would be something of a mess, but somehow this up-and-coming Italian duo bring all the elements together into one orchestrated, gleaming pop track. Those pianos and synths in the intro evoke a samba-like shift that swerves alongside dreamy R&B styled vocals. Notes of digitized pop meet old-world beats and sounds in this European gem that's the ideal addition to roadtrips or poolside lounging.
10. Firehorse, "Bloodstream"
If you're into the more experimental type of music but still want something to get down to this summer, Firehorse's "Bloodstream" is the perfect song for you. With enough kick to nod your head to but a frantic delivery that offsets the danceability, it's different than anything else we've heard this summer, and in a time when so much music out there fails to stand out, that's a very good thing.