In the 3+ years that I have been blogging, I realize that I haven’t really written much in the way of music. Sure, I’ll throw in some music references when blogging a recipe or outfit, and I might mention an album I’m currently digging every once in a while. And of course, I always do my “song of the day” at the end of each post. If you go onto my ‘me in a nutshell’ page, you’ll notice that I list about 846 bands/musicians that I love. But I’ve really slacked on actually writing about music.
So, in an attempt to connect with some of my music-loving readers (as well as other music lovers), I’ve decided to write a post every once in a while about some of my favorite albums. Since it’s way too difficult for me to pick my overall favorite albums, I decided just to limit the post to what I listened to this summer. (That doesn’t mean that I only listened to a few albums this summer, either. I listened to sooo many…still, I need to have some limits or this could go on for days). Some of the albums are newer, some are older, some of the bands are together, some aren’t. The point is that these are some really great albums regardless of how old they are. Here’s to the end of summer!
*These albums are in no particular order.*
1. The Strokes-Is This It
Oh man, where to begin? The Strokes are just wonderful. When I found out that they would be playing in Hyde Park while I was visiting London, I bought the ticket immediately. I didn’t even have a plane ticket at the time. Yeah. That’s how bad I wanted to go (notice Julian’s face up there in my header picture? Concert pics whaddup). Is This It is an instant classic in my book. The lyrics are simple, yet relatable. The music is raw, edgy, and has a classic rock sound while still remaining post-punk. It’s a mix of everything you’ll ever want in a good, solid rock band.
Also, I’m sorry for saying whaddup earlier. I’ve been watching too much How I Met Your Mother…
2. Little Joy-Little Joy
Little Joy has been one of my favorite albums for years now. Although it is perfect for any time, I especially love it on road trips. I think most of it has to do with listening to it on repeat while driving to San Francisco for vacation a couple summer ago, but I think it also just has that relaxed “no worries” vibe that comes with summer. Rodrigo Amarante and Binki Shapiro’s voices are lulling, with a sort of old-fashioned feel. Their sound is light and catchy. Breezy almost. These guys know what they’re doing. If I could see any broken-up-band live, this would be my choice.
(P.S. Fabrizio Moretti, drummer of The Strokes, was in the band too. What can’t he do?)
3. Courtney Barnett-Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit
Courtney Barnett is just straight cool. There’s really no other way that I can describe her. In my mind, she’s that one mysterious girl in high school that nobody really knows, but everyone wants to be her friend, because she’s just so cool. Listening closely, I think this vibe is reflected in her music. She reminds me of a female Bob Dylan in some ways. She sings about every day life. About people’s thoughts and feelings. She even sings about normal inanimate objects. Her songs are not complex, yet they are. Just do yourself a favor, and listen to this album.
4. Vampire Weekend-Modern Vampires of the City
Vampire Weekend is one of my all-time favorite bands. I remember listening to them when I was a young teenager, maybe even a pre-teen. However, I never fully appreciated them until this album came out. It was only then that I really started listening to the lyrics and their use of unusual instruments in an indie rock setting. They’re one of those bands that is able to make their albums sound different while still sounding like Vampire Weekend. Their lyrics are poetic, their sound mellow, with a few upbeat tracks thrown in every once in a while. Everything you want while sitting around semi-drunk with your friends on a late summer night.
Also, Ezra Koenig is probably the love of my life, but that does not mean I’m biased in any sense.
5. Mac DeMarco-Another One
This album is new guys. Really new. But I knew I could trust Mac DeMarco, because well, he’s Mac DeMarco. He can’t do much wrong. I’ve never come across another artist that is quite as experimental as he is. His music is raw and laidback. I love that everything he produces sounds like he just sat down with an acoustic guitar and started playing whatever came to his mind (which is kind of what he does). When this album came out, I kept an open mind. But I knew that in the end, it would be a exactly what I want out of his music. Thanks, Mac. Truly.
6. Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers-Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers
Tom Petty is one of my favorite classic rock artists. I have very fond memories of swimming in the pool at my childhood home, my dad keeping an eye on me while he BBQed chicken and vegetables, and this album playing on the fake-rock-painted speakers. Every time “American Girl” comes on, I can practically smell the sweet mix of BBQ smoke and chlorine.
7. Karen O-Crush Songs
I have this theory that my spirit animal is the lovechild of Karen O and Zooey Deschanel. Sadly, this combination is not realistic or possible, but I still love them individually, of course. When Karen O debuted Crush Songs, I was pretty stoked and for good reason. In Crush Songs, Karen O was able to create a sound that is both feminine and edgy punk. It is pretty much everything that I have always wanted to create on my own but have not been able to accomplish. Thank you Karen O for being such an inspiration for all those women who love punk but have a hard time finding legit female punk artists.
8. The Lumineers-The Lumineers
This album has a sweet, nostalgic sense that comes with the folk-indie genre. Although I would not necessarily classify The Lumineers as folk, there is definitely a prominent influence which perfectly compliments the summer-feel I was looking for. Beginning with “Flowers in Your Hair”, this album starts out with tales of fond memories of a past life and continues the story-telling theme with slower, sadder songs such as “Dead Sea” and “Slow it Down”. Calming, catchy, and candid, this is the album to listen to while spending an intimate evening on the patio.
9. Bright Eyes-I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning
I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning is by far the most popular Bright Eyes album there is. Conor Oberst, the man behind the twangy guitar and slow drawl of a voice, is an expert in writing honest, raw music. There’s a large part of me that believes that most of the album was written behind a closed bedroom door, the lyrics taken straight out of his personal diary. I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning is one of those albums that almost everybody likes. That album that, when you turn it on, everyone goes, “Ohhhh…I forgot about this song. I love this song”. If you’re ever at a bonfire, there will inevitably be a guy with an acoustic guitar slung around his shoulder. Ask him to play “Lua”.
10. Modest Mouse-Strangers to Ourselves
If there’s one thing to be said about Modest Mouse, it’s that they always deliver. Every time a classic punk band comes out with a new album, I get nervous. I’m perfectly aware that no band wants to recreate an album that they’ve already made, but I still want them to sound familiar. Modest Mouse is able to accomplish this tedious task so perfectly, and Strangers to Ourselves is proof of that. If you’re ever looking for the ultimate grunge-y album to play at a party, throw this one on. Everyone wants to jam to this album.
11. Paul McCartney-RAM
While in London over the summer, a new friend nervously recommended that I listen to this album. Claiming it to be the original, indie album, his suggestion immediately intrigued me. 1. I love indie music. 2. I was in London, so I had to listen to The Beatles, or at least Paul McCartney. I listened to the whole album in one sitting, and I have to say, I was impressed. While a few songs such as “Oh Woman, Oh Why” were familiar, most of the album was a completely new experience for me. Rest assured, the album was Sara Lynn-approved.
12. The 1975-The 1975
As I said earlier, I was in London this summer (wait, did I tell you that I was in London this summer…???), so basically The 1975 was playing everywhere. The British are very proud of their artists, and they should be. The 1975 has such a hip aesthetic that is hard to compare to any other band. Punk-rock with a few splashes of pop, it’s a fun album to throw on when you want to have a solo-dance party in your Honda Pilot on the way to your morning coffee stop. Or while sitting in a Geek Squad shop in the basement of a London-based technology store. Either works.
What albums did you listen to this summer?
Song of the Day: take your pick ^^^