The sun is now in control. The summer is heaving along. Your back is sticking to the chair. The AC is cranked and you’re not sure what to do because the second you move, you’re sweating. Grab a lollipop, or an ice cube, get comfortable and sweat to these albums of summer.
Lyric: “I have my fits / You have your fits / but feeling is good.”
“Hop the fence, leave the street, and wet your feet to find the swimming pool,” sings Avey Tare on “Banshee Beat.” When he holds out the ‘oo’ in pool it’s like a blast of AC to the face. Feels came out in 2005 and elevated Animal Collective to indie cult status and cemented their careers as outre musicians. Here their formula is perfected using all their talents at their grasp: an intoxicating use of harmony and wordplay, rhythmic delusion, and equal amounts of abrasion and lucidity. It’s the soundtrack for cooped up muggy apartment life. “Did You See The Words?” splashes like a water slide and by the time “Bees” comes on, the mirage in the living room will appear.
Brian Wilson Presents Smile
Lyric: “Sleep a lot / eat a lot / brush ’em like crazy / run a lot / do a lot / never be lazy.”
The long-gestating Beach Boys’ masterpiece follow up to Pet Sounds finally came out, under the helm of Brian Wilson, in 2004. The production is as slick as a surf board pulled right from a wave. The speckles of flutes, kazoos, wind chimes and bells add to its summery charm. Smile is a bright sounding record. It’s all sunflower yellow, burnt orange and light green. Perfect for morning eggs and coffee as the sun is rising to full strength. From “Heroes And Villains” to “Vegga-Tables” to “Good Vibrations” this album paints scenes of California on the back of your eyelids.
Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots
The Flaming Lips
Lyric: “What is love and what is hate? / And why does it matter?”
I once listened to this album while having a staring contest with an owl as the sun went down. The bird perched on the roots of a tree; I sat at a table. It was tragically beautiful. The sky turned different shades of red, pink, yellow and orange and Wayne Coyne’s voice was a soothing breeze. All manners of time and space rushed past me on The Flaming Lips’ electronic vibrations and aching melodies. The record put my body into a permanent buzz. There is such a perfect balance of psychedelia and pure pop ambition that you might end up in tears by the end.
Lyric: “I love it when you spazz out all alone.”
Really, any Beastie Boys album could take this place. They have managed to package summer vibes into every note, hook, beat and rhyme they’ve created. Hello Nasty makes the cut because it’s their last true front-to-back classic (with absolutely no disrespect to To The Five Boroughs, The Mix-Up or Hot Sauce Committee Pt. 2). It’s the Beasties at their loosest, bringing the party early on and making it last throughout. “Body Movin'” and “Intergalactic” are freak-dance purveyors. All this album wants you to do is get nice. The philosophy of the Beastie Boys is centered on free will and loving life and when we spin closer to the sun there’s nothing more appropriate.
Lyric: “Gettin’ out of the darkness / My light shines on.”
This one is DRY. Released in 1991, Screamadelica, found common ground with UK 90s rock and house music. It’s loaded with psychoactive energy. The beats crawl up your spine. The subtle arrangement of effects and loops spaces everything out. The keyboards reach out to the horizon like sun-rays. Their version of “Slip Inside This House” by 13th Floor Elevators manages to be trippier than the original with jabs of Sly Stone laughing. “Loaded” opens with Peter Fonda exclaiming, “We want to be free to do what we want to do,” as it slides into a blurred gospel anthem with jilted guitar solos. “Higher Than The Sun” takes you to its title and “I’m Comin’ Down,” sets you adrift.