Summer’s almost over. But that makes this even more pertinent. And it’s not like the value of these great albums will diminish in the first few days of fall—although we may have to do another one for autumn. We decided to do this after Android50’s Best Summer Albums of 2010. Not that we hated the list or the music of 2010. Our input just wasn’t asked for, like Android50 had some sort of monopoly on summer tunes. So here is our list, no restrictions, just albums we have been listening to this summer. Looking through it, it gets me all excited, as it just might turn some on to some new tunes. As for me, Kid Kilowatt took my Jawbox (I love Novelty), but besides that Iggy Pop’s first two solo albums (Lust for Life & the Idiot) are great to bike around to and have been in heavy rotation, Yo La Tengo have made a huge comeback (I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One) would be perfect for this time of year and autumn, but it was played constantly this summer as well. I got hooked on Will Oldham’s Palace incarnations, especially Viva Last Blues and Sleater-Kinney (especially One Beat & All Hands on the Bad One) once again—it had been a while. Oxbow, Beach House (an obvious pick), Smog, Destroyer (City of Daughters is soooooo good), Dinosaur Jr.’s Beyond, Guided by Voices, High on Fire, Modest Mouse (I think I have Songssuck to blame for this one, as he made me revisit Moon & Antarctica due to the 2000 list), My Morning Jacket (their first three, don’t talk to me about them after that), Neurosis, Mastodon, and the Woods made up the majority of my playlists this summer.
Of course the start of the summer saw me listening to nothing but Isis, Dio and Black Sabbath. It was a sad time for a while. But I said goodbye to Dio and Isis in my own way, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still miss them. Lots of stuff to check and revisit (for some reason the 90s were in VERY heavy rotation this summer, hum), enjoy what’s left of the nice weather with these great picks!
(ABC/Dunhill Records: 1970)
Being a big Paul McCartney fan I was hesitant to try Pthestudp’s recommendation of this album. I started to hear about it in other places, and Pthestudp insisted we listen to it. Forgive me, I should have proponent of Emitt long ago. The McCartney comparison is unavoidable, as even his voice sounds like Sir McCartneys. But unlike Paul’s work with Wings, these songs never veer towards overkill and are brilliant. His four solo albums have been re-released, but it was his self-titled debut that one HAS to have in their collection. Perfect summer listening. – Suzy Creamcheese
Fake Train/New Plastic Ideas/The Future of What/Repetition/ Challenge for a Civilized Society/Leaves Turn Inside You
(Kill Rock Stars: 1993/94/95/96/98/01)
Really I could have picked any Unwound album (and I did). They are all fantastic. Start with the beginning, (93’s Fake Train) if you wish. I have always told people Unwound are Sonic Youth plus Fugazi. And I don’t fucken lie about shit like that. So fucking underrated it pisses me off. – Songssuck
(Capitol Records: 1969)
Psychedelic, poppy, spooky—this one, in a sea of lost 60’s artifacts, stands out as being legit. No hype here, these guys have it. I dig it out every summer and it is a required listen on summer road trips, with no one I have played it for not being enchanted and won over. – Willie Rambo Strider
I play this album over and over again. Guitars processed & distorted beyond recognition. The sounds come from summer, but not summer on this planet. Summer in a much better time and place. Summer somewhere, when it rains, it rains drops of warm sunshine. Though maybe, this place is just a summery state of mind. – Tyrannosaurus Banks
Heavy Days Are Here Again
I wanted to highlight this one during our ‘Best of 2000’ list, but Songssuck said absolutely no reissues. So here we are, with an unheard of classic from 1981. Have you ever seen those ‘Live, Laugh, Love’ posters/decorations? Well, those schmucks should just hang this LP on their wall instead, because this album is just bursting at the seams with the exuberant energy from those three entities. Pthestudp described it as Schroeder’s soundtrack to Charlie Brown losing his virginity on a roller coaster to Lucy. Fuck yah! –Tyrannosaurus Banks
Band of Horses
Cease to Begin
(Sub Pop: 2007)
I did me some listening to the Band of Horses this summer. Reminds me a bit of old My Morning Jacket, lots of grandiosity, lots of reverb, guitars making the night sky seem small. Pretty great. –Dr. Anonymous
Barbed Wire Maggots
Fierce. Free. Uncompromising. Because something has to be. The problem is most people go into this album looking for jazz. This ain’t jazz. It’s the sound of a herd of wild stallions that have never seen a harness. And the fuck if these ones ever will. –Kid Kilowatt
(World in Sound: 1973)
Deserves its Holy Grail status.
Roky Erickson fronting Pavement. Captain Beefheart jamming with the Grateful Dead. Good shit. – Ho Chi Unser Jr.
Novelty/For Your Own Special Sweetheart
(Dischord Records: 1992/Atlantic: 1994)
These are classics, one cannot rate a classic.
For these two, Jawbox may have become mightier than their labelmates, Fugazi. Some songs on these two remind me of The Jesus Lizard, but Jawbox were always Big Blackier then Minor Threaty. I like Novelty better than their major label debut (I know, I know, probably wouldn’t have been possible without major label money, but I would like to hear it with more balls), but both are essential 90s documents. Make sure you take them both with you when rock climbing. –Kid Kilowatt