Friday, June 29, 2012

Seasonal Music Roundup: Summer Songs

It's just over a week into summer and the temperature in my area has already shot above one-hundred degrees. I'm not sure how much of a damper this will put on the ability to frolic this year, but it's certainly a good indicator that the season is upon us. I am an irresponsible blog-runner in that I have not yet given you an awesome playlist of recommended songs for the summer. Bad me. But now (a week late, I know), I have risen to the occasion and would like to present you with a summer playlist. Not all of these songs have to do with summer directly, many were just chosen for mood they seem to convey or the tempo (explanations after the image).

"All Summer" by Kid Cudi, Best Coast and Rostam of Vampire Weekend
This track was released for free a couple of years ago to promote Converse shoes. It's still available on the website, and I happen to think it's a solid song.

"Wild Young Hearts" by Noisettes
With a similar feel and energy to that of "All Summer," "Wild Young Hearts" is a great tune for jumping around in the sunniest season.

"Summer Day" by Coconut Records (featuring Kirsten Dunst)
Much more down-tempo, this song is better to listen to whilst lazing about drinking lemonade and whining about how hot it is.

"Weather With You" by Crowded House
Crowded House tends to have a spring/summer sound to them, but this song definitely feels summery to me. The song is about creating your own mood or "weather," so I suppose it suits whatever season you want it to.

"Summer Trippin'" by Push Kings
The all-but-vanished 90s band Push Kings are survived by Carrick Moore Gerety's more recent band Everybody Else, but should not be forgotten. I feel like this particular song has a lot in common with Crowded House, and has all the fun of a 90s pop song without the pain of being a typical 90s pop song.

"Oregon Girl" by Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin
A play on 60s surf songs like "California Girls," "Oregon Girl" is a great summery song for those who know that there are also attractive girls in states apart from California.

"Afternoons With David Hockney" by Miniature Tigers
This is a track from Miniature Tigers' latest album. I picked this song as more of a mood song. It has a floating, lazy feel to it that I think suits a summer playlist.

"Super Sunshine" by Tom Milsom
Talented multi-instrumentalist and Youtuber Tom Milsom presented this track on the first of his Explorers albums. It's a fun and intricate piece that can be purchased here.

"Run" by Ben Kweller
Ignoring the obvious grammatical errors, this is really a good tune. The feel of freedom and ease lends itself well to a summer playlist.

"Bloodshot Days" by The Crookes
This is a rather sad song, but I still feel like the instrumentals fit the playlist. I guess we just have to assume that summer isn't all pleasant frolicking.

"King's Highway" by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
A far more optimistic song than its predecessor, this song always makes me feel hopeful.

"Be Born" by Tally Hall
I chose this pleasantly lazy song about an unborn child because it's a perfect melody for a summer day whether you catch the meaning or not.

"Sunshine, Lollipops, And Rainbows" by Lesley Gore 
By an artist who could truly convey the innocence and happiness of young love, this is a tune that can make you very happy and optimistic if you let it.

"All Summer Long" by The Beach Boys
Like them or not, The Beach Boys sure do go hand-in-hand with summer.

"Sunny Girlfriend" by The Monkees
Michael Nesmith sings of a manic-pixie-dream-girl in a song that is pleasant and upbeat.

"Holiday" by Vampire Weekend
The oft-used-in-commercials "Holiday," like many Vampire Weekend songs, is great for warm weather. The video is quite nice too:

"Sunny Afternoon" by The Kinks
The moods of the lyrics and music match up perfectly in this tale of a lazy day in the life of a man who finds himself recently unentangled.

"Good Day Sunshine" by The Beatles
The Beatles sing about sunshine from time to time, but the effect is never as unapologetically optimistic as in "Good Day Sunshine."

"The Summer" by Coconut Records
Jason Schwartzman presents another fun summer song. Really, most Coconut Records songs are reminiscent of summer, but this one is blatant about it.

"Good Vibrations" by The Beach Boys
I close this playlist with another track from the most summer-centric band of all time.

Other suggestions? Drop me a comment.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Concert Review: Feist in Columbus, Ohio

Last Wednesday, I had the pleasure of seeing one of my favorite vocalists, Feist, live at the Wexner Center. The Wexner Center, as a venue, is not a rock setting, but it's definitely great for performances. The acoustics are possibly the best I've experienced at any venue.

The Low Anthem opened, playing a folky and Bob Dylan-esque set.

The Low Anthem

Having never heard The Low Anthem before, I was very impressed. They have a warm, rich sound and definitely know their way around musical instruments and concepts. I've never seen the saw played onstage before, and would love to again.

Feist and her band took the stage after a short wait and jumped right in with "A Commotion." I liked the live version of "A Commotion" much better than the album one. Such was not the case with "How Come You Never Go There," which was for some reason sped up immensely, so that it was almost unrecognizable. They carried some of the tribal sounds from Metals over to a version of "Mushaboom" with heavy drum beats.


Things began to sound more like the Feist of the earlier albums with "The Circle Married The Line," which I think is one of best songs from Metals, followed by "I'm Sorry." They played "Graveyard" in a style much more similar to something from Let It Die, flowing into a haunting "My Moon My Man," with a keyboard part far more unsettling than the album version. The whole song was played in a very rocky and somewhat staccato style unlike (but not worse than) the album version.

"I Feel It All" was made far more upbeat, causing most of the audience to stand and dance or clap. For some reason, it was performed twice, to no one's disappointment. Next up were three more songs from Metals; "Anti-Pioneer," "Bittersweet Memories," and "Undiscovered First." "Bittersweet Memories" turned out to be a fairly moving performance.


They played a version of "The Limit to Your Love" in which the beats were made more prominent and heavier. Afterwards, Feist drew attention to the backing vocalists, a trio called Mountain Man. Mountain Man performed a short song acapella, and then the band returned with "The Bad In Each Other," which, like "I Feel It All," they chose to play twice.

They closed the set with three more songs from Metals; the lovely and tragic "Comfort Me," "Caught a Long Wind," and a surprisingly beautiful "Get It Wrong, Get It Right."


For the encore, they opened back up with "Cicadas and Gulls." During the song, the bass/keyboard player danced topless backstage and was projected onto the background screen. Much of the audience and some of the band found it difficult to concentrate on the song with the interpretive dancing going on. Next, they played "Sea Lion Woman" from The Reminder, which was essentially everything I hoped for. The show concluded with a keys-riddled "Let It Die."

Seeing as I was not a huge fan of Metals, and the entire album was dispersed through the set, I was quite impressed with the show. Feist is a good performer who is lively onstage and able to engage the audience well. Her band and Mountain Man are also able to hold their own in terms of talent. I wouldn't recommend Feist if you're looking for a rock show, but she certainly gives a good performance.