Summer officially ended on September first, so as Labor Day Weekend bids adieu to the warm season, I thought I'd put up a list of my top records released over the course of this summer, ranked in no particular order. Some may come as a surprise, and a few actually surprised me with how long they stayed stuck in my head and stereo these past few months. There are a few samples of the records, but they are all great, so go out and buy one for future enjoyment.
Under the Blacklight - Rilo Kiley
Okay, so I've now gone back and listened to Rilo Kiley's earlier albums, and I think I'm starting to understand why longtime fans are pretty upset over the departure this record is from their previous sound. That being said, I still think its a half hour masterwork of pop music. I can't skip a song, even the fan hated lead single "Moneymaker". The last couple songs are pitch perfect, as is my favorite track, "Breakin' Up"
Once Original Soundtrack
Every summer I used to attend a big music festival in the Bay Area and make a great personal discovery in the form of a band I'd never heard of before the concert. This year, for the first time in many years, I was unable to go, so I had to turn elsewhere to get my summer fix. Then Once came along, the indie film sensation, accompanied by its soundtrack, a collection of collaborations between the film's two stars Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova. I love every single track, just like I pretty much adore every scene in the movie in some way. "When Your Mind's Made Up" and "Fallen From the Sky" come from the studio scene in the movie, which was far and away my favorite in the whole film.
Interpol - Our Love to Admire
When I was in 8th grade, I saw a festival the day before I graduated middle school. Interpol was on the bill, but I had never heard of them. After their half hour set, I was breathing heavily from having endured pounding sound waves to my chest because Carlos D's bass was turned up so loud and hammered out of the speakers at the crowd; in other words, I was hooked. While their debut Turn on the Bright Lights remains my favorite album, I still like this album, their 3rd release. I'll have another post up in the future about my exact gripes with the album, but they boil down to a lack of Carlos D and drummer Fogarino on the tracks. Even still, "No I in Threesome", "My Chemistry", and lead single "The Heinrich Maneuver" are standouts enough to keep this album on constant rotation for me.
Is Is EP - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
The first time I saw YYY's live was like a religious experience for me. Karen O was going nuts onstage, Zinner was freaking out on guitar, and the crowd was going wild. I just love the band, and especially their second album. I've been a fan since their EPs a couple years back, but Show Your Bones really got me listening heavily. This EP, much like reviewers have been saying since its release, sounds a bit like a combination of SYB and their debut Fever To Tell, which is more of a compliment than a criticism in my mind. It has the catchy melodies and riffs like SYB and a dash of the raw energy on FTT, and it was over much too quickly for my tastes. Yes, it's an EP instead of a full length record, but as far as summer releases go, this one is a winner.
Riot! - Paramore
Normally, I would only indulge in this kind of music as a guilty pleasure. I got started listening to Paramore after becoming a fan of Be Your Own Pet, sort of a raunchier, dirtier version of this band. They've got somewhat of the same dynamic, passionate, outgoing female lead singer, but something on this record struck a chord with me and I've been listening to it over and over throughout the summer. I don't know why, but it just works for me when it's pumping through my stero while driving through the heat or just chilling out around the house. By the time a year-end list rolls around, I doubt whether this record will make the cut in my mind in terms of "best quality music," but in terms of summer entertainment value, Riot! acts like a kick-ass summer blockbuster flick, and seriously rocks out.
Rilo Kiley - Give a Little Love
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Rockers to Swallow
Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova - If You Want Me (Once Soundtrack)