I love summer and I certainly love listening to great music in the summertime. The right tunes just sound better with a warm sun shining down on you. So you ask; what are you listening to these days Dave? Here are some new and old albums I'm grooving on lately.
1. The Hold Steady-Stay Positive
As I wrote in an earlier post, this is not only the album of the summer, but the best album of 2008 (On July 14, the masses will finally get to buy the thing). Nothing else this year will come close to the pure joy and heartbreak covered on this disc. Craig Finn is the best lyricist working today and the band finally gives him the music to match the words.
2. Black Kids-Partie Traumatic
I heard the song "I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance" while flipping through my satellite radio the other day. I immediately had to know who this band was. Picture the happy songs from The Cure mixed with the exuberance of The Go Team and you'll get the idea. If I was a teenager in 2008, this would be blasting out my speakers every second of the day. Listen to the entire joyful noise here.
3. Steve Earle-Washington Street Serenade
This criminally underrated disc from 2007 has yet to leave my rotation. Not a bad track in the bunch and Earle has never sounded better. The track "Steve's Hammer (Song for Pete) is an true instant classic.
The band reunion no one was waiting for. Tom Petty brings his early 70's buddies back together to make a modern Country-Rock classic. It's so easy to take Petty for granted, but he has never sounded more focused and vital then on this disc. A perfect summer listen.
5. Nigeria 70
I found out about this killer collection of afro-funk goodness from the Fuel/Friends blog (Thanks Heather). If these 16 tracks don't put a smile on your face and a skip in your step, I can't help you.
6. Fleet Foxes
These Seattle, WA longhairs have created the perfect mix of breezy songcraft and earthy lyrics about hills and mountains. Their music reminds me of what The Band might have sounded like if they came out in the year 2008. This disc took me a while to get into, but once it hit me I simply fell in love with it. It's the perfect soundtrack to a early morning summer walk in the woods. Listen to the entire thing here.
7. Aimee Mann-@#%&* Smilers!
The amazing Aimee Mann is back with another disc of fantastic smart-pop tracks. I believe she could turn the entries from the phone book into a melodic pop classic. As usual with Aimee; the music sounds sugary sweat, while the lyric bite like moonshine. This one ranks up with Aimme's best and the album title just can't be beat!
8. Bob Dylan and The Band-The Complete Basement Tapes
I am so in awe of this collection I don't even know where to start. In 1967 Bob Dylan goes out of the public eye, moves to the hinterlands of Saugerties, New York, and creates 4 discs worth of Americana classics with The Band in their Big Pink basement. Oh yeah, and none of it was created for the public to actually hear. Songs fade in and out, the audio quality is poor, the playing drunkenly sloppy, and I wouldn't want it any other way. If you want the Cliff's Notes version, get the doctored up-officially released 2-disc version from 1975. But if you really want the meat and potatoes, you need to seek out the 4 disc bootleg called "A Tree With Roots" (hint, Bit-Torrent search). You can read the tracklist here. No summer roadtrip is complete without this collection!