From a music standpoint, you’d be hard pressed to find a season that lends itself to a larger variety of music that all seems to fit than summer. Which is why this summer I cheated. As I was compiling the big master list that I normally start the process with, I noticed that I had two distinct sorts of songs. I had a group of toe-tapping songs that fit the summer days spent outside and I had a set of songs that seemed to work better for a night on the deck or on a nighttime drive around town. Eventually I gave up trying to pare it down and instead focused on building a mix for summer days, and one for its nights. I hope you enjoy both.
(click here to go to the mix on 8tracks)
1. California Sunrise- Dirty Gold. I knew pretty much from the first time I heard this song that it was going to lead off my summer mix. There could be no other option.
2. Grown Ocean (Maida Vale Session)- Fleet Foxes. I really enjoyed the studio version of this song, but this version from a radio show takes everything and does it better. My favorite part is at the end, when you can hear the symbol tap they use as a timing mechanism for that ending harmony.
3. Morning Thought- Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.. Love the daunting beat on this. One of those songs that just seems right for those crazy hot days in the middle of July.
4. Anna Sun- Walk the Moon. I heard this song for the first time in the middle of December and immediately knew that it was probably going to be the jam of the summer. That sentiment hasn’t changed.
5. Dreamboat- Saskatchewan. If there was a challenger to ‘Anna Sun’ for ‘the’ summer jam, this would probably be it. Unbelievably catchy.
6. Hacienda Motel (Live from the Basement)- Pickwick. Feels like the kind of song you would hear playing from a jukebox in a sweaty bar. Feels perfect for summer.
7. Too Dramatic (The Morning Benders Remix)- Ra Ra Riot. A lot of times I don’t like remixes. This isn’t one of those times. The Morning Benders took a completely enjoyable song and made it better in every way.
8. Jake Ryan- Summer Camp. I’ve had this song in my collection since just after last year’s summer mix got sent out, and I’ve been saving it for this mix. It’s just a great summer jam.
9. Trip- Vacationer. We all need a trip during the summer, and Vacationer understands that and wrote a catchy jingle about it.
10. Work- 1,2,3. A really big, fun summer rock song about a subject that isn’t fun. Pretty easy to look past all this work talk when the guitars are so loud.
11. Under Cover of Darkness- The Strokes. I’m not much of a fan of The Strokes, but there was no denying this song. One of those great songs for driving with the windows down.
12. I Swear- Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside. As I said when I wrote about it before, I feel like when this song comes on I should be in a dirty, hot, smokey bar drinking cheap beer and dancing.
13. Young and In Love- Madison Square Gardeners. I get a young Springsteen vibe out of this song, and that means it sounds like summer.
14. City Dreams- Antonio Paul. A bit of a guilty pleasure, but one I can’t seem to shake. Sounds like the right kind of song for a day in the sun.
15. Glowing Mouth- Milagres. A song made for a dizzyingly hot summer day, with talk of ‘burning our feet/on this isolated beach’ over an absolutely hypnotizing beat.
16. Say La La- Keegan DeWitt. A song that screams out for you to roll the windows down, crank the volume up and play the steering wheel drums while singing along as loud as possible. Don’t fight the urge.
17. Up Up Up- Givers. Absolutely fun and one of those jams you just can’t keep from tapping your foot to.
18. Always Spring- I’m From Barcelona. Just like all of us, all 20+ members of I’m from Barcelona just want everything all the time during the summer. I don’t blame them.
19. Up and Down- Chad Valley. Any song that opens with the sound of waves rushing up on shore is going to make this list. Luckily the rest of the song is just as full of summer vibes.
20. The Gaudy Side of Town- GAYNGS. So, it’s a dozen or so hipsters playing R&B music. You just have to accept it. And then roll down the windows of that Civic and turn up the volume so that when the Dr. Dre keyboard line drops at 1:52 you can feel as gangster as they want you to.
(click here to go to the mix on 8tracks)
1. Specks- matt pond PA. This was sort of the song that started it all. I didn’t see a way for it to not be the first track on a mix, and so that idea just kind of grew from there. It’s a fantastic song about love under the stars.
2. Swim Club- The Cave Singers. Feels like the perfect song for reflecting on a day spent at the pool (or wherever) over beers.
3. Gone In Love- Kelli Schaefer. One of my favorite songs released this year, and one that feels right during a sunset.
4. You Know What I Mean- Cults. There was little doubt this was going on the nighttime mix, what with all the talk of being scared of the light and such.
5. Blue Night- Buxter Hoot’n. Everything about this song is perfect for a nighttime drive around town with the windows down.
6. 1957- Milo Greene. Another of my favorite songs so far this year, it’s sweetly anxious vibe feels right for summer, when you’re out and about meeting new people in new places and wondering what they think of you.
7. The Honest Truth- Typhoon. It honestly doesn’t matter what I’m doing, when the song gets to the 2:15 mark I can’t keep myself from stomping and singing along. I’m hoping people in the office haven’t noticed.
8. Water Stone- The Thing About Rivals. A sleepy song that uses some harmonies that sound an awful lot like Fleet Foxes. Feels like the right kind of song as the day winds down.
9. High Definition- Fort Lean. Another song that seems made for a windows down ride through the bright lights of a downtown.
10. Lament- Mount Moriah. Inevitably in the middle of summer something bad happens- a falling out with someone, most likely. This is a song for that.
11. Half Moon- Iron & Wine. You know that time when the sun isn’t quite down and you can see the moon in the sky perfectly well? It’s one of my favorite times of any summer day, and this is a song for that.
12. Sunshine Blues- Bahamas. There was a zero percent chance that a song written as a love letter from the sun to the moon wasn’t going to make this mix. Zero.
13. Tonight I Want to Celebrate- Jim James and Carl Broemel. Really fun song about celebrating with friends and fireworks. Also, Jim James’ voice is amazing.
14. When the Sun Goes Down- Ben Gibbard. Another song that had a zero percent chance of not being on here. It’s a song written for a summer walk, and it’s written perfectly for it.
15. Evening Kitchen (live & acoustic)- Band of Horses. Just a stunning song that seems made to be listened to on a cloudless summer night.
16. Lover’s Eyes- Mumford & Sons. I’ve been an extremely large fan of Mumford & Sons since they burst on the scene a few years ago. Judging from this new song they’ve been playing, that first album wasn’t just a flash in the pan.
17. Summer Girl- Family of the Year. Another exceptionally easy choice- it sounds like they recorded this on a summer night around the campfire (…I don’t know how they got the piano there, though).
18. In the Summertime- The Head and The Heart. An extremely heartfelt love song- it seems summer lends itself especially well to thoughts of love (and longing for it).
19. That Moon Song- Gregory Alan Isakov. As I said when I wrote about it originally, I had this song for more than a year before I ever listened to it. I feel silly for ignoring it for so long. It’s another perfect song for beer time on the deck.
20. Old Pine- Ben Howard. When everything cuts out and Howard sings ‘And we stood/ Steady as the stars in the woods/ So happy hearted/ And the warmth rang true inside these bones’… that’s just perfect.
21. Born to Run (live and acoustic)- Bruce Springsteen. As I was told when I was sent this song, you should really listen to this song completely in the dark. Just let it wash over you. Springsteen reimagines his own song, flipping a summer staple into a powerful ballad.
22. Good Night-Rural Alberta Advantage. Even before I became hellbent on making this a two disc set, this was the only way I was going to end my summer mix. Good night.