The Sounds of Summer: What We're Listening To This Season
film / tv / lists / guides / news / love / celeb / video / think pieces / staff / podcasts / web culture / politics / dc / snl / netflix / marvel / cbr

The Sounds of Summer: What We're Listening To This Season

By Sarah Carlson | Comment Diversions | July 20, 2012 | Comments ()


Most of us know -- haven't been able to avoid, really -- some of the more popular ear worms of summer, Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" being arguably the biggest so far. (I'm partial to Cookie Monster's version.) But we also know there's more music out there than what becomes ubiquitous in pop culture.

Music isn't discussed around these parts much, but it seemed time to check in again to see what you all, dear readers, are listening to this summer -- what makes up your life soundtrack. We've all got one.

I'll go first: The newest edition to mine is Regina Spektor's latest, the lovely and infectious "What We Saw From The Cheap Seats."

So, which artists and albums are getting you through the summer months?

Here's Something to Take the Edge Off: Aaron Paul Freaked Out on 'The Price is Right' in the 90s | 10 Movies That Had the Extreme Misfortune To Open The Same Weekend As A Mega-Blockbuster

Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • A lot of really good recommendations! I picked up a couple ones I haven't heard yet thanks to you guys, so thanks. I also recommend the new one by Twin Shadow - Confess. Really soulful lyrics and amazing instrumentation, it's a perfect electro pop album.

    Also, Beach House - Bloom. Look up "Lazuli" and "Myth". Trust me, this is their best album to date and they can only get better. And +1 to the new Temper Trap album too!

  • TheOriginalMRod

    We are having a very "throw back" summer of music with a new found and re-found (I don't have too much of a choice...) Pearl Jam love. Well... it is more about Eddie Vedder and ukeleles. Which is excellent. And of course the soundtrack from Into the Wild. But also, the cover of Pearl Jam's "Just Breathe" by Willie Nelson (along with his son... that sounds just like him) which is pretty darn good.

  • Ben

    I'll be listening to the usual folk/punk that I have always listened to. Gaslight Anthem, Hot Water Music, Dave Hause and so on.

  • zeke_the_pig

    zeke's summer listening thus far has been three-fold:
    1. Tesla's 3 great albums: Mechanical Resonance, The Great Radio Controversy and Psychotic Supper.
    2. Clutch's one-two punch of Blast Tyrant and Robot Hive: Exodus, and
    3. Any and every Albert King song.

  • kayla

    God, Regina's album is terrible. I'm such a huge fan of hers, but I was just utterly disappointed by that one. It's just so boring. And several of the songs I've heard a milltion times before on other albums or recordings.

    I'm currently into Fiona Apple's Idler Wheel.

  • EKnievel

    If you haven't heard Nick Waterhouse yet, you're doing yourself a wrong. Like The Black Keys and Buddy Holly had a musical baby. Go and get "I Can Only Give You Everything" right now.

  • iamjames

    Weirdly, I've been listening to a ton of 80s 90s synth pop lately: Erasure, Depeche Mode, Anything Box, The Cure, and the entire Drive Soundtrack

  • Maguita NYC

    Puberty hit me with the full force of a rhinoceros in heat while listening to the dark painful anguish of Depeche Mode!

  • Benny10772000

    Nas "Life Is Good"

  • Call Me Maybe is awful. CookieMonster is a close second to this version, though: Oorah!

  • TSF

    I like the new Regina Spektor album, but album of the year so far has to go to Fiona Apple. Otherwise I've been listening to St. Vincent, Aesop Rock, Killer Mike, El-P, Joey Badass, Feist, Nas, Danny Brown, Mr. Motherfuckin' Exquire, Ka, Schoolboy Q, Ab Soul, A$AP Rocky, Kendrick Lamar, Azealia Banks, Shabazz Palaces, Tom Waits, Wiki, SpaceGhostPurrp, Meek Mill, Kurt Vile, Bon Iver, Death Grips, EMA, Big Deal. Everybody, basically.

    I've never heard "Call Me Maybe".

  • Pete

    I want to have Regina Spektor's babies.

    Or she can have mine. I confess, I'm not really sure how it works.

  • AudioSuede

    Aw, my comment got blocked for moderation, and now I'm gonna get buried in a comment thread about new music, AND I MUST LET EVERYONE KNOW HOW COOL I AM!*

    *And how good the new Frank Ocean album is. Seriously, you guys, "Pyramids" is the best song of the year so far.

  • betsy

    i lack sufficient hipster cred to listen to any of the music posted here, but to be fair to myself, my ipod is broken, i don't have tv bc we're poor, and i'm stuck at work most times in a retail capacity where we listen to naught but top 40 and 80's. so the fact that i can say i've kind of listened to 'little bit of everything' by dawes approximately a zillion times makes me feel at least a bit better. that's all i got.

  • Uriah_Creep

    This is not new music by any means, but Jon Lord, co-founder and groundbreaking keyboardist for Deep Purple, passed away on Monday. There has been little mention of it outside the dedicated music sites, but this man was an amazing musician. He redefined the way organ could be played (especially the awesome Hammond B3 through his "The Beast" amplifier sysyem) and the writing of symphonic rock works (and indeed, classical works for orchestra as well.) I, for one, will sorely miss him.

  • I_Sell_Books

    Bigbang "Alive" Special Edition. It is, one might say, Fantastic, baby.

  • Rooks

    Everyone who gets German radio will know these by heart. Don't worry, I can't get them out of my bloody head either.
    Kraftklub - Songs für Liam. I can't get enough of the chorus.

    Auletta - Make Love Work.

    And Die Toten Hosen - Tage wie diese

  • courtsinsession

    I've been listening to SBTRKT pretty much non-stop this summer. I am also still blasting This is Happening by LCD Soundsystem during my commute because that album is a goddamn delight.

  • googergieger

    There is a reason shuffle was invented, yo. Only things that ever pop up on any sort of consistent basis are, Oldboy and Lady Vengeance OST, Grandaddy, Oh No Oh My, Humming Urban Stereo, kind of it lately. Usually every month for about a month it's nothing but nineties hip hop.

  • almond

    Lisa Hannigan - Passenger (album). An absolute must.

  • Garbage - Not Your Kind of People. Not as good as Beautiful Garbage but still better than most. Also Neon Trees - Habit. Really like that one, too.

  • TheAggroCraig

    I also picked up that Regina Spektor album. I liked it. Along with Fiona Apple's new one, I went out of my way to get Katzenjammer's sophomore effort a couple months ago, and I know it's not from THIS year but I got ahold of Kimbra's solo album. That's just a taste, baby.

  • Jim Slemaker

    Can't stop listening to GROUPLOVE's "Tongue Tied". Just an exuberant, perfect song for summer.

  • LadyKarinsky

    Loving the sound of Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds - Lyre of Orpheus album, moody and intimate, raw. And some lighter love to Misti Miller, with sweet summery ukelele and piano. Two totally different sounds for two different moods.

    On a side note: I love the diversity of the artists everyone is recommending!

  • Becca

    I've been addicted to P.J. Harvey and St. Vincent. Floaty voiced indie ladies ftw!

  • michaelceratops

    I can't stop listening to Camera Obscura's 2009 album "My Maudlin Career" - one of the songs was on Girls and I fell back in love.

  • German

    I have a 90 minute commute so I've got a few in rotation, right now its:
    A Silent Film - Sand & Snow,
    M83 - Hurry Up We're Dreaming,
    Walk The Moon,
    Reptar - Body Faucet,
    Grouplove - Never Trust a Happy Song,
    Of Monsters and Men - My Head is an Animal,
    The Temper Trap-Conditions,
    Passion Pit-Manners,
    Two Door Cinema Club-Tourist History,
    Alabama Shakes-Boys & Girls,
    Atlas Genius-Through the Glass,
    Animal Kingdom-The Looking Away
    Morning Parade

  • Lauren


  • My Head is an Animal by Of Monsters and Men

  • We should talk music more often. This is good.

    Metric "Sythentica" and Of Monsters and Men "My Head is an Animal" any time.
    Marina and The Diamonds "Electra Heart" for dancing and driving time.
    Michael Kiwanuka "Home Again" for wine times.
    Also, Stars "Set Yourself On Fire" is an old favorite back in steady rotation.

  • sweetfrancaise

    I agree! Talking music is a nice change of pace. And you have excellent taste. I've been listening to (beyond Kiwanuka and Of Monsters) M83, Perfume Genius, Nick Waterhouse, Willy Moon, and various electro-swing bands.

  • Love M83!

  • Eblis O'

    Kishi Bashi: 151a. It is a spectacular album that just keeps growing on me over the course of the past month or two. There are two tracks I think are adequate, and I love the other 7.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    This how I know I am too big a nerd. I thought Regina was covering Jacques Brel. (I like her version too, but I bet she'd do a lovely cover of the Brel song)

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Also, as the Regina Spektor song has stuck in my head...the tune seems kinda Fraggly. Not a bad thing. Just noticing.

  • Rocabarra

    Band of Skulls was my summer discovery - check out "The Devil Takes Care Of His Own", "Sweet Sour", and "I Know What I Am".

    And I know it's a bit old now, but Dan Auerbach's (of the Black Keys) solo album Keep It Hid is excellent too. Mean Monsoon is a totally rockin' tune!

  • littlealbatross

    Gregory Alan Isakov
    The Bird and the Bear (EP is on itunes...they're just starting out so a bit difficult to find) and
    Brandi Carlile (Bear Creek is amazing)

  • Renton

    Liars WIXIW - a disjointed and menacing Kid A.

  • Nadine

    I want ALL of Regina's sunglasses. Someone make that happen. I'M AN OWL.

  • The Men - Open Your Heart is a great, great, great album. It's burning up on my I-Pod. I'm also on a Teenage Fanclub kick, with Howdy! being the album of choice.

    The Walkmen - Heaven, is also kind of essential.

    Oh, and all of you, every single on of you, should be listening to Future Islands. that is all.

  • I absolutely agree with your Future Islands sentiment! Their last two albums are so good to the point of inexplicable goosebumps.

  • Japandroids - "The House That Heaven Built"
    The Gaslight Anthem - "45"
    Dan Mangon - "Post-War Blues"
    Patrick Watson - Into Giants"
    Daydream Vacation - "Get Up On Your Feet"
    Delta Rae - "Bottom of the River"
    Gregory Porter - "Be Good (Lion's Song)"
    the xx

  • Yossarian

    You've probably never heard it before stuff:

    The Eversons - "Marriage", "Could it Ever Get Better" (on Summer Feeling)
    The Detroit Cobras - "Boss Lady" (on Life Love and Leaving
    Chelsea Light Moving (Thurston Moore side project) - "Groovy & Linda"
    The Dentals - "I am an Artist" (on Tennessee)

    You should already be listening to it stuff:

    New albums by Best Coast, Metric, Regina Spektor, and Fiona Apple

  • Thanks for the Detroit Cobras rec. Damn.

  • havalina

    Gahd, I love the Detroit Cobras. Rachel Nagy's voice is one of the best things to ever happen to my ears (and my ass...for shakin' that is).

  • growler

    Fiona Apple's The Idler Wheel... and Dirty Projectors' Swing Lo Magellan are both demanding listens and fantastic albums. Japandroids new one, Celebration Rock, is great ass-kicking rock and roll.

  • Oh yeah. "Celebration Rock" kicks all kinds of ass. Great choices.

  • Aaron Anthony

    Even though I had heard about them a while back I just now got around to checking out Alabama Shakes and damned if it isnt excellent. One of my favorite albums of the year for sure.

  • Ted Zancha

    I've had Maps and Atlases' "Beware and Be Grateful" as well as mewithoutYou's "Ten Stories" going on repeat this summer.

    I wasn't aware that Regina Spektor had a new one. I will be picking that up

  • danielwcarlson

    I'm pretty terrible at getting to new music the year it's released. By 2012, I'm usually getting into albums from 2010. Also, in my day, nickels had pictures of bumblebees on 'em. "Give me five bees for a quarter!" you'd say. Etc.

    However: for comedy fans, I recommend John Mulaney's "New in Town," which came out earlier this year. Really good stuff. Confessional/observational, with some pieces of absurdity.

  • jM

    I agree with all of this. I've been listening to "New in Town" almost once a week since it came out.

  • Cool. Regina has a new one out? Need to check it out.
    I've had that damn Gotye song stuck in my mind for weeks now. I've always been a sucker for soaring female vocals. However, I've been on more of a nostalgia kick recently - 80s hair bands, 70s country, that sort of thing.

  • JenVegas

    A friend of mine turned me on this WhoKill album by the Tune-Yards. It's pretty damn good.

  • AudioSuede

    Her voice is so wonderfully insane. Seeing her live was a trip.

  • Samantha Klein

    On my wishlist currently!

  • Snath

    It took me about three months to realize that the singer is a woman. I just honestly had no idea.

  • L.O.V.E.

    I'll be playing the latest albums from Metric, Silversun and Garbage into the ground.

  • Withnails

    This track here rocks my shit out like nobodies business.

    "Oh Lord" by Foxy Shazam

  • Bert_McGurt

    So far it's been Florence & the Machine (both "Lungs" and "Ceremonials"), "My Head is an Animal" by Of Monsters & Men (who are a new band from Iceland), and a couple great acts that I either saw for the first time or re-aquainted myself with at the Winnipeg Folk Fest: "Live From the Phoenix Theatre" by bluesman Matt Andersen, the self titled album by The Head and the Heart out of Oregon (I think), "Barchords" by Bahamas, and pretty much every album from one of my favourite bands from the last five years, Elliott Brood. If you like banjo and ukelele, and are intrigued by a band that calls their music "death-country", I highly recommend them.

  • Sarah Carlson

    I'm enjoying Of Monsters & Men, too! Good call.

  • pcloadletter

    Also loving Of Monsters & Men right now.

  • Rocabarra

    Ditto that!

  • Mary

    You *must* be a fellow Torontonian, because I have yet to meet anyone outside the city who has heard of the awesomeness that is Elliott Brood.

  • Bert_McGurt

    Nope, I'm from Winnipeg (which is a sad, sad thing this year if you're a football fan). But I first saw them probably 6 years ago, just after "Ambassador" came out. They actually blew the power TWICE during a set at the Fest this year. And earlier that day, they led one of the workshops (which also featured The Head and the Heart) in a full 15-minute cover of Neil Young's "Cortez the Killer".
    So yeah, they were awesome.

  • M_Campos

    Like most people, I've been listening to Frank Ocean's 'Channel Orange' non-stop. That and Best Coast (perfect summer music) have been getting worn out on my iPod

  • Puddin

    Ooh, I like this one. Well, it depends on my mood and the weather. On a hot Southern day, theres nothing like whiskey and some Alabama Shakes to beat the heat. However, yesterday was sad and rainy, and I needed some Brandi Carlile to get good and depressed. "That Wasnt Me" is so honest its painful.

    THEN, we move onto if I'm feeling, you know, saucy. IN the biblical sense. In that case, just the new Bonnie Raitt album "Slipstream" is THE SEX. I love that woman so hard.

    Finally, we have the old standbys, the ones I listen to on my commute. Dolly Parton [Little Sparrow], Ryan Adams [Heartbreaker--I know, I know, but its still sooo good], Old Crow Medicine Show, and of course, that new Pink song where she talks about having a shit day.

    What can I say? Pink is kinda catchy.

    Of course, there's like a billion more I could go on about, but that would be unseemly.

  • Aaron Anthony

    Didn't see that you had mentioned Alabama Shakes when I posted. It doesn't have to be a hot Southern day (mostly bc I'm in the North) for me to enjoy some Shakes.

  • branded_redux

    Daaaaaaaamn, Regina!
    (always loved her)

  • PDXScott

    The Very Best- MTMTMK. Maybe the most joyful thing I've ever heard.

  • noodlestein

    Definitely obsessed with Caro Emerald this summer; her songs are bluesey and jazzy and uptempo and everything that is good all mixed into one. Go to YouTube and search for her song, That Man, and just see if you don't play it twenty time in a row!

  • celery

    The song "R U Mine" by the Arctic Monkeys. It might even be my song of the year, though it's been around for a while.

  • almond

    Most everything from Arctic Monkeys. Fluorescent Adolescence especially.

  • Aaron Anthony

    Yes to the Arctic Monkeys! They have so many great tunes...including one of my personal faves "505"

  • TheOtherGreg

    Not so much music, this is becoming my summer of podcasts. Extra Hot Great, Pop Culture Happy Hour, Tobolowsky Files, Filmspotting, Under the Influence (a CBC podcast about marketing and advertising, more interesting than it sounds)

  • ljridley

    I am in denial about the end of Extra Hot Great. I simply refuse to believe Dave and Tara are moving to LA. Nope. Not happening.

  • Maguita NYC

    Thanks to the amazing Warrior movie, I've discovered The National.
    A track perfect for your last 8 minutes of running, under misty summer rain.

  • Aaron Anthony

    If I could give you more than one upvote for The National I would. "Bloodbuzz, OH" and "Fake Empire," among others, are in regular rotation for me. Inf act, I shall go listen right now.

  • Bert_McGurt

    You might want to check out the lesser known compilation album "Dark Was the Night" that the National spearheaded a couple of years ago as an AIDS benefit. It's got a lot of great songs on it from Iron & Wine, Feist, Arcade Fire, Spoon, Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings and the Dessner brothers.

  • Yes, full of deliciousness. Very, very good.

  • Maguita NYC

    Thank you, I will!

  • shardik

    I adore The National. Boxer is pretty much a landmark album in the indie music world, and those songs in Warrior were perfectly used.

  • Samantha Klein

    The National! I would like to eat up Matt Berninger's voice with a spoon.
    I mostly only listen to music these days whilst exercising, so my playlist is a weird blend of hip-hop and rock. Somehow, TMBG is always a summer band to me as well; you can never go wrong with some of their poppier standards.

  • Maguita NYC

    Oh, that yearning voice!

    I was surprised when I saw the live vid on its own. For in the movie, it was about that brotherly love, and a bit of paternal pride. But in the original song, you hear that anguish at the obvious fear of his relationship ending... Just melancholic and desperate enough to pull you in... Always wanted to know, did his relationship work out in the end?

blog comments powered by Disqus