Music

Early Summer 2013 New Music Playlist

Headset. Image via Shutterstock.

New tunes from Vampire Weekend, the National, Telekinisis and more, plus notes.

With Memorial Day the official start of summer, it’s time for another playlist to indulge in over the long weekend (along with the long awaited, new episodes of Arrested Development). Highly anticipated albums by Vampire Weekend and The National were released this month, along with new music by Deerhunter and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. Newcomers such as CHVRCHES and Hands fill out the list with new tunes from Yo La Tengo, Foals and Telekinisis and more. Time to fire up the grill and crank the tunes.

Early Summer 2013 Playlist by JaneJS on Grooveshark

1. “Varsity” – Smith Westerns

Chicago-based band Smith Westerns returns with its sophomore album in June, called Soft Will. This teaser single “Varsity” shows the songwriting chops of brothers Cullen and Cameron Omori, as they embrace a classic pop ethic with their indie rock quartet.

2. “Argonauts” – The Little Ones

The Little Ones is a six-piece indie pop band based in L.A. “Argonauts” provides a quirky, memorable tune for its sophomore album, The Dawn Sang Along.

3. “Ghosts and Creatures” – Telekinesis

Telekinesis is the musical project of Seattle native Michael Benjamin Lerner. For his third album of indie rock, Dormarion, he traveled to Austin, Texas to record with Spoon drummer Jim Eno. (Eno’s studio is on Dormarion Lane.)

4. “My Number” – Foals

English indie rock band Foals recently released a third album, Holy Fire. Singer Yannis Philippakis leads the charge over tightly wound layers of percussive instruments in “My Number."

5. “Penny” – Hanni El Khatib

Hanni El Khatib grew up skateboarding in San Francisco and wrote music on the side while working at the skateboard fashion label HUF. Now a singer-songwriter based in L.A., he continues a cool skater vibe for his second album, Head in the Dirt (produced by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys).

6. “If You Didn’t See Me (Then You Weren’t On the Dance Floor)” – Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.

Detroit’s indie pop songwriting duo, Daniel Zott and Daniel Epstein, expand their band to a four piece for their Patterns EP. This single showcases their vocal harmonies and electronic embellishments plus a welcome sense of fun.

7. “Diane Young” – Vampire Weekend

NYC’s alt rockers Vampire Weekend released a third studio album this month, Modern Vampires of the City. The four-piece made a deliberate decision to expand into other genres for drawing influences, evidenced in the rockabilly attitude of “Diane Young.”

8. “Never Seen Such Good Things” – Devendra Banhart

Prolific singer-songwriter and visual artist Devendra Banhart has released his eighth album of folk-inspired rock, Mala. His minimalist approach showcases the vocals and carefully edited instrumentation.

9. “Trouble” – Hands

Hands is an indie rock band from L.A. formed by Geoff Halliday and Ryan Sweeney in Philadelphia, before switching coasts. “Trouble” is the catchy single for their debut full-length, Synesthesia, full of swirling synths and intertwining melodies.

10. “Demons” – The National

Indie rock royalty The National just released its sixth album, Trouble Will Find Me, with “Demons” showcasing Matt Berninger’s melancholy baritone. Backed by two sets of brothers, Berninger and band are now based in Brooklyn after finding each other in Cincinnati in 1999.

11. “Holy Roller” – Thao & The Get Down Stay Down

“Holy Roller” is the stand out single from San Francisco-based Thao & The Get Down Stay Down’s fifth album, We the Common. Thao Nguyen’s eccentric vocals playfully provoke within the alt folk/rock continuum.

12. “The Missing” – Deerhunter

Deerhunter’s sixth album, Monomania, contains a collection of ambient noise rock along with shoegazing tunes such as “The Missing.” The indie band was founded in 2001 by drummer/keyboardist Moses Archuleta and singer Bradford Cox (who also has a solo project, Atlas Sound).

13. “Recover” – CHVRCHES

Scottish electro pop trio CHVRCHES (pronounced Churches) has already made an impact with a debut EP, Recover. The song “Recover” charges along with breathy vocals by Lauren Mayberry, with bandmates Iain Cook and Martin Doherty to complete the sound, recorded in a Glasgow basement.

14. “Before We Run” – Yo La Tengo.

Indie rock stalwarts Yo La Tengo released its thirteenth album since forming back in 1984, called Fade. “Before We Run” provides closure as the last track, a floating meditation sung by Georgia Hubley, sweetly building with percussion, horns and strings.

15. “Here I Am” – Adam Green & Binki Shapiro

“Here I Am” is the first track from the duet album by Adam Green (of the Moldy Peaches) and Binki Shapiro (of Little Joy), appropriately titled Adam Green & Binki Shapiro. Their minimalist approach recalls a 1960s baroque pop, their voices melting together effortlessly.

16. “Plastic Cup” – Low

Indie rock band Low formed in 1993 with a “slowcore” mantra of slowed down tempos and minimal instrumentation, manifested here in “Plastic Cup.” Based in Duluth, Minnesota, the group has released their tenth album, The Invisible Way (produced by Jeff Tweedy of Wilco).

Early Summer 2013 Playlist by JaneJS on Grooveshark

So far J. J. Abrams and Rian Johnson resemble children at play, remaking the films they fell in love with. As an audience, however, we desire a fuller experience.

As recently as the lackluster episodes I-III of the Star Wars saga, the embossed gold logo followed by scrolling prologue text was cause for excitement. In the approach to the release of any of the then new prequel installments, the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare, followed by the Lucas Film logo, teased one's impulsive excitement at a glimpse into the next installment's narrative. Then sat in the movie theatre on the anticipated day of release, the sight and sound of the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare signalled the end of fevered anticipation. Whatever happened to those times? For some of us, is it a product of youth in which age now denies us the ability to lose ourselves within such adolescent pleasure? There's no answer to this question -- only the realisation that this sensation is missing and it has been since the summer of 2005. Star Wars is now a movie to tick off your to-watch list, no longer a spark in the dreary reality of the everyday. The magic has disappeared… Star Wars is spiritually dead.

Keep reading... Show less
6

This has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it.

It hardly needs to be said that the last 12 months haven't been everyone's favorite, but it does deserve to be noted that 2017 has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it. Other longtime dreamers either reappeared or kept up their recent hot streaks, and a number of relative newcomers established their place in what has become one of the more robust rock subgenre subcultures out there.

Keep reading... Show less
Theatre

​'The Ferryman': Ephemeral Ideas, Eternal Tragedies

The current cast of The Ferryman in London's West End. Photo by Johan Persson. (Courtesy of The Corner Shop)

Staggeringly multi-layered, dangerously fast-paced and rich in characterizations, dialogue and context, Jez Butterworth's new hit about a family during the time of Ireland's the Troubles leaves the audience breathless, sweaty and tearful, in a nightmarish, dry-heaving haze.

"Vanishing. It's a powerful word, that"

Northern Ireland, Rural Derry, 1981, nighttime. The local ringleader of the Irish Republican Army gun-toting comrades ambushes a priest and tells him that the body of one Seamus Carney has been recovered. It is said that the man had spent a full ten years rotting in a bog. The IRA gunslinger, Muldoon, orders the priest to arrange for the Carney family not to utter a word of what had happened to the wretched man.

Keep reading... Show less
10

Aaron Sorkin's real-life twister about Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker wrangler, is scorchingly fun but never takes its heroine as seriously as the men.

Chances are, we will never see a heartwarming Aaron Sorkin movie about somebody with a learning disability or severe handicap they had to overcome. This is for the best. The most caffeinated major American screenwriter, Sorkin only seems to find his voice when inhabiting a frantically energetic persona whose thoughts outrun their ability to verbalize and emote them. The start of his latest movie, Molly's Game, is so resolutely Sorkin-esque that it's almost a self-parody. Only this time, like most of his better work, it's based on a true story.

Keep reading... Show less
7

There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image