Similar to the exquisitely dumbbell-heavy September fashion magazines that weigh down our bags this month – I always find the end-of-summer leaks, singles and albums are plentiful and some of the best. It’s kind of as if arts and culture operate on the “back to school” scheduling – and all sorts of new goodies come with the start of a new school year.
Outside of Buble’s holiday albums and LFO summer singalongs, plenty of artists don’t cater their song writing to the season, yet I can’t help but feel like these new releases are both perfect accessories for golden August days, as well as that brisk fall transition. So, here’s a mix of twelve new tracks for you; good enough for whatever the weather person says.
“Shake” – The Head and the Heart: The first off their forthcoming October album, this tune’s whooping vocals and Americana feel are exactly what you want with you when you peel out of the city to peg your tent in the ground. Less fluttery-folk and more full-bodied stomp, I dig this new approach with all of my (head and) heart.
“Ain’t That The Way” – Divine Fits: Man, I love this band. Between one of my favourite vocalists (Britt Daniels of Spoon) and the grungy guitar rumbles of Dan Boeckner (Wolf Parade, Handsome Furs), I’m right on board with everything they do – especially mashing classic rock chords and Daniels’ punky yelps on this sizzling new track.
“Waiting in Vain” (Jim James Remix) – Bob Marley: The first time I heard this, I was blown away. Maintaining Marley’s incredible storytelling and melody, the scruffy My Morning Jacket ringleader stripped down the reggae flow to layer in the thumping rock percussion, whining guitar solos, strings, keys and horns that have made over 15 years of MMJ dynamic rock so legendary.
“All I Know” – Washed Out: There are few bands I appreciate so much that I’ll vouch for their entire discography. Now, Ernest Greene’s might only be two albums deep, but I strongly advocate listening to it all with a heavy glass of red wine – staring at either a ceiling, beach or skyline. Company optional. The second most gorgeous thing to happen to chillwave (since his debut), Greene’s sophomore release Paracosm is full of more hazy, happy fantasies from one song to the next – taking you right out of your world, and right into his.
“There Will Come A Time” – Noah & The Whale: With flecks of Don Henley or Springsteen-inspired heartland rock, Noah and his sunny pals make this throwback-sounding ode to friendship and romance hard to dislike. I predict it would sound good on a streetcar home, after a late night apartment party with good friends.
“Hold On, We’re Going Home” – Drake: Say what you will about October’s Very Own, but he undoubtedly threw the greatest one-night hip-hop party in the world two weeks ago (no exaggeration) and he does a decent job of channeling “rap Drake” and “crooner Drake,” both individually and combined. Dropping this joint the morning after OVO Fest, Drizzy sided with a knee-weakening, ladykiller disco serenade as his next single – leaving no question about what will inevitably be the most overplayed, guilty pleasure dance floor request of the fall.
“Is This How You Feel?” The Preatures: Sounding an awful lot like HAIM and the other Pretenders and Fleetwood Mac-loving kiddies emerging from the woodwork these days, The Preatures win this month with one of the summer’s hookiest indie-pop songs. With their clever band name, head-bobbing guitar and guy/girl face-off in tow – there’s no way the Aussie outfit isn’t destined for mainstream recognition.
“Went to War” – Amason: The latest indie supergroup, including members from Miike Snow and Idiot Wind, have been a relaxing summer essential on my music radar. “Went to War” is particularly dreamy; consisting of more handsome boy versus girl vocals, ethereal instruments and hints of a Broken Social Scene downtown anthem.
“Safe with Me” – Sam Smith: Bring it in for the wind down. If anyone else was enamoured by the commanding soul voice on Disclosure’s “Latch,” then you’ll want to get with solo artist Sam Smith – the British R&B vocalist behind those powerful pipes and this sultry new slow jam.
“Wait for Me” – Kings of Leon: Maybe they’ll never be the Youth and Young Manhood kind of Kings again, but Caleb Followill’s milky howl hasn’t gotten any less pretty on the second single from the forthcoming Mechanical Bull. It’s no drunken brawling anthem or Deep South scorch, but those famously reverberating Kings chords and the heartwarming plea still feel good.
“Let’s Get High” – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros: While I highly encourage any of this genius hippie collective’s new album, this enormously jangle-packed single is worth the spotlight. While Ebert screeches “I need love!” alongside heaps of harmonies and every instrument in the caravan – I guarantee you’ll be having the time of your life.
“Wildfire” – John Mayer: JM has said a lot of whack things in his past, but in this mature new chapter and single he has it right, singing, “a little bit of summer is what the whole year is about.” Even as the temperature cools, the easy twang of Mayer’s newest stuff is welcome on any windows-down drive through the countryside.