The boys and girls of summer. . .


This summer is going by with the quickness. It's hard for me to believe that the event I've been basing the whole summer on -- next weekend's Lollapalooza concert in Chicago -- is just around the corner. Since it's the only real vacation I've planned, it kind of bums me out that, considering how fast the rest of this season has gone by, it will soon be over.

I have mixed emotions about summer. While I have great memories of family road trips to the East Coast and endless days at Elmwood Pool in Omaha, I've really come to dread the heat and excessive humidity. Sitting on the back porch this afternoon in 101 degree heat, I have to say I'm excited at the prospect of Fall rolling through town.

That didn't stop me from coming up with a mix to help get through this sweaty, chlorine-drenched, sand-infested, sunburned, fighting-with-your-brothers-in-the-back-seat final month of summer.


1. "Summer is Coming" by MATT POND PA: How could I start things out any other way?
2. "Fun Fair" by TAHITI 80: I spent many a hot, broke summer afternoon walking around the streets of Chicago listening to this ode to the joys of the theme park. When I was a kid, there was a place right in the middle of Omaha called Peony Park where you went to get your theme park kick. That place is long gone now.
3. "Oslo in the Summertime" by OF MONTREAL
4. "July, July!" by THE DECEMBERISTS
5. "Summer" by MODEST MOUSE: For some reason, the part where Isaac Brock gets a page on his beeper always puts a smile on my face. I think it's the gangsta way he says, "Damn, who's paging me now?." It's nice to hear indie rock getting mindless and fun like this every now and then.
6. "California Sun" by RAMONES
7. "Surf Wax America" by WEEZER: Probably one of a handful of songs from Weezer's debut album that stand up after all these years. It also makes me want to surf, although doing so would require me to overcome my near crippling fear of sharks.
8. "Wouldn't it be Nice" by THE BEACH BOYS: You can't make a summer mix without them. It's an actual law.
9. "California" by THE WEDDING PRESENT
10. "Summer Babe (Live)" by PAVEMENT
11. "Summertime Blues (Live)" by THE WHO
12. "California Waiting" by KINGS OF LEON: This is the far superior version found on the Holy Roller Novocaine EP.
13. "Another Sunny Day" by BELLE AND SEBASTIAN
14. "The Swimming Song" by LOUDON WAINWRIGHT: Yeah, I've posted this one before.
15. "Summer Teeth" by WILCO: In case you're wondering, yes, this one does count toward my TWEEDY 100. For those keeping score, this is #11. I had a friend in Philadelphia who was obsessed with the Grateful Dead and was having trouble finding a new band to love. This song, and the album of the same title, won him over and he has been a devoted fan ever since.
16. "Wishlist" by PEARL JAM: This may not be an obvious summer jam to a lot of people, but it makes me think of driving around on Missouri highways during late summer nights while in college. There's a great Dire Straits-esque guitar solo, an E Bow, and that nice touch of the song fading out just as Vedder sings that final verse, "I wish I was a radio song, the one that you turned up. . ."
17. "Once Upon a Summertime" by ASTRUD GILBERTO: Summer ain't just fun and games, kids.
18. "Cabezon" by RED HOUSE PAINTERS: Probably the happiest song these guys ever wrote. It doesn't hurt that there are no lyrics. It's kind of cool when I consider that I had a group of friends who would actually enjoy when this song came on during a road trip. It became so beloved by our little circle that it could actually be used to break tension or change the mood at the drop of a hat.



The best songs in the world. At this moment. To me alone.


"Down Home Girl" by THE COASTERS: I had no idea when I started putting this post together that Tuwa's Shanty had their own post going about the Alvin Robinson version of this song. His post pretty much nails everything I love about this song, too, so you might as well head over there to download their track. The first time I ever heard any rendition of this Butler/Leiber song was on THE ROLLING STONES' cover-filled Now LP. The Stones' version is sexy, but The Coasters just lay the mack down on this mother. (BONUS TRACK: "Down Home Girl" by OLD CROW MEDICINE SHOW)

"Jealous Guy" by DONNY HATHAWAY: God bless you, Soul Sides. I can't imagine living my life without hearing this song, and I owe it all to Oliver Wang's blog, and more specifically, the awesome CD of funk and soul gems he curated. I wish I could put out my own album, if only in the hopes I could introduce a song to someone that could move them as much as Hathaway's cover of John Lennon's classic has moved me.

"Incinerate" by SONIC YOUTH: Bloggers have been all over this song for a while now, but I don't care -- this song is just gorgeous and encapsulates everything great about one of my favorite bands. Listening to this you can hear all of the influence these guys have had, on bands like the Smashing Pumpkins, The Pixies, Yo La Tengo, 18th Dye and more. While I enjoyed Sonic Youth's past couple of albums, I really think their new record, Rather Ripped, is exceptional and up there with some of their best albums (Sister, Daydream Nation, Goo, etc.. (BONUS TRACK: A 1988 Peel session from Sonic Youth, where they cover The Fall's "Rouche Rumble")

"For Your Information" by THE CEDARS: Please, God, tell me someone out there can tell me more about the Cedars. What I've learned, I got from a fantastic blog called Little Hits. Everyone I have played this song for has been stunned to find out that these guys were from Lebanon. This song, from 1967, was a huge hit. . . in Turkey. It's a damn shame they never blew up worldwide, because this is the coolest blend of the Middle East and Western pop music I've ever heard, and that includes "Norwegian Wood."

"Lloyd, I'm Ready to be Heartbroken" by CAMERA OBSCURA: It's a fact -- I'm a huge sucker for a girl with a quirky accent, and Camera Obscura's Tracyanne Campbell has a great sexy, Scottish one that turns words like "down" into something that sounds like "doyne." This track is a mini-masterpiece, with soaring strings, a church organ and percussion straight out of a Phil Spector tune. (BONUS TRACK: "Teenager" by CAMERA OBSCURA)

"Quiet Town" by JOSH ROUSE: I've confessed previously to my guilty love of Josh Rouse's pitch perfect brand of lite-rock. Yacht Rock be damned, this guy is just plain SMOOOOTH. "Quiet Town" is from Rouse's newest album, Subtitulo, an album dedicated to Rouse's newfound home in Spain. (BONUS TRACK: Here's a repost of one of my favorite Rouse songs, the imitation Smiths-y-ness of "Winter in the Hamptons")

Pimps of Gore is back, bitches.