Summer is just around the corner, and whether you’re hitting the road, the dance floor, or the beach, there’s a soundtrack for every mood. Here are the new releases that we recommend as a backdrop to summer 2010:
B.o.B. – The Adventures of Bobby Ray (now available). If the first single off of this debut album is any indication, it’s going to be a huge summer for Atlanta rapper B.o.B. His catchy “Nothin’ on You” has been #1 on the Billboard chart for the last two week. And with the album, which also hit #1 its first week, featuring collaborations with big name artists like Lupe Fiasco, TI, Eminem and even Rivers Cuomo of Weezer, B.oB. is likely to be a mainstay on the summer 2010 charts.
Hold Steady – Heaven is Whenever (now available). We gotta give some love to Minnesota-boy Craig Finn and his bar-rock band, The Hold Steady. Their classic rock sound and storytelling lyrics of Americana have made fans out of many as they continue to release one great album after another. Rolling Stone magazine called Heaven is Whenever, the band’s fifth, “their most polished record yet, nearly majestic at points, without scrimping on bloodshot angst or exuberance.” It’s fun summer listening for the Springsteen set.
The National – High Violet (now available). Brooding New York indie rockers The National had their work cut out for them with High Violet, since their last album, Boxer, was so widely praised. And while it isn’t what one would think of as a quintessential “summer album”, it is certainly worthy of the hype. The overall mood is somber, mostly as a result of lead singer Matt Berninger’s baritone. But the lush arrangements provide a striking complement to the sometimes monotone vocals. The single “Bloodbuzz Ohio” is currently available as a free download from the album’s website.
Band of Horses – Infinite Arms (Available May 18th). This South Carolina by way of Seattle band is releasing their third album later this month, the first not on the Sub Pop label. There are videos for a new tracks “Compliments” and “NW Apartment” on their website, and a few others (such as “Laredo” and “Factory”) have been leaked to other sites as well. Though for me, they may always be trying to live up to their stellar debut album Everything All the Time, their signature harmonies over mid-tempo rock is likely to make this album a must for indie-rock fans.
LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening (Available May 18th). James Murphy, the man behind the curtain that is electro/dance rock project LCD Soundsystem, has been quoted as saying This Is Happening is the band’s best album yet, but also likely to be their last. If that’s the case, it’s bound to be one hell of a going-away party. After a few minutes of warm up, opening track “Dance Yrslf Clean” bursts into blazing synth and beats that don’t let up through the entire record. Another track favorite is “I Can Change”. (Also check out the wacky, Spike Jonze-directed video for single “Drunk Girls”.) It’s a great dance party record, arriving just in time for those crazy summer nights.
Jack Johnson – To the Sea (Available June 1st). Few musicians’ catalogs evoke thoughts of summertime quite like Jack Johnson. He has become synonymous with acoustic, chill, pop-rock. While I’ve only heard the first single “You and Your Heart”, it sounds as though the new material will be typical Jack Johnson, and a good antidote to the non-stop party vibe of LCD Soundsystem. To the Sea is sure to be a perfect soundtrack to a lazy summer day spent on relaxing on a boat. It is lakes season yet?
Also releasing new albums early this summer are hit-makers such as Eminem, Christina Aguilera, Drake and Katy Perry. While the first singles from Em and Xtina leave something to be desired, Perry’s “California Gurls”, released just days ago (and featuring none other than Snoop Dogg), is an infectious pop ditty with summer anthem written all over it.