Songs For The Season: Summer Playlist

summer playlist

Summer, the long coveted season for students, teachers, kids, parks, and numerous other interested parties, has always seemed to invigorate the beginning of something new. While it presents a change in season, it also sparks a temperate reinvention. Summer removes the constraints of autumn’s sweatshirts, winter’s coats, spring’s windbreakers, and welcomes humanity in its most natural form. With daylight bursting through the seams, endless possibilities, and a world to explore, summer rewards us with the sweat from our brow, and the heat consumed by our bodies. But, alas, what would a summer piece from UTG be without music?

All of the aforementioned activities of summer are only illuminated by the company of our ever-loved gifts of arranged sound. With the soundtrack to summer explored, we here at UTG are proud to present some of our personal favorite musical adventures to accompany us in the summer sun as the season’s first day officially begins this Saturday. Varied just as our writing team is, follow us as we dive deep into the mechanics of sound that give us our assistance in summer exploring. With these sounds at our side, we can further experience the world with clear skies above, warm air ahead, and if we look hard enough, we may find…something.

“For once, then, something.”

The Appleseed Cast – “Middle States”

I will forever back the fact that The Appleseed Cast have a song for any occasion. With a diverse, atmospheric, and criminally underrated discography, I can always count on TAC to remain as the soundtrack to my constantly changing domain. With the condensed “Middle States,” The Appleseed Cast present an adventure that is meant to solidify their love from where they come from. While not hailing from the Midwest myself, the elements “Middle States” professes about the love of your hometown, and the natural rewards it can give, are universally understood. While brilliantly treating vocals not as a method to spew words, but as a living, breathing instrument within the cosmic soundscape presented, “Middle States” is an appreciation of the rewarding season ahead of us, reminding us that home may be as far as we need to venture this summer. Learn yours well, for I am sure it still holds many secrets. – Drew Caruso, Reviewer / News & Feature Writer

Swervedriver – “Duel”

There is something incredibly freeing about the moment in Swervedriver’s hit song “Duel” where everything comes into fruition. A complete collective of resonating instruments, all locking in on the same groove, belting out the lyrics “You’ve been away for so long, you can’t ask why,” the song’s first upsurge instills imagery of running free in the open fields summer can highlight so well. And while it has surely been a long winter, as the hotter weather approaches, and the skies decide to open, let us get lost in the adventurous horizon with “Duel” swimming out of our speakers. – Drew Caruso, Reviewer / News & Feature Writer

Mac Miller – “Outside”

For whatever reason–I’m not particularly sure why–when the icy cold harsh New York winter of 2013-2014 was over, this track was the first one I blasted with my windows down and the sun shining. You can hate on Mac Miller all you want, but I’ll represent KIDS forever; fantastic mixtape. I may not smoke pot, but I can still appreciate this song. Rich or poor, a sunny day is a sunny day. – Derek Scancarelli, Interviewer / Photographer

Forever Came Calling – “Indebted”

“Indebted” is the type of pop-punk song that makes you want to roll your car windows down and drive to a destination undetermined. It’s the type of song you listen to when you want to feel the wind hitting you and the sun beating down as you head down the road. It’s the type of song that makes you want to go on an adventure. Buy into this track next time you hit the road on a spontaneous summer adventure, and as soon as that chorus explodes in your ears, you know you’re as close to paradise as music can take you. – Matthew Leimkuehler, Music Editor / Feature Writer

Bad Astronaut – “Catherine Morgan”

“Catherine Morgan” is painfully short but even at less than 2 minutes, it’s remained one of my favorite songs for over a decade. It may not have a pronounced summery vibe, but this 2002 Atticus comp cut will always remind me of the first summer that I came out of my shell and bonded with those that would become my best friends in the world. – Brian Lion, Head of Staff / Front Page Editor / Feature Writer / Co-Owner

Calibretto 13 – “High Five”

The best part of summer, at least as far as I am concerned, is the promise of late nights spent doing whatever comes to mind with the people you care about the most. You might not always see eye to eye, and truth be told, as you have grown older you probably haven’t stayed as in touch with one another as everyone would like, but when summer comes everyone finds a way to get together at least once. This Calibretto 13 song is the only song about friendship that you ever need, and it’s by one of the most underrated bands to ever grace the Tooth and Nail roster. Dig in and enjoy: – James Shotwell, Co-Owner / Editor / News & Feature Writer

Gold Motel – “We’re On The Run”

With a title like Summer House it’s really no surprise that Gold Motel’s debut album oozes with good vibes and tunes that will have you ready for a summer adventure. “We’re on the Run” is a necessity for any and all road trip playlists you make this summer. – Amber Wade, News & Review Writer

YG – “Bicken Black Bein Bool”

There was a time when I thought rock music was the only proper soundtrack to summer, but as I’ve gotten older hip hop has become a big part of my life. This year, I know no rap track will have more spins on my stereo than YG’s “Bicken Back Bein Bool.” It’s an admittedly silly song the first few times you hear it, but eventually the groove syncs up with your soul and it’s the only thing you want to hear. “Bickin Back” has become a phrase I use regularly, and you will too once you fall in love with this ridiculous-yet-aggressive single. – James Shotwell, Co-Owner / Editor / News & Feature Writer

Taking Back Sunday – “This Photograph Is Proof (I Know You Know)”

One of the best parts of the summer is the sense of nostalgia. Annual festivals, camping, road trips, 3-month flings – that’s what the summer is all about. “This Photograph Is Proof (I Know You Know)” is a song that you’ve probably heard, whether or not you were ever into Taking Back Sunday. Their music brings a flood of memories back to those of us who had the pleasure of listening to them in their heyday. This song would be the perfect addition to a road trip playlist. – Kriston McConnell, News Editor / Review Writer

Bedlight For Blue Eyes – “Waste My Time”

If you were on the Warped Tour scene in 2006-07 there are a few bands that you probably know about. There’s also a good chance you are one of those people that can say ‘I knew about Paramore before they were cool.’ One artist that I fell in love with after listening to a compilation that was handed to me is Bedlight For Blue Eyes. They never made it big like I had hoped, but their song “Waste My Time” reminds me of hoofing it all over the grounds of the Warped Tour festival grabbing every free thing in sight. – Kriston McConnell, News Editor / Review Writer

A Great Big Pile Of Leaves – “Snack Attack”

A Great Big Pile of Leaves is the definition of a summer band. I literally only listen to this band from May – September. There’s something unpoetic about listening to an album like this in the winter. – Nick Karp, Photographer

Bomb The Music Industry! – “Hurricane Waves”

I can pretty much assure that this song was written while Jeff Rosenstock was drunk on a beach. – Nick Karp, Photographer

Modern Life Is War – “D.E.A.D.R.A.M.O.N.E.S.”

The summer means one thing only: every band under the sun is touring, sweating in your basement, and acting incredibly reckless. There is no song that sums up being a young, stupid guy in a band better than Modern Life is War’s iconic “D.E.A.D.R.A.M.O.N.E.S,” and if this song doesn’t make you want to huddle into a crowded VFW and lose your weight in sweat while jumping off of a monitor, you’re incredibly boring. Save me from Ordinary. Save me From Myself. – Tyler Osborne, Head of Videography / News & Review Writer

Death Cab For Cutie – “Summer Skin”

Obvious song is obvious, but c’mon! This is an essential summer jam–to me at least. Death Cab have a tendency to reach into my soul with relevancy. Many tracks on both Transatlanticism and Plans have resonated with me for years. “Summer Skin” is a hammock track. A song to kick back and reflect with amidst the heat and hopefully somewhat of a breeze. Here’s to past loves and the seasons spent with them. – Brian Lion, Head of Staff / Front Page Editor / Feature Writer / Co-Owner

Wavves – “Super Soaker”

Lo-fi garage rock and summer go hand in hand. It’s finally time for the sun to stay put until the late evening, giving busybees and 9-5ers the chance to play like they haven’t been holed up all day. Wavves’ first record reminds us of that. When a band doesn’t take themselves too seriously, they ask you to do the same. So roll the windows down and turn the volume up like you’re headed to the beach after the last day of school — no one has to know if you’re going elsewhere. – Nina Corcoran, News & Review Writer

Catherine Wheel – “Show Me Mary”

Biggest one for me. The tempo of this song is summer to me. It’s excited, anticipatory, and ready for what the summer brings. – Angie Frissore, Stand-Up Tuesdays Columnist

Beirut – “Transatlantique”

Horns normally signify a royal affair, but Beirut uses them to create swirling world music that comes off much softer than their usual hard sound. Hit an open field and dance to the flowing solos and fresh ukulele in “Transatlantique” with the person you love in hand. Music like this is made for those warm evenings; and with Beirut playing in the background, it’s a lot easier to make summer as endless as you want. – Nina Corcoran, News & Review Writer

Tanya Morgan – “The Vehicle”

There are many nights I lay awake wondering how stellar acts like Tanya Morgan haven’t yet infiltrated the mainstream media. Comprised of MC Donwill and MC/producer Von Pea, the hip-hop duo has been stringing together poignant wordplay for over a decade, and have consistently dazzled with their forward-thinking sentiments and refreshingly frank instrumentation. This poise is most noticeable on tracks like “The Vehicle,” which, with the help of Spec Boogie and 6th Sense, ebb along with a silky smooth resolve and unwavering air of confidence. Casual and carefree, it’s the perfect addition to any summer playlist, and will likely be stuck in your head long after the temperature dips. – Kyle Florence, News & Review Writer

Japandroids – “The House That Heaven Built”

Winters in the midwest are a hell of a thing. Summer is the bright, perfect light through the fog of ice and snow, always getting closer but never quite arriving. We have to revel in it when it finally, eventually does. I’m going to get in my piece of junk Buick, roll down windows that might never roll back up, and ride those terrible speakers for all they’re worth. I just need that surge of adrenaline in the white hot sun, an unrelenting pulse that blasts every little care out of my skull for a few minutes. That’s what this song does, and that’s why it became an instant summer staple two years ago.

It’s hot, and it’s humid, and it’s gross, and I wouldn’t have my summer any other way. Turn everything to 11. And if they try to slow me down, I’ll tell ’em all to go to hell. – Tyler Hanan, News & Review Writer

The Living End – “Prisoner Of Society”

As a child growing up in Australia, summer was a time of seemingly endless enjoyment and adventure. A three-month period in which, freed from the shackles of school, you were able to fully embrace the wonder of the Australian outdoors and the seemingly endless opportunities for adventure the beautiful landscape provides. It was a time for days filled with pier jumping, bike riding, BBQs, fast food and intensely competitive games of street basketball. These long days were followed by impromptu slumber parties consisting of lots of sugar, PG movies Super Nintendo and very little sleep. It was the ultimate time for self-realisation, inspired by a seemingly omnipresent spirit of youthful defiance. In 1997, Melbourne rockabilly inspired punk-rockers The Living End provided the ultimate soundtrack to that defiance in the form of their hit single “Prisoner Of Society.” I have rediscovered the song and the album it was taken off every summer since and every time the familiar intro kicks in I am filled with that same feeling of reckless abandonment that I was when I heard for the first time at 12 years old. That’s why it is my ultimate song for the summer. — Brenton Harris, Review & Feature Writer (from Down Under)

Drew Caruso

Drew Caruso is a Bostonian who, when not writing about music and film, spends his time getting lost in New England, reading books, talking about science whether people want to listen or not, and more. To see the thoughts of a scientist by day and a writer by night, follow him on Twitter.
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