1. Deastro “Vermillion Plaza” – I think this must be the third time one of this guy’s singles wound up on our top 10 list. Well, here goes another. An appregiating guitar climbs up and down the scale then a slapping drum gears in for a good run. There’s some reminder of U2 in this song and its complexity isn’t bogged down by artsy tendencies. The surprise after the bridge will find your ass shaking before you know what happened.
2. Glasvegas “It’s My Own Cheating Heart that Makes Me Cry” – Talk about anguish…this song really says something about that. If you can imagine yourself in an ice cavern, while mournful ’50s-influenced guitars strum resonate between the walls and a somber rockin’ hook, add a dash of self-inflicted heartbreak then you’re hearing what this song is about. Terrifyingly beautiful.
3. Phoenix “Fences” – This band surely compensates their French-ness with this easy going tune that reminds me of the best summertime activities – relaxation, dance, and sun. A lot has been said about this band and it’s pretty much right on. Guitar tickles under the skin while guided by a 4/4 thumping and a roving bass line. It’s sugary sweet. Drink.
4. Kelley Polar “Entropy Reigns (In the Celestial City)” – “Entropy Reigns” reminds me of last year but it has found its way into my summer playlist. There’s something very Long Island City about this song, the way that Polar croons side to side with a lovely sounding woman and bouncy bass line, catchy chorus, stabbed with touches of electronica. You can imagine partying with the city without actually being a part of it – just a long line of urban structure and that’s what this song is.
5. New Order “Regret” – An introduction to this tune is hardly needed. It is, however, one of those song titles that you look at and go, “what song is this???” but once you hear it, you’ll say, “Oooooh! That song!” Yes, that song. The song is about…err…regret but the lyrics aren’t the highlight of this tune, it’s the amalgamation of dance beat with an anthemic guitar riff that is done in a way hardly matched today (Deastro being one of the exceptions).
6. Joy Division “Sound of Music” – The origins of New Order are here with the same members minus the venerable voice of Ian Curtis – and yet the two bands couldn’t be more different if you pounded both styles into each other. “Sound of Music” isn’t what you think of in a summer song but there is something defiantly pleasing about the rollicking drums and shameless vocals of Curtis that can inspire some indecent dancing.
7. Ghostland Observatory “Cause a Scene” – If causing a scene means dancing on someone’s grave then I get it. Regardless of the strong electronic presence, the song remains rooted in a 1960s horror garage sound. The foot stomping beat and mean bass drops the gravity in your ears, making them pop. Fun, fun, fun.
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8. The Horrors “Gloves” – Yeah, I’m going back a few for this one but it doesn’t mean it isn’t fun anymore. Any prediction of the Horrors going the way of the Animals would’ve been moot if it wasn’t for the recent release of Primary Colours. The Horrors play their own horrible tricks and can be a soundtrack for a fun butcher who likes to roll around with his collection of cleaved appendages.
9. The Prodigy “Warrior’s Dance” – After years of searching for a new sound, the Prodigy are back with this year’s Invaders Must Die. The return of Liam’s gut-wrenching drum and bass sound, sped vocals, and rockin’ groove has proved that the thing he was looking for was there the entire time. “Warrior’s Dance” is one of the highlights of this collection filled with gems – and once you hear it, you’ll understand why it was given such a provocative title. This song is the declaration of an entire summer of dancing wildly around a bonfire with a bunch of strangers.
10. MGMT “Electric Feel” – Given the cabal of great music that has come out in the last couple years, sometimes you skip over some of its best albums. As I rediscover MGMT’s Oracular Spectacular, I am finding why it’s such a lovable record. After being beaten over the head (willfully) with “Kids” and “A Time to Pretend”, I was glad to explore “Electric Feel” more; with its funky grooves, shoulder massaging chorus. The space of reverb between the wall of the recording studio and the vocals force a little karaoke session out of your soul. Enjoy.