As plenty of you know by now, I'm an indie-rock nut; a culture vulture always on the look-out for the best new bands; a music maniac.
The other day, I was watching the trailer for that new movie (500) Days of Summer and I realized that MUSIC plays a big part in the movie.* One of the scenes is of the two main characters bonding over their love of The Smiths in an elevator, for instance. The movie looks sort of awesome...and sort of depressing, as I fear it's going to make me feel sad that I'm not falling in love just yet. (What do you guys think? Has anyone seen it?)
(Also, perhaps more importantly, why don't people tell me I look like Zooey Deschanel more often???)
At the same time, after watching the trailer, I found thinking about music I've fallen in LIKE (if not quite love) to during my past — R.E.M. and The Doors helped get me hooked on Kevin Gallagher in high school, David Bowie helped me to swoon over Tom Ransack in college....
And I found myself wondering, too, what new music I might fall in love to this summer, if that were to happen.
One thing led to another and I asked my buddy Matt Tyson, the blogger for the great music site Ear Farm, if he would make a list for me — and for all of you! — of the albums that are essential listening this summer, especially if we are hoping to fall in love.
I don't know how you guys are going to feel, but after reading Matt's deliriously passionate explanations of why these albums are so great that I'm totally ready to go out and fall in love to them!
Now, without further adieu, here's what he had to say:
Top Five New Albums to Fall in Love to This Summer
1) Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix by Phoenix
The best kind of music to fall in love to, if you ask me, is Pop: that upbeat, smiley, catchy, guitar-driven music with light lyrics and hooksthat stick with you forever. These are the kinds of songs that happy memories are instantly attached to, and it's the kind of music that Phoenix has outright mastered on their album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. This record is as danceable and euphoric as music is willing to get in 2009; one spin and you're sure to fall in love, at least with Phoenix, if not the person present when you're listening to the album for the first time.
So what are you waiting for? Get Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, find that special someone, and make it happen!
Listen to this: During second date, if it's gone really well ... when the two of you head back to your place for a night-cap.
2) Hastings Sunrise by Apollo Ghosts
Who the heck are Apollo Ghosts? They're a little-known indie rock band out of Vancouver (so esoteric that you are sure to get cool points just for introducing your friends to them) who combine the garage-rock approach of Jonathan Richman with the joie de vivre of Vampire Weekend to come up with a sound that's a guaranteed love at first listen. Beyond the music, the lyrics contain countless lines destined to become inside joke references for couples who listen together. (In addition, many of the songs are actually about falling in love). Plus, if you're in a male/female relationship, the trading off of singing between members of the band will make singing along while listening in the car a fun boyfriend/girlfriend pastime. (You know you do it.) Plus plus, the song "Maybe With Me" from this record is undoubtedly the perfect "falling in love song" of 2009.
LISTEN: "Bad Apple"
Listen to this: after going to a movie, when you leave early to make-out in your car.
3) My Maudlin Career by Camera Obscura
If the Olympics awarded medals for brokenhearted teenage summer love nostalgia delivered in the form of music, Camera Obscura would be a three time gold medal winner. On My Maudlin Career, the Scottish band has delivered their third instant-classic record in a row. "But it's sad/breakup music!" That's right, but the lush production and the catchy choruses, and overall tone, make this album a perfect match for summer love. And if you're like me, you enjoy dousing your happy lovey dovey times with heavy doses of melancholy anyway. Think The Smiths meet the Beach Boys meet The Ronettes... you know what I'm talking about. Perfection.
LISTEN: "French Navy"
Listen to this: during your picnic in the park, after your trip to the art museum.
4) Blacksummers'Night by Maxwell
The entire genre of R&B could rightly be considered THE music to fall in love to (above and beyond Pop even). However, if you're like me, recent R&B has left you high and dry with its auto-tuned crap vocals and general soullessness. Fear not! Back to save the genre from smothering itself in mediocrity is Maxwell with his first album in eight years, Blacksummers'Night. The record, as a whole, is refreshingly good, offering up track after track of deeply emotive soul that will fit perfectly in your car, in dimly lit lounges, in your bed between the sheets, or anyplace else you might happen to fall in love.
LISTEN: "Pretty Wings"
Listen to this: during a candlelight dinner at your place followed by a little dancing and...?
5) The Bright Mississippi by Allen Toussaint
Here's this one in a nutshell: it opens with a track based on a well-known riff from the song "Summertime" by Gershwin, it combines blues and jazz in a manner that will be palatable to longtime fans of the genres as well as those who know nothing of them, and it oozes casual/swingin'/sassy New Orleans charm. Allen Toussaint, for those who don't know him, is a producer, songwriter, and session pianist who helped define the sound of New Orleans R&B throughout the '60s and '70s. On The Bright Mississippi he has headed back into the realm of jazz, offering versions of jazz standards from legends such as Duke Ellington, Django Reinhardt, Louis Armstrong, Thelonious Monk, and more. But don't let that pedigree scare you off; rather, this is truly an album for anyone. So much so, that it might as well have been titled The Bright Mississippi: The Ideal Soundtrack to Summer Love.
LISTEN: "St. James Infirmary"
Listen to this: during a lazy Sunday brunch, and all of the moments that come before and after.
*Which part does you music play, you ask? Hmm. Let me try to remember. Is it the supporting actor role? Or the father of the Zooey Deschanel character? ... Okay, okay, yes, that was a HORRIBLE joke.