Welcome to another wonderful
semester of TSL’s music column, where good tunes of all kinds are always
plentiful. Whether you’re into pop, jazz, jungle, ear-destroying metal, vaguely surfy
punk or post-proto-vaporwave, I’ve got you covered. This semester, I’m going
to ratchet up the Claremont coverage, but I can’t cover any
on-campus or local gigs yet because I haven’t been to any!
It’s the beginning of the semester,
and I imagine most students’ music situations are a bit dire: The readings are
coming in by the pound, this heatwave shows no sign of letting up and you’ve
spun that damn Todd Terje album a few too many times.
But fear not! My first column of
the year is dedicated to catching you up on the tunes you missed while you were
busy doing that internship thing. Here are five albums perfectly designed to
help you ride out this rather unbearable slice of late summer.
Best album for the sweltering
drive to the beach—Grand Mariner’s Happy
Grand Mariner are from New Jersey, but you wouldn’t know it
from their distinctly Californian sound. Raised on a strict diet of Green Day,
Wavves and FIDLAR, their brand of snotty, fuzzy surf pop is undeniably fun.
Plus, screaming along to “MAX! MILWAUKEE!” is real satisfying. Oh, and did I
mention the album is free on Bandcamp?
Best party tracks you
didn’t actually hear at a party this summer—Popcaan’s Where We Come From
If you enjoy good hooks and heavy bass, skipping over this
album is unacceptable. Following Vybz Kartel’s conviction of murder
earlier this year, the inhumanly melodic Popcaan has become the de facto king
of the Jamaican dancehall scene, and this, his debut full-length, was easily my
favorite album of the summer. Combined with incredible production from Dubbel
Dutch and Dre Skull (plus a nice feature from Pusha T), Popcaan’s voice is pure
Best soundtrack to
closing your blinds, turning on the fan and watching your thoughts drip down
the melting walls—Naps’ Hydrate
This one sits somewhere between instrumental hip-hop,
textural psychedelia and ambient New Age, and it’s easily one of the most
“summery” albums I’ve heard all year. Each weird, waterlogged synth line oozes
with sweat, like the beat is just too humid to function. Fans of everything, from
Flying Lotus and the Brainfeeder scene to the overheated electronics of Neon
Indian, would do well to check this Australian beatmaker out.
Best sad-boy soundscapes—Suicideyear’s Remembrance
If your idea of escaping the heat involves video games,
Arizona iced tea and Yung Lean, then this EP is essential. Suicideyear, a
hip-hop producer from Baton Rouge, works with hazy, hyper-emotional trap beats. Remembrance, put out by Daniel Lopatin’s
(aka Oneohtrix Point Never) Software Recording Co., is his first ‘official’ release, even featuring a My Bloody Valentine cover. If that can’t sell you on
it, I don’t know what will.
Best late-’70s yacht
pop compilation—Too Slow to Disco Vol.
Fine, so there was only one album in this category, but
despite all the reservations the phrase “yacht pop” just conjured up in you, it
totally kicks ass. Put together by new label How Do You Are?, it’s a snapshot
of wealthy, coked-up Los Angeles studio pop—and it’s ridiculously entertaining.
Familiar artists like Fleetwood Mac and The Doobie Brothers show up, but it’s
the guys you’ve never heard of, like White Horse and Browning Bryant, that
steal the show. Once you get comfortable with the cheese, hook after hook will
lodge itself in your brain forever.
Gage Taylor PO ’16 is majoring in media studies and philosophy. He is the electronic music director for the 5C radio station KSPC, and his first concert was NSYNC.