You probably have a few albums you reach for when the weather heats up. Those tracks that remind you of distant summers and put you in the mood for a day at the beach or a long drive on a dusty highway. There’s a freedom to the season that you can feel in the balmy air. Here are a few of our favorites that we’ve been re-listening to with our Even earphones. And whether you’ve already unboxed a new pair of Evens or are listening with your current headphones, these albums really breathe the sounds of summer.
WAVVES - King of the Beach
For anyone who’s heard it, this album is such an obvious choice. This is the soundtrack to a beach bum life. It’s noisy, bratty, defiant, and tons of fun. If the Beach Boys were a skate punk band, this is what they would sound like. We can’t resist the jangly crunch of the guitars and the catchy “oohs” and “aahs” of the reverbed-out backing vocals sung over heartfelt lyrics about fun in the sun. As audio-quality enthusiasts we can enjoy a bit of lo-fi to complement the sound of the surf.
Pavement - Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain
This is the intellectual slacker’s magnum opus. Considered by many to be Pavement’s best work, this album has a summer aridness to its intricate twangy guitar lines. If WAVVES sounds like punks grinding rails in LA, then Pavement sounds like a slow longboard ride down the boardwalk. There’s a deliberate-yet-aimless quality to Stephen Malkmus’ lyrics and they’re delivered at times with slack-jawed apathy, and at others with urgent earnesty. This is an album for your inner college student who saved up for a first car and has no idea where to drive it to during summer break.
Dr. Dre - The Chronic
Moving on from the realm of guitar rock, we have the legendary 1992 album that brought west coast rap into the mainstream. There’s a reason this album makes all the “top summer albums” lists. It’s full of brutal diss tracks, Snoop Dogg is in top form, and it slowed down the tempo to a pace that matches your own in sweltering heat. Death Row Records’ G-Funk masterpiece is the perfect album for kicking back and enjoying a cold beer on an oppressively hot afternoon.
Ween - The Mollusk
What a weird record. It makes complete sense that what might be Ween’s most accessible album is an ocean-themed album of silly shanties. That’s not to say that The Mollusk hasn’t got its fair share of trademark Ween weirdness, however. Gene and Dean blend catchy pop songs with foul-mouthed sailor singalongs and sensitive ballads. There are even some traces of Pink Floyd influence on tracks like “Buckingham Green” and “Cold Blows the Wind.” The end result sounds like a nautical Roger Waters collaboration with Robert Pollard. Don’t forget to check out the fan-favorite B-side, “Kim Smoltz,” which may be the summeriest song that didn’t make the final cut - presumably for not being odd enough.
The Go! Team - Thunder, Lightning, Strike
An eclectic album with influences from nearly every genre, this indie rock debut mixes hip hop beats with twinkly guitars, schoolyard chant vocals, and catchy melodies from whatever instruments happened to be lying around. Recorders, melodicas, a banjo here and there. But although it’s a hodgepodge affair, the song structure is pure pop. The end product is a wall of warmth, nostalgia, optimism, childlike wonder, and the sense that good things are coming your way.