Crafting the Perfect Summer Playlist
School is out and summer is here, this is the time in which great memories are made. One of the best ways to help remember the greatness of seasons past is to equate that season to the successes you achieved in it or the vacations you went on; another way is to surround yourself with great music and equate it with that. I still remember the winter of Kid A and the summer of 2001: The Chronic vividly and even last summer I went hell on wheels for Manchester Orchestra, Kendrick Lamar, Iron & Wine and Colter Wall. They all put out great albums in 2017 that will forever be linked with what I did during that summer. I even used Iron & Wine's "Call it Dreaming" for the first dance in my wedding. Music has that ability. It can amplify pleasure and enjoyment; and paired with the right people, cocktails, scenery and weather, music can be the key to creating the type of memory you'll never forget.
It is in this spirit that I asked a handful of local influencers, most of them musicians themselves, to tell me what song it is they are digging the most right now. Maybe you can work some of them into your very own Summer Playlist.
Regina's Bears in Hazenmore plays reverb-drenched alternative rock music. Their latest album, Atlas, I coined as "cartography for the soul". Brady Frank, the band's frontman ain't afraid to dive into the world of pop music. The song most on his mind these days is Janelle Monae's political/ personal and sexual triple entendre, "Screwed", featuring Zoe Kravitz.
"Janelle Monáe represents a unique and important voice as a black, queer artist in this cheeky response to the current political climate and to those who wish to control others’ bodies. On top of that, this song has an infectious groove that breaks down into heavy half time sections. The whole thing packs a punch in so many ways, every time I listen" he said.
Emily Orescanin, the young Moose Javian pop rocker, has accomplished an awful lot in the few years she's been producing. She's played Telemiracle in front of thousands. She's played on stage with Hedley in front of even more and she's recently recorded some great tracks at Nebulus Entertainment. She also isn't afraid to dive into pop music as she picked "Fall in Line" by Christina Aguilera and Demi Lovato as her favourite summer 2018 track.
"The song sends a powerful and important message with both singers showing impressive vocal range and power" she said.
Jayson Ford is involved in a few projects. One is his solo work. You can often catch him, alone, playing shows in small venues, but he also plays with Sourjack, a band with a full sound that plays larger venues. He opts for rock songs on his playlist. In particular rock songs like "Lookout" by Cheap Trick.
"I'm a sucker for bullshit free bazooka rock that sounds as good live as on vinyl. Chainsaw guitars and pop perfection melody with no fat and no gristle. Just a lean mean rawk machine" he said.
Check out Cheap Trick's "Lookout"
"So far, my summer playlist has been a product of both the live concerts I've been going to, and the music research required for some of the projects I've been working on."
That's what Jared Robinson, record producer and owner of Nebulus Entertainment and recent IMA nominee said.
"My wife and I got tickets to a U2 concert in Montreal, and so that was reason enough to spin some of my old Bono vinyl" he added.
The award winning multi-talented musician is known for his dark themes and theatrical scores so it makes sense when he recommends a synth-rock group called PVRIS "perhaps, a better representation of what I'm listening to a lot right now is PVRIS. We got back-stage passes to see them late in the Spring and I'm still riding the "White Noise" wave."
Check out "Fire" by PVRIS
Filmmaker Jeremy Ratzlaff's film The Young Wife was selected for play at the Regina International Film Fest earlier this week. The freelance director has worked with CBC Arts and made music videos in the past. He is more than familiar with the industry, and he's just a hell of a nice guy too. For a guy focused mainly on the visual experience, it should come as no surprise that the songs he likes best are "intrinsically tied to their music videos."
"I’m obsessed with those long-firm music videos that tell a whole story of their own. Right now it’s Jonna Lee’s SAMARITAN that I can’t get enough of. (It’s perfect because I’m also obsessed with most things Scandinavian.)"
Check out Jonna Lee's "Samaritan"
Regina five piece Sing the Body Electric might have taken their band name from A Walt Whitman poem (or maybe not, I'm just speculating), but don't kid yourself, they're a little thicker than "Leaves of Grass". They rock hard. And so does Drummer Joe Puff's selection for this summer playlist. "Stay" by Disperse.
"This song is the pineapple on my pizza. When it's playing, it does nothing but enhance its immediate surrounding" Joe said. "I've listened to this song on repeat for up to an hour at a time. It's basically Djent without someone constantly barking at me; quite the opposite in fact. The vocals carry a very blissful relaxing style that can almost put you into a meditative state. However, this song also brings all the wizardry of odd time signatures, rhythmic structures that flow like a river, heavy tone, and the technical riffs that melt your face with Djent.
"The drums are what really get to me" he says; and he would know. He teaches drums when he isn't working with Sing the Body Electric.
"The greatest thing about this song? If you're always that one person who wants to listen to metal when everyone else at the party doesn't, it's got such laid back feel that you can put it on completely undetected..... giving you your metal fix without having to deal with all the "why is your music so angry?"."
Give it a shot: Disperse "Stay"
I don't think Megan Nash needs much of an introduction around these parts. Her latest album, Seeker, won SaskMusic's 2017 Album of the Year and even more recently she has signed on to headline a music festival right here in the friendly city.
Well, Megan's a big fan of BC alt-folksters Shred Kelly. In particular, Shred Kelly's album Archipelago.
"The title track makes me want to drink IPA in the mountains and dance with a layer of sunscreen and glitter on" she admitted.
Let me know if it makes you want to do the same.
Steven Eisler is the frontman for Hearts & Knives, a euro-pop sounding band from Regina. They sound like what Depeche Mode would sound like if they grew up playing hockey.
His selection was "Nightcall" by Kavinsky. Which some people might remember from the movie Drive, starring Ryan Gosling.
On a personal note, of all the songs recommended here, this one was my favourite. It's got such a great sound to it.
"I usually work late hours in the summer" Steven said, "so, on my nights off I absolutely love a nice drive through the park with this track playing."
I don't know if I really want to recommend people drive while listening to this...but give it a shot with headphones on or something.
Mickey Djuric is a controversial reporter who turned some heads a few years ago when she released video footage of a sitting MP seemingly calling an opposition member a very nasty word. What most people don't realize about Mickey is that, before the controversy, which ended with her leaving her position at the Moose Jaw Times-Herald, she used to publish some stuff that set her apart, you know, as far as music cred was concerned. Hell, who else could be counted on to write stories about Action Bronson in a Moose Jaw paper?
Most recently, Mickey has returned to the mean streets of MJ with a new venture. A daily news outlet called the Daily Jaw (it's like MJ Independent, just not as cool - sorry).
She picked "Almost Had to Start A Fight/In And Out of Patience" by Parquet Courts, a thick, punk influence indie group from Brooklyn, NY.
"Great biking music" she said. "Especially when trying to bike up the hill on Main Street."
Garrett DeLaurier has been involved with a few different music projects over his time. He was in the super popular Moose Jaw band Lords Kitchner, then he spent some time working on solo stuff. Now, it seems, he is starting up a podcast in which will be featured plenty of local voices. Check him out on Instagram (@extra.ordinary_podcast) and stay tuned for editions of the Extra Ordinary Podcast. Garrett has great taste in Music. Always has. That's why I was shocked when he recommended me someone that sounds like a shaman or some weird guru.
"I have been enjoying Phum Viphurit's "Lover Boy he said.
I figured he had made some spelling mistakes, so I asked him to clarify.
"It's fun, upbeat and has a great chorus" he replied.
Turns out he's right. Phum Viphurit is pretty fun and upbeat and it has a great chorus.
But hear it for yourself: Phum Viphurit "Lover Boy"
And on account of I've got superior taste in music to all these people I feel obligated to recommend a song you're guaranteed to love.
A weird thing happened in my life: I became my father. When my dad was young his favourite bands were Genesis and Queen. Now he is retired and his favourite bands are still Genesis and Queen. I always thought it was strange how his favourite bands stuck with him his whole life. Well, when I was young my favourite bands were Radiohead and Dinosaur Jr. and Pavement. Now that I'm a grown man with children of my own, my favourite bands are still Radiohead, Dinosaur Jr. and Pavement. Now I find myself digging deeper into the rarities of their collections and side projects and solo projects from band members. Stephen Malkmus (Pavement's frontman) put out a new song lately called "Middle America" and it rekindled a wave of Stephen Malkmus listens, where I replayed all his solo albums. The song "Church on White" from his 2001 solo album stands tall as one of his greatest pieces of work.
Check it out for yourself: "Church on White" by Stephen Malkmus