Thursday, May 22, 2014

Cruel Summer Music Mix 2014 - Vol. 1

Ah, another Georgia summer for me. As a southerner, I've been listening to these seven words all my life: "It's not the heat, it's the humidity." I call that southern science. And it's not particularly comforting when the sweat is rolling down my back into my underwear. Anyway, it's going to take more than sunscreen, shade, AC or a six-pack of citrus-kissed blonde ales to get me through the next couple of months. Summer needs a soundtrack! In this 6-part series, I'll be featuring some of the iPod-worthy tracks that help me beat the heat. Let's start with Clean Bandit, Bleachers and Future Islands...

Clean Bandit. This British electronic quartet specializes in a fusion of pop and classical elements with dance beats. Comprised of brothers Jack and Luke Patterson, Grace Chatto and Milan Neil Amin-Smith, their first album (due mid-June in the U.S.) features about a dozen guest vocalists. Website here.

Clean Bandit's violinist, Milan Neil Amin-Smith

Song & Video: "Rather Be" (featuring Jess Glynne) -- A perfect dollop of bright and breezy pop. The video is about a Japanese fan whose daily routine is disrupted by a series of hallucinations featuring the band, its logo and random citizens who keep creating choreography to match the song in her head.

Bleachers. This is the solo project of Jack Antonoff, the lead guitarist of Grammy-winning indie pop band fun. ("We Are Young"). Turns out that Mr. Antonoff is a pretty unapologetic pop rocker. In early 2014, he told Buzzfeed, "God, just shoot me the day I start making music you can just put on in the car and have a conversation over it." Website here.

Jack Antonoff, the guy behind Bleachers

Song & Video: "I Wanna Get Better" -- The song is an irrepressibly catchy all-season hipster anthem. And this video made me laugh out loud three times. (PS. Antonoff is straight, but along with his band and sister, he co-founded The Ally Coalition, a non-profit organization that raises money for LGBTQ causes. You can check it out here.)

Future Islands. This Baltimore-based synthpop trio works an '80s groove, but it all sounds remarkably fresh due to smart arrangements and the soulful, expressive voice of Samuel T. Herring. Website here.

Future Islands, left to right: William Cashion, Samuel T. Herring & Gerrit Welmers 

Song & Video: "Seasons (Waiting On You)" -- It's kind of the perfect track for a road trip. The beautifully photographed video (in which the band does not appear) is wide open for interpretation. And full of cowboys.

You can see volume 2 in this series here

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