Hot town, summer in the city

AgentOrangeNow I’ve got less than a month until I take my first trip State-side since September. That means I haven’t stopped thinking about my visit for weeks. Unfortunately, Wisconsin still seems to be clinging onto that terrible weather, but I’m praying for blue skies and warm weather for my journey in early June. Here in London we’ve had quite a mix, but there have already been a few lovely hot days out. Summer has pretty much arrived in Britain.

Since we can deem this weeks as ‘summer’ (especially since I haven’t had a class since early April now that I’m working independently), it’s time to put away those somber tunes of Winter and dust off the jackets of Summer listening. For more than five years, I have carried the same three albums in my old Ford. These are the albums I swear by as usually I don’t listen to much else when the scorching sun keeps me hidden away inside.

1. The Smiths ‘Strangeways, Here We Come’

Although usually ranked as the least favourite of many Smiths fans, ‘Strangeways’ is still magic in its own right (and a personal best, stated by both Mozzer and Marr). The fourth album by the Manchester band is filled with some of their most popular singles like ‘Girlfriend in a Coma’ and ‘Stop Me If You Think You’ve Head This One Before.’ But I think it’s tracks like the sweet closer ‘I Won’t Share You’ that make this album sound special. It’s the breathiness and light that makes this album the most listenable in the summer. Save your cemetery gates and poets for days more rainy.

2. Agent Orange ‘Living in Darkness’

Call it cliche, but summers, beaches and surf music go hand in hand. Surf punk if we want to even do things better. Orange County punkers Agent Orange made the perfect album with ‘Living in Darkness’ in 1981 (although I keep the reissue on hand just because there’s more to love). There’s a clever mix of punk gold like the title track and the furious ‘Bloodstains’ with the So Cal flavour of covers of ‘Miserlou,’ ‘Pipeline’ and ‘Mr. Moto.’ It’s a crowd favourite when you’re blasting this in a furious summer traffic jam.

And mostly I am such a fan of drummer Scott Miller’s sweater.

3. Roxy Music ‘Avalon’

The non-funky stuff of Roxy Music makes up what is possibly my favourite album ever. It’s dreamy, airy, sexy and every bit of my ideal perfection. I find words difficult when it comes to why and how I love it. The reasons are probably something similar to why people love summer: there’s a lightness to the atmosphere and it soars giving a sense of effortlessness. Max Brooks even uses ‘Avalon’ in one of my favourite books, World War Z. A student sings the title track before the battle of the five colleges to bring hope to the defenders. I couldn’t think of a better use for it.

The album also includes two of my favourite instrumentals on any pop album, ‘India’ and ‘Tara’. I often just listen to them both on repeat. Short bursts of gold.

So as summer draws near, what will you be listening to?

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