Summer and Heat (a mix)

This mix was originally intended for July, but a largely scorching hot May led me to move this up to June. In general, I tried not to include songs that are explicitly about the season, hence the absence of such numbers as Sly and the Family Stone’s “Hot Fun In The Summertime” or Mungo Jerry’s “In The Summertime”. Instead, I’m going more for tracks and artists I listen to almost exclusively in summer (T. Rex, The Beach Boys) or songs that create for me the feelings of the season. Such as this first number…

“Halah” by Mazzy Star

This is the first track from the duo’s debut, an album which fared so badly, I bought my CD of this from a huge box of them that had been remaindered for a dollar. Amazing how wildly successful Hope Sandoval and Dave Roback were with “Fade Into You” from the follow-up album. Fans of the group might be interested in Roback’s earlier groups, Opal and The Rain Parade.

“Let Yourself Get Down” by Luscious Jackson

I’m embarrassed there isn’t more hip-hop in this mix, but that’s because I am setting aside tracks for a later mix dedicated to that genre. All I am including in this one is the first track from Luscious Jackson’s stunning debut EP. An interesting aspect of this group is the drummer, Kate Schellenbach, was in the Beastie Boys back when they were a thrash punk outfit. This record went on to be that group’s first release on their own Grand Royal label.

“Camino Del Sol” by Antena

The Wikipedia entry on this short-lived 80’s trio describes their EP as “samba-inflected electropop”, which is a better description of their unique sound that I could come up with. While that combination of styles doesn’t seem very appealing on the surface, I find results such as this track to have a peculiar feel to them. It is almost like experiencing somebody’s imagining of an earlier age instead of conveying the sensation of the original samba era.

“The Rainbow” by The Apples In Stereo

Pure pop from one of the best of the 90’s groups that were reviving the sound of 60’s pop rock.

“Cannonball” by The Breeders

I vividly remember the first time I heard this song. It was while I was driving (I even remember where I was at the time), and it was the only time I have ever been so struck by a track that I actually pulled over so I could give it my undivided attention. Very glad a new generation is discovering this, as they were chosen by Olivia Rodrigo to be her opening act on her tour.

“Andy’s Chest” by Lou Reed

A lot of music writing I read as of late has mocked “heavy” music of the 70’s. As for myself, I like to think I can appreciate a fairly broad range of musical styles, and I have the sparseness and deep low-end of this track. It’s like a black hole, its pull is so strong.

“Heat” by The Jesus & Mary Chain

This band’s Honey’s Dead is my favorite of their catalog, and one of my go-to summer albums. While I could have chosen any track from that for this mix, I opted instead for one of the disc’s many spectacular b-sides.

“Citadel” by The Rolling Stones

I’m surprised this track isn’t more popular, as it is one of the few highlights of an album which is a bit of an outlier in the group’s catalog. Just stop and consider for a moment, Their Satanic Majesty’s Request was the only time they went psychedelic, and it wasn’t something that suited them well.

“Lazy Flies” by Beck

I have already written waaay too much about this track in piece about the album it is from.

“Dogs Of Lust” by The The

This is from yet another album that is strictly a summer disc, in this case 1993’s Dusk.

“Fever” by Love & Rockets

A simmering, shimmery track from the band’s last album of the style most people remember them as. From here, they only lasted one more album, and that was an unimpressive move into straight techno. One stop on the tour for this album was one of the most astonishing concerts I have attended.

“Tiger Lilly” by Luna

Shifting down a couple of gears for an equally summery song from the same time period. It just happens to be the far more laconic side of the season.

“Lovin’ Machine” by The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

Next time you’re stopped alongside a vehicle booming out bass at punishing volume, you’ll know of a song with which you can retaliate.

“Earthquake” by The 13th Floor Elevators

Less booming bass, and more about the earth shaking. A great song and a great metaphor for sex. This song is from an album that is one of my go-to summer listens.

“Family Affair” by Sly & The Family Stone

I love the murkiness of this song, a curious song that affects all tracks from the legendary (and legendarily troubled) There’s a Riot Goin On album. This song always strongly conveys summer to me, and I find it odd the imagery in my head while listening to it is always of a family reunion, though there isn’t anything in the lyrics suggesting that. And those lyrics betray what otherwise appears to be a warm, and even fun, number: “‘Nother child grows up be/somebody you just love to burn”.

“Pacific” by 808 State

There are many genres I am a bigger fan of than electronic music, but I still love 808 State. Hard to believe their original name was State 808 before a printed error on a record led to an accidental improvement to the name as it should be. A Record Store Day 12″ of this (in Pacific Blue vinyl) is the most beautiful slab of colored wax in my collection.

“Catch A Wave” by The Beach Boys

There’s any number of Beach Boys songs that would have sufficed for this mix.

“Ana” by Pixies

I find it odd the Pixies catalog up through Doolittle is all fall/winter music, and then Bossanova and Trompe le Monde were front-to-back only summer music. This track has that bit of Beach Boys influence Black Francis would explore more in his first two solo albums as Frank Black.

“Lovely Rita” by The Beatles

If I bothered ranking them, this would have to be in my top 10 of favorite Beatles tracks. Something about it feels like a warm, clear day with a strong breeze. Listening to this is like a hit of pure oxygen to my brain. I find it fascinating the album it was from was released on June 1, 1967, thereby literally kicking off the summer of love.

“Wonder People (I Do Wonder)” by Love

Recorded by the band in the sessions for the landmark Forever Changes album and then mysteriously set aside. Perhaps it is too light and breezy for that album, though I do detect an underlying current of sarcasm in it. Regardless, in this mix, it carries the vibe from “Lovely Rita” onward.

“Getting Down” by The Soup Dragons

I was unaware of this track until a couple of years ago, when I found an original vinyl pressing of this album. Having only been previously aware of two of the singles issued from this set, I was surprised there were some quality album tracks beyond those. That said, I wish there was an edit without those awful, smirking “sci-fi” sounds at the beginning, which instantly date this track to probably an exact week in the early 1990’s.

“Half-Assed” by Lazy

This power punk-pop band should have been huge. I miss them horribly to this day, and wonder why their catalog has not received the reissue treatment.

“Chariot Choogle” by T. Rex

Akin to The Beach Boys, I could have chosen from any number of tracks from T. Rex for this mix. It is no surprise he once covered Eddie Cochran’s “Summertime Blues” as if it was a manifesto. “Chariot Choogle” is one of the heaviest tracks Marc Bolan ever recorded. I love the way it erupts at the choruses.

“Tapestries” by The Jelly Bean Bandits

Closing this mix with a track by this obscure act, which released on album on the ironically named Mainstream label. This track shares a low-key summer vibe with some other tracks on this mix, such as “Camino Del Sol” and “Tiger Lilly”.