You know technically if you live in Houston, summer never really goes away. It just sort of lingers on top of the region, every now and then rousing from slumber to pound us with heat and humidity.
Northern parts of the country have a firm line separating the seasons, but thankfully global warming is fixing that so we can all be miserable at the same time.
Last week I asked our fans on the Rocks Off Facebook wall what albums reminded them most of summer, because we are in the midst of a hellish heat wave that more than likely won't end until late October.
It wasn't surprising that the music that most evoked summer for our friends on the Great Blue Satan also ran parallel with some of the most syrupy, guilt-ridden rock pleasures of the past 20 years. Sugar Ray, Smash Mouth, and Third Eye Blind? Yep.
The Dandy Warhols' ...The Dandy Warhols Come Down was a favorite of our friend Shan too. Newer acts like Surfer Blood and Minus the Bear also were mentioned.
My all-time summer albums are The Notorious B.I.G.'s Life After Death, Bad Religion's 80-85, and blink-182's Enema Of The State. Yes, I grew up in the suburbs. Smash Mouth's "All-Star" will forever be etched into my brain from my first summer job as a maintenance boy at a gym in Pearland, and picking used tampons up off the floor in the women's locker room. All that glitters is gold...
Two friends lauded the SoCal group's Fush Yu Mang and its followup Astro Lounge as prime summer picks, or maybe I can't decipher sarcasm anymore.
Third Eye Blind
The band's first album gets mentioned more these days than you would think, especially from friends in garage and punk bands. There's something about the hooks and choruses that keeps people coming back. That and the musty nostalgia of a time before everything you listened to had to be vetted by Maximumrocknroll.
"LFO! Not fucking LMFAO!" says Todd Spoth, guitarist for Houston's own Square and Compass. Lyte Funkie Ones may have been the weakest link in the boy band devolution of the late '90s, but now "Summer Girls" is like a time capsule from 1999, when Abercrombie & Fitch was still cool.
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Photographer Katya Horner shouted out the girl group's Beauty and the Beat as her ultimate summer album. Take another spin with this one, it's an unsung power-pop wonder.
Namely Danzig III How The Gods Kill, featuring the single "Dirty Black Summer" and it's decidedly un-sunny outlook. The best part of the song is the "Hoo" that Glenn extenuates the song with, which we can imagine him bellowing with a haughty little hip shake, a la Honey Boo Boo Child from Toddlers & Tiaras.
Conor Oberst's Cassadaga creation fits the season for Josh Willems. I second this one, especially for "Four Winds," the second cut on the album.
1999's A Place In the Sun had three radio singles, and lead singer A. Jay Popoff had sideburns for days. The band is currently on the Summerland tour with Everclear, Sugar Ray, Gin Blossoms and Marcy Playground, that is NOT coming to Houston, but is hitting Austin and Fort Worth. What god did we anger??
I never thought of Austin's Spoon as typical summer fare -- I think sweaters and coats when I think of them -- but Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga was rather sun-drenched. Yes, I made sure to include enough of "ga" in that one. (Peep the video at the 2:01 mark for a special Rocks Off cameo.)
For April, the entire discography reminds her of summertime. Once again, this is a winter/fall band for me. Maybe it's because I first discovered them in the later months of 2001 and could steal their fashion sense in the mild weather.
The first self-titled album with the song "Here Comes The Summer" and "Teenage Kicks" scratches all the itches you may have from May until August, er, October. Oh hell, it's great all year round. Pair this with Sham 69's Tell Us The Truth and you have a party.
Actual Miles: Henley's Greatest Hits with "Boys of Summer," "Sunset Grill," "All She Wants To Do Is Dance" was deemed "classic summer tuneage" by local dummer Matt Martin. You know how it is with drummers, they have to stick together. You get it, "stick" together? I thought it was funny.
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The Beach Boys
Even though it was unseasonably wet and windy at the Beach Boys' Woodlands gig last month, it was sunny and 85 at the venue for nearly two hours. Great pick from Tiziano Dominico, who makes willowy, dreamy rock himself.