Archive for summer essentials

Summer Essentials – Chris Isaak “Baja Sessions”

Posted in music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 15, 2009 by JD

album-baja-sessions Okay, so some of you might want to fight me by making this a Summer Essential, but honestly…..have you really ever listened to Chris Isaak? If this guy’s music doesn’t scream SUMMER TIME, then I don’t know what does (other than the previous Summer Essentials of course). Judging by the name alone, “Baja Sessions”, and the very much overall resort-esque theme to each song, I am damn sure he wrote this as a soundtrack to summer.

The laid back guitar on the first track, “Pretty Girls Don’t Cry”, makes this the perfect “chillin’ in a hammock with a cold beer” song.  Forward to track 3, “Only the Lonely” and you’ve immediately got a great cover of another perfect chill song. On “Two Hearts”, Chris shows exactly why all the ladies swoon when he takes the stage. Ohhh Chris, that sultry voice and those falseto high notes. melt melt swoon swoon….

Keep in mind, this is not exactly backyard BBQ music. You put this on and your guests will be snoozing soon or probably finding excuses to leave the most un-lively party ever.  “Baja Sessions” is hammock music, or hanging with close friends on the patio with some cocktails.

If you are looking for the ultimate summer concert experience and are in Salt Lake City, be sure to get tickets to see him live at Red Butte Gardens on August 14th. Bring a magnum of a nice white or rose wine and some friends to see Mr Summer himself at the ultimate summer venue.

Make Noise!

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Summer Essentials – “The Very Best of…”

Posted in music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 15, 2009 by JD

TootsP1982Knock Just when you were probably thinking I had something against “island” music played by actual inhabitants of the islands, I spring this one on you.  Anyone who knows me and knows my taste in music knows that I am really not a fan of reggae, in fact I used to dislike it so much I’d leave the room if it was on.  Then along came my wife who introduces me to Toots, one of the original reggae “masters”, and in my opinion, the man who funkified Reggae.  My eyes were opened and now every summer out comes “The Very Best of Toots & The Maytals”.  When Toots comes from the speakers at any party, you know it is time to do some major chillin’.

Since this is a Greatest hits album it is hard to choose only a few songs to add to your ultimate summer playlist, but tops in my book are “Funky Kingston“; which, if you watched TLC’s Miami Ink, you will remember as their opening theme song.  I love the vocal flow of  “Pomps & Pride“, it has the ability to put a smile on my face every time I hear it. A tough choice for the third song you need to add would be a song you have probably heard Hundreds of times, but probably not this original version. “Pressure Drop” was probably made most famous by The Specials, but was originally recorded by Toots & The Maytals in 1969.

So there you go, probably the only “real” reggae album you will see on this list, so take it all in if you are a fan of Reggae.  Some people say Reggae IS summer music, but when all you listen to is Reggae all summer long, it definitely gets old.

Make some summer noise!!

Summer Essentials – “Vampire Weekend”

Posted in music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 11, 2009 by JD

vampire-weekendOkay, I know, I know….probably the most overplayed album of last summer, but get over it folks, this is truly an amazing album, especially for everything summer.  Whip this out at the BBQ and everyone will be jigging, except maybe the hipsters in the corner busy being frumpy because they knew about Vampire Weekend before the band was even formed and it’s not cool to like bands anybody else likes.

So which of numerous great songs on this album do you need to add to your summer playlist?  “A-Punk” is a must have, “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” follows right after it and is another one to add.  I really like the simplicity of  “Campus“, a lot of stop – start, really basic beats and a good build up – slow down rhythm to it.  “Walcott” is the next and last song you should add to that playlist of of yours. I really love the piano and cello mix in this song, along with the vocal build up of each verse leading to the chorus.

Honestly, if you don’t have the time to put together a playlist because you are busy making mojitos and preparing the BBQ, just download this entire album and throw it on, there will not be a disappointed person at the party (except, like i said, the hipsters in the corner who are too cool to be there anyway and just came along for the free beer in the cooler, even though it’s a local microbrew, which is so not cool….microbrews are so 2005….cheap ghetto beer is the thing now dont’cha know?)

Hmmm…..what is it with white boys from the east coast? I just realized the last two summer essentials were from east coast whities playing music with a distinct island tinge to them. I guess Bedouin does have 1 member to make them “legit”, but these Ivy League boys are about as not-from-the-islands as you can get.

Make Summer Noise

Summer Essentials – “Sounding A Mosaic”

Posted in music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 10, 2009 by JD

bedouin2One of the last places you might ever expect a summer essential album to come from would be Canada, no? Well these guys from Toronto definitely embody the sound of the islands…which islands? Who cares, just islands okay?!  Work with me here….

“Sounding a Mosaic” is Bedouin Soundclash’s second album, but the first one that really got them any notoriety outside of Canada. Imagine Toots with a bit of Marley kicked up a notch or two and written for us 21st century folks. It definitely has a bit of a hip edge to it, probably having worked with Darryl from the Bad Brains during the recording of the album. Hell there’s even electro DJ remixes as the last two songs on the album.

So the standouts to add to your summer playlist?

The title track, “When the Night Feels My Song” is surely an essential for any get together and “Living in Jungles” has a bit of a faster beat if the party needs a bit of a pick-me-up. Keep the people shakin’ it with “Gyasi Went Home” and give the party a bit of a Marley tune without the Marley (not that there is anything wrong with Marley, but everyone plays that at BBQ’s) by adding “Money Worries” to that playlist.

As a bonus:
If you like “Sounding A Mosaic”, go out and get their follow-up album, “Street Gospels”
Some standouts form that album are “Until We Burn In the Sun“, “Walls Fall Down“, “St Andrew’s“. I highly recommend downloading “St Andrews” right now if you need a happy little tune to give your day a pick-up.

Make Noise this summer!