Think of a summer memory and you can probably conjure up a song to go with it. Moreover, when you hear certain tunes, they can set your mind drifting back to events of summers past. That month you spent bumming around Southeast Asia between high school and college, say, or that perfect holiday romance that almost was but could never be. The Straight asked a few of our favourite local musicians to share the tracks that they’d pick to get the pool party started, accompany a long drive (or, in one case, cycle) to nowhere in particular, or annoy the hell out of everyone else at the beach.
Jamison Dick makes dreamy, downtempo electronica under the name Teen Daze.
Best summer driving tune: Delorean, “Seasun”. “It’s got a real pulsing sort of feel to it. It’s based around one piano sample and one vocal sample. It starts off really small and then sort of builds into this big, almost tropical-sounding dance beat. It’s just really positive, with major chords, and there’s something about driving to it. As the beat builds, I just want to drive even faster.”
Top pool-party jam: Beach Fossils, “Daydream”. “That one’s probably the most upbeat one on the list. It’s sort of this jangly, carefree, guitar-based sort of song. More stereotypical. Almost Beach Boys–sounding. It’s more of a party song than the other ones, I think.”
Song to blast at the beach: Ducktails, “Art Vandelay”. “If I’m listening to music at the beach, I want it to be a little bit left-field. I don’t want to be that guy that’s sitting at the beach pumping the most obvious club music. I want to be playing something a little bit weird, so when people walk by they sort of perk up their ears and go, ”˜That sounds a little bit different.’ ”
Lyn Heinemann sings and plays guitar in the spare and wiry but eminently tuneful Drawn Ship, her duo with drummer Gregg Steffensen.
Best summer driving tune: Pavement, “Range Life”. “It sounds like the summer. It’s got this countrified, slow, rolling tempo thing going on. And the words: it’s about driving. It’s about being in a band on the road. It’s just got all these really strong images in it of being a kid, or being a young dude in the summertime. He’s, like, running from the cops and riding his skateboard. I can just picture Stephen Malkmus on his skateboard in a Fugazi T-shirt, just kickin’ it.”
Top pool-party jam: Gal Costa, “Sebastiana”. “I picked that song because it makes me want to shake my booty and drink rum. It’s almost got a lounge-y type of thing even though it’s a fast-tempo song. I picture people in bikinis.”
Song to blast at the beach: The Beach Boys, “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”. “I wanted to pick a song that makes you feel so good and that everyone loves and wants to sing along to. Pet Sounds is my favourite album of all time, so, yeah: Beach Boys. Why not? They’re a beach band.”
Shad is a socially conscious MC whose most recent album, TSOL, won him the award for rap recording of the year at the 2011 Junos.
Best summer driving tune: Isaac Hayes, “Walk On By”. “That one always makes me feel extra cool. But, see, that one’s not, like, fun night driving. That one’s by-yourself night driving.”
Top pool-party jam: SWV, “Anything (Remix)”. “That’s just a nice throwback party jam. Anything in that vein works, even if it borders on cheesy.”
Song to blast at the beach: The Beach Boys, “Good Vibrations”. “I just went with the first song to come to mind. It was that or ”˜Summertime in the LBC’ by the Dove Shack.”
Leah Abramson’s indie folk-noir project, the Abramson Singers, highlights her lilting voice, sometimes setting it against sterling harmonies with as many as eight parts.
Best summer driving tune: Marnie Stern, “Transformer”. “Once you listen to it once, it just stays in your head, because it has such a catchy hook to it. I sing when I bike sometimes, so it’s one of those ones that I’ll half-sing, half-shout. If no one’s around, then I’ll go for it.”
Top pool-party jam: The Sound of Silverstones, “Tabu”. It’s on this compilation that my roommate and music collaborator ordered off the Internet. I’m not sure where he ordered it or how he found it, but it’s called Teen Dance Music From China and Malaysia. The whole thing is really amazing, actually.”
Song to blast at the beach: The Beach Boys, “Surfin’ USA”. “Only because I have these dance moves that go along with it that I’ve had since I was a kid. The same dance moves I still do—the surfboard kind of thing. It’s just too ridiculous not to. I tried surfing once and it was kind of a disaster, but it’s still one of those iconic things you think about, especially on the West Coast.”
Todd Serious is the Mohawk-sporting, raw-throated frontman for the Rebel Spell, which might well be the best straight-ahead punk-rock band in Vancouver.
Best summer driving tune: Jeff Andrew, “The Wandering Dead”. “This has been my summer jam on the road here in Europe. It’s a great break from all the loud bands we see every night. Probably gonna come out album of the year for me, too.”
Top pool-party jam: Nirvana, “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. “Well, Nevermind has a baby floating in a pool [on the cover] so it just leaps to mind, but the sarcastic-toned chorus and title of this song kinda suit my antisocial feelings about such events.”
Song to blast at the beach: Dead Milkmen, “Beach Song”. “Kinda the same bitter vibe as ”˜Smells Like Teen Spirit’. I hate the beach—there, I said it!”