TUNES FROM THE BLACK LAGOON: A SUMMER PLAYLIST FOR SUNBURNT DAYS AND EQUALLY SUNBURNT NIGHTS (alternatively titled: one redhead’s peril)
by Erin Delaney
1. History Eraser – Courtney Barnett
Courtney Barnett’s first record (or rather two EPs released together), The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas is full of quintessential summer lazy tunes. Barnett’s slacker rock aesthetic is effortless, yet her lyrics are consistently witty and pointed. Also, dat Australian accent.
2. I Was Born (A Unicorn) – The Unicorns
And where would summer be without some good old early 2000s lo-fi indie? This whole album, Who Will Cut Our Hair When Your Gone? soundtracked my finals last semester and is recommended for driving, bicycling, and getting rid of cysts.
3. FYR – Le Tigre
But then also feminism. Le Tigre’s self-titled album gets more popular attention, but for my money Feminist Sweepstakes is indispensable Kathleen Hanna operating with both ovaries on fire. That one got away from me. Le Tigre is decidedly pop, not the punk Hanna got famous for, but has the same incendiary feminist lyrics that garnered national attention for the riot grrrl movement (and Hanna) in the 90s.
SIDE NOTE: the recently released documentary The Punk Singer chronicles Hanna’s rise as a leader/reluctant poster-girl for riot grrrl, and while the film is unabashedly biased in it’s admiration of Hanna, it’s on instant on netflix and goes with my playlist swimmingly.
4. We’d Never Agree – P.S. Eliot
HEY remember those two bands that played at the Horn this year, Swearin’ and Waxahatchee? Well, those projects were fronted by twin sisters Katie and Allison Crutchfield: Waxahatchee is Katie’s solo project and Swearin’ is Alyson’s band. P.S. Eliot is the twins’ joint band which released this record, Inverted Romance in Our Troubled Minds way back when in 2009 before the twins’ separate projects began garnering more recognition than P.S. Eliot.
5. LOVESEAT – QUARTERBACKS
Dear old Kevin “deathdeath” McKinney is to thank for introducing me to this band, QUARTERBACKS, which bounced out of the abyss last year second semester to soundtrack any and all walks back from my radio show Tuesday nights. Amongst their (relatively short) discography, this song is a particular favorite of mine for packing an impressive amount of anxious energy into a minute and nine seconds, while simultaneously practicing such delicious restraint. And, all their records are **free** on bandcamp.
6. My Gap Feels Weird – Superchunk
It’s hard to know where to start with Superchunk. This song is off their 2010 record Majesty Shredding, which is the latest release of a now 25 year career that’s consistently delivered jams directly into my earholes. This song is everything I want to get me out of bed in the morning, plus it’s about goth kids. “Keep your hair black and in your face” summer people. It’s good sun protection.
9. It’s Common but We Don’t Talk About It – Bratmobile
Bratmobile came out of the same early 90s feminist punk movement that I mentioned earlier. Bikini Kill and Sleater-Kinney were obvious legacies of the movement. Bratmobile, on the other hand, has largely been forgotten about but might be my favorite veteran riot grrrl band (discounting Sleater-Kinney, which formed at the tail end of the movement from two members of veteran riot grrrl bands). Bratmobile infamously formed as a joke band, but I’ve never heard their kitchy sound replicated with the same irony and simultaneous genuinely (oft tried for, rarely achieved, and horrendous when it fails). Bratmobile’s playground chant lyrics are as aggressive as any of the lyrics of their contemporaries. This album, Ladies, Women, and Girls was actually released in 2000, but I could easily have selected any of the songs of their 1993 Pottymouth or 1994 The Real Janelle and felt as confident with their sound. Bottom line: if you like this song, check out those earlier albums.
7. Dig, Lazurus, Dig!!! – Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
Ah, Nick. This track is off the very first Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds I ever picked up (at a used CD store in New Jersey, go figure) and this is the opening track. Dig, Lazurus, Dig!!! has all of the loose, jangly, erotic energy that I love in their music. Leave it to Nick Cave to resurrect Lazarus, nickname him Larry, and turn him into a dope fiend.
8. Somebody’s Gettin on My Nerves – Salt-N-Pepa
Would not be summer without Salt-N-Pepa. They’re still doing it. Keep it up ladies. “Get off my bra strap boy / Stop sweatin’ me.”
10. I Don’t Know You Any More – Bob Mould
Bob Mould has been living with the legacy of Hüsker Du now for a good 20 years, and in the meantime has been struggling to break free with experiments that range from rock to much more poorly fated electronica to scriptwriting for professional wrestling. Mould’s The Last Dog and Pony Show was, as the title suggests, (supposed to be) his last rock album. Instead, he’s returned to us (thank god) with his recently released Beauty and Ruin. He’s not breaking any huge new ground with this track, and there are certainly better tracks on the album (see “Low Season” and “Little Glass Pill”) but it’s catchy and angsty and good for summer drives.