September 3

The Songs of Summer #101: ‘Walkabout’ by Atlas Sound/’What Am I Going to Do’ by The Dovers

atlas-sound-walkaboutWalkabout‘ got a lot of play on my iPod circa summer of ’09. This chillwave song by indie stalwart Atlas Sound with help from Noah Lennox (aka Panda Bear) has a great summer vibe to it, and music that sounded instantly familiar to me when I first heard it… I recognized it as a sample of another of my favorite summer songs, this one from a much earlier era, ‘What Am I Going to Do’ by The Dovers. This garage rock classic from 1965 is one of my favorite cuts on the essential Rhino Records box set ‘Nuggets,’ which compiled several CDs worth of the greatest garage rock songs of the sixties. ‘Walkabout‘ samples The Dovers very heavily, and in this case the end result sounds amazing. Nuggets-rhinoSince I love both songs, I figured why not just include both of them. Why not, right? The Songs of Summer is coming to an end, so why not pack as much in these last few days as possible. Neither song is really a summer song, but they’re both songs that I totally associate with the summertime, and that’s good enough for me.

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September 3

The Songs of Summer #100: ‘Summer Wind’ by Frank Sinatra

frank-sinatra-summer-windI’ve saved the best for (nearly) last. No, this isn’t the end of the Songs of Summer…we’ve still got a few short days left before this little experiment wraps up, but this song…THIS song…This is the big one. My favorite summer song of all time. (I think I’ve said that about some of the other Songs of Summer, but this time I really do mean it.) There’s little I can say here about Frank Sinatra that hasn’t been said a billion times before. The man was a legend. And this song, perhaps just as well as any other song he ever sang, proves what a gigantic talent he was.

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September 2

The Songs of Summer #99: ‘Sunshine (You’re Blowin’ my Cool)’ by Saun & Starr

saun-starr-sunshineAnother hot, sticky, humid day here in Michigan. In September, this can happen; it’s one of our more schizophrenic months, weather-wise. It can be gorgeous and summeresque, like today, or it can be cold, gray, and rainy. Sometimes it can be all these things in one day. It’s just something we have to get used to around here. Anyway, here’ some nice summer funk n’ soul to go with the soaring dew point.

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September 1

The Songs of Summer #98: ‘In the Sun’ by Blondie

blondie-in-the-sunOf all the bands that exploded out of the New York punk scene of the late 70’s, none saw more popular success than Blondie. But before their big new wave hits came their debut album ‘Blondie,’ (orig. released 1976, re-released 1977) which contained this bouncy little track ‘In the Sun,’ which was also the b-side to Blondie’s very first single ‘X Offender‘ (originally titled Sex Offender, but changed so as not to offend those with highly sensitive eyes.) There’s nothing better than early Blondie, so full of the raw energy that was exploding out of the music scene at the time.

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August 31

The Songs of Summer #97: ‘Sunshine Girl’ by The Parade

the-parade-sunshine-girlAnother Monday….oof. A hazy, foggy morning here in Michiganland, with promises of a warmer, sunnier afternoon. The kind of a morning that calls for some sunshine pop. Is there a happier, more optimistic-sounding musical genre than sunshine pop? Bubblegum pop, maybe, but I’m a sucker for this thing called sunshine pop, and its summery, harmony-rich sound and unforgettable poppy hooks. And I’m not embarrassed to admit it! Not familiar with sunshine pop? Do you like the Mamas and the Papas? You do? Then you probably like sunshine pop. That knower of all things Wikipedia categorizes it as ” cheerful and upbeat music which is characterized by warm sounds, prominent vocal harmonies, and sophisticated productions.” ‘Sunshine Girl‘ by The Parade was an incredibly minor hit in 1967, at the absolute height of this lightweight but not insubstantial musical genre.

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August 30

The Songs of Summer #96: ‘Better Luck in the Summertime’ by Robert Parker

robert-parker-summertimeWe’re officially in the home stretch…just about a week of summer songs left. Depending on your viewpoint, that’s a good thing or a bad thing. A thought hit me yesterday, as I watched the gloomy rain fall, and that thought was this: ‘I’m ready for autumn.’ That’s always a big deal in the summer, that point in late August or early September, when the dread of the coming change in the seasons gives way to a little, just a little, anticipation for cooler days. But we’ve still got just a few songs left to deal with.

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August 29

The Songs of Summer #95: ‘More (Theme from Mondo Cane)’ by Kai Winding & Kenny Burrell

kai-winding-moreI’ve got a playlist in iTunes that I call ‘Surf Lounge,’ and the whole thing is based around this song, ‘More (theme from Mondo Cane)‘, and the same-titled album it comes from. ‘More (Theme from Mondo Cane)‘ was a fairly big instrumental hit in 1963, which if you’ve been paying any attention at all, you’ll know was the height of the surf music craze. Back then, instrumental hits were much more common on the radio than they are today.

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August 27

The Songs of Summer #93: ‘World Upside Down’ by Jimmy Cliff

jimmy-cliff-world-upside-downI hadn’t planned on putting this song on the Songs of Summer playlist, but I got to thinking about it yesterday and today, looking for something that would be a good, appropriate song for today. Again, it’s not really a day where I feel like celebrating summer music…The weather’s kind of cool and cloudy, which isn’t helping things, and the news coming out of the world really sometimes makes me want to crawl back into bed and pull the covers up over my head and wish all the world’s troubles away.

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August 25

The Songs of Summer 90-92: Brian Wilson & The Beach Boys

brian-wilson-smileIt’s a cold (well, 55 degrees; cold for August, would seem like the tropics in January) gray morning at the Brainstembob Bunker…BUT…still summer, folks. There’s no better way to warm up a cool rainy morning than The Beach Boys, so today features a whole heaping helping of Beach Boys classics. Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys have shown me over the years that, no matter what the weather’s like, and no matter what time of year it actually may be, the sunny summer is never far away as long as their music plays.

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