Posted by Rachel Garman on 07/20 at 06:01 PM
Summer has a special relationship with music. Often times we find ourselves hearing a song and being immediately taken back to a summer moment from long ago. Music has a way of immortalizing those seemingly endless summer days that have a tendency to pass by in the blink of an eye. So, it only seems fitting that summer should be a time filled with plenty of great anthems. I’ve compiled a list of 5 relatively unknown bands and tracks that seem perfect as soundtracks to the remaining summer days, and upcoming transition to fall.
1. Ko Ko
Ko Ko is based in Los Angeles, California, and was formed in January 2012 by brothers Ryan and Taylor Lawhorn. Although Ko Ko has only released three tracks thus far, the small Float-EP sure packs a punch. “Float” is one of those rare tracks with an effortless quality about it. The combination of whistling and harmonies seems to evoke the floating sense that the track attempts to encapsulate. The other two tracks, “Intermission” and “So Strange” also carry the sense that these songs are meant to play under the Californian sun. While the three-track EP certainly suits the summer months, the lyrics hint at deeper reflections rather than only catchy summer anthems. “So Strange” reflects on the idea that “wide open space can be so cruel,” as the lead singer wonders “when did I shave my head to fit in?” Besides making songs that are perfect for a car ride to the beach, Ko Ko creates lyrics that are sure to resonate with listeners even during the winter months.
2. King Charles
King Charles is the moniker of Charles Costa, a musician out of London, England. Despite the title, the only royal things about Costa are his massive beehive/dreadlock nest of hair, and the catchy music he creates. King Charles’ debut album, Loveblood, was released on May 8, 2012, and has since risen to 36 on the UK charts. Costa has a way of creating poppy Rastafarian-like music, which is reminiscent of Vampire Weekend. “Love Lust” is a catchy track that has Costa expressing his adoration for another with his unique and witty lyrics such as, “for the sun on my skin as the morning begins, I’d die in the dark just to feel your skin on my skin.” “Lady Percy” is another catchy track with lyrics such as “if you’d agree to be my love, I’d build you a world to fit like a glove.” The hook is sure to remain in your head for days, and Loveblood will officially make you a follower of the King.
The Neighbourhood, fronted by Jesse James Rutherford, is based in California and has released one official EP thus far. The I’m Sorry…EP was released on May 7,2012, and it contains five tracks that are sure to win over any listener. One of the great aspects of The Neighbourhood is its ability to produce tracks that span multiple genres, whether it be hip-hop, alternative, or pop. Rutherford’s soulful voice on tracks like “Baby Come Home” evokes a somber feeling that echoes throughout. “Wires” has a hip-hop beat to it and a hauntingly dark hook that creates intrigue. Surprisingly, The Neighbourhood chose not only to release the EP on iTunes, but also as a free download on their website. Although the decision may appear unwise from a financial standpoint, the poignant and diverse sound of The Neighbourhood is something well-worth paying for.
Laurel Collective is a UK band that is somewhat of an enigma. Led by front-men Martin Sakutu and Bob Tollast, the band creates intelligent and slightly humorous music that can be loosely defined as “electro-pop.” Laurel Collective released their first album, Feel Good Hits of a Nuclear Winter in 2008, and on May 28, 2012 the band released Heartbeat Underground. The latter brought forth such tracks as “They Hate Me” and “Barnacles.” “They Hate Me” is a witty sing-along that pairs slightly pessimistic lyrics with an upbeat rhythm and a catchy chorus. The humor in this kind of pairing is something that can be heard in many of Laurel Collective’s songs, and it makes for a surprisingly enjoyable experience. “Barnacles” has a background of hand-clapping and a head-nodding bass beat. With many of Laurel Collective’s songs, the music and choruses are so catchy that the nuances of the lyrics can escape the listener during most of the song. Much like the lyrics of “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster the People, Laurel Collective offers so much more than just the instant gratification of a memorable hook.
They Hate Me
Snakadaktal is a young band from Australia that is slowly gaining international attention. Fronted by Phoebe Cockburn and Sean Kelly, the quintet draws comparisons to a slightly more “poppy” version of The xx. Snakadaktal released the Snakadaktal-EP in November 2011, and the band released a new single entitled “Dance Bear” on June 13, 2012. “Chimera,” off the EP, has a low-fi and relaxed quality to it that makes it seem appropriate for relaxing on the beach. “Air” is another track that shares this kind of tranquil tone. “Air” is a track with melancholy and contemplative lyrics that sing remorse for a love that was “fatally made.” As the singers reflect on their hopeless relationship, they come to realize that it was doomed from the start. Although “Air” is the least cheerful of tracks on this list, its melodies and harmonies are reminiscent of the gentle tug of the waves, softly rocking the listener back and forth into a relaxed state of mind. “Air” represents the ending of a relationship, much like the end of summer that we all have to face eventually.
Author: Rachel Garman
Bio: Rachel Garman is a sophomore studying Journalism and English at Penn State. She enjoys writing, reading, photography, discussing the characters of Mad Men, and tasting menus. Her favorite genres include indie, folk, alternative rock, and hip-hop. Some of her favorite artists are David Bowie, Tom Petty, Jack’s Mannequin, Childish Gambino, Dead Man’s Bones, and Bon Iver.
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