Summer Songs

Summer Tracks with Sébastien Schuller

Busy touring in support of his brilliant and nuanced release Evenfall, the Parisien Sébastien Schuller takes a break to share with us a few of his top tracks for these precious last weeks of summer.

For more on Sébastien and Evenfall, read our review here. Also, check out Sébastien's MySpace page for updated tour information here.

"Rusty Nails" - Moderat
I've just heard about Apparat for a time without knowing his first album, same for Modselektor. I always said to myself that I wanted to hear their project when I have time. I'm just discovering Moderat now, and I really love the result of this song. Great electronics with a good melody and good ideas. Listen / Watch

"Pass This On" - The Knife
Even if I'm falling more and more in love with Fever Ray, "Pass This On" stays my favorite song by The Knife. It's highly creative. You don't know where it's coming from. I like the mice singing in choir in the chorus. Watch

"We Built A Robot" - Panda Bear
I don't think this song is so well known from Panda Bear. It's a great old one. I like the homemade production. Listen

"Woordy Rappinghood" - Tom Tom Club
A funny song from the 80's. Watch

"The Caterpillar" - The Cure
I had this song in mind during the processing of the album Evenfall. The butterflies flying around, the rhythm of an acoustic guitar. We re-found this feeling in the live version of "Balancoire". Watch

Sébastien Schuller(Official) | MySpace

Listen to “Open Organ” MP3

Summer Tracks with Liam Frost

Armed with a guitar, Liam Frost began writing and playing songs as a teenager around Manchester, eventually releasing his debut album "Show Me How The Spectres Dance" in 2006 with his band The Slowdance Family. This rather introspective and personal record features the delicately building standout track "The Mourner's of St. Paul's".

Taking on board subsequent heartbreak and a split with his label, Liam set out to create an unashamedly upbeat and soulful pop record under his own steerage, replete with love songs and a tinge of darkness. Liam was determined to move away from the acoustic singer-songwriter approach, and the result is We Ain't Got No Money, Honey, But We Got Rain which is out 14 September through Emperor Records / Pias. Get a taste of this upcoming release with the excellent track "Your Hand In Mine", which you can download here.

This wonderfully "Dirty Love Song" (as described by Liam) was written with the brilliant Ed Harcourt and features the smoky, swaggering harmonies of Martha Wainwright.

While gearing up for what promises to be a busy autumn, Liam shares with us a few of his top tracks for the summer.
"Juxtaposed With U" - Super Furry Animals
A really, really great song by a consistently brilliant band. I turned 18 the year that this was around, and its been on my record player at least once every summer since. I read somewhere that both Bobby Brown and East 17's Brian Harvey were asked to sing on this. They both turned it down, which in some ways is a true comic tragedy. In other ways, it's isn't so much. Watch

"I Wanna Make It Wit Chu" - Desert Sessions
Summer or winter, this is a sexy song. But specifically in the summer I think. That is all. Listen

"Pouring Water On A Drowning Man" - James Carr
I think it's between Solomon Burke and James Carr as far my favourite soul singers go. I'm listening to You Got My Mind All Messed Up by James Carr a lot at the moment. He's not as well known as the other numerous folk that have sung "The Dark End of The Street" (which is on the same album as this one, for those of you that haven't heard him), but he was the first. Watch

"Two Weeks" - Grizzly Bear
A friend introduced me to this band while I was on a boat in the middle of the Arctic with the Cape Farewell group ( in 2007. They've become one of favourite bands since. Ace. Listen

"Summer Wind" - Frank Sinatra
It's there in the title pretty much. This song has an excellent memory attached to it. While I was in New York recording the new album, I took my girlfriend to a beach on the North Shore of New Jersey for her birthday. It had reached the end of the day, and we lay there watching this old couple sat on some beach furniture listening to a radio. This was the song that was playing at the time. Lovely. Listen

Listen to "Your Hand In Mine ” MP3

Liam Frost (Official) | MySpace

Summer Tracks with Leo Maymind of Spanish Prisoners

Listen to “Los Angeles Guitar Dream” MP3

Spanish Prisoners
Los Angeles Guitar Dream
Earfarm (2009)
Download: "Los Angeles Guitar Dream"

Brooklyn band Spanish Prisoners have followed up their highly praised 2008 debut album Songs to Forget with an even more poised, cohesive and diverse EP, Los Angeles Guitar Dream. Leader Leo Maymind has assembled a strong band for the short set that is highlighted by the airy voice of keyboardist Amberly Hungerford on the title track.

There is a strong resemblance to Soft Bulletin era Flaming Lips here but Maymind and crew have a much fuller bag of tricks. One can hear influences as wide-ranging as early Echo and the Bunnymen, The Moody Blues and Aussie group The Sleepy Jackson throughout the tracks. Although they present an eclectic mix of sounds on Los Angeles Guitar Dreams, Spanish Prisoners merge them to create three, beat filled, cunning cuts that resonant. We look forward to seeing what they do on their next full-length.

Spanish Prisoners leader Leo Maymind recently shared his top tracks for the summer with What's On The Hi-Fi.

"Cobrastyle (RAC Mix)" - Robyn
My friend Andre Allen Anjos, who remixed one of our songs, did this mix and I like it so much more than the original version. Someone actually just told me that the chorus is taken from a Kid Rock song. Oh well. Listen

"The Boys Are Back in Town" - Thin Lizzy
Thin Lizzy's one of those bands that I heard a lot about and I've heard the hits on classic rock radio, but its not till I got a compilation of theirs that I really sat down and listened to them and realized how well-constructed these songs are. This song to me is all about summer. Watch

Since I Left You" - The Avalanches
Put this song on. It'll be summer wherever you are immediately. Watch

"Lust for Life" - Girls
I've been listening to this song on a near daily basis since I found out about this band when they came to NYC for their first shows here. Just a great pop melody, supplemented by some hysterically out of tune harmonica playing. What else do you need? Watch

"Phones Don't Feud" - Holiday Shores
A jangly, reverb'ed number. This band's getting compared to the Walkmen, which I don't hear, but this song really skips along. Listen

"House Jam" - Gang Gang Dance
I saw them play a free show at Barnard and it blew my mind. This album (Saint Dymphna) is good but overall not as exciting as their live show. That always amazes me. Listen

Spanish Prisoners (Official) | MySpace | Earfarm

Summer Tracks with Antonio Luque of Sr. Chinarro

Sr. Chinarro's leader Antonio Luque is a true cult figure on the Spanish underground scene. Since the early 1990's, Sr. Chinarro has undergone various configurations, and the group has released a prodigious catalogue of acclaimed ironic indie-pop releases. Antonio is a rare talent, whose strength lies in subtle songcraft, often evoking the imagery of Andalusia and stories of childhood.

At their best, the Seville-based group's songs are luminous adventures, coupled with simple, yet surrealist, storytelling -- gently reminding us of our fondest memories.

2003's El Ventrilocuo de Sí Mismo, one of Sr. Chinarro's most paired down and melodic releases, remains one of our favorite summertime albums.

Antonio shares with us a few of his top tracks for the summer.

"The Summer" - Yo La Tengo
I´m not sure if they composed that song or it´s a cover. I heard it for the first time in summertime, of course. I really like acoustic recordings, because only the good songs can pass the test of being naked.

"She´s Still Suffering" - Cass McCombs
I discovered Cass McCombs' music in the summer of 2007. This album, Prefection, is a masterpiece for me, and this song seems to me to describe things that happened to me as a logical consequences of whatever happened to me those crazy months, my last summer of an already wasted youth.

The Queen is Dead - The Smiths
Every song on this historical album come to my mind from the summer of 1986, when I went to the nearest shop on a stolen bicycle to buy it. I listened to "Bigmouth Strikes Again" in a very commercial radio station. The whole album wasn't what I expected. It was (is) much better than I imagined.

"Loser" - Beck
I spent the summer of 1995 in a villa with air conditioning, watching MTV (not smoking crack, thanks). That song was a kind of revelation about how to sell what seemed impossible to sell. And in a really funny way. In July 1997 I went to a Beck's gig in Dublin. Another beautiful summer.

"I Should Have Known" - Lonna Kelley
I think this is the CD I listen to the most often this summer. I discovered her music a couple of years ago, maybe less. My friend Fernando Vacas, who released this recording in Spain, gave me a copy. I usually don't pay attention to any CD which is given out for free. In this case, it would have been an awful mistake.

Sr. Chinarro (Official) | MySpace | Mushroom Pillow

Listen to “Los Angeles” MP3

Summer Tracks with Emil Svanängen of Loney, Dear

Loney, Dear (perennial favorite here at What's On The Hi-Fi) is the alter-ego of one-man band Emil Svanängen. To the uninitiated, Emil is a remarkably talented Swedish multi-instrumentalist (piano, clarinet, acoustic guitar...) and one hell of a songwriter. Emil has an uncanny ability to pair beautiful lyrical tales, which are at once sad and hopeful, with winsome and organic multi-instrumental pop -- an arresting and instantly appealing combination.

Don't miss the chance to catch Emil (and band) on an extensive North American tour this autumn (with a one-show stop in London on 10 September).

Also, look for the excellent track "Summers" from Loney, Dear on our inaugural and soon to be released podcast.

With summer (supposedly) upon us, Emil shares with us a few of his top tracks for the season.

"Du Och Jag" - Allan Edwall
Swedish actor singing his own songs.

"Bach Goes to Town" - Benny Goodman
What can I say.

"Unrequited" - Brad Mehldau
Amazing song, the peak is when he decides to switch hands and start playing a tenor melody while he plays a vast arpeggio in the right hand.

"Schlafenzeit" - Unknown, but probably played by Karolin Broosch.

Any solo by Per "Texas" Johansson (Swedish reed player).

Loney, Dear (Official) | MySpace

Listen to “Summers” MP3

Hutch's Hi-Fi 9 for the Fourth of July

With Summer 2009 just getting into full swing in NYC and Paris, we figured it was time to posit some tracks that we think you should have on your Hi-Fi this holiday weekend and beyond. Fire up the grill, take the top off and grab the girls in the Sookie shorts and get something going.

"Continue to Call" - Nino Moschella
The funky vibe on this track from Boomshadow is the perfect way to start a day in the sun. Get out your shades and slip into the slow groove.
Listen Here

"Stillness Is The Move" - Dirty Projectors
Sexy and seductive soul from the New York experimental outfit. It's hot like Apollonia from Purple Rain.
Listen Here

"Big or Small" - Fresh Espresso
This Seattle duo take a Bee Gees sound sample and lay chill rhymes over smart electronic thumps. Pure fun for a sunny day.
Listen Here

"Animal" - Miike Snow
This track picks up the pace at your party. Its got a subtle ska sound that always pays off. These Swedes can melt a room with their fiery sounds.
Listen Here

"The Reeling" - Passion Pit
Not much to say about this song except get on it before you hear it in the mall or on your mom's hi-fi. Still a great track.
Listen Here

"Magic Powder" - Minitel Rose
Even though these guys are French and this is a list for the Fourth of July, I couldn't leave it off. This track is a new fovourite song that will have everyone whistling along.
Listen Here

"Bulletproof" - La Roux
She hasn't quite hit the the States but she deserves some time on the top of our pop charts and some time on your summer hi-fi. it's really fun British dance-pop at it's best.
Listen Here

"15 to 20" - The Phenomenal Handclap Band
The double-dutch beat on this jam will remind all of the great early 80's sounds of the Tom Tom Club and features Lady Tigra at her fiercest.
Listen Here

"Hold the Line" - Major Lazer
Our favourite Jamaican commando goes all out dancehall mad with help from Santogold. If your friends aren't dancing to this check their pulse and put a mirror under their noses.
Listen Here

Compiled by Jonathan Hutchison - Editor/Contributor

Summer Tracks with The Embassy

With their catchy summer electro-pop tunes, the sound of The Embassy harks back to an era of the likes of The Beloved, Happy Mondays, Stone Roses, all with a breezy Nordic twist. Their outstanding albums Futile Crimes and Tacking are excellent soundtracks to which you can quite easily wile away the languid days of summer.

The Göteborg, Sweden duo shares with us a few of their top tracks for this summer.

"Neighbourhood Threat" - David Bowie
Nothingness, yet still threatful.

"Satisfied" - Esser
Very typical British nonsense. Cheerful and urban.

"Acperience 1" - Hardfloor
Last night it struck me that this song has followed me almost all my life as amateur-dj -- always knocking in the right context.

"Jalsat Atabat" - Omar Souleyman
Best music for car trips up North.

"Als Wär's Das Letzte Mal" ("Like It Was The Last Time") - DAF
Laughable, provocative, gasping and hot.

Download or stream the new Service label's Live Forever or Die Trying compilation -- includes the releases "Some Indulgence" and "It Pays To Belong" from The Embassy here.

The Embassy (Official) | MySpace

Summer Tracks with Kathy Foster of The Thermals

Oregon group The Thermals have been making thoughtful and irreverent indie-pop since 2002 with four albums including 2009's Now We Can See to their credit. We asked bassist Kathy Foster to let us know what songs are on her hi-fi this summer.

"Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)" - Beyonce
I know Charlie from Panther thinks its anti-feminist, but I don't care. That s**t is tight! Whoa-oh-oh...

"Slow" - My Bloody Valentine
This song makes me think of summer sex in the afternoon and that sweaty drowsiness.

"Oh No" - All Girl Summer Fun Band
A perfect song for summer loves that don't last. And a perfect opportunity to plug my other band!

"Borderline" - Madonna
My favorite Madonna song. It reminds me of making up dance routines in the driveway. A fantastic summer activity.

"Good Day Sunshine" - The Beatles
The title says it all. And the lyrics in this song perfectly describe the way we Portlanders feel when the sun comes out.

The Thermals (Official) | MySpace

Listen to “Now We Can See” MP3