I love summertime and summer music. There's just something about listening to music with the window down or the top open rolling down the road. There's some good music out there right now and here is what I'm currently listening to this summer of 2010.
The Hold Steady - Heaven Whenever
The cover of The Hold Steady's 2008 cd Stay Positive was an old looking photo of a drive-in movie theater, an apt cover. Listening to a Hold Steady song is like watching an old grainy movie; Craig Finn's singing is like a narration of a film. The Hold Steady sound is 2 parts Wild & Innocent/Born to Run era E Street Band, 1 part Elvis Costello with a dash of punk attitude.
However, the sound on their latest cd Heaven is Whenever is a bit of a departure. They no longer have the sweeping keyboard sound from Franz Nicolay who departed from the band earlier in the year. The new sound takes them further away from the old E Street Band sound and closer to a guitar dominated sound. The opening song is the fine The Sweet Part of the City, a tale of earlier days of the singer; On The Weekenders the band really hit their stride in the chorus with their great background vocals; the song seems to be about a bad event that kind of ruined a friendship; other winner includes Hurricane J and Our Whole Lives. Heaven is Whenever is solid, but not quite at the level of either 2006's Boys and Girls in America or 2008's Stay Positive.
The Band of Horses - Infinite Arms
The Band of Horses harmony vocal give the Horses their unique sound. They have been building momentum with their first 2 releases 2006's Everything All the Time and 2007's Cease to Begin and with great songs like The Funeral and Is There a Ghost. Now in full gallop the Horses release their major label release on Columbia records Infinite Arms. Their sound is basically the same, but songs are more consistent and even.
The cd begins Factory a song that would sound at ease on the radio, with is classical string arrangement and estranged love story lyrics; Compliments immediately changes the direction with a fast pace rocker; others like NW Apt reminds me a bit of Kings of Leon's Taper Jean Girl; the upbeat Dilly and the country tinged Older have really tight harmonies. Infinite Arms should be on your playlist.
The Black Keys - Brothers
The Black Keys are a blues rock duo from Akron, OH who have been around on the Indie circuit for about 10 years. Their latest release is Brothers a terrific blend of blues, rhythm, old and new school rock.
Brothers opens with Everlasting Life a song that finds it's groove immediately; two terrific songs Next Girl and Tighten Up follow; The Only One is a great tune that strangely brings George McCrae's Rock Your Baby to mind; Sinister Kid is another solid song. Brothers is solid throughout and maybe the cd of the summer.