Summer is in full swing, and what would go better with that cold brew than a nice, new album blasting your soon-to-be new favorite tunes? Here are some albums to check out in hopes of further enjoying your hot, sweaty summer.
1. Lemuria - "The Distance Is So Big"
This album rules. If you're not familiar with this Buffalo-based indie punk act, you should be. Lemuria has been releasing music for some time now (since 2004) and I feel comfortable saying that this is their best work yet. While some fans may argue that it's not as "punk" as previous records, they just need to take time to listen to the musicianship of this one. As their third full length, The Distance Is So Big is full of surprises and sounds like nothing the band has put out before. It's quite refreshing actually. Following the progression of their last LP Pebble, this one modestly displays the band member's individual talents and they culminate perfectly as a band. This record can be summed up as an eclectic mix of indie and punk with bits and pieces of jazz and math rock thrown in to sweeten the pot. A friend of mine once described it as "sounding like elements, and various parts of the world." See for yourself!
Stand out tracks: Brilliant Dance, Scienceless, Chihuly
2. Places to Hide - "Almost Nothing"
I only recently heard this band, but I was immediately hooked. Places to Hide is a blissful combination of male/female vocals expressing distressed, post-college, drug-induced, personal struggles. But no worries; such themes are nicely blended with upbeat, poppy melodies that will get stuck in your head. While there is nothing wrong with a little self-deprecation (we all do it), the band makes it clear that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. What I'm trying to say is that Almost Nothing is the perfect album for summer, and summer love. With lyrics relatable to nearly any 20-something year old, the band admits what we all wish we could: "The summer is so hot and I just wanna have sex with you."
Stand out tracks: Self Preservation, Love Song, Michael Jordan
3. Aye Nako - "Unleash Yourself"
After hearing Aye Nako's demo back in 2010, I was starting to wonder if this band was over. But after years of waiting in anticipation, these Brooklyn-based queercore punkers have finally released their first full length. And it was well worth the wait. Appropriately-titled Unleash Yourself, this record suggests just that, and encourages you to be yourself and maybe more importantly, be happy and live life to your full potential. Aye Nako's cool and mellow sound sets them apart from many other punk bands, and leaves you two options: (1) you could either relax and just chill out, or (2) jump around your room and rock out (I admit to doing both). If you are looking for some positive reinforcement or are just in need of some new tunes, this is the album for you and yours.
4. NONA - "Through the Head"
What seems to be a hit record straight from the 90s, NONA does a swell job of fusing such influences with modern punk and alternative rock. After only recently solidifying a line up, the band wasted no time in recording Through the Head. I like to consider this a "made-for-vinyl" album, meaning that it's most aurally-pleasing via a needle on the record; it brings out the warmth and tones. The band doesn't limit themselves to a sound either, as there are clear traces of grunge and pop in addition to your ordinary punk rock ingredients. In short, this album is full of quarter-life angst, raw emotion, and catchy melodies that will keep you up while you're trying to sleep. Yes, it's one of those.
Stand out Tracks: Now & Then, Dead to You, Jack Chan, Dead
5. Radiator Hospital - "Something Wild"
For some reason, I've only recently discovered this Philly band. I don't know how they snuck past my ears for years, but their new, first full length LP Something Wild deserves some attention. Just clocking in at under a half hour, Radiator Hospital's blend of upbeat pop songs and soft acoustic jams sets the mood for the perfect late-night hang sesh on your back porch (friends and booze optional). The band's easily-digestible lyrics of flings and small heartbreaks resonate well with the average listener and are not overly sappy or dramatic, but honest and sweet at times. And while they sing about getting lost and escaping, you should do the same upon listening. Just relax and smile.