1. Metronomy – Summer 08
Yes, Metronomy’s latest offering literally contains the word ‘summer’ in its title, but that’s not the sole reason for its position on this list. It has everything a summer album could possibly need. The snarky synthpop of Old Skool and spiky discordance of Back Together will be there to soundtrack your summer’s dancing and flirting. The slightly weird, sombre groove of Mick Slow will be the backing track to those sunsets you watch whilst pondering the world, whilst wobbly synths and haunting falsetto wash around your brain. This record even ends with a track entitled Summer Jam, which itself is perfect for a balmy summer’s evening around a fire with beers and friends and fun. If you’re looking for weirdly slick grooves to soundtrack your summer: Metronomy are your friends.
2. James Blake – The Colour In Anything
An artist who’s music has often been referred to as ‘blubstep’ might not be everyone’s first choice for a summer album. However, there are few factors which seem to justify James Blake’s place on this list. Firstly, his is the kind of music that you hear in your head as the sun is going down. When you’ve been drinking steadily since two in the afternoon and are full of barbecued meat, I Need A Forest Fire, a collaboration with Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, is exactly what you want in your ears. Similarly, picture this: the last embers of a fire are slowly burning out, most of your mates have already gone home, the night is almost at end; the irresistibly sultry groove of Timeless kicks in – bliss, you can go to bed all thoughtful and introspective. Finally, Blake is playing at few festivals this summer and positive reviews are pouring in: St Hilda’s music student Ed Maclean claims that Blake’s set at Field Day ‘banged’ – so there you have it.
3. Slum Village – Fan-Tas-Tic Box Set
Taking a step away from the too-clever-for-their-own-good indie kids: some chilled, soul-infused hip hop from the group that once counted J Dilla as a member. Fan-Tas-Tic is a huge boxset of a reissue, which contains a whole load of the aforementioned jams. Shove any of its many disks on at a chilled gathering and you’ve got a pre-made good time. Also if any of your ‘really into their music’ mates are there you can spout off some stuff about how J Dilla ‘really was the genius of his generation, such a sad loss to us all – but Donuts man, what an incredible album, instrumental hip hop really is an art and Dilla was the master’. The final fragment of that pre-made chat is of course true, and is abundantly clear in this reissue.
4. Gold Panda – Good Luck and Do Your Best
Since his 2010 debut Lucky Shiner, Gold Panda has been making people happy with off-the-beaten-track samples and bassy grooves. His latest release is somewhat moodier in places. Album opener Metal Bird might fit into a similar category to the aforementioned James Blake creations – less of an obvious, technicolour summer jam; more of a chilled, warm and smokey vibe. A lot of this album probably fits into this category quite nicely, but whack on Chiba Nights and you’re guaranteed a good time, with it’s soul-infused sampling and incessantly scatty drum loops. Gold Panda’s latest release will make you smile this summer, that much you can be sure of.
5. Kamasi Washington – The Epic
Kamasi is a big dog. He is being touted by many as bringing jazz back into the mainstream; listening to The Epic does not make me question why this is. This album is big – both literally, clocking in at a whopping 2 hours, 53 minutes, and figuratively. Perhaps the reason Kamasi is able to connect with such a large audience is his collaboration with Los Angeles beatmakers and jazzers Flying Lotus and Thundercat. Having played side roles for the likes of Erykah Badu and Raphael Saadiq, Kamasi has now finally stepped into the spotlight. The mainstream appeal has certainly informed The Epic in one way or another. He has already been tearing up the summer festival summer circuit, getting people up and grooving to jazz all over the world. The grooves of Askim and Final Thought are surely able to get even the grumpiest winter-enthusiast off their seat and onto their feet. Jazz hands.
…and a half. Todd Terje & The Olsens – The Big Cover-Up
Having broken through with the synthpop groove of Inspector Norse, from 2014’s It’ Album Time, Todd Terje has been melting hearts and hips with his own wonky brand of dancefloor bangers. The Olsens, Terje’s live band have been involved with this latest release: an EP of obscure disco covers. Firecracker gets this EP off to exactly the start it deserves: the smash of a gong. Terje and his band then launch into an disco groove that betrays all sense of normality and is certain to have you at least nodding along enthusiastically. Baby Do You Wanna Bump does exactly what it says on the time – a sexy groove, paired with low echoey vocals; this track is sure to soundtrack some summer love. If you’re looking for something groove-filled, slightly weird, and entirely Norwegian: Todd’s ya man.