10 Songs for Summer
Bust out your trail maps. Pack the car. Hit the road. Climb new mountains. Swim endless oceans. See above the tree line.
It’s Summer 2016.
For all the adventures you’re about to embark upon, music will be a necessity. To help you start your own summer mixtape, here are ten of my go-to songs and artists to inspire ambitions to fly and inhibitions to hide this beautiful season.
1. Follow the Sun by Xavier Rudd
I came across Xavier Rudd at the right time in my life. Drowning in the San Francisco fog, Xavier and his band brought light into my heart. Filled with pure happiness, there’s authenticity echoing throughout the song. If you’re into this, dive into my favorite album of his, Spirit Bird, which merges the reggae lightness of “Follow the Sun” with conscious conversation on today’s social landscape.
2. Live Wire by Quiet Life
You know that Instagram filter that drenches nature in nostalgia? That’s Quiet Life’s new album, “Foggy”. Built around the theme of “finding happiness wherever”, I stumbled across the new album a few months back. Since then, it’s been on constant repeat. This is the album that was created for summer, for surfing and for sauntering in the woods.
3. California (Cast Iron Soul) by Jamestown Revival
“California, I don’t even know you. You’ve taken me away from home. Old magnolia I’ll never get over you, The feelings running straight to my bones.”
I came to California for an escape from Arizona, but I also came for a belief in the outdoors…a belief that Huckberry emitted in everything they produced. Within the first week of working at HB HQ, I was introduced by a band they’ve partnered with in the past, Jamestown Revival. Good friends to my coworkers are now a mainstay in my camping playlist. With folky rock, coincidental lyrics like that of above, and (shhh) a feature in our upcoming catalog, Jamestown Revival is must listen.
4. Love Ain’t Enough by The Barr Brothers
When a man named Snowflake takes your mind, opens it up and pours a gallon of newfound perspective into your life, you listen. You listen when his wisdom is paired with film of white powder, innovative skiing, and sheer awe. And when The Barr Brothers inch into the decibel landscape, you emerge a better human. Watch “The Shadow Campaign // Snowflake” by DPS Skis and see for yourself.
“I know I’m a crazy idiot, but I’m sorry, I feel happy as I am”
5. Some Unheroic Hill by Ark Life
Traveling the west coast in a van, wake boarding, fly fishing, tree houses, beach bonfires, skateboarding in the forest. These are all the components of the wanderlust-raising film by Cyrus Sutton, “Friends in High Places”. This film is where I first heard Ark Life’s brilliant song, “Some Unheroic Hill”, a song made for road trips with your best friends.
6. Past Lives by Local Natives
It’s been about three years since Local Natives last released music. But, if it takes that long to produce new records as brilliant as their first single, “Past Lives”, they can take all the time they want. Pounding drums strong enough for a campfire dances and soaring vocals reminiscent of the harmonies on 2010’s “Gorilla Manor”, I’m falling back in love.
7. My Sweet Midwest by Fruit Bats
There’s something about the summer heat that makes you want to move. It may be the itch for an ocean breeze or the mountain chill upon sight of alpenglow; movement becomes your drug. Once you start, it’s impossible to slow your momentum. “My Sweet Midwest” is a lot like this. Dancing guitar strings propel you forward while lyrics speak of the places we’re from and the places we’re going. Released only three weeks ago, Fruit Bats’ new album, Absolute Loser should be discovered by all.
8. No Matter Where We Go by Whitney
You’re young, reckless, and school just let out for summer break. Love, (or your naive idea of it), bounces off your mind with exponentially increasing speed. This is Whitney and this is “No Matter Where We Go”. Maybe you’re not an adolescent anymore, but for two minutes and forty seconds you can be.
9. You Think I Don’t Know (But I Know) by Charles Bradley
When your fans call you “The Screaming Eagle of Soul”, you know you’re doing something right. I’ve written about Charles Bradley before, but his new album shattered my expectations. That was before I saw the man live. At 67 years old, his performance made me more vibrant than I’ve ever felt at a concert. My favorite song from the new album, “You Think I Don’t Know (But I Know)” is what I listen to every day after work while walking through the industrial streets of San Francisco’s Potrero Hill neighborhood. Check it and him out.
10. Head Rolls Off by Frightened Rabbit
It may be over 8 years old, but “Head Rolls Off” is a timeless ode by Scottish indie rock band, Frightened Rabbit. When I settled out here in the bay, I revisited “Quietly Now”, the audacious live album recorded in 2008 and it’s become the perfect soundscape for every one of my recent backpacking jonts. Dive in head first. I promise you, there will be no regrets.
Reader feedback powers my finger tap-tap-tapping on this MacBook air, in a dreary Starbucks smack dab in the ironically named Sunset (but always foggy) district of SF.
Like what you’re hearing? Comment below and tell me which of these songs you enjoyed the most, hated the least, or inspired you to pack the rucksack and go outdoors. I’ll send you an eleventh song that should have made this list.
Rock on people and enjoy your summer.
Logan Stoneman is a writer, marketing entrepreneur, backpacker, minimalist, part-time traveler, and the creator of LogStone.co