“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.” F. Scott Fitzgerald
The last of my finals have been taken, the Los Angeles heat has become even more unbearable, and photos of the gorgeous SoCal beach landscapes all the way from Santa Barbara to San Clemente have taken over my Instagram feed.
If you are anything like me—a born adventurer who could live their life as one big road trip, who thinks that the best teachers are travel and new experiences—then summer is a great time to break free from your usual routine and find new ways to broaden your horizons. As a music lover, I also know that every great adventure needs a great soundtrack. Without further ado, here are the songs that will be playing in the background of my road trips, adventures, and memories this summer.
“Drunk In LA” - Beach House: The seventh studio album from dream-pop band Beach House, appropriately titled 7, is already universally regarded as one of their best releases. This track embodies everything that I already loved about Beach House—dreamy, slow beats, haunting melodies, poetic lyrics, and a cadence that makes the listener feel like they’re in an iconic movie scene. This song is truly incredible, and I know I’ll be blasting it on all my late night summer drives through the city that inspired it.
“Let The Sun In” - Wallows: This summer bop comes from one of my favorite bands, Wallows, fresh off their latest EP, Spring. This three-piece from L.A. has been blowing up the indie-pop scene lately, and this EP perfectly captures the feeling of a soundtrack for a dreamy ‘80s beach movie. “Let The Sun In” is honestly a tune you’ll have stuck in your head this summer (that’s a good thing, trust me)! Also, a heads up, if you’re going to be headed to Lollapalooza, Life is Beautiful, or Austin City Limits, check out Wallows’s set, you’ll be so glad you did!
“Sex, Drugs, Etc.” - Beach Weather: The best description that I can write about Beach Weather’s sound is that their energy is uncannily similar to early incarnations of The Neighbourhood. If you’re a fan of songs like “Sweater Weather” and “Baby Came Home,” then you’ll love any single by Beach Weather. That’s not to say that the band doesn’t have a unique and distinctive sound; their laid-back vibe and catchy lyrics are the reason why they’ll rightfully become such a big name in indie-pop soon enough.
“Melting” - Kali Uchis: One artist I have been obsessed with for awhile now is Kali Uchis. Her debut album, Isolation, is filled with upbeat anthems and a warm, ethereal sound. “Melting” is the perfect soundtrack for summer love and bright, sunny days.
“Back Again” - Flor: With their dreamlike, hazy sound, it’s no wonder a song by Flor made this playlist. From opening for Halsey and Atlas Genius, to recently selling out the Troubadour, Flor has made its mark on the indie scene. Best believe this song will be on repeat for me all summer. If I had to describe to someone what floating in an empty pool in the middle of summer feels like, all I’d have to do is play this song, and they’d instantly understand. It’s cool and relaxing like a daydreaming state, floating across the surface.
“Paint Me Silver” - Pond: The second project of Tame Impala frontman Kevin Parker, Pond is a psychedelic rock band from Australia that is making its mark on indie crowds across the U.S. When listening to songs like “Paint Me Silver,” you can hear Tame Impala’s influence. If you love dreamy alt-rock tracks, you’ll be bumping this song all summer!
“How I Feel Now” - Hot Flash Heat Wave: The Bay Area-based band Hot Flash Heat Wave is making its festival debut at Outside Lands in San Francisco this summer, playing the same festival as acts like Mac DeMarco, Janet Jackson, and Florence and the Machine. It’s no wonder these NorCal boys are playing on such a major festival bill—their second album, Soaked, is full of lively, summer-esque jams. Since they’ve been together, the group has also already developed a strong following along the West Coast. “How I Feel Now” is another summer love song that would work well as the theme song to any road trip!
“Loving is Easy” - Rex Orange County: While this may be one of Rex Orange County’s most popular songs, it’s definitely well-known for a reason. A love song you can’t help but play on repeat, it’s also a blissful and funky track for picnics and late night dance parties. Rex vividly depicts a sweet romance we all wish we could experience this summer. He’ll be on the bill at Outside Lands as well, so if you’re planning on going, keep your ears open for his performance.
“Watching The Wheels” - John Lennon: This is an oldie but a goodie, so I had to include it here. A summer playlist isn’t complete without at least one song from John, Paul, Ringo, or George. Summer means wistfully embracing my inner ‘70s hippie gal, including long hair, bare feet, dreams of peace, and a universal love.
“Pretty Girl” - Clairo: Clairo, a 19-year-old electro-pop artist from Massachusetts, is a current rising star. Her tracks are fun, upbeat, and ever-so-relatable, depicting the ups and downs that come with growing up and adolescence. She recently released her debut album, diary 001, after a long-anticipated wait from fans. She’s been coined as one of the iconic faces of today’s bedroom-pop era.
“Volcanic Love” - The Aces: I had to include a song from The Aces on this playlist—after touring with Coin and X Ambassadors, and being featured in Nylon’s ‘Playlisted’ Summer Concert Series, it’s safe to say that 2018 is their year. “Volcanic Love” is a track I’d play while driving down PCH, dancing on the beach with my friends, or lying on the grass, watching a summer sunset.
“Revin’ My CJ7” - Summer Salt: This one needs no explanation for it’s inclusion, the band’s name gives you all the information you need! From the moment their first album, Driving to Hawaii, was released in 2017, these boys were destined to be at the top of everyone’s summer playlist. True to their title, each song evokes an image of clear beaches and Hawaii sun. This song, however, is off of their second album, So Polite, which was released only in 2017, but it still carries that same summer energy.
Hopefully, this playlist can be the perfect accompaniment to your summer! Now go on a road trip, plan an adventure, stick your toes in the ocean, drive down the coast, make some memories, and follow where the music takes you.
Ting Ting Chen