If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, the time you’ve been waiting for is finally here: summer! (To those in the Southern Hemisphere: sorry, but you already had your turn.) It’s a time for college kids to laze off, and, if you live in New England, to curse the heat until it’s winter time and then retract your position.
If you’re like me, and trapped in a job for a chunk of the day, you could probably use some tunes. While outside it’s getting hotter than a forest fire’s armpit, and as sunny as the desert of Arrakis, you’re probably stuck inside with fluorescent lighting and, hopefully, air conditioning. It’s not as ideal as it could be. These albums are to get you in the mood, to help you forget about the blues of working in an office, and get pumped for the beach!
Fucked Up—David Comes To Life
This is probably my favorite album ever to play in the summer. It sounds just as sunny as it looks outside, but Pink Eyes’s vocals add a rough edge to the overall good-natured feel of David Comes to Life. Fucked Up’s guitar work is infectious, and the songs in general have that standard punk attitude, but also the need to sing along. (I swear, I could probably listen to “Queen of Hearts” on repeat for days—it’s just that catchy.) It also has some softer moments, that sort of make it sound like the end of summer, but for the most part David Comes to Live consists of upbeat and energetic songs that are simultaneously ear worm-inducing and well-written.
Let’s also not forget how long the damn album is, racking in at close to 80 minutes of music. David Comes To Life, if you’re not familiar with the work already, is a rock opera as well, presenting a pretty significant story along with the music. I, however, usually just listen to it for the music, because there is no better album to play on the way to or at the beach than this.
While the infamous Appetite For Destruction would also be a contender on this, list, I felt that I had to give a nod to Slash’s second solo album, which is, in my opinion, one of the best albums the guitarist has ever put out.
Now, if you’re expecting something new in terms of composition from Slash at this point, you’re missing the guy’s goal entirely. Slash just makes tasty, blues-influenced hard rock that, frankly, kicks ass. He keeps the badass aspect of rock music alive with his awesome riffs and wah-filled solos. (If you want proof of that fact, just listen to the title track, or my personal favorite track “Bad Rain.”)
What sets Apocalyptic Love apart from other Slash albums is the addition of the immensely talented Myles Kennedy on vocals. His contributions can range from a standard hard rock type of vocal that sounds like a cleaner Axl Rose to soft melodic lines on more laid-back tracks, all the while bringing an intensity and passion to his performance that is rarely seen in rock singers nowadays.
Kyuss—Welcome to Sky Valley
Either you know Kyuss by now or you don’t. Legendary desert-rock pioneers and stoner rock/metal icons (albeit a bit lower than Sleep or Electric Wizard on the stoner hierarchy), Kyuss came out with four albums, of which Welcome to Sky Valley is usually considered the best.
A lot of people usually lose their minds on this album because of “Demon Cleaner,” which is, admittedly, an awesome track, but for me Sky Valley gets its greatness for expanding on the formula and quality of their previous work Blues For The Red Sun (which is still a pretty awesome release as well); it’s full of brain-melting, spine-crushing riffage, thanks to guitarist Josh Homme, and some really cool vocals, courtesy of Brant Bjork. (The opening track “Gardenia” sounds like it belongs in the soundtrack for a driving scene in the next Mad Max movie.) It all comes together for a bluesy, psychedelic experience that is as heavy as it is grooving, and doesn’t stop pummeling you from beginning to end, making this perfect for hot road trips.