Punk and Palm Trees: indie rock to rock your summer
We found the best of indie for the late nights and the high tides.
Every other week, Punk and Palm Trees’ suggestions will carry a special theme. This week, I’ve decided to tackle indie rock’s best crack at scoring this lovely June weather. Most of these groups fall under the more pop side of indie, making these selections fit in perfectly on your party playlist as well as your car’s stereo.
1) Matt and Kim: “Grand”
This dynamic duo’s second album offers dynamic pop music with a huge percussion focus. Kim Schifino provides the beats and most important component of this record: its energy. Both Schifino and her co-conspirator Matt Johnson provide vocals, though it is mainly Johnson’s sonorous voice that fronts their work. The lack of heavy guitar presence sets Matt and Kim in a totally different league than many other bands in this genre, as the drums and keyboard weave together in a lively combination. Also, the group doesn’t shy away from using some electronic aspects to create a well-rounded sound. Where to start: “Daylight”
2) Grouplove: “Never Trust A Happy Song”
This rather oddball group of musicians has multiple members take on the role of vocalists. This constant changing of the guard means listeners can hear a variety of different characters on one album. This record has the band’s radio hit, “Tongue Tied,” but it is the deeper cuts that really make this a gem for summer. “Naked Kids” feels like a diary entry pulled straight from one of our own journals and begs us to ask the question, “Why don’t all of our trips down the shore sound this good?” Where to start: “Naked Kids”
3) Walk the Moon: “Walk the Moon”
Before the incredible success of “Shut Up and Dance” (which is a fantastic song, by the way), Walk the Moon’s first record held many of the same excellent indie-pop sensibilities. The album’s lead single, “Anna Sun,” charms with unabashed affection and a carefree confidence that dares you to kiss the cute guy at the bonfire or run screaming into the freezing ocean. “Next In Line” details a lovers’ car ride as light synth dances back and forth across listeners’ headphones. If you’re looking for a record you can truly swing your hips and lose yourself to, Walk the Moon’s self-titled album is the way to go. Where to start: “Anna Sun”
4) The Shins: “Oh, Inverted World”
The debut record for one of the most intelligent bands in alternative rock may have been released in 2001, but it has certainly withstood the test of time. In particular, nimble percussion showcases the earliest examples of the band’s musicianship that turned them into some of indie’s most well known acts. So what qualifies the group for this summer music montage? Well, the softer vocals establish a peaceful ambiance (see: “Weird Divide”) perfect for quiet drives and the rock-solid composition of each track constantly impresses. Where to start: “New Slang”
5) Beach House: “Teen Dream”
Like a warm breeze dancing across your face while you recline in a beach chair, Beach House’s lovely pop record “Teen Dream” will thaw any remaining memories of the past winter. Meandering instrumentals help this other powerful male-female duo capture all the wistfulness of summer in a tightly constructed bubble. Sultry piano progressions envelope listeners in a wistful haze on nearly every track for a soothing, alternative endeavor. Where to start: “Zebra”
Check out Punk and Palm Trees’ Spotify playlist below!