Punk and Palm Trees: Current tracks and throwback hits

Guest columnist Morgan Magid explores even more awesome summer soundtrack material.

By Morgan Magid | July 10, 2015

Tags: Mizzou in Review 2015 Music Summer

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1) Japandroids: “Celebration Rock”

It’s been three years since the alt-rock duo Japandroids has released new music, but their sophomore album remains in anything but a slump. The poetic storytelling interwoven between raucous guitars brings the record to life in every facet. A full-throttle drive through some of the best of American rock music today, songs such as “Fire’s Highway” and “Adrenaline Nightshift” showcase artfully distorted vocals. Rich imagery fuels this technically mesmerizing rock anthology. An excellent soundtrack to long drives, “Celebration Rock” is sure to satisfy your summer music needs. Where to start: “Fire’s Highway”

2) fun.: “Aim and Ignite”

Before exploding onto mainstream radio with “We Are Young,” fun. released its debut album “Aim and Ignite” three years ago. The eclectic pop record presents all the best parts of the band: melodies that stick in your brain, crisp vocals and an insurmountable energy disguising a subtle pessimism. A winding romance reveals itself in the piano ballad, “The Gambler,” and “I Wanna Be The One” offers brightly lit bits of encouragement behind quiet horns. This record features the slightly less experimental side of fun. making nearly every song digestible for casual music fans. Where to start: “Barlights”

3) Surfer Blood: “Astro Coast”

Surfer Blood’s Floridian roots shine through in its debut record. Clever references to Russian brides and the cult legend “Twin Peaks” allow an odd sort of storytelling to personalize the record. Basslines establish smooth rhythms while backing vocals nicely plug the gaps in songs. “Anchorage” opens with an almost jazzy drum solo and slowly incorporates layer after layer before singer John Paul Pitts croons “I don’t wanna spin my wheels/I don’t got no wheels to spin.” Delicate guitars will flow over headphones like the ocean lapping at your toes when the tide’s gone out on the beach. Where to start: “Take It Easy”

4) Modern Baseball: “You’re Gonna Miss It All”

A delightful blend of indie, punk and pop, Modern Baseball’s “You’re Gonna Miss It All” captures the nuances of young adulthood perfectly—particularly the constantly shifting relationships that define us, and the emotions that change with the drop of a hat or another shot of liquor. “Apartment” details the hopeless romantic venture of a boy working up the courage to ask a girl out, all complemented by fast guitars. The spunkier side of the group comes out with “Your Graduation.” The track shows off an energy that’ll have you dancing and singing along in no time. Where to start: “Your Graduation”

5) Best Coast: “California Nights”

True to its name, the dynamic duo of Best Coast’s newest release brings the best of Californication. Great pop sensibilities put a superb focus on their plentiful hooks for delightfully catchy surfer rock. The beach vibes create a glazed-over dream state across the board. Even breakup songs like “In My Eyes” feel sugarcoated somehow. Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno’s entire discography is built for summertime and their ‘90s-influenced sound make for a foolproof formula. Where to start: “Run Through My Head”

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