Summer is once again upon us, although I don't think we had summer last year. It was more like one long fall afternoon. But this year—this year is going to be different! I'm going to put on my thong bathing suit and hit the slopes if it kills me, which it might just do. With this impending warmth and nakedness comes a need for summer tunes. Every summer has a theme song or album. In 1993, Nirvana's "Rape Me" played to the delight of children as they frolicked under the sun. The summer of '91, the very last release from the Pixies came out, and my girlfriend dumped me, and my car caught on fire. Never mind, that summer sucked. The summer of '87, I forget—I was pretty drunk that summer. The summer of '84 was filled with Purple Rain and Chaka Khan. The summer of '69 belonged, of course, to Brian Adams. This summer you're going to need some new music, so I've got 10 suggestions for you:
1. Twilight Circus Dub Sound System, Dub Voyage (M). If you plan on making this the summer of the big fat bongload, this album's for you.
2. Steve Earle, Transcendental Blues (E-Squared/Artemis). For Steve, it's always the summer of the big fat bongload.
3. Bap Kennedy, Lonely Street (Dressed to Kill/LSD). Bap sings sad ballads from his home in Ireland. Listen to this while you're drinking Budweiser from your beer helmet, eating corndogs, and driving down the freeway in your brand new 4-Runner while screaming out the window, "Thank God I don't live in Ireland or sing sad ballads!"
4. Omara Portuondo, Buena Vista Social Club Presents (World Circuit/Nonesuch). If I were Fidel Castro, I would rename the entire country of Cuba "The Buena Vista Social Club."
5. Looper, The Geometrid (Sub Pop). What the hell is a Looper and why can't I get it out of my head?
6. Smog, Dongs of Sevotion (Drag City). What the hell is a "Dong of Sevotion" and why can't I get it out of—Oh, DONGS of sevotion. I know what that is.
7. The Murder City Devils, In Name and Blood (Sup Pop). Do you think the Murder City Devils ever wear shorts?
8. Aimee Mann, Bachelor No. 2 (Superego). He said shut up! He said shut up! Voices caaaaaarrry.
9. Elliott Smith, Figure 8 (Dreamworks). Elliott is there to remind you why you're on the beach and not in the back of a bar.
10. Various Artists, Capirissima (Caipirinha). A compilation full of Brazilian- flavored electronica to remind you that in Brazil they actually see the sun in the summertime.
Listen to John sunbathe on the air Monday through Friday 6-10am on 90.3 FM KCMU and live on the Web at www.kcmu.org.