Now that things have gotten properly hot in New Orleans, it is time once again to turn our attention to the records that sound like summer. Each year I try to highlight a few albums that are the perfect companions on a long road trip or for an afternoon at the beach. This year we have some exceptional candidates for your summer soundtrack.
Paul Simon The Concert in Hyde Park
Paul Simon continues his longstanding tradition of outstanding live records with a recording of his 2012 performance at the London Hard Rock Calling Festival. This concert celebrates the 25th anniversary of his groundbreaking Graceland record and features performances of almost every song from that album. Simon is joined by much of the original company that toured with him in the mid 80s along with special appearances from Hugh Masekela, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Jimmy Cliff (yeah, it’s pretty amazing). One of the notable aspects of this performance is Simon’s willingness to play with the arrangements of his classic tracks. He keeps the sound fresh while allowing his collaborators to explore and expand the songs. This is every bit as essential as his 1991 concert recording from Central Park. Watch “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes” below:
Charly Bliss Guppy
Every now and then a perfect gem of power pop comes along and hits all of the sweet spots. Led by Eva Hendricks, Charly Bliss is wonderfully reminiscent of the 90s pop sound but is not rooted in nostalgia for nostalgia's sake. Hendricks and company are able to incorporate a wryly critical modernity into the construction of these tracks. This is one of those rare pop albums that is great from start to finish. It is flying down the highway with the top down music. Take this one along with you this summer and you will not be disappointed. Check out the official video for “Percolator” below:
Jeff Tweedy Together at Last
When it is time for something a bit more introspective, Jeff Tweedy continues his amazingly productive streak with the release of a career spanning solo record that focuses on the stripped down solo performances that he often delivers as part of Wilco’s live set. The highlight here is Tweedy’s songwriting. He fruitfully reworks some Wilco’s biggest moments revealing the wonderfully personal sentiments that were sometimes obscured by the overwhelming force of the band as an ensemble. Check out “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart” below:
To Do This Week
Tonight head down to d.b.a. for Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Review. Tomorrow check out Cole Williams at Buffa’s or The New Orleans Suspects at Tips for Free Friday. Also Friday and Saturday the excellent Steelism will do a two night stand at Chickie Wah Wah. Saturday Roger Waters is at the Smoothie King Center. Sunday make sure to hit Roni Size at the Dragon’s Den. Tuesday check out the outstanding Water Seed at Blue Nile.
To Listen This Week
- Excellent new track from Zola Jesus via Youtube
- Torres has released a new track via Youtube
- Watch Sigur Ros’ live performance with the LA Philharmonic via CoS