JAMS: The Best Summer Songs You Might Not Have Heard On The Radio

Now that summer is slowly coming to an end (sad, we feel your pain), Liz and I thought we’d share some of the songs that we jammed along to all season. These songs may not have impacted mainstream radio, but they kept us headbanging and dancing along. Whether we were driving down to Alabama for Hangout Festival or working away our days in a cubicle, these are the songs that we never skipped when they surfaced on shuffle.


1. “Water Fountain” – tUnE-yArDs

“NO WATER IN THE WATER FOUNTAIN, NO SIDE ON THE SIDE WALK.”….This song is actually infectious–the claps and bells and chants will have you thinking summer will never end. Though it sounds epic from the beginning, the song really picks up around the 2:00 mark. It’s the lead single off of the group’s “Nikki Nack” album and is a festival smasher, so much so that Glastonbury used the tune as their teaser theme track this year. Just listen, and try not to stomp along.

2. “New Dorp, New York” – SBTRKT Ft. Ezra Koenig

Debuting this song on BBC Radio 1 as the lead song off his upcoming release, SBTRKT teamed up with his label mate and New York native Ezra Koenig (lead singer of Vampire Weekend) to produce this gem. This song sounds like a New York summer: chaotic, funky, and spontaneous. Having spent all summer in New York, I listened to this almost every day since its release and still have not grown tired of it.

3. “Heart Out”-  The 1975

Let’s slow things down a bit with this third tune… “Heart Out,” in short, sounds like John Hughes’ Brat Pack era flicks. Lead singer Matt Healy layers his enticing Manchester vocals atop perfectly bright synths and guitar riffs in this smooth track. Two thirds of the way through the song, a saxophone solo assumes the spotlight and takes the song to another level. While the song has been played on BBC Radio 1 and is the band’s next single, it might take a while to make its way across the Atlantic, so listen now and get ahead of the curve!

4. “My Song 5” – HAIM

There is no doubt in my mind that this is actually one of the best songs I’ve heard this past year; I never want to stop listening to this song (not to mention, the video is ace). While Haim’s “Days Are Gone” is a solid debut effort that I’ve listened to over and over again, “My Song 5” is the track that I never skip. Something about the hazy guitar and distorted bass lines keeps me coming back; it sounds nothing like the rest of the album and is a stand out track in my books. The edginess of this song is perfect for a hot day when the sun is making you feel irritable and grouchy.

5. “Little Monster” – Royal Blood

NME and other critics that attended Reading and Leeds Festival this month all hailed Royal Blood the breakout band of the weekend. If you’re unfamiliar with these Brighton natives, they’re a duo who essentially sound like an blues rock offspring of Artic Monkeys and Queens Of The Stone Age. Driven purely by bass guitar and drums, “Little Monster” sounds like it was written and produced by industry veterans–except it’s not, which is what makes it so damn impressive. Embarrassingly, this song and the rest of their debut LP “Royal Blood” has already given me a mild case of rock neck this season.

Honorable Mentions:

Retrograde” – James Blake

Out of Mind” – Magic Man

Beggin For Thread” – BANKS

My Silver Lining” – First Aid Kit

Sex” – The 1975

L’s List:

1.”Antichrist” – The 1975

Though it’s not quite like anything else from their repertoire, this is one of my favorite songs by The 1975. The slow build and haunting instrumentals into a total release of everything at the end of the song is the perfect combination to parallel those times in life when lazy nights that turn into the most amazing times you’ll remember forever. Though summer is ending, that feeling and this song are never out of place.

2. “From Nowhere” – Dan Croll

Not long ago, a friend of mine suggested I check out this newbie out of northern England and I couldn’t be more thankful. “From Nowhere” is his first single from back in 2012 but Croll recently released his first major album in March of this year titled “Sweet Disarray” and it is definitely worth a listen!

3. “Rather Be” – Clean Bandit

Okay so I know this was all over the radio but good lord do I love this song. If you’re someone who has never heard this song before: it’s Dance Party Anthem #1 of my summer playlist as well as Honorable Mention in the fight for Best Song to Jam to in the Car. I dare you to give it a listen and not end up bopping along half way through your first time. And for those who have heard it multiple times a day because you realized it’s brilliance early on: this is me telling you you are totally still allowed to jam whenever it comes on – it’s not old yet.

4. “Dreaming” – Smallpools 

Another quintessential summer jam, “Dreaming” gets you and your spirits up and grooving. Similar in style to bands such as Passion Pit, Smallpools burst onto the scene this summer after forming and releasing an EP last year. Their sound sparks parties wherever/whenever it’s heard and certainly boosts your mood within seconds.

5. “Emmylou” – Vance Joy

Vance’s “Riptide” has rightfully ruled the mainstream radio waves this summer with it’s infectious chorus and beat, and thanks to his massive takeover, I got the chance to see him live at Lollapalooza 2014. It was then that I heard “Emmylou” for the first time. This slow jam simmers its way through 4+ minutes, and while summer is typically the time of hype jams such as “Rather Be” and “Dreaming” mentioned above,  every summer playlist needs that one tune to be the soundtrack of the down time. Being from the South, I needed a go-to song to compliment those restful days spent in the sun doing nothing but drinking my sweet tea and cruising the back roads instead of the busy interstates.  “Emmylou” does that  perfectly. It also doesn’t hurt to have someone croon in my ear that “you are loved.”

Honorable Mentions:

The Walker” – Fitz and the Tantrums

Kemosabe” – Everything, Everything

Love Like This” – Kodaline

Anna Sun” – Walk the Moon

Call Me in the Afternoon” – Half Moon Run

(you can listen to the whole list here)

So next time you’re feeling down about the changing of the seasons, pop on this playlist and brighten your world with the Sounds of Summer according to SNS 🙂

xx L & J