It’s almost summer, which means fun, sun(screen), Punk Rock Bowling, adventure, and your ass sticking to your vinyl car seats. In no particular order, here are some crucial albums to make it through and make it a good time.
If you haven’t heard Uke-Hunt but enjoy Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, do yourself a favor and check out their own teen dream, Spike Slawson’s, loungey side project. You know all the words already. You won’t be able to resist Spike’s ukulele and 50s-era pool party charm. And the rhythm will catch you. A total crowd pleaser for a mellow backyard bbq. Lawn flamingos not included.
$wingin’ Utter$- Fistful of Hollow
This is a solid go-to for putting some pep in your step in the morning when the cruel realities of having to go to work get you down on a sunny summer day. It’s peppy and clever with flairs of grit that feel like classic Utters but it also has a lot of that honest, unique sound we have come to expect from their more recent evolutions. I have “Tell Them Told You So” on perpetual repeat, it’s so catchy and fun. And there’s a fuckin’ bouzouki on the last track. It’s just awesome.
Donald Spence- One Week Records Release
Need some acoustic, heartfelt tunes for laying by the window with an ice coffee and your feelings? Donald has you covered. Working with Joey Cape and One Week Records, Mr. Spence (of Versus the World) lays powerful, sparkling vocals with some real-life emotions over driving acoustic guitar that delivers something punk in spirit and beautiful. Not to mention he is a kind, hilarious human with a pair of equally hilarious, adorable twins. Punk rock dads making cool stuff, what’s not to like? And Father’s Day is in June…
Good Riddance- Peace in Our Time
Ideal for summer outside chores like mowing the lawn that require a badass hardcore soundtrack.
For some reason summer just brings up the nostalgic feels sometimes. While this acoustic side project album is not technically “punk”, with Joey Cape, Tony Sly, Brian Wahlstrom, and Jon Snodgrass making up this super group it’s hard to argue that it’s something else. These familiar voices that have meant a lot to many of us come together on this record to make something that punches you right in your little punk heart. #tonyslyforever
Operation Ivy- Energy
Why? Because this shit turned 30 this year and still never disappoints.
Year of the Fist- Dirty Laundry 7” EP
If you set one goal for yourself this summer, it should be to get to know Year of the Fist. This Oakland based band just rules so hard it hurts. With two ladies on guitars and vocals that are absolute forces to be reckoned with, tight drums, and sick bass, Y.O.T.F. walks a fabulous line of punk and rock that must be blasted on volume 11.
My Life in Black and White- Columbia
This album is infectious. It is complex in its stories of possibility, loss, and regret but at the same time offers choruses and backups that demand to be sung along to. Portland has put out a lot of great punk bands over the years and this is absolutely one of them. Why is this a summer album you ask? Because it’s hopeful and big. It gets you on board and you don’t want it to be over. A lot like summer.
The Gutz- Femina Vipera
Melodic hardcore a la Santa Cruz, CA. It’s got surf and skate vibes, a little poppy, a little old school. A solid choice for the beach or poolside day-drinking. If this album got stuck in my car CD player all summer, I would be ok with that.
Western Addiction- Tremulous
That album for when it’s so hot that you’re mad at the sun for giving you boob sweat and are about to snap. It’s really fucking good.
PS- catch these guys live if you get the chance. Jason Hall is a madman on stage and they are just one of those awesome live bands.
Rancid- …And Out Come The Wolves
Because every summer should have at least one road trip, windows-down, sing at the top of your lungs throwback record. Destination unknown…