The Ultimate St. Louis Band Summer Mixtape
All week long we're rolling out content from our Summer Guide 2014. In it you'll find all the best ways to enjoy the season in and around St. Louis. Click here to read the rest of the guide or pick it up in print at the red Riverfront Times box nearest you.
Music and summertime are forever intertwined, capturing the joys of the present and, years later, invoking sweet memories. We've all got a song that instantly takes us back to watching Dad burn hot dogs on the grill or gossiping poolside with our best friend or making out with Joey Miller in the backseat of his mom's Oldsmobile.
St. Louis has plenty of bands that create the kind of music that will bring the summer of 2014 flooding back to you years from now. From empowering rock anthems to sexy R&B jams to relaxing folk ditties, Gateway City musicians do it all. Below, check out our St. Louis summer playlist with songs that are perfect for speeding down I-55 or taking a siesta under a tree in Forest Park
Just click through -- we've built the entire playlist in Spotify for your listening pleasure.
The Blind Eyes
"With a Bang"
Sure, the Blind Eyes called it quits earlier this year, but the band's music lives on. For seven years the pop-rock quartet developed a reputation for excellent songwriting and catchy riffs, garnering it plenty of notice from publications around the country. Though there are plenty of Blind Eyes tunes that capture summer's essence, "With a Bang" is the one that would best fit into a quick-cut movie montage of college friends having one final, wild, late-May night before going separate ways after graduation.
Jeremiah Johnson Band
"Sweet Young Thang"
Much like summer itself, there's something about a good blues tune that makes us want to shed clothing. And while the Jeremiah Johnson Band is rightfully lauded for its quieter, twangy take on the genre, we get more excited when the group performs songs that induce shoulder rolling and body thrusting. With its spark-filled guitar riffs, seductive horns and yearning lyrics, "Sweet Young Thang" is exactly what we need to find our summer groove.
"Yesterday Was a Blur"
We swear that Chris Grabau's songwriting ability is constantly turned up to eleven. As Magnolia Summer, Grabau and friends are old hands at drawing up evocative tunes that build emotion through storytelling and layered instrumentation. We're totally down with that, but we also appreciate when the band just rocks the eff out. That's what we get with "Yesterday Was a Blur" — a straightforward, guitar-driven song with a title that describes what we tell ourselves many a hazy summer morning.
"Murder on the Dance Floor"
Summer is the season for parties -- the kind that start when you're hanging out with your best friend, who calls another friend over, who turns up the house speakers, which attracts fun-loving neighbors who invite their friends, who bring over cases of booze left over from a recent barbecue. Before you know it, you've got an adult Can't Hardly Wait situation happening, and that's the absolute perfect time to crank up Kid Scientist's sweaty dance tune.
"Streams & Rivers"
For many people, reggae is the definitive musical undercurrent of summer, with the beat evoking undulating hips, salty breezes and whiffs of a certain plant life. In "Streams & Rivers" Coultrain doesn't step fully into this genre, smartly choosing instead to pull its sunny, peaceful vibe and layer it with elements of R&B and pop. And that voice! Songwriter/vocalist Aaron Michael Frison gives the sun a run for its money when it comes to making us melt.
"Hot for Pizza"
We've already talked about how music is linked to nostalgia, but what happens when a new song is soaked in juices of the past? That, friends, is when you discover the Inception of the music world. "Hot for Pizza" is a great example of the phenomenon, mixing elements of Van Halen's "Hot for Teacher" with Arctic Monkeys' "I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor" into Tilts' own cool summer cocktail.
"The Way to Be"
Sometimes the best music moments are the ones you create for yourself. A song doesn't always have to be about what the lyrics say or what the band intended. One's interpretation depends heavily on personal experience and observations. That's how we feel with "The Way to Be," one of our favorite Grace Basement songs to listen to while kicking back with an iced tea, our feet propped up on the porch railing as we reflect on life's treasures and pitfalls. Tip: Listen to the tune in the evening, when the crickets add to the song's peacefulness.
Listen to the entire mixtape on Spotify here: