With finals shrinking in the rearview mirror, the best time of year is right around the corner — summer. Whether you're relaxing on the beach, cruising on a boat or just driving around aimlessly with friends, the time to turn up the volume is upon us. Here are four indie tunes that exude summer in all its freewheeling glory.
“Sol Del Sur” by Sun Room
As the namesake for this band’s debut EP, “Sol Del Sur” defines the dream-like quality of summer. As the group is made up of four shaggy-haired surfers dwelling in San Diego, it's no surprise that this 2020 release translates to “southern sun.” Adding a modern twist to the light-hearted summer sound founded by The Beach Boys, Sun Room’s “garage surf rock” is for listeners who look longingly at 60s rock through rose colored glasses.
Describing an unreachable haven, “Sol Del Sur" details a place in which summer perpetually exists. Opening with “I once heard ‘bout a place / I want to go / but there is steps you can’t retrace,” the song builds a sense of mysterious allure. The vocals gain strength in the chorus, as the lyrics reveal the crux of this paradise “I heard the sun don’t leave / it stays and it shines / all day / all the time / Sol del Sur.”
With a short runtime of 2 minutes 25 seconds, simple lyrics and a high-pitched guitar riff, this track guarantees easy listening on any summer day.
“These Are The Days” by Inhaler
Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, Inhaler rose to fame in part due to frontman Elijah Hewson’s legendary father, Bono of U2. While Hewson’s voice clearly echoes his father’s, Inhaler strays far from the heavy political themes for which U2 is well known.
Through their more alternative sound — sometimes bordering on pop rock — Inhaler instead opts for upbeat vibes. In a state of anticipatory nostalgia, “These Are The Days” reminds listeners to rejoice in the carefree exhilaration of youth while it lasts. In a rallying cry, the chorus promises that “These are the days that follow you home / these are the days that kiss you on your broken nose.”
School will eventually start again. Responsibility will inevitably sneak up behind us once more. But for now, we have summer. And just like this song’s bridge whispers, “we can do anything we want for a while” so “I think we’re gonna be okay.”
“The Green Superintendent” by Mako Road
Originally a cover band at Canterbury University, Mako Road is an up and coming group from New Zealand. “The Green Superintendent” is one of their most popular songs, the third track on their 2018 debut EP by the same name.
It might be pretentious to say that “The Green Superintendent” is more of a feeling than a song. But it also might be true. From nondescript lyrics, references to outer space and less-than-subtle allusions to illicit substances strung together throughout the verses, the average listener might be left wondering who or what “The Green Superintendent” is.
The song is carried by its beachy tune and laid back vocals, not its obvious storytelling ability — the perfect recipe for a relaxing summer song. While the words probably hold significant meaning to the band — with some deeper lines like “just don't let me get old” to “the dark and lightness in me” interspersed — the listener doesn’t have to take on that responsibility. Instead, just sit back and enjoy.
“July” by Betcha
While “July” is the song most fittingly named for this list, the track’s title may be slightly misleading. This track does not emit the same carefree vibes that envelop the former three. On their sophomore EP, Betcha instead taps into the post-punk revival of the early 2000s, juxtaposing emotional verses with a catchy chorus.
Opening with the cryptic “I wish we’d started in the rain / so that when it was gray / we’d think it was a fine and normal day,” the lyrics immediately construct a sense of angst. This moodiness continues into the pre-chorus in an airy “life is but a poem, that we write phrase by phrase / till we go to the catacombs.”
When the music suddenly shifts, however, the lyrics follow. As the guitar ramps up and the drums smash, the singer screams “It must be July cause I only wanna ride with my hair down.” Through this spontaneous shift in energy, the song expresses the exhilaration of driving around with friends that any small-town kid knows defines summer.
While the aforementioned tracks are perfect for long summer days, its punk-rock roots and emotional undertones make “July” fit for late summer nights.