To paraphrase Maya Rudolph’s SNL Telemundo riff, the summery heat is so hot at this point that concepts like “autumn” and “winter” and “scoop-neck sweaters” seem like long-extinct species. (Yeah, it’s been mild in NYC thus far, but just you wait.) This playlist, then, explores our nation’s collective desire to escape strained relationships, sweat-saturated oversized tees, and Akon by soaking our cares away in humongous glasses of sweet iced tea.
Daniel A.I.U. Higgs
“Cocoon on the Cross”
From Atomic Yggdrasil Tarot (Thrill Jockey)
Sunstroke chicken-scratch guitar, warped music-box tinkle, and penknife-slicing strings so overheated that the hunk of wood being whittled down is withering into thin ozone air—Lungfish leader Dan Higgs’s disoriented “Cocoon on the Cross” evokes a blazing, heat-advisory afternoon on a prairie with no shade for miles. Are the surrounding fields really on fire? Are the dirt roads truly beginning to flood? For serious: Is that John Fahey’s corpse grimly striding this way, hand outstretched, or is it a worried EMT bearing Evian and oxygen?
Christy & Emily
From Gueen’s Head (The Social Registry)
I am waiting/for a sign, for a siiiiiign/I will know when I see it,” Christy Edwards and Emily Manzo co-harmonize like c&w angels—fulsome, sweetly weary, a bit loopily lost. Scant organ scaling, scarce ax peals, and leading bursts of dehydrated/malnourished silence scream what the meandering, distracted verses can’t quite get across: Godot’s coming for real this time, and when dude rolls up on a pregnant storm front with a back-to-school circular from Kmart, it’ll finally be time to pile the sonic cottons back on, turn off the AC, and get back to fretting uselessly about skin cancer symptoms.
“She’s the One”
From Andorra (Merge)
Back when the Ramones thrashed out their “She’s the One,” the subject of Joey’s gabba-gabba amore was revealed as an imaginary ideal, a notional Persephone incapable of betrayal, disagreement, or PMS. I’m not sure that Caribou’s Dan Snaith and guest vocalist/co-songwriter Jeremy Greenspan (he of Junior Boys) are any less delusional today. Totally different tune, this: sweltering Beach Boys, not punk run amok. Snaith’s vox snake-sigh through the lush, sashaying heat oasis of thermal brass updrafts, stilted keyboard traces, computer-generated strings, and Greenspan’s fractured barbershop-quartet doot-doot-doots to arrive back where he began: madly in love with a hooker (or a voracious sexual libertine). “It’s only talk,” he whines. ” ‘Cause she’ll never be so cruel/Every night there’s a new mate on her arm/That I don’t think I recognize.”