California, by EMA, is the official Song of the Summer 2017. Please enjoy it. It rules. It has everything: excellence, lyrical appropriation, emotional universality derived from textual specificity, rocking guitars...what more could a person want in a Song of Summer?
There was some precedent: in 2014, I wrote about really liking the last Gowns song, Stand and Encounter, which I'd had around for a couple years and had adored. Think like a perfectly curated Velvet Underground tape distilled to 17 pulsing minutes. It's still available as a free download, and it still flays bullshit and cleanses the soul. Somewhere after that, I was aware of this album, Past Life Martyred Saints, coming out and I had the first song off it, The Grey Ship, which I liked but didn't love for some reason. Now I love it. Now, in 2017, I'm smart enough to listen to EMA.
It's been a rough year. This is only the second record to grab me since the calendar turned! I never even managed to type up my HEAVY TUNES of 2016 post, due to a combination of broken hand that cost me many months and much time to write, life changes, general lack of stokedness about music, etc. But with this record on repeat, I am starting to feel again like there might be a little room for good things, for new music.
Might be worth documenting last year's song(s) of the summer: Sabrina Ellis / Andrew Cashen of Sweet Spirit / A Giant Dog doing acoustic versions of a couple of their best-best tunes on The Best Show. I mentioned how moving and wonderful I found these songs once before, I think, always intending to speak more fully about them. Basically I think they're The Children of Fred and Toody: their songs are all heart, and all truth. These versions strip away everything but that heart/truth and their catchiness, and are therefore perfect.
Summer!! Fuck yeah!
In conclusion: California, song of the summer; Past Life Martyred Saints, extremely, extremely good record; music, still has the power to furnish, burnish, heal, or remake a life.