Screw the solstice. Summer has begun. My teacher friends are putting the finishing touches on another batch of nincompoops. Tender, pale flesh, unsheathed and glowing in the May light, is likely being strutted up and down various sidewalks as you read this, or will be tomorrow or the day after. A hint of hope and maybe even happiness grows in my chest. I am writing this shirtless. Yup: Life is once again worth living. Let's party. Here's our soundtrack.
Your Rival, âMy Canary (Was Sure to Run)â
This shimmering shot of glee by Portland trio Your Rival came out last summer, but I still crank it in my Honda whenever Iâm feeling randy, so it must be a perfect summer tune, because Iâm randy a lot and I drive a lot and Iâm still not tired of âMy Canary (Was Sure to Run)â. It brings me back to the post-collegiate June I wasted working in a record store and listening to Beulah and Of Montreal, a time when popâs fleeting beauty mirrored my hope and wonder. Your Rival frontman Mo Troper sings from just such an exuberant peak, and I hope his time there lasts a while.
Vanna Inget, âTickande Bombâ
I saw Vanna Inget charm the pants off a hundred people at the Know last Friday, and as Iâd anticipated, this Swedish quartetâs set peaked with âTickande Bomb,â an exemplary pop-punk plaint that nails the queasy feeling of impending nostalgia, the nagging sense that a perfect present moment is merely rending retrospection wearing a mask. Thatâs what summerâs all about. For me, at least. I might have issues. But Vanna Inget seems to share them, so itâs all good.
Missing Monuments, â(Iâm Gonna) Love You Back to Lifeâ
The video for Missing Monumentsâ â(Iâm Gonna) Love You Back to Lifeâ features frontman King Louie Bankston and his bandmates partying in a hot tub with bikini-clad women and a hearty helping of raw meat. I donât know about you, but thatâs what every summer since sixth grade has looked like for me. The power-pop anthem that gave Louie an excuse to get his friends naked is an ideal soundtrack for making out, breaking up and then making out again.
Olympiaâs keyboard-and-drums pop-punk duo Sharkpact has made a few appearances in this column over the past year, and I canât promise they wonât continue to grace this space on a semi-regular basis, because last yearâs Ditches LP speaks to just about any mood muddling my thoughts. âDeathâ is presently getting me incredibly stoked about this summerâs potential for errant forty-fueled sprees through parks and abandoned buildings; long hikes home down moonlit train tracks; and frenching sessions at the lips of skate park pools. This is punk as joy and joy as a way of life.
King Tuff, âAlone & Stonedâ
While I try to limit my musings to local bands or acts visiting Portland, sometimes something fills my head with such glorious good vibe-age that I have to officially mark the occasion here. King Tuffâs âAlone & Stonedâ, off the Vermont pop wizâs brand new self-titled LP, is my favorite song in the world right now, and it gets my early vote for 2012âs Best Summertime Jam. A wistful paean to getting blissed out by your lonesome while the sun bakes your already baked brain, âAlone & Stonedâ exists at the perfect middle between Wavvesâ druggy pop-punk and Hunxâs snot-nosed sweetness. It is irresistible.
Missing Monuments plays East End TONIGHT with Suicide Notes and Modern Lives. 9pm. Cover. 21+.
Your Rival plays Holocene on Sunday, June 3 with Anne and Industrial Park. 8:30pm. Free. 21+.
Sharkpact plays Red and Black Cafe on Sunday, June 3 with Potsie and the Angries. 8pm. $5. All ages.