The “It’s Too Damn Hot” Southern Summer Mix


Compiled by Jay Mattson


The Belle Brigade – Shirt (MP3)

The Belle Brigade

Seemingly innocent, “Shirt” starts out mellow and simply melodic. The lyrical brilliance in this song doesn’t become obvious until the end of the first verse. This is when your brain finally catches up with how all the words actually worked together, as opposed to simply parroting them as individual sentences. “Shirt” is indeed a song sung from the perspective of a shirt, and what a song it is! One wouldn’t expect a song about a piece of apparel to so intensely burn from beginning to end and yet still feel natural to the narrative. Like the literal passage of time in the lyrics, this track evokes some of the best elements of folk, rock, country, Americana, and indie music all rolled up into a song about a shirt. BUY


Korean Is Asian – The Book (MP3)

Daytrotter Session (1/1/2011)

“The Book” is an interesting song, both in its place in music’s current pantheon of genres and also in its subject matter. Religion is no stranger to popular music, but not often does it get blatantly featured as the focus in a contemporary secular song. Regardless, “The Book” is a simple, piano-driven ballad about religion personified, and how that affects all of us. Jordan Caress’ enjoyable vocals hold the song up while her partner in crime, Brian Ritchey, emerges during the chorus to add an extra harmony that pulls the song together and makes it complete, both sonically and emotionally. MySpace


My Morning Jacket – Holdin’ on to Black Metal


I was only somewhat impressed with MMJ’s most recent outing, Circuital, but was seriously impressed by a few select tracks, “Holdin’ on to Black Metal” being one of them. Like they emerged from the swamps of Florida or Louisiana, the murky guitar riff and Jim James’ haunting vocals create some surreal world in which this song exists. Contrary to the popular southern-rock aesthetic, MMJ creates their own sound. Even though it’s wildly different than the status quo, they somehow manage to access a whole gamut of fans across various diversities. BUY


Woods – Out of the Eye

Sun & Shade

More rock than folk and more musical and lyrical, “Out of the Eye” is an exceptional song from Woods. It’s not only due to its high quality of production, but also since it’s an exception to how Jeremy Earl usually writes his songs. Instead of gripping, spooky folk buried under fuzz and some distortion, “Out of the Eye” is a rhythm-heavy epic that, whilst not being the longest track on the album, continuously spirals further and further into a 7+ minute legitimate psychedelic-rock anthem. BUY


The Haret – Going to Germany

The Haret

A traditional American folk song about the travelin’ life as sung and played by a Canadian multi-instrumentalist. The Haret represent what folk music needs now more than ever: deeper, more extensive roots. Ryan Baer gets that. He created The Haret and plays traditional folk music along with his own tracks that rival many big-name country acts currently sitting high and mighty on the Billboard charts. “Going to Germany” might not be Baer’s own words yet he makes it his song, not only in his warbly vocal delivery but also in the overall tempo and emotion he exudes with every breathe he takes. It’s quite prodigious to hear. MySpace / Feature


The Stepkids – Shadows on Behalf

Shadows on Behalf

Mike wrote about The Stepkids a while back, and I listened. Though they’ve just come onto the scene, this outfit is poised to take the underground scene by storm in coming months, at least, if it sounds as good as “Shadows on Behalf.” This woozy, hazy, yellow-tinted track invokes the ‘70s through sweeping chords and sifting vocal stylings that mesmerize while the instrumentation supports the feelings of euphoria. You should definitely listen to this one whilst lying out on a pool chair, sunbathing and drinking a glass of lemonade or an ice cold beer. BUY


Washed Out – Amor Fati

Within and Without

Hailing from South Carolina, Ernest Greene must have felt the need to make chillwave music enduring enough to get him out of South Carolina. He succeeded by becoming Washed Out and crafting some of the most hypnotic and genuinely enjoyable beats in years. The Life of Leisure EP was a great set up to this summer’s breathtaking Within and Without. “Amor Fati”, the second official single, is beautiful. Like most of Greene’s music, the song manages to grab hold of the audience’s attention and never let go, which is how a song of this classification should be. OS Review / BUY


Girls – Vomit

Father, Son, Holy Ghost

While arguably not a southern or summer song, Girls’ new single was released as little as three weeks ago, and it’s incredible. It needs to be on this list because I have been listening to it all summer. “Vomit” is the searing return of LA’s Girls. Their debut album, Album, was as straightforward as its title. This new single feels more in-depth and fleshed out, possibly to reflect the album title, or in spite of it. Either way, “Vomit” has, at time, a grandiose sound, something Christopher Owens steered away from on Album. I love how this song sounds, including a chorus and organs that really drive those religious overtones home, but in a good way. Where others might mock theological infusions, Girls is embracing it with full-force. OS Review of Broken Dreams Club / BUY

Jay Mattson

Depending on when you ask, I live in Greensboro, NC or Daegu, South Korea. I'll either be teaching English to Korean children or waiting tables in the United States. I'm currently writing reviews, features and weekly wrap-ups for Obscure Sound and producing an album with my fiance and best friend.


  1. Great summer mix. There’s nothing like a sweet summer mix to go with a hot day by the pool. Sipping something hipster like and complaining about the heat. I love it, I’ve got my own summer mixes on Indie Music Blog

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