Back before everyone had an iPod and a million ways to get music online, some friends and I started a little CD trading club. We all picked some kind of theme and then sent out mixes to the other fifteen people in the group. We lived all over the country so getting the mail for those few weeks was such a treat. Some discs got more play than others but every single one ended up yielding at least one or two gems that are still in rotation even nine years later. That club was what finally unlocked Radiohead for me, helped me see the beauty of electronica, introduced me to Kings of Convenience and Beth Orton and Damien Jurado. We got a Johnny Cash primer and a CD full of songs my friend Mandy was reclaiming from past relationships.
We only did two rounds but I still have all the CD's and the artwork that people put put a lot of effort into. One of my very favorites came from my friend Jed, who I adore for both his flawless musical taste and relentlessly upbeat attitude. It was titled "Late Night Summer Listening in the Dark." It seemed hyper-specific but I am have come to realize that late night summer in the dark activities always require a soundtrack. And typically, you are either doing something super awesome (like eating ice cream in the park and talking until the wee hours) or something super introspective (like staring at the ceiling with your headphones on trying to figure out what to do with your life). I've had a nice amount of the former this particular summer but tonight it's definitely the latter and since this new computer has yet to get it's own LNSLITD playlist, I decided to put a few songs together and share them with you. I hope your late night listening is as satisfying as mine.
I've become straight up obsessed with Grace Potter and the Nocturnals since that Red Rocks show. Their music runs from big rockin' tracks to slow and sexy ones that are perfect for, well, nocturnals like me. I adore this one. The line "lately I feel like I'm fooling myself, either that or I'm fooling everyone else," shot me right through the heart the first time I heard it. Yes to that.
Late night summer activities usually make me feel like I'm 16. And they probably wouldn't love to hear this but Third Eye Blind does a great job of evoking teenage feelings. This is a pretty great make-out song and one thing you should definitely do at about midnight in July is make out.
When I was a sophomore in college I went down to school about a week early for some student government responsibilities. My roommate and I spent the evenings listening to the Barenaked Ladies while we painted our entire apartment. Then we would sit out on our deck and talk and people watch. I started that year with a job I loved, great roommates and a cute football playing boyfriend and every time I hear this song I think of sharing the last dying embers of our summer talking about how amazing the fall would be....
James Blake is a recent discovery. I had him mixed up with the guy who wrote that terrible "You're Beautiful" song and when his name kept showing up on blogs I trusted I was so confused. I finally clicked play late one night on this track and was chastised. This song is full and beautiful and best enjoyed over crickets.
I don't think I could get through a playlist without a Ryan Adams song. I volunteered at a music festival today and was talking to this guy about artists we liked. I said Ryan Adams and he laughed and said, "yeah, my ex really loved him. That guy totally gets girls." Yes he does. This particular one is about a girl with brown eyes that are "pretty as hell" and I think it's one of his most heartbreaking.
I don't even remember where I heard this the first time but it stopped me dead. I was shocked when I discovered it was Keith Richards. It's such a sweet song and I love the melody-it's a got a real Motown feel to it. I have been putting this on late night mixes for years and I get so excited every single time I hear it.
Oh Florence and the Machine...you are so tied to a boy who broke my heart but so good I can't give you up even when it still stings a bit to listen. This is from a B-side of "Lungs" and it has some pretty terrific lyrics. I particularly love the lines "Falling's not the problem, when I'm falling I'm at peace, it's only when I hit the ground it causes all the grief."
Oh Nada Surf. I'm sorry I wrote you off as a lame novelty band after that "Popular"song. Turns out you guys are awesome. I fell in love with this song one late night in Boston watching them play it. In the dark.
Josh Ritter sang this one Wednesday night and maybe just maybe this is when I started to cry.
It was hard to pick a Broken Social Scene song since You Forgot It In People is such a dear little album to me. There was a summer many years ago where my friend Keith and I spent an inordinate amount of late night time together. It was perplexing to nearly everyone (including me initially) that we weren't dating, it just wasn't ever that kind of relationship. But we adored each other and I probably learned more about guys and relationships from him than I ever did from boys I sparked with. He's a daddy now but this album will always remind me of him and all the crazy fun we had together.
So there we go, ten tracks for summer nights. Late ones. Dark ones. Awesome ones.