Ash, James, The Killers, Jeff Buckley, Muse - Songs for Summers past and present

Miss Fliss and Alisha Ahmed 18/08/2009

In the spirit of summer (or what's left of it - though did it ever really kick off, hotch-potch affair that it is?), GIITTV brings you some summery songs in the form of Youtube material that captures the essence of the season (from deputy editor, Miss Fliss), and a personal blog documenting summers past and present (by GIITTV writer Alisha Ahmed). No sunscreen required, just sunny spirit and wistful nostalgia!

First off, from Miss Fliss, we have a glowing selection of bright and sunnily delightful songs conjured up from across the years.

Summer starts in blissful burst with this uncelebrated song from The Cure:

With Mansun, it was a toss up between the crisp clear breezily bittersweet June 1997-released Legacy (points to those who remember the Barbie doll band in the video!) and the similarly timely (July of '99) I Can Only Disappoint You with its summery harp elegance. We'll go with the latter:

Gentle acoustic guitar pop gem Here's Where the Story Ends by still criminally overlooked The Sundays, calls up summer to perfection, as is the whole of the Reading Writing and Arithmetic album (a Graham Coxon favourite, no less):

Kenickie embody summer with many songs, the obvious one being Stay in the Sun, then there was the post-Kenickie material. The lesser known song sadly doesn't have a Youtube video, but if you can dig it out Rosita's Santa Poca's Dream is first class dynamic pop. Ahead of it was Lauren Laverne's vocal effort with dance combo Mint Royale, Don't Falter:

The ultimate summer songs for me are a joint position affair involving ace indie 90s pop heroes James and Ash. The songs are James's Sit Down - a more gloriously joyous festival chant-along you could not get - and from Ash, of course, the legendary teen anthem evocative of the most seering hot scorcher of a summer of your life, with fizzy guitars delivered with aplomb, Girl from Mars, who could resist!

A double whammy, then:

Other songs evocative of summery beauty:
Teenager in Love by The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
Quick Before it Melts by Cinerama
Counterpoint by Delphic
Sunlight in a Jar by The Lucksmiths
Clouds by The Go-Betweens
Who Loves the Sun by The Velvet Underground
Holiday by The Get Up Kids (the band have now reformed by the way, brilliant news)
Rise and Shine by The Cardigans
En Noches Come la de Hoy By Case de Azul
500 (shake baby shake) by Lush
The Rock by Delakota
Morning Light by Gliss
Crazy for You by Let Loose (oh, come on, where's your pop heart!)
Going to Hell by Brian Jonestown Massacre.
The Outdoor Type by The Lemonheads (and so much more from the Evan Dando camp!)
Most Seafood albums, in particular When Do We Start Fighting and As the Cry Flows, both incredibly underrated but classic albums.
Most of Teenage Fanclubs's output.
Pretty much anything off of The Complete Stone Roses!

Now over to Alisha Ahmed for her personal take on summer songs over the years and in the present day, in blog style:

Songs from my Summers: 1994-2009
Spotify playlist: http://open.spotify.com/user/sheentylla/playlist/3VSK8mlTB7GgAlwAc3f0QN

Summers in Italy used to be different. My idea of summer goes back in time, far back when there was the feeling of mystique to anything you could not touch with your hands or see with your own eyes in front of you. No, this is not gonna be a rant against the net and how much the globalization it brought along killed perception, because it's not time, and because it would be very much ungrateful of me. But I am remembering the time before its advent, when there was a much denser and almost raspy quality to music - like the difference between a CD and a Vinyl. It's not up to me to declare it was a golden age and feel nostalgic for better times, or if it's just the usual way people will always look at things that are bound to the past tense. But I remember the summers in the countryside, with old radios playing distant songs from local stations with a hint of noise, and even that was a hint of how bigger things were outside the edges of the polulation-of-600 village I grew up in. One of the things I'm grateful to London for is that, more than any other place I've ever lived in, sometimes, somehow it reminds me of that village - it's in the smell, and in the sky.

Here is a selection of some of the songs reminiscent of summers gone by for me.

1994: Jeff Buckley : Hallulujah (Live at Sin e)
Hallelujah reminds me of summer evenings spent sitting on my window, definitely sensing something bigger was out there, chained to my radio, with the voice of a DJ who was broadcasting from somewhere I could not picture at 3am, when we were both still up listening to the echoing beauty of Hallelujah.

1995: Scatman John: Scatman's World
In 1995 I was too young to know anything at all, let alone about music. I used to spend summer evenings with a bunch of kids in the local football field, we had this radio playing in the background every night. I started to always sit by the radio, calling the station up and asking for songs to be dedicated. Scatman John's Scatman's World was played every night. Back then, and for a few years that had yet to come, the edges between pop and eurodance were quite blurred, and that song was a perfect example of that. MTV had just arrived in Italy with the MTV Europe frequencies, and boy, if it wasn't just another way to give away mystique about all the things that were going on outside of that village.

1998: Bran Van 3000 : Drinking in L.A.
The summer of 1998 was filled with amazing songs on the radio, on MTV, and in the disco I started to attend (under strict parental supervision). It was the year of Savage Garden, Desree, Goo Goo Dolls, and the now anthemic I don't want to miss a thing by Aerosmith. It was a year when I bought so many CD singles. It was the year of Natalie Imbruglia's Torn too and yet, the song I hear that suddenly transports me back in time is Drinking In L.A. by Bran Van 3000.

2002: Frou Frou - It's good to be in Love
The hottest summer I can remember in Italy. I was experiencing a lot of music coming from a lot of different people due to my campus life, and the most prominent discovery was definitely the commercially successful yet shortly live incarnation of Imogen Heap as Frou Frou. Her songs were all over the radio and the latter was to be used, two years later, in the Grammy Awarded Garden State soundtrack put together by Zach Braff himself.

2005: The Killers - All These Things That I've Done
I had moved to Dublin the summer before and Ireland was getting on my nerves. I had a huge love for that pretty tiny emerald island but I was pretty much at a point where I could've been running into walls as if I was in an asylum. A breath of good air came in the form of yet another single from the stunning debut album by The Killers.

2006: Muse : Starlight

Freed from Ireland at last, but not quite in London yet. It were tricky times for me. Thankfully radio was still there, although this time was the digital web one, which wasn't talking of Milan in the very best case scenario, but of the capital of European music itself. Stuck at sea as the band in the video, the light that actually brought me back on track was definitely related to Starlight by Muse. It simply told me that if such things were going around, I had no time to waste anymore if I wanted to be part of them.

2008: Attic Lights : Bring You Down
My reviewing years started here. I never believed that writing about music was compelling or even necessary, but hey, it was a way to be around music as well. It turned out to be all of that and so much more, and definitely one of the best ways to stumble into new music. So I had my summer last.fm listening chart taken over by five Glaswegians, sounding exactly like what summer would sound if it was a noise. Attic Lights consumed me with Bring Me Down.

2009: Tips
Now since summer 2009 is just here, I can't really tell you what we'll remember in five years time. But I can tip you on what summer stuff has taken over my listening charts so far.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Histeric (Acoustic)
The Gaslight Anthem: Miles Davis And The Cool
Regina Spektor: Eet
Placebo: King of medicine
Florence & The Machine: Cosmic Love

And with that, we ask you to comment away with your own summer faves, musical summer memories, and anything else of seasonal rock relevance you see fit to mention!