By Cole Parkinson
August is here and I’m sure everyone’s still trying to get outside as much as possible as the heat continues to hit southern Alberta. Here’s another handful of songs that can be added to your summer playlist as we continue the summer.
1. RVIVR – Shaggy
RVIVR is one of those bands that hit the scene in the late 2000s, released a few EPS, a few albums, and they’ve seemingly disappeared without any word as to why. But at least they left everyone with some great music. Their last release was in 2018 and was just a single featuring two songs — The Tide and Shaggy. I believe each RVIVR release was better than the last and The Tide and Shaggy are two of my favourite songs by the band. The dual vocals of Mattie Jo Canino and Erica Freas are fantastic on this song. The guitar work is also really great and Mattie can absolutely rip. And if you like the studio-recorded version, I highly recommend checking out RVIVR’s appearance on The Chris Gethard Show because the live version is even better, somehow.
2. Pup – Matilda
While I think the latest Pup record is their weakest, I’d be lying if I said Mathilda isn’t one of my favourite songs of theirs. Stefan Babcock’s ode to his old Gibson Les Paul Special is great from top to bottom. Pup’s ability to write catchy, fast songs is unmatched in this day and age, and this one, in particular, is incredibly easy to sing along to. Zack Mykula’s drumming is great as per usual, and every performance is great on this one. It also doesn’t sound like their previous material, but I’d argue the chorus is one of their catchiest.
3. Djo – Change
Joe Keery may be famous for his appearance in Stranger Things as Steve Harrington, but his music as Djo is also starting to catch fire. After releasing his debut album in 2019, Djo is preparing the follow-up album slated for release next month. The first single is titled Change and it’s a groovy song, man. The bass line is fuzzy and it gets stuck in your head. The synths really drive this song and I think if the rest of the record sounds similar, it’s going to be on repeat all fall.
4. The Clash – I’m Not Down
London Calling is one of the best records of all time and there are tons of songs on there that could be in this slot. I went with I’m Not Down because I just can’t help but smile and sing along when the chorus kicks in. The Clash were famous for mixing every music style they could and that all started with London Calling. I’m Not Down isn’t a punk song at all, it’s more in the vein of just straight rock n’ roll. The lyrics also paint a great picture of perseverance during the toughest times. It’s truly one of my favourite Clash songs.
5. Duff McKagan’s Loaded – Indian Summer
After original members of Guns N’ Roses started to leave, bassist Duff McKagan started his own band Loaded. The band released one record and then McKagan joined back up with Slash to form Velvet Revolver, leaving Loaded on the back burner. Loaded would release two more records in 2009 and 2011, and Indian Summer would appear on the last record called The Taking. While a lot of The Taking has a punk rock feel, I always gravitated toward Indian Summer. It’s easily my favourite song by Loaded and it sort of has a nostalgic feeling for me. It makes me think of summer’s past and it’s one of those songs I never get tired of.
6. Rush – Subdivisions
Rush boasts three of the most talented musicians of all time and I think they’re the best band to come out of Canada. They have tons of great records and hundreds of songs, most of which are still played constantly. Subdivisions is one of my favourites and once the synths kick the song off, it’s hard not to crank the volume as high as it can go. I know Geddy Lee and Neil Peart give tons of deserved recognition for their bass playing and drumming, but I feel like Alex Lifeson sometimes doesn’t get the same. He should get a ton of credit for being one of the best guitar players the world has ever seen and his work on Subdivisions is mesmerizing.
7. Turnstile – I Don’t Wanna Be Blind
Turnstile is one of the best punk bands going right now. They mix a ton of different styles and bring it into the punk realm and what they’ve done over the past two records has been really special. I Don’t Wanna Be Blind off of 2018’s Time & Space is one of the standouts for me. I love the bass-driven verses before the whole band explodes into the pre-chorus and chorus. At just over two minutes, it’s a song that defiantly gets you going in just a short amount of time. I also love Brendan Yates’ vocal performance on this song and he really hits the nail on the head throughout the entire song — whether it’s during the slower portions of the song or when it gets going.
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