Summer is in full swing, and whether you’re cooling down at the beach or sweating it out in an AC-less apartment, we’ve got a playlist of new tunes to soundtrack your extra hours of sunlight. June gave us a number of anticipated follow-up albums, including the highly awaited sophomore LP Punisher from indie folk queen Phoebe Bridgers and the playful yet punk rock album The Prettiest Curse from the Spanish band Hinds. June also gave us a taste of what to look forward to in the coming months — Minneapolis’ Double Grave released “The Farm,” the first single off their August LP Goodbye, Nowhere! and Katie Wood dropped the single “Uh Huh Yeah,” which drips with nostalgia for the extravagance of ’80s pop.
Washington, D.C. quartet Bad Moves released their second full-length album, Untenable this month. These upbeat punks create music perfect for our uncertain and chaotic times. Songs like “Party With the Kids Who Wanna Party With You” are made to be blasted at full volume and the band’s group vocals beg you to sing along to lyrics that cherish friendship and finding joy in life’s small moments.
Another song that finds pleasure in small moments is “A Crack In The World,” the first single from Oceanator’s upcoming album Things I Never Said. Elise Okusami, the singer, songwriter and leader of the New York-based band, describes the disillusionment of growing up and realizing that things aren’t as simple as they seemed when you were a kid. But ultimately, through fierce distorted guitars and a pop-punk inspired instrumental breakdown, the song finds hope. “Who knows if we’ll be here tomorrow,” Okusami sings, “but everything, everything, everything still matters you know.”
Singer, rapper, and songwriter Maria Isa teamed up with producer YMMI for her latest record, Amor Universal. The six songs show off Isa’s lyricism in both Spanish and English. The record takes inspiration from Latin trap, pop, and dancehall, creating a sultry and sunny soundtrack for blasting at the beach or dancing away the heat at home.
Rapper and producer Soul Reflect released the song “Melanin” two years ago, but its message still rings true today. The song, which appeared on her 2018 album Plato’s Theory, addresses the murder of Black people in America, many at the hands of the police. On June 8, less than two weeks after the murder of George Floyd, Soul Reflect released a music video to accompany the song. The video shows the names and photos of victims of racial violence. “Too many names to remember them / That’s what they hope that will happen then,” Soul Reflect raps over a somber but powerful beat.
You can listen to these songs and more in the full playlist below: