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Our Top 10 Summer Bands

Summer is now in full swing, and I couldn’t be happier. To me, music is an essential aspect of this season. Whether I am going for a walk, relaxing on the beach, or even just chilling in my apartment with the windows open, it is essential that I have good music playing. I always find myself coming back to certain bands in the summertime — both new and old, they are the ones that always seem to capture the exact feeling of summer that I want to surround myself with. So here they are, my top ten summer bands — who would make your list?

beach house

10. Beach House

Their music could be the soundtrack to the lazy, hazy days of summer. To me it evokes the feeling of thick, humid air…lying in the grass with your friends, doing nothing at all. The reflection of the sun on blue pool water, sunburn, and evening walks to get ice cream.


9. Cayucas

I may have only discovered this band recently (and they haven’t been around very long) but I have a feeling they’ll be a summertime staple for years to come. They’re like a modern version of the Beach Boys and I’m hooked!

local natives

8. Local Natives

I find myself listening to Local Natives a lot on my headphones at work this time of year. It’s mellow enough to not distract me but still keeps my spirits up and gets me excited for those extra hours of daylight after the work day ends!

tame impala

7. Tame Impala

Tame Impala sets a great tone for summer evenings.  Driving with the windows down and the stars overhead, hanging at a backyard party with friends and string lights setting the mood, or most of all, those waning moments of darkness before the sun starts to rise.


6. Caribou

I break this out every summer, and it’s funny because I think it’s actually the only time of year I listen to this band. It’s partly for sentimental reasons, because their album “Andorra” reminds me of the beautiful summer I lived in San Francisco, but it still applies to the here and now.

my morning jacket

5. My Morning Jacket

For a long time going to Bonnaroo was a yearly tradition come June, and at every Bonnaroo I attended (except for one), My Morning Jacket played.  To me they will always bring back those hot nights on the farm, and dancing with joy when we were cooled off by rain.

washed out

4. Washed Out

Washed Out is another one I tend to listen to only in summer.  It’s dreamy and atmospheric, making it the perfect background music to just about any summer activity.

van morrison

3. Van Morrison

I always love Van Morrison, but in the summertime it takes on a more sentimental feeling for me. His songs are so full of nostalgia and remind me of old high school loves and summer nights on the boardwalk.

rolling stones

2. Rolling Stones

Again, the Rolling Stones are always good. But some of their songs just seem to be made for backyard barbecues, summer road trips and adventures. Speaking of which, is anyone going to see them in Philly tonight??

neil young

1. Neil Young

What I love about Neil Young’s music is that no matter what scenario you’re in when you listen to it, it’s always perfect. His album “On The Beach” rarely leaves my car stereo during the summer months.

Who would be on your list?

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Kelly -June 18, 2013, 10:57AM

This is a GREAT list…especially the Neil Young at the number 1 spot (Neil Young holds a lot of nostalgic memories for me too). I’ll have to check out the ones I haven’t heard of–I just got into Tame Impala recently and can tell there are a lot of new, great bands out there! The only bands I would add to this list are Vampire Weekend and Coconut Records. To me they are the ultimate summer bands.

Taylor -June 18, 2013, 11:18AM

I love the Stones! Their sound is one of a kind! They are great to listen to in the summer. :)

Hemingway -June 18, 2013, 11:32AM

Thanks for the Neil Young “On the Beach” recommendation. I love Neil Young and have never heard that album. I’m listening to it now on Rdio, and love it so far. :)

Victoria -June 18, 2013, 12:25PM

LOVE LOVE LOVE this list. I’m seeing Local Natives at the end of the summer and I’m so excited! The only addition I would make is the Allman Brothers, just because they bring back memories of family road trips when I was little :)

Bee -June 18, 2013, 2:27PM

Get ready for Apache Relay! New album coming out this fall, they are playing some festivals this summer including Firefly in Delaware this weekend. They also have a song in the movie The Way Way Back opening July 5. (song is Power Hungry Animals from their American Nomad record)

Montana -June 18, 2013, 2:40PM

Definitely Tame Impala! I love Janis Joplin and Country Joe and the Fish for good summer vibes.

Christina -June 18, 2013, 2:45PM

Bob Dylan

Loren -June 18, 2013, 2:48PM

I love this! I’m seeing Tame Impala, Local Natives, and My Morning Jacket this summer. The only band I would have to add is Modern Colour…they’re a local band out of Philadelphia and I’m really digging them right now. Check it out! They have an EP out now and are recording a full – length with the Roots’ producer later this summer :)

Megan @ Lush to Blush -June 18, 2013, 2:58PM

Love this whole playlist!! Thanks for sharing!

xo Megan,

Jordan Weil -June 18, 2013, 3:55PM

how could you forget the Crystal Fighters’ new album Cave Rave??? My favorite summer sound by far!!

Casey -June 18, 2013, 4:02PM

I would add Dr. Dog to this list.

Meg -June 18, 2013, 6:00PM

I love that you suggest so many fabulous bands, but find it manipulative and exploitive that the link is through a service you have to pay for -Rdio. Very uncool. How about a free 15 second clip like iTunes?

fp julia -June 18, 2013, 6:27PM

Hi Meg – rdio allows a free 30 second clip that you can listen to. Thanks!

Brooke -June 18, 2013, 10:33PM

Janis is an ultimate summer staple–she makes my number one slot.

Erin -June 19, 2013, 12:15AM

I love Van Morrison!!! His songs are amazing, remind me of summer, being carefree.

Sarah -June 19, 2013, 1:26PM

The Growlers

May -June 19, 2013, 10:33PM

In hazy days of summer, it is beautiful and soft!

Jennifer -June 20, 2013, 10:28AM

Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty and the heartbreakers (also his solo music), First Aid Kit, Au Revoir Simone and Rilo Kiley

lauren -June 21, 2013, 3:04AM

If you like these sounds, you would love what we are going over at Willow Wood.


solemae -June 24, 2013, 7:20PM

found this band out of sedona, az.
amazing. great show. great tunes…
take a listen. you won’t be disappointed.
psychedelic desert folk.

Patigan -June 29, 2013, 10:11AM

ummmm where are THE BEACH BOYS?!?!?!?!??!?!?!??!?

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