Summer Jams Part Two: The Reckoning

Steven Casimer Kowalski
Sequels. Summer 2012 is all about sequels. Batman 3. Alien -1. The Avengers aka Thor 2/Iron Man 3/ Hulk 1 or 3/Captain America 1.5. The World simply cannot get enough of that thing they liked the first time around. I am no different. Peter Jackson recently announced that his 2 part Hobbit remake would now be 3 parts. Believe me, I had the same reaction you did. MORE PARTS ARE BETTER THAN LESS PARTS.

And it is in that same spirit that I humbly offer up a second batch of Summer Jams for 2012. No, these are not the leftovers from the first batch. They are all fresh selections. I tried to keep it diverse again. I tried to recapture the magic. And so it is…there are club tracks and hip hop anthems, obscure junk and cresting trends. I even tossed in the official anthem of the 2012 Olympics because goddamn I know how to pander! Still, they are all suited for summer. And summer only gets one go-round each year. And so here they are, Summer Jams 2012 Part Two: The Reckoning.

August Jams Playlist on Spotify

Twin Shadow – "Run My Heart"

Don’t you love a highly anticipated release? I do. Especially when that release absolutely delivers on the promise of past works. Run My Heart fulfills that secret dream of ours where Bruce Springsteen and Duran Duran get together and make a record. Btw the name of that record, if it existed, would be Cocaine and Oil Stains.
Elton John vs. Pnau "Good Morning To The Night"

Have you heard this kid Elton John? I think he is going to be HUGE. Honestly, I only have one problem with his work…he’s just too macho. It might be the only thing that is holding him back. My advice for him going forward…Donald Duck Costume. As for Pnau, they somehow manage to soften Elton’s tough-guy attitude to create one of the best party tracks of the summer.
A$AP Rocky "Goldie"

This track came out in April. Oh, don’t you worry, I been on it since then but just didn’t think it had a place on the last list. So here it is. Hit Boy did the production. Look him up for his bonafides. Or just press play and listen to his bonafides. Rocky’s full length should be out sometime between now and a year from now. Until then, have fun whistling the flute hook in the shower.
Debo Band "Akale Wube"

No list of summer jams is complete without at least one Boston-based, Ethiopian-inspired soul track, right? I know! This music is upbeat, eclectic, and expertly performed. Also, and I am sure you know this already, but there are certain people out there who, if you catch them at the right party at the right time and start talking to them about Ethio-jazz-funk revival bands they’ll have sex with you. FACT.
Future "Same Damn Time"

I can’t figure exactly when rap started to pander. It was sometime after Doggie Style came out. Then I think it peaked with Get Rich or Die Tryin. It isn’t always bad. Obviously both of those records I just referenced are classics. Same Damn Time doesn’t deserve to be a classic. But for sheer “Give ‘Em What They Want” this is the absolute chief of the summer. Oh and the part where Future tries to sing and is horrible will bother you at first and then you’ll start singing terrible with him.
Polica "Wandering Star"

So, so, icey. Which makes sense because Polica are from Minneapolis where ice comes from. Btw the “c” in Polica should actually be one of these lil guys, “ç”. But I am far too lazy to insert a cedille every time I write Polica. Btw the “e” in cedille should have an accent over it like this “é” but, yeah, lazy. And yeah I am going somewhere with this, summer has been hot. And you need slow, sticky music for those hours between the afternoon party and the evening party. Well, this is that music.
Todd Snider "In Between Jobs"

I have only heard two truly great recession jams. The first was Penguin Prison’s, Don’t Fuck With My Money which was fun and had some bravado which is what you need when you feel like you’re getting fucked over. Well, Todd’s song comes later…after you’ve been fucked over and you’re now a more jaded, more unstable person. Seriously, “What’s stopping me from killing this guy?…And taking his shit.”
Danny Brown "Grown Up"

Danny Brown’s XXX was an incredible piece of work that simultaneously validated the mixtape-as-whole-expression ideal AND made majors who may have passed on Brown in the past look like absolute fools. So now we’re all waiting for Danny to bring something more polished into the world and get his dollars. Grown Up isn’t that dollar song. But it is smooth as butter on warm corn (I SAID IT I DON’T CARE) and demonstrates that XXX wasn’t a fluke. I cannot stop listening to it. Maybe my fav. track on this list…maybe.
Ludacris "Jingalin"

Yo, secret journalism information about to happen. Prepare yourself for some Bin-Laden-is-dead level revelation. I got this shit from the wikileaks that Wikileaks gets its leaks from. You ready for this? Do you have “private browsing” turned on? Are you wearing a diaper or close enough to a toilet where you could run there in time? Ok…here we go…this one is for the AltOhio Pulitzer; Ludacris likes butts and strip clubs.
Azealia Banks "1991"

Azealia Banks was born in 1991. So this track could have something to do with the year she came into the world. But the title also refers to the time when the music this song draws from was at it’s artistic peak. I mean, she’s basically rapping over disco-house. If she could sing this would be a Crystal Waters song. As someone who used to tape 90’s dance tracks off radio club-night broadcasts I LOVE stuff like this. It helps that Azealia has the mic skills to shine like the beat. This whole EP is wonderful.
THEESatisfaction "QueenS"

“Whatever you do, don’t funk with my groove,” is the basic mantra of this song. I mean, can’t we all live by that? I am really pulling for groups like THEESatisfaction in the wake of Shabazz Palaces’ 2011 success. I want more weird-hop.
TNGHT(Hudson Mohawke x Lunice) "Higher Ground"

When I am not in the mood for this song it sounds worse than a dentist drill on soft tissue. But when I am in the mood, when I want to hand-clap and maybe slowly bounce while I act like I am driving a car this is the SHIT. This is that Over The Top turn your hat around because you mean BUSINESS jam. This is that Rambo III is actually Rambo II First Blood Part III jam. This is that Demolition Man Taco Bell product placement shit. 3 seashells. I’m out.
Kendrick Lamar "Swimming Pools(Drank)"

A pool full of liquor sounds great for like 4 seconds then it sounds awful. In fact, I am reasonably sure that if you dove into a pool full of liquor it would kill you. But you wanna know what’s grosser than that? A pool full of liqueur. That’s right, Schnapps pool…where it is always adult swim. The moral of the story is be careful with your summer party. Don’t force it. You want to see next summer.
The Chemical Brothers "Theme For Velodrome"

Had to. Had to do it. I love the Chemical Brothers. And even though I’ve watched maybe 40 seconds of the Olympics this year I can’t help but notice that these games were the most “officially” pop yet. I mean, the opening ceremonies were directed by Danny Boyle with music supervision from Underworld featuring flying Mary Poppins’s. If I was an athlete from any country where flat screen tv’s aren’t the norm I would have been looking around that stadium like, “Fuck these British fucks.” And then I would have been like, “But these are some sweet jams.”