I've always resisted falling too far into a single genre. As soon as one band takes my fancy, I try to even it out with something on the other side of the spectrum, whether metalcore, indie-folk, or hip-hop. It also just so happens that what I really want to be listening to this summer has yet to hit stores. Yes, that means you, Lil Wayne. Until Blink-182, O.A.R., and Mr. Carter get around to gracing my iTunes, here's what's been playing in my headphones on repeat.
Mutemath, Mutemath (Jan. 19, 2006): My fascination for the New Orleans electronica-alt-rockers was rekindled a few weeks ago when I found out their new CD was finished and slated for release sometime in the next few months. Those unaware of the ridiculous musical powerhouse that is vocalist Paul Meany and drummer Darren King need to repent for your wrongdoings. I was lucky enough to see the band in all its spacey-tranquil-upbeat glory two years ago in Atlanta at the Tabernacle, and let's just say King had to duct-tape his earphones to his head. (Nope, it's not a drum machine.) I'm particularly stuck on "Stare at the Sun," which features a mesmerizing bass line by bassist Roy Mitchell-Cárdenas.
fun., Aim and Ignite (Aug 25, 2009): Nate Ruess is the only singer I've ever heard that can give your brain daisies with his voice. The guy is so damn happy it's contagious. fun.'s debut album set a high standard for fans, and now that talk is surfacing that a new CD will be available soon, I've gone back to Aim and Ignite to soak in the glory once more. This is one of the few albums in my musical library where every song can stand as "the best song on the album." (Though I will always be partial to "The Gambler," and the acoustic performance they gave to Paste Magazine in 2010.)
WHY?, Alopecia (March 11, 2008): The Berkeley, Calif. five-piece hasn't left my iPod rotation since my friend showed them to me on a 2 a.m. drive to Walmart. Straddling an experimental genre line, the songs play like indie rock but have the time and flow of rap. Clever and witty lines like "Even though I haven't seen you in years, yours is a funeral I'd fly to from anywhere" mesh alongside the cool delivery of frontman Jonathan "Yoni" Wolf for an entire album worthy of constant head-bobbing. "These Few Presidents" was the most successful song from the album, and for good reason. It's like aural crack.
Protest the Hero, Fortress (Jan. 29, 2008): I have Canada to thank for one of my favorite albums ever. Whether it is summer or winter, Fortress can be found by my side, emitting its progressive metal delicacies. The Ontario five-piece boast all the face-melting tendencies of a typical metal band, but singer Rody Walker jumps between soaring clear-as-day vocals and ground-rumbling screams and growls. The band's most recent album, 2011's Scurrilous, is a definite keeper, but unfortunately fell short of living up to the mark set by this album. My favorite song is "Palms Read", which also has a ballet segment in the beginning of the video. Sexy and classy.