Summer jams make us feel fine

Local musicians on their ultimate songs of summer

Jun 8, 2016 at 1:00 am
Summer jams make us feel fine
Shutterstock photo.

We asked local music types for a few words about their favorite summertime songs.

"Be Nice Honey," Jimmy Ohio

The title for this song was actually inspired by my own band Dear Darkness' album Be Nice Honey. It's from Ohio's upcoming album, Phantom Stereo, and is like a drive down Eight Mile during late July. The tune is hot as hell and burning with neon lights. Guitars squeal and misbehave when Ohio croons, "Oh be nice honey/Be nice to me." The drum machine makes me feel cool and modern, as I sniff the Eight Mile air, all gasoline and fried fish. Whenever I introduce Jimmy Ohio to someone, I call him a "Detroit legend," and rightfully so. -Stacey MacLeod (Dear Darkness)

"Candy," Iggy Pop

This may seem a little odd, and I am not sure why this song comes to mind, but it always reminds me of summer. It may be a shirtless Iggy strumming an acoustic on a leather chair in a garden of flowers that does it. -Emma Guzman (formerly Emma Islands)

"Feel It," Sam Cooke

Particularly the version from Live At The Harlem Square Club, 1963. I've spent a good chunk of a lifetime of summers driving around blasting this record. Not sure I've ever heard a more festive sounding crowd on a live record. Pure fun. –Tony Viviano (Brick Hours, Cujo)

"Flowers," Tyvek

This one never made it onto any of their full-length albums, but it's one of my favorites. "I'm on the surface of the earth and I like to have a good time on it, like to push up on it."

-Adam Hunter (Fake Surfers, Growwing Pains)

"Friday Night August 14," Funkadelic

Released in July 1970 on Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow, and reportedly written about a particularly badass Friday night, this fuzzed out summer jam classic, overflowing with echoplex and wah wah guitar, is equally effective on hot Friday nights in June, July, and August that aren't the 14th. -Warren Defever (His Name is Alive, producer)

"Get Down Saturday Night," Oliver Cheatham

It took me a while to get into this song but now I'm obsessed with it. It's basically an anthem for partying and not doing chores and making love all night long in a smooth way. –Johnny Ill (map enthusiast)

"Good Ass Day," Doughboyz Cashout

This song is the Detroit version of Ice Cube's "It Was A Good Day" — classic bars; you can live every line. –Sheefy McFly/Edward Elecktro (Detroit legend/creative)

"Haul and Pull Up Selector," Carl Meeks

I went to NYC once and bought a bunch of 45s, and when I got to the airport they made me pull them all out and didn't know what the hell 45s were, and thought it might be a bomb. This was one of those records. It just sounds like a summer party in someone's backyard. I love the drumbeat. I'm not sure what you call it, but it needs a name so I can identify more songs like this. –Johnny Ill (map enthusiast)

"Hey! Little Child," Alex Chilton

Big Star's more of a late summer/fall jam for me lately. But [Chilton solo records such as] Like Flies on Sherbert or High Priest hit the stereo as soon as I can roll the windows down. Again, you gotta be in a car, but as far as cruising around the city goes, the cool laid back vocals of Chilton, and the drunk band behind him, begs no question why you shouldn't be day drinking or eating half a watermelon in your lap with a spoon driving down Jefferson. I like to break the watermelon in half by dropping it in the parking lot, and then put the other half in the cooler for later. - Andrew Hecker (Tin Foil, Craig Brown Band)

"Joy Road," Lyman Woodard Organization

Sometimes you don't need to party in the summer, because you do that too much, sometimes you need something mellow and contemplative. You can listen to this monster of a record and sip on your drink. –Johnny Ill (map enthusiast)

"New Kid in Town," Eagles

One of our favorite Eagles tunes. Sounds like a sunny California summer with just enough heartache to make it satisfying. Also, mind-blowing harmonies. -Carrie Shepard and Lawrence Daversa (The Whiskey Charmers)

"No New Buzz," Clone Defects

This is my favorite song to listen to when driving back into Detroit after a tour. I love the first line: "Headed down the freeway in a beat up Ford van, headed to your downtown to entertain you women." Growwing Pains' old van was this rusty Ford death trap, so we could relate. -Adam Hunter (Fake Surfers, Growwing Pains)

"Pink Frost," The Chills

It's always advisable to find a nice, dark spot to cool off on sticky, humid days. –Tony Viviano (Brick Hours, Cujo)

"Sex On the Beach," DJ Assault

When I hear this track, I think of cruising around Belle Isle heading to a barbecue sippin' a brew hanging with the homies. The track is chill enough to ride to and hype enough to get the party started when you pull up to the function. –Sheefy McFly/Edward Elecktro (Detroit legend/creative)

"Shenorock Lane," Jay Gonzalez

The final track on Gonzalez' The Bitter Suite has a driving pop lilt that goes perfectly with a glass of lemonade and sunshine. The album is about a break up, but the melodies lift me up and always make me smile. Weird how music works sometimes. -Emma Guzman (formerly Emma Islands)

"Summer Is Almost Here," Pas/Cal

Pas/Cal — Detroit's own disbanded Belle & Sebastian or Grandaddy — here offers up an anthem for the sun. The song transports me to hot afternoons of reading on a blanket, under cover of leaves. The music bounces and Casimer Pascal's brocade vocals intone "short pants are a sign weakness ... Hot seats and a burning dashboard." Hand claps and do, do, do's — the song splits apart with a trashy guitar solo and melts together again with organs and strings. From a split 12-inch with La Laque, this single from 2005 finds immortality in the memory of a sticky summer, eating pizza at the Magic Stick. -Stacey MacLeod (Dear Darkness)

"Summer Madness," Kool and The Gang

It's funny to me now, but as a little boy I would fall asleep every night to 'Pillow Talk' on 100.3 WNIC. And if I wasn't already lulled to sleep by all that easy listening, I'd be paralyzed with fear when this song came on at midnight, signaling the end of the show. The syrupy slow, ascending synth-lines sound great to me now. –Tony Viviano (Brick Hours, Cujo)

"Sunshine Superman," Donovan

The hotter and more humid it is, the better this song sounds in a car. I guess you could say that about any summer song; they sound best in a car. It'll come on the second you take a wrong turn and get lost up north, or as you take a left at the Belle Isle gate. Best thing (Jimmy Page) ever did. -Andrew Hecker (Tin Foil, Craig Brown Band)

"The River," Bruce Springsteen

"But I remember us riding in my brother's car. Her body tan and wet down at the reservoir. At night on them banks I'd lie awake. And pull her close just to feel each breath she'd take." Need we say more? -Carrie Shepard and Lawrence Daversa (The Whiskey Charmers)

"What You See Is What You Get," The Dramatics

A classic Detroit jam that I never get tired of. This song is full of things that you never hear anymore: the guy who only sings really deep teamed up with a guy who sings really high, and a weird vocal noise that isn't words. –Johnny Ill (map enthusiast)

"You Need Another Drink," Disco D

Infamous party song in Detroit; makes me think of girls poppin' and cold Faygo. –Sheefy McFly/Edward Elecktro (Detroit legend/creative)