Local Current Blog

What will be the songs of the summer in 2014?

Lana Del Rey

Now that June is here, at the Current we’re thinking about the songs of the summer. Not in the sense of perennial summer songs (Beach Boys, Mungo Jerry), but in the sense of this summer’s songs. What songs will be the must-have selections on BBQ playlists and road trip mixes? What songs, when you hear them again years from now, will make you think back on the epic summer of 2014?

We asked some members of our staff to share their picks, and we made a Spotify playlist. Add your picks to the mix! Post a comment below letting us know what new song (rule of thumb: released in 2014) is going to be your JAM this summer, and we’ll consider it for an addition to our playlist. Here are our picks.

Barb Abney, host

I can’t seem to get St. Vincent’s “Digital Witness” out of my head. I hadn’t really paid attention to the lyrics until rather recently. And now I like it even more. I also can’t quit singing the Afghan Whigs track “Matamoros.”

David Campbell, host

Heiruspecs, “Been Around.” If I was cruising around with FX on a Prius, I’d put that one on and let the Alpines blast. Also: tiny deaths’ “Ocean,” Stereo Confession’s “Video Games,” Haley Bonar’s “Kill the Fun,” and Fort Wilson Riot’s “Something Left Alive” into “Yes Indeed.”

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Bill DeVille, host

The sing-along chorus of Saintseneca’s “Happy Alone” makes the volume knob go to 11 every time for me. I suspect I’m not the only one!

Walt Dizzo, host of the Duluth Local Show

1. Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks, “Little Fang”
2. Low Forms, “Cherry Tigers” (They’re from Duluth. I’m telling you this song should be huge…but I’m biased.)
3. Sky Ferreira, “I Blame Myself”
4. Röyksopp & Robyn​, “Do It Again”
5. Atmosphere, “Kanye West”
6. tUnE-yArDs, “Water Fountain”
7. Future Islands, “Seasons (Waiting On You)”
8. Chromeo, “Jealous (I Ain’t With It)”

Jacquie Fuller, host

When I think of “summer jam,” I usually lean toward sunny, jangle-pop or songs with hand claps and whistling. But this summer, I’m skewing dark, with the California noir of Lana Del Rey’s “West Coast.” I just can’t get over the tempo shifts and that Beatles-esque riff. This song makes me want to finger-wave my hair and wear really big shades to the beach. At Lake Harriet. With my toddler in my arm.

Jade, host

Benjamin Booker’s “Violent Shiver” makes me want to fist-pump with the windows down on a summer night.

Jay Gabler, digital producer

I knew as soon as I heard the classic power-pop of Howler’s “Don’t Wanna,” I knew it was going to be a song of the summer for me. It’s also not going to be a party this summer without Kelis’s “Jerk Ribs” or Jungle’s “The Heat.”

Leah Garaas, digital & marketing

Carroll’s “Bad Water.” I’d put it on at a barbecue. I feel like it’d be very chill.

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Mary Lucia, host

I’m digging Benjamin Booker’s “Violent Shiver.” I wish that song was twice as long! Also: the Orwells, “Who Needs You.”

Jim McGuinn, program director

I’m partial to Mac DeMarco’s “Salad Days”—that’s my jam. And there’s a song on the way on the new Jack White album called “Three Women” that I know I’m going to turn up loud this summer!

Jake Rudh, host

Here are some of Transmission’s unofficial songs of the summer.

Todd Terje, “Delorean Dynamite”
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, “Kelly”
The Horrors, “I See You”
Craft Spells, “Breaking the Angle Against the Tide”
Cymbals, “Erosion”
Morrissey, “Istanbul”

Steve Seel, host

These are spring ’14 songs that I would LOVE to hear echoing out of open windows all summer long:

Heiruspecs: “Let’s Go”
Lucius: “Don’t Just Sit There”
Eno • Hyde: “Daddy’s Car”

Andrea Swensson, music reporter

Hippo Campus’s “Little Grace.” I love that song! Also, Black Diet’s “Slow It Down” is pretty summery.

Luke Taylor, digital producer

Har Mar Superstar, “Restless Leg.” It has a catchy, poppy, infectious beat that one associates with the carefree summertime.


Here’s our list as a Spotify playlist. What’s your summer jam this year?