Sometime after complaining about three straight months of rain, we blinked and half of summer was gone. And yet, we still didn’t have a song of the summer. So, we decided to round up a few of our favorites from local artists. Let these get you through the dog days. Winter will be here soon.
Ray Flanagan & the Authorities: “Stupid Sound”
Speaking of those rainy days, Flanagan’s “Stupid Sound” has ’em in spades from the girl with the handkerchief neck to the chorus in which it’s “raining dumb out there.” But who cares, because stupid sound is a Friday night rock ’n’ roll romp “on Kamm’s Corner down Lorain.” Set to a slinky organ over growling guitar chords, the song is a Midwestern mindtrip and one helluva party. Also check out Flanagan’s recent solo effort, Passerby, especially cuts “Positive Nihilism Song.”
Oregon Space Trail of Doom: “Rainbow People”
If rolling past Neptune wasn’t trippy enough for you, exploratory rock band Oregon Space Trail of Doom has a ride for you. “Rainbow People” tells a mysterious story of love, unity, power and freedom over fuzzed out guitar runs that remind us of flying down a groovier rainbow road in Mario Kart. Clocking in at 7 minutes and 47 seconds, the road takes many twists and turns, eventually erupting in an almost mid-Eastern influenced guitar solo. Put this one your summer drive playlist, and pick up a Sherwin Williams-inspired “Rainbow People” T-shirt at one of the band’s never-ending run of shows.
Perhaps fittingly, SamFox’s final song as a group starts, “Maybe if I stay still in this moment, maybe it’ll never pass.” We wish this 2017 Best of Cleveland Indie Band, which celebrated five years with its final show July 6, wouldn’t pass us by, though we are looking forward to seeing singer Braxton Taylor’s new project Smith Taylor Sounds. Until then, we’ll enjoy this catchy, trumpet-laden story of a longing lover on repeat as we hang at the beach.
Cody J. Martin: “Born In A Grave”
Speaking of summertime sadness, singer-songwriter Cody J. Martin delivers the feels like suffering through a muggy mid-summer day. A stark finger-picked acoustic guitar lays the backbone for haunting, echo-y guitar and harmonica runs and a story of hard living and apathy that deserves a beer — or something harder — and a front porch listen.
Maura Rogers & The Bellows: “June”
It doesn’t get much more summer than a labradoodle out the window and a song named “June,” but in this tune, we find Rogers stuck in a long, cold Ohio winter night longing for those summer days where she can just dance. This Americana banger is a cool reminder of what’s to come — and a great addition to your Beach Towns playlist.
The Shootouts: “If I Could”
Stuck in an office when you really want to be in a honky tonk? Akron’s The Shootouts feel your pain in “If I Could,” where the country traditionalists dream of making a living fishing, playing rock ’n’ roll guitar or just about anything but working in that dang factory.
Leaf Borbie & The Family Tree: “Tempo”
Summer seems to fly and crawl by all at once, and that’s a little bit how the sleazy, speed-shifting “Tempo” is as a listen. The track off the blues-rock band’s June release “Nothing Matters in a Dream” features a hypnotic drumbeat, funky guitar riff and harmonica from outer space that will have you smashing the repeat button. The weather will cool off before this fire track does.
The Vindys: “Are You Ready”
Alright, now things are picking back up. “Are you ready for the heat?” These Youngstown rockers sure are, delivering an antagonizing, boom-clap rocker that’ll have you sweaty dancing before you even put out that hot summer fit for a night on the town.
Blue Collar Coalition: “Heartbreaker”
A heavy-duty blues-rock riff from guitarist John Loeffel delivers a punch in the mouth right off the bat. But the single off the band’s forthcoming Bottom's Up, out this Friday, doesn’t let up until the track’s final seconds. Perfect for rolling into a big Friday night out on the town, “Heartbreaker” is a rock ’n’ roll adrenaline shot.
Case Barge: “Gratitude”
Fresh off his April album Transcend and an opening spot for Joyner Lucas, Case Barge delivers a soulful alt-hip-hop song of thanks. With soaking wet, rain drop synths and a heavy beat, this speaker rattler sets a vibe as you roll slow with the windows down through downtown Cleveland at the end of a long late-summer night.
Listen to and follow Cleveland Magazine's Summer Songs 2019 playlist below.