Summer means a lot of things to a lot of people, but for music lovers, it becomes a special season, where long-lit days blend into warm nights, where new music and old favorites intertwined are blasted through headphones alongside summertime activites, and where we finally have the space and time to sit, listen, and reflect. There are the songs and albums that defined Summer 2014 for a few of the ListenSD staff members. Enjoy.


Arlene Ibarra: “No Rest for the Wicked” by Lykke Li. Besides the fact that I’ve been obsessed with Lykke since Youth Novels this song epitomized my Summer. Working as a full time freelance photographer since 2013 I realized that I was now working 80 hours a week so I’d never have to work “40 hours” again. No rest, all hustle! The song also speaks about losing true love and that also became a part of my Summer, although true love never REALLY dies in my opinion.


Sami Shaffer: The Growlers‘ beach-y and infectious tunes were blasting through my speakers non-stop this summer. Their musical style just has a fun and laid back vibe perfect for driving around, hanging at the beach, or kicking back with friends. Also, seeing them live at the North Park Theater was without a doubt the best concert experience of my summer.


David Lopez de Arenosa: Early on in the summer I discovered an amazing track that completely epitomized the last couple of months, and from a band I’d never seen or heard of. ‘Red‘ by Phoria popped up on a new indie music playlist I download every month, and from the first 5 seconds I was enthralled. The next month’s playlist had another track called ‘Emanate’ and by that point I just had to go and look them up. A fairly new 5-piece band from Brighton, England, these guys throw together a mix of soft and mournful vocals and piano, with dark and enticing electronic beats and synths. Definitely a band to go and check out – lets see if we can beg and plead them to come to the States!!


Summer Luu: The album that has defined my summer has been definitely JUNGLE. Jungle is bringing some sexy funk music that anybody can groove down to, whether they’re 5 or 50. They throw back the 80’s beats similar to BeeGees and intertwine it with today’s thick and bass line… a sweet mixture for tunes to chill out or dance to.


Dustin Lothspeich: When the Donkeys released Ride the Black Wave in June, I was expecting more of the same from the sepia-toned maestros of smooth throwback rock. But they managed to get even cooler, and the lead single off the record — the incomparably sleek “Scissor Me Cigs” — became my de facto “take it easy” anthem of the summer. And with ever increasing warmer temperatures over the last couple months, their retro chill couldn’t have been more welcome.


Amanda Martinek: Although it came out back in January, the artist, album and song that defines my summer 2014 is Together PANGEA’s Badillac. Since it’s release, I’ve listened to this album and particularly the title track “Badillac” at least once a day for the past six months. I know that in a few years, whenever I hear any song off this album, I will instantly remember the freedom, loneliness, partying, confusion and total self-absorption of being in your early 20’s, which this album conveys to a T.


Dennis Moon: Newly graduated from high school and staring down a crossroads in my life, I felt ready to approach everything, especially music, with a fresh perspective this summer. The expansive, otherworldly textures of Panda Bear and Animal Collective not only gave me a place to explore some deep thoughts, but provided a new way for me to approach the art of music as a whole. The intricately detailed neo-psychedelia of Animal Collective’s Meriweather Post Pavilion and Panda Bear’s Person Pitch filled an empty space in my life. The songs on these records defy description, but they were exactly what I needed in a time of uncertainty, openness, and discovery.