We are a small team here at Lemonade and who can blame us for wanting to enjoy the summer right? Whether it was enjoying some time north of the border in Whistler, B.C. or venturing to the path of totality for the “Great American Solar Eclipse”, I was here, there and everywhere. That said, even though I didn’t always have the time to review albums, I did have a lot of time on the road to listen to them, so I decided to make up a list of the five best albums that I didn’t get around to reviewing this summer, but most certainly enjoyed playing while adventuring around the west coast.
Dreamcar by Dreamcar
The rumor mill went crazy when Davey Havok mentioned that he was working with members of No Doubt. Many people speculated that Havok was replacing Gwen Stefani as the lead singer of the kind of reggae/kind of ska/kind of rock/kind of pop band, but that would have been crazy right? I mean, I have zero doubt Havok could have pulled it off, but why waste your time with that when you could create something different and much more intriguing. Dreamcar – on paper – is No Doubt with Davey Havok on vocals, but their sound couldn’t be further from that. Sure Tony Kanal‘s bass is easy to pick out still, but Dreamcar is all about Havok’s incredible voice showing everyone that he can do literally anything when it comes to music. The album has its fun moments, its dramatic moments and its quirky moments, but above all it is a wildly awesome trip from start to finish.
Sonreal – One Long Dream
I have been a fan of Sonreal now for quite some time and he didn’t disappoint us with his full length release, One Long Dream. Some new recordings mixed in with some of our favorites off of his recent EP’s, as well as a good serving of his signature woops, chirps, and wahs make for a nice collection and we can only hope it inspires a couple more of his fantastic music videos. Sonreal is certainly on his way to being the King of Vancouver.
Portugal. The Man – Woodstock
I actually turned on this album (for the 100th time) while driving up from the Great American Eclipse in Woodburn, Oregon. I mean what else are you to do than play Portugal. The Man while driving through their adopted city of Portland? This album features some awesome Easter Egg nods – both conscious and some probably subconscious – to music of the recent past (Oasis, Kanye West, Lana Del Rey). I mean hell, some of their tracks even sound like a nod to past tracks of their own! That is simply what makes Portugal. The Man so unique though, they are hard to compare to anyone else, perhaps the closest comparison is a modern day Super Tramp. The only downside to Woodstock is how dumb I look dancing along to it while driving along. You can quote that Portugal. The Man.
Brand New – Science Fiction
So this one might have just come out, but it gives me a chance to be partial without having to write a standard review, since Brand New happens to be one of my favorite bands of all time. This album kind of came out of nowhere and of course it was greeted with the expected “haters” who can’t move on from Deja Entendu and The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me. In all honesty though, do we really want those two albums to ever be touched? No! They were modern day masterpieces and truly good bands understand that and move on to do exactly what they want to do which is exactly what Brand New has done (how’s that for redundancy?). Just as Daisy grew on me and became another album that I listen to way too much (when I should be reviewing new music), Science Fiction will do that too, you just need to open your mind to it, because it’s brilliant. Once again we get to hear Jesse Lacey scream which is a real treat, since he is – in my opinion – one of the best in the business and we don’t get to hear it nearly enough. Certain tracks definitely have a 90’s rock sound to them. Everything from Filter to Faith No More to Morissey and even some grunge era Pearl Jam vibes. It hurts my heart to think that this could be the last release we see from Brand New, but if it is I am genuinely satisfied with how it turned out.
Marika Hackman – I’m Not Your Man
I have played this album so many times this summer that I have lost count. Marika Hackman is – in my opinion – the breakout artist of this summer. The UK native is so original that I don’t even know what genre to put her in, but we’ve talked about this right? Genres are antiquated anyways. Although I’m Not Your Man isn’t Hackman’s first album, it is the first one to really make waves here in North America thanks to her signing with Sub Pop Records. Her songwriting is brilliant, her sound is hip and the album is five stars the whole way through.
Editor in Chief of Lemonade Magazine