Tune-Up For Summer

Categories: CD Preview
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Sunny pop music and summertime are made for each other like two soulmates holding hands on an oceanside stroll. With the weather heating up here in the Valley of the Sun, let's take a look at some great summer music...

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S-Curve Records

Tinted Windows
Tinted Windows
(S-Curve Records)

A power pop supergroup that spans generations, Tinted Windows -- damn, that's an awful band name -- includes guitarist James Iha (Smashing Pumpkins), bassist Adam Schlesinger (Fountains of Wayne, Ivy), singer Taylor Hanson (Hanson) and drummer Bun E. Carlos (Cheap Trick). The new band nods respectfully to their power pop predecessors on their self-titled debut. The songs are short and sweet, 11 of 'em in under 36 minutes, with most written or co-written by Schlesinger. While his Tinted Windows tunes don't plumb the depths of suburban ennui and heartbreak like the best of his FoW work, there's still plenty to love on the shiny surface of songs like lead single "Kind of a Girl." Meanwhile, Taylor Hanson has grown into such a fine adult vocalist that it's easy to forget he was the teeny-bopper kid singing on Hanson's "MMMBop." He also turns in a strong adult tune of his own with "Nothing To Me." Supergroups are often short-lived, so let's hope Tinted Windows are good for more records than this fine debut.

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The Fever Zone

Army Navy
Army Navy
(The Fever Zone)

Army Navy may not be a power pop supergroup, but they're pretty super by association. Singer-songwriter-guitarist Justin Kennedy previously played alongside a pre-Death Cab for Cutie Ben Gibbard in a band called Pinwheel and Army Navy features drum contributions from Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Pete Thomas of Elvis Costello's Attractions. With terrific wordplay and melodic songs that echo genre legends like Teenage Fanclub, Army Navy -- damn, that's an awful band name part two -- sound remarkably assured on their debut. While this indie album was released in the depth of winter, it's sunny sound deserves to find a wider audience this summer... and here's hoping. Check out a couple of Army Navy's genuinely funny music videos here and here. Then tell your friends.

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Capitol Records

The Beach Boys
Summer Love Songs
(Capitol Records)

When you think of summer music, you can't help but think of American legends The Beach Boys. What would summer be without tunes from the quintessential fun-in-the-sun band and Capitol Records delivers a fresh collection with Summer Love Songs. It features six new stereo mixes of classics like "Don't Worry Baby" and lesser known nuggets such as "Time To Get Alone." Meanwhile, "Fallin' In Love" is a Dennis Wilson-written number which was previously unreleased in America. While those tracks will surely draw completist fans to the collection, any ear can appreciate the timeless beauty of "God Only Knows," "Wouldn't It Be Nice" and "Please Let Me Wonder," among others.

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