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Summer Playlist, Part One

Warm weather has my iPod working overtime, on long subway rides to Coney Island, drives out of town, and through the daily grind. When it’s not doing the lazy shuffle, the player is pumping out some of this summer’s most crucial tunes in my little slice of world. And, like Danny DeVito with his coin collection in Throw Mama From the Train, I will attempt to make the seemingly insignificant feel much more personal.

Mew, “Am I Wry? No,” Frengers. No, this isn’t a track from Mew’s lovely brand new one, And the Glass Handed Kites, but from Frengers, their 2003 album that never saw a proper U.S. release. As I worked on a Mew piece for the site, I was lucky enough to get my hands on that older record and instantly fell in love. From triumphant guitar chords that usher in the first verse through its twist of an ending, this is a classic album-opener. REAL PLAYER

Silversun Pickups, “Well Thought Out Twinkles,” Carnavas. I like Smashing Pumpkins. Lots. I shouldn’t have been shocked at all when this L.A. band’s sandpaper guitars scraped their way over my synapses. DOWNLOAD MP3 | READ MORE

Controlling the Famous, “Two Sides,” Automatic City. Sometimes, friends nag me forever about bands that I resist checking out for one reason or another. In this case, I wish I’d more hastily paid attention to SPIN.com contributor Emily Zemler about this L.A.-based band. Finally saw them live this week and was completely floored. For fans of Sunny Day Real Estate, for sure, but dunk this cut into some creamy ranch dressing — it’s their most ready-to-eat morsel. DOWNLOAD MP3 | READ MORE

Say Hi to Your Mom, “These Fangs,” Impeccable Blahs. Summer always incurs a need within my brain for whatever-rock. You know, indie fodder recorded by dudes who sound like they don’t care. Throw in a sneaky synth hook, and I’m good to go. A former SPIN.com Artist of the Day done good. MP3 CLIP | READ MORE

Heavens, “Patent Pending,” Patent Pending. Kinda tired of talking about this one, but still — damn funny to see hipsters going emo. While the Lower East Side goes to the Warped Tour, Matt Skiba can sip a quiet beer at the Dark Room. DOWNLOAD MP3 | READ MORE

Jamie T, “Back in the Game.” Lily Allen’s getting all the hype lately with her street-savvy (or a not-so-nice word that rhymes with “savvy”) British pop, but I heard this first and thought it was the Arctic Monkeys’ Alex Turner performing unplugged. Nope. He’s one of Lily’s mates (check her MySpace Top 8) and could be a big deal. WINDOWS MEDIA

Young Love, “Nameless,” Too Young to Fight It. I have a feeling this album could be massive, and this is its most enduring song, full of the earnest paeans for love that summer generates by the bushel. NO CLIP AVAILABLE

The Killers, “When You Were Young,” Sam’s Town. I got super excited about this band in 2003 — still have their original demo CD with their then-manager’s email address on it. But something faded for me over time, until I heard a handful of songs from the new album. Sure, the lyrics are banal, but it’s the kind of uplifting stuff they only hinted at on Hot Fuss, and its bridges would make melodramatic Meat Loaf turn green with envy. WINDOWS MEDIA

Cobra Starship, “Snakes on a Plane (Bring It),” Snakes on a Plane. The Internet’s best marketed brand doesn’t need my help, but hell, I can’t deny its slam-dunk of a theme song with hot Warped Tour all-stars. Nail. On. Head. YOUTUBE

The Format, “Time Bomb,” Dog Problems. Dear Ben Folds: Why and how did you stop making piano pop as awesomely delicious as this? The second and third choruses, with the added line, are my favorite moments on any song this year. DOWNLOAD MP3 | READ MORE

Stay tuned for part two, next Friday! PETER GASTON

Talk: What’s racking up the play counts on your iTunes this summer? COMMENT

Tags: Music News