Article by Matt Dippel | Owl Staff

You’re driving down a back road on a July evening, your best friends piled into the passenger seats. It’s 85 degrees out, the sun is descending on the horizon and the moon is ascending to take its place. A light breeze rustles the treetops, and the background music provides the soundtrack for your summertime shenanigans.

Every summer, I make a huge playlist consisting of a few hundred songs for the season, which then remains on shuffle for the next three months. I can’t fit the whole playlist on one page, but I can recommend a handful of albums to help turn those lazy days into hazy nights with the best soundtrack possible.

Beach House Bloom: Baltimore based dream pop duo Beach House make some of the most tranquil music I’ve ever heard, combining the effects-drenched tendencies of shoegaze with ethereal piano melodies; this is star gazing music at its finest.

At the Drive In Relationship of Command: A slightly heavier pick, this seminal post-hardcore classic is the album to spin when cruising down I-95 with all the windows down, screaming along with every lyric and chorus. One of the most energetic and vibrant albums I’ve ever been privy to.

Explosions In the Sky The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place: Another album for nights spent driving down back roads with friends, EITS craft some of the best instrumental post rock in the game, and this album is the one to put on in the background while talking. The band crafts their eight- to ten-minute-long movements with the concept of build ups and climaxes in mind, creating some of the most epic “background noise” ever.

Wu-Tang Clan Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers): …And a rap album for diversity; you just can’t beat 36 Chambers. So, turn off that terrible R&B station and listen to some real hip hop, for your own good.

Neutral Milk Hotel In the Aeroplane Over the Sea: Listen to the title track and “Holland, 1945.” Seriously. Just do it.

The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band: The de facto summer soundtrack for anyone with a youth based in the 1960’s, Sgt. Pepper’s is just under 40 minutes of LSD laced psychedelic rock that will take you to another world. It’s one of the greatest albums ever recorded and resonates with people still today.

Vampire Weekend Self-Titled: Everyone knows “A- Punk” from the movie Step Brothers, but the band’s self-titled debut has ten other equally catchy indie- pop tunes with pris- tine production and a warm summer feel.

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