“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer”
As this week we’re once again struck by the wrath of a blizzardy, freezing winter, it is hard to imagine that the summer is just a few short months away. Those brilliant blue skies, those hot, hazy afternoons, and those long evenings frolicking in festival fields are coming.
Musicians are regular chroniclers of the passing of the seasons, whether it’s the desolate introspection of winter, the optimistic shoots of spring or the gentle, wistful nostalgia of summer. Songs have the ability to transport a listener not just to a bygone year or a destination long since departed, but to a season. Whether it’s The Kinks lazing on a sunny afternoon, Belle & Sebastian spending a summer wasting or every surf-rock song ever written mentioning going to the beach; even in the depth of winter, music can offer a timely reminder that not having to wear all of your clothes just to go outside is just around the corner.
One band who instantly evoke memories of the summer are Cardiff-London quartet, Wylderness. The band recently released their debut single, 72 and Sunny. The track was one of the first songs the band ever wrote, and is lyrically inspired by the somewhat unusual topic of the often-mythologised Welsh exodus to Patagonia. It plays off the stances of two different characters, one exited to escape, entranced by the idealistic and romanticised vision of a utopian life in South America, the other terrified of the journey, wanting to stay safely at home in a world they already know.
Musically, the track recalls bands like Cheatahs or DIIV, blending the worlds of pop and shoegaze, creating a soundscape of washed-out vocals, reverberating, shimmering guitars and distant pounding rhythms. A sound likely to be carried into their upcoming debut record, recorded with acclaimed producer Rory Attwell and coming out early this year. With a well-received live show that has already seen Wylderness support the likes of Pinkshinyultrablast and Acid Mothers Temples, 2018 is shaping up as a very exciting year for the band.
Summer and the sun are recurring themes on our debut album, including on our first single 72 & Sunny. So we decided to put together a whole playlist on this subject.
1. Pavement – Summer Babe (Winter Version)
The sound on Slanted & Enchanted is so raw, it’s the sound of a great band still finding their way in the studio and all the better for it. Summer Babe was an early contender for our band name.
2. Diiv – Under the Sun
This is from the second Diiv album – something we listened to a lot when writing the songs for our debut.
3. Girls – Summertime
A live acoustic version of Summertime from the first Girls album. A great record to listen to when soaking up the sunshine. I miss this band!
4. Gulp – Seasoned Sun
Gulp is Guto Pryce from Super Furry Animals and Lindsey Leven. As described on their bandcamp page – “Ten tracks of sunshine!”.
5. Crystal Stilts – Flying into the Sun
Such a great track by an underrated band. The lyrics are dark and existential but the music lifts everything up.
6. Yeasayer – Sunrise
They performed this track on Jools Holland a few years ago and even watching it on the TV it remains one of the best live performances I’ve seen.
7. Slowdive – When the Sun Hits
A majestic song from an amazing band. It feels like the final haunting days of summer.
8. Supergrass – Sun Hits the Sky
Supergrass had a knack of sounding heavy and poppy at the same time. What a song and video this is!
9. Super Furry Animals – Ysbeidiau Heulog
The only single taken from the entirely Welsh language album Mwng, which was the first Welsh-language album to reach the top 20. This success led to Mwng being mentioned in the House of Commons! Ysbeidiau Heulog translates to sunny intervals. A pretty accurate description of the weather in Cardiff.
10. La Luz – Sunstroke
A brilliant live band. La Luz sound the opposite of sunny. Instead, they sound like they’d be at home playing a residency at The Roadhouse in Twin Peaks.
11. Male Bonding – Tame the Sun
A real highlight on their second record. These guys write great songs!
12. Allah-Las – Worship the Sun
This video is along the lines of what we were trying to capture on 72 & Sunny – 70s colour palette with plenty of lens flare. Unfortunately, South Wales isn’t the most tropical of settings so the director took a two-day trip to Gran Canaria and Barcelona to capture the mood. The rest was filmed in Barry Island.
72 & Sunny is out now on Succulent Records. Click HERE for more information on Wylderness.