“Listen In” is a weekly feature in which we ask musicians to curate a mixtape-length YouTube playlist of songs they’re currently digging. Click the big play button above to hear the whole playlist or scroll down to see and hear individual tracks.
Alligator Years, the sophomore album by Omaha-based Twinsmith, is the perfect album for summer listening. Infused with upbeat, pop-py tracks — but still solidly rock — it’s relaxed but thoughtful, with an edge. In case you want to expand your warm weather music, Twinsmith curated a fun but heady summer playlist just for you. Give it a listen below.
Twin Peaks – “Making Breakfast”
I like this song. I think it is a good song. I like breakfast. Also, there are killer riffs and they talk about gardens. It’s fun!
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – “How Can U Luv Me”
I’ve thought a lot about what it would be like if Prince and James Brown were forced to record an album together underwater, and I think it would end up sounding a lot like this song. I just googled “is James Brown alive?” and he apparently passed away in 2006, so I guess we’ll never know. RIP, James.
The Beach Boys – “Kokomo”
One time, we had a cookout at our house and we played this song on repeat for at least 3 hours. This is the type of song that can sort of fade into the background, and a lot of people didn’t realize they had heard Kokomo 60 times in a row until it was way too late. They all had a tropical contact high by the time things were said and done.
Reptar – “Cable”
The first half of the song has a lot of real punchy horns and scary lyrics (“Both hands watch together/Silence follows, meaning lost /Friend goes, then turns off /Silence follows, meaning lost”) then the tide rolls in and “the bad things are behind” and everything is okay. This song is a rollercoaster and I hope you’re tall enough to ride it.
Hop Along – “Powerful Man”
I’m usually not a big fan of getting fooled, but this song fooled me real bad and I don’t mind it. The poppy guitars and drums make you think everything’s okay, but the lyrics are pretty sad! Be careful!
Thin Lizzy – “Southbound”
I like going southbound because it usually means the weather is gonna be warmer. I’m a big fan of vocal harmonies and double-lead guitars, so I really like a lot of Thin Lizzy songs.
Soundgarden – “Spoonman”
I was really young when this album came out, and I’m sure it’s riddled with drug references and stuff, but I still like to think it’s about a guy who either plays the spoons or is a giant anthropomorphic spoon. And all of Chris Cornell’s friends are actually skeletons. They played this song during the last Super Bowl and I laughed for at least 2 minutes. Spoon Man.
Surfer Blood – “Feast/Famine”
My favorite song on surfer blood’s new album. I like these guys!
Thee Oh Sees – “I Come From The Mountain”
This is the only song I can think of that makes me feel like I’m lost in a cave, living in the woods like a survivalist, and traveling through space all at the same time. It’s a cool feeling, I guess. Again, killer riffs.
The Polyphonic Spree – Section 12 (Hold Me Now)
When I became aware of this group, I got some real cult-y vibes, so I didn’t listen to much of their music. Jordan showed me this song like, a year ago and it makes me think… there are nothin’ but positive vibes in this song, so… maybe cults can be cool? Just kidding, I’m sure everyone involved is well-adjusted and trustworthy.