Playlist of the Week: Essentials of Summer 2015 Edition

“Losing Touch”—Albert Hammond Jr.
Readers beware: The title of “Losing Touch,” the latest single from guitarist Albert Hammond Jr., is a bit of a misnomer. Since shifting his focus away from The Strokes toward his own solo career, Hammond Jr. has only sharpened his skills as a songwriter and pop craftsman. Sporting the patented chugging guitar fans of The Strokes know and love, this song is one of many strong cuts from “Momentary Masters,” available on Vagrant Records.

“The Less I Know The Better”—Tame Impala
Since debuting on the Australian music scene in 2007, Kevin Parker’s Tame Impala has taken the world of psychedelic rock by storm, winning minds and captivating fans the world over. This summer, the group released their third full-length LP, the aptly titled “Currents,” an album that finds Tame Impala abruptly shifting musical streams into the world of synth pop. This change is not an unwelcome one, however, as Parker’s production skills and songwriting have only improved and grown sleeker with age. Look for this essential release on Modular Recordings.

“Random Name Generator”—Wilco
With an album cover sporting a white cat and the title “Star Wars,” it’s really hard not to like Wilco’s surprise free summer album. The music makes it easier, as “Random Name Generator” shows why the group has been a force in mainstream alternative music for decades. With frontman Jeff Tweedy’s signature croon doing battle against a Weezer-like guitar fuzz, this song’s appeal is anything but random. While no longer available for free download, this album can be found on dBpm Records wherever music is streamed or sold.

Cleveland boasts a remarkably strong local music scene with talent to spare. Amongst that pool, Seafair reigns as one of the city’s most daring groups, as this summer saw the group perform at the House of Blues with a 30-piece orchestra named after their debut album, “The Querencia.” Of all the songs on that record, “Ohio” is the finest, blending the beauty of classical strings with the grit of garage rock, creating a transfixing sound.

“Return Of The Savage”—Ghostface Killah & Adrian Younge Feat. Raekwon & RZA
The legendary Wu-Tang Clan has spawned many a successful East Coast MC, but in recent years, Ghostface Killah has risen to the top of the pack as his music continues to reach higher levels of impact and complexity. Collaborating with Adrian Younge this summer, Ghostface brings aboard fellow Clan members Raekwon and RZA for a track chock full of fresh production and hook-heavy rhymes. Look for this cut on “Adrian Younge Presents: Twelve Reasons To Die II,” available on Linear Labs, LLC.

Retro Pick of the Week:

“Summertime Blues”—Blue Cheer
Sporting brash vocals and a ferocious blues guitar attack, Blue Cheer has proved immensely influential on the emergence of punk, stoner rock and metal since its emergence in the late 1960s. While the beginning of the semester and the end of summer may have you down, Blue Cheer’s cover of Eddie Cochran’s “Summertime Blues” serves as a reminder that these blues aren’t new and shouldn’t go unheard.

Teddy Eisenberg is a fourth-year programmer at WRUW-FM 91.1 Cleveland. He hosts The ’59 Sound, an exploration of rock music, every Thursday morning from 8-10 a.m. and co-hosts the variety talk show Max and Teddy in the Morning at Night (Sometimes) on Mondays from 5-6 p.m. The crackle of vinyl warms him on cold Cleveland nights.