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Best Alternative Summer Albums

The 20 Best Summer Albums You Never Get To Hear


The sun is out and you have some 'Me-Time' or just unfettered control of the music: time get some real summer records on. So no Inner Circle, no Zero 7, no Thong Song, just some half-forgotten classic albums to stick on in their entirety. You deserve this.

Summer Album Slits

'So Tough' - The Slits

On the surface it's not a summer album, but once you play it around the paddling pools, six margaritas in, it's dubby rhythms make total sense. Although it will always lead to the following conversation: "Ok, as far as I’m concerned it goes: 1) Sex Pistols 2) The Slits 3) The Clash. No man. No. You’re wrong. I’m not being a dick. I’m not. The Slits did reggae way better than The Clash – wait a second - and they weren’t so serious all the time…hey, where’d everybody go?…" Buy

Summer Album Parliament

'Mothership Connection' - Parliament

The greatest sci-fi funk album ever recorded, though all the other Parliament albums come close. The risk of being caught mid-slap bass in the garden by a loved one is tremendous, but whatever...everyone goes insane in a heatwave anyway. Buy

Summer Album The Doors

'Waiting for The Sun' - The Doors

Probably the least worshipped Doors album by Doors fans because it’s the most poppy – but we say: the less extended poetry monologues, the better. This has 'Hello, I Love You', and even better, 'Love Street'. Perfect for a woozy afternoon lying in the park near a fat dog that looks like Jim. Buy

Summer Album Run DMC

'Raising Hell' - Run DMC

Forget Walk This Way (though it is on here), play the whole album for a reminder how lucky you are: not only were you born into existence on a planet hurtling through space, but Run DMC were too. Invite the neighbours over to your sprinklers and get this on... Buy

Summer Album Neil Young

'Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere' - Neil Young

More woozy psychedelic rock glory from that album with the dog on the cover. If you haven’t had at least one summer day in your life where you’ve played Cinnamon Girl over and over again till everyone around you wants to kill you…well, you haven’t lived. Buy

Summer Album Love

'Forever Changes' - Love

Arthur Lee was as good a songwriter as John Lennon, and way better looking. This masterpiece must be played every summer if you want to spruce up your soul. “I think people are/The greatest fun.” Too good. We barely deserve it. Buy

Summer Album Repo Man

'Repo Man Soundtrack' - Various

Alex Cox’s cult-ier than very cult film about suburban LA punks and aliens produced that rare thing: a hardcore album with a sense of humour. Can the Circle Jerks or any of this be considered summery? Of course – the film’s set in LA, and it's always hot there, so... Anyway, just stick it on. Buy

Summer album

'Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme' - Simon & Garkfunkel

Christ, you don’t want to be caught out playing this…no, you do. You’re a modern man, and this is amazing, and you can lie on the grass twirling your girlfriend’s hair in your finger, acting all dreamy in a polo-necked jumper even though it’s 40 degrees and you’re so hot it looks like you’ve urinated in your corduroy trousers. Buy

Summer album Kanye

'The College Drop Out' - Kanye West

We still prefer the earlier Kanye, before he got Kardashianed and went insane. Buy

Summer Album The Creation

'Our Music is Red - With Purple Flashes' - The Creation

The music of this highly influential but rarely listened to 60s beat scene band makes perfect sense in the sunshine. ‘Making Time’ is obviously great, ‘How Does It Feel To Feel’, phenomenal. If you weren’t too old to do LSD then surely this would be the time to do it. Buy

Summer album Aphex Twin

'Selected Ambient Works 85-92' - Aphex Twin

One of those records now exclusively put on at dinner parties, which makes you die inside a bit – but if you put it on REALLY loud on a summer’s day it is still capable of melting your mind like a Solero on a hot patio. Buy

Best Alternative Summer Albums

'Blank Generation' - Richard Hell & The Voidoids

Surpisingly jaunty New York punk record which contains the best ever song about ejaculation anxiety: “Love comes in spurts, Oh God, it hurts!” We’ve all been there. Er, haven’t we? Buy

Summer Album Beat Street

'Beat Street Soundtrack' - Various

Music from the early block party hip hop scene, as shown in the classic movie. One to play at an insane volume in your street (back garden), with kids playing in a gushing fire hydrant (hose pipe), while you sit on a stoop (garden furniture) sipping from a quart of whisky (cup of camomile tea). Buy

Summer Album John Barry

'Themeology' - John Barry

Easy listening but not shite. Features the composer's best film and TV music including The Persuaders, and The Ipcress File. Put this on and literally everything you do will seem cool. Cutting cucumbers, reading a paper on the toilet, everything. Buy

Summer Album Jesus and Mary Chain

'Honey's Dead' - The Jesus and Mary Chain

Still the most effective mesh of girl groups and punk this side of The Ramones, it’s another dreamy album perfect for summer morning moods - just you, a coffee, and some false memories about a misspent youth. Buy

Summer Album Little Richard

'Here's Little Richard' - Little Richard

Have you ever put on Little Richard for toddlers? They go insane. Primal instinctive affirmation of body and soul. Buy

Summer Album Betty Davis

'Nasty Girl' - Betty Davis

A staggering figure in early funk, post-psychedelia. Filthy, furious, and cool as anything. Can you wear leather in the sun? You can now. Put talc on first. Buy

Summer Album Best Coast

'Crazy For You' - Best Coast

Modern summer classic by Californian duo. Grungy summer vibes for putting on clothes which show off your ‘discreet’ tattoo just so. Buy

Summer Album Lemonheads

'It's Shame About Ray' - The Lemonheads

Pretty obvious, but pretty essential all the same. So laid back it slounches into your ears and stays in there, hanging out for days until it gets right on your nipples. Buy

Summer Album Leonard Cohen

'Songs of Leonard Cohen' - Leonard Cohen

A more intimate and arresting listen. This ain’t BBQ music, but on the right day when you’re in the right mood, there is nothing better than the heavy but delicate world of the man Bob Dylan wishes he was. Buy

You’ve got the best alternative summer albums in the bag – surely you need a stylish record player to play them on?

Scott Lavene

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