What am I listening to this summer?

For me, this has been a great summer for discovering new music that I just can't stop listening to! Below, I've picked out my most-played tracks this summer from brand new records released this year. Basically all of the albums from which these tracks originate are quite good, so I couldn't help but include some honorable mentions here and there.

Take a listen, and let me know if you've heard of any of these as well!

Note: The numbers next to the track names aren't any sort of rating or scale. They are simply the the tracks' placement within their respective albums.

"I Know"

Shovels & Rope

I Know (single)

As is common, I have The Current to thank for this first track. I get a bit of radio time in on my short drive to work, and that's when I happened to hear this fun, gritty jam. It takes me back to the days I was in a band, and it reminds me that the simplest of rock ensembles can have the most fun. (Hats off to my fellow Hard Ticket guys!)

2. "Love Me"

The 1975

I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it

Here's an album takes the "Longest Title" award. I don't remember which track I heard on the radio first (I believe it was "Change of Heart") which prompted me to look up the whole shebang. Turns out that "Love Me" is a serious contender for my top song of the summer. Some days, I can't stop listening to it — it has a heavy groove that really resonates with me for some reason. And while the album in its entirety is quite hit-and-miss, the hits really shine through.

Some other favorites from the record:
4. "Change of Heart"
6. "If I Believe You"
7. "Please Be Naked"

10. "A Distant Call"

Will Van De Crommert


I have the honor to say that this next artist I knew personally while attending Saint Johns University. I've always respected his impressive musical chops, and I have been keeping a close eye out for his work in his post-academic life. He never disappoints, but this particular piece is a definitive favorite of mine. It channels some epic brass that for some reason reminds me of "The Enterprise" theme from Star Trek: The (Original) Motion Picture Soundtrack circa 1979. (Don't let that be a deterrent for you—I realize that Star Trek isn't for everyone! But the soundtrack is one of my favorites, so I promise that being likened to it is a compliment!) Will's entire Melódica collection is quite good, but the closing track is a certainly a standout.

1. Trouble

Jonathon Robins

Trouble EP

Jonathon is an artist I randomly stumbled across on YouTube, where he had flawlessly covered a couple tracks form Adele's new album. He has dozens of other covers that range from great to stellar (and many of them are reworked in unique ways that is kinda refreshing and cool). For some reason, I was so impressed by his voice that I found myself going back and listening to his covers on a regular basis. (Also, he's very easy on the eyes, so that's certainly not going against him ;D). However, he just recently released a new EP of original work, and I continued to be impressed. The title track is far and away my favorite. It has a super catchy hook that is performed nicely, and the lyrics are incredibly introspective and honest without being cheesy or contrived. I look forward to hearing what he creates in the future!

4. "Weathered"

Jack Garratt


Before hearing this track (again, thanks to The Current radio), I was never fully convinced that hyper-produced, electronic music could sound completely organic and emotive. Don't get me wrong, I have some favorites that were produced completely behind the keyboard of a laptop, and they are great! However, Jack Garratt easily convinced me (and completely caught me off guard) that my understanding of electronic music was far from complete. I don't know what else to say except listen to this track ASAP, and don't be surprised if you're surprised!

Some other favorites from the record:
1. "Coalesce (Synesthesia Pt. II)"
7. "I Know All What I Do"
8. "Surprise Yourself"

2. "Feeling Electric"

Parade of Lights

Feeling Electric

Ok. I realize this isn't technically "new" ... In fact, it's not even close! Some of the tracks were released as singles back in 2013, but the album itself was released mid-2015. Somehow, I'd never heard of this group before. So when I heard them on the radio a few weeks back, I was shocked to realize that it wasn't brand new. Needless to say, I've been hooked, and it's been on regular rotation on my playlist this summer.

Some other favorites from the record:
3. "Wake Up"
7. "Can't Have You"
9. "The Island"

3. "Walkway Blues" (feat. Jordan Lawlor)



Somehow, M85 is another group that I hadn't heard of before this summer. "Go!" was the first track I heard on the radio, and I instantly got some heavy Random Access Memory vibes (which was one of my favorite records from 2013). I was happy to discover that the rest of the album didn't disappoint in the least! And while I like "Go!" quite a bit, "Walkway Blues" turned out to be my favorite. I may have even put it on repeat while driving between home and work on more than one occasion... It starts a bit slow, but it some serious groove once the chorus kicks in!

Some other favorites from the record:
1. "Do It, Try It"
2. "Go!" (feat. Mai Lan)
7. "Solitude"
12. "Atlantique Sud" (feat Mai Lan)

"Can't Stop the Feeling!"

Justin Timberlake

(Single from DreamWorks Animation's TROLLS)

If I were to pick out one completely inescapable song of the summer, it would certainly be this one. Under any other normal circumstances, I probably wouldn't have much nice to say about a song that's been overplayed as much as "Can't Stop the Feeling!" has, but for some reason, I just can't get sick of it! Conceptually, it's virtually identical to Pharrell's "Happy" from 2013. The main difference is, though, that JT's song doesn't make my ears bleed or give me an urge to repeatedly bang my head against a brick wall. JT's nailed the feel-good sound of the summer without sacrificing some musical integrity (even if the song isn't all that original). Regardless, I love it, and I couldn't construct this playlist without mentioning it.

1. "Cake By The Ocean"



If I got to pick a second track that was inescapable this summer, "Cake By The Ocean" would be it. I first heard this one having no idea of its ties to the JoBros—and honestly, I'm thankful for that. I'm sure that if I knew that ahead of time, I would have judged it (negatively) and might not have let myself like it. (That's dumb, I know. But as they say: First impressions are everything!) I've finally listened to the entire EP (all of 4 tracks), and I'm certainly intrigued! DNCE has a very fun, light-hearted style with catchy hooks and some fresh lyric choices on usually stale subject matter.

Another favorite from the EP:
3. "Toothbrush"


Weezer ("The White Album")

I could not make this list without mentioning the latest work from Weezer. They do a great job of messing the emotions of their fans. It's almost too nice to say that some of their later efforts have been hit-and-miss. However, I feel that this is finally a true return to form for the band. So much so, that I could not pick any single track out. "California Kids" or "King of the World" are probably of my favorites. But whenever "California Kids" starts playing, I can't help but let it go to the next track. And then the next. And before I know it, the entire album is over. It's all one big piece, in my mind—just like their "Blue Album." It's hard to listen to just one track without the others!


Various Artists

A Song For Orlando

For those of you who don't know what this song is about: It's a tribute for all those affected by the massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. It was an event that had a profound effect on me, and I honestly haven't been the same since. Because of that, this song has particularly strong meaning for me, and I find myself listening to it about once a week, at least.

"If a million hands can build a wall, a million hands can break it down."

"No Hell"

Cloud Cult

The Seeker

Finally, my name wouldn't be "Isaiah Schultz" if I didn't have a callout to what might be my favorite band of all time: Cloud Cult. They had a new record this year that was released along side a motion picture also written by the band. While I have yet had an opportunity to watch the film, I have listened to the album dozens of times. I am happy to report that it channels the same sound and feel of Light Chasers, my all-time favorite album in their repertoire. And while the entire thing is a pleasure to listen to as a single piece, "No Hell" has stood out to me since it was released as a single. The arrangement and performance is fantastic, and the lyrics particularly resonate with me for some reason. So it was easy for me to put it as the closer to this list.

Some other favorites from the record:
1. "Living in Awe"
2. "To the Great Unknown"
5. "Come Home"
13. "Through the Ages"