We’ve already very scientifically determined our Song of the Summer, with “California Nights” by Best Coast taking home the ultimate honor. That bracket had 16 of our favorite summer-ready jams, but there’s so much music being released that those aren’t the only songs capable of conquering your steamiest days. Here are 15 songs that might have flown under your radar, but definitely deserve your attention while it’s still hot out.
“Dreams” by Beck
After raking in three Grammys (including Album of the Year) for 2014’s Morning Phase, it didn’t take Beck long to enthusiastically burst back onto the scene with “Dreams,” his most buoyant song to date. For more than 20 years, he’s experimented and explored a variety of genres, and for a guy who first became known for singing “Loser,” this energetic, catchy summer song is the opposite: A clear winner.
“Alive Tonight” by Grace Potter
Grace Potter has a tremendous range, both in terms of the notes she can hit and in the style she’s able to perform. For the last several years, she’s led Grace Potter and The Nocturnals and been a fixture at big-name festivals, but for her next album, Midnight (out next month), the Vermont native has gone solo and departed from her signature blues-rock sound, focusing now on pop. “Alive Tonight” is a heart-thumping anthem that pays tribute to living in the moment. And isn’t that what summer’s all about?
“Ghost” by Halsey
No one makes being lovesick and vulnerable seem cooler this summer than Halsey, with her ever-changing hair color and this haunting, provocative hit on her upcoming Badlands, which is about lost love and searching for herself.
“Coming Home” by Leon Bridges
Throwing it back to the days of old school soul, this might be the sexiest song of the summer. It’s really only the beginning for 26-year-old Texan Leon Bridges, whose album dropped June 23, as he keeps the traditions of Sam Cooke and Percy Sledge alive.
“Compendium” by Elder
Elder can be metal’s next crossover band. On “Compendium,” they balance the genre’s typical heavy riffery and drumwork with a swaggering rhythm and some Television-esque guitar flourishes. It’s more than 10 minutes long, but the way the song breaks down and builds back up is glorious.
“Paranoia” by Max Frost
On steamy nights when you’re suffering inescapable insomnia, legitimately wondering if you’re the only living being in the world who’s awake, turn to Max Frost, who’ll offer you a strange sense of solidarity. The playfully creepy, futuristic “Paranoia” won’t lull you back to sleep or calm your nerves – in fact, the song’s effect is the exact opposite – but it will provide you with three minutes and 52 seconds of irresistible, restless company.
“Biscuits” by Kacey Musgraves
Kacey Musgraves might be the one to convert non-country fans to the other side. You don’t have to be from below the Mason-Dixon line to appreciate her motto of “mind your own biscuits” in this number from her sophomore album, Pageant Material, the recent follow-up to Same Trailer, Different Park. She continues to blend her smooth singing with sass, sweetness and a disarming humor.
“Cream on Chrome” by Ratatat
The first single on their newest album, Magnifique, which dropped July 17, “Cream on Chrome” from Brooklyn duo Ratatat is the musical equivalent of a hit of weed that combines blazing guitar riffs with infectious electronic layers.
“I’m in Love with My Life” by PHASES
This band – whose members have played in The Like, Phantom Planet and Rilo Kiley – brings a disco-infused pop song that stays in your head long after it’s over. Irreverent and playful, this song is downright fun.
“My Least Favorite Life” by Lera Lynn
While we struggle with our mixed emotions regarding the second season of True Detective (seriously, is it good or not?), most of us can agree that the dark, haunting voice of Lera Lynn, who’s featured on the series’ score this year after catching the eye (and ears) of T Bone Burnett, reveal an enticing soul with timeless talent.
“Ship to Wreck” by Florence and The Machine
The tortured, confessional lyrics of this new Florence and The Machine song are beautiful and reveal her vulnerability, but this song’s not exactly a downer. Instead, it’s a cathartic hit that lives up to all the glory of previous work we’ve seen from Flo, who’s been on a roll this summer.
“That’s Love” by Oddisee
In this funk-infused hip-hop song on his new album The Good Fight, rapper/producer Oddisee explores the inevitable downsides of love and inspires movement.
“Ratcliff” by Toro Y Moi
It’s pretty tough to categorize Toro Y Moi because he seamlessly blends so many genres into his repertoire, but in his new album Anything in Return, he channels Pinkerton-era Weezer and combines it with ‘70s pop for “Ratcliff.”
“Let It Happen” by Tame Impala
Psychedelic and dreamy, “Let It Happen” is recommended for late-night, contemplative drives.
“Shoegaze” by Alabama Shakes
As the reigning Southern blues/rock/soul deities, Alabama Shakes gained even more momentum with their latest album, Sound and Color. This song blows us out of the water with its metallic chords and the unmistakable voice of Brittany Howard.