Keeping Up with the Coal Crew: May 2023
Summer is coming on strong and to celebrate its arrival, we’ve put together some hot tunes to accompany the sun’s intensifying heat (be sure to enjoy them with UV protection). From modern pop jams to songs you didn’t know you knew, the Coal Crew’s taste—much like the sun itself—encircles the world of musical genres.
So, if you’re looking for a familiar favorite to take in alongside some rays, or a new and instant classic to get the creative juices flowing, it’s on hear.
Grab your boombox and your parasol, slip on some sandals, and don’t forget to zinc your sniffer—these tunes are as shiny and bright as the flipside of a CD (so please enjoy them with eye protection as well).
To kick things off, Alex gets us going on the right foot with a groovy, slightly obscure (yet eerily familiar) choice.
If this beautiful, yet undersung classic happens to “ring all the bells” in your mind, it may be due to its inclusion in 2019’s hit film Us . Les Fleurs is best accompanied by a scenic drive, preferably during a moment of personal triumph or bliss. The smooth, slow-building tempo, much like the summer, burns slow at first—but the mighty crescendo hits harder than a 100-degree day.
Camaryn – Silver Springs by Fleetwood Mac
Camaryn comes in strong with a lesser known, yet killer tune from the undisputed champions of rock ballads.
Light as air, smooth as butter, and brimming with ethereal qualities—it’s not a magical summer’s night, it’s Stevie Nicks and crew doing what they do best. With a funky bassline and some truly haunting vocals, Silver Springs is somehow the perfect companion to a sullen or splendiferous summer.
Holly – Fallingwater by Maggie Rogers
Summertime means different things for different people. For some, it evokes a carefree sense of boundlessness. For CEO Holly, it’s a season of immense emotion.
Her pick, Maggie Rogers’ chilling and intimate tune Fallingwater, is packed with feelings, like an intense 4-minute summer romance. Regarding the video, Holly says it’s “the self-expression dance session we all really need to make time for,” so be sure to add “Move my body to my heart’s content” to your summer to-do list.
Jay – Lovestained by Hope Tala
Fans of danceable jams rejoice, Lovestained brings hip-swinging basslines to get lost to. Jay calls the tune “a picnic with your best friend on lush, pillowy grass,” and we couldn’t agree more—if the grass was made of pure, unadulterated funk.
Seriously, with a beat this infectious, Lovestained will stick on your mind like a Fourth of July mustard stain on a tank top—and we never want to bleach it out.
Jeremy – Radio by Arcade High and Sunset by The Midnight
Jeremy is going to force you to listen to two songs, but it’s for totally unselfish reasons. The thing is, both are certified as groovetastic and it’d be impossible to choose between them.
Radio hits all the bouncy, distorted synthwave notes you crave out of a quasi-80s revival jam. Meanwhile, the motivational narration and rising guitar tones of Sunset burst with the warmth of pink neon on every beat. Throw either on for a drive on a warm summer’s night, roll down your windows and steer your spaceship toward the horizon.
For a true potential candidate for song of the summer, Jesse suggests Rita Ora and Fatboy Slim’s hot new hit, Praising You. The song has strong “big party scene” vibes, so don’t be surprised to see it in an upcoming blockbuster or two.
Regardless of whether it makes it onto the silver screen or not, we’ll be praising this sizzling summer tune by bumping it until autumn.
Matt – Silent Running by Gorillaz
The pick is inspired by a recent concert described by Matt as “the best show I’ve been to yet.” The song, Silent Running, is a modern classic that proves Gorillaz still has it (and never lost it)!
The tune features a driving bassline and snappy drum beats accompanied by slick instrumental experimentation. If you’re a fan of 80s rock, synthwave, or music in general, this baby is nothing but silky smooth vibrations.
Sometimes summer means traveling to different realms—or at least, that’s the feeling Mia’s pick Let Go evokes.
With alienesque sonic drones and airy, ethereal vocals, Ark Patrol and Veronika Redd give you the impression they’re going to abduct summer, rather than induce it. Regardless, if you feel like floating this season—in the pool or on air—take this track for a spin.
Samantha – Marathon Runner by Yellow Ostrich
Summer isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon—or so says Samantha. There are many adventures in this wild, uncertain life, and listening to Marathon Runner is perfect preparation for any of them.
Ear-pleasingly layered vocal tracks and a driving drum roll back this deep, emotionally-evocative indie jam. Listening to the lyrics over and over may bring a tear to your eye, but hearing the guitar wail repeatedly might melt your face.
Samuel – Tequila by The Champs
Similarly to Alex’s choice, Tequila is a song you’ve probably heard in movies and on TV, but didn’t even know had a name. Samuel cites this scene from The Sandlot as the iconic inspiration behind his choice.
The song itself is a real hip swinger, and basically commands you to don a pair of shades and sip a margarita. If you’re looking for a nostalgic summer jam to bring you back to childhood movies you only vaguely remember, dust off your gramophone and crank out this tune.
Travis – Ao by Submotion Orchestra
Travis will be doing a lot of rocking out this summer, so to maintain inner-balance, he’s leaning on Ao as his source of serenity.
Ao has a warm, inviting ambience that instantly makes one feel a sense of peace. Likewise, its rising synthwave motif is just begging to be thrown on for a night drive through the vast, unlit desert.
Bust out the boogie boards and waterproof sunscreen, it’s a pool party (Aren’t you going to jump in?). With some funky vibes and topical voice overs, this tune is the perfect backing track to your sizzling-hot peak-of-summer backyard pool blowout.
Will describes DJ Sabrina’s music and aesthetic as “entering a Blockbuster operated by A.I. Barbie dolls.” If you like Adult Swim b-roll oddities and psychtrance bops, they may be the duo you never knew you were missing out on.
Relena – Come Along by Cosmo Sheldrake
An interesting and oddly-epic choice from intern Relena, who admits Come Along is outside her normal musical tastes.
The narrative evokes feelings of a “peculiar summer vacation on an island somewhere,” and honestly, it feels like one from which you may never return. If you get a mysterious invitation from one Doctor Moureau this season, this song may have been an omen.
Leah – Pork Soda by Glass Animals
For this danceable tune, Grammy nominees  Glass Animals combine infectiously funky beats with an unforgettably punchy and absurd chorus (Pineapples are in my head!).
Leah recommends singing along with a tall, cold can of Pork Soda on a summer’s drive, windows down of course (but by this point in the playlist, you know that’s obligatory). On a real note, however, if you ever find out what Pork Soda actually is, please don’t tell us.