BlackBook Tracks #31: It’s Too Cold to Exist

Word on the street is that we’re in the dead of winter right now. (Another compelling reason to be at Sundance right now is that it’s actually warmer in Park City than it is in New York.) Summer music may be more fun, but this is the time to curl up with a mug of cider and songs that come from cold places.

Torres – “When Winter’s Over”

My current favorite pastime is listening to Nashville singer-songwriter Torres and emoting deeply. Her music sounds perfect when everything is numb except for your feelings, and “When Winter’s Over” hits the spot. Unfortunately, winter is not actually over yet.

Beach House – “I Do Not Care For The Winter Sun”

The temperatures keep dropping, but at least Victoria LeGrand’s voice will keep you warm. Let’s pretend that is physically possible.

Niki & The Dove – “Winterheart”

My heart is frozen. So is my soul.

JEFF the Brotherhood – “Hypnotic Winter”

Nashville rockers JEFF the Brotherhood manage to sound pretty optimistic about the season, which we could probably all do with.

The Dodos – “Winter”

If you’re already starting to get angry about Valentine’s Day coming up, this is for you. The bittersweet jangle works wonders.

Belle & Sebastian – “Winter Wooskie”

“Who’s that girl? She must be nearly freezing” is a semi-iconic Belle & Sebastian line that’s apt for this week. In classic fashion, “Winter Wooskie” paints a wistful portrait with just the right amount of detail.

Nico – “Winter Song”

John Cale recently paid tribute to Nico with a host of other artists, including Sharon Van Etten and Alison Mosshart. Since you’re not going outside anyways, now seems like the perfect time to revisit Chelsea Girl.

Fleet Foxes – “White Winter Hymnal”

Because with those harmonies, it’s easier to pretend that this is just “crisp” and “refreshing.”

Follow Katie Chow on Twitter

BlackBook Tracks #11: Summer is Ending

Labor Day approacheth, signaling the death knell of summer. It’s time to put on your finest jean shorts and seize the end of the season. Here’s the playlist for your long weekend. Wear some white shoes.

Is Tropical – “Land Of The Nod”

The London trio pairs a laid-back vibe with a driving beat to create a perfect soundtrack for soaking up the sun.

Slam Donahue – “Cmon Cmon”

This highlight from the recently released Hemlock Tea EP sums up all of the summer romances that could have been. Sure, there’s some amount of regret involved, but the Brooklyn duo stays cool and breezy.

ALB – “Brand New Start”

There’s not too much information out there about the French indie-pop artist ALB, but he’s an immensely gifted songwriter worth seeking out. “Brand New Start” is an ode to moving on that’s equal parts joy and tension. Also, there are handclaps!

TV Girl – “Misery”

True to retro-pop form, the LA duo makes a song called “Misery” that actually sounds pretty happy.

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – “My Terrible Friend” (Washed Out Remix)

Lovelorn shoegazers stating the facts of heartbreak get an assist from the sunbleached stylings of Washed Out.

Smith Westerns – “All Die Young”

The garage-glam trio’s been working on their third LP, and 2011’s Dye It Blonde is worth revisiting on hot, late nights.

Beck – “Black Tambourine”

Guero may not be old enough to be a part of the classic Beck canon, but it speaks of summer in a way that needs to be capitalized on right now.

Kitten – “Cut It Out”

There’s a lot to love about the current wave of young women in electro-pop, and L.A.’s Kitten capture teen longing in the airy, immediately memorable “Cut It Out.”

The Strokes – “Take It Or Leave It”

It’s a classic.

JEFF the Brotherhood – “Hypnotic Mind”

Go hard and shred forever with these Nashville bros. End the summer on a high note.

BlackBook Tracks #6: Is Your Summer Weird Yet?

It’s mid-July, and by now your summer’s probably getting really good or really weird. (My vote’s for weird, I don’t know about you.) Whatever’s going on, round out your soundtrack with this week’s musical picks.

JEFF the Brotherhood – “Six Pack”

Get to know another side of Nashville with JEFF the Brotherhood. The lead single from their new Dan Auerbach-produced album Hypnotic Nights shows how to stay optimistic about summer, even when it is too hot to live, also known as right now.

The Soft Pack – “Saratoga”

San Diego garage rockers the Soft Pack are getting ready to release their next album Strapped on Mexican Summer. First single “Saratoga” hints at the vibes to come.

Vampire Weekend – “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa”

Remember when you first heard Vampire Weekend? Brooklyn’s finest have been keeping quiet while working on their third album, but they resurfaced at the Pitchfork Music Festival last weekend to remind everyone of just how great they are.

The Bewitched Hands – “Thank You, Goodbye, It’s Over”

The charming French indie pop band jangles its way through two and a half minutes of pure pleasantness.

Alt-J – “Tessellate”

See things in a slightly different way with these fast-rising Brits.

Lana Del Rey – “National Anthem” (Das Racist remix)

Nothing like a good remix to make Lana Del Rey more palatable, and Das Racist don’t disappoint.

MNDR – “Faster Horses”

MNDR knows her way around a slick electro-pop tune, and “Faster Horses” is no exception. Keep an eye out for her debut LP Feed Me Diamonds next month.

Discovery – “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend” (ft. Deradoorian)

The blend of efficiency and pop production on Discovery’s LP make it a summer record with lasting power.

Bear In Heaven – “World Of Freakout”

Bear In Heaven bring the fuzzy, washed-out synths for a song that’s more complex than it initially lets on.

Poolside – “Just Fall In Love”

A record called Pacific Standard Time is irresistable by default, and the California duo Poolside have the disco-inflected chops to back it up.

Kindness – “Anyone Can Fall In Love”

A slow jam for summer nights, British up-and-comer Kindness has a knack for universal pop appeal.

Moonlight Matters – “Come For Me” (ft. Gustaph)

Getting people to dance to songs they’ve never heard before can be a challenge, but this track, assisted by Hercules and Love Affair’s Gustaph, is probably a good place to start.

Stream New JEFF The Brotherhood EP

Jake and Jamin Orrall have been making music together since they were kids—after all, the two are brothers. They played together in an early version of remember-them punk popsters Be Your Own Pet, of course, but what’s really stuck in people’s ears is the music the duo has made as JEFF The Brotherhood.

The band has an album, Hypnotic Nights, coming out in July. But before that’s available, you can listen to this, the four-song Hypnotic Knights EP. See what they did there, with the silent K?

The tracks are a shining example of what JEFF does best, energetic, why-aren’t-I-drinking-beer-to-this rock songs. But don’t take our word for it, check the EP out for yourself.