Mood Music: Youth and Sunshine

With spring just barely fighting its way past the lingering winter, students are breaking out their sunglasses and shorts, sunning themselves out on the quad and the steps of MGC. Mixed with that impatient longing for summer and the almost-there end of the semester, it’s a heady mix of youth and sunshine. And what better way to celebrate this youthful restlessness and the coming of warm weather than with a playlist dominated by Australian artists. When it comes to being young and being in the sun, look to the Australians to guide you along. In fact, they could be considered experts. Australians have “young and free” immortalized in their national anthem. As an ode to sunny days and young ways, this playlist celebrates all that is young and free. 

1. Coach Bombay – “School Night feat. Luci Hodgson”

“School Night”, featuring the girlish, playful vocals of Luci Hodgson, comes from Coach Bombay’s debut EP, One Thousand, which was released in 2010. As a “bedroom project” of Melbournian Terry Mann, Coach Bombay makes guilt-free pop music with equal parts meaningful lyrics and infectious beats. Expressing the sentiment of today’s disillusioned youth with the opening lyrics of, “All this time / We have been / Working for / Corporate dreams / Lonely nights / Hopeless schemes / To an end / Find the means,” backed with bouncy percussions and soaring synths that keep this song from being too dour. Hodgson’s voice is light without being vapid and is complimented well by the saccharine instrumentals.

2. The Holidays – “Golden Sky”

This Sydney based four-piece band formed in 2006 and released their debut studio album, Post Paradise, in 2010. Armed with steel drums, bongos and an array of other unique instruments, The Holidays have rightly shaped an album that’s fit for a tropical holiday. “Golden Sky”, the second single off their debut album, opens brightly with a lively bongo line, steady shakers and a light but catchy guitar hook. Overall, the track is cheerful and upbeat without being overbearing. It’s a beautiful song to have on while taking a carefree bike ride or lounging about on the quad on a sunny day.

3. Miami Horror – “Sometimes”

Miami Horror has made a name for itself in the world of indie electronic music, rising in just a few shorts years after producer and founder Ben Plant, brought the group together to build their distinct, polished sound for their 2010 debut album, Illuminations. Not only did the album peak at #10 on the ARIA charts – Australia’s version of Billboard – but it also saw the band collaborate with artists such as Kimbra, Alan Palomo of Neon Indian and VEGA, and Tim Derricourt of Dappled Cities. Touring with the likes of Phoenix, La Roux and Friendly Fires, Miami Horror has solidified itself in the Australian music scene. “Sometimes” is the first single off their debut album, a refined dance anthem that mixes the confusion of youth with its anxious energy. It’s the type of song you get lost in on the dance floor, completely surrounded by a mass of moving bodies, eyes closed as the strobe-lights hit you and the bass takes you to another world.

4. Architecture in Helsinki – “Escapee”

Although their name evokes some sort of Scandinavian heritage, Architecture in Helsinki is a five-piece band based in Melbourne. After a steady stream of albums starting from 2003, “Escapee” comes off their fourth studio album, Moment Bends, released in 2011. Though the whole album is a bit inconsistent, “Escapee” is a stand-out for its unwavering vigor and its embodiment of a fresh summer afternoon. It’s a track that perfectly captures the sweet taste of freedom right after a particularly grueling exam week or that long-awaited graduation day, rife with bubbly synths and wistful vocals. And with lyrics like, “This escapee was never gonna stay/ On an unfamiliar building on the rooftop where we lay / Where all the constellations shine to pave the way / Temptation’s not a word until we’ve let it go astray,” that restless feeling of adventure and the end of the school year makes this an ideal song to switch on as you pull out of the parking lot on the last day of school, windows rolled down to greet an endless summer.

5. Last Dinosaurs – “Zoom”

Last Dinosaurs is made of four native Brisbane lads who met in high school and decided to form a band together way back in 2007. After the release of their 2012 debut album, In A Million Years, they’ve not only toured all over Australia but also toured the UK and parts of Europe and Canada as well. They’re signed to Dew Process, an Australian based independent record label that also manages artists like Sarah Blasko and Yves Klein Blue. As a whole, In A Million Years is a solid album that showcases not only the band’s cohesiveness and detailed instrumentation but also the songwriting skills of lead vocalist, Sean Caskey. According to Caskey, “Zoom,” the third single off their album, aptly sums up the essence of the album. “Zoom” is a song about impressions and time. Caskey’s imperfect but effortlessly cool voice sings the handcrafted chorus, “I don’t want to be just another /Fighter without fire, nothing to inspire / In a million years when we’re older / Finally we can be part of history.” The instrumentals rightfully zoom around his words and it makes you feel as if you’re looking down at time, seeing every moment in your life and thinking about whether or not you’ve done enough to be “part of history.”

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