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Five for Friday: Five Albums to Savor from Summer 2016

Summer may be in the rear-view mirror, but these five albums won't be shelved any time soon. For this edition of Five for Friday, Music Direct revisits five of the best albums released this summer selected not only because if their content, but for the way in which they made impacts throughout the season.

Radiohead A Moon Shaped Pool (Released May 8)
A Moon Shaped Pool, which followed 2011's The King of Limbs, includes two songs realized after long gestation periods – the opening "Burn the Witch" and closing "True Love Waits." Radiohead had been toying with the arrangement for "Burn the Witch" since 2000's Kid A, while "True Love Waits" had previously only been released on the 2001 live album I Might Be Wrong. A Moon Shaped Pool largely shaped the sets at the band's summer shows as well as its headlining-making appearances at festivals like Lollapalooza, Osheaga, and more.

Whitney Light Upon the Lake (June 3)
The horn-heavy tracks that comprise Whitey's debut album pair with the duo's upper register airy vocals, making for an ideal easy-listening experience for laid-back summer nights. The tandem comprises two former Smith Westerns members, which explains the simplistic, lo-fi base heard within the music. Whitey expands upon the latter aesthetic with dense instrumental layers and contemplative lyrical content. Released at the beginning of summer, the album simmered all season long while gaining attention and momentum in advance of the group's anticipated fall tour.

Blood Orange Freetown Sound (June 28)
Blood Orange's sophomore breakout, 2013's Cupid Deluxe, is a tough act to follow. But Dev Hynes and company delivered an even more compelling and timely album with Freetown Sound. The effort largely shaped his performances at various summer festivals, from Panorama to Bonnaroo, by literally and figuratively setting the scene. The ensemble's Panorama performance even included a handful of socially aware and relevant spoken-word PSAs. Blood Orange has kept riding the wave of the release via various promotional tactics, most recently by opening a New York Fashion Week pop-up shop that sold his merchandise.

Local Natives Sunlit Youth (September 9)
The naturally sunny disposition of L.A. indie rockers Local Natives comes through with room to spare on the aptly titled Sunlit Youth. It largely juxtaposes the tones of its predecessor, 2013's dark-colored Hummingbird. As a result, it draws more attention to the songs' optimistic and upbeat undertones, allowing messages of hope to shine brighter. Sunlit Youth encapsulates not only what summer should feel like – bright and carefree – but chronicles the vibes of what this particular summer channeled by touching on politics ("Fountain of Youth") and big-picture problems ("Mother Emanuel").

Wilco Schmilco (September 9)
It's safe to say not many were expecting a Wilco album to arrive, considering the group's last record – Star Wars – is only about a year old. While Star Wars came as a last-minute surprise, Schmilco followed the more traditional record-release arc. In contrast to its more experimental-sounding predecessor, this album reflects Wilco's softer and more acoustic folk-rock form side. It perfectly captures the transitional period between hesitantly ushering summer out the door and warmly welcoming fall.

September 30, 2016

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