As I spend my first spring back in my native state of Wisconsin, I am reminded of the unique feelings that well up when it finally seems that winter, that harshest season, is irrevocably over. Those who’ve never endured the weather of the Upper Midwest perhaps don’t understand that snowy assaults can continue happening well past the point that seems at all reasonable, that these blustery heartbreaks might occur after a the false promise of a long stretch of beautiful, warm days. To live here, one acquires a defensive readiness to face down the cold yet one more time, as if a fifteen round bout spontaneously added a sixteenth, regardless of how punch-drunk the participants already feel. When the calendar and the thermometer conspire to deliver a day that truly feels like there is no backsliding into precipitation that drifts rather than falls, it is a wondrous feeling.
Even now, I associate that feeling with my time at the college radio station. There was a great symbolism to throwing the windows open in the hallway that ran behind the on-air studio and turning the monitor volume up loud as songs that sounded like summer filled the playlist. It was our unofficial announcement, via transmitter and the more bullying pulse of music from our own speakers, that summer was impending. Much as I appreciate the bevy of digital music options that can provide me with an array of songs at the speed of thought, they lack that immediate commentary on the world right outside the window, the message from the DJ that they also see and understand the long-awaited transformation taking place. The air feels warm to them, too.
I can’t quite construct a complete explanation of what made for a fine summer song. It usually has a briskness and a bouncy energy, the sort of thing that commanded windows be rolled down in a car as it raced down the street. Mostly, I just knew it when I heard it. I will admit, though, it didn’t hurt if the word “summer” was in the title.
Listen or download –> Great Lakes Myth Society, “Summer Bonfire”
(Disclaimer: Best as I can tell, the two albums released by the Michigan band Great Lakes Myth Society are out of print as physical objects that can be procured from your favorite local, independently-owned record store in a manner that compensates both the proprietor of said store and the original artist. However, while I don’t believe the band is still a going concern, their music is indeed available for digital purchase. Since it is offered through their own web page, I believe, with a dash of earnest hope, that money spent using that method will largely land with that band rather than be stripped away by heinous corporate entities. So please view the sharing of this track in this space as a kind introduction to the band’s music and an encouragement to support them by buying a copy of the album. That’s why I put the link there, you see. Even so, I will gladly and promptly remove this music file from my little corner of the digital world if asked to do so by any individual or entity with due authority to make such a request.)