Summer music preview

It’s good weather for hijacking this month’s cruise ship of LPs.

Becky Lang

We’re about to enter what is called “May Term,” a limbo land of self-destructive freetime where all one has to worry about is the hysterical weather and whether your crazy old babysitter can be used as a reference on your résumé. (Unless you are taking a May term class. Then have fun spending four hours each day learning about cyborgs or Alaskan recycling habits.) Before the chronic understimulation causes your brain to melt into your Jamba Juice, find some music and plug in, quick.

El Guincho
Album: Alegranza
Label: Discoteca Océano

El Guincho and his husky Catalán will take that Spanish/French/Italian that you’ve been learning all year and propel it into a sublime and confusing world of tiki hut dance beats and criss-crossed soundwaves. Kind of like Panda Bear, who is kind of like the Beach Boys, El Guincho hops on the ever-accelerating train of cut-and-paste euphoria. The unspoken motto is something like, “if you liked that song then, you might like it strained through a blender and paired up with a chorus of children and cash-register bells.” “Alegranza,” his ambiguously dated first release, is pounding and transcendent, a pidgin of musical languages that ends up more beautiful than the originals.

Scarlett Johansson
Album: Anywhere I Lay My Head
Label: ATCO/RHINO

Whether it’s good, Scarlett Johansson’s album is sure to be a conversation piece. You may know her as the girl who hangs out in her panties throughout “Lost in Translation,” or as the other Boleyn girl (some would say the “non-other” Boleyn). Renowned for appealing to men who never got over Marilyn Monroe, this cover album is her attempt to broaden her following to encompass fans of the devil-voiced jazz poet Tom Waits. Judging by her “Falling Down” single, it sounds like the red-lipsticked vixen is picking up where Sinead O’Conner left off, and spinning out velvety, estrogen-charged ballads.

Santogold
Album: Santogold
Label: Downtown/Lizard King

For those who just can’t wait for new music, Santogold’s self-titled release is already out there. The cover features the singer coyly closing her knees and barfing out a glimmering cloud of gold vomit, which may or may not be a metaphor for the type of sounds on her album. She’s been marketed as the American answer to M.I.A., but such an entity could never exist seeing that M.I.A. consciously tries to be the voice of not-America. If anything, Santogold’s cheerleader shouts make her slightly reminiscent of Gwen Stefani and her bananas. Tracks like “Starstruck” are glow-in-the-dark, twisted beckonings, while tracks like “Lights Out” are slightly more pop-tastic. Girlfight!

Dosh
Album: Wolves and Wishes
Label: Anticon

Local band Dosh will cool you off after far too many hours playing your video game console of choice. The gentle techno creates a musical play kitchen in your head, full of the sounds of pop cans being cracked open and cake timers gently going off. Melodic and gentle, it’s a perfect sendoff into your month of resting.