Boys of Summer

We recently asked members of Kansas City’s diverse music mafia what singles they reach for in the summer, and one group in particular gave an overwhelming response: the fellas. Who knew that the summer jam was so close to the brooding male heart? So, ladies, if you’re making your man a mix tape this season, consider including one or two of these strapping, virile hits (think Paris Hilton and the Eagles, baby).

Bill Sundahl, It’s Over and Spice of Life Productions

All-time: “Summertime” by Janis Joplin. “It takes me back to summer evenings in my late teens, bootlegging beer down gravel roads in the Ozarks with my friends.”

This summer: “Tsunamo Is Snowed In,” Deep Sea Diver. “It makes me smile, and if you drive with your window down and listen to it, you will, too.”

Cody Critcheloe, the Ssion

All-time: “Nothing in This World” by Paris Hilton. “Summer always makes me wanna fall in love, get a tan and lose a bunch of weight. I bet Paris Hilton feels this way most of the time, even when it’s cold outside! Another Scott Storch masterpiece, this song is ridiculously catchy and simple, with a brain-dead sing-along (dah dah dah dah) and a chorus that captures the feeling of bungee jumping into the arms of endless possibility. YES! I CAN DO ANYTHING! DON’T I LOOK BEAUTIFUL? YES, I DO!”

This summer: “D.A.N.C.E.” by Justice. “There is nothing sexier than a prepubescent kid singing about dancing with a bunch of other kids. This song makes me think of a bunch of inner-city kids dancing naked around a busted fire hydrant while some creep admires from behind a bush. (That would be me.)”

John Westerman, DJ Automatic Westy

All-time jam: “Summertime” by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. “The sample from ‘Summer Madness’ by Kool and the Gang is fucking sweet! Kinda darker, a more dramatic sound. I was 13 when it was released, so, needless to say, it puts me in that transitional point that everyone hits. Plus, it’s not your average summer song that tends to be super-upbeat (see Darude’s “Sandstorm” … uuuuugh). It makes me think of sitting back and watching summer go on through the heat lines rising from the asphalt.”

This summer: “I don’t know. Nothing has caught my ear yet, and what is a true summer song without the test of summer, anyway? Lots of cool stuff coming out, but I can’t make that call until it rings incessantly in my ears. Call me after the World Series.”

Brandon Phillips, the Architects and Anodyne Records

All-time: “Highway to Hell” by AC/DC. “This song is not listened to on some hi-fi system or a crappy set of pigeon-shit earbuds. This song is imbibed, snorted in huge rails off the dashboard of a nuclear-powered tour van at full clip. The first five seconds of this song still give me the shivers. The part where Bon Scott sings Hey, mama, look at me/I’m on my way to the promised land still makes me tear up, and then I start scanning the access roads for hitchhikers with pretty skulls.”

This summer: “Hip-Hop Is Dead” by Nas. “I don’t care how long ago it came out — this song will be fueling the soul patrol every time my Jewmobile hits the corner this summer.”

Collin Vaughn, aka DJ C-Vaughn

All-time: “Running Away” by DJ Infiniti. “The track has an incredible emotional feel of being on a mission.”

This summer: “Outta Space” by Prodigy (Top Cat remix). “Pure fuckin’ energy with a steady, rockin’ bass line and rasta vocals.”

Brad Hodgson, In the Pines

All-time: “Lyin’ Eyes” by the Eagles. “When I was young, I would drive around with my dad in his old Ford truck, with the windows down, at dusk. I remember him in his old white T-shirt, old Levi’s shorts, and his cigarettes rolled up in his sleeve.

This summer: “For the past several summers, it has always been Yo La Tengo’s ‘Return to Hot Chicken’ and ‘Moby Octopad’ off I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One. Again, this combination of songs reminds me of the quiet of dusk and the sunsets, the breeze and the strange but likable loneliness that goes along with that. The entire album is really wonderful to listen to while sitting alone on the porch with a beer, thinking about things with detachment.”

Bill Brownlee, blogger (

All-time: “Saturday in the Park” by Chicago. “Can you dig it? Yes, I can.”

This summer: “Throw Some D’s” by Rich Boy. “Sure, it’s patently offensive. It’s also banging out of countless cars throughout Kansas City at this very moment.”

Ilya Papinko,

All Time: “Hot in the City” by Billy Idol. “It’s cheesy and kind of fun at the same time, like the way summer usually is in Kansas City.”

This summer: “Block Control” by Noisia. “When the temperature goes up, I feel angsty, and drum-‘n’-bass is the perfect thing to listen to.”

Scott Hobart, Rex Hobart and the Misery Boys

All-time: “Brass in Pocket” by the Pretenders. “I grew up within earshot of my hometown swimming pool in St. James, Missouri. Every day, I’d walk to the pool over the stretches of bubbling tar in the road while the clanging pool gate, flapping diving boards, splashing kids and my first favorite radio songs got louder. ‘Brass in Pocket’ seemed always to be on and was perfect.”

This summer: “Crystal Ball” by Keane. “Huge, lush, maybe a little dark and longing for a summer jam, this song in a car with the windows down and new greenery moving by in the sun feels like the first day of love.”

Categories: A&E