Every year between Memorial Day and Labor Day, a song comes along that becomes the year’s de facto sunshine anthem. The Song of the Summer is a vacation for the ears, a four-minute uptempo common denominator for the season. This year’s champ is a quaint, introspective ditty entitled “Turn Down for What?” in which Lil Jon asks the titular question every several measures in between deep bass drops and firecracker snare pops. We don’t get an answer: What are we to turn down for? An important phone call? Common courtesy? Love? Ha! Just kidding. The song’s about getting wasted, not preventing tinnitus.
What’s my Song of the Summer? Glad you asked! It’s “Hot Jack” by local indie quartet Neighbors. It’s 90 degrees Fahrenheit in three minutes and a celebration of sexual frustration that backpedals from typical summery themes. It’s the second cut on Neighbors’ new LP, Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? (take that, Lil Jon!). The album came out back in May, but the haze of August makes Quiet the perfect place to park your ears until the end of the season.
Neighbors, who’ve been around since 2010, bear similarities to other upstart garage acts from around the U.S. like Parquet Courts and Purling Hiss. Like those bands, they push wiry, fiery guitars against lyrics that are humorous and sometimes blunt without being disingenuous. A duct tape sensibility holds down the frayed edges of the tunes, but the pop smarts at their cores are strong.
The basic tracks for Quiet were recorded live to a rickety four-track recorder in a 12-hour, one-day session. José Diaz Rohena fronts the quartet and produced the record, and as in his production work for Seattle darlings Posse and Chastity Belt, the drums clap flatly against the walls of the room and the bass burrows deep into the carpeted floor. The sound is clean and compact and hits you straight in the guts.
In the space of 10 songs and 30 minutes, Diaz and company swagger, rage, celebrate and beg forgiveness—sometimes all in one track. Opening cut “Muscle Girl On Muscle Beach” boasts push-pull guitar riffs, crosscutting and leading the rhythm section into proud boy-girl chorus harmonies. The line “Do you think that moving to Seattle’s gonna get you where you wanna be?” is ominously followed up by repeated cries of “Pretty soon you’re gonna change.”
Elsewhere on Quiet, chiming guitars stride across “Loretta,” soaring vocals skewer “Power Country” and a cough-syrup trip whiplashes through “Recipe.” These songs will stick around with you long after the heat wave has passed. Best summer ever!