Summer sounds: A music review of ‘Vacationer’

I don’t know about you, but as the summer draws closer, my Summer 2015 playlist is already collecting new music material. But even when looking for the newest band or singer, it’s always good to look back and add those songs you loved years ago, or in our exhilarated pace of a life, the songs you added just a few months ago.

For those looking for smooth, cinematic summer sounds (or even for those music lovers who continually hunt down the least known artist they can find so they can claim their originality and independence), I highly suggest the band Vacationer.

Getting their start in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Brooklyn, New York, the band collaborated and released their first album “Gone” in 2012. Shortly after they toured the album with Asteroids Galaxy Tour, Bombay Bicycle Club, The Naked and Famous and several other well-known groups.

I first saw Vacationer my senior of high school when I went to a Naked and Famous concert at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland, Oregon. Vacationer opened and I was immediately taken by their fresh sound, the unique but strangely basic vocals of the lead singer Kenny Vasoli and the whimsical and sometimes eastern/tropical feel to their music. Living most of the year in the rain and darkness of the Pacific Northwest, it was a breath of fresh air to feel like I had been transported to a warm Southern California beach during their show.

“Gone” is the perfect album to get ready for summer as its lyrical content is mostly about relaxing, dreaming and love. The music itself is sometimes slothful but mostly lyrical with occasional upbeat tempos. All of this while still remaining very subtle, soothing and passionate.

Their newest and second album, “Relief,” which was released June 2014, is very reminiscent of “Gone,” continuing the theme of throwing in occasional eastern sequences. This time though, the band mixes in a little island sway, giving it that distant experience but still providing a relatable western indie sound.

Vacationer drives their inspirations from past and current musicians who have combined electronic and rock ‘n’ roll, hence Vasoli’s love for Radiohead who were the most iconic pioneers of this genre. Yet sometimes there is a quick glimpse of Bob Dylan, especially in Vacationer’s song “Paradise Waiting” which reflects similarities to Dylan’s “The Man in Me.”

By fusing different genres together, Vacationer has added their own twist and style coining their own original genre called ‘Nu-hula,’ named after their tropical-inspired beats. Though Nu- hula seems to have been coined by the group Vasoli shared in an interview with East of 8th blog that he “doesn’t think Vacationer has defined a genre.”

In the same interview he explained this thought further saying, “People call us chill-wave… but I think it’s more dimensional than that, genres in general can be a little bit blurry.”

Blurry though the lines may be, Vasoli has defined and established for himself an original sound and a uniqueness that make him stand out among other indie musicians and is well worth the listen.

So as summer vacation comes racing towards us and the beaches are finally warm enough again, start your vacation early with Vacationer.

Lewis is a junior music major with a minor in media communications. He’s been playing the piano for 15 years. He picked up jazz about a year ago and works two jobs playing at restaurants in the San Diego area. He says he’s been accompanying vocalists too long.

Take a listen to Vacationer’s single, “Trip.”