LOST BALLOONS: Hey Summer: LP

Like I’m sure for many others, summer is my favorite time of year—Los Angeles heat notwithstanding, all the best, fun stuff happens. Each year the season starts off with the promise of good things in full bloom, promise that inevitably withers like leaves with the coming of fall. On their second album, Jeff Burke and Yusuke Okada turn down the furious freneticism that related bands like Marked Men have made into a cottage industry, focus more on the “pop” that has always been there at the core, and effectively pen the quintessential late summer album. Like that time of season, it’s rife with feelings of missed opportunities, loss, melancholy, and yet a wistful sense of hope. Emotion is packed into one gem after the next, seamlessly blending power pop with punk, dream pop with garage, keyboards with dabs of occasional country twang. If any of that description makes you uneasy, don’t let it. This disc is gorgeous, and easily one of the best albums you’re gonna come across this year. –Jimmy Alvarado (Dirtnap)