Mexican Summer at 10: Staffers Pick Their Favorite Albums
For 10 years, Mexican Summer has danced across a radically shifting musical landscape. The label, birthed in 2008 by Kemado Records, has evolved from releasing limited-run vinyl editions to discovering and nurturing an array of musicians across 250 catalog releases, launching a reissue and publishing imprint, and unfolding the annual multi-faceted festival Marfa Myths in Marfa, Texas. A few members of Mexican Summer’s staff picked their favorite releases from the label’s catalog, and we at Discogs are pleased to share with you here.
Walking 6th Ave. to Penn Station around this time of year, as fall succumbs to the cold, I first tried out A Year With 13 Moons, a sleeper hit and critical success from the previous winter. As a wall of fuzz reluctantly gave way to Jefre’s heartfelt melodies and zonked drums, it was like the sky made its way into my headphones, grayish and expansive, but with a lot more heart. For a short while the city slowed down, I drifted amid the rush of commuters, and let my eyes float upwards — something New Yorkers don’t tend to do enough of. I made my train, too.
— Max, Project ManagerBuy It On Discogs
Fuzz guitars galore, jazz piano, hip hop drums, and even Swedish folk music – what more could one ask for? As a kid who thought that Tame Impala was the world’s greatest band, Dungen’s 4 was (and still is) an absolute thrill. I mean, just listen to Fredag or Det Tar Tid… Those guitar tones. Those drum fills! Plus Gustav’s Swedish drawl will forever and always make me swoon.
— Gil, OperationsBuy It On Discogs
I first heard Forever Dolphin Love at a record store in Los Angeles and was struck by how beautifully odd it was. The owner of the shop told me he had ordered an import version from Europe, but Connan and that album remained a bit of a mystery for some time after. The music, however, stuck with me and apparently followed me, because years later I would learn that Mexican Summer was issuing its first US release. It’s truly original and one of my favorites to revisit.
— Nancy, Sales DirectorBuy It On The Sound Of Vinyl
I was working in a record shop when The Waves came out. I was firmly in a shoegaze wormhole, so when this crossed my path I was immediately drawn to the expansive reverb and layered production. The song titles speak for themselves…Love Fade, Haze Interior, Mild Confusion. They also do a pretty good job of summing up my 20s.
— Ami, International Project ManagerBuy It On Discogs
What label would release a wildly obscure album from 1971 made by a British HVAC maintenance man reincarnated as a Pharaoh and recording artist backed by the complete pre-10cc line up? The detail and love lavished in the six-panel poster reproduction of the original Roger Dean artwork and the sheer WTF-ness of taking a chance on such an obscure and awesome album such as Ramases’ Space Hymns provoked a curiosity in the label’s passion that has remained to this day.
— Matt, Creative DirectorBuy It On Discogs
When I first took on production at the label we were in the process of having The Innocents mastered. I listened through all of Lipton’s refs and could clearly pick up on the studio mix and bpm for every track, until I got Bad Magic. This is a super simple song but it had been tracked live with vocals and guitar together (at least I think it was that way) and it stuck out to me as singular and authentic, and I was drawn deep into the album from there.
– Warren, General ManagerBuy It On The Sound Of Vinyl
I remember working the front desk at my college radio station when this CD came in the mail. I pulled it randomly from the stack that arrived every day and listened straight through, over and over. Deepest DIY Cocteau Twins worship nearly lost to obscurity!
– Zack, Sales CoordinatorBuy It On Discogs
I first saw this record without knowing about Connan and was totally transfixed by this blonde version of what looked like a Prince record cover. I fell in love with the album and really savoured it over a period of probably a year. I didn’t even want to listen to Forever Dolphin Love for a long time, as I was so stuck on Caramel.
– Jodi, International Marketing DirectorBuy It On The Sound Of Vinyl
I know it’s an obvious one, but someone’s got to mention it. I live in London where it apparently rains 106.5 days out of the year, so hearing this jangly, steady Californian pop record when I was 17 years old slathered some much needed vitamin D onto my pasty British skin.
– Joanie, International Project ManagerBuy It On The Sound Of Vinyl
Great for young’ins letting go of strange religious upbringings. I played it a lot at my old cafe job (making coffee for vest men on Wall Street), smiling while people yelled at their phones, and Peter sang about Shiva.
– Connor, Warehouse ManagerBuy It On Discogs
I remember listening to this album, specifically the song Penobska Oakwalk, in the car with my sister on the way to high school. I made tons of mix CDs at the time (no aux cord), and this this somehow made it onto a bunch of them. The airy background vocals and simple, thumping drums sounded perfect as we cruised beneath the canopy of oaks that swallowed the two-lane road we took to school.
– Ben, Marketing CoordinatorBuy It On The Sound Of Vinyl