The friendly old refrain is very much alive on America’s campuses: “Have a good summer.” I was working this sunny spring week at a big university in the middle of the country, and those words were in the air a lot. There are friends and acquaintances, over 30,000 of them, who lived, worked, and played together for eight or nine months during the academic year, who said goodbye for a spell as they finished exams and split off from each other.
As we interacted briefly, a few kids, (strangers to me,) even gave me, “Have a good summer,” as a pleasant goodbye. It is a nostalgic phrase to hear, and my mind floods with images of fresh young faces — long-ago friends engaged in smiley handshakes and hugs — memories from 35 years ago.
Well, I intend to have a good summer, and I will need a proper soundtrack for the season. Mine will begin with lots of songs from the recent self-titled release by Sasami Ashworth, who performs as SASAMI.
She is new to me. SASAMI is a music school graduate and multi-instrumentalist. Until recently she was the keyboard player for the rock outfit, Cherry Glazerr. A little over a year ago, she left the group to pursue her own career as a solo artist. In addition to playing keys she is a wonderfully straightforward and expressive singer. Her vocals sometimes carry an unaffected quaver that matches the woozy synth melodies. The combo’s guitarist is Sasami’s brother, JooJoo, who plays his instrument with the aural equivalent of someone wielding a beautiful kaleidoscope.
Fans of early shoegaze music, (think Cocteau Twins,) and fans of the un-bright, Bacharach-styled, 60s-influenced jazz/pop of groups like Broadcast and Stereolab will find lots to love.
Here are a four songs to get you started. Keep them in your back pocket for playing some night soon when the sun sets late, and the sun-warmed earth radiates its insistent heat upward after dark.