As you may have figured out from the tone of the rest of our quite-liquid "Summer Guide," we here at Orlando Weekly think that summer is an incredibly parched-throat kind of season. And, for that reason, we're trying to direct you toward appropriate (and inappropriate) ways to use the heat as an excuse for near-alcoholism. Yet, no good drinking binge is complete without a good soundtrack, and for that reason, I thought it might be a good idea to help you find the right kind of music for the right kind of buzz. So, depending on what you're drinking, here's a rundown of new and upcoming summertime CDs that will help that demon alcohol go down that much smoother. Drink up!
Cold, cheap American beer
Whether you're backing the Jet Ski into the lake, filling up the tackle box or just parking your fat ass in a lawn chair in your driveway, nothing goes better with cheap, cold American beer than good old classic rock. And, in case you forgot, nothing says classic rock better than .38 Special. And "The Very Best of the A&M Years (A&M, out now) collects 18 tracks. Which means you not only get "Hold on Loosely" and "Caught Up in You," but a dozen crappy -- sorry, I mean classic -- songs like "Teacher, Teacher" as well. Also in stores is a concise, 10-track "Best Of" that compiles Traffic's best moments (Island, out now), plus a deluxe, remastered edition of "Electric Warrior" by T. Rex (Reprise/Rhino, out now) that tacks on six bonus tracks. Bang a gong, baby!
Warm, extremely cheap American beer
If you can afford neither a Jet Ski nor a driveway (not to mention the King of Beers), it's likely that all that time you should have been in high school was spent listening to crap like Poison and smoking cigarettes in the parking lot while trying to pick up sophomores. But fear not! Despite your horrific taste in music and beer, you too can relive the glory of your rock & roll youth with a bitchin' (and totally pink, dude) reissue of Vinnie Vincent's "Invasion" album (EMI, out June 24). Yeah, the weird-lookin' guy that took Ace's place. But, if you're trying to keep current, there are also new albums by Poison frontman Bret Michaels ("Songs of Life," Poor Boy Records, out now) and Britny Fox ("Springhead Motorshark," Spitfire Records, out July 29). But whatever you do, don't show up for work at 7-11 fucked up. They like that about as much as they like you wearing your tiger-striped spandex for the night shift.
Bourbon and coke
If your inner redneck demands a stronger brand of booze, there's yet another compilation of Charlie Daniels' best work ("The Essential," out June 10) hitting the stores. If, by chance, you're not a redneck, the new David Lee Roth album, "Diamond Dave" (Magna Carta, July 8) is surprisingly good. It finds Dave kicking out a handful of cover tunes and, rather than Vegas 'em up, he and his tight band lean into 'em balls-out. It's a laid-back affair, perfect for long, hot Saturday booze-fests.
Cheap import beer that makes you feel well-read
If your glasses have nonprescription lenses and you carry around a well-worn copy of "The Catcher in the Rye" in the hopes that it will help you pick up a lover, you probably like Liz Phair. And you'll also probably make excuses for her new self-titled album (Capitol, June 24) being a gigantic piece of crap. And that won't help you get laid either. Relax, young poseur dork. It's OK. The more of that beer you drink, the better you'll feel about yourself, and you'll be emboldened to discuss the finer points of the Cocteau Twins "ad nauseam" (reissues of the group's first four albums, including "Treasure," are out now on 4AD) or, if you're really wasted, you might be able to make excuses for another craptacular gem: "Strays," the new (!) album by Jane's Addiction (Capitol, out July 22).
Expensive import beer that makes you feel "rootsy"
Do you find you and your dad having more and more in common? Do you subscribe to No Depression? Are you too much of a pussy to drink good bourbon, but make up for it by drinking the fruits of a tiny microbrewery in Armpit, N.D.? Well, besides being a walking cliché, you're also a very large marketing niche. And the demands of that niche finally convinced Neil Young to reissue his amazing "On the Beach" album (Reprise, out June 24, along with three other "lost" Young albums), which, despite not being "beachy" at all, is still a perfectly laid-back drinking album. Also of note: The Drive-By Truckers release their long-awaited follow-up to "A Southern Rock Opera," titled "Decoration Day" (New West, out June 17) and former Uncle Tupelo sad-sack Jay Farrar unveils the thematically dense "Terroir Blues" (Act/Resist, out June 24)
Nothing says, "Wish I weren't here" more than an iced bucket of those fat brown bottles and some reggae. "The Rough Guide to Ska" (World Music Network, out now) compiles 20 tracks from the early '60s produced by Vincent "Randy" Chin. Legends like the Skatalites, the Maytals and Alton & Eddie rest alongside other influential tracks from Don Drummond and Roland Alphonso; it was these tracks that laid the foundation for the reggae revolution that would emerge in the late '60s and throughout the '70s. Max Romeo was among the genre's most soulful singers, and his work with Lee Perry (like "War Ina Babylon") was profoundly evocative. His best cuts are brought together on the obviously titled "Ultimate Collection" (Island, out now). Similarly, keyboard giant (and founding Skatalite) Jackie Mittoo helped revolutionize the funky backbone of reggae via his early Studio One work, and the expanded edition of his monstrous Showcase album, "Champion in the Arena: 1976-77" (Blood & Fire UK, out July 15), illustrates it well.
Good beer weigh you down? Straight liquor too much of a reminder how miserable your job is in the summer? Relax, fire up the blender and pretend like you're on a beach far, far away (and that a cute servant -- rather than your harried significant other -- is supplying the little umbrellas). After all, if it's summer, there must be a new Beach Boys collection, and this year is no exception. "Sounds of Summer: The Very Best Of" (Capitol, out June 10) collects all of the group's Top 40 hits. And I'm sorry, but that means it's got "Kokomo," but no "Surf's Up." The Wilson boys too homegrown? Take a trip to equatorial climes with the French "Caribbean" compilation (Putumayo, out now), a clutch of relentlessly upbeat sounds from wrenchingly impoverished former French colonies. Likewise, "The Best Tango Album in the World Ever!" is a stunning two-disc set that will get you into really big trouble if you drink too much. Remember this: You don't look cool with a rose between your teeth.