With summer officially here, a quick list of some recent discoveries and friendly listening options:

1. Seven Dials – Roddy Frame. Last year Chris Collingwood of Fountains of Wayne penned a remarkable column for The NY Times about songwriting in which he praised the genius of Aztec Camera’s Roddy Frame. Frame may have ditched the Aztec Camera moniker years ago, but he never lost his muse, as evidenced by Seven Dials, his first solo record in eight years. As vaunted as my expectations were, nothing could have prepared me for the first single, “40 Days of Rain”, a veritable flood of religious imagery (and melodic hooks) in which the Scottish singer asks, “could this wretch really be restored?”. Not all the songs on the record deal so explicitly with deliverance, but there’s more than enough buoyancy throughout to keep the heart afloat this season.

2. From the Ground Up – John Fullbright. The Americana wunderkind has a new one out, but I haven’t been able to move on from his debut, the sympathetically titled From the Ground Up. One glance at the tracklist–“Gawd Above”, “Satan and St. Paul”, “I Only Pray at Night”, “Jericho”–was enough to pique my interest, and believe it or not, those songs all live up to their (incredible) titles. God-haunted and full of great singing, this guy may be young, but he’s the real deal. Fans of Chris Knight or Ryan Adams would do well to check him out.

3. We Love Life – Pulp. The band has what looks like an amazing documentary on the way, which is as good a reason as any to revisit its final record, the woefully underrated We Love Life (which was produced by Scott Walker). “Weeds”, “Trees”, and “Birds In Your Garden” will scratch that summer pastoral itch, while “Bob Lind (The Only Way Is Down)” remains the best rock song about repentance of the last twenty years. How AA hasn’t made it into an unofficial theme song is beyond me.

4. Obscured By Clouds – Pink Floyd. Conceived as a soundtrack and understandably overshadowed by their next release (rhymes with “Park Glide of the Spoon”), this one has aged well. It’s got a ramshackle quality unheard elsewhere in their catalog. If only we could go back in time and add Gilmour’s “Big Fat Sun” onto this one, we’d have the ultimate summer Floyd record.

5. God Help The Girl – God Help the Girl. Another Glasgow record, this time courtesy of Belle and Sebastian’s Stuart Murdoch and a stable of Scottish belles. As we brace ourselves for the filmed version of GHTG to hit the big screen (any day now), we would all be well advised to revisit their 2009 self-titled collection, which swings with pleasant summer energy and contains more off-hand references to church than any Rough Trade release in recent memory. “Teacher never cared for me/Preacher said a prayer for me/God help the girl/She needs all the help she can get”. Those who need more should seek out the “Baby You’re Blind” single.