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State of playlists 

This summer, fill your beach bag with the sunniest new music releases.

If the Billboard and iTunes charts are any indication, the "song of the summer" sweepstakes are already over, and Katy Perry's tragically misspelled "California Gurls" has claimed the title.

A shame, really. The song reeks of calculated desperation: "Please please PLEASE let me be your anthem this year." Great summer songs shouldn't try so hard---it's not difficult to find an excuse to blast the stereo when the warm weather finally decides to show up.

So far, 2010 has already been a banner year for new music, but consider your "Best Road Trip Ever" playlist a work-in-progress, as there are plenty more soundtrack-worthy releases to come.

The season kicks into high gear this week with releases from Robyn (Body Talk Pt. 1), The Gaslight Anthem (American Slang) and Drake, whose debut Thank Me Later threatens to eclipse the entire hip-hop landscape this year (see reviews on page TK). But it's a rather busy summer for big rap records. Eminem tries to get his game back with Recovery (June 22). The Roots take their new profile as late night television's best band and run with it on How I Got Over (June 22). Outkast's Big Boi drops his first solo record Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty (July 6) and T.I. bounds out of prison with King Uncaged (August 17). There's even a chance that Kanye West's return-to-rapping Good Ass Job might make it out this summer (though September is more likely).

Then there's M.I.A.'s already-controversial /\/\/\Y/\ (pronounced “Maya,” and out July 13), bound to be every bit as divisive as her New York Times-baiting antics of late. Other albums that should make the hipster blogrolls this summer: Montreal indie rockers Stars offer up The Five Ghosts (June 22). Wolf Parade go for a more upbeat sound on Expo 86 (June 29). California noise poppers Best Coast are expected to make a splash with their debut Crazy for You (July 27). Matt and Kim promise more synth-driven pop bliss on their as-yet-untitled third album, speculated for August. And Gang of Four are planning to release Content, their first studio album in over 15 years, by summer’s end.

An essential summer soundtrack is also incomplete without a dance mix. To start with, there’s The Chemical Brothers’ new album Further (June 22), a combination film/music project being released with eight corresponding videos. The Scissor Sisters continue to charmingly borrow from more classic bands of decades’ past on Night Work (June 29). Everyone’s favourite Aussie pop goddess Kylie Minogue returns with Aphrodite (July 6). And Chromeo---who last weekend played a set at Bonnaroo with Darryl Hall of Hall & Oates---are back with another set of electro-smashes on Business Casual (August 17).

Don’t forget sounds coming from closer to home. Glory Glory Man United will unleash their long-awaited debut Zombies!! (exclamation marks mandatory), produced by Andrew Watt of The Heavy Blinkers, on July 13.

Oh, and some upstart band from Montreal called Arcade Fire have a new record coming out (The Suburbs, August 3). I think these kids could be onto something. Just a feeling.

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