Summer is almost over! How is this possible? Do we really all have to get ready to go back to our schools and our non-fun, non-vacation-destinations? Isn’t there some way to ride out these last few weeks while still retaining that warm, fuzzy, SummerBuzz(TM)? Indeed there is! Just track down these five great new records and play them until Frank Ocean finally releases Boys Don’t Cry. Or until we finally plunge ourselves into global chaos and our infrastructure crumbles and we’re forced to roam the wasteland battling irradiated mutants and wearing aggressive-looking furs. (Which, quite honestly, might happen first.)

Dinosaur Jr., Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not

There’s that famous Mr. Show sketch in which someone asks a former crack-smoker what it’s like to smoke crack, prompting an understandably no-duh response: “It’s great. It’s crack!” The tenth album from Dinosaur Jr. is similarly predictable: It’s great. It’s a new Dino record! It has those sweet, sprawling J Mascis guitar solos; those bashed-in, ragged-edged hooks; and, in tracks like the lead-off single, “Tiny,” that stumbling-in-the-sunshine confusion that marked early classics such as “The Wagon.” But there’s also new magic here, like the cozily riff-roaring “Be a Part,” which features Mascis finding new levels of fret-futzing bliss. The whole thing’s smokin’. —Brian Raftery

Jagjaguwar

There’s that famous Mr. Show sketch in which someone asks a former crack-smoker what it’s like to smoke crack, prompting an understandably no-duh response: “It’s great. It’s crack!” The tenth album from Dinosaur Jr. is similarly predictable: It’s great. It’s a new Dino record! It has those sweet, sprawling J Mascis guitar solos; those bashed-in, ragged-edged hooks; and, in tracks like the lead-off single, “Tiny,” that stumbling-in-the-sunshine confusion that marked early classics such as “The Wagon.” But there’s also new magic here, like the cozily riff-roaring “Be a Part,” which features Mascis finding new levels of fret-futzing bliss. The whole thing’s smokin’. —Brian Raftery

NAO, For All We Know

Do you love Frank Ocean but wish he sounded a little bit more like Amerie? NAO (pronounced “Nay-O”) is for you. Pop-y hooks, sugar-sweet vocals, and the kind of production that sounds like it’s from both the 1990s and the 2090s, this debut full-length from the London-based singer-songwriter known for her “wonky funk” sound is exactly what this summer needed. The last two years have been dominated by female pop stars ranging from Carly Rae Jepsen to Demi Lovato and back to Beyoncé. But from the simmering slow-jam “Girlfriend” to the top-down fun of “Happy,” NAO is the most now of the bunch. —Angela Watercutter

Little Tokyo Recordings

Do you love Frank Ocean but wish he sounded a little bit more like Amerie? NAO (pronounced “Nay-O”) is for you. Pop-y hooks, sugar-sweet vocals, and the kind of production that sounds like it’s from both the 1990s and the 2090s, this debut full-length from the London-based singer-songwriter known for her “wonky funk” sound is exactly what this summer needed. The last two years have been dominated by female pop stars ranging from Carly Rae Jepsen to Demi Lovato and back to Beyoncé. But from the simmering slow-jam “Girlfriend” to the top-down fun of “Happy,” NAO is the most now of the bunch. —Angela Watercutter

The Descendents, Hypercaffium Spazzinate

For a band that has averaged one album per decade since 1996, the Descendents remain a surprisingly relevant and vital voice in punk. And the band’s lulls have proven to be important; They’ve kept the Descendents from burning out too quickly, and as a result they’re making some of the best music they’ve ever produced. They started playing shows again in 2010, and the culmination of that time back at work is this sixth album. Hypercaffium Spazzinate puts up 16 songs in 31 minutes—only four tracks are longer than 180 seconds—so it’s determined to make a mark quickly and then move on to the next thing. Green Day blew up to stadiums and Broadway shows; Blink-182 has endured its share of reunions, breakups, and UFO theories; but the Descendents still sound like someone just opened a pop punk time capsule from 25 years ago with no degradation. —K.M. McFarland

Epitaph Records

For a band that has averaged one album per decade since 1996, the Descendents remain a surprisingly relevant and vital voice in punk. And the band’s lulls have proven to be important; They’ve kept the Descendents from burning out too quickly, and as a result they’re making some of the best music they’ve ever produced. They started playing shows again in 2010, and the culmination of that time back at work is this sixth album. Hypercaffium Spazzinate puts up 16 songs in 31 minutes—only four tracks are longer than 180 seconds—so it’s determined to make a mark quickly and then move on to the next thing. Green Day blew up to stadiums and Broadway shows; Blink-182 has endured its share of reunions, breakups, and UFO theories; but the Descendents still sound like someone just opened a pop punk time capsule from 25 years ago with no degradation. —K.M. McFarland

Schoolboy Q, Blank Face

The wild card of the Black Hippy crew (Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul, Jay Rock), Schoolboy Q has always been a study in dualism: relaxed and gregarious off the mic, aggressively venomous on wax. In the past, that tension threatened to overwhelm, but on his fourth studio album, the onetime Hoover Crip seems content to stop Hyding and let a little Jekyll in. It’s already been a pretty great summer for L.A. rap, what with YG’s Still Brazy and all, but Q is packing enough heat to see you through to Labor Day. Radio has been kind to the Kanye-featuring “That Part” (and its incendiary Black Hippy remix), but thanks to a murderer’s row of guests—E-40 on “Dope Dealer” is a standout, and everyone from Vince Staples and Anderson .Paak to Jadakiss shows up—and a seemingly never-ending barrage of crazy 16s from Q, the album will leave you with anything but a blank face. —Peter Rubin

Top Dog Entertainment/Interscope

The wild card of the Black Hippy crew (Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul, Jay Rock), Schoolboy Q has always been a study in dualism: relaxed and gregarious off the mic, aggressively venomous on wax. In the past, that tension threatened to overwhelm, but on his fourth studio album, the onetime Hoover Crip seems content to stop Hyding and let a little Jekyll in. It’s already been a pretty great summer for L.A. rap, what with YG’s Still Brazy and all, but Q is packing enough heat to see you through to Labor Day. Radio has been kind to the Kanye-featuring “That Part” (and its incendiary Black Hippy remix), but thanks to a murderer’s row of guests—E-40 on “Dope Dealer” is a standout, and everyone from Vince Staples and Anderson .Paak to Jadakiss shows up—and a seemingly never-ending barrage of crazy 16s from Q, the album will leave you with anything but a blank face. —Peter Rubin

Owen, The King Of Whys

Mike Kinsella has been a fixture of the Chicago music for over 25 years, playing in influential bands like Cap’n Jazz, American Football, and Joan of Arc. And if that wasn’t enough, since 2001 Kinsella has cultivated a parallel solo career under the moniker Owen, indulging his singer/songwriter whims. Owen’s eighth album, The King Of Whys, is the first record in Kinsella’s career entirely recorded outside of Chicago—at Justin Vernon’s April Base Studios in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Spending 18 winter days making a record at Bon Iver’s home studio naturall draws comparisons to For Emma, Forever Ago. But Whys hasn’t been entirely stripped of the electric bite in Kinsella’s other bands. “Settled Down” builds to a crash, and opener “Empty Bottle” serves both as a tribute to the legendary Chicago dive bar and the first taste of the lyrical themes Kinsella explores over lightly plucked acoustic guitar. If you’ve never heard of American Football or think Cap’n Jazz sounds like the name of a Frank Zappa album, this is a good introduction to an under-appreciated staple of the Chicago indie scene. —K.M. McFarland

Mike Kinsella has been a fixture of the Chicago music for over 25 years, playing in influential bands like Cap’n Jazz, American Football, and Joan of Arc. And if that wasn’t enough, since 2001 Kinsella has cultivated a parallel solo career under the moniker Owen, indulging his singer/songwriter whims. Owen’s eighth album, The King Of Whys, is the first record in Kinsella’s career entirely recorded outside of Chicago—at Justin Vernon’s April Base Studios in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Spending 18 winter days making a record at Bon Iver’s home studio naturall draws comparisons to For Emma, Forever Ago. But Whys hasn’t been entirely stripped of the electric bite in Kinsella’s other bands. “Settled Down” builds to a crash, and opener “Empty Bottle” serves both as a tribute to the legendary Chicago dive bar and the first taste of the lyrical themes Kinsella explores over lightly plucked acoustic guitar. If you’ve never heard of American Football or think Cap’n Jazz sounds like the name of a Frank Zappa album, this is a good introduction to an under-appreciated staple of the Chicago indie scene. —K.M. McFarland

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