Rarely do figures come about that completely encapsulate the movement that they are a part of. Martin Luther King Jr., Ghandi, and Howard Kremer come to mind. Kremer has been a part of the comedy scene since the mid ’90s when his show Austin Stories was MTV’s first sitcom, but not long ago he found himself at the center of an epic seasonal discovery. Walking a beach, post-volleyball tournament spectating and mid-career soul searching, Kremer had the revelation that summer wasn’t a time to be stressing about things, but a time for celebration and experiencing as much as possible. He renamed the season Summah and assigned himself to the position of Summah ambassador, setting out to spread the word via his stand-up, Funny or Die videos, and Who Charted?, his podcast on the Earwolf network. Fast forward three years and here we are, fresh off the release of Kremer’s third Summah-themed album and the best of the bunch.
Summah This Summah That is the kind of album that comes about very infrequently, the perfect summation of all of the elements that motivated Kremer and Earwolf audio engineer and producer of the album Brett Morris to create this third entry in the Summah catalog. The album is overwhelmingly positive, a battle cry to live the most you can in these three beautiful months, even if one song focuses entirely on not wanting to go on a water slide because it’s too tall (“Verrückt”). The blissful attitude shines through on songs like “Gay for Poseidon” and “I Did Summah”, both of which have catchy sing-alongs and memorable themes. The former chronicles the emotional adventure of a man who has found himself deeply in love with the ruler of the sea. His girlfriend might be with him at the beach, but he’s far more focused on the Olympian deity tickling his ankles just under the water’s surface. “I Did Summah” closes the album and feels like the final entry in a Summah diary, recounting all the locations and activities of the narrator’s recent weeks but without remorse or regret, because Kremer knows how to do Summah right. “Saying goodbye won’t be as hard this time, as far as I can tell/ I left it all out there on the beach, I did Summah well,” croons Kremer, clearly proud of all he’s accomplished, and rightfully so. “Salem Summah” is a history lesson as well as a cautionary tale, informing the listener of the fatal flaw of the residents of Salem, Massachusetts, who chose to accuse young women of being witches instead of having a Summah and flocking to the nearby coasts. While none of the Salem-ites are around to defend themselves, what could they even say? Summah is undeniable.
The real standout is “Gu Cruise”, a concept that gestated on the Who Charted? podcast and finds its fantastic fruition on this record. The tale of taking a Sea-Doo ride with an orangutan chauffeur inspires serene visions: taking selfies with the Gu, being offered a snack of bugs and leaves, and ending the night at a rum-drunk clambake with your new primate friend. It’s a far-out concept but one that Kremer turns into the most beautiful reality, and it’s unlike most other songs in his catalog, showing a growing range that many comedian/musician crossovers struggle to achieve.
This is a great soundtrack for trips to the beach or grill-outs with friends, the perfect seasonal mix of tunes. The tracks don’t at all bleed together, despite all harking from the same headspace in Kremer’s night beach-addled mind. If this were to be his last Summah-themed record, he’d be going out on the highest note possible, but here’s to hoping that he helps us all celebrate the season for years to come.
Essential Tracks: “Gu Cruise”, “Gay for Poseidon”, and “Salem Summah”