We’re not sure if we could consider “outsider rock” a burgeoning genre, but it’s no longer reserved for left-field listening parties and music lovers looking for a challenge. Continuing in the footsteps of The Shaggs and Mort Garson (or maybe more like Marnie Stern and Liz Phair), Summer Like The Season (SLTS) is here with their latest album, Aggregator. Filled with flamboyant ideas that all fall somewhere between beautiful and bonkers, Aggregator is a modern-day enigma that will leave you feeling bewildered. It’s full of outsider rock ideas that are performed with an indie-pop mindset, replacing out-of-tune guitars and atonal howling with stunning melodies and genuinely novel ideas.

Aggregator starts out innocently enough – ambient sound and gently plinking tubular bells greet your ears before dropping into an innocuous ’80s-inspired electronica texture. Here’s SLTS’s first trick – they blast into one of the most supremely catchy synth-pop choruses I’ve ever heard. Singer Summer Krinsky’s voice warbles with wild precision, sounding unhinged and laser focused all at once.

Song two, “Android Hymn,” is an early album highlight. A choppy loop and staccato “hah hah hah” vocal stabs start flitting around your headphones like a wild, acid-trip-inspired dance around a glowing campfire. Reminiscent of early Animal Collective, Krinsky somehow turns this into a mastercraft of earworm composition, the chant like “I’m gonna, I’m gonna, I’m gonna take you” drilling deep into your frontal lobe and latching on like a welcomed parasite. This may be a strange comparison, but “Android Hymn” reminded me a lot of the music in the Forest Temple from Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time – and while I’m risking sounding like a nerd making comparisons like that, nothing feels off-limits when you’re talking about eclectic music like this.

SLTS never pigeonhole themselves into one genre on Aggregator – songs like “Mental” explore blistering breakbeats with a house music undertone; the polar opposite can be found on “Times Track Lines” with its relatively simple guitar/bass structure that might be more comfortable on a Rilo Kiley or Great Grandpa album (if you’re a fickle listener, start here – it’s the most traditional composition on the album). More commonly, you’ll find compositions that mix the icy cold complexities of Radiohead with the tribal thump of freak-folk (think “Savings” or “Quit Your Day Job”). Many of these songs feel like a trance, eschewing modern pop songwriting for experiments in capturing the present in aural form.

Album closer and clear highlight “Terms and Conditions” is an exercise in measured minimalism – with an intro reminiscent of “Cecilia” by Simon & Garfunkel, it quickly evolves into something a bit more like “All I Need’ by the aforementioned Radiohead. Deep squelching synths with plenty of of stop/start jerkiness lurch the song forward as Summer’s lilting voice twists and turns overtop. The song explodes in a much needed release of pent up energy, and after such an angular buildup, it feels like a vibrant explosion of shapes, colors, and energy. A perfect way to end such a strange and wonderful journey.

Aggregator is out April 5th, 2024. Check out a preview of the album below via YouTube with the embed of “Android Hymn”