Iman Omari’s repetitive, droney tunes are what have been holding my ears’ attention lately. The producer creates short, stripped-down songs comprised of delicate beats that sway with such a relaxing groove. Omari stands out in the way that he holds back on the extravagance. I suppose my current favorite is “Set It Off,” but there’s so many on this record that I feel like its constantly changing. What I really dig is about Omari is that you can put his stuff on at almost any occasion and it will fit like a glove. Ideal for for morning yoga and those ate night studies. Can you cook breakfast with it? No doubt. Would my Dad listen to it? Wouldn’t put it past him!

-Jack Kelly

With the weather being so beautiful lately, I’ve found myself spending a lot of time outside doing homework and listening to music. During the spring time, I tend to gravitate towards slower songs that I can just lay and listen to. My favorite music to listen to on a spring day are songs packed with acoustic guitar and falsettos.

I’ve recently gotten into the band Kaleo, who’s most famous for their song “Way Down We Go”.

Although they describe themselves as an Icelandic blues band in their bio, I would pinpoint them more in the alternative/indie spectrum of music.

Their most recent album “A/B” debuted in 2016, bringing with it a series of music videos filmed in spectacular places around the world. Their song “Way Down We Go” was filmed in a dormant volcano, while their song “Save Yourself” was filmed on a glacier in the Arctic Sea.

My two favorite songs on the album have to be “All the Pretty Girls” and “Save Yourself”.

Both songs showcase the unique voice that lead singer JJ Julius Son has, and his capability of hitting the high notes that most male singers can’t. Additionally, these songs have simple yet elegant guitar parts that I could listen to for hours. I would highly recommend giving this band a look if you’re into sitting and relaxing outdoors in the beautiful weather we’ve been blessed with lately.

-John Postlethwait

Recently I have found myself listening to a great deal of Canadian indie rock. To break up all the Tim Horton’s fueled soundtracks, I have returned to my heart and home, southern indie rock.

The native Mississippi group, The Weeks, came out with a new album “Easy” earlier this month. The first song of this album has been a recent “on repeat” of mine.  It’s a feel good love song of the indie rock persuasion. With a full sound – horns, guitars, drums and the works – it will surely get your head banging.

The song is simple, yet it conveys a nostalgic feeling of innocence under the setting summer sun.  With warmer times just around the corner (or possibly not? Illinois weather is strange), the upbeat melody and jazzy horns that are almost reminiscent of The Beach Boys’ “Getcha Back” or Springsteen’s “Hungry Heart” horn sections help bring out the happy-go-lucky sensations only summer can bring.  

The power of the song is that it combines these elements of simplicity, hallmarks of indie southern rock, and my personal favorite, the retro horns accenting the chorus seamlessly.  The song is just a plain and simple easy-going, feel good song, and that’s all there is to it.

-Nessa Steinberg

It’s been two years since “In Return” has come out and the wait for new Odesza music is over.

The group gave us a teaser video two days ago showing hundreds of fans tweeting for Odesza to release another album, and at the end of the video appears a tweet from Odesza saying “tomorrow.” Their new song, “Line Of Sight,” came out April 25th and it features WYNNE and Mansionair, bringing back the indietronica we have been anticipating.

“Line Of Sight” starts out slow like most of their songs and follows into a chorus by WYNNE while keeping that Odesza sound. I saw Odesza at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado and have been hooked to their chill wave melodies ever since.

-Julie Schreiner

Saint Motel is an American indie band with a funky sound and lyrics that range from plastic surgery to bullying, or just having a night out. Each of Saint Motel’s songs have a little story in them, something to jive to while sinking into the grooves of their guitar strums and fast drum beats.

One song in particular I’ve been listening to lately is “Benny Goodman,” a song not from their most recent album yet, somehow one I’ve been addicted to lately. It might just be the upbeat, spring-time feel of the song, or maybe its motivational music video during this trying final exam season.

The story of “Benny Goodman” is about someone who finally hits his stride, and discovers he can push himself to explore his talents – alluding to the famous clarinetist and jazz artist whom the song is titled after. In the music video, a young boy starts dancing and discovers his skill for it despite being overlooked at a dinner party.

If that sentence didn’t make much sense to you, perhaps you should go check the song out for yourself (low key this was a ploy for readers to do exactly that).

-Jamie Hahn

The Beach Boys had their ups and downs, but I don’t think anyone would argue that their peak was most certainly Pet Sounds. That is one of my favorite albums, but after a while anything loses its value when you subject it to overconsumption. I still love that album dearly, but I was looking for something that could fill the void that was left by such a landmark. Brian Wilson intended to fill such a void with Smile (which didn’t receive a proper release until 2011, well past the Beach Boys heyday). The production ended up falling through, and upon hearing this, I ignored the rest of the Beach Boys catalogue post-Pet Sounds because I figured it wouldn’t get any better than Pet Sounds. Although that is true, I was sorely mistaken in casting their future titles aside. Although reviews have been mixed, Smiley Smile (their 1967 followup to their revered masterpiece) is certainly an enjoyable listen. The leadoff track, “Heroes and Villains” offers a reprise of the magical sounds that percolate in Brian Wilson’s head. Featuring a shimmering baroque style, the song offers Pet Sounds fans something to clamor onto to when they are looking for a palette cleanser.

-Nick Arger

I’ve been spinning “Atrocity Exhibition” for a couple months now, and I think I’m just finally getting over my obsession with it. This is the song I keep on coming back to, and I think it’s the song I’d pick to show someone what DB brings to the table. Listen, I get the problems people have with him — the out-there beats, the absurd lyrics, that freakin’ voice. His voice is probably his most off-putting feature. But just listen to this song — really listen.

Listen to that sliding bass, those drums ringing like a jazz session veteran. It’s like being in an alleyway of some neon-drenched future NYC. It’s a vibe, a world, like a more drugged out and mystical version of the world Vince Staples conjures on “Summertime ‘06”.

Once you buy into the world, his voice is a force of nature. The way it clangs and jumps around unpredictably, the way he sometimes dips into a rough bark — it’s just awesome. Give him a shot.

-Justin Kamp

A song that I have been listening to lately is “CRZY” by Kehlani. I think Kehlani is a really creative artist because her music incorporates modern sound with a sultry voice. Kehlani was first introduced to me when she first was featured in a G-Eazy song.

In the song “CRZY,” the lyrics display her attitude which, to me, is inspiring. “CRZY” is an upbeat song and it talks about her outlook on situations. I like the fact that she is a female hip hop artist and is known to be a total badass. She’s the strong independent, woman that we all strive to be. Well, for me anyway.

Considering the song, her vocals are varied throughout. She has an almost talking/rap vibe but when she sings “I go crazy,”  her raw vocal talent is heard. Some of the lyrics include things like “Live for the challenge, only make me stronger,” “Everything I do, I do it with a passion, If I gotta be a bitch, I’mma be a bad one.”

When I hear lyrics like these it reminds me that I don’t need to put up with people’s garbage and that I am an independent person. Song like “CRZY” should be appreciated because they remind us all that with a little bit of hard work, passion and a give ‘em hell attitude, anything is possible. The beat in this song is also a good song to just jam out to. I find this to be a good running song as well because the beat is constant and hypes up my work out.

– Mary Kate Kiley

I was introduced to metal at a young age; I seamlessly transitioned from Papa Roach’s “Infest” to Slipknot’s “Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses” in my Walkman and never looked back. The intensity and energy in their music seemed unrivaled to me at the time, and soon enough I got an iPod filled to the brim with Stonesour, Disturbed, System of a Down, and Rammstein.

However, this fascination died out as I dove into electronic music during high school. I still listen to “Steal this Album” and even “Iowa” occasionally, but for the most part I have moved on.

Recently, I was recommended to check out this band. Described as grind-core, they capture the fury and release I got from my old faves while adding noisy flair.

It’s calculated without crossing into mathcore territory. Infectiously catchy vocals compile with gruesome guitar licks and chugging drumbeats to get hearts beating and moshes frenzying.

Daughters sounds like a cross between a temper tantrum and a psychotic episode. Sometimes, that’s exactly what one craves. I am going to see them live in July and get really sweaty.

-Keenan Schmidt

“Hey yo I’m just like my country/I’m young, scrappy, and hungry/and I’m not throwing away my shot!” Lin-Manuel Miranda raps, filling my headphones with patriotic bars as I walk across the quad. Ever since the smash hit Hamilton came out, it’s filled every playlist of mine and continues to be a part of my everyday life. “My Shot” is only one instance.

If you asked me, I could easily rap you the entire album, start to finish.  

The lyrics of just about every song are infectious. From “Alexander Hamilton,” to “Dear Theodosia,” or to the musically impressive “Say No To This,” every song has lyrics you can sing along to. You can easily find yourself immersed into Alexander Hamilton’s world, intent on seeing his successes and pitfalls in life.

More importantly, however, you begin to realize that these lyrics are not only the story of Alexander Hamilton. The lyrics apply to life experiences as well. I personally have found myself in quite a number of the songs.

If you still haven’t had the chance to listen to the Hamilton soundtrack, I highly recommend taking a listen. You might just find yourself rapping and singing along, finding yourself in the lyrics much like I did.

-Zoe Stein

With the release of her latest self titled EP this April, I haven’t been able to stop listening to Bishop Briggs! She started writing her own songs when she was only seven and moved to Los Angeles from Hong Kong when she was 18 to fully jumpstart her music career.

She is nothing short of amazing. If you like Florence + the Machine or Banks, you’ll fall in love with this indie/alternative artist. Be sure to catch her at Lollapalooza this summer in Chicago (I know I will). If you have twenty one minutes to spare, dive right into her latest six songs. You won’t regret it. From her hit single, “River” to her angsty song “The Way I Do,” there won’t be a song on this EP that you won’t fall in love with.

-Nailene Gonzalez

Serge Gainsbourg was a prolific artist. He was a singer, songwriter, film composer, poet, painter, writer, actor and director, but many Gainsbourg fans will point to this album, “Jane & Serge Gainsbourg,” as the zenith of his career. The album was made in collaboration with his then-girlfriend Jane Birkin, an actress.

Throughout this album, Birkin and Gainsbourg do their fair share, Birkin providing her fragile but captivating voice and Gainsbourg delivering his deadpan vocal. The vocals’ contrast is striking but harmonious at the same time. Gainsbourg later on tapped into the duet’s potential to replicate his success in a masterpiece album, “Histoire De Melody Nelson”.

However, being an international student, I have always felt that being born in an English-speaking country is a huge advantage for artists.

Would people be mesmerized by the Beatles if they sang their songs, let’s say, in Korean? Language barriers always put foreign artists in a small box, and Gainsbourg is not an exception.

I admit that he is widely acclaimed for his musical versatility that incorporates various genres such as chanson, reggae, African music and funk. But still, I think he never got the credit he deserved mostly because he did not sing in English.

Also, the linguistic barrier has led listeners to misunderstand Gainsbourg as provocative and scandalous at best. This is understandable for a guy that has a list titled “20 Most Scandalous Moments” written by “The Guardian”. Although Gainsbourg is famous for his lecherous lyrics and challenging the taboo of being casual about sex in his time, he still produced a ton of beautiful songs that you can share with your family members.

To dispel the misconception that Gainsbourg is an artist only capable of creating debauched songs, and also to comply with buzz music’s ethical guidelines, I present you a G-rated song by Serge Gainsbourg, L’anamour, which is a French neologism Gainsbourg created that means ‘nonlove’. But please please please, listen to the whole album, not just the song I recommended. It is really worth it. Now that summer is in full swing, the album goes well with the lush greenery of the campus.

– San Kim

In honor of their 14th anniversary this week, I’ll be listening to an extra amount of Poets of the Fall. I discovered this Finnish rock band back during middle school and I have yet to hear a POTF song that I didn’t like. They have so much material that I put on repeat that I still haven’t listened to anything off their albums “Temple of Thought” or “Clearview,” but to have five other albums that all have good material is pretty impressive.

They have such a varied sound where they alternate from heavy rock sounds to acoustic cuts effortlessly, yet even with this variation it’s a sound that still manages to be unique.

In no ranking whatsoever, here’s five tracks to get you started: “Late Goodbye,” “Daze,” “Rebirth,” “Given and Denied,” and “Illusion & Dream”.

-Billy Galant

One time I was 24 hours early for a final. It was this whole thing where I left twenty minutes early (unlike me) ready to kick some butt on this Anthropology exam, and Lincoln Hall was the emptiest I had ever seen it. Feeling very a fool, I began my long trek back to the one and only Allen Hall, reluctantly forced into studying for one more day. BUT I am grateful the reverse didn’t happen to me: missing a final by 24 hours or even 24 minutes. I resonate with this light hearted Modest Mouse jam talking bout what it’s like when everyone leaves without you. Tune in as we get ready to set sail into finals week and we’ll all probably most likely float on, alright.

-Jess Peterson

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