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Jazz Songs for a Rainy Day

Jazz is an extremely versatile genre of music. Some of my favorite jazz songs are on the calmer, more melancholic side of the genre. These songs are perfect for sitting inside on a rainy day and watching the raindrops stream down the window.

Darn That Dream” by Bill Evans and Jim Hall

Bill Evans and Jim Hall are masters at creating songs for quiet contemplation on a rainy day. This song, like every song on “Undercurrent”, only features the piano of Bill Evans and the guitar of Jim Hall. There’s something isolated about this song that is similar to walking outside on a rainy day with no one else around.

Days Of Wine and Roses” by Wes Montgomery

This song’s highlight is its guitar. Montgomery’s style of picking his guitar was a clear inspiration for Jim Hall and this song has much of the same appeal that “Darn That Dream” does. Instead of being paired with a piano, “Days of Wine and Roses” is paired with drums.

A Taste of Honey” by Paul Desmond

Most well known for his work in the Dave Brubeck Quartet, the saxophone of Paul Desmond shines on its own. This song is great for reflection. Paul Desmond once said he wanted to sound like a “dry martini” and I think he accomplishes that sound excellently on this track.

In A Sentimental Mood” by Duke Ellington and John Coltrane

This song, originally created in Durham, is the quintessential rainy day jazz song. No song quite creates the feeling that “In A Sentimental Mood” does. Coltrane’s saxophone and Ellington’s piano perfectly complement each other, with Elvis Jones’ drums and Aaron Bell’s bass truly gluing them together. It perfectly elicits the sentimentality that is often associated with a rainy day.

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Playlists

Hopscotch Music Festival 2022 – A Sampler

I unfortunately do not have the pleasure of attending Hopscotch Music Festival this year, but boy, they have quite a lineup.

Between their main lineup, their club shows at Pour House and Slims, and their day parties, Hopscotch has packed quite a lot of talent into such a short period. From international sensations like Courtney Barnett and Perfume Genius, to amazing local acts like BANGZZ and MJ Lenderman, the lineup is bound to impress.

If you, like me, cannot attend Hopscotch, or if you are attending and want to get a good feel for what you’ll be hearing, I’ve made a playlist with some of my favorite songs by the artists and bands that will be performing. The playlist is a sampler with a little bit of everything to amuse the palate.

For your convenience, I’ve made the playlist accessible through Spotify.

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Playlists

Six Songs for Studying

As NC State approaches their fourth week of the semester, the first wave of exams and tests approaches.

Testing and exams never fails to stress me out and I know I am not alone in this sentiment. To ease some of the anxiety and stress that builds up over study time I have compiled a few of my favorite focus tracks.

When studying, I find myself gravitating towards jazz and relaxed indie artists. Although, I included a mix of genres in the following tracks.

I hope you all enjoy.

“Cashmere” by BADBADNOTGOOD

This one is such an ideal instrumental to sit down and begin a study session. BADBADNOTGOOD is a fantastic jazz ensemble that provides rich compositions and excellent collaborations with other artists.

If you enjoy this track I recommend checking out their other works. They have some excellent upbeat tracks such as “To The Floor”, their newest single featuring Lil Silva. The other tracks off their album “IV” are great for raising energy after a long study session.

“Restless Song” by Shadow Community

Shadow Community is a project by Mid-Air Thief, a folktronica musician from South Korea. This song in particular evokes such an airy, light feeling. There really is no real way to describe their music. It is mesmerizing, complex and light.

“The Final View” by Nujabes

This track has a lot of nostalgia linked to me for me. Nujabes had such a gift for bringing so many powerful genres together. In this song in particular there are such graceful elements or hip-hop, jazz, and lofi.

I had a very difficult time picking just one Nujabes track to put on this list. Here are a few honorable mentions I simply cannot ignore, “Horn in the middle”, “Luv (sic)“, and “flowers”.

“Attempt” by Far Caspian

I think Far Caspian has one of the best voices to listen to while working. I typically prefer instrumentals when studying, but he has such a lovely gentle sound. His album “Ways to Get Out” was one of my favorite releases in 2021, it was a great stress reliever for me.

“Julia” by Yellow Ostrich

This is a track for those that enjoy studying to songs with lyrics. Yellow Ostrich is melding indie rock and folk together in this track. It is a really ideal indie study track due to its relaxed tone.

“Mirage” by Orion Sun

Although short, this track has so many elegant elements. Orion Sun has such a beautiful voice and genuine sound she brings to each and every track.

Listening to her music never fails to ease my nerves. Her albums “A Collection of Fleeting Moments and Daydreams” and “Hold Space For Me” are filled to the brim with musical elegance.

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Playlists

Five Songs for the End of Summer

School has finally started back up and with that, summer is coming to an end. Over summer break, there were songs that really stuck with me. Songs that are perfect for riding around with the windows down or jamming out with friends. With fall less than a month away, I wanted to share these highlights of my summer with you to enjoy before sweater season.

Tek It” by Cafuné

At the beginning of summer, Cafuné’s second song off their 2021 album “Running” went viral. It became the song of the beginning of summer. The catchy, lighthearted instrumental perfectly riffs off of singer Sedona Schat’s vocals. While the summer breeze is still blowing, this song is perfect for riding with the windows down.

“I Don’t Wanna Fight Anymore” by Similar Kind

Ever since I discovered Similar Kind after they opened for Hot Flash Heat Wave in April, this song has been on repeat. As the days have become hotter, this song has only gotten more plays. The fun, indie-pop instrumental and sound in contrast to the melancholic lyrics seem designed to be listened to on a warm summer evening.

“Easy On Your Own?” by Alvvays

Another great song for a warm summer evening, “Easy On Your Own?” is Alvvay’s second single for their upcoming album “Blue Rev”. With Alvvay’s classic dream-like indie sound and reflective vocals, this song gives the listener space for introspection during this transitional time between summer and fall.

“TVI” by Surf Curse

“TVI” is the second single released for surf punk band Surf Curse’s upcoming album. With this single coming out at the end of July, it marked the beginning of the end of summer. This is a song about trying to stay out of trouble, the perfect motivation for getting back into your normal school or work schedule before the leaves change color.

“NBTSA” by Joyce Manor

During the last week of summer, I saw Joyce Manor at the National in Richmond, VA. Awaiting the concert, I had this song on blast non-stop in the prior weeks. This short burst of energetic instrumental and vocals exude the feeling of change on the horizon with the chorus being simply five repetitions of “And I may never be the same again.” Being the first song I’ve moshed to since before the pandemic, this song has a special place in my heart.

Happy jamming,

-Hüttemeister

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Playlists

Albums for the Beach

Nothing says summertime quite like a trip to the beach with your friends. Between the hot summer sun, the relaxation, the good eats and the memories made– a beach vacation is an utmost pleasing experience. The following are some albums that are great options to soundtrack your summer vacations to the beach.


“CRASH” – Charli XCX

A fun and lighthearted album from Charli XCX that leans more into traditional pop than her usual experimental side, this LP is perfect for dancing to, tanning to, driving to and is just straight up fun. “CRASH” is a  perfectly high energy and approachable album to jam out to with your friends.

“My Own Mess” – Skegss

It’s no surprise that an Australian surf-rock band makes great summery music. “My Own Mess” juxtaposes Skegss’ bright sound with existential lyrics and sounds oh-so-good while doing it. I exclusively stream this album during the summer because it’s designed to listen to while the sun shines down on you.

“More Adventurous” – Rilo Kiley

Like Skegss’ “My Own Mess,” “More Adventurous” by Rilo Kiley is a bright-sounding album with some seriously existential moments. Jenny Lewis, lead singer of the now broken-up Rilo Kiley, is amazing at making even the saddest lyrics sound hopeful. I recommend this album for listening to while on a walk or run down the shore.

“Jump Rope Gazers” – The Beths

This 2020 album by the indie-pop New Zealand band The Beths is a short but sweet project that I think would be best listened to whilst laying out in the sun and reading a book. At times high-energy and at times low and earnest, “Jump Rope Gazers” is perfect for beach-listening.

Happy listening and don’t forget SPF,

Caitlin

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Miscellaneous Music News and Interviews Playlists

“Gilmore Girls” and Indie Music

For those of you who don’t know, “Gilmore Girls” was a show on The CW that aired from 2000 to 2007. 

The show was about a quirky mom, Lorelai, and her daughter, Rory. It focused on their mom-daughter relationship as well as their relationship with Lorelai’s parents and the people in their small town. 

Granted that their characters were seen as witty, sarcastic, and super knowledgable in terms of pop culture, music, and movies, the references to underground artists often came off as snobbish at the time. I would never understand the music references they made and felt like I was somehow behind.

A lot of moments on the show felt like Rory and Lorelai constantly wanted to seem “not like the other girls”, however, after watching it regularly I grew accustomed to their rapid banter and uniqueness. 

Eventually, their quirkiness turned into their charm.

There are a handful of bands I discovered specifically through that show. Rory and her best friend Lane, a female drummer, both were huge music geeks and after hearing their music references, curiosity got the best of me.

I wanted to see if the bands they referred to were truly worth the snobbery. 

Here is a brief list of the bands and artists that were mentioned in the show: The Bangles, Paul Anka, Sonic Youth, The Shins, Arcade Fire, The Go-Gos, New Order/Joy Division and The Libertines. 

The “Gilmore Girls” show writers were big music connoisseurs as well and wanted the music to be on the forefront to give the show its own vibes and sound.

Since the show’s primary audience was mothers and daughters, the music references in the show made pre-teen and teen girls get into music that Lorelai and Rory found to be cool.

A handful of the musicians they reference throughout the show actually made cameos as well.

The band Lane was a drummer for, Hep Alien, performed a lot of cover songs on the show too. They performed “London Calling” by The Clash, “Fell in Love With a Girl” by White Stripes, and “I’m the Man” by Joe Jackson along with many others.

The show is an acquired taste so I would only recommend watching it if you’re open to an eccentric family-centered show.

It’s a show that was revolutionary for its time making underground pop culture references seem like the ‘it’ thing and music was a huge part of Rory and Lorelai’s characters. 

If it’s not for the characters, there are a lot of great tracks found throughout the show.

Here’s a playlist if you’d rather skip straight to the music!

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Playlists

amongstEverything: A Playlist

The music I find most fulfilling is music that grounds and centers me. More often than not music that performs this role, for me at least, is music that centers around some part of the human condition.

amongstEverything is a playlist I curated around this concept. Some of the songs’ sound leans into a synthy and otherworldly feeling, while others’ lyrics tap into the core of what it is to be a human.

Ideally, this playlist would be listened to outside and would be paired with an ice-cold glass of lemonade, a clear head and an open heart.

amongstEverything can be streamed on Spotify, and without further ado, here are some songs that fulfill me and I hope do the same for you.

  1. “Life” — Jeffrey Lewis
  2. “Walking the Cow” — Daniel Johnston
  3. “Lady Gaga you once said in an interview that you write music for the fashion industry. Is fashion as important to you as music?” — Jan Jelinek
  4. “Thank You!” — Kilo Kish
  5. “Alien Observer” — Grouper
  6. “I Was Born in Arizona” — Dear Nora
  7. “POKKA POKKA” — Fishmans
  8. “白日” — Polaris
  9. “Crab” — Alex G
  10. “Flower” — Mega Bog
  11. “Clay Pigeons” — Michael Cera
  12. “How Sad, How Lovely” — Connie Converse
  13. “Knight Rider” — of Montreal
  14. “I Was Born (A Unicorn)” — The Unicorns
  15. “Spring’s Near” — Parsley Sound

Until next time,

Caitlin

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Music News and Interviews Playlists

The girl in red Phenomenon

If you’re anything like me you’ve spent hours scrolling on your phone aimlessly, especially during the pandemic. Being stuck in quarantine caused a lot of introspection and for many people, it led to self-discovery.

The ‘girl in red’ Phenomenon, like most things I encounter lately, was something I noticed arise on TikTok in the early days of the pandemic. Hundreds of comments under videos asking the video creators if they listen to girl in red.

Essentially this was a covert of asking the original posters if they were “wlw” or women-loving-women. TikTok like all social media has its own language developed by users on the app and this was just another addition to the dictionary of Gen Z slang. 

Marie Ulven, or girl in red, is a Norwegian queer indie-pop artist who more often than not writes music about falling in love with girls. Some of her most popular songs are titled “I wanna be your girlfriend”, “we fell in love in October” and “girls.” The internet took to using Girl in Red’s name to develop a way of identifying each other, and in turn, building a community. 

Like most discourse on the internet, this use of the phrase “Do you listen to girl in red?” was sort of led astray with users of TikTok flooding the comments under any video of a person who might appear sapphic, even if they had never openly discussed their sexuality. But of course, that was unavoidable with the lack of boundaries TikTok has created.

Regardless, the girl in red phenomenon isn’t really a new phenomenon as coded language has been used in the LGBTQ+ community since the 1900s and possibly even earlier. Phrases like “friend of Dorothy” or “friend Mrs. King” and even a slang language called Polari, created by gay men in the 1700s UK when being homosexual was Illegal, were used up till the 1960s.

It must have been a surreal moment for girl in red to become such an iconic figure for the Gen Z sapphic community just from writing music about her own experiences.

Music is a huge part of Gen Z culture and because music can play a role in defining your identity as well, what music you listen to might give more insight into your identity without having to be explicit about it. The artists you listen to often let other people know what type of people you surround yourself with or what kind of subcultures you take part in and that’s pretty cool if you think about it.

The real question is…do you listen to girl in red?

Well if you don’t there’s a playlist with music from Girl in Red and other queer artists in honor of Pride month.

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Playlists

A Farmers Market Playlist

What’s better than listening to your favorite comforting tunes in the heat of the Summer? Listening to your favorites and eating fresh produce from the North Carolina State Farmers Market, of course. 

I have cultivated a few tracks that can take you through the stalls and smells of fresh veggies and fruits. If you want to listen along, you can check out the playlist on Spotify.

“Kibun” by Fishmans

This song brings the beat and happiness that is the farmers market straight to your ears. It is a bit more electronic and twang-y than the rest of the tracks, but it brings a smile to my face like I am sorting through a vendor’s prized blueberries. 

“Starman” by Seu Jorge

Another funky track, but this cover brings a homely sound to David Bowie’s “Starman”. Seu Jorge’s ability to capture the essence of Bowie with an acoustic guitar is beautiful, and I think it creates that comforting hum of people moving through the produce stalls. 

“Lazy River” by Chet Atkins and Les Paul

The simplicity of the movement in this song makes me feel like I am floating on a syrupy, summer breeze. I can lose myself in the smells the wind gives me at the farmers market, and “Lazy River” brings those emotions to my head immediately. 

“The Bug Collector” by Haley Henderickx

A bit slower of a track, but Henderickx creates a wonderful feeling of digging through the dirt with a hot sun baking the cold wet dirt into your skin. I love the way this song adds the trumpet with a slow build into the melody.

“Homegrown Tomatoes” by Blue Dogs

Okay, so this song is pretty ridiculous and very country, but I think this playlist would be missing out if I didn’t include it. There sure ain’t nothin’ better than ice cold, homegrown ‘maters.

“Pet Carrot” by Palehound

I just started listening to Palehound, and I love the way Kempner’s vocals descend while her instrument tempo increases in this track. The mix of slow and fast adds a nice dizzying effect, which I can kind of relate to trying to pick the perfect carrots for a stew.

“Lighthouse” by Adrianne Lenker

The uptempo guitar chords and always gorgeous vocals by Adrianne Lenker bring companionship to this playlist. The love sung about in this track adds a feeling of personal comfort for me. It’s almost as if I have someone with me wandering around the stalls gasping at all the delicious peppers to choose from. 

I hope y’all enjoy the tunes and can appreciate some delicious produce this summer.

Keep eatin’ 

-DJ chef

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Playlists

Early Summer Playlist

This playlist has an all-over feel to it but in a way captures the early feeling of summer to me perfectly- everything is finally green again, the evenings are perfectly warm, and life slows down to a blissful pace. 

Popeye Had Spinach by Lime Cordiale 

Even the cover art has a summer feel to it- Popeye Had Spinach is melodic with a catchy chorus and a rather relaxing vibe to it. 

Fishing For Fishies by King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

The song’s title is pretty comical and the entire song stays true to it. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard truly stray away from fishing, sympathizing for the fish itself. As funny as it is, it fits perfectly for summer with it’s simple but catchy guitar and even more snappy chorus. 

Ain’t No Thang by Outkast

Outkast portrays the perfect balance between street cool societal standing with an intoxicating beat while still keeping a smooth, idle feel. The most notable lyric from the entire track: “Ain’t no thang but a chicken wing.” 

Lucy (feat. Odie) by Still Woozy 

A song I often revisit when the weather starts getting slightly warmer- something about Still Woozy’s smooth, silky voice that encapsulates the feeling of the mellow warmth of summer. 

Personal Lies by Djo

Simple guitar chords layered with Djo’s melodic singing start this song off in a way that makes it hard not to love, along with a surprise guitar solo halfway through the song. Sorry. Maybe not so surprising anymore, but still exceptional. 

Driving South by Goth Babe & Blood Cultures 

One of my favorite artists collaborates with Blood Cultures for a song that is light and laid-back- even Goth Babe agrees in this song that summer seems to keep him sane. I couldn’t agree more. 


If this playlist intrigues you, be sure to check it out on Spotify.

Written by Audrey Nelson