I’ve said this before, but I could not imagine a world in which I didn’t have music to get me through things. Of interest here is how it can be used to actually be productive during the day and through long nights. I mean, I’m listening to some newly released singles while writing this.
Not all music is created equal in this regard, but there’s so many more possibilities for what study music can be than lo-fi beats streams or long jazz albums. Really, any music can help you grind through an essay or chem homework. There’s a couple rules of thumb to keep in mind, though.
Rules of Thumb
1. No intelligible lyrics
Whatever music you study with, make sure it doesn’t have lyrics you can understand. Instrumentals obviously fill this role, but any music sung in a language you don’t know, or whose vocals are too drowned out by other noise to make out are both great here.
2. Match pace of music with pace of work
Depending on the type of work you want to get done, you’ll find some music matches the intensity and tempo that you need to hone in. Completing a project last minute may call for some metal while an essay that needs steady progress may benefit more from techno.
3. Enjoy the music too
You’re not very likely to be getting much done while sitting through a “chill vibes” playlist that isn’t fitting your vibe. Making your own playlist can keep you from having to hit skip constantly to find “the right song”.
2023 has been off to a decently solid start through its first couple of months. As for more popular artists, some have seen a massiv surge in popularity, like Ice Spice. Lil Yachty put his heavily autotuned singing to use on a psych rock album. There’s still so many artists who may not be as popular, but their releases have been just as–if not more–intriguing to listen to.
Lumi – Snail’s House
If you’re looking for some new study music, Snail’s House has you covered. “Lumi” dives into a more soft-spoken future bass sound filled with magic and wonder. The only goal this album pursues is to uplift listeners, and it does so wonderfully. There is such a variety of instruments and melodies even if there isn’t much exploration out of Snail House’s typical genre influences. Whether you’ve hit a snag writing an essay (as I have recently) or are taking a short break from your work, “Lumi” is bound to bring your spirits back up and get back into the swing of things.
After the Magic – Parannoul
“After the Magic” might not be the most invigorating album you’ve ever heard, but Parannoul has seemed to hone in their craft with this record. Each track takes listeners on a journey, enabled by the nearly six minute average song length. While this makes individual songs euphoric to listen to, going through the whole album at once can be draining. The Korean shoegaze band did have some masterful production on “After the Magic” though. Everything blends together nicely without becoming a slurry of drums, guitars, and vocals.
The WAEVE – The WAEVE
The WAEVE is an artist I’ve been following for a short while. I’ve enjoyed some of their previous discography, but this album seems to drag behind some of that work. Many of the tracks aren’t active enough to keep me engaged, and the lyrics aren’t exactly revolutionary either. There’s a couple of songs that innovate on their relatively quiet, light sound though. “Kill Me Again” has a solid groove and bass guitar with a lot of presence on the track. Overall, “The WAEVE” just does not have a dynamic enough style to keep me invested.
Bless This Mess – U.S. Girls
U.S. Girls have quickly become one of my favorite artists as of late. This new album, “Bless This Mess” takes a synth-pop approach to Meg Remy’s new experiences with motherhood. The singles for this album, such as “Futures Bet” and “So Typically Now”, are especially whimsical and fun. But, even the remaining tracks on the album diversify and solidify U.S. Girls’s lyrical and musical range. From dance pop to more somber tunes, “Bless This Mess” was a joy to listen to from front to back.
Some days, things are just going bad. Sometimes, we know the root of that cause, sometimes we just feel unlucky. Sometimes, there hasn’t even been anything bad that’s happened, we just feel awful.
In the moment, it can be near impossible to ignore the emotional reality that you’re experiencing. It’s difficult to fix problems that do exist and matter when you’re having a rough time.
I’m putting this collection of tips out there for those days when things just seem to be going badly. It’s difficult to know when to seek help, or even if you need help, but it is easy to know that this might not be the greatest of days.
Eating healthy and drinking water regularly are both extremely helpful for your mental health. Even if the food you’re eating isn’t perfectly “healthy”, having balanced meals with carbs, fats, and proteins in some capacity can help a lot. If you don’t feel like you can prepare a meal, eat some mixed nuts with whatever bread products you have access to. Maybe eat a banana or some grapes with it.
On that note, buying foods that can be prepared in bulk ahead of time can be quite helpful in alleviating the stress of making a meal in the moment. Additionally, try to at least drink a water bottle’s worth of water a day. Fill a reusable water from the tap or a Brita filter if you have it, or just grab a plastic water bottle.
Take a shower if you’re at home. Don’t worry about how long you’re in there or how hot the water is, just keep the temperature comfortable and get clean.
Likewise, dress into some clean clothes if you haven’t gotten dressed today. It gets you out of the tired mindset that being in pajamas may put you in, giving you more energy during the day.
Things you can do with and without people
If you haven’t really interacted with people, especially friends or family yet today, try to meet up with them, even if it’s just for an hour or two. If you can’t meet in person, text or call them. Don’t worry about getting work done during this time. Ask for a hug from friends or family if you’re comfortable. This doesn’t necessarily apply if those people are part of the reason you’re not doing that great.
If you’ve spent large chunks of the day around people, even friends or family, take some alone time. Play around with hobbies, whether it be knitting, playing video games, or programming. Sit down with a show or a movie.
Hell, watch Tiktok or Youtube to unwind for a bit, though try to limit these to an hour or so.
Things you can do to be active
Exercise also helps your mental health greatly. People who do a lot of intellectual or emotional labor may find exercise especially helpful. If you have access to a gym, take your pick of what activity you want to do, whether it be strength exercises, swimming, or walking/running on a treadmill.
Personally, I’ve found lifting weights to relieve my mind of stress, since all of my focus is on physical exertion.
Going outside in any capacity is probably the most helpful piece of advice I could possibly give here. Whether you go on a walk, sit on a bench for a while, or run around for a bit, these all tend to be more beneficial to your mental health than staying inside. If you have access, go to a local trail through the woods.
I cannot stress enough how rejuvenating a nature walk like this can be. Green spaces more generally are also relaxing compared to dense urban environments.
How music can help
Music tends to be prevalent through all parts of my life. I use it to highlight pleasant moments and relieve negative moments. There’s a number of different types of music that I tend to gravitate towards when I’m struggling with a variety of things, and I want to share those here in the hopes that they help others.
Healing – In Love With a Ghost
In Love With a Ghost is probably my most played artist when I’m having a bad day. Their lo-fi, bedroom pop sound allows listeners to let their thoughts drift away as they listen. Their music is perfect for those times when you might not know exactly why you’re sad or upset, just that you are.
Pills & Good Advice – Left at London
On the contrary, sometimes I just need to vent my emotions until I’m satisfied. When I feel wronged, especially by someone I know well, I tend to come back to Left at London’s music. Her album “t.i.a.p.f.y.h” is phenomenal for giving me something to sing my heart out to in the car. Songs like “Pills & Good Advice” give me the perfect opportunity to feel like I have closure over some bad event that’s already finished.
Meant to Be – SAFFRA
Other times, the most helpful music is that which will get me back into the swing of things. “Meant to Be” is the debut single from SAFFRA, and it rides the line between positive energy and low-key relaxation perfectly. Its long solos in the middle of the song provide a wonderful chance to just close your eyes, sit back, and let the music wash over you. I tend to use this (and songs like it) after artists like Left at London to get myself back into the swing of things.
LAW OF AVERAGES – Vince Staples
Sometimes, all I need from music is to have a soft, somewhat depressing tone to stew in my emotions for a while. Unlike Left at London’s invigorating, aggressive attitude, Vince Staples sounds more low-key, as if he’s having a serious, emotional conversation with listeners. This sentiment is especially true on his last two albums: “RAMONA PARK BROKE MY HEART” and “Vince Staples”. I especially recommend his music if you’ve had a rough day at work and you’re driving home.
Why post year end lists before the year is even over? That’s why we release our list on January 1.
Hope you find your next favorite songs here. You can also click the hyperlinks in DJ’s names to go to their Spinitron pages and see all their DJ sets, or check out blogs they’ve written, or follow them on Instagram, or anything else they wanted to let y’all know about.
In this blog post, we will be taking a closer look at some of the best new music releases from interesting and innovate artists in the alternative hip-hop scene, in addition to a few R&B and alternative-pop highlights. All of these tracks were released in October or November 2022.
Tommy Richman, an artist from Virginia, released his first album “ALLIGATOR” on Oct. 28. This playlist features “703”, a track with a very unique sound that can be best described as funky punk.
“BROTHER WASSUP?” is a collaboration between Young Wabo and ERNESTO BIRMINGHAM. This is the pair’s second song together, as they released “WHO THE GOOD GUYS?” earlier this year. While I would describe both ERNESTO BIRMINGHAM and Young Wabo as hip-hop artists, this song pushes the boundaries of the genre in a very interesting way.
Mavi, an artist from Charlotte, NC, released his second album on Oct. 14 “Laughing so Hard, it Hurts”, consisting of mostly lo-fi hip-hop tracks. “3 Left Feet” seems to touch on a relationship ending and the feelings of a breakup. Other standout tracks include “My Good Ghosts” and “Last Laugh”.
Another artist from Charlotte, LORD JAH-MONTE OGBON, released his third album of the year “DIS TEW MUCH” on Nov. 15. Yes, you did read that correctly, he has released three albums in 2022. This playlist features track eight titled “Alicia Keys in the Face”.
spill tab tapped into a alternative-pop punk genre with her newest single “CRÈME BRÛLÉE!”. This is her third single of the year, quite different from the indie-pop style of her previous single “Splinter”. It features an amazing instrumental, and I hope that she continues to experiment with these sounds in the future.
“Maybe Love” is Maz’s second single, a new artist from Utah in the alternative-pop sphere.
R&B / Soul
Fousheé, who was featured on Steve Lacy’s newest album, released her second album “softCORE” on Nov. 18. “supernova” is different from the normal music Fousheé makes, but shows that she continues to push boundaries in the alternative R&B and neo-soul genre.
“Demonslayer” by AKAI SOLO is from “Spirit Roaming” released on Nov. 11. Another highlight from this album is “The Weakest Crest”.
On Nov. 25 MIKE, Wiki and The Alchemist released a three-track EP which included the title track “One more”. MIKE plans to drop an album called “Beware of the Monkey” on Dec. 21.
Listen to this mix on Spotify.Note: Some songs on this playlist contain explicit lyrics.
Thursday, Nov. 3 was a university-wide wellness day.
The wellness day has brought further attention to the importance of mental health resources and the overarching mental health crisis.
If you or someone you know is in mental distress, the university counseling center can be reached on campus at 2815 Cates Avenue, directly across from Witherspoon Student Center, or through their website.
The counseling center helped me find the support I needed in the beginning of my college career. College can be daunting and overwhelming at times– reaching out helps guide us to support needed. Support from peers. Support from parents or guardians. Support from professors and mentors. Support from the University. Support is vital to both our mental wellbeing and general success.
Above all, it is important to look after ourselves by doing the things we truly enjoy. Whether that be something as simple as getting a coffee or singing; doing the things that bring life meaning is simply refreshing.
I spent much of my wellness day listening to music.
As many, many individuals can relate, music has been such a source of support and love in my life.
To share some of this passion and wellbeing, I have selected a handful of songs that have brought me a lot of wellness. I hope you all enjoy, take care of yourselves.
If you are like me and live in constant fear of someone asking “What music are you listening to?” while listening to normie trash, then this playlist is perfect for you. Here are a few of the best Indie and Underground tracks released in September.
Note: Some songs on this playlist contain explicit lyrics.
Up first is “Jesus Freak Lighter” off of Blood Orange’s new EP “Four Songs“. The track is largely instrumental, and the synths on this song are incredibly groovy. While Blood Orange has been making a lot of music with other artists lately, including a personal favorite of mine “We Will Always Love You” by The Avalanches and Blood Orange, this is their first solo music release in over three years.
Loyle Carner is a jazz rap artist from the UK, and this playlist features his newest single, “Nobody Knows (Ladas Road)“. The samples, mixing, lyrics, and flow of this single are all perfect. This song is the third single off of his upcoming album ‘Hugo’, releasing on Oct. 21.
“SHELL” is off of Kenny Mason’s new album, “RUFFS“. Kenny Mason makes experimental hip-hop with metal and alternative influences. Other highlights off this album include “HALOS“, “333 / ATOM“, and “NOSEDIVE (feat. Jean Dawson)”.
“Yellow Brick Road” by Sudan Archives is a perfect example of new genre-bending music, with influences of R&B and electronic music. This song is off of her new album, “Natural Brown Prom Queen“.
“Greatest Hits” by Jockstrap is another mostly instrumental song, which is very experimental-electronica sounding. This track is from their debut album, “I Love You Jennifer B“. If you enjoy this track, I would recommend listening to one of Jockstrap’s first singles released – “Acid“.
“cracked screen” by blackwave. and Lute, as well as “Griffith Park” by Carter Ace are two alternative hip-hop songs that are very upbeat and groovy.
If you enjoy abstract hip-hop, you will enjoy ‘hollow’ by Medhane and JUNIE., and “ROSECOLORED” by justicexavier and Diz.
“SICK OF IT*” is the latest single for Jean Dawson’s upcoming album “CHAOS NOW*”. The album is scheduled to release on Oct. 7. Jean Dawson’s music is hard to define, falling under either alternative-pop or indie-rock. This track is a very upbeat alternative-style song.
“daydream” is an instrumental track by Luna Li off her new EP “jams 2“. The EP is only six minutes long and features six amazing tracks.
“Ghost (Injury Reserve Remix)” by Body Meat and Injury Reserve is a bit more of an obscure track and falls under the glitch-hop genre, but has incredible visualization. Injury Reserve is one of those artists that the more I listen to the more I find in their music to enjoy. There are so many little intricate details that at first listen seem odd or out of place but simultaneously blend in perfectly.
Here is a link to the Spotify playlist. Note: Some songs on this playlist contain explicit lyrics.
The long-awaited fall season has officially arrived.
As we enter October we enter into a new state of mind, pacing of schoolwork and new music. To celebrate the arrival of the season, I have compiles five new releases that fit the refreshing, crisp atmosphere of fall beautifully.
I find my music feed fills with folk and folk adjacent genres when fall arrives. The five songs I have selected are primarily folk, with a dabble of indie rock and indie folk
Trampled by Turtles have continued to make a name for themselves in the folk and bluegrass world with each and every release. They have been releases a series of singles throughout the past months, and this track happened to come out Sept. 30.
This track simply has just a pleasant sound. It is clear in discography that these guys are extremely talented on the strings, it’s nice to hear them slow down their complex musical lines and really make the vocals thrive.
There are few things more fitting for fall then a refreshing folk release; I hope you all enjoy their new releases as much as I do.
Milly is an excellent indie rock duo who just released their second album of 2022, “Eternal Ring” Sept 30.
The entire album is just a nice solid indie rock album for the season. This track in particularly stuck out to me due to the revolving theme of routine.
Especially for college students, around this time it is easy to feel like classes and daily routines are our entire life– it’s important to break this routine state of mind every once in a while to reflect on and do the things you love. This song highlights exactly that.
I discovered The Ghost of Paul Revere while hunting down songs for my radio show, Saloon Tunes, last semester. If you are looking for a solid folk and bluegrass band, this is the one for you.
I quickly fell in love with their unity. These gentlemen harmonize beautiful together. It is easy to hear how much they enjoy making music together.
They released a new album, “Goodbye”, Sept. 2. It is by far their most moody collection of songs. I think this album has some really excellent highlights, but it felt a little disheveled compared to their previous releases.
The richness of the vocals in this track is incredible, I honestly wish the background backed off more to let the vocals shine.
Nevertheless, I felt this band fit the fall energy quite well. Fall is often a time of reflection, and this song really embodies self reflection and growth.
I was very excited to see new releases from Origami Angel. Origami Angel is an emo-rock duo from Washington, DC.
They released not one, but two sets of singles Sept. 30. This one is off their more relaxed indie rock set, “re: turn”. Their juxtaposing set, “DEPART” is three screamo tracks. Expect a seperate blog reviewing “DEPART” in the near future.
This track is such a nice change of pace for Origami Angel, who historically have been tapping into emo and emo-adjencent genres. Lead vocalist, Ryland Heagy, transforms his voice into such a gentle sound. The sound he achieves here is very reminiscent of the early releases of Turnover.
The evolution that is embodied within this track and their newest singles truly fits the transformation of fall.
I have only recently started listening to Brittle Brian, who just released their first album, “Biodiesel” Sept. 15 of this year.
Her voice is simply enchanting in this track. I selected this one due to it’s melecony undertone and decomposing composition that is very reminiscent of the season. As the song processes it seems to dissolve into a free flowing structure, the vocals fading into the building backtrack.
Her voice really reminded me of one of my favorite singers, Adrianne Lenker. Fans of Big Thief and Adrianne will certainly enjoy this upcoming solo female artist.
It is finally autumn. One of my favorite ways of celebrating the start of the fall season is to listen to some of the many, many renditions of “Autumn Leaves”.
“Autumn Leaves” is a jazz standard, originally made in 1945 by Joseph Kosma with lyrics by Jacques Prévert in French. There are an unbelievable amount of recordings of this song, with each artist adding their own unique flair to it.
This song is the perfect template, allowing artists to build and add to it to make it truly unique. The song can span from two to over ten minutes long.
I have a great appreciation for genre standards such as “Autumn Leaves”. Songs like this one bring artists together in a way not much else can. I wanted to share a few renditions of this staple by some of my favorite jazz artists.
Chet Baker’s “Autumn Leaves” was the very first version of the song I ever heard. It took me quite a long time to realize that this wasn’t just his song and is definitely the landmark for how this song should sound to me.
The highlight of this song, besides Baker on the trumpet, is Bob James on the electric keyboard. Each note on the keyboard creates perfect imagery of fall-colored leaves falling to the ground.
“Autumn Leaves” was a great pick for Ryo Fukui’s 1976 album, “Scenery”. Not only does it match the vibe of the album perfectly, Fukui renders the song expertly.
This version highlights how incredibly the piano leads “Autumn Leaves”, more so than any other instrument. The piano can perfectly capture the frenzied beauty of falling leaves in a way that no other instrument can.
Nat King Cole
Nat King Cole’s rendition is the only one on this list that has vocals. As it should be, as no other version of “Autumn Leaves” with vocals tops this one.
Even though his version is the shortest on this list, King Cole slows down the song, highly emphasizing the original composition with brass instruments to support his vocals. This version of the song is very short and sweet and perfectly captures the autumn feeling.
Everyone knows Vince Guaraldi, he’s the Peanuts guy. The first jazz vinyl I ever bought was one of his. His rendition of “Autumn Leaves” is spectacular, with his piano playing at the forefront.
His version of the song is ten minutes long, utilizing the basic composition to create a truly fall-inspired sound. Guaraldi can evoke the feelings of a season better than any other artist I have heard.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.