Finals are quickly approaching, and that being said, I still have round of exams/papers due BEFORE them. This term. It’s killin’ me, man. Obviously, with this much wok to do, I need good music to study to. Although my favorite bands tend to fall along the lines of Soundgarden or Pearl Jam, Chris Cornell’s angsty snarling doesn’t exactly get me in the mood for writing a History essay, you know? Here are some bands that never fail to provide some great, easy-to-concentrate-to tunes.
1. Incubus: I basically listen to these dudes whenever I have to write a paper. Some of their songs (such as “Megalomaniac”) are a little rock-ier (Yea, that just happened. What’s the tech term? “Uptempo?” You tell me), but they manage to still feel laid-back. Like a vacation to…California? Somewhere sunny and calm, anyway. Wait. California is only like 5 hours away, and the weather sucks here..please excuse me. I’ll be back in a couple weeks. Favorite tracks: “Dig”, “Wish You Where Here”, “Love Hurts”, “Aqueous Transmission” (which is basically the most soothing thing I have ever heard.)
2. M83: Founded by Anthony Gonzalez and Nicolas Fromageau in Antibes, France, M83 is quickly becoming one of my favorites. I’m not really an electro-shoegaze-etc fan usually, but I like these guys. Their latest release, “Hurry Up We’re Dreaming”, is inspired by (you guessed it) dreams, and it’s appropriately ethereal and pleasant. I haven’t gotten in to a lot of their earlier stuff, but besides “Midnight City” from “Hurry Up We’re Dreaming”, I also like “Sister” (parts 1 & 2), from the “Digital Shades” album. Definitely worth a listen.
3. Afro Celt Sound System: My mum introduced me to this band, (she’s cooler than me, I realize this), and I have to say they’re one of the strangest combinations I’ve (n)ever thought of. Celtic folk music with African influences? Huh. Convince me. They did. The collection of influences is certainly unexpected, but that’s exactly what makes it fun to listen to. Did I mention that they record at Peter Gabriel’s studio, and songs have featured performances by Robert Plant, Sinead O’Conner, and Gabriel himself? Neat! Check out “When You’re Falling” from their latest release, “Capture.”
4. The Raconteurs: I’ve loved this band for years. They’re very retro as far as sound goes, (this is Jack White, so it kinda goes without saying), but they manage to sound retro in a very modern way. (Which some might sneer at, but I happen to like. Get outta here, ya SNOBS.) There songs are, for the most part, mellow and upbeat, in other words, perfect for when I need something that makes me feel okay about memorizing Spanish verb conjugations. Some of my favorite tracks are “Broken Boy Soldiers”, “Level”, and “These Stones Will Shout.”
5. Amy Winehouse: Even though she’s bound to be remembered for her struggles with addiction, which ultimately led to a tragic and untimely death, Winehouse deserves to be remembered for her talent. Before Adele, there was Amy. Her beautiful, soulful voice makes me wicked jealous every time I hear it, and her lyrics are so brutally honest that they’re sometimes uncomfortable to listen to. The entirety of “Back To Black” is something you should listen to, as are the songs “Stronger Than Me” and “Our Day Will Come.”