I found the Mowglis the same way I find most of my music: through Spotify playlists. They’ve got a great sound that is a solid blend between folk, pop, rock and a little bit of fun. It’s just the kind of music that you put on when you’re alone in the house and you want to have a mini dance party. C’mon, you know it’s true. I dare you to try listening to their song San Francisco and keep your head from nodding back and forth.
Lana Del Rey
Yes, I’ll admit it. I’m a Lana fan. She’s got such a great rhythm and an even better voice. Her album Born to Die is one of the few albums that I can listen to every single track and not come across a single one that I’d like to skip. Granted, she’s not the best choice to play if you’re looking to blast some tunes, but you want to slip your ear buds in and hear something great, Lana’s got you covered.
Portugal. The Man
Portugal. The Man is the owner to one of my all time favorite songs, Modern Jesus. When that song first came out, I think I may have been clinically addicted to it. No joke. Portugal.’s sound is definitely what I would call Indie, but it also has a little techno beat in the background. It all mixes together to create an awesome song that you won’t mind putting on repeat for the rest of eternity.
I think Milky Chance is still making their way into the headlights, but they’ve definitely won my devotion. I’m even going to see them in concert this April. It’s actually just two German guys who happen to be a really good DJ and singer. They’ve only got one album so far, but it’s got a couple of great hits that are bound to put you in a good mood (including Fairytale, Stolen Dance and my favorite Flashed Junk Mind). Give them a listen, and I promise your day will get just a little bit better.
I’m going to have to go with an oldie here, just because you can’t forget him. Frank Sinatra is one of the most iconic figures in the music industry and one of the best in my opinion. His style of music is close to jazz, but it’s something a little different – it’s dancing music. The list of his great songs can go on forever, but anything from his album Nothing But The Best (Remastered) are bound to be a hit. His timeless voice and classy style is something that can’t be forgotten, and can’t be outdone.
Yoann Lemoine, stage name Woodkid (a bit easier to pronounce), is someone that I came across only recently, and completely by random. I first heard his song “Iron” and it was one of those songs that makes you stop, find out the artist at all costs and listen to the entire album. His voice somehow reminds me of a slightly grittier version of Dan Smith, the singer of Bastille. Woodkid songs, especially from the latest album “The Golden Age”, can be dissonant at times and odd at others, but there’s a kind of singularity in the music, as well as diversity and subtlety in the messages he tries to convey. If the listener pays genuine attention, it comes together beautifully, even profoundly, with the lyrics and production.
Those out there who watch “How to Get Away with Murder” will recognize the songs of IAMX, and I can’t think of any music more suitable for that show. “I Come with Knives” caught my attention from the beginning with a sing-song rendition of German lyrics, and kept me listening with the sharp vocals and heady backdrop of beats and synth and guitar and god knows what else.
IAMX is another solo identity, featuring English Chris Corner, who is a multifaceted artist heavily involved in most aspects of his music project, much like Woodkid. But his music is anything but similar. It’s much less reflective than edgy and dark, both in subject matter and sound. The music itself touches on electronic and alternative, even bits of rock and burlesque inspiration, and Corner’s unique style shows through even to his music videos, which are works of art in themselves, capable of evoking all, from the sensual to the macabre.
One of the few pop artists I listen to, nineteen-year-old Thomas Stoneman takes more after an alt-pop direction, making music with straightforward, soothing beats that set a backdrop to exquisite lyrics. They are inspired, and they feel inspired to the listener. To me, many of the songs capture the essence of young adults and growing up on a different level than the usual lackluster mold of ‘falling in love’ or ‘falling out of love’ or ‘YOLO’. There’s more to life than just that. However, it looks like Thomston’s upcoming EP may leave a different impression with its lyrics, but that does little to dampen the anticipation. Stoneman’s music is subtly catchy without being repetitive or obnoxious. It’s perfect for the moodier days when Fall Out Boy is just a bit too stressful on the eardrums.
Linkin Park has been around a long time, almost fiveteen years since becoming high profile. They’ve been fairly consistent in quality, style and even in the line-up. I appreciate that. I have long since discarded my middle school music collection, along with most other relics from those dark times, but Linkin Park stayed, and it will for a while. The 2012 album “Living Things” is one my favorites, but last year’s “The Hunting Party” has tracks that seem to be signaling some evolution in the band’s music.
Ben Folds & Ben Folds Five
Flashback to a 6th-grade me singing “Landed” and accompanying myself on piano at the Westwood View talent show. Besides the unfortunate video evidence of this, I still love this song and its talented writer. I don’t know how to prove my love for Ben Folds Five, but I’ve been to three concerts of theirs (hopefully a fourth in May) and have at least that many T-shirts. I’ve also already decided “The Luckiest” will be my wedding song. One of the many things that set them apart is that their driving instrument is piano rather than guitar, which lends itself surprisingly well to the alternative rock/power pop sound. The ironically named band is actually a trio and has a huge variety of songs ranging from head-pounding rock to gorgeous ballads. There are even some hilarious covers (see: Ke$ha’s “Sleazy” and another by Dr. Dre I’ll leave unmentioned due to profanity). The break-up of Ben Folds Five in 2000 spawned Ben Folds’s equally amazing solo career, which is more focused on his mesmerizing piano talents. The band reunited later and came out with “The Sound of the Life of the Mind” album in 2012. Though it’s hard to choose, my favorites of Ben Folds Five are “Eddie Walker”, “Evaporated” and “Army”, while for Ben Folds alone I have to choose “Annie Waits”, “Still Fighting It” and “Zak and Sara”.
My favorite band for a road trip to Colorado. The Avett Brothers mix the heart of bluegrass and country with the energy of rock. Yet another band from North Carolina, The Avett Brothers pride themselves in honest songs that get back to the heart of music: real voices, real chords, real music. A few that capture this spirit best are “Skin and Bones” and “Morning Song”. Their music is reminiscent of jamming out at a music festival in Nashville or twirling around in a Free People ad.
I first started listening to Weezer a few years ago, but admittedly didn’t get into them until recently. The alternative rock band emerged in the ‘90s but has albums dispersed pretty evenly since then, with their most recent coming out in 2014. Weezer’s quirky sound and clever lyrics come from influences like Nirvana and The Beach Boys. My favorite album (which I’m not alone in) is their first one, The Blue Album. Some of my favorite songs of theirs are “Say It Ain’t So” and “The World Has Turned and Left Me Here”.
I didn’t hop on this bandwagon until late last year, because I was always scared away by the fact that Ed was closely associated with the pop radio-hypnotism of One Direction and Taylor Swift. I even remember making fun of my dad for buying his album…but once I got listening to it, I was hooked. Once you dig beneath “A-Team” and “Sing”, you find a treasure chest of pure talent. Ed’s incredible rhythm is like a sing-song rap (check out “Nina”), and his guitar picking adds to his witty lyrics. His music is a mix of acoustic pop and ___. I recommend Ed Sheeran to all of you who secretly loved “Lego House”.
I started rocking out to The Shins in middle school, and I’m still a huge fan. Their unique sound can’t be perfectly described, but it blends alternative rock with the surfy attitude of the ‘60s. The Shins’ sound is what makes them stand out; I have to admit that I didn’t understand most of the lyrics until I looked them up. The words I can make out are clever and weird: they sing of zombies and goats and the king of the eyesores. No matter what you like about The Shins, they’re great for tapping along to on the ride to school or blasting when you need motivation to finish your chemistry homework. Some of my favorite songs of theirs are “Gone for Good” and “Phantom Limb”.