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Boring Semester, Exciting Tracks

April has made fools of us with its incessant wind and its’ not-quite-a-hurricane-but-I’m-soaked-so-it-might-as-well-be torrential downpours. No, it’s really fine, I wanted to hand in my freshly printed essay drenched with water–it’s not like I didn’t spend ten pages at the library to finish this. No, I really wanted my mascara running down my face. That’s what they do at Fashion Week, you know, the one…really far away. Not here. That one on the other side of the world. Never heard of it? That’s okay, I’m just clearly far more underground and cooler than you.

And underground is where you might want to be given that the semester is ending and every professor has assigned you a ten page paper. This allegedly “easy” ten page paper, times five. Are you kidding me?

We move on, we persevere with an IV drip of pure caffeine and a sleeping bag in the library.

On a lighter note, however, it is that very special time of the month where I make you cooler than your fellow students! This month, despite bipolar weather, released some pretty rad tracks. I have, to make your studying/crying sessions bearable, created yet another playlist for you. Featuring various tracks of the rock and dance genre, you will be able to dance your pains and stress away. Hooray!

“Where You At” by The Bohicas.

The first time I hit play on this track, I bunched up my hair in my hands and groaned loudly in the bowels of O’Malley because this song was that good. The opening riff doesn’t let you ease into who The Bohicas are. It is loud and gritty in all the best ways. The Bohicas are here to tell you exactly what they’re here to do–and that’s to make you feel like the baddest bitch that ever did live. That bass line? To die for. The drums? Hope your feet are quick to find the beat because you’re going to be jumping and shuffling like no other.

Hopefully in the bowels of O’Malley with me.

“Dream Lover” by The Vaccines, to be released on their new album, English Graffiti on May 25th, 2015.

Come of Age, The Vaccines’ sophomore album was desperately missing their punk-rock attitude. In “Dream Lover,” however, that punk-rock attitude is back and better than ever. Much like The Bohicas, the opening riff takes you by surprise. The second single to be released from this record, it becomes apparent that The Vaccines aren’t f*ckin’ around. Justin Young’s vocals are soft, but full of attitude–a vocal oxymoron. But, it provides a lovely contrast to the epic guitar roaring in the back.

“Buffalo” by Toro Y Moi, off of his record, What For?

All right, I’ll take it easy on your ears. I don’t want you going out to the store and buying a whole new wardrobe of black to match your new attitude and style that been inspired by The Bohicas and The Vaccines.  I will not be responsible for your screaming bank account. But, back to the music, yes?

You cannot deny the coolness of Toro Y Moi. Don’t even try. The bass and drums take inspiration from smooth jazz and disco–something you don’t hear very much today. And the vocals? Take me away to dream land, Chaz Bundick. Take. Me. Away. Bundick repeats, “Cause you love it all / Cause you’ll find a way to keep on,” a fitting message for the end of the semester. Don’t lie to me, you actually love calculus.

Okay, that was a bit of a stretch. I’m sorry.

“Need You Now” by Hot Chip, off of their album, Why Make Sense?

The song title, not very creative, I have to admit. I mean, have you even heard of “Need You Now” by Cut Copy? But the song itself? Awesomely unique. The track begins with a steady drum, allowing you to figure out what fancy footwork you’re going to unleash on the floor–or you might cry a lot instead. It could go in two very extreme ways.

You don’t expect a song written by an electronic group to make your chest hurt, but that’s exactly what “Need You Now” does. We all know the tired clichés of unrequited love and lonely nights, but there is something especially poignant about this song, separating it from the mess that is modern dance music. The repeated “need you now” lyric, sampled from Sinnamon’s “I Need You Now” can defrost and break even the coldest and hardest of hearts.

“Destruction” by Joywave, off of their album, How Do You Feel Now?

Coming off of the ride that was “Need You Now,” well, Joywave, I’m not really sure how I feel now.

I had the pleasure to see these guys open up for Bleachers at Terminal 5 this month. They opened with this song, but they decided that not enough people were dancing to the track, so they played it again to rectify this mistake.

Coolest. Sh*t. Ever. You need a crapload of chutzpah to make the crowd to listen to your new song once, but twice? Jesus Christ.

Don’t know how to whistle? Be like me and scream-sing the repeating whistle. Shake your head to the music and let “Destruction” hit you. “There’s nobody who can set me right?” Well, I bet you there is a certain instrument that could. The bass is the soul of this song and it commands that you dance to it. And you do not disrespect the bass–you follow it.

“Make It Easy” by Ben Browning.

The synthesizer on this song simply screams summertime. Ben Browning is the bassist in the Australian dance group, Cut Copy—the band I mentioned earlier in the Hot Chip entry. Ben Browning has a voice that allows you to drift off into the ocean with your eyes closed, sunglasses attached to your head.

And wouldn’t it be lovely to live in a world where you could “make no money / [but] make it easy?”

F*ckin’ student loans.

“Parade It” by Radkey.

These guys don’t have a debut album yet, but I wish they did. I need more from Radkey and so will you.

Dee Radke has a voice that is reminiscent of Ian Curtis of the band, Joy Division. And if that’s not enough to convince you to listen to it, just listen to the attitude that the guitar and drums churn up. It is quiet, yet aggressive, demanding that you not drift off because, whether you’re ready or not, this beat is going to hit you when you least expect it. And guess what? You’re going to jam even harder than you did the first time.

“Collaborations Don’t Work” by FFS, to be released on their eponymous debut on June 8th, 2015.

 It’s the end of the semester and in addition to eight thousand ten page papers due, you might have some group projects to work on. You know you’re going to be only person pulling their weight in the group, so turn this up and blast out your incompetent “partners.”

This song repeats the title over and over again in various tunes and tempos with many different examples. Mozart didn’t need to collaborate, so why do you need to? Ask your group members, “Where is this damn thing a-going?”

God knows. Maybe if you didn’t make me work in a group, we would know, Dr. whatever-your-name-is.

“Still Want You” by Brandon Flowers, to be released on his album, The Desired Effect on May 18th, 2015.

It was a late Thursday night when my suitemate, Leah, and I discovered the video for this song. In short, this gif:

made me scream and nearly fall out of my chair while Leah ran out of the room, overwhelmed. Anyway!

This song features clapping, snapping and the coolest synth. Brandon Flowers isn’t try to be flashy or in your face—he just wants to let you know that even though “crime is on the rise” or we’re experiencing “nuclear distress” or even “hurricanes and floods,” he still loves you.

Get up and start swaying to “Still Want You” and try not to smile while listening to Flowers’ voice.

“Give Me A Try” by The Wombats, off of their album, Glitterbug.

Yet another personal narrative: Leah and I went to see The Wombats literally this past Monday (April 27th, 2015) at Webster Hall. This song got the whole venue jumping up and down; so much so that the ground was actually shaking.

I think we can all agree that we’ve been in positions where you were mentally begging for the other person, whether that be a major friend crush or a regular crush, to just “give you a try.” Whatever, no time for that nonsense. All you need is this song.

Copy The Wombats and make the funny “ah, ah, ah” noises at the beginning. The synth is pulsing and loud, demanding that you dance not later, but right now. The bass? Pounding. Practice your scissor kicks and get moving, dammit. I know you have a lot of work to do, but it’s healthy to get your blood flowing and your heart rating going.

Have a good week, Jaspers!

I am currently a senior at Manhattan College double majoring in English and Communication with a concentration in advertising. When I'm not writing about music, I'm usually eating soup dumplings or petting dogs - ideally at the same time. I'm proudly American with a half-Chinese and half-Italian heritage. You can follow me on Twitter at @ChuChuTrain. I'm funny sometimes.
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