With this funeral-like procession into finals week, I figured I’d bestow this Monday Mixer with some of my favorite tracks which double as pretty great study music. So while you’re packing your veins full of caffeine, give your ears something besides the headache pounding in your head.
1 – Kishi Bashi -Bright Whites
I came across Kishi Bashi at a show in which he opened for Sondre Lerche a few years back, and I swear everyone in that venue was mesmerized by his natural improvisation and sheer musical talent. Saturated with violins and resonating vocals, Kishi Bashi will win you over in seconds.
2 – Ben Gibbard -Something’s Rattling
I swear there’s an extra ventricle in my heart labeled “Ben Gibbard” (…yeah, whatever, you get it.) This song in particular comes off of his 2012 solo album Former Lives and proves the man can make even mariachi music hip.
3 – Malvina Reynolds -Little Boxes
You might remember this song when “Weeds” was in its early years. Malvina Reynolds’ take on suburbia is harshly satirical, but isn’t it sung just so sweetly?
4 – Empires -Voodooized
It goes without question that Empires is my favorite Chicago based/local band. Sean Van Vleet delivers some pretty powerful vocals and I can’t seem to get enough. I tend to gravitate towards Empires every time I make a friend a mix CD, and they always fall in love just in time to tag along for a show. Empires frequent venues in Champaign-Urbana, as well as places like Lincoln Hall and Schubas in Chicago.
5 – Dead Man’s Bones -My Body’s A Zombie for You
On some wonderful day in 2005, Ryan Gosling and Zach Shields met and soon after gave life to Dead Man’s Bones. Twisted with ghostly arias, their music is eerie with just the right amount of tambourine. Apparently Ryan Gosling can do everything. Go figure.
See also: “Name in Stone” by Dead Man’s Bones
6 – Generationals -When They Fight They Fight
I’m fully convinced that it’s impossible to be crabby while listening to this song. Fully convinced.
7 – The Cinematic Orchestra -To Build a Home
I discovered this song in the trailer for the movie Another Earth and I had to download it. It’s a relatively lengthy piece of work which concludes the album Ma Fleur, and it winds the album into something breathtaking. I could drown in those chord progressions and am in complete rapture with the delicacy with which it is performed. If there was ever a song that was meant for your noise-canceling headphones, this is it.
8 – Radiohead -Weird Fishes/Arpeggi
It’s Radiohead, and obviously it’s totally worth the 5 minutes and 18 seconds of your time.
9 – The Strokes -One Way Trigger
Although I wasn’t completely won over by all of Comedown Machine, this is the one song I can’t stop listening to. The best part about this song? Casablanca’s full-blown falsetto. The worst part? Singing along is the fastest and most efficient way that I can make a complete idiot out of myself. Best to leave those high notes to the professionals.
10 – Beach House -10 Mile Stereo
Victoria Legrand sings “The heart is a stone/And this is a stone that we throw” in a way that makes me think she might just be a ghost that is gracing us mortals with her ethereal voice.