Classes started last week at the University of Illinois, meaning the past week has been a little hectic for most students and residents of Champaign-Urbana. During this week I have reflected on some songs that represent how I spent my summer, including new music I was shown, stumbled on to, or forced to listen to on road trips where we only had two CDs to get by.
St. Vincent – Cheerleader
St. Vincent is known for her hooking melodies and rock solid guitar riffs. I toured with a friend’s band this summer and Strange Mercy is one of the albums that helped get our caravan through many hours of driving. Plus this song is constantly stuck in my head. Not a problem, though.
Lucius – Tempest
This summer was the first time I had heard of Lucius. They formed in 2011, and they seem to be making some bigs waves in means of exposure and popularity. If you are a fan of tight harmonies, this is the band for you.
DakhaBrakha – Baby
I stumbled upon Dakhabrahka while wandering around Bonnaroo this past June. They played the world music showcase on Saturday of the festival, and put on one of the most skilled and inspiring shows I have seen in a long time. Ukrainian traditional music with a modern spin, performed in quite unexpected environments. I have never heard a cello sound quite like what they make of it.
Emancipator – Anthem
Whenever I feel stressed or need to relax, Emancipator is my go-to artist. Whether it be your job, summer classes, traveling, or being away from your friends at school it is hard to feel anxious when listening to this track.
Manau – La tribu de Dana
I spent some time in Canada this summer and got to catch a few local bands up there. Although I was not in french-speaking Canada, the experience reminded me of this song from my childhood. Manau is a french rap group with some pretty insightful creative lyrics. Warning: Some of you may need Google Translate.
Amen, Lucy Amen – World as Geography
Amen, Lucy Amen is a band out of St. Louis that I got to see perform here in town over the summer. I find them talented, creative and full of energy. This is definitely a band worth checking out.
Lauryn Hill – Doo-Wop (That Thing)
I listened to a lot of Ms Lauryn Hill after witnessing her explosive performance at Bonnaroo Music Festival this summer. She has an incredible voice that deserves attention, one that I would put up at the same level as Beyonce.
Bright Eyes – Land Locked Blues
I was lucky enough to travel quite a bit this summer, so “Land-locked Blues” feels a little ironic to reflect with on my summer. But I find the phrasing and unison singing hauntingly beautiful in this song.
Jimi Hendrix – Purple Haze
I passed through Seattle towards the end of this summer and got to a Jimi Hendrix exhibit in their pop-culture museum. Everyone needs a little Hendrix once in a while.
Lykke Li – No Rest For The Wicked
I walked past Lykke Li this summer at Lollapalooza and was surprised by how exciting and lively her show turned out to be. Here is a track from her most recent album I Never Learn.