Monthly Archives: May 2013

Favorite Spring Albums

By Vasilis, contributing writer

Spring is a great time of year. It’s the time where it starts warming up, everything is in bloom, and you can finally go out again and enjoy yourself without bundling up. It’s also one of the best times to listen to music. I like to have music designated for every season, but spring and summer are definitely the most fun for me. Summer for me is all about pop punk like Yellowcard and New Found Glory and songs about going to the beach and the sun, but spring for me is all about chaotic music that is as wild as the season. Here’s some great music I love to listen to when the spring season comes calling.

Honorable Mentions:

10. The Ataris – So Long, Astoria

Choice spring tracks: “So Long, Astoria”, “In This Diary”, & “The Hero Dies In This One”

9. Taking Back Sunday – Where You Want To Be

Choice spring tracks: “Set Phasers to Stun”, “One-Eighty By Summer”, & “Little Devotional”

8. Yellowcard – Ocean Avenue

Choice spring tracks: “Way Away”, “Ocean Avenue”, & “Back Home”

7. Say Anything – …Is a Real Boy

Choice spring tracks: “Belt”, “Alive With The Glory Of Love”, & “The Writing South”

6. Fireworks – Gospel

Choice spring tracks: “Arrows”, “Xs on Trees”, and “The Wild Bunch”

5. Motion City Soundtrack – I am the Movie

While Commit This to Memory and Even If It Kills Me are the wintry MCS album, I am the Movie is definitely better for warmer weather. This album is simply wild and so fun to sing-a-long to Justin Pierre’s anxiety-ridden, sarcastic, and emotional lyrics.

Choice spring tracks: “Capital H”, “The Future Freaks Me Out” & “Boombox Generation”

4. Transit – Listen & Forgive

The album’s cover represents a picture-perfect spring image: A tree beside a serene lake with a sunset in the backdrop. This album is much less agressive than the band’s earlier work but is no less fun to sing-a-long to. This would be ideal for a nice relaxing listen sitting on a bench in a park when you just need to calm down after a tough day at work.

Choice spring tracks: “Skipping Stone”, “Long Lost Friends”, & “1978”

3. The Dangerous Summer – Reach For the Sun

You can just tell from the title why this fits perfectly for spring. There are few albums that just deliver the emotional punch of this album, helped immensely by A.J. Perdomo’s soaring vocals. This album just cries out for a rain-soaked April day or sun-splashed May afternoon.

Choice spring tracks: “Where I Want to Be”, “Surfaced”, & “The Permanent Rain”

2. Green Day – Dookie

“I declare I don’t care no more”, this epic album’s opening line, is all anyone wants to shout when spring arrives and work/school/responsibilities become a chore. This album has been with me longer than any on this list and is still a top choice for long car rides with the windows rolled down. Billie Joe Armstrong captures every chaotic emotion that comes along with the season.

Choice spring tracks: “Burnout”, “Welcome to Paradise”, and “Longview”

1. The Wonder Years – The Upsides

This album is centered around the fountain being turned on at Logan Circle in Philadelphia, a spring event that literally represents the weather getting warmer but lyricist Soupy uses to metaphorically describe a feeling of hope he felt when he witnessed this moment. And spring is very much about hope blooming with the trees and warmer days ahead. To me, this is the ideal spring album that I love to crank out and listen to. It’s ideally cathartic and appropriate.

Choice spring tracks: “Logan Circle”, “Washington Square Park”, & “This Party Sucks”

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Ryan’s Spring Recommendations

by Ryan, contributing writer

Spring’s here, so it’s the beginning of my second favorite time of year. The first is fall (minus the tourists), but that’s a whole different story. Spring means that we can whip around in our friend’s nice car, drop the windows, and crank the tunes. As a single adult male who’s fresh out of college, I can’t help but be an absolute douchebag when it comes to driving around town. The worst part of this season is that I’m in Rhode Island without my friend’s VW GTI to roll around in. Instead, I’ll be blasting my spring tunes out of my stock Honda Civic. Yep.

Disclaimer: The majority of my music collection (which was amassed during my college years) consists of really bad rap mixtapes. As a result, the majority of the artists/albums are bass-heavy dance-oriented affairs, but there are a few out-of-genre gems tucked in my list.

Collie Buddz – Collie Buddz
Collie Buddz is a Bermudan dancehall/reggae artist who had a decently large hit in 2007 with his self-titled album’s single “Come Around”. This album has a great mix of “oh-man-I-feel-like-a-badass” tunes and some nice slow tunes that my former sous-chef would call a “baby-maker”. The heart of the album is rooted firmly in the warm weather street styles of Bermuda (which I can’t personally attest to). Bass-heavy tracks with some flashy synth-work along with the magical vocal work of Collie Buddz come together to create an album appropriate for when you’re rolling into your local dancehall scene.
Favorite Tracks: Come Around, Defend Your Own (feat. Krayzie Bone), Wild Out, My Everything

Foals – Antidotes
I’ve been in love with Foals’ work since I heard their track on Skins (the original British run, not this American re-make bs). I think I once heard them described as “experimental British pop”. I’d stand by that statement. Most of the tracks on this album are poppy and upbeat. One thing that throws a lot of people off is the lack of lyrical density. Most of their tracks (especially on this album) consist of about five different lines that they repeat. Somehow, it does it for me. Don’t try to figure out what the lyrics mean (but, if you do figure out what the hell is going on, tell me). This album is much more upbeat than their sophomore album Total Life Forever. Think of Antidotes as the excitable puppy on drugs frolicking through a field of daisies to the brooding, sighing, angsty college kid of the 90s.
Favorite Tracks: The French Open, Cassius, Balloons, Hummer, Mathletics

He Is Legend – I Am Hollywood
This is a great rock album with great stories tucked in the lyrics. The whole album, as lead singer Schuylar Croom noted, is about the darker side of Hollywood and how it makes your dreams come true. It’s got a really dark and creepy vibe to it, but that’s why I love it. The music is heavy hitting, the vocals are clean when Schuylar sings and gritty when he screams, and the lyrics… Oh, man, the lyrics. Imagine a dark, modern fantasy story being told through multiple voices. Croom knows how to belt out the multiple voices and really bring a depth to the stories that blooms in your imagination. Not necessarily an album that I’d listen to while driving during the day, but I highly recommend this one for night driving when you’re going through creepy woods, along the beach, or generally any uninhabited places.
Favorite Tracks: The Seduction, Dinner With a Gypsy, The Creature Walks
(Side Note: I also highly recommend their other albums, Suck Out the Poison and It Hates You for the same reasons.)

Lil’ Wayne – No Ceilings
This is some mostly pre-Drake Lil’ Wayne which I think is way better than this swag-heavy, wear ridiculous neon outfits, and spit garbage Wayne that we know now. Lyrically, he is far superior on this mixtape/album than he is now. Musically, it’s a mixtape. The tracks aren’t dance tunes, plain and simple. It’s what a rap album should be. Repetitive, catchy cuts that form a backbone that lets the lyrics shine. The music should be something to nod to, but it should be something new and easily recognizable so people know exactly what they’re listening to after they hear it for the first time. You hear the first two notes of that track again and you should know exactly which track you’re listening to. This is one for walking around. Throw this on some headphones and walk around like a champ and take the time to pick apart all of his lines. Lots of funny punchlines in this one.
Favorite Tracks: D.O.A., Throw It In The Bag (Remix), Run This Town, I Gotta Feeling

Weerd Science – Friends and Nervous Breakdowns
Another lyrically dense album for you, folks. Absolutely in love with Josh Eppard’s (Weerd Science) style. It’s gritty. It’s angry. Most of all, his flow is killer. Did I mention that he’s also the drummer of one of my other favorite bands Coheed & Cambria. Anyway, as a multi-talented musical artist, he’s got a lot of things to say. I think everyone should sit in their bedrooms late at night and give this album a listen.
Favorite Tracks: My War, Your Problem; Girl, Your Baby’s Worm Food; In a City With No Name; God Bless Pepsi

2 Chainz – T.R.U. REALigion
Yes, I’m like everyone else. We all love 2 Chainz. Why is that? I think it’s because he’s got those catchy backtracks (Yeah! TRUE!). He’s got that dirty street music that makes you wish you had a ’70s Caddy on dubs with the hydraulic kit. Honestly, playing this music makes you feel like a badass. It’s empowering (in all the wrong ways), but we can’t help but love it. Like I said, it’s nasty, bass-heavy rap that you don’t want to play anywhere near your grandma, but if you’re out with your friends in the car, blast away.
Favorite Tracks: Riot, Stunt (feat. Meek Mill), Spend It (feat. TIP), Slangin Birds (feat. Young Jeezy, Yo Gotti, Birdman)

Kanye West – The College Dropout
Oh, yes. Gotta love old ‘Ye. This album just screams spring/summer. I really can’t say anything about this except that Yeezy got crazy (but, we all knew this). I think it’s the fame. It really gets to rappers, but I think Kanye dealt with it better than Wayne. Regardless, listen to this old ‘Ye and ring in the spring with some feel-good tunes.
Favorite Tracks: Jesus Walks, The New Workout Plan, School Spirit

Rick Ross – The Green Files
Ricky Rozay. The Boss. He comes out hard in his latest mixtape which features a song that was in Django Unchained (100 Coffins). This album makes me seriously consider buying that 1970s Caddy that I mentioned in the 2 Chainz recommendation. If you thought that T.R.U. REALigion was bass-heavy, you haven’t heard anything yet. The big boss needs big bass. Lyrically, it’s nothing really new. Drugs, money, women, gangs, but the tracks are solid.
Favorite Tracks: Box Chevy, 100 Coffins, Made Men (feat. Drake)

Sean Paul – Imperial Blaze
I’ll always remember when I first heard Sean Paul. I was 12 years old on a British Airways flight. I heard “Get Busy” and I was hooked. This album’s got that same dancehall/reggae vibe that you’d expect from Sean Paul, but there are way more dance tunes on this one. You could pull almost any track from this album and have a high-rated single. As always, his lyrics are all about gettin’ down and dirty and praising the women. Crank this album when you’re on the way to the beach at night.
Favorite Tracks: So Fine, Now That I’ve Got Your Love, Press It Up, Evening Ride, Lately

t.A.T.u. – Dangerous And Moving
This is another one of those groups that I found when I was younger and stuck with. This is an album that’s good for throwing on later in the night at a party. There’s a good mix of upbeat tunes and slower pop songs to offer a decent variety to mix into your playlist. This album makes me think of a party in someone’s basement, for some reason. I think it’s the image of the girls performing in a dirty Russian club (which would probably also be in a basement) that’s in my head. Lyrically speaking, this album still relies heavily on the love-hate relationship dynamic. Specifically, the record company wanted you to focus on the fake-lesbian relationship between the singers, but you can still apply it to any relationship.
Favorite Tracks: All About Us, Cosmos (Outer Space), Loves Me Not, Friend Or Foe, Perfect Enemy

Zomboy – The Dead Symphonic – EP
Zomboy’s created some hard-hitting dubstep in the past two years. I think this is one of his best EPs and I gladly drive around to all of the tracks on it. It’s fast paced and hectic, but it’s still very well put together and not nearly as disjointed as many dubstep critics would have you believe is the norm for the genre. This is a good set of tracks to listen to when you want to drive around really, really fast. I’ve caught myself going about 30 over the speed limit before when I listen to Zomboy’s music. You. Have. Been. Warned.
Favorite Tracks: Hoedown, Vancouver Beatdown, Deadweight, Gorilla March

Remember, kids: Windows down, tunes up.

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My Favorite Spring Albums

by Cherie, contributing writer

Ah, spring in New England. It truly is a magical time of year. By the end of April we can finally put away the shovels and winter boots and at least be reasonably assured that we shouldn’t need them for another year. One of my favorite things about spring is the fact that I can finally roll down my windows and blast music on my way to work. It never fails to lift my mood. And while it’s true that I love all kinds of music, there’s just something about some albums that make them better to listen to at full volume with the wind rushing through your hair. Here’s what I’ll be listening to this spring.

Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend
This deserves an honorable mention because, despite the fact that I don’t feel the need to belt out every single song at full volume, its the perfect spring album. There’s something catchy about the band’s music, which is alternately laid back and upbeat, that makes it a perfect spring time listen. Favorite tracks: A-punk, Oxford Comma, Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa

Where You Want to Be – Taking Back Sunday
To me, this is the quintessential TBS album. I think this might be my favorite TBS album, even beating out the much loved Tell All Your Friends. The vocal interplay between Lazzarra and Nolan is at its best on this album, and it has some of my favorite lyrics of all time. There’s very few albums I enjoy blasting at full volume and belting along more than this one. Favorite tracks: This Photograph is Proof (I Know You Know), New American Classic, Number Five With a Bullet, One Eighty By Summer

The Airborne Toxic Event – The Airborne Toxic Event
When they were first starting out, the music that TATE created was often referred to as “poetry you can dance to.” Try as I might I can’t come up with a better description of their music than that, especially when referencing their first album. Listening to this album at full volume while driving to work is like having an orchestral soundtrack. It’s beautiful and never fails to put me in a good mood. Favorite tracks: Wishing Well, Papillon, Does This Mean You’re Moving On?, Something New

The Family Jewels – Marina and the Diamonds
If you’re looking something more along the lines of power pop to listen to, then look no further than Marina and the Diamonds. Marina’s vocal range is unique and her power and control are remarkable. She’s definitely got a unique sound, and her songs are, without exception, lush creations that will get stuck in your head for days at a time. I highly recommend her to anyone who hasn’t already checked her out. Favorite tracks: Oh No!, Are You Satisfied?, Shampain, Hollywood

Steel Train – Steel Train
I love fun, but some really good bands were sacrificed so that fun could move forward. Unfortunately, Steel Train is one of those bands. The boys of Steel Train were just coming into their own as a band and creating their own unique sound, which makes it harder to see them on an indefinite hiatus. Regardless, their self titled album is an indie rock masterpiece. Antonoff and gang created a unique sound full of full-band vocals, guitar solos, and keyboard accompaniment. Favorite tracks: Touch Me Bad, Soldier in the Army, Bloody Lips, You are Dangerous

Babel – Mumford and Sons
There’s nothing like rolling down the road to the sound of banjos and horns blasting. The banjos are certainly back and louder than ever in Mumford and Son’s second album which is now a Grammy winning “album of the year” masterpiece. The soaring highs and the brokenhearted lows of the album are perfect for spring time listening. Favorite Tracks: Babel, Whispers in the Dark, Broken Crown, Hopeless Wanderer

Ocean Avenue – Yellowcard
One of the first pop punk albums I ever listened to, Yellowcard’s Ocean Avenue has always had a place in my heart. It will forever remind me of summers spent on our camp at the lake, blasting the album from a boombox on the porch while my parents told me to turn it down. Spring and summer will always be the best time to listen to pop punk album’s such as this. Favorite tracks: Ocean Avenue, Empty Apartment, Inside Out, Way Away

Last Minutes and Lost Evenings – Frank Turner
This is kind of cheating since Last Minutes is a compilation album, but to be honest I couldn’t pick just one album to include on this list. Frank Turner is flawless, and every single one of this albums is ideal for making it onto a spring playlist. But this one is a compilation of some of his best songs. Favorite tracks: all of them but especially The Ballad of Me and My Friends

Every Kingdom – Ben Howard
I honestly think this might have been one of the best albums to come out of last year. The music itself is fairly simply, just a guitar, cello and Ben’s vocals (with some backing from India) but it is simply amazing. I can picture Ben sitting outside in the spring sun somewhere, busking these tracks (point in fact, Ben has done just that). It’s one of my more mellow picks for spring, but it is definitely a spring album all the same. Favorite tracks: Old Pine, The Wolves, The Fear, Keep Your Head Up

Aim and Ignite – fun
While I’m a huge fan of Some Nights, I have to say that nothing can beat Aim and Ignite. It combines the theatricality of The Format’s Dog Problems (Ruess’s previous band) with the more rock based elements of Steel Train (Antonoff). Just an all around feel good album produced by a very talented group of guys. Favorite tracks: At Least I’m Not as Sad (As I Used to Be), Walking the Dog, All the Pretty Girls, Be Calm.

MUSIC

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