Prelim and flu season have finally come around to bite us in the bum, and while we’re regretting all those lectures we’ve dozed through and the questionable health choices we’ve made this past month, we shouldn’t forget to take it easy once in awhile. My personal go-to stress detox? Music. Whether you’re a freshman dabbling between majors or a senior about to get your degree, here are some bands — new and old, mainstream and less so — that I think you should give a shot. So crank it up to eleven and may the deity of your choice bless us all this next month.
Agriculture: Big Star
I’ll admit, they sound like a band your dad would listen to (and maybe he does, they’ve got quite the cult following from that generation). But if you want some easy, mellow listening, I’d highly recommend. They’ve got earthy guitars and genuine, honest voices, and sometimes that’s all you need to brighten up the mood just a little.
Architecture: The Stone Roses
In today’s music streaming culture, no one really has the time to properly listen to an album from start to finish, but The Stone Roses’ self titled album should definitely be an exception. Each harmony, melody, guitar solo, bass, etc., provides continuous layers upon layers. All 49 minutes and 2 seconds of the album could sound like one really, really long song because the foundation is built so well and so consistently (just like the stuff you all design!).
Art History: The Dandy Warhols
If you want a solid alt-rock band with a neo-power pop sound and pop art aesthetic, The Dandy Warhols is the band for you. Obviously you art historians (and really anyone with basic historical knowledge) know they take their name from the pop artist Andy Warhol. The band pays homage to so many staples from the latter half of the 20th century, from the heroin craze to the origin of indie aesthetic, and of course, the Velvet Underground.
Biology: Portugal. The Man
Sometimes all you pre-meds and researchers just need a break from the everyday grind of bio lectures and labs (and all that chem that goes with it), and what better than the reliably feel-good tunes of Portugal. The Man? While the lyrics can pull you into an existential loop from the shortcomings of the world, you can’t help but sing along. Bonus reason to listen to Portugal. The Man: they’re playing at our own Bailey Hall on November 6th.
Kasabian’s got all the bumpin’ beats to get you pumped for those three hour labs (and the prelab! And the lab report!). Get that energy flowing before your orgo prelim or tackling those weekly Sapling problem sets. We know the workload is “gonna keep you up all night.” Plus, if you’re a Leicester City fan, you’ll already know a lot of their songs.
Classics: The Young Veins
The first time I listened to the Young Veins I was confused for a solid 30 seconds over how a band from 2010 could sound like the Beatles’ little brother. Based in LA, Ryan Ross and Jon Walker went from making an emo-punk album to making an homage to the harmonious, warm tunes of the 60s. So thank you, the Young Veins, and thank you, classics majors, for making sure the good stuff in history never dies out.
Computer Science: Gorillaz
A virtual band for those who work with virtual reality. The band members are entirely imaginary and animated; any vocals and instruments are played by various artists who merely bring the characters to life. How do they do live shows? Holograms. Their better known stuff might give you war flashbacks of MySpace days and cringey adolescence from the ‘00s, but it’s okay, we’ve all grown and moved on for the better.
Economics or Government: The Shins
Yes, the band that does that song from Garden State. But they do more than just soundtrack Zach Braff movies and shows. If you ever want to be transported to a NYC coffeeshop with organic, free trade coffee, Edison light bulbs, and exposed brick without having to take a Short Line Bus for the weekend, just play The Shins and satisfy all your big-city-indie-scene craving needs.
As an English major and a massive Oasis fan, I may or may not be biased. But I honestly feel like anyone, regardless of prefered genre, will find at least one Oasis song agreeable (and it won’t be Wonderwall). Each album has at least a handful of uplifting anthems to get you through the day. Don’t let anyone tell you your English degree is useless — in the words of Noel Gallagher, “you ain’t ever gonna burn my heart out.”
Engineering: twenty one pilots
I know it seems like everyone’s a fan of twenty one pilots these days so this may be redundant, but if you only know “Stressed Out” I invite you to browse their previous two albums. Do you like rap? Slam poetry? Ukuleles? Electronic jams? Existential piano? Being in touch with your emotions? There’s a twenty one pilots song for you. Plus, the band name sounds like it could be one of your project teams.
Public Health: The Vaccines
Fine, this is purely for the cheap pun. But The Vaccines do have a very universal sound. From the 50s to the 80s, you can find some element of some era of rock in every song; they’ve opened for bands from the Rolling Stones to Arctic Monkeys and everywhere in between.
History or Hotel Administration: Catfish and the Bottlemen
Catfish and the Bottlemen’s lead singer and songwriter said the aim of the band is to have that universal sound of the Strokes and Arctic Monkeys but to be as influential as Oasis. With just two albums out, their small cult following is quickly expanding and the venues they play get bigger and bigger. Take a break from all that EDM and go back in time with Catfish and the Bottlemen for some class alternative rock — they’ll make you wanna wear black and vintage leather jackets while jamming out.
ILR: Bombay Bicycle Club
Bombay Bicycle Club has those songs that you hear in a coffeeshop or a clothing store and don’t really mind, but don’t really bother to add it to your playlist either. Mellow as they are, sometimes those coffeeshop songs are the best for relaxing and getting your homework and studying done. I suggest starting with “Ivy & Gold” and shuffling their songs from there.
Linguistics: The Mowgli’s
The Mowgli’s are what I like to consider “mainstream indie” (oxymoron?). They’ve got some great catchy, folky, rocky, feel-goody tunes but mainly, I just want y’all to explain the point of the apostrophe in the band name.
Performing and Media Arts: Panic! at the Disco
Embrace your inner 2006-emo-kid and revel in the drama of their first album A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out or bop your way through the dancey tunes of their newest album Death of a Bachelor — from burlesque to psychedelic rock, you’re bound to find your sweet spot somewhere in Panic’s repertoire.
Yeah, okay, everyone knows “Creep”. But if alternative rock is your style, delve past the likes of “Karma Police” and “No Surprises”, and let Thom Yorke croon your procrastinating self out of inertia. Figure out those weird melody lines and mystical guitars and why they somehow work… isn’t that what you physics majors do anyway?
Sociology or Psychology: Blur
Despite the grunge-y sound of Blur’s “Song 2” (which, by the way, was created as satire of American grunge), the majority of Blur’s stuff doesn’t go that hard. Damon Albarn paints caricatures of bourgeois society, the flaws of British culture, the working class, the technology age, and heroin; it’s like a bastardization of the real sociology and psychology I’m pretty sure you guys study.
Statistics or Mathematics: OK Go
Remember that viral music video of four vibrantly dressed guys doing cool tricks on treadmills? Almost every single one of OK Go’s other music videos are of the same creative nature. From zero-gravity tricks to synchronized umbrellas and Rube Goldberg machines, each video’s choreography is immaculately calculated (and often taken in one continuous shot). Even if you’re not too down for their dancey tunes, the music videos will not fail to amaze.