But, of course, no one should forget their homework. It is after all probably the most important part of higher education. But who says you cant listen to some tunes while you are straining your brain? Here are some suggestions for your listening enjoyment, depending on which subject youre studying:
- The John Wilkes Kissing Booth - A Threat in the Broadcast - Velvet Blue Music
When it comes to utilizing music and poetics there are few who match the wit and sheer clever nature of Derrick Brown, the vocalist at the head of the John Wilkes Kissing Booth. This obscure, but well-worth-the-effort California band plays smooth indie-rock music in the vein of the Smiths and Morissey, while slam poet Brown keeps it real. He is known all over the world as an award winning writer and performance poet, with a knack for giving the English language a swift kick in the rear. This is fairly quiet music, yet its energetic enough to keep your toes tapping while you are slaving away with that T.S. Eliot or Emily Dickinson. For those struggling to grasp the rhythmic nature of poetry, which your instructor probably rails about so much (and is always convinced that no one else gets), this is the perfect complement to your studies. Avalon by Braille and My Most Hated Love Song are the two tracks to keep in mind on this album.
- The Dillinger Escape Plan - Calculating Infinity - Relapse Records
If you can still concentrate while simultaneously having your mind blown and your skull crushed, then this is the fitting thing to have coming through your headphones while working on that blasted Algebra. DEP have a volume and intensity that is unmatched in all of heavy music (at least for now), and are some of the most technically skilled musicians you will ever hear play. What sounds like pure chaos at first is actually well-crafted, rhythmically driven metal-core that knows nothing of any typical time signature. No band can make listeners want to pay closer attention, yet at the same time want to run away in fear. There is a mathematical aspect to music, and no one captures it with quite the same intensity and dedication as this band.
- Sufjan Stevens - Greetings from Michigan: the Great Lake State - Sounds Familyre/Asthmatic Kitty Records
You can learn more about the geography of Michigan from listening to this album and looking at the liner notes than you can get from an entire semester of reading those horrible science books. This quirky, yet charming singer/songwriter has impressed many with this album, which is entirely devoted to none other than his home-state of Michigan. With song titles like Flint (For the Unemployed and Underpaid), Sleeping Bear, Sault St. Marie, and Detroit, Lift Up Your Weary Head! (Rebuild! Restore! Reconsider!) it is obvious that Stevens heart is still in Michigan and he displays it with his soothing, eclectic jazz/pop/bluegrass music. Stevens is planning on making an album for each of the fifty states and rumor has it that he is now toiling away at a record dedicated to our neighbor to the southwest, Illinois. What better way to learn about landmarks all over the state and the country?
- Elliott Smith - From a Basement on the Hill - Anti-Records
Although this album has not been released yet (it comes out on Oct. 15, just in time for midterms) it is sure to be quite a piece of art as it is the last thing that beloved indie-songwriter Elliott Smith completed before he committed suicide not too long ago. One can only imagine what was going through a persons head while they were being creative yet thinking of ending their own life as well. It is not too difficult to identify with what
Elliott has to say and at times that can be quite depressing as Elliott was not the most uplifting of songwriters. Someone should do a study on how music affects the mood of listeners with this record.
- Miles Davis and John Coltrane - Miles and Coltrane: Live - Columbia Records
We cant let you forget about the past. There is no better place to start than with these two great jazz innovators, performing together live.
So while you are reading On the Road or The Catcher in the Rye and discussing the atmosphere of the 1950s, slip in this little fella and HEAR what the 50s were like. You can hear a little of everything, from these masters dueling solos on a Charlie Parker tune, to slow and chill crooning on some of Davis own work. Without musicians like Coltrane and Davis the current music scene would not be the same, and as grandpappy says, its good to respect your elders and know about the past. So why not listen to some sweet music at the same time? Listen to it on vinyl and it just might save your life.
Blow off some steam:
- Still Remains - If Love Was Born to Die - Benchmark Records
Study breaks are probably the best part of the academic realm in college. And youve got to have something to rock out to while you are taking that 15 minute to hour-long break. One band that is still under the radar (but not for too much longer) is the Grand Rapids-based melodic hardcore outfit Still Remains. As far as underground heavy music goes this band has it all: great guitar riffs and harmonies (that are actually more metal than hardcore), nice breakdowns, good melodies and catchy sing-along lyrics that you would normally expect from old school hardcore, not from its more modern cousin. This is a six-song demo the band just released but look for a full-length in the not too distant future. Light Through Skin is probably their best work. So get up and throwdown a little when you have homework up the wazoo, because college is supposed to be a little fun isnt it?