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Elephant Revival – Hello You Who

I really enjoy the opening few seconds of this track as it deceivingly presents itself as a more traditional piece. The track progresses and the character of the song starts to take shape into a folkish, alternative sound. Their music is relaxing and melancholy and provides the right atmosphere for an easy afternoon.

Phum Viphurit – Long Gone

This catchy tune comes all the way from Bangkok and is further proof of the idea that music is the universal language. This catchy, fun song blends elements of disco, funk, pop, and dance. The harmony is relatively simple but the way the notes are ordered, or voiced, helps to keep the listener engaged. The project, Manchild, is a solid first release from this modern artist.

Vitalism – Pagan, Pt. 2

I enthusiastically shared the music video of this song with students, coworkers, and friends when I first discovered it. Heavy riffs, harmonized guitar runs, shredding solos, and skillful composing has this band gaining a lot of recognition. They’re a combination of progressive metal, djent, and Latin sounds.

Bahamas – No Depression

I’ve been on an easy listening kick lately and this track maintains the pattern. It’s simple, catchy, and just makes you groove. To me, it sounds like a combination of Dusty Springfield and Jack Johnson.

The Palmer Squares – So Long

This hip hop duo is named after Palmer Square in Chicago near where they grew up. They’re one of my favorite groups. I’ve seen them live 6 times and was lucky enough to get photos with both artists! This track is full of clever wordplay and vivid imagery. Appropriately titled “So Long”, it’s about exhaustion and missing sleep. The subject matter is complimented well by the instrumental track underneath. (Warning: Explicit Content)

Donnie Hathaway – A Song for You

This song is a complete listening experience. It contains spacious, sweet piano harmonies, small, tasteful touches of string accompaniment, and love filled, passionate singing. On top of these elements, this song also has a great blend of tension of release in terms of harmony, dynamic, and tempo.

Giovanni Girolamo Kapsberger – Intavolatura di chitarrone

When I was a student, lute music was the best music for me to listen to when doing any type of homework or project. It helped me zone in, focus, and think about the subject. Bonus points for working by candle light! Kapsberger is one of the more known names from the era of lute music and it’s easy to hear why.

Arcangelo Corelli – Concerto Grosso No. 3

The Bolshoi Theater Orchestra is a treat to listen to performing works by this Baroque Italian composer. Powerful and full of dynamic contrast, this piece is one I’ve enjoyed more than a few times.

The Mars Volta – Roulette Dares (The Haunt Of)

This track may be off putting at first listen partially due to the tone of the singer’s voice or the intensity of the music at times. If that does not turn you away then your in for a real treat with this 7 minute track of their first album Deloused in the Comatorium.

Ambrosia – Holdin’ on to Yesterday

This band slipped under my radar until very recently like a lot of the artists populating this list. This progressive classic rock band, Ambrosia, caught my ear with this Pink Floyd-esque track. I will definitely be looking at more of their work and I hope you do as well.