Back-to-school jams for hitting the books

The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me – Brand New

I’m not into punk, so I was sure I wouldn’t like Brand New, but this album is simply the perfect blend of heavy punk instrumentals and soft vocals. Every song follows a similar pattern and style, making this album more than just one golden single; something most albums lack these days. If you’re expecting pop or dance punk, this is far from it. This album is dark, which makes it perfect for those cold fall mornings where you’re up before the sun.

Album standout “Handcuffs”  starts off slow, but gradually intensifies as more instruments layer upon the guitarists audible fret board slides. Lyrically, this song is beautiful and instrumentally, this song is intricate.  If you’re into dark ballads, definitely check out Brand New.

– Beth Bowles

Cycles of Existential Rhyme – Chicanos Batman

There exists a quartet of Los Angeles Latin-American rockers that wear pastel shirts and bowties; they’re Chicano Batman. Their second LP release Cycles of Existential Rhyme is soul music with a very clear Latin aesthetic, full of catchy, tight hooks and laidback guitar rhythms.

The band transgresses language barriers, with tracks written in both English and Spanish, which solidifies their amorphous take on culturally-confined music. It’s rare to hear such a unique mix of sounds that blend influences from airy 1980s Latin rock and sun-soaked 1960s doo-wop.

When we look out the window and decide to skip class because we can’t see the sidewalk, Chicano Batman is here to remind us that summer still exists.

– Jordan Soufian

For Emma, Forever Ago – Bon Iver

It’s in the crisp autumn air that we learn to cherish the quiet moments after a hard day’s work; moments where we snuggle in a dimly lit room, feeling reflective and at peace with ourselves.

Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago is the perfect getaway from the chaotic hell of school. Lead singer, Justin Vernon, sings in a calming falsetto, matched with mellow guitar strumming to create a beautifully mournful atmosphere.

Each song is hauntingly serene and the effect is one where we want to breathe in deeply and exhale, releasing all of the tense energy and stress the school day has buried inside of ourselves. Vernon’s voice is a lullaby after endless assignments and lectures.

– Jessica Dik

Little Neon Limelight –Houndmouth

Houndmouth’s latest release Little Neon Limelight focuses on a variety of topics including love, friendship and family. Though the topics explored in their songs are definitely worth listening to, it is their matchless sound that is truly mesmerizing.

This is the type of music that can be listened to no matter what you’re doing throughout the school year.

Whether you’re getting ready for a night out with your friends, staying in to read a good book or even doing schoolwork, Houndmouth has your back and can definitely aid in putting you in the right mood.

As someone who has listened to the album while studying, being at the gym and even just before going to the bars, you can take my word on it.

– Ryan Hopkins

BADLANDS – HALSEY

For years now, the women of pop music have dominated the scene. Artists like Taylor Swift, Katy Perry and Ariana Grande have released hit-after-hit. Joining the battle for number one is Halsey, with her debut album Badlands.

The album offers a grungy, neon flavour to an industry saturated by R&B-vibes. On tracks like “Colors”, she candy coats dark topics of suffering  with electronic beats to challenge the listener both cognitively and physically. The album plays out with a feverish fluidity, diving into the depths of a woman living in the 21st century. Halsey is someone pop music needs. She’s singing about more than just a breakup or a party, she’s pissed about the world and has something to say about it.

– Kyle McCord

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