Discover: Van’s Playlist, Feb 8-14

By: Van Williams, Contributor
Spotify is something that has made recreational music listening a lot easier in the last couple of years, and though some like myself might argue that it takes away from the romance of a physical copy, there are definitely a lot of pros.
One of these pros is the Discover Weekly Playlist that Spotify offers. It takes what you’ve been listening to all week, and every Sunday it generates a playlist of roughly thirty songs that it thinks that the listener might enjoy. These can either be very on the mark, or massively off. This week, my Discover Weekly playlist hit the nail on the head, here are the ten biggest winners.
1. The World At Large – Modest Mouse: It’s no secret that the weather has been pretty crummy lately, but in between the snow and the rain, the slush and Soviet Russia colored sky, there have been days of sunshine, and there is no better song to enter the warm weather with. The World At Large is one of Modest Mouse’s warmer songs, and it fits perfectly with spring on the horizon.
2. Plane vs. Tank vs. Submarine – Tigers Jaw:  Being the first Tigers Jaw song I ever heard, it’s always nice to hear this one when it’s unexpected. I dare anyone who knows it not to sing a little off key to the opening lines of this gem.
3. Maps – The Yeah Yeah Yeahs: The Guitar Hero essential, and most popular song to come out of the 90’s group. It’s hard to feel anything but pop bliss than life when this song comes on with the massive drums and tremolo picking. “Wait, they don’t love you like I love you.”
4. The Tide – The Spill Canvas: This is one of the most miserably whiny songs I’ve ever heard in my life, and it’s one of the very few of the caliber that I enjoy. I’m not even sure that I enjoy it, but I know all the words and sing all of them, so that must count for something. A band often forgotten about, The Spill Canvas never seemed to get the credit they deserved.
5. Two Beers In – Free Throw: Half punk, half twinkle from one of this generation’s best emo bands. A song about the heartache that’s only numbed by drinking beers with your friends, when it’s clear, “This already feels like a night to forget.”
6. Freakish – Saves The Day: Saves The Day has influenced 90% of the bands making music today, and yet it seems like no one talks about them, but when they released Stay What You Are in 2001, it was quite a different story. This is the track that splits the record in half, soft and aching, without ever feeling too sad. “Well here I am, don’t know how to say this, the only thing I know is awkward silence.”
7. Eleven To Your Seven – Hey Mercedes: Taken from the brilliant record Everynight Fireworks, this Hey Mercedes track is one of their most memorable. Hey Mercedes were a Braid side project that some actually wound up liking better than Braid (myself included). With sad lyrics, bouncy vocals and a blistering guitar riff that would later be emulated by “Check Yes Juliet”, this song has it all.
8. White Blank Page – Mumford & Sons: Though most don’t like to admit it, there’s something extremely charming about Mumford & Sons, whether it be the old timey feel, the pop sensibility or just the way they dress. Something works, and on their 2009 record, Sigh No More, they hit a home run with White Blank Page.
9. Walking – Adventures: Adventures are an indie rock band, in the least traditional sense of the term. It is the side project of members of Code Orange, using their pop sensibilities. They’re signed to Run For Cover and put out their debut full length last year. But they started with a sling of EP’s, this being one, and this track kills.
10. Syracuse – Pinback: Pinback are a California bay-band that a lot of younger kids found out about when The Story So Far covered their “Loro” on a split with Stick To Your Guns. It was a good cover, but regardless, Pinback is a killer band, and this a killer song to end my Spotify playlist on.

Discover: Carter’s Playlist, Feb 1-7

By Carter Hickman, Contributor

According to Spotify’s Year in Music feature, I listened to 5,273 different songs via Spotify for 59,000 minutes in 2015, and 3,623 different tracks for 41,000 minutes in 2014, which together corresponds to 8,896 different songs in 1,650 hours, or 69 days.

I even have time logged in Spotify dating back to 2012 (check out my Freshman: spring-summer 2012 playlist. It’s not as embarrassing as I expected). From these stats, I can conclude that Spotify knows me very well, so I’d be pretty surprised/disappointed if my Discover Weekly playlists didn’t kick ass every week.

This week in particular stood out. From the first song (Jimi Hendrix’s “May This Be Love”) to the last (Ages and Ages’ “Light Goes Out”), each song caught my attention and reminded me of genres I’ve been listening to a lot lately, but always slightly different.

For instance, I’ve been playing a lot of fun, upbeat indie pop like Oberhofer, Little Comets, and Hippo Campus lately, and so the third song on my playlist was “Tropicoller Lease” by Sun Club. This song is carried by fun, dancy riffs similar to the bands previously noted, but the vocals are what really separates this band from other indie poppers. The vocals in this song are very unique, dramatic, distant and all over the place. I recommend it to everyone, regardless of taste.

Another favorite of mine from this week’s playlist is Diet Cig’s “Harvard”, which I’m pretty sure was derived from my recent Sports, Hinds, and Adult Mom obsessions. Diet Cig’s “Harvard” meshes punk rock (including the lyrics, such as “Fuck your ivy league sweater”) and garage pop, which is characterized by Alex Luciano’s sweet, melodic voice. From this song, I started checking out Diet Cig more in depth, and with every passing song I liked them more and more.

These songs are great, but my favorite song on this playlist goes to another feel-good, upbeat, indie pop tune, “Tickle” by Eyes Lips Eyes. The main riff that carries the intro and chorus is unbelievably catchy, so catchy that it’s been stuck in my head since I heard it for the first time. The lyrics are simple and sweet, and the guitar tone is as well. Overall, this track is just a great feel-good song that can be enjoyed by anyone.

Other notable appearances on the playlist goes to “Now, Now” by St. Vincent, “Making Breakfast” by Twin Peaks, and “The Summer Ends” by American Football.

There were some disappointments in this playlist though. Azizi Gibson’s “Crown Violet” is a terribly basic, uninteresting rap song containing shallow lyrics (I think I’ve been listening to too much A$AP Ferg).

In the opposite end of the genre spectrum, “Cinco De Mayo Shit Show” by Marietta is a showcase of overdone emo; whiny, overly dramatic, and uninventive. These two songs are the only two I would not listen to again.

Spotify has created an incredible recipe for weekly goodness, and for that I applaud them. I even found my favorite band, The Districts, from Discover Weekly. Music streaming sites have come and gone quite frequently within the last decade, but I think that Spotify is different, and is here to stay for quite a long time.

In addition to pleasing their customers, Discover Weekly is helping small artists out a lot. Not just music nerds know about bands with less than 100,000 streams on Spotify anymore.

The general majority can appreciate small bands, which is great support for the DIY scene, and now it’s easier than ever before to maintain a career as a musician, whether it’s local or global. Music streaming has its downs, but it also has its ups.