Discover: Carly’s Playlist, Sept. 3-11

By Carly Preston

I’ve always been someone stuck in her ways. I re-listen to all of my music until the point of shear madness. I watch the same sitcoms over and over again (I think I’ve seen 30 Rock at least five times through now). I get caught up on specific outfits and hairstyles that I will repeatedly wear like a cartoon character. What can I say? I like who I am.

Ending this vicious cycle I fall into can sometimes be lethal though. My best friend once had to hold me down while she made me watch (now one of my favorite shows) Arrested Development. So I took this Discover the Lobster piece as a challenge to find some new jams. I was starting to feel a bit stuffy.

Spotify defines the Discover Weekly playlist as “Your weekly mixtape of fresh music. Enjoy new discoveries and deep cuts chosen just for you. Updated every Monday, so save your favorites!”

I was curious to see if I could truly receive some “deep cuts.”

On a day-to-day to basis I listen to a lot of different music. I tend towards non-male led punk, but I’d be lying if I didn’t play some Motown, horrendous pop punk, and even noise from time-to-time.

At first glance my playlist was full of bands I’d already known and loved, acts like The Courtneys, Spook Houses, Radiator Hospital, and Palm. These are all act I routinely listen to, so I decided to skip discussing them.

“So, So Long” by Michael Nau sounded like what I can only describe as Reese Witherspoon attending a Mumford and Sons concert. It was boring, bland, and generic. This track was as if Wilco went fully acoustic and got ten times worse.

After that was the female equivalent of this whiny acoustic white boy- Summer Salt. Of course her name was some outdoor “I am one with nature” type crap. Her song “The Sun” (I eye rolled too) physically left me upset. At this point I was feeling extremely disheartened. Why Spotify felt the need to shove boring white folk down my throat I was unsure.

Then I got to “Dirt” by BROCKHAMPTON and I instantly was hyped. This track was in my opinion was on the better, if not best, on the playlist. It had me bopping while walking to class and I have since added the rap group BROCKHAMPTON in my music collection. This track was impeccably produced, insanely funky, and wonderfully encompassed their California sound. I could totally see myself busting this song out at the next party I attend.

Feeling revived, I reached “Choker” by Beach Goons. I was at first immediately turned off by yet another band using the word beach in their name. However, I found myself subtly head banging while listening to this. It was short, simple, and clever surf punk.

Other tracks I enjoyed included: “In Heaven” by Japanese Breakfast, “Flowers on the Wall” by Tomorrows Tulips, and “I Don’t Wanna be Funny Anymore” by Lucy Dacus. All these tracks, while different in nature, caused me to obsessively delve into each musician and fall in love again with many of their other songs.

On top of the new music similar to daily listening, this playlist also allowed me to explore some new musicians in a genre I’ve just started listening to more of. This past summer ambient music because something I slowly started loving. This may be due to the nice weather, but in moments of stress ambience was something that really helped me to calm down. My personal favorite of the three different ambient/ lo fi noisy songs offered was “Anchor” by Botany. This song, simply put, is just beautiful. Making computer-generated noises this seamless and natural is truly an art and I have since drifted fully into love with Botany.

At the end of this discover weekly journey I realized that not only was my taste completely sporadic and virtually impossible to detect, but also I really need to start branching out more. Yeah, there were some flops that, while not horrifically bad, were revolting boring. This has inspired me to may be not put up such a fight next time my friend tells me to listen to some hip new album.

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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.

Discover: Travis’s Playlist, Dec. 1-6

Discover: Carly’s Playlist, Nov. 9 -18

By Carly Preston, Contributor

Spotify’s Discover Weekly thus far has really never steered me wrong.  They have brought bands such as Vivian Girls, Screaming Females and The Slits into my life, acts that are now some of my favorites.  I was excited to take on this Discover Weekly challenge and find some new jams.

However, I couldn’t have been more wrong.

I will provide some insight into my history with Spotify to begin.  I listen to Spotify everyday.  I do not use digital download much, so I am typically using CD’s or records at home, but on-the-go I tune into the music streaming app.

Yes, I know I am kind of trash for using it.  Streaming really screws over musicians for what they rightfully deserve, but I am content with being trash while I continue to identify as the broke college student I am.

Any who, on a daily basis I tune into a lot of riot grrrl punk and emo.  Also, I guess if I’m being fair, Motown and indie as well.  Obviously my music taste is a bit more expansive than these genres, but on a daily basis these provide me comfort during my travels.

So why Spotify chose to infiltrate my life with generic indie folk and boring ethereal noise I will never understand.

Let’s dive into it shall we?

The playlist started with “John Allyn Smith Sails” by Okkervil River, one the worst indie folk songs to ever grace an acoustic guitar. Truthfully, it sounds harsh, but the guitars were generic and the lyrics sounded like the ramblings of a jaded white boy. This band is the music equivalent of putting mayonnaise in a record player.

To liven up the playlist after all the blandness, I heard “Misanthropic Drunken Loner” by Days N’ Daze.  A song I could not work myself up finish because the males voice sounded as if he had just smoked an entire Marlboro factory, and not in a Bob Dylan-esque way.  If the first track was too boring, this track sure woke things up.  This song itself was a form a torture, even just for the two minutes I heard.

What I then assumed to be the mandatory adult contemporary track arrived about halfway through the playlist with “Lariat” by Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks.  A track I myself did not enjoy, but will pass along to my dad later.  This song was shortly followed by “Palomino” by Mates of State, a song whose chorus sounds like an advertisement used to convince hipsters to come to Coachella.

In order to convince those reading this I am not nearly as pessimistic as what I probably sound, this playlist did have some benefits. For instance it highlighted artists constantly recommended to me that I never really got around to listening. Artists such as Kevin Devine, I Kill Giants and KEY! (who I’ve heard a bit of before from his work with ILOVEMAKONNEN).  Ironically, these musicians accounted for three out of five new acts I would listen to again from this playlist.

The other tracks I liked tended toward musicians and songs I was already aware of. These non-new artists featured on my playlist included Julian Casablancas, Dads, Of Montreal, Twin Peaks, Salvia Plath and even Wilco.

The most interesting selection from the mind of Spotify was “I Wanna be a Witch” by Teen Suicide, song that I realistically listen to at least twice a week from a band that I would consider to be one my favorites.  It seemed as if Spotify put in tracks I already knew and enjoyed.

Over all, I would give my Discover Weekly playlist a C-.  It contained very little tunes I would return to and left me questioning why Spotify thinks I enjoy this stuff.

However, it did make me interested in what Spotify has in store for me next week.  While a lot of it was music I could never see myself enjoying, I kind of liked the shock of not knowing what was going to play next.  It was like a musical roller coaster or haunted house. I never knew what I was going to hear, but it still managed to excite and anticipate me.

Spotify will definitely catch me checking in on next week’s playlist.

Discover: Van’s Playlist, Nov. 2 – 8

By Van Williams, Contributor
Spotify was something that I never found particularly interesting. It just seemed like a boring, more convenient YouTube where people could listen to music for free and not give money to the hardworking artists making it.
When my friends insistence became more than I could handle, I finally got around to downloading it… but not without complaint. After all my user name is spotifyhater420.
However, for something that I gave so little credibility, it hit my playlist right over the head this week. For having what I’d consider an obnoxiously diverse music palette, this playlist was pretty good. I mean, my last four artists listened to were Rage Against The Machine, The Cure, Luke Bryan and Florida Georgia Line. To talk a little about the songs on my Discover Weekly, I’ve chosen the ten songs I was the most excited about.
1. “Heavy Gloom” – The Story So Far
I heard this song when it was released as a single, and it’s still one of my favorites from their newest record. I just saw them slay live last Sunday night so this seemed fitting.  
2. “Everything Is Alright” – Motion City Soundtrack
Now that the warm, sunlight days of autumn are fading away, whenever one comes around I play this album. There’s always been a hopeful chord found in Commit This To Memory that has resonated with me, whether it be Justin Pierre’s bouncy vocals or Mark Hoppus’s obvious touch, it always leaves me smiling.
3. “I Don’t Like Who I Was Then” – The Wonder Years
In 2013 The Wonder Years released The Greatest Generation, and personally it left a little to be desired. Regardless, excited would be an understatement to describe my anticipation for this record, and this was the first song that really hit home with me.
4. “The Joker” – Steve Miller Band
Not entirely sure how this song sneaked on here but I’m so happy that it did It surprised in the best way.
5. “Flagpole Sitta” – Harvey Danger
This is a song that I feel flies massively under the radar for catchy 90’s alternative music, it takes me back a much younger high school version of myself watching American Pie for the first time in my basement.
6. “Sweetness” – Jimmy Eat World
An absolute staple in early 2000s’ emo and pop punk infused music. I don’t go back to Bleed American as much once it starts getting cold out, so I’m glad spotify gave me one last taste of one of the best bands.
7. “Friday I’m In Love” – The Cure
This is not my favorite songs by The Cure, but it is however one of my favorite songs (take that how you will). Released as the second single off of 1992’s Wish, the song achieved instant success, and for good reason.
8. “There Is” – Box Car Racer
Box Car Racer, as I’m sure most know was Tom Delonge from blink-182’s post hardcore influenced project that featured ⅔ of blink’s members and indirectly lead to the dissolution of pop-punk’s most immature heroes. However you look at it, it lead to an amazing record from Box Car Racer, and this was the second single from one of 2002’s best records.
9. “Tiny Raindrop” – Balance & Composure
In 2013, Balance & Composure released the Will Yip produced The Things We Think We’re Missing to acclaim from pretty much everyone who would listen to the record. “Tiny Raindrop” is the track from the record that sticks with me most, constantly echoing it’s grungy tones and scratchy vocals in the back of my mind.

10. “Gum” – Moose Blood
Moose Blood have recently become one of my favorite bands to watch progress, constantly growing from their
Moving Home EP. This song is a good example of that, only made better with it’s American Beauty name drop.

Discover: Jon’s Playlist, Nov. 2 – Nov. 8

By Jonathan Fuchs, Contributor

For people like me who rarely use Spotify, Discover Weekly is a really weird experience. Because of my lack of activity, Spotify thinks I like acoustic pop that acts as the soundtrack for YouTube “pranksters” who just harass women on the street.

The Diamonds in the Rough:

“Afterglow” by Wilkinson – As soon as the song started, I immediately held my head in my hands in pure embarrassment in the terrible lyrics. But as soon as I heard the faint sound of drums, I knew that this was going to be good, and as soon as the song dropped, I couldn’t stop dancing. Good dance track all around.

“Ulay, Oh” by How I Became the Bomb – This band reminds me a lot of The Flaming Lips if they kept their sound from Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. It had some interesting synths and drums, and everything sounded really nice and smooth.

“Cavalier” by James Vincent McMorrow – This was probably the best song I listened to on this playlist, which makes sense because James Vincent McMorrow was one of the only names I could recognize. His high-pitched vocals were smooth and relaxing and his synths were brilliant. The drums also had effects that were hard to describe but very nice to listen to. This and How I Became the Bomb are most likely the only two artists I’ll go back to.

Close But No Cigar:

“Made for You” by Alexander Cardinale – This sounded fine, but it was like literally everything I’ve ever heard on the radio. If I didn’t know the artist, I would’ve thought this was Phillip Phillips or whoever else is relevant.

“Overload (The Chainsmokers Remix)” by Life of Dillon – For those who don’t remember, The Chainsmokers are responsible for the song “#Selfie” that went viral because it was terrible, so I groaned when I saw their name. The rhythms on the song were interesting and the melodies were nice, but its repetitive style got pretty boring.

“I Do” by Holley Maher – The lyrics on this song were pure garbage, but the vocals were pleasant enough to encourage me to not just skip to the next song. I also really liked the production on the guitar, pianos and drums.

“It’s Just a Prank, Bro”:

“I’m Still Here” by Benjy Davis – The beginning of this song was great; I loved the vocals and guitar, and his melody was nice. Then the chorus kicked in, and for a second I thought that a random tab on my laptop was playing a trailer to a John Green movie. The cheesy lyrics made me sick and its way too clean production made me stop the song before it ended.

“Paradise (On Earth)” by Cris Cab – I have a feeling that Spotify hates me because this has some of the worst singing I’ve ever heard in my life. It sounded like if Adam Levine caught a head cold before a live show. This was generic, boring and just plain awful.

“Jackpot” by Jocelyn Alice – I really can’t tell the difference between unknown female pop singers and this song is the perfect example. From the bland singing and god-awful instrumentation, I would’ve thought this was Halsey or Tove Lo or some other singer we’re all going to forget about in five years.

“You Got Me” by Gavin DeGraw – My sister loves Gavin DeGraw, and because this terrible song was made for the freaking DOLPHIN TALE 2 SOUNDTRACK, I will never know why. The singing was boring, the production was way too loud, and the lyrics were laughable. I guess I’ll never understand, sis.

Discover: Eric’s Playlist, Sept. 27 – Oct. 3

By Eric Perzanowski, Staff Writer

The past couple of weeks, my Discover Weekly playlist on Spotify did a stellar job of reintroducing bands that I hadn’t listened to in a while, and introducing groups I had never heard of. There were several coincidences on the selections of the playlist that impressed me and also kinda freaked me out. To be honest, the playlist for this week was underwhelmed in comparison to recent weeks.

New Discoveries

“Big Timber” by Himsa – The guitar tone on this song got me into it, then upon repeated listens, I appreciated the rest of the qualities of the song. After some research I discovered that the album was partially produced by Devin Townsend, which is an added plus. Also, Himsa has been broken up for about seven years, which I guess is a bummer, but there’s still plenty of this band’s discography to explore.

“Längstmedån” by Vildhjarta – The whole “djent” thing is something I never really caught on to, with the exception of a couple of bands. Where Vildhjarta really made themselves stand out with this song was the ambiance in the background. The song had an added gloomy, melancholic feel to it because of this ambiance.

“Einherjar” by King of Asgard – I’ve listened to this group several times, and each time I have, I’ve enjoyed it. Their sound reminded me a lot of older Amon Amarth. Perhaps I haven’t cared as much lately about the “Viking metal” trend, but either way, this song was a welcomed inclusion on the playlist.

“Extinct” by Moonspell – This song had a gothic, folky feel. Seeing bands like Paradise Lost on Moonspell’s related artists list certainly made sense. The clean vocals reminded me a lot of Týr’s Heri Joenson.

Rediscoveries

“Seven Years Alone” by Devil You Know – In my early teen years, there wasn’t a better vocalist than Howard Jones from Killswitch Engage. I was glad to see his new band Devil You Know release their first album last year. The album wasn’t mind-blowing or anything, but it was twelve tracks of enjoyable, melodic metal, and this was perhaps the catchiest tune of the dozen. I also didn’t realize that the band has another album coming out so soon.

“Homo Sum” by Decapitated – I’m not sure if this could be a rediscovery, since there was a brief week-long span earlier this year where basically every other album I listened to was by Decapitated (I haven’t listened to them since). It was last week when I thought I should listen to a little more Decapitated, and oddly enough there they were in the middle of the playlist.

“High Velocity Impact Spatter” by Cannibal Corpse – I didn’t forget about Cannibal Corpse, but rather I forgot that the album the band released last year was pretty sweet. The song lives up to its namesake.

Ehh…

“Armorist” by Overkill – I like Overkill, but for whatever reason I just couldn’t get into their most recent album, White Devil Armory, which “Armorist” is on.

“Barricades” by Evergrey – This song started out alright with a nice synthy intro, but I wasn’t thrilled by the rest of the song. I’ve listened to several other songs from this band, and they were pretty decent, but I didn’t care for this one.

“Ruthless” by DevilDriver – DevilDriver is just one of those bands I’ve never really gotten into. They do have some good stuff, but I’ve just never really cared that much to look into the band further, and this song didn’t change that at all.