It’s April, and you know what that means: exams are approaching fast. What I present to you here is a mixtape, a sure-fire way to guide you audibly through your day of study and stress; think of it as a musical revision guide. Featuring an eclectic mix of genres and moods, I’m hoping this will provide some sort of fleeting relief.
Enjoy. Blaz x
Full tracklisting after the jump.
Mannish Boy – Muddy Waters
You wake up, feeling fresh; “today is going to be a good day,” you tell yourself as you stretch, “time to make this module my bitch!” What better way to get in the mood than a bit of classic Muddy – you are a (WO)MAN!
The Ghost Inside – Broken Bells
A head-bopper from the lovechild of James Mercer (The Shins) and Brian Burton (Danger Mouse) to keep the mood going; take it in as you chow down on that bowl of month old cereal and questionable milk.
Dirty Water – NIVA
The walk to campus, a tough one to get right, you need something to elate you with a rhythmic beat to ensure you don’t trip over your own heavy feet as the 7am wake-up feels like an increasingly bad idea. What better for the job than some fresh Swedish ambient electro courtesy of NIVA, ja?
Weather of Killing Kind – The Tallest Man on Earth
There’s a Swedish theme here, I know, but TTMoE does wonders to sate that initial panic when you can’t find a seat in the library or the books you need or the pen you KNOW you packed this morning. Just let Kristian Matsson ease you into the routine; then you can sit down and get some proper work done, right?
Come Back I Don’t Love You – Onra & Quetzal
You’re in the zone now; throw on some hip-hop beats to keep yourself ticking over. This track comes from Tribute, a truly brilliant hip-hop/soul beat collaboration from French producers Onra and Quetzal; I cannot stress enough how badly you need this album.
The World is Going Up in Flames – Charles Bradley
It’s that late morning slump, Charles Bradley feels your pain; he didn’t break through until he was 54, the man knows something about struggles. Empathize with him through this soulful number; taken from his 2011 revivalist soul album, No Time For Dreaming, you know that he can relate (and that there’s truth in those James Brown parallels being drawn by critics).
Frankie’s Gun! – The Felice Brothers
Right, it’s time for lunch, the sun is still there, it’s been mocking you from outside of that dingy centre of higher learning but now you’re free (for a half hour at least). The Felice Bros. are what you need now; let the Americana vibes flow through you as you take a bite from your hastily-made sandwich, soak up the mild weather and dream of the Catskills.
Koop Island Blues – Koop
I didn’t realize quite how ingrained the Swedes had become in my collection, but there we are. You’re back at the desk, you’re disorientated, let this sultry electro-jazz number put you back in a mindset to get.shit.done. The Koop pair doesn’t use an orchestra, but rather a huge number of small samples to piece together each track and I think you’ll agree it comes together magnificently.
Pelennor Fields – Existance
We all know that by this point in the day you’re dozing off, and why shouldn’t you; you’ve done at least 3 or 4 pages of notes! Just lay your head on the desk and drift off for a while, they call it ‘Powernapping’ on Wall Street, and those money-men are never wrong! This deep track from Oxford-based producer Existance is just one of the many brilliant talents coming from the electronic ‘netlabel’, Cut, I highly recommend you check them all out (www.cutmusic.org).
In/Of the World – Stokes, William
Perk up! It’s time for that last push of the day, and who better to hold your clammy, shaking hand on this final foray into the books than Cardiff & Bristol-based folk septet, Stokes, William? Having performed alongside the likes of Matthew and the Atlas and Marcus Foster, and collaborating with Marcus Mumford (of Mumford & Sons fame) their light-hearted, rousing melodies have seen them become the darling of the UK folk scene, they’ll lift your spirits and may even drag a smile across your weary mug. Oh, and they’re all lovely people too (Give them some love: www.stokeswilliam.co.uk).
Who Knows Who Cares – Local Natives
The title says it all really, by this point in the day you just want out. This LA four-piece has been making waves on both sides of the pond for a while now, and their debut album, Gorilla Manor, is a joy – check it.
KC Accidental – Broken Social Scene
Burst out the library doors like a 90s teen movie, you’re done for the day, jump for joy and high-five passing strangers, play this as you do! This Canadian music collective holds a very special place in my music heart, You Forgot in People was one of the first great albums I ever owned and every track is so vibrantly awesome that I will gladly ram it into the ears of anyone I can. With as many as 19 members contributing their own musical energy at any one time, and having begotten such acts as Metric and Feist, it’s hard not to love these guys.
Volunteers – Megafaun
The walk home, a lot more relaxed than the morning equivalent so enjoy it; the sun’s still out, you feel slightly less sick at the thought of finals and you deserve something to match your elated mood, and that’s where Megafaun come in. Half of this North Carolina group cut their teeth playing with Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) in the folk band DeYarmond Edison, and the Americana folk undercurrent is still very much tangible in their music; Volunteers, from their 2010 album Heretofore, will lift y’all with some great banjo and harmonies.
Your Two Choices – B. Lewis
Now you’re home you can relax, put on some dreamy hip-hop beats, courtesy of San Fran-based producer, B. Lewis, and unwind; try to forget the fact that you get to do it all over again tomorrow…roll on summer.