12 Semi-Non-Discovered Chill Songs You Should be Listening to Right Now

The best part? Each of these are on Spotify.

1. Get Some Scars by Lux Lisbon: They’re a UK band, so they’re destined for greatness.

2. What Would I Do Without You by Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors: Nashville based, Drew has that story-telling songwriting and  a voice that’s reminiscent of Lee Brice. It doesn’t follow the popular  verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus pattern but uses the older patterns from older country or even the more recent, “People Are Crazy.”

3. Great Summer by Vance Joy: This song just makes me feel like I’m walking along a west coast pier. Vance Joy is a personal favorite, but I love that this is on the Paper Towns soundtrack.

4. From Nowhere by Dan Croll: I love the whispering, echoing, fading in and out production. It keeps you guessing.

5. Santa Barbara by Nick Jonas: Okay, so Nick Jonas isn’t the most underground artist, but this song is certainly the most underrated on his new album. This song has cool maturity to it.

6. Naked As We Come by Iron & Wine: I could meticulously pick apart each lyric or let the buttery voices play as background music during a late night study session, either way it’s great.

7. Wildest Moments by Jessie Ware: I’m obsessed. Her voice is enchanting, the words are oh-so-relateable, the chorus is hypnotic.

8. Stay Away by Charli XCX: So, maybe this artist isn’t exactly known for her chill music, but this song is pretty calm for her so I included it anyway. It still has a pretty hard-hitting sound with her heavy production style, yet the topic and melody bring it down a few notches.

9. Aquaman by Walk The Moon: It’s so 80’s. It almost reminds me of “Right Here Waiting” by Richard Marx for some strange reason. It’s romantic; from the vocals to the metaphors to the belting chorus’ line, “All I know is I wanna be here with you from now on.”

10. 10,000 Emerald Pools by Borns: If you haven’t hopped on the Borns bandwagon yet, please do so right now. He’s about to explode.

11. Running if You Call My Name by HAIM: Sister-trio band that clearly were heavily influenced by the Michael Jackson era, as seen on their singles “The Wire” and “Forever.” The opening vocals immediately draw you in, the detailed lyrics keep you interested, and the anthem-like chorus wins you over.

12. First Time by Kelsea Ballerini: She’s the next Taylor Swift (the country Taylor). But if you’re a country fan, you’ve probably already figured that out after hearing her song, “Love Me Like You Mean It.” For being such a sad, quieter song, it’s pretty dang catchy. If you’re a fan of the new sound that country has been leading towards, you will love her and this song.

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Bleachers: Strange Desire

So, this post is a little bit late to the party. about a year late actually. Bleachers’ debut album Strange Desire was released back on July 15, 2014. In case you didn’t already know, Bleachers is actually comprised of one person – Jack Antonoff, also member of the band, Fun.

But you would be doing yourself a disservice f you consider Bleachers a mere side project.

The sound of the album is refreshing. In a pop world of EDM base drops, falsetto notes, and r&b influence, this record echoes an 80’s John Hughes soundtrack while simultaneously giving us something shiny and new.

Antonoff is known for his production. He is no singer-songwriter. Yet, the songs on this album still contain the lyrical depth and maturity that other sonic-driven pop artists seem to lack.

Top Picks:

1. Like a River Runs – “I woke up thinking you were still here…” Antonoff croons wistfully the very first line of the song. It’s that killer, bittersweet, “I miss you” song that every record needs, but not every record has. And this one; It’s impeccable.

2. Rollarcoaster – It’s that Coney-Island-ice-cream-eating, ferris-wheel-riding, summer-night-dancing song.

3. Wild Heart – The production on this is just simply too cool to pass up. It features clips of a voice mail, a repeating riff of synth, and an exploding chorus.

4. I Wanna Get Better – Universal yet personal. The leading single from the album, and deservedly so.

Honorable mentions: “You’re Still a Mystery” & “Shadow”

The 1975

So after several days of constant chatter surrounding The 1975, I find myself placing them at the top of my playlists for many different settings, once again.

I discovered the band about a year ago, but didn’t immerse myself in their music until a roommate of mine reintroduced them to me in the Fall. Truth be told, I was only familiar with a couple of their singles: “Chocolate” and “Girls.”

While both decent, I see these songs as just the prologue to an immense novel, full of many different colorful stories and emotions. Similarly, if the only Ed Sheeran song you were familiar with was, “Sing,” you would be missing out on his tender love songs such as “Thinking Out Loud” or incredible story-telling in “The A Team.”

The 1975 truly is hard to pin-down genre-wise. Each song has its own identity while many of the lyrics represent the typical themes of an indie band – drugs and sex.

They may call themselves The 1975, but many of their tracks seem to be taken from a time capsule from the 1980’s. Even lead singer Healy himself has mentioned that Michael Jackson is one of his greatest influences.

Yet, they are more than that. They are an Indie-Pop band, and if you were only familiar with their more popular singles, you may forget that.

With their diverse (and many times borrowed) sound, I find myself putting them on playlists for many different occasions. Songs heavy on ambience are great for studying. These include the romantic, “Fallingforyou,” Bonnie and Clyde reminiscent “Robbers,” and lyric-absent “12.”For working-out, I like to listen to the crunchy, metal sounds of “The City” as well as, “Sex.”

Yet, the songs that I keep replaying in my car, at my desk, or on a run are not dictated by their sonic DNA. Like many others out there, I tend to gravitate towards the captivating lyrical content, regardless of if I relate to them or not.

With their next album set to come out early 2016, many, including myself, are speculating as to what is to come. With so many avenues to choose from though, it seems the 1975 will not fall into the dreaded “sophomore slump” but will push on and create the equivalent of a John Hughes, blockbuster sequel.

Personal favorites not mentioned above: “Settle Down,” “Pressure,” “Medicine,” “You” and “Heart Out.”

Broods, the next Lorde.

There’s quite a bit of similarities between the two artists.

  1. They’re both from New Zealand
  2. They share a producer – Joel Little (responsible for “Royals”)
  3. They’re VERY similar vocally and sonically; Alternative/Pop sound filled with heavy beats.

Lorde made quite the name for herself with hit singles “Team” and “Royals,” but if there’s anyone that could fill her shoes, It’s Broods. (or Borns, but that’s another story)

Broods is comprised of a pair; a brother and sister. The sister seems to be the main vocal most of the time while the brother’s vocal presence varies. He seems to be completely absent in “Sober,” a minor backing vocal in the chorus of “Never Gonna Change,” and to a near duet in the chorus of “Evergreen.” Yet, when his voice is featured, it’s almost always used as a low, haunting, almost angry sound.

After listening to their album Evergreen a few times, I decided to share my thoughts on it:

1. Mother & Father- Very engaging from the first hit of the stomp-sounding beat and tambourine. Perfect for the start to an album. The chorus catchy as well, repeating the lines “I don’t want to wake up lonely. I don’t want to just be fine,” in an almost pleading anthem for help.

2. Everytime- This is probably the most angry song, filled with some of the best lyrics on the record.

“You’re leaving me waiting and acting like I’m so demanding.”

“Your eyes stay shut, and my screams fall faint.”

Having great lyrics is good, but the fact that the sound of this song matches the emotion makes it even better. You can practically see the artist scowling as you listen to the attitude in her voice. I can just imagine girls blasting this song after the end of the fight with their significant other. Correction, I can see people, in general, blasting this song because of the power in the song. It’s contagious.

3. Killing You – A much slower song contrasting with its predecessor painting the struggles of a long distance relationship with a high-pitched, wistful chorus, “It’s killing me and it’s killing you but I can make up for it on the weekend.”

4. Bridges – Not what I would have chosen for the first single due to it’s lack of instantly catchy hook and beat found in other songs, despite it’s sonic build via layering. It’s lyrics may be more poetic, but the average listener would probably have been more keen to listen to something else if they were only going to listen to one Broods song.

5. L.A.F. – This is the instant catchy beat I was talking about. Broods was smart to push this as a single with relatable lines like “I never want to be the one you forget.” This song definitely leans more pop for the album but still has plenty of electro-indie tendencies.

6. Never Gonna Change – Slow-building, but worth the wait. The first verse almost seems to have a pre-chorus at the end of it towards the end that makes the listener feel they have just woken into the scene of a catastrophe and the world is quiet except for the sparks of electric wires and buzzing of broken lights. This is fitting considering the content of the song describing a mess of a relationship.

“Had me feeling like you were the one. And it’s never gonna feel like it’s done.”

“And the stress comes to the surface but all the heroes are dead.”

“You’re next to me again but we’re still tugging on each other and tearing up the fraying loose ends.”

7. Sober – one of the slower, simpler tracks on the record, and one of the sadder describing post break-up thoughts.

8. Medicine – another slow song featuring a beat pulsing almost to the rhythm of a heart throughout and a haunting melody.

“When I’ve got nothing left to lose, I wonder what I’ll find”

9. Evergreen – Shaking off the chill of the last track, Evergreen begins once again with one of the most Lorde-esque sounding beats on the album. The chorus features a low, multi-layered chorus that contrasts with the words.

“Since we decided to be infinite
There’s no ending and there’s no fear”

10. Four Walls – Being a piano-based, sweet love song, filled with more traditional layered vocals, this is the most radio-friendly song on the record. With its still eccentric sounds and descriptions, it doesn’t stray too far from their sound, but rather expands it. A very wise choice for a single.

“And I’m trying hard to make you love me but I don’t wanna try too hard”

“Those three words now are the only thing that came to save me
Those three words now are home”

“Falling at the hand of a perfect man”

11. Superstar – Not quite as pop as Four Walls, the song still sounds like it could have been produced by Ryan Tedder from One Republic with the synth arrangement.

I’ve been dreaming of a future that looks like our past
And they’ll admire that we made it last

Although the band does have some eccentrics that may not appeal to a mass audience, they do carry the chops to build on the fan base that superstar Lorde pioneered within the pop realm.

Their music has lyrics that both have depth and can be instantly understood, and almost all are relationship based, something easily relatable.

Perhaps after a couple more years of being openers for other artists they can gain a greater following so that when their next album drops, their lead single could hit mainstream radio in the US.

10 Reasons to Visit Madrid

Spain is probably one of the top countries to visit in Europe, with its impeccable cuisine, art,  and history. Yet, many seem to choose to travel to Barcelona rather than Madrid if they only get to make a stop in one city. Here’s why you should choose Madrid.

  1. It’s the Capitol. If you wanted to learn about the United States, you wouldn’t vacay to LA, you’d travel to DC. If you want to learn about Spain you go to Madrid. Madrid is filled with so many important government buildings and monuments that have stood the test of time including the Royal Palace.
  2. Prado Art Museum. Continually ranked in the top ten lists of most famous art museums in the world, and certainly the #1 ranked art museum in Spain, this museum is a must-visit. It features work by Spanish artists such as Goya, Valesquez, and el Greco.
  3. Real Madrid. While I admit I am not a soccer fan, Spain is known for their soccer, especially Madrid. You can take a quick tour of the very impressive Santiago Bernabeu Stadium while you’re there.
  4. Retiro Park. While Madrid may not offer the beach that Barcelona does, Madrid is full of beautiful parks, the most popular being Retiro Park. Also, Barcelona’s beach is quite lacking compared to other beaches in Spain – very crowded, dirty, etc. While Retiro may not have a beach, it does have two seater boats that you can rent and take out on the mini-lake. Or maybe pick up some snacks at the many vendors. Or listen to some live music. The choices are endless.
  5. The Nightlife. While Barcelona may too have it’s fair share of clubs and bars, many are over ridden by other tourists. Who wants that? The point of traveling is to engage with the locals.
  6. The Cuisine. Okay, so maybe Spanish food is the same everywhere you go in Spain. But you know where -Botin-the oldest restaurant in the world calls home? You guessed it, Madrid.
  7. The Metro. Maybe the metro isn’t the first thing you think of when you think tourist attraction. Yet, Madrid’s metro system has been ranked #1 in Europe for many years. (Kind of like the famous NYC Subway system except a clean, not sketchy version)
  8. Day trips. Within a couple hours of Madrid are some other small cities and villages that are PACKED with history. From Romans to Moors to Jews to Spaniards, Toledo, has seen it all and still stands for you to see it all! Escorial features many famous artifacts and the tomb of the past kings and queens of Spain.
  9. Ciesta. This is the part of a Spaniard’s day. From about 2-5 PM, it is common for stores to close and for natives to take a nap. This makes sense, since they usually stay up so late into the evening/early morning.
  10. The Authenticity. Sure, one of Madrid’s main economic niches is its tourism. Yet, it is still a town that belongs to Spain as well. There’s a reason many universities are no longer offering study abroad trips to Barcelona, it’s because it’s losing it’s authenticity.

So, if you’re planning a trip to Spain that will give you an enriching, authentic experience and can only afford to go to one city, choose DC.

If you’re planning a trip that will impress your less-traveled friends back home, choose NYC or LA.