Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Songs for your summer

Every time anyone even says the word we lose it. All year we dream about what it would be like to get those months off. We dream about how amazing it will be to cruise around in weather that is finally above 40 degrees. When it’s finally here, all we want to do is celebrate. So, here are the music essentials that will cover all you need this summer. Each playlist will help you relax a little more and hopefully become your go-to summer songs.

Driving Around (or road trip): Nothing is more freeing than the feeling you get when you roll your windows down, let your hair down, feel the wind hit your face and let the summer breeze fill your lungs. It’s the feeling of pure happiness. At that moment, everything can be upbeat. The only thing that can match that is an equally freeing and happy playlist.

Playlist: “Morocco”- Moon Taxi, “See the Sun”- Henry Hall, “What A Day”- Greg Laswell, “Backstreet Lovers”- The Crookes, “When I Get Older”- Wild Party, “Under the Cover of Darkness”- the Strokes, “This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)”- the Talking Heads, “Constant Conversations”- Passion Pit, “The Girl”- City in Colour, “We Don’t Need Our Heads”- A Great Big Pile of Leaves, “Elevate”- St. Lucia

Summer Nights: We all need a break. For the past 10 months, we have been cooped up in a classroom after classroom looking at the glimmer of sunlight trying to break through the dying trees with no success. Lucky for us, it’s time to let that go. We get the chance now to spend the nights how we please. We can run around with our friends and go out to see the beautiful scenery that will be blooming around us. So, here is a playlist for those nights, when your music should be just as relaxed as you are.

Summer Nights Playlist- “Driving to Hawaii”- Summer Salt, “Dear to Me”- Electric Guest, “Vacation”- Florist, “Holding Roses”- Twin Peaks, “Chihiro”- Yoste, “Sunset Lover”- Petite Biscuit, “Polaroids”- Josh Jacobson, “Indian Food”- Dumbo Gets Mad, “Am I Just One”- Carey Ott, “Little Brother”- Ella Vos, “Dog Years”- Maggie Rogers, “Take You”- Early Eyes,

Jams for the Summer: Whether you’re outside or inside, with friends or alone, cool nights or sunny days: Whatever the time or weather, summer is the perfect time to break out your favorite songs or find new songs that you can continually jam to. These are some of our favorites.

Jams: “Dissolve Me” -Alt-J, “Mr. Blue Sky” -Electric Light Orchestra, “Lake Shore Drive” -Aliotta Haynes Jeremiah, “The Wanderer” -Dion, “Here Comes Your Man” -Pixies, “In the Summertime” -Mungo Jerry, “Naked Kids” -Grouplove, “Come On Eileen” -Dexys Midnight Runners, “Houdini” -Foster The People, “Baby You’re Out” -Mac Demarco

Gluskin’s Recommendation: To finish off our final post of the 2016-17 school year, we asked our Drops of Ink teacher, Mr. Michael Gluskin about his taste in music and any last recommendations for our listeners. What he often looks for is music that is genuine and raw, rather than meaningless “noise and sounds,” he explained. The simple beauty of the violin in a Coldplay song, or the underlying banjo behind many Mumford and Sons songs provide a perfect example of the type of organic sound Mr. Gluskin looks for in his music, which, for some people, is just the way to relax and prepare for a break.

Gluskin’s playlist: “Strawberry Swing”- Coldplay, “Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall”-Coldplay, “The Cave”- Mumford and Sons, “I Will Wait”-Mumford and Sons, “Budapest”-George Ezra, “Feel Again”- OneRepublic, “Beautiful Day”-U2, “Sleep On The Floor”-The Lumineers, “From Finner”-Of Monsters and Men, “Higher Than The Sun”- Keane, “Southern Sun”- Boy & Bear, “Mess Is Mine”- Vance Joy

Upcoming Summer Festivals:

Chicago Gospel Music Festival- Millennium Park and the Chicago Cultural Center- Chicago- June 2-3

Spring Awakening- Addams/Medill Park, University Village/ Little Italy- Chicago- June 9-11

Mamby on the Beach- Oakwood Beach- Chicago- June 24-25

Summerfest- Henry Maier Festival Park- Milwaukee- June 28-July 9

Taste of Chicago- Grant Park- Chicago- July 5-9

Pitchfork- Union Park- Chicago- July 14-16

Lollapalooza- Grant Park- Chicago- August 3-6

North Coast Music Festival- Union Park- Chicago- September 1-3

Thursday, May 4, 2017

8 bands you may not know but you should.

  1. Mild High Club:  This eclectic group is specifically for those of us who need to unwind a little. Their elongated rhythms and methodical placement of notes in a sequential order convey a modern sense of relaxation and positivity to anyone who listens.
Songs: “Homage,” “Tessellation.”
  1. Ezra Furman: Whatever mood you’re in: defeated or upbeat, lost or found Ezra Furman has a song for it. His music mix elements of classic rock with new age pop and clever lyrics to showcase everything that you have been missing out on.
Songs: “Mysterious Power,” “Little Piece of Trash.”
  1. Beirut: There is a lot to be said about a good rhythm in music. It highlights the best part of the song, and if it is altered in any way, the song completely changes. Beirut is the perfect example of how rhythm can create a song. While their lyrics and song are good, their rhythm is beautiful and unmistakable.
Songs: “No No No,” “Gibraltar.”
  1. Foxygen: Rock was meant to break tradition, so they should never mix or work together. Foxygen proves that wrong. This group uses their unique sound and lyrics to attract indie audiences from all over. With their mellow rock and contemporary jazz, they prove that sometimes opposites attract.
Songs: “Follow the Leader,” “How Can You Really.”
  1. Belle & Sebastian: For those really happy days, when you’re feeling yourself and everything around you, pop in an earbud and listen to Belle & Sebastian. But don’t worry, the upbeat sounds don’t distract from their brilliant and genuine lyrics.
           Songs: “Piazza New York Catcher,” “Boy with the Arab Strip.”
  1. Tom Rosenthal: Tom Rosenthal is a good, wholehearted man, that he creates his music to match his persona. His slow melodies belong in the clouds.
Songs: “Middle of My Mind,” “All of them Dreams.”
  1. Apache Relay: This band from Nashville, Tennessee creates very sentimental folk-rock music. Think Mumford and Sons, but with a chiller vibe.
Songs: “Power Hungry Animals,” “Good as Gold.”
  1. Happy Fits: A foot-tapping, feel-good band, The Happy Fits create music very true to their name. It’s suggested you listen to them when you are in a good mood or want to be in one because they are sure to cheer you up.  A bonus about this band is that they use their music to raise money for various charities!
Songs: “Too Late,” “Dirty Imbecile.”

Discovery Playlist: "Foreign Bodies" - Radiation City, "Seattle Party"- Chastity Belt, "Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)"- Father John Misty, "Man in the Sixties"- Balue, "Hunk Beach"- the Walters, "Lost in the Light"- the Bahamas, "In This Shirt"- The Irrepressibles, "Archie, Marry Me"- Alvvays

Upcoming Concerts:

Vulfpeck- May 6th- Metro- Chicago- 7:00pm

Frankie Cosmos- May 12th- Vic Theatre- Chicago- 7:00 pm

Father John Misty- May 15th- Chicago Theatre- Chicago- 6:30 pm

Tears for Fears- May 15th- Allstate Arena- Chicago- 7:00 pm

Mac DeMarco- May 16th- Vic Theatre- Chicago- 7:30 pm

Friday, March 24, 2017

Fun and Funky

You know the feeling. When that song gets you to jump around, and the vibe flows from your ears to the tips of your toes and all the back again. These songs make you wanna get up, and dance and they can only be described as funky. Here are our selections of bands that will get your toes tapping and hips moving to some much needed groovy beats.

Vulfpeck: From just a listen, you’d assume they are foreign. Maybe somewhere in Europe? However, this Ann Arbor band proves to any listener that funky sounds come from anywhere. Their original sound can only be characterized as funky in the best possible way. Ask anyone who has listened to “Back Pocket” or “1612,” they will probably tell you the same thing: Vulfpeck makes you want to dance. The groove that their music carries makes even the stiffest listeners happy.

Motown: When people think of fun and grooving, most people’s mind runs to Motown. Originally known for the Hitsville U.S.A studio, the accepting scene and vibe surrounding this company’s music was not only adored and promoted throughout the black community but also appreciated by listeners everywhere. Groups like the O’Jays, the Temptations, the Supremes and the Jackson Five all owe their start to Motown. Even their reputation began to slow down, the legacy still continued.

Earth wind and fire: Probably one of the funkiest bands of this century, Earth, Wind & Fire fuses soul and jazz to R&B and disco. The band was started in 1970 and are still performing music today. Earth, Wind & Fire exudes genuine spirit. Their most famous songs, “September,” “Boogie Wonderland” and “Let’s Groove,” are sure to put their audience into a trance. But the best part of listening to Earth, Wind, and Fire is that you know you’ll probably find yourself busting out your funkiest dance moves, no matter who you are.

Kid Bloom: With some funky instruments and upbeat tones,  Kid Bloom creates music that has a modern day 70’s psychedelic feel. Their sounds exert groove, taking you to 50 places in your mind during a three-minute song. Kid Bloom is fairly new with only six songs (all of which are incredible), but they are gradually growing in their popularity. Perfect for a chill hangout or driving home at night, their songs are awe-inspiring.  

Current Groovy Tunes: “Electric U”-Kid Bloom, “Farrah Fawcett Hair”-Capital Cities, “Three Weeks”-Perpetual Groove, “Disciples”-Tame Impala, “When I Get Home” - Post Animal, “Zodiac Shit”- Flying Lotus, “Back Pocket”-Vulfpeck,

Throwback Groovy Tunes: “Boogie Wonderland”-Earth, Wind & Fire, “Baby I’m Yours”-Breakbot, “You Make My Dreams”-Daryl Hall & John Oates, “September”-Earth, Wind and Fire, “Love Train”- the O’Jays, “Superstition”-Stevie Wonder, “Crazy”-Gnarls Barkley, “Supersonic Rocket Ship”-The Kinks, “Take on Me”-A-ha,

Upcoming concerts:

Judah and The Lion-House of Blues-Chicago-March 23rd-8:00 pm

Regina Spektor-Chicago Theatre-Chicago-March 24th-7:30 pm

Lionel Richie with Mariah Carey-United Center-Chicago-March 25th-7:00 pm

Bon Jovi-United Center-Chicago-March 26th-7:30 pm

Foxygen-Vic Theater-Chicago-March 31st-8:00 pm

Bowling for Soup-Bottom Lounge-Chicago-March 31st-8:00 pm

Bastille-Aragon Ballroom-Chicago-April 3rd-7:30pm

Hippo Campus-Metro Smart Bar-Chicago-April 7th-7:30 pm

John Mayer-United Center-Chicago-April 11th-7:30 pm

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Film Composers

With a trill of the flute or a crash of a symbol, the composer can dictate a scene, captivating the audience’s emotions. You may not know their names, they may not be in every magazine, but movies would not be the same without them.

John Williams: With 195 soundtracks and 117 awards under his baton, John Williams has become the picture of a successful film composer. He is known for his work for “Star Wars,” Harry Potter, “Jurassic Park,” “Jaws” and “Indiana Jones,” creating strong pieces that don’t lose their power amongst the grace. His music helps shape characters and scenes in a way that only music can; connecting just as much with the people in their movie theater chairs as the characters experiencing the action on screen.

Alexandre Desplat: An incredibly gifted French composer, Alexandre Desplat knows what music is right for each movie. He makes strong and authentic music, but is also very flexible in his style. He will go from the light, quirky, sounds of “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and “Moonrise Kingdom” to the determined and empowering pieces of “The King’s Speech” and “Argo”. Although there are 171 credits to his name, there is no denying each song written and composed is magical, extending the movie beyond what’s seen.

Justin Hurwitz: “Whiplash," Oscar nominee for Best Score, would not have been the same without its innovative beats and melodies to connect each scene to the drama. “La La Land”, 2017 Oscar winner of Best Score, would have never succeeded without Hurwitz’s music adding to the heart of the musical. Although he is 31 and considered sort of green for composers, we know that his passion and understanding of music in movies makes him one to watch out for.

Hans Zimmer: You could list his 15 nominations or his six awards for his music, but nothing compares to when you listen to “Time” from “Inception,” all while watching the earth fold on Leo DiCaprio. Nothing compares to the rises and falls of “No Time For Caution” and feeling the immediacy and fear that every character is living. Hans Zimmer uses his music to add to the emotion of the piece. Not only does he make the audience sympathize with the characters, but he also makes us feel a part of the film, all with a string of notes and chords that mirror the mood. While other people may have more experience or awards, Hans Zimmer will always be the king of making the viewer feel.

Score discovery:
“Time”- Hans Zimmer, “Inception”
“The Middle of the World”- Nicolas Britell, “Moonlight”
“The Smallest Piece”- Don Romer and Benh Zeitlin, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
“The Heroic Weather-Conditions of the Universe”- Alexandre Desplat, “Moonrise Kingdom” “Engagement Party”- Justin Hurwitz, “La La Land”
“Schindler's List Theme”- John Williams, “Schindler’s List”
“Feather Theme”- The O’Neill Brothers Group, “Forest Gump”
“Domestic Pressures”- Johann Johannsson, “The Theory of Everything”
“The Imperial March”- John Williams, “The Empire Strikes Back”

Upcoming Concerts:

We The Kings-Bottom Lounge-Chicago-March 9th-7:00pm
Panic! At the Disco-Allstate Arena-Rosemont-March 11th-7:00pm
Ariana Grande-United Center-Chicago-March 14th-7:30pm
The Orwells-Metro Smart Bar-Chicago-March 16th-7:30pm
Cold War Kids-Riviera Theatre-Chicago-March 18th-8:00pm
Judah and The Lion-House of Blues-Chicago-March 23rd-8:00pm
Regina Spektor-Chicago Theatre-Chicago-March 24th-7:30pm
Lionel Richie with Mariah Carey-United Center-Chicago-March 25th-7:00pm
Bon Jovi-United Center-Chicago-March 26th-7:30pm

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Black History in Music

As February comes to a close, it feels pertinent to acknowledge that this month was dedicated to celebrating achievements made by black Americans, which is what we intend to do now. They have brought us some of the greatest music. However, it often isn’t recognized as much as white artist’s music. So, in honor of Black History Month and Diversity Week, here are a couple of the artists that changed our music for the better.

Etta James: Etta Jame once said, My mother always told me, even if a song has been done a thousand times, you can still bring something of your own to it.” This is the idea that led her to fame. Not only is James now known as one of the best female singers of her time, but also she inspired the entire black community to bring their own individuality to the music world.
Best Songs: At Last, I’d Rather Go Blind, I Just Want To Make Love To You.

Temptations: This group inspired movies like the Five Heartbeats, groups like the Jackson Five and people like Beyonce. The Temptations, a group of five soulful men with equally soulful harmonies, was one of the first groups to put Motown on the map and bring soul and funk to the black community. Even today, groups like Earth, Wind, and Fire credit their music inspiration to this group.
Best Songs: My Girl, Get Ready, Ain’t Too Proud To Beg.

Will Smith: Ok, so he’s the Prince of Bel Air. We get it. When you think of Will Smith, you don’t think of his music or Jazzy Jeff, but rather think of his acting in Pursuit of Happyness or Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. But here is why we should think of his music without Will Smith and Jazzy Jeff, the rap community may not even exist. The duo revolutionized rap and R&B music into what we know today and made it so popular that the Grammy’s made the Best of Rap category. Without the “Fresh Prince,” music today would not be the same.
Best Songs: Gettin’ Jiggy With It, Men in Black, Miami

Marvin Gaye: A truly charming man, Marvin Gaye once said, “I think I’ve got a real thing going. I love people. I love life, and I love nature, and I can’t see why other people can’t be like that.” As one of the founders of Motown, Gaye’s message of love has been prevalent in all of his R&B songs.
Best Songs: Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, I Heard it Through the Grapevine, and Let’s Get it On

Jimi Hendrix: Known famously for his revolutionary guitar skills, Jimi Hendrix, a rock legend, excited audiences by providing a new sound. Hendrix was electrifying on stage, gaining quite the following. Two grand performances by him include lighting his guitar on fire at a festival and performing the Star Spangled Banner at Woodstock, a symbol of peace amongst the troubling times of black equality and the Vietnam War draftings.
Best Songs: Star Spangled Banner performed at Woodstock, Purple Haze, and All Along the Watchtower

Louis Armstrong: Trumpeter, composer, and singer Louis Armstrong revolutionized the world as one of the first black people to become popular. He popularized jazz music, all while simultaneously making the trumpet the instrument of his time. Armstrong is still known to the black community as one of the greatest musicians to have breathed and has ensured his place as an icon.
Best Songs: Star Dust, La Vie En Rose, and What a Wonderful World

Upcoming Concerts:

Vanessa Carlton- City Winery- Chicago, IL- Feb 24th- 8:00pm

Bad Suns- The Rave Bar- Milwaukee, WI- March 5th- 7:00 pm

The Japanese House-Bottom Lounge-Chicago, IL-Feb 25th-7:30pm

Devendra Banhart-Thalia Hall-Chicago, IL-March 6th-8:00pm

Panic! At the Disco-Allstate Arena-Rosemont, IL-March 11th-7:00pm

Ariana Grande-United Center-Chicago, IL-March 14th-7:30pm

Regina Spektor-Chicago Theatre-Chicago, IL-March 24th-7:30pm

Lionel Richie with Mariah Carey-United Center-Chicago, IL-March 25th-7:00pm

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Women in Music

In a world where it feels like every field is male dominated, it’s good to be reminded of girl power. As Beyonce once said, “We run the world!” After seeing marches around the country last month, it only feels fair to acknowledge the women who run music. Here are a couple of our favorite fierce, femme artists, who remind us that girl power is only a play button away.

Amy Winehouse: Amy Winehouse has some serious soul. If you can’t pick that up from her vocals (and pretty depressing) lyrics, you can tell by her deep, expressive voice. The Grammy winner made the 27 Club when she died in 2011, but still left a lovely legacy.
Best Songs: Cover of “Valerie,” “Rehab,” and “Back to Black.”

Regina Spektor: A singer and pianist, Regina Spektor became a popular indie artist in 2004. Her combination of storytelling and poetry culminates in her music, which has been featured in movies like 500 Days of Summer and Kubo. Spektor's unique blend of old style pop music and new indie music can only be described as her own.
Best Songs: “Folding Chair,” “Samson,” and “Hero.”

Grouplove: Grouplove has 6 members, 5 males, and only 1 female. That one girl is Hannah Hooper, a strong lead singer that carries the fun sound that Grouplove is known for. Without her vocals and spunk, Grouplove would be a boy band and almost unrecognizable from any other male indie band.
Best Songs: “Tongue Tied,” “Ways To Go,” and “Welcome to Your Life.”

Maggie Rogers: A blend of execution in percussion, creative note progressions, and indie vocals. Maggie Rogers blends her soul and experiences into all of her music. Her beautiful flowing lyrics leave a lasting impression and feeling to everyone who listens.
Best Songs: “Alaska,” “On + Off,” and “Dog Years.”

Lorde: She’s young, some people may say too young, but she oozes with experience. Although Lorde’s music is a perfect example of alternative music blending with a pop feeling, the best part are the lyrics. Each song making a different statement-- about connecting to others, loving, and living life.
Best Songs: “The Love Club,” “Buzzcut Season,” and “Ribs.”

Sylvan Esso: Although the group is made up of two people, the star of this group is the female lead singer, Amelie Meath. Her voice continually reminds the listeners why they are listening to the music. Without her beautiful melodies mixing with the new age sounds, this band's hits would be close to nothing.
Best Songs: “Coffee,” “Hey Mami,” and “Radio.”

Upcoming Concerts:

Landlady- Schubas- Chicago, IL- Feb. 8th-8:00pm

Tove Lo- House of Blues- Chicago, IL- Feb. 16th- 7:00 pm

Young the Giant- the Rav- Milwaukee, WI- Feb. 17th- 7:00 pm

Maroon 5- BMO Harris Bradley Center- Milwaukee, WI- Feb. 20th- 7:00 pm

Wilco- The Chicago Theatre- Chicago, IL- Feb. 22nd- 7:00pm

Vanessa Carlton- City Winery- Chicago, IL- Feb 24th- 8:00pm

Bad Suns- The Rave Bar- Milwaukee, WI- March 5th- 7:00 pm

Thursday, January 26, 2017


No matter what your taste in music is, the occasional catchy popular song will find its way into your head and leave you humming one of the Top 40 Hits of the week. Popular music can often get criticized (you either love it or you hate it), but the intention for the music is to become popular. Artists and producers know how to make a song that numerous people will love. It can be fake, or auto tuned, or only feature four chords over and over again, but it can also be charming. Songs that people love can create bonds over a common interest. Weed out the bad music, and find some good pieces in the large pool of favorites.

The Chainsmokers: In the past, electronic and pop music were separate. Pop music was restricted to it’s basic chords and beats and kept its fan base with catchy vocals, meanwhile electronic used its eccentric beats, but had nothing to hold the audience’s attention without vocals. Then came the Chainsmokers. This band is innovating the newest form of pop music and making it their own. With songs like “Roses,” and “Closer,” reaching the top of the charts for both pop and EDM, you can tell that the duo has a lot passion for the music they create. Their sound is better than their competition, more electrifying. The Chainsmoker’s songs are the ultimate sing-along-with-your friends-as-you-bust-out-embarrassing-moves-in-the-car. The upbeat and catchy melodies ensure this band is never absent at a dance party.

Blurryface: You can say a lot about Twenty One Pilots. Some people think they’re overdone, others think they are life changing. No matter what you say about them, the fact is they’re popular for a reason. Their latest album, Blurryface, showcases all of the reasons that they are so popular. Blurryface is a character the lead singer, Tyler Joseph, made up to reflect all of his insecurities. Through every emotion, they relate to their audience. “Tear in my Heart,” demonstrates how love can make you vulnerable. “Heavydirtysoul,” shows a positive spin on feeling helpless. “We Don’t Believe What’s on TV” gives you hope for the future and the sincerity in the lyrics of “The Judge” makes your head and heart skip a beat. Their rock beat combined with authentic lyrics and messages makes this album one that no one should miss, even Twenty One Pilots cynics.

Pop Discovery: Starboy-The Weeknd, 24K Magic-Bruno Mars, Paris-The Chainsmokers, Genghis Kahn-Miike Snow, All Time Low-Jon Bellion, Cold Water-Major Lazer feat Justin Bieber, HandClap- Fitz and the Tantrums, Not Afraid Anymore-Halsey, Juke Jam-Chance the Rapper, Death of a Bachelor-Panic! At the Disco, Hold Up-Beyonce, Never Be Like You-Flume

Pop Chill: Castle on the Hill-Ed Sheeran, I Don’t Know My Name-Grace Vanderwaal, i hate u, i love u-gnash, This Town-Niall Horan, Love Me Know-John Legend, Way Down We Go-Kaleo,  Too Good-Drake, Pray You Catch Me- Beyonce, When We Were Young-Adele, 7 Years-Lukas Graham, Love Yourself-Justin Bieber, The Judge-Twenty One Pilots

Upcoming Concerts:

Twenty One Pilots-United Center-Chicago, IL-1/28/2017-7:00pm

Jacob Sartorius!!!!!!!-House of Blues-Chicago, IL-1/29/2017-6:30pm

Chicago Symphony Orchestra (Britten and Tchaikovsky)-Chicago Symphony Center-Chicago, IL- Feb. 3&4 -8:00pm

Riff Raff-Portage Theater-Chicago, IL-2/4/2017-7:00pm

I Love the 90s Show ft. Vanilla Ice, Salt N Pepa, Coolio (along with other food items)-BMO Harris Bank Center-Rockford, IL-2/10/2017-7:00pm

Cherub and The Floozies-Riviera Theatre-Chicago-2/10/2017 9:00pm