Christmas Music for the Scrooge in You

Scrooge

I have to level with you guys here. I am not a big fan of Christmas music. This is probably an side effect  of working retail for the past three years, but somehow holiday music does not get me in the appropriate festive spirit. Unfortunately, as the 25th edges closer and closer, it becomes more and more difficult to avoid listening to it altogether. So for those of you who like me do not enjoy this particular subsection of music, I hereby present Laura Hillsman’s Christmas playlist for people who don’t like Christmas music.

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Top 10 of 2014 from Billboard Hot 100

The Billboard Hot 100 is a weekly chart that draws from a variety of factors to evaluate the most popular songs in America. Obviously for many listeners this kind of evaluation for the quality of a song is wholly unreliable because what usually makes a song accessible to millions of listeners also makes it highly derivative, uninteresting, etc. However, we should be careful not to discredit a song simply because it is accessible and achieved mainstream success, and in honor of that I have compiled a list of 10 songs released in 2014 that have all appeared on the Billboard Hot 100 that stood out amongst their peers on the lists (in no order).

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Turn on the Brightest Lights

Before the out-of-nowhere snowstorm that caused Interpol to be stranded for 50 hours, I had the pleasure of seeing Interpol at Marathon Music Works on the unusually chilly night of November 11. I went over to the venue and was immediately greeted by a large, excited crowd. What came after definitely did not disappoint and made my Tuesday night go from ordinary to extraordinary.

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The Evolution of Andrew McMahon

andrew-mcmahon-press-2014-billboard-650

Gracing his wrist, “The River Is Everywhere,” a quote from the piece “Siddhartha” by Hermann Hesse rests on Andrew McMahon’s lower arm as a reminder that wherever you go there is always going to be a piece of you. Since the release of his latest venture as Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, this daily reminder could not be any more relevant. The long awaited debut of a solo album came under the moniker Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness following a short solo EP, The Pop Underground, in 2013, nearly 8 years with Jack’s Mannequin and 3 full length albums recorded with high school band, Something Corporate.

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Unmasking Zappa: A Primer to the Music of Frank Zappa

When talking about weird, avant-garde musicians, Frank Zappa’s name is usually thrown around.  I say “thrown around” because I feel like not many people who know his name really known much about his music.  Too many times I’ve heard someone say something like, “Oh, Zappa?  Yeah, his music is kind of weird, I’m not really a fan.”  There’s some truth to this statement; his music is, generally speaking, weird, but I feel as though many people don’t understand the spread of genres that Zappa incorporated into his own music.  Truthfully, I think that there’s at least one Zappa album for almost everyone.

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Turkey Tunes: Music for a Holiday That’s Largely Dismissed

Before you crank up “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” and start decking the halls with boughs of holly, take few minutes to heave up some enthusiasm for the holiday that cuts between “The Monster Mash” and “Jingle Bell Rock.” While largely ignored by convenience stores, TV specials, front yard decor, and the radio waves, Thanksgiving has just as much of a right to be celebrated as the other holidays do!

thanksgiving

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Vinyl to MP3: A History of Music Formats

daft punk vinyl

If you’ve been in Urban Outfitters recently, odds are you’ve seen some vinyl records. These dinosaurs of the music world have been making a comeback in slightly more hipster circles for a while, hence their appearance in one of the most hipster clothing stores of them all. These records aren’t just the oldies that your parents listened to either. In fact, new albums are still being released as vinyl records as well as in more contemporary formats. So in honor of this resurgence, I hereby present to you a history of music formats, from vinyl to MP3.

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