#MusicMonday: The Last Week of School

Here we are. It’s the final week of the semester. For many of us, it’s crunch time, with final projects and papers coming due, and finals week approaching fast. Or maybe you’re just spending your last days in State College dicking around, drinking on the porch of Café 210, daylonging or lying in the grass. Either way, you’re going to want some sweet tunes to accompany your plans. Lucky for you, you’ve got Music Monday. This week’s selections are brought to you by Meghin Moore, Alex Federman, Drew Balis, Bobby Chen, Zach Berger and Matt D’Ippolito.

Eric Hutchinson – “Breakdown More”
‘Breakdown More’ is one of the songs off of Eric Hutchinson’s latest release, Moving Up Living Down. Hutchinson fans might recognize this song, as this is the third version he has released. The song was first released in 2003, on That Could’ve Gone Better. The first version had a guitar and some small beats, and sounds quite similar to the version out now, but with less studio production. The second version, released on the 2006 live EP Before I Sold Out is just him and his guitar. This version is much slower, and much mellower than its original version and has country elements in it, featuring twangy guitars. It also features some witty banter at the end as well, which is something Hutchinson is known for doing during every set. But for the most part, it stays pretty close to the original. There are some slight vocal differences between the notes he hits in this version as opposed to the other two, but nonetheless it’s still a great song, one that Hutchinson fans have been enjoying for about nine years now. If you’ve never heard Eric Hutchinson, give him a listen. If you like Jason Mraz, John Mayer, Justin Nozuka, or Matt Nathanson, chances are very high that you’d like this quirky singer-songwriter.

Beirut – “Vagabond”
Sometimes a good groove is all you need to have a good song, and the piano in this one is a great hook. And the fact that the lead singer plays trumpet is awesome. Beirut was started in 2006 as a solo project of frontman Zachary Condon, playing a variety of genres including folk and world music, and later becoming a full band. “Vagabond” is off the band’s third album, The Rip Tide, released last summer, and features Condon’s sweet, crooning vocals, a cool staccato-legato beat, and an accordion solo. If you like an updated indie-gypsy jazz sound that’s just fun to listen to, this band is for you.

Mac Miller – “Knock Knock”
This one goes out to the Philadelphia Flyers who just took out the Stanley Cup Favorite Pittsburgh Penguins in six games. “Knock Knock” by rapper Mac Miller was released in November 2010 as his first single and a year later became the Flyers victory anthem. The “relationship” appears to have been mutually beneficial. The opening to the song is memorable and features a repeated chorus “1, 2, 3, 4, some crazy-ass kids come and knock up on your door so / let em in, let em in, let em in.” Unlike most rap songs, you can actually understand the words here. Plus, who doesn’t like a bunch of hockey players listening to Mac Miller?

Asher Roth – “Bad Day”
Today marks the unfortunate two week mark before I and many others will make our return to the suburbs and its first world problems and all that. Yeah, feel bad for us. Given this sad, sad day, though, you’d figure that I’d have chosen Asher’s “I Love College” or something, just to enhance the level of suburban douchebaggery of what I’ve written thus far. Nope, I’m here to present you with one of Asher’s better — meaning actually funny — songs, “Bad Day”.

Given how the Flyers have ironically adopted Mac Miller’s “Knock Knock” as their anthem, I thought it was appropriate to revive interest in Philadelphia’s the Philly suburbs’ own resident mediocre white rapper, Asher Roth. However, Mac Miller and Asher differ in that Asher doesn’t even pretend to be a competent rapper and instead focuses on dropping clever, satirical, and often hilarious lines about life in the ‘burbs. In “Bad Day”, Asher lampoons all the things that residents of the suburbs complain about on an average day. So if you have a bad day in these next two weeks, at least appreciate that you’re not like Asher and you didn’t lose your iPod and you aren’t crying over lack of HBO… wait, wait a second, that’s not right…

Deadmau5 – “The Veldt”
This is, in my opinion, the best track released by Joel Zimmerman in years. He went back to that soft, progressive house sound that first put him on the map with “The Veldt”, bringing back memories of “Strobe” and “I Remember“. This track has the classic Deadmau5 pulsing synth, which carries the upbeat, happy feel of the song. While Zimmerman live-streamed himself producing “The Veldt”, a fan named Chris James decided to send him some original vocals via Twitter, which ended up making the final cut. The track is based on a Ray Bradbury short story of the same name, and if you spend fifteen or so minutes giving it a read, you’ll realize that Deadmau5’s newest work isn’t nearly as happy as it sounds to be, though it is an extremely relevant commentary on modern society.

Gotye – “Somebody That I Used to Know
Although this song was released nine months ago, it has only been recently that it’s become very popular. From the FM waves of Philadelphia’s Radio 104.5, to the turntables and mixtapes of hipsters and now the iPods of the general student population, this song has taken college campuses by storm. For those unfamiliear with Gotye, it is the solo musical project Belgian-Australian singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Wouter “Wally” De Backer, one-third of The Basics. His soft voice, the deliberate xylophone and the plucky guitar sampled from Luiz Bonfá’s “Seville” at the start of the song belie the embittered lyrics and wailing chorus. And the musical conversation with the female part, played by New Zealand singer Kimbra, makes the song all the more compelling.

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