“Nightcall” – Kavinsky
You might recognize this song as the title track from Nicolas Winding Refn’s film “Drive,” and — ironically — that’s exactly what it’s perfect for: driving. Kavinsky, a French electro house artist, gained mainstream attention from the popularity of this song. His music is identifiable by his distinctive 1980’s electropop sound, and “Nightcall” is a perfect example. Plus, this song was produced with Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo of Daft Punk, so you know you’re in for something catchy. Save it for dealing with the daily traffic struggle or a long road trip home — it’ll keep you nodding your head instead of yelling at every driver that cuts you off.
“The Ghost Inside”– Broken Bells
This indie rock band is made of James Mercer, the lead singer and guitarist of The Shins, and Danger Mouse (yes, that is what Brian Burton goes by). Together they have produced some of the catchiest, most laid-back tunes, and ultimately landed their 2010 self-titled debut album at #7 on the Billboard 200 chart. The music video is pretty interesting too – Christina Hendricks of “Mad Men” stars in the sci-fi spectacle. When you’ve got free time and you want some tunes to accompany you, try this one.
Going to Bed:
“Don’t Bother They’re Here” – Stars Of The Lid
Is sleep escaping you? This track may help. Originally from Austin, Texas, Stars Of The Lid is an atmospheric, ambient experience created by the duo of Adam Wiltzie and Brian McBride. Their Facebook page describes their music as “beatless soundscapes composed of droning, effects-treated guitars along with piano, strings, and horns,” with “Don’t Bother They’re Here” being no exception. This ten-minute masterpiece dips and swells, fades in and out, and maintains an interesting flow while not being too busy or overexciting.
“My Number” – Foals
In the mornings, if you want to listen to something upbeat and poppy, but not too obnoxious or overbearing, “My Number” is the perfect wake-up song. Foals is a five-piece English indie rock band that has been making music for a decade — they know their way around the scene. The track’s album, “Holy Fire,” also landed music producers Alan Moulder and Flood (or Mark Ellis) a “UK Producer of the Year” award in 2013. Check out this catchy, refreshing song for a daytime mood boost.
“Black Skinhead” – Kanye West
Entertainment Weekly called this song “a galloping punk-rap manifesto.” Intrigued? This stomping, screaming, industrial track will get you up and running. Rolling Stone named this track number 3 on the “100 Best Songs of 2013.” As soon as you hear it, you’ll understand why. Kanye West, Yeezus is truly a master of his craft. “Black Skinhead” pumps you up, making you feel borderline invincible. The pounding drums and powerful and clever lyrics make this song the perfect background for an intense workout. It’ll have you pushing yourself to new limits.
“Hacker” – Death Grips
Popular Top 40 songs usually dominate parties, so why not? With an avid fanbase — Tyler the Creator is even a fan — and a sterling resume — this track’s album appeared ninth on Pinchfork’s “Best Albums of 2012”—this California-based experimental group produces some of the most raucous, intense music you’ve ever heard. Not quite noise, not quite hip-hop, but exactly what you need to get a good party going.
If classical music puts you to sleep but songs with lyrics distract you, “Jaguar” may be the solution to your problem. Mogwai, a Scottish post-rock band that has been around since the mid-90s, created this song as part of a soundtrack for the French supernatural television show, Les Revenants. Featuring a melodic piano and a the slightly-eerie background, this tune keeps your studying at a good pace.