Photograph by Andrew Paynter

Photograph by Andrew Paynter

It’s hard to believe we’re four months into 2013. Winter has worn out its welcome, spring is slowly creeping into the picture, and another year of university has come to a close. This mixtape is pretty self-explanatory: a collection of nine tracks that have accompanied me through yet another semester.

Atoms for Peace

Atoms for Peace – Default

A cold, calculated piece of electronic sprawl from Thom Yorke and company. I love the clickety-clack beat and the icy synths on the chorus, which are so hostile and distant. It feels like I’m back in the land of Kid A.

Toro Y Moi – Harm in Change

So groovy, so sexy. A surprisingly upbeat track for a chillwave artist. It makes me want to get up and dance. I dare you to resist tapping your foot.

Nick Cave

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – Jubilee Street

I love how this track builds in intensity. It starts off quietly and develops into a soaring frenzy of instrumentation. The strings swell with such elegance, yet have this chaotic quality to them. The song’s narrative is quite chilling as well.


The Underachievers – The Mahdi

It’s the Underachievers’ obligation, at this point, to introduce you to the recent resurgence of ’90s New York hip hop, better known as Beast Coast. Bright, soulful production makes for a smooth listening experience à la Souls of Mischief, while rappers Issa Dash and AK spit lyrical spirituality.

Tyler, the Creator and Earl Sweatshirt

Earl Sweatshirt – WHOA feat. Tyler, the Creator

More proof that Earl is Odd Future’s most talented member, with the exception of Frank Ocean. Sure, Tyler delivers his run-of-the-mill OF hype rap on the chorus, but it contrasts nicely with Earl’s multi-rhyme schemed melting pot of ideas.

James Blake

James Blake – Retrograde

I love the pulsating bass and hand claps, as well as the opening vocal melody, but it’s the climax of layered, swooping synthesizers that steals the show. This is James Blake’s open interpretation of R&B. This is James Blake at his most intimate.


Wavves – Demon to Lean On

It’s like Nirvana and the Beach Boys had a child and it started listening to Weezer.


The Doppelgangaz – Sun Shine

With its sharp flute (or is it piccolo?) loop, moody melody, and driving backbeat, this track could be an instrumental and I would still enjoy it. Some darker hip hop for your ears.


Rustie – Slasherr

It may sound like a club banger, but the track culminates in a bright wave of sugary ecstasy that is way too mesmerizing. It’s blaring in my face like a huge neon sign. It’s got me wide-eyed. It’s making me go “wow”. The very definition of ear candy.

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— , April 30, 2013    Comments Off on The Sounds of the Semester