Welcome back, friends. While those four months of lovely summer bliss were much appreciated, I’m sure you’re just as thrilled as I am to wheeze your way to the fourth floor of Mason Hall or hunt down that paper you printed in the Fishbowl. The first few weeks of school often dictate how the rest of the semester goes, so let’s start this year right (or at least with minimal tears) with some new tunes to get that pep in your step.

Over the course of the summer, I have come across a few funky fresh, hip artists whose music make that walk to class just a bit more bearable.

First up is Coleman Hell, a Canadian producer/singer/songwriter whose sound has transformed from default electronic noise to alternative pop songs during the last four years. By utilizing his raspy voice and weaving in syncopated beats, Hell creates an unconventional genre of dance music that is sure to have you nodding along as you write that paper due in two hours. His most recent singles, “Thumbalina,” “Take Me Up” and “2 Heads,” embody this new shift in Hell’s music and have rightfully gained popularity on social media with “2 Heads” coming in second for Alt Nation’s Song of the Summer.

Pay special attention to: “2 Heads.”

Shifting away from the world of alternative pop, Odessa is a folk singer with little exposure but a lot of personality. Perfect for those rainy, overcast days (much like Saturday’s game day), Odessa’s bluesy introspective lyrics transport you to a place far, far away from responsibilities and homework. After a near fatal bike accident inspired the budding singer-songwriter to pursue a solo career, Odessa has since traveled the world as a musician and part-time model and incorporates these experiences into her music. Though she travels now, most of her childhood was spent near the ocean and the swelling of the waves is evident in her pulsating music. With hushed reverb and echoing falsetto, Odessa is an artist to watch and to admire.

Pay special attention to: “Hummed Low” and “Black Butterfly

Sticking with the indie and adding some pop, Hippo Campus (I see what you did there) dishes out some nostalgic Sunday afternoon music. Kick back, relax and allow this Minnesotan “kinda pop” band to clear your mind and fill it with upbeat guitars and catchy hooks. After receiving outpouring of support from the Twin Cities, Hippo Campus’ debut EP, Bashful Creatures is creeping its way onto Spotify playlists across the nation.

Pay special attention to: “Souls

Finally, Vinyl Theatre moves back towards the same electronic dance genre as Hell, but adds its own ’80s twist to the sound. The four-man band is based out of Milwaukee and has been likened to bands like Two Door Cinema Club, Twenty One Pilots and the Killers. With lyrics like “Passion running wild / Dancing in denial / We are the sum / The lifeblood of / The city’s lights,” Vinyl Theatre creates a story of restless youth and endless future.

Pay special attention to: “The Rhythm of Night

And now, armed with this music, I send you out into the world of deadlines, pop quizzes and essays. Get out there and get educated.

Happy vibes, everyone. You’ve got this. 

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