The Ultimate Summer Sendoff Playlist

Perfect for drives along the coast or lounging by the pool with friends, this summer playlist will put you straight into summer-mode.

As the semester comes to an end and the weight on your shoulders is finally lifted, the summer relaxation begins. Whether your plans include traveling, working, or visiting family, summer is a time to let your hair down and enjoy the sun while the air is warm.

Each year, a summer playlist makes its way into my music library and it’s ends up being the only thing I listen to for my three month break. When I think of “summer” music, I immediately think of upbeat, feel-good alternative songs with catchy guitar lines and lyrics you can shout in the car.

This year, I worked hard to deliver the best summer playlist for anyone who loves alternative, pop, and indie music. Featuring the newest hits from some fan-favorites and a few older tunes that remains classics, this playlist is perfect for beach days, road trips, and everything in-between.

A few of my favorites include:

Talk Too Much – COIN

After hitting no. 8 on the Alternative Songs chart, it is clear that this COIN song fits the “care-free summertime sound” that we are all looking for. They are a rock band making guitar-driven music and they have hit the mark on this hit track.

Tired Eyes – Besphrenz

Besphrenz is a unique group that you’ll be surprised hasn’t blown up yet. With their original style mixing indie, rock, and rap, this band is hitting multiple styles at once, but still keeping it clean. I respect them for being innovative musicians and I’m sure that this song will stay on repeat all summer long. The playlist also features Walking On Ice and their newest single, White Shoes.

Heat of the Summer – Young the Giant

Young the Giant has been a fan-favorite in the Alternative Music world for some time now, and with “Summer” being in the songs title, it surely fits the playlists theme. The song opens with a distorted guitar line and features a catchy chorus you’ll find yourself humming to all day. Young the Giant has done an excellent job in creating new music while sticking to their original sound that everyone loves.

This Life – Vampire Weekend

Released earlier this month, it is clear this song is different from the traditional Vampire Weekend sound. The song is lighthearted, bright, and bouncy, and has even been mentioned it closely matches Van Morrisons “Brown Eyed Girl.”

Hollow Life – Coast Modern

Imagine if Cage the Elephant, Grouplove, and Glass Animals teamed up on a track: this is what it’d sound like. This song was released a few years back, but the chorus is fresh, creative, and exactly what you need to hear all summer long.

Gold Snafu – Sticky Fingers

From the memorable beat and easy-to-follow chorus line, this song is easily enjoyed by any audience. Lead singer, Dylan Frost, delivers unique vocals falling under the reggae/rock genre, and its clear this song needs to be played full volume with the windows down. The playlist also includes one of their more mellow songs, These Girls.

Weekend Friend – Goth Babe

While “Goth” might be in the name, this musician producing anything but gothic music. Classified as surf-indie-rock, Weekend Friend is a care-free summer tune with soaring production. Greeting listeners with a heartwarming combination of keys, drums, and shakes, this song is easy on the ears in just about any setting.

No Going Back – Yuno

From the first drum-kick, this song shines light straight into my heart. After my first listen a few months back, I had the sudden urge to drop everything, go on a road trip, and make a video that highlights this wonderful track. With a weightless melody and vibrant lyrics, it is no wonder this was Yuno’s first single after signing with Sub Pop Records.

Some other favorites from the playlist include songs from boy pablo, LANY, Bad Suns, HUNNY, Local Natives, Empire of the Sun, Still Woozy, Toro y Moi, and many more. Hoping these songs are enough to brighten your mood all summer long! Now, go enjoy the sunshine.

Written by: Brittany Roache

Khalid’s “Free Spirit” Album Review

The remarkable R&B innovator Khalid released his sophomore album “Free Spirit,” while working hard to give the fans what they want.

Khalid is no longer “Young, Dumb, and Broke,” but he is an emerging pop star who has been working tirelessly to give his fans an adequate follow-up to his debut album American Teen. The 21-year-old reflected on the pressure he felt while recording Free Spirit in a recent interview with his close friend and collaborator, Billie Eilish.

“You have your whole life to write your first album. You don’t have your whole life to write your second album. And, with your second album, you have to write more of what people want.”

Free Spirit provides a mix of genre-less songs with Khalid’s melodic voice fitting perfectly over every instrumental. With 17 tracks and huge collaborations, the emerging pop-star carries the same beloved style that his first album brought us. While American Teen focused on shouting-out all the sad kids facing regular teenage struggles, Free Spirit attempts to showcase the singers growth as an individual. He is opening up about his true self and embraces what it means to be grown-up.

In the albums intro, Khalid tells us about his struggles with a relationship that is coming to an end: “I can’t even live with being by myself / That’s the part of me that really needs your help / Lately, I haven’t been doing very well / That’s the difference between heaven and hell.”

We can hear a similar story being told in songs, “Talk,” “My Bad,” and “Don’t Pretend,” following the theme that relationships require hard work. Not only do these songs have a relatable message, but they feature powerful collaborations: with “Talk” being produced by U.K. house duo – Disclosure, and “Don’t Pretend” featuring SAFE.

Other remarkable collaborations include John Mayer’s appearance on “Outta My Head,” which features subtle but beautiful harmonizations between the two. The album also credits Father John Misty for his assistance in producing “Heaven,” Murda Beatz, and John Hill (producer for Portugal. The Man).

Hundred” is a song that highlights the battle between staying positive during hard times, stating: “Life is never easy when you need it to be / Try to knock me down but I get back on my feet / Everybody’s angry, and they’re coming for me / But I can’t give them energy that I won’t receive.” These powerful lyrics make this song stand out as he attempts to bring peace amongst those who feel hopeless.

Self” is another powerful song that features the internal dialogue the singer faces in moments of self-doubt, making it one of my favorite songs off the album: “Does my raw emotion make me less of a man? Always had a little trouble with self reflections.”

The album clearly shows the musicians internal battles, and it is hard to hear from someone who is still so young and constantly in the spotlight. With lyrics like ““Heaven, make me an offer / Lord, there’s nothing left for me out here” off of his song “Heaven,” the singer is openly sharing his struggles to the world.

Khalid also offers a range of care-free pop tunes like “Better” and “Right Back,” reminding us that there is still a big part of the musician that is cheerful and grounded. Both songs have beats that will warm your heart and catchy choruses that keep you hitting repeat.

It is always difficult for an artist to top their first album, and it is still undecided if Khalid has done so. However, he deserves admiration for the truth he tells through his lyrics. Khalid has been recognized as a man of the past and present. He is still young, but there is an old-soul tucked away in his heart. He is seeking growth and experience, and refuses to repeat himself. Khalid is a remarkable pop/R&B star of our generation and has nothing but big things in store for the future.

Written by: Brittany Roache

Maggie Rogers “Heard It From A Past Life” Album Review

Heard It From A Past Life

Sharing her life story through strategic songwriting, Maggie Rogers rises to fame as her debut album “Heard It From A Past Life” continues to dominate the charts.

Appearing on festival lineups like Coachella, Lollapalooza, and the 50th year anniversary return of Woodstock, singer-songwriter Maggie Rogers is on her way to the top. The 24-year-old pop artist experienced her rise to fame immediately after sharing her song “Alaska” to Pharrell Williams during a masters class at New York University. She wrote and produced the hit song in under 15 minutes, and blew away one of the worlds most renowned producers. While I had heard many amazing things about this young, female artist, I had yet to listen to her debut album, Heard It From A Past Life.

After researching her past, I found that Rogers grew up playing the harp, piano, and guitar all by the time she was in middle school. Her heart has always been in folk music, and the banjo was her primary instrument of choice. She fully kicked off her songwriting career during the summer of her junior year after attending Berklee’s College of Music program and won the program’s songwriting contest. Maggie is a hardworking individual who always put her best foot forward and has never tried to be anyone but herself. 

With as many as 4 million monthly Spotify listeners, Maggie Rogers has already made her mark on the world. As many of my friends continuously rave about her music, I decided to review Heard It From A Past Life from start to finish.

Opening the album with her song “Give A Little,” Roger’s introduces her audience to a light and somewhat dainty beat. She is combining her background of folk music with pop and indie styles of production. The song’s chorus is heart-warming and simple, radiating Haim-like catchiness.

Overnight” is next up, fitting perfectly as she reflects on how quickly things can change overnight. In this track, the synths were made from the sounds of glacier frogs, holding true to her creativity and strong connection to nature.

The Knife” has a unique intro that sets the tone to let loose and enjoy life to the fullest. “Beautiful as it all pours out, after dark, after life” are lyrics that prove her purpose of this song to dance and be free.

Alaska” is the song that gave Roger’s the success she needed to get this album started. The video of Pharrell’s initial reaction to this song fully shows the emotion and creativity behind her songwriting, and it is a beautiful video every fan should watch.

Light On” is another heart-warming track that features light guitar and strong vocals. I can hear the emotion and soul pouring through her voice as she shares her struggles with anxiety and feeling overwhelmed by her own thoughts.

Past Life” is a ballad that focuses on the changes that are about to come and take over her life. The slow piano combined with her stripped vocals are enough to bring fans to tears by the end of it.

Say It” combines Roger’s love for electronic production with her love for nature as she uses synths and vocals to paint a picture of the Alaskan mountains and snowy hilltops. She sings about the innocence of having a crush, “every evening, every time, I keep replaying in my mind, and wondering if you do the same.”

On + Off” features smooth bass lines and layered percussions, representing the layers shared within a relationship with someone you love. With an incredibly groovy and catchy chorus, this unique track has to be one of my favorites thus far.

Fallingwater” has an off-beat tempo that captivates listeners from the start, then moves into a vocal progression that might catch you off guard. This track has emotion that takes her voice to new heights as she sings about the challenges of change.

Retrograde” tells the story of struggling between wanting to stay in a dream-state all day, and wanting to give up when things get hard in our everyday lives.

Burning” mixes clapping beats with face-tased percussion as Rogers jumps around vocally as well. This track gives listening to illusion of running through the wild, emphasizing the wild ride relationships can take you on.

Closing the album with “Back In My Body,” this track perfectly showcases her story-telling abilities through songwriting. She talks about her time in London and Paris and the emotional impact those cities have had on her life. This song is powerful, majestic, and the best finale to an incredible debut album.

Final Thoughts?

I am now a full-on Maggie Rogers fan. Initially, I thought that her pop and folk styles of music would turn me away, but after researching her story, reading her lyrics and the meanings behind them, and hearing her creativity pour through her music, I have become pleasantly surprised. It’s no wonder that Heard It From A Past Life reached #2 on Billboard’s charts following the release of the album. Roger’s has never tried to copy anyone’s style; she is unapologetically herself at all times. Her story telling abilities are something truly special, and I can already tell there are big things in store for her future.

Written By: Brittany Roach

KCR’S Coachella Survival Guide

Coachella 2018

Haven’t started packing yet? Don’t worry – KCR’s got you covered. Here are the best tips and tricks to survive Coachella 2019!

There are few things better than spending a weekend in the desert with good friends, good music, and even better vibes. If you’re going to Coachella this year, get ready to have fun, but always remember to be safe and come prepared.

FESTIVAL ADVICE:

With headliners like Childish Gambino, Tame Impala, and Ariana Grande, be prepared for big crowds and even bigger performances. First off, always remember to bring a positive attitude and enjoy everything that comes along with the festival; no one wants to hear complaints while you’re at one of the biggest and best events of the year. Overlapping set-times can be frustrating, but our best advice is to decide in the moment who you want to see and just go with the flow. Festivals are more enjoyable with friends, so stay close to people you trust and remember that every artist has something great to show you.

The heat can be brutal, but staying hydrated is key! Your first stop after entering the festival should always be the hydration station. Thankfully, Coachella has always kept their water prices at $2 ever since they first started, so make sure to stock up on some H2O.

Next, confirm a meeting spot. Whether it’s next to one of the unique art installations, a lemonade stand, or the side of a stage, a meeting spot is necessary in case you get lost or plan to meet up with friends at a later time.

WHAT TO BRING:

  • Portable Charger
    • Taking videos of your favorite bands takes up more battery than you’d think. Also, Coachella is known to have spotty service, so make sure you charge up so you can find your friends.
  • Camelback
    • Vibedration has some stylish backpacks that will keep you hydrated throughout the day. Amazon also has some reliable finds, like this one.
  • Fan
    • A hand fan is trendy but also a necessity. If you think you’ll get tired of waving your hand to the beat all day, stick to a battery powered fan. With the mister included, you will be surprised how refreshed it’ll leave you.
  • Hydrating Sunblock
    • We’ve all had our awful sunburns, and the last thing you want is to burn the first day and be uncomfortable for the rest of the weekend. Apply sunscreen before you go, and bring some into the festival as well. Yes, they do allow sunscreen inside the venue!
  • Bandana or scarf
    • The dust can be absolutely brutal! Make sure to cover your nose and face for protection, unless you want to breathe in dirt all day.
  • Earplugs
    • Obviously, the music will be LOUD! And if you do decide to camp, there is no guarantee that your neighbors will follow the noise rules.
  • Small blanket
    • Standing on your feet all day can be tiring, and being able to sit on a small blanket is one of the small things you’ll appreciate. It also gets cold and windy at night, and having a portable blanket will make your walk back to your site a little more tolerable.
  • Comfortable shoes
    • While you might want to flex your newest and trendiest shoes in the desert, the festival is huge and you will be walking all day. Stay comfortable at all costs to survive the weekend.

And finally, make sure to download the official Coachella app on your phone to get all the latest updates on set times, official rules, and fun activities that are happening throughout the weekend.

CAMPING:

If you’re not one of the lucky ones staying in a house or hotel, you’re probably camping. However, camping is half of the fun and the perfect experience for any first-time Coachella go-er. Make sure you come prepared though, because once you’re at the campsite, it can be difficult to leave and buy things you may have forgot. Thankfully for you, I’ve prepared a list of things to pack if you’re camping.

Besides the basic necessities like a tent, canopy, sleeping bags, and all your clothes and toiletries, here are some packing suggestions you might not have thought about:

  • Cooler
  • Foldable table & chairs
  • Lanterns & flashlights
  • Blow up mattress or mattress pad
  • Battery powered fan
  • Portable grill
  • Portable shower bag
  • Bathing suit and towel for showering
  • Speaker
  • Games for the campsite
  • Battery powered string lights
  • Tapestries
  • Picnic blanket
  • Wet wipes
  • Toilet paper
  • Paper towels
  • Mini first-aid kit
  • Energy drinks
  • Non-pershiable food
  • Water!!!

When it comes to camping, it is always better to over-pack rather than under-preparing. You might be surprised by how cold the nights can get, so make sure you bring blankets, sweatpants, and warm jackets. If there’s a chance of rain, pack a tarp to cover your tent and a couple of rain jackets to be safe. Think through what your daily routine looks like and what you’ll need to bring to keep yourself staying comfortable.

Not going? Don’t worry!

Both weekends will be live-streamed on yt.be/coachella, where you can watch all the live Weekend 1 performances and see original, curated content during Weekend 2. Watch from the comfort of your home and avoid standing in the heat all day. And don’t worry, there will be many more Coachella’s. If you plan on going a future year, I suggest buying tickets during their presale and utilizing the payment plan. In the end, you will most likely have the opportunity to see these artists again for a much cheaper price.

Need a playlist for the drive up? Check out my Coachella 2019 playlist here.

Written by: Brittany Roache