Tag Archives: college music

Cheat sheet for new music

Alex Ebert of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Z...
Image via Wikipedia

We understand that it’s hard to keep up with all of the new music put out these days. Don’t worry, we are here to help you sort through the clutter. Based on your current musical tastes, we offer up some suggestions on which new artists are worth checking out.

If you like Passion Pit….Check out Naked and Famous. New Zealand band Naked and Famous could easily be mistaken for Passion Pit, with the high pitched vocals and electro-pop beats. The song “Young Blood” has reached #1 in their native country and the band was listed as one to watch in 2011 by BBC News, a distinction that went to Passion Pit themselves in 2009.

If you like Oracular Spectacular era MGMT….Check out Foster the People. The LA band’s “Pumped Up Kicks” was a perfect summer jam that carried me right through fall in 2010. And with hints of a full album to come, we finally have a few new tracks from Foster the People. Songs “Helena Beat” and “Houdini” both evoke the danceable, psychedelic pop of MGMT’s first album (and the side I miss most from Congratulations).

If you like Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros….Check out Alexander. Even if you don’t know the name Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros , you’ve surely heard their hit song “Home” dozens of times. The lead singer of the hippie collective band, Alex Ebert, has a solo album due out March 1st under the moniker Alexander. The laidback, folky “Truth” offers us a glimpse at what’s to come. Don’t worry, all you fans of “Home” – he hasn’t ditched the whistling.


Young the Giant
Young the Giant

If you like Kings of Leon….Check out Young the Giant. This So-Cal band created buzz when they (then called the Jakes) won an online contest in 2009 to open for Kings of Leon at the House of Blues in Chicago. The renamed Young the Giant is less Southern-rock influenced than KoL, but they have an arena rock ambition about them that could put them into the same category. Lead single “My Body” is a fun, high energy example of their sound. Added bonus – they don’t seem like as big of tools as the Followill’s.

If you like Coldplay….Check out A Silent Film. Though they already have some notoriety overseas, A Silent Film are just now starting to get attention in the US. With the earnest nature of the songwriting and the texture of the songs’ production, fans of Coldplay are sure to appreciate what this band has to offer. Singles “You Will Leave a Mark” and “Driven by Their Beating Hearts” are both worth a listen.

If you like pop music with neo-soul influence….Check out Graffiti6 and Fitz and the Tantrums. If there’s anyone out there still holding their breath waiting for the return of Amy Winehouse, then Fitz and the Tantrums just may give you a reason to exhale. Songs “Moneygrabber” and “Breakin’ the Chains of Love” would be right at home in Motown of the 60s, yet still sound relevant on the charts today. And with their electro-soul sound, duo Graffiti6 are nipping on Cee-Lo’s heels with songs like “Stare Into the Sun” and “Stop Mary”.

Graffiti6 and Fitz and the Tantrums
Graffiti6 and Fitz and the Tantrums
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New Music Releases for Summer 2010

Summer is just around the corner, and whether you’re hitting the road, the dance floor, or the beach, there’s a soundtrack for every mood. Here are the new releases that we recommend as a backdrop to summer 2010:


B.o.B. (aka Bobby Ray)

B.o.B. – The Adventures of Bobby Ray (now available). If the first single off of this debut album is any indication, it’s going to be a huge summer for Atlanta rapper B.o.B.  His catchy “Nothin’ on You” has been #1 on the Billboard chart for the last two week. And with the album, which also hit #1 its first week, featuring collaborations with big name artists like Lupe Fiasco, TI, Eminem and even Rivers Cuomo of Weezer, B.oB. is likely to be a mainstay on the summer 2010 charts.

Hold Steady – Heaven is Whenever (now available). We gotta give some love to Minnesota-boy Craig Finn and his bar-rock band, The Hold Steady.  Their classic rock sound and storytelling lyrics of Americana have made fans out of many as they continue to release one great album after another. Rolling Stone magazine called Heaven is Whenever, the band’s fifth, “their most polished record yet, nearly majestic at points, without scrimping on bloodshot angst or exuberance.” It’s fun summer listening for the Springsteen set.


The National
The National

The National – High Violet (now available). Brooding New York indie rockers The National had their work cut out for them with High Violet, since their last album, Boxer, was so widely praised. And while it isn’t what one would think of as a quintessential “summer album”, it is certainly worthy of the hype. The overall mood is somber, mostly as a result of lead singer Matt Berninger’s baritone. But the lush arrangements provide a striking complement to the sometimes monotone vocals. The single “Bloodbuzz Ohio” is currently available as a free download from the album’s website.

Band of Horses – Infinite Arms (Available May 18th). This South Carolina by way of Seattle band is releasing their third album later this month, the first not on the Sub Pop label. There are videos for a new tracks “Compliments” and “NW Apartment” on their website, and a few others (such as “Laredo” and “Factory”) have been leaked to other sites as well. Though for me, they may always be trying to live up to their stellar debut album Everything All the Time, their signature harmonies over mid-tempo rock is likely to make this album a must for indie-rock fans.


LCD Soundsystem

LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening (Available May 18th). James Murphy, the man behind the curtain that is electro/dance rock project  LCD Soundsystem, has been quoted as saying This Is Happening is the band’s best album yet, but also likely to be their last. If that’s the case, it’s bound to be one hell of a going-away party.  After a few minutes of warm up, opening track “Dance Yrslf Clean” bursts into blazing synth and beats that don’t let up through the entire record.  Another track favorite is “I Can Change”. (Also check out the wacky, Spike Jonze-directed video for single “Drunk Girls”.) It’s a great dance party record, arriving just in time for those crazy summer nights.

Jack Johnson – To the Sea (Available June 1st). Few musicians’ catalogs evoke thoughts of summertime quite like Jack Johnson. He has become synonymous with acoustic, chill, pop-rock. While I’ve only heard the first single “You and Your Heart”, it sounds as though the new material will be typical Jack Johnson, and a good antidote to the non-stop party vibe of LCD Soundsystem. To the Sea is sure to be a perfect soundtrack to a lazy summer day spent on relaxing on a boat. It is lakes season yet?

Also releasing new albums early this summer are hit-makers such as Eminem, Christina Aguilera, Drake and Katy Perry.  While the first singles from Em and Xtina leave something to be desired, Perry’s “California Gurls”, released just days ago (and featuring none other than Snoop Dogg), is an infectious pop ditty with summer anthem written all over it.

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New music that inspires great youth marketing

College Music & Marketing
Charlotte Gainsburg

Music has an ability to inspire. Youth marketers often need inspiration to come up with cool new ways to connect with youth. These songs should do just that. While some of these recommendations are not necessarily from new artists, their recent releases are worthy of attention and some blog love.

Vampire Weekend – White Sky.  Vampire Weekend was a much buzzed about band even before their debut studio album was released in 2008. The popularity of these Columbia University graduates has only continued to grow, with their latest release, Contra, debuting at #1 on the Billboard charts – quite an accomplishment. It’s hard to single out just one track, but “White Sky” is the latest single getting airplay and a great example of their upbeat, afro-pop sound. If you like this, pick up the entire album – it’s well worth it.

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Spoon – I Saw the Light. This Austin, TX band has been around for well over a decade, but they continue to churn out albums of critical praise. It’s hard for me to say that their latest album Transference lives up to their previous effort, the polished pop of Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, but is definitely worth of the attention it has been receiving from fans and critics alike. And it’s clear that the album has a different approach than its predecessor. Transference is much more stripped down and raw, even disjointed at times. But it’s all intentional, and all part of why it works. Again, it’s hard to pick out just one track but “I Saw the Light” is representative of the album as a whole and feels like classic Spoon.

Broken Bells – The High Road. Broken Bells is a new project from super-producer Danger Mouse (of Gnarls Barkley) and indie-rock band The Shin’s lead singer James Mercer. “The High Road” is the only track that’s been officially released thus far, but there have been numerous tracks leaked online (the entire album set for release on March 9th). Typical of Danger Mouse projects, Broken Bells don’t seem to fit neatly into a specific genre. The single has apparent influences from The Shins but with an injection of experimental, computerized soul.

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Matt Morris

Matt Morris – Someone to Love You. It helps to have friends in high places, and singer-songwriter Matt Morris knows that all too well. He got his start back in the early ‘90s on The Mickey Mouse Club, alongside such stars as Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera and has since gone on to write songs for both. Timberlake also signed Morris on to his label, Tennman Records, which released his Morris’s debut album last month. He recently got major screen time performing a stirring rendition of “Hallelujah”, a duet with JT naturally, on the Hope for Haiti Now telethon. It was a good choice of songs too, as Morris’s style evokes that of the late, great Jeff Buckley (who arguably does the best cover of “Hallelujah), especially on the recommended track “Someone to Love You”.

Sade – Soldier of Love. It’s been a full decade since Sade released their previous album, and this proves that good things come to those who wait. The first single (and title track) off the album is this gem. There’s a lot going on sonically in this song – from the marching band drum line, to the horns, to the guitar, both rock and flamenco – so you’re never quite sure what is coming next. But of course it’s Sade’s laidback, sultry voice that takes center stage, providing a welcome contrast to the song’s urgency.

College Music & Marketing
Cold War Kids

Cold War Kids – Audience. I was a fan of the Cold War Kids’ soulful indie rock since I first heard single “Hang Me out to Dry” in 2008, but their follow up album left a little something to be desired (save for one or two catchy singles). “Audience” comes from the four-song EP Behave Yourself issued earlier this year, in which the band shows that they have found their groove again. The single brings back more of the “barroom piano” and foot stomping beats sound. I’m happy to see that their more soulful side is back after their darker sophomore album.

Neon Trees – Animal. Neon Trees is an indie-rock band hailing from Provo, UT. They have gotten national exposure by touring with The Killers, but their first major label record won’t be released until March 23rd. Clearly The Killers have been an influence. Neon Tree’s sound is new wave-y synth-pop but with rock intensity. The danceable lead single, “Animal”, exudes high energy and glossy production. In the words of the band themselves, I want some more.

Charlotte Gainsbourg – Heaven Can Wait. Charlotte Gainsbourg’s latest album IRM (the French term for the MRI scan) comes after the French actress/singer had emergency surgery for a cerebral hemorrhage. The title track from the album even incorporates the sounds of the brain scan, an interesting concept that actually works. But what made me tune in is that her latest album was written and produced by Beck, and it definitely shows. Beck even sings along in the toe-tapping first single “Heaven Can Wait”.

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Hot music for college marketers

It’s important for marketers trying to reach the youth market to tap into the latest music trends. We don’t need to tell you that choosing the right song to use in your marketing can make a big difference. We are big music fans here at Campus Media, and we don’t mind helping you stay on top of emerging artists. If we were looking for a song to use in our next college marketing effort, these would be the ones considered.

white rabbitsWhite Rabbits – Percussion Gun. Aptly titled single “Percussion Gun” is off of White Rabbit’s second studio album “It’s Frightening” and has charted on Billboard’s Alternative Songs list. According to Wikipedia, the indie rock band met while they were attending University of Missouri before relocating to NYC. See kids, go to college and you just might start the next “it” band.

Florence and the Machine – You’ve Got the Love (The xx remix). Essentially made up of singer Florence Welch and her “machine” of revolving back-up band members, the band has had a few singles already hitting the charts in the UK (including the intense “Drumming Song” and the fun “Kiss with a Fist”). But it’s this remixed version of a Candi Station cover that I can’t stop listening to. The xx, who produced the remix, is also gaining popularity on the indie music charts. Which leads me to my next entry…

The xx – Crystalised. This stripped down and haunting track comes from The xx, a band consisting of three schoolmates from London. Their first album was released in August 2009, and was produced by the band themselves. The xx uses sparse, minimalist production but manages to sound totally original, thanks in part to the back and forth of male and female vocals. This particular song was featured as a single of the week on iTunes earlier this year, and the buzz surrounding the band continues to grow.

Passion Pit passion pit– Moth’s Wings. This Cambridge, MA band released their first EP in 2008, and by 2009 had taken the indie music scene by storm. The song “Sleepyhead” has appeared in several commercials including one for the Palm Prix, and another single, “The Reeling”, reached #29 on the Billboard charts this fall. This follow up has even more potential as their fan base continues to grow. It’s feel good sythn-pop at its finest.

The Big Pink – Dominoes. This song is the fourth single released from the band’s debut album, A Brief History of Love, but it is the first to start getting regular airplay in the US. The band is being hyped in the music blogosphere due to their big electronic rock riffs and memorable hooks.

The Temper Trap – Sweet Disposition. Similar in sound to U2 and Coldplay , Australian-born band The Temper Trap is just starting to crack its way into the US music scene, thanks to this song’s placement in one of my favorite movies of 2009, (500) Days of Summer. “Sweet Disposition” was also recently featured in a commercial for Rhapsody, and single “Fader” appeared in an episode of CW teen drama “Vampire Diaries”. They are on tour this month with previously mentioned Florence and the Machine, and have sold-out shows scheduled through spring 2010.

Girls – Lust for Life. Lead singer Christopher Owens has quite the life story (he was born into a cult before escaping at age 16) and those hardships come through in his music. Many of the songs on the band’s not-so-creatively titled debut “Album” are beach fare pop songs musically, but the lyrics often convey heartbreak and sadness. The first song off the album “Lust for Life” is up-tempo and college radio friendly.

mutemathMUTEMATH – Electrify. This band was lucky enough to reap the benefits of the “Twilight” phenomenon by appearing on the soundtrack to the first movie with their song “Spotlight”. But the band formed in New Orleans in 2003 has much more to them than just fleeting hype. “Electrify”, off of their current album released earlier this year, is characteristic of their sound: high energy arena rock with driving beats and catchy hooks.

Anya Marina – Whatever You Like. A female singer-songwriter covering a popular male rap star sounds recipe for disaster, but this particular T.I. cover actually works. Marina’s version makes me hear the song in a whole new way. But that also might have something to do with it being featured in the much talked about threesome episode of popular teen soap “Gossip Girl”.

Them Crooked Vultures Them Crooked Vultures – New Fang. Rock’s newest supergroup comes to us in the form of Them Crooked Vultures, comprised of bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin), drummer Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters, Nirvana), and vocalist/guitarist Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age). “New Fang” is the first single of their album released in November of 2009.

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