Welcome back home, Stags. With syllabus week out of the way, we can finally get back into the groove of things and what better way to celebrate the first weekend back than a playlist curated for whatever party you may be throwing? So relax, kick your feet up and take in some tunes that will surely liven up the scene.

“Hay Fever” — Roz and the Rice Cakes: My favoritism toward local bands is extremely evident for those who know me, especially when it comes to groups from Little Rhody. Once the cymbal crashes and breaks the seconds of quietness, Roz Raskin and those damned Rice Cakes bring the rhythm to another level with breakdowns and surf rock-inspired instrumentals that make them a staple in the local live music scene in Rhode Island.

“Twenty-Somethings” — Judah & The Lion: Youth is a celebrated ideology in this number from the folk pop quintet that interestingly enough started out as a christian folk band. The lead vocals provided by Judah Akers are reminiscent of Scott Avett from the Avett Brothers and provide a genuine compliment to the powerful roar provided by the rest of the troupe during the chorus.

“What You Know” — Two Door Cinema Club: I’m a sucker for indie pop party anthems and there’s no exception to the consistent outflow from the gentlemen in Two Door Cinema Club. The mix of electronica and pulsating lead guitar intertwine in a sensually appealing way that is pleasurable to the ears and to the millions of dancing feet out there.

“Lucidity” — Tame Impala: Tame Impala is one of the few bands on the market that is able to completely distort your senses and transport you to another dimension through the use of psychedelic themes and heavily distorted instrumentation. If you’re looking for something to “vibe” to, “Lucidity” is your tune with its emphasis on gaining one’s senses back and finding yourself amongst the wave of confusion that is life.

“Don’t Wanna Fight” — Alabama Shakes: Damn. Vocalist Brittany Howard has a set of pipes on her that blends both the blues and soul, creating a sound that challenges exactly how far one can take their vocals. This hit single off of 2015’s “Sound & Color” bounces to the rhythmic chord progression that Howard lays out and the tune follows suit with an audacious sound that is as angsty as it is fun.

“Cayman Review” — Trey Anastasio: Again, I am shamelessly plugging Trey Anastasio, the lead guitarist and vocalist for the seminal jam band, Phish. This time, I chose this funk-inspired tune from his solo career that exemplifies exactly why I feel he may be one of the greatest living guitarists of our generation. Plus, the horn section certainly accentuates this number perfectly.

“Am I Wrong” — Anderson Paak (feat. ScHoolboy Q): Believe me when I tell you, Anderson Paak is the future of hip hop and the possibilities of bending the genre to include the likes of soul and jazz. This mix featuring ScHoolboy Q geniously develops into a neo-ballad that exhibits enough flare and style that keeps this tune blasting at any party you may have.

“Swampadelic Pop” — Dr. Dog: Jumping back onto the psychedelic aspect of this playlist, we come across Dr. Dog, a psychedelic folk band out of Pennsylvania that enjoys inducing the auditory trip here and there. “Swampadelic Pop” is an unfathomably accurate title as one can envision themselves traveling through a warm swamp and experimenting with a sort of joyous trip that is poppy and surreal in nature.

“Get Up Offa That Thing” — James Brown: Soul music would be incomplete if we weren’t graced with the immeasurable talent and showmanship of the legendary James Brown. This tune was a profound influence on the way I listened to music throughout my upbringing and let’s be honest, who is cooler than James Brown?

“American Girl – Live” — Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers: Off of Petty’s “The Live Anthology” record, this song has been blasted virtually nonstop in my car since I picked up the box set a few weeks ago. Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers are masters of crafting classic rock anthems that are socially critical yet are designed as sing-along tales of the American Dream.

“Under Cover of Darkness” – The Strokes: As of lately, I feel it has become the norm to be an avid fan of The Strokes, a band I actually didn’t start actively listening to until about two years ago. In fact, this was the first song of theirs that I listened to and it has forever remained a staple of theirs for me and also a hallmark in the pantheons of indie rock, especially with the phrasing of that melodically-entrancing guitar.

“Noble Rot” – The Ballroom Thieves: Recently, I had the fortunate pleasure to catch The Ballroom Thieves for a second time, at the Warehouse in downtown Fairfield. After listening to this number in a live setting, I have had it on repeat on my Spotify account. What makes this song for me is the harmonies between the trio, which one would assume might be at least five or more individuals, that stresses the musical dexterity of these Bostonians.

“Boys in Bands” – Smith&Weeden: The second local Rhode Island band to be included in this playlist, I firmly believe that they are one of the hottest commodities on the market and judging by their ever-growing popularity, they are bound to explode. “Boys in Bands” is a great introduction to these Providence lads and offers an insight to exactly how great local music can be.

“Rebel Rebel” – David Bowie: I end this playlist with my favorite Bowie song and also one of my favorite songs ever recorded. I forever have attempted to emulate the guitar sound yet have always seemed to fall short as it is almost too meticulous to touch. Bowie will forever be remembered as a music icon and if you don’t believe that, pop this one on and I guarantee you’ll be saying otherwise.

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