My Study Playlist

My Study Playlist

So this summer I'm finishing up my electives and I have to write and read a ton of French. Like, hours every day. So I decided I might as well check out some tunes I haven't heard before or haven't listened to in a long time, and these have been the standouts of the past few weeks. In no particular order: 

1. Fly By Night -- Rush: I hadn't listened to this in a while, but I remember now why it's one of my favorite albums. The title track as well as staples "Beneath, Between, and Behind", "Anthem", and the sprawling epic "By-Tor and the Snowdog" lead into "Rivendell" and "In the End", and making for a brief but spellbinding listen of some of the best prog the '70s had to offer.

2. Ventura '98 -- Phish: Following the release of the Ventura box set, I listened to the shows from Ventura, CA from '97 and '98, considered by many fans to be the pinnacle years of Phish's 30-year career. However, 7/20/98 really stands out to me. After an absolutely stellar, 21-plus-minute "Bathtub Gin" opener and bluegrass number "Poor Heart", "Theme From the Bottom" sets up the funk for the new arrangement of "Water in the Sky" and a gnarly "Split Open and Melt" set I closer. Set II includes a wonderful "Makisupa Policeman" into "Maze", eventually ending with "Prince Caspian" and drummer Jon Fishman singing "Sexual Healing". It's a great listen if you have three hours to groove.

3. Umphrey's McGee sets from Summer Camp 2013: I don't even know where to start. Highlights included oddball jam "Eat", the cosmic metal-fusion of "Wizard Burial Ground", the frank swagger of "Slacker", "Andy's Last Beer" and "Wappy Sprayberry", followed by an exceptional cover of Beck's "Debra" into old-school favorite "Der Bluten Kat". The Sunday set was incredible, with a slinky "White Man's Moccassins" into a very crunchy "Tribute to the Spinal Shaft". Brendan's soaring vocals on the funkfest "Wife Soup" lead into a blistering "Phil's Farm", another tune from the band's beginnings. Taj Mahal joined them onstage for "She Caught the Katy", and the set only got more intense from there, "Higgins" followed by back-alley creeper "Smell the Mitten" and a fiery "Miss Tinkle's Overture" encore. Such a great weekend. Oh, and I forgot to mention their Friday night closer of moe.'s "Rebubula", one of Summer Camp's favorite songs. So, you know. There's that.

On that note, there are a few highlights coming up as well: Umphrey's in Peoria (7/7), Phish in Chicago (7/19-7/21), Umphrey's and STS9 sharing the bill in Indianapolis and Chicago (8/16 and 8.17 respectively), Shoe Fest in Manteno (9/6-9/8), and prog-metal geniuses Between the Buried and Me in Chicago (10/12). Happy listening everybody.

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