5 artists to help you concentrate

Sometimes when I’m on the grind, I don’t feel like picking music – I just want to hit play on something and run with it.

Alina Baraz & Galimatias

Image result for urban floraWhen I was working in China two summers ago, there was a week when I listened to nothing but the Urban Flora EP nonstop. The soft, melodious voice of Alina Baraz coupled with the dreamy, light production by Galimatias makes for a soundtrack that carries you through the day with gentle, emotional melodies, perfect for eliminating distractions.


I was caught in some sort of dream-like state, in control of my thoughts, but suspended in a very peaceful state of mind. – Alina Baraz and the afternoon I truly listened to music

Blank Banshee

Image result for blank bansheeIn 2015, I raved about how Blank Banshee’s first album sounds like a 30-min acid trip even if you put it on shuffle. Well, ya girl just discovered that Blank Banshee’s on Spotify too, so that made my day.

His self-titled album leaves you inquisitive and wanting more. Want your day to fly by? Just put it on repeat.

If you like Toro Y Moi’s chillwave vibes and the pumped-up psychedelics running through Tame Impala’s newest album Currents, you should wind down your summer with Blank Banshee’s 2012 album, Blank Banshee 0.

Dream Koala

I wrote about Dream Koala in my October Music Favorites from 2015, but I first heard tracks like Odyssey and Hipster Girl back in high school. Though it was initially my go-to music for sleep, I’ve discovered that when I’m working, Dream Koala helps me sit back and relax.

It’s dark, dreamy music that will help clear your mind of all of the foggy, bad vibes.


Image result for ta-kuTa-ku creates feel-good music that pairs instrumental elements with soft, head-bobbing beats. It will chill you out as you bang out your work. Some of his best tracks from his Songs To Make Up To album are Hopeful, Love Again, Work In Progress and Down For You, featuring Alina Baraz. You can listen to the whole album on Youtube here.

Back in 2015 I got published on Thought Catalog with a review of his Drive Slow, Homie mix for HYPETRAK. It was a big deal at the time, but not so much anymore because I realized that TC isn’t that hard on submissions.

The Drive Slow mix is one of my favorite to date – it’ll suck you in.

In this Ta-ku mix, there isn’t much remixing at all, just transitions between different pieces. But that’s what I love about it. It doesn’t just sound like one continuous song. It sounds like Ta-ku made you a mixtape for your drive home from work.

Hippie Sabotage


The Hippies, live @ House of Blues Chicago

While their live performances are really something else (I saw them perform a few weeks ago, don’t even get me started on the moshpits), the Hippies’ original tracks are some of the chillest but engaging songs I’ve ever listened to – they’ll leave you feeling invigorated.

One of my first introductions to them was through Alex Wiley’s (local Chicago rapper) track “Vibration,” which just sucked me in. I featured it on my “54 incredible songs you might have missed” post from 2014. Man, how time flies.

At worst, a white dude grunting into a microphone, but at best, a Hippie Sabotage production where you listen intently to Alex Wiley rant with a “ya ya, yaaaaaa” in the background.

“Your Soul” was also my spring break anthem last year in San Diego – check out this playlist I made of my favorite Hippie tracks.


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