The Ultimate Road Trip Playlist. Hit the Road, Coogs!

Last weekend I went on a short day long road trip to San Antonio with the boyfriend, and we had the age old argument that people have when they’re stuck in the car for an extended period of time. The one where you both have different opinions on what the theme music to your epic car ride should be. The day started with out with a little Andy Grammer, proceeded to Foo Fighters, and landed on The Ataris. There were some songs we both enjoyed and others that had us questioning our relationship. But like relationships, road trips come with the occasional compromises and yelling. So to help you make the most educated decisions about what to add to your playlist, here are my music recommendations for all your future road trips for wherever you’re heading and whoever you’re with!

  • You know those trips where you plan to head out super early? The ones where you promised to leave the house no later than 8 a.m., but coffee isn’t doing a good enough job of getting you pumped up? Let’s Get it Started with the Black Eyed Peas? Or if you’d rather ease into the ride, I suggest Coldplay’s Every Teardrop is a Waterfall. The build up in wonderful, and 2 minutes into your road trip you’re singing along with Chris Martin. Even OneRepublic’s I Lived will do the trick!
  • Riding out with your significant other for the first time? The two of you definitely need some tunes that will make it a an even better memory. Nothing beats your boyfriend seranading you along with Florida Georgia Line.

If you’re not a country fan however, you can’t go wrong with Gavin Degraw. Turn your special someone into a puddle in the passenger seat by singing that he’s the “Best [you] Ever Had.” If either one of you are into air-guitar–or  even the real kind– Jet’s “Are you Gonna Be My Girl” is my top recommendation. It doesn’t really matter if the two of you are on a road trip or driving to the mall, as long as you’re both having an amazing ride!


  • Maybe you’re heading out on your own for this trip. No worries! You’re never truly alone as long as you’ve got the radio/AUX cable/headphones/cell phone/what-have-you. Cruise down to i10 listening to Jason Derulo’s “Ridin’ Solo.”

If you are by yourself and the drive is a long one, there is that danger of falling asleep at the wheel. If you do find yourself feeling drowsy, I strongly recommend that you pull over to the nearest gas station and get yourself some of that stale but effective coffee. If, however, you do plan to tough it out, and drive the last few miles, you need music that wakes you up and makes you sing along. Linkin Park is my go-to for long drives when I’m not at a 100%. Yelling along with Chester Bennington to “New Divide” always kicks the adrenaline into overdrive.

  • There is always that one road trip that you take with the family. The one where your parents rent a minivan, your dad won’t let anyone else drive, your mom is trying to give him directions, and your little brother will not stop talking. The one where you break out your old faithful mp3 player and your headphones are your savior. I have been on this road trip. More than a few times. The struggle is real. For trips like these, I like to really commit to the brooding teenager role by listening to Simple Plan’s “Welcome to My Life.” But as a 22 year-old  I can only take so much self-pity, so I switch to things a little more upbeat while keeping it old-school:


  • I feel some of the best road trips are the ones you take with your group of friends; when there’s a little getting lost, a whole lot of junk food, and even more music (and that one friend that needs to stop for bathroom breaks way too often). Definitely take the time to play the road trip classic: Life is a Highway (I prefer the Rascal Flatts version). One of my other favorites is The Great Escape by Boys Like Girls.

  • However, if you happen to  be driving with just your girls, you know there’s just “One Direction” you’re going in. Shameless pun. No judgement. My personal favorite is “Kiss You.” Drive safe, Ladies!


  • So you had an amazing trip. Nothing left but the drive home. I’ve got you covered. I drove back from San Antonio last weekend to Foo Fighters’ “Home” and it just felt right. But even Michael Bublé’s song of the same name would be perfect for that drive home.

If you think I was going to let you go without mentioning the ultimate road trip anthem, think again, Coogs.

Did I miss any of your favorite car ride sound tracks? Comment and let me know what you think!

Posted in Music, Staff Picks

Gallery: SPB Presents Cher Lloyd at Frontier Fiesta

On the second day of Frontier Fiesta, the Student Program Board brought pop-senesation, Cher Lloyd to perform for FREE! The beautiful and talented singer finally returned to Houston to play her hits and even preview some new music for the Fiesta crowd! If you missed out, check out the gallery below!

All photos by Sarah Hoffman


Posted in Artists, Concerts, Music

SXSW Aftermath: Artists To Keep An Eye On

SXSW is one of the worlds largest music conferences where fans and industry professionals come together to discover new artists, music, films, etc. By far the biggest part of SXSW however, is music week. Music week this year ran from March 17-21st and I got to be there for 3 crazy filled days to see some artists I love along with some that I had the pleasure of discovering.

So without further ado, here’s some artist that you should keep an eye on this year. i hope you find some new music and these artist get some new fans!

(These are in no particular order because they  are all amazing in their own way!)

Holychild – Running Behind (Mindspeak EP on iTunes)

If you’ve seen the Apple Watch commercial, you’ve probably heard this track from Holychild being played, that clapping intro is unmistakable. This band played their last SXSW show in the rain to a park full of people and they rocked every minute of it. Singer, Liz Nistico even escaped her covered dry stage to run around and dance with the crowd.

Colony House – Silhouettes (When I Was Younger on iTunes)

This band was an accidental discovery, they played before a band that I will talk about next. When they started to play the song “Silhouettes” it clicked that I had heard the song before. Definitely a very fun band to watch, their album “When I Was Younger” was released in July of last year.

Smallpools – Karaoke (LOVETAP! on iTunes)

Everyone knows I love this band, so there should be no surprise when I tell you that I saw them 5 times in the span of 3 days at SXSW. I say it all the time, this band is fun, this band is energetic and they are just all around great. They managed to do a headlining tour with only 5 released songs, and they’ve opened up for bands like Walk The Moon, Two Door Cinema Club and Grouplove.

Sam Hunt – House Party (Montevallo on iTunes)

Sam Hunt is probably someone you wouldn’t expect to see at SXSW so when I saw he was announced I was a bit skeptical about the idea but I love his music and decided to check him out at both parties he played which also happened to be some of the biggest things happening at SXSW (Spotify House and Fader Fort) and he had the crowd going nuts at both performances.

Coin – Run (Coin EP on iTunes)

When the singer goes so hard that he unplugs his keyboard, then tries to fix it with a bottle cap before realizing that it was just unplugged, that’s some dedication right there. These guys played with so much energy and afterwards, they still made time to meet fans (in the rain!)  Check out the official video for this song on Vevo!

X Ambassadors – Unconsolable (Love Songs Drugs Songs EP on iTunes)

All about that bass, bass, bass. No I’m not trying to be clever and say they covered Meghan Trainor, but this is another band I got to see at their last SXSW performance (their 6th that week!) and when you’re in front of a speaker and this band starts to play, you can feel the music in your bones and I say that in the best way possible. X Ambassadors brings in r&b vibes into the rock genre and it transpires into an incredibly energetic performance. (FOLLOW ME! INTO THE JUNGLE!!!) That probably sounds familiar, this is the band behind that sound along with Jamie N Commons.

Bleachers – Roller Coaster (Strange Desire on iTunes)

Saying I love this song would be an understatement because I LOVE this song after SXSW. The singer Jack Antonoff’s vocals have always amazed me because I don’t expect that voice from that man, but it is amazing nonetheless. Bleachers is a band that LOVES their fans, so much that they decided to throw an all ages party with all their band friends just for fans, no industry people, no photographers, nothing just for fans. (and did I mention it was free??)

So these are some of the newest additions to my playlist after an awesome spring break, and I hope you have found some new music to satisfy your ears with!

Posted in Artists, Bands, Music

Pentatonix Brings the Beat Back to Bayou Music Center


Photo by Sarah Hoffman


The fact that there were absolutely no instruments on the stage of the Bayou Music Center on Wednesday night hinted towards the fact that it was going to be a different kind of show. No other band was needed to get the audience hyped up as Pentatonix hit the stage without an opening act. The sold out show was all for the Grammy-winning a cappella band alone, and they did not disappoint!

Kirstie Maldonado Photo by Sarah Hoffman

Starting out the show with their cover of Ariana Grande’s “Problem,” complete with Iggy Azalea’s rapping by Mitch Grassi,  Pentatonix  had the crowd singing along with them from the start. After that, they transitioned into an  amazing medley of Beyonce’s hits that included some Destiny’s Child favorites like, “Survivor,” “Bootylicious,” and “Say My Name,” as well as the Queen B’s singles like, “Crazy In Love,” “Girls,” and “Single Ladies.” The band delivered a range of Beyonce’s old school classics to current chart toppers to the diverse crowd, all in one brilliant mash-up.

They continued with their cover of “Telephone,” which they explained was the very first cover they ever recorded, and then electrified everyone with their own Sam Smith special, “La La Latch.” The band clearly loved being back in Texas and felt the love coming back from the audience. In fact, the love was so strong that they performed “Love You Long Time” for the first time on tour.

Afterwards, each member talked a bit about their beginnings in Arlington, Texas (Scott Hoying also mentioned that two of his former music teachers were in the crowd that night, and that he felt the added pressure). The band went from winning the NBC show, The Sing-Off, to having a record label, to being dropped by the record label. Mitch Grassi explained how this was a blessing in disguise as it made the band turn to YouTube, where they now have a whopping 7.6 million subscribers and resulted in them being signed by a new label.


Scott Hoying Photo by Sarah Hoffman

The show continued with Kevin Olusola breaking out his infamous “celloboxing” solo and amazing everyone with his talent. The rest of the band joined him after a while with a cover of Imogen Heap’s “Aha.”


Kevin Olusola Photo by Sarah Hoffman

They continued with “FourFiveSeconds,” and much to the delight of everyone, the band went off stage and walked out into the audience while singing (this being the closest I may ever come to Grammy-winners). After making a huge sweep all the way to the back of the crowd and back to the stage, Mitch had to share what was going through his mind while among the crowd. I quote,

“Oh My God. Everyone here is SO. CUTE.”

We think you’re pretty cute too, Mitch!

Mitch Grassi Photo by Sarah Hoffman

The night went on with their cover of Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On,” but that song isn’t really complete unless you’re serenading to someone. Pentatonix didn’t overlook the fact, as Avi Kaplan brought a lucky lady from the audience onto the stage!

Avi Kaplan Photo by Sarah Hoffman

I definitely can’t skip out on mentioning the band’s amazing “Evolution of Music,” which includes everything from Gregorian chants from the 1100s to “Call Me Maybe.” After singing a few of their originals “Standing By,” “See Through” (a mash-up with Ariana Grande’s “Break Free”), and “On My Way Home,” the band said goodnight.

However, the audience was not satisfied and chanted for an encore. Pentatonix ran back out to appease and asked everyone in the audience for pin-drop silence as they sang “That’s Christmas To Me,” unplugged. It was probably the only time I’ve heard of a concert crowd not cheering being a good thing. The band ended the night with a mashup of Daft Punk songs that left the Bayou Music Center on a high note.

The concert was definitely one to remember, and as many times as I see music performed a cappella, the talent always astounds me. So it is safe to say, Pentatonix blew my mind.

Were you at the concert? Leave us a comment and tell us about your favorite part of the night!

All Photos by Sarah Hoffman

Posted in Bands, Concerts, Reviews

Artist Spotlight: Smallpools


Photo credit: Anna Lee

Who doesn’t love fun music right? Music in itself is fun no matter what artist, band or genre you are listening to but sometimes you just stumble upon that one band who’s music just makes you happy and you can’t explain why. That was my experience with the wonderful band; Smallpools.

Smallpools is a four-piece based out of Los Angeles California consisting of Sean Scanlon (Vocals/Keys), Michael Kamerman (Guitar), Joseph Intile (Bass) and Beau Kuther (Drums). Vocalist, Sean Scanlon and Michael Kamerman made the move to LA in 2013 where they meet the guys that would later become their rhythm section, Beau and Joe and that’s where Smallpools began.

In May 2013, Smallpools released their first single; Dreaming and shortly after that the band released their debut self-titled EP on July 16th 2013 on RCA Records. Their 4 track EP consisted of the previously released single, Dreaming along with Over & Over, No Story Time and Mason Jar.

The band headed out on tour and constantly made the joke of playing half of their discography after only playing two songs. I had the pleasure of seeing them for the first time at Edgefest 2014 in Dallas after a good friend of mine introduced me to them. In July 2014, the band released their 5th track entitled Killer Whales, and with it came another joke that the band likes to make about how after googling themselves (it’s something everyone does right??) they found articles about people saying how messed up it was to keep killer whales in small pools so they named this song after that.

The band gained a very loyal fan base besides the fact that they only had 5 songs under their belt. In November 2014, they headed out on their first headlining tour with the band Magic Man. A lot of people were curious as to how their set was going to keep fans’ attention considering such a small discography but they made the most of it by playing new songs from their album Lovetap! which was set to released in a couple months and even throwing in a cover of “Real Hero” from the Drive soundtrack. I was lucky enough to get to see them 3 times on their headliner and got to experience their set from different perspectives including watching from the front row and I was completely amazed by their incredible performance each night. Smallpools has the ability to get everyone up to dance and sing along (even if it is to songs they’ve never heard, I know sounds crazy right??). Remember when I said fun music? Smallpools is totally fun music, they get you in a good mood, and in the end that’s the best thing to be able to achieve from listening to music.


Photo credit: Anna Lee

On March 24th 2015, Smallpools released their full-length album entitled LOVETAP! a week after their TV debut on Late Night with Seth Meyers and a crazy run of shows at their first SXSW appearance in Austin.

Smallpools will be in our neck of the woods on April 14th on their second headliner in support of LOVETAP!
You can catch them at Fitzgeralds with Grizfolk!
Tickets on sale here!

Buy LOVETAP! on iTunes. 

Recommended tracks: “American Love,” “Dyin’ To Live,” “Mason Jar & Dreaming.”

@Smallpools on Twitter.
@SeanEats @MichaelKamerman @JosephIntile @BeauKnowsDrums


photo credit: Anna Lee

(Big thanks to Anna Lee (@AnnaLeeMedia) for allowing me to use her photos!)

Posted in Artist Spotlight, Bands, Local Events, New Releases

Action Bronson feat. Chance The Rapper “Baby Blue” Music Video

If you’ve been on Twitter lately, you’ve probably seen the humorous tweets featuring Chance The Rapper such as:

Have you seen the actual video from which that clip is from though? It’s featured in Action Bronson’s music video “Baby Blue,” a song from his newly released album, “Mr. Wonderful.” In  the video Bronson and Chance The Rapper attack this soulful song in the most best way possible – Action Bronson talking to himself with a Queens-esque “Nyew Yuork” accent as he gets a haircut from himself, Action Bronson fighting a robber with a broom stick, girls getting hypothetically screwed over as Chance raps, and a talent show where Action Bronson shows off his tattooed body in nothing but a baby blue suit as he performs. The music video is anything but boring! I highly recommend you watch it and check out Action Bronson’s new album as well.

Watch “Baby Blue” below!

BONUS: Action Bronson just recently did an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit.

Posted in Music, Music Videos, New Releases

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