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Volapalooza 2018: How to Pretend You Know Who The Bands Are

Volapalooza, the university-affiliated event where at least 89% of participants are definitely sloshed, just released its 2018 lineup. Since its humble origins in 2003 as a small concert to celebrate the end of the academic year, Volapalooza has grown to host popular artists from Tyga to the X Ambassadors. This year, however, student reaction to the lineup announced Friday has largely been a chorus of “Uh…who dat?” Using advanced investigative tools like Google and Spotify, The Black Sheep researched each group and artist so that you can act like you’re super cultured and, like, love the whole indie scene, you know?

Sure, most of their tracks have less than 1,000 listens on Spotify, but their top track “Money Comes, Money Goes” is a clear outlier with a comparatively impressive 58,000 plays. Unless they have one incredibly devoted fan who’s really into the “money isn’t important, stay true to yourself” message, they’ve got to be doing something right. And there’s something undeniably heartwarming about a group that cares enough about its fans to share the official Volapalooza playlist on their Spotify artist page.

Since COIN won’t be at Volapalooza again this year, someone had to fill the indie-rock-pop white Nashville boy band slot. That particular aesthetic really seems to be working for Hardcastle; their single “Millennial Attraction” made it onto Spotify’s Viral 50 playlist last year. Plus, you can easily design an obligatory flower crown based on their album art!

Peak Physique:
With just 109 followers on Spotify and no artist bio, Peak Physique is definitely Volapalooza’s most mysterious group this year. Their website (named, which definitely sounds like it would sell sketchy dietary supplements) states: “Love and Sex are super important. Peak Physique are here to help you through both. […] please enjoy the songs responsibly. If you aren’t ready to start a family, another band might be more suited to your lifestyle.” Remember, you can get free condoms at the Student Health Center.

We might have to take back that stuff we said about how no one recognizes this year’s lineup, because R&B artist R.LUM.R. will follow his Volapalooza performance with a trip to Bonnaroo. His bio cites childhood influences from Pink Floyd to Prince to anime, so expect an eclectic performance.

Zella Day:
CEB couldn’t get Lorde for Volapalooza, so Zella Day was the next best thing. Since her 2012 emo remake “Seven Nation Army,” she has developed her style to the hypnotic indie-pop that’s just as hipster as her vague tweets, which include statements such as “Lavender balloons” and “Too soft to touch, too lovely to leave alone//Misty roses//.” Even if you end up not loving her music, you can probably at least get some inspiration for your Instagram poetry or whatever.

From the way he dresses and raps, blackbear seems to be going for a “personalization of the early 2000s hip-hop scene” vibe. Sure, it’s pretty pretentious to have an all-lowercase artist name, but this whole persona seems to be working. He’s got almost nine million monthly listeners on Spotify and has collaborated with artists such as T-Pain and 2Chainz. However, he also co-wrote Justin Bieber’s amazingly annoying song “Boyfriend,” so the jury’s still out.  

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