Friday, December 16, 2016

Top 10 of 2016

It's my favorite post to write every year! And I'm on time! Here are my top 10 of 2016 - I do get a little political and philosophical - maybe too much but it's my blog, and it's where I can write whatever I want. Regardless, I hope you enjoy and please feel free to comment!

10. Bayside – Vacancy

It seems like Bayside are just popping these albums out year by year lately – and they're pretty damn good. With age, it seems evident that Anthony Raneri is writing some beautiful stuff and Bayside's albums are becoming cohesive pieces of music. Cult is a great example of this and Vacancy is another. It seems like they were really channeling their inner Billy Joel on this album (they did do a cover of “Moving Out” - probably the only Billy Joel song I can stand, that's for another blog post, I guess,) particularly “I've Been Dead All Day” and “Pretty Vacant”. Regardless of my feelings for Joel, Bayside actually pulls it off very well. 

 
9. Green Day – Revolution Radio

Green Day, I'm so proud of you. You've been so resilient throughout the years. From 924 Gilman Street to Broadway, you've just kept on going regardless of what people said - “Remember that album with the song about masturbating? That was great! Now they suck.” And yes, they had a rough patch. The Uno, Dos, Tre albums – what were those? Don't even get me started on 21st Century Breakdown. The aftermath of such a monster hit (American Idiot, if you were living under a rock in 2004 and didn't know what I was referring to,) can be very weird for a band – they can either move on or try to re-create the hit. For a lot of bands, this can be defined as the sophomore slump or comeback of the year. Green Day however, had a lot of albums under their belt, critical success and a die hard fan base before all of this rigamarole happened to them.
Unfortunately, Green Day kept trying to re-create the hit for a while. Over a decade, to be exact. Perhaps they were just bored and were like, “yeah, let's do this, I guess”. Who knows. But it seems like they've bounced back with Revolution Radio and I couldn't be more pleased. Ya know, it only took twelve years. This album kind of reminds me of Warning with an American Idiot twist. There's variety, just like American Idiot but there's also the apathy and stripped down rawness that Warning had. Gwendolyn Mumford of The Guardian, I think says it best: “"[after their last few albums] the band have decided to get back to basics: Revolution Radio is their most focused work in years.” Key tracks include “Bang Bang,” “Revolution Radio,” “Say Goodbye” and “Still Breathing.”

 
8. Jimmy Eat World – Integrity Blues

This was Jimmy Eat World's ninth studio album but it sounds like it could be their second or third – I love how consistent they are! It's not very often you find a band like Jimmy Eat World that just continues to come out with great records – Bayside being another band that does this, I think. It doesn't sound like they're just churning them out for their kids college funds at all. I mean, maybe they are, but it doesn't sound like they're desperate, is where I'm getting at. They're still doing this because they like to and because they have more to say. There's passion behind these songs. Not their highest chart topper but it did get to #4 on the alternative billboardcharts. Key tracks include: “Get Right” (might be one of my favorite songs they've ever writen,) and “Pretty Grids”.

 
7. Tegan and Sara – Love You to Death

Oh, this album. Yeah, I listened to this a lot. Tegan and Sara's music is very relatable and listenable – they come out with an album and you just want to immerse yourself in it until you hear “U-Turn” for the 405th time and literally anything else would be a sweet relief. I wrote about my feelings on this album when it came out and I don't think I've really changed my mind – still totally into these ladies time traveling to the 80s and doing their thing. Heartthrob was great but Love You to Death feels more like an album to me – it has a specific focus and a specific sound. Very Tears for Fears – Human League 80s. Key tracks include “Dying to Know,” “100x” and “White Knuckles”.

 
6. Margo Price – Midwest Farmers Daughter

Margo Price is a country queen amongst the Keith Urban's and Toby Keith's of the country music world (and seriously, why is Keith such a popular name in country music?). It's truly a damn shame that country music doesn't worship the greats like Price, Kasey Musgraves, Amanda Shires and Gillian Welch to name a few. Sure, these ladies have success, but they're not country music's superstars – the Keith's are. It used to be Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline and Hank Williams at this pedestal who are way more in line with what Price is doing with her career. This is why I have a problem with country music but anyway, Margo Price is awesome. She's brutally honest with her lyrics, she tells an autobiographical story in Midwest Farmers Daughter and it really shows. When you put your heart into your music, people notice. She has got to be one of my favorite, if not my favorite, new artist that came out in 2016. Key tracks include “Hands of Time,” “About to Find Out” and “Hurtin' on the Bottle”.

 
5. Beyonce – Lemonade

Did you ever think I was going to put Beyonce on one of these lists? Because I didn't! Let alone in the top 5. But I can't deny that I really love Lemonade and think it's a pretty enormous accomplishment for Queen Bey. What I love about this album is that she used her fame and status to release an album that brings up some very interesting questions and concepts, especially as we roll into 2017 with a new president, hate crimes abound and Black Lives Matter still going strong. If only other celebrities at this pedestal would do this more often. To me, it seems like she wanted to make a stand and talk about this stuff because she knew she could. And what's even more badass is that she didn't care if her fame would be compromised or not – she's at that stage in her life like most thirty-somethings, where she's like “IDGAF.” As she says in “Formation,” “You know you that bitch when you cause all this conversation.” But people loved it and it became her most popular album in years, probably since I Am...Sasha Fierce. And let's not forget about the other personal stuff she talked about – her marriage...which we found out is not always perfect. To put herself in such a vulnerable and uncomfortable place, especially with how famous she is and how picked apart she can be from the media, it's just a total badass move. Like, I have no other word to describe it other than badass. And it really changes my view on Beyonce too. I still can't say I'm a huge fan of hers but I can appreciate her “going there”. Because I think that's what being an artist is all about. I can't even think of key tracks for this because it's one of those albums where all the songs feels like one big song. So just listen to it.
 
4. Angel Olsen – My Woman

This lady is a powerhouse and My Woman is just a slither of the music she'll make in the future that we'll gladly listen to. Olsen's music has so many genres you could attach to it – punk, rockabilly, folk, alternative – so many options. There's something here for everyone. I loved Burn Your Fire for No Witness, but I think My Woman is what she's going to be as an artist – a combination of Joan Jett, Liz Phair and Grace Slick. A combination of pop-rock goodness and surrealist poetry. You listen to the way she says “Still got to wake up and be someone” on “Intern” and how sternly she yells “Shut up, kiss me, hold me tight!” on “Shut Up Kiss Me” and you're like, “yeah, I don't know what this girl is about yet, but I like it.” And we might not ever know.

 
3. Banks – The Altar

The Altar was a great sophomore album for Jillian Banks – it was pretty similar to her debut, Goddess, but also very different – it was safe but it was still good. I have a feeling she'll branch out on her third album and get a little more experimental although I'm not sure if that's a good thing because she does this well and still can put herself into these songs, writing honest, unmerciful lyrics about love and life. Especially if you've listened to both of her albums as much as I have, you can tell The Altar has a vibe that says, “I want to branch out but...I'm gonna stay here.” Regardless of that, she really pulled through the sophomore slump, in my mind. “Trainwreck” is probably one of her best. I love that she thinks about the sound, or I guess timbre (yes! I can use one of my favorite words!) for every song on this, “Trainwreck” being a perfect example. Almost all of the tracks on this album are very quiet, she's almost whispering in some of it - “F*** With Myself,” being a good example – and then “Trainwreck” is just like, “oh my god, I'm acting crazy and I don't what to do with myself, please help.” It sounds very anxious but I think that's what she wanted and I love that. Then, “This is Not About Us” could easily be on a Salt-N-Pepa album from the late eighties – she just needs a rap break and she's all set. Other key tracks include, “Weaker Girl” and “Gemini Feed”.

 
2. Against Me! - Shape Shift with Me


Ah, something familiar. I can always count on Against Me! for a good album. Shape Shift with Me was perfect in every way. Their last previous work, Transgender Dysphoria Blues was kind of the introduction to Laura Jane Grace Against Me! - which wasn't really too different musically but lyrically, very different. Grace discussing her battle just to be herself was heartbreaking and very powerful, but I did think to myself, it isn't smooth sailing for them after this - after such a drastic change, will we still be getting the same Against Me! I've known and loved for years? Will I still get the band whom I feel in love with on MTV in a post 9/11 world, with former President George W. Bush in office, when I heard “Don't Loose Touch” and thought, “they're pissed. I need to listen to more of them.” Well, will I? Transgender Dysphoria Blues was definitely an album she needed to make and an album we needed to hear, but is this what they will be now? And I got the answer after listening to Shape Shift with Me – yes and no. Which is the answer I wanted because after such a change, you can't possibly be the same. They're relatively still the same but they're even better! You can tell she's so focused now in her music and lyrics, you're just ready for the ride. I've seen them live twice now post-Laura and they're better than they've ever been. There's nothing in their way. Key tracks include “Boyfriend” (LOVE that song), “Delicate, Petite & Other Things I'll Never Be,” “Haunting Haunted Haunts,” “Norse Truth” and “Crash”.

 
1. Watsky – x infinity

This is a pretty obvious choice for me and I did think about putting someone else in my number one spot. “Maybe I'll put Beyonce there, no one would ever suspect that,” I thought to myself. “Wouldn't it be funny if I was like, 'psych! I've been a huge Frank Ocean fan this whole time and Blonde is my number one'? No, just I would think that's funny?” But the thing is, I can't deny the fact that I listened to x infinity for almost half of the year non-stop. Seriously, ask my boyfriend, he'll tell you. Every time we were in the car and “Don't Be Nice” or “Pink Lemonade” started playing he'd turn to me and say very deadpan, “You have a problem” and he's a Watsky fan himself. And even he was getting tired of it. I can still listen to x infinity and be fulfilled. I'm not like, “ugh, if I have to hear 'Tiny Glowing Screens Pt. 3' one more time...” No – I'm not. I'm like, “yeah, let's listen to Cardboard Castles next.” His music is so intricate – it's like a Where's Waldo book but for music – there's always something that you missed the 60 other times you listened to it, and catch it on the 61st. His lyrics are also incredibly inspiring. Much like some of the other musical loves in my life – Ryan Adams and Frank Turner to be exact – Watsky's lyrics can be considered very depressing and sad to some but for me and other people out there, they're inspiring. Why? Because they're just honest. Yes, one day you'll die. Yes, you might be super depressed sometimes. That's life. Just try to be a good person and you do you. And like Adams and Turner, Watsky doesn't hide these facts of life. For some reason, I find comfort in that. But what's interesting is that he presents his ideas and music in a very different way than Adams and Turner however, I do consider them to be very much alike – in their ideas and opinions. Watsky definitely has more humor to his music. Another interesting aspect is that he's 30, only a year older than me so he's in the same age group as me – I hate to say millennials since it has such a negative connotation but, that's the group we're in.
Millennials are such a huge group, it's impossible to really group us all together. If you were coherent and aware during 9/11, that's the cut off for me. If you experienced 9/11 and know exactly where you were, what you were doing, how you felt – maybe you're technically a millennial, but you're not what media and society perceives a millennial as. I feel that Watsky definitely talks a lot about the issues people in this age bracket face. How they feel about the world, how they want to be and how they really are or how the future will be for us. Because we're around the age where people start buying houses, making families and some of us will even be in positions of power where we'll have the opportunity to change the world and how it works. To me, Watsky is a voice for this age group. The cusp of adulthood in 2016 and what to do with it. This is particularly evident on x infinity – there were definitely hints of it here and there in previous works but his music was much more fun and youthful when he started. Now, x infinity is a huge step toward a different direction. What that direction is, I'm not sure, but it's the end of an era for George and the beginning of a new one.

Honorable Mentions:
 
Bon Iver – 22, a million

Bon Iver came back this year and I think his new friends who are creating music of the Hip Hop variety are drastically influencing his sound. It was quite a leap from Bon Iver, Bon Iver. And you know what? I think I might be okay with it.

Childish Gambino – Awaken, My Love!

Since this just came out on December 2, I haven't had a lot of time with this album so it will be an honorable mention. Perhaps if I did listen to it more, it might be higher, cause I feel like this is one of those “grower not a shower” albums. You have to sit with it. Listen to it during a traffic jam in the car. Although “Redbone” really stands out to me already.

The Chainsmokers – Collage EP

Damn it, I like The Chainsmokers, okay? Not a single fuck is given. Take away my music cred membership card, if you must. Hey, at least they're creating pop music that is original, has catchy melodies and are actually pretty cool pieces of music – especially without all the horns and beat machines in the background. I'm not a huge fan of the whole EDM-rave scene – to be honest, I think it's an irresponsible injustice to teens and they shouldn't be force fed musical Ecstasy and think it's okay to just go to a rave and get alcohol poisoning and everything will be fine because Skrillex does it all the time and he's fine – probably shouldn't market that to teens. Just as I wrote that, another realization that I've certainly crossed over. But still. The Chainsmokers, however, I can appreciate because it seems like they're in the music biz for the right reasons. Time will tell though. 

Solange – A Seat at the Table

The music doesn't really grab me at first and honestly, I find it offensive when iTunes genrefies this album as “Soul” and then Lil' Wayne makes an appearance. But like her sister, she's talking about some heavy things in her music and I think that should be celebrated and thought about. Definitely listen to “Don't Touch my Hair” and “F.U.B.U.”

Sunday, November 20, 2016

I'm back...sort of. And RIP Sharon Jones.

Hello! Don't worry, I remember I have a blog and I have a responsibility to it. At least I want to have a responsibility to it.

I haven't written in a while and I hate when that happens. I usually try to at least post once or twice a month if I'm in a dry spell. But October was nuts - I went to New York City and saw Watsky, which was great, and then one of my best friends got married which took up a lot of time and preparation for it. So I was pretty busy. I thought "Oh, I'll get back to it in November!" And we all know what happened in the beginning of November in the United States...Election Day.

I am one of those who is unhappy with the outcome and I continue to struggle with the decision that my fellow citizens have decided. Or I guess really, what the electoral college has decided for us, huh? Anyway...so that happened and I've been doing nothing but reading about it and trying to do anything I can to help the cause of checks and balances. I will continue to do so for the next four years.

But the reason why I'm posting today is partially to be like, "hey, don't leave, I'm here and this blog is still kickin" and partially to talk about Sharon Jones, who passed away on Friday from her battle with pancreatic cancer since 2013. I loved her, not sure if you know but I have mentioned her a couple times on this blog. She was someone who was doing her own thing and bringing soul back to the millennium. The music she made with the dap kings was incendiary and I, at least, will never forget it.

Talking with people in my life in the last couple of days, they had no idea about her greatness - a lot of people didn't know her. Which is kind of surprising (considering some of these people are very musically aware), sad and makes me think, "well I need to share her music with as many people as I can." So that's what I'll do. Yesterday at work, I played parts of her Christmas album and most of I Learned the Hard Way.

In a strange twist, I'm going to relate that message with the election for a minute. If this election has taught me anything, it's that if I want people to know shit and if I'm expecting more from people, I should inform them about it. I've been in the mindset I think a lot of millennials have been in for a while which is, "why try? It doesn't do anything." Which is a notion I still struggle with. But if you don't do anything, how do you know it doesn't work? How can you just assume people won't listen?  PERHAPS this is why we're in the predicament we're in - because people stopped talking to each other.

Sharon Jones' death hit me hard - pretty much equal to the remorse I felt over Bowie, dare I say maybe even more. She was such a strong woman and her music really reflected that. I regret not seeing her live - she's been around Albany a couple of times but it just didn't happen. Even knowing she had pancreatic cancer I was like, "she's gonna be around for years!" because that's how she acted. She never ever showed weakness or seemed like she was slowing down - if anything, she went full force. And I really have always admired her for that. She just never gave up. And I'm going to really miss her and her music.

And just for funsies, here is "The Game Gets Old" for your listening pleasure.



Monday, September 19, 2016

Thoughts...part II

I wrote a post earlier in the year just listing songs I've been listening to lately. I'd like to do that again because to be honest, it's a little all over the place...

 1. Angel Olsen "Shut Up and Kiss Me" - her album MY WOMAN (which came out September 2,) is awesome. Very different from Burn Your Fire for No Witness but still very good and it still sounds like her. I just saw her in Hudson, NY a couple days ago at Basilica Soundscape and she's even more impressive live - I love when that happens!

2. Sia (feat. Kendrick Lamar - OF COURSE, am I right?) "The Greatest"

3. Against Me! "Crash"

4. K. Flay "Blood in the Cut"

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Jimmy Eat World Announced Ninth Album

Jimmy Eat World has announced their ninth studio album release, Integrity Blues! The announcement was technically on August 30 but, I've got a life, leave me alone!!!

I'm very excited for it - the first two singles "Get Right" and "Sure and Certain" are perfection. Take a listen below. The album releases October 21.


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

I want to listen to Watsky...Where Do I Start?

So I've been listening to x Infinity like all day, every day. It's a great album and I think rapper George Watsky really dug deep into his interior to create this, and it really shows. His fourth full length album and first to reach the Billboard top Rap album chart (!!!) is different from his previous work but still the same, if that can make sense. You can tell when listening to the album that it's him, he's still witty, still poignant and still making really solid, catchy hooks but he's also paradoxically showing this maturity and growth in his music. It's really cool to see, especially if you know Watsky's discography...and if you don't know, you're in luck, because I've created a list of songs you should start out with if you want to get into Watsky! Yay segue's!

This isn't on the list but I feel like I should include it since this is kind of where it all started: 
"Pale Kid Raps Fast"
This video became what we call "YouTube viral". Before this, he was doing spoken word/slam poetry shows across the United States at college campuses and also competed in various spoken word competitions. Around the time this video became viral, he was also trying to make progress in his music career and the rest is history! Anyway... 

"Hercules" - Watsky (2009) - This is a song I just started listening to more and more. It's actually about Watsky's family involvement in Hercules Inc., a chemical and munitions manufacturing company. While he's telling the story, he's also explaining his drive and determination to be "just like Hercules"...the Greek hero as well as the company...strong, successful and talented. I think he's accomplished all three of those things since he's recorded this.


"IDGAF" - Nothing Like the First Time (2012) - This is definitely the top of my list of songs I'll give to someone who has never listened to Watsky. It's just a light hearted romp that speaks the truth. There's not really much to say about it, it just has to be heard...and seen (the video is awesomely weird).


"Stupidass" - Nothing Like the First Time (2012) - This is a song I don't think a lot of people would include on this list but for some reason, I love it. The "some dudes'll front 'how do you do, mama?'" part just always gets me. The video is a little gross but I can appreciate it. Also, this song is one of the many references to his formally beloved Subaru...which he recently just gave away as a contest prize during press for x Infinity! I'm wondering if he's still going to talk about it in his songs just for traditions sake.


"Wounded Healer" - Nothing Like the First Time (2012) - Another one of my favorite songs by him and a top pick for songs I like to have people listen to when they've never heard Watsky before. The instrumental is a sample from Deer Tick called, "Baltimore Blues No. 1" and it's one of his very few samples he uses in his music (at least samples from music that is popular). When asked what inspired this song during a Reddit AMA he said: "my father's best friend committed suicide last year. they were both psychotherapists who got into the field to help others deal with problems they both had when they were younger. 'wounded healer' is a term my dad used to describe therapists with previous life trauma." He also has more about this in his new book How To Ruin Everything which is definitely worth a read and is inspiring and heartbreaking just like this song.

"Strong as an Oak" - Cardboard Castles (2013) - Whenever I feel like I want to just go back to bed and not deal with life or people, I listen to "Strong as an Oak." And then I can function as a human again.


"Moral of the Story" - Cardboard Castles (2013) - "But if you got a goal you gotta hold onto it that what hope is / If I didn't have it I would ask you where the rope is". Contrary to the lyric I just quoted, this is Watsky's "Loose Yourself" - it gets you hyped up and ready to do the things you're nervous to do. Whether it's a job interview, waking up in the morning or maybe it's both. "Moral of the Story" will make you feel like you can do that..."'till your arms fall off, till your abs get hard and your bone's all soft."

"Hey Asshole" (feat. Kate Nash) - Cardboard Castles (2013) - To be honest, this is just a cute, funny song and I don't have much to say about it. It definitely should be on the list because it's one of his catchier songs and there's a vast majority of music listeners who I think, would dig this. It also shows his versatility as a songwriter. Plus, it's featuring Kate Nash and she's pretty awesome!



"Whoa Whoa Whoa" - All You Can Do (2014) - Another great example of his songwriting as well as his rhyming skills. He does say in this song that his skills are "highly honed." I'll let you find out what the lyric before that is! He definitely toys with word play here - my favorite being: "I'll jump the freeway median, I'm savage/ Cause my mode is that I'm meaner than the average" also in reference to you know, Math. Oh yeah, also, also...I spy Bo Burnham!! I realized after watching this before writing this paragraph, dude is an instigator like whoa in this - he's giving George the gasoline, the lighter...he's just a big pyro in this, huh? And I'll also shout out Chinaka Hodge who is absolutely fantastic and the girl with George and Bo in the beginning. Hodge is a fellow Bay Area slam poet. She actually was featured on a song on Cardboard Castles called "Kill a Hipster", which is great and is very relatable to an almost 30-year-old who doesn't like to admit she's a hipster but totally is, and also makes an appearance on Watsky's new album ("Exquisite Corpse" - another great one).

"Never Let it Die" - All You Can Do (2014) - This is one of my favorite songs, period. Like, just in general. Similar to "Moral of the Story," it's a song I like to listen to when I'm feeling down or when I need a pick me up. I love the end where he says: "We won't surrender, we'll wipe the blood up with the White flag." So epic! The video is pretty great too!

"Tiny Glowing Screens Part 3" - x Infinity (2016) - Wow, I'm finally getting to x Infinity! This list turned out to be much longer than I thought, just like I thought the Ryan Adams list would be. Anyway, yes, there is a Part 1 and 2 of "Tiny Glowing Screens" and they're awesome, especially Part 2, which is a spoken word poem rather than a song. But "Tiny Glowing Screens Part 3" is probably one of the best introductions to an album I've ever heard. Again, it gets you pumped. You're like, "yes, let's continue this journey and listen to more music on this album. I'll pour us a couple more scotches."

"Talking to Myself" - x Infinity (2016) - This is a great example of Watsky showing his growth as he progresses as an artist. I feel like this song is what "Wounded Healer" evokes, like they're fraternal twins of each other, but "Talking to Myself" is written in a more general sense. The lyrics are so genuine and real, the day that Watsky is describing you could have had last week. I also love the "how ya feelin' today?" part in the background throughout the song. And again, the video is something to watch too. The dancer in the video choreographed this as well.


"Yes Britannia" - x Infinity (2016) - There hasn't been a video for this song released yet, but I hope there will be soon because it might shed some light on what exactly this song is about. A lot of people who are Watsky fans online are speculating it could be about a relationship he had with a British person, about a lawsuit he dealt with in England while he was performing during the Warped Tour in 2013 or it could be about both - the verses are interchangeable and it does seem like one verse could be about one story and the next verse is about another. So, who knows. But it's a great song - reminds me of something that would be on All You Can Do.

"Stick to Your Guns" (feat. Julia Nunes)- x Infinity (2016) - An important song in his discography. I'm not going to get political on this blog so I'll just let you listen to it and decide if you like it. Plus, Julia Nunes!


"Brave New World" (feat. Chaos Chaos) - x Infinity (2016) - I'm really into this song right now - it's put together so delicately but it doesn't sound delicate. The Chaos Chaos hook is awesome. And it again, shows growth in his lyrics and in his music. He's telling a story with his song and that is something a lot of musicians don't know how to do. It's not a requirement to be a good musician but it certainly helps.

 

Before I'm done writing this...I have to add one more...damn, it's so hard to make lists for me. I just want to include EVERYTHING! Just listen to Watsky, how about that?

It's an honorable mention from Nothing Like the First Time and is sampling Diddy & Dirty Money's "Coming Home" which is a guilty pleasure of mine...although I guess I'm not really too guilty if I just admitted it, am I?

 "4 AM (Monday)" - Nothing Like the First Time (2012)

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The VMAs: What the Actual Expletive

I don't even know how to start this post. First, here's what I wrote on my personal Facebook because I can't quite sum it up any better than this:
So I usually watch the VMA's every year because of my music nerdiness but I didn't make a point to watch it this year since last year pissed me off so much. But of course, I was curious and looked at the award winners/nominations and it can be pretty much summed up into three words: BeyoncĂ©, Rihanna and Drake. I will admit, BeyoncĂ©'s album is really good and I like all three of these artists to a point, but I feel like every year the scope of music that gets represented at this damn award show just gets smaller and smaller. If you look at the winners/nominees from 2010 or even 2013, you'll notice it. And you might think "oh it's MTV who gives a crap," but the importance of this is, MTV still has such a huge impact on teens and teens are not being exposed to what's out there. MTV was one of the venues I used to get new music as a teen, listen/watch new bands...and crazy enough, some of them were rock, punk, soul and jazz influenced. That doesn't get played on MTV anymore and that's a problem for the music industry and for our culture - what we're teaching young people, etc. 

My feelings kind of mirror the feelings I expressed in this post when I wrote about the Billboard Top 100. I'm not sure which way it is - is MTV following Billboard and sales or is Billboard reflective of the music on MTV because MTV is still so popular with the youth so teens just buy what's on MTV? I feel it might be the latter but we don't know for sure, I guess.

Not to sound like an old fogie but when I was a teen, I don't remember MTV being so one track minded. Yes, you had your Britney and your Backstreet Boys, but that's what TRL was for. I remember getting ready for school in the morning watching music videos as I brushed my teeth, got dressed, etc. And the playlist was something like this (I realize not all these songs came out at the same time, I'm just listing these to make a point):

Coheed and Cambria "A Favor House Atlantic"
Eminem "The Way I Am" (or whatever his new song was at the time)
Jay-Z "99 Problems"
Steriogram "Walkie Talkie Man" (which I've actually been listening to lately thanks to Apple Music)
Norah Jones "Come Away with Me"
Kid Rock feat. Sheryl Crow "Picture"
Against Me! "Don't Loose Touch"
Evanesence "Bring Me to Life"
Lil Jon "Get Low"

Do you see the varied genres represented here? Cause I sure do. I can probably count 5 on this list. As you can see here from the Top 100 songs of 2003, there are a lot of genres that were represented in pop music. Check out the list from 2015. Okay in the top 20 alone we have Hozier and....Hozier. He's the only one that wouldn't be considered pop or rap/R&B. Fall Out Boy is number 43 and maybe some people consider Maroon 5 still rock - I don't. You could argue this in like, 2002 when they first came out but not anymore. Oh, and Geroge Ezra is on the bottom at #89. And even he could be considered pop, but specifically I think he's singer/songwriter - as is Hozier. So out of 100 there are 3-4 different artists in there, that's interesting, so where are the other genres? WHERE THEY AT???

As a side note, you know who won Best Rock Video this year at the VMA's? Twenty One Pilots. Twenty One freakin' Pilots. I love them but they are not Rock. They're just not. But they're popular and MTV doesn't know where to put them so, Best Rock Video it is! What's up with that?

I find this has been a long time coming but it's gotten really bad lately. Even Pitchfork and other popular music websites are focusing more on the artists MTV's little box promotes. As young people, we were able to choose - are we fans of rock music? Rap music? Country? Now it seems like it's harder to choose what genre we want to identify with as a young person. That's not okay. One of the reasons why I love music is because there are so many different sounds, artists, outlooks, etc. that you can explore and love. This new version of popular music doesn't seem like it's wanting young people to be able to discover that.

If you like this music that's on MTV and apparently "popular" according to whoever this omnipotent figurehead is who decides this, that's great, keep listening to it. I even like some of it, to be honest. But I miss the days when oh, I don't know, Courtney Barnett would be featured on MTV or even a rapper like K. Flay who is doing some interesting stuff with her music. But if it's not in the box, the masses allegedly don't want any part of it anymore.

And let's not forget the fact that a lot of the music that is popular is about sex and saying the N word a thousand times. This is an aspect to the bigger problem that teens think this shit is normal. We're an oversexualized society to a fault, it's been discussed for many years now, and the music being offered to the youth certainly isn't helping.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

New Albums I'm Looking Forward To

For some reason, August was the month a lot of artists I really like came out with an album - Watsky, of course, K. Flay came out with an EP, Bayside, Of Montreal and Young the Giant. Oh yeah and Frank Ocean, I guess, people are really stoked on that, right? Apparently, Ocean's second album was delayed for many years and fans were going nuts...just look at r/music on Reddit and you'll see it! 2015 was still a way better year for me regarding new music but there are still some really solid releases coming our way the end of 2016 as well...here are the albums I'm anticipating. (Also: these are albums with a specific release date, some albums have been rumored to be released this year but haven't gotten a release date yet...I'm looking at you, Brand New).

Bastille - Wild World (September 9)
Bastille are one of those bands I'm a sucker for. Like, they seem very cliche and mainstream rock but I don't care, they're awesome. They're great songwriters - "Bad Blood" was amazing and the band just plays off each other really well, including singer Dan Smith. This is their follow up to their most popular album to date and their first major label release. Hopefully they continue to produce quality songwriting. Judging from their first single from Wild World, "Good Grief" it doesn't seem like they're going anywhere any time soon.

MIA - Aim (September 9)
 This is her LAST ALBUM?! Get out of here. LOL MIA WHY YOU LYIN'? She'll be back. London born, Sri Lanken MIA is a musician to her core, she'll always be producing music. I haven't been particularly jazzed with her albums as a consecutive piece since Maya but she always has some gems in there that I can appreciate. I just had to mention this because she claims it's her last album...come on, I don't even think she believes that. She won't be able to stay away for long.

Against Me! - Shape Shift With Me (September 16)
Let me just start writing about this by saying, "yaaasssss," as the kids do these days. I'm so excited for this album. It's their follow up to Transgender Dysphoria Blues, which was arguably one of the best albums they've done so far, and they're going on #7. I'll never say it's their best because Searching for a Former Clarity has a special place to me but if I didn't have that nostalgia, I would probably say Dysphoria is their best. Anyway, maybe Shape Shift With Me will be a contender for this title and it'll be so good, I won't be able to deny the awesomeness any longer.

Taking Back Sunday - Tidal Wave (September 16)
 TBS are still going strong with John Nolan, again, for their seventh studio album as well. Their last couple haven't been very awe inspiring but they've changed a lot as a band and as people - I'm hoping they'll eventually get their new shtick right.

Skylar Grey - Natural Causes (September 23)
I just love Skylar Grey so much - even when she was Holly Brook alongside Mike Shinoda on Fort Minor's most popular song, "Where'd You Go". "I Need a Doctor" with Eminem and Dr. Dre is one of my jam out in the car songs too. Anyway, I'm going to check this out because she's a great talent and a fantastic songwriter. Also, did I mention I love her?

Regina Spektor - Remember Us to Life (September 30)
You can't go wrong with Regina - she's one of those artists that delivers consistent, good albums. She's also going on #7 with Remember Us to Life and it's her first in a while (her last being What We Saw from the Cheap Seats in 2012). I've been on a slight Regina kick lately prepping for this album. I could probably listen to "Hero" at least three times a day, every day and not get tired of it. But I don't do that because it also reminds me of this scene...click if you want to cry.

 Sum 41 - 13 Voices (October 7)
 Sum 41 are still a band, you say?! Well, they had a few rough years but now they are finally coming back with their sixth studio album, 13 Voices. The only thing I'm bummed about is, here I thought "oh wow, they have Deryck Whibley back, they have Dave Baksh back, the gang is all here!" Except Steve Jocz who unexpectedly quit the band during the recording of this album - WHAT? No Stevo 32? No "Nevertheless am I dressed for the occasion / It's number 32 now here's the situation"?! Get the hell out of here, Sum 41. Get Steve Jocz back for an epic reunion and we can pretend it's 2003 again!!!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Happy x Infinity Day!

Google Play
Apple Music/iTunes
Amazon

Buy it, damn it!

I've been listening to it since last night and so far, it's very very different from his other stuff but quite enjoyable. More serious and varied lyrics/music. Go George!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Last.FM Randomizer Challenge 8.13.16

Hey! I had an idea...every once in a while I'm going to choose a random number between 1 and 50 with help from www.randomizer.org and the number that gets picked will be the number of the Last.FM artist that correlates with that number. I'll talk about that artist and my favorite songs, albums, etc.

This time Randomizer.org chose #33...according to my Last. FM most scrobbled of all time list that artist is...Death Cab for Cutie!

I have to say, my interest in Death Cab has wavered throughout the years...I would say a lot of those scrobbles last.fm has calculated comes from the 2008 Narrow Stairs - possibly my favorite Death Cab for Cutie album, which I know is sacrilege because everyone knows Plans and Transatlanticism are the best! And if you don't agree well then obviously, you're wrong. Right? RIGHT?! That's what people say anyway.

I love Plans, don't get me wrong, but Narrow Stairs had this maturity and honesty to it that I love. Before Narrow Stairs, Death Cab focused a lot on relationships and personal issues but Narrow Stairs told stories about other people and even used stories from literature ("Bixby Canyon Bridge") and current events ("Grapevine Fires"). If they did talk about relationships, it seemed to be written in more of a mature light than previous albums, "The Ice is Getting Thinner," most specifically. That song still makes me cry sometimes.
Then after this record, they released The Open Door EP which is also a favorite of mine and very similar sounding to Narrow Stairs (which makes sense because they recorded those songs while they were recording Narrow Stairs). In a way, I wish they just kept these songs on Narrow Stairs. "I Was Once a Loyal Lover"? "My Mirror Speaks"? Those are some solid tunes.

The last album I was really interested in by them was Codes and Keys, released in 2011. I haven't heard Kintsugi yet, which was their eighth studio album released in 2015 but I haven't heard good things and judging from the one or two songs I have heard from it, I don't really have interest. I don't know exactly what happened but it seemed with Narrow Stairs and Open Door that they were adjusting to growing up and making music that was still Death Cab, just a little more intricate. They will always be timeless though, and an important band to anyone who grew up in the early aughts. You can start singing "Soul Meets Body" practically anywhere and I'm sure, at least one person will finish the lyric you're singing.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Summer Concerts July & August 2016: Ryan Adams, Best Coast & Motion City Soundtrack

I realized right before Motion City Soundtrack that it will be the only show I'm going to in August...and because I didn't see Bloc Party when they came to Albany due to being really tired after running a quidditch tournament for the library, I figure I can just make July and August one post. I usually have a lot more concerts to attend in the Summer than any other time of the year but funny enough, it seems like Fall is going to be the busy time - Explosions in the Sky, Watsky, Henry Rollins, Ben Folds and Angel Olsen! And three of those are actually in the Albany area...which obviously are the best concerts because I don't have to travel. Anyway first up is a king amongst men (to me, at least) Ryan Adams...

July 24: Ryan Adams @ The Capital Theatre - Port Chester, NY
Opening Acts: Amanda Shires (who I officially worship after this concert)

I was probably 10-15 feet away from the stage...I tried to figure it out while I was waiting for Ryan Adams to come on. A couple minutes after I sat down, Ryan Adams actually came on stage to introduce Amanda Shires - I thought that was pretty cool of him since the artist usually likes to wait for the grand reveal during their set to say "here I am!" but not Ryan - he's like, "fuck those rules and you know what? Just rules in general." Amanda Shires came on and rocked her set - she's also of the alt country variety but more country than she is alt. She reminded me of Dolly Parton very much - especially her voice. She can also rock out on that steel guitar, which was her only instrument during the entire set. I can't stress enough how awesome she was. Please listen to her, if you think this might be your thing.
Then after overhearing the chatter of everyone around me after Amanda Shires' set, ("Damn, there's a squirtle somewhere around here and I can't find it,") especially the pretentious hipsters who were right next to me and probably students from my alma mater, SUNY Purchase, which is right next to Port Chester, let's be real, Ryan came on with The Infamous Stringdusters and Nicki Bluhm. Not his normal backing band, The Shining but regardless of that, they were fantastic. It definitely was a different vibe compared to when he plays with The Shining (he did the first time I saw him in Burlington, VT. last year). The stringdusters are 100% bluegrass and that's more of what we got but it was kind of cool to hear a song like "Give Me Something Good" or "To Be Young (Is to be Sad, Is to be High)" with a vastly different arrangement behind it. I was able to get some photos/videos but I tried to do it like a ninja because Ryan doesn't like people taking pictures because of his Meniere's disease and he doesn't want to risk the flash giving him an episode, which is understandable. He and his people specifically post signs EVERYWHERE in the venue during his shows that say "please no pictures, worried about flash going off" blah blah. And he's called people out for it too. I was so nervous my flash was going to go off and then Ryan would have scolded me from his stool and that would be the only and last time I would have actually interacted with one of my all time favorite artists. I say last time because I would be so mortified, I wouldn't be able to go to a concert of his again, let alone meet him. Wouldn't that have been great?! There's actually a picture I took that looks like he's looking at me and knew I was taking a photo...obviously I stopped after that.

See? I had a minor panic attack...

Anyway, he was great, as usual. He played three new songs that sounded promising. I also love that he's now embracing his sense of humor onstage: "the drugs around here are fucking great, apparently," he said when two drunkies in the front kept yelling "LA CIENEGA!!!" And I know they must have been drunk because out of Ryan Adams catalog of beautiful songs, you pick "La Cienega Just Smiled" to yell out as a request?

July 31: Best Coast @ Upstate Concert Hall - Clifton Park (Albany), NY
Opening Acts: The Stargazer Lilies

Oh Bethany and Bobb, it's always nice to see you. I've seen this band a couple of times now so every time I get a chance to see them, it's like going someplace familiar - because they're pretty consistent with their set and it's a very relaxed vibe. Plus, Best Coast fans, from what I've seen, aren't rude and give you your space during shows, so that's nice...unlike the Motion City Soundtrack show I went to two days after this at the same venue, but I'll get to that later. The opener would have been better if they turned their speakers down, not to sound like an old lady but seriously, it was so loud their music was muffled and inaudible. Crank it down to 11 at least, Stargazer Lilies. Your set would have sounded so much better if you did so. Maybe that was what they were going for, I don't know but all I know is I saw a co-worker during the set, we tried to talk for a little bit and were literally yelling into each others ears and could still hardly hear each other. What the hell, Stargazer Lilies? They were very shoe gaze, which was cool, and I think I probably would like them better listening to their recordings.
Here's my little Snacks...my cat is so jelly.

Best Coast's sound person was way more on top of things. I know it wasn't the usual sound guy at Upstate Concert Hall for both bands because I know what he looks like because I work with him at the library so it looks like they had their own guys. It looks like Bethany and Bobb have added a second (technically third while Bethany is playing,) guitarist to their live band to give Bethany some freedom to not play guitar sometimes if she wants to walk around in her gold lame heels (seriously, you need to see these shoes - I don't think I got a good enough photo of them unfortunately) and play the lead singer role. They played a lot of stuff from Fade Away for some reason but I'm not complaining about that. I've been listening to Fade Away a lot more lately - like the last couple of months so I was pleasantly surprised. They also played a lot from Crazy for You - going back to basics. They don't have anything to promote during this tour, so I think that's why they picked songs they usually don't play - they actually had the opportunity to play whatever they wanted. Also, just so you know if you're going to a show of theirs soon, they're selling Snacks (Bethany's cat,) stuffed animals on this tour for $5!

August 2: Motion City Soundtrack @ Upstate Concert Hall - Clifton Park (Albany), NY
Opening Acts: A Great Big Pile of Leaves, Rozwell Kid
 This will be my last live show with Motion City Soundtrack...allegedly. Anything is possible in the music world. I'm still hoping for a White Stripes reunion and probably will get it eventually.
The band is on their "So Long, Farewell" tour and have promised to pack it in after this three or four month tour. I'm sad to see them go but I think it's the perfect time for them - they stopped before they burned out. Motion City Soundtrack still produce great albums, have good lyrics and songs that can still cut any teen suffering from unrequited love in the heart with a knife.
A lot of bands should really do this more often - I'm talking to you U2...and stay away from Apple too, while you're at it. Anyway, the band played a great show and included all of their hits with an epic encore of "The Future Freaks Me Out." My only complaint, and this is in no way the band's fault, was the crowd - some of the rudest people I've had the unfortunate pleasure of spending time with at a concert. There was this one girl who kept touching me and my friends hips unexpectedly as she passed by (she was one of those "I need a drink every 5 minutes but I also want to stay in front,") for no reason and people were dancing when there was no room to dance. Like, we're sardines here. What are you doing? By the way, I've had experience in crappy crowds before, if you would like to read more of my feelings about this.
The openers didn't impress me too much. There is a lot of buzz about A Great Big Pile of Leaves but they didn't really do anything for me. Sounds like a pop punk Tokyo Police Club.

The Summer is almost over, I can't believe it. It goes by quicker every year, I think.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Highlights from the Billboard Hot 100...or maybe not highlights after all because I hate most of it.

I figure I should probably try to write something other than the Summer Concert series this summer, so I thought I'd take a look at the Billboard Charts today and see if I find anything interesting...

Hot 100's Top 10 this week:

1. Drake feat. Whizkid and Kyla "One Dance" - I've never heard this song before until now. Have I crossed over? Am I too old? I did just turn 29 a couple days ago but I didn't think it would happen this fast...and I'm still in my twenties, albeit the last year! Yes, I never thought I would see the day where I know maybe two songs on the Billboard Hot 100 top 10. Okay, I know three actually. Or it could be that what is popular in pop music has been steadily declining and everything is sounding very similar so I can't differentiate. Also, since when did Drake become Jamaican? What's up with his accent in this song? Going back to my previous sentiment about pop music, I think I might have heard this beat on a Drake song a couple times before. He's way better than this. Get a new beat, Jimmy!

2. Justin Timberlake "Can't Stop the Feeling!" - Look at J Timberlake making a feel good song and still making the billboard charts. I played a pop playlist at one of my summer reading programs lately, and this song definitely got the most conversation out of the teens - and that's when you know. "Oh, I like this song!" "I just like Justin Timberlake!" "Omgz so hawt." Anyway...this song is alright, I guess...

3. The Chainsmokers feat. Daya "Don't Let Me Down" - Oh, this song! It's on a commercial, I think. It's actually pretty interesting compared the the top two contenders here...it has a lot of diverse hooks to the song. The chorus and the "I need ya, I need ya, I need ya right now" bridge along with the blow horn sound DJ's like to use in the background, which I usually hate but used in this song, it isn't bad. Daya sounds like Rihanna and The Chainsmokers sound like every DJ out there trying to take precedent over the artist who is actually singing the song. Which brings me to the next song...

4. Calvin Harris feat. Rihanna "This is What You Came For" - Wow, I'm sorry but this is some contrived bullshit like whoa. There's no heart in this. Rihanna has produced songs that have that...Calvin Harris has at least been involved in better songs. This song however, screams "I just wanted a paycheck." And Rihanna's voice is so autotuned, it doesn't even sound like her...what the hell. WHY IS THIS POPULAR??? (Because Rihanna shits gold and Calvin Harris dated Taylor Swift!)

5. Sia "Cheap Thrills" - yay finally a song with artistic merit! We had to get to number 5 for that? No wonder why I don't look at this chart too often. I'm so happy that Sia is getting the credit she deserves - it's been a long time coming. She's a great pop song writer. I only wish she wouldn't buy into Lady Gaga syndrome so much but we can't have it all, can we?

6. Desiigner "Panda" - Reading about this guy right now and I'm already like "eeehhhh". He reminds me too much of Tyler the Creator and therefore I'm not sure if we can be friends. Apparently, "Panda" is his debut single from his debut album, The Life of Desiigner which is being released on GOOD music, Kanye West's label. Can you see my conundrum already? I'm also not a fan of his flow. I usually hate judging an artist based on one song and/or arbitrary things but...I really can't stand trap rap. It's just not my cup of tea. But we'll see how this guy does.

7. Rihanna "Needed Me" - Oh, no. I don't like this at all. Too many contrived pop tropes mixed together - also Rihanna, 1. Stop using Autotune, you're actually a good singer. 2. Stop dressing like Coolio. Nothing against him, Coolio is great but, you're Rihanna...not Coolio.

8. Twenty One Pilots "Ride" - I still can't believe Twenty One Pilots success. "Ride" is actually one of my least favorite songs on Blurryface but hey, I won't knock their spot on this list. I would have liked "Heathens" more in this spot but that is taking up room in the alternative and rock lists.

9. Kent Jones "Don't Mind" - I mind, actually. I really really do.

10. Fifth Harmony feat. Ty Dolla $ign "Work from Home" - It hurt my heart a little bit to type out "Ty Dolla $ign" - just saying. Also, no. I don't like this.

So sifting through the Billboard Hot 100 list, I've come to the realization that unfortunately, I hate a lot of what is popular right now in pop music. Pop music actually has some really inventive, interesting songs and only an exceptional few are represented here. Like, I was so disgusted at the end that I didn't even elaborate on my "no's" - I was just done. 

Also, you know what really gets me? It's the freakin' summer! The perfect time for a Summer pop anthem! It's kind of a standard in the music industry to make "summer anthems" during this time. Songs that are pure pop perfection and are everywhere you go - it's playing at Disney World, it's playing in the super market, it's playing at a childrens soccer game... I'm talking about "Hollaback Girl" - Gwen Stefani, "The Boy is Mine" - Brandy & Monica, "I'll Be Missing You" - Puff Daddy & Faith Evans ft. 112, "Umbrella" - an artist on this list that really needs to step up her game, Rihanna feat. Jay-Z, "Waterfalls" - TLC - there are so many others!!! For pop music, the summer is kind of a perfect opportunity to get that hook out there, make the monies and make a new classic pop song. And it just doesn't seem like it's happening this summer, judging from this list. Maybe Twenty One Pilots? Maybe. It is only the middle of July, so I'll be curious to look at the list later or listen to the radio to see if there is anything sprouting from the record company gardens.







Saturday, July 2, 2016

Summer Concerts June 2016: Against Me!

Due to my nose dripping liquids and tickle in my throat (thanks allergies,) for almost the entire month of June, we decided not to see Watsky in Boston. It was a tough decision but definitely the best one for me. Hopefully we'll have the chance to see him again and who knows, maybe it will be a concert and not a spoken word, which would actually be better! So because of that, this post will be short (but memorable!)- for this month I just saw Against Me!

June 25: Against Me! @ The Lost Horizon - Syracuse, NY
Opening Acts:  Tim Barry, FEA

During the day I spent my time at work, signing kids up for the Summer Reading Program (it was the first day of sign up), handing out free books and fro-yo pops (or you know, frozen go-gurt). 5:00 rolled around and my boyfriend and I were ready to go to a "destination show" as one of my co-workers who also happens to be a seasoned concert go-er called it (I think I'll steal that term from her too, I like it). Again, like June 2015's Jim Adkins show in Kingston, we kept thinking during the drive, "why the hell are we going to Syracuse for this? Did Against Me! owe a debt?" For those of you who are not familiar with upstate New York, Syracuse is a city that used to be booming with factories, a lot of jobs and a lot of people populating this Rust Belt-esque city. Then, the United States started moving most of our production to other countries, and like Detroit among other cities, Syracuse also suffered from this. So now the city is mostly known for Syracuse University and their mens basketball team. Anyway, we drove on I90 West the whole way and finally got to the venue at about 9:15...the venue was small and had about 10-15 parking spots...that were filled already. The only parking available was a huge lot down the street that was in between a strip club and a porn theater - nice to know those are still around, isn't it?! The parking lot distinctly said "PARKING FOR CUSTOMERS OF [INSERT PORN THEATER AND STRIP CLUB NAME HERE]" A parking lot specifically for these fine, upstanding businesses? Now, that's something you don't really see. Because I was annoyed that the venue only had 10-15 parking spots and didn't think of a backup plan when hosting Against Me! at their venue, I just said, "fuck it. I'm parking here." I found out after the show that luckily, a lot of other people attending the show had the same idea as me.

Right when my boyfriend and I got inside, the guy putting our 21+ bracelets on said, "you're right on time! They're starting in a couple of minutes." Therefore, we didn't see any of the opening acts but we weren't very enamored by the line-up anyway. Right when we walked into the main area, which looked like a basement - low ceiling, really small standing area, pillars randomly in the middle of the venue, Against Me! started. They were awesome as always but I think this might have been my favorite Against Me! show I've been to just because of the randomness of it all and because of the venue. Some people might have been unpleasantly surprised by all of this but we weren't - it felt like a high school Battle of the Bands only with a moderately famous and talented band. It was great! Also the venue was hot as balls - no ventilation whatsoever was going on in there. But that made the whole experience even better.

Against Me! had a great set - they played some of the old, ("Walking is Still Honest", "Baby I'm an Anarchist",) some of the new, ("True Trans Soul Rebel" - of course, that song is brilliant! and "Dead Friend" - one of my favorites on Transgender Dysphoria Blues,) and some of the in between. They played TWO (yes, TWO) songs from White Crosses - in the handful of times I've seen Against Me! I don't think I've ever even heard mention of White Crosses or any songs on that album. It's totally the black sheep of Against Me!'s discography, I think due to the harsh backlash they received from fans - which is unfortunate, because I don't really mind White Crosses. Sure, it's probably their weakest album but it's not terrible. Their other albums are just infinitely better.

They also tried two new songs on us - I don't know what the titles are because Laura Jane, while definitely more talkative than she was when she identified as Tom Gabel, doesn't really give us too much information - that's part of her mysterious mystique. They were really solid songs and had some promise. This also means new Against Me! music = new Against Me! album and who wouldn't want that?

It was an awesome experience and a "destination show" I probably won't ever forget. Included in this post is a video of them performing "Walking is Still Honest".

Stay tuned for the end of July - I'm going to two, maybe three (as of right now,) shows this month - Best Coast and possibly a random happenstance of Block Party performing in Albany and Ryan Adams in Port Chester, NY - two of my favorite favorites!



Thursday, June 23, 2016

Beyonce - "Sorry"



Beyonce just released a video for "Sorry," which was also featured in the HBO special. It might be my favorite song on the album - seriously though, who knew a Beyonce album would be a Top 10 contender for me in 2016? Because I sure didn't. To be honest, I'm not as big of a fan of Queen Bae as you would think. But damn, this Lemonade album is good.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Margo Price

Illinois born and raised Margo Price should be county music's next star - whether or not she will be, time will tell but she's been getting a lot of buzz for her debut album on Jack White's label Third Man Records, Midwest Farmers Daughter, and with good reason. Sometimes, her voice sounds similar to Tammy Wynette and other times, it's Loretta Lynn or George Jones. It definitely has a range where depending on the song and the lyrics, she's one or the other. Price has been living in Nashville, TN. for almost a decade performing open mics and playing with other bands (her most popular band being Buffalo Clover,) but has never gotten that big break until she sent a copy of Midwest Farmers Daughter to Third Man, performed on Saturday Night Live this April and the rest, as they say, is history. Price is definitely an "artist to watch" and if you're into old school country and bluegrass, I recommend her very highly. You can listen to her single, "Hurtin' on the Bottle" down below.




Click here to watch one of her live performances on SNL too!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Sleigh Bells - "Rule Number One"

I posted this on the Preston Beat facebook but not here - Sleigh Bells has a new single called "Rule Number One". Listen to it here! I really hope this means they'll be coming back soon - they haven't released anything new since 2013's Bitter Rivals.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Thank You, Stumble Upon

I just found a Punk Rock flyer archive from the years 1982-1984. It's mostly the west coast but it's still pretty cool. Also included are fan zines, my favorite!

Click here for the site. It's called Shaved Neck.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Playlist Paragraphs: Best of Mainstream Punk [Apple Music]

Check out the playlist here!


1. "When I Come Around" - Green Day
2. "Flavor of the Week" - American Hi-Fi
3. "Sugar, We're Going Down" - Fall Out Boy
4. "Pressure" - Paramore
5. "Everything Sucks (When You're Gone)" - MxPx
6. "I Write Sins Not Tragedies" - Panic! At the Disco
7. "Come Out and Play" - The Offspring
8. "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)" - My Chemical Romance
9. "The Bright Lights of America" - Anti-Flag
10. "Fat Lip" - Sum 41
11. "Damnit" - Blink 182
12. "Infected" - Bad Religion
13. "My Own Worst Enemy" - Lit
14. "Mercy Me" - Alkaline Trio
15. "Ocean Avenue" - Yellowcard
16. "The Boys of Summer" - The Ataris
17. "Seed" - Sublime
18. "Highway 101" - Social Distortion
19. "Ruby Soho" - Rancid
20. "Weightless" - All Time Low
21. "White People for Peace" - Against Me!
22. "Work" - Jimmy Eat World
23. "Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous" - Good Charlotte
24. "Miss Murder" - AFI
25. "Ready to Fall" - Rise Against


This playlist is almost perfect. Two things that hit me right away though: of all the MxPx songs Apple Music could have picked, they pick "Everything Sucks (When You're Gone)"? Really? You couldn't get the rights to "Responsibility"? And the Against Me! song choice too - "White People for Peace"? There wasn't anything better? I can name maybe five songs off of the same album that would have worked with this playlist fine. "White People for Peace" might be one of my least favorite Against Me! songs. I love that they included "Miss Murder," "Ready to Fall," "Flavor of the Week" and "My Own Worst Enemy" - songs that give me a blast from the past like whoa. And this also compelled me to figure out what happened to Lit - they were so good! AND OH MY GOD THEY'RE STILL A BAND. I didn't see that coming. They have a new drummer but other than that, band members are in tact too - another thing I didn't see coming. Apparently they've been working on new material and that was in October 2015. Also appreciate Bad Religion and Anti-Flag on this list - if you're going to claim this is the Best of Mainstream Punk, you don't just put All Time Low and Paramore on here and expect me to not have questions about it.