Coachella Band Preview: RÜFÜS DU SOL

It’s been about 3 weeks since the lineup dropped for Coachella 2019. Since then, I’ve been doing a lot of listening to bands on this year’s lineup even with working in Mexico for the last week. It definitely gets me more hype. I hope you’ve been doing the same for the same reasons. This week I’m previewing a band that is at the top of my list for bands I’m most excited for/want to see this year.

RÜFÜS DU SOL was formed in Sydney, Australia in 2010. The indie electronic group is comprised of Jon George, Tyrone Lindqvist, and James Hunt. The group was formerly known as just RÜFÜS but changed their name to RÜFÜS DU SOL because of trademark issues in the United States in 2014. The group continued to be known as RÜFÜS in their home country of Australia until recently (May 2018).

They released their debut EP RÜFÜS EP in 2011. It received some attention from music blog aggregator Hype Machine as two tracks from the EP made charts on the website. Their second EP RÜFÜS Blue was released in April 2012. Their debut album Atlas was released the following year. It debuted at number 1 on the Australian Albums Chart and created 4 singles for the band in the process. The band spent their first few years touring and playing festivals in Australia, but the end of 2013 gave the group a chance to play a few shows in Europe as well. In early 2014 the group brought their talents to the U.S. playing a small tour in the spring.

In June 2015, they released the debut single “You Were Right” from their upcoming sophomore album Bloom. It reached number 22 on the ARIA Singles Chart and went double platinum. The group played Camp Bisco in 2015 which was their first U.S. festival performance. Bloom was released in January 2016. It was RÜFÜS DU SOL’s second number one charted album and has since gone platinum in Australia. They embarked on a world tour in 2016 in support of their album that lasted until early 2017. Stops on the tour included Coachella, Firefly, Electric Forest, Panorama, Lollapalooza, and Outside Lands amongst other festivals. The group continued to tour and play festivals throughout 2017 which included another stop at Coachella, but this time the group wasn’t listed on the bill. They closed out Coachella 2017 at an unannounced set at the DoLab during Weekend 2.

RÜFÜS DU SOL released their third and most recent album Solace in October 2018. The single “No Place” preceded the album release in May 2018. This album peaked at number 2 in Australia. The group is currently on tour in support of the new album.

RÜFÜS DU SOL’s style of music is a combination of electronic music and alternative music. They’re truly on the indie electronic spectrum because they are a band (not DJs) that plays electronic music. They incorporate live instrumentation at their sets and in their recordings. That being said their electronic sound does have a house music type of feel.

I found out about RÜFÜS DU SOL about a year and a half ago from a friend who introduced me to the song “You Were Right”. Aside from that song I didn’t really get into them until last summer after seeing part of their Weekend 2 set at Electric Forest. I decided to cut my night short that night because their set began at 11:45 p.m., ended at 1 a.m., I was tired, and I had to get up early for work the next morning. I stayed until around 12:15-12:20, but what I saw was incredible. Coachella 2019 gives me another chance to make up for what I missed at Electric Forest last summer. It’ll even be better for me this year too because I’m more into their music than I was at Electric Forest last summer. I’ll appreciate their Coachella set more, if I get to see it.

This year is RÜFÜS DU SOL plays Friday. It is their third Coachella appearance, but only the second announced one. They’re also much higher billed this time around than they were in 2016. In 2016 they played on the Gobi Stage. I’m expecting a late Main Stage or Outdoor Stage performance. There’s also a possibility that they headline the Sahara Tent Friday night because Diplo and DJ Snake are also big stage performers. Whatever the case may be, I’m sure it’ll be an epic set with a large crowd regardless of stage and timing. Honestly there’s no place I’d rather be than at the RÜFÜS DU SOL set Friday at Coachella so here’s a solid mix of what songs you need to know to enjoy all the band has to offer:

  1. You Were Right
  2. No Place
  3. Like An Animal
  4. Treat You Better
  5. Underwater
  6. Sunbeam
  7. Innerbloom
  8. Say a Prayer for Me
  9. Take Me
  10. Desert Night
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Coachella Band Preview: Turnover

Greetings from Mexico! It’s funny writing that because I’m currently not in Mexico, but when this is posted I will be. Told ya I’d make sure I have a weekly band preview, which means you should be prepping daily for one of the best music festivals of the year. This week I’m previewing a band I found out about on my flight to California in 2017 when I was headed out to work my first Coachella. I’ll tell you the story, but first, Turnover.

Turnover is a band based out of Virginia Beach, Virginia. The band is comprised of brothers Austin and Casey Getz and Danny Dempsey. Formed in 2009, the band has gone through several lineup changes through the years, but the Getz brothers and Dempsey have been a part since the beginning. The band signed to indie record label Run For Cover Records in 2012.

The band released their first self-titled EP in 2011 and their first album Magnolia in 2013. They’ve toured with the likes of several well-known bands in their pop punk/alternative music scene such as New Found Glory, I Am the Avalanche, The Swellers, Major League, Citizen, and fellow Coachella 2019 performer Turnstile. Their second EP Blue Dream was released in 2014 followed by their second full length album Peripheral Vision in 2015. Their latest album Good Nature was released in 2017.

Much like other bands from their scene, Turnover’s musical style has gone through a progression over the years. As the band members grew up from their teens to their 20’s, they went from emo and pop-punk to indie rock. The difference is striking from their first EP and first album to their latest.

As I said I found out about Turnover in spring 2017 on my flight to Coachella. I definitely wouldn’t have known about them otherwise either because I don’t often listen to bands in their scene any more. My friend Chelsea and I booked the same flight to California from Baltimore. She was headed out to Coachella for the first time. I was headed out for the second time, but for my first work experience at the festival. It was also the first time I was flying alone. It didn’t turn out that way because we ended up sitting next to each other and catching up after having not seen each other in years. We discussed life. We discussed music. We discussed Coachella. We discussed music at Coachella. She introduced me to Future Islands who were playing the festival that year and then she also brought up the band Turnover. She told me they were a much chiller version of Title Fight, which is a band we both grew up knowing and listening to from her hometown and a town 15 minutes away from mine. We streamed Turnover on the flight (miraculously!) and I definitely agreed. They were really good. I downloaded one of their songs shortly after I returned from my two week stay in Southern California and another a few months later.

When the Coachella lineup was released Wednesday night, Chelsea was one of the first people I texted. Since attending Coachella in 2017, it’s become a yearly thing for her. She loves it as much as me. We discussed the lineup and our excitement about it. Then she realized that Turnover was on the bill. I didn’t see it either until she mentioned it. It increased our hype even more.

Turnover plays Saturday at Coachella. As for stage and timing, I’d guess earlier in the day to mid-afternoon at either Gobi or Mojave, but they could easily play an early day set on the Main or Outdoor Stage. It’s definitely up in the air until the schedule comes out in April. I hope I get the chance to see their set or at least some of it. If you’re looking to see some indie rock at Coachella and grew up in that same pop-punk scene that I did, I definitely recommend checking out Turnover. Their set is sure to be great and super chill. So now all you need to do is get ready to see them. I know I have some listening to do because up until earlier today, my familiarity with their music was restricted to two songs. I’ve spent the past hour listening though and here’s what I like so far:

  1. Cutting My Fingers Off
  2. Super Natural
  3. Dizzy On the Comedown
  4. Sunshine Type
  5. I Would Hate You If I Could
  6. Humming
  7. Pure Devotion
  8. New Scream
  9. Butterfly Dream
  10. Hello Euphoria

Coachella Band Preview: Tame Impala

Welcome back to week 1 of Coachella Band Previews. As always, we’ve got 3 months and a lot of listening to do. This week I decided to start strong with Saturday night headliner Tame Impala. As I said in my lineup release post, I was super hyped to see Tame Impala’s name in big letters as a headliner this year so it made sense that I previewed them before everyone else. Needless to say, I’ve never actually wrote about them on this blog before either. Not until today that is.

Tame Impala is an Australian psychedelic indie pop rock band based out of Perth. The band was formed in 2007 as a home recording project of guitarist and vocalist, Kevin Parker. He started posting the music to his MySpace page which began receiving some attention from music labels. He then brought Dominic Simper (bass) and Jay Watson (drums) into the mix for live shows. Now Simper and Watson are playing different instruments in the band (guitar and synth for both as well as vocals for Watson) and Cam Avery (bass, vocals) and Julien Barbagallo (drums, vocals) have joined as well.

The band released their debut self-titled EP in September 2008. Three songs from the five song EP received national airplay. The EP reached number 1 on the Australian Independent Records Labels Chart as well as number 10 on the ARIA Physical Singles Chart. The band embarked on tours in support of You Am I, The Black Keys, Yeasayer, and MGMT as well as a national headlining tour in support of their EP. They released a new single “Sundown Syndrome” in 2009 and continued touring through 2010.

2010 also brought the band’s first full length album Innerspeaker which was received with general and critical acclaim nationally and in the U.K. and U.S. The band received 4 ARIA Music Award nominations that year as well, but did not win in any category they were nominated for.

The group’s second album Lonerism was release in October of 2012. Like its predecessor, the new album again received praise in Australia, the U.K., and the U.S. It was voted the number one album of the year from mediums in all 3 countries. The group then embarked on an international tour in 2012 through 2013. This included the group’s second stop at Coachella (the first was in 2011). It was in 2013 that original member Nick Allbrook left the band and Cam Avery took his place. The album also received a 2014 Grammy Nomination for Best Alternative Music Album.

The band’s most recent album Currents was released in July 2015. To date the album is the band’s best charting release, reaching number one in Australia, number three in the U.K., and number four in the U.S. The album won 2 ARIA awards for Best Rock Album and Album of the Year and was also nominated for a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album.

Parker recently said that there will be new music for Tame Impala in 2019. As of now, no official date for an album is known. A first time headlining spot at Coachella might just be the place to preview some new tracks though.

Tame Impala’s style of music can be best described as trippy. It is psychedelic rock after all, but it’s much more rock oriented than the kind of music you’d hear from psychedelic jam bands like the Grateful Dead or Phish. “Let It Happen” does close in on the 8 minute mark though. It’s more on the indie rock spectrum of music than other well known bands associated with psychedelic music.

I’m not sure how or where I first heard Tame Impala, but I began listening to them around the Lonerism era. I actually purchased Lonerism from Amoeba Records in Hollywood on my first visit to California (one of my all time favorite vacations). I bought it in CD form because I didn’t think I’d be able to transport a record properly on an airplane. I can’t say I binged on the CD after that but I’ve definitely been listening to Tame Impala here and there ever since.

2019 marks Tame Impala’s 4th Coachella appearance. After playing in 2011 and 2013, the band then played again in 2015. This is of course the first headlining spot for the Australian rockers. I’m not sure what kind of crowd size Tame Impala will draw. They’re definitely not as big of a headliner as Beyoncé was last year. I’m guessing Bassnectar will overlap in set times as well, which hopefully may pull a lot of the youth attendees to the Sahara Tent or Outdoor Stage, wherever Bassnectar may be posted up. Tame Impala’s performance will surely be epic production wise. I’m hoping it’s comparable to or beyond that of Panorama 2017’s headlining set. The visuals, lasers, strobes, and everything in between brought an incredible vibe to Randall’s Island that night, which I hope translates to the Polo fields come April. So now it’s time to start listening to Tame Impala for the next three months, here’s what you need to hear:

  1. Feels Like We Only Go Backwards
  2. Let It Happen
  3. Elephant
  4. The Less I Know The Better
  5. Half Full Glass of Wine
  6. Solitude is Bliss
  7. Mind Mischief
  8. Eventually
  9. Cause I’m A Man
  10. New Person, Same Old Mistakes

 

Coachella 2019 Lineup Release

Happy 2019 bitches! With a new year comes a new festival season and the hype for me always starts with Coachella (as most of you know). 5 years ago I decided to attend Coachella. I also began this blog about music, sports, and entertainment making the decision to review the Coachella lineup and preview bands leading up to the festival a no brainer. Who knew I’d make it a yearly thing? I mean I guess you could’ve figured it might happen. So here we are… on the brink of Coachella 2019 and I’m proud to say this is the 5th time for Coachella Band Previews leading up to the 20th anniversary of the spring festival in the Indio Desert. I know I haven’t kept up with my blog as much this year because of work and travel but I’m taking steps and measures to assure you (and myself honestly) that I have weekly band previews leading up to Coachella.

Now on to the important stuff…the LINEUP! It just dropped last night around 11:30 ET and I have a lot of good feelings about this one. Back in September, the headliners were projected to be Childish Gambino, Justin Timberlake, and Kanye West. It bummed me out. It felt like another year with mainstream Coachella and no indie rock headliners. In the coming months it seemed that plans changed for Justin Timberlake and Kanye West. Reports in mid-December indicated that Justin Timberlake had dropped out of Coachella. Then yesterday as all of Coachella’s devoted fans waited for the lineup to drop, reports surfaced of Kanye dropping out of Coachella because both parties couldn’t come to agreements on stage size. It brought a new wave of excitement and anticipation for the lineup for me. After a few teasers around 7:00 p.m. and another around 10:30 p.m., the lineup dropped an hour later for the east coasters and 8:30 p.m. for those on California time. I was immediately hyped upon seeing the headliners and in general, which is crazy because it feels like none of my favorites play Coachella anymore. The lineups are so broad and encompass music across genres at this point, but I’ve reached a point of acceptance of that with Coachella. There’s no longer a hype to make every year 2014 even if I’m still a little bummed I didn’t see Vampire Weekend’s name on the ticket (it’s their year people!). It’s zero expectations from here on out. So without further delay and teasing, here it is the Coachella 2019 lineup:

The Headliners: Childish Gambino, Tame Impala, Ariana Grande

After the drop outs from Justin Timberlake and Kanye West, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I heard Rihanna rumors and some Ariana Grande rumors as well. I honestly expected Rihanna, but Ariana Grande felt like an ironic fit to the lineup for me. After listening to “thank u, next” for the first time last week, it became a guilty pleasure. It was the new year’s motto and now she’s headlining Coachella. Isn’t it ironic? Don’t ya think? Ha! I mean it’s not. “thank u, next” has been a big deal for a few weeks now, but it just seems like the icing on the cake after so much Ariana Grande talk in my life over the last week It’s actually not her first Coachella appearance either. Last year during Kygo’s set on Weekend 2, she joined the Norwegian DJ to perform her new single “No Tears Left to Cry”. She then joined in on Kygo’s “Sexual Healing” remix. Childish Gambino was the least surprising of the three. Donald Glover’s stage alter ego was part of the original three Coachella headliners since September. I’m indifferent to him honestly and expected his name to be there. Tame Impala, however, was the most exciting for me. After last year’s drop of an indie rock headliner and a lack of indie rock performers in general, seeing Tame Impala’s name on the bill got me stoked. I saw them headline Panorama aka Coachella East in 2017. They killed their performance. Seeing them play at night added another element to their set with insane strobes and visuals that I’m sure will be a highlight of their Coachella headlining set as well. These might not be the greatest headliners ever, but something about them feels right. And it just feels good too.

The Other Highly Billed Performers: Janelle Monáe, the 1975, DJ Snake, Diplo, RÜFÜS DU SOL, BLACKPINK, Solange, Kid Cudi, Weezer, Aphex Twin, J Balvin, Billie Eilish, Bassnectar, Khalid, Zedd, Gesaffelstein, Bad Bunny, Dillon Francis, CHVRCHES, YG, Anderson .Paak & the Free Nationals, Kacey Musgraves, Juice WRLD, Ella Mai, Los Tucanes  De Tijuana, Four Tet, Christine & the Queens, Wiz Khalifa, Mac DeMarco, Bazzi, Maggie Rogers, Sheck Wes, Cirez D, Playboi Carti, H.E.R., Blood Orange, Pusha T, Unkown Mortal Orchestra, Kaytranada 

From the other top acts at Coachella this year, I’m most excited about RÜFÜS DU SOL. I’ve gotten into RÜFÜS over the past 2 years. They played Electric Forest last summer and I caught part of their Weekend 2 set. I wanted to see as much as possible but I was tired. I stayed for about 20-30 minutes though and it was incredible. They were killing it, but I was alone, had to get up early the next day, and had no one with me to peer pressure me into staying, so I left. I was both happy and sad about it, but Coachella is another chance for me to see them. Plus I know it’ll be a great vibe at their set in the Coachella atmosphere.

Another one of my faves from this list is the 1975. After the band announced their tour dates a month or two ago, it was expected that they would be at Coachella. I got really into the 1975 almost three years ago and saw them twice over the summer of 2016. They’re super fun live. I actually previewed them back in 2016 when they last played the festival and wrote a blog about them a few months before that. So needless to say I can’t wait to see Matt Healy and the crew performing again!

Weezer is also a staple on this list and I’ve never been able to catch them live. They’ve been in my life since high school and although I’ve never been a major fan, I’ve been a fan of several Weezer jams throughout the years. I’m hoping to be able to see them at Coachella this year.

I’m pretty stoked about CHRVCHES too. I watched their 2016 performance via livestream and also previewed them in anticipation of their 2016 performance. Lauren Mayberry had such a killer stage presence. I’m sure she still does too. Since watching the livestream that year though, I’ve never had the chance to see the band in person so hopefully it’ll work out at Coachella 2019.

A few others from this list worth mentioning are Janelle Monáe, Billie Eilish, Zedd, Diplo, Dillon Francis, Mac DeMarco, and Kid Cudi. Janelle Monáe released a new album last year (Dirty Computer) and is up for a Grammy for it. I’ve noticed a lot of hype around her from my friends/coworkers and not gonna lie, I even got into a few of her songs myself. Billie Eilish has exploded over the last year. I first heard of her in 2017 when my friend played a remix of one of her songs on our work trip in Sacramento. The remix version is a jam but her music overall is mood music. As far as rappers go, Kid Cudi was one of the first ones in a while that I actually enjoyed. This was back in 2011 but I used to vibe “Up, Up, and Away”. Mac DeMarco is always a good time. Listening to his music vs. seeing him live is completely different too. His live sets are one of a kind and you honestly just have to see him play to understand. I was lucky enough to see his set at Lollapalooza in 2017 and it was wild. Zedd, Diplo, and Dillon Francis are sure to bring the electronic flare at this year’s festival. I can’t say I’m a huge fan of any of them but “The Middle” is definitely a guilty pleasure of mine so I’d probably enjoy a Zedd set the most.

Also I hope everyone is prepared for the young wooks this year since Bassnectar is playing. That set is gonna bring all the head bangers out.

The Rest: FISHER, Jaden Smith, Nina Kraviz, Rosalia, Gorgon City, Mon Laferte, Khruangbin, Kayzo, dvsn, King Princess, Chris Lake, Jauz, the Interrupters, Hot Since 82, Charlotte Gainsbourg, SOPHIE, Nicole Moudaber, Tierra Whack, Pole & Pan, Beach Fossils, Yellow Days, the Frights, Nora En Pure, Yves Tumor, SG Lewis, Kero Kero Bonito, JPEGMAFIA, Calypso Rose, Nic Fanciulli, Kölsch, CamelPhat, Let’s Eat Grandma, Anna Lunoe, Amelie Lens, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Walker & Royce, Turnstile, RAT BOY, 88Glam, Ross from Friends, Lauren Lane, Still Woozy, Bakar, Blondish, Tomasa del Real, Las Robertas, Dave P. Gryffin, Bob Moses, Virgil Abloh, Tale of Us, Mr Eazi, Sabrina Claudio, Ty Segall & White Fence, Deep Dish, Smino, FKJ, SiR, Idris Elba, Parcels, JAIN, Soulection, Turnover, SALES, Stephan Bodzin, CloZee, ARIZONA, Murda Beatz, Jambinai, Ame, CHON, Little Simz, Adriatique, Lee Burridge, The Garden, Agoria, Hop Along, shame, Superorganism, serpentwithfeet, Dokay, Steady Holiday, Javiera Mena, The Messthetics, The Red Pears, Heidi Lawden, Gucci Gang, Jon Hopkins, SOFI TUKKER, Burna Boy, Lizzo, Dermot Kennedy, SOB x RBE, Clairo, NGHTMRE, Perfume, boy pablo, Guy Gerber, HYUKOH, Emily King, Dennis Lloyd, Alice Morton, Shallou, 078 Shake, Soccer Mommy, Rico Nasty, Cola Boyy, Wallows, Mansionair, Nocturnal Sunshine, Dusky, Yetto, Patrice Bäumel, Easy Life, Jan Blomqvist, U.S. Girls, Iceage, Men I Trust, Charlotte de Witte, Social House, Ocho Djes, Razorbumps, Tara Brooks

There’s a lot of great hidden gems in the rest of these performers. I think several of them should be billed higher actually but it is what it is. Out of these guys I’ve been super hyped on Bob Moses recently. A friend of mine told me about them recently and I’ve been slowly getting into them. I love the song “Back Down” along with a few others. I’m sure by Coachella I’ll be full on into them.

I’m also really stoked about Gryffin. Gryffin last played Coachella 2 years ago but I never made it to his set. I did catch his performance at Lollapalooza that summer though. He’s a great electronic artist who also incorporates instruments into his sets. I love his music too. It’s a win-win with Gryffin for sure.

ARIZONA is another one of my favorites from this year’s lineup. I’ve been digging ARIZONA since the winter of 2016. You already know because I’ve blogged about them before, but I saw them open for Hayley Kiyoko in late 2016 in a tiny Philly venue without even knowing it was them until I recognized their second song. The following summer I saw them play a small stage at Lollapalooza and the set was packed! This past year they played Lollapalooza again on the Bud Light stage (main stage) to another huge crowd! They also toured with Panic! At the Disco. They’ve just been growing and growing over the past few years so I know their set for their first Coachella appearance will be packed as well.

A few of my other favorites from the rest of the lineup are Turnover, Lizzo, and Mansionair. I found out about Turnover on my way to Coachella in 2017 and now here we are in 2019 with them on the lineup. It’s pretty cool. They’re part of the pop punk scene but their music is more indie. I’d probably say it’s on the indie punk spectrum, if thats a thing? During Coachella 2018 when we spent our drives listening to alt nation on Sirius XM, Mansionair’s “Astronaut” was always in the rotation. Now they’ll be back for real in the Coachella Valley. I’ve listened to them a few times since last spring, so I’ll definitely try to listen more in prep for Coachella 2019. Lastly, Lizzo. Lizzo is a big mood. I saw her open for Haim last spring shortly after I returned from Coachella. Slay is the word that comes to mind when I think back on that performance. She’s been getting bigger ever since so it makes sense that she’ll be at Coachella this year. I expect her to draw a decent sized crowd too.

I also suggest looking out for Wallows. They bring a great indie rock vibe to the festival and their claim to fame is their guitarist Dylan Minnette who is the star of Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why amongst other TV and movie appearances. Will Smith’s son Jaden is also on the list of those performing and who knows maybe Dad will show up for a guest appearance. Beach Fossils is another indie band worth checking out too if indie music is your thing.

So there you have it. The Coachella 2019 lineup with a few brief overviews of all my recommendations for this year. In the coming weeks it’ll be Coachella Band Previews and prep from here on out. Although I’ll be working a few music festivals down in Mexico over the next two months I’ll still be releasing weekly blog posts up until the festival, which means I’m going to be doing a lot of writing in my free time.

I’m so stoked for Coachella this year. Once again, there will never be another 2014 it seems, but I’m okay with it. I’m excited. I’m happy with lineup. I love its diversity. I love that Coachella always seems to find up and coming artists. Mostly though, I love Coachella in general. It’s the reason why I’m following my dreams in the music industry and I can’t wait to spend another spring in the desert with my favorite people at my favorite place. Cheers to 20 years Coachella! I’m ready for you.

Top Tunes of 2018

Each of the last two years I’ve written posts about how much music has shaped the year. In 2016 there was a lot of shit that went down and music was the bright spot. Last year was one of my favorite years in music in a while so 2018 had a lot to live up to. So as the year comes to a close, the results are in. It was in no way comparable to last year, but thats okay! Because music was still important as it always is.

2018 as a whole will never be comparable to last year. I felt too much in 2018 and in the process I lost a lot of perspective. I had to dig myself out of personal holes so many times. A lot of which I hadn’t felt in years. In a way I’m still trying to overcome some personal struggles but one thing I learned this year is that it could be worse. So I try to remind myself of that. Despite losing perspective at times, I was able to gain it back through meeting new incredible people, through traveling all over the country, through new experiences, and most importantly through music.

I worked harder and put in more miles than I ever had in the past this year all because of a goal that started last January. My friend and I planned a trip to London. I went on that trip last week and it was definitely a trip I won’t soon forget. As much as all the work made it worth it. It was the journey of the year that made it special and so many songs and bands that got me through this weird rollercoaster of a year. So without further delay, here are some of my faves from 2018:

“NUMB” by Hayden James

According to Spotify, this is my top song of the year. Spotify isn’t lying either. It’s now my second most played song on my iTunes. I fell in love with this song during EDC Las Vegas, a festival which ultimately changed the course of the year for me. This song related to my life in all the ways at times, so I kept turning to it. Plus it’s a big fucking mood! I saw Hayden James perform at Electric Forest this year and was able to catch this song during his sets both weekends and during his Weekend 2 DJ set. The bass was so overpowering, but I loved it nonetheless. Now, 7 months later and I’m still choosing to listen to this song. It will forever be associated with this year and all the ups and downs that came with it.

“Safe” by Bay Ledges

This song was released in 2017 but I first heard this song in the spring of 2018 and I became hooked on it. It was a song that I would constantly choose to play whenever I was scrolling through my iTunes in the car or on Spotify. We also kept hearing it on our drives from Joshua Tree to Indio during Coachella this past year. It always puts me in a good mood and creates such a vibe. I was lucky enough to see Bay Ledges play last month and to hear this song live. Even if the song was released in 2017, it still got me through 2018.

Kygo

Kygo was my top Spotify artist this year. It makes sense. After seeing Kygo play at Coachella, one of my favorite sets of the festival, I got really into listening to his music. I eventually created a Kygo Spotify playlist that I’ll occasionally use to work out to. I’ve always been into the tropical house style of electronic music so it was a matter of time before I dove head first into Kygo and all of his tunes that I’ve already been listening to over the past 3 years. I kind of credit the song “Stargzing”, but overall I love almost all of Kygo’s tracks and seeing him live was incredibly fun. This was the year that made it happen for me and the Norwegian DJ.

“Curious” by Hayley Kiyoko

2018 can be defined by the hashtag 20GAYTEEN and that’s all in part to Hayley Kiyoko. She released her first full length album this year and exploded in the music scene. She performed at Coachella, sold out her tour, opened for Panic! At the Disco, performed with Taylor Swift, and won a VMA! It’s been an epic year for Lesbian Jesus. This song was released early in 2018 as a single to promote Hayley’s debut album. It’s been one of my faves ever since. I snuck away during work at Coachella to catch a glimpse of her set Weekend 2, but missed a large portion of it. It wasn’t until I worked a Panic! At the Disco show that I got to see the entirety of her opening set and felt all the proud mom feelings. I saw Hayley play a small venue show in Philly in late 2016 and it’s been pleasure being a fan and seeing her grow so much since then. This year was the icing on the cake for that. So to answer the question, in case you were curious, it is serious that she’s only going up from here.

Arctic Monkeys

2018 was a comeback year for Arctic Monkeys. They released their first album since 2013’s AM, toured worldwide, and played numerous dates on the festival circuit. It was my goal this year to see them play and I did while working their show at Forest Hills Stadium back in July. Although their new album wasn’t the comeback I hoped for, 2018 revitalized my interest in Arctic Monkeys and caused me to listen to their music even more than I did in the past. I found a love in old songs like “Suck It And See” and “I Bet That You Look Good On the Dance Floor”. I also eventually started to enjoy their latest release. It seems like the Monkeys will be riding the 2018 wave into 2019 as well so hopefully they coast back to the states soon.

“Saturday Sun” by Vance Joy

Vance Joy released his sophomore album this year back in February. “Saturday Sun” was a single from that album that was the theme of my Coachella 2018 experience. On our 1 hour drives to and from work every day from Joshua Tree, we listened to Alt Nation on Sirius XM. “Saturday Sun” was in the rotation at the time at it seemed like we heard it ever time we got in Denise’s car. It became our Coachella song. The whole experience culminated on Sunday of Weekend 2 when Vance Joy asked to sit at our table in catering and ate lunch with us. This song will always remind me this year and drives through California with my Day One since Day One Weekend One, Denise.

“Wanderlust” by James Bay

There’s no special story behind this song compared to the others I have on here. It’s just one that I kept going back to once I had it on my iTunes and Spotify playlists. I got into it right before I left for Electric Forest in June and it’s been a staple ever since. It gave me a new opinion on James Bay, whose music I thought was always slower and created romance type vibes. This song was an indie pop/rock dream that I never knew I needed from James Bay this year.

Florence and the Machine

It took me a while to get into the new Florence and the Machine album, but I did just in time to see her live at the Barclays Center in October. Again just like the Arctic Monkeys, High As Hope, the 2018 follow-up to 2015’s How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, was a bit of a disappointment to me initially. In general, it seemed like after a big 2017 of brilliant albums, 2018’s hype wasn’t cutting it for me. New music from 2018 just took a little while to get used to. Once I did I fell for songs like “Hunger” and “Patricia”. Florence reminded me this year when I needed it most that “it’s a wonderful thing to love” and I’m grateful for that.

“Body” by Loud Luxury

“Body” came to me around the same time as “NUMB” at EDC Las Vegas so it makes total sense that it would always play after “NUMB” on my iTunes rotation. I first heard the song on the way to site at EDC via Josh Hurlbert’s music. My friend Erin and I were jamming to it. I didn’t know the name of the song after that, but I needed to find out. So after some detective work, Josh figured out the song I was referring to and told me what it was called on load-out day. It’s been as much of a favorite as “NUMB” since EDC and a great work out track as well. I can’t say I’ve listened to Loud Luxury beyond “Body”, but it’s been a big hit of 2018 all around so I’m sure there will be more great tracks to come from the electronic artists.

Bishop Briggs

Bishop Briggs ended 2017 for me and moved right in 2018. Her debut album came out in May and she was high on my list to see live until I saw her perform at Electric Forest. I will say my interest in Bishop Briggs kind of faded after seeing her perform live, but for the first half of this year I was focused on her debut album and possibly seeing her in the summer. She didn’t disappoint at Forest either. Her performance was full of energy and power that had everyone feeling as bad ass as her by the end of the set. It was a highlight of the festival that seemed to be one of my lowest points of the year. Thankfully, I survived the Forest and went on to have some great festival experiences beyond that.

Runner-Ups

Years & Years

“Happy Man” by Jungle

“Happier” by Marshmello, ft. Bastille

Dashboard Confessional

“Whippin'” by Kiiara

So that’s it! 10 songs and artists that were big for me in 2018 (plus a few runner-ups!). There was another band that I easily could have put on the list but I decided to hold off because 2019 will surely be a big year for them. That band is Vampire Weekend. Their comeback started in 2018 with a few festival appearances, including a special one that I was witness to at Lollapalooza, but they’ve yet to release their much anticipated fourth full length album. There were rumors it would come out in 2018, but that hasn’t happened. So I expect 2019 will be the year for them. They’re already slated to play Firefly in June and I’m sure more dates and festivals are in the works as well. I can’t wait. They’re who I’m most excited about heading in to this new year.

As with any year, there will be plenty of new music and new discoveries for me. I didn’t plan on this year being better than 2017 and it wasn’t honestly as far as music goes. Professionally though, 2018 was my best year yet. When I set out to follow my music industry dreams in 2015 (technically 2016 but it started in 2015), my goal was always to be better, learn more, and grow every year. I’ve done that so far, especially this year. I have no plans to stop any time soon either. I’ve started to reach some goals I’ve had, but I have so much more to do and accomplish. I’m so lucky I get to do what I love. I’m grateful for everyone that’s helped and supported me, everyone I’ve met, and all the experiences I’ve had. I owe it all to music. So hopefully next year is even better because I plan on trying to make it that way and I’m sure I’ll have plenty of new tunes to help me through it all. Be back next week for the Coachella 2019 lineup release!

“All of life is energy vibrating at different frequencies. It has been said, the universe is a uni-verse, one song or vibration that plays throughout existence and gives us life. When we get in tune with that tone, we are in harmony with life. Music is a way we can tap into that power. That is why we feel music with our whole being. It moves us, stimulates our imagination, opens emotions, and can pass language and cultural barriers. It lives on a primal level, one that we can all connect with.”

The Film Playlist: Bohemian Rhapsody

Obviously a film title that is also a song title would have no trouble making The Film Playlist. In fact, it’s been a while since I’ve been able to write about a film for the playlist. The latest Freddie Mercury biopic released on November 2nd in the U.S.  happens to be too good not to include.

The film stars Rami Malek as the late great Freddie Mercury, frontman for the legendary British rock and roll band Queen. Bohemian Rhapsody tells the story of Freddie Mercury and Queen from their founding until their performance at Live Aid in 1985. It also stars Gwilym Lee as Brian May, Ben Hardy as Roger Taylor, Joe Mazzello as John Deacon and Lucy Boynton as Mary Austin. The screenplay was written by Anthony McCarten and was directed by Bryan Singer and Dexter Fletcher (Singer was fired half-way through production and was replaced by Fletcher, though Singer received full directing credit based on DGA guidelines. Fletcher is listed as an executive producer.)

The film begins with showing the formation of Queen and Freddie’s transformation into the group’s lead singer. It shows how much Freddie loved and was inspired by Mary Austin. It also shows how the band landed a record deal with EMI Records and makes reference to the many hit songs Queen is still famous for today. The film also touches on Freddie Mercury’s struggle with his family, his sexuality, and his battle with AIDS, the disease that ultimately lead to his death in 1991.

After researching the film, I learned that there were many historical inaccuracies depicted in the movie. I would start listing them, but there are more than enough that I would recommend reading this article after seeing the film. I’ve also heard about a few more beyond that article as well.

Regardless of the historical inaccuracy of the Bohemian Rhapsody, I thought it put Queen’s music first, which is what I loved about it. Any time a scene regarding Freddie’s life happened, it seemed like the next scene would circle back to music. There were scenes showing the band creating songs like “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “We Will Rock You”, “Love of My Life”, and many others. There were also scenes showing the band playing many of their songs live including the final scenes of the film at their Live Aid performance, which had me singing along to “We Are the Champions”.

The funny thing about Bohemian Rhapsody is that I never planned on seeing the film. I didn’t even realize it was actually a movie until it was already in theaters. In the first few weeks after its release though I heard a lot about it from many people. I decided I should see it after spending the Thanksgiving holiday with my little cousin building Spotify playlists that had tons of Queen songs on them. I’m glad I did because the film was incredible. Malek kills it as Freddie Mercury and it made me appreciate how many Queen songs I knew and how many of their songs are still hits today.

I knew after I saw Bohemian Rhapsody that I needed to write about it and promptly add it to The Film Playlist. It’s focus on music is special and makes the audience appreciate just how legendary Queen and Freddie Mercury are to rock and roll history.

Queer Eye

It’s been a minute since I made a post that has to do with something other than music. For the last week I’ve been on a Netflix binge though so I figured it was the perfect time to change that up. Cue Queer Eye.

In the summer while at Electric Forest one of my suite-mates was in the midst of a Queer Eye binge. The second season had just come out. I decided to watch with her because I used to watch Queer Eye when the show was first on. The new Netflix series is a reboot of the show that first aired in 2003, if you didn’t already know. When I watched the new series, I liked the show but there was a lot going on at Electric Forest that took my attention away from a Netflix binge while I was there. Last week I decided it was finally time to watch the show and much like so many others my Queer Eye love grew.

For those who don’t know the basis of Queer Eye, it’s a reality tv show where 5 gay men makeover someone, typically a straight man. The original series used to be called Queer Eye For the Straight Guy but was eventually shortened to Queer Eye to broaden the makeover pool. The new show broadens that pool as well by making over a woman, a gay man, and a transgender man so far. The makeover involves more than just style and grooming. Usually there’s a home transformation and lifestyle changes involved as well. Each of the 5 gay men, known more affectionately as The Fab 5, specialize in their own areas of expertise.

Antoni Porowski stars as the Food and Wine Expert. He usually shows the makeover subject how to cook a simple meal and gives tips on food, cooking, and of course drinks. Tan France is the new Fashion Expert. He’s the one who goes through the subject’s wardrobe, takes them shopping, and creates he or she a personal style that reflects who they are. Karamo Brown plays the Culture Expert. He usually helps the subject in a motivational way to better their life. He also spends time getting to know the subject on a personal level. Bobby Berk is the Design Expert. He remodels the home or apartment of the subject into a modern and useful living space. Lastly, Jonathan Van Ness is the expert in Grooming. He gives each subject a hair cut and beard trim or shave as well as teaches he or she about personal care and grooming.

The first two seasons of Queer Eye are already out on Netflix. Season 1 premiered last February and Season 2 came in June. Both seasons are 8 episodes that were filmed in the Atlanta, Georgia area. The third season is slated for release in 2019 and will take place in the Kansas City area.

With all the hype Queer Eye has received in the last year, hopefully the show lasts for several more years/seasons. It recently won three Primetime Emmys for Outstanding Structured Reality Program, Outstanding Casting for a Structured Reality Program, and Outstanding Picture Editing for a Structured or Competition Reality Program. The show really is more than just a reality TV series. It brings to light issues in today’s society through each transformation performed by The Fab 5. I don’t remember the original Queer Eye doing as much and I think that’s what makes this reboot really special.

If you’re looking for a show to binge on Netflix, you won’t be disappointed if you decide to watch Queer Eye. I think the show has a little something for everyone and it might even teach you some tips too. With this new Fab 5, all things definitely do just keep getting better.

(That’s What I Call A) Rally Cry: Album Review

During Weekend 1 of Coachella 2017, I worked the late shift. I was on from 4 p.m. until midnight, which meant I got to check out the festival earlier in the day. Most of you who attend festivals know that a lot of the hyped acts play later timeslots. With that in mind, there weren’t many bands I went to check out before my shift started each day. However, on Saturday afternoon I decided to check out Arkells set on the Outdoor Stage. I knew one of their songs at the time, “Leather Jacket”, from doing some browsing on Spotify. Since the set was in the middle of the afternoon when the desert heat is at its prime, there weren’t many people in attendance, especially in the guest viewing area. I was essentially front and center for the set. That afternoon Arkells played one of my favorite sets that I saw at Coachella last year. They had great energy. I enjoyed their music without knowing much of it. They even brought a random festival-goer onstage with them to play guitar during one of their songs. It was so cool! I’m surprised I didn’t write about them sooner.

On Friday Arkells released their fifth studio album Rally Cry so I figured it was appropriate to do an Arkells post along with an album review. Arkells is a Canadian alternative rock band from Hamilton, Ontario that formed in 2006. The band is named after a street in the Westdale neighborhood of Hamilton where they used to live and practice together. Max Kerman (lead vocals, guitar), Mike DeAngelis (vocals, guitar), Nick Dika (bass), Tim Oxford (drums), and Anthony Carone (vocals, keyboard, guitar) comprise the band. Kerman and DeAngelis met while in college at McMaster University and discovered their similar taste in music. The rest is history.

Arkells released their first album Jackson Square in October 2008. They received some media attention in 2010 when Kesha and rap singer Shad joined them on stage for a cover of Outkast’s “Ms. Jackson” while performing at a small venue show after the 2010 Much Music Awards. In October 2011, they released their second album Michigan Left. That year the band also announced the departure of original member Dan Griffin (he was replaced by Carone). In the next few years the band continued to tour and received a few notable accolades, mostly in Canada. One of those was Group of the Year at the 2012 Juno Awards.

Their third record High Noon was released in August 2014. The album earned them Group of the Year and Rock Album of the Year at the 2015 Juno Awards. They also released the self-produced EP Study Music. While on tour in spring 2016, they teased a new record. That record, Morning Report, was released in August 2016. It was their fourth full length. In 2017 along with playing Coachella on the festival circuit they also played Osheaga Festival and Sasquatch! Music Festival. Their song “Knocking at the Door” peaked at #1 on the Canadian alternative rock charts. It was also their first track to reach US Alternative Charts where it peaked at #39.

Now Arkells are back with Rally Cry. I’ve listened to a few songs from their other albums and I have to say from their first album to their most recent, their sound has remained consistent. It’s pure alternative rock. Kerman has such powerful and somewhat distinct vocals. I feel like their music and even the lead vocals are a similar sound to that of Cold War Kids. I’ve been listening to their single “Relentless” for a few weeks now. It’s a jam and currently on my workout playlist. “People’s Champ” is a protest anthem of U.S. President Donald Trump, which isn’t the first time the band has taken a political stance with their music. “Whistleblower”, “The Ballad of Hugo Chavez”, and “Knocking at the Door” have political meaning as well. Another track on the new record “Saturday Night” gives off a Bruce Springsteen-esque vibe. Overall though, every song has that same alt-rock sound that has gained the band recognition in Canada over the years.

If you’re already a fan of Arkells, you should be stoked about this album. I definitely think they’re an underrated band in the U.S. Their music is great and after seeing them at Coachella, I can attest that their live performances are great too. I might be seeing them play again in two weeks too! They’ll be joining St. Lucia on their current headlining tour and I have plans to check out one of the shows. They’ll also be headlining a Canada tour in February 2019. It’ll be one of their biggest headlining tours to date as they play arenas across the “True North Strong and Free.” I feel like they have the potential to make a name for themselves in the U.S. at some point soon as well too. Definitely check them out sooner rather than later by giving both their newest album and older albums a listen. All five of their albums certainly have “gas in the tank to go all night long” on whatever medium you’re listening on!

The Film Playlist: We Are Your Friends

It’s been a while since I wrote about a film for The Film Playlist series I created two years ago. I meant to add this one sooner too. I saw it almost a year ago. I won’t give you a ton of excuses as to why I didn’t write about this sooner but needless to say, it’s better late than never.

We Are Your Friends was released in late summer 2015. Then it made it’s way to DVD by later that year. It stars Zac Efron, Emily Ratajkowski, Shiloh Fernandez, Alex Shaffer, Jonny Weston, and Wes Bentley. It was directed by Max Joseph of MTV’s Catfish. Joseph and Meaghan Oppenheimer also wrote the screenplay that was based off the story by Richard Silverman.

We Are Your Friends is a drama that focuses on the electronic music scene and is set in Los Angeles. Efron plays DJ Cole Carter, who is looking for his big break in the electronic music industry. While playing a gig as an opener at a small club, Cole meets James Reed (Bentley), a once big-name DJ who’s headlining the show. Reed and Cole connect over music and Reed invites him to a party. After a night of drinking and drugs, Cole wakes up the next morning to find himself at Reed’s house where his girlfriend and personal assistant, Sophie (Ratajkowski), also lives. From there Cole’s career begins to blossom with the help of Reed.

Out of all the films I’ve seen that involve music, this is one of the only films that really explores electronic music and the type of rave scene involved with it. From the LA setting to the partying and drug usage, this film really shows the culture that surrounds EDM. It even shows the characters attending EDC Las Vegas, which is the most largely attended music festival in a one weekend period in the United States. All it’s missing is some hard core PLUR action. The film itself received average reviews and rightfully so. It’s no Academy Award winning film by any means. The thing that makes it stand out though is that it explores a type of music that has become huge in today’s world.

As for the soundtrack, it is fantastic…that is if you like to dance and are into electronic music. It includes the song by Justice and Simian that the film was named after “We Are Your Friends” as well as songs and remixes by Hayden James, Kygo, AlunaGeorge, Deorro, Gryffin, Years & Years, and Tchami amongst others. Many of the songs on the soundtrack are featured in the film.

If you’re a fan of electronic music or a fan of music in general, this film is definitely one you want to check out at some point. The film might not be the greatest as far as movies go, but its focus is what makes it unique and worthy of your time. There’s no question We Are Your Friends is a great addition to The Playlist though.

Brighter Days: Album Review

I like to think that the spring of 2016 is when I started to get into electronic music even though I know it was a progressive interest up until that point. There were several songs I had been listening to in 2015 through the beginning of that year but it was in spring 2016 when I actually got into an electronic artist, Australian DJ, Flume. Like I said though, by that point I was listening to several electronic songs regularly. One of those was the hit “Sweet Lovin'” by British electronic artist, Sigala.

I sampled a song or two of Sigala’s other music, but really only took a liking to “Sweet Lovin'”. Interestingly enough, it helped me bond with a fellow co-worker when I worked my first music festival that summer and I actually caught part of Sigala’s set at it.

Flash forward a little over 2 years since then and Sigala’s debut album Brighter Days is out. It was released last weekend. I wasn’t even aware that he had a debut in the works, but after releasing new music over the last 3 years since he stepped onto the electronic scene, it was bound to happen.

Sigala, better known to the world as Bruce Fielder, from Norwich, Norfolk, England released his first single in 2015. The single includes samples from the Jackson 5’s “ABC”. It debuted at number 71 on the UK Singles Chart, then hit number 1 the following week. Sigala’s second single “Sweet Lovin'” reached number 3 on the chart. In 2016, Sigala began touring. He played shows and festivals throughout Europe with three appearances in the United States, Ultimate Music Experience, Ultra Music Festival, and Firefly Music Festival. He continued touring mostly in Europe in 2017 and 2018 as well. In fact his appearances at Ultimate, Ultra, and Firefly mark his only U.S. appearances to date.

His first full length album Brighter Days came out last week on September 28th. The album features 16 tracks and includes many of his singles from the last few years like, “Easy Love”, “Sweet Lovin'”, “Say You Do”, “Give Me Your Love”, “Came Here For Love”, “Lullaby”, “Feels Like Home”, and “We Don’t Care”. Every song on the album is one that makes you want to dance. Sigala’s signature house/trop house/dance-pop style is evident on each track. The new album already features a few new bangers like latest single “Just Got Paid” featuring Ella Eyre, Meghan Trainor, and French Montana and “Ain’t Giving Up” featuring Craig David.

Sigala is briefly touring in the UK this month in support of his debut’s release, but there’s no doubt that the release should bring more touring for the English producer. Hopefully he’ll be back in the states soon and I’ll have another opportunity to check him out. I’m proud to say that I was at one of his only U.S. appearances to date. I only stuck around for a few songs though so seeing him again would be amazing, especially since I got more into his music after I last saw him perform. Sigala is definitely one of my favorite electronic artists so I’m telling you now to go check out his first album before he’s appearing in a city near you! It’s great music to dance to, chill to, drive to, and especially work out to. It has kept “me coming cause it’s all that I need” so it’s safe to say that it might for you too and you won’t be disappointed!