ACL

2022 Music Wrap

Another year is coming to a close, which means I’m here to tell you about all my favorites in music from 2022. This is just me talking about my favorite bands, songs, and albums from the last year. These have all defined my year in music, aside from, of course, concerts and festival sets. I included those last year since I went 15 months without any of it. This year though we’re back to the original recap post with all my faves in no particular order. So let’s get to it…

Wallows

There’s nothing and no one on this list that defines my year more than Wallows. It started Weekend 1 of Coachella when I was mesmerized by their mid-afternoon Outdoor Theatre set and continued non-stop for the next 4 months. It kept going beyond that too but in a less obsessive way. Coachella has always been known for getting me into bands. The festival’s 2022 return gave me that again with Wallows. After catching both weekend’s Coachella sets, I acquired every single hard form of their music on either CD or record. I saw them perform live 4 more times after both Coachella sets, including 2 concerts and 2 other festival sets, Bonnaroo being my most favorite of all. It took a while for Wallows to hit for me, as I tried getting into them 5 years earlier, but sometimes all it takes is the power of live music. I have so many favorite Wallows songs, but “Pictures of Girls” will forever be my go to. Their most recent album Tell Me That It’s Over also played a huge part in my Wallows era as well as select songs like “OK”, “Talk Like That”, “I’m Full”, and “Treacherous Doctor” from the Remote and Remote (Deluxe) EPs and their debut album Nothing Happens. Their single “Pulling Leaves Off Trees” was another favorite from my 4 month Wallows binge. I might have been able to go through this year without a band like Wallows, but I’m glad I got into them and love them moving forward.

Being Funny In A Foreign Language

Released in October, the 1975’s 5th full length album became a big part of my end of the year. I went to Nashville specifically to see them tour in support of this album and it was my first time ever seeing them play in concert (every other time was a festival set). Then Matty Healy started blowing up on social media in early December causing even more focus on the 1975 (Don’t like menthols!) and more focus for me on them and their latest album. Being Funny In A Foreign Language also has two songs that are low key Christmas/December-ish songs that really hit in the last two months of the year. I’ve been listening to the album so much over the last few weeks, including “Wintering” non-stop on December 23rd (IYKYK). I’ve realized top to bottom this is probably their second best album next to their debut self-titled. Although I haven’t had as much time to listen to it, this is one of my favorite albums released in 2022.

Goth Babe

Back in May, I worked EDC Las Vegas with my friend Erin and she kept telling me how good Goth Babe was. After listening to a song or two and agreeing with her opinions, I added a few songs to my Spotify playlist I was listening to at the time. There was even some discussion between us about seeing him perform a Lollapalooza aftershow. It sold out too fast but we caught his set together at Lolla and then with some of our other friends, got tickets to instead see him play an ACL late night show during Weekend 1. That’s when I dove head first into Goth Babe and got into his music. “Canary Islands” will always be my go-to, but “Casita” was a vibe during my drives to the fall beach festivals I worked. Thanks to Erin for this one as I definitely found a new artist I’m really into.

The Maine

Is it 2007? It certainly felt like it in early 2022 when I told my friend Hailey I would go see her favorite band, the Maine, with her and her friends for her birthday in March. The Maine was never a band I listened to much during the scene era of the late 00’s-early 2010’s. “The Way We Talk” and their cover of Akon’s “I Wanna Love You” was all I knew. Then Hailey re-introduced me to her favorite guys from Phoenix, Arizona and I became a lover of “Sticky”, “Black Butterflies and Deja Vú”, and “Dirty, Pretty, Beautiful”. The song that really got me hooked again though was their 2022 release “Loved You a Little” featuring Adam Lazzara from Taking Back Sunday and Charlotte Sands. The song would have hit just as hard in 2007 as it did this year. Then I saw them live for the first time. They were great and the show was so fun that I decided to see them again exactly 6 months later with the same March crew (plus a few others) when I had some unexpected free time after a festival cancellation in late September. I think I might have missed out all these years when it comes to the Maine, or there’s just something special about seeing your friends’ favorite bands with them and I don’t know if it would feel the same otherwise.

“Heart Out” -The 1975

Mexico 2022 really sucked a lot of life out of me. There were so many things about this past year’s Mexico run that were more difficult than usual and other personal things that just aided to that. When I got back from Mexico in early March I wasn’t in the best spirits, despite being a month away from my favorite music festival for the first time in 3 years. My friend Hailey flew in to Philly for a work trip for a night during that time and wanted to hang. Although I wasn’t really feeling it, I knew I didn’t want to bail on her so we hung out for a few hours, went out to dinner, grabbed drinks, and walked around the city for a bit. We were looking for something to do and walked past a Hard Rock Café as the song “Heart Out” by the 1975 played loudly. For the first time in a few weeks, that song and both spending time with and having fun with my friend hyped me up. I suggested we could just dance outside the Hard Rock Café all night since they were clearly playing bops. After that night, I started listening to “Heart Out” at random times the rest of the month. I added it to my workout playlist too. Who knew that even before the 1975 started teasing BFIAFL I would be vibing to one of their old songs. This year gave me a second coming of “Heart Out.” It was so much so that I was truly disappointed it wasn’t included on their fall tour set list, especially the show that Hailey and I attended together.

“I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)” -Jamie xx

2022 brought back Coachella into my life and I will forever be grateful for being able to be back on the polo fields this past year. When the lineup dropped in early January, I made a playlist with songs from artists I was interested in seeing as I typically do. Jamie xx’s “I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)” was one of the songs. This song set all of my anticipation for the festival. After a 3 year wait, I knew it was gonna be a good time. It was just finally making it back there that was in question as it had been since 2020. I listened to this song so much leading up to those 2 weeks in April and even during the event until I saw Jamie xx’s Weekend 2 set with many of my coworkers. He didn’t even end up playing the song during the set either (he did Weekend 1 though!). Nonetheless, it still set the mood from January to April for me.

“This Is Why” -Paramore

Paramore made their way back into the music world this year for the first time since 2018 when they announced fall tour dates including a stop at Austin City Limits. With a new album slated for February 2023, the group released their first single, “This Is Why” in late September, a week before their ACL appearance and right before their tour began. I was at Oceans Calling Festival when I first heard the song. The festival got cancelled a day later and I spent most of the weekend at home anticipating ACL. It wasn’t until Weekend 1 when I realized how excited my friends and coworkers were for Paramore’s set that I started getting into Paramore for the first time in my life. Paramore never resonated with me during high school when alternative/emo music was at the forefront of my music interests, aside from, of course, “Misery Business,” which front woman, Hayley Williams, was intent on retiring in 2018. However, seeing our friend Kristen see Paramore became ACL goals and our team started singing “This Is Why” nonstop by Weekend 2. I got to see Paramore with a large group from my team during Weekend 2 and I have to say I enjoyed it more than when I saw them perform at Warped Tour back in the day. I feel like I have more interest in Paramore now and I’m even excited to see what the new album sounds like.

Uncanny Valley

I decided to embrace my interest in COIN this year. I’d listened to random songs by the band here and there since 2016, until finally I knew that I should go see them when they were on tour this past summer in support of their new album Uncanny Valley. I already fell in love with the song “Chapstick” late last year. Then got into “Killing Me” in the spring months. I bought tickets for their Philly tour date and also caught their Bonnaroo set. They were great live and played a handful of songs that I liked but didn’t know. I decided to purchase the new album at their show and I listened to it non-stop for several weeks. Although there were plenty of great new album releases this year, Uncanny Valley was another one that stood out for me. I didn’t even review it for the blog because at the time of its release I still hadn’t had the realization of how much I enjoyed COIN. Safe to say I’m probably going to be reviewing their new albums from now on.

“Hot Girl Bummer” -blackbear

In July, I spent a week in Fort Lauderdale while working Rolling Loud Miami. It was insanely hot and humid. It was the week I decided to go all in on 6 weeks in a row of fall festivals. It was also the week I was introduced to the 2019 blackbear song “Hot Girl Bummer.” My friend Hailey uses it as a hype track to get her in the mood for going out. I started using it as a work out song in addition to that. It was a song that I played on repeat into August and would constantly hear every night when I lifted, ran, or rode my stationary bike. Despite how often I listened to Wallows, it became one of my 2022 most listened to tracks as it even reached the number 6 spot on my Spotify wrapped, which is why it’ll go down as a hot girl bummer anthem for this year.

“new body rhumba” -LCD Soundsystem

This past fall one of my favorite bands, LCD Soundsystem, released their first new song in 5 years with “new body rhumba.” They made it for the film White Noise. I immediately loved it the first time I heard it. It’s an absolute banger and a song I didn’t expect after having to grow to enjoy their last album American Dream. With the new song came an announcement of another holiday run of shows in Brooklyn and the opportunity to see them live again. To make a long story short, I ended up with tickets to 2 consecutive nights of their 20 show run and got to hear them perform this hit live twice. I danced hard each night and can’t wait for the chance to hear them play it again. I’m sure I’ll be listening to it much more until then.

Honorable Mentions:

“Victory Dance” -My Morning Jacket

As I mentioned before, my time in Mexico this past year ended in early March. I cut my run a few days short so I could experience an event at my local ski resort and with that came a shortened stay during My Morning Jacket’s One Big Holiday. My friend Amanda was even attending and we had about 12 hours together before I returned home. The 12 hours included the first night of music during the all-inclusive beach festival and the first MMJ set. I didn’t expect to enjoy it much, as I had heard MMJ play before and was not impressed, but I wanted to spend time with Amanda while we were both in Mexico together. Maybe it was seeing them with her, seeing them on the beach, or even just the fact that I had made it through the longest two months south of the boarder, but it was one of my favorite nights of my time there. The moment that it all came together for me was when the song “Victory Dance” started. We were right in the center of the crowd and everyone was so into the song, including my friend Amanda, her best friend Lindsey, and Lindsey’s husband Fede. It was a special moment that carried on with me. I played the song to hype me up for the next week or two and even put the song on my skiing playlist so I could listen to it while cruising down mountains.

“King Kunta” -Kendrick Lamar

“Hot Girl Bummer” wasn’t the only song I got into at Rolling Loud Miami. The last night of the festival I followed Hailey and my other coworker Jackie in to catch Kendrick Lamar’s set. I tried my best to get into it even though I only knew one of his songs. When Kendrick played the song “King Kunta” though, I was really into it. I said to them several times during the song how much I enjoyed it. At the time I didn’t even know the name, but I requested it be played multiple times on the way home from the festival that evening. I downloaded it on Spotify that night and played it nonstop on my way to Chicago for Lollapalooza the next day. I even requested it be played during a code red at Lolla at few days later. I was so into this 2015 song for several weeks and I still bop along any time I hear it now.

Lauren Sanderson

Thanks to Megan Finnerty I’ll always associate 2022 with the year I got into Lauren Sanderson. Megan obsessed over Lauren and her tour announcement for weeks while we were in Mexico. That was when I really started listening to the LGBTQ icon and her songs “Bathroom Stall in Seattle,” “17”, “But I Like It,” and “Thirsty.” She also released a new album, Death of a Fantasy, this year and singles like her G-Flip collab “GAY 4 ME,” “WET,” and most recently “better than your bf” this past month. Megan and I also attended a Lauren Sanderson concert together in May. I’m sure it won’t be our last either as my interest in Lauren will likely carry beyond this year.

The Jungle Giants

This year my friend Noah began hyping The Jungle Giants to me. At the time I didn’t realize it, but I had unknowingly listened to them years earlier. Nonetheless, Noah told me I would love them, and he was right. I listened to a song or two of theirs, but really dived head first into them when we decided in August that we would attend their Philly show together in November. I listened to them a lot this fall in anticipation of the show. It was one of the smallest shows I attended this year and also one of the most fun. We danced the entire time and met the band afterwards. That night an intoxicated Noah told me the next time we would see The Jungle Giants was at an arena. I’m not sure if he’s right about that but I know I’ll definitely want to see them again where ever it may be.

Sonder

Dermot Kennedy released his second full length album Sonder in late November and I spent the week before Thanksgiving immersing myself in it. As stated in my album review, it’s a great follow up to his debut. However I haven’t spent the same amount of time listening to it yet, which is why I can only give it an honorable mention thus far. I know I’ll be listening to it way more in the coming months as I have pit tickets for his upcoming tour this spring.

“Unconditional I (Lookout Kid)” -Arcade Fire

For a week or two in May, following the release of their album, WE, I couldn’t stop listening to the song “Unconditional I (Lookout Kid)” by Arcade Fire. It was the one track on the album that really hit for me. The song reminded me of my little cousin and best friend, Hudson, who I hadn’t in seen in two months and wouldn’t see for another two. It’s a great song that helped me feel connected to him in that brief time.

So that’s my list for 2022. It’s wild how each year brings new music or old music that feels new into our lives. As someone who loves music and works in live music and events as a profession, I guess that’s something that always keeps happening for me. I’m excited for what 2023 will give me, which likely starts with the Coachella lineup. I can’t believe we’re at that time again, where I’ll be posting weekly previews of Coachella artists. Here’s to hoping this lineup will go back to its roots and bring a high volume of indie rock artists I’ve been missing the last several years. However, I guess I’m grateful that the lack of artists in that genre has really pushed me to focus on the few that do exist, like Wallows for example, who became one of my favorite bands during the last 9 months. Here’s to also hoping 2023 brings me more bands and artists that I fall in love with and more incredible experiences surrounding music with the people I love the most.

Coachella Band Preview: girl in red

Now that it’s February, we’re closing in on the two month mark until Weekend 1! It feels so weird writing this anticipating Coachella like it’s any other year. It’s not though. We haven’t been thriving on the polo fields since 2019. So much has happened and changed since then, but at the same time, having Coachella back will feel like another part of normal life has returned. I keep writing these blogs like I have for years, but god knows I’m so much more excited and emotional about getting back to Coachella this year than I ever was. That being said, this week I’m stoked to preview an artist I didn’t know much about when the 2020 lineup came out. She was on it but I had no idea at the time. Thankfully over the last two years I got to know and love girl in red.

When girl in red was booked for Coachella 2020, she was up and coming. She was an undercard. But thanks to tik tok and lesbians everywhere, girl in red has since exploded. Last spring girl in red, aka Marie Ulven Ringheim, released her debut album, if i could make it go quiet. The album reached top 10 spots on music charts worldwide. I was able to catch a few songs of her ACL set during Weekend 2. She played the main stage early in the day. She wasn’t drawing a huge crowd at the time, but I guarantee she will at Coachella. This time her name has moved up on the lineup poster and I suspect she’ll be playing a late afternoon or early evening set on the main stage or at Outdoor.

Since I first wrote about girl in red, as I already mentioned, she has gotten a lot bigger. Over the last year, she’s stuck to the festival circuit, in support of her debut album. Her name has been rising higher on every festival lineup though. She has a completely sold out spring North American tour lined up that includes her stops in Indio, before she heads back overseas for the European leg of the tour. The European leg is completely sold out too.

girl in red is an act that you won’t want to miss in April. She fills the indie rock card that now seems a lot more rare at Coachella. However, she’s part of that new wave of Gen Z indie rock, so you’d expect a lot more younger fans at her set. She’s definitely going to crush her first Coachella appearance though. Here’s a few tracks that you’ll need to know before you catch her:

  1. we fell in love in october
  2. Serotonin
  3. i wanna be your girlfriend
  4. bad idea!
  5. midnight love
  6. girls
  7. I’ll Call You Mine
  8. summer depression
  9. Rue
  10. You Stupid Bitch

Coacheligible

2019 is almost over. The festival season is surely winding down as well. I consider Austin City Limits as the last major festival of the year even though there’s still several smaller festivals in the weeks following ACL until the holidays. With the end of the year approaching, there’s only 2 months until announcements for the 2020 festival season begin (some like Okeechobee and Stagecoach already have), particularly like Coachella, the first major music festival of the year.

For the last 5 years, I’ve previewed Coachella consistently. As you might have already figured out, and if you didn’t already know, Coachella is my favorite music festival. It’s one of the reasons why I work in music. With that being said, I spent a good portion of last night talking with a coworker friend about potential Coachella 2020 artists. We discussed artists and bands who have dropped or have upcoming new music, who haven’t played Coachella in a while, and who we’d love to see at the festival next year. Playing major music festivals like Coachella also comes with one more component for bands and artists: the radius clause.

Based on some internet finds, what we know about Coachella’s radius clause is that between December 15th prior to Coachella until May 1st after Coachella acts cannot play any festival in North America and cannot play any “hard ticket” concerts in Southern California. In addition, they’re also not allowed to publicize any tour stops in California, Arizona, Oregon, or Washington until after the Coachella lineup is announced, publicize any performances at competing festivals in California, its bordering states, and Washington, or a headlining concert in Southern California, until May 8, or publicize any performances at competing festivals in the remainder of the United States again until the Coachella lineup is announced. Exceptions to this are the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, South by Southwest, and Ultra Music Festival as well as appearances at Las Vegas casinos, or tour stops in other parts of Nevada minus any Las Vegas festival appearances.

Coachella isn’t the only music festival that imposes these clauses. Most music festivals have some type of radius clause which includes major contenders like Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, and South by Southwest to name a few. However, Coachella’s clauses are notable as they made news for the 2018 lawsuit imposed by a smaller music festival called Soul’d Out in Oregon. The lawsuit has since been dismissed.

The radius clause was another thing we considered last night when discussing possible Coachella performers. I’m even realizing today the clause throws out Vampire Weekend as one of my Coachella hopefuls since they’re headlining Okeechobee in March. That is unless they negotiated around the clause. This is always a possibility for performers. Sometimes smaller acts get around the clause because it would hurt them financially to not play shows, but other times it’s not always smaller acts. In 2018, top-billed Coachella artist SZA headlined Buku, but her team most likely negotiated and she was given permission to do so. More often than not though, bands and artists abide by the rules. Adding Coachella to your resume is a big deal. It’s one of the most well-known, popular, largest, and most talked about music festivals in the United States, if not the world so playing the festival is always a special accomplishment no matter how many times you do it. The same goes for working and attending the festival!

In the coming weeks I’m sure headliner rumors will start popping up and there will be more speculation over who will play in Indio this spring. Regardless of the lineup, which since 2014 hasn’t entirely impressed me, I’ll be stoked and on high alert for a twitter notification with a new lineup poster come January 2nd. Coachella will always be special for me no matter who plays, but there’s no shame in getting excited for possibility!

 

 

Almost Everyday: Album Review

Another album that was released within the last two months was Matt & Kim’s Almost Everyday. I was also fortunate enough to finally be able to see Matt & Kim perform live at the end of April. It was one of, if not the most fun show I’ve ever been to. I was starting to get tired waiting for them to come on, but as soon as they did it was pure joy for the hour and a half set they performed at Brooklyn Steel complete with blow up dolls, balloons, and a wall of death. After seeing that show, there was no question that I was going to pick up their album that was due out less than a week later.

I was eager to check out this new album because I really liked the single “Forever” that they released in the weeks prior to the album release. Almost Everyday doesn’t stray from the quality indie pop featuring synth and drums that Matt & Kim are known for. I think some of the synth sounds have even grown on this particular record.

After listening to the album, I didn’t feel like any songs jumped out at me in particular. I had a similar feeling when New Glow was released. With that album, I had to listen to it several times for a few songs to really start sticking with me. Eventually I got into a few songs on that record though. As for Almost Everyday, I’ve taken a liking to “Glad I Tried” and “Like I Used To Be”, along with “Forever”, which I already enjoyed before I heard the full length album.

Several of the songs have a lot of meaning and depth. The album was written over a time when Kim was recovering from her ACL injury and the band’s future felt like it was in jeopardy for a brief time. Thankfully Kim made it through! Truly, they both did though and this new album is a reflection of that.

Coachella Band Preview: Tash Sultana

Because I forgot to post last week’s blog after I wrote it and instead posted it this week, you’re getting two band previews this week! We’re almost near the end of January. We’re still a while away from Weekend 1, but I can feel it looming. Can’t you?! Since I already gave you plenty of Kygo to listen to this week, I thought I’d preview an artist who has a little less music to listen to. What she does have out is pretty awesome and original.

Natasha “Tash” Sultana is an Australian musician/singer/songwriter who grew up in Melbourne. She took to music at the age of three when she received a guitar from her grandfather. Now at age 22, she can play over 10 instruments. 2016 was her breakthrough year, but until then Tash struggled to find regular work and used street performing as her way to get by. She was however the lead vocalist of the band Mindpilot from 2008 through 2012.

She started receiving attention in 2016 through social media and the internet. She also released her first EP, Notion on September 16th independently through her own label Lonely Lands Records. The EP peaked at number 4 on ARIA Australian Albums Chart. It included two songs that were voted to Australia’s Triple J Hottest 100, “Jungle” (#3) and “Notion” (#32). She also embarked on a world tour in support of Notion.

In 2017, Tash continued to tour and also announced that her debut album would be released in the spring of 2018. She released the singles “Murder to the Mind” in April and “Mystik” in October along with being nominated for 4 ARIA Awards (Breakthrough Artist, Best Independent Release (Notion), Best Blues and Roots Album (Notion), and Best Australian Live Act).

Her rock music style features elements of reggae and psychedelic music. Her style can also be classified as indie rock. Each of her tracks have a different sound and her vocals are mesmerizing. It’s the kind of music you can just chill to. I love it because the sound meshed with her vocals is unique to my usual listening tastes.

I first found out about her in early October after my friend worked at All Things Go Fall Classic in Washington, DC. A patron at the festival told her about Tash Sultana so she checked out Tash and told me about her as well. Then I checked her out and enjoyed what I heard. My friend then saw her perform a week later at Austin City Limits. I wasn’t so fortunate. She is relatively new to the music scene and is just starting to get some attention in America. She recently performed on Late Night with Seth Meyers in October. That makes me think I’ll have plenty of time to get to see her live, especially if I get to be a part of Coachella this year and can catch her set.

She plays Saturday at Coachella. In my opinion Saturday’s lineup is stacked. I would expect to see Tash play an earlier set on Saturday. You never know though. She might end up with a mid-afternoon spot at the Gobi or Mojave Tent. If you have a chance, I would check her out though. She’s under that “up and coming” title for the festival this year. She’s also got a debut album coming out soon. Here’s what you can check out by her so far though:

  1. Jungle
  2. Mystik
  3. Notion
  4. Gemini
  5. Synergy
  6. Murder to Mind
  7. Big Smoke (Pts. 1 & 2)