EDM

Coachella Band Preview: the 1975, CHVRCHES, A R I Z O N A, & Gryffin

3 more weeks! 3 more weeks! 3 more weeks! Coachella is in 3 weeks!!!! I know I write similar posts with the same hype level every year, but every year I’m that excited for Coachella, especially this year. Last year felt a little disappointing to me. This year feels like I have zero expectations. I’m just happy to be working the event, even if it’s not in the role I hoped for. To put it best, my hype level feels pure right now. Yours should be too! This week I’m previewing 4 bands because I’ve written about all of them before. Three of them I’ve written about when they played Coachella in the past. Two of them I’ve written about because I was into them at the time. One of them I’ve written about twice already. That band is the 1975.

The 1975 is headed out to their third Coachella. They last played in 2016 after their sophomore album I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It dropped. Since touring and promoting that album, the 1975 has released a third studio album and has a fourth on the way with a release slated for less than a year after A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships came out at the end of November 2018. Their fourth album Notes on a Conditional Form is due out this summer with the first single coming out in May. 2019 is definitely going to be a big year for the 1975.

In 2016, I saw the 1975 perform twice. Both times I didn’t pay for tickets to see them and both performances were at festivals, sweetlife and Lollapalooza. Since they’re back on the festival circuit this summer, I’m hoping I’ll get to catch them again at least once. They play Friday at Coachella and I can pretty much guarantee you’ll see them on the Main Stage or the Outdoor Stage. Here’s a few new songs and some old ones that you’ll want to know in preparation to see them:

  1. It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You)
  2. Chocolate
  3. The Sound
  4. TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME
  5. Sex
  6. Somebody Else
  7. Love It If We Made It
  8. Girls
  9. Give Yourself a Try
  10. Sincerity is Scary

Just like the 1975, CHVRCHES last played Coachella in 2016 and will be making their third appearance in Indio this spring. Since 2016, CHVRCHES also released their third studio album Love Is Dead on May 25, 2018. It debuted at number 7 on the UK Albums Chart. Their latest album also features a collaboration with Matt Berninger of the National. Recently CHVRCHES released the song “Here With Me” in collaboration with electronic DJ Marshmello.

I’ve never been a huge CHVRCHES fan, but I did watch their performance on the live stream in 2016. I remember being really impressed with Lauren Mayberry’s stage presence. I’m hoping to see them live for the first time this time around. They play Sunday and I’m sure they’ll be on the Main Stage or the Outdoor Stage if previous performances are any indication. I’ve casually listened to CHVRCHES over the years and as a casual listener here’s my best recommendations on what songs to listen to so you’re ready to see the band play their third Coachella:

  1. The Mother We Share
  2. Leave a Trace
  3. Miracle
  4. Recover
  5. Clearest Blue
  6. Get Out
  7. Here With Me (Marshmello ft. CHVRCHES)
  8. Gun
  9. My Enemy
  10. We Sink

Almost two years ago I wrote a post about A R I Z O N A. It was about 3 years ago that I started listening to the band, not the state. They weren’t that big at all. I saw them perform in the fall of 2016. They opened for Hayley Kiyoko at a 450 person capacity venue. Neither were that big. Flash forward to last summer, both bands joined Panic! At the Disco on their Pray For the Wicked Tour arena tour. A R I Z O N A played to a packed Bud Light Stage at Lollapalooza and Hayley Kiyoko joined Taylor Swift onstage during Taylor’s summer tour after simultaneously selling out her U.S. headlining tour. It’s safe to say both A R I Z O N A and Hayley Kiyoko have come a long a way. Last year Hayley played her first Coachella. This year it’s time for A R I Z O N A to visit the Coachella Valley for the first time.

Since releasing their debut album, the band has played numerous other festivals as well as going on their own headlining tour in the fall of 2017. Last summer they released two new songs. They also recently released the song “Find Someone” at the end of February. This spring they play Coachella on Saturday. I’m not sure where you’ll find these guys at the festival but I would expect them to play a late afternoon set. I’d also recommend that you get to their set early. If their first Coachella appearance is anything like their Lollapalooza set last summer, it will definitely be crowded. Out of all the bands on the lineup this year, this is one that I’m most familiar with and high on my list of bands I’d love to see perform at the festival. I’ve been following the group for a while so I know quite a few of their bangers. Here’s what you need to know to be ready for their Coachella debut:

  1. Oceans Away
  2. I Was Wrong
  3. Electric Touch
  4. Find Someone
  5. Freaking Out
  6. Where I Wanna Be
  7. Feed the Beast
  8. Annie
  9. Ain’t Gonna Leave
  10. What She Wants

Last on the list of bands playing Coachella 2019 that I’ve already wrote about is Gryffin. Since playing his first Coachella in 2017, Gryffin has released several more singles and part of his debut album Gravity. The second part of the album is due to be released this year. The first half was released in December 2018.

Since getting into electronic music, I’ve always been into Gryffin. After previewing him in 2017, I learned just how cool his live performances are since they incorporate instrumentation along with standard electronic artist DJ production. I didn’t get to see him perform at Coachella in 2017, but I did get to watch his Lollapalooza set that summer. It was great. I’m eager to see what he has in store for his second Coachella especially now that part of his debut has been released with the other part on the way. He plays Saturday. I would expect his set to be at the Sahara Tent in the afternoon or early evening. I’m not sure how many people to expect, but the Sahara Tent is one of the most popular stages at the festival so give yourself enough time to get a good spot. To get you ready for Gryffin’s set, here’s what you need to listen to:

  1. Tie Me Down
  2. Feel Good
  3. Whole Heart
  4. Desire (Years & Years Remix)
  5. Heading Home
  6. Love In Ruins
  7. Nobody Compares to You
  8. Remember
  9. Just For A Moment
  10. Bye Bye
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Coachella Band Preview: Zedd

In 1 month today we will be on the brink of Coachella 2019. Campers will be coming in. Hotels will be filled. That anticipation of another year of Coachella will fill the air. It will be similar to Christmas Eve with one exception: Coachella lasts 2 days longer than Christmas. I guess you can say that for any highly anticipated music festival, but trust me, Coachella is a special place in the festival world. That being said, there’s only 4 more weeks to learn the tunes of your favorite Coachella acts before they’re performed live on the Polo fields. This year I haven’t been as stoked for many of the electronic artists as I was last year. Most of the electronic acts I’m excited for this year fall on that indie electronic spectrum and are bands, not DJs. However, I decided there is one electronic DJ I’d like to see this year and that’s Zedd.

Anton Zaslavski, better known as Zedd, is an electronic DJ and producer. While growing up, he received formal training on instruments such as piano and drums and was part of a band. He got inspired to start making electronic music because of French electronic duo Justice. He first entered the EDM scene around 2010. He released two tracks on the website Beatport which included an original song and a remix of Skrillex’s “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites”. After that he began remixing songs of well-known artists such as Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, and the Black Eyed Peas.

In 2012 Zedd signed with Interscope Records and released his debut album Clarity. The album included the hit singles “Spectrum” featuring Matthew Koma and “Clarity” featuring Foxes. “Clarity” has since gone on to receive Platinum status. Zedd also received a Grammy for “Clarity” for Best Dance Recording. In the following years, Zedd went on his first headlining tour and sold out venues across 5 continents worldwide. He also released several more singles like “Stay the Night” and “Find You” in addition to producing songs for the likes of Lady Gaga on her 2013 album Artpop.

Zedd’s second album True Colors was released in May 2015. In the lead up to the album release, Zedd released the single “I Want to Know You” featuring Selena Gomez and the single “Beautiful Now” featuring Jon Bellion. Zedd embarked on his second world tour in 2015. Since then, he has released singles routinely. Some of those singles include hits like “Starving” feautring Hailee Steinfeld and Grey, “Stay” with Alessia Cara, and one of 2018’s biggest hits “The Middle” featuring Maren Morris and Grey. Zedd hasn’t released an album in 4 years, making him due for one soon.

Zedd plays a house/electro house style of electronic music. He draws influence from classical, dubstep, and progressive house music as well. At this point though, Zedd’s music can even be considered pop because his hits have become pretty mainstream. In fact, there’s a bunch of electronic artists that fit that category too since electronic music has risen in popularity in recent years.

I usually write about how I became a fan of the artist I’m previewing, where I first heard them, or some sort of story about them, but honestly I’m not a huge fan of Zedd. I just know a lot of his songs because many of them are very mainstream. I will say “The Middle” became a guilty pleasure of mine last spring and “Starving” was another guilty pleasure in late 2016. It was actually one of my favorite songs to play on guitar for a while. I know Zedd’s music well enough that if I were to pick any electronic DJ to see this year, it would be him. I think his set will be fun to be at and it’s sure to have a huge draw as well.

Zedd plays Sunday at Coachella 2019. This year will mark his 4th Coachella appearance. In 2012 and 2014, Zedd played at the Sahara Tent. In 2016, Zedd was the Outdoor Stage headliner on Saturday night. If Zedd isn’t the Outdoor headliner again, he most definitely will be playing the Coachella Main Stage right before Ariana Grande. In fact, we might even get a Zedd and Ariana collab during one of their sets since they did team up on Ariana’s “Break Free” in 2014. You might already know a ton of Zedd’s music, but in case you didn’t, here’s what to listen to in preparation for his Coachella 2019 set:

  1. The Middle
  2. Clarity
  3. Starving
  4. Happy Now
  5. Stay
  6. I Want You to Know
  7. 365
  8. Lost In Japan Remix (originally by Shawn Mendes)
  9. Spectrum
  10. Beautiful Now

 

 

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

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: 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!

 

Cause That’s My Favorite Part

I know it’s been almost a month, but I spent 3 of the last 4 weeks traveling, adventuring, and working. August has been my favorite month of 2018 so far, and I feel so grateful for all the great times and experiences that came with it. So now that I’ve been home for almost a week and rested up, it’s back to blog business. I know I’d feel like a total failure if I didn’t write about this artist this year, because his song “NUMB” ft. GRAACE is one of my top two favorite songs of the summer and probably the year (even though it was released in late 2017).

Hayden James is an electronic music DJ and producer from Australia. He entered the music scene in 2013 with his single “Permission to Love”. He released his self-titled debut EP in August that year as well. Since then James has toured with Disclosure and Odesza, co-wrote songs with Katy Perry for her 2017 album Witness, and toured Europe and North America in addition to releasing new music consistently. Some of his singles include “Something About You”, “NUMB”, and most recently “Just Friends”. He is currently signed to Australian indie record label Future Classic, whose clients include the likes of electronic artists Flume and Flight Facilities. In 2015 and 2016 he received two ARIA nominations for Best Dance Recording for his tracks “Something About You” and “Just a Lover”, respectively. He has yet to release his debut album, but rumor has it that it’s in the works and releasing soon!

Hayden James plays a house style of electronic music. His downtempo style of sound gives his tracks an R&B type feel. It gives off a very sensual/sexual vibe. I would compare it to fellow Future Classic artist Flume, but it’s not quite as deep house as his style. At times, the sound does give off a Flume-ish energy though.

I first listened to Hayden James while working EDC Las Vegas. My best friend played “NUMB” for me while we were both hanging out in our team’s trailer. I loved it right away and encouraged her to keep playing the song on repeat. She did and we had a continuous impromptu dance party until I had to run an errand for our team. The song has since reminded me of EDC and some things that happened while I was out in Vegas. Despite the fact that Vegas wasn’t always the happiest of times, the song always gives me a good feeling, even if the memories associated with it aren’t the best and I love the song regardless.

Since May, I’ve been playing the song on repeat whenever I get the chance. “NUMB” also got me to check out more of Hayden James’ music and I’ve since become a fan. I was able to see Hayden James perform at Electric Forest where he played sets both weekends and played a DJ set during Weekend 2. I saw the entirety of his Weekend 1 set and was able to hear my favorite song live. I then heard it at both of his sets Weekend 2. I just happened to be exploring the Forest towards the end of both of those sets and went to listen to him purely just to hear my jam. It was dope.

I’m definitely looking forward to the release of Hayden James’ debut album. No official release date has been announced yet, but word is that it’s coming soon enough. If you’re into electronic music or house music in general, he’s definitely an artist to check out. His live set was a lot of fun too. He kept everyone moving the entire time. I guarantee you’ll feel the same way if you give his music a listen and who knows maybe you’ll be playing “NUMB” on repeat just as much as I have this summer.

Palo Santo: Album Review

It’s been 3 years since Years & Years released their debut album Communion. They’re finally back today with their sophomore release Palo Santo. Often, upon listening to an album for the first time, I’m not sure what to say about it. A lot of times it’s because the album needs to grow on me. I just started listening to this new Years & Years album about a half hour ago and I’m already in love though. It’s a gem. I had a similar feeling when I listened to Lorde’s Melodrama for the first time. That album was nominated for a Grammy for album of the year last year so as you can tell, I already have great expectations for this new Years & Years release.

A lot of times the sound on a second record might diverge after creating a solid debut. Palo Santo isn’t that at all. It’s an electropop masterpiece. Olly Alexander’s hypnotizing vocals make each track stand out. The beginning of the album has songs that make you want to get up and dance, while the middle is filled with songs that really create a soulful, electronic vibe. Those tracks almost remind me of something Banks or Bishop Briggs would put out. They just have more of an electronic dance feel than you’d hear from both female powerhouses. Then the album picks up the energy again and finishes with a bang. Honestly, there’s not one song I haven’t liked. It’s that good.

Lyrically, LGBTQ themes come to the forefront. With Communion, those notions were subtle. Palo Santo is the opposite. It’s almost a “coming out” of sorts even though lead singer Alexander is already an out gay man. Between this album and Hayley Kiyoko’s Expectations the LGBTQ community has plenty of music representation this year and honestly both albums are killer without that being a focus. It’s just a plus.

I didn’t plan on leaving my home today, but I might make an exception to go pick up a copy of Palo Santo. It’s one of the best records I’ve heard all year next to Vance Joy’s Nation of Two. I highly recommend it to everyone. Go listen on Spotify or Apple Music! Download a copy! Buy a copy! Just check this shit out. Years & Years have officially made a strong comeback in 2018.

Coachella Band Preview: Petit Biscuit

Hey! Hi! What’s up?! Coachella is this weekend!!! I’m not next level hyped or anything (<——— That’s a lie.) Last year I was pretty excited about Kungs playing Coachella. He was a slightly known, slightly up and coming electronic artist. This year I have similar feelings about Petit Biscuit, who is similar to Kungs in other ways as well. Both are French electronic DJ’s. Both are also pretty young. Kungs was 20 when he played Coachella last year. Petit Biscuit is a mere 18 years old.

Petit Biscuit is the DJ name for France’s Mehdi Benjelloun. He released his hit single “Sunset Lover” in 2015 when he was only 15 years old. Since then, the single has close to 285 million streams on Spotify and SoundCloud combined. Benjelloun played instruments growing up like the cello, piano, and guitar, but took interest in playing electronic music because of the variety of sounds he could create. He recently graduated high school and started university, but decided to take a leave to pursue his musical success.

His music style is a combination of electronic music genres. Spotify describes his music as being ambient, techno, and house. His background in classical instruments and his interest in electronic music allows him to express himself through the crossing of different genres.Vocal chops, which are fragmented vowels that act as melodic or percussive pseudo-vocal elements, are a big part of his style. His music reminds me of a combination of Odesza and Flume put together.

I first discovered Petit Biscuit while I was analyzing this year’s Coachella lineup. I never heard of him before that. As I was going through the lineup in January, I listened to his tracks and was pretty surprised by what I heard. I really liked it. Initially I had been listening to a lot of Odesza so I kind of got that vibe from the song “Sunset Lover”. Then after reading an interview with Petit Biscuit, where he described Flume as being influential to him as an artist, I was able to see that reflected in his music as well.

Coachella 2018 will mark his first major festival appearance. Petit Biscuit plays on Friday (Edit: He plays Sunday. Gotta fact check myself. Sorry about that!), much like Kungs did last year. Also like Kungs, I’m guessing he’ll play an earlier set at the Sahara Tent. If Sahara is your shit or you have an appreciation for electronic music at all, I highly recommend going to his set. He could be the next big thing in electronic music. I know you have zero time to listen to anything but here’s a few songs you should turn on if you plan on seeing him:

  1. Sunset Lover
  2. Memories
  3. Alone
  4. Waterfall
  5. Problems

As for me, I’m headed out to California tomorrow to work my second Coachella and be there for the third time. I didn’t think I would be back again, but after some positive peer pressure I decided to make it happen. I’m stoked and I hope I get to see some of these acts I’ve previewed the last 3 months. It should be amazing regardless. Happy Coachella and I’ll see you all on the polo fields!

Coachella Band Preview: the Neighbourhood, alt-J, BØRNS, Odesza, & Hayley Kiyoko

It’s only been 2 days since my last post, but that’s okay. This week I’ve decided to do two blog posts because there’s still a ton of bands to talk about and not much time left. So let’s talk about five bands who I’ve written about before that are playing the festival this year. Two of them are actually 3 of my top 4 must-see sets of Coachella 2018.

A lot of time has passed since I wrote about the Neighbourhood in the fall of 2015. Since then, there hasn’t been much news surrounding the band until late last year. In September they released their first new music since 2015’s Wiped Out!, the EP Hard. Then in early January the band dropped a second EP To Imagine followed by the release of their third album, The Neighbourhood, on March 9th. With a bunch of new music out, playing Coachella for the first time in 5 years seems fitting. They play on Friday. I’ve never seen them live and I’ve been obsessed with “Sweater Weather” since 2013. It was probably my favorite song of that year. There’s no doubt I’d love to check them out if I had the time making them 1 of the 3 bands on this list that are must-sees for me. If you plan on checking them out, here’s a few songs to get you ready:

  1. Sweater Weather
  2. Afraid
  3. Daddy Issues
  4. Scary Love
  5. Sadderdaze
  6. R.I.P to My Youth
  7. Cry Baby
  8. You Get Me So High
  9. Stuck With Me
  10. Let It Go

alt-J are no strangers to Coachella. They’ve played twice but haven’t been back to the Indio desert since 2015. Since their last Coachella, alt-J has released a new album. It came out last June. I reviewed it here. I’ve also written about alt-J two other times on this blog. Once previewing them for Coachella in 2015, where I saw them live for the first time and another time reviewing a concert I saw them play in Philly in September 2015. I really like alt-J and I love how different their music sounds from other stuff I like. They played Panorama last summer and I was able to catch part of their set. If it wasn’t for my work schedule and several other concerts I already spent money on in the fall, I would have seen them play again. They’re a band that I would rarely turn down if I had the opportunity to see, making them another one of my top choice sets for Coachella 2018 along with Haim and the Neighbourhood. They play Saturday and probably at night on either the Main or Outdoor stage. What would be the biggest heartbreak is if they overlapped with Haim. Here’s my recommendations for you if you decide to follow my lead and check them out:

  1. Left Hand Free
  2. Breezeblocks
  3. In Cold Blood
  4. Every Other Freckle
  5. 3WW
  6. Tessellate
  7. Fitzpleasure
  8. Deadcrush
  9. Something Good
  10. Hunger of the Pine

BØRNS is back at Coachella after a year break from the famous Southern California music festival. He just released his second album, Blue Madonna, back in January. The album features a collaboration with Lana Del Rey as well as plenty of new music from the “Electric Love” writer. I saw BØRNS play live in 2016. It was kind of a last-minute decision since my friend and I bought tickets about a week before the performance. It was a fun set, so I’d definitely want to see him perform again if I had the chance. He plays on Saturday as well. I would guess BØRNS would be a late afternoon-early evening set, but we’ll see what happens. These are the songs you need to prep for his set:

  1. Electric Love
  2. Seeing Stars
  3. 10,000 Emerald Pools
  4. God Save Our Young Blood
  5. Sweet Dreams
  6. American Money
  7. Past Lives
  8. I Don’t Want U Back
  9. Faded Heart
  10. The Emotion

I only got into Odesza about 6 months ago because of planning to see them in NYC with my friend, but getting into them definitely wasn’t a waste of my time. The concert we went to in December was incredible so I have no doubt that their Coachella set predictably on Sunday night at the now larger Sahara Tent will be just as good and a large draw amongst festival-goers. I would guess they headline the Sahara and overlap with Eminem as the overall headliner Sunday evening. Initially, I believed Odesza would be my Sunday night choice no question, but the inner early 2000’s middle-schooler in me has been fighting hard. Odesza will no doubt put on an incredible live performance, but I just saw Odesza. I’ve never seen Eminem nor do I think I’d ever buy tickets or choose to see Eminem, but I used to be a fan at one point. It’s definitely up for debate. What would be ideal is to be able to catch parts of both sets. However if you so choose to skip out on the Real Slim Shady, here’s a few Odesza tracks you should hear:

  1. Sun Models
  2. Higher Ground
  3. Across the Room
  4. Say My Name
  5. Falls
  6. Line of Sight
  7. A Moment Apart
  8. All We Need
  9. It’s Only
  10. Late Night

The artist I’m most excited for who is playing Coachella this year is Hayley Kiyoko. From seeing her a little over a year ago play a tiny venue in Philly that wasn’t even sold out to playing the most well-known U.S. music festival, my stoke level couldn’t be higher for Hayley Kiyoko. Her debut album, Expectations, came out today! Until this point, she’s only released EP’s, but those have gained a huge appreciation from her small, dedicated fan base. The new album builds on Kiyoko’s previous hits with bangers like “Curious” and “Feelings”. It’s got a mystical, feel good sound giving true meaning to Kiyoko’s dreampop style. As an openly gay singer, the theme in her music involves being in love with girls and complications that may arise with being gay and falling for girls. This new album is consistent with Hayley’s style that her fans have grown to love over the past few years. (I just had to give you a mini-album review here too.) She plays on Sunday at Coachella. I will definitely try my hardest to catch her set one of the weekends making her the 4th and final must-see for me. My guess would be an early Sunday afternoon set, but you never know. She may play later in the day at Gobi or Mojave. We’re a little over a week from the schedule release and probably a few days from the food vendor list, then the official planning can begin. In the mean time, check out Expectations along with these other songs:

  1. Girls Like Girls
  2. Cliff’s Edge
  3. Gravel to Tempo
  4. Palace
  5. This Side of Paradise

(On Expectations, pay special attention to “Curious”, “Feelings”, “Sleepover”, “Let It Be”, and “What I Need (ft. Kehlani)”)