electronic

Coachella Band Preview: MK

Finally, we’ve made it to Coachella 2023 festival week! Weekend 1 is just a few days away and I’m hard at work on another year of Safari Check-In. I’m sure we’ll have set times very soon as they usually drop the week of the festival. Soon you’ll be able to make your plans on who to see. I’m just hoping I’ll get to see some of the many Friday acts I like as I’m only able to see those that play in the evening. The last two years the lineups have worked out for me with a lack of Friday acts I wanted to catch. This year the tables have turned. Many acts I would like to see play Friday. I have one more artist preview for you to binge listen to this week first though. It’s Detroit electronic artist MK.

MK, otherwise known as Marc Kinchen, has been producing electronic and club music since the 90’s. Two of his earliest hits were “Always” and “Love Changes” which hit number one on Billboard’s Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart. He’s also produced music for many other artists through the years in addition to his own music. Those artists include Pitbull, Will Smith, Jaden Smith, Mary J. Blige, and even Beyoncé. His style of music is mostly house and deep house, but also include elements of pop, R&B, and dance music which is similar to that of many electronic artists these days that make mainstream music, which makes me think his set will be a good time. I’ve listened to him here and there for a few years now during my work outs and his songs always fuel my energy.

MK last played Coachella in 2015. That year he played in the Yuma tent. I’m not sure if he’ll be at Yuma this year or maybe at Sahara. If he does play Sahara I expect an early afternoon set. My Yuma prediction is late afternoon-early evening. We’re probably only hours away from knowing set times anyway. Here’s a few to binge listen to before then:

  1. 17
  2. Piece of Me (ft. Becky Hill)
  3. Look Right Through
  4. Love Changes
  5. Always
  6. One Night (ft. Raphaella & Sonny Fodera)
  7. Back & Forth (ft. Jonas Blue & Becky Hill)
  8. Better (ft. Teddy Swims)
  9. 2AM (ft. Carla Monroe)
  10. Chemical

Well after a year of waiting and three months since the lineup drop, it’s finally time for the rest of you to get out here! The vibes are just as good as every year. I’ve always said to live every Coachella like it’s your first Coachella (and last after the long wait between 2019 and 2022). The atmosphere here makes it easy. The campgrounds open in 3 days and I’m hard at work getting ready for that moment since my job surrounds getting people checked-in and ready for the weekend. I can’t believe this is my job! It’s really the coolest and most fun at my favorite festival. I hope you all have the best weekend because I know I will! There’s just no bad vibes at Coachella. Enjoy the music, the people, the atmosphere, and have the best time! Happy Coachella!

Coachella Band Preview: Big Wild, Jai Wolf, & Alex G

We’re edging closer and closer to Weekend 1 as the countdown continues to April 14th. I’m currently just relaxing at home getting ready for the big month ahead in the desert. This week I’m previewing three artists, two of which I once previewed in anticipation of the 2020 installation of the festival that never saw the light of day. The other I got into during peak quarantine season in 2020. All three artists didn’t make the 2022 lineup so they’re getting another crack at Coachella in 2023. The first of those is electronic artist Big Wild.

As I mentioned, I previewed Big Wild back in February 2020. Here is that blog in case you wanted to check out some background info on Jackson Stell, aka Big Wild. Since then, the electronic artist has released a sophomore record The Efferusphere along with several singles. 2020 was supposed to be Big Wild’s Coachella lineup debut, but now that’s happening this spring. He did appear at the Do Lab in 2016, but since those performances are usually announced during the festival weekend or are surprises, he truly never made the Coachella lineup. However, over the last two years, Big Wild has made several other festival appearances including sets at Lollapalooza, Firefly, Austin City Limits, and Electric Forest among others. He plays Sunday at Coachella and I’ll be damned if we don’t get a sunset set from him. I would bet he either plays at Sahara, Mojave, or Outdoor Theatre. I know that’s a terrible prediction, but I can literally see him performing on almost any Coachella stage and it’ll be a good time. His sound fits the festival so well and his set is sure to create a big mood. Here’s a few vibey songs you’re gonna want to know before seeing him Sunday:

  1. 6’s to 9’s
  2. OMGarden
  3. Aftergold
  4. Touch
  5. Purple Sand (My Home)
  6. Awaken
  7. Joypunks
  8. When I Get There
  9. Show Me
  10. Venice Venture

Jai Wolf is the second electronic artist I previewed for Coachella back in 2020. Much like Big Wild, he was slated to appear that year, didn’t play last spring, and is now getting a chance to come back in 2023. If you’d like some more background on Jai Wolf, check out this Coachella 2020 preview. Since 2020, he’s only released a few new singles and remixes. However last year, he became the first artist from Bangladesh to ever sell out the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Jai Wolf plays Sunday as well. I’m expecting a late afternoon-early evening Sahara set from him that I know I’ll wanna catch. Here’s the songs I’ve been listening to in preparation:

  1. Indian Summer
  2. Starlight
  3. Moon Rider (ft. Wrabel)
  4. Lose My Mind (ft. Mr. Gabriel)
  5. We Will Meet Again
  6. Better Apart (ft. Dresage)
  7. Telepathy
  8. Lost (ft. Chelsea Jade)
  9. Like It’s Over (ft. MNDR)
  10. The World is Ours

The last artist I want to spotlight this week is indie artist, Alex G. I wrote a pretty long post about him in May 2020. At the time I felt like if Coachella happened that year I would have been bummed I didn’t know about him sooner because I started listening to his music that spring. Since May 2020, the artist who used to go by (Sandy) Alex G, changed his stage name back to Alex G, released his ninth studio album God Save the Animals, and also scored the soundtrack to the coming-of-age horror film We’re All Going to the World’s Fair. Like the others, Alex G also plays Sunday. It’s also his first Coachella. I’m expecting his set to be mid-afternoon at either Gobi or Mojave. His set will be just what you need for some lo fi, indie rock feels. Here are a few of his songs to get you ready for his set:

  1. Runner
  2. Gretel
  3. Treehouse (ft. Emily Yacina)
  4. Mary
  5. Advice
  6. Sarah
  7. 16 Mirrors
  8. Blessing
  9. Change
  10. Bobby

I’m glad we’ll finally get another chance to hear these three great artists at Coachella. As I mentioned it will be Alex G’s first Coachella and Big Wild’s first as an artist on the lineup, while Jai Wolf has not played the festival since 2017. I’m expecting great Sunday sets from all three artists. I hope to be able to see each of them and I’m also hoping they don’t overlap because who knows. I’ll prepare like I will be seeing all of them though because after all there are two weekends! I’ll catch you on the polo fields on the final day of Coachella for all the vibes that Big Wild, Jai Wolf, and Alex G have to offer.

Coachella Band Preview: Gorillaz

The first weekend of Coachella 2023 is officially 5 weeks away. I’ve been doing my part and listening to my personal Coachella playlist as much as possible lately, but I know it’s probably still not enough. I feel like there are so many bands playing this year that I’m trying to get into compared to years past. One of those bands is a group I’ve known of since high school! I never sought interest in them much growing up, but since they’re one of the big alternative rock acts playing this year (and I love alternative/indie rock), I figured it was time I gave them a chance. Needless to say, Gorillaz are growing on me!

Gorillaz are an English virtual alternative rock band created in 1998 by Blur frontman Damon Albarn and artist Jamie Hewlett. The fictional members consist of 2-D (vocals, keyboard, voiced by Albarn), Murdoc Niccals (bass), Noodle (guitar, keyboard, vocals), and Russel Hobbs (drums). Gorillaz first album (self-titled) was released in 2001. It has since gone triple platinum in the UK, 2x platinum in Europe and New Zealand, and platinum in many other countries including the U.S. The follow-up to their debut album Demon Days was released in 2005 and included one of their most successful singles to date, the Grammy winning track, “Feel Good Inc.” featuring hip-hop group De La Soul. Since then Albarn and his virtual group have released 5 full length albums, Plastic Beach (2010), The Fall (2010), Humanz (2017), The Now Now (2018), and Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez (2020). Two weeks ago they released their seventh studio album Cracker Island. They recently wrapped up a world tour and now plan on bringing Cracker Island to the desert come mid-April.

Over the last 25 years, Gorillaz have collaborated with a multitude of artists and bands which is why despite the fact that they are primarily an alternative rock group, their music spans different genres. Their songs include art pop, electronic, and hip hop elements amongst others. Some of the acts they’ve worked with include Snoop Dogg, Lou Reed, Stevie Nicks, Vince Staples, Kali Uchis, Robert Smith, Elton John, Beck, Bad Bunny, Tame Impala, and St. Vincent.

Coachella 2023 will mark the band’s second performance at the festival. Their first was 13 years ago in 2010 when they headlined the festival on Sunday night. In a brief teaser of what was to come for 2023, Damon Albarn appeared with Billie Eilish during her Weekend 1 headlining set last year for a performance of “Feel Good Inc.” What’s interesting about Gorillaz is that they’re primarily a virtual band and performances are a mix of virtual and real life with Albarn at the helm. So we’ll never know what this year’s Coachella performance will bring. There will undoubtedly be guest appearances though. I hope we see the likes of Tame Impala and Stevie Nicks who are featured on Cracker Island. Their Tame Impala collab song “New Gold” was a favorite of mine this past fall. My biggest hope spans beyond Gorillaz however. I hope Blur guitarist Graham Coxon makes another appearance with the group prompting a “Song 2” cover. It happened once in 2018 so I’m holding on to the very slim chance that it happens again. I expect to see Gorillaz on the main stage Friday night before Bad Bunny’s headlining performance, which means there’s a very high likelihood I’ll be able to catch their set. Here’s a few of their many songs I’ve been listening to in preparation:

  1. Feel Good Inc.
  2. Clint Eastwood
  3. New Gold (ft. Tame Impala and Bootie Brown)
  4. On Melancholy Hill
  5. DARE
  6. Rhinestone Eyes
  7. Cracker Island (ft. Thundercat)
  8. She’s My Collar (ft. Kali Uchis)
  9. Dirty Harry (ft. Bootie Brown)
  10. Oil (ft. Stevie Nicks)

Coachella Band Preview: Two Friends

I just finished up my 2023 Mexico run, and that means my entire focus shifts to Coachella. Although I’m usually thinking about Coachella year round, it really ramps up as soon as Mexico ends because it’s usually my next big event on the horizon and per usual I can’t wait! Now that it’s March, we also only have a few more weeks left to prepare for our annual descent into the Coachella Valley. This week I’m previewing a DJ duo who have been making music since the early 2010’s.

Two Friends formed when Matthew Halper and Eli Jones decided to create music together during their senior year of high school. The first few years of making music together was through long distance collaboration though as both attended their respective colleges. They have yet to release their debut album, but have released 4 EPs and a multitude of singles and remixes. Their music is a combination of house and dance pop, but given their backgrounds, it contains elements of many other genres like alternative rock and hip-hop.

They have toured over the last few years and played major music festivals like Electric Forest and Firefly amongst several other smaller festivals. I was first introduced to them in 2018. I don’t remember how or why, but I found one of their songs on one of my early 2018 playlists while researching for this blog. This is their first time at Coachella and it’ll certainly be a career highlight for the LA-based duo. They were first inspired to start focusing on making electronic music after attending Coachella and spending some time in the Sahara tent. You won’t want to miss their Friday Sahara (likely) set for this reason. Here’s the songs you should be listening to in anticipation of it:

  1. Just A Kid (ft. Kevin Writer)
  2. Take It Off
  3. Looking At You (ft. Sam Vesso)
  4. Life’s Too Short (ft. FITZ)
  5. Emily (ft. James Delaney)
  6. Out of Love (ft. Cosmos & Creature)
  7. Hell
  8. Pacific Coast Highway (ft. MAX)
  9. Last Day (ft. Josie Dunne)
  10. This Will Be My Year (ft. Point North)

Coachella Band Preview: Elderbrook

We’re midway through February and there’s officially 2 months til Coachella! I’m back in Mexico finishing up the second round of work down here for the winter, but as usual all I can think about is Coachella, especially now that I’m officially locked in for the festival and have my flights booked! This week I’m taking a look at a British electronic artist known as Elderbrook.

Alexander Kotz, also known as Elderbrook, began his music career in 2015. He released his first EP that year too. In his almost 8 years in existence, he’s collaborated with many artists and remixed plenty of songs as well. His most notable song, “Cola,” is a collab with CamelPhat. It was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Dance Song in 2018 and topped music charts in both the U.S. and the UK. His music style has a deep house vibe, but also incorporates sounds from different genres of music, including indie pop, country, soul and gospel amongst others. He reminds me of Gryffin in a way as he incorporates both guitar and piano into his sets. He’s classically trained in both. In my opinion, there’s nothing cooler than an electronic artists who also adds instruments to their shows.

I’ve never had the opportunity to see Elderbrook perform since being introduced to him in late 2018. His song “Talking” was what got me interested and I’ve been listening to his releases ever since. If there’s anyone who I’m most interested in seeing this year on the polo fields, it’s him. His music is so vibey and chill. I’m honestly hoping he plays an early evening set at Sahara. His style just feels right for the night time. He plays Saturday. Historically, I’ve always found Saturday to be stacked with artists I want to see, but this year it’s not the case. I’ll definitely be checking him out. Catch me at his set enjoying all these songs:

  1. Cola
  2. Talking
  3. Numb
  4. Back to My Bed
  5. Something About You
  6. Feels Like A Sunday
  7. Inner Light
  8. I’ll Find My Way To You
  9. Howl
  10. Beautiful Morning

Coachella Band Preview: Calvin Harris

I hope none of you are undergoing the winter blues. If so, it’s time to shake them off because Coachella season is here. Warm desert spring days and cool nights are just around the corner. I finally created a Coachella playlist so I’ve been listening as often as I can. That being said, “band preview” is not the phrase I would use to describe who I’m writing about this week. It’s definitely more of an artist spotlight. I debated changing it while writing this, but ultimately decided to keep it the same, as it’s always been the theme. Criticize it all you want though because Calvin Harris definitely isn’t a band.

Calvin Harris, known otherwise as Adam Richard Wiles, is an electronic artist specializing in house, electro house, and electro pop music. He was born in Dumfries, Scotland to English parents and began making music in his teenage years out of his bedroom. While trying to make it in the electronic scene, he moved to London where he did not find success right away. He ended up moving back to Dumfries and continued to produce music from home. He got his break after being discovered through the tracks he posted to his Myspace page in 2006.

Upon signing a recording deal, he went on to release 6 studio albums, 9 EPs, and 51 singles through the last 17 years. Some of his biggest hits came from his 2012 album 18 months and his 2014 album Motion, which include “Feel So Close,” “We Found Love” featuring Rihanna, “I Need Your Love” featuring Ellie Goulding, “Sweet Nothing” featuring Florence Welch (Florence + the Machine), “Summer,” “Outside” featuring Ellie Goulding, and “Blame” featuring John Newman. He ended up winning a Grammy Award for Best Music Video for “We Found Love.” Some of his other biggest hits were only released as singles, such as his 2016 single “This is What You Came For” featuring Rihanna and his 2018 track featuring Dua Lipa “One Kiss.”

Calvin Harris first played Coachella in 2008. He played again in 2012 and 2014 before he became the first DJ to ever headline the festival in 2016. He was slated to play the 2020 installment of the festival but makes his return to the desert in 2023 for the first time in 7 years. Much like last year’s lineup that featured Swedish House Mafia returning to the desert, Calvin Harris also has his own spot on this year’s lineup poster. Given that, I wasn’t sure what night his set would be. After checking out the Coachella app a few days ago though, it seems to have him listed for Saturday. This gives me something to look forward to on Saturday as there are not as many bands or artists I’m looking forward to that day. It’s definitely going to be a fun night. In fact, as I keep going through his discography, it hits me more and more just how underrated this set will be, given the hype over BLACKPINK and Bad Bunny. Also from what I’ve heard, Coachella tried to book Rihanna to headline the festival but the deal didn’t pull through. If history wants to repeat itself for a third time, I wouldn’t be surprised nor would I mind if Rihanna showed up again to perform with Calvin Harris. There’s no question that Calvin Harris will be performing on the main stage. The only question mark I have are whether he will perform after BLACKPINK or not and who will he bring out as his special guests? He does have plenty of other collabs besides the ones with Rihanna. His set is likely to include bops from his entire career so here’s a few you might want to know before showing up to the one of the most fun sets of Coachella 2023:

  1. One Kiss ft. Dua Lipa
  2. This What You Came For ft. Rihanna
  3. Summer
  4. Feel So Close
  5. We Found Love ft. Rihanna
  6. My Way
  7. How Deep Is Your Love ft. Disciples
  8. Outside ft. Ellie Goulding
  9. Pray to God ft. HAIM
  10. Sweet Nothing ft. Florence Welch
  11. I Need Your Love ft. Ellie Goulding
  12. Blame ft. John Newman
  13. Under Control ft. Alesso, Hurts
  14. Giant ft. Rag’n’Bone Man
  15. Slide ft. Frank Ocean & Migos, Funk Wav

Coachella Band Preview: Porter Robinson

It always makes me laugh when I type out the title of these previews when I’m previewing EDM or pop artists. When I first started previewing Coachella acts, it was in anticipation of the first Coachella I attended. There were so many bands I was stoked to see because the lineup use to contain plenty of bands I listened to. Since then, the lineup has changed and so have my music interests, slightly at least. I definitely like more electronic music now. This week brings electronic artist, Porter Robinson, who I listened to for the first time in 2020, while participating in Couchella. I watched Porter Robinson’s 2017 set with Madeon as part of my at home double weekend celebration of the Coachella that never came to be. This year Porter Robinson is back at Coachella for the first time since his 2017 set, but he’s playing solo.

Porter Robinson began his electronic music career as a pre-teen and then signed to Skrillex’s label Owsla at the ripe age of 18. He released his first EP Spitfire in 2011 under his new label, followed by his first big single “Language” in 2012. His debut album Worlds came in 2014, which called for a world tour, including festival stops at Ultra, EDC, and Coachella. In 2016, he released his most popular single to date, “Shelter,” which is a collaboration with long time friend and artist Madeon. The electronic artists toured together worldwide following the release. The tour culminated in a final performance at Coachella 2017.

In 2017, Robinson began releasing music under the alias Virtual Self, which lead to a 2019 Grammy nomination for Best Dance Recording for the 2017 single “Ghost Voices.” Robinson also curated his own festival in 2019, Second Sky Festival, with the help of Coachella promoter Goldenvoice. In the beginning of 2020 Robinson began promoting his second album, Nuture, which continued through 2020 and into 2021, before the April 2021 release.

Porter Robinson’s music is a mix of electro pop, house, indie pop, and synth pop. It has such a light, airy sound. His style creates a dreamy feeling very similar to Madeon’s and also draws similarities to 2022 Coachella artist Lane 8.

Porter Robinson plays Sunday at Coachella. It’s a toss up at this point whether he plays Sahara or a bigger stage like Main Stage or Outdoor Theatre. I’d expect a late day, early evening set from the 2-time Coachella alumni. I usually love a Coachella sunset set but I feel like a Porter Robinson set right as darkness falls is the mood we need for the final night. If you’re in the mood for a fun electronic set at Coachella, here’s the Porter Robinson songs you want check out:

  1. Shelter
  2. Look At the Sky
  3. Language
  4. Something Comforting
  5. Everything Goes On
  6. Sad Machine
  7. Goodbye to a World
  8. Get Your Wish
  9. Divinity
  10. Flicker

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.

The Last Goodbye: Album Review

Last month, electronic duo, Odesza, released their latest album The Last Goodbye. Their last album came 5 years prior with 2017’s A Moment Apart. It was during that time that I got into Odesza and ended up seeing them 4 times between 2017-2019. I was excited in the spring when they announced their latest album, and much like others was wondering if the title hinted at the end of Odesza? After listening though, I can say the title has much more to do with the meaning behind the album than the band.

Each of Odesza’s albums have a solid foundation in their dreamy, indietronica sound but vary slightly. The Last Goodbye is no different. It has that well-known Odesza feel, but with a slightly funkier, edgier sound. I think it’s a bit heavier on the future bass as well. A few of the songs, like “The Last Goodbye,” “Equal,” and “Behind the Sun,” give me Flume vibes, which I’m kind of a huge fan of.

I have to say the album didn’t quite “hit” at first for me, but took a couple replays before I found a song or two that I really liked. “Forgive Me” is my favorite on the new album. It’s an elctropop banger. “Better Now” is another favorite. It feels like it could have fit on A Moment Apart but ended up landing on their new record instead.

Odesza’s comeback this year was highly anticipated. The group recently embarked on a tour in support of the album with drumline in tow. I was able to catch a show last week and was dancing almost the entire time. They’re so fun live and their production was even better than I remembered. I feel as though fans are really digging this album as much as any past Odesza album, so I think it’s worth a listen. You’ll definitely find a song you enjoy, as there are plenty of different sounding songs and energies on the record. As Odesza said in a recent interview, this album definitely isn’t “The Last Goodbye.” It’s “about stepping back in, returning to each other in celebration,” which is exactly the effect it’s having.

Palaces: Album Review

It’s been about two months since I last updated, which was not my intention. Life has been busy and at times I’ve been distracted. I have some long overdue album reviews to do though. One of the albums dropped on May 20th. It’s Flume’s third full length, Palaces.

Palaces is Flume’s first album in 6 years. His last record came in 2016 with Skin. His latest brings more of electronic/future bass sound filled with collaborations and original mixes. For me, there isn’t a stand out track on this album, but there’s a few solid tracks that I think we’ll hear during live sets in the future. One of those songs is “Say Nothing” featuring MAY-A. I would add “Highest Building” featuring Oklou to the list as well. There’s several solo Flume tracks that are similar to past hits like “Wall Fuck”, “Helix”, “Holdin’ On”, or “Ezra,” but in general I don’t think any of these will quite hit as strongly. I do enjoy “DHLC” and “Love Light” though.

Overall I don’t think this is Flume’s best album, but a decent comeback after 6 years of nothing but a mixtape and a few stand alone singles that have become staples on the Flume set list. None the less, Flume is out promoting this album by playing the festival circuit while mixing in some shows in between. He has a fall tour lined up with select cities in the U.S. followed by a European tour. I was lucky enough to catch him both weekends of Coachella and part of his set at Bonnaroo just last month. He still puts on a great set with a mix of new tunes and old favorites. Though I do recommend listening to this new record, I wouldn’t spend a ton of time on it. Give it a listen or two, pick out some favorites, save them or add them to a playlist for the future, and move on, or better yet, listen to all the old Flume bangers while you’re at it. “Holdin’ On” still hits as hard as it did 10 years ago, but “Sirens” just isn’t there.