indie pop

Coachella Band Preview: MUNA

As we roll into February, we’re a little over two months away from the first weekend of Coachella 2023. If you haven’t already, you should probably book your flights, hotels, airbnbs, rental cars, and whatever else you might need for a weekend in the Coachella Valley. I’ve been thinking about what to wear this year and I’m also trying to listen to some of the bands and artists playing this year’s installment of the festival. One band who I really hope I’m able to catch is indie pop trio, MUNA.

MUNA formed in 2013 while all three members, Katie Gavin, Josette Maskin, and Naomi McPherson were in school together at USC. In 2014, they released their debut EP More Perfect on Bandcamp and SoundCloud. Their success from the EP lead to a record deal with RCA records (US) and Columbia Records (UK). Their first EP under RCA, Loudspeaker, came out in 2016 with their debut album About U following in 2017. It included hits “I Know A Place” and “Winterbreak.” Their early years after signing to a major label brought tours with Grouplove and Harry Styles as well as festival appearances.

Their second album, Saves the World, was released in September 2019 and included a tour in support of the album. In 2021, MUNA signed with Phoebe Bridgers’ record label Saddest Factory. Under their new label they released the single “Silk Chiffron” in collaboration with Phoebe Bridgers and their third full length album MUNA. In addition to Coachella this year, the band is playing spring tour dates around the country.

I tried to get into MUNA several years ago, when there was huge hype over the song “I Know A Place.” It wasn’t hitting for me then but as I’ve been listening to the band the past several days, I’m finally getting more into them. I did fall in love with their Knocks collaboration song “Bodies” in late 2020. It was one of my favorites during that sad, miserable year. Their style is a mix of electro, indie, and synth pop. I feel like I should have been listening to them for years, but I have known about them for quite some time. I’ve attempted to listen to them it just hasn’t worked out. Better late than never!

Now they’re headed to Indio this spring and I’m crossing my fingers I’ll be able to catch their set. Friday sets are always hit or miss for me with my current job at the festival. I can usually only catch sets that happen after 8:30-9 p.m. I have this feeling like MUNA might be on deck for a sunset set though on either Mojave, Gobi, or Outdoor. This will be their first time playing Coachella. I suspect Phoebe Bridgers might make an appearance, given boygenius slated to perform Saturday. Here’s a few songs you need to prep for their Coachella set:

  1. I Know A Place
  2. Bodies
  3. Silk Chiffron
  4. Number One Fan
  5. Anything But Me
  6. Winterbreak
  7. Loudspeaker
  8. What I Want
  9. Stayaway
  10. So Special

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

Coachella Band Preview: Wet Leg

Greetings from Mexico again! The dust has settled after the Coachella lineup released last week so it’s finally time to start the prep work! That means booking flights and hotels, outfit planning, strategizing, and of course listening to the bands playing the festival. This week begins my weekly preview series that ends when Weekend 1 begins. We’re kicking off the 2023 Coachella previews with a band that blew up over the past few years, Wet Leg.

Wet Leg is a British indie rock band formed in 2019 by Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers. Both knew each other for 10 years before forming the group, but since their formation they’ve really made a name for themselves in a short amount of time. Their debut single “Chaise Longue” was release in June of 2021 followed by “Wet Dream” later that year. Their self-titled debut album came out last April and since then they have been nominated for awards throughout Europe and the U.S. including 3 Grammy nominations for Best New Artist, Best Alternative Music Performance, and Best Alternative Music Album.

I only know of Wet Leg because of the song “Wet Dream.” I started listening to it shortly after its release in 2021 so I’m excited to listen to this band more before I head out to Indio. As you know, I feel like Coachella has been skimping on indie rock music in recent years compared to 7-10 years ago. Wet Leg is one of the few bands that falls into that category so I’m fully preparing myself to get more into them in the next few months. They play Friday, which is unfortunate for my schedule but I’m hoping they have a late night Friday set that I’ll be able to see. If you’re trying to catch some indie rock at Coachella like I am, here’s a few Wet Leg songs you may want to listen to:

  1. Wet Dream
  2. Chaise Longue
  3. Too Late Now
  4. Angelica
  5. Ur Mum
  6. Being In Love
  7. Oh No
  8. I Don’t Wanna Go Out
  9. Loving You
  10. Piece of Shit

Coachella 2023 Lineup Review

10 days into January and the Coachella lineup has dropped. After balloons in the sky showed up in LA and NY and Coachella billboards popped up in cities worldwide last week, we knew the drop was coming at any moment. Shortly after 3 PM EST/12 PM PST yesterday, the 2023 Coachella lineup dropped. At the moment of the release, I was about to start a team meeting and I dropped to my knee with joy exclaiming, “The Coachella lineup just dropped!” I can’t say I remember much from our meeting as I was distracted the entire time. I also can’t say I’m surprised or impressed with this year’s mix of artists.

I feel like every year since I’ve started this blog has been an ongoing trend of the lineup getting worse and worse. This year feels like it takes the trash cake for me. For the first time since I started being interested in Coachella, there’s no standout act for me. There’s no top artist. It’s just a handful of artists I barely listen to. I could go on about it generally or talk about it in depth so here it is, the Coachella 2023 Lineup:

The Headliners: Bad Bunny, BLACKPINK, Frank Ocean, Calvin Harris

The true headliners based on the poster are Bad Bunny, BLACKPINK, and Frank Ocean. I included Calvin Harris based on his solo poster spot because we all know he’s going to be a headliner. Frank Ocean was scheduled to play in 2020 and of course the covo ruined it all. In the months that followed the inevitable 2020 cancellation, news of Frank skipping 2022 and playing 2023 circulated. Frank Ocean last played Coachella in 2012 so his highly anticipated return is very overdue. Calvin Harris was also scheduled to play 2020 as the first name under Friday night headliner Rage Against the Machine. His last time playing the festival was 2016. Meanwhile both Bad Bunny and BLACKPINK played in 2019 as highly billed acts with BLACKPINK playing an 8:00 p.m. set at Sahara on Friday night and Bad Bunny playing the main stage at sunset Sunday. These headlining performances for both acts will mark Coachella firsts as BLACKPINK will be the first K-pop group to headline the festival and Bad Bunny will be the first Latin artist to headline.

Am I excited? Not really. If I see anyone, it’ll be Calvin Harris. I don’t know a single song by any of the other artists. I’m not into Latin music. I may or may not enjoy some K-pop because I had a friend obsessed with BTS a few years ago and Frank Ocean just hasn’t ever hit for me. However, I might give him a second chance because he doesn’t often perform. Generally though, I’m disappointed with this selection, but it seems to be what’s in right now and Coachella has always set the bar with that.

The Other Highly Billed Performers: Despacio, Gorillaz, Burna Boy, the Chemical Brothers, Kaytranada, Blondie, Becky G, Metro Boomin, FKJ, Pusha T, Tobe Nwigwe, Wet Leg, SG Lewis, Yves Tumor, the Garden, TESTPILOT, Angèle, MUNA, Maceo Plex, ROSALÍA, Eric Pyrdz presents HOLO, boygenius, $uicideboy$, the Kid LAROI, Charli XCX, Labrinth, Underworld, Diljit Dosanjh, Eladio Carrión, SOFI TUKKER, Remi Wolf, Chromeo, Tale Of Us, Yung Lean, Mura Masa, Yaeji, 070 Shake, Björk, Kali Uchis, Porter Robinson, Fisher + Chris Lake, A Boogie, Dominic Fike, Jai Paul, Jackson Wang, Latto, the Blaze, Willow, GloRilla, Jai Wolf, Boris Brejcha, 2manydjs, Christine and the Queens, Rae Sremmurd

This mix of big names is where you’ll find all the legacy acts with names like the Chemical Brothers, who last played in 1999, the first year of the festival, Blondie, and Björk, who was the first female artist to headline Coachella. There’s a few names in this list that I listen to occasionally who I plan to check out at the festival. I can’t help but be excited about this small group of legendary artists, but I can’t hype myself too much because Blondie and the Chemical Brothers both play Friday night and I work until 8 p.m. From this list, I’m most excited that LCD Soundsystem frontman, James Murphy, will be playing with his side project Despacio all weekend according to the poster. Another notable from this mix for me is indie rock supergroup, boygenius, composed of Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker, and Lucy Dacus. They don’t often perform together so this should be a special one in Indio. Alternative rock band Gorillaz, who last played the festival when they headlined in 2010, will be fun to check out as well. I’ll also probably want to check out Wet Leg, MUNA, Chromeo, Remi Wolf, Porter Robinson, and Jai Wolf if I get the chance too. I’m sure I’ll discover other indie/alternative rock or electronic artists to listen to in this mix but for now, these are the names that stick out.

The Undercards: Two Friends, YUNGBLUD, Jamie Jones, Ashnikko, Malaa, TV Girl, Whyte Fang, Doechii, BENEE, Idris Elba, Magdalena Bay, Vintage Culture, Domi & JD Beck, Dombresky, DannyLux, Nora En Pure, Overmono, Uncle Waffles, ¿Téo?, Mochakk, Gabriels, Saba, Dennis Cruz + PAWSA, Soul Glo, Lava La Rue, Sleaford Mods, the Comet is Coming, Oliver Koletzki, Kyle Watson, the Murder Capital, Chris Stussy, Jupiter & Okwess, Lewis OfMan, Juliet Mendoza, Desert Cahuilla Bird Singers, Marc Rebillet, Hiatus Kaiyote, Dinner Party, Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, Elderbrook, Kenny Beats, Flo Milli, Keinemusik, Snail Mail, Rebelution, Hot Since 82, EARTHGANG, UMI, Shenseea, the Breeders, Monolink, Ethel Cain, Bakar, Donavan’s Yard, the Linda Lindas, Sunset Rollercoaster, NIA ARCHIVES, Jan Blomqvist, DRAMA, WhoMadeWho, Destroy Boys, Elyanna, DJ Tennis, Carlita, AG Club, Mathame, BRATTY, Horsegirl, Colyn, Chloé Caillet, Scowl, Francis Mercier, Weyes Blood, Alex G, DPR LIVE + DPR IAN, Stick Figure, Adam Beyer, Big Wild, MK, Cannons, Romy, Gordo, Fousheé, Noname, Sasha & John Digweed, Sudan Archives, Knocked Loose, Camelphat, IDK, Sasha Alex Sloan, Mareux, 1999.ODDS, Pi’erre Bourne, Cassian, Joy Crookes, TSHA, El Michels Affair, Paris Texas, LP Giobbi, Momma, Ali Sethi, Minus the Light, Los Bitchos, Conexión Divina, Airrica

The undercards this year have a handful of names I’d like to see, such as YUNGBLUD, who was scheduled to play in 2020. I missed him at ACL this past fall and I like a few of his songs so I would love to check out his Coachella set. I’ve listened to electronic artists, Two Friends, here and there as well and hope I can catch their performance. However, it’s another Friday set and everything Friday will be TBD for me until the set times get released. I think out of all the artists playing this year I actually listen to Elderbrook the most. I’ll likely want to check out Alex G too. I started getting in to him in anticipation of his 2020 appearance, but that was short lived. Big Wild, MK, and Sasha Alex Sloan are a few other artists I’d like to catch as well.

Coachella has always been ahead of the game when it comes to new music and pushing a multitude of genres. Unfortunately for me, the kind of music I listen to isn’t what’s hot these days. Like I’ve mentioned in years past, Coachella has become a place of music discovery for me. I wish I could hear a ton of bands I already love and listen to, but this does help me stay fresh. I usually have a few acts that I love. This year though Paul missed the mark for me. I’m still incredibly excited. Even when the lineup isn’t great, it’s still great. It’s Coachella. It can’t be bad. The vibes are always immaculate. There will be surprises, guest appearances, and celebs for days. I think the fashion faded away from flower crowns, but we’ll certainly see the finest in festival fashion come April. I can’t wait to be out there. Until then, look forward to weekly blog posts previewing all these bands I just mentioned. Happy Coachella season everyone! Let’s get back to the desert!

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.

Crybaby: Album Review

My blog has solely become album reviews and Coachella previews, but I’m kind of okay with it. Even though I might not keep up with this as much as I used to, I’m still writing posts 8 years later. I like writing occasionally, so its nice. This album review is very overdue though as Tegan and Sara’s tenth studio album, Crybaby, was released almost 2 months ago. I’ve been meaning to write it sooner, but life, friends, fun, and the rare work day have taken over and that’s not to mention other album releases that needed to be reviewed too. Several singles from this new album were released throughout 2022 culminating in the October 21st album release.

Tegan and Sara have been around for almost the last 25 years and in that time their indie pop sound has carried through the decades. They’ve had huge successes with albums like The Con and Heartthrob, but their latest is definitely on a similar level musically to The Con. I have a feeling this new album won’t reach the hype it deserves so I’ll just have to hype it up as much as I can. One of my favorite songs from the album is “Yellow”. The melody is ultimately so catchy. There’s several other indie pop bops as well like “Fucking Up What Matters,” “I Can’t Grow Up,” and “Smoking Weed Alone.” There’s also a few ballads on the album like “Faded Like a Feeling,” “Sometimes I See Stars,” and “Whatever That Was.”

The twin sister duo has also said they weren’t even sure if they would be releasing another album, which makes Crybaby special in its own right. I think this isn’t an album that hits as a whole right away. It’s one you have to keep listening to for it to stick, but once it does you realize just how good it is. Tegan and Sara embarked on a fall tour in support of the album and I was lucky enough to be able to catch the first show. It was great to see them perform again. They’re such fun live performers. If you’re looking for a new album to get into this winter, I would definitely recommend Crybaby. It’s a quality record from this well established Canadian indie pop twin sister group.

Being Funny in a Foreign Language: Album Review

About a week ago I returned from a 6 week run of festivals. It was one of my longest and most challenging runs since I started working in the industry. I’m pleased to say it went so well and I’m so grateful for all of the experiences I had this fall. Alternatively, about a week and a half ago, the 1975 released their newest record Being Funny in a Foreign Language. It’s their fifth full length album since 2013’s self-titled debut album and their latest since 2020’s Notes on a Conditional Form. Unlike some bands, the 1975 never toured in support of their 2020 release, but instead went back in the studio to produce an entirely new catalog of music.

Being Funny in a Foreign Language is the perfect fall/early winter album, with a few songs referencing winter or Christmas (“Wintering” and “When We Are Together”). The first song titled “The 1975”, like every first song on every album they’ve ever released, even gives LCD Soundsystem “All My Friends” vibes. The album as a whole is so focused on love in such a happy way. It’s unique to other 1975 albums in this regard. The band partnered with famed producer Jack Antonoff on the album. I feel like when artists work with Jack their albums could be hit or miss for me. Lorde was a hard miss, whereas Lana Del Rey was a hit. The 1975 is definitely a hit as well. Despite the cliché love focused lyricism, the album is filled with a mix of indie pop ballads and bops, reminiscent of other 1975 records. That being said the album has a more pop feel than other records as well, but still stays true to the band’s sound that can be heard on their earliest hits like “Chocolate”, “Girls”, and “Heart Out”.

The 1975 kicks off the tour for their new record on November 3rd. I’ve seen the 1975 play 4 times. Each time I’ve seen them at a festival I worked. This is the first time I’ll be catching them on tour and actually paying for a ticket. I cannot wait! I’ve slowly developed a love for these guys that didn’t exist when my friends saw them play a show in 2014 at a small venue about an hour away from here. I didn’t quite get it then, but sometimes that stuff takes time. Now I’m a fan and ready to see Matty Healy and company tear through this excellent new record while playing all their hits from past albums especially the ones we all missed in 2020. If you’re a fan of the 1975, you’re likely going to like Being Funny in a Foreign Language just as much as you’ve liked past records. It’s definitely something different from the British indie rockers, but never strays too far from what you’re used to.

Dance Fever: Album Review

I’m coming at you quick with an album review for another album that dropped 2 months ago. I was in DC at the time seeing HAIM and on the brink of an EDC Las Vegas departure when it was released. I will say I was about to order the album at one point when I realized after receiving a copy in the mail, I must have pre-ordered it earlier in the year. I honestly forgot amidst all the things I had going on and patted myself on the back for that one. I have yet to sit down and really listen to the album in full though. It’s mostly because I’ve been distracted by the band Wallows, who I got into after seeing at Coachella. I’ve been in a huge Wallows phase since Coachella Weekend 1 and it’s still yet to let up. In fact I’ll be seeing them for the 5th time in 4 months next week! Let’s get back to Florence though.

Dance Fever is Florence + the Machine’s fifth studio album. Their last studio album was released in 2018. I have to say I was excited for new music for one of my favorite groups, headed by female indie pop vocalist Florence Welch. I expected an album with a title like Dance Fever to be full energy upbeat tracks all the time, but it really isn’t. There’s a few bops like “Free”, “My Love,” and “Choreomania”, but many slower, chill, entrancing melodies like “The Bomb”, “Good Morning Elvis”, and “Girls Against God.”

Dance Fever is a solid indie pop/rock album from a group that has been putting out similar albums since 2009. Florence’s vocals drive this album, especially on the interludes and the other slower tracks. I’m not shocked though as her vocals really drive all their music.

I don’t think this is one of Florence + the Machine’s best albums though. Their earlier albums are a force to be reckoned with. Dance Fever is promising though with several great songs that deserve plenty of praise and hype. “King” is one of those from the album. I plan on spending more time listening to the album, but I’m sure a Wallows song will pop in to my head and I’ll revert back to listening to them again. That seems to be a theme lately. Florence + the Machine are embarking on a fall tour in support of the album starting in September. I’m disappointed to say I won’t be able to make a show this time around due to work obligations. If you get the chance though, I wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to see Florence and her machine. I also don’t think you should pass up the chance to listen to their latest record, despite it not being one of their best in my opinion. I’m sure you’ll find something you love and can dance to on it. It’s Dance Fever after all.

The Dream: Album Review

When I was in the midst of previewing Coachella and almost ready to head out for the second leg of my Mexico adventure in February, alt-J dropped their fourth full length album The Dream. The band also recently embarked on a North American tour with Portugal. The Man in support of their latest with more dates planned for this year worldwide. The Dream is their first album in five years since 2017’s Relaxer. Overall, alt-j’s latest album maintains their unique indie rock style of sound that is prevalent throughout their first three records with a slightly more Americanized rock sound.

The album much like it’s title is very dreamy. It’s very chill and sometimes somber indie rock with minimal bops. It’s the perfect soundtrack for a long scenic drive in my opinion. “Hard Drive Gold” is the “Left Hand Free”, “Breezeblocks”, or “In Cold Blood” of The Dream. I feel like each alt-j album so far has one of those and “Hard Drive Gold”, the song about crypto, is that hit of their latest release. “U&Me”, “Get Better”, & “Happier When You’re Gone” are solid tracks reminiscent of that classic alt-J sound as well. The main difference from this album compared to their first three is that alt-j’s sound has steered from the Middle Eastern sounds found in their earlier music. It’s more rock heavy yet the vocals are still smooth and distinguishable as alt-J tracks.

I don’t think this is alt-J’s best work, but the album does have a good handful of quality tracks that will stick around on set lists in the future. I feel like any time a band slightly strays from their original sound this tends to happen. It’s worth listening to as an alt-J fan though and is probably worth adding to your music collection too. I added it to mine on vinyl yesterday and I’m stoked to listen to it on this rainy spring weekend. If you haven’t already, check it out on a chill day or when you need a good soundtrack for a long drive. It’s quality new alt-J ∆.

Give Me the Future: Album Review

In February, while I was solely focused on writing Coachella Band Previews, several of my favorite bands dropped some new albums and I neglected to review them. The first of those was Bastille. On February 4th, Bastille released Give Me the Future. They dropped several tracks during 2021 in anticipation of the new album. Give Me the Future is Bastille’s fourth full length album and their latest since 2019.

Bastille is a band that has such a defining sound from Dan Smith’s smooth vocals. Their sound has always been a welcome consistency for me. That consistency lacks for a handful of artists so it’s nice when it exists. I will say the sound on the new album incorporates this modern, tech-y, futuristic style sound that is unique to other Bastille records, but it’s just enough to make their album sound different without making them sound different. A perfect example of this is “Plug In…” or “Back to the Future.” The theme of the album has such a deep, meaningful nature with the lyrical content too. The band credits that to the wild turn the world took in 2020 with the pandemic and what came from it.

As much as I always enjoy the music Bastille puts out, I have to say this album as a whole didn’t really do much for me. There’s a few songs I enjoy like “Shut Off the Lights” and “No Bad Days,” but overall as a whole it hasn’t really stuck out. Nonetheless, I’m grateful for the new tunes, many of which I heard over the last year before the whole album came out! Maybe that’s part of the reason why I haven’t felt as hype about it. Many of the songs I like came out before the album release. The ones I hadn’t heard yet didn’t really stick out. That could be it. I feel like I’m being picky about it. As a fan of Bastille and indie pop though, I still say it’s worth listening to and something you should decide on for yourself.