3 Songs I Wish I’d Written

As someone who writes poetry and short stories often, I appreciate the complexity and beauty of songwriting. Although I’ve never written a song myself, I’ve always wanted to. So when I hear a song that strikes me or reminds me of a situation I can relate to, I often think to myself, “dang, I wish I’d thought to write that.” Here are three of those songs.

b441ef-20170906-phoebe-bridgers“Motion Sickness” – Phoebe Bridgers

This track isn’t about motion sickness, but rather, emotional sickness. Although there’s no legitimate definition for “emotional sickness,” I’d say it can be defined as the feeling you get when you’re overwhelmed with love for someone, or on the flip side, flooded with grief after your relationship with them has ended.

Phoebe Bridgers tells a vivid story of the birth of an unusual relationship: “you said when you met me you were bored,” “and you, you were in a band when I was born,” and its chaotic end: ” I’m on the outside looking through. You’re throwing rocks around your room. And while you’re bleeding on your back in the glass, I’ll be glad that I made it out, and sorry that it all went down like it did.” The soft guitar reverb and subtle harmonies in this track compliment its lovely lyrics.

The driving lyric/phrase in this song, “I have emotional motion sickness. Somebody roll the windows down. There are no words in the English language I could scream to drown you out,” are what got me. Phoebe captures a very familiar experience– feeling trapped by your emotions, even dizzy with them, and wishing there was some sort of escape. We’ve all wished at one point or another that we could roll down the “windows” of life and take a break from reality.

e972fc17c9186112bbb962ee03762bb7.600x600x1“Lose It” – SWMRS

Any sentimental music-lover will connect with this song: “Tell me why’d you have to have such a damn good taste in music? Yeah, if all my favorite songs make me think of you, I’m gonna lose it.” I’ve been there.

The first verse intrigued me, as it told the story of two people who made mixtapes for each other, not knowing that the other person had done the same thing. You’d think that this would probably mean both of them have similar, strong feelings for one another. This may be true, but it’s revealed that something went wrong in the relationship and it ended.

“When I first saw you I made a mixtape. I didn’t know you’d do the same damn thing. When I said goodbye to you it went quiet, cuz I didn’t wanna feel any pain.”

This song has a prominent bass guitar, which adds to the mysteriousness of the relationship, situation, and two people.

Fun fact: Lead singer of SWMRS, Joey Armstrong, is the son of of Billie Joe Armstrong, lead singer and lead guitarist of punk rock band Green Day. Joey and his pals formed SWMRS after watching School of Rock in school!

500x500“Parma Violets” – Jealous of the Birds

The metaphors in this song are strikingly beautiful. There are themes of insects, light, colors, and death through out the whole track, which reminds me of some poems I’ve read in the past. This is why I chose “Parma Violets” to add to my growing list of songs I wish I’d written.

Parma Violets themselves are a popular British candy that fizz in your mouth. (We have a similar candy here in America called Zotz.) In this track by Jealous of the Birds, the main lyric is “Oh please, don’t you swallow those pills like Parma Violets again,” which alludes to someone who may have had suicidal tendencies in the past. Lead singer Naomi Hamilton suggests that this person swallowed pills as if they were candy–quickly and nonchalantly. The quiet piano and guitar in the track reflect its somber, delicate tone.

It’s interesting to me that Naomi would choose Parma Violets candy to use as a metaphor for prescription pills. Because this type of candy fizzes in your mouth, wouldn’t it be counter-intuitive (and uncomfortable) to pop one after the other into your mouth without much thought?

Naomi continues to describe her interactions with this person, using a moth as a metaphor for a secret shared between them: “Once you showed me a secret, delicate as a moth. It barely shivered, its wings were so soft. Then it flew up to the fluorescent light. I knew right then that you would be alright.” This is the only lyric that suggests the person Naomi is singing about may be doing better.

The second to last verse is my favorite. Naomi sings about every person in the world being connected by color. Light travels through us and we all reflect different shades of the same, “true” blue.

“Our lives are prisms, the light beams through. Refracting colors is what we do. We’re different shades of the same blue. But at least we’re true, at least we’re true.”

Whenever I write poetry, I always gravitate towards themes of light and color, so these lyrics really inspired me.

I made a playlist of every song that has struck a chord with me over the years. Check out the full playlist here:

 

-Sophie

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Now Playing: Summer 2019

Hello, readers! Welcome back. 🙂

Huge life update for those who don’t already know: a little over a week ago, I graduated from the University of Oregon! Changes, changes.

Among others, one change is a shift in my music taste. Don’t get me wrong, The 1975 and alternative tunes will forever be my #1, but I’ve recently opened myself up to a few genres I’d never considered exploring before. Curious about what I’ve been jamming out to? Read on.

“Forever” – The Lonely Biscuits

This song hooked me with just the first line: “The car’s break lights sorta look like a heartbeat. Between the windshield wipes, wish you were in the front seat.” Paired with an alluring electronic guitar riff that eventually builds and becomes loud and biting, this lyric really struck me. It captures a familiar experience–driving through the city late at night with that one special person. The glow of  traffic/break lights illuminate their face in bursts, and you’re happy to just be there.

I consider this track to be a love song that was written after the death of a relationship. It features an echoey sound bite of a woman, seemingly on the other end of a phone line, saying “hello?” following the first verse. The sense of confusion yet eagerness in her voice makes me wonder if these two people haven’t spoken for quite some time.

Simple yet stunning, this track has easily become one of my summer favorites. The punk-esque vocals are definitely different from what I’ve listened to in the past, but the fantastic imagery and sick guitar keeps me coming back for more.

“Slip Away” – Perfume Genius

This song was featured in Booksmart during the pool scene. I love Perfume Genius, and I was thrilled to hear his voice make an appearance on the soundtrack! (Plus it’s perfect for that scene.) Like many Perfume Genius songs, this track builds up slowly and beautifully, then explodes with sound and color.

“Chest Piece” – Rome Hero Foxes

My sister and I went to see these guys perform at Lola’s Room in Portland a few weeks ago, and it was so fun. Followed by Heart Attack Man, Glacier Veins and Sincere Engineer, this was the first pop-funk/emo live show I’ve attended…and to my surprise, I loved it! The crowd was lively, the bands were engaging, and the music was LOUD. This song, “Chest Piece,” is off Rome Hero Foxes’ latest album, 18 Summers.

“A Part of Me” (ft. Laura Whiteside) – Neck Deep

This is another seemingly “off-brand” track for me. I came across it in sort of an unusual way–it was included in a playlist made for me during my last term in college when things weren’t going so well. Despite that, the song still makes me smile. I swoon every time I hear lead singer Ben Barlow describe the girl he loves, even after they are no longer together: “I like her ’cause she’s smart, headstrong and independent, she puts me in my place, but I don’t know where I stand.” You don’t hear  girls described this way very often in music.

The lyric that really tugs at my heart strings, though, is: “And if only I could find the words, or muster up the nerve to tell her…I’ll never forget her, and she’ll always have a part of me.” I’ve always believed that each person you meet who meant something to you leaves a part of themselves behind, even after things change or you no longer speak.

“Take Me As You Please” – The Story So Far

This is another new pop-punk favorite of mine. I found it on Spotify last month, and for some reason, it sounded super familiar. I couldn’t figure out why, until I texted a link to my friend, who I figured would also enjoy it. A few minutes later, he texted me back: “Sophie. I showed this song to you like 6 months ago and you loved it then.” Oops! I guess I forgot. It was fun re-discovering it, though. The harmonies are stunning.

“Atlas: Two” – Sleeping At Last

Have you ever taken the Meyers Briggs personality test? Similarly, the Ennegram test is “a model of the human psyche which is principally understood and taught as a typology of nine interconnected personality types.” Sleeping At Last, a musical project led by multi-instrumentalist Ryan O’Neal, created a song for each of the nine personality types which he sings from the various perspectives. My song, “Atlas: Two” (I’m a type 2, the Helper) made me tear up a little. Want to know which song Ryan wrote for you? Take the test here, then find your song here.

 

Golden Days (album) – Haley Johnsen

Killer vocals, breathtaking lyrics, and a kind heart…that’s Haley Johnsen, a local Portland artist who is on the RISE and seriously KILLIN’ IT. (She recently toured the U.S. with band Joseph and later Big Wild, plus her latest album features a duet with Allen Stone!) If it’s not already obvious, I simply adore Haley.

I was stoked for the release of her brand new album last month, Golden Days. I attended her record release show at the Doug Fir, and was thrilled to see the entire venue FILLED with fans, family, and friends. Hearing her perform the dreamy new tracks from the front row was so much fun–a few of my favorites on Golden Days are: “Cinderella,” “City Of Me,” “Everything Comes Back Again,” and “I’ll See You Around.”

“Mausoleum” -Seryn

Absolutely in love with this track at the moment. It was used in a UO Graduation 2019 video, and I think of my school every time I hear it. Watch below!

Seryn is a four-person band from Texas, often described as having a “big sky” sound. What also drew me to this track was the song’s intro, which sounds a lot like another fave of mine, “Razor” by Foo Fighters.

 

Enjoy these tunes and your summer!

xoxo

Sophie

An Interview with Little Comets

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I’m thrilled to give you all this post! Little Comets, an English indie-rock band that formed in 2008, have been one of my favorite bands since high school. I’m ecstatic to have interviewed lead singer, Rob Coles, for my blog.

Little Comets, made up of brothers Rob and Michael Coles, plus friends Matthew Hall, Matt Saxon, and Nathan Greene, released their debut album, In Search of Elusive Little Comets in 2011. The next year, the band released their second album, Life is Elsewhere, (my favorite!) under Dirty Hit records. If you’re unfamiliar with Dirty Hit, they’re an award-winning, British, independent label (and happen to be my favorite record label), whose artists include The 1975, Pale Waves, Wolf Alice, The Japanese House, and more. Little Comets were signed with Dirty Hit until 2017. They independently released their third album, Worhead, that same year.

Matty Healy of The 1975 mentioned his friendship with the guys in an 2013 interview.  Little Comets even helped produce some of The 1975’s early tracks.

“Little Comets took us out on the road when we were in our very embryonic stages of our old band and just let us open up for them. We started getting fans off the back of that…Then they helped us produce ‘Sex’ the song, and ‘You,'” -Matty Healy

I discovered Little Comets in 2013 when they performed a show at a small, intimate venue in Portland. I got tickets to the show out of curiosity, and after just a few minutes, I fell in love with the band’s unique sound. Echoey, driving drums, beachy guitar riffs and vivid lyrics that can be interpreted in a variety of ways…that’s Little Comets.

Little Comets started out by playing small college gigs, cafes, and other unusual venues in the UK. Since then, the guys have come a long way. Just this last year, the band teamed up with Catfish and the Bottlemen (another fave band of mine) for a sold-out arena tour. After that, the band spent the winter writing and working on new music in none other than singer Frank Sinatra’s former summer home in California! These days, album number five is in the works, and the guys are planning out their next tour–it will be the first time they’ve hit the road in two years.

A Perfect Playlist: Tell me a little bit about how Little Comets got started. Have you all been involved in music-related projects since you were young?

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Little Comets (Rob Coles): Mickey are I brothers, so we’ve been writing songs in the house since we were very little. Once we’d finished Uni, we decided to see if we could make a living out of being creative, musically, so we set about finding other musicians to form a band. That was the start of Little Comets with Mark (our original drummer), and Matt, our bassist.

APP: One of my favorite songs of yours is “Bridge Burn.” It’s a super special song for me and a few friends. Can you tell me a little bit about the story behind it?

RC: Ah thanks, that’s nice to hear! That’s a song I wrote in my bedroom while Mickey was mixing songs for our second album. I kind of wrote/recorded it roughly and had lots of lyrics almost immediately for it. The coast is pretty great for providing lyrical metaphors. Theme-wise, it’s just about two people who realize that their time is up. When Mickey heard the song, he really molded the landscape. Initially, it was just a B-side, but in hindsight, we probably should have put a little more faith in it, as it seems to be a pretty popular song.

APP: Your sound/genre has been described as “kitchen sink indie.” Do you agree with that?

RC: Haha, I don’t really mind–as long as people are polite and constructive, they can describe our sound how they like. I suppose that it could mean, in terms of subject matter, that we write about kitchen sink-related things, which was certainly true of album one. In a sonic sense, though, we do use a lot of percussive instruments which are also kitchenalia, so if the cap fits…

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APP: If you could invite one artist/band to be in the crowd at one of your shows, who would it be and why?

RC: We got really excited once at a gig in Oxford because somebody asked that Jonny Greenwood (Radiohead) be put on the guest list. It spoilt the gig, though, because we spent the whole evening looking for Jonny Greenwood despite him not actually being there, and probably never having any intention of being there. So I would choose Jonny Greenwood because I haven’t said “Jonny Greenwood” enough in this answer.

APP: Your latest music video, “American Tuna,” is super creative and visually complex in how it was filmed. Can you tell me a little bit about your experience filming? How did you come up with the idea as it relates to the song?

RC: It was fun, but stressful. We had received an email telling us, despite our very polite request, that we explicitly couldn’t use the building. So the whole process was based around being very secretive. This definitely hampered the final product, as we couldn’t redo shots or control timing or lighting. Mickey was in a Paternoster lift in an 18-floor building with the camera. As the lift travels up, each floor is a different scene which tells the story of a relationship. Mickey was in that lift for about 6 solid hours while we chased him ’round the building, doing scenes in non-chronological order to avoid security cameras. We were happy with the final video, but I just wish that people could see the levels of effort and time that just three people were involved in executing. It looks pretty pro, and the DIYness doesn’t come through. I think that given the constraints, it’s amazing. But I’m biased.

APP: That’s mind-blowing. Writing music is super different from filming a visual interpretation of a song through a music video. Has that ever been a challenge for you as a band?

RC:  I think we’ve learned to separate the processes quite naturally. We also like learning new skills, so the challenge of making a video or a piece of artwork is an opportunity to do that. The only problem is time. We are three people, yet we have to record, write, and release the music on our own label, then promote it whilst making the videos and artwork. Because we are novices in many of these areas, it takes us longer to produce these assets. That often puts us behind, as artists at a commensurate level have teams of people and pools of financial resources that we don’t. It does make the task psychologically difficult at times as well, compounded by the fact that we are in a industry that gives credence to having a machine in tow. We often get overlooked and dismissed because we don’t have a manager, record label, publisher, art director, plugging team etc. I think this is where the real challenge lies for us.

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APP: You haven’t toured for two years, but you’re making plans to head back onto the road soon! Do you have a favorite/funny memory from being on tour in the past?

RC: Probably when Matt broke his foot in Texas. We spent the next five days telling him he was fine, but then talking privately about how he was really hamming it up. By the time we got to Missouri, he got an X-ray and found out he had a hairline fracture. We felt TERRIBLE! He completed the rest of the tour perched on a bar stool during the gigs, and he became my hero.

APP: Are there any songs you feel you’ve outgrown that now seem to stray from your current sound?

RC: Ah no, they are all our babies. They popped out for a reason and we can’t really turn them away even when they become slightly haggard/annoying. That would be bad song parenting!

 

Thanks for taking the time to chat with me, Rob!

Listen to Little Comets here:

 

My Dream Job: A Career In the Music Industry

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I’ve been feeling nostalgic, excited and reflective these past few days as I enter my last term of college. As a result, this blog post is a little different than the usual, which I thought would be fun. 🙂

I’ve always loved to create. Whether it be through writing, art, or music, creating something that I can then share with others is a passion of mine. Since I was old enough to read and write, I’ve loved to create my own publications. It started with “Sophie Magazine,” when I was nine, then led to my first blog at twelve, “DottyZine,” which I named after my pet hamster. “Sophie Magazine” usually featured interviews with my little sister, lists of my favorite books and music at the time, fake advertisements, and “letters to the editor” submitted by my babysitter. 😉

IMG_4324I am now entering my last term of college. I’ve studied journalism for the past four years with a focus on public relations, and I’ve enjoyed every minute. I feel so lucky to be able to say that I love what I study every day. It has absolutely been the right fit for me. My dream is to someday work in the music industry doing PR. This could mean serving as a PR rep for a band, label, music venue…who knows? Although I’m unsure of where exactly I’ll end up as of now, I’m beyond excited to get started. “Sophie Magazine” may be out of print, but I still have the same passion and drive to create that I did when I was nine!

I remember the day I decided I wanted to pursue a career in the music industry. It was one sunny, adrenaline-filled afternoon during my sophomore year of high school. My high school was located in the middle of downtown Portland, so I was surrounded by a vibrant community where things were always happening around me. I heard about a small, free concert venue through my local radio station that was just a few blocks away, and I started going to shows during my lunch breaks. As soon as the bell would ring for break, my friends and I would burst through the high school doors and race down the block. The shows were always short, usually ranging from 30-40 minutes, and the artists would often do a meet-and-greet with the audience after the show–the perfect amount of time to fit a high school lunch period or quick, after-school activity. 😉

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After meeting Ed Sheeran, October 2012

The first time I met one of my favorite artists there, Ed Sheeran, I walked outside afterward and sat on the curb, taking in what had just happened. A newfound level of joy washed over me–I could hardly contain myself. (If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you may remember my previous post about this experience/venue.)

This joy eventually developed into a passion for meeting the people behind the lyrics–the artists who changed my life, face-to-face. I remember grinning so hard that day my cheeks ached. I thought to myself, I want to be involved in this world. I want to help other fans feel this way. But how could this translate into a career?

I began exploring options within the industry as I entered college, and eventually settled on the path of journalism. My parents are both writers, so I’ve grown up around pen and paper, journals, and books my whole life. (The Tripod Trilogy, A Wrinkle in Time and The Golden Compass are a few of my favorites.) It was an area in which I was familiar, but I wanted to explore the branding, promotional, client-interactive side of the journalistic field. I discovered the world of public relations, and quickly realized I could apply my passion for music, and the excitement I felt that day meeting Ed Sheeran, to that area.

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Chatting with The Paper Kites, March 2017

I considered pursuing music journalism, but decided I’d like to be even more involved in the industry (both PR and music) than that. I want to help artists,’ and bands’ visions come to life, meet PR professionals, collaborate, learn, and create a brand, plan, or event that will not only benefit a client, but allow fans to feel that same joy I did that first time I met a favorite artist.

Music is such a huge part of what makes me who I am. It sparks an excitement, joy and enthusiasm in me that nothing ever has before. It drives me to take risks, venture outside of my comfort zone, meet incredible people, and continue on the path to becoming a PR professional. I’m thrilled to have found an area of study in college that I can connect to this passion. I can’t wait to see what the future holds!

Want to read more about PR/journalism in the music industry? I created a blog about this specific topic for a class I took last term! Check it out here.

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My first “concert review”? LOL.

8 Songs That Will Trigger the Deepest Depths of Your Memory

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Lately, there’s been a genre of posts going viral on Instagram/Twitter that feature pictures of old games, toys, movies, and TV shows from the childhoods of late millennials like me. People typically comment on them, saying: “woah, this just triggered the deepest depths of my memory.” These kind of posts inspired today’s blog post! I compiled a list of 8 songs that were a big hit on the radio a decade or so ago. You’ve probably forgotten about most of them, but you’ll remember as soon as you press play.

1. “Barely Breathing” by Duncan Sheik

This song was released in 1996, but I remember hearing it on the radio in the early 2000’s on the way to school. It was the first single off the debut, self-titled record by American singer-songwriter and composer, Duncan Sheik. Originally, it was a last-minute track added to the album to finish the record, but the song ended up becoming Sheik’s breakout hit, entering the top 20 of the U.S. Billboard charts, peaking at #16, and remaining on the chart for 55 weeks. It even landed him a Broadcast Music Incorporated Award for Most Played Song of the Year. Since then, Duncan has focused more on composing. In 2016, he wrote the music and lyrics to the Broadway musical version of American Psycho. I heard this song in Trader Joe’s last week, and was instantly transported to 2006.

2. “Boston” by Augustana

This song was released in 2005 on Augustana’s debut record, All the Stars and Boulevards. It’s been used in quite a few TV shows, like Scrubs, One Tree Hill and The Big Bang Theory. Since then, the band split and reformed again in 2012. In August of 2016, Augustana’s social media sites changed their names to “Dan Layus,” which is the name of the founding member and lead singer/songwriter of the band. Their most recent record was released in 2016.

3. “Porcelain” by Moby

Moby, an American electronica musician, released this song as the sixth single from his fifth studio album Play in 2000. According to his website, “Its melancholic lyrics describe the break-up of a relationship based on Moby’s own reflections on past romantic affections. The song incorporates reversed string samples and piano rhythms into its instrumentation.” Moby’s real name is Richard Melville Hall. His middle name and his nickname/stage name, “Moby,” were given to him by his parents because of a distant ancestral relationship to famous author Herman Melville, who wrote Moby Dick. He was Hall’s great-great-great-grand uncle!

Fun fact: the song samples the song “Fight For Survival” from the 1960 film Exodus.

4. “Right Here Right Now” by Jesus Jones

This song, by British alternative dance band Jesus Jones, was released in 1990 on their album Doubt. It was semi-successful in the UK, but ended up being more successful in the U.S.–it reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in July of 1990. It was even named the most played song on college radio in 1991! Jesus Jones is set to release a new record this coming April.

5. “Take a Picture” by Filter

This song, by American rock band Filter, was released in November of 1999 on their sophomore album Title of Record. In the beginning of 2000, it peaked at number 12 on the US Billboard Hot 100. Lead singer of Filter, Richard Patrick, has said that the song is about him getting drunk on an airplane and taking off all of his clothes. The band split in 2003, then reformed in 2007. They are currently working on a new record, but haven’t set a release date yet. I remember playing this song with my friends in middle school on the old video game “Band Hero.” 🙂

6. “Satellite” by Guster

This song landed Guster their first gold record just last year. It’s the second single from their 2006 album, Ganging Up on the Sun, which received a lot of radio play, but didn’t quite make it up on the charts. (I love the album artwork for this record.) I remember my local radio stations playing it a lot as a kid. Guster just released their a new record, Look Alive, in January of this year.

7. “Tom’s Diner” by Suzanne Vega, DNA

“Da da da duh, doo da-doo doo…” …That one lyric that gets stuck in your head every time you hear it.

This song was released in 1981, originally written by American singer-songwriter Suzanne Vega. The track was then remixed by British group DNA, which shot it up onto the charts. The song’s title and story is based off of Tom’s Diner in New York City, located on the corner of Broadway and 112th Street. (You may recognize it from Seinfeld.) “Tom’s Diner” been sampled in a ton of tracks since, like Fall Out Boy’s “Centuries,” and The Black Eyed Peas’ “Wings.”

8. “Hey Sandy” by Polaris

Were you a fan of Nickelodeon’s The Adventures of Pete & Pete? (It first aired in 1989.) If so, you might recognize this one–it was used as the opening theme song for the show. Polaris, which was a band specifically commissioned and formed to create music for the show, released just one album during their time together in 2002, simply titled Music From the Adventures of Pete & Pete. (I highly recommend this album, by the way…there are some killer tracks on it that make me wish they were still a band!)

Fun fact: The intro to the song features a sound bite by actor Sorrell Booke. In the clip, he  discusses U.S. missiles designed during the Cold War. This sound bite is from “To The Moon: A Time-Life Records Presentation,” an 1969 audio recording about the first moon landing.

 

What songs did you remember? Tweet me!

2018 Concert Recap

2018 was a great year for new records and live shows. Here’s a little recap of the concerts I attended in 2018!

George Ezra: 5/8/18, Roseland Theater

Processed with VSCO with hb1 presetI saw UK artist George Ezra perform in a small, local venue in Portland long before the success of his breakout single, “Budapest” in 2014. His booming, distinctive voice stuck with me after the performance, and I instantly became a fan. I won tickets to this concert in May through a contest his label created. I participated in various “fan activities” like watching George’s music videos multiple times, tweeting about him, and sharing his social media pages. I earned “points” that translated into number of entries, and I was my city’s winner! The concert was amazing–George played a full set of songs from both his debut record, Wanted On a Voyage and sophomore album, Staying at Tamara’s. I was thrilled when George performed my most favorite song of his, “Song 6.” This is a bonus track that appears on the deluxe edition of Wanted On a Voyage. It was magic to watch George perform it. Purple and blue lights on stage swirled around him as he sang, his eyes closed the whole time. I MAY have gotten a little emotional… 😉

Lucy Dacus: 5/26/18, Bloodworks Live Studio

Lucy, an indie rock/alternative singer-songwriter from Virginia, captured her audience from the very first song, “Night Shift.” (From her latest album, Historian.) Instantly, it became my favorite track. It tells a story of raw heartbreak and the conflicting feelings partners feel amidst the aftermath of a breakup. Immediately, Lucy reminded me of a few other of my favorite artists, like Phoebe Bridgers (whom she has performed with) and Courtney Barnett. Like these artists, she also seems to follow the “talk-singing” style, which reminds me a lot of when people read poetry out loud. I had the opportunity to meet her after the show, and she was so kind! (I’m not going to include the meet and greet picture here though, I look awful lol.) If you ever get the chance to see Lucy live, definitely check her out!

Dermot Kennedy: 5/27/18, Bloodworks Live Studio

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Dermot Kennedy, an R&B/alternative singer-songwriter from Dublin, Ireland, was the most unique artist I saw live in 2018. According to his online bio, “the young Dubliner draws inspiration from all the moments of brightness and darkness this world has to offer, crafting music that’s at once soaring and intimate, stripped-back and explosive. Stuttery hip-hop and R&B-influenced percussion underpins his weathered vocals as he combines organic and electronic elements into an arresting, emotional blend that calls to mind the adventurous arrangements of Bon Iver, and James Blake.” Dermot is a huge fan of Glen Hansard, another favorite of mine, who he ran into by chance on the streets of Dublin. A few months later, Glen invited Dermot to open for him on stage at a huge Christmas show! Dermot had a crazy strong stage presence when I saw him, and his voice really bounced off of the walls in the small studio. He mostly performed tracks from his 2017 EP, Doves and Ravens, plus  his most memorable song, “Young & Free.”

Death Cab For Cutie: 9/24/18, Hult Center

I’ve been listening to Death Cab since I was little, so when my friend offered me his extra concert ticket, of course I said yes! DCFC put on a great show, and engaged the crowd in between every song. It was so fun to hear some old classics in addition to new, like “Soul Meets Body,” which I’ve listened to forever, but also “Gold Rush,” from their latest record Thank You for Today.

Hozier: 10/20/18, Roseland Theater

Hozier played this Portland venue two nights in a row, and I caught the second show. My friend and I are both huge fans of Hozier, so naturally we lined up early and ended up being in the front row. (While waiting in line, we pressed our ears against the doors and could hear him soundchecking inside.) It was insane–standing that close to Andrew (Hozier’s real name) and his band was a dream come true. He started off the show with his hit single, “Nina Cried Power,” which I wrote about in an earlier post. Hozier also graced us with what was an unreleased track at the time, “Movement.” Andrew was accompanied by his incredible band which is composed of some insanely talented musicians from all over the globe, including Kristen Rodgers (backing vocals, percussion, keyboard) and Suzanne Santo (fiddle, guitar, vocals) from Ohio. Suzanne first sang with Hozier as part of the alt-country-blues duo, Honey Honey, when they joined him to perform Work Song at a benefit concert in May 2017.

 

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Concerts I’m attending in 2019 (so far):

The 1975, 4/27/19: This will be my third time seeing my favorite band, and I’m ecstatic! I’m crossing my fingers that they play a mixture of new and old material, especially a few of my favorite songs, like “Robbers,” “Paris,” “If I Believe You,” and “Inside Your Mind.” Each time I’ve seen The 1975, they sweep me off my feet. I completely forget where I am, and I get lost in the music. Matty and the boys put on an incredible show, and they always come through with a stellar stage setup.

Bad Suns, 3/1/19: This will be my first time seeing Bad Suns live, and I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve been listening to them for a few years now– they were the first record I was gifted when I received my first record player for Christmas a few years back.

 

See you in 2019, fellow music lovers!

(All photos, videos and gifs are mine.)

 

Now Playing: Winter 2018

Albums:

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The 1975: A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships

I’ve been looking forward to the release of this record for a few years now, and let me tell you, The 1975 did not disappoint. This record (“ABIIOR” for short) marks yet another new style/era for the band. (Each album seems to be a wildly different sound than the last.) There are quite a few ballads on this one, including the mesmerizing, jazzy tune about fear of commitment, “Mine,” and the haunting “Inside Your Mind.” (My personal favorite.)

IMG_1734Other incredible tracks include the Oasis-esque “I Always Wanna Die Sometimes,” and intense scream-along, “Love It If We Made It,” which centers around pretty much everything wrong with the world right now. The band has filmed 3-4 music videos to go along with selected tracks which were released as singles prior to the full album release on November 30, and my favorite by far was the video for “Sincerity Is Scary.” In addition, Matty has uploaded a few incredible acoustic performances of the new tracks, plus two of the band’s older songs, “Paris” and even “102,” from The 1975’s Drive Like I Do days. Track 1, simply titled “The 1975,” has been present on every record the band has released so far–they reinvent the song each time, tweaking the style and overall sound. (Left: The limited edition poster I received after attending a The 1975 Listening Party at my local record store!)

ABIIOR touches on the consequences of technology in the modern age, lack of genuine connections between human beings, and the current political issues going on in our world. Long story short, I love almost every single track. The record has a variety of style and meaningful lyrics to fill your time dissecting, and listening to it all makes me even more excited to see them live next April. Also, reminder that the guys are planning to release another album early next year 😉

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Hozier: Nina Cried Power EP

This EP was released in October, and although it’s comprised of just four tracks, it’s jam-packed with some notable tunes. When asked about how this EP ties into the release of his sophomore album, Hozier says: “This collection of songs is an example of what I’ve been working on and is a small taste of what is to be expected from the upcoming album.” The first track, “Nina Cried Power,” which features Mavis Staples, strays from Hozier’s usual style and is a rad protest song. Hozier says that the song as well as the accompanying music video highlights the work of Irish activists, and famous Civil Rights activist Nina Simone. Can’t wait to hear the rest of his new material!

Singles:

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Horace Bray: “How It Ends”

This single combines soulful vocals and jazz acoustic/electric guitar with a driving, heartbeat-like bass. Horace, who began playing drums at the young age of ten, is a singer-songwriter from L.A. who grew up in St. Louis. He credits his love for jazz to an after-school jazz program he attended in St. Louis, the UNT Jazz Singers he joined at the Unviersity of North Texas, the Four O’Clock Lab Band, and a few other groups. “How It Ends” is his latest single, released just last month. My favorite lyric is: “I saw your light and now it’s gone…is this how it ends…with a flicker of how it began?” Using light as a metaphor for love is a powerful image.

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Josh Gilligan: “Absent Mind”

This song has some serious Mac Demarco vibes going on–especially the intro and middle riff, which features a funky electric guitar and background synth. The song follows the story of two people who have previously been in a relationship (or perhaps never at all), yet one of them still believes they are a couple. Josh Gilligan is still a fairly new, up-and-coming artist from Nashville, TN. Surprisingly, he says he has been heavily influenced by artists like Paul Simon, Bread, America, Dawes, and The Real Efforts Of Real People–however, his music strays far from the style of these artists.

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Julianna Zachariou: “Subway Song”

This lovely, sleepy track snuck its way onto my Spotify Discover page last month, and it hasn’t left my head since. I find myself singing it at random times, and I’m even attempting to learn how to play it on my ukulele. It’s short, sweet and simple–Juliana paints a picture of an early morning subway ride in New York, where half-asleep passengers clutch the rails. They sway back and forth with the rhythm of the train, and it looks as if they are slow-dancing with one another. Julianna Zachariou is a indie singer-songwriter from Nashville, and her first full-length album, “Meanwhile,” made its debut last year.