Seramic “People Say”

There is very little out there about the mysterious (UK-based?) band Seramic. I love the gospel vibes of this track, complete with choral call and response. Hopefully they will release more music soon, but in the meantime, snuggle up to this warm blanket of a tune!

BEST OF 2015!

Happy Holidays everyone!
I’ve never made my year end lists public, but this year I’ve decided to shake things up. I present to you my personal best of 2015, both songs and albums. The songs can be streamed here if you would like to listen (honorable mentions included at the end):

Albums (in no particular order):
Wolf Alice – My Cool Is Cool
Sufjan Stevens – Carrie and Lowell
Alabama Shakes – Sound and Color
Chris Stapleton – Traveller
CHVRCHES – Every Open Eye
Rayland Baxter – Imaginary Man
The Bohicas – The Making Of
Beirut – No No No
Jason Isbell – Something More than Free
Blitzen Trapper – All Across This Land
Everything Everything – Get To Heaven
The Tallest Man On Earth – Dark Bird Is Home
Coldplay – A Head Full Of Dreams
Ryan Adams – 1989, cover album (Taylor Swift)

Songs (also in no particular order):
“Uptown Funk” (ft Bruno Mars) – Mark Ronson
“Talking Body” – Tove Lo
“Here” – Alessia Cara
“Genghis Khan” – Miike Snow
“Mountain At My Gates” – Foals
“Lydia” – Highly Suspect
“Coltrane” – Amasa Hines
“Your Loves Whore” – Wolf Alice
“Where You At” – The Bohicas
“Getting Ready to Get Down” – Josh Ritter
“Nobody To Blame” – Chris Stapleton
“Heartbreaker” – Daniel Wilson
“OctaHate” – Ryn Weaver
“Electric Love” – BØRNS
“Leave A Trace” – CHURCHES
“Dreams” – Beck
“Stressed Out” – Twenty One Pilots
“Trip Switch” – Nothing But Thieves
“Snakeskin” – Deerhunter
“Adventure of a Lifetime” – Coldplay
“Ship To Wreck” – Florence + The Machine
“Sedona” – Houndmouth
“Pretty Pimpin'” – Kurt Vile
“Spring (Among the Living)” – My Morning Jacket
“Snake Eyes” – Mumford & Sons
“Dunes” – Alabama Shakes
“Brazil” – Declan McKenna
“Gibraltar” – Beirut
“Forget You In LA” – Poema
“Yellow Eyes” – Rayland Baxter
“Empty Handed” – Christof
“Color Decay” – Júníus Meyvant
“Death with Dignity” – Sufjan Stevens
“How Could You Babe” – Tobias Jesso Jr.
“Dark Bird Is Home” – The Tallest Man on Earth
“Between Me And You” – Brandon Flowers
“Hello” – Adele
“Everglow” – Coldplay
“Flagship” – Jason Isbell

Honorable Mentions:
“Outcast” – Mainland
“Mystery” – Boxed In
“Roman Holiday” – Halsey
“Forest Fires” – Axel Flovent
“No Room In Frame” – Death Cab For Cutie
“Borderline” – Tove Stryke
“Hold Me Down” – Mansionair
“Moona Festival” – Polyenso
“Love Grow Cold” – Blitzen Trapper
“Where The Night Goes” – Josh Ritter
“Spring / Sun / Winter / Dread” – Everything Everything
“The Way It’s Always Been” – Brandon Flowers

Declan Mckenna “Brazil”

At just 16 years old, Declan Mckenna is already making big waves in the U.K. He recently won Glastonbury’s Emerging Talent Competition and earned himself a spot on the main stage of the festival. I love how much personality his voice carries. It’s very effortless and raw, but deliberate, all the same. “Brazil” is extremely bright and sunny and will find its way into your repeat pile.

The Bohicas “Where You At”

This is a full-on crusher of a song: two minutes and forty-eight seconds of hip-shaking rock. Meet The Bohicas, the London-based four piece, bridging the gap for people who love the pace of The Hives, the attitude of the Arctic Monkeys, and the melodies of Oasis. Leave it to the Brits to bring more heat to the rock ’n’ roll scene. All I know is that this song, and their new album “The Making Of,” is shaping up to be among my top picks for the year.

Rayland Baxter “Yellow Eyes”

Been a fan of Rayland’s for quite some time now. But it wasn’t until this song (and this whole album, really) that I really jumped fully onto the band wagon. The instrumentation –and specifically the delicious, rich guitar tones threaded throughout – is remarkable. It’s been a while since I’ve lauded a local Nashville artist, and he more than deserves the praise. Buy or stream his album Imaginary Man when you get a chance. It’s well worth your while!

Foals “Mountain At My Gates”

Though the Foals have been around for quite some time now (check out their flawless 2013 album Holy Fire if you are unfamiliar), their latest single – “Mountain At My Gates” – is not only a total rocker, but the accompanying video is super fantastic. It’s shot completely on a GoPro and features a 360-degree video playback view. Seriously, check it out. In fact, check it out on your phone now…very cool stuff. The new album What Went Down comes out August 28th – mark your calendars!

Axel Flóvent “Forest Fires”

There are so many amazing artists coming out of Iceland lately – my most recent find is 19 year-old Axel Flóvent. He has a tender falsetto similar to that of his Icelandic peer Ásgeir, and also a touch of Nick Mulvey’s calming tone. “Forest Fires” is the most captivating track he’s released thus far. Fingers crossed for a second EP (or full length) to come this year!

Will Joseph Cook “Daisy Chains”

Been really enjoying this UK artist’s latest EP “You Jump I Run.” “Daisy Chains” reminds me a bit of Minus The Bear at moments, especially when the keys come in mid-song. The entire EP is bright and uptempo – perfect for the sunny Spring weather.

SXSW 2015 highlights: Tove Stryke, Jack Garratt, Mansionair, United Fruit + Meg Mac, Ryn Weaver, Broncho, Blank Range, Only Real

The 3rd annual SXSW roundup is here!
As always, I start by the numbers: I listened to roughly 2,300 artists (115 of which I was already familiar with), narrowed it down to 165 artists worth considering, re-listened to those 165 artists, and honed the number to 87. I then proceeded to schedule the 87 artists + some of the artists I already knew. Once at SXSW, I managed to catch 41 gigs in 3.5 days, walking an average daily distance of 11 miles.

And now, the highlight reel based on what I was able to catch (sadly, there were a few I attempted to see and ended up missing due to shifty set times…Daniel Wilson, for one):

Tove Stryke


Wow, what an unbelievable surprise! I heard a lot of hype about this energetic Swedish pop starlet, which usually poisons my first impressions – with the attitude of “Oh yeah? Let’s see it then!” – but she aptly crushed all preconceived notions and blew me away. Not only is she genre-bending with a hard-to-pronounce name (not unlike her fellow Scandinavian Lykki Li), she also has some massively catchy tunes and killer stage presence. I love her air of confidence and quirky style to boot! It is so refreshing to see electronic/pop artists who still play real instruments on top of their tracks. It adds so much life (literally) to the sound, and obviously makes for a more exciting live show. Believe all the hype for Tove Stryke!

Jack Garratt


Despite my preference for a live band over a dude and his computer, I’ve got to hand it to Jack Garratt. He pulled it off with true artistry and kept me captivated the entire time. His vocal versatility was remarkable and the songs actually felt like songs, instead of a never-ending club dance track.

Mansionair


These Aussies were super compelling – so much so that I saw them twice! They played with such intensity and created an amazing vibe that seemed to captivate fans no matter what the venue or time of day. Their sound was incredibly full and rich for a three-piece, and it’s hard to beat a band that’s so obviously in love with being on stage and playing music. It makes all the difference.

United Fruit


This four-piece from Glasgow nearly blew everyone out of the venue. It was 25 minutes of Interpol-meets-Foo Fighters- thundering guitar licks, accented by semi-abrasive, yet undeniably appealing vocal melodies. Their newest material shone brightest and was approachable even for those who aren’t typically drawn to hard rock.

Other outstanding acts include: Meg Mac, Only Real, Ryn Weaver, Broncho and Blank Range. I would highly recommend checking them out live whenever or wherever you get a chance.
Honorable mentions go to The Blossoms and Sego.

I can’t rightfully conclude without mentioning the few favorite bands I allowed myself to see, despite the fact I’ve seen them each several times before: The War On Drugs were lose-your-mind good, Wolf Alice completely slayed, and Catfish and the Bottlemen never cease to amaze me. All three of those bands reinvigorate my obsessive passion for music and remind me that while this business is rough, there will always be diamonds in that rough. And the way those make me feel – make us all feel – is the reason it will always be worth my commitment to it.