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Bastille

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My Top Five Albums of 2013

2013 has been a crazy year for me, lots of ups and downs, especially in my personal life.  But it has also been a great year for music!  Here is my list of Top 5 Albums of 2013:

5) CHVRCHES - The Bones Of What You Believe

"The Mother We Share" was a song that needed to grow on me.  Not sure why, as I find it brilliant now, but the first few months, I was skeptical.  But then I discovered their Recover EP with "Now Is Not The Time" and that solidified my new found love for this Scottish band.  Seeing them live on Jimmy Kimmel confirmed my new obsession and I found vocalist Lauren Mayberry a great female role model when she posted her public letter that she will not accept online misogyny.  After hearing "Tether" and "Gun,"  I rushed to download their full studio album and now it's my getting-ready-to-go-out soundtrack.

4)  The Naked And Famous - In Rolling Waves

I have been a fan of this NZ band since I first heard their single "Young Blood"; I even had the chance to see them do a few songs acoustic at The Blank Club and was blown away by them.  "Punching In A Dream" came out next and it had the same power as the first single, so I knew this band was going places.  Anxious to hear more music, I was stoked when they released Passive Me, Aggressive You, especially diggin' the songs "No Way" and "Girls Like You."  When I heard they were releasing a new album this year, I was ecstatic and their first single "Hearts Like Ours" did not disappoint.  "The Mess" and "I Kill Giants" are two of my favorite tracks on the album.  Thom and Alisa's chemistry on stage is undeniable, plus I love how they harmonize and play off each other's lines.

3) Bastille - Bad Blood

"Pompeii" is one of those songs that sticks in her head the first time you hear it.  The chanting hymns grab your attention and then Dan's heavenly voice comes in and you're hooked.  I couldn't get enough of it and went searching for more songs online, which led me to find their a capella version at the British Museum, as well as a capella version of "Overjoyed" at the gardens of Copped Hall.  Both of these blew me away; they really show off how talented each member of this fabulous band is!  With only the single and it's b-side "Poet" to keep me occupied for many months, I eagerly anticipated their full album, and now I can't stop listening to it.  Plus I had the pleasure of seeing them live twice, and they are amazing, really capturing their talent, essence, and musicianship!

2) Lorde - Pure Heroine

Sometime in February I read about five artists under 18 to look out for and Lorde was on that list.  I remember listening to "Royals" and finding it the most unique, brilliant song I've heard in a long time.  I just loved her voice and the lyrics were right up my alley.  I started posting about the song regularly, calling it my anthem due to the line "you can call me queen b" -- yet is seemed like no one was paying attention.  I appreciated the mystery behind her as there were no photos, just some cartoon with The Love Club EP on Soundcloud, a sign that it was about the music, not the image.  All of a sudden this summer, the song was everywhere, even on every type of radio station, and people were taking about this 16-year old from New Zealand (finally!).  Then she released her follow-up single "Team," proving she wasn't a one hit wonder.  Ella Yelish-O'Connor is just amazing, a true artist with a unique blend of haunting vocals over electro-pop beats, that's full of teen angst, but with a sense of maturity.  Her studio album is phenomenal and thought-provoking, from the beginning notes of "Tennis Court" to the dramatic end with "A World Alone."  I'm not surprised she's the youngest act to top the Billboard Hot 100 as it's well deserved.  I wish there were more artists and success stories in the music industry like this!

1) Imagine Dragons - Night Visions

This was the band that took my heart by storm last year when I heard "It's Time" on the radio.  Right away I knew this band and I would have a long relationship, they were right up the lines of my 80's new wave passion, yet with a modern twist.  When they opened Live105's BFD, I was in awe; Dan Reynolds is the quintessential frontman, which is rare for such a young band.  I loved his energy and how he had his own big bass drum to pummel on, adding to the dynamic and sound.  A few weeks later the band blew up on radio and their Continued Silence EP came out, which played repeatedly in my car.  Hits like "Radioactive," "Demons" and "On Top Of The World" warmed my heart and I couldn't wait to see them live again.  My dream came true last Fall, with a tremendous performance at the Great American Music Hall; the whole audience connected with this talented Las Vegas band.  Night Visions technically came out Sept 2012, but it's the album that's had the most play in my life this year.  Songs like "Bleeding Out" and "Nothing Left To Say" just convey so much emotion, I feel what they feel and they get me through the hard times.  I even went on an extensive search for their previous EP's after seeing a live version of "Cover Up" on Bronson Island, which is still one of my favorite songs by them, plus I discovered "I Need A Minute" on their 2009 self-titled EP.  And let's not forget their incredible show at America's Cup Pavilion -- one of the BEST concerts I've ever seen!

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UK Alt-Rockers Bastille At Popscene

UK chart-toppers Bastille might just be the freshest "new" band of 2013, that hopefully will become a household name.  Formed in 2010, Bastille began as a solo project by singer-songwriter Dan Smith, who later decided to form a band. The band's name derives from Bastille Day, an event that recognizes the Storming of the Bastille in Paris, which happens to be the same date (July 14) that lead vocalist Dan Smith was born.

If you can imagine Coldplay, Keane, and Glee's The Warblers having a baby, then Bastille would be that super-talented offspring.  Smith, known for his gravity-defying hairstyle, is still humbled by the reception of their album and hitting #1.

Their first studio album Bad Blood was released in March and features triumphant melancholic anthems, including their hit song "Pompeii," as well as their debut single "Overjoyed," amongst others.  Personally, I'm a huge fan of "Poet" from Pompeii Remixes EP, which I encourage you to check out.

I can't wait to see this talented band on Mon July 22 at Rickshaw Stop in SF, a week after Bastille Day!  If you want to see an amazing show with a truly talented band, then get your tickets now before this show sells out!

Just to see how amazing this band is, I encourage you to see them perform "Overjoyed" Acapella below.  Be even more impressed watching Acapella version of "Pompeii" in British Museum -- the building echoing acoustics just add to the song!

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SXSW 2013 Bands I Wish I Had Seen

Earlier this week I posted about bands I saw at SXSW, however, there's always bands you wish you saw but for whatever reason, you never did get that opportunity.  This is my list of artists I wish I had seen this year, bands that I highly recommend, some of who's songs are my favorites right now.

Kitten - I honestly tried three times to see this LA band of 18 year old musicians and missed them each time due to schedule changes at the venues. Their vocalist Chloe Chaidez is a cross between Karen O and Siouxsie Sioux; add to that an 80's revival sound and I can't get enough of it! 

Foxes - the first time I heard this song I fell in love with it instantly; this UK singer has an EP out and is currently working on full album which I can't wait to hear! I also recommend you check out "Clarity" by ZEDD to hear her vocals on a good dance track.

Bastille - an impressive indie-flavored pop quartet from London that are topping the charts for a good reason; I'm even more blown-away after seeing this a capella / acoustic video. 

Haim - these valley girl sisters have a reminiscent feel of Fleetwood Mac incorporated with a modern R&B pop sound; I just want to dance along with them. 

Alt-J - very original English alt-rock band who's music is full of layers with hints of folk and pop; my personal favorite is the song "Dissolve Me" but there's no video yet.


San Cisco - this Australian four-piece is getting a lot of attention lately and I was curious how well the 19 year old band members would perform live; they definitely have potential.


Petite Noir - Chris Ely on my management roster knows Yannick Ilunga from his time in South Africa so I wanted to touch base with him in Austin. Sadly his only non-badge required show was at same time as Green Day, so I missed him by 30 minutes.


Twenty One Pilots - you can hear Eminem's influence in this duo that consists of a rapper/pianist and live drummer, who actually does a back flip during their performances; plus you can't help but sing along to this catchy tune!

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - the fact that they hit number one without being on a major label proves the music industry is changing. They were the must-see act this year but I didn't want to deal with hours of waiting in line and sadly got my RSVP too late that would have let me cut the line at Woodies Awards.

King Loses Crown - I hung with these SF guys quite a bit even though I didn't get a chance to see them play, but I can vouch that they are amazing live and this video is absolutely incredible!

I really hope you enjoy some of these artists as much as me!  xoxo

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