My favorite thing about music is the experience of sharing it. Whether it be posting on social media about my new favorite band, listening to a new song with a friend, or going to a concert, the occurrence of it is pure and communal. When I was in high school, I was was the person going to local shows every weekend and finding bands that I loved in my little suburb in Cincinnati, Ohio. I’d come back to school on Monday mornings excited* to share my new found love with my friends. So much so that I think they got a little tired of it sometimes.
One of the most memorable moments I had like this was the first time I saw Twenty One Pilots at a venue called The Attic in Dayton, Ohio. Myself and a group of friends had gone to see a couple of other bands we’d seen before but little did we know we were in the beginning stages of what would soon become one of the next great artists of this era. Even back when the band was a three-piece, before Josh joined the band, there was something special about them. I don’t think I ever had jumped and danced so hard a a local show. They had a special presence that couldn’t be ignored. I remember leaving that night to go home and thinking that they were going to take over the world someday. Here we are, six years later and the duo we all know and love have won a Grammy for “Best Pop Duo”. I bring this up, not to be one of those people who were “I knew them before they were famous” but because this was one of the first instances where I just had to get the word out about this band. I wanted as many people as possible to fall in love with them the same way that I did.
As an adult with responsibilities and obligations (yuck!), I find it harder to get out to local shows and have this sort of connection again. I rely on a lot of music recommendations from friends and I’m on the other end of things. I feel like looking for music on my own accord can sometimes be overwhelming. There’s so much music out and so much of it is good too. Platforms like Spotify do a really great job with helping you weed through the clutter. Every week I’m always really excited to see what’s on my “Weekly Discover” playlist. I’ve found a handful of songs that I really connect with and have saved to my own playlists. However, I still think the best way to find new music is through your friends. Every few months or so I post to Facebook and Twitter to have people send me who they’re listening to right now. I find that eight or nine out of ten times the recommendations are really great and diverse. It allows me to expand my interests and diversify my music palette.
In attempt to share more recommendations with more people, here is a playlist of what my friends are listening to currently:
Here in Chicago, we’re still in the last days of winter. I’ve decided to try to bring myself out of the cold weather mindset with some jams of the indie pop rock persuasion that makes me want to dance. For me, this has always been a way to cheer me up from the dreary cloudy days that Chicago seems to have so often in the late winter months. From The Maine’s release of “Black Butterflies and De Ja Vu” to the more mainstream “÷” by Ed Sheeran, I’m letting the sweet sounds of electric guitars and Irish Fiddles melt the snow in my mind. Recently, I’ve been able to add The City and Horses new record “Ruins”, to that list which drops on April 21. The six-piece band that’s based out of both New York City and Philadelphia have been playing funky indie pop since 2007. They find influence in the form of artists like The Smiths and John Lennon, just to name a few.
“Ruins” is filled with instrumentals that for me couldn’t be described as anything less than “light and airy.” I’m not entirely sure that you could classify music with those adjectives but I will say it’s the kind of music that makes you sway when you dance. While the instruments sound easy-going and carefree, the lyrical content that shows a darker side. The album is described as “a love triangle between frontman Marc Cantone, an ex-girlfriend and his OCD.” The singer has dealt with OCD for his entire adult life and has dedicated himself as a vocal supporter of mental health issues.
I must state that I don’t have a medical degree, but from beginning to end, the album feels as if it a true tribute to a battle with mental illness and the people that it affects. As someone who battles with anxiety and depression, lines like “I want to go home, but I’m already there” and “If you want to be happy don’t love me” strike a chord all the way down to my bones. While it may not applicable to my situation directly, this record is universal to people who struggle.
While I’ve just came across this band, I can’t wait to see what’s in store for them and this record. It’s incredibly import to continue bringing talk about mental illness to the front line of conversation. Whether it be through music, social media, or everyday conversation, I’m here for it.
“Ruins” is being released on Paper Garden Records on April 21 and can be pre-odered on their bandcamp. Feel free to catch up with them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!
Have you ever just been in a music rut? Where you’ve played the music you love over and over again so it’s a little worn out but no new music really sounds great either? Continue reading Comfort Zones & Taking Risks
This is where it begins. After several years and too many failed attempts, I finally feel like I have my life together and can start a blog…..
HA, who am I kidding. I don’t think I’ll ever have my life quite that together, but what fun would that be? Answer: it wouldn’t be. However, I think it’s important to realize that you don’t have to have your life together to start a blog and that’s the beauty of it. I’ve been a college graduate for 3 and a half months and I don’t have a full-time job. I work part-time in retail to pay my bills and I have a part time internship doing public relations with a music marketing firm. Sometimes it feels like I’m never going to “make it” in the industry. Every job posting I come across feels like an unpaid internship willing to “pay” you in experience or college credit. Even better is when the others are for an executive position that requires 30 years on the job experience and an impressive resume to back it. It’s been time for me to take matters into my own hands. Hence the blog.
I guess the driving force behind this was that I didn’t want to get stuck in a rut without having some sort of attachment to music. I didn’t want to lose sight of the passion that’s kept me going for longer than I can remember. The first show I went to was the Believers Never Die tour in 2009 with Fall Out Boy, All Time Low, and Cobra Starship. I was a freshman in high school riding in the back of my friends mom’s minivan on a Friday after school to Columbus, Ohio from Cincinnati. It was a 2 hour-long drive and there was nothing but rain forecasted for the night but I couldn’t have been happier. I was seeing my favorite bands for the first time with really good friends and nothing else mattered. That night I jumped and danced harder than I ever had before and I couldn’t have felt more at home than I did in that moment. Thus, the obsession with live shows and finding new music spiraled out of control in the best way.
(Actual photos of 15-year-old me and my friends at BND ’09. Check the JAGK hoodie and heavy eyeliner streaming down my face from the rain.)
I hope that this blog can be a vehicle for me to talk about the artists I love, shows I’ve been to, and generally a way for me to talk about music. Here’s to many many more of these and all the new music that I haven’t heard yet.
Now Listening: Blush – Moose Blood
Photo Credit: Boys Like Girls 10 Year Anniversary Tour @ The Vic (Chicago, IL)