2014 Top Ten Albums

Just like my posting I did last year, the biggest criteria for me, is it has to be an album that I regularly listen to start-to-finish.  I’m an album oriented person.  While I might have a few favorite singles from groups, a single doesn’t make an album.  So, “based upon what I listened to”, here is my Top Ten List of albums actually released in 2014.  One particular thing that stands out is the lack of male vocalists in what I’m listening to right now.  I’m not seeing a whole lot of bands with album releases in 2014 that have any standout male singers.

1) Sia — 1000 Forms of Fear

Apparently, Sia has been around a few years and has composed several songs for artists.  It wasn’t until I stumbled across her “Chandelier” video on YouTube.  I absolutely fell in love with the video and the choreographic performance.  I ranked this up there with Irene Cara’s “What A Feeling” from the Flashdance movie.  I started listening to more of her new album and loved the whole thing.  She has a unique vocal style, a lot of control, power and tinge of raspiness that reminds me of another singer, Lauren Little from Queen Caveat.

2) Queen Caveat — Manufactured Happiness

Speaking of Lauren Little, Queen Caveat released their followup to their 2012 Slap On The Wrist EP, Manufactured Happiness.  This was a concerted push in effort by the band that really polished their studio sound.  It also showed a little deeper influences in their musical style.  It maintains the energy of their live sound and has carefully crafted and structured arrangements.  “Brave Boy” is an amazing song that is tender and vulnerable tugging your emotions until building up to a goose bump inducing Fleetwood Mac-like dramatic jam by the whole band.  “Breathe” is a very uplifting song that was also released as a beautiful video that highlighted what it’s like to be at a live Queen Caveat show.  Lauren delivers both with authority and concession in this song.  The clean and polished guitar work on this album reminds me a lot of some of The Guess Who, especially the opening of “Spine”.  The EP closes with a never heard before song (by me), “Everyone We Know”, which is a great closer.  This is where Jesse, the drummer, really created a Journey-like complicated arrangement.  This EP also included previously released, and re-worked “Mr. California”.  2015 looks to see the band taking a new direction in their sound, and I’m excited to explore what more this great band has to offer on their next release.

3) Against Me! — Transgender Dysphoria Blues

This was quite a discovery for me this year in this band.  I had never heard of this band before this release.  What a story behind this band and this album.  A borderline punk, emotionally charged sounding album tinged with moments of angst and desperation, but also assertion.

4) Ume — Monuments

Another band I just discovered this year.  A very fast-paced guitar driven album with vocals from Lauren Larson that really reminds me of  Karen O, but with much more powerful vocals, and guitar sound that reminds me of Jimmy Shaw from Metric.  This album has really grown on me as this band also reminds me of Belly from the early ’90s.  Hopefully, they’ll be on the festival circuit this year as they made an appearance at SXSW in 2014.  My favorite track on the album is “Too Big World”, a creepy sounding intro and takes off and has several dramatic moments.  “Chase It Down” also has a great combination of eerie, dark sounding guitars and gentle vocals.

5) Meg Myers — Make A Shadow EP

I discovered Meg Myers nearly 3 years ago through Nico Vega.  I had been looking forward to this release, as it contained songs that had previously only been released as singles in 2013.  The EP opens with “Desire”, which also had a very dramatic and sultry video release that really gets your attention.  As opposed to the blatant, explicit sexuality in a lot of music videos this year, notably, J-Lo, Iggy, Miley and Nikki Minaj, Meg really pulls it off in this video, with the passion of Allanis Morrisette.  Also on this album is the desperation fueled “Heart Heart Head”, which also had a dramatic video in 2013.   The title track starts out with a subtly played guitar, which then erupts into what essentially makes her defining sound.  “The Morning After” shows us that aside from the angry, passionate vocals she clearly shows, she delivers a very tender ballad that acts as a great closer to this EP.

6) AKW — To Be Alive EP

What a gift of an album by this band this year.  I really didn’t think anything would top their 2013 Last Lines release.  This band continues to grow and develop with every release topping the previous.  The opening Little Jay clearly demonstrates a huge overall improvement in their studio sound, not to detract from their previous work, but what a difference.  Sonically reminds me of a combination of The XX, Stars, and the sound that Metric had achieved with their 2012 Synthetica album.  Alex Wisner’s vocals on Little Jay has moments that reminds me of Melanie and the CocoRosie sisters.  “Desperate” really describes the theme I take from this album.  “The Hunt” also really captures the theme of the album, indicative of a wounded heart and damaged goods soul, not worthy or deserving of being loved.  The absolute disappointment and devastation “I’ve lost it again” followed by the slowly upbeat hints of hope gives you an anticipation that all is not really lost.  “Waking Birds” has a really cool poetic feeling to it, taking you on an adventure.

 7) Ida Maria — Accidental Happiness

I discovered Ida Maria purely by chance by the house music I had heard at The Verve in between sets of a show I had gone to.  I immediately wanted to seek out more of her music, as she had this Fiona Apple and Aja Volkman (Nico Vega) sound to her voice.  This album basically implores that you hang on tight for the ride as she takes you all kinds of places with the songs on this EP.  The whole EP rocks, and I’d recommend checking out her other releases as well.

8) Nico Vega — Lead To Light

After a couple of EPs, Nico Vega finally released their long-awaited second full length album in 2014 following their 2009 self-titled debut.  This album contained a lot of material that they had been playing live for a couple of years, so this was highly anticipated.  This album really illustrates the growth this band has seen and is not just the raw, three piece sound of their first album.  Aja’s soulful vocals tell of stories of passion, triumph and life lessons.  They released a beautiful, playful video for “I Believe”.

9) St. Vincent — St. Vincent

I had heard about Annie Clark’s work with David Byrne, but really never checked it out at all, but when her band’s new album was released, I checked it out of curiosity more than anything.  I was instantly impressed with this unconventional sounding album.  Seeing her perform some of these tracks live on TV reminded me of a combo of Devo and Prince.  I listened to this album over and over, probably with “Digital Witness” and “Birth in Reverse” being the highlights.  I would really like to see her at Lollapalooza 2015 if it’s in the cards.

10) Betty Who — Take Me When You Go

This is purely a fun retro-’80s sounding pop album from Betty Who from Australia.  I was glad when this was finally released as I’ve been a fan a little over a year now, and was super excited when they were added to the Lollapalooza lineup.  This is a fun and upbeat album to listen through.  “Runaways” has to be my favorite song on the album.  “Somebody Loves You” really reminds me of something that Whitney Houston would have sung in the late ’80s.

  • Honorable Mention

Pop Up Safety Baby — Livin’ Life With A Smashed Face

Phantogram — Voices

Chromeo — White Women

  • Pleasant Surprises

Courtney Barnett — The Double EP: A Sea Of Split Peas

Bear Hands — Distraction

Kiven — Kiven

TV On The Radio — Seeds

  • Biggest Disappointment

Karen O — Crush Songs

  • Still Hasn’t Grown On Me

Foo Fighters — Sonic Highways


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Inspiration Everywhere

Amateur Disclaimer:  This is my blog.  I am no expert in anything, I have no credentials to speak of.  Anything that I write on my blog is primarily my expression of my experiences and opinions.  Please don’t take this, or anything you read on the internet as official expertise.  This post is dedicated to all those who have ever chased their dreams and done everything in their power to achieve those dreams.  I have met a lot of people in my life and witnessed the pursuits and passions of those people.  I think about what drives people to do what they do.  Some people seem to do it naturally, while others have overcome tremendous challenges.  Things haven’t always been great.  In fact, sometimes, things just downright sucked.  Although, you probably can’t tell how great things are unless you’ve already experienced some tremendous challenges in your life.  It’s easy to get sucked in, and live in that closed-in “dwelling”, especially if you’ve never seen the light of day to begin with.  It’s a hard climb out of that groove, and it’s easy to get knocked right back in.  There’s a sort of comfort in being sad, a familiarity with those feelings are in themselves comforting even though they hurt.  An accomplishment of learned helplessness, leaving you completely paralyzed and numb.  Why does everything have to suck so bad?  Why does all this shit have to happen to me?  Easy questions to convince yourself that these experiences are unique to just you and that they are terminal.  Who are these people where everything just seems to fall in place and everything is just hunky dory for them?  The thing is, a lot of them actually came from deeper, darker places once upon a time.  A lot of them have gone BACK to deeper, darker places, reinforcing that clinging to desperation and dwelling.  But they dug themselves out.  Some came out quickly, some took 20 years.  Some floated along to the comfort of drugs until they reached absolute bottom.  Sometimes, that’s what it takes.  Some found people; some found faith, belief, religion.  There is a world of light out there — and you know it.  It’s easier to deny it.  It’s hard to muster the courage to do what it takes to succeed, especially if you don’t have the courage to fuck up.  Sometimes it’s easier to just sabotage yourself and relinquish any sense of accountability to yourself.  But is that what you really want?  For some force to put you on autopilot, for you to just bounce around, not knowing, not caring where you’ll end up?  Look up at the stars.  They’ve been there a long time.  Just like successful people.  They’ve been there a long time too.  What makes them successful?  What gives them that burning fire, that makes them give it everything they’ve got, because it means that much to them?

I have been a competitive runner for over 30 years.  I have succeeded on many levels, and I have failed, many times.  With running, I learned a lot about myself, desire, determination, discipline, always giving it your best in every race, yet walking away confident that you can do even better the next time.  Having the faith in your preparation and your fight.  I am most inspired by individual athletes, such as runners, boxers, tennis players.  I am also inspired by artists, performers, musicians, poets, writers, journalists.  I am inspired by anyone who pursues their passions to the fullest, and follows through, start-to-finish.

I think about the people I admire, and the people I’ve come to know through various situations or experiences.  I’ve seen them struggle.  I’ve seen them succeed.  I’ve seen them start with absolutely nothing and become everything they desired to be.  There is inspiration everywhere.  Whether it’s outstanding feats or shared expressions of art, it is everywhere.  Learn to see the desire, hard work and passion behind those feats, and you will come to respect them and admire them.

I see Stan Wawrinka winning his first Major Title at the Australian Open this year, Genie Bouchard at 19 years old making it to the Final in the Women’s Draw.  I see Mary Cain, Galen Rupp, Jordan Hasay, Dathan Ritzenhein running for one of my earliest running heroes Alberto Salazar.  I see music artists growing and gaining exposure, hearing themselves on the radio for the first time, touring for the first time.  I see radio hosts through their hard work and relentless research creating opportunities for themselves in the world of radio show broadcasting, one in particular of note I’ve discovered recently, Brody Ramone (http://www.askcbi.org/?p=4085).  I see various bloggers writing incredible snippets of poems and short stories touching the deepest feelings and fears that some can imagine (http://carolinedupuyheerwagen.tumblr.com/).

My running has become quite challenging the past couple of years as I get older yet still try to train as if I’m in my 20s.  This past Fall, I was running at 5:30 in the morning, still dark out, with a bright full moon nearly directly over me, and I kept thinking, wow, the moon, all the stars in the sky, been here forever, and I thought “Today, I’m still here”.  I won’t be here forever, but I sure as fuck am going to make it count.

I am including some links to works of various people and videos of inspiring moments.

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2013 Top Bands Live Performances

2013 was a year where I went to “several” shows in several cities.  I saw over 100 bands this year, mostly local bands.  This is the most live music I have ever gone to in a single year.  In the past I primarily caught Rush on tour whenever they released an album, but I’d have to say it wasn’t until I discovered the band Metric a few years ago before I started wanting to catch more bands, especially at smaller shows, and when I discovered the band Queen Caveat in 2011 that I really started going to a lot of shows, particularly the high energy and close performances of smaller venues (and cheaper prices).  I’m compiling a list of all the shows I attended this year and a commentary (further below) on what I thought were the best this year.  I saw LOTS of great bands and am amazed at them all!

Overall Shows List

2/28 Nico Vega, Imagine Dragons, Atlas Genius (Indianapolis)

3/2 Stellar Corpses, The HANIS Project, Crow Cannons (Terre Haute)

4/5 Pale Horse, Crow Cannons (Terre Haute)

4/6 Smacking Madison, Starskream, Daddy Long Legs, Nation Xero, Backseat Chronicles, Justin Depola Band, Killshot (Philadelphia)

4/10 The Presidents Of The USA, Eternal Summers, You Scream I Scream (Philadelphia)

4/23 ARIA, I Do Declare, The Beautiful Display, The Wake, Aaron Norris, Friend (Terre Haute)

5/7 Evil Beaver, Rollo Tomasi, The Cut-Outs (Chicago)

5/11 Barb Wire Dolls, Dehydrated Vomit, The Gitmos (Indianapolis)

5/24 Barb Wire Dolls, Dumbell, Misunderstood, Feathered Serpent, SWARM (Dayton)

6/19 Goddam Gallows, Crow Cannons, Moonshine Junction, St. Christopher (Terre Haute)

6/24 Misunderstood, On My Honor, Good Luck Varsity (Indianapolis)

7/20 Crow Cannons, Nativemind (Terre Haute)

7/27 Misunderstood, Murnane Tribe, A Shade Of Red, Graphic Violence (Indianapolis)

8/2-8/4 Lollapalooza (Chicago): Drowners, IO Echo, Deap Vally, Brick + Mortar, Crystal Castles, Imagine Dragons, Queens Of The Stone Age, Nine Inch Nails, The Bright Light Social Hour, Beast Patrol, Charles Bradley, Ellie Goulding, Heartless Bastards, Blondfire, HAIM, The Postal Service, Guards, The Orwells, Astro, Wild Nothing, MS MR, Tegan and Sara, Grizzly Bear, The Cure

8/8 Nico Vega, Crash Kings, Bullet Called Life (Chicago)

8/17 Shad Vanatti, Stevie Tombstone (Terre Haute)

8/28 Moonshine Junction, Saint Christopher, Jayke Orvis and The Broken Band (Terre Haute)

8/31 Outlaws and Moonshine, Captain Blood, A Shade Of Red, Murnane Tribe (Indianapolis)

9/27  Mullet Over, Papa J. Otis, Diesel, Crow Cannons (Terre Haute)

9/28  Ten Strip, From These Ruins, Swag, The Hanis Project, Pale Horse, Butcher’s Holler, Brandon Scioto, Bro Ken, Kelly Frost, Jacob McCollough, 180 Movement (Terre Haute)

10/12 Lou Shields, Toe Knee Tea, Shad Vanatti (Terre Haute)

10/26 Crow’s Holler, Lilith On Top, The Hanis Project (Terre Haute)

10/31 Pale Horse Named Death, Ghouls, Butcher Babies, Danzig w/ Doyle (San Francisco)

11/22 Shad Vanatti, Micheal Mutts (Terre Haute)

11/23 Kelly Frost, Shad Vanatti, Austin Lucas (Terre Haute)

12/14 Hailee Venatti & Kayla Burkitt, Shad Venatti, Gus Moon (Terre Haute)

12/20 Moonshine Junction (Terre Haute)

Top Rated Bands Shows

  1. The Cure (at Lollapalooza, Chicago):  I waited nearly 26 years to see these guys live, I staked out a spot all day to make sure I was near the front.  It was very emotional when they took the stage.  Women in the audience were crying during Pictures Of You.  It was a long hot day leading up.  This was probably the shortest set they’ve done in a while as they were limited to just two hours.
  2. Barb Wire Dolls (Indianapolis and Dayton):  Mariah and I went to the Melody Inn in Indianapolis to catch Barb Wire Dolls for Punk Rock Night.  This is the most lively, energetic show I have ever been to.  I was sore the next day from the moshing.  We were so impressed, we drove to Dayton, OH (about 4 hours) to catch them live again at Blind Bob’s a few days later on their last U.S. date of 2013.
  3. Nation Xero (Philadelphia): I saw this band among six others at the Trocadero the first night I was in Philly this past Spring.  I was so blown away by the energy and performance of this band.  This show featured a guest performance Reggie who blew herself up in a glitter filled balloon and popped it, followed it up with walking on broken glass wearing patriotic themed red, white and blue bikini during “Wild American Rose”.  Another song “A Puncher’s Chance” featured Tommy Tobino on a boxing speed bag.  Totally amazing.  One thing I also remember was about two songs into the set, a guy in the audience passed out and landed on his head; it was so loud you could hear it even over the music.  This band puts on an energetic show.  Johnny Xero plays blistering guitar and has the stage front-manship of David Lee Roth or Gene Simmons.  Sam McKee on drums looking like he’s about to explode right into the audience.  If you are on the East Coast area, definitely make it a point to catch this band.
  4. Imagine Dragons (Indianapolis): Saw these guys for the first time touring with AWOL Nation in the Fall of 2012 and also caught part of their set at Lollapalooza (before they lost power), but when they came to Indianapolis a second time, this time with Nico Vega and Atlas Genius, they got to put on an entire 90+ minute set.  The place was absolutely packed compared to just 3 months earlier and what an outstanding performance and atmosphere.
  5. The Presidents Of The United States Of America (Philadelphia):  I accidentally went to the wrong venue at first to see these guys.  I had already paid $25 to get in to the wrong venue.  By the time I realized I was in the wrong place, I only had 15 minutes before the show at the right place.  I left the place, which wouldn’t give me a refund, and ran in pouring down rain and got there just in time for the first band to take the stage.  The Presidents Of The USA had been touring the East Coast and were featuring their debut album in its entirety.  I listened to this album so much in the early ’90s and still managed to remember most of the words.  But these guys put on an amazing show!  The crowd was absolutely nuts.
  6. Nico Vega (Chicago): Saw these guys twice this year, once in February and once in August.  Mariah and I drove up to Chicago just a few days after getting home from Lollapalooza, so we were still kinda in recovery mode.  They had some great bands open up for them, but the show Nico Vega put on was highly energetic.  This is the third time we had seen them, but this was the best one yet.  We got to meet the band afterward which was a huge bonus.  We drove back to Terre Haute and got back in town at 6:15 a.m., long enough for me to take a one hour power nap before going on in to work.
  7. Evil Beaver (Chicago):  Saw Evil Beaver in Chicago in May.  Had some good local bands open up.  For a duo, this band makes a lot of noise with just bass and drums and just goes non-stop.  Evie makes some serious music on her bass.  I had never seen anyone besides Death From Above 1979 who put the bass at the forefront so well.  Got to meet Evie and Slammin’ Sammie after the show.
  8. The Bright Light Social Hour (Lollapalooza Chicago): This was about as good a show as I could have expected from this amazing live band.  I had seen some of their footage prior to going to Lollapalooza and was so excited to see them.  Definitely walked away from their set with that feeling of “Holy Shit!” I totally got sun burnt waiting for them to play as they were the first band of the day.  I was in the front row with a few other die hards.  Love the diversity of the music and really love the old-style Traffic/Deep Purple/Uriah Heep organ.
  9. Daddy Long Legs (Philadelphia):  Saw these guys at the Trocadero as well.  Totally blew me away for just three guys.  Marcus plays an amazing guitar with great vocals and really reminds me of Les Claypool with his stage presence.  All three guys were dressed in white dress shirts and skinny ties.  They don’t have a bass player, rather a unique bass/rhythm guitar.
  10. a Shade of Red (Indianapolis): I had gone to this club Indy Rock House specifically to see Misunderstood (Punk band out of Richmond, Indiana that I had also seen in Dayton with Barb Wire Dolls).  I was amazed by this bluesy, sexy frontwoman who is a pretty amazing singer, surprising sound coming from what seemed like a really young performer.  The rest of the band drummer Sean and bassist Allesandro are an amazing combination that are very tight and are usually having crushing jams among Georgia’s guitar riffs.
  11. You Scream I Scream (Philadelphia): This band opened for POTUSA and is primarily a side project for several members of this band.  The bassist Floyd had this amazing sounding bass on a guitar that he had designed himself.  The keyboard player was wearing a helmet with mirrors, and produced a sound that reminded me of an early ’80s Devo / B-52s sound.  A very entertaining and fun band.  Got to meet most of the band in between sets.  Two of the members are currently working on a great project Violent Mae who released their first EP just this last Fall.
  12. The Gitmos (Indianapolis):  This politically charged punk band out of Indy was a perfect opener for Barb Wire Dolls at the Melody Inn on Punk Rock Night.  The lead singer was all over the stage, barely keeping his balance while propping himself up and literally teetering on his podium like a drunk sailor navigating rough seas, all the while Isis Queen from Barb Wire Dolls right in front of me in a white hoodie just punk-bobbing her head with a big smile on her face.  Crazy and energetic.
  13. Brick + Mortar (Lollapalooza Chicago):  Saw these guys perform at the BMI Stage at Lollapalooza.  What an amazing duo of high energy and performance and definite engaging the audience.  This was one of their biggest shows to date and the audience was very receptive.
  14. Nine Inch Nails (Lollapalooza Chicago):  This is the first time I had ever seen NIN.  The graphics on the moving screens were the most amazing thing I’d ever seen, even more so than what Deadmau5 had put on two years prior.  The sound was absolutely perfect and the audience was not nearly as hardcore as I thought they would be.  They played a lot off the new album along with their earlier classics.
  15. Queens Of The Stone Age (Lollapalooza Chicago): I had just got into this band this year and totally loved their new album.  The only bad thing about this set was that they only got to play 75 minutes.  The sound was incredible.  This band puts on a great live show.  I can’t wait to get into more of their other material.
  16. Moonshine Junction (Terre Haute):  I have seen this band probably a total of six times.  This local band out of the Terre Haute area plays primarily “Americana”, which has a flavor of blues roots, classic country.  Each song they play has a story they share, namely by Shad V on guitar.  Everyone in the band plays a stringed instrument (and has a beard) aside from the pin-up beauty in Stacy B who plays washboard, tamborine and kicks out “strong” vocals.  Their best show for me this year was their final show with their ukulele player Jason who was relocating to another state (for another woman as the band members jokingly kid him).
  17. Crow Cannons (Terre Haute):  This band I’ve seen probably 4 or 5 times in the past year.  A guitar and drum duo with bluesy, even sometimes Jack White-ish guitar, but much more fluid out of guitarist Matt.  The best show I saw them perform was at Matt’s farewell show as he was relocating out of state.  They played an entire 90 minute set and finished up with their traditional, “in the audience” performance of American Chemist with Matt on banjo and Jimmy on donkey jaw.
  18. Michael Mutts (Terre Haute):  Caught this guy doing a solo house show at one of our friend’s house here in Terre Haute.  This was a very unique experience.  Our host and hostess Jimmy and Ellie Caldwell had invited about 20 people to enjoy this very intimate and energetic performance.  I had never heard of Michael Mutts before this show.  He played a mean piano which he kept joking would need re-tuned by the time he was done with it.  He had a couple of local musicians Shad Vanatti (guitar/banjo) and Paul Burkett (sax) join him on a couple of songs.  This guy had great stories to tell, great passion in his voice, really reminded me of Tom Waites in a way.
  19. Misunderstood (Indianapolis, Dayton):  Saw this band open up for the Barb Wire Dolls in Dayton.  I had been a fan of this band for a while, but because they’re from Richmond, Indiana and play a lot of their shows in Ohio, I hadn’t yet had a chance to see them play live.  I was really amazed by the amount of energy this band has.  Lyn-Z Riot is an amazing front-woman for this punk band in which she founded several years ago.  She has a Billy Joe Armstrong swagger with a Joan Jett/Brody Dalle “Fuck with me!” presence.  Saw them play on a few more occasions in Indianapolis and delivered once again, with an original returning to the band on bass after a short hiatus.  This band has a lot of potential and are very hard-working.
  20. ARIA (Terre Haute):  I saw this band at a tiny venue here in Terre Haute, Indiana where pretty much the only people who showed up were people in the other bands that played before ARIA.  It seemed like a sucky night, it was pouring down rain and this venue is kinda like a big garage.  Still, the band came alive when they hit the stage and were amazing.  A very tight, Paramore-like sound to them, but this singer Bianca is quite powerful.  I had a chance to catch them at their merchandise table after the show.  I had been a fan of the band for a few months and was really surprised that they’d actually play a show in Terre Haute.
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Lollapalooza 2014 Wish List


  1. Pearl Jam
  2. Eminem
  3. Daft Punk
  4. Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds
  5. David Bowie
  6. Foo Fighters

All Others

  1. Queen Caveat
  2. Nico Vega
  3. Sky Ferraria
  4. Blood Red Shoes
  5. Sleeper Agent
  6. Grouplove
  7. Arctic Monkeys
  8. Shiny Toy Guns
  9. Dirty Ghosts
  10. Chvrches
  11. The Joy Formidable
  12. Meg Myers
  13. The Beat Dolls.
  14. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
  15. Alabama Shakes
  16. Bastille
  17. Phantogram
  18. Sleigh Bells
  19. Bat For Lashes
  20. Kimbra
  21. Guano Apes
  22. Blink-182
  23. Sick Of Sarah
  24. Sweethead
  25. MNDR
  26. Princess Chelsea
  27. Black Moth Super Rainbow
  28. Broken Social Scene
  29. Cortina Whiplash
  30. Broken Bells
  31. The Naked And Famous
  32. Warpaint
  33. The Ting Tings
  34. Semi Precious Weapons
  35. Yeah Yeah Yeahs
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2013 Top Ten Albums

A lot of publications have put out their top albums lists for the year.  Here is my list of my Top Ten Albums of 2013. The biggest criteria for me, is it has to be an album that I regularly listen to start-to-finish.  I’m an album oriented person.  While I might have a few favorite singles from groups, a single doesn’t make an album.  So, “based upon what I listened to”, here is my Top Ten List

1)  Spreading Rumours — Grouplove

I first heard of this band after Lollapalooza 2011.  I didn’t catch their show, but listened to a few of their songs.  Not bad.  Then this album came out and I couldn’t stop playing it.  An amazingly great sounding album and a highly energetic band.  I hope I have an opportunity to see this band live someday, perhaps at Lollapalooza 2014?

2) …Like Clockwork — Queens Of The Stone Age

Never had paid a whole lot of attention to this band before this year.  I had seen a Facebook post by Shirley Manson of Garbage regarding this album, so I checked it out and was totally blown away and went and bought it that day.  I did get to see these guys live at Lollapalooza this summer.  The ironic thing is I’ve been a big fan of Sweethead for a few years and never knew the connection between these two bands.

3) Random Access Memories — Daft Punk

I was really impressed with this carefully crafted album.  This album really took me back to the Quincy Jones type produced albums.  This album had a lot to offer all the way through.

4)  Last Lines — AKW

This is the third release by this duo out of L.A. and is their best yet.  I am always amazed by each new release that they outdo the previous one.  This short but amazing EP is very addicting.  A lot of passion and poetry in this one for sure.

5)  Bangs — Brick + Mortar

Had been listening to this band just out curiosity.  I then heard they were going to be at Lollapalooza and was blown away by this album.  Brandon has an awesome stage presence and has a Cat Stevens type of tenderness to his voice.  The clarity and power of the drums in their sound is really amazing and reminds me of the drum sound from Rush’s Roll The Bones and Presto albums.

6)  The Paradigm Shift — Korn

I was very glad for this release.  Head is back after a long hiatus from the band.  Path Of Totality was just OK for me, so I was really impressed when I heard this.  Vintage Korn on this album.

7)  Hesitation Marks — Nine Inch Nails

I am not a die-hard NIN fan, but when I heard this album, I couldn’t stop listening to it.  Was very glad to catch them at Lollapalooza as well.  Looking forward to the DVD release of their tour next year.

8)  Night Time, My Time — Sky Ferreira

Just discovered this artist this year.  A little bit of gossipy drama surrounding her this year, but what an amazing album.  She is touring with Miley Cyrus and IO Echo, and as a fan, I’d be going to see HER.

9)  Katta Pillar — a Shade Of Red

I caught this band at a local show in Indianapolis.  This band from Dayton, Ohio has an amazing bluesy guitarist, Georgia Goad, with an amazing stage presence.  But this band has a lot to offer in a jamming drum/bass combo that for some reason reminds me of the tightness and “jazziness” of Toto (don’t know why).  This creates quite a unique sound.  They released their full LP this Fall and is quite good.

10)  Tales Of Us — Goldfrapp

I’ve been a fan of this otherwise “Techno Pop” band for quite a few years, so when I saw the videos of Drew and Annabel, I just couldn’t believe it.  Have been listening to this album over and over ever since.

  • Honorable Mention

Violent Mae — Violent Mae

Dear Youth — No Small Children

1.1 — Dekades

  • Pleasant Surprises

Big Talk — Conway

Silence Yourself — Savages

  • Biggest Disappointment

Mosquito — Yeah Yeah Yeahs

  • Still Hasn’t Grown On Me

Wolf’s Law — The Joy Formidable

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My Earliest Memories in Rock Music

Listed below are the earliest songs that I ever remember hearing growing up in Germany.  I listen to a lot of music from this period, but these are the ones I actually remember at that time.

Oh Well, Fleetwood Mac

Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys, Traffic

The Loner, Neil Young

The Immigrant Song, Led Zeppelin

One Of These Days, Pink Floyd

A Horse With No Name, America

Sour Suite, The Guess Who

Glamour Boy, The Guess Who

Lucky Man, ELP

Black Magic Woman, Santana

I’m So Glad, Deep Purple

Baby It’s You, Smith

Come And Get It, Badfinger

Expecting To Fly, Buffalo Springfield

Whiter Shade Of Pale, Procol Harum

Tuesday Afternoon, The Moody Blues

I’m A Man, Chicago

The Circle Game, Buffy Saint Marie

Big Yellow Taxi, Joni Mitchel

Mercedes Benz, Janis Joplin

Journey To The Center Of The Mind, The Amboy Dukes

Helpless, CSNY

Layla, Derek And The Dominoes

Truckin’, The Grateful Dead

Today, Jefferson Airplane

White Rabbit, Jefferson Airplane

Me And My Arrow, Nillson

Essence Of Now, It’s A Beautiful Day

Aqualung, Jethro Tull

Loving Her Was Easier, Kris Kristofferson

Nice To Be Here, The Moody Blues

Could We Start Again, Jesus Christ Superstar

Ship Ahoy, The O’Jays

Fresh Air, The Quicksilver Messenger Service

I’m A Stranger Here, Richie Havens

Angie, The Rolling Stones

Dirty Work, Steely Dan

Love The One Your With, Stephen Stills

Living In The U.S.A., Steve Miller Band

Freedom Rider, Traffic

Lady In Black, Uriah Heap

Roundabout, Yes



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Lollapalooza 2013 Review


I saw several bands, general summary below, but here is my Top 5 Performances out of 24 bands total that I saw/heard.

Lollapalooza 2013 Top 5 Performances

  1. The Cure
  2. The Bright Light Social Hour
  3. Brick + Mortar
  4. Queens Of The Stone Age
  5. Nine Inch Nails

Honorable Mention

  • Crystal Castles
  • Beast Patrol

Brief Review in the order in which I saw them.


Drowners:  A really good sounding high energy band that reminds me of what The Strokes “could” be live.

IO Echo: Only caught the first few songs because I wanted a good spot for Deap Vally.  IO Echo was pretty good.  I don’t know enough about them, but sounds a lot like a Euro-Japanese techno band.

Deap Vally:  A high energy band who engages the crowd well.  A very nice duo of guitar and drums, sexy.  Lindsay Troy on guitar is no Jack White of course, but they pull it off well.  They have a lot to offer for those wanting to see a lively performance.

Brick + Mortar:  A dynamic duo of bass and drums and high energy.  Lead singer puts on a great show with at times very tender vocals reminding me of Cat Stevens and Harry Chapin w/ drummer going apeshit at times pulling the crowd with him.  Just recently discovered this hidden gem of a band.  Very close to breaking out.  This band connects well with me.

Crystal Castles: Second time I’ve seen them at Lollapalooza.  It’s great now that they have even a bigger catalog, this was one hell of a show.  Alice Glass taking a shot of Jameson between every song, she really gets the crowd going.  The first time she went into the crowd she nearly faceplanted and got mud on the knees of her green stockings.

Imagine Dragons:  Got to catch the first 2 or 3 songs from them before they lost power.  I’ve seen this band two other times, once before they were big, next when they were headlining w/ a 90 minute show.  ID had way too many people there to see them, they should have been on the Red Bull Stage and if the timing were right, they could have been one of the headlining acts.  Bailed early to get good seats for QOTSA.

Queens Of The Stone Age:  Just discovered and got into this band this year when they released their new album.  One listen was all it took.  This damn near all-star band got the short straw by only getting a 75 minute slot.  Even so, it was amazing.  Good to see Troy from Sweethead performing live with them.  Very impressed with them.

Nine Inch Nails:  This was a really amazing performance to me that I think outdid the Deadmau5 light show from two years ago.  This was my first time seeing them live.  20+ years ago, NIN was just a bit much for me, but the Downward Spiral stuff I always liked.  The new material is going to be pretty good.  I was impressed by the diversity in the music.


The Bright Light Social Hour:  This was the show I was expecting from them, and then some!  First show of the day, they were amazing.  This band has a lot to offer from Allman Brothers jam-type to Blondie disco. I walked away from them with that “Holy shit!” feeling after seeing them live.  Can’t wait for their new album.

Beast Patrol:  Recently became a fan of this band through Lollapalooza when creating my lineup.  Really impressed by the great dominance and presence of bass guitar among an 80s sounding guitar duo that even reminded me of Chairlift.

Charles Bradley:  Didn’t actually see this band, but listened to them as I waited in line for meet and greet with Beast Patrol.  A nice brass band with him who kept reminding me of James Brown.  Not bad.

Ellie Goulding:  My biggest disappointment.  I saw her two years ago before she was big and her material was quite different than what she played Saturday. She’s still cute with a delicate voice, but just not what I was looking for in that performance.  She certainly has quite a following now.  She did perform Lights and Your Song which I still enjoyed.

Heartless Bastards:  This was a pretty decent band, different.  Had an amazing bass player.  Lead vocalist/acoustic guitar sounded a lot like Amy Winehouse to me with a Marshal Tucker Band type of feel.  Glad I caught them.

Blondfire:  This band was pretty good, did a good cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams”.  They seem like a really young band that needs a couple more small shows under them.  They have potential, thought they had a great Lolla showing.

HAIM:  This band of sisters seemed like rocking veterans that had a great sound, put on one hell of a co-drum solo and were really excited to be there.  They know how to work the crowd.  Highly talented band.

The Postal Service:  I just couldn’t fathom seeing the labeled “Rockers” Mumford & Sons so I tried to give The Postal Service a fair shake with some of the hype they had been given.  I stayed for three songs.  Just couldn’t do it for me.


Guards:  Pretty good band.  Liked ’em enough to stay for their whole set.  Didn’t blow me away.

The Orwells:  Another “had to see what the hype was all about”. Not bad.  Only stayed for a couple of songs.  Just came across to me as a band that was kinda “overdoing it”

Astro: I only saw them to assess the crowd situation for The Cure at Red Bull Stage.  They weren’t bad.  From Chile.

Wild Nothing:  Camping out for The Cure, checked them out.  The repeated bass lines with dual melody guitars came across as very boring to me and a band who had a vocalist, not a singer.

MS MR:  Pretty good performance by this duo who had some touring musicians with them.  Really like how solid Lizzy’s vocals are and a great stage presence.

Tegan and Sara:  Had a pretty decent, younger crowd there.  It was a solid performance by them like well-seasoned veterans.  Didn’t blow me away, didn’t expect them to.

Grizzly Bear:  This band had some good moments, but had a really hard time getting into them for their whole set.  They had an awesome sounding bass though.

The Cure: I have basically been waiting since High School to see The Cure (1987).  Couldn’t see them when I was in college during the late eighties run, so it was like a dream come true to see them play.  Robert Smith is such an amazing performer, he’s up there with Prince, Bowie, Mercury and MJ for me.  Women in the crowd were crying.  Felt the same amount of significance as I did when I saw Black Sabbath for the first time last year.  Managed to get up to the fourth row.

Bands I’m most looking forward to hearing from again:

The Bright Light Social Hour

Brick + Mortar

Beast Patrol

and they were all brought to you by the letter “B”.  And yes, I did witness an Elmo mylar baloon floating away in the sky, so maybe that will be the last time we ever hear from him (her?)

Catching Nico Vega and Crash Kings in a few days!

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