July Jitters and Caffine Creativity

There’s no better time to sit down with a cup of coffee and take in the scenery than a month before moving to a different city. And not just any city, The City. My stomach is in knots from due to the excitement and anticipation (and maybe a little of the caffine). The whirlwind of change, although positive, is stressful.

My current dabbling in art avocation for a non profit started out as the perfect gig for me as a rookie photographer. But even that is becoming yet another pressure and my most recent photo job ran my creativity dry.

I needed to wind down, so before the fourth, I took a much needed break to go hide out in the woods and take a bunch of photos of the cabin I often visited in the summertime as a child. It was amazing how every twig and every dilapidated object suddenly became something to reminisce over.

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As much as I am looking forward to the hustle and bustle of urban life, stepping back and getting close to nature again was just the thing I needed to ditch my anxiety and get out of my creative funk.

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Each morning, I sipped a cup of coffee and photographed at my leisure.

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And I quickly realized that the wildlife  makes for a much more patient portrait subject.

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No time is wasted fixing hair or photoshopping skin.

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The beauty is natural and effortless.

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Although, it flies away fast if you don’t have a quick shutter…

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So I enjoyed it while I could and will remember it while studying in the city – a place that has a natural beauty of it’s own.

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I’m sure when I get there, I won’t be left uninspired.

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Monday Metawriting, Anacrostic Awesomeness, and Political Poetry

Today I learned the term for all those little projects I did in grade school attaching adjectives to each letter that made up my name…

Anacrostic– otherwards, phrases, words, or letters that when taken out of a larger body of text, make up a word/words. A good example of this is Edgar Allen Poe’s A Valentine, a “secret” love poem to a woman whose name was coded not-so-discretely into the work.

After a few lame and unsuccessful attempts to find “Frances Sargent Osgood,” in the text, I was instructed to write an anacrostic poem myself. Always hesitant to write poetry, I cringed at the assignment, especially since I had to write about a political topic of my choosing. That meant, I had to think of something a little more interesting than:

Classwork

Always

Requires

Lots of

Yawning

Yay…

I attended a Bernie Sanders rally not too long ago and just recently registered to vote.

bernie logo 1

As a photographer, I was super happy to get some shots of the old guy!

Voting has always been of great importance to me so I am extremely excited that I will be able to participate in the next election. If people don’t vote, then what’s the point of a democracy?

This was the inspiration behind my poem, but I had no idea where to begin.

So I wondered what I would write if I were a rapper. Believe it or not, thinking of my poem as a rap helped my thoughts move along smoothly. If you have never done this before, give it a try! It helps writer’s block.

At the end of it all I got this. I didn’t make it anacrostic, but oh well.:

A Man With A Gun

EVERYONE listens, watches, and cries as

The refugees from Syria run for their lives.

ISIS may choose the next one who dies.

The religious, they pray straight up toward the skies.

 

A man with a gun without his country is dead-

And all these conspiracies have me sick in the head;

Some say the States are merely hanging by a thread

And I’ll never forget what my late grandfather said,

“I fought for this land, this place I call home,

where the people are free to love and to roam.

You MUST fight for your country, your men, and your bread.”

 

“A man without a gun in his country is dead.”

 

They say Bernie, and Hillary, and Trump are the same,

All faux politicians wrapped up in some game

The United States government is ALWAYS to blame

And no people VOTE- my God it’s a shame!

 

How do these people expect to see change

When they don’t use their right that freedom arranged.

A lovely world it would be if all were on the same page.

But no one is sane.

 

My code was a bit more explicit than Poe’s, but we all can’t be that advanced!

 

 

Coffee, Anthropomorphism, and “College Readiness”

As an incoming college student, the enrollment process and stress eating occupies a great deal of my time and  few things seem to hold my attention at school anymore. At this point, I only go because I need to pass Physics and for some reason really love English. I was given a writing assignment last week to personify an object and as half-alive me chugged my coffee, I thought it was only logical that I contemplated my addiction through a letter from the beverage itself.

Which reminds me, (in the midst of writing an essay for SFSU’s totally fun “directed self-placement” assessment) it’s time for a coffee break.

If you’re at all a coffee addict, you’ll understand my anthropomorphic story below. WARNING: this work my contain punny content!

Photo by me: Carly Christine Photography

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  Coffee Break

You were young when you met me, too young for your own good.Oblivious of your affections, you married me to chocolate, a wedding you thought to be so kind and so sweet, that you drank in the romance and savored the flavor of new love.  After my divorce, I became bitter. I drowned myself in sorrow and a promiscuous woman named Lucerne Leche- a most dispassionate girl,  pale white, and as cold to heart as she was to the touch. She said she grew up on a farm and was looking for adventure in the city. I used her up quickly, leaving her high and dry, and forgot about her as quickly as she came.  Feeling like I was fluid, falling, with nothing to anchor me, I found solace in Pot for awhile. But soon enough, my infamous dealer Keurig got into some trouble and I supposed it was time for a change.

When I left Lucerne, a new type of boldness pervaded me. I accepted my dark side and became at peace with my demons.  I even bought a new Arabian cologne that matched my new found confidence. I chose the scent after you- after you told me your favorite dance in the Nutcracker ballet was Arabian coffee.

I never planned to grow old with you.

I always thought you deserved better than me. I wore all the brand names to please you-Starbucks, Pete’s, Temple, but none of that mattered because  you took me anyway, without judgments, day after day, keeping me within arm’s reach. And that love of your’s, well, it swallowed me whole.

You knew I was bad news, all your friends even said so, and perhaps this is what made me more desirable. Intoxicated by my aroma, you inhaled my scent, becoming more and more alert. Oh my dear, I was like a drug to you.  “Happy and alive,” you called the feeling. I’ll never forget the way you laughed, the way you smiled next to me.

We never spoke of it, because in the light, all was well. At night however, you would lay awake, head pounding, heart racing, restless. You’d stay up all night thinking and writing, and pacing, and writing about your thinking. Your mind was buzzing because you couldn’t shake the adrenaline. And when I left the next morning I saw your face, what I had done to you and I simply could not bear it. Your eyes were heavy and your mouth was dry and that pretty little head of yours, struck by a violent migraine.

All because I couldn’t be there for you.

I want you to know that my apologies are sincere and perhaps I should have had more of a filter during our relationship; maybe that would have helped me get clean.

But as it turns out, you my darling, are the one who needs to get clean.

I was your drug of choice and now you must forget about me.
Sincerely, your melancoffee love,

Folgers.

The 20 of ’15 Playlist

I am more than fortunate to say I spent my New Year’s eve in a room full of people I love. After the off key karaoke to “I Love Rock and Roll,” the pounds of food, and something that resembled a Soul Train line,  I watched a pair of my friends dance, eyes locked on one another in the middle of the room as “In The New Year” by The Walkmen played in the background. Another couple sat beside me smiling, and beyond them were people laughing on couches, sitting cross legged on the carpet, all anxiously awaiting the countdown.

Glasses clink, people kiss, fireworks sound…then comes the imminent bittersweet feeling following an end.

“You’re deviled eggs were the last thing I ate in 2015 and the first I ate in 2016!” I laughed at my good friend’s post New Year’s exclamation, feeling oddly flattered by my hors d’oeuvre’s small moment of fame.

Despite the big leaps and setbacks of this year, the most brief and mundane of moments became those I treasured most. The handful of concerts I attended, for instance, not only kept me sane, but reunited me with old friends and surprised me with fun acquaintances. For the other times where there was simply no time or money to attend shows, I engrossed myself in the wonderful new sounds that artists had to offer. Thus, once again, a “20 of…” playlist was born.

1. “(All Afternoon) In Love”- The Vaccines

I’ll admit, I am sucker for a love song. (All Afternoon) In Love, like New Year’s is bittersweet. Although the lyrics describe a broken relationship, the wistful song finds a glimmer of hope in falling in love.


2 . “Put A Flower In Your Pocket”-Arcs

Dan Auerbach, lead singer of the Black Keys made a sweet little psychedelic funk, soul love-child. And it’s fantastic. As a fan of the Black Keys, I was happy to see Auerbach take on a side project this year. The result: something a little more electronic than the Black Keys and unique enough to stand on its own.


3. “Radar”-AudioDamn!

I was attracted to the band’s name before I even learned I liked their music. Not only does the name contain a mild swear word, but it is punctuated with an exclamation mark. What could be more exciting than that? Not to mention I first read it as “AudioDAAAMN!!!” with a little more enthusiasm than necessary. Once I hit play I was greeted with an equally as enthusiastic soul jam that was refreshingly different from other 2015 material.


4. “Me & My Girls” -Selena Gomez

I unexpectedly fell onto the Selena Gomez bandwagon. “Me and My Girls” is a straight forward girl power song fit for dancing. “No jodas nosotras.” Gracias, chicos. 😉


5. “Honeymoon”- Lana Del Rey

Honeymoon as an album was not my favorite, but as a song, it had me mesmerized by the haunting instrumental introduction and bleak lyrics, unbefitting of honeymoon merriment.


6. “The Ground Walks, With Time In A Box” – Modest Mouse

Nothing seems to mix together appropriately in this bizarre Modest Mouse concoction and it is a bit maddening.

“Bring your candy taster, time wasters around
And we’ll fuck with their minds.” Umm…What? This whole song sort of fucked with my mind. The concept of “the world’s an inventor with it’s work crawlin, runnin, squirmin ’round” is intriguing, for sure. The more I listen to this song, the more I feel like it is something akin to the poems in my literature class.


7. “Me Myself and I”- G-Easy, Bebe Rexha

“Oh, it’s just me, myself and I
Solo ride until I die
Cause I got me for life”

Growing up as an only child with a single mother, this was practically preached to me. Perhaps not verbatim, but pretty close. She told me I better learn to love myself, because people will come into my life as quickly as they go. I can only count on myself.


There is also quite a bit to be discussed about greed and fame and their consequences of pain and loneliness. However, the three mentioned lines resonated with me more than anything.

8. “I Love You, Honeybear”- Father John Misty

Perhaps it would be audacious of me to say that “I Love You, Honeybear” is the easily the finest song of 2015? It may sound like a cute piece from a romantic movie soundtrack, but all daintiness is lost when woeful vocals pierce through the dreamlike melody. What keeps the track from being completely depressing is its almost comedic matter-of-fact attitude that is too dry and real to bring a listener down. “Everything is doomed and nothing will be spared” but that’s okay, because he loves his Honeybear. Isn’t that sweet?


9. “Slab of Butter ‘Scorpion'”- Miley Cyrus feat. Sarah Barthel

Flaming lips teamed up with Miley to produce the monster of an album Miley Cyrus and Her dead Petz. Instead of another round of “Party in the USA” tracks, Miley ‘blessed’ the world with genius lines like “I feel like a slab of butter.” Enough said. Wait… Some glitter was harmed in the making of this album.


10. “Mountain at My Gates”- Foals

Trust me that the song is great. But the corresponding video deserves some serious credit. This was the first Go Pro music video I had ever seen and it knocked my socks off. I looked like an idiot spinning around my living room with my phone, but I didn’t care. It was magical.


11. “Genghis Khan”- Miike Snow

“Genghis Khan” is frankly one of those songs that I can’t seem to stop humming everywhere I go. There’s not a whole lot of meat to it, but the hook is really catchy and somewhat amusing. I’m hoping to see some more Miike in 2016.


12. “Sedonna”- Houndmouth

It’s 4:35 am. “Sedonna” is really pretty.

I still don’t know what hue “a Saturday night kinda pink”is…


13. “Losers”- The Weeknd

I will start by saying that any song that includes a horn wins points with me automatically.

What sets “Losers” apart from many other tracks on Beauty Behind the Madness, is the dynamic quality it has. The song begins as more of a soft ballad, crescendos into the chorus, and then shifts to a state of dominating vocals that pose interesting questions: “And now that we’re all grown up, who do we owe it to?” “And now that we all came up, do we lose? Do we lose?” After a life of  growing and advancing, is there anything else to gain once we have reached our respective thrones?


14. “Hello”-Adele

“Hello, it’s me,” still writing.
“I was wondering if after all these years you’d like to meet,” and talk about how great Adele is? This lovely lady broke records with her album sales. She also made me cry with this song. *sniff* Beautiful.


15. “Deja Vu”- Giorgio Moroder, Sia

My guilty pleasure has always been disco or anything that is disco related. DJ Giorgio Moroder collaborated with Sia (from Australia, where all good music can be found) to make this upbeat disco pop track.


16. “Now”- Joywave

“Now” will be the song I remember hearing on the radio most frequently in 2015.


17. “Searching for A Devil”- In The Valley Below

For my 18th birthday, my friend and I went to see these folks live and what a performance! To put it lightly, the lead female singer was a bit frightening-mostly because she didn’t blink enough and every movement she made was delicate, controlled, and almost inhuman. Not to mention, what sounds like a tambourine in this song is actually a chain that she stood stoically shaking. She was lovely though, and she and her husband (the lead singer) had a wonderful on stage chemistry.


18. “Yes, I’m Changing”- Tame Impala

I was tempted to swap “Yes, I’m Changing” for “The Less I know, The Better” from Tame Impala’s album Currents but I found the former to be more applicable to my 2015 reflection. “They say people never change, but that’s bullshit, they do. Yes I’m changing, can’t stop it now.
And even if I wanted I wouldn’t know how.”


19. “Black Sun”- Death Cab for Cutie

I was unbelievably excited when Death Cab for Cutie released an album this year. “Black Sun” got the number two spot on my list before I listened to anything else on this list. One of my favorite bands of all time.


20. “What Kind of Man”- Florence and the Machine

Saving the best for last…”What Kind of Man” by dear Florence- a medley of killer guitar pieces, prominent horns, and striking powerhouse vocals.


Oh, one last thought for the new year: “2016 is the year MGMT re-dominates your mind hole.”         So ready.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2015 in Concerts

Today was the day I finally dumped all of my phone’s contents onto my computer-a relief for the poor Samsung who was storing such an enormous gallery that it was struggling to even function. In the midst of embarrassing friend photos, selfies, and travels I found dozens of videos from concerts I attended this past year. With 2016 only a few days away, I thought scrapping together these clips would be a good way to remember my 2015 musical adventures.

Photographs from these concerts and more can be found at my personal photography website.

 

A Kylie Christmas!

I can vividly remember, back in 2004, sitting in a corner far away from the rest of the kids who were on the playground. In my hands rested one of my most treasured possessions- my portable CD player which contained yet another gem, the Ultimate Kylie collection disc one of two. While most other seven year olds listened to the Jonas Brothers, I played Kylie Minogue tracks obsessively (not as obsessively as Cher, but that’s a blog for later). “Can’t Get You Outta My Head” was the song that first got me hooked which is ironic, because still to this day whenever I hear that song I seriously can’t get it out of my head. It’s awful. Thanks, first grade self!

But when I heard that the  Australian pop beauty released a Christmas album, I knew my holidays were about to be happy. “Kylie Christmas” is a collection of 13 holiday songs, ready to brighten the mood at every ugly sweater party. Take a little time to do some wrapping with Iggy Pop. Wait for Santa alongside Frank Sinatra. As long as you have Minogue’s festive album on hand, you’ll surely be of good cheer!

 

Catfish and The Bottlemen Album Review: The Balcony

The Alt-Rock group Catfish and the Bottlemen has fallen out of love and into lust with the release of their debut album, “The Balcony.”

In 2013, the band made themselves known with the singles “Homesick” and “Rango,” but didn’t start topping charts until the following year when the hit “Kathleen”  topped the US Alt-Rock chart at number 17.

Ditching all traces of hearts and flowers, these Welsh natives channel their inner teenage boy jamming in mom’s garage while still sounding sufficiently grown up. “The Balcony” is upbeat, fast paced, spunky, and thoroughly irritated, with longing. The lyrics are anything but subtle in songs like “Business”, which tell of eager intentions “to get drunk in [the] bedroom,” despite having no time to be friends. A lustful Van McCann belts out raspy cries of exasperated desire in between otherwise clear vocals, desperate to reconnect with a former lover on nothing more then a physical level, for the relationship always just “seem(s) to fall out” when he needs her most.

Even the album artwork emphasizes that the dilemma is physical rather than emotional. What better way to represent the drunken and blinded need conveyed in The Balcony then a headless couple getting physical? The naïve and youthful nature of the album is refreshing and strays from the other serious rather intimate albums in Alt-Rock as of late. So far, Catfish and the Bottlemen have achieved success as the new kids in the genre and will hopefully continue to create pleasing work in coming years.

Nine Nifty Musical Numbers to Note

There is something wonderfully ironic about writing a blog post to avoid other forms of assigned essay writing…  Perhaps all this talk about turning over a new leaf in 2015 and dubbing it my “best year yet” gives me a false sense of security? Procrastination hit me like a freight train this year and has warranted my attention everywhere but where it is needed most. Luckily, I can always count on my trackless educational journey being music filled to make the trek easier.

(Speaking of “Trek”, excuse me while I take a moment of silence for the dear Leonard Nimoy. I will always remember the endless trips to Blockbuster 8 year old me took to watch and re-watch the original Mr. Spock.)

Aside from that tragic loss last week, the first couple months of 2015 have brought promising new tracks just itching to be in a blog post. My wallet is already hurting from expected album purchases…Here are nine nifty musical numbers to note, if you haven’t already:

1. Black Sun- Death Cab for Cute

Watch out, the melancholy Death Cab is back on the road!

2. What Kind of Man- Florence and The Machine

Finally, some Florence with killer vocals and sweet guitar. Been missing this lovely lady since 2012.

3. My Type-Saint Motel

2014’s fun bubbly My Type EP keeps me dancing nonstop! The smooth Indie Prog group, Saint Motel, promises an album later this year.

4. The Ground Walks, with Time in a Box- Modest Mouse

A feisty new single with scrappy instrumentation.

5.  It Is Just What It Is- Guster

A track from Guster’s newest album Evermotion.

6. I Love You, Honeybear- Father John Misty

A song as sweet as honey…more or less.

7. Uptown Funk- Bruno Mars

My biggest guilty pleasure song. Ever. Do me a favor and just try not to dance.

8. Mouth Mantra- Bjork

Bjork’s Vulnicura album is immensely painful because “there is a vocal sadness” conveyed in the tracks that is unparalleled. “Mouth Mantra” along with the album’s other tracks literally sounds broken and should be credited for its uniqueness.

9. Weight of Love- The Black Keys

An intimate single with a bluesy introduction and skillful guitar pieces. As always, the Keys impress.

Bands Who Are Feeling Shaky In 2015

shaky in 2015 bands cover

Coldplay is becoming a cold case. Yeah Yeah Yeahs are feeling like the No No Nos. And U2 might just become U…

After experiencing a successful year with the release of their 2014 album Ghost Stories, the beloved British rock band Coldplay is now saying record number seven just might be their concluding set. In an interview with Zane Lowe, lead vocalist Chris Martin says, “Its our seventh thing and the way we look at it is like the last Harry Potter book…this is the completion of something. Its just a very fun time to be in our band. I have to think of it as the final thing we do otherwise we wouldn’t put everything into it.” Sometime in the next 12 months, fans can expect to see the groups newest release A Head Full of Dreams hit iTunes and store shelves, but their future beyond that remains a mystery.     

Lead singer of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Karen O came out in 2014 saying that the group was on “a bit of a hiatus at the moment,” which many (myself included) dramatized to be their demise. Reading more into her words, we find this is not the case and all the band needs is a little more inspiration to fuel their “yeah!” screaming indie rock fire. “We have to wait to get that urge, get that itch. The time needs to be right and we’re okay waiting for that,” says O.  Even though the most recent Yeah Yeah Yeahs album Mosquito might have left some wanting more, listeners can still find some of the band’s unique sound and energy in O’s first full solo record Crush Songs which I mentioned in my 20 of ’14 post. Sadly, the tracks, recorded long ago almost never found their way to the outside world due to O’s fear of exposing their raw and intimate nature. Thank goodness they did because the reality of the music is heartbreaking, but damn good- at least enough to make me forget my Yeah Yeah Yeahs craving for a little while.  When the band finally gets their feet off the ground again O says, “it’ll be like muscle memory, this unspoken thing between the three of us where it all just…locks in.”

As for U2, the band who sparked 2014’s favorite album controversy, came out with another surprise for fans courtesy of frontman Bono who posted an A to Z New Year’s post  on the group’s website bringing a bit of sad news.  Bono recalls a severe injury he was afflicted with on his 50th birthday writing, “I blanked out on impact and have no memory of how I ended up in New York Presbyterian with my humerus bone sticking through my leather jacket.” “Very punk rock as injuries go,” he jokes.  

 Although the result of the injury may be no laughing matter when it comes to Bono’s future with U2. “It is not clear I will ever play guitar again,” he confesses in an ABC news report. Despite his uncertainty, he concludes his post with a hopeful optimism for the future generation: “As they age, I don’t know if they’ll be playing our music, but if we are still around, I hope to be deafened by the joyful noise of a world unrecognizably better because of the innovations in science, medicine, and equality they bring about. The biggest breakthroughs are always in the way we see the world. We could do with some fresh eyes. On U2 too.”

Perhaps Songs of Innocence will be the last album we hear from U2…If so, at least U2 can say they left off on more than a good note.

 

 

The 20 of ’14 Playlist

 

2014playlist cover

Since today is New Year’s Eve, I naturally started to reflect on my 2014 music selections during the past few days which sparked a ridiculous flood of memories from the past 12 months. So I busted out my Walkman player (in place of my daily Pandora regimen) late last night for a change of pace, listening to anything but 2014 tracks when it suddenly occurred to me how wonderfully 2013 had treated my ears with new favorite albums courtesy of Arctic Monkey’s, The National, and quite a few others. Despite this, I never sat down to craft a “20 of ’13” list and the thought was saddening, because honestly, I couldn’t think of a more appropriate way to look back and document my year than through my most resected and favored tunes.

The “20 of…Playlist” is back and here to stay!

1. “Who We Are”- Switchfoot

This track was one of the first new songs I came across in 2014 and  I almost didn’t recognize the band Switchfoot when I heard “Who We Are.” Their change of sound was a pleasant surprise. The track was  light, airy, and summed up my youthful “wide-eyed innocence.” 2014  had just begun and there was “still time enough to choose who we are.” (Looks like I’ll still be trying to figure out that one in 2015…)

2. “The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)”- U2

Ah U2…they caused a ruckus this year by releasing their lastest album Songs of Innocence for free. The contraverrsy is still somewhat puzzling to me, because U2 made a decision they felt was right for them, therefore, the Black Keys frontman or anyone else for that matter should leave the band be. Who wouldn’t appreciate free music? As for me, having access to a free album online  is not going to stop me (a CD collector) from investing in the record. U2 is an enjoyable rock band, so forgive them for trying to spread musical joy. “The Miracle of Joey Ramone” is a passionate U2 number with expressive vocals. The not too harsh yet solid guitar jams make the track catchy and radio ready.

3. “Fever”- The Black Keys

“Fever”  hit the FM like wildfire but the rest of the record seemed to get tucked away. Admittedly, the Black Keys’ 2014 album Turn Blue was not my favorite, but definitely not a total bust. “Fever” is one of those songs that takes a couple listens to grow on you and can be appreciated for deviating from the Keys’ artistic norms. I was fortunate enough to attend the Turn Blue concert at Arco Arena for  my birthday (I don’t care what people say, it will always be Arco) where they played mostly hits from El Camino and Brothers. Background graphics and a rather long encore were the icing on  the Black Keys cake. Even my friend who enjoys criticizing my taste was bobbing his head at  the concert.  So if you take anything away from this ridiculously long list, know that the Keys are excellent live.

4. “Fall In Love”- Phantogram

Dare I say, I fell in love in 2014?…

Well, to say the least, I certainly showed a lot of love for Phantogram this year by sticking songs from Voices on repeat.

5. “I Never Learn”- Lykke Li

Whether someone listens to Lykke Li’s gorgeously melancholy tune in 2014, 2015 or years from now, the lyrics to “I Never Learn” hold an infallible truth to which any human being could relate. Tears, guilt, and pain are unavoidable, yet we do our best to ignore them. Will we ever learn? Perhaps, its best not to, especially if the end result is anything like the melodies of Lykke Li.

6. “Best Friend”- Foster The People

This is probably my top played song of 2014. I was completely hooked after first listen and fascinated with the accompanying video. Models eating models? Thank you, Foster the People.

7.”Klapp Klapp”- Little Dragon

Nothing could top Little Dragon’s Machine Dreams album but she did produce solid work this year that is mechanical, haunting, and a bit alarming (especially when accompanied by the music videos).

8. “All The Rage Back Home”- Interpool

One of my favorite groups, Interpool managed to please, yet again, with sexy vocals from frontman Paul Banks and smooth, catchy guitar pieces.

9.”Lazzaretto”- Jack White

Lets get technical with Jack White’s newest masterpiece (Yes, I’m audacious. I said masterpiece.) It is so perfectly flawed that the sound is both disturbing and electric. Jacks vocals fight the ears of his listeners. A great blend of chaos and skill.

10. “Left Hand Free”- Alt-J

Alt-J is fucking weird. But when their astute attention to odd and disturbing detail  (in songs like “Every Other Freckle”)  combines with an artful instrumental backround, it somehow works. “Left Hand Free” has got to be one of the least bizarre Alt-J songs I’ve heard where the band takes a more bluesy approach.

11.”Guess Again!”- Thom Yorke

Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, the latest album by our dear friend Thom Yorke is sad and evokes feelings of loneliness that somehow leave you fulfilled. It is nothing to special, really, but it is a “listening” album that is thought provoking and noteworthy.

12. “Om”- NehruvianDOOM

A very impressive 18 year old Bishop Nehru has found his way through my headphones this year and I’ve gotta say, its refreshing to hear an upcoming rapper avoiding extensive profanity and degrading lyrics. As a female, listening to Bishop Nehru, I don’t feel the least disrespected and can devote all my attention to  hearing the lyrical stories unfold. He teamed up with the well-known NehruvianDOOM to produce a self titled album that is short and oh-so-sweet. I enjoy “Om” for many reasons: one being that it has a spoken introduction that made me raise an eyebrow in slight confusion.  The overall sound was different, yet classic in the best possible way.

13. “All This Could Be Yours”- Cold War Kids

My fingers are tiring from typing…Its a good song, m’kay?

14. “Do You”- Spoon

After too long of an absence, Britt Daniel is back! Enough said.

15.”Take Me To Church”- Hozier

The radio loved the track this year, as did I. “Take Me To Church” is a beautiful and heartfelt ballad that exudes spirituality.

16.”Mind Over Matter”- Young The Giant

A lot of mind and matter battling took place throughout my personal 2014 and this song was my escape to places far away from Sacramento. It reminds me of all the people and places I have met and missed this year. I am taken back to my trips to New York and recall the matters on my mind during those rainy city days. After more recent trips to LA, those matters seem increasingly insignificant now after being replaced with new matters my mind has to reflect upon. Maybe someday I will get to write about a venture in Tokyo where it snows…

17.”Rapt”- Karen-O

I’ve always felt a strange personal connection to Karen O and I was left frowning after hearing that the Yeah Yeah Yeahs were on a hiatus. Turns out, I had nothing to fear, for Karen’s new solo release  will be more than enough to tide me over until the Yeah Yeah Yeahs dig up a little inspiration. In the meantime, listening to the product of her angst (Crush Songs), I find myself being moved by Karen’s voice more than ever. The tracks are more soothing and dialed down than  typical Yeah Yeah Yeahs songs but still pack an emotional punch that really lets her personality shine through. The recording of Crush Songs gives the impression of Karen being far off into her own world where she coos in a rhaspy voice, ” love is soft, love’s a fucking bitch. Do I really need another habit like you?” while her song “Body” sums up the album with the verse “if you love some body, anybody, there will always be someone else, so make it right for yourself.” Well said, Ms. O.

18. “Passing Out The Pieces”- Mac Demarco

Mac Demarco’s music has a unique  feel and there is a genuine quality in his voice that keeps me listening. In contrast to my musical taste in the beginning of 2014, the end of the year brought me back to more raw sounding tracks, a category in  which Demarco fits into nicely.

19. “Riptide”- Vance Joy

Riptide has been my personal anthem of 2014, being able to perk me up in any situation with its beachy vibes and snappy sound.

20. “Waves”- Sleeper Agent

This song conjures a feeling of closure in me and leave me feeling care free. “In the sticks, we’re bare foot friends. We chew on leaves and quote Huck Finn.” Sounds like typical lovely afternoon in a year that gave us consistently warm weather!

Well, “its over now I suppose…”

Thanks, 2014. Its been a fun ride.