Tag Archives: indie

December Jams

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December Jams

Hellooooo! I have been doing So. Much. Driving lately so I have been listening to lots of music in my car.

BUT WAIT… I thought you only listened to French tapes in your car!

Not anymore. I now listen to my French tapes when I’m getting ready for my day in the morning, instead. And, I have to say, listening to music in my car is way more fun! Here’s what I’ve been jamming out to as of late. And, as always, I have no rights to any of these songs or videos.

As you can see, my above selection is a solid mix of emo, princess pop, and indie – which is exactly how I like it! I am currently LOVING U2’s new album, “Songs Of Experience”, and you can always catch me rocking out to Arcade Fire’s “Everything Now”, as well. And, as per usual, Marilyn Manson and AFI is always a must!

These are my December Jams and I want to hear about all of yours! Who is on your playlist right now? Who has the best holiday music mixes? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

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Moving Past Open Mics With Your Indie Band

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Moving Past Open Mics With Your Indie Band

Sure, there are people out there who are going to tell you that now is the time to be a musician for the simple fact that there are more avenues than ever to explore. But just because there are a lot more ways to get heard does not mean that it is easier. In fact, being an indie band now is probably harder than ever before for the simple fact that there are so many options. Playing yet another gig at yet another tavern hidden way off the beaten track, the kind of place that makes you pay for your own water is not exactly a great way of making it. Don’t believe us, just look at your band’s communal wallet.

However, just because you’re broke and living at your bass player’s mom’s house does not mean that you should give up the dream. That is because you can still make it and live out your dream of touring some far-off country where fans chant your name in their adorable local accents. It is just about following the rules and knowing how to maximize your chances.

Of course, telling you that and then skipping town would hardly be rock n’ roll of us. So, to help you start living the dream and escape your bass player’s mom’s house (No offense, Barbara.), we have pulled together a list of insider tips and tricks. Check it out:

  1. Get To Know Your Fans Like The Back of Your Hand:

Pennies are short and, for some reason, no record labels seem to hang around open mic night’s held in Big Dave’s Garage (lol.). Basically, there is no sign of an advance floating your way just yet, which means your fans are your biggest financial life jacket. That is why you need to make sure that you are giving your fans something for their loyalty and love. Get to know the names of those guys and girls that are always in the front row. Give your fans a way of listening to exclusive music or interviews by creating a band website and then sharing this sort of content there. Share video recordings of acoustic sessions and behind the scenes banter on your social media pages and make sure that you are replying to any comments or messages that float your way. We used the life jacket analogy for a reason because, in the same way, you need to inflate your life jacket by blowing air into it, you need to give your fans something in return for being so awesome.

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 Party over hereeee!

  1. Play Your Strengths As Well As Your Guitar:

Every band has their own strengths, so make sure that you are aware of what yours are and then play to them in every way possible. Just being great songwriters with above average talent and the technical know-how when it comes to uploading your music onto Soundcloud, Youtube, Spotify or whatever else isn’t enough. You need to find other ways to shove your musical abilities into the realms of greatness, and that requires a little bit of magic (aka creativity). If you’re a band that offers more stage presence than the lovechild of Katy Perry and Bruno Mars, then try and play as many live gigs as possible, and maybe even consider getting a residency somewhere. Not only will you get paid, but you will see your star start to rise as more and more people see you. It could be that your sense of humor is your secret weapon, in which case document this and share it, get interviews with niche magazines and little radio stations, and then let this personality of yours show in your music videos. OK Go became famous for their viral worthy music videos, which means that it is totally possible to emulate this approach to success.

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 A cool band name is a must!

  1. Grab People By The Eyes And Ears:

Having a sound that people recognize is one of the most important factors when it comes to carving out some Top Of The Pops like success. But so is having the right visual branding, too. That is why it is worth spending a little bit of time and money (Presumably borrowed from your parents. Barbara, we’re looking at you.) on a graphic designer. This branding of yours is going to be stamped across all of your promotional material – Facebook page profile pictures, website homepage, Instagram, flyers, album covers, t-shirts, USB drives, and pub mic-night posters – and will help establish your place in the industry. Think about some of the greatest and most famous bands to ever walk the boards of the biggest venues. The Rolling Stones, Foo Fighters, Run DMC, Daft Punk. All of these legends created a visual identity so powerful that just their shadows would halt you in your tracks. Basically, get your branding right and you’ll have people want to sport your promotional products, whether t-shirts or posters, and that will spread the good word faster than the flu.

  1. Forget All About A Record Deal. Period.

No one from a record deal is going to turn up at one of your small gigs – or your bass player’s mom’s house (No offense, Barbara.) and hand you the golden ticket that is a record deal. That just isn’t going to happen, nor should you want that to happen. The hard work is there to be enjoyed, used in your music, and make you successful. Most importantly, though, you need to understand that no record label has a secret recipe that guarantees success. They just don’t. Instead, they pick up talent based on their independent success; so they will pick you up based on your independent success. That is what you want. You want to use this as a bargaining chip should the day ever come where labels start to notice you instead of getting snapped up early and dropped or, worse, hung out to dry. Concentrate on what you are doing, focus on your trade and doing your own thing; that is what will lead to success – not trying to chase the money and the labels.

Being in a band is cool. Finding success in something you love is cooler. Prepare for a lot of hard work and with just a little bit of luck, you won’t be crashing on Barbara’s couch for much longer.

Featured Image By: Pexels

New Music, Anyone?

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New Music, Anyone?

Heyyy everyone and happy Hump Day! My taste in music is something that I take great pride in because, I hate to brag, but it’s the best. From alt to rap, girly power pop, and everything in between – my iPod has a little bit of everything. But, I do remain a pretty indie gal at heart with a love for all things emo, of course.

Despite a deep love for music, I will admit that I have been slacking in my new music game as of late. My 64 gig iPod is just about filled to the brim and I don’t have the heart to go through and start deleting beloved songs and pictures. Yet I have an app for the stock market and news that I can’t get rid of? It’s cruel and unusual, to say the least!

Although my iPod is getting the job done, it is getting old, so I have been toying with the idea of upgrading to a new toy with more memory. With that in mind, I have began to commit myself to updating my music library, one album at a time. At one point, my family had a free trial of Serius radio and they had the most amazing indie station on there. Whenever I heard a song that I liked, I would simply write the band name down as a draft text on my phone. Unfortunately, I accidentally deleted that text so I’m basically starting from scratch. Don’t get me wrong, I’m down to update the bands that I already have on my iTunes but I would love to get some new ones on there, too!

I am open to any and all suggestions, as long as they fall under this category: ANYTHING BUT COUNTRY MUSIC!!!

Who is your favorite band at the moment? What is your summer anthem? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Funky Time Jams: Bedtime Music Edition

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Funky Time Jams: Bedtime Music Edition

Whatupppp everyone and happy Hump Day! This Funky Time Jams post is brought to you by my hangover and my deep passion for Bedtime Music. If there’s one thing that I love, it’s falling asleep to some soothing tunes. I have a plethora of go to artists in my vast collection that I play when it’s time to hit the hay for the night and they never fail to send me off to dream land peacefully. The trick to good bedtime music is that it literally has to be “just right”. So here’s my Lil Red Rules to bedtime music before we discuss some tried and true favorites:

  • 1) The music can’t be too upbeat because you don’t want to get hyped up instead of worn out.
  • 2) The vocalist needs to have a voice that soothes you, obviously.
  • 3) Songs with piano playing is always a good thing!
  • 4) The songs need to take you to your pre-sleep happy place.

Alright, here we go!

Enya – Orinoco Flow: Freaking OBVIOUSLY. Out of all of my bedtime music artists, Enya is the one that I play most frequently. I just love her – even though I never understand what she’s singing about half of the time. All I know is that Enya soothes a Lil Red like no other. Her music is pure poetry and it takes me to places in my mind that are good for the soul…shopping in Paris, shopping in London, shopping anywhere. It’s a magical thing. Enya has saved me from many a sleepless night and for that, I salute you.

Coldplay – Speed Of Sound: Of course Coldplay had to be included on this list. I had a difficult time selecting which Coldplay song to feature on here, but then I thought back to yesterday when “Speed Of Sound” came on my iPod when I had it on shuffle and just how much I enjoyed it. I seriously forgot how much I love this song. I’m a really big Coldplay fan – they were my first concert when I was in fifth grade or so. (Richard Ashcroft from The Verve was the opener and they performed “Bittersweet Symphony” together and it was life changing!) My brother chose to take me over his stupid girlfriend at the time and it’s always been one of my favorite memories. I also figure skated to “Talk” during competitions. Coldplay holds a very special, sentimental place in my heart and their music makes me happy – which is why they’re a great band to play before bed!

Cat Power – I Found a Reason: Oh dear lord I love this song – specifically because it’s featured in one of my all time favorite movies, V For Vendetta. Cat Power’s voice is so hauntingly beautiful. Her music is the kind that you would expect to hear in one of those jewelry boxes that I feel like every little girl has when they’re growing up…You know, the kind where you open up the lid and music starts playing and the ballerina or whatever starts spinning around. Those jewelry boxes.

Wolf Parade – Dear Sons And Daughters Of Hungry Ghosts: I know I said to avoid upbeat music before bed, but Wolf Parade is my exception. Spencer Krug’s voice is simply intoxicating and it legitimately puts me under a spell every time I hear it. Maybe that’s why I can listen to them while I’m laying in bed at night and feel sleepy, because I’m under a weird Indie rock love spell. “Dear Sons And Daughters Of Hungry Ghosts” is a fucking brilliant track, and if you’ve never heard of Wolf Parade then this is a perfect song to introduce you to them with. Make sure you pay close attention to the lyrics because they’re fantastic. The video I’m posting is great too because it includes their hit “I’ll Believe In Anything” as well which is one of my all time favorite songs in the history of ever.

Say Hi To Your Mom – Let’s Talk About Spaceships: If you want some really good Indie bedtime music, then Say Hi To Your Mom is one of your best bets. I love this guy too much and I’m actually really excited because I’ve wanted to see him in concert for years and he’s finally coming to Cleveland in October!! HURRAY! “Let’s Talk About Spaceships” was one of the first songs I ever heard by Say Hi To Your Mom and the only reason I even discovered this artist is because years ago when my brother and I were browsing through Best Buy we saw his CD’s and thought his name was absolutely hysterical. I had to investigate his music as soon as I got home and I fell in love. This track opens with one of my favorite lyrics of “And what’s that saying again? They’re only words and words can’t kill me.” I’ve never considered this song one of my favorites but honestly I think it’s safe to say that it’s one of my favorites. I’ve loved it since I was fourteen and I still love it seven years later.

Sufjan Stevens – Detroit, Lift Up Your Weary Head! (Rebuild! Restore! Reconsider!): Once again, if you’re looking for some really good Indie bedtime music, Sufjan Stevens is also a good way to go. “Detroit, Lift Up Your Weary Head!” is probably one of my favorite Sufjan songs for reasons I can’t tell you, because I have no clue why. In the words of Matthew Mcconaughey in those stupid Lincoln commercials, “I just like it”. One of the reasons why I like to play some Sufjan before bed is because all of his songs are quite long, so you can easily lose yourself in the ten minute tracks and before you know it you’re asleep. INDUSTRY! INDUSTRY!

U2 – Sleep Like a Baby Tonight: Okay, 1) Did you honestly think that I would pass up an opportunity to post music by my favorite band in the whole wide world? and 2) The answer for posting this song is all in the name of it. The end. Wait…no, not the end! Because now I have to discuss just how disappointed I am that U2 isn’t coming to Ohio on their Innocence + Experience Tour! So Bono, if you’re reading this: I love you! AND COME TO OHIO!

So there you have it, the Funky Time Jams: Bedtime Music Edition! If you’re having trouble sleeping, definitely give some of these songs and artists a try and let me know how they work out! Who’s your go to bedtime music artist? What songs succeed in making you sleepy? I wanna hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Glass Animals Concert

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Glass Animals Concert

Heyyy everyone and happy Tuesday! So last night I went to see Glass Animals at the House Of Blues in Cleveland with one of my comrades and it was fucking amazing! I’m going to be really honest with you guys…I was very intoxicated so some of the details are a little blurry BUT I do know that Glass Animals absolutely killed it. I also know that I’m never getting too turnt during a concert again so I can fully enjoy it and be able to remember everything about the show vividly. It was raining when we got to the venue and we got there a half hour before the doors opened so instead of waiting in line outside we went to a bar around the corner for drinks. As you guys have gathered by now, I’m a big fat lightweight so after two vodka based drinks I already felt tipsy. This unfortunately didn’t stop me from drinking more at the HOB, AYYY! #whitegirlwasted

Shortly after we got to the venue, the opening band came on. I feel like such a goon, but I can’t even recall the name of them…I mean if they were good I probably would have remembered but they weren’t my cup of tea anyways. They were really techno-y, which I actually wasn’t expecting because I feel like Glass Animals is more indie than electronica, so that was kind of fun because I’ve never been to a techno show before. I dunno, music like that all starts sounding the same to me after awhile, so I felt like after hearing two songs by the opener I heard them all. That’s why I really like Glass Animals, because they have electronica qualities to their music but it’s still distinctively very indie as a whole.

The nice part about this show was that there was only the one opener and then Glass Animals came on. This was great, because there were three openers for The Used when I saw them at the HOB last month and it dragged on for forever. As soon as Glass Animals came on I freaked out so hard! It kind of sucked because we were pretty far back in the standing area so I couldn’t really see the stage even with my concert heels on, but I’m not too worried about it because homegirl was dancing the whole time – everyone was! The lighting throughout the show was dope and all of the good vibes in the audience was amazing to experience. I didn’t take many pictures during the concert because I was dancing (probably very poorly) and I was so white girl wasted that all of the pictures were probably going to be blurry anyways. But take a look at the pics I did manage to snap before I gave up on having my iPod out:

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^^^ AHHHH! Like I said, all of their lighting was rad and they alternated their color scheme a lot throughout the show. They used the green in my featured image photo to open the concert with and then would change the lighting after every song or two. There was deep indigo, red, fuchsia, white, purple, and probably a lot more that I just can’t remember…Whoops.

I haven’t even talked about how the band sounded yet, so let’s discuss! Glass Animals sounded INCREDIBLE live. Their set list consisted of their album ZABA in its entirety and then one or two songs that I hadn’t heard before. They sounded EXACTLY like how they do on their debut album, which was astounding to me because there’s so much going on in all of the tracks that in my head I thought it would be difficult to recreate on stage…Drunk girl thoughts, obviously! It was so cool to be able to experience seeing one of my favorite bands live and having their performance go above and beyond the high standards that I hold them at, because they really are SO talented. There’s not one song on ZABA that I dislike so I was so happy that that was primarily what they performed at the concert, especially because the album is still relatively new.

As my white girl wastedness increased throughout the night, so did the urge to pee. I had to go SO SO BAD towards the end of the concert, so when they closed the show and went off stage for a few minutes before the encore I jumped on the opportunity to go to the bathroom. They had a chair by the sinks that I vividly remember sitting on for some reason or another, but that’s neither here nor there. Anyways, as I finished washing my hands I heard the beginning of “Pools” being played which is literally one of my favorite songs on the planet, so I ran my happy ass back to my companion in the standing area ASAP so that I didn’t miss one more second of it. Hearing “Pools” live was what I was looking forward to the most and it was everything that I hoped it would be AND MORE. It was seriously the perfect encore song to close the night with. What an amazing, incredible, wonderful, terrific show.

So there you have it, my Glass Animals concert experience! If any of you guys have the opportunity to see them live, I urge you to jump on it! You’ll be glad that you did! Is anyone going to a show anytime soon? Who are you seeing? I wanna hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Bombay Bicycle Club

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Bombay Bicycle Club

So I’ve always been quite a big fan of Bombay Bicycle Club, and I’ve been listening to their latest album So Long, See You Tomorrow a lot recently. While working at PacSun we played at least half of this album through out the day, and I would always get so hyped when I would hear them. BBC plays with a lot of different sounds on this album, vastly different than any of their previous music. There’s clear influences of Bollywood on my personal favorite “Feel” and a great attempt at electronica on their first single off of the album “Carry Me”. The Bollywood influences came from lead singer, Jack Steadman’s travels to India and Turkey, and it really is a fantastic effort. I’ve always classified Bombay Bicycle Club as strictly indie rock, however, So Long, See You Tomorrow has made me think otherwise. Previous albums like Flaws and A Different Kind Of Fix stayed in a pretty safe zone of a mellow sound with some occasional indie pop thrown in. So Long, threw all of their previous safety blanket songs out the window with some heavy hitters like Overdone, Home By Now, and Luna. It’s really cool to hear BBC give themselves fully to a cool indie/electronica hybrid sound on quite a few songs off of this album. Hearing Jack Steadman’s lovely human vocals over unique robot-beats makes for a completely unique sound. Bombay Bicycle Club is more to me than just a typical indie band, now that they’ve proven themselves with different genres of electronica, Bollywood, and indie-pop – I mean honestly, tell me you can’t picture their ballad-esque It’s Alright Now on the radio – I dare you. Clear influences of pop music have made the general sound off of So Long, See You Tomorrow much more attainable and crowd pleasing. And let me tell you, this member of the crowd is pleased. Do yourselves a favor and check out their official video for Carry Me. The concept is awesome and the animation is sweet!

All in all, I rate So Long, See You Tomorrow at a healthy 7.4. Where are all my Bombay Bicycle Club fans at? How do you feel about this album? What’s your favorite BBC song? Leave me a comment and let’s chat! -Sarah

Capital Cities

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Capital Cities

One album that I can’t get enough of lately is Capital Cities’ In A Tidal Wave Of Mystery. I like these guys A LOT. And if the only song you know by them is Safe & Sound, then you need to up your game and give their whole album a listen. I’ve had the pleasure of hearing these guys through out the day when I’m at work at PacSun, as we play at least half of this album on our play list. My ultimate favorite song on the album has to be Patience Gets Us Nowhere Fast. It’s so catchy, with an amazing beat. Both gentleman in the Capital Cities duo play the keyboard, and their talent for the instrument is just so evident on this song. The repetitive lyrics are so easy to get stuck in your head, and luckily this song is so enjoyable that you won’t even care.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgylZphRXqA (Here’s the official video for Patience Gets Us Nowhere Fast)

One thing that I really like about these guys is the fact that their vocals are on point. Some bands that focus on an electronica/dance inspired sound sometimes lack vocally. But both Ryan Merchant and Sebu Simonian hold their own very well vocally. Their lack of auto tuned singing is so refreshing amidst a heavy synth sound. Another song that I really like off of A Tidal Wave would have to be I Sold My Bed, But Not My Stereo. At one point at work, we played a remix of this song, but I didn’t know it was a remix at the time. I was so pleasantly surprised to hear the original version on the album! Honestly, this song is so good it doesn’t need remixed at all. Nothing is better than the original, as they say! Try not to sing along to this jam, I dare you! I double dare you to not add in the high pitched “I sold my bed!” in the background of the refrain 😉

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXqqWbnboJ0 (Here’s the official video for I Sold My Bed, But Not My Stereo)

In A Tidal Wave Of Mystery is filled with extremely solid songs cover to cover. It always makes me super happy to hear their song Love Away in the newest Taco Bell commercials too. My favorite food combined with one of my favorite up and comers in one commercial makes for a very happy Sarah! When you listen to this album, make sure you really are listening. There’s so many fun pop culture references made through out a lot of these tracks that will be sure to make you smile to yourself when you hear them.

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Do I have any readers on here that are hip to Capital Cities? What songs do you like? What bands should I listen to next? Leave me a comment and let me know! Have a great night! -Sarah