6 Bands I Def Would Have Seen Had I Attended Warped Tour

I missed Vans Warped Tour, and I regret it entirely. This is the second straight year that I wanted to go but couldn’t get myself to purchase the tickets. My first two Warped experiences were extremely memorable and enjoyable, and I honestly wish I went this year to relive the fun moments and catch some of my favorite bands.

Did I miss getting nasty tan-lines from the scorching sun or extreme thirst that even the coldest of waters couldn’t quench? Nope, but I missed jamming to my favorite bands singing some of my favorite songs.

Here are some of the bands that made me regret not going to Vans Warped Tour this year.

Dance Gavin Dance

Discovering this band a few months before their sixth studio album Instant Gratification in 2015 was the best moment of my life. They quickly became my favorite band (or at least top three since my favorite often changes between them and two other choices), and I’ve been obsessed with them ever since. I saw them for the first time back in March of this year, and it was the most wild concert I’ve attended, which is odd since they aren’t a heavy act at all. They blend post-hardcore with progressive rock, doused heavily in funk. I simply cannot get enough of their jolly, infectious sound.

Sylar

I had always been aware of this young band, but I didn’t fall in love with them until they dropped Help! in the summer of last year. Trading in their blistering metalcore for some polished nu-metal, Sylar instantly became one of the hottest acts around. Shifting from more or less a generic sound to something innovative and fresh was the band’s great accomplishment to this point, and the future is theirs for the taking.

Attila

I was watching these guys at Warped long before I became a fan, and I remember thinking, “Damn, these guys can throw a show.” I’ve been raging to their stuff ever since. Easily one of the most controversial bands out there, Attila never fails to be on the minds of others. Whether you listen because you love it or listen because you hate it, you listen to it nonetheless because Attila is just that different. Their boisterous, vulgar party death metal brand chock full of rapped lyrics and deathly breakdowns is unique to them, and they own it. Led by one of the most well-known vocalists Fronz, the band continues to ascend higher and higher, picking up more fans and haters along the way.

Sworn In

I just recently became infatuated with this band, and seeing them live would have made me die. Sworn In is vicious, dark, and dreary—in other words, they’re amazing. Their unique chaotic style of deathcore is game-changing. Although they catch a ton of hate, they truly are exceptional when you give them a chance. Their latest album is a contender for the best album of 2017, and I don’t say they lightly.

The White Noise

This band is punk af. Yet they do it extremely well because they weave metalcore into it. The White Noise is a new band with only an EP and freshly released album to their name. However, with their growth in a relatively short period, I know for a fact that this band will grow monumentally. They are what Crown the Empire could have been had they not decided to drop Retrograde. In other words, The White Noise is just better now, and I couldn’t get to see them be better.

Emmure

Along the same vein of Attila, Emmure gets a lot of hate. I believe it is because they followed a simple formula and did it extremely well. Yet with a overhaul of the band lineup and more focused approach to music, Emmure dropped one of the best projects 2017 with Look At Yourself. Destroying eardrums with their raucous deathcore, Emmure keeps it real and raw at all times. Unfortunately, I’ve never been able to witness them live, and I spend many moments self-loathing because of it.

 

 

3 Albums I Slept On

There are some albums out there that take more than one or two listens in order for me to fully realize how glorious they truly are. At first, I’m extremely underwhelmed by the artist’s efforts to deliver a great album. I disregard the album for some time until I oddly decide to give it another chance. And that’s when it clicks. The album that I had written off as dull and disappointing has become an album that is remarkable in every facet. It is then that I find myself beating myself up over not noticing the record’s true beauty earlier. Here are a three albums I wholly regret sleeping on.

Sylvan Esso – What Now

With the three singles that this electropop duo released prior to their latest album “What Now”, I must admit I had high expectations coming into it. It was my mistake to expect every song to be as blissfully frenetic as “Kick Jump Twist” and as upbeat as “Radio”. It turned out that most of the album was quite passive and insipid on the first listen. So I quickly cast off the album, only listening to the handful of tracks that were worth playing over again. However, I felt guilty that I had given up on the album so soon. After a second listen, I found myself scooping my jaw up off the floor. The beauty of the album is found in its passive moments. They are perfectly crafted in a fresh way that makes you feel different when listening to it. Not each song is wild like “Kick Jump Twist” and that’s okay. It’s the idyllic moments on “Sound” and “Slack Jaw” that turn heads. It’s the softly rhythmic tracks like “Song” and “Die Young” that balance out the much more rapturous songs on the album. Balance turned out to be the key on this record. The calm tracks made the raucous tracks even more intense and vice versa. This gorgeous album by Sylvan Esso is an eye-opener from start to finish, and I regret rolling my eyes to it the first time around.

Top Vybes: “Sound”, “Die Young”, “Kick Jump Twist”, “Slack Jaw”

Vybes like: Chairlift, Little Dragon

Architects – All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us

The metalcore giants Architects dropped an album that honestly was quite disappointing at first. Each song blended together, sounding like mere imitations of both each other and the previous album. Each followed practically the same formula: spacey atmospherics followed by Sam Carter firing off a few memorable lines before screaming his signature “Blegh!” to usher in the same rapid riff tweaked only slightly. This is what put me off. I found it unoriginal and lazy on the bands part. However, after a second listen, I found myself enjoying this album more than ever. All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us is in no way revolutionary. It’s not Architects adding radical elements to their music. It’s Architects refining their sound and creating an album that is memorable in its intricate details found both in its soft and heavy moments. It is a very cohesive album that really comes to life if you let it.

Top Vybes: “Nihilist”, “Gone With The Wind”, “Phantom Fear”, “Gravity”

Vybes like: Northlane, While She Sleeps

Madeintyo – Thank You, Mr. Tokyo

I gave this album a chance after hearing Madeintyo’s “Uber Everywhere” practically everywhere. It was a breakthrough hit for the young rapper, and I was curious to see how he would follow it up. When I listened to it, it just never caught my attention. I knew tracks like “Skateboard P” and “Mr. Tokyo” were phenomenal, but apart from those two I was left scratching my head. It turned out that all I needed was another couple listens before it grew on me. Each song was great, from the production to his flow. Yea, he may sound the same on every track, but so does Future and he’s one of the top artists in the game as of now. The lighthearted, playful sound of Madeintyo is novel and original in the trap/hip-hop scene. The way he crafts catchy songs on top of K. Swisha’s phenomenal production is infectious and capable of getting anyone singing along.

Top Vybes: “Mr. Tokyo”, “Gucci Polo”, “Skateboard P”, “Untitled”

Vybes like: Ugly God, Nebu Kiniza

Five Grammy Results That Made No Sense

The Grammy’s is American music’s biggest night. Yet not everyone is a fan of the award show. Many cite unfairness in terms of nomination and the showering of awards to the same few artists. This year’s results were no different. In fact, it had its fair share of selections that honestly were deserving of a Nick Young meme. Here’s five Grammy results that made no sense.

Drake winning Best Rap Song with “Hotline Bling”

There’s no doubt about Drake’s track “Hotline Bling” being a banger that eventually got overplayed like most hits these days. The music video—more notably Drake’s dance moves—provided an endless stream of memes for us to laugh over. But to have this song win Best Rap Song? Over solid tracks like “Famous” , “Ultralight Beam”, “All The Way Up”, and “No Problem”? “Hotline Bling” is hardly rap, the same way The Chainsmokers are hardly good. That’s why I had no problem with the track winning Best Rap/Sung Performance, even though Kanye and Beyonce got snubbed for that. The track fits that award. The fact that it won that award should’ve made the committee pick another song for Best Rap Song rather the “Hotline Bling” again.

David Bowie winning three Grammies

I know this man was iconic and influential, but c’mon. The only reason he got those awards was because he died last year. He won Best Rock Performance for his track “Blackstar”, which is puzzling because it beat out the highly successful “Heathens” by Twenty One Pilots. Moreover, Bowie won Best Rock Song with “Blackstar” and Best Alternative Music Album with the Blackstar album. Now he may be worthy for at least one of the last two awards, but the man is dead! Yes, he was iconic, and people can be sad for his passing. But I’m not so sure he cares about receiving three Grammy’s at this moment. Thus, give them to people more alive and deserving.

Maxwell winning Best R&B Song with “Lake By The Ocean”

“Lake By The Ocean” is a pretty good song. But simply enough, I believe it lacks the overall clout and impact of the songs it beat: “Exchange” by Bryson Tiller, “Kiss It Better” by Rihanna, “Come and See Me” by PARTYNEXTDOOR featuring Drake, and “LUV” by Tory Lanez. All of these songs were worthy. The only thing that makes this one make more sense that the other confusing results is that the Maxwell track is truly written with skill and is a pretty good song on its own. Still though. I would’ve much rather had any of the others win.

The Chainsmokers winning a Grammy

It was bound to happen. This EDM duo wrecked charts all of 2016 and seem poised to continue to do it in the future. However, not everyone’s a fan of these guys. Everybody who’s on top has haters, but the Chainsmokers just attract haters. I actually like their music, but I can definitely see where people come from when they say they don’t like the duo. In fact, I am often frustrated with the duo in how they carry themselves and the aura they give off. Nonetheless, they won a Grammy. But Katy Perry, Nas, and The Queens of the Stone Age—all huge names in music—still are Grammy-less. So the Chainsmokers won before those three. Try to let that sink in because I’m having trouble doing so.

Adele winning almost everything

To keep it brief, Adele is an exceptional artist. But the same way people get on ESPN for talking up Steph Curry and ignoring other great players is the same way I disagree with Adele winning 5 Grammies. Yes, “Hello” was a terrific song from a terrific album, but you really have to be blind to not notice the other awesome nominations for each award that Adele got. Look at the list of nominees she beat, and you will realize that she should only have at most 3 Grammies. Topping Beyonce, Rihanna, Twenty One Pilots, and Drake in almost all of the five Grammy categories she won just doesn’t add up to me. Regardless of it being the amazing Adele.

But who cares about all that? Chance won two Grammies. That’s all that matters.

 

Five Artist’s Names That Often Get Mispronounced

There are countless bands and artists out there in the world, looking for anything that will set them apart from the rest. Sometimes they try to create their own genre/sound, and other times they try to be different in terms of style, character, and what not. Most settle for an easier route, which is to simply subtract letters or add symbols to your name. And when you do that, you open up the possibility (and inevitability) of somebody mispronouncing it. Here are five artist/bands who often have their names mispronounced on a wide scale.

6LACK

Underground but quickly emerging artist 6LACK instantly comes to mind. I would be rich if I got dollar for every time I’ve read or heard someone call the mystically dark, R&B/rap artist “six-lack”. It’s pronounced “black”, but the six is just so deceiving that people feel the intense and dire need to pronounce the number. It most likely comes from the fact that he’s from Atlanta, more specifically Zone 6. Now, I’m not going to pretend like I have always pronounced it correctly. In fact, I pronounced his name “slack”, thinking that nobody in their right mind would call themselves “six-lack” and be proud of it. Thus, I creatively mispronounced the name, thinking that it was more artistic. But simply, it’s pronounced “black”, and I, like 6LACK, only wish people would respect that and stop calling him “six-lack” on purpose.

Pvris

This alt rock band who exploded in 2015 and has sinced ruled Vans Warped Tour, toured with Fall Out Boy, and is about to tour with Muse and Thirty Seconds To Mars, is also subject to being mispronounced. Pronounced “Paris” like the French city, the letter v is only supposed to represent the letter a. Most likely because of copyright, the band deemed it fit to simply flip the a into a v. However, this automatically confuses people. To pronounce the v or not, that is the question. When I first discovered the band and fell in love, I went around telling friends to bump that new “Piv-ris”. I know, how foolish of me. However, I took comfort in knowing I wasn’t the only one. Now, I annoyingly correct those who mispronounce. But think about it, “piv-ris” is kinda cool.

The xx

This one should be simple enough. But oh no. This minimalist dream pop group have often been called “the x”, simply having people ignore the blatant fact that there are two frickin’ Xs there. Even worse is people saying “the exes”. Mispronouncing it “the female” due to the fact that two X chromosomes determines the female sex has also surfaced. Okay, nobody’s said the last one to me, but I don’t doubt that someone out there pronounces it that way. It’s “the Ex Ex”. Plain and simple.

Madeintyo

The artist who delivered the hit “Uber Everywhere” also has a name missing letters.The young rapper from Atlanta and Tokyo has a stage name pronounced “Made in Tokyo”. Why he dropped the O, the K, and spaces? I don’t know. But I, like many, had fallen short and pronounced it how it looks: “made-in-tie-o”. I’ve heard it pronounced “made-in-tee-o” and “made into you”. So I feel slightly better about how I mispronounced it.

SBTRKT

I’m not going to front and act like I know this guy’s music. I only know the the track “Higher”. But whenever I saw the artist name on the related artists on Spotify, I was always unsure of how to pronounce it. Do I treat the name as an acronym and say “S-B-T-R-K-T”, or do I string it all together in a jumbled up “sa-bay-ter-kat”? Both are incorrect, and I am ashamed of saying both, just as others should too. It’s easily pronounced “subtract”, and once you see it, you will hate yourself for not catching it sooner.

I know you are guilty of at least one of these. Comment below if you know any other bands or artists that have names that people can’t help but screw up.

image via 6LACK twitter account

Top 5 Artists of the Year

Despite how horrific 2016 was, it was a year that blessed us with an abundance of exceptional music. With great releases from familiar artists like Beyonce and The Weeknd to rising stars like Lil Uzi Vert and The Chainsmokers, we can truly appreciate at least one thing about 2016. But who ruled this year? With so many artists dropping tremendous material, it’s hard to narrow down the top 5. I decided my top 5 based on how momentous the artist’s year was, depending on acclaim, radio play, or chart topping. So no, you’re favorite pop-punk band won’t be on this list, nor will that EDM producer that only makes sub-par remixes. This list contains the five artists that truly dominated this year.

5. The Chainsmokers

Love ’em or hate ’em, the EDM duo destroyed this year. Practically owning the radio with a cluster of infectious singles off their Collage EP like “Don’t Let Me Down” and “Roses”, The Chainsmokers propelled themselves into the forefront of music. Although their music is a light version of EDM, its accessibility is its driving force. Old and young can sing and dance along to catchy songs. Moreover, the songs are extremely athemic; the only way to sing them is at the top of your lungs. And for the haters out there who think The Chainsmokers are whack, we all know you never skip it when it comes up on shuffle.

4. Rihanna

With a slight shift in sound, Rihanna went from blatant pop to dark R&B on  that could possibly be the greatest thing to ever happen. If it wasn’t for her song “Work” that sat atop the Hot 1o0 for nine weeks, we would not have had such an influx of dancehall music. Anti was a powerful album that was bigger than just a catchy island-vibed single. Rihanna showed amazing growth in terms of sound and vocal ability, evident on tracks like “Love on the Brain” and “Higher”. More notably, “Needed Me” was plastered to the Hot 100 for 42 weeks, Rihanna’s longest charting single. Shower a few collaborations with other prominent artists like Kanye West and Calvin Harris, and you can clearly see how much Rihanna ruled 2016.

3. Twenty One Pilots

This band had the biggest blow up of 2016. Yeah, 2015 treated them well with their number one album Blurryface, but this is the year everyone knew who Twenty One Pilots was. With a trio of top 5 singles, a tour or two that basically sold out completely, and Grammy nominations, the band was propelled into stardom. This is due to the band’s cult-like fanbase and their genre-fluid music. More important is the latter, as they seamlessly blend rock, reggae, rap, and pop into one sound that is totally unique to them. Also, their quirkiness is appealing in a music scene that is filled with artists who focus on being cool. And let’s be honest, “Stressed Out”, “Ride”, and “Heathens” were a couple of the best tracks of 2016, both sonically and lyrically.

2. Drake

With one of the most anticipated releases of 2016 as well one of the best releases, Drake truly showed his dominance. Views was a fresh release that gave birth to some memorable tracks. Whether you wish he rapped more or not, the album was exceptional and should be on every “best albums of 2016 list”. Like The Chainsmokers, Drake had practically every song he created this year on every chart. Every time I checked the US Top 50 Chart on Spotify, all I saw was Drake scattered throughout. “One Dance” was the summer song of 2016 according to Official Charts. “Too Good” featuring Rihanna was just that, and don’t forget his feature on Rihanna’s “Work”. Outside of music, Drake was all over the headlines with his brief romance with Rihanna and his terrific Apple Music commercial.

1. Chance the Rapper

This most likely is not a surprise as Chance has carved his name all over this year. If you single-handedly get Billboard to recognize how important streaming is nowadays and allow streaming-only mixtapes to chart, then you owned this year. Super important in that he charted at number 8 on the Billboard 200 with his Coloring Book mixtape, Chance the Rapper made it easier for artists all over. More importantly is the fact that he’s having so much success without the help(or harm) of a label. Chance’s mixtape was one of the most talked about releases from this year, offering him appearances on Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show and Ellen. To deny Chance’s instrumental role in music in 2016 ought to be a crime. Chance the Rapper ruled 2016, and I have absolutely “No Problem” with that.

Background image not mine. All rights to Chance the Rapper and Brandon Breaux.

Best Albums of 2016

25. Illuminate – Shawn Mendes

Splendid sophomore album that truly showcased Shawn’s solid ability in creating songs that make you sing along.

Top vibes: Patience, No Promises

24. Dangerous Woman – Ariana Grande

Fabulous blend of pop and R&B that brings to the forefront Ariana’s angelic vocals while having over half the tracks being worthy of topping charts.

Top vibes: Be Alright, Bad Decisions

23. Blonde – Frank Ocean

Just when I was about to forget about Frank Ocean, he releases an album that is unforgettable in every way, siphoning from a well of good vibes and pure genius.

Top vibes: Nights, Ivy

22. Misadventures – Pierce The Veil

Took them about 4 years to craft perhaps the second-best post-hardcore album ever created. What’s the first? Their second album. There’s a reason that they always sell out venues.

Top vibes: Texas Is Forever, Floral & Fading

21. If I’m The Devil – letlive.

Trading in their notorious craziness for a more powerful “soul punk” vibe, letlive.’s new album shows that change is not always bad.

Top vibes: I’ve Learned To Love Myself, A Weak Ago

Continue reading “Best Albums of 2016”

TOP 5 AMAs Performances

The American Music Awards aired last night, and it was a popularity contest as usual. Drake won a lot, as expected due to his 13 nominations. Hosts Jay Pharaoh and Gigi Hadid kept it light and interesting, especially with Gigi’s impression of Melania Trump. However, the best part of the award show was the performances. But some were better than others. Here’s my top 5 AMAs performances.

5. James Bay – “Let It Go”

Nothing soothes the soul like a song by James Bay. Performing his hit single “Let It Go”, James Bay had celebrities singing longingly and with no shame. Solid performance topped off with his stylish outfit.

4. The Chainsmokers ft. Halsey – “Closer”

The kings of 2016 in terms of radio airplay thanks to singles like “Don’t Let Me Down” and “All We Know”, The Chainsmokers were electric last night as they performed their monstrous hit “Closer” alongside Halsey. Most people were probably focusing on Halsey who was on point vocally as always and rocking a sick buzz cut. The song had everyone on their feet, especially when Travis Barker of Blink-182 whipped out a drum solo as the track took an unexpected variation towards the end.

3. The Weeknd – “Starboy”

The Weeknd was a star last night as he killed it on his banger “Starboy”. The track comes off his upcoming album of the same name, and the performance only makes fans yearn for it to come sooner.

2. Shawn Mendes – “Treat You Better / Mercy”

Canadian native Shawn Mendes simply belted out notes and ferociously strummed his guitar as lights flashed here and there. But that was all that was necessary as each work he sang was chock full of the passion that is easily digestible to listener’s. It was ultimately powerful performance that had me singing along involuntarily.

1. Twenty One Pilots – “Heathens / Stressed Out” Medley

Last but definitely not least is Twenty One Pilots. It’s common knowledge that they throw extraordinary shows with copious amounts of “litness” to appease anyone’s musical palette.Performing an intriguing medley of summer hits “Heathens” and “Stressed Out”, fans and celebrities alike were kept on their toes as the duo weaved both tracks perfectly together. What starts off tame does not end tame as Twenty One Pilots dominated at the AMAs, allowing me to fall asleep satisfied with life.

Watch all the performances below.

http://www.billboard.com/articles/events/amas/7581529/amas-2016-performances-watch

image from AMAs website