If 2018 Albums Were My MySpace Top 8

*click album title to open the spotify link*

Narrated for You – Alec Benjamin
The voice of an angel and songs that tell ethereal, and often, devastatingly beautiful stories. I’ve been lucky enough to — literally — bump into Alec on Hollywood Blvd. I had just interviewed him a few months prior and recognized him on on the street. I approached him and we walked a bit, chatting. He’s a grounded guy with an old soul. I’ve been waiting for him to drop a full-length album for years and it did not disappoint. It includes a good number of songs he’s released over the years and some newer ones that are equally as powerful. Like I mentioned before, each of his songs tells a different account, and as a good story should, they pull you in both lyrically and melodically.

Kids in the Night – Weathers
There’s nothing I’ve been so smitten with as songs that take me back to cities I’ve loved. This album does just that. It has me dreaming of sitting in the passenger’s seat of a newly refurbished 1960 Porsche convertible touring the Southern California coast. In my opinion, every single track is a work of alt-rock art; atmospheric 80s nostalgia at its finest (see the appropriately titled “1983”). It’s frustrating to me that it was slept on by both radios and critics.

Pray for the Wicked – Panic! at the Disco
These past few years have been the Panic renaissance. As much as I love the older stuff, ever since 2013’s Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die!, things have been, albeit a bit more mainstream, absolutely fantastic. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every song on every album. Not only has Brendon’s voice improved immensely over the years, but I’d also go as far as to say he’s one of the best vocalists of our generation.

I fell in love with The Struts, what seems like, many moons ago. They had just released their debut single “Could Have Been Me” and were working on their first album. I pre-ordered the signed copy from their website and spun it on repeat for weeks. They dropped their sophomore album back in October, and it undeniably lives up to its predecessor. Clearly influenced by the likes of Queen and Def Leppard; vocalist Luke Spiller’s range allows for infinite possibilities song-wise. Unfortunately, the band remains vastly underrated despite being endorsed by rock big shots like Metallica, Foo Fighters, and Guns ‘n’ Roses.

Voicenotes – Charlie Puth
I’m an absolute sucker for Charlie Puth’s voice. I could listen to him for hours upon hours. His debut album, Nine Track Mind, was one of my top played albums of 2016, and dare I say it, this one is even better. Even though he’s considered to be incredibly mainstream and his lyrics can be generic, his songwriting skills are still undeniable. Plus, he absolutely knows his shit. He’s one of my favourite Top 40 artists and I’m really excited to see what he creates in the future.

Youngblood – 5 Seconds of Summer
By far the best album 5SOS has ever produced. The titular track may have been overplayed in shopping malls since its release, but it’s one of those songs that when you hear it again in a few months you’ll love it just the same as the first time. Not only has their sound evolved over the last few albums, but it’s evident they’ve grown as songwriters. Moving on from sappy and generic (and catchy!) love songs that could have pigeonholed them in the boy band category; they’ve created an edgier pop-rock sound with more mature lyrics. I love finding new wave infused gems on these kinds of albums, and “Talk Fast” is no exception; it could have just as easily been recorded by The Bangles or Pet Shop Boys.

Blue Madonna – Børns
Following up his last album was a major feat, but somehow he made the new one even better. Børns is one of my go-to artists for writing inspiration, especially if I’m working on something within the realms of horror and fantasy. His voice gives me chills, and a perfect example of that is “I Don’t Want U Back” which is equally as haunting as it is heartbreaking. I was lucky enough to catch him on tour promoting this album and it was almost like a religious experience; seeing this somewhat androgynous man up on stage swaying back and forth while serenading an audience full of admirers.

Make Your Bed – King Princess
There aren’t many albums — or in this case, EPs — where you can feel the artist’s confidence through their lyrics without it coming off as arrogant. Her song “Upper West Side” gives me visions of being dressed as Holly Golightly and decorating my very own brownstone in New York City. The dream. But that’s not even the best on the album. In fact, out of 5, it doesn’t even crack my top 3. My favourite song is “Holy”, which is the epitome of the confidence I referred to earlier. It’s both haunting and divine. Plus, she’s adored by Harry Styles, and I trust Harry Styles with my life.

By Emily, on December 13th, 2018, under Bands, Personal, Singers // Comments Off on If 2018 Albums Were My MySpace Top 8

6 MINUTES WITH: Honey and Jude

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Motown loving, spicy-food-eating, duet singing, hair champions, pop duo Honey and Jude are bringing something that’s ‘twice as nice’ to the musical world of teens, pre-teens, and excitable soccer moms.

Born and raised in Southern California, Honey and Jude are so LA, it’s silly. Like something right out of Grease, their Danny and Sandy- esque charm keeps things fun and fresh at their LA-area shows.

The title of their first single, “My Stupid Songs,” (2015) says it all.

“It’s that whole ‘I love you’ and ‘I hate you’ thing,” they said. “It’s stupid, and you feel stupid for being that way, but we all do it.”

The release of their debut EP, Summer Fling: Don’t Mean a Thing (2015) has been well received, gaining attention most notably from Music Connection Magazine, who named Honey and Jude in their “Top 100 Unsigned Artists of 2015.”

“There’s a definite commercial appeal to this duo, who exhibit well- trained vocal mechanics,” says Music Connection Magazine. “These performers have great energy, solid song craft and it is clear they’ve got musical theater in their veins.”

The repertoire ranges from bittersweet ballads that nod towards a 50’s era sound in “Not Worth a Song” and the dramatic “I Need You” to edgier songs that make being bad feel right in “Wrong.” And it wouldn’t be Honey and Jude without the over-the-top popalicious anthems like “The Lucky One” and “My Stupid Songs.”

Honey and Jude have collectively played several notable venues such as Hard Rock Cafe, House of Blues, The Foundation Room, and more.

By Emily, on March 28th, 2017, under 6 Minutes With, Honey and Jude // Comments Off on 6 MINUTES WITH: Honey and Jude

6 MINUTES WITH: Desert Tundra

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Desert Tundra is the Alt-Rock alter ego of Virginia native, now Los Angeles based, singer and guitarist Janet Jelena. Bringing together a strong sense of pop, coupled with rock and roll bravado, Desert Tundra doesn’t let the genre define her content. Setting out to confront the anomalies that go with living in the moment her songs span the range of human emotion from unrequited love to hope, anger and loneliness, in addition to issues not usually broached in the genre like body image. On the surface, her songs may seem like your standard rock anthems but at their core they mirror real life closer than they appear.

Jelena grew up in the small town of Herndon, VA, a northern suburb of Washington, DC. As a child of the 90’s she turned to rock, punk, and Riot Grrrl icons like Hole, Bikini Kill, and Le Tigre for their message and passion. From a purely guttural and emotional standpoint both Metallica and Megadeth resonated with her as a teen due to their speed and anger. Her love of music continued to grow and at the age of 15 she picked up her first guitar, a used Fender Stratocaster that her mother bought for her. Soon after that, realizing her daughter’s passion should continue to be encouraged and refined, her mother enrolled her in vocal lessons.

“I told my mom that I wanted to be a rockstar, and she told me “maybe you should start out as a pebble.” It took me years to understand what that really meant,” Jelena recalled.

After various starts and stops, Jelena settled on the path to becoming a solo performer, taking on the moniker of Desert Tundra and forming a backing band of local players. A chance encounter led her to meeting Dan Reynolds and Ben McKee of Imagine Dragons before playing a show in DC where she took this opportunity to discuss with them what it takes to be a band on the brink. She would take many things to heart from that conversation including the notion that the right producer could help make all the difference. She immediately started researching producers in the area and found Jim Ebert, who would go on to produce her first three EP’s and become not only a mentor but a kind of father figure to her. After the release of the third Desert Tundra EP, Jelena started plotting her to move to California, which at the time was against the wishes of her main supporter, her mother. But Ebert told her that that if she truly wanted to be a rockstar, then Los Angeles was be the place to be. So her mind was set, and with only a little bit of money saved in her bank account the cross country journey began.

Sleeping in her car and staying in sketchy hotels to save money, Jelena hit the ground running when she arrived in Los Angeles, quickly putting together a band of SoCal players using the site Bandmix. When her mother found out that she was living in a small one-bedroom apartment with three guys she decided to once again help her daughter pursue her calling. “This was a huge turning point for me,” Jelena says, “She told me that “if this is really what you want to do then I’ll help you.” She is my number one fan, and I will always be grateful to her for that.”

Now with a little more breathing room, a solid backing band and nothing in her way to stop her, Jelena is able to completely focus her time and creativity on Desert Tundra and plans on taking it to the next level and beyond. For the future of Desert Tundra, Jelena sees only limitless potential. “I can take Desert Tundra and go as far as I want,” she says, “This is only the beginning, and the best is yet to come.”

By Emily, on March 7th, 2017, under 6 Minutes With, Bands, Desert Tundra // Comments Off on 6 MINUTES WITH: Desert Tundra


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An orchestra of light, comet trails, electrified synthesis of soul: These are some of the ways to describe the musical apparatus that is Beautiful Machines.

With echoes of retro futurism and flashes of AI-integrated art, this team is painting a picture of an era that does not yet exist. Fully realized through a visceral live experience,

Beautiful Machines is using immersion as a way to unearth & explore the parts of one’s imagination that only music can ignite.

By Emily, on August 1st, 2016, under 6 Minutes With, Bands, Beautiful Machines // Comments Off on 6 MINUTES WITH: BEAUTIFUL MACHINES

6 Minutes With: Vidya Sethu from Heiress to Atlas

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HEIRESS TO ATLAS burst into life when two strangers met over the Internet and decided there was no turning back. The birthchild of Australian singer Vidya Sethu & NY producer Marc Thomas, the electro pop duo captures magic in misery: memorializing heartbreak and alienation with soaring melodies that celebrate being exposed.

Soulful and atmospheric, their sound is sometimes brooding, sometimes restless, always laced with hope. Since the project’s conception in Summer 2014, the duo have gone on to play several venues and events in Los Angeles, including The Airliner, Harvelle’s, Pancakes & Booze LA, Chocolate & Art LA, The Dresden, State Social House & Los Globos. They are currently recording their first EP, Spark, to be released soon.

By Emily, on May 19th, 2016, under 6 Minutes With, Heiress to Atlas, Interviews, Music // Comments Off on 6 Minutes With: Vidya Sethu from Heiress to Atlas