Top 20 Unheard Tracks of 2015

This has been an amazing year for music! Honestly, probably one of the best years for music in a long, long time. But I was thinking...unless you go out and buy CDs or religiously listen to full albums on iTunes or Spotify, you're probably only familiar with the singles that artists released to the general airwaves. If that's the case, you've missed out on tons and tons of great tracks from your favorites artists! 

SO, as 2015 comes to a close, I wanted to share with you some incredible songs that you probably 
DIDN'T hear this year, but SHOULD HAVE!

You may actually recognize a couple tracks on this list, but for the most part, these songs flew under the radar instead of getting the spotlight that they deserved. So here we go: Here are my Top 20 Unheard Tracks of 2015!

Enjoy the list, and I'll see you in the New Year!


20. “Together” by Ella Eyre, Together
This song is probably the most recognizable off this list. Still an underrated gem!





19. “Double Vision” by Prince Royce (feat. Tyga), Double Vision
He’s been bae since I saw him at Ariana Grande’s The Honeymoon Tour. That’s all.





18. “I Got You” by Ciara, Jackie
Jackie was an amazing album to come out of 2015, and her sweet motherhood ballad is not one to be missed.





17. “Lighter” by Miley Cyrus, Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz
I could’ve picked ANY song off of MC’s Dead Petz album and threw it on this list, because not many people took the time to go to SoundCloud and check out her amazing new album! MC gets such a bad rep, but her artistry and talent are off the charts, and “Lighter” is just one of many incredible songs that MC released this year. Check out her full album on SoundCloud when you get the chance!





16. “We Can’t Move To This” by Ellie Goulding, Delirium
I don’t understand why more people aren’t raving about EG’s Delirium! Nearly every song on the album will either move your body or move your heart. “We Can’t Move To This,” ironically, will move both!





15. “Bad For You” by Meek Mill (feat. Nicki Minaj), Dreams Worth More Than Money
One of the main reasons why I like this song is that Nicki Minaj builds off of her incredibly vulnerable Pinkprint persona and harnesses her emotions towards the main man in her life, Meek. “Bad For You” is a downright example of a perfect, modern love song. Also see “All Eyes On You.”





14. “Without” by Years & Years, Communion
Just listen.





13. “Brave Honest Beautiful” by Fifth Harmony (feat. Meghan Trainor), Reflection
I know I’ve written endlessly about Fifth Harmony, so I’ll keep it short: They know their stuff. They know how to throwback and honor their idols, while still blazing a unique trail of their own. “Brave Honest Beautiful” is an incredibly fun song that you need to hear.




12. “Pity Party” by Melanie Martinez, Cry Baby
This chick is literally crazy AF, and I love it. That’s all.





11. “Smile” by Mikky Ekko, Time
If you had a rough 2015, just remember, “Smile. The worst is yet to come.” Powerful song that should’ve topped the charts this year. Check it out! P.S.: Mikky Ekko is the father of my children.





10. “I Was Made For Loving You” by Tori Kelly (feat. Ed Sheeran), Unbreakable Smile
All jokes aside, I want this to be the song that I dance to at my wedding. So don’t steal it!





9. “Stars” by Demi Lovato, Confident
Confident is probably one of the top 3 albums of 2015, in my mind. It’s full of pain, love, and emotion that everyone can relate to. “Stars” is just a feel good song that makes me feel like I can take on the world!





8. “I Didn’t Just Come Here To Dance” by Carly Rae Jepsen, Emotion
Who knew that CRJ could be so sexy and risqué? This song = me.





7. “Iconic” by Madonna (feat. Chance The Rapper, Mike Tyson), Rebel Heart
Any song that has Mike Tyson as a featured artist should be on ALL of the “Best Of” lists. No, but for real, this song is HOT.





6. “New Bohemia” by Transviolet, Transviolet
I have been with this band since the beginning! I absolutely freaked out at U Street Music Hall when they opened for Mikky Ekko. I can’t wait to see what 2016 has planned for them!





5. “Fire N Gold” by Bea Miller, Not An Apology
This may sound like a teenaged-emo track, but this song really, really moved me this year. Whenever I would be feeling down-and-out, I would just press play and remember that I’ve got “fire n gold” in my eyes. So cheesy, but so, so powerful. This is why I love music.





4. “Why Me” by Jess Glynne, I Cry When I Laugh
Jess Glynne has one of the most beautiful voices I have ever heard. She’s the definition of a “hidden gem.” Can’t wait to see her next month at her SOLD OUT show at 9:30 Club!





3. “Love Me Or Leave Me” by Little Mix, Get Weird
If you went through a tough breakup this year…you probably shouldn’t listen to this song. You will cry. But just remember, it’s better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all!





2. “Salvatore” by Lana del Rey, Honeymoon
Honeymoon was the most underrated album of 2015. HANDS DOWN. I was glad to see “High By the Beach” gain traction with some mainstream audiences, but the album as a whole should have gotten way more attention than it did. I picked “Salvatore” for this list, because it amazes me how Lana del Rey can seamlessly make tragedy sexy, while adding a scoop of “soft ice cream” on top.





1. “River of Tears” by Alessia Cara, Know-It-All
Like “Love Me Or Leave Me,” “River of Tears” is another tearjerker. But I HAD to make it number one on this list, because Alessia Cara was the artist that made the biggest impression on me this year. Each and every song on Know-It-All spoke to me in a way that no other artist did. If you were to check out ONE artist on this list, please let it be Alessia Cara. If you're in the D.C. area, make sure to check out her show next month at 9:30 Club!




New Tracks Tuesday - November 24, 2015

It's been a while! But I'm back! It's a holiday week, so I'll keep this short and sweet. Hope you enjoy these tracks as much as I have!

“My Song” – Alessia Cara
Alessia Cara is seriously one of the most underrated singer-songwriters in the field right now. Her music is infused with tremendously valuable wisdom about self-identity and self-love, which has really impacted my life recently. It blows my mind that this 19 year-old has learned lessons that I hadn’t even recognized were potential problems in my own life! You’ve probably heard her massive-hit single, “Here,” a straight-edge narrative about being true to oneself during an eye roll-worthy crowded party, surrounded by people who care only about finding solace in their superficiality. “My Song” is similar in rhetoric. She sings about literally marching to the beat of your own, self-penned drum. She coolly sings, “I may never be what you assume. Don’t want your hooks or auto-tune…Oh and maybe you will learn this when I’m gone: My song will carry on.” This girl has got it down! She is the voice of a nonconformist generation which needs to be heard by people both younger and older than her. I know plenty of people in their 30s and 40s who could learn a thing or two from what she’s teaching. Keep an eye on her. A+, Earworm of the Week



“Hell No’s and Headphones” – Hailee Steinfeld
Hailee Steinfeld is another young artist who carries a nonconformist sentiment. What first drew me to this song was my weakness for electroharmony. If there’s any hint of electroharmony at the beginning of a track, 99% of the time I will favorite/like/download on iTunes/share on FB/add it to a playlist on Spotify/and Tweet the artist….all within 30 seconds of hearing the initial riff. Needless to say, I was pulled in by her voice, but stayed for the message. Again, like Alessia, Hailee draws for the listener a picture of a sad, desperate party scene that she’s anxious to escape. She sings, “I don't judge what's on your tongue. Yeah, I know you're having ‘fun.’ But I'll stick with hell no's and headphones.” So she quietly exits the scene, pops in her earbuds, and goes on her way, content and at peace. Sounds like my kind of girl. Check out her EP when you get a chance. It’s fantastic! A-



“Refuse” – Kevin Garrett
Okay, this is the third song in my post, and I just had a thought. These young millennials are really putting my peers to shame. They are so young, but have their lives more together than most people I know who are 10 or 20 years older than them. They’re aging us and making us look like losers, guys! We need to get our act together. I’ll keep this review brief: Piano. Voice echoes. Crystal clear falsetto. Lyrics like, “People try to change me since my youth. But I refuse.” ‘Nuff said. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that he’s touring with Alessia Cara next year…That’s a show I HAVE to see. A



“Send My Love (To Your New Lover)” – Adele
Let’s face it. For the past few days you have been unable to escape Adele. AND YOU’RE LOVING EVERY MINUTE OF IT! Well, if you’re like me, you are obsessed with this song. Not only does it speak to your soul, but with the right remix, it’s clubworthy! It’s got the charm of a T. Swift revenge track (which makes sense since Max Martin produced it…along with Tay’s “Shake It Off,” “Bad Blood,” and “Blank Space”) with the baseline essence only Adele can exude. 25 is amazing in general, but SML is a standout hit! (Sadly...Adele YouTube audio is limited...So go buy her album and listen to this song for yourself!) A-


Too Cute Beyond Words: “Grown” – Little Mix

New Tracks Tuesday - September 8, 2015

I am LOVING the music I've been reviewing lately. I've noticed that I haven't been giving many negative reviews...BUT THAT'S BECAUSE ALL THIS MUSIC IS FAN-TAST-IC!!!! Hope you enjoy these great, handpicked new tracks!

“Bloodstream”- Transviolet
Transviolet is proving more and more, every day, that they are my new favorite band. They captured me mercilessly with their hit “Girls Your Age,” and have continued to hold me captive with their follow-up “Bloodstream.” On a random note, the music in this song makes me want to run away from the law, in the dead of night, in the woods… Don’t know why I shared that with you, but I cannot hide my true feelings! Anyways! This song is incredibly sexy, and reveals the thinning lines between addiction, lust, and love. They never fail to send chills down my spine. Please check them out! I’m expecting HUGE things to come from them and I do NOT want you to miss out. (Also, they are going on tour with Mikky Ekko in October. You may remember a little, ‘ole duet that Mikky did with a small town girl named….RIHANNA! And that little, ‘ole duet was the MASSIVE HIT “STAY”!!!! It’s a win-win to see him AND Transviolet! You can find out about ticket information on their Facebook page.) A+, Earworm of the Week



 “New Obsession”- Frankie
Wow! Frankie has reinstated my faltering faith in people named Frankie (I’m looking at you Frankie Grande…). This Oakland native’s fresh track “New Obsession” is exactly the song I needed to end this summer with a BANG! Her smooth and cutesy charm will draw you in, but by the chorus you will feel the heavy punch that she’s got behind her voice! In her song, she claims to have “tricks” and “moves,” and let me tell you….SHE DOES! I think I have found a NEW OBSESSION! (pun intended) Can’t wait to hear more of her music soon! A


“Rescue”- ZZ Ward
I’ve heard ZZ Ward’s name thrown around a lot within the last few years, but I never got the chance to check out her music. For some reason, the name threw me off and reminded me of some type of heavy, death metal band. So I naturally stayed away. I’m SO SAD I DID! I could listen to her sweet and crackly voice all day long. If you’re looking to get better acquainted with ZZ Ward, “Rescue” is the perfect song to start with. It’s a powerful, crescendoing anthem about complete and utter dedication to unconditional love. (P.S. Her real name is Zsuzsanna….I HAVE NOW OFFICIALLY PICKED OUT MY FIRST BORN’S NAME.) A


“U12”- Daya
You know when you hear a song that’s so filled-to-the-brim with soul, that you can’t handle it? Daya’s “U12” is a perfect example of when this occurs. The song is drenched in electro beats, but, at the same time, it couldn’t be more emotional and human. Daya takes a simple message about love and transforms it into an electro-R&B, complex movement. LOVE IT! (Also, this song incorporates number play, which I will always and forever be obsessed with. I’ve had Brian McKnight’s “Back at One” on repeat since the 90s…) A-




“My Love Is Strong”- The Furious Seasons
If the band Lynyrd Skynyrd somehow had a love child with Bob Dylan, The Furious Seasons would be the result of that torrid love affair. In “My Love Is Strong,” The Furious Seasons present an original sound to the Americana and folk genre! The vocals are whimsical, but tight, and the lyrics paint a picture of love that can’t be denied. On top of that, David Steinhart on the electric guitar…SICK! Americana and folk music can be an acquired taste for some people, but if you’re new to the genres and are looking to jump in, The Furious Seasons is a GREAT place to start. You may find that your love, too, is strong for them….(see what I did there??) B+



Too Cute Beyond Words: “Gave Me Something”- Jess Glynne

New Tracks Exclusive: The Como Brothers Band

You know that inoffensive, forgettable pop band that your mom RAVES about and makes her feel like she’s hip with the times? The type of band who tries really hard to relate to 18 to 34 year-olds, but in reality they have a strong, unintentional following of parents over 50? That band is most likely The Como Brothers Band

On paper, these two brothers should be fully-realized pop stars. They’re cute, have great voices, and their songs are tight and well-rehearsed. But they are lacking that edge and provocation that would separate them from the innocuous Josh Grobans and Michael Bubles of the world.

When you listen to their new EP Imagination, all you will find yourself doing is making comments like, “Oh, this song sounds like Maroon 5,” or, “Hmm, I hear John Mayer’s style in those instrumentals.” The Como Brothers are kind of a Frankenstein’s monster of male, pop musicians. They take little pieces from every artist and incorporate/imitate them in their own music. I mean, even the letter “M” in their band logo looks exactly like the “M” in Maroon 5’s logo. 

Don’t get me wrong, The Como Brothers Band’s music is pleasing and sounds nice. But, unfortunately, they are extremely forgettable. The only time any personality shone through in the EP was when Andrew Como fooled around with some staccato diction when singing “Tell You I’m Fine.” Other than that, the EP falls flat and turns into a bland, conforming mess. My advice to the two boys: Go back to the drawing table. You two clearly have talent, so don’t be afraid to experiment, to be edgy, and to be original. B-

New Tracks Exclusive: bitter's kiss

OMG!!!! My heart is racing because I just finished listening to an INCREDIBLE album and I’m trying to type as fast as I can because I want to get this out to you all ASAP!!!!!!!!!!! :::Collecting my thoughts and emotions. Breathe::: Okay. Let’s go.

Let me just give you the quick 411 on this artist: 1. Her name is Chloe Baker, and she’s in a duo with her father called bitter’s kiss. 2. Lana del Rey’s voice/melancholy + Lorde’s instrumentals + Taylor Swift’s heart and lyrics = bitter’s kiss. 3. I was brought to tears twice listening to her debut album, (also called) bitter’s kiss.

Okay, now that I’ve pulled myself together, here’s the review:


bitter’s kiss is full of paradoxes, emotional twists and turns, and complete infusions of actual life. My jaw dropped when I read that Chloe has only been taking music seriously within the last couple years and cranked out this album within a few months. My jaw dropped AGAIN when I came to the conclusion that she didn’t have any big-name writers or producers backing her up while putting together this album. That fact is astounding because the music sounds and feels absolutely polished and professional, and quite frankly, ready for the airwaves!

Chloe is the sort of artist that can sing about a simple, happy situation but make you only feel sadness and a bit of dread. On the flip side, she can also do the reverse; sing about sadness but still give off an aura of hope. For example, in the song “Love Won’t Make You Cry,” Chloe sings about the happiness that love brings into your life. But throughout the whole song, her voice only conveyed the opposite. Though she doesn’t outright say it, she completely blasts the idealism of love, without saying one negative thing about it. “Love Won’t Make You Cry” reveals that love has only brought her pain and sadness. It’s kind of cool, because if you take the song’s message at face value, it would be a go-to for a content and happy lover. But it can also be a go-to for the brokenhearted. DO YOU SEE HOW AMAZING THAT IS?! THAT ONE SONG CAN MEAN TWO DIFFERENT THINGS TO TWO COMPLETELY DIFFERENT SETS OF PEOPLE!? THIS IS THE DEFINTION OF THE POWER OF MUSIC! Needless to say, listening to this song was the FIRST occurrence of tears being brought to my eyes.

On the other side of the spectrum, there is the depressive track, “No One Will.” This is a completely pessimistic song about the inevitable doom of love and relationships. For some reason, even though this song blatantly puts love on blast, I found it an extremely hopeful track! The whole time I just imagined Chloe on a soapbox preaching to the masses about the futility of love, only to step down off her box when she’s finished and come unexpectedly face to face with her soulmate. That is the vibe and feeling that bitter’s kiss gives off. This album shows that love and life are never what you think they will be, and that they will always turn your life upside down and crush your expectations, for both the better and the worse. Absolutely incredible.

There’s one last thing I want to say about bitter’s kiss. I always like to conduct a certain experiment when it comes to listening to a fresh artist. I pick a song, any song, and just focus on the instrumentals and the voice, completely tuning out the lyrics and message. I’m always curious to see the effect that the pure notes have on me. I tried this during “Bitter’s Kiss.” This was the second occurrence of tears rising to my eyes.

I’m telling you, this girl has an amazingly unique talent. To have the ability to convey life the way she does is incredibly difficult to achieve, and makes me anxious and impatient to hear more from her as she grows older and experiences more life. A

 
P.S.:

Number of times I used a form of “incredible” in this post: 4
Number of times I used a form of “amazing” in this post: 3

Yes, I’m aware I need to rotate more positive adjectives in my reviews, but I was in a rush and couldn’t wait to share bitter’s kiss with you. It’s an incredibly amazing album (make that 5 and 4)! Make sure to follow bitter's kiss on Facebook and Twitter to stay up-to-date on new music, shows, and what they're up to!

Fifth Harmony's The Reflection Tour Review (a.k.a. Tweens, Screams, and Diva Queens)

Camila. Lauren. Dinah Jane. Ally. Normani. YES. I was able to see them last night in ALL THEIR Mini-Beyonces-in-Training glory!!!!!! If you don't recognize those names, maybe you'll recognize their girl band name: FIFTH HARMONY!!!!

Let me start out by saying that I wasn’t planning on going to see them. But a week ago, I started re-listening to their album Reflection (which is also one of my Flavors of the Week), and I fell in love with them all over again. I made a decision then and there that I HAD to see them! The only problem was getting decently priced tickets, seeing that the show was basically sold out, and the worst seats in the house were going for $200 apiece. Umm, baby boy over here is on a B-U-D-G-E-T and I ain’t got time for that!

Seeing those resale prices made me nearly faint in despair, but I hunted through Craigslist every hour on the hour for five days, holding out hope for a couple miracle tickets. The thing with CL is that a lot of third-party resellers spam and blow up CL with sketchy and overpriced offers. Scrolling through these spammy ads deepened my desperation. But suddenly out of nowhere, a nice little ad appeared and read “2 Fifth Harmony tix for sale. $35 each.” MY EYES NEARLY ROLLED OUT OF MY HEAD! I immediately messaged this person begging for the tickets. He didn't mention the seat numbers/section, but I didn’t care! I blindly offered him $50 apiece to secure these mystery tickets! Come to find out, they were comp tickets, and he wouldn’t know what the seat numbers would be until he picked them up at will-call the day of the show, two hours before show time.

Needless to say, I was taking a major major chance on this dude. I met him on the corner of 13 & F (a block away from Warner Theater), and my expectations were blown out of the water. THESE SEATS WERE SIX ROWS FROM THE FRONT AND WERE CENTER ORCHESTRA!!!! LITERALLY THE MOST PERFECT SEATS IN THE HOUSE!!!!! THANK YOU MAN-WHO-SHALL-REMAIN-NAMELESS!!! I HOPE YOU AND YOUR BOYFRIEND HAD A GOOD NIGHT MISSING OUT ON THE SHOW! One man’s trash is another’s treasure for sure. Not only did I secure perfect seats, I paid WAY below original retail value. SCORE!

So, I rolled up to the theater around 7 or 8 and I yelled to the cabbie, “Yo---“ errrr, sorry wrong story. No, but for real, I got to the theater around 7:30 p.m. There was a line wrapped around the entire block. It was crazy! But funny enough, I felt really
at home with all these giddy preteens shaking and squealing with Fifth Harmony excitement! Now THESE ARE MY PEEPS!

Immediately after getting through the horrendously long line, we were ushered into the lobby of the tiny Warner Theater. I had forgotten how SMALL the place is. The last time I was there was for my 16th birthday to see a Tyler Perry musical (I'm not ashamed of my teenage-TP obsession). Granted, FH is not popular enough to sell out arenas and stadiums yet (but don’t worry, they will be very soon), but I feel like they could have handled a somewhat larger venue, like the Patriot Center (Now recently renamed EagleBank Arena. I do not approve of the name change.). Anyhow, we squeezed between all the tweens and tired, stressed out parent chaperones, and made it to the bar to get our vodka-on-the-rocks on (which I basically inhaled during the walk between the bar and our seats).

After chugging my vodka, we arrived at our front orchestra seats to find them occupied by three little tween girls chatting and obnoxiously giggling over their Instagram accounts. Enter me: “Umm, excuse me ladies. I think you’re in our seats.” Tweens and accompanying eyerolls: “Um. Whatever.”  They then proceeded to scoot down two more seats to let us sit. They eventually were booted from the row due to their unlawful seat hopping. Some advice tweenies: GO BACK TO THE NOSEBLEED, BALCONY SEATS WHERE YOU BELONG! Leave the orchestra section to the adults who worked hard to pay for these immaculate seats (or to the two guys who randomly hit the CL jackpot…but nevertheless!). Apparently, row hopping was a very hip thing to do, seeing as the young crowd seemed to ebb and flow between seats and sections. Kinda annoying. Kinda felt like a bitter, old man. Not cool kids...not cool.

First up was Natalie La Rose! I was actually very impressed with her! Her set was simple and had two very talented back up dancers onstage with her. If you don’t know NLR, she is the artist who sings “Somebody,” which is a current hit on the airwaves. She’s beautiful, inside and out. She has a genuine love for the audience and fans, and her positive spirit literally radiates from within her. Couldn’t have been more happy! A standout moment in her set was when Lauren and Dinah Jane came out and performed “Somebody” with NLR. The crowd went wild over the surprise FH cameo (my ears still haven’t recovered from the piercingly painful preteen shrieks)! I’m usually not a fan of pre-show cameos, because I prefer to see them for the first time when their actual set starts. But I LOVED it when they did it! So great and fun!




The second opener was an artist who I had never heard of before: Bea Miller. She’s a spunky, 16 year-old rocker chick. She was cool. She seemed to be extremely popular with the young girls. It wasn’t until her last song, “Fire N Gold”, that I recognized her music.

OMG! How could I forget this little detail! Both NLR and Bea Miller covered Nick Jonas songs. NLR covered “Jealous” and Bea Miller covered “Chains.” I found that a bit odd, but the NJ thread got stranger as the night went on….You’ll understand what I mean in a second.

After Bea, I was ready for FH! I was pumped!!!! The house went dark. The music started thumping. The audience went nuts with excitement! I knew it was time! Then spotlights shone on a guitarist rocking out in the middle of the audience! A band was jamming with him on stage. I thought, “Wow Fifth Harmony! I love this setup!” Boy, what a letdown. Come to find out they were a THIRD opener called Common Kings, a reggae rock group, that was VERY out of place in the show. They were all probably mid-thirty guys who were trying to look like they were younger, desperately trying to breathe life into a disinterested crowd. It was super awkward. I sat down. Fifth Harmony must have sensed how life-draining Common Kings were, because Dinah Jane and Normani came on stage and started dancing. NOW everyone was on their feet, including myself!


After the Common :::::yaaawwwwwwwn:::::: Kings were done with their set, tour crew members were hustling and bustling on stage, clearing the floor for FH's heavenly arrival. And, ohhhhh, did they ever arrive majestically. You can see the whole opening song below. Their solo, silhouette dance intros were to DIE for! I’m a huge advocate for silhouette dance openers. Nothing better!


I really appreciated the set direction. The back of the stage was a jumbo video screen that they would frequently go up to when singing in unison, before strutting down a mirror staircase to the front of the stage where eager fans awaited!. Lined up from stage
left, all the way up and around the screen to stage right were massive flash umbrellas, which set the DIVA tone to the MAX!

The girls’ live vocals were ON POINT during the whole show! And I was impressed with how they allowed each other to show off their individual skill sets throughout the concert. Very, very mature for them to share the stage equally. You also got a sense of their musical inspirations. You can unmistakably catch them channel Beyonce, Rihanna, Mariah, and Shakira, to name a few. Some people criticize FH for being “copycats” of other artists. I could not disagree MORE! They are starting off their careers right by acknowledging and thanking their predecessors and musical role models. Such class! In the long run, that is only going to be a positive for them. Way to go ladies!

Okay. Each and every one of these girls can dance (Special MVP shoutout to Normani. That girl can DANCE LIKE BEYONCE!). But, there were a few stumbles that occurred throughout the show. During a transition between songs, the girls (in the dark) each stood on top of a chair, getting ready for the lights to dramatically rise for the next song. When the lights went up, Lauren was awkwardly trying to keep her balance and nearly fell off her chair during the first line of the song. Kind of awkward. Also, even though I adore her, Ally’s stage presence is a bit awkward. She ran into a couple of the other band members a few time while dancing. When she's not singing, she seems a bit insecure and unsure of herself. But I know this will go away in due time.

Going back to the Nick Jonas thing…I can’t remember which song it was exactly, but FH covered NICK JONAS AGAIN! It was either “Chains” or “Jealous.” My jaw dropped, because how can they sing a cover that one of their openers performed!?!?! Three NJ covers in one show?!?! And two of the performances were of the same song???? Super strange... Nick Jonas must be blackmailing them or something, because there seemed to be major Jonas brown nosing going on during the whole show. So weird….

Another moment that threw me off was when they showed a long video around the middle of the concert. The girls were off stage, and the audience was left watching this strange, colorful video on the jumbo screen while the a recording of the ladies talking about “being yourself” played over the speakers. It was very long, so I assumed the purpose of the video was to allow FH time for a costume change! Yea, I was wrong. Following the video, they confidently strutted back on stage in the same royal blue outfits. Kind of a letdown, but I’ll give them a pass. Next tour, I expect at least THREE costume changes ladies! Kthanks.

This was FH’s first headlining tour, and they’ve got PLENTY of time to brush up and perfect their crafts. I’ve seen the ladies perform twice before. One time at DC Jingle Ball 2013 and then when they opened for Demi Lovato last year. They have made strides of improvement since then, and I expect them to keep growing musically and doing their thang!


The set list for the night was as follows:


1. "Boss"
2. "Reflection"
3. "Going Nowhere"
4. "Miss Movin' On" / "We Will Rock You" / "Bad Blood" / "Bitch Better Have My Money"
5. "Sledgehammer"
6. "Suga Mama"
7. "Them Girls Be Like"
8. "Top Down"
9. "Better Together"
10. "This Is How We Roll"
11. "Brave Honest Beautiful"
12. "Like Mariah"
13. "We Know"
14. "Who Are You"
15. Either “Jealous” or "Chains" (I forgo which, but they def covered one of those two songs)
16. "Everlasting Love"
17. "Worth It"
Encore: “Body Rock”

Show Highlights:

-Being so freaking close to the stage! I could practically see each individual strand of Dinah Jane’s extensions!

-The confetti cannons at the end were RIDICULOUS! Almost all concerts nowadays end with a dramatic confetti cannon finale. But these cannons literally were dumped on the audience. SO MUCH CONFETTI! IT WAS A CONFETTI WATERFALL. You couldn’t see your hand in front of your face because the colorful little shreds of paper were attacking all of your body’s five senses. Absolutely insane…and I loved it.

-Also during the finale, I loved how all the opening acts (minus Bea Arthur…sorry, Bea MILLER) came to dance and bow out with the ladies. It made the show feel like it came full-circle. Great touch.


-As I mentioned before, Normani was MVP. She clearly has the strongest dance skills in the group, and she really connects with the audience. She did a fabulous job. If any of the FH ladies were to pull a Beyonce in the future and split off with a successful career, it will be Normani.

-Camila was a joy to watch. She was so erratic and giddy on stage, which made the show feel so spontaneous and fun. Props to her!

-Three words: FIFTH. HARMONY. JERSEYS. Black and gold trim and letterings. MUST HAVE ONE!


All in all, The Reflection Tour was a success! Had such a great time and experience, and I can’t wait for the girls to go on tour again! Make sure to buy their album, it is AMAZING! And follow them on Twitter! The ladies are up for a VMA on Sunday, so some really cool things are going to be happening with them! Can’t wait to see what’s in store!

New Tracks Exclusive: Ben Lorentzen

When I’m listening to folk rock, there are only a few attributes that I’m looking for in an artist or band. First, I’m looking for sparkling story-weaving that will take you on a journey from start to finish. Second, I’m listening out for that grassroots sound that has defined folk for decades and decades. Lastly, I’m searching for basic human connection. Though the storytelling can be specific about an issue, event, person, etc., it HAS to be relatable and speak to all hearts.

Listening through singer/songwriter Ben Lorentzen’s new album, America, I felt confused. On one hand, he has mastered his sound perfectly. His instrumentals are haunting, stunning, and downright dazzling throughout the album. The storytelling though, is lacking. In the first half of the album, most of the songs were heavy with repetitious lyrics, and not in a good way. As a result, the stories never get off the ground, and leave the listener with a massive disconnection to the music. It wasn’t that his story or lyrics were too simple (because simple can be powerful). Instead, it was more like there was no story at all. For example, in “The Ugliest Girl in the World,” all we know is that there is a girl, and she’s ugly, poor, and has a black soul. But to the singer, she’s the most beautiful girl in the world. There’s no call to action. Okay, now what do we do with that? Much like the whole album, this track was extremely open-ended and never resolved itself. This can be maddening when expecting to be transported by powerful storytelling.

With the exceptions of “Heap of Ashes” and “Masters of War,” the album left me wanting more from Lorentzen. Maybe next time. C

Dayne's Flavors of the Week

Hi, all!

I've been doing some thinking, lately. I throw so many random things, that I love, at you, and I'm sure it's hard to keep track. So, I've decided to make a bi-weekly column of my flavors of the week! I lay out my favorite, must have items, books, songs, movies, etc., for you, and hopefully you'll find something interesting in my list and want to try for yourselves! You'll be able to find all the listed items in my "Dayne's Flavors of the Week" widget on the right hand side of this page. 

I thought I'd start my first FOTW post by condensing some of my previously mentioned fav things from earlier posts (and some new ones that I couldn't RESIST to share). Here we go!

1. Fifth Harmony's Reflection
If you've been following me on Snapchat (dayneprescott), you'll have noticed my complete OBSESSION with FH! Move over Tay, FH is my jam! I've been following them closely since their debut on the X Factor a few years back, and I'm in love with their music. They keep true to their roots and love to throw back and sample their idols (i.e. Destiny's Child, Mariah Carey, Shakira). Check them out! 

Also, in honor of them coming to the Warner Theater in D.C. this week, I will be doing a daily countdown of my fav FH songs on Twitter and Facebook! Be sure to stop by everyday to see which songs have made my top 7! (P.S., I've already named #7).

2. "Love Myself" by Hailee Steinfeld
In my last Week-ap Wednesday, I listed Hailee's debut track as what I was currently listening to. And, so far, I'm still sneaking it in between my FH jam sessions! Please support this girl's music! She's amazing, and her self-love anthem is one that we all should live by!

3. The Woman I Wanted To Be by Diane von Furstenberg
I am in love with this woman. Besides her innate creativity and talent for fashion, she is simply a great human being. I was moved when reading about her mother's time in concentration camps during WWII, and loved hearing about her many love affairs with the rich and famous. Funnily enough, though she is rich beyond my dreams, she maintains her down-to-earth status, and really enjoys the simple things in life. This woman is a perfect role model for any young girl (or boy), and I highly recommend her autobiography to any lover of literature.

4. Orange is the New Black, Season 1
Anyone who knows me KNOWS that I LOVE Netflix. Particularly Orange is the New Black. Last month I finished season 3 and was BLOWN AWAY!!!!!! If you haven't already, make sure to pick up a copy of season 1 and start binge watching all of the seasons before season 4 debuts next summer! If you haven't watched OITNB, you are missing out! You will love: Crazy Eyes, Red, Poussey, and Black Cindy! You will never think of women's prisons the same (though I'm not exactly sure what your original thoughts were in the first place). 

5. "Clap Snap" by Icona Pop
This new song won my Earworm of the Week a few weeks back. SO SILLY AND FUN YOU WON'T BE ABLE TO HANDLE IT!!!!!!!! With an opening line like, "3, 6, 9, the goose drank wine. The monkey chewed tobacco on the streetcar line," you know you are in for a fun ride.


6. Taylor Swift's 1989
Okay, I'm not going into ANY explanation about this. If you don't already have a copy...SHAME SHAME SHAME!!!!!!!

7. The Affair, Season 1
Season 2 is almost ready to begin, so catch up on this soapy and trippy point-of-view saga of a married man meets married girl in the Hamptons. DRAMA DRAMA DRAMA!!!!! LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!! And the lead, Dominic West...WOOF! See here ----->

8. Fitbit Flex
So I have this theory... If I start working out now, I should be in good shape by next summer, right? I mean summer '15 has come and gone (basically), so it's time for me to accept that. Winter is coming, and I need some motivation if I want to look good for spring break '16! What better way than to get a Fitbit for motivation! Just got mine in the mail, and I'm excited to track my steps (Doesn't it seem like everyone you know is "tracking their steps" or posting pics of their Fitbit app on Facebook???!!! Now I can too!).


9. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
I stumbled on this book in late-2013. It is the first of an amazing trilogy of a bunch of frozen-in-time kids who have supernatural powers, and live with a lady who turns into a bird at random moments. It's bizarre, fun, and hilarious! What is REALLY REALLY cool about this series is that the author, Ransom Riggs, incorporates these bizarre/weird pictures into the story. Every picture is an untouched, real, old photo that he has gained rights to over the years. He seamlessly inserts the pictures into the story which adds a cool flavor to the mix of the series. It's kind of hard to explain, but read it for yourself and you'll understand! So sad, because the final book of the series comes out next month! But I'm looking forward to Tim Burton's adaptation that will be in theaters soon! This series is going to be HUGE in the next year. Make sure to be a part of the conversation early, like a boss!


10. GoPro HERO4 Session
Because of my mild-moderate success on Snapchat (follow me at dayneprescott .....another shameless plug), I really want to invest time into vlogging. What better way to start than getting a GoPro?! Right! I'll let you know how this endeavor goes!

Week-ap Wednesday - August 12, 2015

Hi, all!

So, no New Tracks Tuesday yesterday, but have no fear! A couple of great music reviews of some fantastic bands are coming up! In the meantime, let’s Week-ap!

First, as we enter the middle of August, we are at the halfway point for the #EverythingAugust Instagram Challenge. I am SO impressed with everyone’s participation in this challenge, and your pics are fantastic! I love going through the #EverythingAugust hashtag and liking all the pics for each day’s prompt! Keep it up! If you haven’t been following along or participating in the challenge, START NOW! You can check out each day's prompt here

Second, I apologize for not being that active on my blog or social media recently. I have been going through/initiating some life changes (can’t really reveal yet, but will do soon!), and my time has been precious! But I promise that I will be devoting much more time to The Daily Dayne. Some exciting things are happening, and I can’t wait to share them with you! Until then, here’s what I’ve been up to these last couple of weeks.

What I’m currently listening to: “Love Myself” by Hailee Steinfield
SO, I heard rumors that Hailee Steinfield would be dabbling in music after her breakout singing debut in Pitch Perfect 2. I was a bit skeptical when I heard this news. I mean, yes, the Oscar-nominated actress is BFFs with my girl T. Swift, but would friendship with one of the world’s biggest pop stars really qualify you to be a singer? I admit, that was wrong of me to even ask or think like that. I was wrong. You know why? BECAUSE HER NEW SINGLE “LOVE MYSELF” IS AMAZING!!!!! I was shocked at the production value, the lyrics/message, and her vocal talent in general! This girl can hold her own, and if she cranks out more hits like this one, watch out Tay…. Check out her song. So much fun! As Donald Trump would say, “It’s great. It’s huge. It’s going to be successful.” Listen below:


What I’m tired of listening to: “Lean On” by Major Lazer and DJ Snake
Everyone morning on my ride into work, I devotedly listen to The Kane Show on HOT 99.5. And EVERY morning they give their listeners three song choices, and ask the audience to text in their favorite of the three that they want heard on the radio. The most voted-for-song gets played. Seriously, it seems that Major Lazer and DJ Snake’s “Lean On” is always one of the options, and is inevitably chosen by the listeners for airplay. PLEASE STOP THIS MADNESS! Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Major Lazer. “Bubble Butt” was secretly written about me (Shhh! Don’t tell anyone) …so yea, I have some fondness for ML. But seriously guys, stop texting for Kane to play this song. It’s awful. I can’t describe why. I’m just sick and tired of it. That’s all.

What I finished watching: Bloodline, Season 1 – Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp, Season 1, Netflix
Netflix is on FIRE! In my last Week-ap, I had just finished the first episode of Bloodline. It was really captivating. Long story short, I finished that whole season in two days. I can’t really describe the show’s plot, because it would give too much away, but I will say that this show is a modern-day Shakespearean inspired tale that will keep you dizzy and hungry for more with every twist and turn. After I finished Bloodline, I immediately jumped over to WHAS: FDOC. I was a huge fan of the movie when I stumbled on it back in college. I am happy to report that the show is actually WAY funnier than the movie! The silliness, absurdity, faux-melodrama, and Bradley Cooper will keep you hooked. By the way, I was severely disappointed with how short the season was. Only 8 episodes, not the standard 13-episode seasons that Netflix usually produces. So prepare yourself for the post-show letdown.

What I’m currently watching: Big Brother, CBS
Evicted houseguests are about to trickle into the jury house, so that means we are halfway done with this season. SAY IT AIN’T SO! BB has been my biggest guilty pleasure for the past six or seven summers. It never disappoints (Except for Battle of the Block. I hated that twist.). My favorite part of every season is the moment when the underdogs take control of the house and start picking off their tormentors, one by one. Needless to say, I was extremely happy to see Clay go home last week, and I’m hoping that Vanessa or Shelli will be the next to go. If you haven’t been watching, catch up on demand!


So that's been my week so far. Anything interesting happening with you? I want to hear! In the meantime, I'm off about to snap my "Black and White" best for today's Instagram Challenge prompt. Make sure to take yours too, and hashtag #EverythingAugust! Talk to you soon!

New Single Alert! - Jared Deck's "17 Miles"

When a musician has the ability to capture a relatable vision and feeling of middle class America, you know you’ve got a decent Americana artist on your hands. The interesting thing about Jared Deck is that he could sing about rainbows and unicorns, but through this Oklahoma native’s powerful, gritty voice, you will still hear and feel the emotion of his life experiences. Now, when THAT happens, you know you’ve got an EXCEPTIONAL Americana artist on your hands!

In his new single “17 Years”, Deck paints a vivid picture of the life of a wanderer who’s finally coming home. His imagery is outstanding. With lyrics like, “17 years with a rock in my soul”, “lines on my face and scars on my soul”, and "moving to the beat of the lines on the road”, you can naturally envision a lonely traveler speeding along an empty, dusty country road. It may seem so simple what he’s doing, but that’s the amazing part! He makes this Americana, country music thing look easy, but it is NOT! With these beautifully simple words, he makes you feel that no matter how good or bad life is, it will always deserve to be lived. Life is just a big ride!

While listening to “17 Miles”, Deck shows you the good, bad, and the ugly moments of life, but still encourages you to promote and maintain a persistent spirit. He doesn’t want you to be down about life’s troubles, because that is what life is all about. Just LIVE, ENJOY, SHARE, and LEARN from life’s joys and pain.

“17 Miles” is a song that will inspire and uplift, while rendering nostalgia of old country rock! Being an original country boy myself, this song speaks to me in ways that I can’t describe. I have a feeling it will do the same for you too. Be sure to check it out! A-

P.S. Follow Jared on Facebook and Twitter for future releases and tour dates!

New Tracks Tuesday - August 4, 2015

This has been the most difficult week for me, because the new music I’ve been listening to is outstanding. It was so hard to decide on an Earworm of the Week, but as you’ll see below, I did. Make sure to check out all of these artists! They are simply AMAZING!

“By My Side”- Nick de la Hoyde
Seriously, when you hear the first beautiful, harmonic words of, “And it’s you”, you will be hooked on this new 20-year-old, Australian rapper. Unlike de la Hoyde’s contemporary, Iggy Azalea, this guy can not only rap, but he can sing beautifully! That is a warning sign for an INCREDIBLE artist that has the ability and potential to combine genres like a genius. He knows how to add just enough of artistic and tasteful auto-tune to really highlight his harmonies, while still maintaining perfect diction when he transitions into his raps. For a 20-year-old, his skillset is utterly impressive, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for him in the future! B+




"Girls Your Age"- Transviolet
I heard this song a couple weeks ago, and it HASN’T STOPPED PLAYING IN MY CAR EVER SINCE! This is MAJOR EARWORM STATUS PEOPLE! I originally wanted to say that this song will really speak to young people, but honestly, it connect with ANYONE. “Girls Your Age” speaks to the natural, human desire to be wanted, and how we will look and search for love anywhere, and take it even when it’s not really there. The song speaks for itself when the lead singer coolly coos, “Don’t jump the gun. Live fast while you’re young, honey. Don’t go chasing love.” Simply said: Beautiful, beautiful song. A




“My Church”- Maren Morris (Check it out on Spotify)
First off, the only place I can find this song is on Spotify. I’m going to tell you straight out that it’s my Earworm of the Week, and it’s a tragedy that it’s not on Soundcloud or YouTube! This faux-country gospel song runs like a Dixie Chicks track, but blowing out the harmonies almost better than they ever have! The tongue-in-cheek song about a natural born sinner who finds it hard to find redemption, will slap a smile on your face and make you hit repeat when the last chord is played. If you have Spotify, CHECK IT OUT NOW! Maren Morris is the next big thing! I’m telling you! A+


“Fire and the Flood”- Vance Joy
Okay, so here’s a story for you. When I was at the Taylor Swift concert, everyone was chatting about how Vance Joy was going to be one of the three opening acts of her show. I had never heard of Vance Joy, and the first thing I asked was, “Who is she?” Well, as a result of threatening storm clouds over Nats Park, T. Swift decided to pull one of the acts so the show could start earlier. She pulled V.J., and I never got to hear any of Vance’s music, but I wasn’t devastated because I had no idea who that artist was. Fast-forward to me perusing new music on Spotify. I heard “Fire and the Flood”, and I said, “Did Mumford and Sons release a new track???” I looked down at the artist and saw the name “Vance Joy”! I was like, “What??? Vance is a guy??!!! And he’s this good?!?!?! Damn you TAYLOR FOR PULLING HIS ACT!!!!” Vance Joy is amazing and has a young, folk feel that will keep you listening to all of his songs. “Fire and the Flood”’s emotion builds with the music and lyrics, while Vance croons about a blooming, growing, and intertwining love between two people. The message is timeless, as is Vance. This is the first time I have been angry at Taylor Swift. I don’t know if I can forgive her… A




Too Cute Beyond Words: "Sippy Cup"- Melanie Martinez

New Tracks Exclusive: Monks of Mellonwah

Look here, I was able to get my hands on some highly anticipated, new music from an up-and-coming Australian band named Monks of Mellonwah! You may know them from the critical praise theyve received these past few years from the LA Music Awards and AIM Awards, in addition to their US tour they completed last year! I received an advance copy of their new EP Disconnect (out next month) and I HAD to share my thoughts and feelings!

Overall, I really enjoyed this band! The vocals are smooth and pleasant, and the alternative, indie vibe is guaranteed to get you in a ‘lax mood.

In “Even When It Burns” and “Show Me Something More,” you really get a sense of their influencers, such as bands like Coldplay and Muse. Their sound is modern, but still sticks to a classic rock root, which is an attribute that everyone should be looking for when exploring new rock bands. The instrumentals are absolutely outstanding on every track, especially in “Show Me Something More.” The Coldplay-esqe piano accompaniment knocks it out of the park! But where they really shine instrumentally is in the short “Interlude.” To say their musical talent is impressive would be an understatement. These guys know what they’re doing, and I’m glad they took the quick 45 seconds to spotlight and show off how they can combine alternative rock and classical music into one flow. Another sign of a great band is that they are able to convey their message through their instruments, and not rely on lyrics alone. In “Disconnect”, the instrumentals will move you with an innate sense of sentimental emotion. Also, can I just say that I’m absolutely in love with the bass-work they do, especially in “Never Been Good”! That song’s bassline got me moving in an instant.

When it comes to vocals, lead singer Vikram Kaushik is strongest when he stays within mid-range or falsetto, like in “Show Me Something More.” Sadly, anything in-between comes off a bit nasally. But overall, Monks of Mellonwah have got some great hits on their hands! When I heard the lyric “the end is coming” in “Feel It Coming”, all I thought about was how much I didn’t want this EP to end! B


Pros:
-Strong instrumentals
-Powerful lyrics
-Outstanding example of an alternative rock band

Con:
-Lead singer should stick with mid-range or falsetto vocals

Earworms: “Disconnect” and “Show Me Something More”

P.S. Make sure to follow them on Facebook and Twitter for their latest tour, music, and album news! You will want to keep an eye on them. Trust me!