What I’ve been listening to

It’s been awhile since I last blogged; believe me, I know. I haven’t stopped writing though. If you’re interested, I’ve mainly been writing over at Phoenix Magazine and working. Of course, I haven’t stopped consuming music either. I’ve been listening to this year’s latest releases as well as some older artists that I either stumbled upon or was recommended. So here’s a list of music I’ve been listening to over the last couple of months (in no particular order):

“After Laughter” / Paramore

I wasn’t exactly sold on this album afteafter_laughter_paramore_album_coverr the first listen. It was when I revisited the album at the end of the month that I fell in love with it. It’s poppier than I remember the band being and I think I let that distract me at first. However, I grew to enjoy the poppy beats, but it’s the lyrics and Hayley Williams’s voice that really drew me in. It tells a bittersweet love story, but not in a cliche or overused kind of way. Every time I listen to it I feel like I uncovered a new piece to a puzzle. Also, because of its pop roots, it makes it a great album to simply jam and sing along to.

Favorite songs? “Grudges” and “Tell Me How

“California (Deluxe)” / blink-182

To be honest, it’s not my favorite release by the band.blink Many of the songs were too “Teenage Satellites” (from “California”) for me to enjoy. I’d rather they skip trying to sound like they’re teenagers again. I wish I could put “Teenage Satellites” and “Kings of the Weekend” onto the deluxe version and replace them with “Misery” and “6/8” or “Wildfire.” I still like every song on this release (I want to call it an album, but it’s technically just a bunch of bonus songs from “California”), but it’s not my cup of tea. “6/8” is by far one of the coolest songs of the whole “California” album, deluxe and first-release. It’s the perfect blend of vocals with a completely different tempo we’re not used to hearing.

Favorite song? “Misery

“Harry Styles” / Harry Styles

This will no doubt be one of my favorite albums of the harry-styles-album-art-2017-billboard-1240year. I may be biased because I like One Direction so I already had a soft spot for Styles, but the album seems to be getting some major praise. “Sign of the Times” is the only power ballad of its kind that I have heard – released in this decade at least. Radios are playing it, but I wouldn’t describe it as being a song made for the radio. The album has everything from sing along jams like “Carolina” and “Woman” to soft and heartbreaking tracks like “Two Ghosts” and “Sweet Creature.” Styles dresses in a very unique fashion and I think it’s fair to say that his debut solo album reflects how he presents himself in public, while also giving some insight to who he is as a person.

Favorite song? Currently it’s “Two Ghosts

“Sweat” EP / The Technicolors

This EP has been out for a year this month, so I can’t 170x170bbbelieve I’m only now getting into it. I’ve been listening to “Ultraviolet Disguise” recently along with their latest singles in anticipation for their next album, “Metaphysical.” This EP though captures perfectly what I love about this group. It’s a perfect mixture of smooth sounds and tranquil vibes with a flare of upbeat choruses here and there. The EP is only five songs, typical length of an EP, including a remix and different version of “Tonight You Are Mine.” “Space Cadet” is probably one of my favorite songs ever from this band.

Favorite song? “Space Cadet

“Strange Desire” / Bleachers

I think this will be one of those timeless albums bleachers_strange_desirein my book. I recently got the album on vinyl on Record Store Day causing me to revisit and re-fall in love with this collection of songs. It has songs that you know will get everyone on their feet at a show like “Wild Heart” and the unforgettable “I Wanna Get Better.” It has this funky pop beat that makes the album feel like it’s from a different decade. It’s hard to believe this came out three years ago. They just released their second album, “Gone Now,” today and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

Favorite songs? “Like a River Runs” and “You’re Still a Mystery

“Lovely Little Lonely” / The Maine

I’m disappointed that I haven’t dedicated an 16195065_10155016836540798_6516539700894037566_n-620x620entire post to this beautiful album. The Maine is one of the bands (probably the band) that makes me proud to say I’m an Arizonan and this is my music scene. John O’Callaghan is without a doubt one of my favorite lyricists and this album doesn’t disappoint. They’ve tinkered with the use of interludes (subtly placing the three words of the title within the album itself). Interludes are a hit or miss for me, they either fit the shape of the album or you’re questioning why they thought that was a good idea. This album definitely falls under the former. The music is great, but it’s able to complement the words in a way that really draws me in. This band is constantly evolving. They’re unpredictable in a predictable way, if that makes sense.

Favorite song? “Black Butterflies and Deja Vu

“Stone and Echo: Live at Red Rocks” / A Perfect Circle

There’s a lot I can say about this album. I 26813073_500_500was recently introduced to Maynard Keenan and his assortment of bands – Tool, A Perfect Circle and Puscifer. APC is definitely the one that I gravitated toward. From Panic!’s Live in Chicago to APC’s Live at Red Rocks, I have a soft spot for live albums. I actually saw APC in early April, and let me tell you, they sound even better live. It’s also a very different stage presence than I’m used to. Maynard stays shrouded in the dark and fog, so what you’re seeing is mainly just shadows. It was also stressed that no one take out their phones and for the most part, the audience obliged. My favorite way to listen to this album is with my Beats, no other sound can distract me when I have those headphones on. It’s the kind of album that you need to take in every line and note to appreciate what the music is saying.

Favorite songs? “The Noose” and “Blue

“You Think It’s Like This, But Really It’s Like This” / Mirah

I’ve gravitated toward some female-led bands 5160atep2elrecently, especially after a friend gave me a list of artists to check out which mainly included bands with a strong girl power vibe. Anyways, this album is just so soothing to listen to. Out of the list I was given, Mirah really stuck. This album is from 2000, and honestly it’s the only one of her albums that I’ve listened to so far. It has a simple singer-songwriter with a guitar vibe. If you need an album just to chill to and relax, look up this album. It’s nice when you can find an artist or album that you can kind of just zone out to or if you need some sort of sound while working or reading.

Favorite song? “Engine Heart

“4 Your Eyez Only” / J. Cole

I listened to this album after 37291e01ab860f66509cc60d0f0c75bf-1000x1000x1it came out, but I revisited it for two reasons. One, I’m working the concert in July and I am pumped. Two, I strangely enough found the album on vinyl in an Urban Outfitters. This genre isn’t really something I think of as being good on vinyl, but trust me, this album is an exception. J. Cole is an incredible storyteller and it’s hard not to recognize that whether you like his music or not. I can’t wait to see how his songs translate to a live performance.

Favorite songs? “Ville Mentality” and “She’s Mine, Pt. 1 + 2

“-:-” / Ed Sheeran

I can’t believe I almost forgot to include this album. divide_cover“Divide” was on repeat for basically the entire month of March after it came out. It’s similar to Harry Styles’s album where it’s very up and down – one moment you’ll be thinking of some lost love and the next moment you want to get up and dance in a pub. It goes to show that Sheeran has definitely not lost his lyrical touch or his musical roots. “Galway Girl,” “Barcelona” and “Nancy Mulligan” are probably three of the most fun (funnest?) songs he has ever written. The second they come on I have to turn up the volume. This same goes to the slower songs which are guaranteed to be played at weddings from across the globe.

Favorite song? “Dive


This list probably would’ve changed if I wrote it next week. Today alone three albums by artists I love were released – All Time Low, Bleachers and Halsey. Now that it’s summer, I’m hoping I’ll blog here more often. I’m either sitting at a desk at my ASU job or working one of the baseball games or events at the arena. I just wanted to get something posted now because it’s been way too long. What have you been listening to?

Until next time,
Nikole

 

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