Sunday, June 30, 2013

What are my favorite 13 songs from the first half of 2013?

Jim James performing at Milwaukee's Pabst Theater on April 19, 2013
Spoiler alert: "A New Life" by Jim James is going to be my 2013 Song of the Year. It's a winner by knockout. Last year I was waffling all December not confident where I would land and 2011 saw "Midnight City" by M83 make an incredible down the stretch run in my mind. But this song had a one-two punch of circumstance that is distancing itself so incredibly ahead of the pack (again, this is just the internal music monologue of my mind).

First was the song's magnificent debut on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon...

Second, as the case with nearly every Song of the Year since I formally began awarding the informal title, I saw the song performed live (picture above).

There was an outside chance, in a year with new albums by some of my favorite due (Phoenix, Foals, Daft Punk, Franz Ferdinand, Arcade Fire) later in the year that it could change - but I feel comfortable calling it now.

I continue to build my Spotify playlist of my favorite songs, but I singled out 13 of them for my Top 13 of 2013's first half:
Top 13 of 2013's First Half

A few quick notes on these 13 tracks:
  • Starred tracks indicate songs I've heard live (note: I have tickets for Phoenix later in the year, when I'll most likely hear "Entertainment")
  • Pet Lions is an example of when I casually research the question, "who's opening tonight" and discover something much more
  • If you liked Amy Winehouse, I can't recommend Jessie Ware highly enough: especially her Live Spotify Sessions if you have access to it
  • Kacey Musgraves is not a typo - a bonafide country song has cracked this list for the first time ever
  • Harlem Shake deserves to be on this list mainly because of Matt and Kim's fantastic effort
The back half of 2013 looks very promising as some all time favorites (including the #1 act I need to check off my Bucket List) performing live in Chicago. With how back loaded this year might become, I felt it was proper to write a first half recap. Thanks for reading.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Can you dance like nobody* is watching? (*ALL OF YOUTUBE)

Pardon me while I embed three of my favorite videos of people dancing. I just want to have all this wonderfulness in one place for when I need to smile, and dream, and believe, and hope, and know that there is level of self confidence in this world that will always match the stiffing unrelenting pressures of the society around us.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Which Postapalooza Show Should You See?

A hastily made Google Spreadsheet that helped me plan

It's Concert Lovers Christmas in early June!

My favorite concert news day of the year is not when the Lollapalooza lineup is announced, but rather when its Aftershows are revealed. Here are my recommendations, what I would see if I was ten years younger, and how I will act when they go on sale this Friday at 10 AM.

Wednesday July 31
My recommendation: Smith Westerns at Lincoln Hall
If I was ten years younger: Imagine Dragons at Metro
My target: [nothing]
Although SW@LH is tempting, Postapalooza now lasts five nights - best for me to not blast too hard out of the gate.

Thursday August 1
My recommendation: Hot Chip at The Vic
If I was ten years younger: Lana Del Rey at House of Blues
My target: [waiting and hoping]
Before the announcements I had Hot Chip very high on my list of acts I hoped to see on the Postapalooza Calendar. However I find it odd that there is no Metro show listed for this night (additionally, The Riv is completely empty of shows during the week). Last year I filled up my calendar too quick and missed out on seeing a later announced Franz Ferdinand show. This is mistake I will not repeat this year.  Sadly, Hot Chip will most likely sell out and I might have trouble getting tickets.

Friday August 2
My recommendation: Foals at Park West
If I was ten years younger: SBTRKT (with Disclosure) at The Mid
My target: Foals (with extremely large honorable mentions to Local Natives at House of Blues and Jessie Ware at Lincoln Hall)
There is no question in my opinion that this night is the best night of Postapalooza - there are three shows this night that are better than anything on any other night. However, I'm going to again learn from a past mistake and take the known entity of Foals as my pick. There is a 100% likelihood of having an awesome time seeing my fourth favorite band in a small venue. Not to mention, this decision all but pushes me down to St. Louis to see Local Natives at Lou Fest in September.

Saturday August 3
My recommendation: Band of Horses at Metro
If I was ten years younger: Kendrick Lamar (with Baauer) at Aragon
My target: [nothing]
Sadly, I have a bachelor party to attend this evening.  It would take a top ten favorite act to pull me from my friend's celebration. It's too bad, because this particular Groom-To-Be would probably want to see Two Door Cinema Club at House of Blues if he wasn't otherwise obligated.

Sunday August 4
The only act worth detailing on this night is Alt-J at Lincoln Hall. Last year I saw these kids (man, they looked so damn young) haul out their own gear after opening for Chairlift at the Empty Bottle for a Sunday Night 2012 Postapalooza show. In the year since they've played three sold out shows (Bottle, Metro, Metro) and are now at the too-small-for-their-current-level-of-fame Lincoln Hall. In my estimation, it will be the hardest ticket of all to get - especially with LH's will call only ticket policy.

Shockingly, I'm only planning to buy tickets to one show when they go on sale this Friday at 10 AM. I'm hoping to buy more, but I felt like I committed myself too early last year in this process closing off better opportunities that were later presented. And who knows, maybe I'll actually go to the actual Lollapalooza this year (slim chance).