The Best Releases of 2015

There have been a lot of ‘2015 Best-Of’ lists out there these days. Here are the releases that matter most, in my humble opinion. The order of 3-8 doesn’t matter.

1. Battle Tapes – Polygon
2. Party Nails – singles Break and No Pressure
3. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Chasing Yesterday
4. FIDLAR – Too
5. Carly Rae Jepsen – EMOTION
6. Ghost – Meliora
7. Glass Animals – Zaba
8. The Score – White Iverson (cover)

Update: As of April 2, 2016, I realize that this list is crazily incomplete. I’m discovering a lot more wonderful tunes that originated from last year. But, my statement on picks 1-2 has not changed for any spilt second ūüôā

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Battle Tapes and Party Nails – Polygon

Today marks the release I’ve been waiting for all year. Los Angeles band Battle Tapes created a solid¬†gold brick¬†of musical genius and I’m happy to report that almost every song has my brain begging the rest of me to jump up and dance.

Polygon consists of 8¬†tracks that, from this day forward, I won’t be able to live without.¬†The debut release¬†actually consist of 10 tracks, but Feel¬†The Same and a snippet of Mulholland appeared on the 2012 EP release,¬†Sweatshop Boys. I¬†fucking adore these 10 tracks, and the way they ordered them couldn’t be better.

Track 3, Solid Gold, features singer Elana Belle Carroll of Party Nails. Battle Tapes has been promoting the music of this extremely talented singer for a while now, and her singles Break and No Pressure are seriously some of the best tunes I’ve heard in a very long while. I was giddy with excitement to see her name beside a Polygon track in Spotify this morning, and man does it deliver.

My favorite verse: “I only wanna be your self inflicted wound it’s easy baby the friction between me and you show me what makes you human I’ll show you vulnerable you bend you break you surrender and melt like solid gold” – Bloody Brilliant the way she sings it in the bridge.

Do your ears a favor and listen, but more importantly, support!

Battle Tapes

Party Nails

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EVE 6 – Under The Sun Tour (LC Pavilion)

EVE 6 – Under The Sun Tour – Live at the LC Pavilion, 8-7-2015

Friday was a pretty rad day.

The fast version: Max Collins, Jon Siebels and Tony Fagenson of EVE 6 were excellent, the crowd was friendly and down to earth, and PromoWest Productions takes the cake for nicest venue staff.

The extended version: Walking up to the second floor of the LC Pavilion, I could hardly believe it РI was about to meet one of my favorite bands. The four ladies who were also meeting the gang were super excited too Рthere was an energy in the air, and it was easy to see we were all star struck when we walked into the room where guitarist Jon Siebels and drummer Tony Fagenson were hanging out. Singer and bassist Max Collins walked in the room a few minutes later, and the three performed an exclusive mini acoustic jam session.

They started with Curtain and moved on to At Least We’re Dreaming, Collins keeping rhythm by snapping his fingers and clapping his hands on his legs. It was a pretty surreal experience to be up close and personal with the guys who created Horroscope, one of my all-time favorite albums. They ended the three-song set with Amphetamines, one of the best tracks off that prized record.

This was the first time I had the honor and the privilege of having a photo pass, so I was a jittery mix of nervous and over the moon. After the set, autographs were signed, photos were taken with each VIP guest, and I couldn’t help but geek out over the images in my camera. One VIP guest brought an EVE 6 fan club pack saved from more than 10 years ago! Needless to say the band, as well as the rest of the group, got a kick out of looking through the old memorabilia.

EVE 6 was a blast to hang out with, and the VIP session couldn’t have been¬†hosted in a more¬†intimate setting. It’s definitely an experience I will never forget.

As for the actual Under The Sun Tour, Uncle Kracker played a bunch of songs that the audience members seemed to adore as they sung along to every verse. EVE 6 was originally scheduled to open the show, but ended up playing second, allowing them to tack on another few songs. I definitely wasn’t complaining.

With my coveted photo pass, I was in the pit for the first three, shooting Collins, Siebels and Fagenson as they jumped around and rocked out classic hits. I’d like to think that I managed to capture the personality of each bandmate; out of the countless photos I took, I specifically chose to upload the ones I did because I think each one fits the character I saw while up in the VIP room.

Memorable songs from the show include Open Road Song, B.F.G.F., On The Roof Again, Think Twice, and Here’s To The Night. They closed with an audience-frenzied Inside Out.

After EVE 6, Better Than Ezra took the stage, and I watched with some new friends in the back of the venue. If you’ve never been to the LC Pavilion, I urge you to check it out. It’s a beautiful place that can cater to both indoor and outdoor shows, and there really isn’t a bad view no matter where you are sitting/standing.

Better Than Ezra played a charismatic show and at one point had over 20 audience members (at singer Kevin Griffin’s request, all girls) on stage with them in one big dance party. They played my favorite BTE song, Misunderstood, and happened to end the set with another one of my favorite love songs of all time, a cover of Just Like Heaven by The Cure.

I didn‚Äôt stay for Sugar Ray, the headliner, as I had some pressing plans with my Columbus buddies, but all in all it was a mind-blowing experience, a fantastic show, and I blew $100 on shirts, if that’s any indication of how much I want to remember the night.

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EVE 6 – EVE 6

I get to see one of my favorite bands tomorrow. I’ve loved EVE 6 ever since I heard Small Town Trap. Personal favorites include Sunset Strip Bitch, Promise, Tongue Tied, Open Road Song, Curtain, Nocturnal, Hey Montana, Hokis, Rescue, Girl Eyes, Think Twice, Inside Out, B.F.G.F…. and the list goes on.

EVE 6 landed a record deal before they were out of high school. How many bands can say that?  Here are some memories of each release.

1998: The inaugural self-titled EVE 6 with the fly on the cover. I remember my sister coming home¬†from a show with the line¬†“tie me to the bedpost”¬†on the front. Inside Out no doubt is a fantastic song, but Small Town Trap got me hooked. I remember asking myself over and over again, Why a fly? My friend got me a glass fly for Christmas one year. It eventually got a broken leg and I’m kicking myself right now for having pitched it.¬†I also was always confused as to why he was mad he found a dime in his couch.¬†Woe was definitely me.

2000: Two years later these guys released Horrorscope, which is in my opinion one of the best LPs ever created. It features a tough-looking punk rock chick and sports lyrics like “I spit and stutter stuff and clutter worries in my worry corner.” Each song just oozes HEY! I AM THE GREATEST ALTERNATIVE ROCK ANTHEM EVER AND THIS IS WHY. I would shell out major bucks to hear this entire album performed live.

2003: The action figure clad It’s All In Your Head boasts¬†one of the best and most annoying songs¬†of all time,¬†Hey Montana. It literally can take hours for this song to get out of my head. I love it all the same.

2012: Today I let the commentary for Speak In Code, the latest EVE 6 record, fill my headphones. The idea for the first track, Curtain, was apparently written as a message from Noel to Liam Gallagher. Needless to say my jaw dropped and I had to replay the track a million times to make sure I was hearing it right.

For this fan art I made a colorful take on a drawing found inside the booklet of their first album. I created a crayon fire, warded off curious cats, and realized I Suck at making paper planes.

Here’s to hoping some of my favs make it on tomorrow’s setlist.¬†I can’t wait to see these dudes jam. And I also¬†must¬†mention that I’m extremely looking forward to the¬†Better Than Ezra set. BTE happens to have written one of my favorite love songs of all time, Misunderstood. Fingers crossed.

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Filter (The Outpost)

Filter – Live at The Outpost, 7-16-2015

Yesterday I saw Filter for the first time and it was amazing and incredible and fun and holy smokes¬†was it one of the best concerts of my life. With everything I had read about Richard Patrick being ‘washed out’ at previous live shows, I was expecting a man with a wrinkly face forming incoherent sentences, maybe even forgetting his own lyrics. His commentary for the song Watch The Sun Come Out Tonight sorta made me believe all the reviews. But seriously, the performance was anything but a drug-afflicted sob fest.

The Outpost is an extremely intimate venue. I seriously think there were less than 100 people in the place. I could be way off on that count, but it has such a small, warm feel that I want to believe it. My friend Royce and I were literally an arms length away from Richard Patrick throughout the entire set. I was dead center in front of the stage. I danced with a bunch of Filter fans, threw my hands up at almost every chorus, and felt my eyes water a few times when I realized that they were playing some of my favorite songs ever.

Before the show, Royce and I were chilling near¬†one of the bars. A very well-dressed blonde girl and a very well-dressed boy with fun hair walked up to us. The guy pointed at Royce’s shirt (Invader Zim) and said how much he loved it, then hiked up his shirt sleeve to show us his Invader Zim tattoo. Only when Filter took the stage did I realize that the guy was Chris Reed, THE DRUMMER. How. Effing. Awesome. And how effing¬†stupid of me to not look up the faces of all band members beforehand.

The blonde, none other than Ashley Dzerigan, rocked a sweet studded guitar strap on her bass. It’s so great to see ladies¬†playing instruments in bands like Filter and BRMC. The novelty of it never gets old.

Filter was a very well dressed band. Before the show I had picked out the Filter members without even realizing it. (Besides Richard – I know that face to a T.) ¬†The way they all dressed, you could tell they had a great sense of style and that they just belonged together somehow. And the drummer and bassist weren’t the only ones with great hair. Lead guitarist Oumi Kapila had some huge locks that he tied up for some of the show – a trademark look¬†for the man, I imagine.

More highlights of the show include getting tossed around by the mosh pit that took place during Hey Man, Nice Shot, and seeing a guy in a NIN Tension shirt being the most active member of the audience. That lucky fellow snagged one of the set lists at the end, and let me take a photo of it (along with the back of his shirt.)

More about Royce: I’ve known the guy since I started college. I used to buy my waffles, pancakes and omelettes from him via my dining plan card way back when. We started talking when he saw me sporting a NIN shirt one day. I had never really spent much time with him outside of the cafeteria until last night, and I’m so glad I got the chance to experience a show with another music junkie¬†like me. He’s lucky enough to have seen Filter a few years back… oh, and his first concert ever? NIN with David Bowie. I won’t get into how salty I am about that.

More about the venue: The Outpost is a little concert hall in Kent, Ohio that boasts a dark interior, two bars and an eclectic staff. With its carpeted and wooden floors, you can tell the building has gone through numerous expansions throughout the years. The place is only open specifically for live shows, which is about two nights a month.

Here are some photos from the gig. Thank you, Filter, for choosing to play at this little venue before kicking off your festival tour.

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