Wednesday, December 31, 2014

{PLAYLIST} best of december 2014

We wrapped up 2014 the best way we know -- with a spectacularly and wonderfully busy December! Amid the craziness of the holiday season, we:

"All of the People" - Panama Wedding
We cannot wait to see what is coming from this band in 2015 -- whatever it is, we know it'll be big.
"Under Stars" - Aurora
A band to watch in 2015, we're so pleased that Aurora gifted us with a new song before year end.
"Karaoke" - Smallpools
Another Smallpools song that gets us dancing right away!
"A Little Song About Snowdrops" - Lullatone
Lullatone's beautiful, lyric-less music has been the perfect partner for end of semester studying and winter snuggling this month.
"Tennessee" - Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors
Sigh... this band is just perfect for a snuggly winter day.
"Halo" - Ann Brun
2014 was the year of Bey so it also feels appropriate to include this gorgeous cover.
"Featherstone" - The Paper Kites
The Paper Kites are so quintessentially winter cuddle (and/or study) music.
"Swim" - Fickle Friends
We had so much fun picking our 2015 bands to watch and were delighted to include Fickle Friends on that list!
"Drive" - The Well Pennies
This band is just the cutest. I can't.
"What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?" - The Head And The Heart
Loving this cover of the flirty track to get us ready for New Year's Eve!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

the well pennies are my jam

Continue your cozy week at home with The Well Pennies, the cutest husband-wife duo on this side of the planet. Start with "Drive," the lead single of their first full length LP, Endlings, coming out in January, and I know you'll fall in love as much as I did.

Even more reason to love these two: they spearheaded a revamping of The Beatles' classics with Beatles Reimagined. Watch this video of "All My Lovin'" and just melt with the sweetness.

Monday, December 29, 2014

RHODES is my jam

Before your week gets crazed with New Year's Eve madness, stay a little mellow with British singer-songwriter RHODES. One listen of "The Lakes" will make you want to burrow into your covers and drink hot cocoa all day, and that is more than okay this sleepy week!

(As an added bonus, download this song for free on RHODES' Soundcloud!)

Saturday, December 27, 2014

{WATCH} sylvan esso on noisey acoustics

Sylvan Esso was such a staple in our musical experience in 2014 that it only feels right to close out the year with this AMAZING live over of their hit "Hey Mami" featuring a full band supporting Amelia's killer vocals and dance moves.

Props to Caleb for the find!

And if you want one more brilliant take on this track, check out Jack Garrat's electronic remix below!

Friday, December 26, 2014

weekend thoughts...

Happy (almost) New Year TIOJ! Whether you're writing your Christmas thank you cards or locking in your NYE date this weekend, we hope you have a great one! 

Your Weekend Jam: To supplement our New Year's Eve jams, Gryffin gives Bipolar Sunshine an amazing remix of his track “Daydreamer” -- we dare you to not find your fingers snapping or your head bopping within 30 seconds of listening to this track.

TIOJ Thoughts:

Triple J tries (and fails) to get Lorde, Vance Joy, Disclosure, First Aid Kit, and more to write their Hot 100 jingle.

Ten Things I Hate About You, Never Been Kissed, and She’s All That came out 15 years ago???

The coolest record of travel.

Can't get enough of the time-lapse video of Nationals Park getting ready for the Winter Classic -- six days until outdoor hockey in DC!

Bored at work? Cull through our {WATCH} archives for entertainment!

Free! Speaking of Gryffin, we can’t get over this remix he did of Banks’ “Begging For A Thread” -- download it for free here!

And in case you missed it: If you like Death Cab for Cutie, give Forage a listen -- you’ll love them!

{PLAYLIST} new year's eve 2014

Goodness gracious, 2015 is just around the corner!! We know you have big plans that include plenty of glitter and champagne, and, of course, that you're in the market for tons of jams. Use the following playlist as your getting ready for the big night and in case your NYE party needs a little livening up. We'll see you next year!

bubbly (via)

Plus, tons of NYE jams from 2013, 2012, and 2011!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

merry christmas from jimmy fallon et al.!

What happens when you put Jimmy Fallon, The Roots, and One Direction in the Tonight Show studio with kazoos and xylophones? This darling version of "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town," that's what.

Merry Christmas, chickadees!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

{IF YOU LIKE} death cab for cutie

(via 1/2)

If Ben Gibbard were to ever, god forbid, be in some terrible accident and never be able to sing for Death Cab for Cutie again, the lead singer of Dayton, OH band Forage Brandon Clark could adeptly take his place. Until that happens, Forage is hitting all the right notes with us from Brandon's aforementioned nostalgia-inducing vocals to the thoughtful guitar solos that pepper their tracks. Listen to more from Forage on Soundcloud.

Monday, December 22, 2014

lock down your new year's kiss with the head and the heart

At TIOJ, we're huge fans of planning ahead. With that, we recommend using this casual and irresistible rendition of "What Are You Doing New Years Eve" by The Head And The Heart to nail down your date for New Year's Eve and ensure a proper smooch into the new year. If you're nervous, let the ambiance of this artificial fire calm your nerves -- you got this!

a mellow "halo" cover for your monday

Good gracious this cover of "Halo" by Ann Brun featuring Linnea Olsson is, dare I say, better than Queen B's original. Press play to start your mellow Monday off right.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

{RECAP} great good fine ok

Concert Correspondent Morgan is back with her review of 2015 Band To Watch Great Good Fine Ok at U Street Music Hall!

I have to confess that I had only heard one song by Great Good Fine Ok before last Thursday night. I had heard “I’m Not Going Home” a few times and hadn’t been to U Street Music Hall for awhile and these were only factors I considered when I decided to check them out. Cool kid that I am, I decided to type in some quick notes in between songs. Apparently, on Thursday night, after each song I typed: “Songs are…soulful, but also funky? Definitely electronica, but also some eighties pop influences? Definitely danceable. I dig it.”

By that eloquent, “I dig it,” I think what I meant to say was the most enjoyable part of the show for me was Great Good Fine Ok’s ability to combine soulful vocals with electronica, pop, and the occasional eighties dance music sound. The show never just gave off a funk music vibe or a soul music vibe, but managed to combine a variety of different familiar music genre sounds into a light, enjoyable, and “definitely danceable” evening. Indeed, between the stage lights, a tambourine and drum sticks that lit up in neon colors, and lead singers metallic gold jacket, Great Good Fine Ok put on quite the show. (My notes also say, “Gold Starship Captain Jacket = Awesome.”)

photo via @nicholegkim
One of my favorite things that can happen at a live show is when you hear conversation at the bar come to a complete stop. No more side conversations, no more “accidental” dropping of beer bottles on the floor. After a second phones either get put away or are raised up into the air for the inevitable pictures/filming of the show. And, after a second, everyone starts to sing along. By the time Great Good Fine OK got to the incredibly catchy, “I’m Not Going Home,” I was dancing and singing along, and everyone else at U Hall was right with me.

Overall, the show cheered me up after a long week at work. I would definitely go see them again – 80 percent for the fun, and 20 percent because I’m dying to find out where the lead singer got that jacket.

Next Up: Morgan's on a roll and celebrating the end of Hanukkah with Matisyahu at the 9:30 Club on Monday night!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

{2014} favorite music videos

AV Director Caleb is back with his second annual roundup of the best music videos of the year! Press play and enjoy!

5. "Fossils" - Circa Waves
First and foremost, I've always been a sucker for Super 8 footage. On top of that I love how personal and up close this video brings us to the wonderfully refreshing Circa Waves.

Click ahead for the rest!

Friday, December 19, 2014

weekend thoughts...

You made it to the weekend, friends! Even if you have a few days of work next week, you're in the final stretch until Christmas, so turn on those Christmas jams, put some Bailey's in your hot cocoa, and finish your online shopping!!

Your Weekend Jam: We’ve got another year-end mashup to start your weekend. Get dancing, people!

TIOJ Thoughts: 

What the holidays would look like if kids were in charge.

Where was our invite to T Swift’s birthday party?

We’d like a Dr. Dreidel for Hanukkah, please and thank you. 

Serial's Sarah Koenig on Santa's Hit-and-Run Murder of Grandma.

Christmassy Dad jokes FTW. 

Yep, this is basically how I feel.

Free! So many free Christmas jams for you kiddos! Grab Gaby Moreno’s “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” on iTunes, Young War’s “I Won’t Come Home For Christmas (I’m Serious)” on Soundcloud, The Line of Best Fit’s 6th volume of Ho! Ho! Ho! Canada on Soundcloud, and DCers Skyline Hotel rounds out the list with a download of their single “Winter’s Warmth” on Soundcloud. WHEW!

And in case you missed it: We recapped some of our favorite things of 2014 -- including our gift guide, favorite concerts, favorite albums, and favorite songs!

three dudes give taylor swift's "blank space" a run for its money

This year has been a weird one for TIOJ. We went from actively despising Taylor Swift to secretly jamming to her in the privacy of our cars to losing all pretense and DOWNLOADING HER ALBUM. We regret nothing -- that new album is perfect pop and we know you all agree.

Our new-found admiration for Swifty has us loving (almost) all the covers bands are doing of her songs. We rounded up some of our "Shake It Off" favorites and now we have to share this AWESOME cover of "Blank Space" by L.A. trio The Ceremonies. Their cover is casual and perfectly complemented with acoustic guitar and strong vocals that are heartfelt without being cutesy. I can't stop listening.

{PLAYLIST} merry christmas!

Merry Christmas, you little elves!! We hope you have super exciting holiday plans, whether you're planning on playing in the snow with your little cousins or heading to the movies and getting Chinese food. In between your viewings of Love Actually and Elf, jam along to these Christmassy songs as you decorate your Christmas tree, hang your stockings, and put up all of your twinkly lights.

a very bey christmas (via)

Keep your Christmas music flowing with our holiday jams from 2011, 2012, and 2013!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

{THROWBACK} "friday i'm in love"

Boy oh boy am I in love with Swear and Shake's cover of "Friday I'm In Love" -- and it's only Thursday!

And, of course, The Cure's original:

{RECAP} cymbals eat guitars

We sent Concert Correspondents Sara and Sarah (ridiculous power team name pending) to DC9 to check out Cymbals Eat Guitars last Wednesday night-- check out her review below! (And she gives us good reason to always be wary of that DC9 floor...)

Cymbals Eat Guitars rocked a hole into the ground of DC9. Literally.

Fans packed a sold out performance that proved perfect in style and scope for the intimate DC9. Lead singer Joseph D'Agostino lead the charge of a 70-minute set that was just as anthemic, sincere, difficult, and free as their 2014 release, Lose.

Cymbals dove right in to the show, setting the stage for the rest of the set, all of which seemed a perfect visual and sonic representation of Lose. From the start, each member of the band seemed to be playing with the perfect combination of a restless, I-don’t-give-a-shit-and-nothing-matters attitude along with an obvious searching need to get the songs out; as if there was no alternative and there would be no survival for these guys beyond tonight if they didn’t. Perfect searching, soaring, bemoaning New Jersey punk rock.

At one point, D'Agostino said that they would be playing mostly material from their new album. He observed, “seems like some of you may have heard it already” as the majority of attendees sang along dedicatedly.

Did we mention the hole in the floor?

Musically, Cymbals was tight and confident. There was no "dialing in" at any point in the show -- each performance was engaged and engaging. D’Agostino was dripping sweat by the second song.

Lose's theme was presented loud (literally) and clear in the enthusiasm with which the songs were played. In the stomping track "XR," D'Agostino sings, "wanna wake up wanting to listen to records / but those old feeling elude me." It's a searching and a desire that is quiet. What we hear is the frustration for that elusion - loud and boisterous and sure of itself. After all, if you can't wake up with the desire to listen to records, might as well make them up yourself.

D'Agostino said it best himself when describing Lose: "It's about being in mourning for your long-held belief that music could literally change the world." It's that exact belief, the belief that D'Agostino himself once questioned, that he proved true during Wednesday's set. Music, especially live music, can change you. And it's safe to say that every member of the audience was changed by the last drumbeat of the show.

Closing with "Child Bride," D'Agostino took the stage solo, acoustic, and completely raw. As his fingers perfectly strummed the tune, his voice delivered a message worth hearing, "slow the years down." Time stood still for those four minutes. The years slowed down. And we all believed that music could literally change the world.

Thank you again to Sarah for seeing Cymbals Eat Guitars at DC9!! 
Next up: Morgan checks out Bear Hands AND Good Great Fine Ok at U Street Music Hall TONIGHT!

{2014} favorite concerts

In 2014, even with the start of of new jobs and grad school, TIOJ went to 35 concerts, 110 if you include the acts we saw at South by Southwest (32), Savannah Stopover (13), and CMJ (17) PLUS shows our Concert Correspondents covered (13)! With all that excitement, here are our most memorable shows of 2014.

All Around Best: James Vincent McMorrow
We said that this was our favorite concert early on this year and no concert throughout the rest of 2014 could top it. Not only was JVM an incredible performer live, the ambiance of Sixth & I synagogue was the perfect complement to his music and made for one of the most moving and intimate performances we've witnessed live.

Dream Come True: Beyoncé and Jay-Z
We're not normally ones for huge stadiums shows, but being able to take part in BeyJay's epic On The Run Tour was totally worth it.

other favorites (L-R): U.S. Royalty at Marvin // Lizzo at SXSW//
Bleachers at 9:30 Club // Adult Jazz at CMJ

Happiest: Misterwives and Bleachers
The pairing of these two up-and-coming indie pop bands was just what we needed this fall. Both bands seemed to be having the best time while performing and that infectious energy led to a delighted crowd and memorable show.

Gassiest: AJR, Lindsey Sterling
Letitia had a great time seeing Lindsey Sterling live but was a little... thrown off by the smells emitted from the teens around her during this show.

Sexiest: Son Lux and San Fermin
Between Son Lux's dark and sensual performance of "Easy" and the powerful bass vocals of San Fermin singer Allen Tate, this was such a memorable and dreamy show. Both bands musicianship is unique and impressive that you can't help but be moved (and turned on) by their live performances.

Best Cover (Tie): Caroline Smith - "Bitch Don't Kill My Vibe" (Kendrick Lamar); Hozier -"1 Thing" (Amerie)
Can you tell that we have a thing for totally unexpected covers? These two covers totally shocked and awed us and made these concerts oh so memorable.

What were you favorite concerts of the year??

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

milo greene covers... ariana grande?

Believe me, I was suspicious too. BUT, I'll be damned if this cover of Ariana Grande, Jessie J, and Nicki Minaj's "Bang Bang" isn't such an amazingly cool take on the original.

Want more Milo Greene? Check out their latest release "Parent's House":

{2014} favorite songs

We have had oh so many new favorite songs over the last year -- narrowing it down to just a few was, as expected, one of the hardest tasks of 2014. But, in true TIOJ fashion, we've come up with our 14 top favorite songs from the past year -- we hope you've loved them just as much as we do!

"Q&A" - Kishi Bashi
This song just makes me smile so big.
"Fever" - The Black Keys
Any year with a new album from The Black Keys is a good one, and this song was no exception in their stream of wonderful singles.
"Say You Love Me" - Jessie Ware
Jessie Ware came back this year to remind us that we have feelings with this song. 
"Road to Canaan" - Sons of Bill
Another heartwrenching song from Sons of Bill. I die.
"Partition" - Beyoncé
2014 marks the year that Beyoncé truly earned her title as Queen B and we unabashedly became proud members of her BeyHive.
"Isaac" - Bear's Den
Whenever we felt the need to be woodsy, folksy, and British at the same time this year, Bear's Den was always there for us.
"Like Real People Do" - Hozier
Hozier too reminded us of our feelings this year and we gladly gave in with the help of his gorgeous voice. 
"I Don't Dance" - Lee Brice
I don't think I listened to this song once this past year without crying.
"Gooey" - Glass Animals
This song is just so cool. Gooey filled the alt-J-sized hole in my heart (until the new alt-J album came out).
"Riptide" - Vance Joy
Couldn't be prouder of this cute Australian and all of his success in 2014.
"Flashed Junk Mind" - Milky Chance
This song seemed to be the soundtrack to anything we did this year. It's got just the right amount of pep and cool to fit perfectly into any situation.
"Pumpin Blood" - NONONO
This song constantly provided the right amount of motivation we needed throughout this year, whether it was while working out or just getting to work on time.
"Every Other Freckle" - alt-J
Glory be for a new album from alt-J in 2014. Can we agree that this might be the most surprisingly sexy song of 2014?
"Shut Up and Dance" - Walk the Moon
PRAISE all that is holy that there was new music from WTM this year. Years later, we still love them so.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

{RECAP} robert delong

On Saturday night, Concert Correspondent Jurg headed over to U Street Music Hall to catch Robert DeLong's latest show full of lots of dancing and even more facepaint.

"The one who does not get his face painted goes home alone" -- This was the theme of Robert DeLong's Saturday show at U Hall. There were cheerful volunteers painting the faces of the crowd, which was a mix of people clearly there to dance hard and calmer folks curious what the hype was about. One of the benefits of U Hall - there was plenty of space for everyone.

top row RDL via @wanderer_1980 and @kris10lafleche
bottom row face paint happiness via jurg!
Robert DeLong made the most of the small stage at U Hall, climbing all over his set (not the best sight lines so it was nice for those of us in the back to get a glimpse of him!), and making some great music with his myriad instruments. Pretty awesome to note: he uses video game controllers in his set!

Overall it was a great show that showcased RDL's recently released Long Way Down EP and closed out with fan fave "Global Concepts."

Next Up: Morgan's checking out Great Good Fine Ok and Bear Hands at U Street Music Hall on Thursday night!

{2014} favorite albums

While listening to full albums with more vigor is one of our 2015 resolutions (stay tuned for the full list on January 1!), there were a handful of albums this year that we found ourselves playing on repeat this year. There were albums that made us smile and laugh, albums that made us pensive and sad, albums that introduced us to new bands and those that brought back some of our most beloved voices. With that, here are some of our favorite albums of the year. The list certainly is not exhaustive but is rather a reflection of the music that aided our emotional journey through 2014.

Kishi Bashi, Lightght
This album to me is the best daydream one could have. It's light and hopeful while layered with vocal and lyrical complexities.
Take an extra listen to: "Q&A"

Future Islands, Singles
Future Islands has been around for a long time, but it was thanks to Singles that the band finally stuck with me. Lead singer Samuel Herring's vocals are so earnest and strong that one is compelled to listen to his songs, convinced that the song he's singing is a story that needs to be heard. This album soundtracked my entire spring and summer and was the perfect partner on many a pensive roadtrip. It also gets bonus points for being so wonderful performed live.
Take an extra listen to: "Back In The Tall Grass"

Dan Croll, Sweet Disarray
A top musician to watch in 2014, Dan Croll's debut album did not disappoint. His charming vocals were displayed masterfully on this album that perfectly blended together upbeat and love-struck songs with subdued, thoughtful tracks. While we devoured this album when it came out earlier in the year, we've found ourselves revisiting it with more adoration in these later months. It's the perfect soundtrack to listen to with a cup of hot tea warming your hands.
Take an extra listen to: "Sweet Disarray"

Hozier, Hozier
This Irish lad exploded onto the scene in 2014 with his powerful debut album and we were swept up with the rest of you. This album moved up on my list after getting a chance to see it performed live; the live setting helped to solidify the poetry of Hozier's lyrics and the range of his musical talent.
Take an extra listen to: "Like Real People Do"

alt-J, This Is All Yours
After a two-year wait, one of my most favorite bands re-emerged this year with their sophomore album. It is the perfect complement to their first album with direct references to An Awesome Wave. This band continues to impress me with their shocking creativity (never would I ever have predicted that Miley Cyrus would be sampled on this album) and their ability to create such weirdly sexy music.
Take an extra listen to: "Warm Foothills"

Honorable Mentions:
Beyoncé, Beyoncé
Sylvan Esso, Sylvan Esso
Adult Jazz, Gist Is

Explore more from these albums on Spotify and 8tracks!

Monday, December 15, 2014

{2014} TIOJ gift guide

You have 10 shopping days left until the big day!! If you're still searching for that perfect gift for your friend, mom, sister, boyfriend, coworker, or favorite friendly metro stranger, we have some ideas for you. They're also great for your favorite bloggers (ahem).

(clockwise from top left):

let "a hallelujah christmas" ease you into the week

Like any human person, I'm sure you love Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" and when you mix that with Christmas music, the result is magic. Listen and enjoy Cloverton's rendition of "A Hallelujah Christmas" as you sip your coffee and dream of days off work sitting by the fire.

Fun fact: Discovered this song on my grandmother's Facebook wall. She's so hip.

Friday, December 12, 2014

weekend thoughts...

Happy Friday, friends! Whether you're studying for finals or getting the rest of your Christmas shopping done, we hope you have a wonderful weekend! Start you weekend with a smile with some of these linky links below!

Your Weekend Jam: Get in the weekend-ready holiday spirit with Mad Decent’s annual A Very Very Decent Christmas mixtape.

TIOJ Thoughts:

Download Amazon’s All is Bright Christmas compilation featuring Houndmouth, PHOX, Laura Gibson, and more!

T Rex trying to hang Christmas ornaments.

This is at the top of my Christmas list.

We very much enjoyed SNL’s MTV Jingle Ballerz skit.

A modern interpretation of Friends.

Free! Do you guys have the Starbucks app? Download for weekly free songs featuring Vance Joy, Sturgill Simpson and more!

DC Happenings: Finish your holiday shopping (and support local artists) at the GRUMP art and gift fair at Artisphere on Sunday! Admission is free!

And in case you missed it: We kicked off our year in review posts with 15 Bands To Watch In 2015!

{RECAP} luray, winterpills

On Tuesday night, TIOJ photographer Andrew went to Jammin' Java and caught DC-based band Luray fronted by Shannon Carey (sister of Bon Iver member turned amazing solo act Sean Carey) and indie folk group Winterpills. Check out his awesome pics below!


Click ahead for more!

{PLAYLIST} studying jams

It's finals season, which means that, if you're a student, your every waking thought is about books, studying, and/or how much caffeine it's humanly possible to consume without going into cardiac arrest. We feel you. To help ease your study woes, we've compiled the perfect mellow study playlist for getting down to business and getting to work.

And even if you're out of school (and praising every deity with every fiber of your body that you're done with finals), we still think you'll like these cuddle-worthy jams.

study buddy (via)
Grab your pencils and press play!

Get some more study jams at Tote Magazine - click here!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

{INTERVIEW} bear hands

To get DC ready for their upcoming show at U Street Music Hall, we chatted with Dylan Rau of Brooklyn's Bear Hands. Read ahead as we chat with Dylan about his most memorable tour moments, the song his family makes him perform at Christmas, and more!

Listen while you read: 

Tell us about yourselves! Who is Bear Hands and how did you all come to be? 
The band is about eight years old and I started it my senior year of college in an effort to make some "full band" recordings of songs I had written throughout school. Two EPs and two LPs later we're still going strong(ish).

How would you describe your music to someone who's never heard it? 
Punky reggae party? Dance rock?

picture by mark loper
What is your songwriting process like? Where do you find your inspiration? 
I try to write as frequently as possible. Write lyrics on the train or long drives or while watching TV. Ted and I also bounce a lot of stuff off each other.

A number of other indie artists also came out of Wesleyan where you guys went to school. How would you say the school impacted your musical progression? 
Well it's kind of in the middle of nowhere in Connecticut so it's easy to isolate yourself and work on creative pursuits. A lot of really bright people and collaboration is common on campus in the creation of all kinds of different art projects.

You guys seem to be non-stop touring (we saw you in DC in September and you'll be back in just two weeks!) -- what are some the highlights from your most recent tour? 
Playing Coachella on my birthday was pretty fun. Went to Germany for the first time and that was trippy/exciting/sexy.

With an upcoming break in touring, what do you guys most look forward to doing when you have a tour break? 
Catching up on reality TV shows, hanging with stationary friends, going to bed early...

With the holidays coming up, do you have a favorite tradition that you follow or a favorite song you love at this time of year? 
My family hosts a Christmas eve party every year and sometimes they force me to play "Little Drummer Boy" on guitar.

What song/artist do we need to add to our iPods ASAP? 
Chance the Rapper.

Thanks again to Dylan for chatting with us! Be sure to catch Bear Hands with Great Good Fine Ok at U Street Music Hall next Thursday, December 18. Grab tix here!

{THROWBACK} "let's dance"

I don't know about you guys, but we're already brainstorming the perfect playlist for New Year's Eve and David Bowie's classic "Let's Dance" has been our latest contender. But we can't decide if we should do the original, the cover by Little Daylight, the cover by Walk The Moon, or all of them. Which would you pick??

15 bands to watch in 2015

It's that time of year! Time to recap all of the awesome musical things that happened in 2014 and look forward to what's to come in 2015. Over the next week we'll be sharing our Best Of 2014 posts -- first up, 15 bands to watch in 2015!

Okay, guys. Today's the day where we peer into our crystal balls and predict which bands we think will make their move in 2015. Not to brag or anything, but we've been pretty successful in years past (totally called Sam Smith and Haim making it big in 2014 and 2013, respectively) and we've got high hopes for this year's class.

Listen to a full playlist of our favorites on Spotify or 8tracks and holler at us @thisisourjamdc for your picks for bands to watch in the new year!

1. Paperwhite
We discovered this brother-sister duo late in the year and their '80s-tinged synth pop is our dream of a Whitney Houston x CHVRCHES love child come true.

2. MisterWives
Technically, MisterWives was a band to watch last year, but we had to bump them up because we're SO ready for them to blow up in 2015. Their infectiously energetic live performances and Mandy Lee's voice are ready to take the pop world by storm.

Click ahead for the rest of the list!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

thelma plum is my jam

Good news team, we've got fresh Australian talent to add to your listening library! Meet Thelma Plum, an up-and-coming singer based in Brisbane, Australia. Her gorgeous voice with just the right touches of sensuality and pop have all the makings of future pop superstar. Someone to give Lorde a run for her money, perhaps?

And obviously anyone who covers Chet Faker is an automatic winner in my book:

Want more? Listen to the lighthearted and hand-clappy "Dollar"

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

have a merry little christmas with sam smith

No introduction needed. Happy Christmas.

drew holcomb and the neighbors are my jam

Stoke a fire, grab a blanket, and find a cuddle buddy -- I have the perfect snuggly music for you. Listen to Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors, and you'll be in the best wintery mood. Start with "American Beauty" for a serene sound.

The band is comprised of husband-wife duo Drew and Ellie Holcomb, plus a few of their friends and neighbors -- hence the band's name. This group from Tennessee pays homage to their home state in this homey, nostalgic jam.

Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors are releasing a new album in January, but in the meantime, you can get their most recent album, Good Light, on Noisetrade now!!

Monday, December 8, 2014

mashup monday with kanye west and sam smith

Man oh man, this mashup of Kanye West's "Can't Tell Me Nothin'" and Sam Smith's "I'm Not The Only One" by Carlos Serrano is smooth. Let this perfect combo ease you into a peaceful week.

{GIVEAWAY} matisyahu @ 9:30 club

Big news, friends -- Hanukkah is just around the corner, and to celebrate, we're giving away a pair of tickets to the Festival of Lights tour by the one and only Matisyahu! Matisyahu is bringing this annual celebration by the 9:30 Club on December 22, and that is not something to miss.

While you're polishing your menorah and working on your dreidel skills, take a listen to his latest:

Now, enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, December 6, 2014

{WATCH} clapping for the wrong reasons

Caleb introduced us to Childish Gambino's art film "Clapping for the Wrong Reasons" that is an accompaniment to his album Because the Internet. The film is beautifully shot and introspective with a cameo from Chance the Rapper. As a bonus, the film is also meant to be viewed as a visual accompaniment to the album as moments in the album line up directly with what's happening on the screen.

Press play and enjoy the short film below!

Friday, December 5, 2014

weekend thoughts...

Happy weekend, kiddos! Stay warm this weekend, and get your Christmas shopping and decorating on!

Your Weekend Jam: It’s the almost the end of the year and you know what that means… it’s time for DJ Earworm’s 2014 year-end mashup!

TIOJ Thoughts: 

Need shopping ideas for the music lover on your list? Check out our we want! we want! Pinterest board!

If you’re going to date a musician, this is the best band member to pick.

Hold on, let me Shazam that.

New emojis, please!! 

Free! Get cozy in front of a fireplace with this sampler from Ready Set Records, featuring Young Summer, Sugar & the Hi-Lows, and more!

And! Download some free tunes to accompany your Christmas tree decorating with this free holiday soundtrack featuring Andrew Ripp, Dave Barnes, and more!

And in case you missed it: We rounded up some of our favorite new tunes, including jams from Aurora, Smallpools, and more!

{PLAYLIST} welcome, winter!

While winter doesn't officially start until December 21, it's after Thanksgiving, which means that it's 100% acceptable to decorate for Christmas, drink hot chocolate whenever we want (peppermint Schnapps or Bailey's optional), and get cozy in blankets, sweaters, and snuggies. But before we commit ourselves to Christmas music, we wanted to welcome winter with the best way we know -- cuddly music for in front of the fireplace and a few more upbeat ones for when SAD sets in.


Grab a blanket and press play below!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

{THROWBACK} "god only knows"

Now that Thanksgiving has passed, it's safe to say that it is officially Love Actually season. Let us celebrate with this star-studded cover of Beach Boys classic "God Only Knows" featuring Pharrell, Lorde, Sam Smith, Stevie Wonder, and everyone else.

And, of course, the Love Actually version:

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

wes period is my jam

For those of you who like vibed out hip-hop tinged music, I've got a new guy to put on your radar. Meet Cali's Wes Period whose latest hit, produced by faves Lovelife, stuck with us instantly. Wes' lamenting of the chorus "the weekend better wait for me" is spot on.

We're also digging "Touch It" that's faster paced and brings to mind a combination of Childish Gambino with this scene from Step Up. Obviously, we love it.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

new music roundup!

Not gonna lie, the week after Thanksgiving is always a little rough. To help you transition back into your work week, we've compiled a list of our new favorite releases!!

"Karaoke" - Smallpools
Just start dancing right now. This is exactly what we like to hear from Smallpools.

"Cool Kids" - Echosmith (RAC Remix)
Okay, okay -- so technically this isn't a new song. But we do love RAC's awesome take on it!

"Bite Down" - Bastille and HAIM
Two favorite bands combine in what is an incredibly infectious tune that perfectly showcases Bastille's poppy, bop-along vibes with HAIM's signature badassery.

"Under Stars" - Aurora
Our favorite CMJ discovery is out with a new song "Under Stars" that's a perfect complement to our recent wanderlust playlist. Watch out for this girl, she's gonna be big.

What other new music are you listening to??

catching up with bleachers

Bleachers has been delighting us lately with their live performances. Check out some of our favorites below.

First up, "Rollercoaster" on CONAN featuring... miniature versions of the band! We're dying of cuteness.

Next, no live session tour is complete with out a stop to PS22. We particularly enjoyed the Q&A after "Shadow" where Jack talks about writing the song to help empower a friend (Lena Dunham, we presume).

And, most recently, the band teamed up with Lauren Mayberry of Chvrches to cover Fleetwood Mac's "Go Your Own Way":

Monday, December 1, 2014

i'm ready for christmas music.

I was watching the Today show right before Thanksgiving, and they were talking about the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (only my favorite part of Turkey Day). As part of it, The Sing-Off winners Pentatonix sang their a cappella version of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," and it was time. I was ready. Christmas music season can officially begin.

And, of course, nothing will ever beat my favoritest version of this song. If you know anything about me, you know that's by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

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