Tuesday, June 30, 2015

{PLAYLIST} best of june 2015

Somehow, amazingly, we are officially halfway through 2015!! And just like the rest of the year has been, we've been up to a lot in the muggy month of June. In June, we:
And in June, we were listening to:

"Tell Me What You Want From Me" - Good Old War
Obsession of the summer.
"Hold My Hand" - Jess Glynne
This song was all over Italy (and my iPod) this month
"Youth" - Shamir
Electric beats and falsettos? Yes, please.
"Montana" - James Taylor
Holy cow, the OG JT has not missed a beat. Ever in his life.
"I Did It Now" - The Eiffels
So into our newest indie pop/rock discovery!
"Heart Beats" - Hey Marseilles
This sweet little ditty from Hey Marseilles will always be one of my favorites.
"Crystals" - Of Monsters and Men
"Cold Summers" - Crepes
Crepes has quickly become our go-to lazy hazy summer band!
"We Won't" - Jaymes Young & Phoebe Ryan
This whispery duet is so lovely.
"Truly Dear" - Love & Valor
This song is simply the sweetest.
"'Cause I'm A Man" - Tame Impala
Keeping with chill summer vibes -- this new Tame Impala track is perfect.
"On To Something Good" - Ashley Monroe
My summer love affair with country music continues...
"Vintage" - High Dive Heart
Now featured on every single playlist I have...
"Success" - The Weather Girls
This throwback was such a fun song to have in my head all month

high dive heart is my jam

Get ready, kiddos -- the cutest duo (and, consequently, music video) is coming up. High Dive Heart is simply adorable, and I'm currently figuring out how to befriend them. When artists have been described  as a "romantic comedy on tape," they are absolutely up our alley.

Listen to "Vintage" below, check out High Dive Heart on Noisetrade, and definitely store this one away for future Valentine's Day playlists. I wouldn't be surprised if this is the next indie pop song to take the world by storm, and I wouldn't be disappointed in the least if it were.

Monday, June 29, 2015

{PREMIERE} side saddle -- "the romance in disappearing"

HOT OFF THE PRESSES! (er, YouTube publish button)

We're so excited to premiere the latest jam and accompanying video from New York band (and TIOJ fave) Side Saddle. "The Romance in Disappearing" brings the enjoyable blend of pop and western-folk inspiration (looking at you, harmonies) that we've come to expect from Side Saddle. The song's accompanying video with its retro movie clips brings a lovely sense of carefree joy that's just perfect for this time of the year.

This track is the first single off the band's forthcoming third EP Young Professional (an apt title for this DC audience) that comes out July 20th. Mark your calendars, people!

{GIVEAWAY} white ford bronco

Rock & Roll Hotel not only has one of the best rooftops in the District, but they're also back at it again, offering a perfect chance to see local-faves White Ford Bronco perform on 7/10!

Grab a friend and a PBR and enter our giveaway immediately for a chance to win two free tickets to the show. These DC-ites play every single 90s jam, from 311 to Lit to Weezer, and really can't be missed. Don't believe me? Check out their rendition of BSB's "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)."

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Tickets are sure to go fast, so if you just can't leave it up to chance buy your ticket here!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

{WATCH} tei shi on morning becomes eclectic

If you're having trouble waking up this morning, might we suggest watching Tei Shi's session at KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic. Her sultry and captivating vocals, coupled with a fun interview, are just the stuff to ease you into your day.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, her cover of YoncĂ©'s "No Angel" is everything.  

Friday, June 26, 2015

weekend thoughts...

Happy Friday, friends! Now that it's officially summer, it's time to celebrate with some sunny jams and lots of interesting and entertaining favorites from the interwebs this week. 

Your Weekend Jam: Leave it to Matt Nathanson to bring us the peppiest, happiest summer anthem with “Gold in the Summertime.”

TIOJ Thoughts:

Turns out TSwift isn’t the only one against Apple’s streaming service.

Speaking of... Olivia Benson meets Olivia Benson.

Beautiful portraits of artists at Firefly.

Some Miley Cyrus themed tattoos

Gmail now has an undo send button!!

Why concerts should end by 11pm. #old.

Free! Cayuca’s latest single “Moony Eyed Walrus” is free on iTunes this week -- just in time for the official start of summer!

DC Happenings: Nerd alert!! A Jane Austen-themed outdoor movie festival!

And in case you missed it: Today’s the last day to win tickets to see Mates of State, Hey Marseilles, and Good Graeff at Rock & Roll Hotel on July 8!

{PLAYLIST} pool and beachside loungin'

Time for some real talk that should come as absolutely no surprise to anyone -- it is hot as the dickens out there. Between DC and the South Carolina Lowcountry, the corners of the earth where we ladies of TIOJ are scattered to this summer, it's a sweaty, sweaty mess out there. So naturally, there's only one solution: get thee to a pool or beach, take a quick dip, and lay out for hours and hours. We have your soundtrack.

Also, you definitely need ice cream for these hot days.

Reapply your sunscreen and jam to another round of poolside jams here!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

{THROWBACK} "you're gonna miss this"

I have another confession. If you ever want to make me cry -- and I mean full on tears and mascara running down my face cry -- it's not at all hard. Just put on Trace Adkins' "You're Gonna Miss This," and the closer it gets to the last verse, the more I will anticipate the ending, and the more I will sob. True story -- this happened twice in the past week, both when driving (of course).

For the record, another song that does the same trick (and with a similar theme) is Kenny Chesney's "There Goes My Life." Waterworks.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

so smitten with shamir

Twenty year-old electro-pop phenom Shamir is really making my summer brighter. My current obsession is "Youth," a beat-driven, falsetto-full track off his 2015 full length debut. It's so so catchy and enthralling. Keep it coming, please!

As a bonus, take a listen to Shamir's soaring, bittersweet cover of Miranda Lambert's "The House That Built Me."

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

{GIVEAWAY} mates of state + good graeff + hey marseilles

Oh boy do we have a happy giveaway for you guys today! We're giving away a pair of tickets to see married duo Mates of State (who made us a playlist once), Seattle band Hey Marseilles (who we interviewed one time), AND up-and-comer Good Graeff. All the groups are out with new music and are TIOJ approved to be wonderful live. See what we mean below.

Truth: Mates of State's newest video features and is based off of experiences of their daughter June. Too precious.

Good Graeff (oh hello, cello!):

Hey Marseilles:

Enter via Rafflecopter below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

new music roundup!

It seems that so many of our favorite artists are GSD (getting shit done, of course) these days and releasing all kinds of new music. Listen below for new jams from oh so many that we love!

"Palace" - Tanlines
We could've sung from the rooftops when we found out that Tanlines was back in action, and we're adding "Palace" to our road trip playlists immediately.

"No Sleep" - Janet Jackson
PRAISE BE, Janet is back!! In her first song released in the better part of a decade, it appears that Miss Janet has not missed a beat. Amazing.

"Montana" - James Taylor
Yes, James Taylor! JT (the elder) just released a new album, and yes, his voice is just as astounding as ever.

What new music have you been listening to lately? What do we need to put on our radars??

Monday, June 22, 2015

andrew mcmahon in the wilderness is my jam

Press play below and your ears will be deceiving you, friends. I could've sworn that Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness was Passion Pit, and I in fact checked who I was listening to several times before I believed iTunes Radio. BUT, you do know Andrew McMahon! He's actually the voice you recognize from Something Corporate and Jack's Mannequin all those years back.

And now he's back and making music under his own name, and "Cecilia and the Satellite" is the poolside jam you've been looking for all summer. Add it to your rotation now.

Friday, June 19, 2015

weekend thoughts...

Happy Friday!!! We hope that this weekend provides a well-needed break from humidity, whether that's at Firefly Festival or at your closest pool!

Your Weekend Jam: Feel the FUCKING BEST this weekend thanks to Lenno and Dragonette!

TIOJ Thoughts: 

Love this DC art collaboration! (and the awesome video from our very own A/V Director!)

Have you tried Spotify’s Taste Rewind feature? It led us to lots of Chuck Berry this week and it was glorious.

Jon Hamm and Zach Galifanakis at Bonnaroo!

I must say, I agree wholeheartedly with this ranking of ‘90s baseball movies.

FINALLY, a cheese (and a taco) emoji!!

Free! The Tallest Man on Earth's "Timothy" is one of iTunes' free downloads this week!

DC Happenings: Your guide to free DC summer concerts!

{PLAYLIST} firefly festival 2015

This is the first year ever that TIOJ does not have a representative at Firefly Festival, and to be honest, we're so utterly bummed out by it. This is evidenced by an email sent earlier this week in which Krista said, "ugh the firefly lineup is so good, I didn't even realize." Our sentiments wrapped up in 11 words.


SO, if you are at Firefly Festival, we are 100% living vicariously through you. Seriously, so many of the artists that made the first year SO incredible are back (Walk the Moon, Chiddy, THE KILLERS), plus so many of our newer favorites -- we're kicking ourselves for not getting tickets this year. And listening to this playlist to console ourselves.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

{THROWBACK} "success"

I was introduced to this song by my brother who prefaced pressing play with: "This is what I hear in my head as I walk down the street to start the day." Now picture said 23-year-old male and press play.

It's amazing, right? This '80s "classic" from The Weather Girls has quickly been adopted by my entire family and has had particular importance after a certain Stanley Cup victory earlier this week for my Chicagoan family. Go Blackhawks!

{THROWBACK} "ain't no sunshine"

It's been a while since we've given a nod to one of our original blog faves, Mr. John Mayer. So when his cover (albeit a few years old) of "Ain't No Sunshine" popped onto my radar, I was more than happy to dip back into my college world of listening to a lottttt of JM on repeat.

And because this song is just so wonderful, the beautiful Bill Withers original:

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

on to something great with ashley monroe

My summer of country music love is persisting. Enter: Ashley Monroe, the cutest, blondest, sassiest little Tennessean. Her self-empowerment anthem, "On To Something Good" has really elevated my daily commutes.

I'm so happy Ashley Monroe has stepped away from the shadows, where she focused on dueting, co-writing songs, and singing backup for some of country music's darlings like Miranda Lambert, Hunter Hayes, and Blake Shelton, and stepped into the spotlight like she so rightly deserves.

I, too, am better dancing when I don't look down.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

the eiffels are my jam

Guys, I have an awesome new band to put on your radar! Meet L.A. trio The Eiffels whose music is the perfect blend of the modern indie rock we've been loving lately (looking at you, Wild Party) with influences from the best part of the '80s. Listen to "I'm Ready" and see what I mean.

Want more? Of course you do:

The Eiffels debut EP is available for streaming on Spotify .

Monday, June 15, 2015

NEW music from of monsters and men!

Praise be, our favorite Icelanders are BACK -- and we mean really back, with a new album and single and tour and everything!! Of Monsters and Men has returned to fill our hearts with their darling Icelandic sound.

Please stop whatever you're doing right now and listen to "Crystals."

Next, buy your tickets NOW for their show at Merriweather Post Pavilion on September 20. Seriously, do it -- they are the best ever live.

Friday, June 12, 2015

weekend thoughts...

Happy Friday! Whether you're lounging at the pool or running between This and That stage at Bonnaroo, we hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Your Weekend Jam: Leave it to Icona Pop to give us an energetic new jam for the weekend.

TIOJ Thoughts:

Love Aziz Ansari’s thoughts on dating and marriage.

Planning a TIOJ roadtrip to re-visit our Presidential friends.

Throwback alert: you can get your favorite Bath and Body Works scents from the ‘90s again!

Our favorite OITNB ladies go Tindering.

Free! Firefly Festival is just around the corner, so get ready with this awesome mixtape!!

DC Happenings: You go Glen Coco -- Mean Girls is playing outside in Rosslyn tonight!

Plus! Happy Pride! Be sure to get your parade on this weekend!

And in case you missed it: We recapped so many shows this week! Great Good Fine Ok! Tallest Man on Earth! Billy Joel!

{PLAYLIST} bonnaroo jams 2015

We've said it before and we'll say it again -- Bonnaroo is our greatest music festival Everest. We are always SO torn between four incredible days of all of our favorite music artists... and regular access to showers. Although Bonnaroo would be the perfect opportunity to play our favorite festival game of Tan or Dirty?, we once again have decided that showers win...

If you are braver than we are (or just don't mind the four day combination of sweat and dirt on you), please do us a favor and be sure to see the following acts:

Thursday, June 11, 2015

{THROWBACK} "amber"

I have a confession to make, although I don't think it's too embarrassing (this time). I had no idea 311 was still around until I heard on the radio that yesterday was their 25th anniversary. Did anyone else know that a, this band was around for that long before you started listening to "Amber," and b, that they were still around? Did anyone keep tabs on this mid-2000s band that made you feel cooler than you were (while still not really understanding what their deal was) in high school?

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

jams from italia!!

While I was in Italy for two weeks on a fabulous vacation, we spent a fair amount of time driving in between Tuscan hill towns, which meant lots of entertaining time in the car listening to Italian radio stations. When we weren't listening to strictly Italian stations at the request of my brother, I was struck by the limited yet constant rotation of jams played in English. Typically, the rotation was between Jess Glynne's "Hold My Hand" (good call, Kristen!), Jason Derulo's "Want To Want Me" and Felix Jaehn's remix of OMI's "Cheerleader" (that dude is on a roll).

I dare you not to get any of these songs stuck in your head. (True life -- I listened to Jess Glynne's jam on repeat when I returned to keep myself from falling asleep at 5pm.)

Plus, I had to share this Italian dance song that had me fist pumping like a fool. (Do we think Jersey Shore guido-style fist pumping has inherent Italian roots??)

{RECAP} billy joel

Brand-new Concert Correspondent Katy got to live my personal dream by spending this past Saturday lounging, swaying, and frolicking amongst my homeboys and girls at Farm Bureau Live in Virginia Beach as she took in a show from American legend Billy Joel! Check out her recap below and as you read enjoy my personal favorite Billy song--and yes, it's just because it mentions Norfolk.

When an American classic like Billy Joel opens his show by saying "I don't have anything new to play for you guys..." obviously the entire crowd is going to cheer ecstatically. "I appreciate you all coming out to hear me play, even though I haven't had anything new out in 20 years!" Cue more cheering.

On a perfect June evening, after suffering a freak ten minute rainstorm and a snafu with the parking which made us miss the entire opening act (Gavin DeGraw!), five friends gathered on the lawn at the Farm Bureau and settled in (squished in, really) between the other 20,000 people in attendance. It was an evening of hit after hit - "Vienna," "We Didn't Start the Fire," "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant," "She's Always A Woman," "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me," "Piano Man," and "Uptown Girl."

Billy sounded great. It looked like he was having a complete blast playing for several thousand adoring fans of all ages. We thought we'd be the youngest there and we weren't, not by a long shot. The weather held, although the bugs didn't - someone had to get him a fly swatter to keep by the piano, which he waved around with flair throughout the evening!

Notable moments included him hitting the high notes on "An Innocent Man" (after confessing he wasn't sure he could anymore), bringing a group of U.S. military onto the stage during "Goodnight Saigon" (which the military-heavy crowd in VA Beach ate right up), and singing "Only the Good Die Young" as his last encore song (with the opening line addressed to Virginia - how appropriate!). I did miss him playing "Big Shot," "Just the Way You Are," and "Longest Time." But to see him play some of his best hits, and the entire crowd singing along, was the kind of mood we were in tonight.

I'm so glad you enjoyed the show Katy! 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

{RECAP} the tallest man on earth

The Sara(h)s were able to check out The Tallest Man on Earth last Monday night at The Lincoln Theatre -- read their rave review below!!

Kristian Matsson, the genius behind The Tallest Man on Earth, lived up to his moniker on Monday night at the Lincoln Theater. A name well-suited based not on his stature, but on the scope of his presence on stage. His soaring vocals and jerking guitar motions convey an emotion that both fills a space and manages to make you feel a singular, individualized connection to his words.

The Sara(h)s have seen TMoE before, when he came to DC to play at 9:30 Club. That show stood out to us then as "The One Where You Could Hear a Pin Drop." Seriously, the quietest we've ever heard 9:30 -- especially a 9:30 that was at capacity. We were both fascinated to see how TMoE's set would transfer to the different style of the Lincoln Theater, and, unsurprisingly, Kristian delivered an amazing performance.

The Lincoln proved a great venue for Kristian & co. Kristian's intensely emotional performance is deepened when you can not only hear the words you've come to know, but also see how he is interpreting them as their maker and conveyor. In addition to allowing a view in on the action, individual seating at Lincoln lets you connect with the music in a truly individual and personal way -- exactly how Kristian intended.

This is TMoE's first tour with a band backing him. Rather than distract from the vocal emotion and meandering guitar, the four band members actually enhance the transfixing nature of the show. They came alive in songs, which was wholly exciting for those of us in the audience who were already near ready to burst from the emotion each song holds.

It was a beautiful night, one we wish we could relive again and again.

Thank you again to Sara and Sarah for checking out this show! Up next: the Sara(h)s are back at it, checking out LEMAITRE!

summer is coming thanks to little racer

The weather may be having a little trouble lately deciding whether to be spring or summer, but thanks to new music from TIOJ faves Little Racer we have the perfect soundtrack to ease us in to the surely warmer days to come.

The Brooklyn four-piece is about to release a new EP next week and if the lead single "Jack Knife" is any indication, it's going to be on constant rotation on our summer playlists. Listen to the jam and get excited for days ahead full of sipping rosé on balconies, floating in pools, and weekend road trips with your besties.

Stay tuned for Foreign Tongues, which will be dropping on the 16th!

Monday, June 8, 2015

{RECAP} great good fine ok, paperwhite, joseph & the beats

Check out Morgan's recap of a stellar indie pop lineup of Great Good Fine Ok, Paperwhite, and Joseph & The Beats at DC9!

Thursday night I pretended I was in college and totally didn’t have to do grown up things (like work) on Friday and caught a late show at DC9. The show was Great Good Fine OK’s (one of TIOJ’s Bands to Watch in 2015!) first headliner in DC. I discovered Great Good Fine OK a couple of months ago when they opened for Bear Hands. On Thursday I had the pleasure of hearing several tracks from their new EP Body Diamond as well as getting a chance to discover both of the excellent openers.

Up first, Baltimore's Joseph & the Beats, who were wonderfully weird. (For the record, my favorite singer is David Byrne – I mean weird as a high compliment.) The band had an electric-David Bowie feel that I loved. I hope to see them the next time I’m in Baltimore or back in D.C. soon!

Up next were Paperwhite. I confess, I knew absolutely nothing about the band, led by brother and sister Katie and Ben Marshall. However, after the first song, I became a convert. The band has a fun, synth-pop sound that works well with lead singer Katie Marshall’s lovely voice. All of their songs were fun to listen and fun to dance to. I’ll definitely be looking for their DC return.

The last time I saw Great Good Fine OK I learned the lyrics to “Not Going Home” on the fly so I could sing along with the crowd. This time I came prepared. I was delighted to see that many others in the crowd did as well. I cannot confirm what the band has been listening to for the last few months, but if I had to wager a guess, I would put (a very small amount) of money on Michael Jackson (and maybe some George Clinton?). In the lead up to the show, I was listening to “Too Much to Handle”, which has a fun, '80s pop sound. However, live the band turned up the funk in this set. All of it was for the better – I loved the sound of the entire set. New and old, all of the songs had an injection of a funk-based electric energy that made the set tremendously fun. New fans and old danced through the entire evening.

Also, once again, the wardrobe choices of the band were on point. I make a modest plea here: I have to know something about the origins of the jackets. While I loved them all, I was particularly enamored with keyboard/electric xylophone player who had a jacket with a map of the world on it. Are they thrifted? (If so, the band members must explain their thrifting strategy – I have never been that lucky in a thrift store.) Custom-made? I must know.

I’ve been to many a show in 2015 and I think I might have danced the most at this one. I have the exact same recommendation that I had a few months ago: Go see Great Good Fine OK live. Their brand of fun-electropop music is beautifully joyful and will have you wanting to dance all night long.

Thanks for the recap Morgan -- so jealous we missed this show! Next Up: Sarah and Sara are back to U Hall to see LEMAITRE on Thursday night!

good old war is my jam

In search of a super fun folky poppy (and peppy) band to bop along to as you make a long drive this summer like I am? If so, please look into Good Old War -- this band hails from my (brief) former home of Philadelphia, and they are a delightful breath of good music. I can't get enough.

Their new album Broken into Better Shape drops on June 30, and in anticipation of that, you can download a sampler on Noisetrade. I've listened to "Tell Me What You Want From Me" three times in a row, but the rest of the songs are equally as wonderful.

Fans say not to ever miss Good Old War live, and lucky for us, we're able to do that on August 13 at The Hamilton!! Put it on your calendar immediately, kids.

new (and FREE) chance the rapper album!

GUYS -- have you listened to Chance the Rapper's latest project Surf by Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment?? It's so fresh with Chance's clever raps, confident instrumental moments, and wonderful features including Big Sean, Janelle Monae, and Busta Rhymes. Listen to "Wanna Be Cool" as some inspiration for the start of your week.

And because I can't not share -- listen to "Sunday Candy," it's so catchy and my favorite off the album (for today at least).

PLUS -- the entire album is available for free on iTunes. Get clicking!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

{WATCH} sonic highways

On my flight home this week, feeling particularly nostalgic and excited to come home to D.C., I was excited to finally watch Dave Grohl's documentary series Foo Fighters Sonic Highways. 

Obviously I immediately clicked on the Washington D.C. episode and kept smiling as I recognized familiar landmarks, bopped in my seat to Go-Go, and learned more than I had about the history of the D.C. punk rock scene. I definitely recommending checking out this episode featuring Bad Brains, Minor Threat, Trouble Funk, RDGLDGRN and more available on HBO Go.

Friday, June 5, 2015

weekend thoughts...

Happy weekend, TIOJ!! To all you people in New York -- have a blast and a half at Gov Ball... for those in DC -- it finally stopped raining, so we'll see you at Jazz in the Garden! 

Your Weekend Jam: Can’t get enough of “All That and Then Some,” a Carly Rae Jepson and Drake mashup by Muneshine.

TIOJ Thoughts:

Straight Outta Compton looks so good.

Some thoughts on amusement park music.

The blandness of music festivals.

Are you ready for Canada Day? We are.

What really happened to Susan on Seinfeld...

Free! Loving this Ingrid Michaelson and friends sampler over on Noisetrade -- get music from Ingrid and all of her tourmates!

DC Happenings: In case you want to go to any of the outdoor screens on the green in the DMV this summer, your FULL list of all of the movies is here!

And in case you missed it: Summer music alert!! Fans of Mac DeMarco and/or The Beach Boys in particular -- you'll love Crepes!

PLUS! It's the first week of June, but we’re still looking back at the merry old month of May.

{PLAYLIST} governors ball 2015

Well, my friends, it's that time -- it is undeniably and wholeheartedly festival season. For the next few months, every region of the country will be hosting dozens of amazing artists for a festival for a weekend in the sun that looks like it was sponsored by Free People. We love every single bit of it, and we are oh so envious of festival-goers at each and every one.

Up this week is New York City's Governors Ball. This one is extra appealing to us because of the promise of hotels and showers (stay tuned for when it's Bonnaroo week...), so it's staying on our to-do list.


Thursday, June 4, 2015

{THROWBACK} "see you in september"

Today's my last day of school for the year (!!!), so it only feels fitting to throwback to The Happenings' "See You in September" -- later, kiddos!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

{IF YOU LIKE} mac demarco, the beach boys

(via 1/2/3)

If you like the hazy summer vibes of Mac DeMarco or The Beach Boys, then you must check out Australian band Crepes. "Cold Summers" is so ideal for breezy summer days -- we can't help but imagine listening to this song in a hammock at dusk with a craft beer in our hands.

Won't you please help us in writing a petition to get these guys to come stateside in the next two months??

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

{RECAP} born gold, braids, purity ring

Intrepid Concert Correspondant Morgan checked out Braids and Purity Ring at the first of their two shows on Friday night -- read her recap below!

Friday night I had the pleasure of seeing a trio of experimental bands at 9:30 Club: Born Gold, Braids, and the spectacular Purity Ring.

First up on Friday night was the Canadian band Born Gold. I have to confess that I was most impressed by the band’s unconventional percussion set up -- I was on the second floor, so I couldn’t quite see everything that they were using. I think I saw that the band was making music with what looked like: a bird cage, a disco ball, some strips of metal, and as we always need more of: cowbells. (If you were there and were closer and I got anything wrong -- please, correct me in the comments).

Up next was Braids. I first fell for Braids listening to their most recent album Deep in the Iris on NPR’s First Listen a couple of weeks ago. NPR Music’s Jason Heller describes the album perfectly: “Deep in the Iris is about the good and the bad that’s unlocked when the ice melts.” (His whole review here and describes the album far better than I will.) The album is full of raw, emotional lyrics, paired with experimental sounds, and lead singer’s Raphaelle Standell-Preston’s soaring vocals. Consistently beautiful, sometimes haunting, sometimes joyful, I’ve had the album on repeat for the last few weeks. As such, I was incredibly excited to catch them.

Deep in the Iris is the third album from the Canadian band Braids who opened for electronica powerhouse Purity Ring. However, before they took the stage, Purity Ring was up in the rafters of 9:30 Club dancing to Braids new album.

Deep in the Iris translates to the stage perfectly. The album is intensely emotional and live the band opens up even more interesting and powerful veins. Standell-Preston’s voice is stunningly beautiful. Perhaps one of her greatest strengths is her ability to seamlessly shift from soft, sweetness, to an intense raw, loud rage. This is best exemplified in the song, “Miniskirt,” which Braids ended their set with on Friday. Standell-Preston’s vocal rage morphed almost instantaneously into haunting beauty. Meanwhile, Austin Tuffs and Taylor Smith backed her with a kind of controlled, electronic, chaos. It was a fantastic end to an already wonderful set.

Finally, Purity Ring took the stage. I’m not sure if I have adequate words to describe the sheer awesomeness of the show. If you’ve read my recaps before, you know how easily swayed I am by a quality use of shiny things as a part of a band’s act. Purity Ring might be the master’s of a light show. The entire club was entranced smoke, wind machines, a stunningly choreographed light show, and some very impressive, well-timed crowd-surfing. No pictures, no videos can do their show justice. What I’m stumbling through describing is: Purity Ring put on an amazing show. Go. See. Them. Live.

Thank you so much to Morgan for checking these awesome acts out! Up next: Sara and Sarah recap The Tallest Man on Earth's Monday show at The Lincoln Theatre.

love & valor is my jam

Another day, another new Americana band from North Carolina for me to love. Enter Love & Valor, of Burlington, NC -- these guys and gal are awesome. I love how they range from beautifully sweet and slow to a full-on jam session. And the way several distinct voices meld together is really something.

Case in point: "Truly Dear" could be the first dance at a wedding.

But on the other hand, "Old Time Religion" is an upbeat tune that you should be tapping your foot along to while you sit out on the front porch.

Either way, you can grab Love & Valor's self-titled EP on Noisetrade now -- do it to it!

Monday, June 1, 2015

oh yes, we will love "we won't"

TIOJ's fascination with whispery-voiced Phoebe Ryan runs deep. We were previously enamored with her Miguel/R. Kelly mashup that took the internet by storm a few months ago and her collaboration with another TIOJ-fave, crooner Jaymes Young, has us similarly awed. I'm happily heartbroken by this bittersweet song.

some t-pain for your monday

This may be one of the weirdest Tiny Desk Concerts ever (as declared by both the audience and the performer). But man oh man, T-Pain's show at the NPR studios is, quite simply, amazing. Without auto tune and with a pianist, T-Pain (did you know his real name is Faheem Rashad Najm?) is a really talented artist. You need to check it out for yourself now as you ease into Monday!

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