I first saw Mariah McManus front her rock band Glare of Rockets several years ago…I think they might have opened for Carney at The Troubadour. I recall enjoying the band, but never heard from them again. Now Mariah is back with a solo album, Nice to Meet You, which is one of my favorite albums that came out this year. I love her unique voice and she is quite the talented songwriter. She also put out a Christmas album that spent the holiday season in my car player on repeat. I anticipate big things from Mariah McManus. You should check her out.
One of the most traumatic experiences I had this year was the loss of my car for two weeks….bussing back and forth to campus wasn’t the worst experience, but not having a car seriously hindered my evening activities. The worst was the night my friends, Vegas-based Parade of Lights, were playing at The Viper Room and my hope for a ride fell through. Fortunately I have some awesome people in my life who understand what it means to miss one of your favorite bands. I don’t recall when I’ve ever been quite so grateful to be at a show. I may have hugged everyone a bit too hard that night…I was just so happy to be there. Anytime Parade of Lights plays in the LA area, I am there. They are one of my favorite bands to dance to.
The Silent Comedy, one of my favorite bands from San Diego, had an amazing year traveling the country, playing with Ryan Bingham, and making so many new fans and friends. The weekend of the San Diego Music Thing (one of my favorite music conferences), I traveled down a day early to see the boys play in Balboa Park. During my travels, however, there was a massive power outage that impacted the greater San Diego area and beyond. We ventured to the park anyway and The Silent Comedy played for us outside, unplugged via candlelight. Afterwards we all headed over to a friend’s pool for some late night swimming. Fortunately the power came on for the weekend’s events, but I will never forget the intimacy of that evening when The Silent Comedy played acoustic songs like this version of “The Prince”
Here’s another acoustic gem (and the song from last year’s mix):
LMN spent some time in Nashville this year exploring a bit of the local music scene. I realized that I’ve been listening to quite a few Nashville-based artists. Butterfly Boucher, Matthew Perryman Jones, Gabe Dixon (and all the Ten of Tenn-ers), Neal Carpenter, Bonnie Bishop, Matt Wertz, etc. It was hard to select just one for this mix, but the one who had the greatest impact on me this year was probably Ben Rector. I first heard of Ben a couple of years ago but this year was the first opportunity I had to see him, first opening for Matt Wertz at The Troubadour and later at The Hotel Cafe as part of my epic 4 venue/7band evening. Ben Rector had a new album come out this year called Something Like This, which I quite enjoy, but I’m still hung up on Into The Morning which features “When a Heart Breaks”
Probably the most exciting thing to happen this year is my involvement with High Voltage Magazine which began publishing print issues again in the Fall. This marks the first time my writing has been published in the music world! Getting advanced copies of albums, being put on the list for shows, writing album and show reviews that actually get looked at, throwing AWESOME parties, and working with and meeting truly amazing people…these are all things that have now become a regular part of my life and I love it…SO MUCH. I’m currently writing a feature on Imagine Dragons for the next issue. I asked singer, Dan Reynolds, which one Imagine Dragons song he’d share with the uninitiated. He said “It’s Time,” so here it is!
7. “Not An Addict” (K’s Choice Cover) – Kill The Alarm
2011 marks the first year I saw Garen Gueyikian/Granian/Kill the Alarm play acoustic since my Bryn Mawr days at The Point. He came out to LA and played Room 5 and I was transported to a completely different time and place; one in which my happiest memories exist. It’s difficult to describe how much this LA visit meant to me. Kill the Alarm released two EPs this year including a collection of covers which included “Not An Addict”, one of my fave tunes from the 90s, originally by K’s Choice.
TFDI is Jay Nash, Tony Lucca, and Matt Duke and they really are Totally Fucking Doing It! Three of my favorite singer-songwriters singing, writing, and touring together; how could this not be amazing! The trio released an album called When I Stop Running and it is one of my favorite albums of the year. I was front row for a last minute gig at Room 5 and it was one of the best shows of my year. Each of these performers knows how to write and sing a song and together, they make magic! It was so hard to choose one song for this mix. I could have easily gone with Nash’s “If I Was a Ghost” or Lucca’s “Hurtin Kind”, but I opted for Duke’s “Hold On Tight” in honor of his show stopping cover of Bright Eyes’ “Lover I Don’t Have to Love” that was performed at Room 5 with such raw and visceral emotion that when the song ended I realized I had stopped breathing.