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       After a cringe worthy first week or so of school, it's finally time for a break. Never does a weekend seem so sweet as the first one of the semester. Strangely enough for me, I will not be sitting at home, procrastinating on assignments while working on research for blog posts; I will, thank goodness, be on the other side of the country for a much needed girls weekend. I suggest you do the same, maybe not so drastically, but the grab the person who annoys you least and go on a road trip. Short or long, it does not matter, it just feels good to have the windows down and the music up. So, grab some sodas, a bag of Cheetos, and throw these songs on a CD. Have fun and relax.
"Better Side" lady danville
"Sunshine" Matisyahu
"Mountain Sound" Of Monsters And Men
"Ready or Not" Bridgit Mendler
"One More Night" Maroon 5
"Forever" Youngblood Hawke
"Animal" Neon Trees
"Teenage Dream" Katy Perry
"Heartbeat" The Fray
- E


Concert Myths

        Music caught itself on a snag in my soul when I was young, and it's been there for me over the years with such consistency that I can't imagine not having it in my life. The only thing better than finding good music is attending a good concert. I swear, if I don't go to at least one concert a year I'll combust.
       There are some misconceptions about concerts that I've had many people mention to me lately and, if these fallacies are not fixed, you could miss out on some great performances.
1) Concerts are too expensive.
       This is just not true; do not let it stop you from seeing a band live because it's not even a good excuse. Sure, there are expensive concerts (I gave up on Coldplay this summer because the least expensive ticket was over $150), but the majority of them are actually quite affordable. When I saw Panic! At the Disco and Fun., it was only $38. The first time I saw Passion Pit, the tickets were only $21, and Graffiti6 had a $12 concert in Atlanta this summer. There are added expenses like $10 parking and one and half hours worth of gas, but it's never  not been worth it. Another type of concert experience is a music festival and, though the overall price may seem expensive ($60-$120), you are going to see about four bands/artists a day for 3-5 days; this averages out to a pretty amazing deal, especially as the festivals offer at least two big names a day. Don't tell yourself that you can't go to a concert because it will be too expensive, there are plenty of free and cheap concerts in college towns and big cities.
2) Music festivals are dirty, drug ridden, and sex-filled?
       Seriously? If you can get in position to have sex when there are hundreds of people crushed together then good for you; that's impressive. And as far as drugs go, I have never seen anything more harmful than pot, and that is only prevalent at certain performances; not all of them are subject to that. There is a lot of drinking, but it's a concert/fair/outside gathering, there is always drinking. Now, as far as being dirty goes, that's not a fair argument to make to the event organizers. They work to keep their grounds as clean as possible so that they can continue to hold the event for years to come (and if you attend an established festival, it's bound to be better organized, cleaner, and generally safer). There is always a large number of volunteers (who wouldn't agree to a few days of manual labor for some free concerts) who are constantly on the move, picking up trash along the way. Overall, music festivals are a really fun place to see a lot of bands and meet people. The only way you won't enjoy yourself is if you go in with that mind set and decide to hang out in the obviously bad places (don't expect the porta-potty alley to be clean, well-lit, and full of fresh flowers). Also, there are police and firemen milling around everywhere and, the larger the concert, the more protection they have. Some festivals will even bring in military police if they suspect a band will be popular, providing extra security for everyone.
3) There are never any concerts near me.
       Unless you live in a college town or a major city, there usually are not concerts next door to you, but that doesn't mean you can't drive to them. Most of the concerts I attend are a minimum of one hour away, but one hour isn't long to drive for a great performance. I would actually prefer that longer drive over a short one; it gives you and your friends time to get excited and then, on the way back, time to talk about the concert and sing along to the album you bought at the merchandise table (always buy something from the merch table to help your favorite band).
- E


Timmy Curran

       Timmy Curran, a surfer turned musician, uses a blend of folksy alternative and rock to create his unique sound. He has had much success as a surfer, getting his first sponsorship at 11 and surfing professionally by 16, and uses this to promote his albums; he performed songs from his first album at Hurley surf shops and has created a strong fan base among the surfing community.
       He released his EP, Citsusa in 2004 and his first album Word of Mouth in 2007, before re-releasing it in 2008 after signing to a label (the title comes from Curran's belief that 'word of mouth' is the best way to garner a fan base and share music). Keeping with this theory, he offers his EP, second, and third albums (Citusca-2004, Verses-2010, and Options-2011) for free on his website, making it easy to share his music among friends and fans.
       His music has that sweet, down to earth quality that makes you smile and brings you back to balance. My personal favorite, "Blue Eyes," was featured on his first album and offers a cute relationship song, complete with an adorable video about winning back a girl. 
       His music is full of those undeniably catchy melodies which are just so easy to hum along to and lyrics which will circle around your head on repeat for days (in a good way). "Crazy Love", from Curran's second album, keeps that melodic sound and those adorable lyrics that first appeared on his EP and "If I Only Had a Way" shows off his beautifully unique voice that I just can't get enough of (simultaneously soft and scratchy, it's perfect for a beach-y folk sound). His third album features the same catchy melodies, but sounds more reflective and a little less hopeful than his last two albums as he repeats lines like "oh how my heart bleeds" in "U Dear" (it's so different from his previous albums that, then the song reaches a nearly heartbreaking moments when those strings swell, it almost sounds like a different artist, if only for a second).     
       The third album, while capturing the insightful lyrics and great melodies of the other songs, is more thoughtful and 'deep' than the previous songs Curran put out. At times, the music is a tad reminiscent of Death Cab for Cutie, particularly in "Weary" as he mixes the alternative rock sound with his folksy lyrics.
       Whether you prefer the slowed down beach sounds of his first few albums or the alternative rock of his last album, he is an amazing artist that deserves the chance to be added to your music library. Check him out in the links below, take advantage of the free music, and buy his other songs from iTunes. 
       And watch this adorable music video along the way.
- E



       Chris Pearson, Nick Box, Jake Lester, Shaun Menary, and Brandon Ross make up the alternative rock quintet, Sleeperstar. The band began in 2007 in Dallas, Texas and has since released two full albums (To Speak, To Love, To Listen [2008] and Just Another Ghost [2010]). They are preparing to release an EP which will act as an extension of their second album and will then be releasing a third album in early 2013 (Lost Machines)
       The band's song, "I Was Wrong," was featured on The Vampire Diaries last year and shot the album's sales up overnight, turning Sleeperstar from an independent band with a small, yet strong, fan base, to a signed band working on the release of their first EP, Blue Eyes (set to be released in January). The band's first album, To Speak, To Love, To Listen, had only seven songs, four of which ("The Journey", "Texas Rain", "Just So You Know", "Disengage") were carried over onto the bands second album, Just Another Ghost; one of the best albums of 2010. Though both albums are worth buying (and listening to multiple times over), "Texas Rain," "The Day I Quit My Job," and "We Go Tonight (Say It Again)" may be their catchiest songs, while the lyrics of "Wherever You Go," "Disengage," "Soon," and "The Journey" are so pure and unabashedly honest that you will fall for the band within the first thirty seconds. And the lyrics of "Carry You," "Losing You," and "I Was Wrong" are so great; this band never ceases to amaze me. 
       Pearson's beautifully unique voice (it's not often that you can call a voice both smooth and rough) will certainly attract listeners, as well as the unique sound created by the combination of styles which each individual member brings to the group. Check the band out in all the links below and make sure to buy their albums and keep an eye out for Blue Eyes (January 29) and Lost Machines.
- E


Youngblood Hawke

       Youngblood Hawke is an alternative band consisting of Sam Martin, Simon Katz, Alice Katz, Tasso Smith, and Nik Hughes. After Martin's and Katz's previous band broke up in 2009, they turned to music as a way to release feelings and Katz soon came up with the name Youngblood Hawke, taken from the 1960s novel, by Herman Wouk, of the same name. Katz and Martin shared their recordings with friends, adding Katz, Smith, and Hughes to the band.
       Their sound is unique, almost an alternative techno sound, yet the voices of the band members merge perfectly in an acoustic setting, giving them a soothing folksy sound. Their newest EP has only four songs on it, but each song is better than the last.
       Their single, "We Come Running," was released as a 'free single of the week' on iTunes on August 14 and succeeded in taking the bands self-titled EP from number 45 on the alternative album iTunes charts, to number 14, solidly placed between Passion Pit and Alex Clare. This song has, of course, received more attention than the others and, while it is a great song, there is something about "Stars (Hold On)" that just demands it be played on repeat, and "Forever" is the most endearing song the band has to offer, and I can't get enough of it.
       On the bands tumblr account, they describe themselves flawlessly, stating that "Youngblood Hawke captures the sound of 5 friends in mid-journey. One mountain has been climbed, and there are more in the distance. But for right now, the view is beautiful."
       The band is adorable, their EP is amazing, and you should check out these links below. Do your part in supporting the band so they can continue to make this amazing music.
- E

"Thong Song"

       When I was younger, one of my sister's favorite songs was "The Thong Song" by Sisqó. She was intent on hearing the song on the local radio station and kept calling, requesting that it be played, but the DJ claimed he could only play the song once it had reached a certain number of requests. This resulted in my sister calling the station, multiple times, on both the cell and home phones, using different voices each time. After a few hours of thoroughly annoying the DJ, she convinced me to do the same.
       Using as many different voices as a twelve year old could think of, I called the radio station to request a song about a style of woman's underwear. After calling the station six times, I begged my sister to let me stop embarrassing myself, as it was clear the DJ had caller ID (or, more likely, my high-pitched child's voice could not be disguised by any accent and was clearly not as indistinguishable as I had hoped).
       I waited up with my sister, until one in the morning, to hear our request; this was a big deal as, to a twelve year old, one AM might as well be the same as pulling an all-nighter. The song was never played, because the DJ was obviously an ass, but the only person I would ever do this type of ridiculous thing for would be my sister. The only thing stronger than the sting of embarrassment is the bond between sisters.
       I never have heard "The Thong Song" played on the radio, but if I did I would call my sister immediately, even if I had to place an overseas call to do so, just to hold the phone to the speakers and reminisce on all the stupid things that helped us to grow, and all the idiotic fun we have yet to experience.
       My sister provided me with the spark which ignited my dreams of making sure every song has its chance to shine, regardless of its insignificance or how silly it may sound; it had to be important to someone to be recorded in the first place.
- E



        An alternative rock group from Ohio, WALK THE MOON consists of Nicholas Petricca, Sean Waugaman, Kevin Ray, and Eli Maiman. The band formed in 2008 and released their first album, i want! i want!, in 2010, receiving a lot of airplay and praise for their song, "Anna Sun" (a pop rock anthem which reminds listeners to hold onto their youth). The band has since re-released "Anna Sun" on their latest album, Walk the Moon (June 2012), which features other great songs like "Jenny", "Next In Line", "Tightrope", and "Fixin'".
       The band has promoted their music on Carson Daly, David Letterman, and Conan, as well as touring with Fun, Grouplove, Panic! At the Disco, and Neon Trees. Their first headlining tour is still ongoing; they have toured the US and Europe, and are currently back to touring in the US before heading to Europe, again, in February.  
        While the band's onstage charisma and relentless enthusiasm (face paint is handed out at the concerts and fans are encouraged to take some and dance/sing along) have certainly helped them to garner a fan base, "Anna Sun", and its endearingly energetic music video, has played a large role in the band's current success. Even if you are not a fan of the song or the band (yet), you should be after watching this video.
       If you like the band, sign up for the mailing list, buy their merch, and make sure to get their albums.