Browsing Tag

astr

Music Featured

Skyelyfe’s 20 Best Songs of the 2010s, Ranked

December 11, 2019

(via Unsplash)

When it comes to selecting a personal “best” song, there’s so much more that goes into it than how far it charted on the Billboard Top 40. In fact, that doesn’t play a role to me at all.

What matters is how I felt about the song during its prime, if I feel the same way about the song now, if it had a legitimate “moment” in my life and if it brought some kind of unique sound or formula to the table. With each of these factors in mind, I’ve spent literally all of 2019 jotting down all my most monumental songs of the decade in a notebook as I thought of them.

With 10 years to account for, obviously a slew of songs came to mind. And while I’d have to say music basically died after 2014, the earlier years of the decade brought some of the most iconic songs of all time. Keep reading for skyelyfe’s 20 best songs of the 2010s, ranked. *Note: I left out all remixes even though some were absolutely amazing.

20. ‘Wide Awake’ – Katy Perry (2012)

While probably the last single you think of when you look back on Katy Perry’s iconic Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection album, “Wide Awake” was not only a powerful ballad from the characteristically gimmicky singer, but also one that came out during a trying time in my personal life when I felt like the world was crashing down on me and I was trying to recover from a rough patch. I found the song to be therapeutic in many ways, and I highly respect that this is a detour from much of the singer’s other work.

19. ‘Ice Tray’ – Quality Control, Quavo, Lil Yachty (2017)

This is simply the quintessential song you want to hear on a night out. I can’t tell you how many times I danced to this after-hours. The dark, pulsating track even managed to make Joe Budden relevant again for a hot sec. Had the song come out earlier in the decade, it would have made an even bigger impact, but it definitely holds a special place as one of the best of the latter years.

(via YouTube)

18. ‘I Met You’ – Anna Lunoe + Flume (2012)

2012 was such a year for electronic music. The genre expanded in so many ways, and I was absolutely obsessed with this track. I remember playing this and No. 17 interchangeably nonstop all throughout my work days that year. I very much miss this musical moment.

17. ‘All My Life’ – Gigamesh f./ Jana Nyberg (2012)

Much like the aforementioned track, this was on my Spotify rotation nonstop in 2012—so much so that the app listed it as my most listened to song of that year (not shocking!). Still when I hear it to this day, I don’t like it any less.

(via YouTube)

16. ‘The North’ – Summer Heart (2011)

Summer Heart seemingly came out of nowhere, and this song is hands down one of the most beautifully melodic tracks I’ve ever heard. Not to be fooled by the artist’s name, this song had every bit of a solemn fall vibe, accompanying the season swimmingly that year.

15. ‘Dreaming’ – The Knocks (2014)

The Knocks stole my heart in 2014, and I’ve seen them live countless times since. Their infectious energy lights up a stage, and I truly can’t think of a livelier duo. “Dreaming” is every bit the upbeat track that got me on my feet in 2014 (even when the year got me down).

(via YouTube)

14. ‘Nocturne’ – Wild Nothing (2012)

Seriously bless Wild Nothing. They were my most listened to act of 2012 on Spotify, and have truly never let me down since. They encapsulate everything I could possibly want in a band, with their light, dreamy alt. rock melodies. I can seriously listen to “Nocturne” (and its album of the same name) forever. Just thinking about it makes me happy.

13. ‘Silhouettes’ – Avicii (2012)

Avicii’s tragic death last year was by far one of the most impactful and saddening. Not only a legendary trendsetter in electronic music, the Swedish DJ didn’t seem to have a bad bone in his body (at least from what we know). On top of it all, he created some forever memorable tracks, including what I consider his most underrated, “Silhouettes.” This song takes me back to his then-signature sound when he first hit the scene with “Levels” in 2011. RIP, Avicii.

(via YouTube)

12. ‘Operate’ – ASTR (2013)

Short-lived electronic R&B duo ASTR was an act I found from my old-school favorite indie music blog BitCandy, and I instantly fell in love with them. They disbanded after 2015, but in their time together, Zoe Silverman and Adam Pallin released two insanely outstanding EPs that will forever hold a place in my heart. “Operate” was the first single they released, and therefore the most legendary. I got my entire group of friends hooked, and therefore they definitely made a large dent in my musical memories of the decade.

11. ‘L.A. Lights’ – Grum (2010)

There’s no song like this one (or like the album Heartbeats) on this list. In a shocking move, Grum (aka Graeme Shepherd) went from a retro synth sound to joining the Anjunabeats label going full-force trance. Prior to his musical transition, he released “L.A. Lights,” a beautiful melody that felt ever so fitting to my many late nights under the… L.A. lights.

10. ‘I Get the Bag’ – Gucci Mane f./ Migos (2017)

Out of what was one of the most atrocious years in hip-hop (hip-pop?) came “I Get the Bag,” the Metro Boomin-produced track that made me give Migos a fair chance (I wasn’t big on “Bad and Boujee”). As a longtime fan of Gucci, he absolutely delivers here, on what was one of the best rap songs of the latter part of the decade.

9. ‘Your Love Is My Drug’ – Ke$ha (2010)

And this is where we cue the tears! 2010 was such a magical year for music, and Ke$ha (with then-dollar sign) was a huge proponent of that. Her album Animal came out on the very first day of the decade, setting the precedent for what was probably the best year of my life. This song, album, era brings back so many memories. I know the singer’s in a much healthier, better place now, following her horrifying experience with Dr. Luke, but there’s no denying her songs from the early 2010s will never compare to anything present.

(via YouTube)

8. ‘In the Morning’ – ZHU + Kaskade (2016)

This was my No. 1 song of 2016, and there’s no doubt in my mind why. I only knew like one song by ZHU at this point, but the collab with Kaskade was perfectly executed into melodic bliss, setting the tone for not just my Coachella vibe that year, but for the year as a whole.

7. ‘Slow Love’ – MØ (2014)

I found MØ on the brink of her No Mythologies to Follow album release, and it was a game changer. The unique style of songs is solid from head to toe, and Slow Love sounds like nothing else I’ve heard from her (or any other artist for that matter). According to Spotify, it was my most listened to song of 2014, and according to my blog, the song and the album were both my No. 1 picks of that year.

6. ‘Skin’ – Rihanna (2010)

Name a sexier song of this decade—I’ll wait. Rihanna took her provocative nature to new heights with this dark, alluring melody and bold lyrics to match. While definitely one of her most underrated songs of all-time, it’s hands down one of the best (especially if you were around to improvise an accompanying music video with my group of friends).

5. ‘Loyal’ – Chris Brown f./ Lil Wayne + Tyga (2013)

This classic came out at the very end of 2013, but definitely made its mark the following year. Between the video and Nic Nac beats’ music production, this trio of artists nailed it on what became the party anthem of 2014, in an otherwise lackluster year of hip-hop.

(via YouTube)

4. ‘What’s My Name?’ – Rihanna f./ Drake (2010)

Whenever these 2010 songs come up, I get super nostalgic. I literally remember exactly where I was and how I felt at the peak of these tracks. Rihanna’s Loud album was a surefire favorite of that year, and this was without question the best song that came from it. Major fall/winter vibes I will absolutely never forget.

3. ‘Super Bass’ – Nicki Minaj (2011)

Ah, simpler times. “Super Bass” epitomizes the old-school, inspiring, happy-go-lucky vibe Nicki Minaj’s music brought the world when she first stepped on the scene. Her Pink Friday album felt so pure, and to this day, no “love song” in the hip-hop genre has topped “Super Bass.” Every bit upbeat and sweet, even in my crazy year known as 2011, this song helped keep me sane.

(via YouTube)

2. ‘Ayo’ – Chris Brown f./ Tyga (2015)

This song needs no introduction. If you’ve ever been in an Uber with me, at a house party or in my living room, then you’re no stranger to this Nic Nac beats-produced track. As my most-played song of the whole decade, it absolutely deserves this No. 2 ranking.

1. ‘Teenage Dream’ – Katy Perry (2010)

And now, for the ultimate tearjerker… talk about the good ol’ days! “Teenage Dream” epitomizes carefree bliss and everything light that pop represented early in the decade. It’s easy to forget Katy Perry released one of the best pop albums of all-time, and I think I speak for everyone reading this that no pop song (or Katy Perry song, for that matter) will ever compare to this one.

(via YouTube)

Listen to the entire playlist below (and come back next week for my top 20 honorable mentions of the decade):

[divider_flat]

Music

March Into Spring With Incredible New Music by Penguin Prison, 3LAU, ASTR and 33 More!

March 23, 2018

It’s still a wee bit chilly (aka torrential downpour) in L.A., but as of March 20, we officially welcomed one of the sunniest seasons.

Though Spring is not my favorite, I’ve gotta say, the playlist ringing it in this year is definitely one of my favorite in a long time.

We’ve got upbeat, characteristic-to-the-season sounds by Penguin Prison with “On Your Side,” sexy electronic with 3LAU‘s “Touch,” a comeback track by longtime skyelyfe fave ASTR and 33 additional songs that will definitely brighten your spring day (if that’s what you’re going for).

From Youngblood Hawke and Vance Joy, to BAUM, Coma Pony, Sleeplust and much more, scroll through the playlist below for 36 tracks that are sure to keep you feeling the freshness of spring, regardless of what you’re in the mood to hear!

[divider_flat]

Music

In Recovery Mode from Memorial Day Weekend Festivities? Relax with These 13 New Tracks!

May 26, 2015

ASTR-Activate-Me-SkyelyfeWhether you went to Lightning In a Bottle festival or simply spent the weekend BBQing with friends, chances are you’re a little worn out after the weekend that honors those who have died fighting for our country. And hey, I don’t blame you. Hitting up Rhonda‘s #RHONDESIA disco party at the Mondrian in West Hollywood could not have been a better way to enjoy my Sunday, but it definitely took a lot out of me.

So, what better way to decompress after a wild holiday weekend than with some new music to sort through on the day back to work?

Luckily, two of my absolute favorite acts Goldroom and ASTR each have some new material, while Troye Sivan makes a little cameo on Zedd‘s new album with “Papercut” and Birdee‘s “B-Love” takes me back to the vibe of this weekend’s dance party.

Check out the playlist of 13 new songs below, which also include songs by Rico Love, Tame Impala and Kraak & Smaak :

[divider_flat]

Beauty Music Angelenos

SXSW 2015: From the Performances, to the Swag and V.I.P. Services, Go Inside the Hottest Music Parties!

March 24, 2015

I can’t stress enough how much incredible music talent was at SXSW this year – but as is the case with so many festivals, the parties were just as worthy as the shows themselves.

Guests at some of these top-tier fetes (which took place in the middle of the day through the wee hours of the morning) were treated to specialty cocktails, luxury swag and beauty services. Read on to go inside some of the hottest happenings in Austin, Texas, over the weekend!

Nylon x The dFm Present Terrace at the W Austin

The Nylon party was everything you’d expect it to be: the perfect blend of music, arts and fashion. Zella Day was a highlight performer at the fete, which featured other live acts, including Holychild, Tove Styrke, Safia and darling Cody Simpson, who had pals singing along to his songs. V.I.P. guests covered themselves with removable Flash Tattoos and swooped up swag from SkullCandy, Gibson, Pax Labs, Inc. and Original Penguin.

Nylon7

Photo Credit: Brad Adkins

Nylon9

Photo Credit: Brad Adkins

Nylon3

Photo Credit: Brad Adkins

Nylon4

Photo Credit: Brad Adkins

Nylon5

Photo Credit: Brad Adkins

Nylon8

Photo Credit: Brad Adkins

Nylon10

Photo Credit: Brad Adkins

Nylon1

Photo Credit: Brad Adkins

Neon Gold Presents Neon Golden at Empire Control Room

Neon Gold‘s Neon Golden party had an insane music lineup. Featuring live performances by ASTR, The Knocks, Years & Years, MS MR, Marina & the DiamondsVerite and Cathedrals (just to name a few), this bash was off the hook! In between catching the acts, guests got beautified with the help of PRIV, a straight-to-your-door beauty service, currently available L.A., NYC and London, which launched in Sept. 2014 with a chic fete in West Hollywood. In celebration of SXSW, the company (whose app is available on your iPhone) made its services permanently available in Austin and kicked things off with manicures and hairstyling at the Neon Golden party!

NeonGold2.jpg

NeonGold3

NeonGold1

GQ x Jam in the Van Sessions Presented by Stillhouse Moonshine

Any event put on by GQ is bound to be a success, and such was indeed the case when the mag partnered up with  Jam In the Van for SXSW. During the two-day shindig, guests were able to let their hair down in a relaxed environment, taking in the sounds of a slew of acts, including Plain White T’s, Surfer Blood, Cody Simpson, Zella Day, X Ambassadors and Jukebox the Ghost. They sipped on specialty cocktails by Stillhouse Moonshine whiskey and had a peek of what goes down in the world’s first solar-powered music discovery vehicle. PRIV (short for PRIVileged) was on hand yet again, for massages, his and hers manicures and man-bun styling galore!

GQxJam1

Photo Credit: Chris Mortenson

GQxJam4

Photo Credit: Chris Mortenson

GQxjam

Photo Credit: Chris Mortenson

GQxJam3

Photo Credit: Chris Mortenson

GQxJam6

Photo Credit: Chris Mortenson

Music Angelenos

SXSW 2015 Playlist: ASTR, Dipset, Kate Boy, The Knocks, Summer Heart & 72 Other Acts Worth Seeing at the Fest!

March 13, 2015

SXSW-2015-MusicAt long last, the music portion of South by Southwest kicks off on Tuesday in Austin, Texas! It’s time for almost a week of showcasing up-and-coming musical talent, while throwing in a mix of oldies-but-goodies.

I am in awe of the lineup. For a huge old-school hip-hop/rap lover like myself, this is like a total dream come true. The list of throwback acts is seemingly endless, ranging from Dilated Peoples and Dipset, to Do or Die and Freeway, to Kurupt and Lil’ Flip, to … I can keep going and going (oh, heyyy, Twista, Mannie Fresh, Too $hort, Slim Thug, DJ Paul, Atmosphere, my buddy Kosha Dillz – ok you get the idea).

But that genre isn’t limited to just acts from the past. Newer-on-the-scene artists Mike WiLL Made-It, The Weeknd, G-Eazy, Bobby Brackins, Migos, Dej Loaf, Rae Sremmurd, Trinidad Jame$, Ty Dolla $ign, I Love Makonnen and Rich Homie Quan are just a handful of artsts who will also make appearances during the music portion of the conference and festival.

Hip-hop not your thing? Fair enough, there are hundreds of other artists from varying genres who will also be performing next week. Tons of pop/rock (Real Estate, Best Coast, Geographer, GRMLN, Future Islands, Milo Greene, Pompeya), tons of electronica of all types, including many of my ongoing favorites (ASTR, Kate Boy, Kaneholler, The Knocks, Odesza, Summer Heart, Mystery Skulls, George Maple, Amason, Avan Lava, Cazzette) and a slew of others.

After browsing through the entire SXSW music lineup, below is a playlist featuring 77 artists I recommend checking out next week. Who are you planning to see? Sound off in the comments! And click here for the entire schedule.

[divider_flat]

Music

Skyelyfe’s Best & Worst of Music in 2014

November 15, 2014

BreezySome folks may beg to differ, but I’m just going to say it (in my own humble opinion, of course): 2014 was the most unsatisfying year in pop music that I can remember. Ok, Taylor Swift came through in the clutch at the end of the year with an album that took the world by storm. And there’s no denying that Ariana Grande is a cutie who can sing (even though her music doesn’t personally appeal to me). Obviously Sam Smith‘s music has a way with the ladies. And I have nothing but love for Tove Lo and Banks. But aside from that, hardly anything on the radio except for Chris Brown (despite his personal woes) resonated with me this year.

In the past, I could at least depend on a good hook in a commercial rap song to get me by, but even the so-called “hip-hop” this year was beyond laughable. Not only did every song sound the same, but I seriously can’t keep up with who anyone is or what gimmicky nonsense they’re talking about anymore. I mean, even Drake, who usually never lets me down, had me scratching my head in 2014.

That said, this is why I turn more and more to alternative avenues to find good music. From MØ‘s No Mythologies to Follow, to Tensnake‘s Glow, among many others, the year did indeed produce sounds that were rewarding to the ears.

Here is skyelyfe’s favorite and least favorite music in 2014:

10 LEAST FAVORITE SONGS (in order):

1. “Anaconda” – Nicki Minaj

2. “Rude” – Magic!

3. “All About That Bass” – Meghan Trainor

4. “Talk Dirty” – Jason Derulo

5. “Wiggle” – Jason Derulo feat. Snoop Dogg

6. “Don’t Tell ‘Em” – Jeremih feat. YG

7. “Problem” – Ariana Grande feat. Iggy Azalea

8. “Black Widow” – Iggy Azalea feat. Rita Ora

9. “Show Me” – Kid Ink feat. Chris Brown

10. “Happy” – Pharrell Williams

10 FAVORITE SONGS (in order):

1. “Slow Love” – MØ

2. “Love Sublime” – Tensnake feat. Nile Rodgers & Fiora

3. “Loyal” – Chris Brown feat. Lil Wayne & Tyga

4. “Main Chick” – Chris Brown feat. Kid Ink

5. “Busy Baby” – Tomas Barfod feat. Nina K

6. “All of You” – Betty Who

7. “Diamonds” – Lane 8 feat. Solomon Grey

8. “Bullet Train” – Gardens & Villa

9. “Self Control” – Kate Boy

10. “Dreaming” – The Knocks

15 FAVORITE ALBUMS (in order)

1. No Mythologies to FollowMØ

2. GlowTensnake

3. X (Deluxe Version)Chris Brown

4. BlondeGhost Beach

5. GoddessBanks

6. Queen of the CloudsTove Lo

7. Dunes – Gardens & Villa

8. Awake – Tycho

9. SinglesFuture Islands

10. Noise vs. Beauty Bassnectar

11. Take Me When You GoBetty Who

12. PolyphonyLogistics

13. Strangers, Part IIRAC

14. Nabuma RubberbandLittle Dragon

15. Down to EarthFlight Facilities

5 FAVORITE LIVE SHOWS OR ACTS (in order)

1. Cut Copy @ Lollapalooza in Chicago

2. DWNTWN/ASTR/The Knocks @ The Echo in L.A.

3. RAC/The Knocks (Something Classic Tour) @ The Fonda Theatre in L.A.

4. Robyn & Royksopp (Do It Again Tour) @ The Hollywood Bowl in L.A.

5. Future Islands @ Coachella in Indio, CA

While you anticipate what’s musically in store for 2015, here’s a playlist of my top 50 tracks of the year (in no particular order):

[divider_flat]

Beauty Music Food Angelenos

Three Completely Different Events – One Incredible Evening! From Santa Monica to East Hollywood, L.A. Had One Very Thirsty Thursday!

November 12, 2014

Hmm, maybe I’m still in recovery mode, which is why it has taken me almost a week to write about last Thursday. But nevertheless, I guess it was worth the wait, because for one of the first nights in a while, I made it to everything I wanted to go to – and all across town – and each was worth attending.

That said, I think I definitely need to acknowledge all three events on Oct. 6:

10 Years, 10 Cheers! – Obica Mozzarella Bar Pizza e Cucina Celebrated a Decade In Existence with Wine and Food Galore!

An Italian restaurant anniversary celebration probably isn’t the best place to start a night out. So much food, so much wine – how is a person expected to make it through the rest of the evening? Well, I managed … barely. Either way, I did have a blast at Obica Mozzarella Bar Pizza e Cucina. Located in Century City’s Westfield shopping area, you really don’t get that mall vibe at the intimate eatery. On this particular night, my guests and I had the luxury of noshing on everything from risotto gamberi e asparagi (shrimp, asparagus and Prosecco risotto) to freshly made burrata. I typically steer clear from dairy products, but at an Italian restaurant, you kind of have to indulge, right? In-between bites and seemingly endless wine sips, I enjoyed sitting on the restaurant’s patio, taking in the sexy electric guitar sounds of Patrick Abbatte. In honor of the spot’s monumental occasion, they launched a whole new menu, which I can’t wait to check out more closely on my next visit!

Obica3

Obica2

Obica1

ASOS’ Colour Control Event Was the Stylish Spot of the Night! 

Anna Lunoe and ASOS brought music together with fashion at the next stop of the outing. No, the trek from Century City all the way to Mack Sennett Studios past East Hollywood wasn’t short, but it was absolutely worth it, when upon entry, I immediately spotted two of my favorite musical performers, Zoe and Adam from ASTR. As delightful in person as their music, it was quite the joyous run-in. And speaking of musical performers, I was beyond stoked to find that Anna Lunoe, of all people, was one of the DJs at this event. I did not know this beforehand, so it was a pleasant surprise. She is one of my favs! The gathering was in celebration of the launch of ASOS’ Colour Control, an interactive music video, featuring a visual presentation of five shades full of AW14 endless looks. Guests had a blast in the photo booth, mixing and matching colors and styles on the screen while sipping on vodka cocktails.

ASOS Colour Control produced by dFm - photographed by Steven Meiers, November 6 2014 at Mack Sennett Studios

Photo credit: Steven Meiers / Toasty Cakes

ASOS Colour Control produced by dFm - photographed by Steven Meiers, November 6 2014 at Mack Sennett Studios

Photo credit: Steven Meiers / Toasty Cakes

ASOS Colour Control produced by dFm - photographed by Steven Meiers, November 6 2014 at Mack Sennett Studios

Photo credit: Steven Meiers / Toasty Cakes

ASOS5

Mercedes Benz Evolution Tour Took Over Barker Hangar Airport

Whew, from Mack Sennett Studios all the way back to the westside – but this time much farther than Century City. The Mercedes Benz Evolution Tour took over Santa Monica’s Barker Hangar airport, and it definitely made use of the space. The place was totally packed with not only general eventgoers, but also a handful of musical performers and celebrities: Julianne Hough, Michael B. Jordan, Ricki Lake, Alabama Shakes, Young the Giant and DJ Ruckus. The indoor area was filled with music performances and the latest Mercedes models on full display. But I must say, the highlight for me, personally, was the slew of food options. We only caught the tail end of the event, which meant no more booze, but plenty to eat – which at this point in the evening, this was a huge plus. Inside you had buckets (literally) stacked and stacked with Popchips and Kind bars of all different flavors. Then outside you had a slew of food trucks and even a Keurig coffee stand. Amen!

Mercedes-Benz Evolution Tour

Photo credit: Getty

Mercedes-Benz Evolution Tour

Photo credit: Getty

Mercedes-Benz Evolution Tour

Photo credit: Getty

Music Featured

Skyelyfe Sounds Off with DWNTWN’s Jamie Leffler

September 21, 2014


DWNTWN2

I randomly stumbled upon DWNTWN‘s music in 2012 by browsing through the Soundtracking music app. The folks at ST were really pushing this group. I decided to give them a listen and I was instantly smitten with “Look the Other Way.” I also liked “See My Eyes.” Both songs were off the act’s four-song EP, The Red Room.

Since then, I’ve been following their career, just hoping for a full-length album at some point. Although they haven’t gotten there just yet, I was super excited when I was driving around in April with a friend and a new DWNTWN song came on an indie Sirius radio station. The song was “Til Tomorrow,” and it gave me great hope that more new music was to come from them. Sure enough, they released another EP, a self-titled five-song set of tracks. They’ve also lent their efforts on indie electro pop Kistuné compilations and on the upbeat melodic “On My Mind,” by SomethingALaMode.

I knew I needed to let everyone know how amazing this group is, so I featured them in a post while working at People.com. Since then, my biggest thrill was finding out they were opening for ASTR and The Knocks at The Echo back on July 3. I mean, three of my favorite acts under one roof? I was obviously going! Even better was approaching lead singer Jamie Leffler in the patio of the venue after the group’s performance and introducing myself. She was hanging out with her mom who came out to support. Leffler not only has a soothing voice, but she is so beautiful – mermaid-like. It also helps that she has a delightful, gracious personality to match.

The road to success hasn’t been easy for the humble star-on-the-rise, daughter of late Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers bassist Howie Epstein. Despite coming from a musical upbringing, the singer experienced much pain stemming from Epstein’s heroin overdose in 2003 at the age of 47 when Leffler was only 15. The Los Angeles native, who relives the experience of learning of her father’s tragic fate in the song “Heroine,” opened up to skyelyfe this week about everything from the heartbreak of losing her dad and grandfather, to her latest splurge and her love for Stevie Nicks.

DWNTWN1

SL: How did DWNTWN come to be?

JL: I’ve known Robert for, wow, it’s nine years now. That’s crazy. Anyway, I dated his brother for years and when we broke up, I begged Robert [Cepeda] to write songs with me. Robert has been making music since high school and I had always been a fan, so I was thrilled when he finally agreed. We were pleasantly surprised with our first attempt and have kept going ever since.

SL: What is your favorite song of every DWNTWN release?

JL: That’s a tough one! I have special attachments to every song we make, so it’s hard to pick one. It’s like asking me to choose which child I love the most [laughs]. But if I had to, I’d say “Missing You.” It’s a song written for my late grandfather who was the best man I will ever know. The sweetest, most supportive, lovely person, and it was devastating losing him. I still sometimes well up when we are performing the song. In fact, I did when I performed it [on Saturday] at Tarfest.

SL: Who/what are some of your personal musical influences?

JL: I love Stevie Nicks. Not only is she an incredible songwriter, but that voice! It’s gentle yet powerful at the same time, which is something I strive for. And of course I love her stage persona.

SL: What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

JL: Our song “Heroine” is almost at 1 million plays on Spotify, which is a big deal to us because we’ve never had a million of anything before [laughs].

SL: Describe the band’s latest EP

JL: We wanted to sound more like a band with this. Prior to adding our drummer and keyboardist, Robert and I were very limited live, which was reflected in the music we wrote. Now with more people, we have more freedom when we are writing. Also, I was determined not to continue writing songs about a past breakup. I delved deeper and took more inspiration from my family. “Heroine” is a song written about my father’s drug addiction, and “Missing You” for my grandpa, as I mentioned before.

SL: Who are some of your favorite current artists and which other artists (if any) do you consider personal friends?

JL: We always love playing with Tapioca and The Flea. They Really nice guys that make really cool music. We have probably played with them more than any other LA band. Gold Fields are also awesome dudes from Australia who we met while we were both on the Capital Cities tour. AMAZING live. When thinking of how we need to improve live, I always think, we need to be as good as Gold Fields.

5 FUN FACTS 

Last time you were drunk:

Saturday night. I played a little beer pong at our drummer’s house after our show at the La Brea Tar Pits.

Last thing you splurged on:

Freebird boots. They were on sale, so I couldn’t resist. But I’m feeling guilty about it, and I’m probably going to return them.

Last concert or festival you attended (can’t be your own):

We saw Interpol in Vegas. They are one of our favorite bands, and I had never seen them live, so it was a great experience. Plus it was in Vegas, so that’s always a good time [laughs].

Last reality show you watched:

Does Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives count as reality? Because that show is awesome. I like food more than I like most things in life.

Favorite pop star and why?:

Queen B! You can’t take your eyes off her! What an amazing performer.

Check out the brand new release of DWNTWN’s cover of Vance Joy‘s “Riptide”:

Music Featured

Bid Adieu to Summer with 22 Fresh Songs to Take You Into Fall

September 17, 2014

My favorite part of summer is knowing that it’s the closest time of year to my favorite season fall. That said, I know how many people cherish the months of June – Sept, so I’ve decided to give them something to leave those precious months behind with: A playlist of 22 awesome new songs to take everyone into the new season.

Goldroom once again fails to disappoint with his dreamy new track “Till Sunrise,” featuring Mammals. Another favorite, The Knocks – who collaborated with Mat Zo – also released a new song in August, “Get Down 2 Get Up.” Reminiscent of early ’00s disco house, this song brings me back to my college days. And going off of college days, ATB (a fond favorite during the end of high school thru undergrad) has a new easy-on-the-ear single “Raging Bull” with Boss and Swan. And Basement Jaxx (another oldie-but-goodie) released “Never Say Never.” The rest of the list includes everything from some of my current favorites – Grum, ASTR, Betty WhoTensnake and Kate Boy – to music from recently discovered acts Mansions on the Moon, Purple Disco Machine and  Solar Heist.

Check out the list of 22 new songs below:

Beauty Music Food Angelenos Featured

From Lolla to the Taste LA: Reliving 5 Summer Highlights as We Say Sayonara to the Sunniest Season!

June 1, 2014

It’s no secret that my favorite season is fall. It makes me unconditionally at ease. So I guess it goes without saying that although there were some surefire highlights of the summer, I am beyond excited for the three-month falliday! But even while basking in the joys of the new season upon us, it would be unfair to discredit some fond memories of the past few months.

Here are five memorable moments from the sunniest season (in no particular order):

1. LOLLAPALOOZA 

Talk about a trip of spontaneity! While talks of heading to the Windy City for Lolla weekend had been going on for some time, the trip wasn’t officially booked until less than a week beforehand. The flight was far from inexpensive at this point, but at least my friend and I had a place to stay when we arrived (thank you for your hospitality, Elizabeth!). A handful of other close friends from L.A. were also in town for the festivities, so it was great to explore Chicago (for the very first time) with some of my favorite people. Oddly enough, after all was said and done, my Lolla group and I only made it to two shows out of the entire festival. But we definitely maximized our experience, making the two shows among the best options. Foster the People never disappoints, and Cut Copy‘s performance was so intimate and just perfect for a number of reasons. CC at Lolla was definitely one of the best live experiences I have ever had. When we weren’t at the festival, frolicking around the city or pre-partying at one of our friend’s amazing condos, we were pretty much stationed at the Hard Rock Hotel Chicago for their weekend-long Lolla afterparty, where we caught incredible performances by ASTR and Betty Who (always perfection). The weekend was pretty much flawless, except for how quickly it went by.

Lolla1

Lolla4

Lolla3

Lolla2

2. GETTING IN THE SPIRIT OF SIPPING SPIRITS

It’s not like you have to twist my arm to try a new flavor of vodka or celebrate a spirit, and this summer was no exception when it came to doing just that. While Svedka kicked off the season in June with a pool party to celebrate the launch of their mango pineapple and strawberry lemonade flavors, VEEV concluded summer with a huge nighttime pool party as well, to spread the word about their new 70 proof VEEV 2.0. Complete with aerial dancers and a beautiful view of Beverly Hills, the #cheatonvodka-themed fete was at capacity in no time. Meanwhile, Grey Goose had a launch of its own this summer. I was on hand at the now-infamous 1oak night club in West Hollywood (thankfully no shootings on this particular outing), where I sipped the brand’s new Le Melon flavor all night, as the crowd toasted Swizz Beatz and Kehinde Wiley. Cheers!

VeeV

GreyGoose

3. FESTIVAL OF ARTS/PAGEANT OF THE MASTERS

On a mid-July Saturday, I took a little drive just south of L.A. to Orange County with my dad. We attended the Festival of Arts/Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach. The annual event is California’s premier fine arts show and this was my first time attending. The exhibits were seemingly endless and so diverse. After the festival, we grabbed dinner and then it was off to the spectacular display of living art. Yes, two hours are devoted to live people recreating historical pieces of artwork on a stage in front of hundreds of audience members. It’s hard to describe to someone who hasn’t seen it in person, but it is really interesting and I recommend checking it out to get a better idea.

FestivalOfArts2

FestivalOfArts1

4. CRUSTACEAN’S REDHOUR SUMMER MUSIC SERIES

The summer heat had fully kicked in on this early Thursday evening in June and all I wanted was to be social in an air-conditioned space that provided wine. Well, luckily I managed to find that (and a sampling of an entire food menu) at the RedHour summer music series kick-off at Crustacean restaurant in Beverly Hills. My friend and I received the royal treatment sitting at a VIP table, while schmoozing with the eatery’s owner and some of the night’s lovely performers, who included American Idol alums Jessica Sanchez and Pia Toscano – along with Natasha and Daniel Bedingfield‘s equally talented sister Nikola Rachelle, who was definitely the highlight of my night.

Crustacean1

5. THE TASTE LA

I wanted one final hurrah before kicking off my month of #Sobtember, so before ditching booze and carb-rich foods for 30 days, I went out with a bang at the Los Angeles TimesTaste L.A. event. I don’t really know what else to say here except I could barely fit any of the array of beverages inside of me because I ate so much. The line for Ramen burgers dominated the whole event. I steered clear, but was sure to get my hands on churros, chicken & waffles, huevos rancheros, vegan cheeseburgers and who knows what else! All I know is it was worth every bite and I could barely move after my consumption. Thank you Food Flaunt for bringing me along, even if indeed it was one of the sweatiest days of the year.

TasteLA1

TasteLA3