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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):

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Music

Frolic Through February With 29 New Tracks from Ryder, The Knocks, Symon, Sia and More!

February 1, 2017

It’s officially February, which means a lot of things: Valentine’s Day, Grammy Awards, National Strawberry Day!

But, most importantly, it means another roundup of new music brought to you by yours truly ;).

Let me begin by saying I recently came across L.A.-bred artist Ryder who newly released a song called “Nirvana,” and like its title, the song itself is pretty heavenly. It’s the perfect melodic type of tune that has always resonated with my soul, so please give it a listen!

Additionally, you must hear the sexy, empowering “No Way,” by Symon, the disco-danceable “Trouble” by my favs The Knocks (featuring Absofacto).

If you’re looking for some trap, bass and all in-between, tune in to “Right Here,” by Keys N Krates (featuring Krane), “Tension,” by Fred V & Grafix (featuring Kate Westall), “All I Want,” by Alok, Liu and Stonefox and “Hey Baby,” by Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Diplo and Kid Ink.

Scroll through the playlist below to browse through all 29 songs, which also include Sia, SOHN, The xx, Satchmode, Milky Chance, Party NailsFenech-Soler and a major blast from the past—Jamiroquai!

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Music

5 Must-See Acts at Outside Lands This Weekend

August 3, 2016

Outside-lands-skyelyfeThe thought of Outside Lands is a breath of fresh air compared to other 2016 music festivals.

Lacking the sweltering heat and EDM-heavy, hip-hop-pop-filled lineups that so many of these other three-day events provide to their thousands of music and party-loving consumers, San Francisco-based Outside Lands brings a slew of folk, dream pop and low-key alternative acts (Radiohead, Lana Del ReyRyan Adams, Sufjan Stevens, Beach House, Lord Huron, Foals, Diiv, to name a few) to its stages, with additional performers who also bring on a much “softer” vibe.

The festival has always boasted a much mellower ambiance–with the exception of 2014’s Kanye West-headlining year.

I haven’t been to Outside Lands since 2012, so it will be interesting to see if it still remains living up to the hype of this post. While I anticipate this year’s experience, I figure I may as well pull up my picks of five acts I absolutely must see at the festival (in no particular order):

1. Radiohead

Radiohead is among the few truly iconic acts on the bill this year (can’t discredit Lionel Richie and Duran Duran). Fresh from their latest May album release A Moon Shaped Pool, the brooding band is likely to perform new material, while bringing on all of the nostalgia attached to their collection of melodic classics.

Must-Hear Song: “High & Dry”

2. Miike Snow

I’d be lying if I said that I’m particularly fond of Miike Snow’s last two albums (iii and Happy to You), but perhaps that’s because the Swedish electronic trio set the bar so incredibly high with their 2009 self-titled debut. Their biggest fans resonate most with that first set of songs, so there’s no doubt in my mind that a strong selection of throwback sounds will make their way to the stage.

Must-Hear Song: “In Search Of”

3. Third Eye Blind

If you attended high school in the late ’90s or watched pretty much any high school-based film or TV show during that time period, you are most definitely familiar with TEB. To this day, their self-titled debut album is one of my absolute favorites of all time. Sure, they had five chart-topping singles from the 14-track compilation, but the emotionally charged album is incredible all the way from start to finish. Even following that release, their further releases continued to be enjoyable, and I’ve always admired how they never changed their sound over the years.

Must-Hear Song: “Motorcycle Drive By”

4. The Knocks

Three words to describe this NYC-based duo: disco-infused deliciousness. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing this electro act live a handful of times, and their music has the most upbeat energy. I’m obsessed with pretty much everything they’ve put out there from day one until now, and I’ve got no doubt that they will get the mellow festival-goers on their feet!

Must-Hear Song: “Dreaming”

5. St. Lucia

Jean-Philip Grobler (St. Lucia) was pretty much my 2015 soundtrack to that oh-so-lovely, long walk from the Uber drop-off to the Coachella entrance. Yes, it was unfortunate that I wasn’t front and center to watch such an incredible act perform, but I definitely got an earful (in the best way possible) regardless. It will certainly be exciting to see him live this time, even though I’ve already heard him live in the past.

Must-Hear Song: “Elevate”

Music

Carly Rae Jepsen, The Knocks, Tinashe, Way Out West & More: New Music Monday!

February 29, 2016

Carly_rae_jepsen_the_knocks_skyelyfeIf you need more than just a large cup of black coffee to get you going on this rainy-turned-disappointingly-sunny Monday, I’ve got just the fix!

My 18-song selection for this week’s New Music Monday is totally upbeat and perfect for putting you in the mood for a positive work week.

Carly Rae Jepsen teamed up with one of my favorite acts The Knocks on “Love Me Like That,” Tinashe and her consistently sexy vocals shine on “Ride of Your Life,” Don Diablo‘s remix of Birdy‘s “Keeping Your Head Up” will have you on your feet and Me & My Toothbrush impresses yet again with their signature disco-infused sound on “Living for the Moment.”

Click the playlist below for the full list, which also includes Autograf, Fifth HarmonyRameses B, Tritonal, Way Out West, Pr0files and – blast from the past – Mya!

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Music Angelenos

PHOTOS: HAIM, Mark Ronson, The Knocks, Miguel and More Party and Perform During Grammy Weekend!

February 16, 2016

Yesterday concluded a four-day Grammy Awards weekend, and as one can expect, Los Angeles had no lack of activity throughout the celebration’s entirety. The prestigious weekend fell not only on Valentine’s Day, but also on Presidents’ Day, so bottle popping among industry elite was at an abundance. Aside from the Oscars, more parties and events are centered around this awards show than any other.

Each year, without question, music’s biggest names flock to the MusiCares and Clive Davis pre-Grammy events (and this year, a surprise Friday night concert by Adele at the Wiltern saw some incredibly famous faces). And record label after parties are where you can expect to spot many award winners. But with each Grammy weekend, there are also slew of more under-the-radar events that don’t fail to draw impressive crowds of celebrities and influencers.

Scroll below to see photos and read about everything from Mark Ronson and Jamie xx‘s intimate V-Day bash, to Miguel‘s first-ever DJ set at a party in Hollywood, and much more!

  • The dFm Presents: A Grammy Celebration at the Hollywood Roosevelt

This event – hosted by dFm founder Jesse Lee, Roc Nation manager Jon Lieberberg, Windish Agency founder Tom Windish and KCRW music director Jason Bentley – had all eyes on Miguel. The crooner treated guests at the Hollywood Roosevelt-held bash to a live, swoon-worthy singing performance and his first-ever DJ set. But that wasn’t to take away from the HAIM sisters, who performed a DJ set as well, for the second consecutive year at this particular party. Kesha and Rashida Jones were among the famous faces who took in tunes by these industry heavyweights.

Photo credit: Tibrina Hobson for WireImage

Photo credit: Tibrina Hobson for WireImage

Photo credit: Tibrina Hobson for WireImage

Photo credit: Tibrina Hobson for WireImage

Photo credit: Tibrina Hobson for WireImage

Photo credit: Tibrina Hobson for WireImage

  • Jamie xx and Mark Ronson’s Valentine Special at Club James

What says pre-V-Day quite like a night in the company of some of music’s most handsome heartthrobs? This ultra-exclusive intimate bash, held at the newly opened Club James at the Goldstein Residence, featured a special performance by D.R.A.M, along with DJ sets by the two hosts Jamie xx and Mark Ronson. Guests at the sexy soiree also included Diplo, Florence Welch, Lorde, Danielle and Alana Haim, Rashida Jones, Rita Ora and Lily Allen. MasterCard provided a Priceless Moments photo booth for guests to capture their special date (or friends) night.

Photo credit: David Crotty for Patrick McMullan

Photo credit: David Crotty for Patrick McMullan

Photo credit: David Crotty for Patrick McMullan

Photo credit: David Crotty for Patrick McMullan

Photo credit: David Crotty for Patrick McMullan

Photo credit: David Crotty for Patrick McMullan

  • Amplify Your Life Launch Party // The Knocks Wrap Party 

The El Rey Theatre was home to The Knocks‘ highly anticipated show in the earlier portion of Saturday night, but Mack Sennett Studios hosted a much more intimate gathering later in the evening to celebrate the NY-based duo’s performance, with a special DJ set that kicked off with their hit “Dancing with the DJ.” One of my favorite hip-hop producers Nic Nac popped up out of nowhere on stage mid-set, and the trio bopped heads and posed for photos. The night, hosted by Jack Daniels, also had another familiar face in the crowd: Hunger Games star Josh Hutcherson, who recently interviewed The Knocks for Interview magazine.

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  • Colgate Optic White Beauty Bar 2016

Who can’t use a little touching up over the course of a long awards season weekend? Colgate hosted its fourth annual weekend of pampering for celebrities, bloggers and tastemakers on Saturday and Sunday afternoon at the Hudson Loft in Downtown L.A., just minutes from where all of the Grammy rehearsals took place. One of my favorite electronic artists JES was in tow, swooping up some beauty products from Jouve. Guests also received complimentary nail, hair and beauty services from PRIV‘s on-the-go stylists, they noshed on a handful of salad and sandwich options and sipped on specialty cocktails, along with beverages from Lipton Sparking Iced Tea and Essentia alkaline water. And a photo booth is one thing – but this event also had a selfie mirror and an Instagram cut-out photo station.

Photo credit: Araya Diaz for Getty Images

Photo credit: Araya Diaz for Getty Images

Photo credit: Araya Diaz for Getty Images

Photo credit: Araya Diaz for Getty Images

Music

Cardiknox, Chairlift, AlunaGeorge & More: 40 New Songs!

January 25, 2016

Cardiknox_into_the_night_skyelyfeKick that case of the Monday blues with some new tunes!

I have 40 fresh tracks for you today from a slew of fun favorites, including The Knocks, Flume, Adventure Club, The 1975, Tep No and Lincoln Jesser.

But what I am loving most right now is Cardinox‘s “Into the Night,” Chairlift‘s “Moth to a Flame” and AlunaGeorge‘s “I’m In Control.”

And if you’re a disco house lover like myself, you will be obsessed with Louis La Roche‘s “Don’t Break My Heart.” So good!

Click on the playlist below for the full selection of new music, which also includes Cheat Codes, Weekender, Tourist and Destructo.

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Music

Savoy, St. Lucia, Skrillex, The Knocks & 27 More Artists: New Music Monday!

December 7, 2015

Savoy_-_1000_Years_EP_skyelyfeObviously, the internet is abuzz today with news of the 2016 Grammy Nominations (woohoo, Tame Impala!) – and snubs (where was “Ayo“‘s nom?!).

But in the midst of anticipating the results of the big Feb. 15 awards show, let’s take a look at some new music. Heck, some of these could make 2017’s nominations list – who knows?

This week, I have 31 new songs, ranging from dubstep by Savoy and Skrillex, to lots and lots of chill stuff to ease you into the thick of December by Paperwhite, Retro Culture, Cinnamon Chasers, Geographer, Brothertiger, Aquilo and so much more! And who can leave out the new stuff by consistent skyelyfe favorites Miike Snow, St. Lucia – and The Knocks (featuring Cam’Ron, of all people! Does it get any better than this?!)

Check out the playlist below. I promise you will not be disappointed!

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Uncategorized

L.A.-Based Indie-Electro Duo Solar Heist Talks to Skyelyfe About Favorite Hangout Spots, Fellow Musician Pals and Making It in This ‘Scattered’ City

May 13, 2015
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Photo credit: Rachel Ariel Photography / rachelariel.com

From childhood neighbor pals rapping and playing guitar (what a combo!) in Northern California to becoming an indie-electronic music-making duo in Los Angeles – that sums up Solar Heist‘s relationship history in a nutshell.

Made up of Jason Powers (singer/guitarist/songwriter/producer) and Justin Karcich (DJ/producer/songwriter/mastermind), Solar Heist’s two members hail from Belmont, California, a small town south of San Francisco.

“L.A. is a big and scattered town, and hard to call home being huge SF enthusiasts,” Powers admits to skyelyfe, despite the success he’s found in the City of Angels. “[But] Los Angeles has something for everyone and pockets of awesomeness are all over if you are open to finding them.”

Although they’ve found their niche in the ever-present world of electronic music, they aren’t bringing you replicas of what you hear when you flip through your favorite Sirius stations.

“To us, it’s important to keep an open mind when creating music and not try to do something that has already been done,” Karcich says. “I think a lot of producers out there try to go after a certain generic sound or trend that is going on in music, rather than trying to create something fresh and unique to themselves.”

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Photo credit: Taylor Martin Photography

As the guys excitedly gear up for Monday’s release of their latest single “Take You Home,” they filled skyelyfe in on how their unique name came to be, other rising musicians they call friends, why the music scene in L.A. undoubtedly trumps that of SF’s and what places in L.A. are just awesome.

Read on to learn all about Solar Heist and scroll to the bottom to hear their latest single “Wait for Love”:

skyelyfe: How did Solar Heist come together and how did you come up with the name?

Jason Powers: Justin was DJ’ing in San Francisco, doing really well as half of the Designer Deejays. I was a hired gun for various signed artists in LA, playing guitar and singing b/u vox, while still performing my own acoustic material. I took a trip up to SF and we sat in Justin’s tiny little studio in SF. We set out to make something weird, trippy and different, and out came our first song, “Searchin.’ ”

The song was picked up for a National Watch commercial and aired for about seven months or so. We didn’t have a project name at the time so we scrambled to find something, throwing out every option in the English language. We decided we were both night owls and space nerds. Someone blurted out Solar Heist and right away we knew that was it.

SL: How would you describe Solar Heist’s music and how did you decide to go with that sound?

JP: Solar Heist definitely has a very unique sound. Combing my songwriting and organic instrumentation with Justin’s electronic sound and vintage analogue gear has helped us shape this sound and give us a nice palette of sounds to choose from. We try not to force any song to fit with any specific genre. Instead, we try to focus on what each song needs to feel good.

SL: Aside from your own music, who are you hugely into at the moment?

Justin Karcich: We just had the pleasure of catching this band Jungle when we were out at Coachella. Their live set was something special and their album has been on rotation since then. We also are into The Knocks. Their new music is dope and we’re looking forward to their new album to drop. Also, there is this songwriter duo out of London called Oh Wonder. Their lyrics, melodies and harmonies are amazing. Other artists we also have on rotation are Sohn, Sylvan Esso, TV On The Radio, Big Data.

SL: How does Solar Heist’s music differ from what else is out there right now?

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Photo credit: Taylor Martin Photography

JK: One thing that I think separates our sound is that we both come from completely different musical backgrounds and when we bring both of our worlds together, we create something organic and fresh. We just try to do us and hope people will dig it. If not, it’s all good.

SL: Do you feel like you’ve reached a point where you have a solid fan base now?

JK: Yes and we love them all.

JP: It’s great to have people from different parts of the globe reach out and be excited about your music. It gives us a purpose.

SL: What do you think about L.A.’s music scene? 

JK: L.A.’s music scene is great. Moving here from San Francisco more than two years ago, where the tech industry has unfortunately pushed a lot of creatives out the past five years, it was very refreshing to see such a strong artistic and creative community upon moving here. There is something for everyone at any given time and especially for electronic music, which is great for us. It seems more and more artists and musicians have been moving to L.A. recently from all over the world. It is super inspiring.

SL: What are your favorite venues to check out shows in LA?

Solar Heist: El Rey, The Wiltern, Echoplex, Hollywood Bowl, The Forum

SL: Are you friends with any fellow music artists?

SH: Yes we are. I think that comes naturally when working in music. It’s great to have friends in the industry to bounce ideas off and even collaborate. Quick shout out to some of our friends’ bands – Heaps N Heaps, Milo Greene, The New Peter Gabrielz and The Public Trust.

Also, thank you to our friends and musicians who helped out in one way or another on our Day Trip EP – Joe Berry, Maggie Szabo, Marcus Brown, Marcello De Angelis (DJ Birdee), Gray Bashew, Erik Groysman, Greg Martin.

SL: Where are your favorite places in L.A. to eat/drink/shop/be merry?

SH: When we aren’t in the studio or taking day trips outside of L.A., we enjoy hanging out at Steam Punk, Baby Blues BBQ (shout out to Beau), Hyperion Public (for Giants World Series victories), M Street Coffee (hello to our favorite baristas if you’re reading this), The Hudson, Sadie Lounge, Egg Slut, Cheebo, Rose Bowl flea marketGriffith Park, Venice, Malibu and so much more.

SL: What’s Solar Heist’s goal for 2015?

SH: We want to debut our live set, start touring major US cities and keep releasing more awesome music.

**In addition to the Monday release of their new single, you can also pre-order their upcoming EP Day Trip on iTunes on the 19th before it officially hits sound waves on June 2nd.

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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.

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Photo Credit: Brad Adkins

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Photo Credit: Brad Adkins

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Photo Credit: Brad Adkins

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Photo Credit: Brad Adkins

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Photo Credit: Brad Adkins

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Photo Credit: Brad Adkins

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Photo Credit: Brad Adkins

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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!

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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!

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Photo Credit: Chris Mortenson

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Photo Credit: Chris Mortenson

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Photo Credit: Chris Mortenson

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Photo Credit: Chris Mortenson

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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.

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Music

WATCH: The Knocks Release “Dancing with Myself” Music Video & Announce New EP Release Date!

March 10, 2015

TheKnocksDancingWMyselfThe Knocks slowed things down a bit on their latest track “Dancing with Myself.”

In the just-released video for the sultry song, the musical duo (B-Roc and JPatt) are seen making their way through NYC’s Chinatown, with synchronized choreography in the background from people they pass on the way.

To coincide with the launch of their latest work – which was directed and produced by Tyler Richardson, Jameson Rich and Kevin Tkach – the electropop duo have announced they will release their five-track So Classic EP on April 7, hitting the road for a brief, seven-stop “Dancing with Myself” tour, which kicks off with two performances at SXSW. The incredible twosome – who I have had the pleasure of seeing live several times – will hit L.A.’s Echoplex on May 29.

Check out the “Dancing with Myself” video below (and buy your tix to see them in action because they are by far one of the best live acts I have seen!):

Music

RAC’s Andre Allen Anjos Talks to Skyelyfe About Life Post-Tour, What He Thinks of L.A. and Why It Took Three Years to Release His Successful Album Strangers

December 4, 2014
Photo credit: Nick Walker

Photo credit: Nick Walker

When I got to the Fonda Theatre recently for the second of two shows RAC and The Knocks (along with special guests including Pink Feathers, Karl Kling and Speak) put on in Hollywood, as one of the final stops on their successful Something Classic Tour, my friend and I were a little surprised to be quite possibly the oldest people in the packed venue. And not only did the crowd seem on the younger side, but they didn’t exactly seem like people who were that into music.

This was quite a change from my experience seeing The Knocks (with ASTR and DWNTWN) a few months prior at The Echo, where the intimate crowd of varying ages knew every word to every song. Additionally, the RAC fans I know are my age.

But seconds after the Fonda’s high-energy show kicked off, I totally understood why this experience would appeal to these seemingly college-aged kids. Could I blame these frat boys and sorority girls for wanting to be somewhere they could dance with their attractive significant others and make out to lively, lighthearted music? Heck, I was starting to feel instantly youthful again, but in the best way possible.

The combination of performers was just stellar. The last time I saw RAC live was at the Details @ Midnight party during Coachella weekend this past year, and as one can imagine, guests were running around all over the place, so I didn’t exactly get the full musical experience. And any time between then and the show at The Fonda, I’ve only caught some of RAC’s DJ sets.

But this particular night at the Fonda was different. From the lights, to the energy, to the vocals, to the song selection, it was just spectacular. My friend and I sang, danced, maybe tried to rub up on a 22-year-old (ok, that last part didn’t happen). But seriously, it actually took me a couple of days to recover from all of the excitement.

If the night took that much out of me, I wondered how it must have been for RAC’s Andre Allen Anjos, who was headlining his first live tour, which lasted a month across the U.S.

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Photo credit: Michael Dwyer

“I’m still in that period after touring where I’m kind of getting used to being home,” Anjos told skyelyfe shortly after the tour concluded. “I don’t know what to do with myself. I feel like I’ve been going, going, going for so long, and now when you go home and stop for a second, it’s like, whoa, what do I do? [laughs] So there’s a little bit of that. It takes like a week or two for you to adjust back to normal life, but it’s good to be home and I’m taking a little bit of a break at the end of the year to kind of chill out for a while. I’m looking forward to that.”

Aside from the excitement on stage, Anjos insists the touring experience as a whole was “nothing too crazy,” adding, “The green room ended up being a noisy place of people doing all these weird sounds to warm up their vocal chords. Other than that, it was pretty tame. Maybe a quick shot of tequila before you jump on stage to calm any nerves, but for the most part, it was pretty chill.”

Part of what put the whole experience at ease was working with The Knocks (BenB-RocRuttner and JamesJPattPatterson), who Anjos has been friends with for quite some time.

“We feel really comfortable and just try to have a good time,” the Portugal native says of the guys. “As far as celebrating after each show goes, once again, we’re relatively tame. We just go back to the bus and chill out and then go to sleep. When you do this every day, there’s not really much motive to be out celebrating [laughs]. The reality of touring is a lot more mundane than I think a lot of people expect.”

But Anjos does recall one memorable time in particular from the group’s travels.

“We did have two days off in this tiny little town Penn Yan in Upstate New York and we later found out this is where Ra Ra Riot recorded their album, The Orchard,” Anjos says. “It’s a tiny little town, which is pure coincidence. We had a great time. It was a lot of weird looks. We’re like eleven dudes all dressed in black and leather. You kind of stick out [laughs]. When we walked in the local bar at night, we got some funny looks. It was amusing to us. It was a good time.”

Obviously, the tour would not have been possible without the release of Anjos’s debut full-length studio album Strangers. Previously known primarily for his melodic remixes of everything from Lana Del Rey’s “Blue Jeans” to The Shins‘ “Sleeping Lessons,” Strangers is a solo project of all original material – but with some notable guest vocals from Tegan and Sara, Penguin Prison, Tokyo Police Club, Matthew Koma and Pink Feathers, to name a few.strangers

“It took about three years to do this album, and it wasn’t all because of the musical process,” Anjos says. “A lot of it was kind of exploratory and figuring out what I wanted RAC to be. I sort of had to nail a sound first that I wanted to develop – that I wanted RAC to be as an original artist. I worked on that for a while, and then you have to get all these vocalists to actually do something.”

But throughout the tedious process, he didn’t let his time go to waste.

“In the meantime, I’ve been working on other stuff, so I have a bit of new material,” Anjos, whose RAC moniker stands for Remix Artist Collective, says. “I’m still reworking a good portion of it, so it’s really hard to say when the next [album] will come out. But I’m definitely working on it and I’m very excited about it. I’m taking some different steps, so that’s always fun for me.”

Speaking of different steps, Anjos may be taking one in more than just the musical sense.

“I actually have been thinking about moving to L.A.,” the Pacific Northwest resident says. “I’m just kind of toying with the idea. I just signed another lease here in Portland, so I’m here for another year. I love living in Portland. It kind of has everything that I could possibly want. I’m talking about purely living life, not the music scene or anything. Like aside from all of that, it’s pretty great, it has everything.”

Photo credit: Michael Dwyer

Photo credit: Michael Dwyer

Adds Anjos: “I kind of like that it’s a little bit outside of the music industry. When you’re in L.A. and New York and London, I feel like you sometimes get stuck in that bubble and it’s kind of hard to see outside of that, so I feel kind of lucky that I have an outsider’s perspective on a lot of stuff that’s happening in the music industry, which I kind of appreciate. I kind of like not always being available for everything.”

But, hence his decision to possibly move, there are obviously perks to living in the City of Angels, which Anjos calls “arguably probably the biggest music scene in the world.”

Among the pros of relocating?

“I just had Sugarfish, which I really enjoyed,” he says of L.A.’s trendy Japanese eatery. “I thought that was really good. I just had takeout and it was pretty awesome. Umami Burger is pretty great. I can’t get that anywhere else – that I know of. It’s kind of cheesy, but I like Venice. I think it’s pretty amusing and fun and iconic in its own way.”

Missed the Something Classic Tour? Check out the 20-track playlist I compiled of my favorite songs (and mixes) by RAC and The Knocks:

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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):

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Music Featured

Skyelyfe Sounds Off with DWNTWN’s Jamie Leffler

September 21, 2014


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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.

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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: