Class Of 2013: Meet DC’s Best In Punk

For some, it’s an enigma: loud, crass, tastelessly tasteful, and all things anti-authority and anti-establishment. Not easily defined, punk gained ground in a 70s England, when music, DIY fashion and anarchy defined a generation.

Propelled by hardcore punk band Bad Brains and Ian MacKaye, who owns DC-bred record label Dischord, the relationship between Washington, DC and punk – particularly hardcore and the straight-edge movement – is closer than you might imagine.

In the 80s, MacKaye gave birth to the straight-edge movement through his band Minor Threat. Born out of frustration of the Reagan/Thatcher years, a laundry list of well-known and respected bands started in garages across the capital, straight-edge or otherwise.

Back then, punk music was mostly a DIY cause; bands would make their own records, do their own marketing through zines, and distribute their own music.

There were no major music labels. There was no money to be made and no one was looking for fame.

Punk music was created by dedicated, passionate kids – mostly playing gigs for friends in basements and garages – because they had something important to say. Their music was confrontational, gritty, hard, loud and fast. Today, not much has changed. Meet DC’s Punk Class of 2013.


Collapser identifies itself as a “whiskey-tinged rock-n-roll punk” band and it’s easy to see why. Irish punk vocals with a layered sound that pays homage to many different influences of punk subgenres makes for a unique listen. This trio named their EP “Direction/Location” after a song that they recorded in a bathroom in DC. The uncut recording offers a raw moment in a band’s history that few are willing to share these days. When asked what three words that would describe the band, front man Ryan Ford replied, “Drunk. Loving. Apologies.” This sounds like a cycle you have in every relationship, and with such a real, gritty sound, it’s easy to see why he picked these words.

[quote cite="RYAN FORD/COLLAPSER"]Ours is an era of fragmentation, with experiences and content designed for niche audiences that never before had a voice, largely a result of the proliferation of the internet. Given these new avenues for creativity, i think there’s a paradigm shift surrounding the whole idea of a scene. Regardless of this division and my attempts at using words i barely understand, local scenes certainly still thrive, which is a testament to the power of what it is they stand for.[/quote]


Everything that current radio is missing, Kill Lincoln has; palpable energy that jams like Operation Ivy, vocals like a good old NOFX track and, quite frankly,  their music would only be comparable to ska on steroids.

Signed with Jump Start Records, Kill Lincoln is a seven-person army with an arsenal of horns, guitars, and noise at a double heartbeat pace. With the release of their new album “That’s Cool… in a totally negative and destructive way,” Kill Lincoln is dead set on having a coast-to-coast tour, which is why they have successfully set up a kick starter to fund their ambitions.

[quote cite="MIKE SOSINSKI/KILL LINCOLN"]Our group of friends in DC and Baltimore are really incredible – they don’t just love going to see music, but they’re putting on their own shows, playing in kick ass bands, organizing events to raise awareness and money for causes, and just being generally awesome people. The DIY ethic is stronger here than anywhere I’ve ever seen it. [/quote]


Although no one in this band is ordained, they continue to carry strong messages through their roaring punk sound. Playing recently at the Black Cat and having a number of tour dates in NYC, it seems we’re not the only ones who have become fans. Recorded and mixed by DC-based Swim Two Birds Studio, Priests‘ latest album effort “Tape Two” offers a bit of variety from the others on this list. With a sound that’s reminiscent of early punk all-girl bands like The Slits and X-Ray Spex, Priests’ album flips from tracks like the angsty, surf-rock-tinged “Leave Me Alone” to “USA,” a politically fueled spoken narrative set to the background of instrumentals. Priests are totally proud to be a female-centric band, but after speaking with them, it’s clear that there is much more to these leading ladies (and one gent) of rock.

[quote cite="PRIESTS"]We were inspired to make music together because we were almost bored senseless with our lives and it seemed like a good way to mix it up a little, try something new.[/quote]


Signed with Sinking Ship Records, Boardroom Heroes, a strong foundation of experienced musicians, might bring back memories of 80s band Anti-Flag. With catchy songs that lyrically carry an emotional weight, Boardroom Heroes’ punchy approach helps us think about the world in a different way and, maybe, in a more enlightened perspective. Songs like “Tomorrow Came Early” are a sincere reflection of time passing without change or progress and, instead, just regret.

[quote cite="ANDRE PAGLIARINI/ BOARDROOM HEROES"]I don’t think a person who actually goes to shows, knows people in bands, or spends any time in a music scene can honestly say that what made punk exciting to a bygone generation has faded completely. There’s been an evolution in sound, style, and othermarkers of scene culture that are more or less important. But there’s definitely something still alive in this music..[/quote]

MIXED TAPE: Mixology for Autumn – A Tasteful Playlist (No Pumpkin Involved)

Autumn Mixtape

Starbucks and grocery stores are selling Pumpkin flavored everything, drugstores are stocked with bags of  yummy candy that you try (but never succeed) to avoid, and at least two people you know of have the flu.

Yep, ladies and gents, it's officially autumn.

And just like our summer to autumn wardrobe transition, your music, too, deserves a seasonal update.

While summer was all about beachy, summer hazy rock, autumn has a different kind of sound - one that is the perfect accompaniment to those brisk, leaf-falling days that are best spent indoors.

But if you're not sure which tracks should make the seasonal cut, don't worry,  we've got you totally covered with a mix of all of our favorite,  undeniably autumn songs.

So grab a few of these tracks for your very own mix tape, or just keep it just the way it is. Either way, our list will be sure to give your ears magical music moments.

1. Summertime Sadness – Lana Del Rey

This remix offers an upbeat spin on the melancholic original but pays perfect homage to a summertime passed. The melodies will have you hooked and might even make you wish it was summer again already.

2. Sweater Weather – The Neighbourhood

Pulling out your favorite hoodie is quite possibly the best part of fall. You have somehow forgotten how cold it will get in coming months and just the joy of not being drenched in sweat is enough. As the song suggests, it’s all about that sharp change in weather and that sense of adventure, even if it’s just for a walk in the park.

3. Vincent (Starry Starry Night) – Don Mclean

This song, which was featured in the film "The Runaways," makes you want to dream about a clean, crisp night that offers stellar star gazing.

4. Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground – The White Stripes

Imagine the smell of dirt right after it rains and the left over muck lying underneath a thin layer of dying brown leaves. The emptiness and transition of a season from cold to colder bears resemblance to the song subject of the emptiness of losing a relationship partner.

5. This is Halloween – Marilyn Manson

The title explains itself. Make sure that you do indeed realize that October 31 is Halloween, and also steer clear of looking at a recent picture of Marilyn Manson, which is terrifying.

6. Wake me up when September Ends – Green Day

"Wake Me Up When September Ends" is song that was tied to the terrorist attacks but is actually about the loss of Billie Joe Armstrong’s father. Regardless, it evokes a stroke of remembrance for that fall season and the importance of living each day to its fullest.

7. Get Free  The Vines

Is it Thanksgiving yet?  We can already taste the turkey we'll enjoy during our scheduled time off during the Thanksgiving holiday. While we might not want to “Get Free ride into the sun,” as the song suggests, we are certainly eager to get free of our responsibilities and eat some good home cookin’.

8. Cough Syrup – Young the Giant

That’s right, folks,  it’s FLU season. Get ready for those pesky shots and runny noses. Young the Giant has this catchy number that may or may not have to do with dependence on substances. But hey, it’s a really good song! Be sure to always wash your hands, boys and girls.

9. Falling Down – Scarlett Johansson

Some might scowl at me for including this, but "Falling down" (a Tom Waits original) is all about changes: whether with the constant tearing down of LA businesses, the allegory with the emotional unavailability within yourself, or maybe leaves changing color and falling down to signify the change between fall and winter. Consider this the Seasonal Affective Disorder track, because not everyone is wired for change.

10. Lightning Tent – Wildlife

Grab a tent, head for the mountains (if it's not closed due to the government shutdown) with a flashlight in hand. Who knows, you may even have to brave a storm while you are out there.  Make this autumn an adventure with “the past is just a bridge,” as Wildlife suggests.

#MUSIC: Deconstructing The Band in Heaven’s ‘Caught in a Summer Swell’ LP

Caught In A Summer Swell

Bringing songs from the wave to the shore, The Band in Heaven recently released their latest album 'Caught in a Summer Swell.'

The LP houses the Florida natives’ other-worldly complexion through a haunting vibrato, both lyrically and musically. Individually, each song has its own sound and personality. But from the first track,  it seems to have been cohesively seamed into a concept album.

The album begins with "Dandelion Wine" and closes with "Farewell Summer," both titles of sequel novels by Ray Bradbury. These works of fiction, an assortment of partially autobiographic summer short stories, were written at the start and end of Bradbury’s career as a writer. These set two markers for the album: one for the start of life and one for the end. But as the album’s title suggests, they are at neither point. They are instead caught in a swell; no longer young but not yet old.

"Summer Swell"  lyrically suggests just this, “There ain’t no one left around/Just you and me in this hopeless town/Were they lying through their teeth?/When they said we could be anything.”

In "Young and Dumb,"   a song about disappointed love, band members sing about, “The street signs are all bent/heavy with regret.”

"Fairweather Friends" reflects on the drone-like cycle of playing shows; how the energy of the crowd can offer the feeling of belonging, yet stoned and lonely is where they find themselves once they leave.

And just like the comforting and hypnotic sound you hear when holding a seashell up to your ear, The Band in Heaven has found the delicate balance between noise and meaning.

'Caught in a Summer Swell' is an album that offers poetic reflections, interpretations and something truly obsession-worthy.


The LP 'Caught in a Summer Swell,' released on Decades Records, is available HERE.


Songwriting, Self-Discovery and The Rebuilt Machine’s
Future With Frontman Joshua Miller

The Rebuilt Machine
Photo: Fat Loot Productions & The Artist Inside

The Rebuilt Machine started with a few dudes, a few acoustic guitars, and a laptop in a college dorm.

Now, nearly two years later, the Northern Virginia-based quintet--comprised of Joshua Miller (vocals), Nik Castro (guitar), Sean Lane (bass), Sam Stevenson (guitar) and Jon Saylor (drums)--has just released their debut album, “Despite What You’ve Been Told.”

Some of the tracks off of their self-released album palpitate with noisy, emotional angst—music you’d definitely dance to in the sweatiest of mosh pits—while other songs sincerely address the confusion that comes with the human condition.

The album slams through the front door with ‘A Week Shy of August’ as lead singer Joshua Miller bluntly bellows with passion, “Take a piece of me before you go.”

The Rebuilt Machine's " What You've Been Told " album cover.
The Rebuilt Machine's " What You've Been Told " album cover.

Immediately, the album cranks down 12 notches with the second track, ‘Drama Queen,’ which starts with a slow melodic vibe.

‘Deception Looks Good On You’ screams at all the right moments, and ‘It’s About Damn Time,’ a slow ballad that is blooming with soft, gentle keyboard strokes, leaves you feeling like you have two options: reflect or cry.

The album follows a stream of consciousness that is relatable to pretty much anyone who has experienced love, loss and, ultimately, the raw and ugly part of life.

You never wake up every morning feeling the same way, so why should an album cover up all the pretty, or for that matter, the ugly parts?

The album took plenty of hard work and direction. Miller explains, “We're very lucky to have worked some amazing and talented producers on the last record… Matt Dalton [ I See Stars, DRUGS, Chiodos] and Paul Leavitt [Senses Fail, The Dangerous Summer, All Time Low] was, in a word, awesome.”

With the help of producers that were both friends and motivators, and the insane work ethic of The Rebuilt Machine, “Despite What You’ve Been Told” was born. After becoming one of the winners of Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands,  The Rebuilt Machine was able to perform at the VANS Warped Tour in VA Beach, which was “surreal, exciting, and hot,” according to vocalist Josh Miller.

Be on the look-out for The Rebuilt Machine’s acoustic record that explores their roots.

Josh Miller announced exclusively to MO that The Rebuilt Machine is “scheduled to work with some incredible people on this record - Ace Enders (from The Early November) and Austin Bello (from Forever The Sickest Kids).”

Miller continues, “With their help and collaboration, we think this record will be something very intimate and special.  We plan to release it around Christmas of this year.”

But, if you can’t wait until then, their current album is now available on iTunes. Click here to view their iTunes page.

Watch video for 'A Week of Shy August'


Ahead, we talk to lead singer Joshua Miller about the future of The Rebuilt Machine, songwriting and self-discovery.

MO: 10 years ago did you think you would be where you are now with your band; did you even think you would be in a band?

Miller: As far back as I can remember, I've [always] written and played music.  Ten years ago, I wanted nothing more than to travel the country singing my crappy songs for a living.  I guess I always assumed I would end up in a band. But I'm honored and humbled by what we've accomplished in a relatively short time.  The best part, for me, is that I know more awesome stuff is on the horizon.

MO: After releasing the album “Despite What You've Been Told” just a few months ago, what has been the biggest reward of all The Rebuilt Machine’s hard work?

[pullquote]This may sound cliche, but the fact that people are downloading the album and listening to our tunes is our biggest reward. [/pullquote] Miller: We played a show not too long ago with Our Last Night, and there were tons of kids there who we'd never met before.  All throughout our set, people were screaming along to the lyrics.  I kept thinking, ‘who are these people and how the heck do they know the words to our songs...?’  Sometimes I feel like our songs aren't good enough to learn, or our music isn't catchy enough to stick in peoples' heads.  But being proven wrong about that at our shows is always a great feeling.

MO: Lyrically, do all the songs pertain to your life specifically? Do you draw inspiration from other members of the band or anything else?

Miller: Frank Sinatra once said that the lyrics always come first.  I think that's true in the sense that we, as a band, have things we want to say and spend a good deal of time getting them down on paper, even before some of the music is worked out.  Our lyrics focus on a few key principals that we find to be true, time and time again. First, pain is inevitable but it is not necessarily a bad thing; second, we all have the strength inside ourselves to overcome any obstacle; and third, life is all about connection.


Why does the song Tres Ojos mean so much to the band?

Miller: I wrote Tres Ojos in the middle of the night after too much gin.  I was in a bad place in my life.  It started as a confession, but turned into something else.  It means a lot to us because it represents a specific period of time full of suffering and self-discovery.  It's a song that I'll hopefully still be playing when I'm old and wrinkly.

MO: Acoustic record? When?

Miller: Ah, yes - acoustic record.  This band started as a bunch of acoustic songs recorded on my laptop in college.  We want to explore those roots a little more.  I'll take this opportunity to announce that we're scheduled to work with some incredible people on this record - Ace Enders (from The Early November) and Austin Bello (from Forever The Sickest Kids).  With their help and collaboration, we think this record will be something very intimate and special.  We plan to release it around Christmas of this year.

MO: Three words that describe making it to that Warp Tour stage in VA Beach?

Miller: Surreal, exciting, and HOT.  We played our first set in the Acoustic Basement around 11:30 a.m., and we were already dripping with sweat.  Then we played the full set at 1:30 p.m., right during the hottest part of the day.  We all thought we were going to pass out on the stage!

MO: What does your music accidentally represent? Have you ever had someone come to you and say that a song meant completely something different than what you may have originally wanted to convey?

Miller: We actually had someone e-mail us not too long ago asking about our lyrics.  She was trying to figure out what we were saying during the last phrase of a chorus, and typed out what she thought were the lyrics to the whole thing.  They were completely and totally off!  But I think that's the beautiful part - there are plenty of songs that I love and listen to all the time, but I change the words when I sing along.  [pullquote align="right"]I'll borrow a quote from Nathaniel Hawthorne, ‘Nobody, I think, ought to read poetry, or look at pictures or statues, who cannot find a great deal more in them than the poet or artist has actually expressed. Their highest merit is suggestiveness.’[/pullquote]

MO: A group or artist that you or one of your bandmates totally dig that might be a little or really embarrassing?

Miller: I remember all of us driving back in the middle of the night from a show in New York, blasting John Mayer and singing along together in the van. There's no better way for a bunch of dudes to bond than singing, "Your Body Is a Wonderland" to each other while speeding down the interstate.

MO: I heard you guys got an opportunity to work with some pretty cool producers for “Despite what you’ve been told,” tell me about that.

Miller: We're very lucky to have worked [with] some amazing and talented producers on the last record.  Working with Matt Dalton (I See Stars, DRUGS, Chiodos) and Paul Leavitt (Senses Fail, The Dangerous Summer, All Time Low) was, in a word, awesome.  Not only are both of them great dudes to hang out with, but they were able to push us further than we could have ever pushed ourselves.

MO: Do you think going through all those different members to create what is now The Rebuilt Machine has made you guys that much closer? What do you do all together when you aren't playing music?

Miller:  We enjoy the simple things - watching stupid movies, tossing back a few beers around a bonfire, or grilling hamburgers in somebody's backyard.  Again, I hate to be cliche - but we really do consider ourselves to be a family.  When we're on tour spending every moment together crammed into a van, we sometimes want to kill each other.  And when we're taking time off to focus on our personal lives, we all miss one another.  Some of us have been friends longer than the newer members, but the determination and common goals we share keep our bond strong.  I think that we appreciate each other because, based on collective experience, we know just how ugly band conflicts can get sometimes.


LISTEN: ‘I Can Hardly Make You Mine’ by Cults

LISTEN ‘I Can Hardly Make You Mine’ By Cults

It’s no wonder Cults' latest track, ‘I can hardly make you mine,’ comes from an album titled “Static.” The child-like voice of Madeline Follin is crouched behind distortion and reverb while multiple instruments dance playfully around Brian Oblivion’s repetitive riff.

The musicality is eerie, although at times unusually upbeat.

The lyrics, “I know you’re not the one or the only/but we both know what it’s like to be lonely... staring into the tears like a loaded gun,” are innocently describing the fear of rejection while still hinting at an early '80s horror flick.

Overall, the track is perplexing. Becoming more and more etched into your mind with each listen, you will find yourself humming the melody while taking a shower, doing the dishes, or cleaning out your cat’s litter box.  Whether you are happy or sad when you hum is up to you.

Cults second LP, “Static,” is set to be released by Columbia records on October 15.

And judging by this song, Cults are just obscure enough to become your next obsession.

LISTEN: Sentimental Loss and Illusions of Change with Bastille’s “Pompeii”

LISTEN: Sentimental Illusions Of Loss And Change With Bastille’s “Pompeii”

With a band and song name so rich in history, it’s no wonder Bastille’s “Pompeii” single leaves you feeling like you just left a town meeting.

“Pompeii” touches on a provocative subject by taking a historical moment and matching it lyrically against the natural disaster and ultimate destruction of Pompeii, the well-developed Roman city that was left under nearly 20 feet of volcanic rock and ash in 79 AD.

The song is illuminated only when singer Dan Smith strikes hope into his imaginary councilmen with lyrics, “But If you close your eyes/does it almost feel like nothing’s changed at all?”

Would you be able to hold clarity when you lost everything? Smith insists he is going to be an “optimist” regardless.

It is safe to say that this message fits easily into anyone’s daily life.

When you lose anything—whether it’s your job, your girlfriend or your wallet on the metro—it can leave you feeling frustrated and hopeless.

The song’s ultimate message is about  finding your clarity in loss and realizing what you really have never left.

The UK-based band's debut album, "Bad Blood," is available here.

You watch their watch music videos and webisodes  at Cinema Pompeii.

LISTEN: Ellie Goulding — Elton John’s “Your Song”

LISTEN: Ellie Goulding — Elton John’s “Your Song”

LISTEN: Ellie Goulding — Elton John’s “Your Song”

Elton John's classic tune "Your Song," released over 40 years ago, has yet again reached the charts through the young, talented UK star Ellie Goulding.

[audiotube id="D9AFMVMl9qE"]

Peaking at number two in sales quickly following the album’s release, "Your Song" has been the song for Goulding serving as her best selling single to date.

With Goulding's debut album "Lights," with tracks that range from the radio-friendly “Lights” to the reflective nearly self deprecating track “The Writer,” some may find it hard to place her stylistically.

But when the last track reveals a stripped down version of “Your Song,” you can't help but hit the back button. Reminding the listener of their first brush with love, the soulful song's lyrics rids your heart of the built up cynicism of past relationship woes.

Produced by Mumford & Sons’ vocalist Ben Lovett, the song is laced with romance, simplicity and what many may take as a respectful homage to Elton John's best love song written at a breakfast table.

LISTEN: One Republic – “Good Life”

LISTEN: One Republic – “Good Life”

LISTEN: One Republic – “Good Life”

Call it radio-friendly or top 40, but there is no better way to bring in the new year than with a song full of hope (step aside Adele and The Script).

One Republic, who has come a long way from 2008’s "Apologize," reflect on past experiences and looking forward to the possibilities of tomorrow with their song “Good Life.”

The pendulum of the song  falls to the ending lyrics of “Please tell me what there is to complain about?”

So, make yourself a list of what falls heavy on your mind, and in true One Republic style, crumple it up and start today as a new day and a new year.

Britney Spears

Perfect Pairings: Songs & Spirits to Ring in the New Year

Right before the clock strikes 2012, or as some would say, the end of the world, you will reflect on all the things that you have done in the past year. Maybe relationships were formed or broken, dreams were made, or perhaps you spent the entire year working and have regret about the things you could have done.

Whatever the case may be, celebrating a new calendar year serves as a reminder of how quickly time can pass by if we let it.

So, why not celebrate the passing of a year with songs and spirits? Below, check out our perfect pairings of libations and songs to enjoy as you ring in the New Year.

Ian Axel

"This Is The New Year" by Ian Axel

Classic, hopeful, upbeat, and inspiring Ian Axel sings about looking forward as opposed to always looking back, “Embrace the past and live for now.”

Axel remarked in an interview, “We often get stuck in these unnatural routines and forget who we are. You have to hold yourself accountable to make changes and live in the now.”

So, for all you dreamers and do-gooders, this is your go-to-song for the New Year.

Serve with: Champagne

Top off another great year by keeping it classy with  a glass of champagne. You'll feel sophisticated as you drink sparkling wine developed from the grapes of France.  You deserve it.

Death Cab for Cutie

"The New Year Song" by Death Cab for Cutie

Death Cab for Cutie always knows how to take a topic  that we usually attach so much excitement to  and turn it into a psych project. The lyrics drip with skepticism, “This is the New Year/and I don’t feel any different.”

If you hate change and loathe new beginnings, then this song is for you.

Serve with: Jack & Coke

If country music has taught us anything, it’s that sad songs and whiskey make the perfect combination, which makes a Jack & Coke the perfect accompaniment to the Death Cab for Cutie song.  Plus, the classic Coca-Cola offers just the slightest tinge of sweetness.

Britney Spears

"Till The World Ends" by Britney Spears

So maybe you are a deep believer in the Mayan prophecy, or maybe you just want an excuse to act like a crazy fool. What better way to celebrate than to pretend that NYE is your last night.

Britney Spears' "Till The World Ends" offers the perfect New Years song, “See The Sunlight/We Ain't Stoppin’/Keep On Dancing Till The World Ends/If You Feel It Let It Happen/Keep On Dancing Till The World Ends.”

So crank this at the party, do shots, and dance on the bar.

Serve with: Tequila and Tonic

There isn’t much to this drink and that’s the point. If you want to kiss a random stranger in the reggae room of the bar while jamming to some Britney, you’ll need two parts Patron (be sure it’s top shelf, you are a classy bitch, after all) and 1 part tonic water, and you are good to go!

LISTEN: Karmin — “Crash Your Party

LISTEN: Karmin — “Crash Your Party"

LISTEN: Karmin — “Crash Your Party"

Engaged couple Amy Heidemann and Nick Noonan, under the group name Karmin, went viral on Youtube and received over 48 million views for their "Look At Me Now" cover.

Heidemann puts Busta Rhymes on notice with her stellar rapping skills on the track, which apparently impressed Epic Records enough to land Karmin a record deal.

Their new single “Crash Your Party," which samples “This or That” from Black Sheep, is a fun and upbeat song that likely will be a smash when it hits the radio.

Dream Catcher

My Meets Obsession Party Fail that Led To My Santa List

My Meets Obsession Party Fail that Led To My Santa List

After parking my slightly beat up Mercury Sable in the lot of Franconia Springfield Metro Station, I was filled with general excitement about my writing career. I was attending my first Meets Obsession gathering--an intimate cocktail party celebrating Meets Obsession's first issue.

Finally, I was in da club! (So screw you, crappy, high school memories.)

To get amped up, I celebrated with friends the night before with alcohol, baked macaroni and cheeseburger sliders--all fitting food items to eat before a fashion party.

I stood at the metro station, dutifully waiting until I heard the operator on the intercom say: "Customers, we are expecting delays on the Blue Line. You can take a free shuttle bus. Please add 30 minutes to your travel time.”

Dear Metro. I. Hate. You.

Around 9pm, I ended up on 20th street trying to catch a cab. The party ended in one hour, and I was still far, far away.

The night was an epic fail. I stared at my freshly printed business cards that were depressingly scattered in my black leather purse. My once, bouncy curls were matted down by the rain, and my cell phone dead.

(Cue "All by Myself," Celine Dione version, circa 1996.)

How could I turn this situation into something positive? I could create a list to Santa that will bring me into the 21st century, and save me from having this situation happen again.

I went home and got out my Hello Kitty stationary and wrote:

Dear Santa,

I hope you find this letter well. I left you some delicious, chocolate chip cookies along with organic milk held in an authentic vintage bottle. I have compiled a list of items I'd like from you that will help me avoid awkward conversations, missed appointments, and general unhappiness.

Apple Ipod Nano

1. Ipod Nano


A music journalist without an Ipod? Blasphemy! How am I supposed to survive public transit, gym workouts, and awkward conversations from people in elevators? I beg you Santa for a brand new Ipod Nano (preferably pink). Plus, I am pretty sure it comes with a GPS app. 

Magic 8 Ball

2. Magic 8 Ball


There is no better way for me to make irrational decisions and have false reassurance than with a Magic 8 ball. With 20 answers and only 5 negative responses, this object will give me false hope.

Grey Kitten

3. Gray Kitten

Adoption Fee: $55

This furry little creature will serve as a constant reliable companion. He/she will always agree with me because I feed it and give it treats. Sometimes, significant others can’t do the trick.  If it’s a girl I will name her Cupcake, and if it's a boy, I will name him George.

Emily Haines Metric Poster

4. Poster of Metric’s Lead Singer: Emily Haines


I need this for inspirational purposes. Everyone should have a poster of someone or something they believe in--and my inspiration comes from Emily Haines. I am ready to take down my Fight Club poster and put Emily up in its place.

Dream Catcher

5. Dream Catcher


This might help with my string of nightmares issue.  As the old saying goes, if it rains it pours, and I am ready to live in the now and sleep soundly without those pesky little nightmares of my boyfriend being addicted to porn.

LISTEN: Sleigh Bells —

LISTEN: Sleigh Bells — "Holly"

LISTEN: Sleigh Bells — "Holly"

How do you make ear numbing but equally mind-blowing beats sexy? A little track sung by the Sleigh Bells called "Holly."

Sleigh Bells is a duo that consists of both Alexis Krauss and Derek Miller based out of Brooklyn New York. Mom + Pop Music released their album “Treats” in 2010 and "Holly" is only one of the 11 bombastic tracks.

Alexis Krauss, the front lady of noise pop duo cranks out fearless and staccato lyrics “Wasted all day/ killing all the Capulets.” This song is bound to get you out of your seat and is definitely worth a LISTEN.

LISTEN: Imaginary Cities — “Where’d All The Living Go?

LISTEN: Imaginary Cities — “Where’d All The Living Go?"

LISTEN: Imaginary Cities — “Where’d All The Living Go?"

The Canadian folk-pop duo, Imaginary Cities bring surreal and airy emotions in their track, “Where Did All the Living Go?” that is about being the one to end a relationship.

From their debut album, Temporary Residents, band mates, Rusty Matyas and Marti Sarbit created a song laced with apologetic lyrics like, "You were asking me in a dream like state/You were asking why we have to separate/You keep asking how'd the love turned into hate?"

The track includes the melodic embellishments of subdued synths and tambourines, and an acoustic guitar that makes you feel the sadness that comes from making a decision that will change the course of your life and the one you loved.

LISTEN: Ida Maria — “Bad Karma”

LISTEN: Ida Maria — “Bad Karma”

LISTEN: Ida Maria — “Bad Karma”

Rock 'n' roll still lives on and rock princess, Ida Maria is at the forefront. Endorsed by notable legends like Iggy Pop, Ida Maria is the Norway rocker of our generation.

Her new album Katla was released internationally on June 2011 by Def Jam Records.  Katla refers to a volcano that erupted in Iceland while the singer was recording her album, and is the perfect description for this album and it’s single, "Bad Karma."

The explosive track contains palpitating lyrics that denote a cautionary tale with lines like, “You better believe in Jesus/cause only he can save you now/Throw in a saint or two why don’t ya?/Three hail Mary’s and a Hare Krishna.”

With androgynous vocals, a looping drum and blunt chorus, this song is easily the next big don’t fuck with me song.

Flashback Friday: I Love 1992

Flashback Friday: I Love 1992

Flashback Friday: I Love 1992

1992 was the year that McDonald's set up camp in Beijing, Bill Clinton was president, the late Heavy D (R.I.P.) and the Boys were rocking the Hip Hop scene, and alt-rock was slipping through the cracks to create a decade of fearless, and sometimes grungy, rockers.

Look below to find three songs released in 1992 that laid the foundation for the decade of alternative rock that followed.

The Cure

The Cure — Friday I’m in Love

No one band can look quite this ugly and have gained such an amazing following without having seriously good music.

"Friday I’m in Love" shakes hands with the overly emotional, on-again off-again, bi-polar love seeking sweethearts everywhere with lyrics like “I don’t care if Monday’s blue/Tuesday’s grey and Wednesday too/Thursday I don’t care about you/It’s Friday I’m in love.”

Pearl JamPearl Jam — Yellow Ledbetter

Quite possibly one of the most inspiring opening guitar riffs of all time is Pearl Jam’s “Yellow Ledbetter.”

Although an official statement about the meaning of “Yellow Ledbetter" was never released by the band, the song is rumored to be about a yellow letter (disguised by the song title). Yellow letters (envelopes) are sent by the military to notify family members about  the status of a loved one lost at war.

Of course, this is all speculation and interpretation, but what kind of Eddie Vedder song would it be without a bit of intrigue?

R.E.M.R.E.M.— Drive

Bluesy and hippie-tastic, this trance inducing melody reminds us why we will miss R.E.M.

The song pays homage to the hope and drive that a young teen needs to be independent and make changes in the world, “Hey Kids/rock-n-roll/Nobody tells you where to go/baby.”