Maddie's Top of 2014

HAPPY NEW YEAR CYBER-PALS!!!! I can't believe it it 2015. To be honest, odd numbers aren't my favorite, but I always find that odd-numbered years bring me good times, and good adventures, so i'm very curious to see what the next 365 days hold in store for me. Before we get too focused on the future though, I'd like to take a minute to look back on all the fun I had in 2014. SXSW, Graduation, Warped Tour, Red Rocks and Riot Fest. It's been an amazing 12 months that led to new discoveries, new challenges, and plenty of funny stories. I've been lucky to share those with you all here, but thought we should re-cap just for good measure. Below you'll find my top 5 shows, top 5 albums, and top 6 (cause I can't decide) photographs of 2014. 

TOP FIVE SHOWS

1) Jimmy Eat World's Futures 10yr Anniversary Tour, The Ogden Theatre, October 7, 2014.
This should be pretty obvious why it's my number one. My favorite band touring and playing my favorite album in it's entirety? I literally cried through the entire thing. Not kidding. It also was the first time i'd ever seen them live with one of my closest friends, who is also a super huge mega fan of theirs. It was such a special night for so many reasons. I still get goosebumps just thinking about it. This is a show that will never be topped for me. I waited a decade of my life for one night, and it was certainly worth it. (Check out my review of the show for Ultra5280 here.)

2) twenty|one|pilots at The Ogden Theatre, May 16th 2014.
This was the first time Laurel and I had been able to see our clique leaders live since our obsession began. We first saw the band at The Bluebird back in November of 2013, but had never even heard their music before that night. That show is what sparked our addiction, and so finally seeing them live, and being a part of the fan base that inspired my original curiousity? That was amazing. (here's my review for Ultra5280)

3) Riot Fest Denver, Sports Authority Field at Mile High, September 19-21st, 2014 
In one weekend, I saw The Cure, Weezer play their "Blue Album" in its entirety, In The Whale take their pants off on stage for the Broncos (in front of Mile High Stadium), and Wu Tang Clan. I don't think there need be more explanation. (Ultra5280's weekend recap)

4) Phantogram's rooftop set at SXSW, March 12, 2014
This one is a little different because it wasn't even a proper concert, but this set was definitely my highlight of SXSW 2014. We were on a rooftop in the middle of downtown Austin, watching a band who I'd never really given the proper time of day before, and I fell in love with their music then and there. It's one of those moments that's hard to believe is real.

5) Lorde, The FirstBank Center, September 28, 2014
This show was probably the one that surprised me the most the entire year. I like Lorde's music plenty, but I usually really hate big pop production shows. When I was approved to cover this show for Ultra5280, I went in not fully prepared for what I would see, and found myself impressed with the young performer's poise in ways I couldn't have imagined. (read my Ultra5280 review for it here).

TOP FIVE ALBUMS

1) Hozier, Hozier
I told you all in my New Music Tuesday post about this album that i'd picked it as my top record of the year, and I've come through as promised. Check out my post about how much I love this record, and then give it a listen. I doubt you'll find yourself able to disagree. 

2) Alt-J, This Is All Yours
My undying love for Alt-J has only been progressed by the release of their new album. Weird, quirkly, melodically unique, and musically daring, this quartet is the front of new music. I might not be able to understand 75% of their lyrics (and the other 25% don't make sense), but I don't care. I love it. 

3) Against Me!, Transgender Dysphoria Blues
This record speaks for itself. One of the most well-respected punk rock groups of the modern era releasing an album that their lead singer ends up using as her coming out letter as transgendered? How much more punk can you get? The album is catchy, endearing, and a real statement of the times. I love it.

4) Broods, Evergreen
I got to spend an afternoon interviewing Broods' lead vocalist Georgia Knott, and after speaking with her, I felt like I could connect to this album on an ever deeper level. This young band is making promising music for being brand spanking new. The songs are catchy, the lyrics are honest, and the radio play it got this year is ridiculous. No way i couldn't pick it.

5) Manchester Orhestra, COPE. 
Although I haven't been a Manchester Orchestra fan for very long, seeing them perform live this past April was like finally eating a food I had no idea i'd been craving for months. A wondrous mix of alternative rock, melodic chorus', and heartfelt lyrics, the album COPE really feels like the bands most progressive album yet. 

TOP SIX PHOTOS

I genuinely couldn't decide which one of these six to knock out for submission for Ultra5280's end of year recap, so I submitted them all, and I'm sticking to that for my own post here. I really didn't photograph as much in 2014 as i did in 2013, but I still really love this top six. I feel like they perfectly capture my year in music. Here they are in order of when they were taken throughout the year. 

Cee Lo Green at Rachel Ray's Backyard BBQ | SXSW | Austin, TX, March 2014

Tyler Joseph of twenty|one|pilots, The Ogden Theatre, Denver, CO,  May 2014

Dua Boakye of Bad Rabbits at the Vans Warped Tour, Montréal, QC, July 2014.

Jim Adkins of Jimmy Eat World. The Ogden Theatre, Denver, CO. October 2014.

David Boyd, lead singer of New Politics. The Gothic Theatre, Denver, CO. November 2014.

Dan Wayne Sermon of Imagine Dragons. The Ogden Theatre, Denver, CO. December 2014.

 

please note that ALL photos are copyrighted by Maddie Casey, and cannot be used without her permission.

New Music Tuesday | Hozier and PVRIS

Buckle your seatbelts and startup your Spotify, kids, it's time for New Music Tuesday! I know I said I am working hard to be better at this, and I'm getting there slowly but surely. I think it'll take ages before I get to a place where I can really do this weekly, so for now monthly will have to do. This week I write to you about two of my favorite new finds: the most amazing Blues player I've heard in ages, and one of my favorite new bands I discovered while out on Warped Tour 2014. 

 

HOZIER - Hozier

Andrew Hozier-Bryne, better known these days by his surname Hozier, is the Irish singer-songwriter credited with the Top 40 smash hit "Take Me To Church". If you thought you liked the one song you've heard, be prepared to have your brain melt. It sounds silly, but the man's radio hit does his full length album zero credit, and you can't just take my word for it. Filled with catchy beats, beautiful melodies, impressive guitar work, and even more impressive lyrics, Hozier's album takes you on a beautiful ride through love, doubt, faith, and imagery. This album has become a staple of my musical library in the short month I've known of its existence. My personal recommendation is to start the album with track number two, "Angel of Death and the Codeine Scene" since track one is the only song you already know. Let the rest of the music speak for itself, and by the album's end you'll hardly believe "Take Me To Church" and the rest of his album come from the same artist. Trying to pick my favorite songs off of this album is impossible, and spoiler alert: I have already decided that for Ultra5280's 2014 roundup, I will be naming this my top album of the year. Feel free to hop over to Ultra5280 and read my review of Hozier's show in Boulder last month, but if you want to just cut to the chase, set an hour aside and listen to this record the whole way through. If I had to pick, my 3 favorite songs are "Jackie and Wilson", "From Eden", and "Work Song". Trust me on this though, you want to hear all of it. Sweet Andrew Hozier, you have solidified yourself as one of my favorite artists... I pray God your next album blows my mind as much as this one does. 

 

PVRIS - White Noise

When I was growing up, Warped Tour was the place to discover new music and slowly watch it rise to fame. Somehow in the late 2000's, that all changed and legacy bands began to rule the roster traveling coast to coast. It started to feel like the only way to discover new stuff at Warped was to lurk around the Kevin Says Stage for a few years in a row, and see who stuck around. This past summer was one of the first times in ages that I feel like new talent truly got to shine through at Warped, and one of the bands that succeeded the most is PVRIS. A band of youngsters from Boston, they played a quick two-week stint of shows across the east coast on the Ernie Ball Stage. In that time they managed to draw the attention of bands from every single stage on the tour, photographers, and even the production staff. Lead singer Lyndsey Gunnulfsen draws you in with her fiery yet seductive tone, a growl encroaching on her her smooth voice with every chorus. Her lyrics take the listener from a place of wonder and curiosity to a place of uproar with killer hooks like "It's my house / and I think it's time you get out/ it's my soul / it isn't yours anymore / it's my house / and i think it's time you get out". Iridescent synth tracks in the background lead you weaving through each song's melody, escorted by driving guitars and sharp drums. The ferocity of the vocals in songs like "St. Patrick" and "My House" give Gunnulfsen credibility as a vocalist in ways most females are written off in this genre. She can sing, but damn the girl can mean it too. The entire album front-to-back is a quick 40minutes, but it might just be the most successful blend of pop-punk, rock, and electronica that i've ever heard.