BEYOND THE STAGE
BEYOND the stage
ADDIE WHELAN EDITOR IN CHIEF
ALICIA RANGEL ART DIRECTOR
DELANEY DEANGELIS DEPUTY EDITOR
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CONTENTS ON THE COVER
FEATURES AND FESTIVALS
06 Sasha Sloan 32 Kailee Morgue 48 Carlie Hanson
10 FVDED In The Park 14 Warped Tour 16 Mt. Joy 22 Shadow Of The City 39 Album Reviews 42 Captiol Hill Block Party 53 Playlist
04 Paramore 05 Hailee Steinfeld 13 Niall Horan 20 Bazzi 21 LANY 30 Sleeping With Sirens 31 Panic! At The Disco 36 Imagine Dragons 37 Sasha Sloan 38 Sylvan Esso 45 Pitbull 46 Maren Morris 47 Catfish & The Bottlemen 52 Taking Back Sunday
ANNE-MARIE ON THE COVER
GINA SCARPINO - BROOKLYN, NY - JUNE 2018
HAILEE STEINFELD ADDIE WHELAN - CHICAGO, IL - JULY 2018
SASHA SLOAN WORDS BY KRISTEN HUMPHRIES AND PHOTOS BY JOE HERNANDEZ
he won’t be the popstar on stage dripping in glitter with background dancers, singing over an auto tuned track. In a world of likes and comments, she refuses to post things that will get her the wrong kind of attention— Sasha Sloan is the “you get what you get” type of artist. And what you get is a strongwilled, jazz-influenced, pop songwriter who’s had to learn self-advocacy in a studio of executives who refuse to listen. The journey to respected artist and songwriter wasn’t smooth sailing. “I got a publishing deal off of Reddit and I moved to LA not knowing a single soul,” Sloan admits. “and it was the hardest thing being thrown in the pop circle and into a room with someone who had a laptop and Ableton.” She spoke about being a young songwriter in a room of seasoned industry vets and how it forced her to grow tough skin and speak up when she feels strongly about something. “You don’t have much of a voice [in the studio] unless they’re [season producers] not a total dick, which usually they are. There’s been countless times but it’s made my skin tougher and I haven’t quit yet.” And the world is happy she didn’t because Sloan will continue paving the way for other young songwriters— especially women—who deserve the same amount of respect and recognition for their work as the “higher-ups” do.
don’t always understand is the carefully crafted marketing plan behind every single artist. And as women in the industry, the pressure to become a sexualized being for the sake of record sales is no new theme. It’s a strategic plan consolidated by managers and top executives and Sloan won’t stand for that bullshit. “When you start out, you can slowly be told to do certain things and look a certain way. You look at other pop stars going out in a bra and leotard and think ‘Oh, well if I’m not doing that, I won’t be as successful.’” And all power to the women who dress how they want because they want to, but being told how sexy to look for the sake of selling music will never be okay—and that’s why Sloan’s inspirations are the ones who give a big middle finger to those pressures. “It’s important for me to keep in mind that my favorite artists like Brandi Carlisle and Regina Spektor keep it all about the music.” Luckily for Sloan, her team and fans let her be exactly who she is and they love her even more for it.
Despite the struggles of an up-and-coming songwriter in LA, the studio is where Sloan has found her biggest inspiration. “I got to go to Jamaica with Dua Lipa which was amazing. I mean I learned a lot from her and Camila Cabello about confidence, which I’ve never been good at having,” she comments. “I’m watching the way they work and operate and they’ve been huge inspirations, seeing how they know what they want in the studio. They made me learn from them and take from that.” Let’s hear it for female empowerment, something that is crucial in this male-dominated industry. But what some new songwriters, artists, producers and music fans alike
“It’s amazing I have the freedom to be myself. I think my label helps with that, like RCA is amazing and they let me be me.” Fans feel the same way, as they are quick to tweet about their love for Sloan’s authenticity and vulnerability—two qualities that shine through every song she’s released thus far. “When I wrote ‘Normal,’ I didn’t even sit down and say ‘I’m going to write a song about hating parties.’ It just came out,” she laughs while explaining how personal her music is to her. “I was listening back and thought ‘Oh, I gotta change some shit in my life.’” She’s constantly surprised by how many people connect to her music because of its deeply personal subject matter. “You see people connecting to it, which for me, is the most therapeutic thing of all time,” she goes on to note, “When you feel alone or sad or anxious, you think you’re the only one that feels that. But to see people connecting to my music makes me feel way less alone.” Hopefully Sloan knows it makes her fans feel less alone, too. And that’s what makes her an incredible songwriter for herself and for others. Sasha Sloan’s music is something she’s actually gone through, but when she writes for others, it’s something they’re going through or it’s a story based off another form of media (for example, a book, a movie, etc.). The song has to ignite a feeling of “holy shit, this is real” otherwise she passes it along to another artist. “Runaway” is about my ex-boyfriend and I knew deep, deep down I wanted to breakup with him, but I hadn’t voiced it out loud to myself or anyone else,” Sloan said. She details how the entire EP was a foreshadowing of her break up and how all the songs made so much more sense when her relationship ended. “I wrote [Runaway] and my subconscious was like, ‘Hey bitch, you don’t wanna be here.’” How cool that humans can create art and learn even more about ourselves when we unfold the parts of our minds we’ve been hiding. Sloan is no exception and it’s why you feel like you’re talking to a friend when you listen to her music. With a new song coming out this month, a new EP releasing before the end of the year, and a tour with EDEN, Sloan is throwing all of her energy into her own work. And if she’s worried at all about the perception of others, as she sings “I just want people to like me,” they certainly do. And they will continue to like her for a very long time. BTS
FVDED IN THE PARK PHOTOS BY NICOLITA BRADLEY
A$AP FERG + FUTURE
JOE HERNANDEZ - AUBURN, WA - AUGUST 2018
VANS WARPED TOUR PHOTOS BY CHELSEA GRESH
WORDS BY ABBY FOX AND PHOTOS BY VALERIE MCINTYRE
fter growing up in Pennsylvania on the infamous Mount Misery in Valley Forge National Park, Sam Cooper and his bandmates decided to instead name their group after its sister mountain, Mount Joy, for a more – pardon the pun – joyful name. Cooper and his friend Matt Quinn both grew up in the Philadelphia region, but it wasn’t until they reunited in Los Angeles that they really formed their music group. Quinn remembers casually playing music together with Cooper through middle school and high school, but once the two started seriously focusing on music on the west coast after college, they realized that they might really be able to maintain a following. Mt. Joy first recorded four songs together, including the single, “Astrovan.” They put the song up on Spotify and certainly didn’t expect the reaction that followed. Matt remembers that after seeing how well “Astrovan” was being received online, they knew that they would have a chance to actually play shows and have a chance at success as a band. Although Quinn has played guitar and vocals since the very beginning of Mt. Joy, putting a label on the band’s sound is still a challenge. He describes their sound as a “throwback folk-rock band,” taking inspiration from the 60s and 70s folk-rock music they grew up listening to. Growing up in a house with classic rock playing all the time, Quinn feels like he has always connected with artists like Bob Dylan, The Grateful Dead, The Allman Brothers and Paul Simon. Mt. Joy tends to be influenced by more contemporary artists as well, including My Morning Jacket, who they have looked up to for years. With the release of their self-titled debut album earlier this year, we were interested to know the band’s thoughts on making the album. Matt remembers that making the album was not an easy task. Originally, they didn’t set out to make a full-length record, so they never “mapped out a list of songs and tried to choose the best ones.” Instead, their
process was a little different. They recorded four songs at first, since that’s only what they could afford at the time. Only after those songs were doing well did the band have the opportunity to make more songs. So, in the limited amount of time, they were tasked with writing and recording additional tracks to be able to put out a full-length record, which Quinn recalls as a sort of “fun challenge.” With a number of singles and an album tracklist of 13 songs, we were curious if the band has any particular favorites. Although it was difficult to pick just one song since they notice that as they play shows certain songs become more fun, overall, Quinn concluded that “Astrovan” will always make him smile because it’s the song that “gave us this life.” Even though it might be “a goofy little song,” Quinn says that hearing the crowds sing, “Jesus drives an Astrovan” is always so funny to him.
While it might be almost two years since the release of “Astrovan,” the single still clearly has a special place in their hearts. Since the song was released, Quinn believes that Mt. Joy’s sound as a band has definitely evolved. He told us that making the record prior to really becoming a band has made them “more tuned in to songwriting and arrangement, and I think that playing live, we open things up a little more and there’s some more improvisation and jamming.” Ultimately, he thinks the biggest change is that they’ve now become a band who can “play more extended-type songs rather than when we were just trying to make recordings.” For the past couple of years, Mt. Joy has hit the road alongside The Shins, The Head and the Heart and The Lone Bellow, to name a few, as well as landing bookings at some of the country’s biggest music festivals, including Bonnaroo, Newport Folk Festival, Lollapalooza and Made In America. This year,
they’ve had the chance to go on their own headlining tour in support of their debut album. Quinn’s personal favorite part about touring is “meeting the people who really connect with our music and hearing their stories,” because it gives them the energy “to really keep going.” He also loves getting to see some places he would otherwise never get to see. Nevertheless, as musicians who grew up in Philadelphia playing small local shows, it’s always a dream to come back and play in front of bigger crowds in the area. As the band continues to tour across North America and Europe through November, Quinn assured us that they’re definitely working on new songs in their free time whenever they have a chance to focus on another full-length album. For fans who have tickets to their upcoming tour dates, you can look forward to hearing some unreleased songs, too. A lasting piece of advice for all the Philly fans out there is simply this: trust the process.
JOE HERNANDEZ - PORTLAND, OR - JULY 2018
GINA SCARPINO - CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 2018
SHADOW OF THE CITY PHOTOS BY BRETT SWEENEY
WORDS BY ADDIE WHELAN AND PHOTOS BY CINA NGUYEN
n the past year, Anne-Marie has achieved some of her biggest dreams in music. Whether she’s performing in a sold-out stadium or an intimate venue, Anne-Marie is constantly giving it her all. Just in the last year, she’s gained fans around the world, collected a nomination for a iHeartRadio Music Award, achieved multiple platinum singles and more. Now, she’s on a massive North American tour opening for Ed Sheeran while also touring the country on her own headlining tour. Noted as “arguably one of the most consistent hitmakers in pop,” by Idolator, Anne-Marie’s reign in music has helped her climb to more than 26 million listeners on Spotify each month. With an impressive, collective social following of more than a million, Anne-Marie is passionate about her fans. Whether she’s answering a tweet that says, “like this tweet with your best double chin” or giving advice to someone going through heartbreak, AnneMarie’s devoted to making sure her fans get the respect and love that they give her. “[I think it’s important to connect with my fans] because they show me love. I appreciate them so much, so the closer the relationship the better. I love to be on social media a lot and obviously [meeting them] in person is even better!” she said about the driving force behind her performances. While Anne-Marie’s music has charted multiple times on the pop charts, her musical beginning actually involved performances in musicals like Les Miserables and Whistle Down The Wind. Those performances eventually lead to recording time in Elton John’s recording studio, Rocket Records. Creating a solo demo for a track called “Summer Girl,” it caught the attention of former Beyond the Stage cover star, Rudimental. Performing on multiple tracks with the UK based band, Anne-Marie went on to gain the attention of Sheeran, who encouraged her to start her solo career. When asked to describe her music, Anne-Marie noted that it’s not defined by a single genre.
“[I] don’t know how to describe it, I always say it’s storytelling music, which is a mixture of all the music I grew up listening to, pop, R&B, ska, reggae and rock,” AnneMarie said. “Artists that aren’t scared of what they write about inspire me. Lauryn Hill, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, Cardi B.” Channeling those influences for tracks on her debut album, Speak Your Mind, which was out earlier this year, Anne-Marie has exploded onto the music scene with a passionate, drive for music. Throughout the 18 track album, Anne-Marie explores the overarching theme of honesty and saying what’s really on her mind. Including tracks like “Alarm,” which features a Baz Luhrmann inspired video, “Ciao Adios,” which captured the attention of millions worldwide and more, the album features collaborations with some of the biggest names in music.
“I’ve learned not to be scared in the studio. [I] just let anything come out. It’s a place where you don’t feel embarrassed or worried. I also love to record my vocals in one or two takes so it sounds as similar to my live performance as possible because I’d hate to sound completely different at a show,” she said. “It was a lot of fun and actually life changing to me. The years it took to write are years that I grew a lot as a person and hopefully that reflects in the songs and lyrics.” Not only does that apply to her own album, but also to 2018 Top 40 Radio hit, “FRIENDS,” which was a collaboration with anonymous dance producer Marshmello. “[Recording “FRIENDS”] was so much fun. He was in London last November or December time and he was in the studio, I was just passing by to say hello! It wasn’t meant to be a writing session, but I guess it just became one naturally as I heard what he had been working on that day and I just had to write to it. We wrote and recorded the vocal to the whole song in less than three hours. Then, he flew back to LA and worked on the production and he sent in back three days later exactly how you hear it now,” she said about the track. Now with more than 500 million plays on Spotify alone, the track has had routine playlist placement and is frequently played on radio around the world. Now, as she performs around the world, Anne-Marie has seen crowds of all sizes. Whether she’s performing at Chicago’s Lincoln Hall or Washington D.C.’s, 930 Club, Anne-Marie’s live performance is energetic, dance-friendly and a true testament to her artistic abilities and direction. Filled with colorful light, upbeat music and powerful vocals, fans sometimes line up over twelve hours in advance before doors even open at a chance to be as close as possible to the singer. “The way I perform never changes. For example, I don’t give less just because it’s a smaller crowd. I give the same and I feel the same every single show. My songs are personal to me so I go on an emotional rollercoaster every time! The difference is when you are the support act, it’s quite a scary feeling as sometimes it gets in my head that some people might be like ‘hurry up I just wanna see Ed’ so I have to try and BTS
fight that thought away. But to be honest, his crowds have been so welcoming to me and so lovely! Another difference is the set length. So for Ed’s shows I have 30 minutes, so I don’t have much time! And my own shows can be up to 90 minutes,” Anne-Marie explained. While the tour has taken up a lot of time this year for Anne-Marie, she’s also released new music, including “2002,” which has song writing credits like Ed Sheeran and Julia Michaels. The track raced to the top of the charts, with an accompanying music video with more than 159 million views. On top of that, just two months ago, AnneMarie and Sheeran recorded an acoustic version, which trended on YouTube and Twitter almost immediately upon release. “For me, Ed is my friend. And I’ve always seen him as that. So [performing with him] felt completely natural. Obviously I’m in awe of his talent so whenever he sings or plays the guitar around me I have to stop what I’m doing and listen,” Anne-Marie said. “I feel like every crowd is different from the other . Even within the UK and Europe and US. Which is why [crowds are] so special. You remember every single one,” she said. As she continues through the end of her headline tour and supporting Sheeran across stadiums in the US, Anne-Marie’s plans for the rest of 2018 and 2019 are to continue to tour and continue to perform for her fans. As soon as her North American performances conclude, she’s hopping across the world to perform to thousands of fans in Asia as well as Australia. After that, she’ll continue her own headlining tour in Europe, with additional dates in 2019, too. Performing at some of the most iconic venues in the world, the tour will span over almost two months, carrying the singer to an entirely new level. Anne-Marie continues to take over the global charts, sell out her headliner dates and impress fans as she sings relatable, honest tracks about love, friendship, relationships and more. Sometimes, fans encounter the singer at a Sheeran stadium date and other times on the radio, but no matter what, they leave with an incredible impression of Anne-Marie and her talent.
SLEEPING WITH SIRENS NICOLITA BRADLEY - SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 2018
PANIC! AT THE DISCO JOE HERNANDEZ - PORTLAND, OR - AUGUST 2018
KAILEE MORGUE WORDS BY BLAKE CHARLES AND PHOTOS BY GINA SCARPINO
n the world of pop music, fans and critics alike seem to be on a never-ending quest to find the future of the genre. From music and visuals, to the artists themselves, the pop music landscape is one that encourages a unique, and often boundary-pushing perspective to advance and elevate the genre. Without a doubt, twenty-year-old pop prodigy Kailee Morgue is capable of doing just that. The Phoenix, Arizona-born songstress first made herself known back in January of 2017, when she posted a video of her singing a piece of her then unfinished song, “Medusa.” The Twittersphere quickly discovered the genius of both the song and the young singer and spread the video like wildfire across the site. This quickly propelled Morgue to sign with Republic Records and move to Los Angeles later that year. Before the viral tweet and record deal, there was a music-loving teenager from Phoenix named Kailee Moore. “Phoenix really shaped me as an artist, I wouldn’t be in this position if it wasn’t for the love and the amazing local artists out there,” said Morgue. “LA on the other hand really pushed me to step out of my comfort zone and be more social and look at music from all perspectives.” Intended as a way to detail the dichotomy between her soft, ethereal sounding voice, and her dark, mystical production, Kailee Moore decided her stage name would be Kailee Morgue. A sweet, beautiful first name like Kailee, paired with a rough, gloomy last name like Morgue couldn’t describe the songstress and her style any more perfectly. That being said, the young singer’s style, both musical and otherwise, is nearly impossible to pin down. She wields an uncanny knack for incorporating countless sounds and styles into one dynamic package, made clear by her vast and varied group of musical influences. “Gwen Stefani has for sure influenced my music and style. She’s an absolute icon for me. I also really love Stevie Nicks, Hayley Williams, Frank Ocean and, not to be totally corny, but I think people that influence me outside of music would definitely have to be my mom and stepdad, they’re extremely loving and empathetic,” she said. “I’ve always loved music and have been singing since I was able to talk.
My parents were both passionate about music, so naturally, it really sparked my interest!” Colored hair has become a signature of Morgue’s, as her hair was dyed green to honor the official release of her first single; a finished version of “Medusa,” the song that jumpstarted her career. Because of this, Morgue was able to see “Medusa” go from a song she nervously sang for her camera, to her first official major label single. The snappy and sparkling track showed the world of pop that despite it being Morgue’s first single, she knew exactly what she was doing. It also became the title of her first EP, which was released in January of 2018; almost exactly a year after she posted the tweet that changed her life forever. “Looking back on the Medusa EP, it was right at the beginning of my career when I was writing and recording those songs. It felt like it all happened so fast and then one day it was like, ‘Oh I just accidentally made a full body of work.’ It’s interesting when I hear those songs. Even though I wrote them a year ago, I feel like a whole different person now. The EP was titled Medusa mainly because of the actual song on it ‘Medusa,’ but that song played a huge role in where I am now. I look back at that EP as the Medusa era as being when I was just entering this new world.” In many ways, the Medusa EP represented Morgue introducing herself to the world as more than a musician, but as an artist with a clear vision for both their music and their image. Her ever-changing hair color and the myriad of tattoos make her both instantly recognizable and hard to ignore. Her music comes across in a similar manner, thanks to her blend of ethereal, dream-like vocals, grim, descriptive lyrics, and moody, yet sparkling production. Morgue’s unique vision comes to life in spectacular fashion in the “Medusa” music video, which is as trippy and haunting as it is surreal and beautiful. The dark green of her hair, as well as the smoky and ever-present blues and purples, give the song a dreamy visual element, that helps create a musical experience that is all the more consuming. Perhaps what’s most impressive about the video’s vivid colors is that somehow, these three colors together perfectly embody the spirit and sound of the song.
“I’m not sure if there’s a specific reason I’ve been drawn to blues, greens and purples,” she said. “I think those colors are really beautiful yet eerie, which corresponds with my music almost perfectly! It also reminds me of deep waters and the sky, and I’ve always had an obsession with nature!”
lend herself to an array of styles and sounds.
Morgue’s deliciously gloomy pop has carried over nicely into later tracks as well, as the trappy, acoustic-guitar driven “F**K U,” and the spooky, glitchy “Siren” have become welcomed additions in her small, but majorly impressive discography. Despite her rather distinct sound, she has also found success with collaborations as well. The experimental Whethan assisted “Do You Feel This Way,” a left-of-center electronic pop track, while the dazzling “What The Hell Happened To Us” with Quinn XCII is alt-pop perfection, proving that Morgue can beautifully
With an EP and a slew of singles under her belt, we can safely say that the overnight success of “Medusa” was no fluke. Morgue has found a raw and innovative way to interpret pop music. From her visuals to her music, she definitely has much more up her sleeve. While the future of pop music is uncertain, there’s no doubt in our mind that through her uniqueness and pure, unfaltering love for music, Kailee Morgue will make her presence known as one of the genre’s most exciting and innovative young stars.
“My first releases I’d definitely describe as more dark and witchy, even ethereal. I do think though that with my newer stuff you can almost hear a shift. It’s a bit more empowering, a bit more confident,” Morgue said.
IMAGINE DRAGONS ALICIA RANGEL - THE WOODLANDS, TX - AUGUST 2018
GINA SCARPINO - NEW YORK, NY - JULY 2018
JOE HERNANDEZ - PORTLAND, OR - JULY 2018
ALBUM REVIEWS 8 Letters Why Don’t We Atlantic Records After five EPs, the highly anticipated debut album release, 8 Letters, from Why Don’t We arrived on August 31. For some fans, they had counted almost two years of waiting for the album that was crafted to be exactly what they wanted from the group that means so much to them. Just a little over two years ago, when five unique artists (Corbyn Besson, Jack Avery, Jonah Marais, Daniel Seavey and Zach Herron), all with individual social followings, joined forces to create Why Don’t We, there were only brief talks of something in album form. Now, with a single written by Ed Sheeran, massive radio play and multiple worldwide tours, Why Don’t We’s full length release has globally charted and created massive demand for the band. Released via Atlantic Records, the album includes more than three top 40 radio singles. Title track, “8 Letters,” which was released both as a single and a leading music video is a perfect representation of what’s to come throughout the next thirty minutes. Noted by the group as a letter to their fans, the track chronicles the difficulty of saying “I Love You,” (which is 8 letters) to someone that you truly love. The track is emotional, relatable and highlights each member of the band’s vocal abilities. As the listener travels through the album, fans recognized tracks like “Talk” and “Hooked,” both which were pre-released ahead of 8 Letters, with music videos that include highlights from their European tour. While some of the tracks are fun, upbeat and perfect for pop radio, “In Too Deep,” “Falling” and “Hard” are three deeper, emotional tracks. With references to water, the three tracks represent a deeper battle with relationships and love. Chronicling love and relationships, 8 Letters is an excellent debut fulllength release from Why Don’t We. With plans to support the album with a nationwide tour, we can’t wait to see how the album transforms into a live experience. 5/5 - Addie Whelan Download: “Hard,” “8 Letters,” and “Falling”
21st Century Liability YUNGBLUD Geffen Records The highly-anticipated album 21st Century Liability by YUNGBLUD was released this past August and, boy, was it a worth the wait. Everyone favorite Northern Englander dropped his full length full of hits with hard-hitting lyrics and insanely catchy beats. The album opens up with a track called “Eulogy,” which speaks volumes of who YUNGBLUD is as a person. It dives right into the next track, titled “Die For The Hype,” which talks about doing things just for the reaction of it. For the most part, the album deals with mental health. That is a big issue in today’s society and a big part of what YUNGBLUD is about. He is not shy about talking about his struggles and how so many other people also deal with mental health. That is definitely something to commend him on because others tend to shy away from the topic that is so controversial and kind of kept behind closed doors. A track that really stands out on the album is a song titled, “Polygraph Eyes.” It was first released on his EP at the beginning of the year but really brings to light the issues of being taken advantage of, especially when under the influence. It is a gentle reminder that it is not okay to do that. It is an issue that he feels very strongly about, as he used to see it happen when he was younger and wants to put an end to it. That is the thing about YUNGBLUD, he is here to make a difference and be there for anyone who feels embarrassed for overwhelmed at the thought of voicing what they went through. The album closes with the title track, “21 Century Liability” which is a perfect end to it. With so many punk rock, rap and hip-hop influences, this album is nothing like anything you have heard recently. It vocalizing real life issues that not enough people are talking about these days. YUNGBLUD is a truly talented artist. Be on the lookout for this kid. He is going to be huge. 5/5 - Chelsea Gresh Download: “Die For The Hype,” “Machine Gun (F*** The NRA),” and “Medication”
ALBUM REVIEWS Pray For The Wicked Panic! At The Disco Fueled By Ramen While not too long ago theatrical pop was undoubtedly dominating the music landscape, recent years have seen the trend become something of a lost art. However, Panic! at the Disco seems to be embracing the opposite trajectory, as each subsequent release appears more and more grandiose. While not many bands can pull off such a feat, not many bands have Brendon Urie; quite possible the showiest and most dynamic frontman in modern pop. After all, not just anyone can convincingly sing a song as theatrical as “Bohemian Rhapsody” night after night on tour. The band’s most recent release, Pray For the Wicked, shows the band creating a bombastic ode to Gatsby era pop, with an abundance of horns, larger than life choruses, and charisma bursting from the seams. Sonically, the album’s lead single “Say Amen (Saturday Night)” finds common ground between the band’s newer sound and the emoesque stylings that fans fell in love with back in the mid 2000s, while standouts “(Fuck a) Silver Lining” and “Dancing’s Not a Crime” perfectly exemplify the band’s big, brassy pivot. The album’s noteworthy closing track, “Dying in LA,” is about as grandiose as a piano ballad can get, with Urie’s unmatched vocal prowess absolutely dominating the already impressive track. While other standouts “High Hopes” and “Hey Look Ma, I Made It” feel a tad overproduced, the lyrical sentiments are sugary sweet, and Urie is charismatic is enough to make them into something utterly joyous. Thematically, Pray For the Wicked explores the partying lifestyle, much like the band’s last album, Death of a Bachelor. However, if Death of a Bachelor is partying at its most rambunctious, Pray for the Wicked is partying at its most fatigued, detailing the road to the party, and the exhaustion that eventually follows. Track by track, the album paints a vivid picture of a complex party world that Urie occupies. While the infectious “Dancing’s Not a Crime” gives the impression that Urie is down to party the night away, other tracks such as “One of the Drunks” and “Roaring 20s”, make it seem as though he is ready to put his partying days in the past. This lyrical dichotomy, paired with bombastic production and retro sensibilities, help make Pray For the Wicked one of Panic! at the Disco’s most unique and engaging albums to date. 4.5/5 – Blake Charles Download: “Dancing’s Not a Crime,” “Hey Look Ma, I Made It,” and “Dying in LA”
finding it hard to smile lovelytheband Another Century Records Past cover artist lovelytheband released their debut album in August 2018, finding it hard to smile. Since its initial release, we have done nothing but smile. The album gives fans a deeper look into the emotional side of the band. With tracks like “broken,” fans can see that someone went through something hard to be able to write the various songs on this album. Mitchy Collins, the band’s frontman, relocated from Brooklyn to Los Angeles, where he met his other bandmates and from there, magic was created. Each song on the album is unique in its own way, from the lyrics to the beat of the song, they each differ from the one before but all blend perfectly together. The rawness of this album is something that takes time to create, to be fully vulnerable and open with each song and every lyric is something not many people have. Songs like “your whatever” are perfect for a heart that is just looking to love someone. With lyrics like, ‘I’m coughing ‘cause of your cigarettes, I’ll always hate that you smoke. You always smell like a holiday I’m still in love with you though,” which means that this particular person could do no wrong, he’ll always be in love with her. The song talks about how he is willing to be whatever she needs, and do whatever it takes to make her content with life and it is a really lovely song. The lyrics in each song tell a story, whether an emotional one or not, each song differs from the next and that is what makes this album so unique. The lead single off the album, “Broken,” takes place in a Brooklyn loft where a broken girl meets a lonely boy and the rest is history. The introduction starts with “I like that you’re broken, broken like me, maybe that makes me a fool, I like that you’re lonely, lonely like me, I could be lonely with you.” and that lyric by itself is strong enough to make anyone feel that emotion. This is one song that you need to download into your library as soon as possible. The album is full of emotional real songs, the realist song is “emotion.” Talking about a failed relationship, the lyrics “it used to be magic, now it’s bullshit and sadness” really made the song into what it is. Heartbreak is never pretty and the band was able to create a song that gives off the vibe that they’re angry but really they’re just hurt. lovelytheband put a lot of their feelings, including anger and sadness into this album. The band is starting their career and this album was the perfect way to brand themselves as a band and gave us a taste of who they are. finding it hard to smile is definitely one of the best albums released this summer and we are totally obsessed with it. 5/5 - Samantha Aneed Download: “your whatever,” “emotion” and “broken” BTS
FATHER JOHN MISTY
CAPITOL HILL BLOCK PARTY PHOTOS BY JOE HERNANDEZ
KELLY LEE OWENS
UNKNOWN MORTAL ORCHESTRA
JOE HERNANDEZ - RIDGEFIELD, WA - JULY 2018
JOE HERNANDEZ - AUBURN, WA - AUGUST 2018
CATFISH & THE BOTTLEMEN GINA SCARPINO - CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 2018
CARLIE HANSON WORDS BY ABBY FOX AND PHOTOS BY JOE HERNANDEZ
arlie Hanson might just be eighteen years old, but she has had quite the rapid rise in the music world. After being announced as tour support for Troye Sivan’s The Bloom tour and receiving endorsements from none other than Taylor Swift herself, Hanson has already racked up nearly 50 million streams on Spotify with her first four singles. It’s safe to say that she’s come a long way from working at McDonald’s in her hometown in Wisconsin. For years, Hanson knew that she had a passion for music. She remembers singing around the house from a young age, but it’s Justin Bieber who really gave her the push she needed to pursue music for real. After hearing Justin Bieber on the radio, Hanson then proceeded to watch all of his YouTube videos, which gave her a huge amount of inspiration. She then started performing in talent shows and posting her own covers on YouTube, until her first big break came in 2016. Less than two years ago, Hanson posted a cover of “Pillowtalk” on Instagram in hopes of winning a contest to see Zayn Malik in concert. Sadly, despite being a complete Directioner, she didn’t end up winning the tickets, but the cover definitely led to even better things. iHeartRadio ended up reposting her contest submission and soon after, she received a message from a Canadian producer inviting her to come join his team for some sessions. She credits those producers with really helping discover her sound and leading her to meet the rest of her team. Hanson describes her sound as a combination of her inspirations, from Justin Bieber to Soundcloud rap, all coming together to create a sort of “urban pop.” Her other inspirations include Nirvana, One Direction and rappers like Lil Skies. With her recent single “Mood” that came out just a few months ago, Hanson also gave us some insight into her songwriting process. She is constantly writing random ideas in
her notebook or in the notes on her phone to keep track of everything, whether she’s at home or on the road. Other writers usually join her in sessions, though, so most of the work is collaborative and always changing depending on what’s going on in her life. One of her favorite songs she’s written so far is called “Hazel,” about one of her friends back home who started getting into drugs and hanging out with the wrong people. Hanson describes the song as “a letter to her saying ‘I love you’ and I don’t want you to be doing this,” and loves how personal it is. Another one of her hits is “Only One,” which also happened to be her first music video. Hanson remembers being very hesitant when the two video directors had the idea that she would dance in her own video, because at the time, she was really only used to dancing alone in her room. But, as soon as rehearsals started with the choreographer, she had a super fun time. She also thinks the location in the desert and mountains made the video “so sick” and it still makes her so proud to be a part of it. Although Hanson doesn’t have any other music videos on the horizon, she assured us that she and her team are definitely working on finishing new music. Her EP is set to debut in the fall, with a tracklist of five to six songs, despite the difficulty of deciding which songs to include since she has almost 100 songs already. She’s also gearing up to go on tour with Troye Sivan, who she’s developed a really special relationship with. Hanson originally met Troye and his boyfriend through shooting the artwork for her first two singles. She and Troye also happen to share the same manager, so touring together seemed like a natural next step. As she processes her excitement for The Bloom Tour, Hanson first has a chance to get her feet wet on tour with Jeremy Zucker, and she couldn’t be more excited to transition from performing at festivals to finally experiencing touring.
TAKING BACK SUNDAY MIRANDA NATHANSON - ATLANTA, GA - JULY 2018
PLAYLIST 1. Parliaments - Former Vandal 2. Thick and Thin - LANY 3. Postcard - Troye Sivan 4. Cold Showers - Chelsea Cutler 5. Sailboat - Skela 6. Song About You - Mike Posner 7. Phantom of the Dance Floor - Kiesza 8. Only One - Carlie Hanson 9. Think I’m Still In Love with You - Joyce Manor 10. 8 Letters - Why Don’t We 11. Run Away With Me - Peter Thomas, Leland 12. thinking 2 much - Jeremy Zucker 13. Siren - Kailee Morgue 14. Good Cry - Noah Cyrus 15. Pull Me Deep - Logan Henderson
HAILEE STEINFELD | PHOTO BY ADDIE WHELAN BTS 54