Category Archives: Editorial

“Hello, it’s me…”: A Q&A of Where The Hell I’ve Been

I know what you’re thinking:

“Woah! Liv, it’s been FOREVER!”

Yes, yes it has.

In fact, this hiatus has lasted so much longer than I anticipated. Now, I’m not expecting this return to be front page, top feature news, but I am back…kind of.

Before I deal with that, I’ll try to answer some of the questions I’ve received since my departure.

Q: Liv, where are you/where have you gone?

A: Anyone who follows me on my social media has probably noticed that my normal Florida background has been replaced with various countries across Europe, but mostly Scotland. That’s where I am; I live in Scotland now, working in television.

Some of you might know my struggles with US immigration, but some don’t. You can click that helpful link to read the full tale. The short of the story is that despite the fact that I grew up in the States, and didn’t know different, US Immigration is a flawed system (essentially, the more you cheat the system, the more it works for you – honesty didn’t get my family anywhere, which really sucks), and after years of trying to work through it all, I couldn’t get past the roadblock of being treated like garbage…So my mom and I sold our house, and I came back to the UK.

I lived in England for a couple of months, with a short stint travelling around Italy, France, and Spain (I highly recommend people travel around these three countries with thirty-some-odd strangers, because it is my most magical experience to date).

I then got a job at BBC Scotland, so I relocated. Since graduating my Apprenticeship, I’ve kept working in Scotland, moved in with my Scottish/non-kilt-wearing boyfriend, and bought a car…so I think I’m sticking around for a little while…?

Obviously, this crazy moving about, working like a mad woman, et cetera, hasn’t really left much time for the unpaid, full-time job that Planet Stereo truly became over the years.


Q: Why do you want to get paid for Planet Stereo? It takes no time!

A: Actually, Planet Stereo can take a ridiculous amount of time to run/create content for. It’s not just publishing articles or occasionally interviewing people; it’s chatting to PR companies, labels, managers, bands, listening to albums/singles, watching videos, researching artists, writing reviews, typing up interviews, editing interviews, attending live events, taking/editing/publishing pictures, filming/editing interviews, creating/editing podcasts, managing social media, responding to readers, trying to come up with cool new features, etc.

At its height, Planet Stereo was the accumulation of 60 hours a week worth of work on the regular, and on rare occasions, 80 hours! Factor this in with my human need to sleep, eat, exercise, and my freelance photography/training work, and it definitely took a toll. There are wrinkles on my forehead that no amount of moisturizer or anti-wrinkle cream can combat!

So yes, it would be nice to get paid to do some of this stuff. Wouldn’t you want to get paid for your full-time/part-time jobs?


Q: Why haven’t you updated in forever?

A: Again, lots of things going on: transatlantic move, starting a new career, starting over in a new country, and just working round the clock.


Q: Why do I see you posting things about Everest?

A: In May of 2018, I will be running the Tenzing-Hillary Mount Everest Marathon. Yes, a marathon on Mount Everest. If you want to know more, or wish to donate to the cause, please click HERE.


Q: So, like, what, do you hate music now?

A: Of course not! I love music! It’s still one of my greatest passions! Once you love music enough to dedicate a crazy amount of your short life to it, believe me, it doesn’t go away overnight! If anything, I’ve expanded my love of music to include even more artists/genres/etc.

REVIEW: The Adversary – ‘Chapter 3: Falling Is Flight’

the adversaryThroughout the five-track release, The Adversary channel 80’s style (see “Coming On”), utilizing modern technology. On tracks like, “Coming On,” the nostalgic vibes are strong, as well as fantastically catchy.

However, it’s “Aural Fixation,” with opening bass notes remind me of “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” and a very 80s sound, that is quite mesmerizing. It’s a very chilled track, which I can easily imagine in the opening credits of a film. Rhythmic, catchy, filled with plenty of other-worldly sounds to keep a listener entertained, especially once the haunting vocals eventually creep in, hypnotic in nature, and adding another layer to the song.

“Falling Is Flight” features systematic sounds, with a steady build. The husky tone of the vocals remind me of Muse’s Matthew Bellamy’s haunting drawl. The track acts as a beautiful reminder that holding on so tight to something is unhealthy, and sometimes, that plummeting fear of the fall is the only way to move on.

The last two tracks, “Can You Believe” and “When Doves Cry,” are very similar, to me. Both thrive on synth-driven, repetitive melodics and lyrics, which work in their favor. In all honesty, this collection of music is something you want to move to, not necessarily sit around listening to. So, listen to the music, get off your butt, and get dancing in your room, like humans were obviously built to do!

Chapter 3: Falling Is Flight is available NOW.

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Sending Off The Goblin King: a Tribute to David Bowie

David BowieThere are some people you think will just live forever.

They are the timeless, larger-than-life characters, who have enough personality for multiple lifetimes.

This morning, my mom was the one who broke the news to me. “David Bowie’s dead,” she told me, and I sat up in my bed.

“Bowie??” She nodded, and I froze, my groggy mind struggling to understand. “Bowie? The Goblin King?”

She nodded again. “He passed away yesterday. They announced it this morning.”

I just blinked at her. My mind wasn’t grasping the concept that this wonderful artist was gone. In fact, I actually blurted out, “But he can’t die. His album just came out.”

When I was running this morning, it hit me that I’ve never lived in a world without David Bowie being around as a living legend. In fact, I can never remember a time where I didn’t know who David Bowie was.

I remember being a little girl and seeing him on TV, and, even then, being completely fascinated by him.

He’s one of the primary reasons I’ve wanted to be a filmmaker since I was seven years old.

I had watched Labyrinth and its Behind-The-Scenes features (on the VHS, mind you, so it came on automatically every time) for the thousandth time, and I was enchanted.

I had recently seen the Lord Of The Rings Two Towers behind-the-scenes for the first time, and between that and Labyrinth, I was mystified by the wonders of putting a film together.

But it was Bowie that truly brought it all to life for me.

There was something about this multi-talented artist that just had me floored, and made me want to be given space to test my own creativity.

When I had the chance, I started actively searching for his music, just to listen to songs other than the anthemic hit singles that had dominated the radio (“Changes,” “Heroes,” “Pressure,” etc.) or the tracks from Labyrinth that I had already memorized.

I found “Rebel Rebel” and “Starman,” and “I’m Afraid of Americans” became an anthem of sorts for me in high school. His discography is so expansive, and truly an event to journey through.

To hear about David Bowie’s death hit me in a similar vein that hearing about Robin Williams’ death did: it’s unimaginable, shocking, and feels very much like an old friend has passed.

I think, much like with Robin Williams, Bowie was such an integrated part of our popular culture, and so embedded into our lives, that it feels as though we all knew him on a personal level.

These were some of the thoughts that rolled around in my head throughout the morning.

But the overarching theme is that there will be no one like Bowie to grace this earth ever again. There will be no one who will enchant us in the same way, with his stunningly bold characters, wonderful storytelling ability, and pure talent.

Farewell to the Goblin King. Rest in peace David Bowie.

david bowie rip

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GUEST BLOG: The Truth About Royalty Checks

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

Let’s get this out of the way. All information posed here is for educational purposes only. If royalties are in any way relevant to what you’re doing, you should already have an attorney (or a professional acting on your best interests)!

Getting paid for doing what you love – making music – that’s the dream of every starry-eyed kid with posters of their heroes plastered all over their bedroom walls. It seems an impossible feat, maybe now more-so than ever…
The music business used to be a veritable minefield of artist exploitation; hidden clauses, shady managers, unfair contracts, conflicts of interest, you name it. It’s no secret that the music industry has gone through massive changes in the past two decades, ever since Lars Ulrich decided to litigate against some dorm room wunderkinds who found a way to bring a worldwide multi-billion dollar industry to its knees.

The internet, for better or worse, has revolutionized how music is made, played, distributed, and sold. There is sage advice available via a few choice keywords that just years ago would have only been accessible through an intermediary (and definitely NOT for free) like a manager, attorney, or producer. Streaming services like Spotify, Pandora, and Youtube have made instant audio gratification attainable for new artists and legacy artists alike (with a few famous names turning themselves into martyrs…).

One of the biggest ways that the industry has shifted is how royalties are handled. It’s also a hot button issue with everyone up the music ladder, from record label heads to the artists themselves. Put simply, there are two main royalty streams for artists, performing (sometimes called publishing) and mechanical. Though times have changed, these two categories are still vital to your income as a musician. Let’s break it down!

Performance royalties means essentially being paid for any “live performance” of registered material. The term “live performance” can mean when the recording is played on terrestrial radio (that’s earth), satellite radio (that’s space), or streamed via internet radio (that’s Spotify, and Pandora, and…you get it). It also applies to music licensed for film and video games.

Mechanical royalties come from record sales, and are based on the number of recordings sold. The term originated from when copies of recordings had to be physically reproduced (vinyl, cassette, 8 track). Whoever owns the master recording (a record label, the artist) is technically to be paid for every reproduction. This includes digital copies sold and streams as well.

That bears repeating.

This includes digital copies sold and streams as well. This is where many take issue with streaming services, even those that are subscription-based. Another fun fact about mechanical royalties? Performing rights organizations (ASCAP, BMI) aren’t responsible for collecting mechanicals, only performance royalties. Some good news is that Under U.S. law, download retailers include the mechanical royalty as part of the net payment, though it’s a significantly lower rate than it would be for physical sales. This no doubt due to the fact that digital sales outnumber physical sales.

Next week we’ll dive more into royalties, and look at some digital distribution options.

thieves and loversAbout the Author: Brandon Stoner has been in and around the music business for over a decade. He is the owner of Audio Ecstasy Productions and LoudLife Media, as well as the lead vocalist and guitarist in the band Thieves & Lovers. He resides in sunny Los Angeles, Califonia with his dog Max.

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International Women’s Day

In 2015, we’re celebrating International Women’s Day with the theme/hashtag: #MAKEITHAPPEN.

All over the world, International Women’s Day representing an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women, all the while calling for greater equality. Make It Happen is the theme in the hopes of encouraging effective action for advancing and recognizing women.

Following its debut in 1911, International Women’s Day (IWD) has made March 8th a busy day, marking the economic, political, and social achievements of women, and also becoming a day of encouragement to women and girls of all ages.

Planet Stereo would like to continue to spread the message of equality and celebration. Being involved in the entertainment industry, in any form, is intimidating. But more and more, we see women taking on roles in the industry that seemed to once be exclusive to men: musicians, producers, light techs, roadies, guitar techs, tour managers, record executives, A&R, directors, writers, and more.

And it doesn’t stop there! More women are becoming doctors, scientists, politicians, detectives, police officers, athletes, and more!

So let’s keep it going, ladies (and gents! Gender equality is everybody’s concern.)!

In 2015, let’s #MakeItHappen, and reach for some extraordinary new feats. If there’s something you want, go for it, and let’s also make sure to share this message to all little girls: “Yes, you can be Dr. Princess Rockstar DuPree. Oh, yes, I’d love to discuss your new book at your tea party after the UN Conference! Want to play a game of basketball next Saturday?”



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It’s that time again: 15 tracks you HAVE to hear for February 2015…and the accompanying music videos you have to see. This month, we’ve got love, lust, hatred, and more; nothing the “month of Love” cannot handle, right?

Anyway, check out some of these amazing tracks below:


1. The Maine – “English Girls”

2. AURORA – “Runaway”

3. Microwave – “Stovall”

4. Fall Out Boy – “Irresistible”

5. Ashlinn Gray – “Battleships”

6. Austin Kolbe – “Lips”

7. Passion Pit – “Lifted Up (1985)”

8. Rory Indiana – “Empiricism”

9. Retox – “Let’s Not Keep In Touch”

10. Taylor Swift – “Style”

11. Echosmith – “Bright”

12. Falling In Reverse – “Just Like You”

13. The Veronicas – “Cruel”

14. Taking Back Sunday – “How I Met Your Mother”

15. Nate Ruess – “Nothing Without Love”

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15 Songs From January ’15 You HAVE To Hear

Can you believe the first month of 2015 is already over? Feels like it was only last week we were kissing Christmas goodbye and ringing in the New Year with our favorite Must Hear Artists.

Planet Stereo’s rounded up the top 15 of January 2015. You’ve gotta check these out:


1. All Time Low – “Something’s Gotta Give”

The band’s first single from their upcoming album, Future Hearts. It’s catchy, full of fun, and the video has a plot twist.

2. Sleeping With Sirens – “Go Go Go”

Electrifying, energetic track, with a funny as Hell video. Let this be a reminder to wave at the people who spin the signs or have to wear silly costumes on streets as advertising.

3. Alec Chambers – “Whole Again”

The 19-year-old’s single has been making waves all month with a ridiculously catchy chorus and pure pop style.

4. Enter Shikari – “Anaethetist”

Entrancing in sound, as well as visually. Stemming from the band’s album, Mindsweep, which came out earlier this month.

5. Kids – “Second Star On The Right”

Who doesn’t love a good Peter Pan reference? This track will certainly make you want to return to Neverland to become a Lost Boy.

6. Hannah Gill – “I Feel Awake”

Finding out that Hannah Gill is seventeen makes your jaw drop when you hear her soulful vocals.

7. Fall Out Boy – “The Kids Aren’t Alright”

My favorite track from their latest album, American Beauty / American Psycho. It’s got an incredibly sophisticated sound, while still maintaining the lovable pop-punk style of FOB.

8. As It Is – “Dial Tones”

The band’s label debut, and it sounds awesome. With pure emotion in every line, As It Is prove that they are definitely one to watch by showcasing their immense talent.

9. The Rocketboys – “Viva Voce”

The incredible single that you heard on the final season premiere of Glee. Yes, you read that right, on Glee.

10. Real Friends – “Summer”

For those of us who are so sick of the winter weather and want the blistering heat of the summer back, listen to this tune, and dream of sunnier days ahead.

11. Gerard Way – “Don’t Try”

Ah, the relief of hearing Gerard Way singing through your speakers once again. Is there no greater joy?

12. The Downtown Fiction – “Don’t Count Me Out”

Rhythmic, catchy new single from The Downtown Fiction’s album, Losers & Kings, which is out now. Bonus points for the intro begin filmed in Orlando!

13. Nathan Angelo – “Carolina Save Me”

Stemming from the singer-songwriter’s upcoming Carolina EP, there is a country twang to this single that will make you melt….and maybe miss summer even more.

14. Greg Holden – “Hold On Tight”

A beautiful new track from the singer/songwriter…But am I the only one to notice the play on words here? (Holden – Hold On)

15. Wild Party – “Outright”

If you’re looking for a new indie-rock tune to dance to for the rest of the year, this may have to be it.


Honorable Mentions:

Martin Callingham – “Knots”

Wildhart – “Stuck In a Second”

Kelly Clarkson – “Heartbeat Song”

Summer Scouts – “Facepaint”

Spencer Sutherland – “Nothing Can Hurt Me”

The Heydaze – “Don Juan”

The National Parks – “Helsinki”

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100 Artists You Must Hear In 2015

Another year, another group of incredible artists who have found their way onto our playlists. All throughout 2014, Planet Stereo has brought upcoming, new, and popular artists your way. Now, as we prepare to enter 2015, here is your roadmap to the artists that we expect big things from this year. Some familiar faces may grace this list, but also some new ones. Below, you can see Planet Stereo’s 100 Artists You Must Hear in 2015.




1. Lake Malawi – The UK-based band, led by a two-time MTV Award Winner and two-time Nominee, Albert Cerny, seems to be on the path to success, having already opened for the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, performing at the Great Escape Festival, and much more.            Facebook   Website

2. The Actions – London-based alt-rock duo have an undeniable raw energy, seamlessly blending alternative rock with psychedelic electronic sounds. Their high intensity will charge you and your playlist, setting you on the right track in the new year.          Facebook    Website

3. Seaway –   Canadian pop-punk band who cite their influence as a scene from the hit film American Pie. Need we say more?      Facebook

4. Close Talker – Canada’s Close Talker is one of the many rising stars from the indie rock explosion of last year, garnering attention left and right for their single, “For The Sun,” calling attention to their  upcoming LP, Flux.                 Facebook      Website

5. Thieves & Lovers –  A new alternative rock band that is already entrancing listeners, despite their very new beginnings. With two EPs under their belt, they’re ready to tackle 2015…and your playlist.                Facebook      Website



6. Young Statues – The indie-rock band from Philadelphia have a unique flare for penning introspective lyrics, and matching them to a melodic tune. With their new album, The Flatlands Are Your Friends, out now, the band is looking forward to a busy year of touring. Be sure to catch a show!   Facebook      Website

7. 7East – Pop duo comprised of Pia Toscano and Jared Lee. Together, the pair make wonderful music that will have you singing along with every word. The pop-duo’s first single dropped a few months back, but 2015 is full of promise for amazing new music.                 Facebook

8. GO WOLF – Belfast-based pop four-piece that create indie-pop with a flare reminiscent of the 80’s. If you love bands like Rooney, this is the group for you.  The earworms the band comes up with, much like their popular single, “Talk To You,” will have you singing along unknowingly and coming back for more.                  Facebook      Website

9. Nikos – Recommended for fans of feel-good pop-rock, with a style reminiscent of 30 Seconds To Mars meddled with the arena-quality of MUSE. The more you listen, the more you’ll find yourself dancing around to every note. NIKOS’s self-titled debut EP is out now.                 Facebook      Website

10. Summer Heart – The Swedish dream-pop act has a unique way of presenting indie-quality vocals with upbeat pop music. Reminiscent of HelloGoodbye, Summer Heart’s melodic, upbeat music is more entrancing with every listen.     Facebook



11. Wise Girl –  The NYC-based pop trio released their sophomore acoustic EP, Sing Me To Sleep, earlier in 2014, later releasing their single, “Don’t Go,” to positive reviews. With an attention grabbing power-pop attitude, further emphasized by the stellar vocals and the energetic structure of the songs, Wise Girl is impossible to ignore. They’re poised for excellence in 2015. Be sure to get on board NOW.                 Facebook      Website

12. Jocelyn Arndt – Effortlessly blending indie-rock with soul and blues through skillful songwriting that evokes emotion, Jocelyn seems to have cracked the code to connect with listeners. Co-writing with her brother Chris, the pair are a brilliant team that bring about amazing sounds that are sure to dominate in 2015.                  Facebook      Website

13. Seiichi Daimo – A musical prodigy now working on a solo career, Daimo is awe-inspiring. His debut EP, In The Inbetween showcases a modern approach to a classic sound that will leave you breathless.         Facebook      Website

14. Sinclair – With just her debut EP, Sweet Talk, Sinclair has proven herself to be phenomenally talented. As previously said, the debut was not an introduction, it was an “explosion.” It is inevitable that Sinclair will shoot to stardom, and Planet Stereo thinks 2015 is the year.                  Facebook      Website

15. Redlands –  The Colorado-based alternative rock/indie band has only been around since the summer of 2013, but already making headway in an ever-growing scene. After recording their debut EP, The Lonewolf, with renowned producer Matt Grabe, and playing Warped Tour, Redlands has gone back into the studio with members of This Century. Lots of exciting things are coming for Redlands, and we can’t wait to hear them!                  Facebook      Website



16. Veronika Jokel – The NYC-based indie pop/blues act shocked listeners in 2014 with her soulful vocals and catchy music. With a rich, smoky sound, Jokel is reminiscent of the greats, providing an original, strong voice to her generation.                  Facebook

17. Jesse Davidson – The Adelaide-based musician with a lot to say. With tracks like “Big Bois Gotta Eat” and “Ocean,” Davidson has spectacular vocals that help shape the character behind each track, perfectly blending with the carefree instrumentals. Put him on your playlist for your next beach visit!                  Facebook

18. Heidi Merrill – A shockingly talented pop artist. With catchy tracks and stunning vocals, Heidi Merrill is one to watch this year! Seemingly coming out of nowhere, Merrill is poised for stardom in 2015, and Planet Stereo just has one thing to say: “Called it!”                Facebook      Website

19. The Cinema –  The indie-pop side project of an amazingly talented duo, comprised of Matt Malpass and Lydia’s Leighton Antelman, who, despite being on opposite sides of the country, make fantastic music together. Their sophomore album, Talking In Your Sleep, is out NOW.                 Facebook      Website

20. The National Parks – Indie/folk band that makes the simplest of tunes sound magnificent. The more you listen, the more you’ll love them. With each track and well-made video, The National Parks offer an original sound, and beautiful melodies.               Facebook      Website



21. Light You Up – The alternative rock band from Birmingham has been generating some major attention as of late. Their debut album, All We’ve Ever Known, comes out on January 26th, and it’s already got critics throwing praise left and right. With features in Kerrang! and more, Light You Up are on their way to a successful 2015.                  Facebook      Website

22. Contra – The bright, electrifying bass-pop band Contra have already been playing off our love of nostalgia, and 2015 will be no different. After recently releasing their latest single, “1992,” from the forthcoming album The 90’s Are All That, the band will be releasing their later singles, “1996” and “1998” by spring of 2015. Get ready to want to binge watch classic 90’s Nickelodeon shows!                  Facebook      Website

23. Kelsea Ballerini – The sweet country pop artist may be young, but with smooth vocals, Kelsey Ballerini is an up and coming star. With her single, “Love Me Like You Mean It,” from her debut EP is catchy as hell, and a wonderful introduction to your new favorite artist.     Facebook      Website

24. PVRIS – You’ve probably heard their name get passed around a few times, but the Massachusetts -based trio is one group we can’t wait to see more of in 2015. With their debut album, White Noise, out via Rise/Velocity Records, the band has left listeners desperate for more…and hopefully, more is what we’ll get!                Facebook      Website

25. Commonweather – Another addition to the amazing music scene of Chicago. The alternative rock band produce their sound with a confidence and sophistication that is stunning for a band who only formed in 2014. With quality work and talented members, big things are coming from this band.                  Facebook      Website



26. Hannah Schneider – The alternative/electronica/folk-pop songstress from Copenhagen had listeners buzzing in 2014, and there’s no doubt the buzz will continue. With her latest album, Me vs. I, Schneider boldly showcases her storytelling and vocal abilities, wowing anyone who hears the album.                  Facebook      Website

27. Lime Cordiale – We’re still buzzing about this band from Sydney, and you should be to! With a catchy jazz-rock-‘n’-roll sound, you’ll be singing and dancing to their EP, Falling Up The Stairs, for weeks at a time.               Facebook      Website

28. BoyMeetsWorld – If you love pop-punk at all, you will love these guys. The Cincinnati-based five-piece are recording their debut full length, and after listening to their EPs, you’ll be just as pumped for it as we are!                   Facebook      Website

29. Frank Hamilton – The London-based singer who wowed everyone with his #OneSongAWeek challenge. You’re definitely going to want to give him another listen!                  Facebook      Website

30. Alex & Sierra – Yes, you’ve probably heard their names thrown around a few times, but this amazing duo from Florida is going on tour with Andy Grammer and you’ll definitely want to know their names before the tour kicks off!                  Facebook      Website



31. Geppetto & The Whales – With their debut full-length dropped in early 2014, showcasing the Belgian indie band’s musical sophistication and their youthful style. Each note carries a pure, confidant sound that may act as a breakout for the band.          Facebook      Website

32. Ruby My Dear – The alternative five-piece with members from Australia, New Jersey, LA, Vegas, and Seattle is one of the most talented unsigned bands that have graced Planet Stereo in the last year. The band’s jazzy roots, upbeat-po attitude, and stunning melodies make them one to watch.         Facebook      Website

33. Plaid Brixx – On their EP, Chemistry, Plaid Brixx demonstrated a consistency and 80’s-esque quality to their music, surprising critics and listeners alike with their sophisticated new wave/rock fusion. 2015 holds the recording of a new album and a lot of touring. We recommend you jump on board with this NOW.                  Facebook      Website

34. Rob Lynch – The Warped Tour alum from the UK is amazing everyone with both his music and his incredible sense of humor. His debut album, All These Nights In Bars Will Somehow Save My Soul, is out now, as well as his hilarious #StandingInTheWayOfLove calendar. Pick up a copy of both today!                  Facebook      Website

35. Sigrid Zeiner – Effortlessly fusing electronic-pop and folk together, the Norwegian singer-songwriter pushes boundaries, utilizing her background as a classical singer, her ongoing degree in pop music, and sleepless nights of self-taught production skills. In September of 2014, she released her EP, Uncomfortable, hooking in listeners to her dramatic, quirky sound.   Facebook      Website



36. The Millenium – A non-traditional blend of indie, acoustic, electronic-pop sounds to create a genuine, original, and melodic work of art. Between their ability to tap into the raw emotions behind love, loss, and life itself, and their dedication, this unsigned band is forging a name for themselves without sticking to the mold.         Facebook      Website

37. Revisionist – Toronto’s own acoustic punk group who tackle songwriting in a refreshingly poetic and honest way; no pretenses required. There is a gut, unpolished sound that makes their style stand out, bringing the stories presented with a very human power to them.  Facebook

38. Aaron Parker – The country singer who deserves every bit of praise he receives. After a successful tour opening for Cassadee Pope (NBC’s The Voice winner and ex-Hey Monday front woman), Aaron Parker has electrified fans across the country. With an entrancing sound, sincere attitude, and undeniable work-ethic, Planet Stereo declares 2015 the Year of Aaron Parker.           Facebook      Website

39. Michael Malarkey – The talented actor/musician is known for playing Enzo on The Vampire Diaries, but has also showcased a talent for Bob Dylan-like storytelling. After playing various punk and hardcore bands in his youth, Malarkey has developed his storytelling abilities and his alternative folk rock style.        Facebook

40. The Way Away – Garnering fans with catchy vocals, high-paced tempos, and a traditionally pop-punk style, the Minnesota band has steadily been building a name for themselves, spending the majority of 2014 working on their sophomore EP, Carry On, and their first music video. With their determination and evident passion, big things are on their way for The Way Away.   Facebook



41. Taylor Barrett – A fresh face in music, singer-songwriter Taylor Barrett has been compared to the likes of John Mayer and Jason Mraz. At just 22 years old, the Virginia Native will release his debut album, Great Falls, on March 10th, and from there, who knows where this incredibly talented artist will end up?               Website

42. Foxing – If you’re looking for a unique band to amp your playlist up in 2015, Foxing may be it for you. With singles like, “Rory,” from their album Albatross, the Saint Louis band will fascinate you…and maybe bring out your love of Gilmore Girls.                  Facebook

43. East of Eli – As a talented actor/musician, Nathan Wrest has highlighted his strengths, captivating audiences in major films to independent projects, and now, as a singer-songwriter. With a classic rock and roll storytelling style, East of Eli’s Nothing Ordinary showcases the artist’s growth.                  Facebook      Website

44. The Weekend Riot – The Philadelphia duo believes it was fate that brought them together…as well as their incredible determination to persevere. Thankfully, Ace Enders recognized their charismatic energy and talent, co-penning their first track. Their debut single, “25 Minutes,” is out now, and if you’ve ever wanted to travel, you should probably hear it.          Facebook

45. Nick Santino – The former A Rocket To The Moon frontman has forged a trail many solo artists can only dream of. With a unique, dynamic sound, the singer-songwriter delivers a cinematic sound with releases like Savannah, his latest EP.                  Facebook



46. Stellar Young – Fusing multiple genres together, Stellar Young creates a signature, melodic sound that draws from folk, rock, jazz, hip-hop, and more. Having shared the stage with acts like We The Kings, Civil Twilight, and more, Stellar Young is poised for mainstream success. Their new album, Vessels, was just released (December of 2014), and is sure to be a breakout for the group.                  Facebook

47. Anais Aida – The progressive R&B songstress from France has a soulful, yet powerful beauty behind her music, exploring love and loss through self-reflection. With the pairing of rich vocals paired and dramatic instrumentation, Aida is enchanting.                 Facebook

48. The Attic Ends – The Brooklyn-based four piece indie-rock/dream-pop group that draw from the classic rock of the 60’s and the mainstream 90’s. With lush melodies, powerful vocals, and a fearless approach, The Attic Ends are captivating.                  Facebook      Website

49. Travis Hayes – Honesty goes a long way in songwriting, and so far, Travis Hayes’s honest musical sensibilities have charmed listeners. With a brilliant lyrical perspective, Hayes documents heartbreak, growing up, and every milestone in between with all the charm and charisma of a James Joyce character.                  Facebook      Website

50. Shawn Mendes – The up and coming singer songwriter will be touring all throughout 2015, having generated buzz left and right in 2014. With spectacular tracks like “Life of The Party,” the young artist shows a lot of promise.                Facebook      Website



51. Elena Ovalle – The Bay Area singer-songwriter delivers her soulful pop tunes, pulling from her personal experiences. Throughout high school and college, Ovalle has performed in choirs and talent shows, although, nowadays, her audiences are a little bit bigger… Her new single, “Shoot Me Down,” was released on December 9th, and it won’t be long before she’s blowing up the mainstream with her refreshing style.                 Facebook

52. My Drunken Haze – The psychedelic pop five-piece from Athens, influenced by the 60’s cinematic sounds. Following the release of their self-titled debut via Inner Ear Records, the band has released their first music video, “Carol Wait,” which premiered on Exclaim!     Facebook

53. Taylor Locke – Ex-Rooney guitarist debut single and video generated enough buzz about his forthcoming album, Time Stands Still, which is expected in the new year. As his first solo album, Locke has assured listeners it’s a far cry from the typical singer/songwriter affair.       Facebook      Website

54. With Beating Hearts – The side project of The Material front woman, Colleen D’Agostino. Venturing into the electro genre, Colleen released her EP, The Wolves, at the beginning of 2014, revealing a new layer to her musical personality.         Facebook      Website

55. Alexa Ferr –  At just 19 years old, the Canadian R&B/pop artist has been dubbed the “Rugged Popstar.” A triple threat, Ferr was an extra on the Jonas Brothers and Demi Lovato Disney film, Camp Rock 2. Her EP, No Good, was released in 2014, and even more incredible things are in the works for the young artist; expect new music, videos, and much more!         Facebook      Website



56. Twin Forks –  The Americana folk rock band needs no introduction. Founded by Dashboard Confessional’s Chris Carrabba, the Nashville based seven-piece band released their debut full-length album in February of 2014, and since then, seem to be growing rapidly. 2015 will hopefully bring more for this amazing group.                  Facebook      Website

57. Jennie Abrahamson – A pop artist who takes a unique approach to the creation of her sound. Her fourth album, Gemini Gemini, was written in the spring, recorded in the summer, and completed in the winter, expecting a spring 2015 release. With wonderfully noisy rhythms and melodic undertones, Abrahamsson will be releasing her new single, “The War,” on January 19th.                 Facebook      Website

58. Little Envy –  The San Francisco based duo, comprised of Joseph De Los Reves and Koosh Sazena, proved they were one to watch with their latest release, Little Envy, released in early December. With the lead single, “Boy,” the band has been featured in Alternative Press, on Absolute Punk, and more.            Facebook      Website

59. Wyland – Ah, smoothie music; a perfect blend of rich, emotive content, and excitable pop music. Who can beat soaring vocals, songs that perfectly capture the struggles of growing up, and ambient beats? No one, really.                   Facebook      Website

60. Billy The Kid –  The Canadian folk singer garnered popularity with her edgy, honey-sweet music, enchanting audiences on the Vans’ Warped Tour in 2013. She stands apart with her impressive guitar skills and “can-do”/DIY attitude. She recently worked on an album with Frank Turner, which is available for pre-order NOW.                 Facebook      Website



61. Eric Dash – Singer/songwriter Eric Dash has quickly become a Youtube/Vevo sensation with his first single, “One More Love Song.” Dash’s smooth vocals convey an authenticity that, alongside beautiful lyrics and catchy melodies, will launch this pop artist to the next level.   Facebook      Website

62. Vinnie Hines –  Working hard to pay his dues in the music world, the singer/songwriter from Illinois is a full-time soloist for Carnival Cruise Lines, but so much more than that. The talented artist released two of his singles, “My Kind of Crazy” and “The Riddle” in early 2014. The simplicity in his music is probably what makes it so stunning, as well as the plethora of influences that have collided to give him an original sound.                 Facebook      Website

63. Shayna Steele – Jazz/R&B vocalist Shayna Steele showcases how incredible she is not just with her powerful vocals, but her years of experience, including many years working with a plethora of artists like Bette Midler, Rihanna, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and more. Her sophomore full-length, Rise, is set to release later this month and we cannot wait!      Facebook      Website

64. Throw The Fight – With a DIY, classic approach to rock and roll, Throw The Fight produce music with a pulse. There is a pure energy in each track, and it’s pulling attention from all angles, as the band tours with the likes of Avenged Sevenfold, Papa Roach, Sevendust, and more.                  Facebook      Website

65. Get Involved! – Featuring members of Thursday, Glassjaw, and From Autumn To Ashes, the pedigree post-hardcore band aids in the craft of strikingly original music. Their highly anticipated EP, Silk Cuts, produced by Ross Robinson, debuted to rave reviews, and hopefully acts as a preview for a busy and impressive year for the band.                  Facebook      Website



66. Emergency Tiara – The New York City-based pop artist and fashion blogger is smart, stylish, and determined to craft upbeat, catchy music to entertain the masses…and running a stellar fashion/lifestyle blog, of course. Her debut EP, Until The Stroke Of Midnight, was released in 2014, featuring the single, “Around.”                  Facebook      Website

67. Rayvon Owen – The Buzzed featured R&B/pop artist started off singing in choirs and touring with gospel artists, and it seems all that practice paid off! His dedication to his craft and his genuine personality extend into ever aspect of his work, spurring an undeniable future filled with success.      Facebook      Website

68. The Plastics – The indie rock band from Cape Town has been stunning critics and listeners alike since the 2010 release of their debut album, Shark, which was produced by Gordon Raphael, the award-winning producer best known for his work with The Strokes. Their sophomore album, Pyramid, dropped in 2014, featuring a new material, a new guitarist, and the band’s first set of UK tour dates.                Facebook      Website

69. Eric Zayne – Soul-infused pop-rock music that is reminiscent of pop music from the late 80’s, early 90’s. With a sophisticated quality to his songwriting and performing skills, Eric Zayne is an artis on the rise, with his 2014 EP, AutobiograMe featuring performances from Amber Riley, Matisyahu, Rozzi Crane, and King Blaise.          Facebook

70. NÖME –  With beat-orientated, synth-driven tunes, the UK-based quartet has captured the attention of digital media outlets across the world. The powerhouse group has the makings of a larger-than-life band, with songs that capture love, loss, and the perpetual struggle of a youth missing out on childhood.          Facebook      Website



71. Justin Stein –  Generating buzz from critics, the pop/R&B singer with a classic style is mesmerizing. With a 60’s flare, Justin Stein provides the perfect “rock out with a hairbrush” music. He also showcased his talents during his Tribute Tuesdays Youtube series, which is worth giving a listen. If you love Maroon 5, Justin Timberlake, and the like, you will fall in love with Justin Stein.                 Facebook      Website

72. Myke Terry –   The ex-Bury Your Dead frontman returned to his roots of funk and soul, with his solo EP, Red Handed. The EP captured his soulful vocals, and the depth of his storytelling abilities with honest tracks with a realism provided by a lifetime of experience.       Facebook

73. Misterwives – The NYC band that blew up 2014 with hit singles like “Reflections” and “Vagabonds.” With infectious tunes, MisterWives seemed to come completely out of nowhere, suddenly bursting onto the scene and landing a spot on a nationwide tour with Bleachers and Twenty One Pilots.                  Facebook      Website

74. Brian Marquis – Former guitarist for Therefore I Am who debuted as a solo artist on Equal Vision Records. The Americana/folk artist showcases his musical prowess with his album, Blood & Spirits, launching his success and notoriety for introspective lyrics, dynamic tracks filled with brilliant melodies, and crowd-interaction.                  Facebook      Website

75. Driver Friendly – Their name isn’t a lie; their music really is driver friendly. Starting off as a high school garage band, Driver Friendly quickly found themselves with a developing, loyal fancies, sparking the determination of the group even more. With melodic, electrifying songs, this band is on their way to something incredible; here’s hoping 2015 is the year!       Facebook      Website



76. From Indian Lakes – American indie rock band From Indian Lakes stunned listeners with their independently released sophomore album, Able Bodies, mesmerizing fans with their ability to create a seamless fusion of genres. The band’s their album, Absent Sounds, was released on October 7th of 2014, and the band will continue to tour in support in 2015.                  Facebook      Website

77. Wild Party – The Texas based pop four-pieceare filled with a vivacious, undeniable energy that puts them on the map for ‘must hear/see’ acts of 2015. Following a successful run touring with Andrew McMahon and Hellogoodbye in support of their debut album, Phantom Pop, Wild Party have generated an ever-growing fan base and a reputation for putting on an amazing live show.       Facebook      Website

78. Sleepwave – The brainchild of former Underoath singer, Spencer Chamberlain, Sleepwave is a rock band based in St. Petersburg, Florida. In the short time they’ve been a band (2013), the duo announced their debut album, Broken Compass, which was released in 2014 via Epitaph Records. The band will be touring in support of the critically acclaimed album throughout 2015, which is sure to sell tickets quick, considering how brilliantly they did touring with Tonight Alive in support of Taking Back Sunday and The Used.                   Facebook      Website

79. Taylor & The Wild Now – With an articulate, soulfully-driven sound, Taylor & The Wild Now, comprised of Taylor Baker and Drew Walker, have a truly inspired quality to their music. Like the perfect cup of coffee, it’s blended just right, mixing indie, soul, and folk, with rich, melodic undertones, and clever lyrics.         Facebook      Website

80. The Starless –  Electronic rock is steadily growing, etching out its place. As the genre works on doing that, artists like The Starless are working just as hard to stake their claim on a place in the music industry, with passionate, experimental tunes that convey the adventurous, bright spirit behind the band itself.                 Facebook



81. Friends w/0 Benefits – Meet the band who are unafraid of laughing at their own expense. The San Francisco-based band are pursuing the goal of opening the world’s eyes to “the current state of boredom and misinformation caused by technolgy” through their punk-disco sound.              Facebook      Website

82. John & Brittany – The rock and roll duo of John & Brittany have ignited the scene in 2014 with their new EP, Stories To Be Told.  With powerful lyrics and dynamic songwriting, the duo are on their way to becoming a smash hit.                Facebook      Website

83. Smashing Satellites – The more you listen, the more you realize this is what the musical lovechild of Prince and Neon Trees would sound like…and it’s awesome! If you’re looking for an interesting pop artist to start the new year off right with an electrifying playlist, look no further!           Facebook      Website

84. Gerard Way – The former MCR frontman went solo and stunned the world with his psychedelic tunes and his solo debut, Hesitant Alien. If you were a fan of My Chemical Romance, this is…entirely different, but a necessary listen.              Facebook      Website

85. 3PM – After forming in the summer of 2012, the Baltimore band took their love for pop-punk bands like blink182, Green Day, New Found Glory, and Yellowcard, creating their own version of the sound. Their sophomore album (produced by Paul Leavitt) came out last summer, and they show no signs of slowing down anytime soon!              Facebook      Website



86. Tamar Haviv – The unique stylings of this singer-songwriter have left artists like Paul McCartney and Amy Ray, and critics alike in a sense of awe at her limitless talent. With the summer release of her debut album, You and Me In Pajamas, Tamar Haviv continues to charm listeners.           Facebook      Website

87. KIVEN – The modern rock band from LA released their debut self-titled album back in February, with the single, “In The Fire,” which went Number 1 on KROQ Locals Only and more. Along with wowing crowds with amazing performances, KIVEN has a skill for fusing together melodic alternative rock/jazz styles with prog-metal.                  Facebook      Website

88. Mark Weber – After playing in alternative and pop-pink bands all across the Chicago suburbs, this solo artist has been doing it all, releasing Crashing: In Color, on July 15th of 2014. With just one listen, Weber will captivate your attention with his endless talent.            Facebook

89. Lakes – The California rock band will have you stomping your feet and enjoying each note of their crisp, raw sound. Not only did they release a Christmas EP, but they also tend to tour a lot. Check out their socials to see when they perform in your town!                  Facebook      Website

90. NoNoNo – Swedish trio NONONO have a remarkable sensibility about them. With their self-described “beat-oriented” debut, We Are Only What We Feel, NONONO is a powerhouse of talent; a fact made evident with each listen.                  Facebook      Website



91. Wasi – Energetic is the best way to describe Wasi’s sound. A tie between dance-pop and punk music, they’re the Energizer Bunnies of music, guaranteed to electrify crowds. The trio have been working hard, and 2015 has some exciting things in store for the group.       Facebook      Website

92. Homemade Crazy – After the release of their album, Synergy, Homemade Crazy had a very busy 2014. With such a dynamic sound, Planet Stereo expects nothing but greatness from the Nebraska four-piece. Keep your ears out!                  Facebook      Website

93. Weatherbox –  The alternative indie-rock group from San Diego are all that and a bag ‘o chips. Having toured with the likes of Say Anything, Cartel, and more, the band has already etched out quite a name for themselves. Their EP, Flies In All Directions, is out NOW.              Facebook      Website

94. David Rosales – After dropping his sophomore solo EP, Along The Way, back in June of 2014 to critical acclaim. Consisting of an Americana style and an affinity for writing profound lyrics, we’re looking forward to an exciting year for Rosales.                  Facebook      Website

95. Arc & Stones – Taking it back to a classic sound, the Nashville band released their sophomore EP, As You Were, in 2014. With soulful vocals and a bluesy musicality, Arc & Stones are a great reminder of what it really means to be rock ‘n’ roll.                  Facebook      Website



96. Royal Tailor – Their Essential Records debut, Black & White, was GRAMMY-nominated, and Royal Tailor just continues to get better. The band combines multiple genres to create a sound all their own that will appeal to many different listeners.                 Facebook      Website

97. Lost In Los Angeles – The alternative-pop group from, where else, Los Angeles fuse brilliant, swelling melodies with cinematic flare that will leave you both breathless and entranced. With each track, LiLA showcases incredible talent, originality, and an irresistible musicality.      Facebook      Website

98. Alexz Johnson – The incredibly talented singer-songwriter/actress is still wowing fans with her music. Each release adds a new layer to this brilliant artist. Her latest album, Let ‘Em Eat Cake, is out now, and she’ll be on tour in 2015!              Facebook      Website

99. Typefighter – The self-described “garage pop” group from D.C. released their first full-length, The End of Everything, in 2014, garnering praise from critics left and right. With a larger-than-life sound, we predict that 2015 holds big things for the group this year.                  Facebook      Website

100. Eilidh McKellar – The indie-rock/blues songstress from Scotland will knock your socks off. With her old-school style and progressive attitude, McKellar brings soul with her spectacular vocals and a knack for making her guitar sing.                 Facebook      Website




So there you have it! Be sure to go and check out these awesome artists, and keep your eyes peeled for their music throughout the new year. Planet Stereo will still be on the look-out for new/up and coming artists in 2015, so if you know someone whose music we have to hear, be sure to send them our way!


Happy New Year…

2015 fireworks

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Top 15 EPs of 2014

2014 had a lot of great albums, but what about all those EPs? People tend to let smaller releases slip by unnoticed, but at Planet Stereo, the phrase, “nice things come in small packages,” is muttered throughout the year. (…that may be partly because I’m only 5’2″, but hey! It’s a valid argument!) Here are the Top 15 EPs of 2014. Here’s hoping 2015 brings some good ones too!


1. Savannah by Nick Santino – released December 19th, 2014.

Nick Santino

A quality EP that displays both artistry and originality throughout. There is pure character in each track, which gives Savannah  a cinematic quality/value. The stripped down sound provides a quiet, almost hushed tone that carries a lofty emotional weight.

2. Waiting For a Sequel by Beat The Heart – released on May 6th, 2014.


The epitome of indie/rock. There is an almost tangent energy to the EP, fusing together a cinematic, melodic style with the ballad worthy attitude of the 80s.

3. Strangers In Fairyland by Jocelyn Arndt – released October 27th, 2014.

Jocelyn Arndt

Jocelyn Arndt perfectly delivers wit and attitude, wrapped up in raw power. It’s a debut EP that showcases the pure talent of Arndt and an effortless mystery behind it all.

4. Sweet Talk by Sinclair – released on November 4th, 2014.


From the opening notes of Sweet Talk, it is obvious there is something very special about Sinclair. I had said in my review that I believed there was a star in the making; that this wasn’t a debut, “this is an explosion,” and I stand by that.

5. It’s So Much Friendlier With Two by The Millenium – released on February 23rd, 2014.


“[A] memorable EP. The effort and talent put into just five tracks shines through in every line, but, in a surprising twist, it doesn’t sound forced. This EP flows organically and sounds like the product of a group of very creative people collaborating. One listen, and The Millenium are difficult to forget, not that you’d want to. If this EP is anything to go by, we should all be expecting big things from this group in 2015. ”

6. Nonvesations by Summon The Octopi – released on November 17th, 2014.

Summon The Octopi

“Summon The Octopi have figured out how to do something many modern artists would deem impossible: they have managed to speak to listeners without having the need of a voice on every song. There is a true originality to every track, speaking for Nonversations, marking it as more than a debut EP, but more as a launch station for a talented group of musicians. ”

7. As You Were by Arc & Stones – released on June 10th, 2014.


“The more I listen to As You Were, the more I want to see a tour with Arc & Stones and Thirty Seconds To Mars headlining the bill. The EP is an instant classic, and, considering this is the first time I’ve ever listened to Arc & Stones, a perfect introduction. As far as first impressions go, the band has left a fine one on me, and I look forward to hearing what they come up with next.”

8. Commonweather by Commonweather – released on November 25th, 2014.


“Chicago is known for being home to some of the best artists, especially in the alternative rock arena, but even hailing from such a city, it is a rarity to hear a band that sounds so developed, and so confident in their sound on an EP. Just listening to Commonweather’s EP, it is obvious that we will see big things from them soon, because they already have enough quality in their work to compete with some of their more experienced counterparts. I, for one, cannot wait to see the results.”

9. Nikos by Nikos – released on October 21st, 2014.


As an introduction to the band, it is a wonderful preview at where they are headed, and how certain they are in their sound already. Their self-titled EP is delightfully melodic, energetic, and hauntingly brilliant.

10. All In My Head by Seaway – released on November 4th, 2014.


“As a debut, All In My Head is pretty much close to perfection, showcasing what Seaway is capable of musically, lyrically, and even style-wise. It is refreshing to hear a group who so obviously knows the direction they plan to take with their career, without imitating their icons.”

11. Thieves & Lovers by Thieves & Lovers – released on September 23rd, 2014

Thieves and Lovers album artwork

“Thieves & Lovers are fiercely talented, seemingly avoiding the over-produced quality that so many artists seem to be floating towards these days. With their self-titled EP, the band definitely stands out, and leaves listeners waiting for a full-length album.”

12. I Woke Up by Nominee – released on October 14th, 2014.


Nominee’s sophomore release is wonderfully original; a well-made addition to the band’s discography. The EP had an irresistible style, with a dynamic and infectious attitude that further emphasizes the overall quality.

13. Balloons by Ruby My Dear – released on October 14th, 2014.


There is a soulful beauty to this EP, and every track had something to offer. The music and lyrics of Balloons work together, fitting like pieces of a puzzle; there is not the typical competition of which will win the heart of the listener.

14. At Night by Choir Vandals – released on October 27th, 2014.

Choir Vandals EP

Between the mixture of emotional intensities, explosions of raw power, and a brooding undertone, Choir Vandals are the musical Heathcliffs of the scene…if, you know, stages could stand in the moors. The intricacy of their sophomore EP makes them one to watch.

15. HEART by Alexz Johnson – released on February 18th, 2014.


“One thing I really enjoy about HEART is the raw, melodic tone each track has. Unwaveringly honest and powerful, this EP encourages listeners to not only sing along, but to feel what is being sang about. Alexz Johnson is an artist who has a very recognizable voice, and her songwriting rivals some of the greats. HEART is more than an EP; it is a statement. It might say different things to different people, but one thing is undeniable: whatever it’s saying is coming through loud and clear.”



The Acoustic EP by Jake Furia

Move Now by Marshall Crenshaw

Lucy Scholl by Lucy Scholl

Chemistry by Plaid Brixx 

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Top 15 Albums of 2014 (Liv’s List)

This year has been a whirlwind for music releases; week after week, new albums have appeared left and right. Some have been amazing, and some…well, some could have been better (but we won’t name names). Anyway, here are my picks for TOP 14 Best albums of 2014 (in no particular order).


15. Lowborn by Anberlin, released on July 22nd, 2014, via Tooth & Nail Records.


What a fantastic final album; it’s bittersweet, but such a work of art. It’s emotionally charged, with stunningly well-written lyrics, not that I’d ever expect anything less from Anberlin.

14. Cavalier Youth by You Me At Six, released on January 26th, 2014, via Virgin Records.

you me at six

The band’s fourth studio album is every bit of fresh, original, and entrancing as their first. You Me At Six seem to get more personal on the album, and approach a more pop-rock sound than on their previous releases.

13. Restoring Force by Of Mice & Men, released on January 28th, 2014, via Rise Records.

restoring force of mice and men

You know an album is good when a band goes the extra mile and records an acoustic version of it in its entirety. There is a raw power throughout Restoring Force, and the brilliance behind it is impossible to ignore. The departure from the modern standard brings ripples to the scene overall, but also showcases the growth and artistic development of each member in Of Mice & Men.

12. Head Or Heart by Christina Perri, released on April 1st, 2014, via Atlantic Records.


Personally, I adore this album. Not as much as her Ocean Way Sessions album, but it’s definitely up there as far as favorites go. There is so much vulnerability, personality, and vocal power on this album, it demands to be replayed.

11. Vessels by Stellar Young, released on December 16th, 2014.


 vessels sy

As said in my review, “Vessels has a sound that I could only imagine the musical lovechild between Anberlin and fun. would. Stellar Young prove to be a wildly talented group, not that there was ever any doubt about that. The album is beautifully executed, with a powerhouse presence and an undoubtable quality to it. ”

10. In The Lonely Hour by Sam Smith, released on May 26th, 2014, via Capitol Records.


There is so much beauty and power displayed on this album. Every song is enchanting in its own right, launching Sam Smith into the limelight as the true star he is. Finally, the soul has been brought back to pop music!

9. 1989 by Taylor Swift, released on , 2014 via Big Machine Records.


As someone who has followed Taylor Swift’s career from the beginning, it amazes me to see the personal growth of the songstress, typically known for tearing down her exes and writing every girl’s breakup anthem. On 1989, Swift shows a more mature, poetic approach, with an original artistic flare. There’s something on this album for everyone, including some of the catchiest lines…and the best misheard lyric of 2014. “Gotta love those Starbucks lovers…”

8. Bloom & Breathe by Gates, released on October 21st, 2014, via Pure Noise Records.


Wow. A debut album that has a cinematic, sophisticated sound to it, and is genuinely a work of art. Throughout the album, the band’s dedication to their craft, and their limitless talent, is obvious. I’m expecting a lot from these guys!

7. Imaginary Enemy by The Used, released on April 1st, 2014, via Hopeless Records.


If you didn’t rock out to “Cry” at some point this year (especially you Octane Radio listeners/gym rats!), you’re lying to yourself. That single set the spark for this album, and once I listened, I couldn’t get enough. I daresay I’ve played this album more than I should have, but it was worth it.

6. May Death Never Stop You by My Chemical Romance, released on March 25th, 2014 on Reprise Records.


Another bittersweet listen in 2014; it was brilliant in its musicality and as an overall summary of an amazing band’s career, but so hard to listen to knowing it was the last MCR release. As far as “greatest hits” albums go, I’m voting this as one of the best. “Fake Your Death” is such an anthemic, brilliant new track, and I love delving into my nostalgic side through the older tracks.

5. Forever Halloween (Deluxe Edition) by The Maine, released on June 17th, 2014, via Universal.


Forever Halloween was amazing; the deluxe edition? INCREDIBLE. As I said in my review for Infectious Magazine, “While Forever Halloween was near-perfect as it was, it is difficult to imagine the album without these extra songs now that they’ve been heard. The Maine continue to show growth and excellence as the years wear on.”

4. Duality by Set It Off, released on October 14th, 2014, via Equal Vision Records.


Brilliant, catchy tracks, all decorated with the originality of Set It Off. This reminds me of a heavier version of The Cab’s Symphony Soldier in that I just want to play the whole album again and again and again.

3. Talking In Your Sleep by The Cinema, released on December 16th, 2014 [independently released].

the cinema

I have so much respect for this album. First off, because it comes from the minds of two very talented men, but also because the album took two years to make, and was accomplished while they both worked on different coasts. Just…wow. It’s an incredible group of songs, and, best of all, it’s another release that avoided the cursed “sophomore slump.”

2. Slow Me Down by Sara Evans, released on March 11th, 2014, via RCA Nashville.

slow me down

Catchy as hell, with a poppy, uptempo tone that is impossible not to love. It’s a perfect driving/car-aoke record; I promise, you’ll sing your heart out to basically every song.

1. Heart On My Sleeve by Mary Lambert, released on October 14th, 2014, via Capitol Records.

mary lambert

Mary Lambert can do no wrong. The songstress has crowds enchanted with her stunning vocals and her fearless way of tackling subjects people don’t want to talk about. With songs like “Secrets,” Lambert has resonated with listeners, and opened up a beautiful story.





House of Mercury by Ship Captain Crew

Fictionist by Fictionist

All That Gold by James and the Drifters

High Noon by Arkells

Get Hurt by The Gaslight Anthem


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