i was there || hamilton leithauser

show: hamilton leithauser with lucy dacus

location: lincoln hall

date: 2.15.17

favorite song: "in a black out," "sick as a dog," + "the morning stars" are the obvious go to's, but i really loved it all.

memorable moment: "the bride's dad" took on a whole new meaning after hearing the story behind the song. mr. leithauser was attending a wedding for a not so super close friend of his. during the reception the father's bride took the stage + started singing "wild mountain thyme" to hamilton's enjoyment + everyone else's horror. apparently the father was not invited + it made for a pretty awkward moment which he was able to so perfectly capture in his own song.

biggest letdown: hamilton leithauser is a very tall man. i'm not sure if it was the stage guys fault or the short little chick who made a pre-show announcement, but mid-way through the first song of the night, "1000 times," the mic collapsed interrupting the flow. not really a letdown for me, but just overall a situation that i think everyone would have preferred to avoid.

this show: will confidently be one of my favorites for the year. hearing the songs live + in a different light made me love the album even more + also helped me to revisit songs that i maybe didn't initially give a fair chance to. i feel like i had a dream that you were mine is going to be an album that i constantly have a new favorite song in rotation. which makes for a pretty great album.


i was there || badbadnotgood

show: badbadnotgood with mattson 2

location: lincoln hall

date: 1.15.17

favorite song: they made a pretty fun entrance to the stage with "tequila." you know, that song pee wee herman crushes at the biker bar? it sounds pretty good on the saxophone.

memorable moment: when the four band members took the stage in an assortment of wigs i knew the show was going to be a good time. i appreciate people who don't take themselves too seriously. i could learn a thing or two.

biggest letdown: i spent about 98% of the day in bed nursing a cold so wasn't totally energized going into the night. it was good to get out though, even if it was just for a couple of hours.

this show: would not have been on my radar if it wasn't for my friend snagging me an extra ticket. it was definitely jazzier than what i go for but i always like to branch out + listen to new things. they're probably not an "all the time" band for me but i'll for sure give them a listen from time to time.


hello, 2017

new year. new rules. i wasn't always an advocate of resolutions but when you can look back at the end of the year + realize that you are capable of crushing them (realistic resolutions, that is) it feels pretty damn good.

save for future dreams  
guys, this was huge. i had a five figure range of what i was hoping to save in 2016 and although i hit the lower end of that range it is something i have never really done before + i am SO proud of myself. i plan to keep this progress up in 2017, but i also plan to meet with a financial adviser + get a little more well-versed in personal finances altogether. i have said this a million times but it is honestly a travesty that young adults do not get better education here, myself included. going to do what i can now to give myself a pleasant future later.

read a book a month
i crushed this goal in 2016 with fifteen books read. i knew saving money would make me feel good, but i was surprised to find that continual reading made me feel extremely satisfied in a different kind of way. i read all sorts of genres + although most of the books i read were only so-so i always took away something or at the very least let my imagination run wild for a bit so i figured this would be a good one to continue with.

get out
2017 is shaping up to be a fantastic year for travel with trips already booked for palm springs, joshua tree, phoenix, austin + denver. i also have some early plans for spain, france, + costa rica later in the year. i also want to do a better job of getting out in chicago too. i did a pretty good job of visiting places i love like art museums, restaurants, + other places of interest in 2016, so i hope to keep that up this year as well.

advocate for the underdogs
over the past several years i have developed a strong interest in what has been happening in the middle east. the refugee crisis absolutely breaks my heart so i would like to find a way to contribute somehow. if you want to learn more on this situation i highly encourage you to watch frontline's recent special called "exodus." on a more personal level, i want to find a way to advocate for the introverts of the world (like me). recently i have thought a lot about what being more soft-spoken, introverted has meant for my career, relationships, etc. i love that i am me but at times you can feel like the grass would be greener. my conclusion, which i should have always known, is that there is a place in the workplace, home, WORLD for both extroverts + introverts. i want to find a way to make them more empowered...just not sure exactly how yet.

be kind to my body
what would a new year be without some irrational fitness goals?? i'm not going to set specific goals of working out 3x times per week or what-have-you because i know me + i know some weeks i will crush it + other weeks i will fail miserably. i do, however, think fitness is a good goal to remind yourself of at the start of a new year + i also know that i could probably motivate myself more than i currently am.

making things makes me happy. i am recognizing that creation doesn't necessarily have to be in the form of a grand thing, but that those little creations can be just as rewarding. creation in 2017 will most likely come in the form of writing (both personally + publicly) as well as making my home a home. in order to hit my said savings goal above i pumped the breaks on decorating. i think i'm in a position now where i can start to pick that back up again (!!!).

i was there || patti smith

show: patti smith performing horses

location: riviera theater

date: 12.30.16

favorite song: the whole horses album is pretty epic so it feels a bit unfair to pick a favorite. i think the best part was hearing the background to how some of these songs came about like "break it up" (a dream she had about jim morrison) or "elegie" (written after jimi hendrix died).

memorable moment: as i mentally scan through my list of concerts that i have attended i feel pretty confident that that patti smith might be the biggest personal hero that i have ever seen live. being the naive *thirty* year old that i am now, i never fully realized what a badass she was until reading her book just kids. that book was really life-changing for me. so much so that i'll probably read it once a year for the rest of my life. patti is my idea of a perfect role model so getting to see her perform such an iconic album was really something i will cherish forever. she killed it on stage too.

biggest letdown: call me a cliche, newer patti fan, but i was secretly hoping she might play "because the night"

this show: had a weird juxtaposition of making me feel very much alive while also reminding me that loss is a part of life. patti speaks in a way that makes you feel so empowered, like you can catalyst for change. other moments of the show were quite sad though. she reflected upon the loss of beloved partner + friend, sandy pearlman, the death of her husband, + other greats like jimi hendrix + janis joplin. what really touched me were the bittersweet words she shared about her mother. patti made a joke about repeating herself now that she is seventy years old. she remembered how whenever her mom would re-tell a story she'd always think "oh no. not this one again." that memory turned emotional for both patti + the crowd when she followed up saying that she would give anything to have her mom back telling those stories over + over again. it was really touching.


this isn't a "best of" list | 2016 |

overall, 2016 was a much more mellow year for me musically. a lot of the songs on this list are a little on the sad side too. i don't necessarily think that was a reflection of my personal life, but i suppose i was a little more stressed than usual. 2016 completely flew by which is probably an indication that i didn't do the best job at taking moments to pause + enjoy things. instead i just sought solace in my headphones (not the worst thing).

2016 was a pretty solid year for music though. the highlight was hearing radiohead's "true love waits." years ago i came across a super bootleg version of this song by illegally downloading it on napster. to hear it again years later cleaned up + beautiful was the most unexpected + wonderful gift ever. no words could adequately describe how much love i have for that song.

this list isn't just about the new to 2016 songs though. equally as important to me are the songs that i may not have previously given a good listen to or might have missed completely that ended up being incredibly meaningful to me. this year i listened to a lot of broken social scene, blonde redhead, interpol, + yeah yeah yeahs. for whatever reason they all sounded so relevant. also, sharon van etten. holy cow. how did she fly under my radar for so long? lou reed's "street hassle" was probably my favorite uncovered gem though.

i have to also give a shout out to stranger things + the survive guys. i'm always on the hunt for something new when it comes to music + synth nostalgia did the trick for me in 2016. it didn't quite make the list, but clint mansell's score from the san junipero episode of black mirror is done in a similar vein.

here's the full list you've all been waiting for (or not)...

1. finder || moderat
2. shut up kiss me || angel olsen
3. it hurts until it doesn't || mothers
4. true love waits || radiohead
5. cranes in the sky || solange
6. a 1000 times || hamilton leithauser + rostam
7. kids || survive
8. it means i love you || jessy lanza
9. your love is killing me || sharon van etten
10. because i'm me || the avalanches
11. my plants are dead || blonde redhead
12. funeral pyre || phantogram
13. do you still love me? || ryan adams
14. five minutes || her
15. orlando || exploded view
16. somebody else || the 1975
17. big black coat || junior boys
18. 22 (over soon) || bon iver
19. shampoo suicide || broken social scene
20. ivy || frank ocean
21. no || nicolas jaar
22. wolves || phosphorescent
23. i+1 || luh
24. staurolite stroll || night moves
25. street hassle || lou reed

2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010

you can also hear my full list of 2016 contenders HERE


i was there || nico jaar

show: nicolas jaar

location: thalia hall

date: 11.9.16

favorite song: he played a lot of songs from sirens which was great. i really enjoyed "no" but "space if only noise if you can see" was definitely the party song of the night

memorable moment: the music was incredible but i was super impressed by his lighting as well. sometimes it was just a small simple glow + other times it was a full on blast of light, to the point where the whole room was nearly lit. it was all a wonderful compliment to the tunes

biggest letdown: the thought of having to go to physical therapy at 7am the next morning was looming over me all night, which was a total buzzkill. i ended up leaving a little bit into the encore + wished i had stayed to see how he closed things out. i hope i didn't miss "no one is looking at u" or "the three sides of audrey + why she's all alone now"

this show: nico is one of my favorites + has been for a while. this show was something special. i'd seen him several times before at festivals + some after parties, but this live rendition at thalia hall (the most perfect venue ever) was exceptional. the show was sold out + nearly everyone seemed to be dancing. i wish i could see him again this weekend


i was there || survive

show: survive with majeure

location: empty bottle

date: 11.6.16

favorite song: this was not a show i knew song names to + that is okay

memorable moment: the opening act had some kind words to say about these guys + even called out that although it may not seem like it to those in the crowd, what they do on stage is very complex + impressive. i thought that head nod was pretty cool

biggest letdown: let me preface by saying that this show occurred the sunday after daylight saving. so although i got an "extra" hour of sleep the night before, i really just woke up an hour earlier + stayed out later. the opening act probably went on around 10:30pm. he was really cool but incredibly loud. and i'm not saying that in a pussy way. it was painfully loud. i longed for my earplugs + questioned whether or not i should step into the other room like so many people in the crowd were. he turned it down slightly after the first couple of minutes, but ouch! after him, it took about another 30-45 minutes for survive to go on + by that point i was just beat. i probably only stayed for about half of the show, but would have loved to have seen the whole thing

this show: was pretty much what i expected -- very weird but in the best way ever. i love synths + especially love the nostalgia that survive's music evokes. the fact that survive is one of the first ever synth bands is also super cool to me


i was there || broken social scene

show: broken social scene

location: the metro

date: 7.14.16

favorite song: there were a lot of good one's to pick from. there were the old favorites like "sweetest kill" + "anthem of a sixteen year old girl." but then there were also those others that i never could have know just how much i loved them without hearing them live. "cause = time," "pacific theme," + "7/4 (shoreline)" fall into that latter group.

memorable moment: i will forever be impressed by how much organized noise can be produced by such a large group of musicians. some of those favorite songs listed above would have never been in consideration if i couldn't hear for myself just how those songs continued to build + build upon itself. it was really incredible.

biggest letdown: the lead singer, kevin drew, really through me off. he was giving me some major father john misty flashbacks. i wanted to like him + find him sexy but something felt slightly off, like he wanted the same thing but tried just a little too hard.

this show: was a special one. first off, it was broken social scene's first show in five years. it was pretty awesome that chicago got the special honors to kick off pitchfork weekend. forgiveness rock record wasn't really on my radar when it came out. "world sick" was but that's about it. over the last two or three years broken social scene just stuck with me. they were one of those bands that i was constantly listening to but wasn't sure i'd ever see them play live. it was an extremely pleasant surprise to find out that wouldn't be these case. lastly, this was the last show i got to see with one of my best friends before he moved to colorado, so that meant a lot. that trifecta made this show a little more emotional + special for me. it will definitely go down as one of my favorites.


this is what it sounds like when doves cry

a generation lost another one of its great talents. death is, albeit sad, a part of life. some come as a greater surprise than others + prince's passing was a total shock. the irony being that prince was an incredibly controversial artist who lived a very straight-laced life. not necessarily the path i would have chosen myself, but extremely admirable none the less.

like bowie, prince was bigger than life. i have the fondest memories of listening to prince covers on repeat ("when you were mine" by ani difranco + "when doves cry" from romeo + juliet) + drunkenly dancing around to "little red corvette" on my twenty-first birthday. i hope you rest in peace, purple man.


tourist || run (the range remix)

the original is great but the remix is better. well done!


i was there || fort romeau

show: fort romeau with studio casual

location: smart bar

date: 4.22.16

favorite song: fort romeau kicked off his set with "it's all over" by pional + it was pretty perfect.

memorable moment: i have to acknowledge that i stayed up past 3am for the first time in a while. quite proud of that. i have a bathroom selfie to prove it.

biggest letdown: smart bar was pretty dead for this show which was a major bummer. when i saw him last summer on the sin label boat party all i could think about was how great it would be to see him at smart bar instead. here he was finally + it was a bit sad.

this show: i have heard some really great sets by fort romeau but this was not my favorite. definitely not a bad set, but didn't keep the momentum that was needed at 3am. those funktion one speakers were sounding real nice though. i don't think they will ever cease to amaze me. also worth mentioning that studio casual was pretty enjoyable too.


i was there || tim hecker

show: tim hecker with bruce lamont + good willsmith

location: empty bottle

date: 4.15.16

memorable moment: this might have been the first show i have been at where i was about 6 rows back + still couldn't see a damn thing. which was okay. the fog machine went into overdrive that night which made for a very moody setting.

biggest letdown: the first opener, good willsmith, was pretty solid but i had a harder time getting into bruce lamont. i appreciated the touch of saxophone but the yelling was a bit too much for me.

this show: i can't say i listen to more ambient music all that much but when i find myself right in the middle of it i really enjoy it. it's cool to see the entire crowd so entranced. getting to + from the bathrooms was quite the challenge because everyone was basically hypnotized.


i was there || junior boys

show: junior boys with jessy lanza

location: metro

date: 4.6.16

favorite song: there were quite a few to choose from -- "in the morning," "so this is goodbye," "big black coat" to name a few. jessy lanza had a few good one's herself too.

memorable moment: jessy lanza + junior boys were quite the pairing. i listened to them at very different times in my life but they worked really well on the same bill.

biggest letdown: on one hand, it was really sad to hear junior boys play so many of their old songs after just releasing a brand, spanking new album. But on the other hand, I was pretty psyched to hear so many of those nostalgic songs from 2006.

this show: was really enjoyable. i didn't hear "fuck diamond" but everything else from jessy lanza was really great. her voice was stellar. as was jeremy greenspan's. it is kind of crazy that i had never seen junior boys before this night but i'm glad i finally got the chance.



war on drugs || touch of grey

aaron + bryce dessner of the national are developing a grateful dead tribute album with the help of a few very talented friends. courtney barnett, phosphorescent, jenny lewis, kurt vile, local natives + many more are offering a helping hand with this one. you can see the full tracklist here.

while a bit cliche, touch of grey is definitely one of those anthems of my youth thanks to the countless hours i spent pestering my brother while he listened to music in his room. the fact that this song was paired with war on drugs just puts a bit smile on my face.

you can hear a few other songs from the album here.


a perfect nursery

when i picture myself having kids, for whatever reason, i always picture them being boys. not that i have much say in the matter, but i think i just feel more confident in my rough-and-tumble sports skills than any girly influences i might possess. but then i came this incredible nursery from designer extraordinaire, emily henderson, + i'm not quite sure which i want. guys, this nursery is incredible.

i absolutely love the color palette + the wallpaper is pretty much to die for. you can see more on the nursery makeover (including product details) at emily henderon's blog.


i was there || sxsw send off party at the hideout

show: sxsw send off party with matchess, lionlimb, crown larkes, + whitney

location: the hideout

date: 3.12.16

favorite song: admittedly, the only song i knew by name was "no woman" by whitney, but i still thought it was the best.

memorable moment: because these were all chicago bands you saw quite a few proud parents in the crowd. it was very sweet.

biggest letdown: most of the artists i saw were pretty decent or at least interesting, but crown larks was a bit harsh for my liking

this show: is such a great idea. i am hopeful that one of these days i'll get myself down to austin for the actual sxsw, but this was a cool alternative with a bit more chicago pride.


mothers || it hurts until it doesn't

i have really enjoyed the new mother's album. it's got this easy, spring-like air to it. i have a feeling we'll be hearing a lot more about them coming out of sxsw where they have several shows. they'll also be playing at empty bottle on may 7th which unfortunately conflicts with floating points live show at the metro which i already have tickets for.


squid soup

if you're friends with me on twitter or facebook you probably know that about two weeks ago i was freaking out over the four tet boiler room set. of course the music was amazing, but almost equally impressive was the lighting. the geniuses behind four tet's magical stage setup is a group that goes by squid soup + they deserve some major props.