Tag Archives: Ingrid Michaelson

2012: Year In Concerts

Stray observations concerning this year’s gigs: Coldplay.  Coldplay Coldplay Coldplay.  Saw both American Idol and X-Factor, making me an official reality TV singing contest super fan.  I saw Phillip Phillips twice this year.  I can’t believe it either.  Also saw Fuel, for free, at a local festival full of drunken white trash.  You take what you can.  I’m so happy to be back in the US.

  1. ColdplayJuly 29, TD Garden, Boston, MA
    There’s nothing I could write to convey the absolutely ineffable surge of pure joy and happiness that this concert provided.  If you went to one of the shows, you know what I’m talking about.  If you didn’t get a chance to, this video recorded in Paris gives a nice glimpse.  Xylobands, man.  Fucking Xylobands.  It was the most interactive concert experience I’ve ever had in my lifetime of 300+ concerts.  I laughed, I cried, I screamed, and I nearly fainted at one point.  It’s concerts like this that make me pass on upcoming shows that I know won’t be as worth it.  If for some strange reason I could only go to one concert again and again for the rest of my life (Groundhog Day-style), it would be this one.

    Best of the year and, quite frankly, one of the best of all time.

    Best of the year and, quite frankly, one of the best of all time.

  2. The Killers, December 17, Agganis Arena, Boston, MA
    Wow.  Just wow.  I was scared…no, terrified… that this would be a monumental letdown brought upon by years and years of wishing and waiting and hoping (ahem, Oasis…).  I had been waiting since 2004.  I lived through a cancelled Beijing gig.  And now finally I could see The Killers.  First of all, they put on a fucking rock show.  Pyro.  Fireworks.  Confetti.  And they are no pussies either, killing it on guitar and Rock God stances.  Brandon Flowers has grown into one of the most charismatic frontmen of our time and I’m happy to have seen him chipper, charming and upbeat.  Touring behind my album of the year also didn’t hurt.  Hit after hit after hit, the singalongs just kept coming.  Simply exhausting.  In the happiest of ways.

    Battle born.

    Battle born.

  3. Kaiser Chiefs, March 6, Paradise Rock Club, Boston, MA
    Crammed into a tiny club with an odd assortment of Kaiser’s fans, I proceeded to experience one of the best singalong concerts of my career.  I forgot how much I love KC (and how well I remembered every single song lyric).  I lost my voice, was sore for days, but age be damned, it was worth it.

    Ricky messing around on the club's bar.  Very intimate performance...

    Ricky messing around on the club’s bar. Very intimate performance…

  4. Florence and the Machine, September 14, Comcast Center, Mansfield, MA
    I wanted a moment.  And I knew precisely which moment I wanted.  “During ‘No Light, No Light‘, I want a gusty breeze to blow through the crowd, awash in purple or blue light, flowing through Flo’s hair.”  And lo and behold, maybe I was a good boy that week, but that happened.  I couldn’t believe it.  For that “moment” (see #2 above), the sky was still, the stars were shining and the moon was bright, a cool steady breeze streamed through the amphitheater, we were bathed in dim purple light, and Flo let that sustained note rip through the night air.  Magically majestic.

    Pure majesty.

    Pure majesty.

  5. Keane, June 12, House of Blues, Boston, MA
    Much like the Kaisers gig, the Keane show was all about the singalong.  Although they were touring behind the relatively (even for Keane) boring album, Strangeland, it was still a great show.  The live setting improved those boring new album tracks and their old hits were just ripe for audience ecstasy.  Bafflingly, there were a bunch of rapey-looking douchebags there.  The ones next to us were scamming on girls.  Annoying jerks aside, it was nice to finally hear “Bedshaped” live.

    Not a bunch of pussies, as you'd expect...

    Not a bunch of pussies, as you’d expect…

  6. Of Monsters and Men, April 7, House of Blues, Boston, MA
    Seriously, getting in on a band’s big break is something special.  This was their first US tour and we were one of the first stops.  The HoB was PACKED to the top sections of the highest balcony and each song had a singalong progressively cheerier and more uplifting than the last.  It felt like a party with a band that had been around for decades.  Here’s hoping they stick around.

    Don't listen to a word I say... HEY!  Mumford x Bjork...

    Don’t listen to a word I say… HEY! Mumford x Bjork…

  7. Ours, June 28, Johnny D’s, Somerville, MA
    You don’t often get to stand face-to-face with one of your favorite singers of all time…while they’re performing, almost screaming directly into your face.  But what if you’re in a crappy dive, a local restaurant with a dance floor and booths?  It was sad, a bit pathetic and yet nothing to be ashamed of.  Ours is severely underrated.  They have shit luck.  But their debut album is one of my favorites of all time, one of my top 5 desert island discs.  So I’m glad they’re still trying, fighting to stick around.  It was hard to absorb all of the energy when half the crowd was munching on dinner, but I’m just happy they’re still here for their fans.

    He can see into your SOUL.

    He can see into your SOUL.

  8. Neon Trees, December 7, Lansdowne Pub, Boston, MA
    Yeah, I can’t believe it either.  This performance kicked ass.  We were there for a free radio show.  Tristan Prettyman and Phillip Phillips opened.  The crowd was full of mom-age women and girls in their late 20s.  An odd mix of an audience for this flamboyant band who has toured with The Killers and 30 Seconds to Mars.  But hot damn, as soon as they came on, I was a fan.  They have one of the best frontmen I’ve seen and they exuded such determined energy for such a lame audience that I was quite impressed.  I would have never, ever ever, in a bajillion years expected Neon Trees to put on such a great show.

    Hey, sexy lady~

    Hey, sexy lady~

  9. Joshua Ledet – American Idol Live!, August 26, Dunkin Donuts Center, Providence, RI
    You remember moment #1 from the previous section?  Yeah.  I got to experience it live.  In person.  It knocked me on my ass.  Sure it was nice to see Phillip Phillips sing “Home” with Deandre and Colton on harmony.  But Joshua took us all to church.

    Sorry Joshua, no pix of you, only Phillip Phillips.  I can't believe I saw this dude twice this year...

    Sorry Joshua, no pix of you, only Phillip Phillips. I can’t believe I saw this dude twice this year…

  10. Ingrid Michaelson and Greg Laswell, July 27, Lupo’s, Providence, RI
    What a double-billing: husband and wife, on tour together.  It’s like if Gwen and Gavin brought No Doubt and Bush back on the road together, except for the quiet, contemplative indie-folk crowd.  Greg underwhelmed us with an acoustic session (Bah!) but Ingrid gave us a satisfying mix of awesome musical talent and hilarious between-song banter.  If she had a show, I’d watch it.  Like New Girl, but less annoying than Zooey D.

    It's adorable because they're married IRL.

    It’s adorable because they’re married IRL.

  11. Fiona Apple, March 27, The Royale, Boston, MA
    In all fairness, it’s not her fault I was so underwhelmed.  After all, I had waited over a decade to see her, one of my favorite artists, and she was finally back for a tiny club comeback tour.  Holy shit, this was going to be orgasmic!  Incorrect.  Paying nearly $1 per minute of this dismally short set (less than a fucking hour!), I wanted more.  Not only more songs in general, but more older songs.  She played mostly new stuff, which is okay, but argh, she showed little love to Tidal and Extraordinary Machine.  WTF.  Thank god for good company.

    IMG_0329

    Fiona Apple, not making my $60 worthwhile.

  12. Tenacious D, July 2, Bank of America Pavilion, Boston, MA
    Hilarious.  Seeing those two tubby motherfuckers perform all their classics in front of a giant inflatable Cock-Phoenix (complete with giant testes, confetti cum AND a combo vagina/anus doorway) was something I had looked forward to for almost ten years.   Yeah, they’ve been around that long.  But what I didn’t realize was that, in the 10 years since “Wonder Boy,” I grew up.  Cock and ball jokes don’t crack me up as much as before.  Giggling about marijuana intake, anal sex and rocking out are also in the past.  I still love a good fart joke, but still, we were brought to the Altar of the D on a wave of nostalgia.  Unfortunately for me, it was more of a Goodbye than a Welcome Back.

    Oh look, it's a phoenix made of cock 'n balls!  I'm 13 years old!  This rules!  (Actually, it was kinda cool ;P)

    Oh look, it’s a phoenix made of cock ‘n balls! I’m 13 years old! This rules! (Actually, it was kinda cool ;P)

  13. Fuel, August 2, Mediera Festival, New Bedford, MA
    Lord on high, this was a fucking hot mess.  Even though we were literally a 5 minute walk away from the sofa to the “venue,” the crowd just ruined it.  Even though it was free.  Even though I’d been waiting a very long time to hear “Hemorrhage.”  Even though, like I said, we were a  5 minute walk away.  The combination of white and ghetto trash — all drunk, mind you — crammed together in a great awful slushie of August humidity just ruined it.  We heard “Shimmer” and got the fuck out.  No amount of “free” was worth it.

    White trash meltdown.

    White trash meltdown.

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2012 Mixtape: My Favorite Songs of the Year

2012 songs

2012 was an amazing year for music.  I haven’t had such a good year since 2009… and 2006 before that.  Is this some kind of Every-3-Years trend?!  There was just so much goodness to go around that compiling this list gave me such a glut of songs that I’ve decided — for your sake — to break it up into categories.  Let the ADD commence!

My 2012 Mixtape: The Best of the Best

What constitutes “the best of the best”?  Well since tastes differ, let’s just say this is not a list of songs I — his royal highness — deem to be the best musical output of 2012.  These are simply my personal favorites.  The ones that drove the play count on my iTunes and iPod through the roof (before my computer crashed and I lost everything).  The ones I never skip on random shuffle.  The ones that I’m still listening to with relish, however many months after they were released.  The ones that’ll remind me of 2012.

  1. Muse – “Madness” – perhaps their finest love song, took forever to grow on me, but it’s worth every single listen *just* to hear that final “I need your love” wail.  Shivers.
  2. No Doubt – “Push and Shove” – on an otherwise OK album, this clear standout is an epic jam that sounds like an old ND reggae-ska tune had a baby with some watered-down dubstep babydaddy.
  3. David Guetta feat. Lil’ Wayne and That-Piece-of-Shit – “I Can Only Imagine” – God help me, I do not allow anything with Chris Brown onto my personal devices, but this fucking song is just the best dance track of the year, morals be damned.  If you’re ever stuck in traffic next to me while this song is playing, bring protection from all the awesomeness. Breezy you win this round.
  4. The Killers – “Runaways” – this just reminds me of the 80s: bad leather, big chorused power pop, lame cowboy vibe.  Like “Madness,” this took a while to grow on me, but then it never let go.  So pretentious and grand.
  5. Frank Ocean – “Pyramids” – the most epic song of 2012.  Clocking in at nearly 10 minutes, it’s basically 2 songs for 1.  The first half, a space-funk odyssey about Cleopatra, is the shiiiiiiiit.  Part Prince, part Gap Band.  The second half is a blissed-out jam about strippers at the Pyramid. This will go down as one of my favorite songs of all time.  Fuck, it’s good.
  6. Florence and the Machine – “No Light, No Light” – and now we’re at the 2nd most epic song of 2012.  Majestic and grand, the full gospel of Flo at max power.  Her sustained note at the end is enough to send me over the edge of fanatical bliss.
  7. Phillip Phillips – “Home” – who would have thought an American Idol winner would have one of the best songs of 2012?  It’s sweet, uplifting, heartfelt and perfectly plain.
  8. PSY – “Gangnam Style” – yeah, it’s in my top 10.  Suck it.  Inexplicably, against all laws of nature, I am not sick of this song yet.  Destined (doomed?) to go down in history as THE one-hit wonder of 2012 (sorry Carly Rae), it’s world’s better than previous title-holder, “Macarena.” God bless this chubby Korean hero: he broke K-Pop into the American masses.  Something Rain, Girls Generation, Wonder Girls and Super Junior failed to do.
  9. Metric – “Breathing Underwater” – blissed out indie-pop with one of my favorite choruses of 2012.  “Is this my life, or am I breathing underwater?”  What does it MEAN???  I couldn’t tell you, but all I know is that I feel the same way as Emily Haines.  Love. This. Song.
  10. Linkin Park – “Powerless” – this is basically the “Numb” or “In The End” of their recent album, Living Things.  In typical genius LP fashion, it’s catchy, brooding, full of despair, pianos and sound effects, and you can totally sing along to it.  I played the shit out of this track.
  11. Usher – “Scream” – I first heard this song on SNL.  I jumped off my sofa, turned the volume up and proceeded to have a midnight dance party in my pajamas.  This song gets my blood pumping in all kinds of nasty ways.  Dance pop perfection.
  12. Kelly Clarkson – “Dark Side” – in a year full of dark female pop songs, this was my queen.  Katy Perry, Pink and Rihanna had great ones too, but Kelly brings the catchy melody like no other.  I’ll boldly put this at #2 behind Breakaway for best KClark albums.
  13. Of Monsters and Men – “Little Talks” – what’s that?  You remember I told you about them back in February?  Yeah you did.  I first heard this gem on WFNX (RIP) and bought tickets to their first Boston concert about 1 minute after first listen.  It’s great to discover a new band.
  14. Joshua Ledet – “It’s A Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World” – this blew me the fuck away.  Just listen to it.  Those notes he hits at the end?  Yeah, I just came too.  What a force.  This is his song now.
  15. fun. – “Some Nights” – it took forever, but I finally succumbed to fun.  We all need an anthem.  This is grand post-emo goodness via Queen and hip-hop production.  I love fun.
  16. The Black Keys – “Lonely Boy” – in late December and early January, this was my JAM.  Over the year, it was relegated to the sidelines.  But a song this catchy and rollicking deserves a spot in my coveted list.  Try NOT shaking your ass to this song, you statue.
  17. Ellie Goulding – “Lights” – when the hell did this song come out?  Last year?  Two years ago?  First time I heard Ellie was in an H&M in Tokyo in 2010, when this album was out.  But it’s #1 in the US this year?  I’m so confused.  Whatever, it’s amazing.  The bridge between her debut and her 2012 dub-fluenced opus.
  18. Coldplay & Rihanna – “Princess of China” – you know how I feel about this song.  The collision of worlds results in a perfect song, full of yearning, pain and passion.
  19. The Rolling Stones – “Doom and Gloom” – these geriatric motherfuckers still rock harder than 99% of the younger dudes in the business right now.  They haven’t written a song this good in decades.  Welcome back, boys.
  20. Maroon 5 – “One More Night” – my pleas to Ryan Murphy for a Glee mash-up of this song and Ace of Base’s “All That She Wants” have been heretofore ignored, but a boy can dream.  I hated this song at first, but hot damn, after a few listens, it’s revealed itself to be one of M5’s best songs.  Oh Adam, how you slay us.
  21. Alt-J – “Fitzpleasure” – thank you, iTunes free single of the week.  This Mercury Prize (i.e. the UK’s best album of the year) winner is a weird and funky number that fans of Hot Chip and Battles might enjoy.  One commenter said it sounds like Adam Sandler, because it’s total gobbledygook nonsense (seriously, that link above is to the lyric video.  WTF?!).  That ruined it for a couple seconds…then that deep dirty groove hooked me right back in.  Gloriously weird.
  22. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros – “Dear Believer” – these freaknik hippie weirdos make music that bring me back to ’60s SoCal (because I was totally there).  Lush, warm and soothing. It’s the sound of love.  “Reaching for heaven is what I’m on earth to do.”  Amen.
  23. The Shins – “Simple Song” – like “Breathing Underwater,” this track bore to my core on the strength of a simple lyric: “I know that things can really get rough/when you go in alone. Don’t go thinking you gotta be tough/and bleed like a stone.”  Again, it just speaks to me.
  24. Pink – “Try” – hot damn, what power.  And did you see that video???  Pink’s artistic integrity can’t be fucked with now.  It’s tough.  It’s pretty.  It’s so…Pink.
  25. Bruno Mars – “Locked Out of Heaven” – I’m never a fan of such obvious sex reference, but hot damn, this Police +  MJ’s “Beat It” tune is a party starter.   Watch the live performance to add a little kick to your step.
  26. Ingrid Michaelson – “End of the World” – a love song for the zombie apocalypse.
  27. Karmin – “Brokenhearted” – I hated them at first.  Everything said “annoying poser fakes!”  Despite the fact that they live in Brookline.  Despite the fact that their music is really catchy.  Cred be damned, I Love This Song.  One of the few tracks that have survived the entire year.
  28. Ke$ha – “Die Young” – didn’t like it at first, and then I watched the AMA performance where – *gasp!* – I saw that she could really sing.  And banging on giant drums ALWAYS wins me over.  Less obnoxious than her previous output, I can actually see her growing as an *gasp!* artist.
  29. Carly Rae Jepsen – “Call Me Maybe” – don’t fight it.  It’s one of the best pop songs ever.  Get over it.
  30.  Lana Del Rey – “Blue Jeans” – I’ll defend her to the end.  This song is pure audio sex.

Neil’s 2012 Playlists: The Best of the Rest

DANCE PARTY!:

  1. Nicki Minaj – Va Va Voom/Starships
  2. Calvin Harris feat. Florence Welch – Sweet Nothing
  3. Rihanna – Where Have You Been?
  4. Havana Brown and Pitbull – We Run The Night

The P-Word (“Pop”):

  1. Katy Perry – Wide Awake
  2. One Direction – One Thing
  3. Alicia Keys – Girl On Fire
  4. Carrie Underwood – Blown Away

Played The Fuck Out (But I Still Like It):

  1. Gotye and Kimbra – Somebody That I Used To Know
  2. Maroon 5 – One More Night
  3. Rihanna – Diamonds
  4. Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen – Good Time
  5. Ellie Goulding – Lights
  6. Neon Trees – Everybody Talks
  7. PSY – Gangnam Style
  8. Usher – Scream
  9. Taylor Swift – We Are Never, Ever Getting Back Together
  10. fun. – Some Nights
  11. Phillip Phillips – Home
  12. Bruno Mars – Locked Out Of Heaven
  13. Flo Rida feat. Sia – Wild Ones

WUBWUBWUBWUBWUB: The Best Dubstep Infections of the Year

  1. Taylor Swift – I Knew You Were Trouble
  2. Ellie Goulding – Hanging On
  3. Justin Bieber – As Long As You Love Me
  4. Muse – Follow Me/Unsustainable
  5. Alex Clare – Too Close

Rock Isn’t Dead (Yet):

  1. The Black Keys – Gold On The Ceiling
  2. Linkin Park – Burn It Down
  3. Gary Clark Jr. – Numb/Ain’t Messin’ Around
  4. Beasto Blanco – Breakdown
  5. The Parlor Mob – Into the Sun
  6. Kaiser Chiefs – Little Shocks
  7. Frank Turner – I Still Believe
  8. Foxy Shazaam – I Like It
  9. Jack White – 16 Saltines

Rock Songs That Made Me Cry

  1. The Killers – Here With Me
  2. The Black Keys – Little Black Submarine
  3. Coldplay – Up In Flames
  4. Muse – Madness
  5. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros – Dear Believer
  6. The Shins – Simple Song

Alt/Indie/Whateverthefuck

  1. Bat for Lashes – Oh Yeah
  2. Connor Youngblood – The Warpath
  3. Keane – Silenced By The Night
  4. Snow Patrol – Called Out In The Dark
  5. Paul Banks (Interpol) – The Base
  6. Metric – Youth Without Youth
  7. Garbage – Sugar
  8. Charli XCX – Nuclear Seasons
  9. Santigold – Big Mouth

Songs That ALWAYS Make Me Change The Station

  1. Ed Sheeran – The A Team
  2. Chris Brown – Don’t Wake Me Up
  3. The Lumineers – Ho Hey
  4. Imagine Dragons – It’s Time

The Year In Disappointment (i.e. Albums I Should Have Loved But Didn’t)

  1. Garbage – Not Your Kind of People
  2. Fiona Apple – The Idler Wheel
  3. Keane – Strangeland
  4. how to destroy angels – An Omen
  5. Scissor Sisters – Magic Hour
  6. Tori Amos – Gold Dust
  7. Tenacious D – Rize of the Fenix
  8. Kaiser Chiefs – The Future Is Medieval
  9. Madonna – MDNA
  10. The Cranberries – Roses
  11. G.O.O.D. Music – Cruel Summer

Most Overrated (a.k.a. We Won’t Remember You In 2013)

  1. Sleigh Bells
  2. Azalea Banks
  3. Grimes

Favorite Remixes (That Made The Originals Better)

1. Gotye and KimbraSomebody That I Used To Know (DJ Mike D)

Add a deceptively simple beat and change the song entirely.  This is the one they play on the pop stations that you can’t find anywhere.

2. Rita OraR.I.P. (Delta Heavy remix)

Add screaming digital machine-gun blasts to bring a mediocre R&B-step song into Skrillex territory.  The drop is so spine-tingling on this one…I can’t even.

3. Lana Del ReyBlue Jeans (Penguin Prison remix)

Add a sexy New Wave synth beat to an already sexy track and you’ve got something so good it was added to the deluxe re-edition of the album.

4. Ellie GouldingFigure 8 (Alias Radio Edit)

Less dubstep, more house.  More untz-untz, less wubwubwub.  This old man prefers dancing the night away rather than getting mosh-raped to death by drugged-out bros.  Always.

Favorite Movie Tunes

1. Adele – “Skyfall” (Skyfall)

When’s the last time a song made a movie better, and vice versa?  A huge track.

2. Neil Finn and Howard Shore – “Song of the Lonely Mountain” (The Hobbit)

Chills.  Absolute chills.

3. Mary J. Blige and Julianne Hough – “Harden My Heart” (Rock of Ages)

In a movie filled with lots of Glee-style singalong karaoke, Mary J. comes in and pulls a Mercedes, absolutely destroying everyone else with her sheer power and depth.  The chills just shoot out of me when she steps on the scene at 1:24.

4. Linkin Park – “Powerless” (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter)

Best part of the movie.  For many of you, that will make the perception of the movie that much worse.

5. AKB48 – “Sugar Rush” (Wreck-It Ralph)

Not only one of the best movies of the year, but also one of the best musical credit endings ever.  I was already on a nostalgia high from the film; this just kicked everything into overdrive.

6. Arcade Fire – “Abraham’s Daughter” (The Hunger Games)

If this brooding, intense song doesn’t put you in the right kind of fuzzy mood to kill kids weaker than you and slaughter for survival, then please, you can make a run for the cornucopia first.  Thanks.

 

Up next: Favorite videos, favorite moments and…. FAVORITE ALBUMS OF 2012.

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