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Weekend Playlist IV: Rock and Roll Heat Wave

IT IS HOT, and much of the country is experiencing a wicked heat wave. I don't have air conditioning in my apartment, and many of my nights are spent sitting in front of a fan like a rabid dog with it's tongue out. Sound familiar?
Check out these glistening rock tracks that embrace the heat and will give you a chance to party down and cool off!

1. The Killers / Joy Ride

"Stranded on a heat wave / burning with desire." This song is all about desert imagery and the lust of the night. Play this when you're getting ready to hit a roof-top bar or somewhere with a lot of palm trees! (I don't know, people like to decorate with them.)

2. Reptilla / The Strokes

"The room is on fire / and she's fixing her hair." This is the perfect 'get-ready to go out' song. Reptilla is one of those songs with an unavoidable bass-line and one of the catchiest guitar riffs of all time.

3. Vegas Lights / Panic! At The Disco

"Vegas lights / Where villains spend the weekend." Come on, with lines like that, your weekend is bound to heat up despite the temperature. It just so happens that the Killers and Panic are both from Vegas. This song is a real party starter. It's also the ideal track to pre-game with your friends to. So drink up and get down.

4. Summer Fling, Don't Mean A Thing / New Found Glory

"If you need a boy around you / just for the summer / don't come knocking on my door" this little known track from the band's album "Radiosurgery" is an ode to summer love gone wrong. It doesn't pull punches, but remains romantic and fun. I love NFG for this very reason, they're honest, but remain fun and party-centric. Play this track when you're strutting into your favorite bar.

5. Elevator / Hot Hot Heat

This band has some fire in it's name, so you'd expect the track to be just as ignite-able. And it is. This band has an original sound that draws upon punk, indie and folk. It's a fantastic track for a hot summer night. Play it loud.
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Dear David Bowie: A Thank You From Yet Another Odd Kid
I thought about immediately taking to the keys last night, upon hearing the news of David Bowie's passing, but I thought against it. When people don't have time to process things they end up creating these jumbled messes, that don't come out as tributes. They're more akin to shocked streams of consciousness, where neither the reader nor the writer can properly put things into place. After further inspection, I realized that Bowie wouldn't have wanted a proper tribute, because as a champion of all things individual, he valued the pure ideals of hope and art over everything else. I guess the sadness stems from the knowledge that anyone can fall prey to the sickle of cancer, and that just doesn't sit well with us, because if it can get Bowie...where's the hope? But that's not the point, it never was. So the following, is a mis-mosh of thoughts aimed at the cold blooded bummer we're all feeling today. So here is a letter, a bit out of sorts, but exactly what I wanted to say. David Bowie, you are more than a musician to most. You are someone who gave every single person on this planet permission to be themselves. The idea of creation can only go so far as the brain will let you, and for some reason, Bowie, your brain just went a little bit farther than most. From early in your career, you were constantly pushing boundaries, as if to say, "Hey world, you can be whatever the hell you want to be, except boring." And that sentiment always spoke volumes to me. As a kid who was never on the right side of anything, it was an incredible feeling that someone who came before, was brave enough to blaze the trail for the rest of us. Especially considering the societal implication of being an alien at the time, you held down the fort, creating a legacy that nobody would ever touch. I wore glittery makeup and strutted around like I was from a different planet too, and sometimes people would say, "Huh. There's a touch of Bowie in you." I could only be so lucky. Bowie, you never let gender define you. You didn't let society define him. You didn't even let yourself define you. You were utterly unique, do you know how valuable that is? You, and only you, were created from space dust and glitter, roaming the earth among us mortals, gracing us with your presence when when was worth so much more. You stand as the singular voice in a world full of people who couldn't give a shit about being themselves, and you made that cool. You made individuality and sense of self cool. Could you imagine a world without that? Without you, almost all of our artists today either wouldn't exist, or they'd be infinitely more boring. From the 70's onward Bowie provided all people with something otherworldly, something that anyone could sink their teeth into. You know, when your parents and you are mourning the same genius...that person was completely transcendent. It didn't matter what race, nationality, gender or creed you were...you were a David Bowie fan, because some people just can't be ignored. And though the world tended to criticize and marginalize your efforts, nobody ever said you weren't talented. The true heart of an artist takes a beating, and with every single hit, you came back stronger, better, more creative. There was nobody like you. Nobody before or after you will ever touch you. The mark you leave on this pitiful world makes it a little more brighter, a little more glitter filled. You took the music of yesterday and splattered it with technicolor. The rules of the passed were smashed to smithereens, and Bowie, you had the sledgehammer. No musician ever, could dispute the raw influence of you. In fact, I would say that no person who has ever come across your music could dispute your raw influence, and we are forever grateful. You see, without someone tending the gate of creativity, none of us would ever have the courage to open it. Now you're tending another gate, somewhere high up in the stars, where you always belonged: because Bowie is not from this planet, he can't be. He can't be mortal. And that's the hardest part. You see, he isn't mortal. He never was. He's now off to another place where he can really shine. He's the spaceman after all. The world changed when this man picked up a microphone. And in the halls of Gods and monsters, Bowie will sit atop a shining pedestal of stardust, waiting for another trip to the moon. On behalf of all people, musicians and freaks alike, I want to extend this fervent and sincere thank you to our very own alien: Mr. David Bowie. Returning to space must be an incredible feeling, and we hope to someday meet you there. It took me a full 12 hours to realize that I was experiencing the stages of grief, and that I should give myself time and all of that...but you never gave yourself any time right? You never stopped for anyone. You accomplished more in your 69 years than most of us could in three lifetimes, and for that reason, I will continue on. I will not stop to cry or hold my breath. I will sit at the desk, cry on the keyboard and continue my journey. "I don't know where I'm going from here, but I promise it won't be boring." Until then, I'll be holding down the keys, making sure that whatever tears that fall are not in anger or sadness, but celebration, that our world could even begin to hold such an incredible talent, spirit and genius. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. --Tess
10 Panic! At The Disco Songs That'll Help You Move On
Love is a fickle thing. It comes and goes faster than you can snap your fingers. Certain bands have a way of documenting the bitterness you feel after a break-up, or the freedom of taking a break. Panic! At The Disco is one of those bands. So, if you've been hurt or tricked, heart-broken or forgotten, this one's for you. 1. Nicotine / Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die! Bitter break-ups are a real thing. Trust me, I've been there. Sometimes you get addicted to a person and the way they make you feel. Losing control and hope can lead to freedom...but more or less it just results in a dependence on destruction. Nicotine is an ode to that. When people become addictive, we know it's probably time to move on, just for our own safety. When you enter a relationship that is unstable and exciting, we can fall into bad habits, and just like Nicotine...that person could very well ruin your life. Best Lyric: "Just one more hit and then we're through / cause you could never love me back." 2. Mercenary / Batman Arkham City Soundtrack A lot of fans missed this song because of its limited release. But it's a fantastic song to listen to right after you break up with someone and need reassurance that yes, being alone is hard, but it's better than being jerked around. Best Lyric: I dodge the blast and apologize for collateral damage. Because while we can't save every relationship, we can acknowledge what we learned from the worst ones. 3. Nearly Witches (Ever Since We Met) / Vices Virtues Much like Nicotine, this song centers on the idea of addiction. The person you're with gives you a feeling like no other, and when that crash lands to earth and the honeymoon is over...your feelings have to deal. When something is really really good, and we end up having to let it go for some reason, we almost wish it never happened. By removing the experience of that person, we don't have to feel the pain. Best Lyric: "Ever since we met / I only shoot-up with your perfume / Its the only thing / that makes me feel as good as you do / ever since we met / I've got just one regret to live through/ and that one regret is you." 4. Turn off the Lights / Vices Virtues, Bonus Track After being single for a little while, this song became my anthem. It nails that empty feeling you get after you leave someone for the last time. Things are never easy after you get hurt, or you hurt someone else. But escaping...into a world of your choosing whether it be work, playing music, or finding someone new, could be the anecdote to your love-sick heart. I identify with this song because it's very honest. The lyrics ring out like a lost call over a forgotten battlefield, "Our consciences are always so much heavier than our egos." Sometimes the scariest moments in our lives are when we're forced to be alone with our thoughts. Best Lyric: "I've got my heavy heart to hold me down / once it falls apart / my head's in the clouds." 5. Time To Dance / A Fever You Can't Sweat Out Heavily inspired by Chuck Palahniuk "Invisible Monsters", Time To Dance is an exposing of the fickle nature of beauty and the effect on our relationships with others. When you leave a relationship or are reluctant to move on, there's going to be a lot of anger involved. You're going to feel like you're being pulled in a lot of different directions, and your friends, parents, whoever...are all going to want to weigh in on what you do. "Give me a break" is a lyric that you'll hear in your head over and over again. Sometimes all you need when you're trying to move on is the attention of someone else. Best Lyric: "Give me envy, give me malice, give me your attention, give me envy, give me malice, give me a break." 6. Bittersweet / Vices Virtues Bonus Track When you're trapped in a relationship that you know is doomed, you can often feel like you're setting yourself up for failure. A trap. Bittersweet is the perfect song to soundtrack your hopeless devotion to someone you know won't last for long. There are so many things wrong with this person and this relationship, but you can't pull yourself away. Ever experience that? There is a downside to literally everything, but sometimes you just need that. You have to have that disastrous relationship in order to figure out when things are really really good. Best Lyric: "All that hate is gonna burn you up / it keeps me warm at night." 7. Northern Downpour / Pretty Odd Every break-up or change has that "I'm sad and I need to cry about this for a few minutes" song. Northern Downpour is that song. It's about missing someone. It's about longing for the past. We all go through those moments. Even though we want to be the people who say "fuck 'em!" and move on, we can't always do that. It's not possible or healthy. Sometimes we just have to cry it out and be fond for the times when we were happy. People come and go, and that 's not an easy thing to cope with...but our worlds never stop turning. Best Lyric: "I missed your skin when you were East / You clicked your heels and wished for me." 8. This is Gospel / Too Weird to Live Too Rare to Die Things end for a reason. Whether they were doomed from the start, or just became that way because of new people, new situations, or new personality traits emerging doesn't matter. What matters is that things are falling apart, and rather than committing to polishing the brass on the Titanic, you have to let it go. There is an old adage, "If you love something let it go." And even though the fear of being alone can cripple you, you have to take the dive, and let things go, because somewhere down the line, you'll thank yourself. Best Lyric: If you love me let me go. 9. Hallelujah! / Death of a Bachelor This is the "I'm owning up to my past romantic mistakes and moving on" song. For all the bachelors and bachelorettes who seem to jump from person to person without so much as a passing glance, this one is for you. Reforming your ways and wanting to settle down isn't a crime. "In a state of emergency, who was I trying to be?" If you're trying to fill the void with people, you know there has to be another way to make yourself happy. Each casual affair ends worse than the last, and if you can't figure out why you keep failing...just listen to the music. Best Lyric: "Nobody wants you when you have no heart." 10. New Perspective / Jennifer's Body Soundtrack Okay, so we know what we did wrong. We know all the people we've hurt. We know we need to change...so how? "Stop there and let me correct it / I wanna live a life from a New Perspective." Sometimes when things keep failing, we need to change how we see things. Moving on is all about getting a new perspective on life. We have to look for different qualities in people. We have to grow up a little bit. So if your previous relationships are utter failures, that doesn't have to dictate your romantic future. You have control over this. Give yourself a break and learn from your mistakes. Heartbreak aside...you'll get through it. It's okay, you can move on. Best Lyric: "We move along in some new passion knowing everything is fine.
9 Pop-Punk Songs You Forgot You Loved
You lived and died by these bands, and they're still just as good. Get your nostalgia on and listen to your old favorites as if they were brand new. Music doesn't have an expiration date, and if you loved something once upon a time, you probably still do right? The early 2000's had their share of amazing bands...but these ones characterize a time in my life where I was innocent, hell-bent on doing well in school and trying to get my future in control. I had no problems whatsoever, but felt like the world was falling down around me. Man...I was an idiot. Let's take a look back at the tracks that defined us and remember what we were like when they did. 1. Fall Out Boy / Thnks Fr Th Mmrs This is the perfect song to kick off our little trip through time right? Fall Out Boy is still huge, and arguably better than ever, but this song is still a classic. I can remember getting chills every time I heard it on the radio. Because even though the radio stations primarily played all of the "pop garbage" you'd hear on the daily...Fall Out Boy was always there to cut through it. 2. We've Got A Big Mess On Our Hands / The Academy Is... This song was my JAM. The first lines spoke to my soul, "I've got that lefty curse where everything I do is flipped and awkwardly reversed / you're seldom known and barely missed / I always put myself in destructive situations." This was like my number one angsty teenage tune. Though this group broke up in 2011 they're reuniting for a tour this winter! An I may be there ;) 3. I Write Sins, Not Tragedies / Panic! At The Disco A band with an exclamation point in their name!? Come On. The original line-up of Panic! is at it's peak on their debut "A Fever You Can't Sweat Out." I remember seeing this band at my first real concert, they opened for Fall Out Boy and played for like...15 minutes. But they were incredible. Apparently Panic! got a record deal before they played a single show live. Man...I wish my band had done that. 4. Snakes on a Plane (Bring It!) / Cobra Starship feat. Travie McCoy, Maja and William Beckett This song was the coolest thing since sliced bread. We all loved it because it was from the soundtrack of one of the most absurd movies ever. The movie birthed an even more absurd song. This is still a go-to Karaoke track for my friends and I. We all take a different part. I of course, sing the high chorus because William Beckett sang it. And I loved him. Why not. 5. Dear Maria Count Me In / All Time Low My band used to play graduation parties...and when we covered this song, it was a huge hit! There's nothing like an infectious pop hook coupled with slashing guitars and raw energy. All Time Los is still around today, and their newest record Future Hearts is pretty great...but nothing brings back the memories like "Dear Maria Count Me In." It's just infectious. 6. Cupid's Chokehold / Gym Class Heroes feat. Patrick Stump "Take a look at my girlfriend / she's the only one I got." This song was heard at every school dance I can remember. Gym Class Heroes was the pop / punk / hip hop act of your dreams. The innovative musical style and romantic lyrics of this track drew in a lot of people. Fun fact for you, lead singer Travie McCoy dated Katy Perry for a while...and she even makes an appearance in this video. 7. Pressure / Paramore This was the first Paramore song I really liked. I remember singing it in my basement with a karaoke track, trying to hit the high notes in the chorus. Every girl wanted to be Hayley Williams...and I think some still do. This is the song you'd scream after you broke up with your high school boyfriend. Cause like...why not. 8. My Friends Over You / New Found Glory Arguably the catchiest song on this list, My Friends Over You, is still an anthem for everyone who values the age old adage friends over boyfriends. There's nothing better than screaming this track at the top of your lungs in the car with your best friends. This band was one of the first pop-punk acts I got into and they still rock. Their latest track "Vicious Love" features Hayley from Paramore. 9. American Idiot / Green Day This band rocked my world, literally. They opened the door of musical expression and gave me permission to be myself. The minute I saw this music video on MTV in 6th grade, my life changed. This song means so much to me. It is a fearless call to action, for us to not follow the rules. Green Day was just inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and for good reason. They're an extremely individual act, who inspired nearly every other act on this list. Gotta end with the most influential right? Which song was your favorite!?
10 My Chemical Romance Songs You'll Never Forget
Some songs live in your head forever. They're the tunes you hear late at night when you turn off your mind and close your eyes. Most of the songs I hear are MCR songs. During a very specific time in our lives, My Chemical Romance filled the voids left by our friends, families, teachers and anyone else we felt alienated by. They saved our lives. Whether you were a fan, musician or just an observer: MCR became your strength. It is extremely hard to narrow it down to 10, and I'll probably regret not recognizing a few more songs since their entire catalogue is a testament to greatness...but I tried. In the dark days of teenage angst, missed love connections and general confusion about life itself My Chemical Romance called us to arms: We are stronger than we think, and we will never let them take us alive. Here are 10 MCR songs that had a profound impact on me, I'd love to hear yours. 1. Famous Last Words / The Black Parade This song was the anthem. The song that we could all turn to when everything else was lost in the shadows. Whatever got us down, high school, family, other people or the future: we had Famous Last Words. The legendary chorus screams, "I am not afraid to keep on living / I am not afraid to walk this world alone." And those words helped us validate ourselves. Things are not as scary if we can own our independence. Realizing that you're incomplete, or working on something is the first step into the light. These words are our weapons. This song is a powerful message that some of us tattooed on ourselves, wore on shirts, and committed to memory. There is nothing we can't do. 2.Headfirst for Halos The catchy beat and poppy chorus of this tune gave us an intimate look at the duality of MCR. Most people have two sides to them, the one they show the world, and the one they keep to themselves. Most of us have a little bit more going on inside than we like to admit, and Headfirst For Halos proves we're not alone. Depression, anxiety, and other internal struggles were talked about by this band. They helped us fight. Whether we were on the brink of a breakdown or just struggling for a moment, we realized that nothing is ever so bad that it can't change. 3. Desert Song / Life On The Murder Scene (Bonus Track) Arguably the darkest song the band ever released, Desert Song is never far from my memory. It describes something very close to me, the idea of mortality. I fight it every day. Most of my anxiety stems from the feeling of running out time, the feeling of not ever being able to live. One sequence of lyrics sets itself apart as the though I can never seem to verbalize myself, "From the lights to the pavement / from the van to the floor / from backstage to the doctor / from the earth to the morgue." It's madly melancholy. It alludes to the idea of performance as an escape, or a way to avoid the inevitable. I know a lot of musicians, actors and entertainers can feel this. It's a musical representation of the hollow feeling you get after you leave the stage, or the place you really belong. It's inhuman. Sad. Longing. Desperate. It's remarkable. 4.Early Sunsets Over Monroeville / I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love This was actually the first track Frank Iero tracked with the band, and it's truly unique. We get introduced to the macabre, gray world of MCR and we get a sense of the band's identity. Hauntingly beautiful, Monroeville is a stand out track because of its personality. You can imagine two ghosts dancing to its beat in the moonlight, their steps treading lightly on a concrete floor. The chorus moves them unlike any earthly thing could. That is the essence of MCR. 5.This is How I Disappear / The Black Parade This song appeals to that carnal side of us that just wants to destroy things. It's angry, brash and more akin to the hardcore side of the band. You can feel the influence of The Misfits and other Jersey bands that ended up shaping the vibe of MCR. "Away with the boys in the band." We all wanted to go away with them. There is still that theatricality to the song, which lets us know that we're in the middle of a rock opera, and not just another run-of-the-mill rock record. The Black Parade as a unit could not have worked without this song. It is an essential moving part. 6.Kill All Your Friends / The Black Parade (B Side) I have a very specific memory associated with this song. You ever remember exactly where you were when you listened to a song? I remember being on the bus, headed to school in 8th grade. I was fighting with a few of my friends. My world was changing. I was about to enter high school and I had a lot of thinking to do. This song made me feel better about leaving people behind. Although it was blunt, a little brash and altogether emotional, I knew that this time would prepare me for crazier times as an adult. 7. I Never Told You What I Did For A Living / Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge As macabre and theatrical as this song is, it's rooted in reality. I think it takes the idea of who you are when the lights go off and magnifies it. What is our reality? Who are we when nobody is around. There's a lot of mischief and mayhem that happens when you're figuring out who you are, and this song made us feel more included. Plus, it was incredibly energetic, loud and everything we wanted out of an MCR song. 8.Helena / Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge Yes, this was the single that everyone knew, and yes it was commercial, but it reached millions because it was passionate. An ode to Gerard and Mikey Way's grandmother, this track opened every wound and helped it heal, by exposing real, genuine sorrow. Losing things or people can lead to a lot of heartbreak. It can force you into the dark corners of your mind that you didn't even know existed. MCR made you realize that all of the darkness is okay. Most of us realized when we saw this music video, that MCR was not your typical band. They were on our side. In order to move forward we must use our issues, our sorrow, our setbacks. We ignite them. We can survive. 9. The Only Hope For Me Is You / Danger Days This is one of those songs that a lot of people missed. Danger Days was an album that a lot of people missed. I remember listening to this when I felt as if nothing could be done about my life. Darkness comes to mind. The lyrics describe a desperate call for comradeship in a cold, cruel world. It's a masterfully written rock and roll track with a swelling, emotional chorus. It uses all the elements that make MCR so relatable, and swirls them around in a blender, creating this devastating track. The desperation you feel when you're trying to connect can be felt in each word. It's beautiful. 10. The Kids From Yesterday This is my favorite My Chemical Romance song, hands down. Coming out near the end of their career, The Kids From Yesterday is the perfect blend of melancholy and joy. It sheds light on the reverence you have for the times you were innocent, carefree and genuinely excited about life. Admitting that something is over can be the saddest thing in the world. How we get out of that by having the ability to look back without anger is the real goal. When the band said their goodbyes, lead singer Gerard Way saith that MCR can live forever, because it is not a band, it's an idea. That idea stays with us to this day. MCR will never die, and the words still mean something. Everything goes away, but music is eternal.
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