My Most Played: 2019

I don’t use Spotify that often, so I can’t get my stats from them. But I know who I obsessed over the most this year and I just felt like sharing.

(Note: This list is not strictly limited to bands that released new music in 2019, it is simply comprised of who I had on repeat over the last twelve months.)

1. Alter Bridge

I know, I know. Duh, right? When do I not have AB on repeat? They are my favorite band, after all.

Alter Bridge released Walk the Sky in October and made me fall in love all over again. I also saw them for the sixth time this year and met lead guitarist Mark Tremonti for the fifth time. There is nothing better than a talented band who are also humble and kind.

2. Rammstein

I promise, I’m not late to the party. I have been listening to Rammstein for years. However, for some reason, they skyrocketed to the top of my list in 2019. Perhaps it was due to my absolute adoration of “Puppe,” from their untitled May release. Whatever the cause, I now have a legit Rammstein collection and have spent too much time and money on them. Ha!

3. Sköld

I didn’t discover Tim Sköld as a solo artist until 2017, but he has been a major music crush ever since. When he released Never Is Now back in April, I preordered it without question. I love every track.

2019 brought me the opportunity to see — and meet! — Tim. It was a great experience, made even better by the fact that his touring keyboardist was Nero Bellum (of Psyclon Nine fame). I have been a fan of Nero’s even longer than Tim, so meeting him was truly the cherry on top of an amazing day.

4. Echo Black

It all started with Instagram. I did a tiny little blurb about this band back in…2017?…and added them to my playlists and a wishlist of those I’d love to see in concert. Coincidentally, they were opening for Sköld on his Never Is Now tour.

I wrote an entire post about them after the show. You can read it here. The short version is this: they were great live, their music kicks ass, and the band members are absolute dolls.

5. Emigrate

Okay. I’ll admit, I didn’t know Rammstein’s lead guitarist — Richard Kruspe — had another band until last year. My enjoyment of them reached full-blown obsession in 2019. They are just so unbelievably good! Honestly, I think I like them more than Rammstein…

6. Lindemann

Another Rammstein side project, this time from Till Lindemann. I once described Lindemann’s first album as “Till being Till, just in English,” and I stand by it. A friend of mine told me that their 2019 release, F & M, is basically Rammstein lite (as the album is entirely in German).

Whatever comparisons I or others have made, I still love Lindemann.

7. Skynd

One of my newer discoveries, Skynd has an interesting approach to writing songs: they focus entirely on stories of true crime. I was hooked from the instant I heard their first single, “Gary Heidnik,” and the tracks “Jim Jones” and “Katherine Knight” have put Skynd on my Favorites list. Even my mom enjoys them.

8. Optic Oppression

I discovered Optic Oppression thanks to the Sköld tour, and now I can’t go a day without listening to them. They just released a new record, Halfway to Hell, and it is fire!

For a more detailed reaction to Optic, read the Bands You Should Know I wrote about them.

9. Third Realm

I have been a fan of Third Realm for several years, starting back when I was in college. I simply stumbled across them on YouTube one day.

Recently, The Art of Despair came out and I bought it for myself for Christmas. There’s not a single song I need to skip while listening to it, though my favorites are the title track, “Garden of Lust,” and “Medusa.”

10. Asking Alexandria

I hated AA the first time I saw them in 2011. I thought they were just…terrible. Then I heard the self-titled album and saw them touring for it, and I am now a certified fan.

They seem to be trying a new direction (again), based on this year’s single “The Violence,” and I’m 100% behind that. I want band’s to explore their creativity rather than sticking to the same mundane sound, so I applaud Asking Alexandria for trying to grow.

And that’s it. These are the ten bands/artists who got me through 2019. I am looking forward to what they will do in the future, and I hope to discover new music to get excited about in 2020.

Happy New Year!

Too Busy For Blogging

I keep trying to get back into a regular posting schedule, but life has been determined to intervene. After my grandmother passed in October, my best friend’s mother-in-law died. I was there for her and her husband, and to be honest I was emotionally drained. My dad noticed and planned a spur-of-the-moment trip to the beach.

I can’t tell y’all how much I needed the three days of sun, sand, and sea. Despite the fact that it was November, the weather was gorgeous. I was able to wade in the water and bask in the sun (with a lightweight jacket on). I even got a touch of sunburn.

Since then, it’s just been…change. I’m searching for a new job and trying to get things ready for Christmas. Last week, I took a day trip to Cathedral Caverns with my parents, which was nice.

2019 has had its ups and downs. I won’t say the year has been bad, necessarily, but I am hoping 2020 is better. And it will certainly start that way — I’m going to see Alter Bridge again in February.

Anyway, for those who care, I wanted to give an update. I also wanted to let y’all know there will be some end-of-year posts, I’m just not sure I can keep up with the Playlist Challenge or a weekly featured band right now.

Here are more pictures from the beach and the expedition in Cathedral Caverns! I hope this blog finds you all well.

Gulf Shores

Cathedral Caverns

This is Goliath, one of the largest stalagmites in the world, 45 feet tall and 243 feet in circumference.

“The Improbable”: a 27-feet high stalagmite, growing on a 3-inch base and at a 45 degree angle to the stone below it.

My Lack of Posts

I didn’t share a new music post on Sunday; there have been no updates to the playlist challenge and no featured band or album of the week. I’m pretty sure there won’t be any posts next week, either. I apologize to the followers who actually pay attention, but everything kinda went to hell recently.

My grandmother has been sick and in the nursing home for a while. She was diagnosed with COPD and congestive heart failure years ago. Otherwise, though, she was healthy.

She has had stomach issues her entire life, and for the last couple of years she’s been in and out of the hospital, complaining of nausea and pain. Well, last week she was once again in the hospital for those symptoms. Her doctor told her that there was nothing else he could do unless she allowed them to do an endoscopy and actually figure out why she had those symptoms. She refused the procedure. My mom asked her why and my grandmother said she didn’t want to know. If it was serious, she felt like they couldn’t help her anyway. (Bear in mind, she’s 89.)

My mom and I both talked to her last Wednesday, right after she was released from the hospital and sent back to the nursing home. The very next day, my great aunt called and told us that she was dying.

She is in the final stages of COPD and congestive heart failure. Her lungs are filled with fluid. She is no longer responsive, though that could be because they are keeping her dosed with morphine for the pain. She has a DNR in place, so basically they can do nothing but make sure she’s comfortable.

I ask that anyone who reads this send up a prayer, positive thoughts, or whatever it is you do. This is a very difficult time, especially for my mom, and we need all the comfort we can get.

Thank you.