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!

Playlist Challenge, Day 775

Echo Black — “Reckless Heart”

Bands You Should Know: Echo Black

I have actually written about Echo Black before, but now that I’ve seen and met them, I have more to say.

First and foremost, Echo Black is definitely meant to be experienced live. I have rarely had more fun during a band’s set. The music made you want to dance — which vocalist Danny Blu did, a few times — and their level of enthusiasm was contagious. The quartet knew how to work a crowd, the interaction between band and audience creating that connected feeling that is best shared through music. The highlights for me were “Poison Apple” and the sing-along chorus of “Teach Me,” which seemed to get even the most reluctant people in the room to participate.

For those who don’t know, Echo Black hails from New York. They label themselves “dance rock” on Facebook and while accurate, their music blends multiple styles — including pop, rock, and electronica — into an eclectic mix that is super catchy and ridiculously pleasing to the ear. I stand by my comparison of Echo Black to Blutengel, Blaqk Audio, and Kill Hannah.

I can’t close this post without mentioning how sweet the guys were. I talked to bassist Rob Gnarly before the show, as well as Danny and drummer Billy Long. My mom actually ended up in a conversation with Billy after he commented on her Beatles shirt and honestly, if you’re nice to my mom, you win about 1000 points with me. I went to the merch table at the end of the night to finally buy a physical copy of Dawn, and Danny was only too happy to pose for a picture (and discuss contouring). A lasting impression was made, and I will definitely see Echo Black every chance I get.

As always, here are three of my favorite songs from the featured band! And you know I’m gonna urge you to stalk their various social media/music streaming accounts: official site, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Spotify, etc.

“Dawn”

“Poison Apple”

“Reckless Heart”

New Music (9/3 — 9/9)

Boston Manor – “England’s Dreaming”

Escape the Fate – “I Am Human”

I:Scintilla – “Swayed”

Stand Atlantic – “Lavender Bones”

Diamante – “Bulletproof”

Wolfheart – “The Saw”

Prime Circle – “Innocence”

YOB – “Original Face”

Kamelot ft. Lauren Hart – “Mindfall Remedy”

Holter – “I’ll Die For You”

Voivod – “Always Moving”

Madam X – “Monstrocity”

Steve Perry – “No More Cryin'”

Good Charlotte – “Prayers”

The Ocean – “Permian: The Great Dying”

Silk Road – “Take You Home”

Greta Van Fleet – “Watching Over”

Arsis – “Tricking the Gods”

P.O.D. – “Rockin’ With the Best”

Four Seconds Ago – “Listening Post Alpha”

Seventh Wonder – “The Everones”

Go the Rodeo – “Give Me Black”

Former Bride – “Hit Me Where It Hurts”

Echo Black – “Poison Apple”

Supersuckers – “History of Rock ‘N’ Roll”

Space Elevator – “W.Y.T.A.T.”

Fifth Angel – “Can You Hear Me?”

The Unity – “The Storm”

THEM – “Witchfinder”

Jeffrey Nothing – “Fragile Mind”

Hate Eternal – “Nothingness of Being”

Devilskin – “Endo”

5 Bands/Artists You Should Be Following (#5)

1. Fortunate Me

A hardcore/metalcore band from Idaho. For fans of Asking Alexandria, Of Mice and Men, Every Time I Die, etc. Check out their latest video below.

And the song that turned me on to them:

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2. Copper Bones

A hard rock/metal two-piece band from Florida. For fans of good rock music! I literally don’t know who to compare them to; there’s a hint of Brother Cane with a touch of an almost classic rock sound. Don’t take my word for it. Listen to “The Vulture.”

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3. January Jane

A pop/rock band from NYC. Slightly reminiscent of Fun and Maroon 5, with catchy sing-along moments, strong vocals, and music you can dance to. January Jane is currently working on new music. In the meantime, listen to “Take the Lions On.”

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4. Echo Black

A dance rock band from New York. For fans of Blaqk Audio, Blutengel, Kill Hannah, etc. I would highly suggest listening to multiple songs before forming an opinion, because these guys bring something different to the table every time. Here’s the title track from their debut album, Dawn.

And also, “Perfect,” which I just love.

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5. October Ends

A melodic metal band from the UK. For fans of All That Remains, Bullet For My Valentine, Lamb of God, etc. Check out the latest video for the track “Dismissal.”

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