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Barb Rocks' Best of 2017

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I know I'm behind on this as most blogs have already released their best of lists, but it's better late than never!

2017 was a big year of music for me.  A few of my favorite artists/bands released wonderful albums, plus there were many songs that touched my soul in one way or another.  Here's my Best of 2017 list, comprised of a few albums and some songs that ended up on repeat a lot, all with some commentary on why I selected each one.  The list could be longer, but I forced myself to keep it somewhat short as I know attention spans don't last long for such things.


Lorde - Melodrama
I've loved Ella Yelich-O'Connor since the first time I heard "Royals" via some small music blog, which was a good six months before the hit made it onto radio and propelled her into stardom.  Her debut album "Pure Heroin" was a breath a fresh air for me, something different from the mainstream Max Martin influenced pop that we hear daily, and "Melodrama" touched me just as deeply.  Each song adds it's own story to the house party concept album, with some raw emotions of a love lost and dealing with ones own reflection and pain.  I love the nostalgic feeling of "Supercut" and "Hard Feelings" really cut me deep, though I'm pretty sure I was already smitten when I heard "Green Light."


The War On Drugs - A Deeper Understanding
What a great follow up to "Lost In The Dream," which was my favorite album back in 2014.  This band just strikes a chord in me with their melodic shoegaze sound.  Perfect album to play in the background during a dinner party or while enjoying a fire pit with friends.  What a joy to see them in the Coachella 2018 line-up!


HAIM - Something To Tell You
One can't help to love the sisters HAIM with their harmonies and chick rock lyrics of love and life that I can relate to.  "Right Now" and "Want You Back" are stand-out tracks that had me yearning to hear the whole album, plus their set at the Fox Theater in Oakland (despite Danielle being sick) was an unforgettable night that tops my concert list for 2017.


Greta Van Fleet - From The Fires
If you haven't heard of this young Michigan band yet, then you better get schooled because their Led Zeppelin-era sound is taking over the airwaves.  I was lucky enough to be introduced to their 4-song EP "Black Smoke Rising" by a good friend of mine last summer and I was instantly hooked by their classic rock hooks and lead singer Josh Kiszka's wailing howl, which is very reminiscent of Robert Plant and would surely make him proud.  Composed of three brothers and a good friend, these 18-21 year olds are sure to become your next favorite rock band.


Halsey - Now Or Never
Oh how I love Halsey, let me count the ways.  She's just amazing with a sultry voice and heartfelt lyrics, plus add in that she's absolutely gorgeous.  I was so skeptical of her back when "New Americana" came out, but then I saw her live and was blown away, leading me to download "Badlands" and loving that album.  When I heard "Now or Never" last year, I was once again reminded how much I adore her and it became one of my go-to songs.  Maybe I should put the whole "Hopeless Fountain Kingdom" album on this list...


Banks - Underdog
When I heard that growling bark in the first verse, I was instantly hooked.  There's just something fierce and full of angst that resonates with me in this new single from the talented Los Angeles R&B pop singer.  I hope this tune brings in a new era of Banks, as I much prefer the fiery upbeat songs over the ballads.


Arcade Fire - Everything Now
This song combines a few of my favorite things: ABBA, Simple Minds, ABC, INXS, Tom Tom Club, and the Never Ending Story theme.  I love the 70's disco overtones with 80's New Wave undertones -- you can't help but dance to this catchy tune.  I was also a big fan of their live show; their whole branding was spot on with a boxing ring stage the band moved freely around on, providing that 360 feel for everyone in the arena.


Yoke Lore - Good Pain
Not many people know that Adrian Galvin used to drum for Walk The Moon, but he left the band due to artistic differences.  Last year he carved his own mark with some great singles & an EP, including this one that tops my list.  I have a feeling this is only the beginning of a fruitful musical endeavor as he continues to tell stories about how things are connected.  If you're wondering about the name, it's based on a yoke that binds things together, and lore, which is a set of stories.


Gryffin, Illenium, Daya - Feel Good
My favorite electro-pop song of the year, probably because I bonded with my camping neighbors at Coachella over it, which we experienced live in the Sahara tent.  Been a fan of Gryffin since I heard "Heading Home" in 2016 and I'm hoping he'll continually surprise me with good electronic tunes and remixes.  This song also introduced me to Illenium, who's album "Awake" is also worth a listen.


Alan Walker - The Spectre
My other favorite DJ, Alan Walker took my heart with his debut song "Faded" back in 2015, and again in 2016 with "Sing Me To Sleep" and "Alone."  2017 brings this Norwegian DJ to the forefront of the EDM scene, leading to a Coachella 2018 booking, which pleases me beyond my wildest electronic dreams.  Did you know that in early 2017, Walker's YouTube channel became the most subscribed channel registered in Norway?  And he's only 20 years old!


Imagine Dragons - Mouth Of The River
Let's be honest, Imagine Dragons haven't nailed a full album since their debut "Night Visions" even though I'll say that "Evolve" did surpass "Smoke + Mirrors" by far.  Despite that, this song really impacted me and ended up on repeat enough to make this list.  Maybe it's the choir-like feel of the chorus, or maybe it's that hard-hitting drum beat that syncs well with my heart.  Let's just say I sing out loud every time I hear it, especially  the part where Dan Reynolds chants "I'm pacing, and I'm pacing."


Walk The Moon - One Foot
Let's just call it my guilty pleasure, because this song just makes me smile and wanna dance.  From Nicholas Petricca's opening howls to the 80's synth pop feel of the music, it's one of those catchy earworms that gets stuck in your head for the rest of the day.  I often catch myself humming and singing the lyrics, all while remembering those high schools days dancing around my house to Duran Duran.  Even the video captures it's wild and upbeat feel that just radiates positivity.


K.Flay - Blood In The Cut
My girl Kristine has come so far since her Stanford days!  I'm just so proud to see an artist I've known since she first came out in the San Francisco Bay Area music scene make it big.  Getting signed to Dan Reynolds' Night Street Records and opening for his band on their Evolve Tour was just what she needed to thrust her into the spotlight and earn her a Grammy nomination.  Having suffered my own heart-break at the beginning of 2017, her lyrics really hit the spot, especially "lately, I’ve been killing all my time, reading through your messages my favorite way to die."


Planet Booty - Naked
Yes Planet Booty is on my management roster, but that doesn't necessarily mean I'm being biased here.  "Naked" is simply a great dance song with lyrics that make you smile.  You can't help but shake your booty when you hear it and I'm sure many have added this to their bedroom playlist for getting it on.  Every person that experiences this bootylicious trio's high energy live performance walks away in awe and sweat.  Trust me, this electro-funk band will someday hit mainstream radio and you'll remember you heard it here first.

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Get It On Vinyl Review of The Go Ahead's EP "In Harms Way"

Get It On Vinyl wrote the most amazing review of "In Harms Way" by The Go Ahead, stating "their synchronicity is as vibrant and beautiful as a freshly blooming flower after the rain" and "'In Harms Way' truly establishes their knack for capturing a mood and riding that wave of feelings into lyrical finesse."

Read the whole review and see why they say "The Go Ahead is an undiscovered gem with a charismatic sound and style."

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Balanced Breakfast Launches App On iOS & Android

You know that feeling you get when you realize you’ve found your tribe? For many, it feels like everything has clicked, and your journey has finally led you to a community that supports your efforts. This support gives you stronger motivation, you now have people who are counting on you. The people in your tribe want you to succeed, and they are by your side to aid you through the tough times. Sound like something you’re looking for? Good news! These are the core values of Balanced Breakfast!

Balanced Breakfast had its first meeting in 2013, with co-founders Stefan Aronsen and Andy Freeman. The original concept was a support group for their close friends. They envisioned a weekly breakfast meeting of five to ten friends around a small table at a diner in San Francisco. Their small group quickly grew, however, and in a short period of time Balanced Breakfast had spread to 20 U.S. cities and 2 international cities: Toronto and Bogota.

“In an industry where you often do business with friends, Balanced Breakfast is a way to find the friends you want to do business with.” - Andy Freeman

Balanced Breakfast meetings vary by location, but they share the same format; each meeting discusses solutions to the challenges that every professional faces in the music industry. Balanced Breakfast’s community helps launch individual careers by strengthening the city’s existing music scene. While there is a strong networking component to Balanced Breakfast, it is at its core about building community, and the idea that we are stronger together than we are alone—a philosophy that has allowed for its massive expansion in the three years since its inception.

“Breakfast was a good way to bring local communities together to chat about projects and discuss topics in the music industry” explains Aronsen. “When we started, I couldn’t have predicted how much interest there would be, both nationally and internationally. Other cities recognized the power of grassroots collaboration, the music and art that spring forth from that energy, and the meaningful human connections gained.”

In 2017, after nearly three years of eating breakfast and listening to the needs of music industry professionals, Stefan finally realized what music industry professionals needed. In an industry that thrives on who you know, members of BB were hungry for more connections to the scene. After heavy research into how professionals connect digitally, Stefan knew it was time to create the BB app. It was then that he recruited his long-time friend Levi Winkler to help him make Balanced Breakfast an LLC and launch its first product.

"Our city meetups created the physical foundation for Breakfast. The BB Music App provides our members a digital framework to build on that foundation," Levi says.

With the introduction of the brand new BB app, Balanced Breakfast is expanding its reach. They have experienced success with IRL meetings, the app will help increase the network reach, digitally. The goal of the app is similar to the goal of the meetings, aid people with finding community and offer a resource of industry information. Currently the app is a great way to find fans, musicians, and industry professionals in your city and around the world. Users can filter the people in the app based on profession, skill, genre, and specific needs, like “looking for show.” Ultimately, the app makes it more convenient than ever to connect with the community around you. It’s like LinkedIn for the music industry—but cooler … way cooler!

Download the BB Music App to start connecting with industry professionals in your city and around the world!

Check out the interview with Stefan Aronsen in The Prelude Press!

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Planet Booty Headlining The Independent 11/30

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After raining sweat across most of the US this Summer and Fall, Planet Booty ends their 2017 season with Sun Hop Fat and DJ Jah Yzer at The Independent on Thursday November 30th. Set your mind and booty free as you dance the night away.

Come get the new album ‘NAKED’ on vinyl, grab the new ‘NAKED’ T-shirt, and wish Dylan a Happy Birthday when he gets one year sexier onstage at the stroke of midnight (12/1)!  Don't forget to buy your tickets before this show sells out!

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The Go Ahead Release "About To Burst" Single

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After a few months on only being able to hear the new single on Live105's Soundcheck program, The Go Ahead release their long-awaited single "About To Burst" on all major outlets, followed by news that their new EP named In Harms Way will be coming on this Fall.  You can buy "About To Burst" on iTunes and stream the catchy tune on Spotify.

The Go Ahead was also featured in Infectious Magazine for their 'The Other Gig' series earlier this month.

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Planet Booty Hitting Midwest In Support Of TWRP

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Planet Booty returns to the Midwest in October, hitting six cities in support of the incredible TWRP out of Toronto. If your in the Midwest, you do not want to miss these shows -- the amount of ridiculousness and sweat simply cannot be measured. Get your tickets now!

10/3: Shank Hall - Milwaukee
10/4: First Avenue - Minneapolis
10/6: Subterranean - Chicago
10/7: Gabe's - Iowa City
10/9: House of Blues - Cleveland
10/10: The Pike Room - Detroit

Plus don't miss Planet Booty's next big Bay Area show at The Independent on Thursday, November 30th!!

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Planet Booty Release "Naked" Album + Release Show 9/9

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Electro-funk-dance trio Planet Booty dropped their new album "Naked" today!   The album is available on vinyl, as well as on all digital stores and streaming sites (links below).

Come celebrate the release at The Chapel in San Francisco on Saturday September 9th and funk out to the new tunes and of course your favorite Booty classics with special guest and queer glam punk queens Bitch Please.

LINKS:
iTunes: https://goo.gl/7PHXk9
Spotify: https://goo.gl/CTZo5j
Bandcamp: https://goo.gl/G9vDJK

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Barb Rocks Quoted In Soundfly Article On Booking Better Shows

Big thanks to Angela Mastrogiacomo from Muddy Paw PR for including me in her article about booking better shows for Soundfly!

“Many bands think that just posting on social media is enough to promote the show,” shares Barbara Wahli of booking agency Barb Rocks. “Few take the time to go to other shows with flyers in hand to network and promote their upcoming show. They forget that you need to go out and meet people to get new people interested in their band and attend shows.”

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Planet Booty Release New Single & Announce Pacific Northwest Tour

Planet Booty released their sexy summer single "Sex Is In The Air" today, which can be found on iTunes, Bandcamp, and SoundCloud.

The high-energy electro-funk/dance trio also announced their Pacific Northwest "NAKED Tour" Phase 2 with stops in Medford, Corvallis, Eugene, Hood River, Olympia, Seattle, and Portland, ending with them playing the Oregon Eclipse Festival at Big Prairie Summit. Plus don't miss their tour kick-off show in Oakland at the Starline Social Club on Friday July 28th.

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Martay Releases "Hate Me" Video + Discmakers Featuring Her Album Art

Martay released her official video for "Hate Me" last month, a song inspired by something her brother said to her when they were younger.

In other great news, Discmakers asked if they could feature Martay's album's artwork in their magazine!  Martay is so honored that she's offered to help others with their designs, album artwork, websites, marketing strategies, etc., so if you need graphics help, hit her up via her social media pages.

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Life Size Models Launch New Website & Promo Video

San Jose indie/alternative rockers Life Size Models launched their new website with new content, press quotes, and videos.  The band just finished a string of successful Bay Area shows, including a raved about performance at Bottom of the Hill in May.  LSM are also going into the studio the record new music, which I personally can't wait to hear.

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Planet Booty Announce Southwest Tour

Planet Booty's 'NAKED Tour' Phase One is hitting 9 cities with 1 mission: spread the funk!  Their Southwest tour starts in LA at The Hi Hat on Thurs June 1, then runs through Las Vegas at The Bunkhouse Saloon, followed by The Flycatcher in Tucson, Boxcar in Santa Fe, Barons in Grand Junction, Hi-Dive in Denver, Mezcal Tequileria in Albuquerque, Valley Bar in Phoenix, and ends with a bang at Starlite Lounge in Sacramento.  Don't miss this unforgettable band that will make you shake your booty and feel good about yourself!

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Management Roster Songs Played in SF Giants BallPark Radio Show!

I am proud to announce that you can officially hear music from The Go AheadPlanet Booty, and Lucas Gordon at San Francisco Giants and Oakland A's games in The Bay Area's BallPark Radio Show live from AT&T Park!

The online stream of this radio show will launch this weekend and there will be social media notification for all songs that play during the shows. There will also be a free app available in the iTunes app store first and android will soon follow. With the app, you will be able to share and tweet when the songs are played to let the fans know.

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The Bay Bridged Interview With Planet Booty

San Francisco music blog The Bay Bridged interviewed Oakland electro-funk trio Planet Booty about their upcoming show with Flynt Flossy and Turquoise Jeep at Great American Music Hall on Wed May 24th.  The interview with frontman Dylan Germick dives deep into the band's new album, their upcoming tours across the Southwest and Pacific Northwest, and their successful showcases at SXSW earlier this year.  The article also includes quotes from Krista Lettko, creative director at Authentic Audience, who is helping the band with social media, as well as myself on why I wanted to work with the band.  Be sure the read the whole feature and don't miss the show next week to see why everyone's talking about this high-energy band that gets everyone in the audience dancing and leaves an unforgettable impression with their stage presence!

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