Video: Relient K: “Be My Escape” Anniversary Lyric Video
Nancy Hoang   |   December 17, 2014   |   Videos 

Man, MMHMM is ten years old. *deep breath* The feels man, the feels. The Relient K team released a lyric video to their classic, “Be My Escape,” with footage from their MMHMM 10th Anniversary tour and now I just feel old. My biggest priority in grade school was making sure I got home by 5pm so that I could watch music videos on TRL. Now listen up kiddos, when the original “Be My Escape” music video would make the top ten on TRL, nine year old me would fangirl so hard. I fangirled for Relient K when “fangirl” wasn’t even a term yet. Ah man, just leave me to my nostalgia.

P.S. sweet hair Matt Thiessen.


Video: Crofts Family: “Merry Christmas, Marry Me”
Nancy Hoang   |   December 11, 2014   |   Videos 

Because I love Christmas music and this original song written by Callie Crofts is great. I had been repeatedly playing the iTunes preview of this track for days because I’m cheap and didn’t want to pay for it, so you can imagine how excited I was when the music video for the song was released on YouTube. Give it a listen, or a watch, or both above!


mp3: The Neighbourhood: “#icanteven”
Nancy Hoang   |   December 11, 2014   |   New Tracks 

The Neighbourhood are just so cool and hip that I can’t even string together words adequate enough to describe them.


Concert Review: Pandora Discovery Den Holiday Concert (12/06)
Nancy Hoang   |   December 8, 2014   |   Concert Reviews, Photos 


Last night the Grand Ballroom at the Manhattan Center was cast in a calming blue light with giant, ornate snowflakes hanging from the ceiling. I’d like to say the decorations were because they really enjoy winter over at the Manhattan Center but really, it was for Pandora’s Discovery Den Holiday Concert. With Rudimental, Kiesza, and The Neighbourhood set to perform, it was going to be a pretty stacked night of killer performances; the wait times between acts could also be considered killer. Interestingly, Skylar Astin and John C. McGinley from Ground Floor came out to introduce the first act and their (probably last minute) awkward introduction was forgotten by the time Rudimental came on.

When Rudimental took to the stage, it instantly became a party in the Grand Ballroom. The packed audience danced and waved their glow sticks in the air to what was a mercilessly fun performance. A definite set highlight was “Waiting All Night” thanks to its killer vocals but this was a constant factor throughout their set. There was not a single point in which vocal performance faltered and that was pretty impressive with the never-ending motion and dancing happening onstage. There were moments when Piers Agget and DJ Locksmith could be seen running around the stage like they were kids in a candy store. It was obvious that everyone onstage was having a blast and that resonated out to the audience.

But while Rudimental’s dancing caught my eye, it did not compare once Kiesza’s performance began. From the instant she stepped onstage, her sense of relatability to the audience was indisputable. It was nice to see her quickly engaging with people in the crowd and having that warmth returned back to her. And then things got real serious when Kiesza removed her jacket, became alone onstage, and delivered a shiver-inducing rendition of “Sound of a Woman” from her album of the same name. The serious moment ended when Kiesza’s dancers became armed with bubble guns and she lit up her mic stand. And when this mic stand was glowing red during “Over Myself,” it was amazing to see her adoring fans in the audience also change their glow sticks to red. Kiesza closed her stellar set with her hit single, “Hideaway,” to colossal cheering.

The end of Kiesza’s set brought forth The Neighbourhood who went onstage at a perfect (not late at all) 10:50 pm. Lead vocalist Jesse Rutherford stated that the band would only be in New York for their give or take 40 minute performance so they got straight to business. With a backdrop of black and white static playing behind them, The Nbhd’s set started off with “Everybody’s Watching Me (Uh Oh).” The audience naturally moved even closer to the stage, making use of every possible open square inch while singing every word to The Nbhd’s songs. I was pleasantly surprised to hear my personal favorite, “Jealou$y,” mostly because I think it sounds like Sexy Sax Man. What fans have named “sexophone” in this track is just the best.

Pandora chose the perfect set of artists for their holiday concert because each act was completely on point with their performances. With concert-goers parading around in their blue Pillsbury beanies and colorful glow sticks, the holiday concert was overall a really chill and enjoyable experience. Just a bit of advice for next time Pandora, maybe invite Ryan Gosling to introduce the acts? And then introduce him to me? Just saying.


Photos: New Politics @ Irving Plaza (11/25)
Nancy Hoang   |   December 5, 2014   |   Photos 

I have a lot of faith in New Politics’ ability to put on a show and considering the amount of times that I’ve been fortunate enough to see them perform live, I’m encroaching upon fangirl status – a label I will be proud to don. NP’s show during Thanksgiving week in New York City was absolutely splendid. I have nothing but accolades for their immaculate stage presence and musical talent. While I’m sad that lead vocalist, David Boyd, did not make a circle pit in the crowd to break dance in at this particular show, their set at Irving Plaza was flawless nonetheless. There’s really no words to fully describe the magic that is a New Politics concert so go ahead and imagine for yourself with the photos below.

New Politics is David Boyd, Soren Hansen, Louis Vecchio.


mp3: Ariana Grande: “Santa Tell Me”
Nancy Hoang   |   December 1, 2014   |   New Tracks, News 

I am such a fan of Ariana’s Christmas songs and any haters can take a step to the left because I’m not having any of that bullshit. (Talkin’ to you Bette Midler.) Ariana’s 2013 Christmas Kisses EP is still great and I play it all year round. “Snow in California” is in general, one of my favorite Ariana Grande songs so I was naturally very excited to learn that she released a new holiday single. “Santa Tell Me” is available on iTunes riiiiight meow and it’s great.

iHeartRadio Jingle Ball Tour Dates:
12/05/2014 – Los Angeles, CA @ Staples Center
12/06/2014 – Rosemont, IL @ Allstate Arena
12/08/2014 – St. Paul, MN​​​ @ Xcel Energy Center
12/10/2014 – ​Philadelphia, PA​​ @ Wells Fargo Center
12/12/2014​ – New York, NY @ Madison Square Garden
12/15/2014​ – Washington, DC @ Verizon Center
12/21/2014 – ​Sunrise, FL @ BB&T Center


Video: Taking Back Sunday: “All The Way”
Nancy Hoang   |   December 1, 2014   |   News, Videos 

How do I feel about Taking Back Sunday’s “All The Way”? I have all the feels. Like, so many of them. Real talk tho, TBS are releasing Happiness Is: The Complete Recordings on February 24th via Hopeless Records and they’re going on tour!

Tour Dates:
02/18/2015 – New Orleans, LA @ Civic Theatre
02/19/2015 – Houston, TX @ House of Blues
02/20/2015 – Austin, TX @ Emo’s
02/21/2015 – Dallas, TX @ South Side Ballroom
02/22/2015 – El Paso, TX @ TBA
02/24/2015 – Las Vegas, NV @ House of Blues
02/25/2015 – Riverside, CA @ Riverside Municipal Auditorium
02/26/2015 – San Diego, CA @ House of Blues
02/27/2015 – Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Palladium
02/28/2015 – Santa Ana, CA @ The Observatory
03/01/2015 – San Francisco, CA @ The Warfield Theatre
03/03/2015 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Complex
03/04/2015 – Denver, CO @ Summit Music Hall
03/06/2015 – Chicago, IL @ Riviera Theatre
03/08/2015 – Milwaukee, WI @ The Rave
03/10/2015 – Cleveland, OH @ House of Blues
03/11/2015 – Detroit, MI @ The Fillmore
03/13/2015 – Toronto, ON @ Danforth Music Hall
03/14/2015 – Montreal, QC @ Metropolis
03/15/2015 – Albany, NY @ Upstate Concert Hall
03/16/2015 – Buffalo, NY @ Town Ballroom
03/18/2015 – New York, NY @ Best Buy Theater
03/21/2015 – Philadelphia, PA @ Electric Factory
03/24/2015 – Huntington, NY @ The Paramount
03/26/2015 – Boston, MA @ House of Blues
03/27/2015 – Worcester, MA @ The Palladium
03/28/2015 – Baltimore, MD @ Rams Head Live
03/29/2015 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
04/01/2015 – Atlanta, GA @ Buckhead Theatre
04/02/2015 – Tampa, FL @ The Ritz Ybor
04/03/2015 – Lake Buena Vista, FL @ House of Blues
04/04/2015 – Fort Lauderdale, FL @ Revolution Live


Concert Review: SomeKindaWonderful @ Irving Plaza (11/25)
Nancy Hoang   |   December 1, 2014   |   Concert Reviews 

It was a short but sweet set for Cleveland’s SomeKindaWonderful on Tuesday night at Irving Plaza. The show was sold out and the queue of loyal New Politics fans wrapped around the corner of the block. As the second act on the bill, it was barely 7 o’clock by the time SKW stepped onstage to a nearly packed venue. SomeKindaWonderful opened their set with a rocking performance of “Police,” off their self-titled debut album, and it really set the mood for the remainder of their set. The smooth R&B/rock feel had the packed venue vibing along as the band performed in front of a glowing butterfly onstage.

As the band continued to play, the only open space left in Irving was around the bar area. Here, you could see concert go-ers dancing in pairs to the spiraling chorus of “Hard For Days.” But amongst the standing crowd, parents could be seen nodding along to the music—my favorite thing to witness at concerts. SKW took a moment to greet the crowd after the second song, speaking briefly about calling L.A. and Cleveland home and a bit about their love for New York.

After introducing their single, “Reverse,” a few cheers in the crowd were heard. There seemed to be a lot of the band’s “butterfly militia” (their fan base name) amongst the crowd as “Reverse” was surely the set highlight. Vocalist Jordy Towers would lean over the stage as he belted out the song’s biting lyrics. “I tell my story in reverse ‘cuz it hurts, girl it hurts too much to bare… but if I could do it again, I would do it again.” Despite being somewhat of a slower song, the single had a powerful feel to it, easily swaying the audience to its rhythms and spooky chants. SomeKindaWonderful owned their short six song set with an authoritative set list and stage presence.

 Photography by Emily Korn

Connect with Emily:


Is This The New Default Aesthetic for Music Videos?
Nancy Hoang   |   September 1, 2014   |   Opinion, Videos 

Disclaimer: I’ve taken one film class in my college career so I consider myself aptly qualified to make these assumptions on the creative direction of today’s music videos.

The beauty in music videos for me is being able to pin point the time period in which a video was made. With fashion trends and specific musical genres, being able to guess what decade a music video is from becomes easy — not to mention mainstream media’s tendency to just copy what’s currently working, never really pushing boundaries. (Unless you’re Miley that is.) With that said, I believe I’ve cracked the code for the music video formula of today’s music scene. Ready?

Unforgiving & unsettling eye contact with the camera
random (but slightly relevant) wide angle footage
VEVO masterpiece.

*Emeril voice* BAM! There you have it. The recipe for success. I fell upon this discovery while watching the music video for Troye Sivan’s “Happy Little Pill.” With my poor internet game these days, I’ll openly admit that I’m very late in viewing this music video. If it weren’t for Troye’s BTS showing up in my subscription feed, I would’ve never known the music video for his single was released. But around the 0:23 mark when I found myself face to owl face, it had clicked in my unhinged mind that I’ve seen something like this before.

“But what makes these two videos work so well is that they both directly feed into today’s hipster mindset” A couple of tabs later and suddenly I was staring into Lorde’s pale blue eyes in her music video for “Royals.” Why Troye’s “Happy Little Pill” reminded me of last summer’s smash hit was clear as day once I saw the correlation between the two: random ass footage thrown in willy nilly for what seems like shits and giggles! But what makes these two videos work so well is that they both directly feed into today’s hipster mindset of “I’m trying to make it look like I don’t care and didn’t try when in reality I went through so many Instagram filters for this final product. #nofilter” Troye’s video takes it a bit further by doing what looks like putting on a layer of #b270aa and setting the Blend Mode to lighten. (Hah, Photoshop jokes, amirite?)

Now let me defend my opinions before any Troye fans troll me: I completely understand Troye’s aesthetic with his EP and where his marketing team/label are taking his creative direction. His music career isn’t the same as his YouTube career in the slightest so any previous thought that his humor and YouTube sensibility would make it into the HLP music video is uncalled for and a mistake on my part. I would’ve rather watched a quirky video with more directional input from Troye but that doesn’t fit into today’s edgy & mysterious aesthetic — at least that’s what the labels think. If anything, I’m glad that Troye is self-aware of what he’s doing in the music video: “I’m just looking all serious out of the window and shit like that.” (h/t)

Rest Easy, Robin
Nancy Hoang   |   August 13, 2014   |   Blog 

“I love you with all my heart, with every cell, with every molecule, with every atom. I love you on a subatomic level.”

I’ve never felt such genuine sadness and loss for someone I’ve never met. Your brilliance and talent brought the world so much joy. It was this Christmas gift that first inspired me to pursue science. Thank you Robin Williams for bringing such happiness to my childhood and some guidance towards my future.

Rest in peace.
Make god laugh.