What an amazing, surprising, and spectacular year 2013 has been for me. Looking back on my post from 2012 of the top 10 albums I said, “I think 2013 will be a great year for me. I can’t wait to just go all out and accomplish more than I have ever done”, and I did just that! I can’t believe I was able to photograph so many bands. Some bands I am still shocked I got to photograph, like Blink 182. For someone just starting in this whole new realm of concert photography, I think I accomplished a lot. However, I think the best that has happened was photographing Gaslight Anthem. The response I got from the photos has been amazing. My photos show up on tons of people’s Tumblr pages, but the best was when Brian Fallon shared one of my photos on his Instragram. Granted it isn’t published work, but knowing one of my favorite musicians seen my work and shared it is a great feeling.
Some other highlights were being able to photograph many abandoned places including an insane asylum. It was just amazing and I hope to go back. I bet you’d never hear someone say they are excited to go back to an insane asylum. Another highlight was working Warped Tour with Bridge Nine Records. It isn’t touring, but it was just enough. Lastly, I got to act in a movie. Even though it was a short and didn’t win the competition, I hear it is getting a worldwide video release, stay tuned.
Overall this year had all “ups” than “downs”. I think my only down was totaling my car, but the new one is 100 times better! 2012 was a bad year for me, probably my worst year. There was so much negative and hurt. I remember saying that the album by We Are the Union, You Can’t Hide The Sun, will be my soundtrack to 2013 and it truly was. Listen to that album and you will understand.
I can’t believe 2013 was this great. Sometimes I just felt like nothing is impossible and I impressed myself every day. Yet, we can’t forget the music 2013 either. This year I listened to more music than ever before and I feel the music business was healthy. So many good albums came out this year that making a top 10 was tough. I went through every album carefully and I must say the e.p.’s really shined. I am not one for short albums, but some bands did an excellent job. Now let’s cut to the chase and present my top 10 albums of 2013…
My tour buddies put out their 4th full length and it is different than their other releases. Different in a good way though. This album is filled with a lot of pop rock songs with the lyrics focusing on the changes of life. I will say there is a lot of use of synths on this album making it a very radio friendly album. Here’s to hoping the Fold gets more attention in the mainstream again. Sadly the album hasn’t been out long enough for me to get used to it and that is why it is number 10.
Song Recommendation: Moving Past
Jonathan Jones, of We Shot the Moon and Waking Ashland started a side band with singer Katy McAllister. A pop duo that has the potential to become something huge, Jonathan and Katy’s vocals together sounds amazing. For a seven song e.p., this album is a perfect summer album for anyone that just likes catchy, hook driven music. I don’t know if this is a one time album, but I think it could be something bigger.
Song Recommendation: To Fall In Love with You
Dave Elkins of Mae took time off before coming back to the music world. What we have is an album that has hints of Mae, but with more depth. I will say this album doesn’t believe in 2 minute songs. Most songs range from 4 to 6 minutes and there is a lot of different things going on from bass to piano to guitar. Some songs are straight up rock while others have interesting atmospheric feel to them. This is only the beginning, but I think Dave might be a musical genius.
Song Recommendation: Rampion Rogue
We Shot the Moon was on my list last year and again this year. Jonathan Jones is seriously a busy guy. Being an independent artist, he can put out music every year and he will next year. Love On is my second favorite album of We Shot the Moon. Jonathan went back to playing the piano rock music and it sounds better than ever. I wish he was bigger than some musicians out there, but hopefully time will tell when people start to realize how good he is.
Song Recommendation: Story Bridge
Technically a b-side album, Outroduction, flows like a full length album. Being deemed as the New Amsterdams last album, it features everything I like about Matt Pryor. Acoustic songs mixed with folk, country, and rock. I can’t decide if New Amsterdams is better than his solo material, but this album surely has a lot of his best stuff to date. My favorite autumn album of the year.
Song Recommendation: The Ballad of Mike and Beth
Sherwood breaks up and each member still makes music. Fialta features Mike and David from Sherwood and they are both accompanied by their wives. A band of two couples that make fun indie pop music. You will eventually hear their music everywhere from commercials to movies. Trust me. Also a great summer album.
Song Recommendation: Baby, I
When I heard of Driver Friendly I was hooked. I didn’t think there could be new music that sounded so good. Even though this is an e.p., I can’t wait to see what comes next from these guys. I don’t know how to classify this band, they have horns, but aren’t a ska band. They are making a new sound that I hope will catch on. Hopefully they get some major exposure and take the world by storm.
Song Recommendation: Messidona
Fielding has been a favorite of my mine for some time now. The Voice of Us is still played constantly, and I was happy to see new music by this couple. Sadly it is only 6 songs, but I will take it. This album shows a little bit faster and louder side of Fielding, but still has the quiet and soothing side. Like their other albums, I will play this album constantly and never get sick of it. Here’s to hoping there will be another album in 2014.
Song Recommendation: Costume
I am kicking myself for waiting too long to listen to Sharks. Once I bought No Gods, I proceeded to buy all their albums on vinyl. Sadly by the time I received Selfhood, I was too late. Sharks broke up. This U.K. band plays straight rock and roll with a little punk mixed in. Selfhood shows a different side by adding acoustic guitars and slower tempos, but still sounds amazing. If you like Gaslight Anthem and the Clash get into Sharks now. Don’t wait like I did.
Song Recommendation: I Won’t Taint
Like I said above, when Sherwood broke up each member still played music. Even though it took Nate Henry a while to put his faith back into music, what he came out with was just perfect. The Distance takes parts of Sherwood and adds some new elements into the mix. I could never see “Lightly Stepping” as a Sherwood song. This album is just an album for all seasons. I keep coming back to it and still enjoy it as when I first heard it. I am also proud to be part of it! Look inside the booklet and you will see my name. I hope Nate will continue with music and cross my fingers that the Begging Sea will tour. If you haven’t picked up this album do it now, then go thank Nate.
Song Recommendation: Every track
“I would take your picture tonight,
It would be black and white,
The color would be safe in a memory,
Nowhere else to be instead because you’re right where I’ve always meant to be.”
Today is the last day of the year and as I said before, 2013 was a perfect year. 2014 is going to have some competition, but I think it will be good. Judging by my last show I photographed, I think I finally figured out my new camera and how to take good concert photographs. I already have some gigs lined up in January. I hope to continue this journey with a new website, more concerts, abandoned places, finishing my MBA, and hopefully international traveling in 2014. Who knows though, 2013 surprised me and maybe 2014 has some tricks up its sleeves.