The Ultimate Summer Sendoff Playlist

Perfect for drives along the coast or lounging by the pool with friends, this summer playlist will put you straight into summer-mode.

As the semester comes to an end and the weight on your shoulders is finally lifted, the summer relaxation begins. Whether your plans include traveling, working, or visiting family, summer is a time to let your hair down and enjoy the sun while the air is warm.

Each year, a summer playlist makes its way into my music library and it’s ends up being the only thing I listen to for my three month break. When I think of “summer” music, I immediately think of upbeat, feel-good alternative songs with catchy guitar lines and lyrics you can shout in the car.

This year, I worked hard to deliver the best summer playlist for anyone who loves alternative, pop, and indie music. Featuring the newest hits from some fan-favorites and a few older tunes that remains classics, this playlist is perfect for beach days, road trips, and everything in-between.

A few of my favorites include:

Talk Too Much – COIN

After hitting no. 8 on the Alternative Songs chart, it is clear that this COIN song fits the “care-free summertime sound” that we are all looking for. They are a rock band making guitar-driven music and they have hit the mark on this hit track.

Tired Eyes – Besphrenz

Besphrenz is a unique group that you’ll be surprised hasn’t blown up yet. With their original style mixing indie, rock, and rap, this band is hitting multiple styles at once, but still keeping it clean. I respect them for being innovative musicians and I’m sure that this song will stay on repeat all summer long. The playlist also features Walking On Ice and their newest single, White Shoes.

Heat of the Summer – Young the Giant

Young the Giant has been a fan-favorite in the Alternative Music world for some time now, and with “Summer” being in the songs title, it surely fits the playlists theme. The song opens with a distorted guitar line and features a catchy chorus you’ll find yourself humming to all day. Young the Giant has done an excellent job in creating new music while sticking to their original sound that everyone loves.

This Life – Vampire Weekend

Released earlier this month, it is clear this song is different from the traditional Vampire Weekend sound. The song is lighthearted, bright, and bouncy, and has even been mentioned it closely matches Van Morrisons “Brown Eyed Girl.”

Hollow Life – Coast Modern

Imagine if Cage the Elephant, Grouplove, and Glass Animals teamed up on a track: this is what it’d sound like. This song was released a few years back, but the chorus is fresh, creative, and exactly what you need to hear all summer long.

Gold Snafu – Sticky Fingers

From the memorable beat and easy-to-follow chorus line, this song is easily enjoyed by any audience. Lead singer, Dylan Frost, delivers unique vocals falling under the reggae/rock genre, and its clear this song needs to be played full volume with the windows down. The playlist also includes one of their more mellow songs, These Girls.

Weekend Friend – Goth Babe

While “Goth” might be in the name, this musician producing anything but gothic music. Classified as surf-indie-rock, Weekend Friend is a care-free summer tune with soaring production. Greeting listeners with a heartwarming combination of keys, drums, and shakes, this song is easy on the ears in just about any setting.

No Going Back – Yuno

From the first drum-kick, this song shines light straight into my heart. After my first listen a few months back, I had the sudden urge to drop everything, go on a road trip, and make a video that highlights this wonderful track. With a weightless melody and vibrant lyrics, it is no wonder this was Yuno’s first single after signing with Sub Pop Records.

Some other favorites from the playlist include songs from boy pablo, LANY, Bad Suns, HUNNY, Local Natives, Empire of the Sun, Still Woozy, Toro y Moi, and many more. Hoping these songs are enough to brighten your mood all summer long! Now, go enjoy the sunshine.

Written by: Brittany Roache

Movements at the OC Observatory

Movements performed a sold-out show at the Observatory Orange County on Friday, April 19.

With alternative rock groups alongside Movements including Drug Church, Trash Boat, and Boston Manor, Movements managed to put on a memorable act that shows their growth as musicians as well as their appreciation for their loyal hometown fans.

Orange County’s Observatory, in comparison to the North Park location, was a bit too claustrophobic for my liking. For one, the venue was entirely general admission but consisted of terraces that spaced out the crowd into awkward sections. Second, the pit was simply too tiny for the number of people wanting to mosh, crowd surf, and just have that full concert experience. The crowd was stuffed like sardines but this did not put a damper on their energy for the openers. Unfortunately, I missed Drug Church and Trash Boat’s sets, but Boston Manor’s performance easily made up for it and got me excited for the rest of the concert.

An Emo and pop-punk band from across the pond, Boston Manor is hands down one of my favorite groups to watch live. Henry Cox is an excellent frontman with the vocal abilities to match which showed in their opener “Flowers in Your Dustbin” from their latest release Welcome to the Neighbourhood. Backed by talented musicians, Cox kept the crowd moving with their hits like “Halo” and “Lead Feet,” angst-driven anthems that warmed up fans for the main event.

Movements exploded in popularity upon releasing their debut album Feel Something in 2017.

Since then, they’ve toured with big-name players in the scene such as Knuckle Puck, Citizen, Turnover, and The Story So Far. The band opened with “The Grey” which describes the feeling of slipping into a cold and lonely depression. Frontman Patrick Miranda, who is open about his struggles with anxiety and depression, is unafraid to speak on mental health issues in his lyrics. Next up was a fan favorite “Colorblind” which had the audience pushing, shoving, and loudly singing along. Miranda is known for his colorblindness, consistently making note of it in other songs like “Deep Red” which is a personal favorite of mine. This song starts off with a catchy bassline, worked by Austin Cressey, that punches through the guitars and vocals. The chorus is ear-wormy in and of itself with a break down that allowed the band to let loose on stage.

Movements is a SoCal band that grew up in Rancho Santa Margarita who, despite their rise to fame in the scene, have not forgotten their roots. This show specifically was a sign of gratitude to the fans that have stayed with them all these years. Patrick reminisced to the time they opened for the band Basement in the same venue. In 2015, they performed in front of 300 people. Today, they sold-out a well-known music venue, playing in front of an audience who truly cares about their art.

The end of the show was bittersweet. Movements came out to a crowd chanting their name and finished with the classic “Daylily.” As the song reached its crescendo, Patrick raised the mic to the audience as they sang “‘I think it’s time you had a pink cloud summer'” back to the band. The group felt at home and living the dream.

Written by: Rica Perez

Maggie Rogers “Heard It From A Past Life” Album Review

Heard It From A Past Life

Sharing her life story through strategic songwriting, Maggie Rogers rises to fame as her debut album “Heard It From A Past Life” continues to dominate the charts.

Appearing on festival lineups like Coachella, Lollapalooza, and the 50th year anniversary return of Woodstock, singer-songwriter Maggie Rogers is on her way to the top. The 24-year-old pop artist experienced her rise to fame immediately after sharing her song “Alaska” to Pharrell Williams during a masters class at New York University. She wrote and produced the hit song in under 15 minutes, and blew away one of the worlds most renowned producers. While I had heard many amazing things about this young, female artist, I had yet to listen to her debut album, Heard It From A Past Life.

After researching her past, I found that Rogers grew up playing the harp, piano, and guitar all by the time she was in middle school. Her heart has always been in folk music, and the banjo was her primary instrument of choice. She fully kicked off her songwriting career during the summer of her junior year after attending Berklee’s College of Music program and won the program’s songwriting contest. Maggie is a hardworking individual who always put her best foot forward and has never tried to be anyone but herself. 

With as many as 4 million monthly Spotify listeners, Maggie Rogers has already made her mark on the world. As many of my friends continuously rave about her music, I decided to review Heard It From A Past Life from start to finish.

Opening the album with her song “Give A Little,” Roger’s introduces her audience to a light and somewhat dainty beat. She is combining her background of folk music with pop and indie styles of production. The song’s chorus is heart-warming and simple, radiating Haim-like catchiness.

Overnight” is next up, fitting perfectly as she reflects on how quickly things can change overnight. In this track, the synths were made from the sounds of glacier frogs, holding true to her creativity and strong connection to nature.

The Knife” has a unique intro that sets the tone to let loose and enjoy life to the fullest. “Beautiful as it all pours out, after dark, after life” are lyrics that prove her purpose of this song to dance and be free.

Alaska” is the song that gave Roger’s the success she needed to get this album started. The video of Pharrell’s initial reaction to this song fully shows the emotion and creativity behind her songwriting, and it is a beautiful video every fan should watch.

Light On” is another heart-warming track that features light guitar and strong vocals. I can hear the emotion and soul pouring through her voice as she shares her struggles with anxiety and feeling overwhelmed by her own thoughts.

Past Life” is a ballad that focuses on the changes that are about to come and take over her life. The slow piano combined with her stripped vocals are enough to bring fans to tears by the end of it.

Say It” combines Roger’s love for electronic production with her love for nature as she uses synths and vocals to paint a picture of the Alaskan mountains and snowy hilltops. She sings about the innocence of having a crush, “every evening, every time, I keep replaying in my mind, and wondering if you do the same.”

On + Off” features smooth bass lines and layered percussions, representing the layers shared within a relationship with someone you love. With an incredibly groovy and catchy chorus, this unique track has to be one of my favorites thus far.

Fallingwater” has an off-beat tempo that captivates listeners from the start, then moves into a vocal progression that might catch you off guard. This track has emotion that takes her voice to new heights as she sings about the challenges of change.

Retrograde” tells the story of struggling between wanting to stay in a dream-state all day, and wanting to give up when things get hard in our everyday lives.

Burning” mixes clapping beats with face-tased percussion as Rogers jumps around vocally as well. This track gives listening to illusion of running through the wild, emphasizing the wild ride relationships can take you on.

Closing the album with “Back In My Body,” this track perfectly showcases her story-telling abilities through songwriting. She talks about her time in London and Paris and the emotional impact those cities have had on her life. This song is powerful, majestic, and the best finale to an incredible debut album.

Final Thoughts?

I am now a full-on Maggie Rogers fan. Initially, I thought that her pop and folk styles of music would turn me away, but after researching her story, reading her lyrics and the meanings behind them, and hearing her creativity pour through her music, I have become pleasantly surprised. It’s no wonder that Heard It From A Past Life reached #2 on Billboard’s charts following the release of the album. Roger’s has never tried to copy anyone’s style; she is unapologetically herself at all times. Her story telling abilities are something truly special, and I can already tell there are big things in store for her future.

Written By: Brittany Roach

Behind the Mic: The Flow w/ De Leon

Mikel De Leon

In this segment of Behind the Mic, we examine the wild life of thrill-seeker / adventurer / local lunatic, Mikel De Leon!

A gift (or curse, depending on how you look at it) has been bestowed upon Mikel De Leon: the need to always be doing something that increases his heart rate. It drove him to pick up soccer when he was 4 years old. Then surfing. Then, in November of last year, he bought a motorcycle.

Two months later, his body was lying in the middle of the freeway after being struck by a car.

“All I could think of was ‘Get up, get back on your bike, go home. Tell your dad you’re sorry. Everything’s ok,’ ” De Leon said about the incident that sent him to the hospital. He couldn’t get up, though. He didn’t have the physical strength to collect himself despite not feeling any pain, because his body had already gone into shock. Miraculously, to his (and his doctor’s) disbelief, he didn’t break any bones or even damage his brain. He did, however, injure his ankles, knees, shoulders, left wrist and lower back. Now, he’s grateful to be recovering at a relatively quick pace, but in all honestly, he just wants to surf again.

“I’m just like ‘Come on, I want to get back in the water. Let’s go!’”

Mikel De Leon

Mikel (MEE-kehl) De Leon is the host of “The Flow with De Leon,” which airs Thursdays at 8 a.m.

Although De Leon won’t be getting back on a motorcycle any time soon (or hopefully ever considering he’d like to be alive as long as possible and healthy enough to one day teach his future children how to surf), he’s still finding ways to scratch his adrenaline-seeking itch. At first, soccer scratched it for a while, but he began to lose interest in it after over a decade of playing. He wanted to replace it with something equally athletic to keep the weight off. The activity would also need to be peaceful and leave him in a serene mental state.

Mikel De Leon being the coolest cat around.
Photo by Monica Vigil. Coolness by Mikel De Leon

Surfing fit the bill.

“Surfing was just like, dude, everyone loves a surfer. Of course I’m going to get into it. It turns out, it’s not like that. But it’s ok. As long as I’m out there with my friends surfing, that’s all I care about. As long as I catch at least three good waves per day, I’m good.”

Mikel De Leon

Since the accident, De Leon hasn’t been able to surf and as a result, he’s been growing impatient to return to the ocean. He currently lives in Imperial Beach, a sandy, laid-back beach city in southern San Diego, just a hop and a skip away from the sea. Beforehand, De Leon would wake up every morning and make his way to the water with a surfboard in hand to catch a few waves before school or work.

“Sometimes I wouldn’t even shower because the waves were that good. I’d go straight to work and they’d know. They’d be like ‘Dude, there’s sand in your ear.’”

Mikel De Leon

His life appears to come in seasons, packaged up in different themes depending on the chapter. Sometimes he’s a chill surfer, a passionate soccer player, or even a temporary motorcyclist.

Long, soft hair totally by Mikel De Leon and genetics.
Photos by Monica Vigil. Long, soft hair totally by Mikel De Leon and genetics.

And now? He’s a radio host.

His brother attended Georgetown University and had a late night radio show at his college station. De Leon remembers listening to it and deciding he wanted to do that one day. One day after he transferred to San Diego State University from Southwestern College, he saw a sign promoting KCR and the rest has been a joyful, musical ride. His show heavily features groovy indie sounds like Homeshakeand Yellow Days, peppered in with bedroom pop. Want to tune in and listen to a combination of Beach Goons, Temporex, Minor Gems and Oak Palace? Do it! He’s plays them all.

What’s unique about “The Flow with De Leon” is that many episodes are themed (kind of like his life). One episode was full of music he would play if he owned a low-rider, featuring oldies, cholo goth, cumbia and the iconic Selena Quintanilla. He’s also had some dirty rock and reggae days, amongst many others.

An avid consumer of music, De Leon has even begun singing and creating his own tunes.

“I started off doing stupid, little, fun projects where I wasn’t taking it seriously,” he said. His friends, however, told him that he was good. He began to experiment with genres and searched for his sound in pursuit of turning the fun hobby into something more serious. Influenced heavily by Tame Impala, he plans on releasing an EP sometime in the summer. De Leon is implementing a deadline on himself or else he’ll “never release it.” He watched a short documentary about the singer of Tame Impala, Kevin Parker, and how he also had to give himself deadlines or else he would never publish his music, always trying to perfect it. It inspired De Leon to try the same approach.

“I need to set a date because if not, this is going to be a never ending cycle.”

Mikel De Leon

Be sure to listen to his shows and start your Thursday mornings right. You never know what theme you’ll stumble upon. Also, come summertime, remind him that he’s got an EP to release.

His favorite modern band?

Tame Impala (duh.)

Feel free to follow Mikel De Leon on Instagram. You can listen to his Spotify playlists here and here.

Written by: Monica Vigil