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You Sing I Write April Recap
CATEGORIES: Features, First Person
(credit: Wendy Hu)

(credit: Wendy Hu)

Over the past few months I’ve forgotten how important it is to have your own writing outlet. Not a site that people tell you who or what to write about, but something that’s entirely your own. Work has been so crazy that I haven’t had a second to sit down and blog about the music I truly care about. Sure, I get to interview some of my favorite acts but I miss highlighting the lesser known bands on You Sing I Write — bands  who need and appreciate the attention.

While interviewing Hanson is one highlight of last month, I was also able to sit down with Tim and Tom of the Plain White T’s (“Hey There Delilah,” remember them?) and it brought me back to college. The first song I ever learned on guitar, I remember sitting in my room with the song on repeat trying to perfect the notes. Back to a time when I’d kill to be writing about music on a daily basis. As I told the guys this, I had one of those “remember this” moments where I couldn’t believe I was chatting with a band I had seen live back in college. I actually own their first CD and would you have told me in college when I volunteered as the concert crew just to have a ticket to their sold-out show that a decade later I’d be interviewing them in New York and talking about that infamous GRAMMY-nominated song and dating I never would have believed it.

 

 

I’ve finally gotten used to interviewing bands on camera and just last month I chatted with one band that I think you should keep on your radar, Drop City Yacht Club. Their new single “Crickets” I’m convinced will be the song of the summer. It’s one of those ear worms that I’ve been singing for days now and they were by far the funniest band I’ve interviewed.

 

 

Another band I’m amazed by is Vintage Trouble. I would have never discovered them if it weren’t for my co-worker who suggested we cover them as New Music to Know and I can’t get enough of them. They’re a retro 60s act that’s part Elvis Presley (gyrating hips and all) part Buddy Holly and James Brown all rolled into one.

 

 

One of my personal favorites, who I just interviewed yesterday, is Andrew Ripp. I caught his set when he was on tour with Andy Grammer and Parachute and instantly fell in love with his voice (and the fact that he’s from Nashville.) His new single is so fun and upbeat I had it on repeat all day yesterday.

 

 

I’m really hoping to get back into the schedule of blogging more frequently especially if it’s a quick post about a video I’m digging or a song I can’t stop playing. Last month I realized that websites aren’t around forever and my blog really is the only database I can trust will forever keep all my writing. I was incredibly sad when I heard AOL Music would shut down as it was the first place that paid me to write about music. AOL’s The Boot was by far my favorite outlet to write for as it allowed me to spend the day with Keith Urban (!!!) and interview some of my favorite country artists like Lady Antebellum and Eric Church as well as attend some phenomenal concerts. It made me realize my passion for country music and for that I will be eternally grateful.

That’s all for last month. As always, reach out if there’s a band you suggest I check out. Thanks for reading!

 

May 7, 2013 | | (0) comment comment
Song of the Week: “No Sleep Till Brooklyn”
CATEGORIES: First Person, Song of the Week

 

It’s hard to believe I’ve been living in Brooklyn for two years now. I still remember the first time I came to Park Slope as if it was yesterday. I was celebrating a friend’s birthday and as we were walking to our cars to head back to Jersey two guys walked out of a local restaurant on Fifth Avenue and I did a double take. Dressed all in black with tattoos on their arms I turned to my friend (and now roommate Monica) and said, “Those guys are definitely in a band.” As I got a closer look I realized they were two of the guys from Gaslight Anthem! Naturally, I blogged about it (see below).

 

Last Friday, Monica, Wendy and I headed into Brooklyn to celebrate friend and fellow music journalist Emily’s birthday. After an artery clogging meal at Chip Shop, frozen hot chocolate to die for, an impromptu stop at Southpaw and a few packed vintage stores later, we headed back to the car. Coming out of a restaurant with takeout bags in their hands were two guys that HAD to be in a band. After getting a closer look I realized they were from Gaslight Anthem, Jersey’s very own up-and-coming rock stars, and a group I’ve been trying to interview for nearly two years now.

 

 

I wish I could say I didn’t act like a stalker and casually continued to the car, but I HAD to say hi! I approached the guys and asked rather eagerly if they were Gaslight Anthem to which they said yes and we chatted for a few minutes. Monica and I told lead singer Brian Fallon that we used to work with drummer Benny Horowitz in college at Rutgers’ newspaper, The Daily Targum. He told us about moving to Brooklyn, missing Jersey and their current tour schedule. Meanwhile, I tried to maintain my composure without sounding like a crazy fan because they’re all I listen to at full blast while driving around Jersey. Apparently, I’m the first person that’s recognized them on the street, although bassist Alex Levine told me they’ve been mistaken for Depeche Mode.

 

As we were saying our goodbyes, they told me to reach out to their publicist about setting up an interview. Hopefully, this time around it’ll actually happen. I’ll keep you posted!

 

Over two years later I’m glad to report I finally did get that interview! Sometimes being patient is everything.

 

For the past two years I’ve lived with Farrah and Monica and it’s hard to imagine living with anyone else. The Beastie Boys’ “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” was our soundtrack to the summer two years ago when the three of us were apartment shopping all over Brooklyn. An exhausting job, we came across some great places (way out of our budget) and some awful spots.

 

Next week at this time Farrah will be headed to Israel and although I don’t think it’s hit either of us yet the apartment will be a lot quieter without her. Over the years she’s introduced me to so many bands which I’ve featured on this blog (one of our favorites Whale Belly who’s playing Mercury Lounge next Tuesday!) and I hope I’ve done the same for her. Farrah, this ones for you.

 

 

August 23, 2012 | | (0) comment comment
Gaslight Anthem Lands No. 3 Spot On Billboard Hot 200
CATEGORIES: Features, First Person

 

If you’ve been following You Sing I Write at all over the past four years then you know of my love for New Jersey punk rockers the Gaslight Anthem. In fact, it’d be fair to say that my obsession runs deep.

 

In college I worked with drummer Benny Horowitz at Rutgers University’s award-winning newspaper The Daily Targum. It was during that time that I realized my dream career of becoming a music journalist. I knew he was in a rock band but I was too into my pop music and boy bands to pay any attention. Fast forward to an internship and later freelance work at Rolling Stone in 2008 when Gaslight Anthem were featured in the magazine as a breaking band.

 

I still remember that day so vividly. Looking at the photo of Gaslight Anthem and thinking, “That looks a lot like Benny. What does the caption say?” It read Benny Horowitz. When I went home I IM’d everyone on my buddy list from college to see if they knew anything about his band, a group that was compared to Bruce Springsteen.

 

No one knew of Benny’s blossoming rock star career. So, I went to my closest record store to investigate (Virgin Megastore RIP) and bought a copy of The ’59 Sound and Sink or Swim. I instantly fell in love with the music, the stories and imagery in the songs.

 

 

Benny being featured in Rolling Stone was HUGE. It meant that it was possible and attainable to follow your dreams and make things happen. I knew I wanted to be a music journalist from the first time I watched Almost Famous and the first concert I covered in college for that very same paper I worked with Benny at.

 

Sometimes all it takes is one success story close to home to make you realize you NEED to pursue your dream. Seeing Benny succeed was a confirmation. If he can do it, so can I. What do I have to lose?

 

After numerous failed interview attempts I finally interviewed Benny on the phone this year, just days after I attended the taping of their music video for “45” in Asbury Park. As luck would have it, my recorder didn’t work. But for some reason it didn’t matter. It was as if we just needed to have a conversation one on one to learn each other’s back story. I told him exactly what I just wrote (in fewer words), and he revealed that the day he joined Gaslight Anthem he told himself it’d be the last band he would play in. If it didn’t work out he’d just have to settle for that boring 9-5 job and live in the suburbs.

 

“I think that’s why you hear that desperation on Sink or Swim,” he told me.

 

He and some of the other band members felt that the album might be the last album they ever made so they gave it their all. It’s funny how sometimes in your darkest hour something grandeur can be created.

 

 

Benny has gone on to become a member of my favorite band and even directed their latest video for “Handwritten.” Frontman Brian Fallon reflected on this in a recent interview, saying, “It was a cool experience to be directed by your friend who you’ve known for 6-7 years. You’re watching him blossom into another facet of his personality.”

 

That’s exactly how I feel seeing Benny rock all the big stages on a nightly basis.

 

So now you know where my obsession of Gaslight Anthem comes from. It’s something even bigger than their music. It’s knowing that it’s possible for dreams to come true firsthand.

 

The boys continue their ongoing success having landed No. 3 on Billboard’s Hot 200 chart this week for their latest album Handwritten which is the chart’s highest debut with 40,000 sold. I have a feeling this is just the beginning for them.

August 3, 2012 | | (0) comment comment
Many Reasons to Be Thankful
CATEGORIES: Features, First Person

As Thanksgiving arrives, it’s hard not to think about what we’re thankful for. Perhaps Madison Square Garden is an unlikely spot to feel gratitude, but I was overcome with gratefulness Monday night while covering Taylor Swift’s performance.

After I picked up my press tickets for the show, I was shocked to find out that my seats were three rows from the stage. For over two hours, I was transported into Taylor’s fairytale world where dreams come true, Prince Charming sweeps you off your feet and, most importantly, love exists.

For my complete write-up, visit Busted Halo. What are you thankful for this holiday season? Happy Thanksgiving!

November 24, 2011 | | (0) comment comment
Life Analysis: Through Music
CATEGORIES: Features, First Person


Photo Credit: Wendy Hu

It has happened to all of us. You hear a song that takes you back to a specific time and place. Whether it be your childhood, college or an experience that has drastically changed your life, for the good or the bad, you’re transformed back into that moment in time.

Last weekend Monica and I worked from home and she played music from her Gaslight Anthem Pandora station (we’re obsessed with this Jersey band so much so that I think we’ve convinced Farrah to come out to their next show). While some obscure bands came up that we never heard of, I was ecstatic when Jimmy Eat World’s “A Praise Chorus” came on.

“Are you gonna live your life wonderin’ standing in the back lookin’ around?
Are you gonna waste your time thinkin’ how you’ve grown up or how you missed out?
Things are never gonna be the way you want.
Where’s it gonna get you acting serious?
Things are never gonna be quite what you want.
Even at 25, you gotta start sometime.

Someone’s gonna ask you what it’s all about
Stick around nostalgia won’t let you down
Someone’s gonna ask you what it’s all about
Whatcha gonna have to say for yourself?”

For my complete article, visit Busted Halo.

October 20, 2010 | | (1) comment comment
Music As Religion?
CATEGORIES: Features, First Person

For as long as I can remember, I’ve turned to music when questioning life and making major decisions. While some find solace in prayer, going to church or synagogue, I simply go to my iTunes playlist.

Blasphemy?

To some.

For me, not so much. My criteria is simple.

Major life questioning: Switchfoot

Simply unwinding: John Mayer

Nostalgic for my childhood: Backstreet Boys

And my most recent addition:

Sheer disbelief and being thankful: Pat Benatar

For my complete article, visit Busted Halo.

October 7, 2010 | | (0) comment comment
You Sing I Write Adventures: August Recap
CATEGORIES: First Person

Earlier this summer, I wrote a post titled “A Day In the Life with Annie Reuter” after my friend Monica said she wanted to read more about my music adventures. Since then, I received an overwhelming response from readers requesting weekly updates. While my daily life isn’t THAT exciting, I’ve been trying my best to provide monthly recaps. If there is anything specific you’d like to know, be sure to let me know in the comments!

August saw major life changes as I took the leap and moved to Brooklyn with two friends. When it used to take me more than an hour to commute to NYC for a show, I now have five concert venues within walking distance! As luck would have it, since the move my freelance work has picked up. I’ll try my best to update the blog on a daily basis, but if I slack off please forgive me!

You can keep up with my apartment life on Busted Halo where my roommates and I blog for “Girls Meet God.” Each week we reveal what it’s like for three girls with different backgrounds and faiths to live together. Being the token Catholic girl, I’ve already learned so much about the Jewish faith and what it means to keep Kosher. Read all about it here.

In addition to exploring religion, I’ve continued writing for Lemondrop where I post articles that explore my dating life (eeek!) and find out love advice from other women. Most recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing Pat Benatar! A few days later, I attended her concert at Nokia Theater and was truly blown away. The way she interacted with the crowd was incredibly enjoyable and it was easy to see the love between her and guitarist husband of 29 years, Neil Giraldo. Whether it was Giraldo telling the audience the story behind “I Don’t Want to Be Your Friend, I Just Want to Be Your Lover” (Benatar had a dream he cheated on her), or Benatar confessing her least favorite song to perform, (“Hit Me With Your Best Shot”), they had everyone’s undivided attention.

Witnessing Benatar live was a concert experience like no other. A rock icon and inspiration to women everywhere, I never dreamed I’d interview and watch such a phenomenal artist live. It’s moments like these that deepen my passion and determination to continue a career as a music journalist. I can’t wait to share with you my future adventures!

Related Links:
You Sing I Write Adventures: A Day In the Life with Annie Reuter
You Sing I Write Adventures: Why I Love Taylor Swift, June Recap
You Sing, I Write’s Top 5 Moments of 2009
Q&A; with You Sing, I Write

August 31, 2010 | | (0) comment comment
Music Addiction: Featuring Hotspur, Gaslight Anthem, Tyrone Wells
CATEGORIES: Features, First Person

Despite the millions of songs out there, when there’s one I love I find myself listening to the same track on repeat all day. Take Gaslight Anthem’s “Blue Jeans and White T-Shirts.” After catching their hometown set at the Stone Pony last Thursday, I listened to it all weekend non-stop and it has easily become my favorite song of theirs.

I’ll add a few more of my current song addictions below. What track do you currently have on repeat? Let me know!


Hotspur: “If These Walls Could Talk”

I’ve covered Hotspur a few times over the past year. This is their latest music video off album, You Should Know Better By Now.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUBeP0JUph8?fs=1]


The Gaslight Anthem: “Blue Jeans and White T-Shirts”

I couldn’t find any high-quality videos of the Jersey boys performing the entire song live, but this video made by a fan plays the song in it’s entirety. At the concert, frontman Brian Fallon said “Blue Jeans and White T-Shirts” has been the soundtrack to many weddings.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cunR6Jz0ARQ?fs=1]


Tyrone Wells: “Dream Like New York”

This is currently my favorite track of the day. I’ve had it on repeat all afternoon. Tyrone Wells is one an amazing live performer. You can get a feel for him as he sings below.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IXg1t4aopDQ?fs=1]

August 13, 2010 | | (0) comment comment
You Sing I Write’s Summer Reading Playlist
CATEGORIES: Features, First Person

Photo Credit: Wendy Hu

I think most of us agree that summer is the best time of year. Outdoor music festivals, beach time and vacations, who wouldn’t love it? I’ve been reading some great music memoirs and on the road novels that I think every music enthusiast would enjoy. Read below for my complete list. If I left any books out that you think I should pick up, definitely let me know in the comments!

Between a Heart and a Rock Place

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about Pat Benatar’s new memoir, “Between a Heart and a Rock Place.” A compelling read, Benatar is completely honest about what it was like dealing with record label, Chrysalis, the obstacles she faced as a female and how she overcame each to become the well-respected artist she is today.

My favorite quote: “Rock and roll is really about following your passion with no apologies. Following that sound in your head that only you can hear.”

For my complete review, click here.

But Enough About Me…A Jersey Girl’s Unlikely Adventures Among the Absurdly Famous


This is my absolute favorite book in the world. Written by fellow Jersey girl and former Rolling Stone writer, Jancee Dunn, her memoir takes you behind the scenes of working at one of the most respected music magazines and what it’s like to interview A-list musicians and celebrities. Each chapter begins with tips Dunn has learned along the way, whether it’s what questions to ask to warm up the interview subject or one of my favorite titles, “How to Approach an R&B; Artist When You’re the Whitest Person in the Western World.”

My favorite quote: “The second I stepped through the doors of Rolling Stone as a real employee, I wanted to shake off my old personality like the rigid husk of a cicada. But how could I cultivate a new, hip persona when I lived with my parents in a New Jersey suburb and wore black leggings as pants?”

Cassette From My Ex

Last year, I covered the New York launch party of “Cassette From My Ex.” A collection of 60 essays about relationships and mixtapes from musicians, magazine editors, VJs and more, the book is packed with comical and poignant tales of first love, friendship and heartbreak. The stories are relatable and at many times, bittersweet.

My favorite quote: “We made each other tapes because we believed that music articulated what we could not otherwise express.”

Read a more in-depth review here.

Falling Is Like This

A few weeks ago, I attended a book reading by Kate Rockland. For those of you who have always wondered what it’s like to date a rock star, Rockland fills us in through her main character, Harper Rostov, who falls for Nick Cavallaro, a punk rocker from New Jersey. The novel, set in the East Village and New Jersey, is a colorful and humorous account of Harper and her whirlwind affair with the rock star every girl dreams about. [Cough: John Mayer?]


My favorite quote: “Being punk isn’t about wearing a black armband with a skull on it or listening to certain bands. It’s about being revolutionary inside your soul. Being different from everyone else and not giving a shit.”

Read my take on the night of her book reading here.

Off the Bus and On the Record

If you were curious as to what exactly happens during an interview, this is the book for you. Complete with 22 candid interviews by teen journalists, the encounters remind me of how I got my start. Not exactly the interviews you’d read in Rolling Stone, the rock stars open up completely to the teens. You also see firsthand how awkward some interviews can be when the reporter accidentally says the wrong title of the album or how to deal with bands who ramble and don’t answer the question asked of them.

My favorite quote: Pete Wentz talking to the interviewer, Zac: “You got, like, a VJ-esque quality. You could be a VJ. Honestly, I’m putting it in that if I ever have to write a recommendation for you or anything, call me  up for a reference.”

Zac:  “Ok, I’ll put, ‘Pete, Fall Out Boy, recommends me for a VJ position.'”

Pete: “By then I’ll probably be a garbage man and you can’t even put Fall Out Boy. They call me up and I’ll be like, “I remember when I was in a band! It was awesome!”

What books are you reading this summer? If I left any out that you’ve enjoyed, let me know!

July 14, 2010 | | (2) comment comment
You Sing I Write Adventures: Why I Love Taylor Swift, June Recap
CATEGORIES: Features, First Person

Photo Credit: Wendy Hu

Last month, I posted my first “Day In the Life.” A first person article about my music adventures, I received an overwhelming positive response and my poll of the week informed me that you, the readers, would like to read similar posts on a weekly basis. I’ll try my very best to keep up-to-date!

June has been a whirlwind of CD release parties and concerts. Last week alone, I attended five shows in a row. An exciting first for me, I was introduced to quite a few new bands and genres of music.

Tuesday night I made it to the Studio at Webster Hall just in time to catch New York favorites, Lights Resolve. They debuted a few new tracks from their upcoming release to a packed crowd. Definitely a more aggressive feel than their previous material, between their gritty guitar riffs and unwavering energy, it is sure to be a success. You can download their latest EP for free here.

Wednesday night I covered Dion Roy’s EP Release Party at the Living Room. Earlier that day he debuted at No. 16 on the singer-songwriter iTunes charts and throughout the week he charted to No. 8. Pretty impressive!

Being a Jersey girl, I’ve heard of the infamous Stone Pony in Asbury Park, but surprisingly never made it to a show there. This all changed when I saw Tor Miller Band open for Quincy Mumford Thursday. You may remember Tor Miller Band from my TWLOHA benefit concert back in December. I’m in disbelief that they’re only in high school. Their song, “I’m Alright” is still stuck in my head. (Video below)

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LwMe1rZReI]

Friday and Saturday I covered shows for Hoboken Patch. Good Old War, Yukon Blonde and Audra Mae quickly became new favorites of mine. While waiting for Good Old War to take the stage at their sold-out show at Maxwell’s Friday night, I learned that I was standing beside Circa Survive frontman Anthony Green. Pretty cool, no? You can read my full recap of the show here. Saturday night I witnessed my first heavy rock show when covering Chambers’ record release. I’ve never seen fans jump on vocalists and guitarists before at a concert and it was an experience I will never forget. Read all about it here.

Earlier this month, after writing an article for Lemondrop, I learned it was featured on AOL’s homepage. I received an overwhelming response (nearly 300 comments) and learned that my piece struck a chord with many readers. That’s the main reason I decided to pursue journalism — to make an impact. Unfortunately, my family was less than pleased as they feel I portrayed them in a bad light. Read the article here and let me know what you think. If I at least made a few people smile and realize they’re not alone, then I’m satisfied.

A journalist’s job is not always an easy one, but at least I can live with knowing I was 100% “honest and unmerciful” (cue one of my favorite “Almost Famous” lines). This whole experience really made me curious as to how songwriters do it. Artists like Taylor Swift display their inner most thoughts and feelings for everyone to hear. Not to mention, name their ex-boyfriends! Don’t they ever face resistance and shy away from it? I’ve always loved Taylor, but this month really put things into perspective.

Perhaps, subconsciously this is why one of my favorite questions to ask artists is if they’re ever afraid to reveal too much in their songs. I asked Taylor Swift this very question last year at the CMA Music Festival and this is what she said:

“For me, writing a song, I sit down and the process doesn’t really involve me thinking about the demographic of people I’m trying to hit or who I want to be able to relate to the song or what genre of music it falls under. When I sit down and write a song the only person that I’m thinking about in that room is the person that I’m writing the song about and what I want them to know and what I wish I could tell them to their face, but I’m going to say it in a song instead. So, for me, music is really more about a diary and a confession. I love it. I love getting to say things to people that I wouldn’t say to them if I was standing face to face with them. Music is a way of verbalizing those things that I feel that I can’t say.”

For Taylor’s complete press room conference interview from the 2009 CMA Fest, click here.

Insightful answer, no? In fact, every time I’ve ever asked a singer-songwriter this question, they’ve pretty much said the same thing, adding that when they have held back in songwriting, they’ve regretted it. While I definitely still have a lot to learn, I think I’m on the right track.

Updates from last month’s post:

I FINALLY got to chat with Benny from Gaslight Anthem (photo above) and am working on setting up an interview with the band. You can read my review of their sold-out New York record release show on Venus Zine.

My Hanson interview was posted a few weeks ago on Lemondrop. Check it out here. I’d love to know your thoughts!

June 30, 2010 | | (1) comment comment
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