Staff Picks: 2016 Albums of the Year

By Lilli Banks

2016 was such a wonderful year for creating, producing, and putting out new music. I was flooded with new albums and singles which made my top two choices for this year quite difficult. I decided that my two favorite albums of 2016 are I Like It When You Sleep For You Are So Beautiful, Yet So Unaware of It by The 1975 and Disappear Here by Bad Suns.

#1: I Like It When You Sleep For You Are So Beautiful, Yet So Unaware of It by The 1975

I Like It When You Sleep For You Are So Beautiful, Yet So Unaware of It is an album compiled of 18 songs. It’s quite a different sound than their debut album. The song has some upbeat songs with lots of instrumentals and songs that tell new stories. Matty Healy, lead singer and writer, has a spectacular vocabulary that creates a picturesque scene for the listener as the music itself creates the atmosphere. The album goes deeper into the writer’s life with his mother’s postpartum depression and questioning his identity, etc. Thanks to the language he uses and innovative uses of instruments, the songs take you to place where he is and puts you in the writer’s position. I find the album to be enticing from beginning to end especially with the way he takes you into his world. One of my all-time favorite songs, Loving Someone is featured on this album. It has become the anthem for the LBGT community, which is quite close to my heart. The song portrays a message that has the entire crowd at a show, screaming the lyrics. I was lucky enough to be one of the people screaming in the crowd after a heavy event in the United States. Hearing these songs live was something I was expecting to be quite similar to the studio album. Since The 1975 use a lot of beats and sounds from computers, I expected that sort of experience. It surely changed my world to hear it live. They created that strong atmosphere on stage which was brilliant to witness. It is an album that truly got me to fall in love with The 1975 and is now one of my favorite albums.

#2: Disappear Here by Bad Suns

Disappear Here by Bad Suns also reigns in my top two albums for 2016. As a sophomore album, some artists tend to change their sound and venuture more. They definitely experimented a bit more, but they were still able to capture the same sound and excitement that the first album, Language and Perspective had. Bad Suns music is perfect for jamming with your friends, your windows down, and the wind flying through your hair. This album kept that liberating feeling that I got with the first album. Disappear Here was the first single released off the album and definitely brought in a new crowd. It also brought such high anticipation for the release of the full album.There is not a single song off the album that I skip or wait for it to end. I was lucky enough to see 10 of the new songs on their Disappear Here tour. I am quite in love with Daft Pretty Boys, Love Like Revenge and Maybe We’re Meant to Be Alone. I was able to ask Christo, the lead singer and writer, about MWMTBA after the show. I grew even more of a love for the song. I hope to hear Love Like Revenge live when they go on their Heartbreaker Tour (there will be a gallery or review for that so stay tuned!). I highly recommend giving this album a listen and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Honorable Mentions:

(some albums were not released this year)

First Impressions of Earth – The Strokes

The 1975 – The 1975

COIN – COIN

The Balcony – Catfish and the Bottlemen

Blossoms – Blossoms

Disappear Here – Bad Suns

The Altar – BANKS

Glitterbug – The Wombats

ILIWYSFYASBYSUOI – The 1975

Wiped Out! – The Neighbourhood


Phoebe Green Interview

Interview by Corynne and Kayla Fernandez

Emerging artist, Phoebe Green, hailing all the way from Manchester, is currently prepping for her very first show. We had the chance to catch up with Phoebe and talk about what inspired her to be a musician and the ins and outs of the making of her debut album, 02:00 AM.

Lucid Dreams: Hi Phoebe! Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Phoebe Green: I’m 19 and I’m from a small seaside town called Lytham, but I live in Manchester at the moment and go to music school there. I have a mum and a dad, two sisters (the younger is 15 and plays synth for me) and my nan lives with me and is my best mate.

LD: When making your debut album, ’02:00 AM,’ what was the process like? Did you have any doubts along the way or did it come naturally?

PG: The process was dead fast but also excruciatingly slow! I write songs in about half an hour; it’s a pretty natural thing to me as my songs are heavily based on experiences and people I know, so I don’t have to spend ages thinking of concepts. The thing that takes time is recording and producing and mastering the songs. I had quite a few doubts to be honest. As soon as I wrote a new song I would hate the previous one, I change my mind so often about things, and I’m so opposed to cheesiness that I always feel that my older songs are cheesy because I wrote them when I was younger (even by a month or something). It took me a while to be completely happy with the album because I kept re-writing lyrics, but at this point I have no doubts.

LD: Being that this is your first album, what made you want to pursue music?

PG: Oh God, the dreaded question. It was actually the Jonas Brothers! When I was little I was obsessed, I read everything about them and when they discussed songwriting I was completely fixated with this idea of putting my thoughts and feelings to music. I was always an attention-seeking kid though, always wanted to be in the spotlight, I’ve wanted to be a performer for as long as I can remember, so a fusion of those two factors is what encouraged me to try writing and performing my own stuff.

LD: Out of all the tracks, what would you say is your favorite and why?

PG: Jesus, what a tough one. Literally the most intense ones: Maniac, Pure Blue, High and A Phonecall. And Nosebleed. And Watercolour Envy…

LD: How did the album artwork and title come about?

PG: The artwork was created by a good friend of mine, Amy. We met in a concert queue and have been friends since then. I named the album ’02:00 AM’ because I always think a lot when I can’t sleep, and so I would always record voice notes on my phone around the 02:00 AM mark and then write them in the morning. I wanted a cover that reflected insomnia and fatigue at the same time, so I sent Amy a picture of me rolling my eyes back, asking for it in watercolour (because of Watercolour Envy) and she created that!

LD: What or who were the inspirations for your album?

PG: People and experiences. I’m not very good at writing about things I can’t completely analyse and go into masses of detail about. I like to create imagery with my lyrics and make people see and feel what I saw and felt in those moments. I really like capturing memories in that way and I guess the album is just a diary of the past couple of years, which have simultaneously been the best and worst of my life. Very dramatic!

LD: Given Manchester’s history and its reputation in the music scene (Producing the likes of The Smiths, Oasis, The Stone Roses etc.), would you say you have been shaped by those acts and aspired similar success?

PG: Oh, definitely! I love good old British indie bands. Manchester is so culturally rich when it comes to music and art, it’s incredible. Yeah, I definitely hope to reach their level of influence on the music industry.

LD: One word to sum up your record?

PG: Honest.

LD: Your album release show is approaching, have you done any preparation? What are you most looking forward to?

PG: Soooo much preparation, mostly in the last week! I’m mostly excited for all of my friends and family to have a few drinks and celebrate with me, all my mates are home for Christmas and I can’t wait to hear what everyone thinks of the album in person. I’m so excited.

LD: A personal favorite of ours at Lucid Dreams Magazine is, ‘Isobel’. What was the musical and lyrical process like, and was it a conscious decision put that song as the final track of the album?

PG: My best mate is called Isobel, and she was just having one of those nights, so I wrote her a song. She’s honestly one of the most fascinating, beautiful people I have ever known and we have shaped each other as people so much. It was written before we moved away to uni, and the “don’t forget about me” was because I was terrified that things wouldn’t be the same when we saw each other again. Nothing has changed though, thank god! I put it as the last track because I’ve always thought it sounded like the bittersweet ending of a film. I just think it fits perfectly at the end.

LD: If you had the chance to create your dream festival lineup, who would be your 3 headliners?

PG: Shirley Temple aged 5, Catfish and the Bottlemen and HAIM.

LD: What artist or album changed the way you thought about music and impacted you in an exponential way?

PG: A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out by Panic! At the Disco. That is one of the most incredibly written albums I have ever heard in my life; the lyrics are so complex and poetic and subtly vulgar, it’s absolutely mental. Absolutely nothing is sugar-coated and yet it sounds so beautifully poetic. I cannot praise Ryan Ross’ ability to write songs enough. He truly is a genius.

LD: What do you want your fans and new listeners to take away from your album?

PG: I think we need to really engage with people and moments and appreciate people for their intriguing mannerisms and flaws. I don’t know if that’s something that comes across in my songs or not but I’m literally always drawn to weirdos! Appreciate peoples’ differences, people are art! Haha, that’s all.

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Decemburrrr Tunes

By Kayla Fernandez

Time sure has flown by this year and boy it has been a wild and hectic ride. Here in California the cold weather is finally kicking in, so I thought it would be a perfect time to make a playlist for a cold and relaxing day in. Listening to artists like Bon Iver and The National always fit the gloomy vibe. I hope you enjoy this playlist as much as I did making it! So grab a hot coffee and a fuzzy blanket to wind down.

Decemburrr Tunes 🌨

Two Door Cinema Club at Harrah’s Resort Southern California

All pictures by Kayla Fernandez

Last Saturday I totally got to live my middle school dream by seeing Two Door Cinema Club. Being in the crowd and dancing like crazy was so liberating and sensational. Two Door Cinema just ended their phenomenal US tour but promised to be back soon. So keep an eye out for tour dates to experience a great concert.

New Music Radar: Dream Girl

By Julie Giffin

Recently, I’ve felt a void in my music world. I hadn’t discovered a band that truly struck a chord with me in a few weeks… that was until I heard the Illuminauty EP by Dream Girl. Within the first few seconds of “Stranger Feelings” I was hooked. The sextet from St. Joseph, Missouri have put a new twist on your typical lo-fi tunes. The first few adjectives that came to my head after listening to this whole EP through were bluesy and whimsical. However, songs like “Sweet Thang” and “Pretty Sexual” give off a fun and sensual vibe because of the traditional jazz instruments used… interesting combo, I know.  Honestly, there is something for everyone on this EP. 10/10 would recommend giving it a listen.

“Teenage Blue” is a song that I was the most drawn to. The lead vocalist has a very sweet and relaxed tone that pairs perfectly with traditional lo-fi instrumentals. Similar to Lana Del Rey, the lead singer has such a peaceful and angelic voice, yet still delivers such an emotionally heavy performance that leaves a lasting impression on listeners. The last minute of the track consists of the most powerful vocal performance on the EP. The lead singer cries out:  “All that I’d ever see all that I’d ever believe is through All that I’d ever see all that I’d ever be is blue”. This track really is noteworthy and because it moved me so much with only one listen, it is my favorite track on the EP.

The first track on Illuminaughty “Acid Wash Ocean” gave me an Alvvays “Marry Me Archie” vibe almost immediately. Alvvays lead vocalist Molly Rankin has the same moody tone as Dream Girl’s lead. I think this resurgence of front women powered lo-fi bands is absolutely incredible and exactly what we needed.

Based on comments on Dream Girl’s bandcamp a full length LP is in the works….You best believe I’ll be the first one raving over it when it finally is released!

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