Earlier this month, I attended my 20th year high school reunion and it was a nostalgic blast. It was great to reconnect with so many people, retrace steps on memory lane together, and to catch up on two decades CliffsNotes style. Personally, I was elated to find out that several former classmates had actually purchased a book of mine, caught an A-Sides session or two, and/or watched me on various red carpets. I felt so good about all that I've done, and then The Vamps came into my life.
You see this band from the UK (Connor Ball, Bradley Simpson, James McVey, and Tristan Evans) have accomplished so much at such a very young age in a such a short amount of time (they formed two years ago). With them on A-Sides, I instantly felt my accomplishments came up short. Cue the Kleenex only not really.
Without a Zima in sight (since this is, after all, 2014 and not 1994), I soon decided to accept that I was and will never be a pop star (damn you, genes!) and opted to focus on the sheer talent of this foursome thisclose to busting out in the states. Case in point: The Vamps recently sold-out a show in New York City without even having their U.S. debut EP out yet. Want more? MTV's slated them as "Artists to Watch" and Disney has tagged them as the "Next Big Thing."
Since 2012, The Vamps have played over 80 shows, supported acts like The Wanted, Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez, and has Demi Lovato appearing on "Somebody to You," the first single off the forthcoming EP. The music video for that track, I should mention, scored over one-million views on its first day. (Wow, that's like 999,999 more views than mine usually get in a day! Zing. Sigh. Recovers.)
As mentioned, The Vamps performed two tracks exclusively for yours truly and my A-Sides brand in June and sat down for a chat - discussing success in the states, and Demi Lovato. Speaking of which - Domo Origato, Demi Lovato? Anyway, feel free to swoon now with the embedded vids below, and catch them on the road with Austin Mahone (another dreamboat... sigh) and Fifth Harmony this summer. "Gold Jerry. Gold."
As we approach the midway point of 2014, a lot of outlets are publishing their top albums of the year so far. Rather than do that (is anyone really not going to say Beck anyway?), I'd like to single out the 24 songs that resonate with me thus far. Here are my top 24 tracks of 2014. Delve into, um, 24.
1. "Now Hear In" - Cloud Nothings
2. "Alienation" - Morning Parade
3. "Peaches" - In the Valley Below
4. "Hemiplegia" - Haerts
5. "Let It Burn" - The Orwells
6. "Chandelier" - Sia
7. "Blue Moon" - Beck
8. "Lanterns" - Birds of Tokyo
9. "You're Not Good Enough" - Blood Orange
10. "Lost Boys and Girls Club" - The Dum Dum Girls
11. "XO" - Beyonce
12. "Shark Attack" - Grouplove
13. "I Sat By the Ocean" - Queens of the Stone Age
14. "Doses and Mimosas" - Cherub
15. "Stolen Dance" - Milky Chance
16. "Glory" - Wye Oak
17. "Elevate" - St. Lucia
18. "Waves" - Sleeper Agent
19. "Fever" - The Black Keys
20. "Texas" - Magic Man
21. "All of Me" - John Legend
22. "Would You Fight For My Love?" - Jack White
23. "Shadow" - Bleachers
24. "Seasons (Waiting on You)" - Future Islands
About A-Sides Music
Jon Chattman's "A-Sides Music" series was established in August 2011 and usually features artists (established or not) from all genres performing a track, and discussing what it means to them. This informal series focuses on the artist making art in a low-threatening, extremely informal (sometimes humorous) way. No bells, no whistles -- just the music performed in a random, low-key setting followed by an unrehearsed chat. In an industry where everything often gets overblown and over manufactured, I'm hoping this is refreshing. Artists have included: fun, Courtney Love, Air Supply, Birdy, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, Pharrell Williams, American Authors, Imagine Dragons, Gary Clark Jr., and more! A-Sides theme written and performed by Blondfire.