erin’s very specific playlist to celebrate the 2010s: your last minute new year’s playlist to cover the last decade

erin’s very specific playlist to celebrate the 2010s: your last minute new year’s playlist to cover the last decade

Erin P.S. Zimmerman has not only the memory of an elephant and the rhythm of one of Destiny’s children, but she’s the twin sister of our Editor, so she’s an absolute magnet for pop culture. She took a side road and grabbed us a large quantity of songs for a playlist that easily covers the entire decade. We’re sure it was inspired by her Spotify plays, as well as a deep dive into each year and her own iTunes library. But this girl’s got some gems. So read em, listen to em, and celebrate 2020 with the sounds of the past!


Dick in a Box – Lonely Island ft Justin Timberlake
One of the first times I realized that my mom has a wicked dirty sense of humor. In 2011, we requested this one at a piano bar “for our mom”. They pulled her on stage to sing and dance…and boy, did she!

I’m on a Boat – The Lonely Island
Everyone seemed to know this one, and it brought us all togethe

Water Landing – Third Eye Blind
Favorite TEB song. My new bf at the time – now my husband – made me a mix CD when we started dating, and this was the first song.

Boom Boom Pow – The Black Eyed Peas
“You’re so two thousand and LATE!” – Also, my sorority formal date’s “THIS IS MY JAM!”

Gives You Hell – The All-American Rejects
Our anthem for all the bullshit left behind in high school.

Use Somebody – Kings of Leon
Favorite moment of my study abroad trip to London: a packed room at a bar singing this to a live band playing a cover.

Party in the USA – Miley Cyrus
There is no physical possibility she could walk off the plane at LAX, hop in her cab and look to the right to see the Hollywood sign.

Battlefield – Jordin Sparks
Why DOES love always feel like a battlefield?

Fireflies – Owl City
Why did we like this one so much??

I Love College – Asher Roth
This is the given on the soundtrack of someone who was in college in 2009 or any year after.

Breakeven – The Script
This introduced me to The Script. Which became part of the soundtrack to my summer.

Lines, Vines, and Trying Times – Jonas Brothers
YES, this is the whole album. Because I loved about 4/5ths of it. And it was the magical soundtrack to exploring London and Los Angeles.


Cooler Than Me – Mike Posner
Someone told me they thought of me every time they hear this song because I probably think I’m cooler than them. I am.

Billionaire – Travie McCoy ft Bruno Mars
Heard this one for the first time driving around Los Angeles with some friends. And I could picture myself as a billionaire VERY clearly – and still do every time I hear it!

Club Can’t Handle Me – Flo Rida ft. David Guetta
Always blasted in my dorm with my roommates. Always never at the club…because it can’t handle me right now.

Whataya Want from Me – Adam Lambert
I felt like I had his vocal range. Spoiler alert: I didn’t. Also: what I sang in my head every time someone from high school reached out to me…

If I Die Young – The Band Perry
My co-worker’s young daughter loved this song. And creepily sang every word as she stared deep into my eyes. I lived to tell the tale.

Shout It Out – Hanson
Yes, it’s another boy band album. I truly love all of the upbeat music on this, and it’s great for running through the sprinklers and then enjoying a bomb pop on a summer day (or upbeat music for your NYE)!


Under the Mistletoe – Justin Bieber
My sister received a video invitation to a Christmas party in Manhattan, New York that featured this song. And it was original and funny and I can’t help but love the song now.

Rolling in the Deep – Adele
Power ballad and my introduction to Adele [insert heart eyes]

Party Rock Anthem – LMFAO
My little bro learned the dance. We made the gold box head from the video for him. This was his anthem.

Raise Your Glass – P!nk
Underdogs. Weirdos. Dirty little freaks. I’ve never felt so seen…

F**kin’ Perfect – P!nk
NOW I feel seen.

Look At Me Now – Chris Brown ft Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes
I spent an entire week vacationing in San Diego practicing rapping to Busta’s verse. I got most of it, performed it at my 21st birthday party, and retired from the rap game.

Good Life – OneRepublic
Upbeat. Meaningful. Nostalgic. Perfect for a party!

Pretty Girl Rock – Keri Hilson
Because, of course. 

Jessie J’s entire album: Who You Are
Spent the summer – and fall and winter and spring – driving around with my twin sis rockin’ out to this one! Daddio’s favorite is Price Tag

Threw it on the Ground – The Lonely Island
Makes me giggle. Referenced often to this day.


Somebody That I Used to Know – Gotye
Just one of those songs from 2012 that defined the year…because it was played non-stop on every radio station. So, everyone knows it.

We Are Young – Fun
Another one of those anthems for people of all ages about going out and  painting the town red – or setting it on fire, whatever

Ni**as in Paris – Jay Z and Kanye West
A fun one that made at least SOMETHING in Blades of Glory funny.

Birthday Cake – Rihanna ft Chris Brown
Super weird collaboration following his assaulting her and the romantic breakup that followed 3 years prior…but a super catchy – albeit sometimes annoying – track. 


Thrift Shop – Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
Who didn’t love this song, and then become a complete thrift shop junkie? It took me years to get back to thrifting and getting anything good!

Flawless – Beyonce
Empowerment anthem OF THE DECADE. And, most days? I DID wake up like this.

Mirrors – Justin Timberlake
Cried. Sang it with the windows down driving up the 101. Made my bridal party do a dance to it. There is video evidence.

Royals – Lorde
I had somehow forgotten this song. It played in perpetuity from 2013-the KC Royals 2015 World Series Championship. Now I can’t get it out of my head…

Wrecking Ball – Miley Cyrus
An ode to Miley’s breakup, breakdown and ripping off the bandaid that was her Disney persona. And you, too, can get a skin for your MacBook that turns your Apple logo into the wrecking ball in question.

Girl on Fire – Alicia Keys
ANOTHER empowerment anthem? We will take all of them we can get! 

Try – P!nk
Have you ever seen the music video? Watch it. NOW.

You and I – John Legend
Hell, really I just mean all of the album “Love in the Future”. Best of 2013.


Happy – Pharrell Williams
Who doesn’t want a feel-good song to take you from down in the dumps, to dancing on the hood of your car? Or the bar? Or the table or the street? 

All of Me – John Legend
Bawled. Became first dance at wedding. Years later, I told John Legend to his face that he only makes music to purposefully make me cry. And he guaranteed tears at his concert. And he delivered. Damn him.

Turn Down for What – DJ Snake and Lil Jon
Only video I took at my wedding: Dance off in the foreground between 5 VERY white boys to this song. In the background? Family friend Russian kicking my 9-year-old niece into 2016.

Chandelier – Sia
I DO want to swing from the chandeli-here!

The Man – Aloe Blacc
Best basketball warm up song. Best slideshow music for the graduating seniors of the St. Pius X high school basketball team.

Partition – Beyonce
This one just has me feelin’ myself, no matter what mood I was in before! In fact, I’m going to go listen to it, now!


See You Again – Wiz Khalifa ft Charlie Puth
First death of a friend my age. This played on a slideshow. He’s all I think of when I hear it and I cry. Which means I cried while watching Fast and the Furious. But not because of Fast and the Furious.

Take Me to Church – Hozier
The year I really STOPPED going to church. But his voice more than made up for it!

Elastic Heart – Sia
Two words: Shia. Labeouf.

Outlaws – Alessia Cara
I felt like this was the anthem for myself and my fellow entrepreneurs as we retreated in the mountains and built our businesses and white-water rafted and had a jolly ole time.

House Party – Sam Hunt
How the twin and I have always lived our lives: entertaining from the comfort of our own homes.


Love Yourself – Justin Bieber

Sorry – Justin Bieber
OK, let’s be honest. The whole damn album. I’m not embarrassed. I danced my way through 2016 to JB.

Work from Home – Fifth Harmony
I had just started working from home as a full-time freelancer when this one came out. So, it was constantly in my head – and is a fun one to dance to, as well!

Just Like Fire – P!nk
Apparently, I am drawn to fire. I believe it’s the Aries in me…

One Call Away – Charlie Puth
Sister broke up with her boyfriend. I rallied the troops and had friends and family from across the US lip sync on video and put it together as a breakup gift. And a perpetual reminder.

Sit Still, Look Pretty – Daya
Calling society in to question. While being catchy and easy to dance to? Yes, please and thank you! Because smashing the patriarchy can and should feel a hell of a lot more fun!

Lost Boy – Ruth B
Haunting, gender-bending, put into question how we see ourselves vs. how we are seen.

I know, deep, right?


HUMBLE – Kendrick Lamar
I saw this one as a challenge for me to be less humble and take up space, while also singing along loudly in the direction of folx who need to sit the f*** down, shut up and listen. 

Say You Won’t Let Go – James Arthur
Does anyone else see Jane and Rafael from Jane the Virgin when they listen to this song? No? Just me? 

Redbone – Childish Gambino
A range and style no one expected, but everyone needed.

Slow Hands – Niall Horan
Sexy from a former One Directioner…I should have seen it coming.

Sorry Not Sorry – Demi Lovato
Hate the saying. LOVE the song.

DNA – Kendrick Lamar
The BEST song to lift heavy weights and smash a bag around to! TRY to tell me differently!

Better Life – P!nk
Sad and beautiful. It helps me to stop and take inventory and answer P!nk’s question for myself.

Younger Now – Miley Cyrus
How I feel with each passing year…

Bastards – Kesha
First song on her 2017 album. “Don’t let the bastards get you down” (America’s official slogan since, what, 2016?)

Everybody Lost Somebody – Bleachers
Bleachers makes depression fun by helping folx find commonalities in one another. YOU are not alone!

[Some of the above songs are in the article about favorite albums I wrote to wrap up 2017:]


Finesse – Bruno Mars and Cardi B
LOVE the throwback late 80s/early 90s sound. MORE PLEASE!

All The Stars – Kendrick Lamar & SZA
Black Panther. Entire Marvel/Disney soundtrack produced by Kendrick Lamar. My mom is friends with SZA’s mom. 

This is America – Childish Gambino
Calling us out. Poignant. This IS America. Always and still.

God is a Woman – Ariana Grande
Finally. Someone got it right.

Shape of You – Ed Sheeran
I’m still trying to hate it. But every time it comes on – and it still does a LOT – my foot just gets a’tappin’!

Thank U, Next – Ariana Grande
I find myself singing this at my husband of 5+ years. Gotta keep um on their toes!

Hey Look Ma, I Made It – Pan!c at the Disco
Haven’t heard much from Pan!c since the mid 2000s…and now they are back and better than ever! In fact: theirs was my favorite show of 2019 (and Elizabeth’s! Check out her review here:


7 Rings – Ariana Grande
Sound of Music is my favorite. And so are my bitches (though, I don’t have 6 of them…probably)

Old Town Road – Lil Nas X ft Billy Ray Cyrus
Lil Nas X became a role model, THEN came out (and became an even BIGGER role model), all while trolling us with this annoyingly catchy – but really bad – anthem of 2019.

Bad Guy – Billie Eilish
Hate to say it…I love it. Because, well, I don’t always want to be the nice guy!

I Don’t Care – Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber
This is literally how I feel about everyone and everything. Except for my family. Sometimes. Other times, it’s exactly how I feel about all humans except myself.

Homecoming: The Live Album – Beyonce
Watching it live. Listening to it in its entirety. Tears to my eyes and over a decade of music and emotions.


Learn more about Erin at

jake johnson’s directorial debut self reliance is a fever panic dream (nightmare?)… and we’re smitten

jake johnson’s directorial debut self reliance is a fever panic dream (nightmare?)… and we’re smitten

Run Time: 1hr 25 mins
Streaming: HULU
Genre: Comedy, Action/Adventure, Thriller, Silly Adventure, Buddy Comedy, Mystery
Suggested for: People and pets of all ages. Those who love Squid Games, Hunger Games, hunting, etc. Adoring fans of The Pepperwood Chronicles or other deep cut references from New Girl.

To tell you I know I will watch this movie a dozen times or more over the next 6 months is probably an understatement. Written, directed, produced, and starred in by none other than Jake Johnson (fka such gems as “Shady David Krumholtz” and “a deeply troubled, degenerate Oscar Isaac”), Self Reliance is a comedy thriller that pushes the needle on self-awareness. A heavily nuanced piece, it presents as a little more whacky, with adrenaline-inducing chase scenes and the inclusion of several familiar faces. My twin sister is in town, and it was the perfect way to spend the early hours of our Friday morning with Schmidt (the cat) in tow.

IMDb Description: Given the opportunity to participate in a life or death reality game show, one man discovers there’s a lot to live for.

Tommy (Jake Johnson) is a man not quite taking advantage of the prime of his life. He lives with his mom after a debilitating breakup and sticks to a daily routine that seems rigid and unfulfilling. He wakes up with a picture of his ex next to the alarm clock, rides the exercise bike watching the iPad with no sense of urgency, walks the same route to work, pushes paper at his desk all day, walks to the bar for a drink, and heads home. Everything seems gray, and very purposefully so.

One day, Andy Samberg – another producer on the project is The Lonely Island – pulls up alongside Tommy in a limo. He tells Tommy he doesn’t know why he has picked him up, but that people are waiting for him and the driver takes them to a warehouse where they drop Tommy off and urgently leave. Samberg’s quintessential over-the-top facial expressions and visible discomfort during the scene help to foreshadow a rough go for Tommy.

After following red arrows through a maze of warehouse corridors, Tommy finds himself facing a table of foreign men who tell him he has been invited to play a game where he is being hunted. It is all being broadcast to the dark web. Hunters could find him, but they might not. The only way he can avoid being killed is to stay in close proximity to another person for 30 days. If he survives that time frame, he gets $1 million. Sounds easy, so he accepts.

Until his family hears his story about Andy Samberg picking him up in a limo and offering him a spot in a game where people hunt others for sport. Because he is stuck in a post-breakup depression haze, Tommy’s family – expertly played by Mary Holland, Emily Hampshire, and Nancy Lenehan – thinks his mental health has tanked and he just doesn’t want to be alone. When he furthers their theory about his sanity by physically moving his brother-in-law from the toilet mid-shit to prove to an assassin that he isn’t alone through a bathroom window in the middle of the night, they back out entirely. He recruits a houseless man to live and work with him so he is never alone, consequently loses his job, and is thrown into a hailstorm of a month.

Joining Johnson in his debut effort is an insanely stacked cast. Aside from the aforementioned, Natalie Morales appears as Tommy’s ex. Anna Kendrick plays his love interest, a woman named Maddy who reaches out when Tommy posts a cryptic Craigslist ad to learn more about other players of this game. Christopher Lloyd makes an appearance, as well as Wayne Brady, Biff Wiff, Boban Marjanović, GaTa – whose work bringing mental health-focused projects to the table has held a healthy balance amidst his music and acting endeavors – and Eduardo Franco, who is pretty much everyone’s favorite human to be around.

My sister, Erin P.S. Zimmerman (a producer, filmmaker, and film critic) had a pointed takeaway from this fun watch. The man who wrote this movie has most likely experienced loneliness and pain, and come to his own existential conclusions. Humor and growth have been found in the process. Through Self Reliance, Jake Johnson has pinpointed the importance of community in the human experience. Though I’m sure the plotline was born from many inside jokes and comedic life experiences – and a flurry of incredible pop culture references – the core of the film is, truly, togetherness.

It is also, in my opinion, a sound testament to trusting your own gut and instincts through life. As terrifying as some of the situations were that the characters found themselves in, they had to work their their own intuition and ideas with the information they had to move forward. Watching these characters pause for thought, and then approach situations with unwarranted confidence is almost empowering. Because, truly, nothing different is happening to the people in Self Reliance than is happening to all of us at any point in our lives. Anything can happen to you at any moment. And you have to work with what you have in that moment to thrive — or even just to survive. Curveballs – like the cryptic messages from GaTa and the P.A. Ninjas – can be thrown your way at any time. You have to be aware and ready to create your own destiny. (You know, instead of meandering about as we all do from time to time for an extended period. Because meandering is cool.)

Another great piece to this film is that Tommy recognizes the people who are helping him pretty quickly. His character even goes so far as to acknowledge them along the way, and it is because he is waking up and beginning to notice the things around him a lot more — see the world more clearly. (You would too if assassins were hidden around your world, trying to take you out as soon as you’re not paying attention.)

A more detailed perspective from Erin:

As someone that works in the production industry, watching how the P.A. Ninjas were presented was lighthearted and hilarious, but also true. Knowing that Jake Johnson has touched many facets of the filmmaking workflow – writer, director, producer, and actor in this movie alone – he went into this project as a filmmaker who has a more well-rounded perspective of the process.

Though the P.A. Ninjas seem like a characature, they are very true to life in that they bend over backwards for everyone, they take care of the people who take care of them, they’re ninjas that seem to do everything and take care of everything. But they are necessary and he brought light to the fact that they are ninjas. It was a nice little nod to workforces in the industry that aren’t often acknowledged by the executives and top-billed cast, or anyone who has never been in their position before.

Coming out of the strikes of 2023, the details in this film seem all the more important as the creative community bands together again to go through a season of productivity.

Self Reliance is a little more fast paced, and it will require a bit of attention to catch all of the quips and references. Johnson’s genius mind will have you second-guessing your predictions, assumptions, and real-time assessments until the very end. Be ready to spot Ellen DeGeneres, Mario, a sumo wrestler, samurais, and more – and question everything you know – on this adventure.

‘La Pitchoune: Cooking in France’ Just Debuted on HBO Max – 6 Things We Enjoy About This Series

‘La Pitchoune: Cooking in France’ Just Debuted on HBO Max – 6 Things We Enjoy About This Series

Have you ever heard of recipe-free cooking? I mean, as someone who has always experimented in the kitchen, this concept hardly seemed foreign at first glance. However, before indulging in the new series La Pitchoune: Cooking in France (presented by the Magnolia Network and HBO Max), I didn’t have a leg up in my cooking. I didn’t take the time to understand the ingredients, the textures, and the flavors.

The show took an educational dive into a real-life experience led by a no-recipe pact. Here’s what I loved about it.

1. The Story is Inspiring

In 2015, Makenna Held, the Lead Creative & Executive Director of La Pitchoune and the Courageous Cooking School, took a leap of faith and purchased La Pitchoune — or “Little One”, affectionately referred to as “La Peetch” — the Provencal vacation home of Paul and Julia Child. (Yes, THAT Julia Child.) She had a strong, inexplicable pull to the listing. Trusting her intuition paid off. 

After landing in France, she started to create the framework that would soon become the Courageous Cooking School, her recipe-free cooking experience. In 2019, she married the love of her life – and Historian for La Peetch and Curriculum Director of the Courageous Cooking School – Chris Nylund at Bamafam and La Peetch.

2. The Kitchen at La Pitchoune is Magical

“Cooking in La Peetch kitchen is so magical because of the history and because of the past that it has,” Held gushes. “The fact that there are so many original things in the kitchen and there’s so much energy in that space. It’s just such a little snapshot in time and it’s connected to so many people who have been so important to shaping food and food culture. Also, it’s a kitchen with so much history and beauty and such a functional workshop. I think ultimately, that’s what makes cooking in kitchens like that so beautiful.”

3. The La Pitchoune Property History Adds Character 

And she isn’t wrong. The kitchen has been maintained almost exactly as it was when Julia resided there. Many of the kitchen utensils belonged to Julia herself. When you take each item off the pegboard, you can see its outline so you know exactly where it goes. It’s a system and a work of art all in one. Even just watching on a television screen, you feel chills watching the camera pan that space. Every. Single. Time. 

The overgrowth of the ivy along the side of the building is picturesque, coupled with some of the most gorgeous hillside panorama shots you have ever seen. The property is luscious, the guests seem captivated. Through the historical explanations littered throughout the episodes encouraged by Nylund, the property almost comes alive, both in how it is presented now alongside snapshots and stories of its past.

4. Courageous Cooking School Graduates Stick Around

Those who enjoyed their time at the Courageous Cooking School at La Pitchoune usually stick around. Many people go back for repeat vacations and cooking school experiences and the property gets a lot of referrals from previous guests. During the pandemic, they truly leaned into the idea of digital recipe-free classes. While there was a more in-depth paid experience, they hosted live streams and posted continuing education with recipe-free cooking lessons, posting the recipe in advance so people could procure their ingredients. 

One La Peetch remote employee participated in both the digital and in-person experience. “It took participating in the cooking school in person to relly grasp the framework and gain the courage to experiment alongside other guests!” Erin P.S. Zimmerman, Associate Producer on the project admitted. 

“I knew that the cooking school needed to be introduced to the world in a broader way,” Zimmerman explained. “With her personality, the framework, the location, and the team she’s gathered – it was the perfect storm for an entertaining, transformation-driven storyline!”

5. The Cooking Lessons Are Simplified and Accessible

In the first episode of the series, Makenna and her cohort Kendall tackle a basic. They approach the perfect omelet with their students. Many viewers learned a specific flipping trick to create the perfect texture and fold that day. This is a fact confirmed by a slew of comments and photos via social media. What a simple, beautiful recipe to ease the viewers into!

Each episode is sure to highlight the greenery that sets the backdrop for well-rounded meals and experiences. There is an educational angle to each episode that is charming. I feel like I am getting the cliffs notes version, but watching this show just makes me want to book the next available experience.

6. Adventure is Encouraged at La Pitchoune

The storyline goes on beautiful tangents to other villages and towns. It follows the owners on side projects, adventures to markets, and gorgeous experiences along the countryside. We get to see inside cheese shop storefronts and flower markets. Not to mention produce stands and fish shops, among so many other places. These sidebars make their true immersion into the culture feel authentic and sincere. 

It serves to inspire others that adventure is wildly encouraged to succeed in life. 

imperfect Fifth + do good co. | year 2 bash

imperfect Fifth + do good co. | year 2 bash

The end of October brought with it more than just a weather cool-down. As we started to bundle up for the winter ahead, we took time to pause on a breezy Autumn evening to celebrate the last 2 years of accomplishments with Imperfect Fifth. We were lucky enough to partner with Do Good Co., an incredible company on 38th Street in Kansas City, MO, who was also celebrating their 2nd birthday that evening. Together, we brought in vendors (Sugar Buffet KC, Scorpio Rising Botanicals, Crystal Ramirez Jewelry) and unique shopping opportunities with an evening of music and fun. Guitarist James Schneider opened the evening, followed by the talents of Danza Special and Fathers. We captured some photographs, caught up with friends, and were able to celebrate some incredible people locally, to boost our change globally.

Check our merch shop all week for discounts! Sales end at midnight, 11.11!

**photos by Erin P.S. Zimmerman, Elizabeth Schneider, and Meredith Schneider

top 7 non-male powerhouse vocalists of the year

top 7 non-male powerhouse vocalists of the year

These days, it can be difficult to determine one songstress from another, let alone save a track and keep the name of its creator in your music library. This time of year, everyone is posting their “Best of” lists for 2018. We aren’t doing a super deep dive. We’ve just chosen 7 of our favorite female vocalists that have really ignited our hearts in the last year or so – one we found as recently as a couple of weeks ago! – and we’re all about sharing! Check out some of our favorite non-male performers below, and then maybe go make an entire WHO RUN THE WORLD? playlist featuring each and every one of these powerhouses!

by meredith schneider

Billie Eilish wasn’t someone we saw coming. Having jammed out to a couple of her songs, Bonnaroo 2018 brought her to the stage in front of us for the first time. A look of vulnerability in her eyes, she gave that crowd more than what she had that day, throwing her body into her stage presence and really working the stage so that everyone felt like they were a part of it. Each new release brings with it an extended feeling of empowerment, and we’re keen on what’s to come for this incredibly talented young musician. (See video at the end of this piece: she is one of Tan France’s favorites!)

by christie mcmenamin

Lucy Dacus‘ voice is tranquil, delicate, and perfectly matched to her bittersweet, relatable lyrics. We’ve fallen in love with her as gently as her music progression over the years. We’re super pleased with her new supergroup boygenius (see: Julien Baker below), if not only because it gives us an additional reason to see her live more often. All the heart eyes going into 2019 on this lady!

by jeo taymany

by jeo taymany

Ness Heads is a Chicago-based artist who sings a soulful mixture of R&B and hip hop, with a bit of a pop flare. Her single “Flip Em” threw us for a loop during the summer of 2018, and we’re keeping that energy going through the next month as we hustle through our last minute year-end “to do” lists.

by christie mcmenamin

The world’s lead producer of sad music, Julien Baker stole our hearts a few years ago, but her stage presence and the incredible way she interacts with her fans is something of note. We were lucky enough to have seen her both locally and at 2018’s last ever Sasquatch Music Festival, and were floored on a number of occasions by her prowess. Check her out with new supergroup boygenius!

by erin p.s. zimmerman

by erin p.s. zimmerman

It was 2016 when we first had the unique pleasure of photographing Bishop Briggs, as she prepped for an evening performing at the Midland in Kansas City. Flash forward 2 years and we’ve seen her a number of additional times, photographed her once more (see above photo, SXSW 2017), and have continued to follow each and every impassioned song that she releases as she’s toured the country multiple times, played every festival known to mankind, and as her music has been placed in both television and film. Her energy is unlike any other when she steps on stage, and her compassion is limitless. (See: her recent haircut) Plus, she was just featured on JVN’s podcast, so she’s definitely “having a moment!”

by meredith schneider

Mess lead singer Allison Gliesman is a kind, hilarious, and obscenely generous human soul. We’re fortunate to know them as a friend, but their music stunned us even before we met them face to face. Flash forward to witnessing those powerhouse vocals one night at The Rino in KC and our world was changed forever. If you haven’t yet blasted a Mess song at full volume in your car, now is the time. Keep your eyes peeled for this one.

by dara munnis

by dara munnis

I was at Sasquatch Music Festival photographing a female-led band at one stage, when the music from another stage flooded my ears. Like a siren call, I followed it, toting my boyfriend like a rag doll. This. Woman. Has. Chops. Tash Sultana. After three songs, I turned and said, “She can do it all. Seriously. What can’t she do?” As if she could hear me, she got out a pan flute within 30 seconds… and started to beat box with it.

If you aren’t in love just with that statement, then I don’t know who you are. Insane. That’s the only word to describe it.

BONUS – While our other listing pieces will include just 7 representatives, we may have gone overboard BECAUSE WE ARE SO FLOORED BY SO MANY RAD NON-MALE VOCALISTS. So check out our list add-on below, and revel in the glory of 8 incredible humans!

by zyanya lorenzo

by zyanya lorenzo

If you ask Antoni from Queer Eye about his favorite artist (like I did!), he’s got a substantial amount to say about Maggie Rogers. And we don’t disagree. Her voice is absolutely captivating, the lyrics she weaves are catchy, touching, and the instrumentals always have “#1 single” written all over them. We are smitten.

enjoyable listens becomes fan favorite during weekend set at sxsw 2022

enjoyable listens becomes fan favorite during weekend set at sxsw 2022

We hate to admit that Enjoyable Listens led in the ranks of the most “enjoyable” set at SXSW 2022, but they – ahem, HE – totally did. While the Oxford-based act normally performs as a duo, brainchild Luke Duffett appeared solo this time around, as his bass guitarist partner-in-crime was stuck overseas for WORK. (Something he mentioned multiple times during his set.)

In all honesty, we almost didn’t stay for the set. We had the privilege of covering an array of international artists over the course of the week, and when a slightly sunburnt man in a suit with a bolo tie and slicked-back hair was sound-checking, I prematurely judged him and suggested we leave the Registrant’s Lounge. Luckily, our dear friend Whiteclaw (sorry – they sponsored the fest and I was already a few deep) kept us glued to the spot when Duffett took the stage.

While their Facebook page boasts that they are “a bloodstained fur coat floating on the undulating beat of street talk,” we were absolutely delighted by the theatrics employed by Duffett on that fated Saturday afternoon. He introduced the act, pushed a button on the soundboard, and walked off the stage to make a grand entrance. And this was only after he verbally commanded the attention of everyone in the area three separate times.

A type of Baroque-pop, the music took on an experimental vibe at times. This man was absolutely the manifestation of if one of our best friends from high school had a child with Rick Astley. In all honesty, the vocals and blazer were the only traces of Astley. (After sending a video to Erin’s husband, we received word that we weren’t the only two who had this exact thought.) His vocal range was unexpected and alluring, while the lyrics were poignant, funny, and utilized an expanse of vocabulary. (One of the best ways to pinpoint a favorable lyricist, if we do say so ourselves.) At times, he would do more of a spoken word situation over the music, which we found later to be a common thread in the recorded versions of the tracks. He would also interrupt his own songs to talk to the audience. He even warned us about “spontaneous clapping” and “crowd surfing” he predicted for later in the show — all of this to a still rather small crowd.

But as his set went on, the crowd grew. And the smiles multiplied. And his dance moves got even more outlandish. He jumped off the stage, lunged at attendees, and performed for the (non-operating) camera, all the while maintaining this artistic persona that we all grew to love over the course of his set.

If you get the chance to see this act live, run… do not walk. I promise it will change your life.

heavy salad perform at flatstock | sxsw 2022

heavy salad perform at flatstock | sxsw 2022

During our last full day at SXSW 2022, we wandered into Flatstock. For those of you who aren’t familiar, this is an installation that takes over one of the bigger halls in the convention center toward the end of the festivities every year. Print and poster vendors line the aisles, promoting their art. Many designers bring posters they completed on spec and for specific tours and stops for a variety of musicians. Some vendors brought along pins and other fun accessories, and Erin even ended up with a really cool poster created by the 12-year-old son of one of the vendors. (It was beautiful, and all proceeds went to feed a “very healthy LEGO habit.”)

The beauty in it all is that there was a stage setup, so there was live music providing a soundtrack to the experience. We wandered in for Manchester group Heavy Salad‘s performance, and don’t regret a moment of it. Here are a few photos from that set.