Monday Morning Tunes: Treetop Flyers, Frank Turner, Peter and Kerry

Treetop Flyers Frank Turner Peter and Kerry

This summer has easily been one of our busiest, and instead of seeking out new artists or escaping into full albums as usual, my go-to music sources in the last few weeks have been Spotify playlists chosen at random and Pandora internet radio; just a few songs here and there while running errands or picking up a few things around the house before our guests show up for another family cookout.

Rather than dedicating a post to spotlighting a great new band or singer/songwriter I’ve just discovered, I have three songs from three different bands I have heard, loved, and subsequently saved to listen to again and again. And now I’m sharing them with you. In a funny (and unintended!) turn of events, all three of these artists are from and based out of England.

Treetop Flyers

Formed in 2009 by a group of friends who met through playing in various bands in and around London, Treetop Flyers’ brand of folk rock won them the Glastonbury Festival emerging talent competition in 2011. The track “It’s About Time” was released on their 2009 album “To Bury the Past.”

Website: Treetop Flyers
Facebook: Treetop Flyers Band
Twitter: @treetopflyers

Frank Turner

An English folk singer/songwriter from Meonstoke, Hampshire. Initially the vocalist of post-hardcore band Million Dead, Turner embarked upon a primarily acoustic-based solo career following the band’s split in 2005. “Wessex Boy” was released on his 2011 album “England Keep My Bones.”

Website: Frank Turner
Facebook: Frank Turner Music
Twitter: @frankturner

Peter and Kerry

Some twee synth indie pop from one Brainfeeder collaborator and one composer of ballet scores. “Knees” was released on the 2011 “Clothes, Friends, Photos” EP.

Facebook: Peter and Kerry
Twitter: @peterandkerry

20 Modern Love Songs for Your First Dance

The last time we talked music, I was singing the praises of the Have a Great Day! Spotify playlist for its ability to bring some much needed calm to my life as I navigated through the final busy week leading up to my wedding day. If you follow Woman Tribune on Facebook, you might have seen our post-wedding selfie and that the day was a rousing success.

Needless to say, I am still high on all of this newlywed energy, so what better time than now to share some of my favorite modern love songs. Whether you’re planning your own wedding and looking for that perfect first dance song or just love a good ballad (and who doesn’t, am I right?) these 20 modern love songs are sure to satisfy all your love song needs.

Ed Sheeran – Thinking Out Loud

Bright Eyes – First Day of My Life

Jason Mraz – I’m Yours

Maroon 5 – Sugar

Ray LaMontagne – You Are the Best Thing

Beyonce – XO

Adele – One and Only

Leon Bridges – Coming Home

Train – Marry Me

Ben Howard – Only Love

The Vamps (feat. Demi Lovato) – Somebody to You

John Legend – All of Me

Alabama Shakes – I Found You

Sam Smith – Lay Me Down

Coldplay – A Sky Full of Stars

Tom Odell – Grow Old With Me

Ellie Goulding – How Long Will I Love You

Jack Johnson – Better Together

Canaan Smith – Love You Like That

Kelly Clarkson (feat. John Legend) – Run Run Run

A Spotify Playlist Guaranteed to Make Your Day Great

Have a Great Day! Spotify playlist

Today isn’t just any average, run-of-the-mill Monday. Rather, today marks the beginning of what will likely go down in history as one of my busiest weeks ever.

I’m getting married this Saturday, and for as many things as I have checked off my looming preparation checklist over the last few weeks, it seems like overlooked details and new hurdles just keep popping up. The concept of being finished with everything I want to get done seems like a made-up concept, but I’m holding out hope that everything will eventually fall into place. I mean, it has to, right?

So what do you need when you’re running around all day and waking up every couple of hours throughout the night in a state of pure panic for no good reason? Catchy, happy music that makes you smile and want to dance, even against your will sometimes, always helps.

I have had the Have a Great Day! Spotify playlist playing on a loop these days. It features the perfect combination of music new and old, one hit wonders and songs you haven’t heard in years that will make you wonder why you ever stopped listening to them, or how you forgot about them completely. The song “Jump in the Line” by Harry Belafonte (yes, from “Beetlejuice”) will never not be able to make me grin.

Subscribe to the Have a Great Day! playlist, or listen to it below.

Monday Morning Tunes: Halsey


Halsey has been poised to take over the role of our newest indie pop sweetheart since the release of her 2014 EP “Room 93.” With songs that explore the vulnerability of isolation and truly having to deal with yourself, her songs “Ghost” and “Trouble” have gained attention from the likes of Sirius XM, “Last Call with Carson Daly,” Billboard, SXSW, Teen Vogue, as well as the producers of MTV, who played “Trouble” during an emotional scene of the show “Catfish.” And yes, we’re totally aware that Halsey makes the second artist after Broods to be featured in Monday Morning Tunes because of an episode of “Catfish,” so thank you, Nev and Max, for that.

Halsey’s voice is the perfect accompaniment to late-night writing sessions. Even as of the writing of this post, the tamber of her voice cuts through the dark room lit only by the screen of a laptop, demanding attention as the rhythm of her dynamic melodies progressively speed up and then slow down again.

Despite the fact that “Room 93” is only five songs long, we have had Halsey in frequent rotation. One June 2, we received a small offering of what we can expect next. “Hold Me Down” from her upcoming album “Badlands,” due out in August, is a refined sound that delves deeper into the themes of her EP.

While her music speaks volumes all on its own, what truly excites and inspires us about Halsey is an interview she gave in Teen Vogue. It is rare that we get a young female artist who is not only willing to call herself a feminist, but does so right out of the gate, without having to clarify, backpedal, or apologize for not doing so sooner. At 20 years old, Halsey is impressively fierce and strong, and she knows what she wants. She accepts that she is not and will never be the “perfect” anything, but knows who she is and is only concerned with being the most honest and authentic version of herself possible. It’s really what any artist can hope to be.

Monday Morning Tunes: Helena Johnson

Helena Johnson

Helena Johnson belts out R&B and soul music that makes your mind wander to dark, smoke-filled lounges brimming with the deepest secrets of its whispering regulars. Her voice, spellbinding and timeless, sounds as if it were blessed by Etta James and born center stage.

Originally from North Yorkshire and currently based in Liverpool, Helena Johnson truly lives and breathes her crafts as a student of Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts. Backed by an astounding 10-piece band, she creates and performs unique, beautifully-styled songs that are widely relateable while paying tribute to the origins of the genre she has successfully carved out a place for herself in.

Helena Johnson band

Back in March, Helena Johnson released the single “Take Me Home Tonight.” It is a song that catches you by surprise; starting off subtly sweet and building into a desperately pleading statement in the midst of a brilliantly paced orchestra. “Take Me Home Tonight” is as smooth as top shelf scotch that by the end leaves you wallowing in an empty glass.

Before “Take Me Home Tonight,” Helena Johnson released a few stray songs, strong but don’t feel quite finished. “I Fell in Love” is a biting ballad with such interesting vocal dynamics you won’t be able to help but listen to it again and again.

Additionally, she has a 3-song acoustic EP that I would love to hear with a full band. The song “Don’t Forget Me” has all the components of being a truly heartbreaking song in all the right ways, but the mix of the version uploaded to SoundCloud felt like the vocals and piano were fighting each other to be heard.

“Take Me Home Tonight” is by far the strongest of the handful songs Helena Johnson has released so far. This track, even just by itself, is more than enough to make us wonder what a full album would sound like, and eagerly anticipate its release.

Monday Morning Tunes: Holly Williams

Holly Williams

A few days ago, a friend of mine posted an album cover on Instagram with the caption, “Holly Williams is everything.” Since I am always looking for new music to listen to, I looked her up on Spotify and sat and listened to all three of her albums straight through. My friend was right — Holly Williams is everything. Everything good about music and about inspired, story-telling country. Everything I want on a particularly late, introspective night or day full of promise. Everything that makes me stop working, even while in mid-sentence of an article I’m writing, and sit back, close my eyes, and listen to her truth. Everything.

The granddaughter of one of the most influential singer/songwriters of the 20th century, Hank Williams, Sr. and daughter of Southern rocker singer/songwriter Hank Williams, Jr., you don’t have to look any further than Holly Williams‘ own family to see where her influences lie. When she was 17 years old, she began playing her father’s guitar and writing her own songs. Right after graduating from school, she decided to pursue music passionately, recording an EP and booking herself all over Nashville. It’s safe to say that this self-starter’s tenacity paid off, and I am privileged to have been able to come across her and listen to her music, because I’m pretty sure her 2013-released album “The Highway” has instantaneously become one of my favorites.

Usually when I’m listening to a new artist or band, I start a list of some of my favorite songs to go back and listen to again once the album has finished. I am a stickler for listening to albums in their entirety, especially the first time, because I believe that is how the artist meant for me to listen to it. Albums tell a story, and you wouldn’t flip through random pages in a book and say you’ve read it. As I listened to Holly Williams’ first two albums, “The Ones We Never Knew” and “Here With Me,” I came out with a few songs here and there that I really liked and went back to a few times. But my list suddenly grew exponentially as I listened through “The Highway.” With 11 songs on the album, 9 wound up on my favorites list.

The three songs I have included in this post are from “The Highway,” but please, for the love of everything that is good about Holly Williams, please do yourself the great service of listening to that album in its entirety. It is an absolutely beautiful collection that will stay with you, and will make you keep your ears open for Holly Williams and what she will do next.

SXSW 2015 Music in 13 Spotify Playlists


South by Southwest (SXSW) is a series of film, music, and interactive media festivals and networking events in Austin, Texas. SXSW is the largest festival of its kind in the world, and this week in mid-March is the city of Austin’s highest revenue-producing event attended by about 30,000 registrants annually.

Since SXSW 2015 just wrapped up, I thought it fitting to share some of the musical offerings attendees enjoyed for this week’s Monday Morning Tunes, including some of the performances that were given at the Spotify House.

Spotify House

Spotify has been a huge supporter of the musical talent at SXSW. They have set up a physical location in on E 6th St. in Austin called the Spotify House where you can go for huge house parties and the best of the music scene. There’s music from local artists, up-and-comers nationwide, staples in the indie music world, and roof-raising DJs. There’s also food curated by Austin-based SUPPER, and even morning workouts dubbed SoulCycle with music provided by live DJs, which is so insanely, ridiculously cool I can’t even wrap my head around it.

Official SXSW 2015 Music Playlist

Discover your new favorite artists! Listen to nearly 2,000 acts performing at the world-renowned SXSW Musical Festival March 17-22, 2015 in Austin, TX.

The 2015 SXSampler

Enjoy all SXSW has to offer with this sampling of 100 must-hear artists.

The Spotify House

The Spotify House official playlist for SXSW 2015.

Spotify House Sunday

The Spotify House 2015 Sunday lineup.

Spotify House Monday

The Spotify House 2015 Monday lineup.

 Spotify House Tuesday

The Spotify House 2015 Tuesday lineup.

Spotify House Wednesday

The Spotify House 2015 Wednesday lineup.

Spotify House Thursday

The Spotify House 2015 Thursday lineup.

Spotify House Friday

The Spotify House 2015 Friday lineup.

The Austin 100

The artists the NPR Music staff will be checking out at SXSW 2015. (Only 87 of NPR’s choice songs are available on Spotify. To listen to the entire playlist, go to

The Austin TX New Breed

Good vibes from Austin’s local music scene, curated by SUPPER.

Sunset in Austin

The sun is setting and the night takes over. Enjoy these while letting the evening play on.

Hangover in Austin

Wake up and shake it off. Today’s a new day.

Monday Morning Tunes: ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Soundtrack

Fifty Shades of Grey

This may come as a surprise, but I am not a “Fifty Shades of Grey” fan. Despite my efforts, I just don’t see it as the romantic love story so many have accepted it to be. While I have many often contested opinions about the series and its subsequent widespread fame, I will spare you those opinions, because I don’t feel up to having yet another series of arguments with people who want to condescend to me about my inability to understand the BDSM subject matter — because my biggest issue stems from the fact that I do understand BDSM dynamics, thank you very much.

So why am I bothering to dedicate a post to something “Fifty Shades of Grey”-related in the first place? Well, because the movie’s soundtrack is pure gold. There isn’t a bad track in the entire list of 16 songs.

The “Fifty Shades of Grey” soundtrack includes the classic voices of Annie Lennox, The Rolling Stones, and Frank Sinatra and some of my personal favorite voices, Sia, Beyonce, and Ellie Goulding.

It has new flavor like AWOLNATION and The Weeknd, whom I first heard when he teamed up with Sia for “Elastic Heart” that appeared on “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” soundtrack.

It even ends with two beautiful instrumental tracks from renowned composer Danny Elfman. It is a really great mix of incredible music from all sorts of different genres.

If there is such a thing as the perfect soundtrack, a compilation of songs from multiple artists from different backgrounds with unique experiences that can set a mood and tell a story within a story, this is it. This soundtrack is perfection in 16 tracks, and I have been listening to it on a loop for nearly two weeks straight.

Oscars 2015 Must See Performances

John Legend and Common Oscars 2015
John Shearer/Invision/AP

Who watched the Oscars last night? We did, we did!

Admittedly, we are not avid watchers of awards shows around here. Some years we’ll make it a point to watch, other years it just so happens to be on and so sure, we’ll sit through a 3 1/2-hour broadcast. This year was a little different. We weren’t doing much of anything else, the Oscars came on, and my fiance and I were both yolked to our Twitter accounts throughout the entire live television broadcast. What makes awards shows better? Real time social media interaction, of course!

There were a few things off, wrong, and totally tone deaf about last night’s Oscars, but we’re sure you’ve already seen your fair share of opinion pieces circulating today, so we’ll spare you. You’re welcome. Instead, let’s relive three performances from last night that got everything right, shall we?

Jennifer Hudson’s ‘In Memoriam’ performance of “I Can’t Let Go” (a song that was written for Hudson’s character in “Smash”) was a stunning and heartbreaking tribute to those the film industry and the entire world have lost in the last year.

Lady Gaga pretty much blew everyone away with her incredible tribute to “Sound of Music.” Way too many people had written Gaga off right after she came out with “The Fame Monster” and was posing in meat dresses. They thought she was relying on shock value with little talent to bolster her star. After an image makeover that led her to Tony Bennett, Lady Gaga rounded out her transformation on the Oscars stage. And when Julie Andrews walked out after Gaga’s performance? Perfection!

But the very best performance of the night, hands down, has got to go to John Legend and Common performing “Glory” from the Oscar-nominated film “Selma.” The recreation of the march on the Edmund Pettus Bridge was breathtaking, and by the end of the song I was in tears. It was such a beautiful and important performance, and these artists deserved the Oscar they took home last night and then some!

What was your favorite performance of Oscars 2015?

Monday Morning Tunes: Beyonce


Beyonce is queen. I think that at this point we have all come to accept this as proven fact, right? So as such, is there any other artist better to start your Monday off than the fierce, proud, and unwavering queen herself? I think not.

Music has always been a kind of security blanket for me. Whatever I am feeling at any particular moment, there is a band, a singer, an album, a song that I can go to that conveys exactly those feelings. So in my attempts to make 2015 a more upbeat and productive year, as opposed to the thick fog of depression that loomed over me for much of 2014, I have been listening to a lot of Beyonce — particularly her 2014 self-titled album that gave us a new feminist anthem that the movement quite frankly needed. Way to go, Bey!

If you haven’t listened to the “Beyonce” album in its entirety, you absolutely should. It is fun while also having a lot to say about being a grown woman in the world today — about beauty, relationships, marriage and what it is to be a wife without compromising your independence or your career, and motherhood.

Together, we’re gonna make 2015 a year full of love, accomplishment, and above all, happiness. It will be a year that far outweighs all that was dark, gloomy, grey, anxious, crippling, and frustrating about 2014. Who’s with me?