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My Top 11 Musical Moments of 2012

Warning: Like much of my life and my posts, this shit is all about me. This year has been incredibly awesome- mostly because of my relationship with music and especially the music in San Diego. So below you’ll find my personal highlights of the year. I’d love to know what musically momentous occasions made your year fanfuckingtastic…. And here’s to many more in the new year!


1. My Morning Jacket and Band of Horses at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Golden, CO: MMJ has become my favorite band in the last couple years and I was lucky enough to get to see them live (twice!) this year. Colorado was a special adventure as I hadn’t traveled in a while and hadn’t planned a big trip in years. Red Rocks is indescribably beautiful and this show surpassed my wildest dreams. Nearly 5 months later and I’m still awestruck just thinking about it.

A few blurry stage pix...

Some shitastic pictures of the greatest show/venue I’ve ever been to.

2. Getting a music column in Mission Valley News: Somehow I convinced someone to let me profile local bands for a local community newspaper. Getting to express my appreciation for the magic of the music and creativity of the craft has been a shit ton of fun. I started with my favorite SD band, The Heavy Guilt in March and wrapped up the year with The Styletones. Lots of loveliness all along of way. And I’m looking forward to continuing and expanding the column in the new year!

Screen shot 2012-12-30 at 8.18.10 PM

3. Being introduced to The Lost Ark Studio: Months ago I became familiar with The Lost Ark when they released the first single for their first compilation “Summer Came” by The Heavy Guilt. Since then I’ve followed their releases (which thankfully come out nearly every week!) and as a result have become familiar with a host of fantastic bands. Their single releases introduced me to some of my favorite artists including: Tori Rogg, Old Tiger, and Jesse Lamonaca and the Dime Novels. The music they have put out is some of the best shit around. Hands down. I also got the privilege of interviewing their producer/engineer, Mike Butler for the La Mesa Courier. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: he is all kinds of awesome.

Screen shot 2012-12-30 at 8.23.42 PM

4. Seeing Dead Feather Moon win the first award of the night at the San Diego Music Awards for “Best Alternative Album”: DFM and their album Dark Sun have been constants in my life this year. The band is full of talent and heart and I’ve happily seen them play many, many, many times. I was particularly excited to see them nominated for an SDMA and that they also got to perform at the ceremony. As the new kid on the SD music block I was nerdy thrilled to go to the awards show and it was full of some really awesome moments. But the true highlight for me was seeing the Dead Feather Moon guys and their families’ excitement when they won the first award presented that night.

Screen shot 2012-12-30 at 8.25.02 PM

5. Tarfest: A few bands outside of San Diego have managed to creep into my heart this year as well. But none so much as The Steelwells, I adore their first EP Shallow On The Draft for its deeply emotional lyrics and heartfelt melodies. After seeing them in SD (three times in one month) a good friend and I decided to do a mini road trip to see them play Tarfest in LA. The show was freakin’ awesome and the lineup was full of impressive bands. I may have gotten teased about taking my “stalker status” to a new level for traveling to see the band (which I did again last month), but it was well worth it. Their newer material is peppier and equally as awesome and they seem to be gaining much-deserved momentum. An added bonus was seeing something called “Urban Light” at the LACMA and taking a bunch of rad pics.

Screen shot 2012-12-30 at 8.27.28 PM

6. The people I’ve met through music: I could probably write an entire post about the people I’ve met as a result of sneaking my way into the SD music scene. From musicians to other writers to music-fans who are deeply passionate and supportive of the bands – I have met so many immensely rad people this year I hardly know where to start. A few sites I have come to know and love include ThreeBZine.com, SDRockNRoll.com and SDDialedIn.com and the folks behind them are extremely talented and hard-working. I’ve made some lasting friendships this year too as a result of being out seeing bands and making connections with musicians, fans, and music-professionals. I am eternally grateful that I started somewhat of a solo adventure in launching this site has unexpectedly made my life infinitely more rich and full with the incredible human beings who now surround. I sincerely hope you know who you are.


7. Old Tiger’s CD Release at The Casbah: After writing about OT for the Mission Valley News and getting hooked on their debut full-legth album, Love Have Mercy, it was a special treat to be at their CD Release show. The lineup included other bands I loved (The Heavy Guilt and Nena Anderson and The Mules). And the a special supportive energy that flowed that night was palpable. The three down-to-earth musicians in Old Tiger made my work extremely easy when it came to previewing the show and supporting their efforts. To see their years of hard work come to somewhat of a culmination was exciting in a way I hadn’t imagined possible. I don’t know if proud is the right word to describe it but I was happy to see the night turn out the way I think the band intended.


8: Doing an episode of The Nardcast: I have done so many things this year I never thought I’d see myself do. This was a big one. As a constant worrier I imagined every awful scenario that could have resulted from sitting down to co-host a podcast- something I knew absolutely nothing about. Instead it turned out to be one of the things I’m most proud of. I picked songs I truly adore and got to talk about the artists I whole-heartedly believe in and share some stories behind the bands and songs. I didn’t hate my recorded voice nearly as much as I might have thought and I got some incredibly encouraging words from those that listened. Many thanks to Jarnard and those that have taken the time to listen.


9.  Interviews: Another thing I didn’t anticipate doing this year was interviewing musicians and other music professionals. Starting with Al Howard of The Heavy Guilt back in February got me hooked. Witty, articulate and endearing, this musical wizard had the most entertaining answers I could have hoped for. My goal in the coming year is one interview per month and I’ve already tapped several talents folks. Finding out about the inner workings of creative geniuses makes me do a super happy dance.

Al Howard Making Guilt Magic

It all started with Al.

10. Joining the San Diego Mixtape Society: Music nerds exchanging “mixtapes,” talking about music and enjoying one another’s company while imbibing great beer. Yes sir, yes. I love these meet-ups and getting to share music with individuals I may otherwise never have met. Nerdilicious.


11. New Year’s Eve at The Lafayette Hotel… Again!: I don’t believe in jinxing shit so I’m gonna go ahead and preemptively talk about what a goddamn blast tonight is gonna be. Last year I rocked in the New Year with a couple of great friends and a ton of great bands and this year the Casbah is presenting the same awesomeness. Looking forward to being around all the things that made my 2012 the best year of my life.  Cheers to everyone who will be there and those who will be with me in spirit.


For more interviews, song obsessions, and musical musings with Sounds in San Diego follow along on Facebook or get tweety with me on Twitter.


About Jen Van Tieghem

There aren’t many things I love more than music. While life spins away at a rapid beat I’ve realized it’s important to spend it doing what I love – enjoying music in San Diego. I have a handful of favorite venues, a heart full of favorite bands, and decided to write about it.

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