In no particular order
  1. The Used
    This Utah based group forever changed my life. Their debut album was heartbreaking and intense, and chalk full of sincerity. It was the first band I could claim as my own; not introduced by my parents or my brother, it was all fucking mine. I haven't followed their career since about 2009, but the first 2 albums still rotate on my playlists. 💛
  2. Fiona Apple
    This woman fucking blew me away in 2005 when she released Extraordinary Machine. Every single song on that record is perfect. Completely, beautifully, hauntingly perfect. She helped me embrace who I am, that I'm "better than fine", and that I am in control of my life. Fiona expressed pain in a new thoughtful way for me, that didn't focus on wallowing, so much as learning. I'm so grateful that her music came into my life.
  3. Brand New
    Most high schoolers (maybe) have that go to song or record for when they need a good cry. For me, Brand New hit that spot in the best way.
  4. Ted Leo and the Pharmacists
    I love love love love love this man & his band with all of my heart, and am so grateful for his political influence.
  5. The Format Sam Means & Nate Ruess's talents combined together created the ultimate Midwestern band of the early 2000s. I love this band & will not give up hope for a reunion.
  6. Jimmy Eat World My soundtrack junior & senior year as I prepared for the hell that was high school. I wouldn't have made it to the bus each morning without them.
  7. Jack White Jack was a busy man in my high school years. Cold Mountain soundtrack & The Raconteurs were amazing side projects that he pulled off seamlessly, while still killing it with the White Stripes. He blew me away, and helped encourage me to be open to different styles of music.
  8. Ray Lamontagne Oh my. 💔
  9. Regina Spektor The talent this woman has is astonishing! So experimental & brave, and damn can she tell a story.