On the Radar: Grammy Nominees, AFI Tour, Christmas Songs + More

What’s been racking my brain this week? Check out this week’s On the Radar to find out!

And Grammy nominees are….

Grammy Award 762x434 On the Radar: Grammy Nominees, AFI Tour, Christmas Songs + More

The Grammys

The nominations for the 2017 Grammy Awards are finally out and, as usual, there are surprises, upsets, and predictable contenders for next year. Beyonce leads the pack this year with nine nominations (is that really a surprise?). What’s strange is she’s nominated for “Don’t Hurt Yourself” in Best Rock category. Now, you can’t deny the success of her album, Lemonade, but really? Best rock? I don’t like to get hung up on genres too much, but something seems off about that. I’m sure there was one other rock band they could’ve found for the nomination.

Beyonce is also nominated for Album of the Year, but she’s up against another heavy contender, Adele. Surprisingly, Justin Bieber’s Purpose is also nominated for the award. As you’d expect, Drake, Rihanna, and Kanye West each have eight nominations apiece. Local boy Chance the Rapper is nominated for seven Grammys, including Best Rap Album and Best Rap Performance. It’s good to see the hardworking rapper get some love outside of the rap community. The late David Bowie has four nominations for his final album Blackstar. Since the album came out earlier this year, it doesn’t feel like they’re giving him something only because he’s dead.

While I’m happy to see one of my favorite bands, Cage the Elephant, nominated for Best Rock Album, I’m baffled by Blink-182’s nomination. I love the band and on one hand, I’m happy for them. But why California? The band has stronger, better albums to their name, yet it’s this one the committee decided to recognize? Either way, good luck to all the nominees. We’ll see who wins when the Grammy Awards air on CBS live from Los Angeles’ Staples Center on February 12.

AFI announce The Blood Tour


In October, AFI announced their new album, AFI (The Blood Album), and shared two new songs. And all was right in the universe. Though their ninth album Burials came out in 2013, it felt like the band was missing for a while. But now they’re back and they’re hitting the road in 2017. On Monday (Dec. 5) the band released dates for their 2017 The Blood tour. Joining them as special guests are Chain Gang 1974, Souveniers, and Nothing. And unlike my past ticket buying experiences, I scored two tickets. This will be the first time of seeing AFI. Tickets are currently on sale.

My love for them grew steadily over the years. I still remember watching Fuse network for the first and catching the video for “Girl’s Not Grey.” This led to me buying their album Sing the Sorrow right away. I soon got deeper and deeper into their catalog. Though I liked a lot of their songs, I came to actually appreciate the songwriting and stylistic choices the more I listened to them. I was bummed when I missed their last two performances in Chicago, but finally I’ll have my chance. Plus, they’re releasing a new album on January 20, so that’s awesome too. So this means I’ll probably blast Decemberunderground for the next three weeks or so.

Dead Sara announce covers EP


There are certain artists that others can’t seem to cover well, like Queen. Then again, it’s hard to go up against one of the greatest vocalists of all time, Freddie Mercury. I’ve always felt this way about Nirvana. I’ve heard tons of covers of their songs and very few of them are any good. That is until I heard Dead Sara’s cover of “Heart Shaped Box.” They kept the biting attitude of the original, yet bring their own flavor to it to make it their own. It is damn good, which is hard to come by when it comes to Nirvana. Originally released as a digital single, it will be available for the first time physically on the band’s new Covers EP. Along with their electric and acoustic Nirvana cover, there will also be a cover of Patti Smith’s “Ask the Angels.”

So it’s not exactly new music from them, but it’s enough to keep me excited until they start working on another album. It seems like these are the only songs featured on the EP, but hopefully, the band will do more covers, because they’re pretty damn good at them. Pre-orders for the Covers EP are available now.

TLC jam with Missy Elliot for the holidays


I was all about TLC when I was younger and even used to steal my mom’s copy of CrazySexyCool and listen to it repeatedly in my room. I rushed out and bought FanMail and didn’t turn it off for weeks. And I was absolutely crushed by the death of Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes. I still love TLC, but admittedly, grew disinterested when the girls moved on without Lisa.

This week, they made an appearance on Taraji P. Henson’s White Hot Holidays special and performed “Sleigh Ride,” aka the best version ever. To cover Lisa’s rap they got none other than Missy Elliot. It was actually pretty awesome. You have one of the best R&B groups of all time with one of the best rappers. You can’t go wrong!

While it was great to see them, it made me think about their efforts to move on without Lisa. They’ve collaborated with several artists to fill in her spot, such as Lil’ Mama, who did a great job in the TLC movie. Last year, they announced a new album in the works where they reportedly worked with Lady Gaga and J. Cole. They actually dropped new songs “Joyride” and “Haters” this year. The album is slated for a 2017 release. They also went on tour with New Kids on the Block last year. It’s fine if they want to make new music, but maybe it’s time for them to leave the TLC name behind.

Time for a Christmas playlist


I’ve been decorating for the holidays this week, which means I’ve been listening to a lot of Christmas music. Christmas music comes in different forms. You have the traditional tunes, classical renditions, and modern songs you just can’t seem to get away from. While I enjoy songs like “Holly Jolly Christmas,” I’m more interested in the offbeat holiday songs. You know, the weird stuff that’s not always about the peacefulness and joy the season is meant to bring. So here’s a brief run of my favorite, offbeat holiday songs.

“I Wish it Was Christmas Today” – Julian Casablancas

“X-M@S” – Corey Taylor

“The Night Santa Went Crazy” – “Weird” Al Yankovic

“Just Another Christmas Song” – Stephen Colbert

“Holiday Hate” – Psychostick

“Things I Want” – Sum 41 and Jack Black

“I Won’t Be Home for Christmas” – Blink-182

“Sock it To Me Santa” – Bob Seger

“Homo Christmas” – Pansy Division

“Merry Something to You” – Devo

Ashley Perez

Ashley Perez

Ashley Perez is a freelance music journalist based in Chicago. Her work has appeared on Examiner, The Crypt 1331, Chicago Innerview, Kitty Whipp, and Reality-Comics. She also runs her own music blog at Radio Not Found. Some of her favorite bands include Nirvana, The Cure, Muse, Marilyn Manson, and Green Day.