By Ann Beisch, 15, Marymount High School
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Dashboard Confessional

I wandered out of the Paladium, still soaking in Blink 182 ecstasy, when a guy shoved a Vagrant Summer Sampler 2001 CD at me. Track three, "The Best Deceptions," a song by Dashboard Confessional, had me hooked.
Immediately, I went out and bought The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most, Dashboard’s debut album, that came out in March 2001. It veers away from loud electric guitars and screaming voices to soft melodies blended with simple chords.

By now, Dashboard has gained immense popularity and has already premiered on TRL and was featured in the Star Lounge on STAR 98.7.

Honestly though, it bummed me out to see Chris Carrabba on my TV screen. I didn’t want the band to be known and hoped to keep them my Indie-record secret.

Well, at least I can still pretend they were my well-kept secret.

If you like Dashboard, try Incubus, Saves the Day, Juliana Theory (They are personal favorites!)

Pete Yorn

One day, I woke up to MTV blaring on my TV. I reluctantly got up to turn it off, when the video that was playing caught my eye. His name was Pete Yorn and his album was Musicforthemorningafter. The title immediately caught my attention. However, the video—hate to say it—was pretty strange. Blurred lenses, strange lighting along with an overall dark theme brought down the quality of the song "For Nancy (‘Cos It Already Is)." I chose to overlook the weird video and concentrate on the music.

So I bought his debut album, which came out in March 2001, and concluded that his music matched the simplicity that I admired in Dashboard Confessional.

Pete Yorn’s spring tour is mainly set for the East Coast, yet he will be opening for Weezer on selected dates. He finally comes to grace us with his presence on June 14 at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles.

If you like Pete, try Coldplay and The Strokes.

John Mayer

It was those beginning lines that hooked me. How simple the whole song seemed, just as if he had whipped out his guitar on a park bench and started playing. It just seemed so natural. The song was "No Such Thing" on John Mayer‘s debut album, Room for Squares, released in Sept. 2001. It’s a catchy song that reflects on his high school years. Something new for all who are tired of hearing various artists’ love woes.

Mayer’s music makes you want to take up guitar lessons. The beat makes me feel happy. Ironically after reading the songs’ lyrics, I find that his music has depressing themes, such as parents getting older and goals not accomplished.

Still, Mayer sings with a smile, which radiates through my speakers and into my heart. His spring and summer tour are mainly set in the Midwest, with no appearances in Los Angeles.

If Mayer is your type, try David Gray and Train.

Vanessa Carlton and Michelle Branch

So is it just me, or are we sensing a trend here? I mean look at this. We both know Vanessa Carlton‘s hit song, "A Thousand Miles" from her debut album, Be Not Nobody, and Michelle Branch‘s two smash singles, "Everywhere" and "All You Wanted" on her debut album, The Spirit Room. They both all encompass soft rock sounds that I’ve never heard before. Their emotional lyrics wander in my mind long after hearing their songs.

Branch is backed up by simple guitars and in Carlton’s case, a piano. So, it’s not just the guys that are putting down this trend. Females are a huge part of this emergence, which should be dubbed one-woman bands, too!

For the record, Carlton plays in L.A. on June 15 at the Rose Bowl. Branch doesn’t have a tour planned but will be perform on 102.7 KIIS FM on June 15 as well.

If you liked their soft vibes, try Jewel and the Goo Goo Dolls new album, Gutterflower. A more rock version of these two femmes is Alanis Morisette‘s new Under Rug Swept album. It’s a must-have.

If you like them, try Jewel and Goo Goo Dolls.