Barely two days left of 2015, you guys. This year we published over 5500 stories (!!!!!!) and well, some came out on top, whether because you incessantly clicked on them or because our core staff loved them a little more deeply than others. So, without further beating around the proverbial internet bush, here is the top 14 stories traffic wise on BYT and also the BEST-OF picks by the people who spend their days worrying about nothing else than what goes on this site.
From comedy to binge netflix watching to pizza to dating to outdoor drinks and brunch, we have you all covered.
Lets dig in and feel free to let us know your favorites in the comments.
MOST POPULAR STORIES ON BYT (CHOSEN BY GOOGLE ANALYTICS AND YOU)
(from #14 to #1, because-ANTICIPATION!) CAN YOU EVEN HANDLE THE ANTICIPATION?
- 14.BEST PIZZA IN DC – Subjective? Sure. A conversation starter? Of Course. But just like the food it tackled, any pizza story is a great story. Great companion piece: A guide to doctoring the hell out of your frozen pizza. You’re welcome. (Group effort)
- 13. BEST DC FIRST DATES -A HANDY GUIDE, 2014 EDITION – First dates (for those of us who have become murky on the concept due to too many datehangs etc) includes going out with a human being who you HAVE met in person before, and you two mutually decided that some one-on-one time to explore your potential future of nudity and Sunday afternoon marathons of House of Cards is in order. Something like this used to be not that big of a deal, but in 2014, it APPARENTLY kind of is, at least if we think about it the old fashioned way. It requires stringing whole sentences together, vs communicating in emojis, consciously blocking out more than 45 minutes to spend with a relative stranger with whom you don’t know how much you have in common with, choosing outfits and more. WHO HAS TIME FOR THIS STUFF? Well, we all should. At least sometimes.(by Svetlana Legetic)
- 12. DC RESTAURANT WEEK GUIDE PRO TIPS – 2014 EDITION – (Group Effort) – We get it, you love restaurant week.
- 11. WHY WASHINGTON DC IS NOT THE WORST PLACE IN THE WORLD -Washington, DC is a city of grand proclamations. This June we got the latest entrant in the race to proclaim the identity of our screwy little sort-of-diamond: “Reasons Why Washington, DC Is The Worst Place Ever” from our good friends over at Vice. It sent social media in DC into quite the frenzy. The authors seem to be convinced they touched some sort of great nerve through their original writing, but really, it was a reaction from a people who’ve been beaten down and just finally got sick of it. So-we tackled the shit out of it, properly (by Legba Carrefour)
- 10. BYT FOOD GUIDE SPRING/SUMMER 2014 – Food guides are always a delight (hell, all guides are always a delight) but this one included a lot of great summer tips, including Pornburger’s perfect summer recipes, and clearly won your hearts. Hi5 Matthew Ramsey. (by Stephanie Breijo, Farrah Skeiky, Svetlana Legetic, Jeff Martin)
- 9. BYT GUIDE FOR STRAIGHT GUY’S GETTING LAID DURING GAY PRIDE – When something is useful, it is useful. No ands, ifs, or buts about it. (by BYGays)
- 8. CONSENTING ADULTS: 10 MOVIES WAY SEXIER THAN 50 SHADES OF GREY (WILL EVER BE) -Since our film team cannot stop you from seeing Fifty Shades of Grey – and believe us, they wish they could Alan did the next best thing: he at least steered you towards movies with actual eroticism, instead of a regrettable mix of melodrama, emotional torture, and bad porn. Most of these movies are streaming on Netflix, so next Valentine’s Day please consider cuddling on your couch with your loved one instead of paying $12 for this well-groomed horse shit.
(by Alan Zilberman)
- 7. LEAST DOUCHEY BARS IN DC – 2014 EDITION – Once again, when something is useful, it is useful. (by Brandon Wetherbee & Svetlana Legetic)
- 6. 10 COMMANDMENTS OF TINDER – USEFUL. (by Morgan Day, Joey Schaeffer & Brandon Weight)
- 5. BYT GLUTEN FREE GUIDE – Let’s get a few things straight: this isn’t a guide meant for those who decided to go gluten free in the new year because they read Wheat Belly. This is a guide for people who struggle to find gluten free dining options in our fair city, which is burgeoning with such impressive culinary talent that it seems almost criminal to miss out. If you’re like me and you’ve got celiac, or if you’ve got a gluten free sensitivity of any kind, you know how easily a few drops of soy sauce or a reused pizza stone can ruin your night. This is for us glutards who have to drag our significant others around DC until we find two or three spots that we know we can count on. This is for those significant others who are tired of going to the same two or three spots. Be sure to read all the way through for a restaurant for every time of day, recipes from DC’s finest, and more tips to make gluten free living just a little easier. (by Farrah Skeiky)
- 4. DC OUTDOOR DRINKING GUIDE 2014 – A year after year classic. Please consider the great companion piece to this which is: BYT GUIDE TO OUTDOOR DRINKING IN THE WINTER. (Group effort)
- 3. WHERE TO GET BREAKFAST (NOT BRUNCH) IN DC – We get it, you LIKE breakfast. (Group effort)
- 2. DC BRUNCH GUIDE 2014 – We get it, you LOVE brunch. (Group effort)
- 1. BEST TV MURDER MYSTERIES TO BINGE WATCH – Everyone is streaming everything these days. If you like murder, mayhem and/or Idris Elba, this is the only thing you need to make sure you NEVER EVER EVER leave your couch again (by Svetlana Legetic)
BYT CORE STAFF PICKS: OUR PERSONAL FAVORITES OF 2014
- DC as Twin Peaks By Legba Carrefour and Brandon Weight – The highlight of our Twin Peaks takeover. With the announcement of the upcoming season 3, it’s even better. -Wetherbee
- Concert Etiquette Guide – My Favorite story written by multiple others.Let’s try and be more civilized in 2015, folks. Don’t be an asshole, and keep your smartphone when the band is on stage. – Alan Zilberman
- Ice Cream Sandwich (Collage) Day, photos by Jeff Martin – This will never not be amusing to me. See if you can spot Gone Girl Rosamund Pike behind the desserts – Svetlana
- Taste Test: New Chicken Fritos Enchilada Melt by Brandon Weight, Morgan Baskin & Stephanie Breijo- I’m the staff member who eats Spicy Nacho Doritos with guacamole for lunch (especially when the former is on sale). I’ve brought pizza to work in gallon-size Ziploc bags. I fake proposed to my girlfriend at an Outback and received $78 in gift cards, and went back. I still can’t look at this “enchilada.” – Brandon Weight
- Arcade Fire review at The Verizon Center by Brandon Wetherbee – It’s well written, with deceptively simple language, and a perfect takedown of a band that’s gotten too big for their own good. -Alan Zilberman
- National Hot Dog Day: A Round-Up By BYT Staff – This piece is a must-see simply for Megan Burns’ perfect If Hot Dogs Were High School Cliques. – Wetherbee
- How To Be A Man: Lessons From Josh Homme By Svetlana Legetic and Brandon Wetherbee – Yes, it’s selfish to write about something I wrote, but I’m including it for Svetlana’s words. One man, two writers, many lessons. – Wetherbee
- NIN songs ranked by Brandon Wetherbee & Tony Beasley – Why would anyone do this? Why wouldn’t anyone read or listen to this? A Herculean task that has to have taken some sort of emotional toll, this was a great soundtrack to a rainy weekend of work and a monumental Fitzcarraldoian endeavor. NIN is still one of the best touring bands going so the post was epic in scope and relevance. I would love to see other bands tackled. -Josh Phelps
- Nature Calls by Erik Loften – For those of you who don’t know, Erik Loften is BYT’s art director and the person who makes everything on the site look as good as it looks (scroll through this for some feature header magic). This year, Erik, who is a vegetarian, beer swilling, pacifist of a nature man if there ever was one got his own column (it only took 6 or so years). It is funny, beautifully illustrated, and covers important topics such as the one below – Svetlana
- Rec-Room Albums of the Year – Editing Rec-Room is the most fun that I have on the Internet. Every week, the writers go all in, and (at least) any two people knock my socks off. I can’t think of a better example of the latter than the contributions of Aaron Miller and Leah Manners to our albums of the year post. Aaron has a way of riffing on hip-hop like no one else, and he brings that force to bear on Freddie Gibbs & Madlib’s Pinata, FlyLo’s Your Dead!, and especially Open Mike Eagle’s Dark Comedy. Leah, meanwhile, remains the group’s moral compass, and her thoughts on Run the Jewels 2 are a #rare chance to see her go long form. – Phil Runco
- Easter Papier Mache Art by Morgan H. West & Jeff Martin – This Easter we decided to pass out a carton of cardboard Easter eggs to local artists. Have a peep at what they returned. The results are eggcellent (GET IT?). – Svetlana
- 12 Steps To Surviving Trader Joe’s by David Carter. – A very funny, completely on-point take at what it looks like to live and grocery shop in DC in 2014. Don’t even think of walking into a Trader Joe’s before you read this. – Svetlana
BYT Interviews: Jenny Slate and Gillian Robespierre. My favorite story I’ve written in 2014. I got to kill a spider for them, and it was weird/adorable -Alan Zilberman
- Hidden In Plain Sight: Capitol Stone Yard By Jonny Grave – My favorite entry in my favorite series on BYT. Jonny still won’t tell me where this is. – Wetherbee
- Rock Dads: Parenting Advice – This Father’s day we had a pretty genius idea to ask some of our favorite rock dads about hot tips for raising cool children. We got contributions from Fugazi, Hamilton Leithauser, Pissed Jeans, Camera Obscura, and more. Feel Good AND Feel Cool, all at once. – Svetlana
Daniel Boulud DBGB first look & interview by Svetlana Legetic & Jeff Martin – It’s less and less surprising when a world renowned chef like Daniel Boulud opens a restaurant in DC. Rarer is when said chef sits down for hours to discuss the menu and dine and prepare courses as Boulud did at City Center’s DBGB this fall. Go ahead and be jealous of Svetlana and Jeff, the latter who’s shots could make my drunken trips to 7-11 at 3am look gourmet. – Josh Phelps.
- LobsterFest Review by Cale . When I think back on 2014, two moments really stick out: my colonoscopy and my visit to Red Lobster. I document one of those two moments here. – Cale
- What Should We Do Tonight?: Columbia Heights By Darcy Elburn – A handy and cute way to decide what to do in a neighborhood in which you’ve done everything.-Wetherbee
- Recap: Hopscotch 2014 By Phil Runco and Jason Dixson – An extensive look at a festival that’s sort of under the radar. It made me consider attending the 2015 edition. – Wetherbee
- YOU ARE HERE, advice column by Andrew Bucket – This was the second coming of Bucket’s classic advice column and if there was any justice in the world, it would be the most popular thing on the internet. The link above leads you to a gem entitled: REDEFINING YOUR VIBE FOR SPRING/SUMMER. It sounds seasonal, but it is an evergreen classic, if I ever saw one. -Svetlana
- BYT Interviews: Nancy Whang and Ricky Eat Acid By Carly Loman – I really enjoy Carly’s interviews over on the NYC site. They’re loose and conversational while still covering a lot of ground. These were my two favorites. – Phil Runco
- Interview Michelle Monaghan Talks “Fort Bliss” By Alan Zilberman – “Fort Bliss” is a serious film about a serious topic, and Alan’s interview with star Michelle Monaghan could not have been more respectfully focused and thoughtful. – Phil Runco
- Photos: Blast Off by Jeff Martin, Franz Mahr, Dakota Fine & Katherine Gaines – My favorite photo set of the year is always our annual Capital Pride kick-off party, and this year’s space themed Blast Off! event didn’t disappoint. Big Freedia seemed to agree, as she made a video at the event. And Kalorama Photography made a sweet time lapse video of the whole thing. – Cale
- BYT Interviews: Peter Frampton By Marcus Dowling – I could care less about classic rock but this conversation between Peter and Marcus was a read for all types of live music fan. – Wetherbee
- Photos: US Vs. Belgium World Cup Viewing Party @ Freedom Plaza By Armando Gallardo – For a few weeks, we cared about soccer. – Wetherbee
- DC DIT #1: Hello, My Name Is Alex By Alex Tebeleff – The first entry in a very cool series. This was also my introduction to Landlady, a band I fell in love with at SXSW. – Wetherbee
- Donut Diary: Landlady’s Adam Schatz Visits Dun-Well Donuts – That band I fell in love with at SXSW? Adam the frontman wrote a few Donut Diary entries for us. This one is my favorite. – Wetherbee
- Bentzen Ball: All Access Pass by Franz Mahr, Dakota Fine, Jeff Martin, Andy DelGiudice, Clarissa Villondo, Nicholas Karlin & Ryan Kelly- Yes, we throw this festival. Still: it is an enchanting five days of laughter, some of the best conversations you’d hope to overhear and, yes, comedians have a blast in DC. Our Photo team spent the long weekend shooting things on the stage, but also: behind the stage, on pirate boats, at Library of Congress, the White House bowling alley, on Segway tours, during brunches, press appointments and just good old fashioned downtime. Starring: John Hodgman, Rob Corddry, Tig Notaro, Todd Barry, Reggie Watts, Jeff Garlin (+20 other national comedy superstars), a gaggle of local comedians and all of you who attended. Oh, and PUPPIES TOO. Feel good photo set of the year, imo. – Svetlana
- BYT Interviews: Dr. Ruth by Brandon Wetherbee – This was the year we interviewed Dr. Ruth. And they say dreams don’t come true? – Svetlana
- BYT Interviews: Stuart Murdoch by Phil Runco- This Year, Stuart Murdoch got to make a (pretty bad) movie, but we also got to interview Stuart Murdoch. And they say dreams don’t come true (pt. 2) – Svetlana
- BYT Interviews: Tracy Morgan by Brandon Wetherbee – I can remember it as it was yesterday. Wetherbee leaves to interview Tracy Morgan. We all ask: HOW WAS IT? He says: It was nice, he was nice. And then, a few hours later Morgan is in a life-threatening car accident and this is probably the last interview he did before. And it is sweet, and smart, and totally not pandering to the public Tracy persona. A gem. -Svetlana
- BeerYT: Beers For The Fourth By Mitchell West and Morgan West – I really like our BeerYT column because Mitchell provides useful information on a topic that’s in our everyday lives. I really, really like when Morgan takes some excellent photos to highlight some potentially excellent beers. There’s really no particular reason I picked this one over any other BeerYT. I guess I’m feelin’ American. – Wetherbee
- Live DC: St. Vincent @ 9:30 Club By Jeb Gavin and Farrah Skeiky – Best music photos of 2014. – Wetherbee
- Photos: Dan Deacon, DDM @ Howard Theatre By Franz Mahr and Clarissa Villondo – A photo set that will make you long for summer. – Wetherbee
- Farmer’s Market Porn by Morgan H. West & Jeff Martin – It was late Summer and the living is easy – especially when it comes to eating seasonally. We spent a recent Sunday morning at FRESHFARM Dupont, sizing up Zucchini and squeezing Tomatoes; what we ended up taking home might have outweighed what we didn’t. After shooting a few PRODUCE PORTRAITS (I mean, just LOOK at these guys. Did we even have a choice?) we got down to the business of figuring out how, exactly, to use our enormous market haul for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (and maybe cocktail or two in between). In search of inspiration, we turned to a cast of chefs, food writers, bloggers + photographers, home cooks, small batch makers, homebrewers, and seasonal menu-planners, and their ideas and recipes are foolproof for working through your own market + CSA adventures. – Svetlana
- BYT Interviews: Sinkane and Museum of Love By Phil Chevalier – Little Phil approaches music in a way that always surprises me a little – an angle that I had never thought of; a detail that would have otherwise have slipped by me; just generally, insight that’s outside the standard regurgitated talking points. I encouraged him to do some interviews for the site this year, and the results – especially this pair of DFA Records interviews – did not disappoint. – Phil Runco
- Recap: Indie Arcade @ Smithsonian American Art Museum By Jordan Edwards and Kalee Rinehart -Super cute kids playing a video game by hugging a teddy bear. – Wetherbee
BONUS: BEST MUSIC CONVERSATIONS
BY PHIL RUNCO who interviewed all the people for us in 2014
I spoke with over 70 people for BYT this year, and I can say with very few exceptions (cough, Cayucas, cough), that I enjoyed all of these conversations, because I generally don’t interview people whose music (or beer or web series) I don’t like and don’t want to hear more about. But some interviews end up better than others. Sometimes you catch people at the right time. Sometimes you ask better questions. Some people are just really good at getting on the phone with a complete stranger and opening up about very personal things. Below are my ten favorite interviews of 2014. I talked to a lot of great musicians who make music that I love – Yo La Tengo and Lambchop and Action Bronson and Cass McCombs and on and on – but these were the best conversations.
- 10. Wild Beasts (July 10) – “It did feel kind of like we were surviving off air, water, and momentum… And we are still hungry, but there was that kind of youthful hunger that felt so vital and powerful.” Who talks like that? I don’t think that the entirety of everything that I’ve ever said matches the eloquence that Hayden Thorpe packs into one response.
- 9. How to Dress Well (September 8) – It’s weird conversing with someone who’s playing with his phone for most of the time. It’s weirder that person is simultaneously getting deep with you. Tom Krell likes to get deep. He thinks a lot about his art and how it’s presented and how it’s received, and that’s all captured in the conversation we had backstage at a Hopscotch Festival performance. The bit that ended up being newsworthy, though, was his defense of – or at very least, his empathy for – Mark Kozelek, who had gotten surly with the crowd the night before. He would latter back away from those comments, tweeting (amongst other things): “Fuck pitting artists against their beloved fans as click bait ! I love my lovers I dont give a fuck abt mark kozelek’s ornery bullshit.” The funny thing is that he’s the one who had brought the whole thing up.
- 8. Hamilton Leithauser (July 8) – Hamilton Leithauser is cool. Cool people usually give bad interviews, because they’d rather be doing cool things and not talking to you. That wasn’t the case with Leithauser. This was a good interview, and one that I think benefitted from being scheduled after the first whoosh of press calls for his (very underrated) record, Black Hours. He was at home and relaxed. And while Leithauser could have taken a hard line about not discussing the Walkmen, that wasn’t the case either. You don’t get the sense that Leithauser will be making music with the Walkmen for the while, and that’s not a bad thing.
- 7. Strand of Oaks (September 12) – Tim Showalter is not cool. He’s a lovable mess. He’s a wildly sincere and heartfelt and self-deprecating dude. Those are good people to interview.
- 6. Spider Bags (August 18) – At a top level, Spider Bags landing on Merge Records (and the opportunity and exposure that comes with that) is a great story. But the specifics of that story are even better: Dan McGee’s decision to record all of Frozen Letter’s basic tracks in a two-day sprint after his wife dropped by the studio to tell him that she was pregnant; John Wesley Coleman laying guest vocals without even bothering to put on headphones; Spider Bags actually finishing the LP and getting it to the label on time. If that sort of stuff doesn’t warm your heart, you should see a doctor. This interview also got into the weeds of the Frozen River’s structure – the “classically” inspired A and B sides; the ending fading back into the beginning – in a way that I found interesting.
- 5. Caribou (November 7) – I was ready for this to be an awkward interview. A number of Dan Snaith articles that I had read in preparing for the call had pegged him as elusive, but from the jump, he was friendly and gave long, thoughtful, humble responses. He’s also just a very smart guy. This was an instance where I was on a tight 15-minute clock, which was a shame, as I had at least another 30 minutes of questions that I wish I could have gotten to.
- 4. Flesh Wounds (June 10) – This was a fun one. Monty Morris is a good talker. And he has this sort of zero-fucks-given attitude that’s really refreshing. His reaction to Merge Records putting out a Flesh Wounds 7” was basically, “I guess it’s pretty cool. Other people seem really into it. I don’t know” He does know a ton about relatively obscure (and often regional) blues / R&B / rock ‘n’ roll, though, which gives you a better appreciation for what he’s doing with this band. (The full-length rips too.)
- 3. The Clientele (July 10) – The Clientele weren’t really broken up – or on hiatus or whatever – for very long, but it still felt like a big deal for them to be both reuniting to perform and releasing some new songs. (All three of which were great, by the way.) (The case for the Clientele being better in the 7” format is something that I very much buy into.) This was also sort of a perfect storm as an interviewer: The fact that they were reuniting for a label anniversary show and had just reissued their debut record made any sort of retrospective questions fair game; the fact they were making new music allowed for a sneak peak at what might come. And Alasdair MacLean couldn’t have been more candid in reflecting on his band’s history and legacy.
- 2. Sharon Van Etten (June 13) – As had been well documented, Sharon Van Etten interviews feel like catching up with an old college friend – there’s this sense of openness, and it is immediate. Van Etten sounds like someone completely overwhelmed by the world and also at ease with it. She laughs a lot – a mixture of what I called exasperation, self-awareness, and amusement at life. There aren’t many musicians easier to root for. And the fact that Are We There was one of the year’s best made her story all the better.
- 1. Perfume Genius (October 7) – There was a lot that I didn’t include in this article – because the world doesn’t need to read a transcript of Mike Hadreas and I discussing “Project Runway” and its Red Robin tie-in – but you can still get a sense of how freewheeling a phone call it was. It would swing between the humorous and the very serious and back again, sometimes within a single response. As with Sharon Van Etten, Hadreas is an artist who overcame all sorts of insecurities to make something truly fearless. Like my favorite interviews (on BYT or anywhere), it changed the way that I listen to the subject’s music.
and that’s all we got you guys. The floor is yours in the comment section to let us know your faves/what you maybe would like to see more of on BYT.