Riffs & Rhymes is a multi-faceted music blog dedicated to making quality conversation to enhance everyone’s experience with the world’s most universal language.

This site was created as a community for exploring and discussing essential topics in music and taking a comprehensive look at some of the sounds and voices responsible for giving the world its good vibrations. Here, you will find a steady stream of reviews, lists and think pieces created for your daily music consumption. We’re fans first and writers second, so rather than true criticism, we like to think of this site as an extension of our thoughts and conversations over the years as music appreciators.

Between the blog, our upcoming podcast and each Riffs & Rhymes social media channel, it’s our goal to connect with music fans of all kinds on as many fresh and wide-ranging perspectives as possible. Whether it’s discovering new sounds or reconnecting with vintage records of the past, we’re here to document and share that experience with you. Cheers.

Meet the Team

Alex Johnson


Born and raised in San Diego, Alex currently resides in sunny Phoenix, Arizona, where he studies at Grand Canyon University. When he’s not waiting tables to earn some extra cash, you can find him in the gym pumping iron, in the kitchen making breakfast at all hours of the day or sliding on a pair of boots to channel his inner cowboy. | Follow Alex on Twitter

Get to know me in three records: Eagles – Eagles, John Mayer – Continuum, Midland – On The Rocks

Ellie Burleson


Ellie is a self-proclaimed coffee addict from Santa Barbara, California. While music is one of her biggest interests, film is her real soft spot. On her days off, she’s likely to be found binging whatever new show she’s on, spending way too much money at Target, taking photos or enjoying a nice meal while drinking a good beer or cocktail with her boyfriend. | Follow Ellie on Twitter

Get to know me in three records: Beach House – Bloom, Nilüfer Yanya – Miss Universe, Tyler, The Creator – Flower Boy

Erica Garcia


Erica Garcia is a writer from Los Angeles, California who is very much in love with music, literature, and coffee. Her belief in pursuing journalism seeps into her passion for using words to spread inspiration through music and storytelling. When she isn’t living vicariously through a book or at a concert, she is a blogger, songwriter, and a very dedicated Marvel movie watcher. | Follow Erica on Twitter

Get to know me in three records: Paramore – After Laughter, Paul McCartney – Flowers In The Dirt, 5 Seconds of Summer – Youngblood

Gabrielle Johnsen


Gabrielle is originally from Milwaukee, WI, and she currently resides in Los Angeles, CA. She enjoys a variety of creative pursuits; besides music, she’s also interested in film, art, fashion, and literature. She loves concerts more than most things, and dreams of getting the chance to see all of her favorite artists live. | Follow Gabrielle on Twitter

Get to know me in three records: Bon Iver – Bon Iver, Lana Del Rey – Born to Die: The Paradise Edition, Lorde – Melodrama

Ilana Cohen


Ilana grew up in Santa Monica, California and currently attends the University of Southern California where she studies cognitive science and gender studies. She is a house-plant activist, museum-goer, science nerd, Hot Cheeto addict, and radio talk show host at KXSC who is looking for a partner for KCRW’s next 24-hour radio race. 

Get to know me in three records: Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass – Whipped Cream & Other Delights, Moses Sumney – Aromanticism, Nilüfer Yanya – Plant Feed

Mike Flores


Mike was born and raised in Fresno, California, eventually making his way down to So Cal to play baseball collegiately. His hobbies include writing, reading, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and sparking up a fat one and listening to music. His love for music sparked at a young age, playing piano, drum kit and saxophone, and his love for hip-hop started when he got his hands on the first album he ever bought himself, 50 Cent’s Get Rich or Die Tryin’, forever sending him down the rabbit hole. | Follow Mike on Twitter

Get to know me in three records: Marty Robbins – Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs, Three 6 Mafia – Most Known Unknown, 50 Cent – Get Rich or Die Tryin

Oliver Cable


Oliver was born in Holland and now lives in London. He writes because he can’t find a way not to. Cramming live (jazz) performance into every waking hour he’s not at work, he’s the one looking wistfully at the drummer wishing he could play solos like that. | Follow Oliver on Twitter

Get to know me in three records: Miles Davis – Kind of Blue, Nas – Illmatic, Radiohead – OK Computer

Roberto Johnson

Creator and Editor

Roberto is a San Diego native, aspiring vinyl hoarder and lifelong sports fan. His hobbies include writing, coaching baseball and downing tacos and cerveza, usually at the same time. Other dreams of his entail learning the guitar and starting a Gram Parsons tribute band, after he learns the guitar. | Follow Roberto on Twitter

Get to know me in three records: Beach House – Teen Dream, Danny Brown – XXX, The Flying Burrito Brothers – The Gilded Palace of Sin