YACHT headline The Independent a day after giving ontological birth to new album

YACHTBy Eric Palozzolo // 

The Independent – San Francisco
October 17th, 2015 //

YACHT released their sixth and latest studio album I Thought the Future Would Be Cooler just a day before rocking The Independent in SF. Following an action-packed first day at Treasure Island Music Festival (read our festival review here), the gig served as a late-night show for the fest (YACHT was not on this year’s lineup). Meanwhile, the ex-Portland/now-Los Angeles band made up by lead singer Claire L. Evans and multi-instrumentalist Jona Bechtolt brought plenty of energy to the stage while debuting new material for its SF fans.

Albert Hammond, Jr. riffs the night away on the eve of Treasure Island Music Festival 2015

Albert Hammond, Jr.By Victoria Smith // 

Albert Hammond, Jr. with Day Wave //
The Independent – San Francisco
October 16th, 2015 //

Albert Hammond, Jr. has made a name for himself beyond playing guitar and keyboard in the indie-rock goliath The Strokes. But with the release of his latest full-length album Momentary Masters this past July, the 35-year-old Los Angeles native continues to balance life as a double agent, refusing to blend the sound of his solo career with that of his primary outfit. The night before Treasure Island Music Festival, Hammond took the stage in SF after Jackson Phillips’ Oakland-based project Day Wave opened the show.

20 moments we won’t forget from Treasure Island Music Festival 2015

Post_header_TIMF_2015Photos by Marc Fong // Written by Mike Frash, Molly Kish & Anthony Sanchez //

Treasure Island Music Festival //
Treasure Island – San Francisco
October 17th-18th, 2015 //

There is no question Treasure Island Music Festival has one of the best locations and views in live music.

But Mother Nature had some things to say about the environment around the fest this year. For one, the drought has chased away the lovely grass that’s been present in years past. And with winds from 10-20 mph, it got a bit more dusty than usual. You can’t control the weather, and the grounds this year were a brutal reminder of how much California needs some damn rain.

Other than that, it was status quo for the Festival in the Bay — good times and no festy FOMO. Here are 20 moments and sets that will be ingrained in our brains.

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The biggest news from Treasure Island Music Festival: The National have emerged as true festival headliners. Known for their pensive lyrics and sorrowful tone, The National injected their songs with accelerated BPM and an uplifting layering of melody, making the experience all the more magnificent. The setlist was still heavy on Trouble Will Find Me and High Violet songs, but it all felt new, more grateful, inspiring and majestic than before. Many of the highlights were one-offs and new cuts: Laura Mayberry duetted with a very present Matt Berninger on “I Need My Girl”, a cover of “Peggo-O” and with a shout-out to Bob Weir and new song “Checking Out” (it was called “Roman Candle” when they played it in Los Angeles earlier in the weekend). The effort was A1 all around, and we left wanting more.

Run The Jewels

Run the Jewels completely reigned over the crowd, flowing over heavy-hitting beats by El-P with a lively performance we all expected, willing all hands in the air. Yet another example of El Producto and Killer Mike bossing, per usual.

Father John Misty

Father John (Sassypants) Misty has his festival game on point, and he has progressed his I Love You Honeybear songs into epic plateaus since premiering them in the Santa Cruz mountains last February (read about it here). He spewed banter like an Stephen Colbert-esque contrarian, saying, “Look at these suckers with their hair blowing all over the place.” And as he approached the mic for more improv-snark later on, Tillman paused to say, “Sorry, I have nothing to say. Ha.” FJM was speechless for once, but granted, it might have been set up for “Bored in the USA”, a song that should be considered an American classic at this point.

FKA Twigs

Easily one of the most opinion-generating sets of the weekend, FKA twigs left everything she had on the Bridge Stage for a captive audience of conflicting critics. Washing over the sizable crowd backed by dramatic stage lights and eerily haunting vocals, the pint-sized powerhouse tangoed her way through a fog-laced set alongside fellow voguing backup dancers and band. Even with her set pushing the avant-garde limits for a good portion of the TIMF crowd, FKA twigs undoubtedly left an impression on everyone in attendance and held her own as headliner support in a considerably stacked bill.

The War on Drugs

Giving the last performance in support their already-classic Lost in the Dream, The War on Drugs end an album cycle with a few questions in mind. Can they get better from here, and could they headline festivals next time around?

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Panda Bear delightfully assaulted the festival-weary crowd’s senses with a mind-melting IDM exclamation point. He treated his crowd to one last collectively-uncomfortable group moment, brought on by delightfully weird music and intense background visuals designed by Danny Perez.


Fresh off the release of their second studio album, CHVRCHES‘ Lauren Mayberry commanded the stage with a palpable enthusiasm and chops of a veteran frontwoman. Her epic vocals cut through the encroaching fog as she danced wildly around the Bridge Stage.

Ex Hex

Ex Hex served up the best shred-dueling guitar moment during their amazing mid-day slot on Sunday.

Hudson Mohawk

Hudson Mohawke demonstrated the kind of talent and energy that keeps him on speed dial for the likes of Drake and Kanye West, firing off club bangers in a set replete with custom lighting and live drummers.

Gorgon City

Armed with a full roster of touring vocalists, the UK electronic duo Gorgon City blew the Saturday afternoon crowd away with soulful renditions of “Unmissable” and “Real”. Set highlights including numerous extended versions of crowd favorite album cuts and easily the best midday dance party of the weekend, spurred by an audience-rousing rendition of “Here for You”.

Viet Cong

Viet Cong‘s Matt Flegal mentioned, “We had Sunday afternoons in mind when we wrote this stuff” with juuuuust a dash of irony. Maybe “Sunday Afternoon” would be a solid choice for the group’s new name? Maybe not, but drummer Mike Wallace is the heartbeat of this excellent doom-indie act.


When you look at the TIMF 2015 lineup, Sound Tribe Sector 9 (STS9) is the fish out of water with their jam-band roots. But Sound Tribe got the love from a dance-happy crowd on Saturday, one that was there largely for the mau5.

Big Grams

Big Grams impressed with their live debut to close out the Tunnel Stage on Saturday. How could the combo of Big Boi and Phantogram not bring the fire? Plus, Run the Jewels guested for “Born to Shine”.


Vampire Weekend bassist Baio and his early-riser electronic set was replete with a Eurythmics cover “Here Comes the Rain Again”.

Cashmere Cat

Cashmere Cat (pictured above) breezed through an electrifying set of R&B-infused trap sensations while Bob Moses set the tone on Saturday, moving the crowd as they watched the projected overcast clouds head back over to SF, leaving the island awash in sunshine and vibes.

Jose Gonzalez

Jose Gonzalez stretched out his best hits with multiple drummers and an idyllic TIMF sound for the festival’s second day. You know a set is good when it goes by that quickly.


Shamir (pictured above) showed sass and chops beyond his years — and why he’s a 2015 breakout act. Meanwhile, damn, Ought sure is proficient, and they unveil beauty through repetition and punk mentality. Their purposeful presence and pointed music makes you think their best is yet to come.


Deerhunter‘s Bradford Cox talked about how he decided on the way over to the island that he wouldn’t play many songs, how he took ayahuasca on Saturday night in LA and he was surprised at how reserved the TIMF audience was. He said we were “polite like the Japanese.” Bradford, that’s what we call “respect” — and you’ve earned it. Those who expected lots of new material from the group’s wondrous new album, Fading Frontier, left the island bummed out. Others like myself, who got on the Bradford Cox express train without hesitation, enjoyed a wandering, masterful set that took cues from the sentiment of The War on Drugs as well as the psychedelic repetition of Panda Bear. Cox even thanked these two bands by name before wrapping up.

So, what were your favorite moments from TIMF 2015?

WKEND MIXTAPE: 2013 TIMF artist mix by Matt Haze


Photo by Peter Adams

Treasure Island Music Festival is this weekend, October 19 & 20. To get your festival weekend started right, check out this mix from Silent Disco DJ and SF local Matt Haze.

Matt “made this DJ mix live on the fly with original tracks and remixes of/by all 26 featured artists from the 2013 Treasure Island Music Festival.” Matt Haze will be holding down Silent Disco from 2:30-5:00 on Saturday, so be sure to stop by.

Disclosure – F For You (Onra Remix)
Danny Brown – Lie4 (Kaytranada Remix)
Sleigh Bells – Run The Heart (Bassnectar Remix)
Adult. – Idle (Second Thoughts)
Japandroids – The House That Heaven Built
Palma Violets – Tom the Drum [Explicit]
Cayucas – Will “The Thrill”
Antwon – Life Is What You Make It [Explicit]
Poolside – Slow Down
Lord Huron – When Will I See You Again (White Sea Remix)
io echo – When the Lilies Die
Phantogram – When I’m Small (RAC Mix)
Giraffage – All That Matters
Beck – EPRO (Bobby C Sound TV remix)
Major Lazer ft. 2 Chainz, Lil Jon – Bubble Butt (DJ Deville Twerk Remix)
James Blake – I Am Sold (MANIK The End Rework)
Real Estate – Green Aisles
STRFKR – Julius
Little Dragon – Crystalfilm (J Boogie Edit)
Black Van feat. Holy Ghost! – Moments Of Excellence (Holy Ghost! Version)
Deep Sea Diver – You Go Running
Haim – Forever (The Knocks Remix)
Animal Collective – My Girls (Gigamesh ‘Proper House’ Remix)
Kill Paris – Catch You (Robert DeLong Remix)
Together (DJ Falcon and Thomas Bangalter of Daft Punk) – So Much Love To Give (Mac Stanton Remix)

Treasure Island Music Festival: New music from 2013 artists

Treasure-Island-Music-Festival-2013Photo by Marc Fong // Written by Mike Frash

Treasure Island Music Festival serves as the exclamation point to festival season in the Bay Area, giving music lovers one more chance to live it up before winter. The festival, which takes place this year October 19 & 20 in the middle of the bay, is properly stacked this year, offering a pleasant mix of up-and-coming indie fare along with DJs that bring the rage and rock outfits that bring the noise. Really, there are at least 7 reasons to GO BIG.

The placement of this festival mid-Fall creates some interesting dynamics for artist tours — some groups have been touring relentlessly and will likely be wrapping up their current road trip in the fall (see STRFKR, James Blake, Palma Violets and Major Lazer).

Other groups are just getting started, releasing new music in the coming weeks before playing TIMF. Here are six artists to keep an eye on before heading to the island.

Holy Ghost!
Dynamics releases September 10, 2013
Best Tracks: “Dumb Disco Ideas”, “Okay”, “Bridge & Tunnel”

Holy Ghost! procured a retro-house disco sound through live instrumentation long before nouveau disco became the sound of 2013 thanks to Daft Punk, and now Arcade Fire. Arcade Fire has launched their new single, “Reflektor”, in a big way September 9 — And LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy is already garnering credit for helping to transform the group to a dance party catalyst with their forthcoming release. Before the Arcade Fire long player is available in full, James Murphy’s label DFA will release Holy Ghost!’s second LP Dynamics Tuesday, September 10.

While Holy Ghost!’s second full length doesn’t read as a raging dance party throughout, their live show sure does. The Brooklyn duo consists of a songwriting partnership between Nick Millhiser and Alex Frankel, but the touring group fills out to a thick porridge of seven people, including LCD System’s Nancy Whang at times. At FYF Music Festival August 25, the group set the crowd afire by playing songs faster, segueing them seamlessly and by curating a pleasing stage set-up (see “Dumb Disco Ideas” above). The sum of these parts is a pumped up, ass-shaking crowd that usually only happens with DJs these days — yet Holy Ghost! achieves this through instrumental layering that delivers a nuanced, deeper sound that isn’t found in the group’s studio work.

Whispers of “the new LCD Soundsystem” have been reverberating around the web and the water cooler, and it’s a fair comparison within the context of the live experience both groups create — LCD left a gaping hole in the world of live music by hanging it up, and it’s easy to envision Holy Ghost! filling this gap over the next year.

The group performed a live set on LA’s Morning Becomes Eclectic (KCRW) September 9, showing exactly why they are a group on the rise. When performing live they sound grittier, with faster BPMs, and they exhibit more control around build-ups and explosive moments. “Dumb Disco Ideas”, “Okay” and “Bridge and Tunnel” were all more intense than their clean, sanitized versions on Dynamics.

When asked about DFA, they said that the label is “somewhat responsible for the band’s existence,” and that they have been with Murphy’s label since the beginning. “DFA stuck with us for 4 years while we were figuring things out.” The morning show also announced Nancy Whang was performing with the group Monday. The inclusion of Whang on the full tour with Holy Ghost! would add yet another similarity between this musical metaphor.

Regarding the performance at FYF August 25, they called it the “Best show we’ve ever played in the United States,” saying the crowd was great and it was a memorable night. It seems distinctly possible that the party animals that populate Treasure Island October 19th will set the bar even higher.

Days Are Gone releases September 30, 2013
Best Tracks (so far): “Forever”, “Falling” and “Don’t Save Me”

One of the fastest rising groups of 2013, Haim, have a not-so-obvious way of pronouncing their name. It rhymes with “time”, so if life were fair the spelling would be HIME. But, that’s the name these three talented sisters were given at birth.

Many of the tracks from their first long player, which officially drops September 30, have been trickling out for over a year. It’s apparent the premiere album from the LA sister trio will be well received, since about half the songs on the album track list are already out, and they are great. Songs like “Forever” and “Falling” are so well-regarded they’ve already received multi-artist remix treatment. And the group has been so productive the last couple years that some previously released songs like “Send Me Down” and “Better Off” didn’t make the final cut of Days Are Gone.

Este, Danielle & Alana HAIM have a unique relationship with rhythm & melody — their vocals often syncopate with rhythm over melody, especially with backing vocals. This unique vocal tactic circles around addictive hooks that twist and build while evolving past traditional verse/refrain/verse song structure.

Treasure Island Music Festival 2013 will somehow be the group’s first performance in the Bay Area, even though the LA-based group have played Southern California and in Europe dozens of times. Get there early Sunday for this one.

Sleigh Bells
Bitter Rivals releases October 8, 2013

Things have been evolving quickly for noise-rock duo Sleigh Bells. Their third album in three years, Bitter Rivals, will unleash in early October. Singer Alexis Krauss is now heavily involved in production — guitarist, songwriter and producer Derek Miller did all the heavy lifting on the groups’ 2010 breakthrough Treats.

Krauss & Miller have been planning a “cleaner, more melodic album” for their third record. Does this mean fuzzy guitar anthems are out in favor of easy to digest tracks like “Rill Rill”. Lead single “Bitter Rivals” hints that the answer lies somewhere in the middle.

Expect this set to be one of the loudest sets of the weekend, even though Sunday is usually a day reserved for more mellow indy fare like James Blake or Real Estate.

Two new albums to be released in late 2013, early 2014.

We’ve known for about nine months that Beck has had two albums in the works for this year — yet as we head toward the Fall we don’t have any official release dates for his acoustic album and the proper follow-up to 2008’s Modern Guilt.

What we do have are two new songs that are meant to be stand-alone tracks — Neither “Defriended” or “I Won’t Be Long” will be found on Beck’s forthcoming records. Although, both tracks would serve as excellent lead singles for any Beck record.

The most delicious part about these two new tracks are the 14+ minutes b-sides of the same songs. The extended version of “I Won’t Be Long” is an adventurous journey that begins in My Bloody Valentine territory, then it wallows blissfully in the refrain “I won’t be long” before grinding down into a feedback-based breakdown, then rebirthing where the song started.

Let’s hope Beck feels like extending these new tracks at Treasure Island to end the weekend.

New album, possibility titled Voices, to be released in late 2013, early 2014.

Phantogram haven’t released any new music from their second long player, which is due this fall, but expect to hear at least a couple new cuts before they hit up TIMF in six weeks. The group headlines a month-long tour in the fall and have been in the studio this summer. Phantogram’s recent teaser video (view it above) promises more of the same — an awesome amalgamation of dance, beats and indie rock.

There’s been a lot of hash tagging of #phantogramvoices lately on Phantogram’s social media — a new single and album release date seem imminent, maybe as early as this or next week.

UPDATE 9/12: Phantogram released a new song entitled “Black Out Days”:

Little Dragon
The group’s fourth LP to be released in late 2013, early 2014.

Much like Phantogram, Little Dragon are hard at work on a new album, and they’ve shared a video to prove it too. Little Dragon only have four shows lined up in October, including their appearance at Treasure Island Music Festival.

Treasure Island Music Festival: Seven reasons to go big


The seventh annual Treasure Island Music Festival returns October 19-20, and the top-notch lineup is as strong as ever. The acts slated to perform are so good, we suggest that you go big. ‘Going Big’ can mean a lot of things here: Getting a two-day VIP pass, taking in every single set and even riding the Ferris Wheel after a couple of Spicy Pies all count. For the first year, only two-day GA, VIP & parking passes are available for purchase, and there is no guarantee single day passes will be sold.

In honor of the seventh iteration of this quintessential Bay Area Festival, here are seven reasons to go big.

1. Now that is a headliner!

Atoms for Peace

Short of Radiohead, there are few acts as highly sought after as Atoms for Peace. Besides the group’s resounding star power with Thom Yorke and Flea, not to mention Nigel Godrich, Joey Waronker and percussionist Mauro Refosco, Atoms are not constant touring machines like some acts on the bill such as Major Lazer or Sleigh Bells. AMOK’s release was months ago, but is still on constant rotation for many (including this writer), but it’s anyone’s guess how some of these dynamic songs will transcribe to a large, live format.

Band members have been leaking footage of their rehearsals on YouTube, and dropping some seriously exciting nuggets of possibility that make their second touring cycle even more thrilling. Case in point: the video of Thom performing 1998’s heralded UNKLE collaboration, “Rabbit in Your Headlights”. Not only is this an amazing track that Radiohead never attempted, but it pretty much confirms the inclusion of non-Atoms material on stage this run. Will the rehearsed Hail to the Thief B-Side “Paperbag Writer” be present on this tour? Well, guess you’ll have to be on the island to see if the Bay Area is graced with one, or more, of these contemporary gems.

2. “All the best Saturdays are spent dancing!”

The Dance Sets – Disclosure, Holy Ghost, DJ Falcon, Major Lazer, Robert DeLong, Phantogram, Poolside

Per the usual, TI will be split stylistically into two days with Saturday being dominated by all things dance and electronic music, so no moping about or standing with your hands in your pockets. Atoms for Peace will close the first day, but the pulsating lead up to the headliners will generate lots of buzz before the final act even struts out. Disclosure finally return to the Bay after their premier show last fall, and with a highly regarded debut record in June, they are sure to gain new fans and get festivalgoers of all ages into a frenzy with their patented house-oriented 2-step/garage hybrid. Holy Ghost! is the newest DFA Records darlings who have been selling out shows and turning heads this spring, even before releasing their much anticipated sophomore effort, Dynamics. Their deep synth-laden take on disco-pop is infectious, so don’t miss this duo. French producer DJ Falcon is yet another act who has been garnering a great deal of attention with his work on Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories – he produced the intense, final track “Contact”. Expect a set heavy on house tunes, and one wouldn’t be remiss in hoping to dance to some Daft cuts during his time slot. 

Major Lazer and Robert Delong will also get the spotlight on Saturday. Major Lazer is backed by the big name that is Diplo, not to mention a sizable stage production, and Robert DeLong is a rising star in his own right. Diplo melds the sounds of the Caribbean into a bass-heavy conglomeration, while DeLong takes his EDM sensibility and mixes in alternative rock influences, creating something partially poppy, but fully pleasing on the dance floor. Each act will showcase the cross-pollination that dance music is currently embracing. 

3. “Logistics matter, folks.”

The venue/setup/schedule

Sure, at first glance the idea of reasonably large festival on the less-than-oft-visited island halfway across the Bay Bridge may seem like a logistical nightmare, but after six years the folks at Another Planet Entertainment and Noise Pop have this event running like a well-oiled machine. For driving patrons, on site parking passes are available, but the sheer majority will be making the pilgrimage to Treasure Island via luxurious busses that are plentiful and organized. The Civic Center will the be launching-off point this year for the second time, as I suppose APE is hopeful the Giants make the playoffs, leaving AT&T park as an unviable option. Once on TI, life is easy – everything is contained and well laid out – making the best use of an otherwise small green-strip of grass facing downtown San Francisco. Lastly, TI’s site says that there will be a carpooling option coming soon, so there may be even more ways to pack onto this tiny rock.

Scheduling music for a large-scale music festival is never an easy venture, and this dubious responsibility is bound to create gripes while pleasing others equally. Alas, this is not an issue at Treasure Island as there is no overlap between artists on the two stages, making any competition a moot point. Another way of saying this is that you can literally see every act, every song and every moment that happens, making it vastly appealing after making grueling decisions at Coachella, Outside Lands and other massive music festivals throughout the summer.

4. “The coolest Scientologist in the World is a headliner.”


It seems fitting that Beck Hansen stands atop the lineup this year, as he has been rather fond of the Bay Area recently with both a tour warm-up show in Santa Cruz and a feature at Davies Symphony Hall, with both appearances shedding more light on his paper-bound “album”, Song Reader. Beck and band will be heading out in the summer to shake off those touring cobwebs, while likely testing out loads of new tunes of the acoustic variety as part of the Americana-rama tour alongside Bob Dylan and Wilco. “Defriended” is a brand spanking new track on the electronic side of things (view it above), and is chock full of bizarre beats, assaulting drum flourishes and Beck’s characteristic croon soaring high overhead. The increase in Beck news has many music fans eagerly awaiting a new record, and it appears Beck is working on a second album for late 2013 that will be the proper follow-up to 2008’s Modern Guilt. It’s safe to say that the festival will be closed out on Sunday in a show-stopping manner that only Beck can provide.

5. “Sunday was made for rocking!”

The Rock Sets – Japandroids, Sleigh Bells & Palma Violets

Just as Saturday leans towards the cutting edge of electronic music, the rock-leaning acts will likely take to the stages on Sunday. Japandroids, Sleigh Bells, and Palma Violets are three superb groups that will surely bring some seriously needed guitar-driven energy to the masses. Japandroids have been touring furiously behind last year’s heralded release, Celebration Rock, and will thrive in an afternoon slot to those looking for blistering anthemic rock and roll. Similar to Japandroid’s minimal band member formula, singer Alexis Krauss and guitarist Derek Miller combine forces as Sleigh Bells, and after a few months missing from the live circuit they are ramping up again. Their play on dance-noise-punk is slightly electrified and heavy on gripping guitar riffs – Sleigh Bells is sure to get a strong reaction from the crowd. Palma Violets are a newer name that many may have glanced over with the lineup release. These exciting British young’uns are making waves with their patented play on harder-edged Brit-rock, accompanied by a raucous stage presence to match their catchy debut album.

6. “The ideal sunset show.”

James Blake

James Blake’s songs can be enhanced by listening to them at special moments. Fire up “The Wilhelm Scream” at 2am after partying all night or listen to his cover of Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You” in the early morning for example. But no James Blake live music scenario could possibly be better than an early evening set on Treasure Island with the sun starting to fade behind Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. With golden hour rays of light bathing upon a mellow Sunday crowd, could Blake’s post-dubstep crooning go down in any better environment? The 21st century troubadour released a more cohesive album with his sophomore effort Overgrown in April, and he’ll have this new material ingrained in his psyche by October after playing it live throughout 2013. It doesn’t matter how many red bulls, beers or unknowing friends tempt you to go to the Silent Disco during this set – get close for this one and absorb the mellowed bass blasts.

7. “It all comes back to the Indie sets.”

Animal Collective, Lord Huron, HAIM

Indie rock is always a genre that’s represented at Treasure Island Music Festival, but it’s less present than prior years. Animal Collective and their delirious, neo-psychedelia can be classified in many ways: Certainly they have indie influences present in their sound, but they also purvey elements of experimental freak folk and electronic noise pop that sways between the concepts of repetition and ambience. In a word, Animal Collective is unique, and they curate a live experience that makes it easy to float away from the daily grind. LA-based Lord Huron are pure indie with an Americana bent, and their rolling tunes inspire feelings of big open spaces – perfect for TIMF. Haim, one of the biggest up-and-coming acts around, will make their Bay Area debut at TIMF. The all-female group from Southern California have played in Los Angeles over 20 times, but never for their neighbors to the north. Haim has drawn comparisons to Fleetwood Mac, but their quirky back beat and fast paced lyrics translate to a fascinating contemporary mix of pop, R&B and indie rock.