Modeselektor return to U.S. soil & pound our ears with their new material at a sold-out Echoplex

ModeselektorBy Josh Herwitt //

Modeselektor //
Echoplex – Los Angeles
April 4th, 2019 //

As electronic music continues to evolve in 2019, it appears as if the EDM craze that once was has started to fade. Sure, dance-centric festivals such as Ultra, EDC and Electric Zoo continue to thrive, but the amount has slowly tapered off over the last few years with hip-hop and R&B grabbing more of the mainstream spotlight lately.

So, where does a veteran electronic act like Modeselektor fit into the equation these days?

We’re not quite sure to be honest, but after making music together for more than two decades, Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary are still selling out clubs with their dark, pulsating beats and brash, in-your-face sounds.

The Berlin IDM (short for “Intelligent Dance Music”) duo is a favorite of Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke’s believe it or not and yet, has only released four studio albums to go along with a handful of EPs since forming in 1996. Although to be completely fair, their side project with fellow German electronic musician Apparat (born Sascha Ring) under the name Moderat has also been quite the success in recent years as we have witnessed on more than one occasion, including the 2016 edition of Lightning in a Bottle (read our festival review here) and a stellar performance at The Mayan (read our show review here) in 2017 after playing Coachella’s first weekend (read our review here).

Modeselektor

One of those four LPs is Who Else, the eight-track release after a nearly eight-year layoff that dropped in February on Modeselektor’s own Monkeytown Records as the follow-up to 2011’s Monkeytown, which earned them a closing set in the Mojave Tent at Coachella a few months later where Yorke surprisingly joined them onstage for “Shipwreck” during Weekend 2.

At LA’s Echoplex last Thursday, we didn’t have the fortune of getting another surprise cameo from Yorke, but it was intriguing to see a sold-out crowd welcome Bronsert and Szary back to the City of Angels under the Modeselektor moniker for the first time in a long time (and on a school night no less). And considering they were only stopping through two U.S. cities — LA and NYC the night before at Elsewhere in Brooklyn — on this tour, the show felt a little extra special for those of us in attendance due to the circumstances.

Bronsert and Szary made mention of the jet lag that they were experiencing more than once, and with both now being of a certain age, it’s not quite as easy as it once was for them to get onstage night after night and do their thing. They certainly overcame it, as Szary jumped on top of their DJ booth several times while performing to engage an audience that conveyed its appreciation for his efforts (he even took a cigarette break onstage later on, too).

Who Else runs only 34 minutes long, with “Wealth”, “I Am Your God” and “Who” serving as its three singles, which meant that Modeselektor had time to sprinkle in some of their older material throughout a 17-song gig lasting roughly 90 minutes. One of those tracks was “The Black Block” off their 2007 sophomore full length Happy Birthday!, while even two remixed covers — Shed’s “Dark Planet” and Headhunter’s “Prototype” — were on the setlist. But the finale is what stuck out most, as Modeselektor showed Yorke some more love with an Atoms for Peace cover of “Default” on the supergroup’s lone record Amok that came out more than six years ago. It was a fitting choice given the connection Yorke has had with the outfit, and one that proved Bronsert and Szary, nevertheless, have what it takes to keep us right on our toes after all these years.

Setlist:
Grillwalker
Dark Planet (Modeselektor remix) (Shed cover)
WMF Love Song
Kalif Storch
German Clap
The Black Block
I Am Your God
(Unknown)
Prügelknabe
Wealth
Prototype (Modeselektor’s Broken Handbrake Remix) (Headhunter cover)
One United Power
Who
Wake Me Up When It’s Over
Berlin

Encore:
Blue Clouds
Default (Atoms for Peace cover)

Modeselektor

Modeselektor

Modeselektor

Showbams Photography 2013: A year in review

Purity-Ring

Purity Ring // Marc Fong
First City Festival // 8.25.13


The power and impact of a great photo is undeniable. Striking photos take you to another place, inserting you into a spectacular moment from the past.

The photographers in the Bam Fam have produced many memorable, inspiring live music photos in 2013. Feast your eyes on 50 of our best shots from the past year.

Click a band or artist name to view the original article.

Fiona-Apple-and-Blake-Mills

Fiona Apple & Blake Mills // Sam Heller
Zellerbach Hall at UC Berkeley //10.8.13


Killer-Mike

Killer Mike // James Nagel
The Independent // 7.31.13


Crystal-Castles

Crystal Castles // Marc Fong
Fox Theater Oakland // 4.27.13


Phantogram

Phantogram // Marc Fong
Treasure Island Music Festival // 10.19.13


Warpaint

Warpaint // Marc Fong
The Independent // 9.17.13


Cut-Copy_

Cut Copy // James Nagel
Fox Theater Oakland // 11.2.13


Geographer_post

Geographer // Sterling Munksgard
Bimbo’s 365 Club // 11.23.13


Thee-Oh-Sees

Thee Oh Sees // Pedro Paredes
Great American Music Hall // 12.18.13


Grouplove

Grouplove // James Nagel
The Independent // 9.14.13


James-Blake

James Blake // Marc Fong
Treasure Island Music Festival // 10.20.13


Matthew-Dear

Matthew Dear // Mike Frash
Mezzanine // 5.22.13


Palma-Violets

Palma Violets // James Nagel
The Independent // 4.23.13


Polyphonic-Spree

Polyphonic Spree // Marc Fong
The Chapel // 8.19.13


Zedd

Zedd // Marc Fong
Fox Theater Oakland // 10.9.13


Robert-Randolph

Robert Randolph // Steve Kennedy
Notes For Notes Benefit // 12.6.13


Savages1

Savages // James Nagel
The Independent // 9.27.13


Steve-Aioki

Steve Aoki // Sterling Munksgard
Bill Graham Civic Auditorium // 11.16.13


The-Flaming-Lips

The Flaming Lips // James Nagel
Bill Graham Civic Auditorium // 10.31.13


The-xx

The xx // Marc Fong
The Greek Theatre // 6.1.13


Atoms-For-Peace

Atoms For Peace // Marc Fong
Treasure Island Music Festival // 10.19.13


Thundercat1

Thundercat // James Nagel
The Independent // 11.13.13


Trey-Anastasio-Band

Trey Anastasio Band // Sam Heller
Fox Theater Oakland // 4.20.13


Alabama-Shakes

Alabama Shakes // Marc Fong
Fox Theater Oakland // 3.5.13


AlunaGeorge

AlunaGeorge // Marc Fong
The Independent // 9.11.13


Autre-Ne-Veut

Autre Ne Veut // Mike Frash
The Independent // 3.11.13


chk-chk-chk

!!! // James Nagel
Great American Music Hall // 2.28.13


CSS

CSS // James Nagel
The Independent // 6.16.13


Danny-Brown

Danny Brown // Marc Fong
Treasure Island Music Festival // 10.19.13


Father-John-Misty

Father John Misty // Marc Fong
First City Festival // 8.24.13


HAIM

Haim // Marc Fong
Treasure Island Music Festival // 10.19.13


How-To-Dress-Well

How To Dress Well // Sam Heller
The Independent // 8.26.13


Jagwar-Ma

Jagwar Ma // James Nagel
The Independent // 12.11.13


Jamie-Lidell

Jamie Lidell // Sam Heller
The Independent // 3.29.13


Primus

Primus // Sam Heller
High Sierra Music Festival // 7.5.13


Run-The-Jewels1

Run The Jewels (El-P & Killer Mike) // James Nagel
The Independent // 7.31.13


Toro-Y-Moi

Toro Y Moi // James Nagel
Fox Theater Oakland // 11.15.13


Wild-Belle

Wild Belle // Eldon Christenson
The Independent // 9.26.13


alt-J

Alt-J // Sam Heller
Fox Theater Oakland // 8.29.13


Andrew-Bird

Andrew Bird // Sam Heller
Congregation Sherith Israel // 12.16.13


Andrew-WK

Andrew W.K. // Marc Fong
The Independent // 10.12.13


Anna-Calvi

Anna Calvi // Marc Fong
The Independent // 11.17.13


Big-Boi

Big Boi // Mike Frash
Mezzanine // 5.17.13


Deerhunter

Deerhunter // Marc Fong
First City Festival // 8.25.13


MS-MR

MS MR // James Nagel
The Independent // 6.16.13


Phoenix

Phoenix // Chaya Frash
The Independent // 4.1.13


Rogue-Wave1

Rogue Wave // Marc Fong
The Independent // 7.12.13


Sigur-Ros

Sigur Rós // Marc Fong
Fox Theater Oaklnad // 4.16.13


STS9_Post

STS9 // Sam Heller
Fox Theater Oakland // 3.1.13


Washed-Out

Washed Out // Marc Fong
First City Festival // 8.25.13

Showbams’ top tracks of 2013

Best-tracks-post

Sometimes the more music you listen to, the feeling of missing out on a song or an album can make you feel a little neurotic. You simply can’t give every piece of good music it’s proper due. So when it comes to picking your favorite songs, a safe bet is to pick the songs that not only soundtracked your year but also helped define it.

Showbams presents our Contributor top tracks of 2013. What are your favorite tracks of this dwindling year? Holler with links in the comment section…


James Blake at Treasure Island Music Festival 10/19. Photo by Marc Fong.

James Blake at Treasure Island Music Festival 10/20. Photo by Marc Fong.

Mike Frash // Founder, Editor, Columnist // @MikeFrash

01. James Blake – “Retrograde”
“Retrograde” perfectly represents the state of music in 2013, providing an amalgamation of cutting edge electronic, bass & R&B sensibilities. Also, the track is hauntingly memorable — How many contemporaries can use their pitch-shifting croon-hum as a low melodic layer like this? Lyrically, manipulative seduction is the center piece as Blake propositions his subject, asking to “show me where you fit.” Retrograde means ‘moving backwards’, and the theme is splendidly represented in the song’s payoff through elongated synth that modulates enough to sound like slow degradation.


02. Disclosure – “When A Fire Starts To Burn”
The mantra of the year, “When A Fire Starts To Burn” can ignite a party or help work get done faster. Somehow the motivational speech sample never tires, and it’s one of the only samples on Settle, proving the keen production sense Guy and Howard Lawrence have ingrained in them. The simple four on the floor house beat slightly evolves every 16 bars, allowing the sample to dominate throughout. An instant classic, it’s a track that uses long-used underground themes and brings them to the forefront as Disclosure continues to explode with popularity.


03. Arcade Fire – “Afterlife”
The penultimate song from Reflektor explicitly stares death in the face and dares you to live. More than any other song on the record, “Afterlife” successfully digs into the idea of what happens when we die in Arcade Fire’s serious, intense style. The song offers multiple rhetorical questions that function as a challenge. Our time is finite, and love should be the focus. “It’s just an afterlife with you…”


04. Foals – “Milk & Black Spiders”
So much of Foals’ music is about being on the verge of total loss, although the message is almost always vague. A far cry from yelling at “Cassius” that she’s “second best”, “Milk & Black Spiders” centers on the idea of confidence in finding the right mate and openly admitting it. Found in an album full of potential top tracks, this cut contains the best moment of the album at about 3:30. Is it hyperbole to consider this one of the most euphoric crescendo of all time?


05. my bloody valentine – “in another way”
To be truly understood, my bloody valentine needs to be felt, not only heard. To experience MBV live or in the comfort of your living space like the Maxwell Guy is encouraged (although it may be too late to catch them live). The sound is jarring at first, but upon adapting to the volume level, “in another way” transforms into magnificent hypnotism once the first major chords hit. It’s like a persistent, awesome airplane is taking off in your face, in a very good way…

06. Baths – “No Eyes”
07. Vampire Weekend – “Hannah Hunt”
08. Kanye West feat. Frank Ocean – “New Slaves”
09. The National – “I Need My Girl”
10. Rhye – “Open”
11. Volcano Choir – “Byegone”
12. Phosphorescent – “Song For Zula”
13. Run the Jewels – “Job Well Done (feat. Until the Ribbon Breaks)”
14. Mount Kimbie – “Made To Stray”
15. Kurt Vile – “Wakin on a Pretty Day”
16. Darkside – “Paper Trails”
17. Autre Ne Veut – “Play by Play”
18. Jon Hopkins – “Breath This Air”
19. Haim – “Falling”
20. Bill Callahan – “Small Plane”


Vampire Weekend at Fox Theater Oakland 4/17. Photo by Marc Fong.

Vampire Weekend at Fox Theater Oakland 4/17. Photo by Marc Fong.

Molly Kish // Artist Relations Manager, Columnist // @MollyKish

01. Vampire Weekend – “Unbelievers”
Far from the New England prep rock of their previous two albums, the boys of Vampire Weekend explore new territory both in songwriting and soundscape on their 2013 release Modern Vampires of the City. This breakout pop gem explores the frivolity of faith, dissecting spirituality in the context of a contemporary domestic relationship. Paying homage to blissful rockabilly melodies executed by such greats as Buddy Holly and the Crickets and Jerry Lee Lewis, Vampire Weekend put a current spin on an archetypal pop formula, composing easily one of the best tracks of 2013.


02. Big Black Delta – “Side of the Road”
Jonathan Bates, of Mellowdrone fame, delivers one of the catchiest terrestrial dance jams of 2013 with the lead single off of his debut album, Big Black Delta. A solo project, Bates performs the entire song through layers of modified vocals, electronic improvisation and innovatively tracked percussion. He succeeds in developing an addictive one man dance party that’s just as entertaining to see live as it is to listen to on record and calls for near immediate loops of repetitive play.


03. Disclosure -“F For You”
UK sibling duo Disclosure deliver one of the hardest hitting and simplistically rendered club hits of 2013 with “F For You.” Stripping away frivolous electronic production, they find success in a modest deep house composition featuring a pulsating baseline, repetitive chorus and a stylistically pert, finger-snapping beat. The song’s sassy subject matter and infectious groove are bound to get any dance floor moving and set the song apart as a standout hit on the band’s 2013 debut album.


04. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Sacrilege”
Departing from their traditionally art punk mold, the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s burst back on the scene with the first single off of their fourth studio album, Mosquito. Highlighting rooted soul riffs and Karen O’s bluesy wails, the beat driven arrangement pays homage to the band’s time spent writing and recording in New Orleans. The track in a fiery choral cameo by the Broadway Inspirational Voices Choir and serves as the band’s rousing call to arms for their alternative counterparts. The song exemplifies the band’s successful feat in retaining some of the genres fearlessness and artistic credulity as well as their willingness to step outside of the convoluted mainstream box.


05. Holy Ghost! – “Dumb Disco Ideas”
Often compared to fellow DFA records’ flagship artist LCD Soundsystem, Holy Ghost! assumed the label’s inherent responsibility of producing the next wave of synth-pop super hits with their 2013 album Dynamics. The most comparable track, coming in the form of this funk laden jam, draws directly from the genre-defining record label’s indisputable formula for discotheque domination. Rhythmically resonating with old and new fans alike, Holy Ghost! seamlessly transitioned into their new reign of the DFA universe with this stand out party anthem that floored live music venues and festival stages, all summer long.

06. Daft Punk – “Get Lucky”
07. Atoms for Peace – “Default”
08. Arcade Fire – “Here Comes the Nighttime”
09. Toro Y Moi – “Say That”
10. Empire of the Sun – “Alive”
11. Cut Copy – “Free Your Mind”
12. STRFKR – “While I’m Alive”
13. Jagwar Ma – “Man I Need”
14. Phoenix – “S.O.S. in Bel Air”
15. Washed Out – “All I Know”
16. Kanye West – “Black Skinhead”
17. CSS – “Into the Sun”
18. Devendra Banhart – “You’re Fine Petting Duck”
19. Wild Belle – “Another Girl”
20. The Strokes – “One Way Trigger”


Palma Violets at The Independent 4/23. Photo by James Nagel.

Palma Violets at The Independent 4/23. Photo by James Nagel.

Kevin Quandt // Assistant Editor, Columnist // @KJQuandt

01. Daft Punk – “Get Lucky”
When the ‘Song of the Summer’ (sorry “Blurred Lines”) is as thoroughly enjoyable as this interstellar first single off of RAM, you know you won’t get nearly as tired of it as past summertime jams. “Get Lucky” is still is as fresh as the first time it was debuted on a Saturday night at Coachella, eventually ruling airwaves across multiple genres all over the globe. This track has it all; from a space disco groove that rivals any legendary disco jam to the sultry vocals of the multi-talented Pharrell Williams. Was it the single that most fans were expecting? Probably not, but lends even more to the production and writing talent of these two mysterious French robots that most of us know by the name of Daft Punk. Though we haven’t seen how it’ll shake out on stage, if ever, it is sure to be on repeat for the foreseeable future. 


02. Foxygen – “No Destruction”
What a fun slice of American tinged psych-pop these young San Franciscans delivered this year. Sure this band has had a rough year on the road, but these issues never diminished their stellar sophomore release, spotlighted by this rousing tale of youthful urban life and love. Dylan-esque crooning coupled with phrasing that would make Ray Davies blush lends a nod to some of rocks legends in the form of “No Destruction”. Every listen also shines more light on the storyboard that these lyrics build, adding another key component to Foxygen’s success.  


03. Foals – “My Number”
I’m not sure exactly when Foals became masters of catchy song structures, but many are happy to hear this British act upping their game to dazzling new heights. The formula of placing the hook early in the track is part of the key, and this is not to mention the amazing returns to said hook while balancing afro-inspired guitar lines, piercing melodies and unpredictable rhythm shifts. “My Number” signifies the next era for Foals while displaying they are ready to leave the clubs to larger theaters while bearing the banner of Bono-esque grandeur in the face of a changing landscape in popular rock music. 


04. King Krule – “Baby Blue”
Young Archie Marshall has come along way for a 19 year old Brit with a refreshing spin on bedroom-produced darkwave music. Though in all honesty, King Krule can not be defined as he bends genre lines all over his debut LP, 6 Feet Beneath the Moon. Archie’s unique vocal stylings paint a brilliantly simple portrait of love lost over a stripped down production that is akin to the muted style that launched acts like the XX and Toro Y Moi. The baritone delivery pitches and bends on the singer’s whim over gentle guitar flourishes and minimal beat production equally something fully unique. In an age of EDM maximalism, it’s tracks like this that demonstrate the idea of ‘less is more.’ 


05. London Grammar – “Hey Now”
London Grammar may not be an artist that the majority are familiar with, but a head-turning debut LP released in the fall has garnered this trip-hop trio much deserved attention. Hannah Reid’s vocals soar all over this chilled-out track that slowly builds to a mellow peak that could remind you of early Zero 7 (the Sia years). A feature on Disclosure’s album closer and vocal comparisons to Jessie Ware are promising signs for these up-and-comers that understand restraint can be extremely powerful as demonstrated in this powerful single.  

06. Arcade Fire – “Afterlife”
07. Parquet Courts – “Stoned and Starving”
08. Palma Violets – “Best of Friends”
09. Kanye West feat. Frank Ocean – “New Slaves”
10. Jake Bugg – “Lightning Bolt”
11. A$AP Ferg feat. A$AP Rocky – “Shabba”
12. HAIM – “The Wire”
13. Queens of the Stone Age – “My God is the Sun”
14. Vampire Weekend – “Diane Young”
15. The National – “Humiliation”
16. Ducktails – “The Flower Lane”
17. Deerhunter – “Dream Captain”
18. Jon Hopkins – “Open Eye Signal”
19. iceage – “Ecstasy”
20. White Fence – “Pink Gorilla”


Holy Ghost! at Treasure Island Music Festival 10/19.

Holy Ghost! at Treasure Island Music Festival 10/19.

Pete Mauch // Festival Manager & Columnist // @PeteMauch

01. Daft Punk – “Get Lucky”    
The summer anthem is just too good to be denied the number one spot. With Nile Rodgers laying down the funk chords on guitar and Pharrell Williams’s resurgence back on the scene with smooth croons, it gives the song has some serious lasting power.


02. Kurt Vile – “Wakin On a Pretty Day”
Best morning song ever besides Dylan’s “New Morning”? I absolutely love waking up to this song — it’s bright, catchy guitar licks are matched perfectly with Vile’s earnest lyrics about solitude, yet he’s optimistic about this pretty day. 


03. Foals – “My Number”  
This song come firing out of the gates with infectious dance grooves that are nearly impossible to not move your feet to. The hypnotizing multi-guitar work is such a great complement to the vocals on this should-be hit single.


04. Jagwar Ma – “Come Save Me”
If the Beach Boys started to make electrified, psychedelic dance songs then I suspect it would sound a lot like this. These Australian rockers put together one hell of a dream-like track this year.


05. Superhuman Happiness – “Sentimental Pieces”
One of the most fun and creative songs I’ve heard in a long while. The way they combine dance grooves, hand claps, piano work, and some serious vocal harmonizing is quite impressive.

06. Holy Ghost! – “Dumb Disco Ideas”
07. Earl Sweatshirt – “Chum”
08. White Denim – “Pretty Green”
09. Sigur Rós – “Isjaki”
10. Phosphorescent – “Song for Zula”
11. Youth Lagoon – “Mute”
12. Savages – “She Will”
13. Anders Osborne – “Peace”
14. Ty Segall – “Sleeper”
15. Atoms for Peace – “Judge, Jury, and Executioner”
16. Jim James – “Know Til Now”
17. Deerhunter – “Back to the Middle”
18. Johnathon Wilson – “Moses Pain”
19. Bonobo –  “Cirrus”
20. Darkside – “Paper Trails”


Washed Out at First City Festival 8/24. Photo by Marc Fong.

Washed Out at First City Festival 8/24. Photo by Marc Fong.

Kevin Raos // Columnist // @Semirec

01. Vampire Weekend – “Hannah Hunt”
The best song, on perhaps the best album of the year, “Hannah Hunt” is an instant classic. Modern Vampires of the City is littered with tracks that will be considered amongst Vampire Weekend’s best, and “Hannah Hunt” leads the pack. Despite the lack of “quirkiness” that Vampire Weekend is sometimes known for, the track gently builds the listener up to one of the most jubilant climaxes found on any record this year.


02. Youth Lagoon – “Raspberry Cane”
Another song that builds you up and sweeps you off your feet, “Raspberry Cane” is a bright spot on Wondrous Bughouse, a sophomore effort that fell slightly short of expectations. Hauntingly fascinating and beautifully psychedelic, this song takes the listener on a musical journey.  


03. Arcade Fire – “Afterlife”
“Afterlife” is a song that took a few years to see the light of day. When it was released, Win Butler commented on the history of this song, saying it began “with a Haitian percussion loop we recorded way back at the end of the The Suburbs tour and “took a while to get the chorus right.” Enter producer James Murphy and the result is an extremely danceable synth-pop tune that is up there with the year’s pedigree.


04. Rhye – “Open”
Passion oozes from this song. Simple and pure love in it’s most basic form. Lyrics, musicianship and delivery make this track one of the most soothing songs of the year. Turn this on,  embrace those you love, and all will be right in the world if only for a couple minutes.


05. Washed Out – “It All Feels Right”
The title of this song says it best. Washed Out’s sunbathed reverb vibes can instantly transport you to a beach and put a beverage in your hand. Fact. Move aside “Get Lucky”, this was the summer anthem of 2013 on my stereo.

06. Major Lazer – “Get Free”
07. Wild Belle – “Keep You”
08. Holy Ghost! – “Dumb Disco Ideas”
09. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Sacrilege”
10. James Blake – “Retrograde”
11. Phosphorescent – “The Quotidian Beasts”
12. Daft Punk – “Instant Crush”
13. Boards of Canada – “Nothing is Real”
14. Mikal Cronin – “Weight”
15. Sigur Rós – “Brennisteinn”
16. Kurt Vile – “Wakin on a Pretty Day”
17. Phoenix – “Trying to Be Cool”
18. Foxygen – “San Francisco”
19. Junip – “Line of Fire”
20. Disclosure – “White Noise (feat. AlunaGeorge)”


Cut Copy at Fox Theater Oakland 11/02. Photo by James Nagel.

Cut Copy at Fox Theater Oakland 11/02. Photo by James Nagel.

Brooks Rocco // Columnist // @brooksrocco

01. Jagwar Ma – “Uncertainty”
In the wholly subjective exercise of selecting a favorite song of a year, one must consider one’s most notable experiences, focusing upon those driven by the most notable soundtracks. 2013’s best dance party, in my little sphere of dominion, was Jagwar Ma’s headlining set at Rickshaw Stop, and it was the song ‘Uncertainty’ that made me most notably lose control of my senses. Even upon sober reflection, the song (defining the tone of the album it appears on) is a sledgehammer of a good time, a song that revels in the Clichés that in an earlier year would have manifested in sardonic irony. It’s finally time to embrace what works, and in doing so, create the future that pushes towards the goal: a musical tribute to our ecstatic humanity, as we remain fueled by uncertainties.


02. Deafheaven – “Dream House”
In some ways, “Dream House” is the end of black metal. It’s been a long time coming though, with American kids raised on the stuff tilting their combo amps backward, screaming their fresh-faced idolatry for the legends that dared to not give a fuck. With the pink Pitchfork kiss of approval, black metal has become another texture in the tech-savvy hipster’s chest, to be yanked out when the time is appropriate (then and only then!). ‘Dream House’ is the black metal song that everyone can agree on. Euronymous is Dead. Long live Black Metal.


03. Cave – “Arrow’s Myth”
Shifting space, coagulating color, sound, motion; breaking barriers, and driving the motorized swirl ever farther, Cave returned in 2013 with some of their most funky and delicately harmonious hues yet. Once again they delivered just the right the stuff we all need—imbalance your chemicals (whatever that means to you), throw on “Arrow’s Myth”, and wrap your head around whatever comes natural. If it feels good, right?


04. Carcass – “A Congealed Clot of Blood”
I got a little worried when I found out Andy Sneap was producing the followup to Carcass’ swan song, Surgical Steel, as said producer is the type of surgeon to sterilize all his instruments thoroughly before performing his delicate incisions. Fortunately, this sublime return to force by the UK legends is necrotising death metal masterpiece; ‘A Congealed Clot of Blood’ worthy amongst their greatest.


05. my bloody valentine – “in another way”
I wasn’t listening to Loveless in the 90’s like it was my religion. In my erumpent musical debut, I was blasting stuff like Emperor, Dissection, Meshuggah; bands louder, noisier, and far, far more unsettling than My Bloody Valentine. But for a lot of people, MBV were the anti-music of their spheres. That said, the night m b v dropped, I got sucked into the tornado along with everyone else.  A cursory pirated listen and I was in. ‘in another way’ was the tune that made me whip out the plastic capital and order the wax. Full disclosure for Mr. Shields: it was that guitar.  How did you…

06. RP Boo – “Invisibu Boogie!”

07. Dispirit – “All Paths End The Same”

08. David Bowie – “Where Are We Now?”

09. Föllakzoid – “9”

10. Foals – “Late Night”

11. Thee Oh Sees – “No Spell”

12. Mikal Cronin – “Shout It Out”

13. The Five Eyes – “HEY HEY NSA (Tinfoil in Every Hat)”

14. The Knife – “Old Dreams Waiting to be Realized”

15. Kanye West – “On Sight”

16. Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats – “Desert Ceremony”

17. Parquet Courts – “Master of My Craft”

18. Cut Copy – “Free Your Mind”

19. Anthroprophh – “Hermit”

20. Telekinesis – “Power Lines”


MS MR at The Independent 6/16. Photo by James Nagel.

MS MR at The Independent 6/16. Photo by James Nagel.

Nikki De Martini // Columnist & Photographer // @SweetSoundBites

01. M.I.A. –  “Y.A.L.A.”
Seducingly rhythmic percussion loops, heavy dropping bass lines and a shining bratty-tude mock US society fads on this effortless dance track from my favorite Sri Lankan West-Londoner. M.I.A.’s signature ballsy Bollywood flavor minus the familiarity of foghorns will make you want to get up and dance before realizing what she’s singing about sets in and when it does, this track gets even better. “Y.A.L.A.” makes me wonder why Interscope Records repeatedly shelved her 4th album for not being “dark” or “controversial” enough.


 
02. RAC Featuring Kelle Okereke and MNDR – “Let Go”
As a fan of MNDR for years and a Bloc Party fan for even longer, this collaborative RAC track won me over since the very first time hearing it — the emotionally charged lyrics paired with it’s uplifting melody just melt into one so well.


 
03. MS MR – “Hurricane”
Easily one of my favorite tracks off of their breakthrough debut album, the first single “Hurricane” showcases the multitude of MS MR’s talents to a tee with rich, relatable lyrics and an underlying electro-pop essence wrapped up and delivered in a neat indie rock fashion.


 
04. Arctic Monkeys – “Do I Wanna Know?”
It’s heavy drums, low bass chords and dirty guitar licks reminiscent of The Black Keys are that draw me to this song. Then the lyrics hit and that was it. Every time I hear this song I turn it up and sing along.


 
05. Schoolboy Q Featuring Kendrick Lamar – “Collard Greens”
The catchy hooks and layered verses are a throw back to old school “dirty” rap yet remain fresh, leaving me hungry for more Kendrick Lamar!  


 
06. Lana Del Rey – “Summertime Sadness” (Cedric Gervais remix)
07. LORDE – “Team”
08. Cage the Elephant – “It’s Just Forever (featuring Alison Mosshart)”
09. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Wedding Song”
10. Queens of the Stone Age – “Sat by the Ocean”
11. Jay Z – “Tom Ford”
12. Little Boots – “Strangers”
13. Portugal the Man – “Purple Yellow Red and Blue”
14. VV Brown – “Apple”
15. Sleigh Bells – “Bitter Rivals”
16. Broken Bells – “Holding on for Life”
17. NONONO – “Pumping Blood”
18. CSS – “Hangover”
19. Atlas Genius – “Electric”
20. Smallpools – “Dreaming”


Atoms For Peace at Treasure Island Music Festival 10/19. Photo by Marc Fong.

Atoms For Peace at Treasure Island Music Festival 10/19. Photo by Marc Fong.

Pedro Paredes // Photographer // @pedropar

01. Atoms for Peace – “Before Your Very Eyes”
Every great album needs an opening song worthy of it, and “Before Your Very Eyes” gives just that to the supergroup formed by members of Radiohead (Thom Yorke, Nigel Godrich), Red Hot Chili Peppers (Flea), Beck (Joey Waronker) and Forro in The Dark (Mauro Refosco). With dense, steady percussions, electronic arrangements, a simple guitar section, and the soft sound of Thom Yorke’s voice, this song walks to the beat of life and death, joy and sorrow, and begins the path for one of the best albums of 2013.


02. Vampire Weekend – “Obvious Bicycle”
Vampire Weekend’s first song of their amazing Modern Vampires of the City sets the mood for an album that takes a different route from their previous work, with a warmer, more mature sound. A beautiful song for a beautiful album.   


03. James Blake – “Retrograde”
Melodic Bass Music are the words James Blake chose to describe his work, and “Retrograde” seems to fit that description quite well. It’s a love song for the future, coming from the darkness of the dawn.


03. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – “Jubilee Street”
Nick Cave is a natural storyteller that makes use of his musical talent to make any story come alive (his music scores for films like ‘The Assassination of Jesse James’ or ‘The Proposition’ are enough to prove my point)  Jubilee Street starts simple, growing in complexity in the subtlest of ways, beautifully contained under the spell of Nick Cave’s voice.


05. Blood Orange – “It is What it Is”
“It is What it Is” is exactly what it should be — Deliciously elegant, precise, presenting a new version of 80’s pop-reset. This song is the cherry on top of one of the best albums of 2013.

06. Mutual Benefit – “Golden Wake”
07. Arcade Fire – “Here Comes the Night Time”
08. Daft Punk – “Instant Crush”
09. Lorde – “Royals”
10. William Tyler – “Cadillac Dessert”
11. Kurt Vile – “Wakin on a Pretty Day”
12. Phosphorescent – “Ride On/Right On”
13. Deerhunter – “Back to the Middle”
14. Darkside – “Paper Trails”
15. Nine Inch Nails – “Copy of A”
16. Parquet Courts – “Stoned and Starving”
17. Low – “Plastic Cup”
18. Blue Hawaii – “Try To Be”
19. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Despair”
20. Foxygen – “No Destruction”

Showbams’ 40 best albums of 2013

Best-Albums-of-2013

“Best of” lists are always subjective, and this one is no anomaly. When it comes to the best albums of any given year, we can most likely agree that the best records are excellent from beginning to end — no “skip ahead” songs — and that groundbreaking new music can emerge from any genre.

At the same time, we imprint music on moments in our lives, and this will always influence personal taste. Combine these past influences with modern streaming capabilities in 2013, where new records are now accessible before an album release date, and our collective creation and criticism of music begins to transform, adapt and influence more rapidly.

Here are our most addictive albums of 2013, the records we couldn’t stop spinning.

01. Arcade FireReflektor
02. DisclosureSettle
03. Atoms For PeaceAmok
04. FoalsHoly Fire
05. Vampire WeekendModern Vampires of the City
06. Daft PunkRandom Access Memories
07. Kurt VileWakin On a Pretty Daze
08. James BlakeOvergrown
09. White DenimCorsicana Lemonade
10. Toro Y MoiAnything In Return

11. RhyeWoman
12. DarksidePsychic
13. Boards of CanadaTomorrow’s Harvest
14. The NationalTrouble Will Find Me
15. My Bloody Valentinem b v
16. Sigur RósKveikur
17. Parquet CourtsLight Up Gold
18. Danny BrownOld
19. Holy Ghost!Dynamics
20. Jagwar MaHowlin

21. Run the Jewels (El-P & Killer Mike) – Run the Jewels
22. Washed OutParacosm
23. ClassixxHanging Gardens
24. Hanni El KhatibHead In The Dirt
25. Queens of the Stone Age…Like Clockwork
26. The StrokesComedown Machine
27. Thee Oh SeesFloating Coffin
28. Volcano ChoirRepave
29. A$AP RockyLONG.LIVE.A$AP
30. Anders OsbornePeace

31. Jon HopkinsImmunity
32. Yeah Yeah YeahsMosquito
33. King Krule6 Feet Beneath The Moon
34. Kanye WestYeezus
35. Mount KimbieCold Spring Fault Less Youth
36. Superhuman Happiness – Hands
37. BonoboThe North Borders
38. Tyler, the CreatorWolf
39. PhoenixBankrupt!
40. PhosphorescentMuchacho


Vampire Weekend at Fox Theater Oakland 4/17. Photo by Marc Fong.


Vampire Weekend at Fox Theater Oakland 4/17. Photo by Marc Fong.

Mike Frash // Founder, Editor, Columnist // @MikeFrash

Vampire WeekendModern Vampires of the City
1The focus on larger themes of mortality and spirituality in Modern Vampires of the City have catapulted this indie group from angst-ridden collegians to mainstream players — and in the process Ezra Koenig and company crafted an American classic. Compulsively listenable, this record matured with age in 2013, just like the artistic path Vampire Weekend seem to be on. The album continuously waxes poetically about death and higher powers, and “Unbelievers” sums it up best: “Girl you and I will die unbelievers, bound to the tracks of the train.” The ambiguousness is biting, as it is tough to tell if the statement is earnest atheism or harsh criticism of Godless existence. In “Step”, we’re told, “Wisdom’s a gift but you’ll trade it for youth, age is an honor it’s still not the truth…we know the true death, the true way of all flesh. Everyone’s dying, but girl – you’re not old yet.” Even “Dianne Young” is a double entendre for ‘dying young’. Every track is filled with high-level substance lyrically, but sonically it’s multi-faceted as well, melding baroque sensibilities and African grooves at a wonderfully variant pace throughout. Ultimately, it’s a supremely empowering coming of age album from Vampire Weekend, one that stares mortality in the face while celebrating time’s finite quality.

Run the Jewels (El-P & Killer Mike)Run the Jewels
2Early in Run The Jewels, Killer Mike announces, “Producer gave me a beat, said it’s the ‘beat of the year’, I said ‘El-P didn’t do it, so get the fuck outa here.’ El-P, the sole producer of rap music’s most dynamic duo, bases his production in captivating weirdness, micro-sampling everything from classic organ to nintendo glitch sounds to electric guitar, building epic beats for Killer Mike & El-P to deliver clever rhymes, based both in reality and playful hyperbole. One of Run The Jewels’ greatest successes is that it can be both funny and deadly serious within the same song, and often within in the same flow or line at times. So motherfuckin’ grimy, “Job Well Done” highlights how successfully dolphin sounds can contrast with aggressive lyricism, for example. Killer Mike broaches serious topics, bringing up the “elephant in the room” whenever possible, and EL-P is hyperactive and light-hearted as he spits his ‘future shit’. Put these two together and you have the best hip hop album in years.

FoalsHoly Fire
3The beauty is in the build with Foals, and that is the case with Holy Fire more than prior album as the UK-based festival-headliners-in-the-making have largely abandoned their post-dance punk sound aesthetic for a more ballad-based approach. Sure, “My Number” and “Providence” continue the upbeat, math rock-dance-freak-outs, but overall Foals have centered their 2013 record around patient song development in order to establish more memorable, ecstatic moments. “Milk & Black Spiders” does just that, taking a full three minutes and forty five seconds to reach it’s blissful summit. “Late Night” is a harrowing slow burner, repeating the line, “Calling out your name,” asking for the subject of the song to “Stay with me.” Lead singer Yannis Philippakis’ impassioned vocals, paired with Foals’ guitar interplay and non-standard rhythms make Foals a unique force in the world of modern rock.

The NationalTrouble Will Find Me
4Matt Berninger has a way with words — who else could make the phrase “full of punks and cannonballers” sound eloquent and measured in the track “I Need My Girl”? The National thrives on non-literal lyricism, but the instrumental elements from The National in Trouble Will Find Me prop the singing up on a pedestal better than prior records. Void of any filler, this contemplative record easily allows the listener to take their own meaning from any given track, applying it internally. The first half impresses quickly with “I Should Live In Salt” through “Sea Of Love”, but it is the second half that solidifies the effort as The National’s best work to date. An album that also gets more addictive with subsequent listens, Trouble Will Find Me works well as both a “pick me up” record and one to embrace life’s good times, an odd duality indeed.

Volcano ChoirRepave
5Who needs Bon Iver when Justin Vernon is making music like he has with The Shouting Matches and Volcano Choir in 2013? Vernon, the creative centerpiece behind Bon Iver, announced while promoting Repave that Volcano Choir is his new band. Arguably, this is a genius move, as Vernon is exhibiting a higher level of confidence and innovation with this possibly permanent collaboration with members of Collections of Colonies of Bees. Repave traverses a path that balances grandiose and minimalism, choosing off-beat, unexpectedly contrasting moments to ‘drop the sound hammer’ in both “Comrade” and “Byegone”. “Drop the sound hammer” refers to the mesmerizing technique Volcano choir uses to quickly transition from falsetto-based minimalist intros into hard-hitting Philip Glass-like synth blasts and authoritative drums. I’m fine with Vernon considering himself a legend, as long as he continues creating music with cryptic, poetic lyrics and the progressive intermingling of intense and soothing sounds.

06. Darkside – Psychic
07. James Blake – Overgrown
08. Arcade Fire – Reflektor
09. Rhye – Woman
10. Disclosure – Settle
11. Kurt Vile – Wakin On a Pretty Daze
12. My Bloody Valentine – m b v
13. Atoms for Peace – Amok
14. Foxygen – We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic
15. Washed Out – Paracosm
16. Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
17. Bonobo – The North Borders
18. Phosphorescent – Muchacho
19. Jagwar Ma – Howlin
20. John Vanderslice – Dagger Beach


Atoms For Peace at Treasure Island Music Festival 10/19. Photo by Marc Fong.


Atoms for Peace at Treasure Island Music Festival 10/19. Photo by Marc Fong.

Molly Kish // Artist Relations Manager, Columnist // @MollyKish

Atoms For PeaceAmok
1Alternative Rock super group Atoms for Peace delivered one of the most evocative, skillfully executed and notable debuts of 2013, completely as expected. Bringing together some of the most innovative, iconic and artistically defining tastemakers of the past two decades (most notably Thom Yorke & Flea), Atoms for Peace composed a near-perfect representation of contemporary sound evolution. Touring this past year promoting Amok through intermittent concert dates and festival-headlining performances, Atoms for Peace captivated live audiences on a global scale while generating critical acclaim, and for good reason.

Toro Y MoiAnything in Return
2Drawing artistic influence from elements of 90s dance music while paying homage to the iconic hip hop sounds of the era, Chaz Bundick departed from his signature “chillwave” style to compose his third studio album, Anything in Return. Revisiting harder house elements from his 2010 debut Causers of This, Bundick taps into a funky soundscape filled with intensified vocals and hard hitting jam-based percussion. Paying homage to legendary producer J Dilla, Anything in Return touches upon intimate subject matter while remaining accessibly pop-driven, delivering Bundick’s “biggest sounding” album to date.

DisclosureSettle
3UK sibling duo Disclosure was one of the most successful breakout acts of the past year, largely in part to the global commercial appeal of their debut album, Settle. Mixing the perfect blend of R&B vocals, UK garage, two step and deep house cuts, Settle is a seamless composition of dance floor ready hits. Disclosure’s first full length succeeded in curating a sound both primed for the band’s spellbinding live improvisation and the album’s inevitable mainstream sampling and remixes.

Daft PunkRandom Access Memories
4Preceding its April release date with a show-stopping album trailer debut at Coachella (and nationally syndicated on Saturday Night Live) and a video website series presented by The Creators Project, Daft Punk set the bar early this year for the future of mainstream album promotional campaigns. Defying the expectations of their devoted fan base along with the speculatory opinions of many EDM counterparts, Random Access Memories marks the band’s groundbreaking introduction of live musicians into their otherwise strictly electronic body of work. Their most successful album to date, Random Access Memories is a definitive album that highlights the robots’ personal influence, and the effect is a lasting impact on popular music.

Arcade FireReflektor
5Arcade Fire’s Reflektor serves as a testament to their creative ingenuity as a modern art rock group. Its evolutionary sound was produced by nu-disco vanguard James Murphy and features collaborations with David Bowie, Kid Koala and an armada of additional percussionists and recording personnel. Promoted and released through an ingenious guerrilla marketing campaign, intriguing the attention of a frothing worldwide audience.

06. Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City
07. Kanye West – Yeezus
08. Washed Out – Paracosm
09. Holy Ghost – Dynamics
10. Phoenix – Bankrupt!
11. Devendra Banhart – Mala
12. Major Lazer – Free The Universe
13. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Mosquito
14. Starfucker – Miracle Mile
15. Cut Copy – Free Your Mind
16. Franz Ferdinand – Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action
17. Classixx – Hanging Gardens
18. The Strokes – Comedown Machine
19. St. Lucia – When The Night
20. Jay Z – Magna Carta


Thee Oh Sees at Phono Del Sol 7/13. Photo by Mike Frash.


Thee Oh Sees at Phono Del Sol 7/13. Photo by Mike Frash.

Kevin Quandt // Assistant Editor, Columnist // @KJQuandt

Parquet CourtsLight Up Gold
1In a year with many strong rookie efforts (Haim, Disclosure, Lorde, etc.), it was this Brooklyn quartet that rejuvenated garage-tinged, punk rock with a blisteringly fierce debut LP, Light Up Gold. Opening track “Master of My Craft” lets us know we are in for one helluva a ride and it doesn’t let up in the least as Andrew Savage belts out anthems full of modern tales of urban decay and the slacker lifestyle. This we do-whatever-the-fuck-we-want mentality was also clearly present on a recently released EP entitled Tally All the Things That You Broke, which was equally as impressive as the full length. Alas, all is not lost when it comes to irreverent rock music in a sea of shiny synths and EDM takeovers. 

My Bloody Valentinem b v
2If this album was a person, it could legally drink in this country. Now, after that fact settles in, we can concentrate on how impressive m b v actually is. Kevin Shields and cohorts took 22 years to deliver this baby and it is chock-full of all the aural beauty that made these shoegaze legends modern rock royalty a couple of decades ago. Standout final track “wonder 2” is a whirling dervish of otherworldly drums, guitars and distorted vocals, slowly building into one serious rapture. Attention to detail is not lost on this album as meticulous craftsmanship is ever-present, especially when listened to fully, or in the distinct ‘3 EP’ structure that m b v is recorded in. All I ask Kevin Shields is that I don’t have to wait till I’m almost 50 years old to hear another new release from My Bloody Valentine.

Arcade FireReflektor
3There’s little surprise that this ‘double’ release ended in my, and many others, top albums list. Why? Because Arcade Fire make great albums, and I enjoy great albums. The grab bag of influences on this album is truly startling and lends much to it’s overall success whether it be deep Haitian rhythms or the the electro-dance production of James Murphy. With so many standout tracks, it really makes you wonder what they are putting in the water up in Canada. “Joan of Arc”, “Normal Person”, “Afterlife” and so many others create something fully unique and fully Arcade Fire. 

Boards of CanadaTomorrow’s Harvest
4It was a bit of a long wait for fans of BoC, but well worth the interesting journey that was to become Tomorrow’s Harvest and it’s unique marketing campaign which precluded the June release. Not much has changed from the ambient electronic soundscapes that put these Scots on the map nearly two decades ago. What makes Boards so significant is their knowledge of analogue gear they use to transform sound into warm ambience that is loaded with emotion, complexity and cinematic themes. Songs like “Nothing Is Real” fully demonstrate their textbook mix of instrumentation and warm, vintage synths which gracefully paint a picture of the natural world which we live in. It’s albums like this which should make every listener wanna go out and spend four figures on some serious headphones, and Boards of Canada wouldn’t object.

Thee Oh SeesFloating Coffin
5It’s been a long time coming for the San Francisco garage titans that, most popularly, go by Thee Oh Sees. John Dwyer once used this moniker as his solo effort, but eventually became his primary effort, eventually growing from one man to a full blown band. Floating Coffin shows a shifting of the tide as the once tin-can recording sound has matured to a sonic boom of heavy guitar, driving rhythm and quintessential weirdo vocal. All these elements, and many more, equated to the most comprehensive sounding release in their extensive discography. “Come From the Mountain” opens this album with atomic bomb-shredding guitar and doesn’t really relent from this style till the soothing album closer, “Minotaur”. What’s most profound about Floating Coffin is that they have arrived with a permanent lineup, a better produced sound and a band mentality that creates a more unified front as opposed to it being solely Dwyer’s project. Oh yeah, they are also straight bananas on stage.

06. Disclosure – Settle
07. King Krule – 6 Feet Beneath the Moon
08. The National – Trouble Will Find Me
09. Atoms for Peace – Amok
10. Tyler, the Creator – Wolf
11. Jon Hopkins – Immunity
12. Kurt Vile – Wakin On a Pretty Daze
13. Rhye – Woman
14. Danny Brown – Old 
15. David Bowie – The Next Day
16. Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires in the City
17. White Denim – Corsica Lemonade
18. Queens of the Stone Age – …Like Clockwork
19. Pickwick – Can’t Talk Medicine
20. Mount Kimbie – Cold Spring Fault Less Youth


White Denim at Bill Graham Civic Center 10/31. Photo by James Nagel.


White Denim at Bill Graham Civic Center 10/31. Photo by James Nagel.

Pete Mauch // Festival Manager & Columnist // @PeteMauch

Arcade FireReflektor
1All-star collaboration of these Canadian rockers and producer James Murphy proved a success with their fourth release. The album, filled with instant hits like “Reflektor” and “Here Comes the Night Time”, is heavily influenced by traditional Haitian music that adds a deep rhythm to the elongated grooves, but the real treat is how its all tied together. Arcade Fire let loose on Reflektor, finding comfort in initiating a party atmosphere while staying confident with a dash of weirdness.

Jagwar MaHowlin
2There seems to be a psychedelic air blowing in Australia these days, and Jagwar Ma’s debut album is filled with trippy yet danceable songs like the opening pair “What Love” and “Uncertainty”. “Come Save Me” evokes a dream land where the Beach Boys created acid-dance music. This album is gonna get a lot of play on Friday nights for many years to come.

White DenimCorsicana Lemonade
3These Texas rockers put out an intense album in 2013 filled with screaming guitar solos layered over intense time signatures and wailing vocals, but White Denim makes it all sound so simple. Songs like “Pretty Green” and “Cheer Up/Blues Ending” are straight up rocking songs, rooted in the genre’s past while offering a progressive take at where rock is heading. It never hurts to have Jeff Tweedy producing as well.

Daft PunkRandom Access Memories
4The instantly classic single “Get Lucky”, the summer anthem of 2013, is still hyper-catchy, but “Instant Crush”, “Lose Yourself to Dance” & “Doin’ It Right” succeed as pleasantly repetitious tunes that represent a variety of decades. What makes Random Access Memories work completely is all the mellow cuts, perfect for bedtime or a drive down the coast. The music lesson that is “Giorgio by Moroder” just takes off after the ballsy call to include an interview with Giorgio Morodor before launching into an exploratory space jam. 

Anders OsbornePeace 
5Underground New Orleans guitar slayer Anders Osborne released a very impressive long player, filled with deep personal songs that are truly outstanding. Title track “Sentimental Times” showcases Osbornes’ brilliant songwriting, and his guitar work is simply phenomenal and engrossing. Personal favorite “Sara Anne” begins with a reggae feel that builds into a great bouncy song that has me repeating it often.

06. Kurt Vile – Wakin On a Pretty Daze
07. Atoms For Peace – Amok
08. Sigur Rós – Kveikur
09. Superhuman Happiness – Hands
10. Foals – Holy Fire
11. Holy Ghost! – Dynamics
12. Jonathan Wilson – Fanfare
13. Youth Lagoon – Wondrous Bughouse
14. Darkside – Psychic
15. Bonobo – The North Borders
16. Phosphorescent – Muchacho
17. Savages – Silence Yourself
18. Deerhunter – Monomania
19. Ty Segall – Sleeper
20. Jim James – Regions of Light and Sound of God


Toro Y Moi at Fox Theater Oakland 11/15.


Toro Y Moi at Fox Theater Oakland 11/15. Photo by James Nagel.

Kevin Raos // Columnist // @Semirec

Toro Y MoiAnything in Return
1Toro Y Moi just keeps getting better and better with subsequent listens. Part dance, part melancholy electro, Anything in Return strikes many different chords. From feelings of longing and romance, to coming to terms with growing up, Anything in Return ranges the emotionally gamut. This album stood the test of time in 2013, being one the first albums of 2013 to make a dramatic impact, then remaining front of mind come Christmas time.

RhyeWoman
2Woman is the mellow album of the year — If you need to relax, fall asleep, or just chill out, this is the album for you. A go-to in the bedroom, Rhye’s Woman also has the uncanny ability to cradle and comfort you from start to finish. Equally as good in a live setting, Woman proves excellent musicianship can flourish in downtempo form. The record’s male vocalist, Milosh, also released an excellent solo record titled “Jetlag” in late 2013 that clicks at a slightly faster tempo.

White DenimCorsicana Lemonade
3Funky, fresh and just downright dirty, the guys from Austin can bring the heat. Corsicana Lemonade is an album that might not make many end of the year album lists, but it should not be overlooked. Cool and collected while still being rhythmically aggressive, Corsicana Lemonade pushes forward an innovative rock sound that should make The Black Keys nervous their throne is currently up for grabs.

Danny BrownOld
4Danny Brown’s Old creates a new genre of hip hop, one with an electronic psyche. Old may offend some and be lost on others, but Brown’s distinctive voice and tongue-flaunting rhymes constitute a “grower”. Here we have a rapper who isn’t afraid to talk about more than banging it out in the streets, and all together Brown breathes more fresh air into a hip hop landscape that has been seeing a resurgence the past few years.

Vampire WeekendModern Vampires of the City
5It’s tough to deny that indie kings Vampire Weekend are on top of their game right now. If you haven’t heard of these A-Punks that escaped from Cape Cod, you surely have been living under a rock. With Modern Vampires of the City, an already huge band has gotten huger, blasting off into new territory more than in previous efforts. Did I mention they shout out Oakland and Alameda, too?

06. Foals – Holy Fire
07. Sigur Rós – Kveikur
08. Boards of Canada – Tomorrow’s Harvest
09. Atoms For Peace – Amok
10. Disclosure – Settle
11. James Blake – Overgrown
12. Arcade Fire – Reflektor
13. Darkside – Psychic
14. Kurt Vile – Wakin On a Pretty Daze
15. Jon Hopkins – Immunity
16. Camera Obscura – Desire Lines
17. Wild Belle – Idles
18. Nine Inch Nails – Hesitation Marks
19. Blood Orange – Cupid Deluxe
20. Laura Marling – Once I Was An Eagle


Classixx at Fox Theater Oakland 11/15. Photo by James Nagel.


Classixx at Fox Theater Oakland 11/15. Photo by James Nagel.

Sean Little // Columnist // @Splittle

FoalsHoly Fire
1Foals have made their best album to date with Holy Fire. It’s a wall of sonic noise mixed with strong doses of angst that starts with “Prelude” and continues to pin listeners to their seats until the last track. The British quintet have produced my number one record of the year, and their live performance is one to see if you haven’t.

ClassixxHanging Gardens
2Classixx made a superb album here. Being a primarily electronic poduction group, their skills show something much deeper and diverse as they move from bouncey disco tracks to deeper, more evocative tracks like “Borderline” where they showcase their ability to craft a tune that hits heart strings and nods heads. Classixx are vastly underrated and should be given a serious listen, even by non-electronic fans.

DisclosureSettle
3What can be said that hasn’t already about this brotherly duo? They hit the scene hard and made a lot of people snap their heads in their direction. Their production quality and use of instruments in their sets has turned many notions of a “DJ” set on its head and opened the doors for a whole new type of set that calls to the crowd more. This album is full of gems that will surely go down in dance history as classics.

Hanni El KhatibHead In The Dirt
4Hanni grew up immensely since his last album and really fine-tuned his sound. This is a pure rock album with no pretense. If you arere tired of pop rock bands trying to make the next iPod commercial-worthy track and long for a record that slaps you in the face to wake you up while still being a tad gentle about it, this is the one for you.

A$AP RockyLONG.LIVE.A$AP
5Hip Hop has fallen to the wayside in years past as electronic has made its resurgence. Fans have grown weary of the over-produced, same old lyric songs that most artists offer. A$AP though brings in, what I consider to be the finest hip hop album of the year. Production by Skrillex, and cameos by Florence Welch, Drake, and Birdyman attest to his range not just as a rapper but as a producer and curator as well.

06. James Blake – Overgrown
07. Queens of the Stoneage – …Like Clockwork
08. The Strokes – Comedown Machine
09. Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
10. DJ Koze – Amygdala
11. Atlas Genius – When It Was Now
12. Portugal. The Man – Evil Friends
13. Bass Drum of Death – S/T
14. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Mosquito
15. MS MR – Second Hand Rapture
16. Tesla Boy – The Universe Made of Darkness
17. Franz Ferdinand – Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action
18. Cut Copy – Free Your Mind
19. Ryan Hemsworth – Guilt Trips
20. The Weeknd – Kiss Land

Treasure Island Music Festival 2013: Top sets

TIMF_postPhotos by Marc Fong

Treasure Island Music Festival delivered one its best artist lineups in recent years October 19 & 20, allowing fans to immerse themselves in some of the best progressive dance and indie rock today. The festival seemed louder this year (that’s a good thing), and a sold out Saturday raged harder than most other TIMF days in the past. Sunday featured many acts with a tendency to inspire dancing and earplug use more than past Treasure Island Sundays (that is also a good thing).

Thoughts of lovely Indian Summer evenings were washed away by cold evenings, something that was on the mind of many artists. In the world of live music, artists are forced to choose style over function in relation to the idea of look versus comfort. Brian King from Japandroids must wear his white t-shirt and Alexis Krauss from Sleigh Bells has to show some leg, but fest-goers can wrap themselves in emergency blankets, furry costumes and bundles of layers. So we had that going for us.

View our show reviews below, including eight performances named TOP SET, along with hundreds of artist and scene photos.

SATURDAY

Saturday ~ October 19, 2013

Atoms-For-Peace1
Atoms For Peace ~ TOP SET
Saturday • Bridge Stage • 9:25pm

Thom Yorke does not like “playing at sea”, so don’t hold your breath in regards to Atoms For Peace playing SS Coachella anytime soon. Thom might not win any new fans with his ‘witty banter’, but the infectious cacophony he produced with Flea, Nigel Godrich, Joey Waronker and Mauro Refosco was difficult to ignore, or stand still to. Barrage is one word that comes to mind as you are pummeled by bass and drums at almost every moment, and it’s evident Flea loves the challenge of bringing the most complex afro-funk bass lines he humanly can. Atoms can’t slow down, they go hard the whole show. Hell, even the originally sedate UNKLE track “Rabbit in Your Headlight” had a rousing pulse to it. This is where Yorke wants to be, this is the sound that he wants to produce, especially as he brings his hyper-rhythmic love over into his primary project. -Kevin Quandt


Phantogram
Phantogram
Saturday • Tunnel Stage • 8:35pm

Phantogram are back on the road, road testing new material from their new self-titled EP and a forthcoming long player, and they closed out the Tunnel Stage Saturday with a rocking psychedelic dance party. “Black Out Days” packs a punch as powerful as “Don’t Move”, which closed out the set. “Nothing But Trouble” and “Howling at the Moon” (song titles unconfirmed) were two tracks the band unveiled despite commenting that they probably should not be playing them. Despite a few technical glitches and unwanted feedback, Sarah Barthel’s voice was flawless and the new material received a big response, adding up to one of the many highlights Saturday night. -Kevin Raos


Little-Dragon
Little Dragon
Saturday • Bridge Stage • 7:40pm

Swedish electro-pop group Little Dragon continues to mature with age. Performing on the big stage towards the end of the night, they were certainly granted the respect that they deserve. Having just wrapped the recording of their fourth studio album due in the spring, Little Dragon was eager to demonstrate their evolved sound to the eager crowd, giving older songs a new, sonically swirling spin while debuting a new song or two. Fronted by the talented vocals of Yukimi Nagano, Little Dragon sounded as good as ever on the island. -KR


Holy-Ghost
Holy Ghost! ~ TOP SET
Saturday • Tunnel Stage • 6:50pm

The largest act off DFA Records to be part of the bill since LCD Soundsystem, Holy Ghost! kept the “dance bar” raised high during their Sunset shift on Saturday at the Tunnel stage. Predominately playing tracks off their recently released 2013 album Dynamics, the New York disco distributors started a dance party almost immediately as the first notes hit the audience’s ears. Electrifying the crowd with new sing along favorites “Dumb Disco Ideas” and “Dance a Little Closer,” the Bay Area got a taste of what these boys will have on deck for their just announced New Year’s Eve headlining show at The Independent. -Molly Kish


Major-Lazer
Major Lazer
Saturday • Bridge Stage • 5:55pm

For a festival act, it’s hard to top the energy that Diplo and the Major Lazer crew bring to the stage. Riding a tsunami of booty clapping trap music into the rest of the evening’s insane line up, the crowd lost their collective minds witnessing the onstage antics and bone shattering bass lines of Major Lazer’s early evening set. Vuvuzelas blared, sirens rang and between the acts’ revamped hype-man roster, twerk army and Diplo’s human hamster ball, the festival escalated quite rapidly into full-throttle rage mode. -MK


DJ-Falcon
DJ Falcon
Saturday • Tunnel Stage • 5:10pm

French DJ & producer Stéphane Quême, aka DJ Falcon, had a prime time slot on paper, but his audience was rather small. It looked like most folks were taking a breather or getting food between Disclosure and Major Lazer. While there was plenty of space at the Tunnel Stage for DJ Falcon, it was filled out by dance-heads that had to keep the train moving. The set ended with Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” into “Give Life Back to Music”, but the set would have had a bigger impact by ending with his own Random Access Memories cut “Contact”. -Mike Frash


Disclosure
Disclosure ~ TOP SET
Saturday • Bridge Stage • 4:20pm

The brothers Lawrence returned to the Bay Area for their second ever show, exemplifying how much things can change in the course of a year. Disclosure attracted the most dense and one of the most mentally immersed crowds of the weekend — it’s safe to say the UK duo are the most popular electronic act on the planet at the moment. From the moment these two fans set the tone of the show by sharing a lollipop, Guy and Howard Lawrence performed most of the tracks off their landmark first LP Settle, adding live drum and bass instrumentation. “Help Me Lose My Mind” was especially effective at slowing down the BPMs late in the set while keeping emotions high. If they could manage to bring along the likes of Jessie Ware, Aluna Francis, London Grammar & Sam Smith on tour with them to sing in the flesh, Disclosure would pack in arenas from Sydney to San Francisco. -MF


Poolside
Poolside
Saturday • Tunnel Stage • 3:35pm

Poolside curated a mellow, island vibe that suited the bright afternoon sun at the Tunnel stage. Ultra-catchy songs like “Why You Wanna”, “Do You Believe” and “Slow Down” deliver seductive mantras that are hypnotic, yet keep you swaying to the beat. A bonus Poolside highlight came for those that were lucky enough to stick around after Atoms for Peace had finished for an intimate Poolside DJ set on the way out. -KR


Danny-Brown
Danny Brown
Saturday • Bridge Stage • 2:45pm

This late addition to the lineup was embraced, even if we had to lose the UK rarity that is Tricky, and his early Saturday showcase allowed him to span his releases more fully, primarily with the release of Old. A long intro built hype nicely, and by the time Danny Brown sauntered onto stage, the youthful crowd was revved up and eating from the MCs hand for the remainder of a high-energy set. Highlights included “Radio Song” and “Monopoly” off XXX. The sky’s the limit for Brown as he settles into his newfound ‘King of Weird’ title. -KQ


Robert-DeLong
Robert DeLong
Saturday • Tunnel Stage • 2:00pm

21st century one man band Robert DeLong inspired early movement from the audience with his danceable, percussive beats. Equipped with an array of musical toys, DeLong demonstrated his ability to create deep layers of sound with only the use of his two hands. Robert DeLong is clearly a drummer at heart, however he takes his music to another level, synchronizing his beats through the tip of his drum stick. DeLong continues to build smart and innovative beats in a live environment, surpassing many of his ‘button-pushing’ peers in technique and output. -KR


ADULT.
Saturday • Bridge Stage • 1:15pm

Goth electro rockers ADULT. warmed up the main stage in a big way Saturday. Dressed in all black with a heavy dose of leather, singer Nicola Kuperus and beatmaker Adam Lee Miller, were battling the heat of the sun the entire set. Kuperus commented on her desire for the sun to go away and contemplated refuge under the stage. Kuperos, however, found relief from the sun during the final two songs when she jumped into the audience to perform at crowd level. Kuperos eventually found a patch of shade to the left of the stage under a tree to close out the set. -KR


SUNDAY
Sunday ~ October 20, 2013

Beck
Beck ~ TOP SET
SUNDAY • Bridge Stage • 9:25pm

Beck emerged for his Sunday headlining set about 25 minutes after the printed time, but he more than made up for it by playing a collection of upbeat material to help “keep us warm” well past 11pm. All in all, the set was a greatest hits showcase — the Bay Area weekend warriors still rocking on the island heard “Devil’s Haircut”, “Loser”, “E-Pro”, “Girl”, and to end the night “Where It’s At”. New songs like “I Won’t Be Long” and “Defriended” didn’t get played, but the final show of the fest did see one of the only guest appearances of the weekend. Beck treated the Bay to the live debut of “Let’s Get Lost” from the Twilight:Eclipse soundtrack, enlisting Alexis Krauss from Sleigh Bells for the wonderful duet. This surprise was only topped when Beck reminded us he was ‘bringing that quiet storm’ during “I Wanna Get With You (And Your Sister, Debra)”. Beck showed, yet again, that he is one of the coolest guys in music. -MF


Sleigh-Bells
Sleigh Bells
SUNDAY • Tunnel Stage • 8:30pm

Alexis Krauss and Derek E. Miller closed down the Tunnel Stage on a bitterly chilly Sunday evening. Though many in the crowd, and likely on stage, weren’t too cold for too long as the energy levels rose quickly as thick riffs and bombastic beats came rushing from off the Bay. “Comeback Kid” and “Tiger Kit” were early highlights in the set. Showbams contributors were commenting that Sleigh Bells has become a quintessentially solid festival band that all can enjoy and head-band along to. Even though it was the second to last set of the event, it would’t be the last time Alexis graced the stage on this night. -KQ


Animal-Collective
Animal Collective ~ TOP SET
SUNDAY • Bridge Stage • 7:40pm

Ramping up the “weird” during the festival’s most surreal performance, Animal Collective pulled out rare cuts and old classics for their Sunday night set on the Bridge Stage. Bringing along their all-consuming, giant mouth set design from the Centipede HZ tour this past year, the boys blew the minds of the early evening crowd with their intense visuals, spasmodic stage show and extended psychedelic jam session. Shying away from the radio hits, Animal Collective delved deep into their catalogue for a surprising set list with songs like “The Purple Bottle”, catering to an audience full of devoted fans and impressed noobs. A bold scheduling call for the traditionally more mellow of the two days, Animal Collective fulfilled the TIMF diversity quotient while properly mind-fucking the withstanding festival-weary crowd. -MK


Japandroids
Japandroids
SUNDAY • Tunnel Stage • 6:50pm

It’s hard to fathom how many miles on the road Brian Davis and David Prowse have racked up since the release of Celebration Rock. Treasure Island was their last show in the continent for a while, but they continue on to far off places before taking their well-earned break. In the meantime, the Canadian duo did their best to shake off the brisk wind by blazing through songs like “The Night of Wine and Roses” and “Fire’s Highway”. The enthusiastic crowd bopped along in a combination of adoration and warmth.  -KQ


James-Blake
James Blake ~ TOP SET
SUNDAY • Bridge Stage • 6:00pm

James Blake‘s sound fit the moment exquisitely as the sun began to disappear behind a long band of fog that threatened to take over Treasure Island. Blake now tours as a trio, wisely adding live percussion to enhance his dreamy soundscapes. Confident yet mostly stoic, Blake’s measured vocals hung in the brisk fall air to mostly pin-drop silence. The progressive nature of the 25-year old’s music suddenly feels so familiar since Blake blasted into the worldwide music scene four years ago. Maybe its a product of his influence, or just the fact that his heavenly voice, modulated or not, blends so well with his post-dubstep-based production. This set elicited gasps of joy from the throngs of female fans along the stage rail, and the ending of “Overgrown” had an orgasmic effect on a couple of people near me. Set placement of songs was ideal — “Retrograde” and “The Wilhelm Scream” bookended the performance perfectly, and “Voyeur” stole the show, igniting an extended dance session. James Blake is simply a legend in the making. -MF


Real-Estate
Real Estate
SUNDAY • Tunnel Stage • 5:10pm

Sunday afternoons don’t get much more ideal than sail boats as a backdrop, sun in our eyes and Real Estate churning out their breezy style of surfed-out indie rock. However, this set was not a showcase of previously released material, but rather a showcase of new material, and even a new touring keyboard player. Even with a few brand new songs filling their set, Real Estate still managed to represent both of their stellar releases. “Green Aisles” was especially strong as a large palm tree behind the stage swayed along with the crowd. -KQ


Starfucker
STRFKR
SUNDAY • Bridge Stage • 4:20pm

STRFKR sees you’re confetti cannons and giant hamster ball Diplo and ‘raises you’ a crowd surfing astronaut and an army of blow up dolls! STRFKR pulled out all of the stops for their over the top afternoon performance. Pulling from their four full length albums, the boys were out there to get the crowd moving. While catching the last glimpses of sunlight on the Bridge Stage, the band executed one of their most polished Bay Area performances to date amongst a complete shit show of on stage distractions and “hype animals.” Dancing furries, a sumo wrestling battle and simulated oral sex/bestiality provided humorous stage antics for the second half of the set. Depending on your mindset during this point in the weekend, the show either came off as unnecessary overcompensation or one of the best shows Sunday. -MK


HAIM
HAIM ~ TOP SET
SUNDAY • Tunnel Stage • 3:35pm

How is it possible that the spunky LA-based sister trio HAIM has never played a proper set in San Francisco until TIMF? Well, if life is about first impressions, the Bay Area is smitten. Part of HAIM’s success lies in their equal value and contributions to the group — Este, Danielle & Alana Haim share singing duties, adorable stage banter and the ability to play their instruments magnificently. Most of all though, it’s HAIM’s fearless and passionate approach to everything they do that is most memorable. They are all very comfortable on stage, as seen through their ‘in the moment’ mentality, responding to calls from the crowd and telling people to throw their food on stage for a mid-set snack. “Honey and I” got a stripped down treatment that worked well, something the ladies said they did specially for SF. Asking if we were ready to dance, HAIM launched into “Forever”, and TIMF obliged. This international sensation has finally played the other end of their home state, and HAIM is likely to play theater-sized venues next time they are back. -MF


15 things to expect at Treasure Island Music Festival

TIMF-2013-cover

Expect to see or experience these 15 things at Treasure Island Music Festival 2013:

1) Thom Yorke dancing like this:

tumblr_mag3e2Skc71qhkylu

tumblr_lgu0km7Ssw1qbzdzno1_500

tumblr_mj61osdg9H1qbxkfyo1_500

2) 27% of females in attendance will borrow their boyfriend/girlfriend’s jacket because they came ready for warmer weather, forgetting the festival takes place in the middle of San Francisco Bay.

14% of the boyfriend/girlfriends’ that gave up their layer will buy a TIMF hoodie.


3) A group of drunk British blokes and Palma Violets’ manager/hype-man/party-starter Harry Violent lead the pogo-pit charge at 1:30, proceeding to get much of the crowd to join them. Impressive for an early Sunday show.


4) Move over dubstep. Meet the most amazing bass-face in contemporary music:


5) Old and Young lose their shit to Disclosure’s breakout tracks like “Fire Starts to Burn” and “Latch” — Treasure Island will hence be dubbed “Dance Island”.


6) Danny Brown’sKush Coma” illustrates how wonderfully stoned the Bay Area is, soundtracking the scene with 27 weed references. And, that’s only the marijuana references!


7) You walk in early on Sunday, swear to yourself you’re hearing Beck, but it’s actually Cayucas.


8) Overheard at Holy Ghost! sunset show: 

‘Bridge and Tunnel’, that’s the name of the two stages!!!”
“Dude, this is this is the new LCD.”
“And my Dad said Disco was dead, pshhhh.”


9) As the ‘mad shuttle dash’ begins during the Atoms for Peace encore, the festival faithful will enjoy every last note, understanding that shuttle lines offer time to recap the day! Or you could plan your own exit route.


10) The one guy with the furry hat that never leaves Silent Disco.

rabbit_ultra2012


11) Diplo attempts to talk the crowd into breaking Big Freedia’s twerking world record during the Major Lazer set, but only 6 girls in the front row “express themselves” as Diplo takes a cell phone pic, then tweets it.


12) That adorable couple that stakes out a small spot between the Tunnel and Bridge stages and sees all 13 acts in one spot Sunday.

Youth-Lagoon


13) A beautiful James Blake sunset show moment confirms why you live in San Francisco or Oakland.


14) You swear you won’t wait in line for the ferris wheel, but end up giving in by the end of the night on Saturday or Sunday.

Sunset


15) Overheard from first time TIMF attendee:

“Wait, both stages are right here with no overlapping sets? Awesome. Pretty good view too…”

MIDTERM REPORT: Best Albums of 2013

BEST-ALBUMS-so-far-2013Photos by Marc Fong and Mike Frash

Is 2013 the year digital dance music makes the big leap, fully taking over the Top 40 but also ingraining itself into the hearts of critics? Daft Punk made all the noise as the year was young, but young EDM-upstarts Disclosure, Flume & Jagwar Ma have all made an impact on the Bam Team.

That stated, the musical output in 2013 so far is pretty damn strong overall. And just think, we will be hearing new LPs from Arcade Fire, Earl Sweatshirt, Washed Out, Ty Segall, Franz Ferdinand, Nine Inch Nails, Arctic Monkeys, Holy Ghost!, Chvrches, and many more still. Take a gander at our favorite albums of the year as of July 17, 2013 – What are we missing?

*Any album released in the US in the year 2013 is eligible for Best Albums of 2013.
**Check out all of our music reviews from 2013.

Vampire Weekend

Mike Frash
1. Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City
2. Disclosure – Settle
3. The National – Trouble Will Find Me
4. James Blake – Overgrown
5. Foals – Holy Fire
6. Flume – Flume
7. Foxygen – We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic
8. Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
9. Jagwar Ma – Howlin
10. Baths – Obsidian

Phoenix

Molly Kish
1. Atoms For Peace – AMOK
2. Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City
3. Disclosure – Settle
4. Toro Y Moi – Anything In Return
5. Phoenix – Bankrupt!
6. STRFKR – Miracle Mile
7. Devandra Banhart – Mala
8. Major Lazer – Free the Universe 
9. Cold War Kids – Dear Miss Lonelyhearts
10. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Mosquito

Thee-oh-Sees

Kevin Quandt
1. my bloody valentine – m b v
2. The National – Trouble Will Find Me
3. Boards of Canada – Tomorrow’s Harvest
4. Kurt Vile – Wakin on a Pretty Daze
5. Thee oh Sees – Floating Coffin
6. Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City
7. Disclosure – Settle
8. Rhye – Woman
9. Foxygen – We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic
10. A$AP Rocky – Long Live A$AP

Sigur-Ros

Pete Mauch
1. Sigur Ros – Kveikur

2. Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
3. Superhuman Happiness – Hands
4. Foals – Holy Fire
5. Boards of Canada – Tomorrows Harvest
6. Deerhunter – Monomania
7. Youth Lagoon – Wondrous Bughouse
8. Bonobo – The North Borders
9. Kurt Vile and The Violators – Walkin’ On A Pretty Daze
10. Disclosure – Settle

Toro Y Moi

Kevin Raos
1. Toro Y Moi – Anything In Return
2. Rhye – Woman
3. Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City
4. Boards of Canada – Tomorrow’s Harvest
5. Sigur Ros – Kveikur
6. Foals – Holy Fire
7. Foxygen – We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic
8. Camera Obscura – Camera Obscura
9. Atoms for Peace – AMOK
10. Portugal. The Man – Evil Friends

Classixx

Sean Little
1. Flume – Flume
2. Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
3. Classixx – Hanging Gardens
4. Jessie Ware – Devotion
5. Hanni El Kattib – Head In The Dirt
6. Disclosure – Settle
7. Queens of the Stone Age – …Like Clockwork
8. Empire of the Sun – Ice on the Dune
9. Portugal. The Man – Evil Friends
10. DJ Koze – Amygdala

Starfucker5

Eric Shaden
1.  Jagwar Ma – Howlin
2.  James Blake – Overgrown
3.  Daft Punk – Random Access Memories  
4.  Starfucker – Miracle Mile
5.  Disclosure – Settle
6.  Phoenix – Bankrupt!
7.  Boards of Canada – Tomorrow’s Harvest
8.  Autre Ne Veut – Anxiety 
9.  Major Lazer – Free the Universe 
10. Thundercat – Apocalypse 

MS MR
Nikki De Martini
1. MS MR – Secondhand Rapture
2. Deap Vally – Sistrionix
3. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Mosquito
4: CSS – Planta 
5: Little Boots – Nocturnes
6. Portugal The Man – Evil Friends 
7. Cold War Kids – Dear Miss Lonelyhearts
8. Kanye West – Yeezus
9. Great Gatsby Soundtrack
10. Sigur Ros – Kveikur

Treasure Island Music Festival: Seven reasons to go big

TIMF-FAN

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.”
Treasure-Island-Music-Festival

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.”

Beck

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.


Treasure Island Music Festival 2013 predictions

TIMF-2013

Treasure Island Music Festival‘s 2013 lineup will be unleashed Tuesday (May 28th), so it got us thinking: Who will perform at the festival on the bay October 19th-20th? This scenic festival usually offers about 25 acts over two days and is conflict-free — no sets overlap.

Our predictions are based on simple research; we take a look at artists that fit into Treasure Island Music Festival’s curation history who also happen to be touring in or around October. Be warned — this is pure speculation. The confirmed lineup will be released Tuesday morning after Memorial Day weekend.

UPDATE: The lineup was announced May 28th, and it’s a good one. We got a handful of artist predictions correct, and remember to snatch up those early-bird tickets when they go on sale Friday at 10 a.m.


Atoms for Peace
Atoms-for-Peace
Thom Yorke and his band of merry players are the first and most glaring treat that is likely to headline Saturday’s traditionally dance, hip-hop and electronic-friendly bill. Their particular tour route puts them right in the Bay Area after a pair of instant sellout shows in Southern California. It appears Thom will will bring the group of Flea, Nigel Godrich, Mauro Refosco and Joey Waronker to stay consistent with this project’s past. Rich rhythmic arrangements and lush synths are certain to keep patrons dancing well into a, hopefully, warm Indian Summer night with the cityscape as one of the best backgrounds a fan can ask for. Their 2010 Fox Theater shows were well received and at capacity, so tickets for Treasure Island this year could go quickly. AMOK received high praises a few months back, and now with a deeper bag of songs to pull from, one can only be thrilled at this lauded fall tour finishing in the Bay.

The Cure
The-Cure
It was rather surprising that this name didn’t appear on the Outside Lands lineup, but what better veteran rock act is there to close out Sunday evening? Though Robert Smith won’t be touring a new record, he will likely have a few tricks up his sleeve after a multi-year tour hiatus, except for a handful of European festivals in 2012. The Cure will be active in October, performing at Austin City Limits, and it’s been nearly a decade since they played the City proper, so what better time than October?

Queens of the Stone Age
QOTSA
Giddy up! Josh Homme and his crew of stony musicians are back for more after a hiatus from touring with his most-famous project to date. With their forthcoming release …Like Clockwork arriving in June, it’s sure to be a busy second half of 2013 for QOTSA as the California band books festival after festival, getting these new tracks into the ears of anxious listeners. One other aspect that we have to look forward to is the inclusion of John Theodore (ex-Mars Volta) as QOTSA’s new drummer, sure to propel the pummeling drive of the Hommes’ quintessential stoner hard rock.

Animal Collective
Animal-Collective
The psychedelic, seizure-inducing LSD flashback of a freakout known as Animal Collective would be a fine fit in TIMF’s scope of artists, and they could possibly headline at this point. They have been touring with Dan Deacon and were forced to cancel a block of dates in March due to Avey Tare’s mondo case of strep throat. Many of these shows have been rescheduled for October, and there is a noticeable gap on their tour docket from October 18th-23rd. AC will also be performing at other music festivals like Austin City Limits and Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit, making a TI performance even more logical.

Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick-Lamar
California native Kendrick Lamar has only set foot in San Francisco/Oakland once since releasing his instant classic LP Good Kid, Mad City, and TIMF has provided at least one marquee hip-hop name on the lineup the past three years with Public Enemy, Dizzee Rascal & Die Antwoord (zef-hop?). Let’s hope this continues with a victory lap performance from the Dr. Dre protégé, which seems logical. Lamar will continue a hectic tour schedule through the summer, then he’s on board to perform at Austin City Limits the two weekends prior to Treasure Island.

James Blake
james-blake
Much like Atoms, James Blake has some shows scheduled in the southern region of the state, and one can only make the educated leap that Blake will be featured at Treasure Island this year. With a constantly rising stock, Blake continues feverishly touring his latest release Overgrown, and it’s his year to bring his unique post-dubstep take on soulful balladry to a wider audience. His sunset slot time at FYF in LA last fall was superb, and one can only imagine the beauty of Blake’s set on the tiny rock in the San Francisco Bay. His crossover style makes it difficult to decipher which day he will be featured, but then again that’s one of the best aspects of music today — genre lines are being blurred more and more each year, and Treasure Island Music Fest embraces this quality so well.

Death Grips
Death-Grips
From San Francisco house parties to mid-tier festival act in a short amount of time places this highly-buzzed band square in the crossfires of Treasure Island. An extensive summer tour leaves Northern California off the itinerary, and therefore the Bay Area is likely to get some love come fall. Their brutal stage show has been turning heads, along with their shock-tastic media attention, whether it’s pissing off their label or putting out pornographic album art. Plus, they hail from Sacramento, so it would be a proper nod the region.

Disclosure
Disclosure
Treasure Island has always prided themselves on booking forward thinking, up-and-coming acts, so it would make sense to snatch up the UK two-step/house amalgam that is Disclosure. Having not returned to the Bay Area since the young lads’ banner SF premier last fall leads me to believe this would be an ideal spot to showcase the producer/brother pair. Furthermore, it would be their first under-21 show in the region and would be a perfect warm-up to Atoms for Peace on Saturday.

OTHER LIKELY PERFORMERS @timfsf
MIA
Dan Deacon
Dinosaur Jr
Foxygen
John Talabot
Palma Violets
The Shouting Matches
Savages
Paper Diamond
Phosphorescent
Haim
Autre Ne Veut
Iceage
Mikal Cronin
White Arrows
Social Studies

Outside Lands Music Festival 2013: Lineup rumors vs. reality

Outside Lands

Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival //
Golden Gate Park – San Francisco
August 9th-11th, 2013 //

The best fest in the West returns this August! Many may disagree with that statement due to the fact that Outside Lands is geographically located between two other premier music festivals in Coachella and Sasquatch! (and don’t forget the gem that is High Sierra Music Festival), but the Northern California fest now in its sixth year that is organized and curated by Another Planet Entertainment has a lot going for it.

The location in Golden Gate Park on the west side of SF, surrounded by public transportation, is prime and convenient. The foggy weather allows for extended high-energy partying. The sun is nice and all, but not when you have to hide from it for half the festival. There are no beer gardens — carry around your world-class beer like the grown-ass adult you are. And the food! The beer! The wine! It’s local and delicious. Outside Lands has unmatched food and beverage selections for a music festival. And the music is pretty choice as well.

So, it got us thinking, who will be performing at Outside Lands in August? By taking a look at bands & artists touring this summer and the shows/festivals they have already booked, we’ve narrowed down the lineup possibilities and classified each outfit as “rumor” or “reality.”

UPDATE: We didn’t do half bad! The lineup was announced on Tuesday, April 16th.

OSL

Paul McCartneyReality

Macca

Already announced as a headliner for Bonnaroo, Paul McCartney has been listed as a confirmed artist over at Last.fm. And based on Outside Lands’ history, this legendary act makes too much sense. Envision the entire polo field chanting “naaaah, naah nah nanana naaaaaaah” to close out the weekend. Sounds better than a mailed in Happy Birthday (sorry Stevie).

Daft PunkRumor

Daft-Punk

Just … no. Don’t get your hopes up. Even though APE tweeted this recently:

APE-Tweet

A James Murphy DJ set seems more likely. Rumors swirled around Coachella, then Lollapalooza and Glastonbury after Daft Punk announced their new record Random Access Memories will be out via Columbia on May 21st.

Save it. The iconic French duo already said they will not be touring in 2013, but a 2014 tour seems likely once they update their live show to incorporate the new jams, which sound like true 1970s disco. Hope I’m wrong on this, but Daft Punk does not seem likely.

Green DayRealityGreen-Day

Festival organizers mentioned last August that they had already booked a headliner for 2013. This immediately made me think Green Day, as they had three records pending release at the time. Green Day would certainly be playing festivals in support of the new material throughout 2013 (and they are), and the Bay Area natives have never played Outside Lands. There is a big gap in their touring schedule in early August as well.

Atoms for PeaceRumor

Atoms-for-Peace

Thom York’s electronic/rock supergroup, which also features Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich & Red Hot Chili Pepper’s Flea, would be a suitable headliner at any summer festival. But the group will be touring Europe in July and have no dates set in August. Atoms for Peace announced an LA & Santa Barbara show October 16 & 17, so plan on seeing them at Treasure Island Music Festival.

Nine Inch NailsReality