Our favorite performances from 2018

Best live shows of 2018 - Foo Fighters, NxWorries, Pusha T & Courtney Barnett

Holy smokes, 2018 … you were a blur. Maybe it’s just us, but this year really did fly right by.

Before we officially say hello to 2019 though, it’s time for us to revisit the past 12 months at Showbams. Every year we have the great privilege of witnessing some amazing moments in live music, and this year was no different. While we can’t touch upon every performance we covered in looking back at the year that was, we still managed to see a wide variety of talent over the course of 2018.

Whittling down our list is never easy. Those who didn’t make the cut but still deserve to be mentioned here include the following artists, DJs and bands (in alphabetical order), all of whom we either covered at their own show and/or at a music festival this year:

Aaron Neville, A.CHAL, Alanis Morissette, Alina Baraz, Allen Stone, Amen Dunes, Aminé, A Perfect Circle, Ari Lennox, A$AP Rocky, Aquilo, BADBADNOTGOOD, The Bangles, Belle & Sebastian, The Beta Machine, Billie Eilish, BØRNS, Carly Rae Jepsen, Cashmere Cat, Childish Major, Chromeo, CHVRCHES, Cigarettes After Sex, Cloud Nothings, Cuco, Cut Snake, CyHi the Prynce, Daniel Caesar, Deap Vally, Destroyer, Diet Cig, Drab Majesty, DRAM, The Dustbowl Revival, Erykah Badu, Fantastic Negrito, Future, Garbage, George Fitzgerald, Gomez, Gov’t Mule, Great Grandpa, Griz, The Growlers, Gucci Mane, HAERTS, H.E.R., Hot Flash Heat Wave, Ibeyi, Iggy Pop, Irma Thomas, Isaiah Rashad, Jaira Burns, Jamie xx, Jeff Goldblum and the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra, Jhené Aiko, John Maus, Josh Ritter & The Royal City Band, Joywave, JPEGMAFIA, Jungle, Kailee Morgue, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, Kamasi Washington, Kauf, Kelela, Kikagaku Moyo, Kings of Leon, Kopps, Laff Trax, Lion Babe, Lizzo, Lophile, Lord Huron, Los Lobos, Lucy Dacus, Margo Price, Miguel, Mija, Milk Carton Kids, ModPods, Moses Sumney, The Mother Hips, Mura Masa, Neil Young, N.E.R.D, North Mississippi Allstars, ODESZA, Pale Waves, Paula Frazer and Tarnation, Phantogram, Pharoah Sanders, Pixies, Polo & Pan, POND, Portugal. The Man, The Pretenders, Quicksand, Ravyn Lenae, Rivers Cuomo, The Revolution, Robert Plant, Rory Phillips, RÜFÜS DU SOL, Sabrina Claudio, Salt-N-Pepa, Santigold, Sasha Sloan, Seu Jorge, Shakey Graves, Shame, Shana Falana, Sharon Van Etten, Silk City, Sleigh Bells, Snoh Aalegra, Soccer Mommy, The Specials, The Spook School, Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks, Tame Impala, Tenacious D, Third Eye Blind, Tinashe, together PANGEA, TV on the Radio, Tycho, Typhoon, Uniform, Wafia, Waxahatchee, The Weeknd, Wet, William Tyler, Will Varley, Yen Yen, Zedd

Now, it’s time for The Bam Team to present our favorite performances from 2018.

The Bam Team’s 5 Favorite Shows, Albums & Songs of 2018

Listen to The Bam Team’s favorite songs of 2018:


Best of 2018 - Cut Copy

Cut Copy

Date: March 3rd
Location: Exposition Park – Los Angeles

For those in LA who missed Cut Copy 10 months ago when they visited the Shrine Expo Hall with De Lux, Palmbomen II and Cooper Saver also on the bill, their headlining performance last Friday at The Wiltern was another chance to dance the night away upon hearing several classics such as “Need You Now”, “Free Your Mind”, “Future”, “Hearts on Fire” and to close, “Lights & Music”. In fact, the last time that we caught them back in March, a mini downpour erupted at Shaun White’s Air + Style (read our festival review here), but it didn’t phase them. Who said playing — and dancing — in the rain isn’t fun anyway? -Josh Herwitt, photo courtesy of Air + Style


Best of 2018 - Washed Out

Washed Out

Date: March 4th
Location: Exposition Park – Los Angeles

In what was easily the most visually stimulating (and pleasing) show we witnessed at Expo Park, Ernest Greene, who performs under the moniker Washed Out, entranced a completely packed crowd at the smaller Summer Stage with a slew of trippy visuals and his chilled-out tunes. We had been wanting to see Washed Out in SoCal for several months now, ever since Greene released the project’s third LP Mister Mellow last year, and after missing his gig with Nick Murphy at the Shrine Expo Hall in October, we were glad to finally hear him play “Hard to Say Goodbye” (one of our favorite songs of 2017) and “Feel It All Around” live as any loyal “Portlandia” fan would be. With Toro y Moi venturing away from the chillwave movement he helped pioneer, it’s up to Greene to lead the charge, and so far, he has done one hell of a job. -Josh Herwitt, photo courtesy of Air + Style


Best of 2018 - Phoenix

Phoenix

Date: March 4th
Location: Exposition Park – Los Angeles

After what we thought was an underwhelming way to wrap up Day 1, Air + Style closed with a bang thanks to Phoenix’s energizing, 16-song set. The French indie-pop outfit have headlined Coachella before, and it was more than worthy of that billing for this occasion. Kicking things off with the opening track “J-Boy” from their sixth studio album Ti Amo that dropped back in June, Thomas Mars and company gave us exactly what we wanted to hear: a hit-ladden show featuring singles like “Lisztomania”, “Trying to Be Cool”, “Too Young” and “1901”. No, there wasn’t a Daft Punk or R. Kelly appearance — not that we expected one — but Phoenix put an exclamation point on an otherwise successful weekend. We may not have known the quartet could rock that hard after the last time we saw them, but we definitely do now. -Josh Herwitt, photo courtesy of Air + Style


Best of 2018 - Moby

Moby

Date: March 26th
Location: Apogee Studio – Santa Monica, CA

His guitar playing, meanwhile, may be just as impressive, if not surprising to some. Less than two weeks before Moby stepped into Bob Clearmountain’s diminutive recording studio, I was fortunate enough to catch him the final of his three shows at The Echo, and it was there as he performed a variety of songs from Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt, Play and a few other albums, that I fully realized just how talented he is with a black Gibson SG in his hands. He may be an electronic musician, but unlike a lot of them today, Moby is a musician in every sense of the word. While his vocals at times sound more like spoken word than actual singing, he has found more than capable sidekicks in Julie Mintz (keyboards, vocals) and Mindy Jones (vocals) to assist him in that department. Jones’ ranging voice, in particular, is one that suits his music well, and when you hear her sing, her pipes elevate the song to a whole new level. -Josh Herwitt, photo by Brian Feinzimer


Best of 2018 - The War on Drugs

The War on Drugs

Date: April 13th
Location: Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Weekend 1 – Indio, CA

Weeks before The War on Drugs released their fourth LP A Deeper Understanding last year, we were fortunate enough to hear Adam Granduciel and company perform a handful of cuts from the new album in an intimate setting for KCRW. It was then and there that we knew the follow-up to 2014’s Lost in a Dream was another masterpiece, and that impression was only validated when A Deeper Understanding won the Grammy for “Best Rock Album” just a few months ago. On Day 1 of Coachella, the Philadelphia band brought some of those same songs we witnessed at Apogee Studio to life, though sadly, this time “Holding On” wasn’t part of the setlist. But we did get to experience “An Ocean in Between the Waves” in all of its glory, and we still have yet to come across another piece of music in more recent years that will make you want to play air guitar as much as the seven-minute track from Lost in a Dream does. Who said rock was dead? -Josh Herwitt, photo courtesy of Goldenvoice


Best of 2018 - Jamiroquai

Jamiroquai

Date: April 13th
Location: Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Weekend 1 – Indio, CA

Thirteen years. That’s how long it has been since Jamiroquai last performed in the U.S. With that in mind, there was no way we were going to miss Jay Kay and the rest of his sidekicks in favor of The Weeknd’s headlining performance (sorry, Abel), and after what ended up being close to a 90-minute set from the London nu-funk/acid jazz group, we had no regrets about our decision. The only regret we have is that they ran out of time and didn’t get to play their smash hit “Virtual Insanity” in its entirety, and you could tell Jay Kay felt bad about it as he jumped down from the stage to greet some overjoyed fans after wrapping the show up with “Love Foolosophy” from 2001’s A Funk Odyssey. But while Weekend 2 attendees got the full version of the Travelling Without Moving single, we were treated to a massive surprise when Snoop Dogg came out to rap on “Dr. Buzz” with a huge blunt in his hand. It was the kind of collaboration you never expect to see, except at Coachella of all places. -Josh Herwitt, photo courtesy of Coachella


Best of 2018 - Eminem

Eminem

Date: April 15th
Location: Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Weekend 1 – Indio, CA

While we can’t say that we were completely thrilled with Goldenvoice’s choices for this year’s headliners, we were excited to see Eminem finally play Coachella (he had never performed in an official capacity before) and close out the festival on Sunday night. Sure, his newest album Revival didn’t exactly receive rave reviews from critics when it dropped at the end of 2017, but watching one of hip-hop’s most talented emcees run through his hits all while bringing out 50 Cent and Dr. Dre was undoubtedly THE highlight from Day 3. For this “stan,” just crossing Em off my concert bucket list would have been enough to send me home with a smile. Fortunately for those of us who were there though, the real Slim Shady lived up to the hype and more. -Josh Herwitt, photo courtesy of Coachella


Best of 2018 - Big K.R.I.T.

Big K.R.I.T.

Date: April 19th
Location: Echoplex – Los Angeles

At Echoplex, we were treated to the “rapper” and the man himself as bass-heavy party starters like the title-track opener and “Confetti” from 4eva Is a Mighty Long Time got everyone hyped, while Atlanta’s T.I. came out to perform his verse on “Big Bank”. After singling out one excited fan, who was wearing a shirt with a giant picture of his face, during the easygoing “1999” and paying homage to Southern rap pioneers UGK, Big K.R.I.T. took the latter half of his hour-long set to connect with the crowd. -Joseph Gray, photo by Joseph Gray


Best of 2018 - Soulwax

Soulwax

Date: April 19th
Location: The Fonda Theatre – Los Angeles

While Soulwax’s recorded music has always been perfectly enjoyable, in person it becomes something else entirely. Their new, three-drummer lineup was the ideal format to hear new tracks like “Is It Always Binary” while giving older tracks such as “KracK” a newly textured and complex sound. Sitting stage right, drummer Victoria Smith, for one, offered the group some serious personality thanks to her animated facial expressions. -Zach Bourque, photo by Zach Bourque


Best of 2018 - NxWorries

NxWorries

Date: June 16th
Location: The Queen Mary – Long Beach, CA

I fall somewhere in the middle between those two age groups, so it was fitting that the uber-talented rapper/singer/drummer Anderson .Paak had just walked onto the “Free Your Mind” main stage when I showed up. .Paak, 32, wore a smile as expressive as his music, packaged with a bright nautical-themed ensemble. He effortlessly impressed with standouts “Suede”, “Another Time” and “What More Can I Say” off Yes Lawd!, his 2016 LP with Los Angeles hip-hop producer Knxwledge as part of their collaborative project NxWorries (pronounced “No Worries”). The duo’s set would eventually culminate in a playful dance-off between women, which fans showed their appreciation for before .Paak and Knxwledge said their goodbyes. -Joseph Gray, photo by Joseph Gray


Best of 2018 - The Roots

The Roots

Date: June 16th
Location: The Queen Mary – Long Beach, CA

However, anticipation for The Roots kept me at the main stage. It proved to be a wise decision, as their nearly hour-long performance reminded me why the Grammy-winning band is still so revered after more than three decades. Black Thought got the crowd riled up with a 10-minute barrage of lyrical proficiency that so many have come to know as his “Hot 97 Freestyle” after it hit the internet in December and quickly went viral, while his bandmates exuberantly jumped with sousaphones and guitars during “You Got Me” and a number of other hits. But providing a jolt like he only can, the one and only Busta Rhymes showed up for a quick-but-memorable performance of “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See” and “Pass the Courvoisier, Part II”. -Joseph Gray, photo by Joseph Gray


Best of 2018 - Melvins

Melvins

Date: July 16th
Location: Great American Music Hall – San Francisco

I’m far from an expert on this kind of thing (because I’m not), but I didn’t expect to see the Melvins perform with the amount of energy that they showcased. For a band that has been touring and putting out new material for the past 35 years, they performed as if everything depended on it. You weren’t going to catch “King Buzzo” standing in one place for too long, with his signature fro whipping in the wind from the fans that were on the stage, McDonald and Pinkus holding it down on their own instruments, and Crover beating the living hell out of his drums. Fans were ready to receive the band and responded to the various sonic blasts coming from the amplifiers. During the thrashy songs, they formed a brutal pit, and during the sludgier songs, they lit up joints and bobbed their heads to the music. -Andrew Pohl, photo by Mike Rosati


Best of 2018 - Glassjaw

Glassjaw

Date: July 20th
Location: Observatory OC – Santa Ana, CA

Glassjaw’s show covered their entire discography, and very few fan favorites were left off the setlist. While it was to be expected that newer tunes like “Shira” and “New White Extremity” would rock, it was staggering how well their older songs held up in a live setting. Palumbo’s voice, though slightly less manic than it once was, is still unmatched in its vocal range and shear intensity. -Zach Bourque, photo by Zach Bourque


Best of 2018 - Weezer

Weezer

Date: August 8th
Location: The Forum – Inglewood, CA

That’s not to say that Cuomo isn’t a talented musician. In fact, quite the opposite is true. The Harvard grad shreds without question, something I never really realized until he uncorked a number of guitar solos, whether it was during “Buddy Holly” to open Weezer’s performance or “Say It Ain’t So” (with a snippet of Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid”) to put a bow on the show. And while there aren’t many lead singers who can do both, Cuomo certainly remains among some elite company, with Jack White, Trey Anastasio (Phish), Jim James (My Morning Jacket) and Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age) also immediately coming to mind. -Josh Herwitt, photo by Josh Herwitt


Best of 2018 - Florence + the Machine

Florence + the Machine

Date: August 11th
Location: Golden Gate Park – San Francisco

There was a bit of controversy surrounding Saturday’s main slot as Florence + the Machine officially made the move to full-blown festival headliner. Some festivalgoers had their own doubts after FYF Fest 2018 was canceled with a near-identical top billing, but Florence and her bandmates proved, many times over, that she is more than capable of commanding any stage as her energy is unlike many others. She debuted a brand-new show, which featured “June” in the opening slot and was book-ended by “Big God” and “Shake It Out” for a two-song encore. -Kevin Quandt, photo by Norm de Veyra


Best of 2018 - Janelle Monáe

Janelle Monáe

Date: August 12th
Location: Golden Gate Park – San Francisco

The incomparable Janelle Monáe was a tad late to take the stage, as she was fighting off a stomach bug, but when she did, she captivated the masses with a suite of tracks from her most recent release Dirty Computer and tossed in a fair amount of costume changes over a nearly hour-long set. Monáe proved that she’s easily one of the best in the business at the moment and will only continue to climb upwards. -Kevin Quandt, photo by Norm de Veyra


Best of 2018 - Deafheaven

Deafheaven

Date: August 18th
Location: The Wiltern – Los Angeles

Fortunately, Deafheaven haven’t bowed to convention or criticism. Their fourth studio album Ordinary Corrupt Human Love, which ANTI‐ released last month, is their arguably their most experimental to date, spanning more than an hour over seven songs. There’s a sense of angst and nostalgia in the music that leans far more positive and hopeful than their previous work. There are still echoes of black metal at times, but you can feel this is a band that’s embracing its differences instead of defending them. -Zach Bourque, photo by Zach Bourque


Best of 2018 - Jack White

Jack White

Date: August 19th
Location: Santa Barbara Bowl – Santa Barbara, CA

Yet, for as eclectic and wide-ranging as White’s output has been over two decades, it’s the unpredictable nature of his live shows that makes them so intriguing to see. This time, we were treated to a rare cover of The Stooges’ “T.V. Eye” from their 1970 album Fun House, as well as a number of fan favorites, from set closer “Ball and Biscuit” to an eight-song encore that featured “Icky Thump” (with some amusing “Icky Trump” messaging), “Steady, as She Goes” (with a snippet of Richard Berry’s 1955 song “Louie Louie”), and of course, what has easily become the biggest stadium anthem in the world, “Seven Nation Army”. And though the show didn’t conclude without a few hiccups during some of White’s improvised playing between songs, he hasn’t lost his unique ability to surprise an audience — whether it means bringing out his mother in Detroit to perform “Hotel Yorba” with him or covering Pearl Jam’s “Daughter” in Seattle — at any given moment, especially when we all aren’t staring down at our phones. -Josh Herwitt, photo courtesy of Jack White


Best of 2018 - David Byrne

David Byrne

Date: August 22nd
Location: Bill Graham Civic Auditorium – San Francisco

As the show progressed into his songs “Here” and “Lazy”, Byrne’s band joined him onstage. The light changed and filled in the stage, giving the audience a happier tone and providing a seamless transition into a Talking Heads interlude. Then, later on during “Blind”, one of the more stunning visual elements was made possible by a simple lamp that was placed in front of the band, casting whirling shadows on the strands of beads hanging behind them. -Tim O’Shea, photo by Tim O’Shea


Best of 2018 - The National

The National

Date: September 20th
Location: Hollywood Palladium – Los Angeles

Right before that final aforementioned single, they brought out Phoebe Bridgers to help them perform “Sorrow” from 2010’s High Violet, as Berninger and the 24-year-old singer-songwriter, who said during her brief opening set that The National were her favorite band, traded vocals on the tune they once played 105 times in a row, with the performance at an art installation in New York lasting all of six hours. We weren’t quite as fortunate to get that kind of show in LA, as The National opted for one of their more traditional, two-hour events. But whether you’ve been a fan from the start or one like myself who arrived rather late to the party, The National continue to make some of the most compelling music in rock, expanding their fan base with each and every album they release. That’s the sign of any good band these days, and though there’s only a handful of others that could even say the same right now, The National should take comfort in knowing they’re one of those select few. -Josh Herwitt, photo by Josh Herwitt


Best of 2018 - Grizzly Bear

Grizzly Bear

Date: September 23rd
Location: Hollywood Bowl – Los Angeles

Similarly, the gig also marked one of Grizzly Bear’s last performances in support of their fifth LP Painted Ruins, which they released last year on RCA Records, and having already played a two-night run at The Wiltern back in December, this was more of a victory lap than a coming-out party. Unfortunately for us, the five-piece had to cut things short due to the venue’s strict Sunday night curfew, ending on a rather sudden note. That’s just part of the deal at the Bowl, though. For those of us who have to work on Monday morning, it’s actually more of a blessing in disguise than a disservice to the overall concert experience as we’ve come to realize. -Josh Herwitt, photo by Josh Herwitt


Best of 2018 - Courtney Barnett

Courtney Barnett

Date: October 5th
Location: Greek Theatre – Los Angeles

When she wasn’t sharing the spotlight with Waxahatchee, Barnett was sharing it equally with the rest of her stellar backing band, but it was mostly just difficult to take your eyes off of her. Everything she does feels casual, from her outfit to her guitar playing, slinging her instrument around like it was an extension of herself. Even her delivery of the wrenching reality that the 30-year-old Australian singer-songwriter articulates so well is casual, singing like the end of the world isn’t a mere 22 years away. -Rochelle Shipman, photo by Rochelle Shipman


Best of 2018 - Greta Van Fleet

Greta Van Fleet

Date: October 6th
Location: Glen Helen Regional Park & Festival Grounds – San Bernardino, CA

By the time we got through security and stepped inside the gates, Manchester Orchestra had just finished their 45-minute set on the main stage, which essentially was the 65,000-person Glen Helen Amphitheater that was constructed back in 1982 for the first US Festival. Next up was Greta Van Fleet, and boy, do these kids know how to rock. Zeppelin clearly runs deep in these four Michiganders’ veins, as they showcased songs off their forthcoming debut album Anthem of the Peaceful Army with frontman Josh Kiszka commanding the stage and offering his best Robert Plant impression. He even dresses the part, sporting some tight, white jeans with a water-colored blouse and necklace of feathers while his brothers Jake and Sam wore vests or shirts that looked like what you would find at a vintage clothing store. -Josh Herwitt, photo by Josh Herwitt


Best of 2018 - Foo Fighters

Foo Fighters

Date: October 6th
Location: Glen Helen Regional Park & Festival Grounds – San Bernardino, CA

As the Foos left the stage for their encore break, we waited patiently for them to return. The crowd, by now, had been taken for a two-hour ride with Grohl firmly at the wheel, pumping adrenaline into our veins with every minute that passed as the Foo Fighters know how to do so well during their usual two-and-a-half-hour jaunts. The video screens on each side of the stage were black until suddenly some backstage footage appeared showing Grohl with Krist Novoselic and what looked like Joan Jett. All of that would end up coming true in the last 30 minutes of Cal Jam 18, but it was a six-song encore with Grohl on drums, Novoselic on bass, the Foo Fighters’ Pat Smear on guitar and Deer Tick frontman John McAuley on both vocals and guitar as Kurt Cobain’s fill-in who got us hyped. Nirvana fans have waited 25 years for a reunion since Cobain’s sudden passing, and when you put it in perspective, it will probably go down as one of the year’s biggest surprises, even at a time in music when many industry experts say that rock now stands in the shadows of hip-hop and EDM. -Josh Herwitt, photo by Josh Herwitt


Best of 2018 - Pusha T

Pusha T

Date: October 13th
Location: Middle Harbor Shoreline Park – Oakland

But U.S. Girls were the highlight of the weekend for us. A nine-piece experimental pop act, they put on a stunning 45-minute set that culminated in an entrancing rendition of “Time”, the closing track on their critically acclaimed studio effort In a Poem Unlimited, that lasted more than 10 minutes. The energy, instrumentation and vocal capabilities were absolutely stunning. Easily one of this year’s most exciting new acts, and we can’t wait to catch them again soon. -Brett Ruffenach, photo by Brendan Mansfield


Best of 2018 - U.S. Girls

U.S. Girls

Date: October 14th
Location: Middle Harbor Shoreline Park – Oakland

But U.S. Girls were the highlight of the weekend for us. A nine-piece experimental pop act, they put on a stunning 45-minute set that culminated in an entrancing rendition of “Time”, the closing track on their critically acclaimed studio effort In a Poem Unlimited, that lasted more than 10 minutes. The energy, instrumentation and vocal capabilities were absolutely stunning. Easily one of this year’s most exciting new acts, and we can’t wait to catch them again soon. -Brett Ruffenach, photo by Josh Withers


Best of 2018 - Daniel Caesar

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Five highlights from Shaun White’s Air + Style 2018

Air + Style 2018Photos courtesy of Air + Style // Written by Josh Herwitt //

Shaun White Presents Air + Style //
Exposition Park – Los Angeles
March 3rd-4th, 2018 //

When three-time Olympic gold medalist Shaun White launched his first Air + Style contest on U.S. soil three years ago in Pasadena (read our review here), it had plenty of kinks to work out like any brand-new event has nowadays. Half snowboard competition and half music festival, Air + Style offered a different twist for those who enjoy a side of extreme sports with their live music, or vice versa.

And in many ways, it still does. Because when you get right down to it, there aren’t a whole lot of events out there, if any, where you can catch some of the best snowboarders in the world go big while also taking in performances from top-notch artists and bands across a wide-range of musical genres. There’s the X-Games of course, but after that, there’s not much else.

White, in that regard, has certainly created something fun and unique in a short amount of time. But as we realized upon arriving at Exposition Park for Air + Style’s fourth installment here in LA, it wasn’t hard to see that there’s a heavy emphasis placed on the music. Maybe it felt that way because this year marked the first time there was no big air event (and we were rather disappointed to find that out on Day 1), even if the consolation prize was moving to a street-style course for the snowboarders and adding skateboarding, which was another first for Air + Style’s LA edition. Or, maybe it was a Coachella-like lineup headlined by Zedd and Phoenix, coupled with the size of the two stages, that made it feel like so many other major music festivals in Southern California that we have previously attended. Even Phantogram frontwoman Sarah Barthel said it herself, calling Air + Style a “mini Coachella” during the group’s hour-long set on the ginormous Winter Stage.

Either way, in a city with so much to do and an overwhelming amount of options when it comes to live music, it’s impressive to see Air + Style still going strong and drawing large crowds like it did this year. It may have been just another way for “The Flying Tomato” to party with friends and celebrate his latest Olympic gold from Pyeongchang, but for us, it served as an opportunity to see some of our favorite musicians in action and catch some others we’ve been eager to check out for a while (more on that below). So, with that said, these are our five highlights from Air + Style 2018.


Air + Style 2018 - Cut Copy

Cut Copy

Whenever Australian four-piece Cut Copy come to town, you know you’re in for a dance party. But a rainy dance party? That’s something that none of us, including frontman Dan Whitford, saw coming. What blindsided all of us was an epic, approximately 10-minute downpour right in the middle of their set. And they thought it never rains in LA! Sorry, Danny boy … but well, it does — you know, every once in a while. As Whitford told the crowd, it was kind of amazing that their equipment didn’t short out, as we were treated to a lot of the usual favorites such as “Hearts on Fire” and “Lights and Music” as well as a few off 2017’s Haiku from Zero, including “Black Rainbows” and “Standing in the Middle of the Field”. For as many times as we’ve seen these guys take the stage over the years, they always seem to deliver — rain or shine.


Air + Style 2018 - DRAM
DRAM

Considering that we wouldn’t exactly call ourselves huge fans of Zedd, Saturday’s bill felt a bit lackluster compared to Sunday’s. But one of the biggest surprises from the weekend proved to be DRAM, who was on a mission to “spread love” while at Air + Style. With so many examples of hate and violence in recent months, it was an important reminder for all of us no matter the setting, and in this case, White’s festival seemed as good as any for Shelley Massenburg-Smith to promote more positivity. DRAM’s performance, though, was more than just one big love fest — rather, it felt like a celebration of life as he performed “Cute” and later “Broccoli” (even if it was sans Lil Yachty), eventually making his way into the crowd to show his fans some more … why yes, love. Keep spreading those good vibes, Big Baby DRAM. We’re all for it.


Air + Style 2018 - Washed Out

Washed Out

In what was easily the most visually stimulating (and pleasing) show we witnessed at Expo Park, Ernest Greene, who performs under the moniker Washed Out, entranced a completely packed crowd at the smaller Summer Stage with a slew of trippy visuals and his chilled-out tunes. We had been wanting to see Washed Out in SoCal for several months now, ever since Greene released the project’s third LP Mister Mellow last year, and after missing his gig with Nick Murphy at the Shrine Expo Hall in October, we were glad to finally hear him play “Hard to Say Goodbye” (one of our favorite songs of 2017) and “Feel It All Around” live as any loyal “Portlandia” fan would be. With Toro y Moi venturing away from the chillwave movement he helped pioneer, it’s up to Greene to lead the charge, and so far, he has done one hell of a job.


Air + Style 2018- Griz

Griz

Gosh, we can remember when Grant Kwiecinski, aka Griz, was first starting out and opening for his buddies in Big Gigantic more than five years ago. Fast forward to now, and the 27-year-old Detroit native has climbed higher and higher up the festival ladder. Melding hip-hop and electronic music to create his own future-funk sound, Kwiecinski knows how to get the party going with various elements of trip-hop, dubstep and glitch-hop all sprinkled into his tracks, but it’s his jazzy saxophone solos — and some slick guitar work from his sidekick/childhood friend Muzzy Bearr (born Dan Hacker) — that adds another element to the final product. And then there’s his stage production, which Kwiecinski has clearly taken up a few notches as the huge screen on the Summer Stage flashed psychedelic images that would also poke fun at the current state of American politics. After all, what kind of music festival would it be without a few Donald Trump references?


Air + Style 2018 - Phoenix

Phoenix

After what we thought was an underwhelming way to wrap up Day 1, Air + Style closed with a bang thanks to Phoenix’s energizing, 16-song set. The French indie-pop outfit have headlined Coachella before, and it was more than worthy of that billing for this occasion. Kicking things off with the opening track “J-Boy” from their sixth studio album Ti Amo that dropped back in June, Thomas Mars and company gave us exactly what we wanted to hear: a hit-ladden show featuring singles like “Lisztomania”, “Trying to Be Cool”, “Too Young” and “1901”. No, there wasn’t a Daft Punk or R. Kelly appearance — not that we expected one — but Phoenix put an exclamation point on an otherwise successful weekend. We may not have known the quartet could rock that hard after the last time we saw them, but we definitely do now.

Noise Pop 2017: Celebrating 25 years of Bay Area indie culture

Noise Pop 2017Written by Molly Kish //

Noise Pop //
Bay Area venues – San Francisco & Oakland
February 17th–27th, 2017 //

Marking its 25th anniversary this month as the West Coast’s premiere independent music and arts festival, Noise Pop returns to take over more than 30 clubs, theaters and art spaces in the Bay Area. With residencies at various locations in SF and Oakland, the festival officially kicks off with its 2017 film series and art exhibits leading into 11 days of live musical performances from nationally recognized and locally curated acts.

This year’s roster includes members of Animal Collective, Vince Staples, BADBADNOTGOOD, Dawes, Kelis, Hudson Mohawke, Ty Segall and more, Noise Pop continues its legacy as one of the nation’s leading purveyors of independent music, culture and arts.

To help you navigate this year’s Noise Pop lineup, we have locked in our top picks for the fest’s happy hours, art shows, film series and concerts. Check out our full list of favorites below and prepare yourself for what’s to come!


Noise Pop 2017 - Mission Bowling Club

Art Shows

The Flavors of Noise Pop: February 1st-March 7th @ Mission Bowling Club


Noise Pop 2017 - film series

Films

Festival (featuring Q&A with director Michael Raspatello and panelists Allen Scott, Jordan Kurland & Kevin Arnold): February 17th (FRI) @ Swedish American Hall (8 p.m., $12, All Ages)

The Art of Listening: February 17th (FRI) @ Roxie Theatre (6:30 p.m., $12, All Ages)

My Buddha Is Punk: February 18th (SAT) @ Artists’ Television Access (2 p.m., $12, All Ages)


Noise Pop 2017 - Tricycle Records

Happy Hours

Tricycle Records Presents Hot Toddies, Great Apes & Brasil: February 23rd (THU) @ Bender’s Bar & Grill (5 p.m., 21+)

Different Fur Presents: OCD, Trash Vampires & Phosphene: February 24th (FRI) @ Bender’s Bar & Grill (5 p.m., 21+)


Noise Pop 2017 - Sunday Smörgåsbord

Other Events

Sunday Smörgåsbord: February 26th (SUN) @ Swedish American Hall (FREE RSVP, 21+)

Schedule:
11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. — “Showga” Yoga Set to Live Music (by Everyone Is Dirty’s Sivan Lioncub)
12-6 p.m. — 1-2-3-4 GO! Pop-Up Vinyl Store
12-6 p.m. — Vinyl Tapestry Part II: The Scarpati Brothers Rock Photo and Art Show
1-3 p.m. — The MailChimp Brunch Time Happy Hour
3-4 p.m. — Noise Pop Live Podcast
4-6 p.m. — Litquake: I Thought It Sucked


Cloud Nothings


Cloud Nothings

Music

Cloud Nothings with Itsaca, Never Young, Kid Trails: February 20th (MON) @ The Independent (7:30 p.m., $20, 21+)

Weyes Blood with Half Waif, 20 Minute Loop, Young Moon: February 21st (TUES) @ Swedish American Hall (7 p.m., $15, All Ages) // WIN TICKETS

Hazel English with Elsa Y Elmar, Tanukichan, Maggie y/o: February 21st (TUES) @ Rickshaw Stop (8 p.m., $12, All Ages) // WIN TICKETS

Diet Cig with Plush, Joyride!, Shutups: February 22nd (WED) @ Brick & Mortar Music Hall (7 p.m., $15, 18+)

Desert Daze Caravan Festival featuring Temples, Night Moves, Deap Valley, Froth, JJUUJJUU: February 22nd (WED) @ The Chapel (7 p.m., $34, All Ages) // WIN TICKETS

The Palms with The Young Wild, Warbly Jets, NYRE: February 22nd (WED) @ Rickshaw Stop (8 p.m., $12, 18+)

Kelis with Rayana Jay, Cellus: February 22nd (WED) @ 1015 Folsom (10 p.m., $10, 21+) // WIN TICKETS

PWR BTTM with Chaos Chaos, Soar, The Total Betty’s: February 23rd (THU) @ Starline Social Club (21+, SOLD OUT)

Tash Sultana with Monster Rally, John Cashman, Affectionately: February 23rd (THU) @ Swedish American Hall (All Ages, SOLD OUT)

BADBADNOTGOOD with Hodgy, London O’Connor: February 23rd (THU) @ The Fillmore (18+, SOLD OUT)

Crocodiles with AJ Dávila, Hot Flash Heat Wave, NRVS LVRS: February 23rd (THU) @ Bottom of the Hill (7:30pm, $15, All Ages) // WIN TICKETS

Kevin Abstract with Bearface, Hugo, Hobo Johnson: February 23rd (THU) @ The New Parish (8 p.m., $18, 21+) // WIN TICKETS

Barclay Crenshaw with AABO, Chiller Whale, Jackson Waites, Roeviscious: February 23rd (THU) @ 1015 Folsom (10 p.m., $15, 21+) // WIN TICKETS

Hanni El Khatib


Hanni El Khatib

Hanni El Khatib with The Buttertones, The Molochs, Innovative Leisure DJs: February 24th (FRI) @ The Chapel (7 p.m., $20, All Ages)

Matt Pond PA with Before the Brave, Hideout, The Bye Bye Blackbirds: February 24th (FRI) @ Bottom of the Hill (7:30 p.m., $16, All Ages)

Deafheaven with This Will Destroy You, Emma Ruth Rundle: February 24th (FRI) @ The Independent (8:30 p.m., $20, 21+)

Hudson Mohawke with Francios K, Teklife, DJ Spinn, And Taye, Jay Daniel, Seven Davis Jr., Benji B. & Judah: February 24th (FRI) @ 1015 Folsom (10 p.m., $20, 21+) // WIN TICKETS

Vince Staples with Kilo Kish: February 25th (SAT) @ Fox Theater Oakland (7 p.m., $30, All Ages)

Tennis with Hoops, Great American Canyon Band & Owl Paws: February 25th (SAT) @ Great American Music Hall (18+, SOLD OUT)

MSTRKRFT with Maniacs, MPHD, NVO: February 25th (SAT) @ Mezzanine (9 p.m., $25, 21+)

The Radio Dept. with Germans, The Bilinda Butchers, Future Shapes: February 25th (SAT) @ The Independent (7:30 p.m., $25, 21+)

Grandaddy with Minihorse, N.Lannon, Goon: February 26th (SUN) @ Bimbo’s 365 Club (7 p.m., SOLD OUT, 18+)

Radical Face: February 26th (SUN) @ The Fillmore (8 p.m., $25, All Ages)

Ty Segall with Shannon and the Clams, White Fence, Axis: February 27th (MON) @ Fox Theater Oakland (6 p.m., $25, All Ages)


Download the Noise Pop mobile app to get special updates, including details on Noise Pop After Hours performances, and create your own customized schedule here. Super Fan Badges are still available for purchase here.

Noise Pop - 2017 lineup


Albums you’ll want to hear in 2017

2017 albumsWritten by Josh Herwitt //

For as bad as 2016 might have been, there’s no question it yielded some excellent albums. So, what’s in store for 2017? It’s still early, but from what we know right now, there’s plenty of new music on the horizon — and a lot of it we can’t wait to get our hands on.

Here are 10 upcoming albums (in chronological order by release date) that you’ll want to hear and could very well end up being on some “Best of 2017” lists in another 12 months.


Bonobo – Migration

Bonobo - Migration

Release date: January 13th
Record label: Ninja Tune

British musician, producer and DJ Simon Green has organically built a loyal following among electronic music fans for almost two decades with a unique sound that combines downtempo electronica with trip-hop and world-music influences. Since 2013’s The North Borders, he has moved to Los Angeles and recorded his sixth LP Migration, which boasts a few notable guest appearances from Nick Murphy (fka Chet Faker), Rhye and Hundred Waters.


The Flaming Lips – Oczy Mlody

The Flaming Lips - Oczy Mlody

Release date: January 13th
Record label: Warner Bros.

Wayne Coyne and his psychedelic sidekicks have been busy over the last few years, recording Beatles cover album With a Little Help From My Fwends in 2014 and releasing a collaborative LP with Miley Cyrus the following year. On their 15th studio effort, the difficult-to-pronounce Oczy Mlody that drops on Coyne’s birthday, the Lips return to the days of Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots and get a little help from their pop-star “fwend” on closing track “We a Famly”.


SOHN – Rennen

SOHN - Rennen

Release date: January 13th
Record label: 4AD

London native Christopher Taylor has been known for working extensively with such artists as BANKS, Lana Del Rey and Rhye, but his transition in becoming a legitimate solo act was cemented with the release of his 2014 debut LP Tremors, which peaked at No. 31 on the UK charts. Now calling LA his home, he has spent the last three years constructing Rennen, his second record as SOHN that’s led by “Signal” and its frighteningly beautiful music video.


The xx – I See You

The xx - I See You

Release date: January 13th
Record label: Young Turks

No impending album in the first quarter of 2017 may have as much hype around it as The xx’s I See You, their long-awaited follow-up to 2012’s Coexist. The build-up to its release in the last few months has seen the London trio perform on SNL, where they showcased lead single “On Hold” and debuted “I Dare You”, and play shows in Eastern Europe to go along with the news of guitarist/vocalist Romy Madley Croft’s recent engagement.


Cloud Nothings – Life Without Sound

Cloud Nothings - Life Without Sound

Release date: January 27th
Record label: Carpark Records

Lo-fi noise rockers Cloud Nothings have come a long way since Dylan Baldi started recording songs in his parents’ basement. With their last two LPs — 2012’s Attack on Memory and 2014’s Here and Nowhere Else — garnering critical acclaim from the music media, the four-piece will release Life Without Sound, its fifth studio album and first with lead guitarist Chris Brown now officially a member of the band, later this month.


Japandroids – Near to the Wild Heart of Life

Japandroids - Near to the Wild Heart of Life

Release date: January 27th
Record label: ANTI-

Known for their DIY approach and high-energy performances, Brian King and David Prowse are back after what some may have considered a brief hiatus since touring in support of their 2012 studio album Celebration Rock. This time, the Canadian garage-punk duo is signed to a new label, with its third LP Near to the Wild Heart of Life set to drop on ANTI- in a couple of weeks before embarking on a 20-date North American tour this winter.


Elbow – Little Fictions

Elbow - Little Fictions

Release date: February 3rd
Record label: Polydor

2017 marks a big year for Elbow. The Mercury Prize winners have been going at it for 20 years, and to celebrate the occasion, frontman Guy Garvey and company are unveiling their seventh studio album Little Fictions, which features collaborations with The Hallé Orchestra and their choir after longtime drummer Richard Jupp announced in 2016 that he was leaving the group to pursue other creative projects, from expanding his drum school to various charity work.


Sampha – Process

Sampha - Process

Release date: February 3rd
Record label: Young Turks

Sampha Sisay, who performs under his mononymous stage name, has built much of his reputation on working with high-profile artists like Drake, Kanye West and Solange. But almost seven years after unveiling his debut EP Sundanza, the South London electronic musician, singer-songwriter and producer is finally dropping his own full-length effort, highlighted by previously released singles “Timmy’s Prayer” and “Blood on Me”.


Ryan Adams – Prisoner

Ryan Adams - Prisoner

Release date: February 17th
Record label: PAX AM/Blue Note

At the age of 42, Ryan Adams is as prolific as any musician out there right now, with Prisoner marking his 16th LP and the follow-up to his Taylor Swift cover album. And while he has been teasing the record for about six months, originally hinting at a possible November release, the alt-country songwriter gets ready for his next chapter, which he says was inspired by 80’s rock giants like Bruce Springsteen and AC/DC despite coping with a very public divorce at the time.


The Shins – Headworms

The Shins - Heartworms

Release date: March 10
Record label: Columbia

By the time The Shins unleash their fifth LP this March, it will be nearly five years between album releases for the Portland-based outfit. Of course, it’s no secret that bandleader James Mercer keeps a tight schedule between The Shins and Broken Bells, but on Heartworms, the Albuquerque native made sure to include “So Now What”, the song he wrote for the “Wish I Was Here” soundtrack that he later said was “one of the best things” he has ever done.


The following artists and bands are expected to release new albums in 2017 but have yet to confirm an official release date and/or an album title:

ANTEMASQUE
Arcade Fire
Broken Social Scene
Bruce Springsteen
Chic
Chromatics
Depeche Mode
Diddy
DJ Premier
Gorillaz
Grizzly Bear
GZA
Haim
Jesu/Sun Kil Moon
John Mayer
Kanye West
The Killers
LCD Soundsystem
Lupe Fiasco
Major Lazer
Mastodon
Modest Mouse
My Morning Jacket
The National
The Offspring
Pond
Ride
Sky Ferreira
Spiritualized
St. Vincent
T.I.
Troye Sivan
Vampire Weekend
Wyclef Jean
Zack de la Rocha


GO4FREE Bay Area // What So Not, Cashmere Cat, Squarepusher or Cloud Nothings

CAPTION THIS to win a pair of free tickets to Fauxchella shows in the Bay Area this week.

CAPTION THIS to win a pair of free tickets to Fauxchella shows in the Bay Area this week.

Photo by Pedro Paredes //

Hey, we can’t all go to Coachella. And there are some music heads in the Bay Area that would much rather take on Fauxchella — the runoff of incredible shows in Northern California during these next two weeks.

This week we have four top notch Bay Area shows for you from artists that will also be in the desert this weekend:

What So Not: April 10th (FRI) @ Mezzanine // BUY TICKETS
Squarepusher: April 11th (SAT) @ Mezzanine // BUY TICKETS
Cloud Nothings: April 12th (SUN) @ The Independent // BUY TICKETS
Cashmere Cat: April 12th (SUN) at The New Parish // BUY TICKETS

Win-2-Tickets
WIN TWO (2) FREE TICKETS TO ONE (1) OF THESE SHOWS BY SHOWING US YOUR CREATIVE SIDE:
1. Caption the above photo from our recent of Montreal story in the comments below.
2. After your caption, include the shows you would like to attend, with your top choice first.
3. Include your real email in the email field! This is how we’ll let you know you’ve won.
4. The caption comments with the most UpVotes by 5pm on Thursday, April 9th will win top commenters two free tickets to the shows indicated (if your choice is still available).

***Not good at captions? Comment with a link to your favorite song by one of these artists or tell us something interesting.


Like Showbams on Facebook, follow Showbams on Twitter and follow Showbams on Instagram for more contest giveaways throughout the week. Be the first to respond to our contest tweets to GO4FREE to these shows throughout the week:

4/7 The Preatures at The Independent
4/8 Lilly Wood and The Prick at Mezzanine
4/9 Little Wings at The Chapel
4/9 Young Moon at Brick & Mortar
4/9 Yelle at Mezzanine
4/10 Lakes at Great American Music Hall
4/10 Afrofunk Experience with the Broun Fellinis at The Chapel
4/10 Haunted Summer at Leo’s
4/11 The Lovemakers at Leo’s
4/11 Black Milk at Brick & Mortar

Showbams_Sticker_Rectangle2

Which 2015 Coachella artists will premiere new music on the polo fields?

CoachellaPhotos by Marc Fong // Written by Josh Herwitt //

Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival //
Empire Polo Club – Indio, CA
April 10th-12th & April 17th-19th //

The 2015 festival season gets kicked into high gear this Friday when the first weekend of Coachella takes over the Empire Polo Club. With a lineup featuring headliners AC/DC, Jack White and Drake among a myriad of other high-profile acts, there is so much good music that one can’t possibly see it all over three days in the desert. If you’ve already seen alt-J perform songs from This Is All Yours live, you might not see a need to catch their Saturday early-evening set, for example.

So, that got us thinking: who will likely be premiering new material this weekend in Indio?

We dug through the lineup and looked at which artists have recently released new tracks or albums prior to their set at Coachella, as well as artists planning to release new material later this year. Happy Coachella!

*All set times below are in PT.


ALABAMA SHAKES

New album: Sound & Color
Release date: April 21
Playing Coachella: Friday, 7 p.m. (Outdoor Theatre)

The Shakes will be making their Coachella debut in a big way this year with their sophomore LP Sound & Color slated to be released two days after the festival’s second weekend. The four-piece performed new singles “Don’t Wanna Fight” and “Gimme All Your Love” on SNL last month and should give fans a strong preview of the album before it officially drops.


ALESSO

New album: Forever
Release date: May 26
Playing Coachella: Friday, 11:35 p.m. (Sahara Tent)

Swedish DJ/producer Alesso (formerly Alessandro Lindblad) has come a long way in a few years and will finally drop his first studio album Forever toward the end of May. In February, he premiered a new track featuring Roy English entitled “Cool”, which reached as high as No. 21 on Billboard’s U.S. Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart.


BUILT TO SPILL

New album: Untethered Moon
Release date: April 21
Playing Coachella: Sunday, 4:15 p.m. (Outdoor Theatre)

Indie-rock stalwarts Built to Spill will celebrate the release of their first full-length album in more than five years with their first-ever appearance at Coachella. So far, the band has released “Living Zoo” and “Never Be The Same”, but fans can expect to hear a lot more from Untethered Moon during their Sunday slot.


CLOUD NOTHINGS

New album: No Life For Me with Wavves
Release date: TBA
Playing Coachella: Friday, 1:55 p.m. (Gobi Tent)

After turning the corner last year with Here and Nowhere Else, Cleveland’s Cloud Nothings have already jumped back into the studio, but this time it’s to make a collaborative record with San Diego’s Wavves. With no release date pinpointed yet, it’s possible Cloud Nothings singer/guitarist Dylan Baldi could bring out Nathan Williams during their set and give fans a taste of what’s to come on No Life For Me.


DESAPARECIDOS

New album: Payola
Release date: June 23
Playing Coachella: Sunday, 4:35 p.m. (Gobi Tent)

Bright Eyes frontman Conor Oberst said in an interview last summer that his emo-garage side project plans to release its second full-length album this year, marking the band’s first in 13 years (check out new song “City on the Hill” above). Though the Nebraska band has disbanded and reunited a number of times, its current stretch together marks the longest since forming in 2001.


DRAKE

New album: Views from the 6
Release date: 2015
Playing Coachella: Sunday, 10:15 p.m. (Coachella Stage)

With plans to release his fourth studio album this year, Canadian rapper Drake takes his first swing at Coachella with a headlining slot on the festival’s final day. In the meantime, he’s kept his fans on their toes by dropping a fourth mixtape If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, which debuted at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200, in mid-February.


DUKE DUMONT

New album: TBA
Release date: 2015
Playing Coachella: Saturday, 8:20 p.m. (Sahara Tent)

UK deep house producer Adam George Dyment, who performs under the stage name Duke Dumont, put out a new EP and a couple of singles, including one featuring fellow Brit Jax Jones, last year. This year he’s already dropped a new single entitled “The Giver (Reprise)”, and there’s a strong possibility that we will hear more new tracks from the Blasé Boys Club record label owner on Sunday.


FKA TWIGS

New album: EP3 EP
Release date: TBA
Playing Coachella: Saturday, 9:35 p.m. (Gobi Tent)

Tahliah Debrett Barnett, aka FKA twigs, made a big splash when her debut album LP1 peaked at No. 16 on the UK Albums Chart and No. 30 on the U.S. Billboard 200 last year. The British singer-songwriter, who recently became engaged to actor Robert Pattinson, announced in November that she had begun work on a third EP, and just last month she released the first song “Glass & Patron” from it.


FLORENCE & THE MACHINE

New album: How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
Release date: May 29
Playing Coachella: Sunday, 8:50 p.m. (Coachella Stage)

It’s only been three years since Florence Welch last played Coachella, but this time it will be with a new album’s worth of material to perform. The band’s third studio album will release in late May, and a couple of singles have already been shared over the past two months, including “What Kind of Man” and “St Jude”.


FLYING LOTUS

New album: TBA (as Captain Murphy)
Release date: TBA
Playing Coachella: Friday, 10 p.m. (Mojave Tent)

Steven Ellison took his game to a whole another level last year with You’re Dead! as he continues to work and collaborate with some of today’s brightest and most talented artists in hip-hop, jazz and electronic music. Ready to take his rap persona Captain Murphy into the studio for a new album this year, FlyLo just might drop some rhymes as well as beats for his fans who show up to his Friday set.


GHOSTFACE KILLAH

New albums: Twelve Reasons to Die II & Supreme Clientele Presents… Blue & Cream: The Wally Era
Release dates: 2015
Playing Coachella: Friday, 5:45 p.m. (Outdoor Theatre)

After coming out with his 11th studio album 36 Seasons last year, Ghostface Killah is expected to release two more albums in 2015, Twelve Reasons to Die II and Supreme Clientele Presents… Blue & Cream: The Wally Era. Scheduled to perform with his Wu-Tang colleague Raekwon, who also has a new album on the horizon, the duo’s set should feature plenty of new material from both of their upcoming albums.


JAMIE XX

New album: In Colour
Release date: June 1
Playing Coachella: Sunday, 8:20 p.m. (Gobi Tent)

Jamie Smith of The xx jumped into the electronic world with his 2011 remix album We’re New Here, and now more than four years later, the English producer will unveil his first proper LP in June. So far, he’s released singles “Loud Places” (featuring The xx’s Romy Madley Croft) and “Gosh”, but Smith could give fans a more in depth preview of In Colour when he performs Sunday.


KASKADE

New track: “Never Sleep Alone”
Release date: April 6
Playing Coachella: Sunday, 7:25 p.m. (Coachella Stage)

Superstar DJ and record producer Ryan Raddon, aka Kaskade, has dropped a brand-new track just in time for his huge Sunday night performance at Coachella. While it’s unclear right now if “Never Sleep Alone” will make it on to Kaskade’s new album (no title or release date announced yet), it’s a safe bet that he’ll be unleashing this one when he takes the stage.


KYGO

New tracks: “Stole the Show” feat. Parson James & “ID – Ultra Music Festival Anthem”
Release date: March 15
Playing Coachella: Sunday, 11 p.m. (Mojave Tent)

Kyrre Gørvell-Dahll, who goes by his stage name Kygo, has been one of EDM’s fastest-rising stars in the last year. After remix collaborations with Chris Martin and Avicii propelled his career to the next level, the 23-year-old producer from Norway dropped his second single “Stole the Show” last month and will hit the polo fields for the first time ever this spring.


LIL B

New album: TBA
Release date: 2015
Playing Coachella: Friday, 3:10 p.m. (Outdoor Theatre)

Brandon McCartney, professionally known as Lil B, has been called many things, from rapper to author to motivational speaker. The 25-year-old from Berkeley hasn’t put out any new music since 2011, but with his sophomore LP scheduled to come out at some point this year, he’s sure to perform some new tracks during his Sunday set at Coachella.


MAC DEMARCO

New album: TBA
Release date: TBA
Playing Coachella: Sunday, 3:05 p.m. (Outdoor Theatre)

Canadian singer-songwriter Mac DeMarco earned critical acclaim for his full-length album Salad Days last year, and fans of the “blue wave” rocker got some promising news over the weekend when he shared a compilation video that includes pieces of five new songs that are currently being mastered in the studio. Knowing his tendency for the unpredictable, fans could very likely hear some of those tracks live for the very first time this weekend.


MARTIN SOLVEIG

New track: “Intoxicated” (with GTA)
Release date: January 19
Playing Coachella: Sunday, 4:50 p.m. (Sahara Tent)

It’s been a while since Martin Laurent Picandet, aka Martin Solveig, has released a proper studio album. However, the French electro/nu disco producer dropped a new single with Laidback Luke last year, and he’s started this year off working with GTA on a brand-new track entitled “Intoxicated”.


NERO

New album: TBA
Release date: TBA
Playing Coachella: Friday, 9:35 p.m. (Outdoor Theatre)

NERO took home a Grammy in 2013 for their remix of “Promises” with Skrillex, and the British electronic music trio has remained relatively quiet since then. That’s supposed to change this year with the group planning to drop its follow-up to 2011’s Welcome Reality, but there’s been no official announcement regarding the album or a tour, making its Coachella performance that much more special.


R3HAB

New track: “Phoenix” (with Sander van Doorn)
Release date: March 9
Playing Coachella: Friday, 7:10 p.m. (Sahara Tent)

Fadil El Ghoul drops singles, not albums, and he’s been doing it consistently since 2009. The Dutch DJ is signed to Afrojack’s Wall Recordings imprint, and he collaborated with fellow countryman Sander van Doorn on his latest single “Phoenix”, which just came out last month.


RAEKWON

New album: Fly International Luxurious Art
Release date: April 28
Playing Coachella: Friday, 5:45 p.m. (Outdoor Theatre)

It’s taken Raekwon almost two additional years to drop his sixth studio album, but the Wu-Tang Clan member will finally do just that later this month after two weekends at Coachella. In fact, the record’s first two singles — “All About You” and “Soundboy Kill It” — were released toward the second half of 2013, while the third and most recent one, “Wall to Wall”, came out less than two months ago.


RATATAT

New album: TBA
Release date: TBA
Playing Coachella: Saturday, 11:15 p.m. (Sahara Tent)

It’s been almost five years since Ratatat put out an album, and it’s safe to assume one of the reasons the New York City duo is playing Coachella this year is due to the fact that it has a new album in the works. While not much is known about the record right now (although some fans believe it will be titled LP5 to follow appropriately after 2008’s LP3 and 2010’s LP4), this is one set that should showcase plenty of new music from Mike Stroud and Evan Mast.


SQUAREPUSHER

New album: Damogen Furies
Release date: April 20
Playing Coachella: Friday, 10:50 p.m. (Gobi Tent)

It’s been quite a while since Tom Jenkinson last played Coachella, but the UK native is primed to play the festival again this year with his 14th studio album on the horizon. Squarepusher has released three tracks, including “Stor Eiglass” (listen above), from his upcoming Damogen Furies at this point, so fans should surely hear plenty of new material from the IDM pioneer.


TAME IMPALA

New album: Currents
Release date: TBA
Playing Coachella: Friday, 9:15 p.m. (Coachella Stage)

Making their third Coachella appearance in the last five years, Australian psych rockers Tame Impala continue to soar under frontman Kevin Parker’s direction. While both SF and LA fans got to hear the band experiment in between songs during its fall mini-tour (read our reviews of the SF show and LA show), Tame Impala should have some more focused new material to share from their upcoming LP Currents, which the band only officially announced two days ago along with new single “‘Cause I’m a Man.”


TODD TERJE AND THE OLSENS

New album: N/A
Release date: N/A
Playing Coachella: Friday, 9:20 p.m. (Gobi Tent)

Norwegian DJ, songwriter and record producer Terje Olsen, better known as Todd Terje, made a big first impression last year with his debut LP It’s Album Time, and while he may not necessarily be debuting brand-new material at Coachella, he’ll be performing with a live band called The Olsens (from his label Olsen Records), much like he did at the 2014 edition of Oya Festival. So, although festivalgoers may not hear new songs from Terje per say, they’ll definitely be in for a real treat when he joins the party on Friday.


TORO Y MOI

New album: What For? (read our review here)
Release date: April 7
Playing Coachella: Saturday, 4:20 p.m. (Mojave Tent)

Chaz Bundick has stayed busy over the past year between his electronic side project Les Sins and writing Toro y Moi’s fourth studio album What For?, which drops just days before the band plays Coachella. And as we learned from the band’s recent show in SF, Bundick has incorporated more of a 70’s psych-disco-funk sound into the Toro y Moi repertoire.


TOUCHÉ AMORÉ

New album: Self Love (split with Self Defense Family)
Release date: 2015
Playing Coachella: Sunday, 1 p.m. (Mojave Tent)

Touché Amoré have long been known for splitting EPs with other post-hardcore bands, and that’s what they plan to do on Self Love with New York’s Self Defense Family this year. What it could mean is some new songs being debuted at Coachella, which is one of just four shows that the LA group has planned right now.


TOURIST

New track: “Holding On”
Release date: May 25
Playing Coachella: Saturday, 12:20 p.m. (Mojave Tent)

London-based artist William Phillips has slowly been climbing the ranks, but he’s already done some big things in 2015 after winning a Grammy for helping Sam Smith co-write his hit single “Stay With Me”. Since then, he’s released a new track entitled “Holding On” that features Australian artist Josef Salvat and American singer/pianist Niia before he plays at Coachella for the first time.


VIC MENSA

New album: Street Lights EP
Release date: 2015
Playing Coachella: Friday, 1:20 p.m. (Coachella Stage)

U.S. hip-hop recording artist Vic Mensa is a former member of Kids These Days and a founder of the hip-hop collective SAVEMONEY with Chance the Rapper. The Chicago native, who serves as a featured artist on Kanye West’s new track “Wolves”, plans to follow up his 2010 EP Straight Up this year with another EP by the name of Street Lights and should have some surprises in store at Coachella.


YELLOW CLAW

New album: Blood For Mercy
Release date: 2015
Playing Coachella: Saturday, 4:45 p.m. (Sahara Tent)

Amsterdam DJ trio Yellow Claw started winning over fans back in 2010 by mixing trap, hip-hop, dubstep, hardstyle and moombahton into their sets. With a number of EPs already out, they’re getting ready to release Blood For Mercy but have yet to officially release any tracks from the album.


Here’s a day-by-day breakdown of Coachella artists who will likely perform new material:

FRIDAY
Alabama Shakes
Alesso
Cloud Nothings
Flying Lotus
Ghostface Killah
NERO
R3hab
Raekwon
Squarepusher
Tame Impala
Todd Terje and the Olsens
Vic Mensa

SATURDAY
Deorro
FKA twigs
Ratatat
Toro Y Moi
Tourist
Yellow Claw

SUNDAY
Built to Spill
Desaparecidos
Drake
Duke Dumont
Florence & the Machine
Jamie xx
Kygo
Lil B
Mac DeMarco
Martin Solveig
Touché Amoré

Coachella

Showbams’ Top 50 albums of 2014

Best-albums-2014-coverBy Mike Frash, Josh Herwitt, Molly Kish, Steve Wandrey & Kevin Quandt //

Showbams presents the Top 50 albums released in 2014 (yes, all of 2014) that we just can’t stop listening to.

These are the albums that made us double-take upon first listen, while also being auditory art pieces that we continue to spin as we head into 2015. They are the bundles of songs that innovated and inspired us more than the rest, signifying musical progression, defining our time with a soundtrack that challenges traditional expectations, while boldly trekking into new frontiers of pop music.

Because as music continues to become more accessible, the bridge between independent and mainstream gets shorter each year.

The 25 Best Live Music Acts of 2014
Showbams’ Top 50 Albums of 2014

Listen to The Bam Team’s favorite songs of 2014:


1. Run the JewelsRun the Jewels 2

run-the-jewelsSo often sequels don’t deliver, but ascending hip-hop stars Killer Mike and El-P have simply progressed their brilliance as Run The Jewels one year removed from their first official collaboration. From the top of RTJ2, Michael Render manages to set a higher bar for pumped-up aggression, there’s more social activism laced throughout, more special guests that only add to the fuck boy-crushing populist mentality. And compared to RTJ1, there are more stand-alone gems that are primed for remixing and cultural integration. The sequencing is superb, and El and Mike are having more fun than ever as they tour the world and snowball momentum with their brand of hardcore, yet intricate rap that contains shades of weird. Like a championship baseball team, the songs in the two hole through cleanup hitter offer the biggest impact, wreaking instant classics upon us with masterful experimental production from El-P that emits new, subtle surprises the more you listen. As the album unfolds, tales of police brutality (“Early”), introspection and personal improvement (“Crown”), along with over the top raunch (“Love Again”) prove RTJ2 shines in every moment in a variety of ways through multiple lanes of success. -Mike Frash


2. The War on DrugsLost in the Dream

war-on-drugs-lost-in-dream-album-coverWhen a truly inspired artist borrows from the past while looking to the future, the outcome can be something fully new and exciting, which is what we have here. The brilliance of Adam Granduciel lies in his delivery, both musically and lyrically, crooning about the sometimes-not-so-simple intricacies of existence. Life, love and everything else in between can be tricky, yet Granduciel calmly assures us that things can work out.

Granduciel knows how to structure albums with the best of them — this acutely demonstrated via the nine-minute, sprawling opener “Under the Pressure”. First single “Red Eyes” keeps on a similar path as we sink deeper in, bobbing along to the pounding drum machine that has been a constant over the years for the Philly-based band. “Disappearing” takes us soaring above the clouds as we hear new, thrilling piano instrumentation with warm bass lines, creating a sense of weightlessness and flight. An extremely strong finishing track, “In Reverse” perfectly captures the fleeting minutes on this release before jarring us back into a slightly crueler reality. The long play of this record is so rewarding, and it grows with hopes that more can be brought into the light. Oh, and that the state rock ‘n’ roll is just fine. -Kevin Quandt


3. D’Angelo and the VanguardBlack Messiah

dangelo-black-messiahThere’s an intentional off-kilter spontaneity and cohesive force at the center of D’Angelo’s first album in 15 years, Black Messiah. The percussive and vocal syncopation here makes the off-beat feel natural — layered vocals get treated with filters and are multi-tracked to lend an unfamiliar presence to the back-and-forth vocal pitch shifts D’Angelo employs from line to line.

The end product is a record that possesses its own musical language, telling stories that are incredibly meaningful, but achieve balance between serious and playful, while always being sexy. The confusing, driving funk of the first two cuts give way to “The Charade”, which manages to hit a rare aural sweat spot of ultra-pleasurability. But then “Sugah Daddy” follows as an unplanned Sunday in the park, with vocal scats skipping along to the breezy song’s pacing. D’Angelo arguably can now join the ranks of the all-time great R&B/soul artists with the delivery of his long-awaited third record. -MF


4. Future IslandsSingles

Future IslandSingles jumps right out of the gates, showing its cards early, presenting the listener with Future Island’s trademark new-school, new-wave sound. Samuel Herring’s vocals are stunning as he pitches and growls through tales of the tougher side of love. It’s pretty, gripping and powerful while also holding certain pop sentiments, lending to an overall lightness while being arresting. “Seasons (Waiting On You)” is a quintessential slice of the emotion this band has become well known for both onstage and in the studio. “Doves” balances all the elements nicely, shining a light on the top-notch production featured on Singles. -KQ


5. Aphex TwinSyro

FINAL MASTER SYRO DIGIPAK.inddRichard D. James has been practically an enigma for the last decade plus, hiding out in a small Scottish village of 300 and releasing no new music as Aphex Twin since 2006. But the long layoff hasn’t changed the fact that he remains one of the most unique and influential electronic producers in the game today. Some of James’ best material on Syro comes early on, from his club-oriented mixes like “minipops 67 [120.2]” to the techno funk ­he crafts on the ensuing “XMAS_EVET10 [120]” and “produk 29 [101].” These aren’t beats designed to make you sweat your ass off — if anything, the cerebral nature of James’ work makes him the ultimate antithesis of the current EDM scene. -Josh Herwitt


6. Flying LotusYou’re Dead!

Flylo_youre_deadOn Flying Lotus’s latest record You’re Dead!, the Los Angeles producer forgoes the acid kool-aide test for a cyanide kool-aide dive straight into a fourth dimensional confrontation with the afterlife. You’re Dead masterfully trips through the journey of the soul into the next episode with sun-scorched psychedelia, 8-bit snapshots of g-funk and gorgeously redemptive jazz. The cold transition between the frantic jazz freak out of Kendrick Lamar featuring “Never Catch Me” and the cooled-out West Coast bounce of Snoop Dogg and FlyLo alter-ego Captain Murphy’s “Dead Man’s Tetris” highlights the producer’s prolific ability to craft varying hip-hop textures. FlyLo fully buries his new album’s death aesthetic through ecstatic, free-form layers of acid jazz and sprawling EDM planes of sound. -John Venanzi, Community Review


7. St. VincentSt. Vincent

St. VincentAnnie Clark ups the electronic ante on her fourth studio album. Branching out of her experimental indie-pop compositions, she embraces more cohesive arrangements that ironically focus her creativity on deconstructed production and sound obstruction. Both equally impressive in sound quality and sass, the opening tracks “Rattlesnake” and “Birth in Reverse” set the tone for the rest of the records’ exciting stylistic shifts and the intriguing unveiling of Clark’s gritty rock goddess persona. “Digital Witness” is a spot-on snapshot of our brave new 21st century day-to-day reality. Unapologetic, raw and sonically genius, St. Vincent is Clark’s breakthrough moment, and she appears to be doing it all with ease. -Molly Kish


8. Mac DeMarcoSalad Days

Mac DemarcoMac DeMarco’s signature style is here. It’s still fresh and in ways stronger than ever; it’s more pointed, focused and accessible. DeMarco is able to write in a way that allows the listener to easily empathize with him, as he turns his issues into ones that most of us have dealt with at some point. In “Chamber of Reflection”, it’s easy to really feel a sense of solitude. “Goodbye Weekend” sounds like a stoney Sunday afternoon coming to a soothing end. Every track has a personality of its own while holding up the overall ethos of the album. This album is lighthearted enough for multiples listens in a row with its breezy beach vibe, but also easily induces deep thoughts with its many lyrical gems. -Steve Wandrey


9. CaribouOur Love

our-loveWhat we have here is one of the most addictive albums of 2014. Our Love keeps deep house in its front pocket with steady beats per minute and an introspective mantra-centric lyrical conceit, but it’s also exploratory in nature, finding success in consistently building toward intense, euphoric plateaus. A steady flow of pleasant sounds ascend into impacting transcendence with “Can’t Do Without You”, “Silver” and “Your Love Will Set You Free”, and you must give Snaith extra credit for the masterful pacing and song-to-song flow — there is never a “skip ahead” moment. Like many classic albums, it opens up if you give it more time to radiate around your head, and listening to it becomes more pleasurable over time, even though it is mostly presented in poetic simplicity. -MF


10. Sun Kil MoonBenji

Sun Kil MoonBenji must be interpreted as a concept album about death, but more importantly, it’s about the importance details related to memory. For example, the title is taken from what seems like a throw-away line toward the end of the breathtaking “Micheline”. It’s powerful, visceral storytelling that is self-reflexive and biographical, yet so relatable that it compels personal introspection from the listener’s own experiences. Mark Kozelek’s lyrics are the centerpiece of the listening experience — they are so deep and resonant that the instrumentals and production are absorbed secondarily, although the stripped-down approach is intentional and noteworthy. Built around obsessing about the state of human demise — and the randomness of it — it’s easy to join Kozelek’s dire state of mind hours or days after listening. -MF


11. Todd Terje – It’s Album Time
12. Ryan Adams – Ryan Adams
13. Sharon Van Etten – Are We There
14. Spoon – They Want My Soul
15. Ariel Pink – pom pom
16. Beck – Morning Phase
17. Jack White – Lazaretto
18. The Black Keys – Turn Blue
19. Tycho — Awake
20. TV on the Radio – Seeds

21. Sturgill Simpson – Metamodern Sounds in Country Music
22. Tweedy – Sukierae
23. Jungle – Jungle
24. Temples – Sun Structures
25. tUnE-yArDs – Nikki Nack
26. Death from Above 1979 – The Physical World
27. Ty Segall – Manipulator
28. The Antlers – Familiars
29. Real Estate – Atlas
30. Angel Olsen – Burn Your Fire For No Witness

31. Cold War Kids – Hold My Home
32. Interpol – El Pintor
33. Alt-J – This Is All Yours
34. Swans – To Be Kind
35. Strand of Oaks – HEAL
36. White Fence – For the Recently Found Innocent
37. Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Piñata
38. Phantogram – Voices
39. Broken Bells – After the Disco
40. SOHN – Tremors

41. The New Pornographers – Brill Bruisers
42. Thom Yorke – Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes
43. Karen O — Crush Songs
44. Chet Faker – Built on Glass
45. Woods – With Light and with Love
46. Cloud Nothings – Here and Nowhere Else
47. Kishi Bashi – Lighght
48. Mark McGuire – Along The Way
49. Courtney Barnett – The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas
50. Adult Jazz – Gist Is

Run-the-Jewels4

The-War-on-Drugs5

10.future-islands

4.st-vincent

12.Ryan Adams

Sharon-Van-Etten_post

Spoon

Tycho

TVOTR

Temples

8.tune-yards

Real-Estate

Interpol

alt-J

Culture Collide Festival invades SF, LA with talent far and wide

Culture CollideBy Marc Fong and Josh Herwitt //

Culture Collide Festival //
Various venues in San Francisco and Los Angeles
October 14th-15th in SF; October 16th-18th in LA //

Culture Collide Festival stopped off in SF for the first time ever before making its way down to LA last weekend, bringing bands from around the globe to celebrate music, food and well, culture, of course. With U.S. headliners Cloud Nothings and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah leading the way, the festival also boasted plenty of international talent, from Israel’s SKYROADS to Colombia’s Quantic. Marc Fong hit up the festival in SF and Josh Herwitt was in LA to give their own takes on a dozen different acts.

Rock N Roll Radio


Rock N Roll Radio

Rock N Roll Radio (Korea): Though the vocals were a bit muffled and its English was rough, this Korean band communicated fun in the most basic of ways — through catchy, poppy riffs.

Go Back to the Zoo (Netherlands): The lyrics were a little repetitive, but their melodies were strong and soulful. Think early Kings of Leon.

Kamp! (Poland): Kamp!’s synth-heavy songs were fun, yet mellow, making for a slow ride into the night at the Elbo Room.

SKYROADS (Israel): Of Monsters and Men meet Freelance Whales. A little rough around the edges, this band has a strong radio sound, plus an amazing performance. Don’t be surprised to see and hear more from SKYROADS in the near future.

Everyone Is Dirty (USA): Gritty tunes from a gritty band by way of Oakland. They sound like garage rockers but with a lot of flare, great vocals and most notably, some kick-ass violin playing.

Cloud Nothings


Cloud Nothings

Cloud Nothings (USA): Cleveland pop-punk outfit Cloud Nothings brought a grisly sound to The Chapel with catchy hooks and fun, crunchy riffs. If you haven’t checked out their latest album Here and Nowhere Else (read our review here) yet, you should.

Nervous Nellie (Sweden): This four-piece out of Stockholm brought some fun indie-rock tunes from its Scandinavian homeland.

Beat Connection (USA): Reminiscent of early M83, these four guys from Seattle offered a fun way to fade into the night and close out the SF edition of the fest.

De Lux (USA): Fans of this burgeoning LA act got their weekend started early in Echo Park, moving and grooving to a funky set chock full of post-disco, dance-punk cuts that have drawn comparisons (and rightfully so) to Talking Heads, LCD Soundsystem and Hot Chip. After releasing their debut LP Voyage in April to much fanfare, Glendale natives Sean Guerin and Isaac Franco appear to have a promising career ahead of them.

(Denmark): Dropping their debut album No Mythologies to Follow in March, Karen Marie Ørsted and her sidekicks electrified the Echoplex with one electropop hook after another during their nearly hour-long show. It should be only a matter of time before the 26-year-old singer-songwriter is selling out venues all across the country. Her growing popularity, in fact, could very well skyrocket following her performance with Iggy Azalea on Saturday Night Live this month.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah


Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (USA): After revolutionizing independent music in the mid-2000s thanks to the interwebs, the Philly-based group has endured quite a few changes. Frontman Alec Ounsworth remains the only original member still in the band, and for all intents and purposes, it is clearly his band at this point. But the recent release of their fourth full-length album — and a relatively lackluster one — Only Run has CYHSY living off many of their earlier hits that once earned the attention of legends like David Bowie and David Byrne back in 2005.

Quantic (Colombia): Multi-instrumentalist, DJ and record producer Will Holland may be one of music’s biggest hidden talents. As one of Holland’s most prolific projects, Quantic pulls from a variety of styles, including cumbia, salsa, bossa nova, soul, funk and jazz, while the UK native works his way from one instrument to the next (his current arsenal includes guitar, bass, double bass, saxophone, accordion, piano, organ and various percussion instruments). Inside the diminutive and sweaty Echo Park United Methodist Church, Holland and his ensemble got some eager fans out of their seats just seconds after taking the stage. Though Holland said it would be Quantic’s last show for some time, they won over at least a few new fans that night, too.

New Music Tuesday: Thievery Corporation • Band of Skulls • Nickel Creek • Cloud Nothings • JAMAICA • Mac DeMarco

Thievery-Corp

Every Tuesday, we focus on new music releases by naming our top tracks, album highlights, lowlights and important takeaways for select albums.


Thievery CorporationSaudade

3-BamsTop Tracks:
“Quem Me Leva”
“Sola In Citta”
“Le Couer”

Album Highlights: Saudade is a Portuguese word, difficult to define in English. Thievery’s press release defines it as “a longing for something or someone that is lost, a contented melancholy, or, simply, the presence of absence.” The vocal arrangements are gorgeously sung in Portuguese, French, Italian, Spanish and English. This album features vocals by LouLou Ghelichkhani, former Bitter:Sweet singer Shana Halligan, Elin Melgarejo, Nouvelle Vague singer Karina Zeviani and Natalia Clavier. The tracks featuring LouLou and Elin stand out the most. Longtime Thievery singer LouLou’s sensual vocals are the perfect alluring compliment to the calm and jazzy Brazilian rhythms.

The album is a more conventional homage to bossa nova than previous efforts. This is their seventh full-length album and arguably their most traditional, drawing a considerable amount of influence from classic Brazilian performers, such as Antonio Carlos Jobim and Gal Costa. Clocking in at 42 minutes, the entire album is a beautifully simplistic musical time travel to 1960s Brazil. This is great news for fans of the artists that inspire Rob Garza and Eric Hilton.

Album Lowlight: After listening to a few songs, I find myself wanting to listen to my Elis & Tom album. While the songs are well-structured and the vocals can be quite enticing, the album itself leaves something to be desired. And that something is in the classic Brazilian music of yesteryear. The issue with this album is similar to the issue with defining a word like “saudade”; you can try, and people who don’t speak the language will probably understand. But there will be some aspect of the word that you can’t define, that which gets lost in translation. Many ideas cannot be recreated. This is a great effort by Thievery. But that indescribable thing is missing. Whereas other albums can fill that void with the mixing of musical genres, this album stays in one place. There are some great moments here, but as a whole, it’s a good thing that the album doesn’t go longer than 42 minutes.

Takeaway: If you are a fan of bossa nova or have been a big fan of Thievery Corporation throughout the years, definitely buy the album. If you prefer listening to a “Best Of” album, stick to the choice notes on this one. Rob Garza will be performing a DJ set and signing CDs at Amoeba SF on Friday, April 4th at 6 p.m.

~Krystal Beasley


Band of SkullsHimalayan

4-BamsTop Tracks:
“Asleep at the Wheel”
“I Guess I Know You Fairly Well”
“I Feel Like Ten Men, Nine Dead and One Dying”

Album Highlights: After a successful sophomore effort that earned them the chance to tour with Muse and Queens of the Stone Age last year, these English alt-rockers didn’t waste a lot of time before they decided to jump back into the studio. Only this time, Ian Davenport, who produced both 2009’s Baby Darling Doll Face Honey and 2012’s Sweet Sour, didn’t come along for the ride. Instead, those duties were passed on to Nick Launay, one of the music industry’s most sought-after producers right now. While the change isn’t readily noticeable on Himalayan, Band of Skulls’ third full-length record still boasts plenty of firepower.

It begins in typical BOS fashion, with Russell Marsden’s fuzzed-out blues riff serving as the foundation for the album’s first single “Asleep at the Wheel”. Nevertheless, you won’t find yourself head banging to every track, whether it’s the group’s new hit “Nightmares” or the ensuing “Brothers and Sisters.” Unlike Band of Skulls’ two previous LPs, Himalayan sees it branching out sonically with songs like the surf rock-inspired “I Feel Like Ten Men, Nine Dead and One Dying” and the Spanish-flavored “Toreador” (which means “bullfighter” in English, naturally). There is no doubt there are risks being taken here, but they don’t compromise what Marsden, bassist Emma Richardson and drummer Matt Hayward set out to do from the beginning — and that was to make one badass record. Well, mission accomplished.

Album Lowlight: It’s strange to hear Band of Skulls hold back, but when it does on Himalayan, things start to get a little flimsy for the Southampton power trio. Following three rock-heavy cuts to open the album, “Cold Sweat” features Richardson on lead vocals as the band flirts with balladry for more than four minutes. A few tracks later, “You Are All That I Am Not” follows a similar course, relying on Marsden’s soothing vocals and exquisite guitar work to save the song from being completely forgotten amongst a number of better offerings. While we won’t knock Band of Skulls for exploring different musical avenues on Himalayan, we’d be lying if we said it hit all 12 songs out of the park, too.

Takeaway: The mark of any good band these days is for it to show a steady stream of progress, and that’s certainly what Band of Skulls has done with each album it has released. At the same time, it’s hard to say which record is its best at this point. For some BOS fans, Himalayan will be it. After all, it’s pretty impressive that there is this much sound coming out of only three musicians — a real testament to how in sync Marsden, Richardson and Hayward can be with a little fine tuning thanks to Launay’s highly-coveted production skills. But for a burgeoning band that has yet to reach its ceiling, Himalayan is simply a step in the right direction.

~Josh Herwitt


Nickel CreekA Dotted Line

2.5 BamsTop Tracks:
“Rest of My Life”
“Destination”
“21st of May”

Album Highlights: The musicianship on this album is top-notch Americana bluegrass with a twist of progressive folk. This may seemed a bit too far-fetched for any band, but for this trio from Southern California it’s just second nature. Chris Thile is one of the best mandolin players in the scene, and matched with the brother-sister duo of Sara and Sean Watkins on fiddle and guitar, you’ve got yourself one hell of an acoustic trio. With the band’s sixth studio album and the first since 2005, they started right where they left off, playing deep emotional songs, yet they seems to keep their songs fun and lighthearted.

The first track on the album, “Rest of My Life,” showcases Sean Watkins on vocals, and he seems to have really come into his own during the hiatus. His vocals stand out on this album, and the songs truly come to life with his singing style. The Chris Thile penned folk song “You Don’t Know Whats’s Going On” is the standout track on the album, as it blends pop, folk, Americana, and all things string, which will surely be great in a live setting, as these guys have been known for outstanding live performances.

Album Lowlight: I felt the cover of Mother Mother’s “Hayloft” is an extremely odd choice for this band. Even though it features master drummer Matt Chamberlain laying down a very interesting beat, it falls into the “Why?” category to me. It definitely showcases the lighter side of this band, but I think they could have chosen a way better cover than this one.

Takeaway: Nickel Creek haven’t played together for seven years, and they’ve put out a relatively solid album with A Dotted Line, but I feel there is something lacking from this album. I fell in love with the young, gritty, and virtuoso playing that they had in their early days. They have matured through the years and now have cleaner sound, and that holds them back. These guys can outplay most of the musicians out there, but this album doesn’t fully show that. There are some gems, but overall this album lacks a lot of substance that used to be there.

~Pete Mauch


Cloud NothingsHere and Nowhere Else

4-BamsTop Tracks:
“Now Here In”
“I’m Not Part Of Me”
“Pattern Walks”

Album Highlights: Some of the best albums are the ones that start and finish strong, and that’s what we have here with Cloud Nothings’ fourth LP, not to say that everything in the middle of Here And Nowhere Else is sub par — far from it. Continuing the post-hardcore noise rock Cloud Nothings carved out with their excellent 2012 album Attack on Memory, the bookend tracks, along with the album’s penultimate track, contain the best moments and most strikingly embody the core of the new effort.

Most every song begins with classic punk propulsion, with guitar, bass and drums screaming along while frontman Dylan Baldi delivers songwriting that is bent toward indie sensibilities. Although, the best part of Cloud Nothings’ output comes on the latter third of the tracks, finally breaking from chorus/verse repetition to bridge out into massive, emotive crescendos.

“Now Here In,” the first track, masterfully executes the extended bridge crescendo in the song’s last minute, but right away the song establishes hyper-hooky garage punk that feels somewhat familiar. Channeling adolescent adrenaline, the song is confrontational yet withdrawn with lyrics, “I can’t feel your pain, and I feel alright by this…And now there’s nothing left to say.” “I’m Not Part Of Me,” the last song and album lead single, hits home on the theme of Here And Nowhere Else being a breakup record. “Not telling you everything I’m going through…” opens the doorway to the squashing repetition of “I’m not you, I’m not you, you’re a part of me, you’re a part of me.”

“Pattern Walks,” the second-to-last cut, bucks the typical songwriting form to deliver a thrilling song that’s double the length of all others, while being twice as intense. Dissonant noise extends out midway through until it drops into a thunderous, driving jam, and Baldi’s voice drowns in reverb as the song builds toward a dizzying plateau. Squarely against the concept of change, the extended second and third sections, bathing in noise and Cloud Nothing’s patented outro crescendo, mimic the idea of change by shifting the sections in a quick heartbeat. Change, as it happens, often happens quickly.

Album Lowlight: Low points are rare, but some of the early tracks feel a bit generic. “Quieter Today” almost sounds like a Japandroids song at first, but sure enough it proves to be an intricate cut. It contains a tad of hope with the line “I keep telling myself love is real,” and the positively-toned guitar-led outro keeps it from being anything close to a bad song. “Psychic Trauma” is one big confrontation, and the time signature changes keep this track appealing. The screaming, hardcore singing in this song, along with “Giving Into Seeing” and “No Thoughts,” might be a bit much for some — but hey, you gotta tickle the metal/punk/rage part of your brain sometimes, right?

Takeaway: The lyrics are bitter throughout, yet the overall instrumentals create a sound that is so freeing. The more you listen, the complexity of the angst-filled eight compositions begin to reveal themselves more and more. Mashing gritty aesthetics with mostly accessible singing and guitar work, it’s hard to pigeonhole Cloud Nothings, as they’ve created a record that is progressive, both pushing and blurring the boundaries of rock into new terrain.

~Mike Frash


JAMAICAVentura

3-BamsTop Tracks:
“Turbo”
“Ricky”
“2 on 2”

JAMAICA’s “Ventura” is the second album from the French duo off the independent label Control Freak. Boasting an all-star production team spearheaded by the Grammy award-winning audio engineer/producer Peter Franco (Daft Punk, Justice), the sophomore effort follows suit with contemporary Parisian pop protocol. Although not groundbreaking, the album expands upon their synth-laden rock formula, successfully giving fans of Phoenix, The Wombats and Hot Hot Heat something to satiate their appetites in 2014.

Album Highlights: A pure pop-driven album, each song’s composition is pretty straight forward. Simple sing-along verses, catchy hooks and guitar solos repeat. It’s been a while since there has been a danceable piano rock band in the scene, so it’s nice to hear an experienced key player represented in the group. The songs that are most successful on the album focus heavily on rhythm based sections, demonstrating that this band is more than just a manufactured group altered efficaciously in post-production. Clearly established in the stand out instrumental track “Turbo,” these guys have some serious shredding capability. Advanced musicianship easily bounces back and forth between sing-along pop gems “2 on 2” and “Hello Again,” and on more complicated arrangements like the piano driven “Ricky.”

Album Lowlight: In a way, the tracks that are most effective on the album also serve as a double-edged sword. Whereas they introduce us to a newer, more cutting-edge version of JAMAICA, they cast a negative shadow over the less superior attempts on the album. The isolated ballad “Rushmore”, for instance, is completely lost amidst the steady flow of guitar-driven pop rock. Absent of much creative ingenuity, the track comes across as a half assed effort at including some type of introspective reflection jam. Falling abruptly between two of the most riveting tracks on the album, the song is highly skip-able and ultimately a waste of recording space. Both this lackluster ballad and the band’s proclivity to “play it safe” with radio friendly cuts such as “Ferris Wheeler” and “Golden Times” are a bit disappointing, especially in relation to how far they creatively pushed themselves with the rest of the album.

Takeaway: Ventura has the potential of gaining positive traction in the mainstream market. Riding off of the disco-centric French domination of modern day pop music, JAMAICA can easily coattail the success of their genre’s counterparts into some radio friendly singles and airplay. The band makes a viable effort to expand upon their sound with this second album, however they leave the listener without a clear direction of where they intend to go with their musical advances. A good album to start the summer months off with, the band is definitely club-ready. Currently sticking to solely European dates, anticipate the duo to expand their tour horizons into US territory once the live show is polished enough to jump the pond.

~Molly Kish


Mac DeMarcoSalad Days

4.5-BamsTop Tracks:
“Salad Days”
“Passing Out The Pieces”
“Goodbye Weekend”

Album Highlights: Jangly, poppy guitar licks ring out as soon as you start-up this album. Mac DeMarco’s signature style is here, it’s still fresh, and in ways stronger than ever; it’s more pointed, focused, and accessible. His quirky guitar melodies are still cathartic and gently unsettling. The topics broached are spoken with a nonchalant attitude but deal with love, honesty in relationships, the insignificance of life and his resulting ambivalence, and the hectic solitude of being on the road. DeMarco is able to write in a way that allows the listener to easily empathize with him, as he turns his issues into ones that most of us have dealt with at some point. In “Chamber of Reflection”, it’s easy to really feel a sense of solitude. “Goodbye Weekend” sounds like a stoney Sunday afternoon coming to a soothing end. Every track has a personality of its own while holding up the overall ethos of the album.

Album Lowlight: The first few tracks start strong out of the gates but the album loses some steam after the seventh track, “Passing Out Pieces.” DeMarco has a tendency to be a tad self referential (“Far as I can tell she’s happy / Livin’ with her Maccy”). However, it doesn’t come off as overly pretentious, even leaning toward endearment. Also, it may seem a little strange taking sage advice from a 23-year-old, and some of the love songs may take on a concocted or forged feeling.

Takeaway: This is probably DeMarco’s most accessible work yet, so look out for this increasingly-rising young star. The guy is only 23 and is putting out his third fantastic album, so his future is very bright. This album is lighthearted enough for multiples listens in a row with its breezy beach vibe, but also easily induces deep thoughts with its many lyrical gems. Perfect for a Sunday morning or an afternoon drive.

~Steve Wandrey

Coachella 2013: What you should know before you go

Coachella 2013

So now that we have had time to let the 2013 Coachella line-up settle in, it’s pretty good, right? People were freakin’ out there for a minute. There has been a universal panning of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers performing as the closing headliner, even though they were a last hour addition. And rightfully so – there have been some popular sets that have shut down Coachella the past few years (Dre/Snoop, Kanye West, Gorillaz).

Goldenvoice clearly lost an expectation game with the reactions to the headliners this year, most notably due to the rumors swirling around Daft Punk and Rolling Stone. That didn’t stop them from selling out both weekends within a day, including weekend one within 15 minutes, so saying Goldenvoice lost anything is pure silliness.

Coachella 2013

Rock, particularly British Rock, leads the charge this year (Blur, The Stone Roses, the xx, New Order, Hot Chip, Grizzly Bear, James Blake, alt-J, Jessie Ware).

Conversely, Electronic Dance Music bro-house is gone compared to 2012. There is no major DJ act closing out a night on the main stage for the first time in years. There are no EDM acts on the top two lines of any day. It seems like a concerted effort was made by Goldenvoice to enact a change in direction, and it has been welcomed by many Coachella vets.

Subscribe to the Spotify Playlist Coachella 2013.
Coachella-2013Friday 2013

Friday should be a day to remember, as there are plenty of reunions and first time performances scheduled (see below). Lou Reed fits the “living legend” bill, Nick Cave’s supposedly on-hiatus Grinderman will appear for a one-off, and half of The Smiths songwriting partnership will be present with Johnny Marr performing. Bassnectar or Dog Blood (Skrillex & Boys Noize project) will close the Sahara Tent, and Justin Vernon’s new blues project The Shouting Matches will play one of their first shows. Hopefully Vernon sticks around for the weekends and makes some surprise appearances with the many acts he is associated with.

Friday Reunions

Damon Albarn’s Blur returning to the US for the first time since their reunion is a pretty big deal, though the American masses may not agree. Sure “Song 2” is a bit played out, but there are albums full of some of the best Brit-pop in decades. Songs like “Coffee and TV” and “She’s So High” beckon back to the 90s for many, but not all. Luckily this reunion is including Graham Coxon, a seminal part to the vocal arrangements of Blur. 


The co-headliner for Friday is also an English exported reunion, courtesy of the Manchester sound-makers The Stone Roses, fresh off a 15 year hiatus. Sure, New Order captured American fans a little more than the Roses, but they created a serious body of work for well over a decade starting in the mid-80s. John Squire’s guitar-work is something to marvel in as aspects of the Roses’ sound would be borrowed by some serious US acts like the Pixies. Having released an album last year, the Coachella masses should plan to hear these tracks coupled with hits like, “I Wanna Be Adored.”


Jurassic 5 is a name more fans will recognize over the one-two combo of Blur and the Roses. After a 6 year break, the LA hip-hop collective are back on the circuit with a banner set. The question will be if all the original members show up, as many of the artists have branched off to become successful solo artists; mainly Cut Chemist, Chali 2na and Nu-Mark. While the landscape of hip-hop has shifted a bit since their departure, tracks like “Quality Control” and “Concrete Schoolyard” will whip the crowd into a frenzy as equally as Danny Brown.

UPDATE – Jurassic 5 doesn’t know “How far” reunion can go.

Possible Friday Collaborations
Johnny Marr with Modest Mouse
Justin Vernon with Poliça

Friday Firsts (First shows ever/First in the US)

How To Destroy Angels – Trent, Marqueen, and Atticus will debut their newest project on Friday, and boy is it gonna be something. As many miss Nine Inch Nails, this band is pretty damned close in sound and personnel, and their two released EPs show great strength and should be an awesome early evening set in the warm desert winds. Look for their upcoming LP, and likely national tour. 


TNGHT – The duo that is Hudson Mohawke and Lunice has almost single handedly birthed the trap music sub-genre that is permeating bass music and hip-hop alike. Their debut EP is so fresh and hot, I needed an oven mitt to flip the vinyl. Having only played a show or two in NYC, this will be the marquee US debut of this Canadian meets Scottish production duo. The kids are gonna be losing their shit for this set, as trap is all the rage on the dance floor. Second in command to this movement is Baauer, who is featured this year as well. Will Kanye make an odd appearance on stage as he did in New York?


Earl Sweatshirt – Years in the making, and the anticipation is still sky high for Thebe’s live, full set premier. Expect massive crowds for this Odd Future cast-away, as his talent is undeniable, his story unbelievable and his allure is unquenchable. This set has lots of guest potential, as his OFWGKTA crew will likely be in tow for support both morally and lyrically. The Earl mixtape from a few years ago is such an impressive collection of explicit, yet Rhodes smart tunes that many fans are dying to hear them first hand from the man himself. Will Flying Lotus don his Captain Murphy cape and back Earl on the massive track “Between Friends?” Will Syd tha Kid be on the decks and buttons? 

Best Friday “Bottom-Liners”

Purity Ring’s sound is as future-pop as it gets, and the light-show matches the duo’s vibe and timing. Each light change is controlled by percussionist & beat-maker Corin Roddick’s drum strikes. Hopefully they are given a night tent set so they can show what they’ve got.

Jamie xx (Jamie Smith) is the chief producer, percussionist and DJ for The xx (performing Saturday), and he’s already well known for his progressive sound and excellent remixes.

•The lo-fi dream-pop from Trevor Powers’ Youth Lagoon will be a chill way to get started Friday.

Beardyman uses live sounds to make instant dance grooves, and it’s impressive how good he is at his niche skill.

Lord Huron is an indie-folk rock group on the rise. Their 2012 record Lonesome Dreams was highly underrated.

Palma Violets are a buzzy British psych-rock group that wil likely have a big year. Catch them early when most people haven’t arrived yet.

Coachella-2013Saturday 2013
Saturday is stacked: Phoenix, the xx, The Postal Service, Sigur Rós, New Order, Hot Chip, Grizzly Bear. If you are as excited as we are about the top two lines for Saturday, be ready to make tough decisions. There will be conflict. This doesn’t even include Yeasayer, Franz Ferdinand or Spiritualized into the conflict factor. Saturday is fucking stacked. It appears Knife Party will close the Sahara, and Simian Mobile Disco, Major Lazer & Richie Hawtin should deliver top notch electronic sets. Saturday also features FOALS, Ben Howard, Danny Brown, Janelle Monáe, Wild Nothing, El-P, & Booka Shade.

Saturday Reunions

The banner reunion on Saturday is squarely held by The Postal Service, the exciting collaboration of Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello. Their first announced show since 2005 came as a surprise to most music junkies as mumblings of The Smiths, as always, took first prize in the reunion hype category. Their upbeat electro-pop sound is pretty perfect for a sunset Saturday show, maybe warming up the majority to the dance-rock stylings of Phoenix later that night. Will Jenny Lewis make an appearance to sing as she did many times in their touring days a decade ago?


Many readers and attendees may not be familiar with The Make-Up, and that’s cool, but this soul-garage-politico-punk act is a force to see. The organ driven sound is highly infectious, and their live show has been compared to a punk rock gospel. Having only recently regrouped to play ATP, persuaded by Les Savvy Fav, this will be their marquee return, similar to Refused last year. Maybe Dischord co-owner Ian McKaye will accompany his labelmates for a track.


Violent Femmes slowly faded off the radar about 5 years ago as Gordon Gano and Brian Ritchie were tangled in royalty lawsuits stemming from the sale of “Blister in the Sun” to Wendy’s. It now appears the hatchet has been buried and they are returning to what they have been at for a couple of decades, making kitschy alternative rock. Their folk-driven sound is unmistakably likable, and devastatingly difficult to not sing along to. “Gone Daddy Gone” and “Add it Up” will be heard throughout the polo fields in the afternoon on Saturday. Will we get some surprise members to their infamous Horns of Dilemma? 


Toss The Descendents in the “sort-of reunion” column, but don’t diminish their key addition to the quintessential Southern California festival lineup. Birthed in Manhattan Beach in the late 70s, this seminal punk band that pioneered the skate, even pop-punk sound is still playing shows when singer Milo Aukerman can fit it between his demanding job as a biologist. Surely, the majority of attendees will recognize the Buddy Holly-glasses wearing frontman and his cartoonish caricature. They’ve been back at it a few years now, but mainly at small punk festivals, not the 80,000-size crowd that will be in attendance. Milo Goes to College is a must in your pre-fest rotation.

Possible collaborations:
Danny Brown & El-P
Danny Brown & Purity Ring
Ian McKaye with The Descendents

Saturday “Firsts:” (First shows ever/First in the US)

Savages – London’s all-female post-punk band have been building lots of buzz and lots of comparisons as they bring a fresh act to the music landscape this year. It’s hard to not hear Siouxsie and Banshees and the infectious howl of Karen O at first listen, but there’s a lot more going on here. Coachella will be their first trip across the ‘Pond’ and they will be hitting the road hard before, after and in the middle of the festival. 

Best Saturday “Bottom-Liners”

Birdy Nam Nam is a four man turntabilist crew from France, and their sound champions a mix of jazz, funk & downtempo. Asses will be shaking.

Action Bronson is fire breathin’ fat fuck who spits mostly about food, and he does it damn well over sick beats. All true.

•Bummed about no Warpaint? Get your girl power on early with Savages (check out the preview above).

•Singer-songwriter Kurt Vile made a delicious record with Smoke Ring For My Halo in 2011, and he’s got a new LP lined up for later this year. Preview his new songs in April.

•If you like Hot Chip, check out The 2 Bears, which is a DJ collaboration between Hot Chip’s Joe Goddard and producer Raf Rundell. Think Hot Chip’s tone with more dancing and less instruments.

Coachella-2013Sunday 2013

Sunday has the “dreaded” Red Hot Chili Peppers headlining, but Wu-Tang will get more love. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and RHCP may create the most empty scene on the main stage ever. Cool dads will profit. On the other side of the field Pretty Lights and Eric Prydz will be spilling ragers outside of the Sahara Tent parameter. If there is a god Tame Impala will get a sunset slot. Where will the house crew consisting of Julio Bashmore, Jamie Jones, Loco Dice, Maya Jane Coles, etc. end up? Sunday has a deep undercard with Grimes, the Faint, Father John Misty, Tanlines, Jessie Ware, Disclosure, Cloud Nothings & Thee Oh Sees.

Sunday Reunions

Wu Tang Clan’s inclusion this year isn’t so much a reunion, but a re-introduction. After talk of a new album around 2011 went quiet, fueled by reserved speculation by some members, it appears this new recording will see the light of day this year, and Coachella will likely mark the beginning of a busy year for RZA, GZA, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, U-God, and Master Killah.

Possible Collaborations:
Jessie Ware live with Disclosure
Justin Vernon with James Blake

Sunday “Firsts:” (First shows ever/First in the US)

Excision – Many EDM artists are creating bigger, brighter and blinkier stages on the road and festival circuit, and Canadian brostep artist Excision is the next to toss his hat into the ring. Excision presents the Executioner will be making it’s big stage debut at Coachella after a few US dates. It promises to be loud, flashing and full of pre-pubescent kids losing their collective minds. 

La Roux – Even though the synth-pop princess and her producer aren’t a new act to the US or even Coachella, their cancellation from last year is being rectified with a slot in 2013. Look for some new material from this act in the upcoming year after a hiccup in the previous.

Best Sunday “Bottom-Liners:”

•Zachary Cole Smith from Beach Fossils started DIIV (originally “Dive” until they were sued) as a solo project, and their dreamy, building indie songs will put a smile on your face.

Little Green Cars offers five-part harmony anthems in the vein of Local Natives and First Aid Kit.

•The electro-pop group White Arrows put on a great show, and their set can get pleasantly psychedelic and heady at times.

Wild Belle is a prime candidate to be a 2013 breakout group, and their set at Treasure Island Music Festival went over well last October. Elliot and Natalie Bergman’s debut LP will arrive in March.

Subscribe to the Spotify Playlist Coachella 2013.

Coachella 2013

Coachella 2013: Predictions, wishes & rumors vs. reality

Coachella 2013By Mike Frash //

With a casual tweet, festival season is about to begin. Anticipation over the imminent 2013 Coachella lineup is building, and recent history shows the festival lineup could come this week.

Do you have your accommodations set? Hopefully your ticket is taken care of, because Coachella 2013 could already be close to sold out.

Presale ticketing for this year’s Coachella sold out within hours of going on sale both weekends last May, and it was the first time pre-sale sold out in such a quick fashion. The Coachella 2012 general on-sale sold out within an hour for both weekends a year ago, and if you weren’t ninja-quick at getting into the waiting room, you were shit out of luck. Take all this into account, and there might be a very limited amount of tickets available after the 2013 lineup drops. Is it possible Coachella 2013 is completely sold out from presale ticketing?

Coachella

Headliners: Reality vs. Rumors
The headliner rumors arrived early this year, with speculation over The Rolling Stones and Daft Punk dominating the conversation. At this point The Rolling Stones seems like the more likely of the two to be headlining, even though they haven’t played a whole lot of festivals since Altamont in 1969. Besides, Coachella rumors about Daft Punk and David Bowie playing Coachella are a yearly running gag at this point — we’ll believe it when we see it. Bowie even has a confirmed album coming out in the spring, but his bandmates are saying Ziggy has ruled out performing live … forever.

Reunions are a big part of Coachella’s top-notch lineups, and last year saw the regrouping of At The Drive-In, Pulp and Refused. This year it looks like The Postal Service and My Bloody Valentine could happen. Blur would also make sense since they reunited at the Olympics last year. Black Sabbath was reportedly on board to headline last year until they had to pull out at the last moment, and they have a new album coming out in June. Outkast would be the perfect hip-hop headliner, but that seems unlikely with Big Boi pushing his new LP. Wu-Tang Clan seems like the most likely rap act to play the main stage, but are they big enough to headline one of the three days each weekend?

Last year saw The Black Keys headline Friday along with Swedish House Mafia, and most people thought The Black Keys weren’t worthy of headliner status. But Coachella is good at king-making groups and artists, elevating them to the top level simply by making them headliners. Goldenvoice could repeat last year’s Friday concept by crowning Phoenix, The xx or Mumford and Sons headliners while putting deadmau5 on the top line to satiate the EDM masses.

Reality (likely headliners):
The Rolling Stones, The Postal Service, deadmau5, My Bloody Valentine, Black Sabbath, Pearl Jam, Phoenix, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Wu Tang Clan, No Doubt, Mumford & Sons, The xx

Rumors (probable wishlist-fiction):
Daft Punk, Outkast, David Bowie, Nine Inch Nails (How to Destroy Angels is likely)

Artists to see before they get big:
Last year, Frank Ocean, Kendrick Lamar, Death Grips, Azealia Banks, First Aid Kit, and lots of other artists performed at Coachella before getting exponentially bigger by the end of 2012. Possible contenders for 2013 include Angel Haze, AlunaGeorge, FIDLAR, Foxygen, Wilde Belle, & Earl Sweatshirt, although the hype for Earl is already tremendously loud.

Coachella

Best EDM acts most likely to not perform in the Sahara Tent:
• deadmau5
• Bassnectar
• Tiesto
• Simian Mobile Disco
• Andy Stott
• Nicolas Jaar
• Dan Deacon
• John Talabot
• Disclosure
• Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs

Artists most likely to return for second consecutive year:
Kendrick Lamar and Dawes, because Dawes somehow plays every festival.

Headlines we’d like to see:
“Frank Ocean, Tyler The Creator join Earl Sweatshirt’s first solo set”
“Progressive-house trend baffles Sahara tent candy-kids”
“Thom Yorke, Bradford Cox & Trent Rezner play a combined 9 sets each weekend”
“Katie Perry attends Coachella again, never considered for performing duties.”

Plausible Acts We’d Like to See:
Alabama Shakes
alt-J
AlunaGeorge
Andy Stott
Angel Haze
Animal Collective
Atlas Sound
Atoms for Peace
Bassnectar
Bat for Lashes
Beach House
Ben Howard
Big Boi
Bjork
Black Sabbath
Blur
Cloud Nothings
Chromatics
Crystal Castles
CHVRCHES
Dan Deacon
Divine Fits
Disclosure
Die Antwoord
Django Django
Ducktails
Earl Sweatshirt
Father John Misty
Fiona Apple
Frightened Rabbit
Grimes
Grizzly Bear (Added 1.17.13)
Haim
Hot Chip
How to Dress Well
James Blake
Jamie Lidell
Japandroids
Jessie Ware
John Talabot
Jim James
Kendrick Lamar
Kishi Bashi
Killer Mike
Local Natives
New Order
Nicolas Jaar
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Major Lazer
Matthew Dear
Mumford & Sons
Passion Pit
Penguin Prison
Phoenix
Pretty Lights
Sigur Ros
Skrillex
Spiritualized
Stars
STRFCKR
Tame Impala
The Faint
The Joy Formidable
The Knife
The Postal Service
The Rolling Stones
The Walkmen
The xx
Toro Y Moi
TNGHT
Ty Segall
Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Vampire Weekend
Warpaint
Wavves
Wild Belle
Wild Nothing
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Yeasayer
Yo la Tengo
!!!

Coachella

Best tracks of 2012

Some of our favorite tracks in 2012 are from The Lumineers, Tame Impala, Japandroids, Father John Misty, & Electric Guest.

The Lumineers, Tame Impala, Japandroids, Father John Misty, & Electric Guest created classic songs in 2012.

Showbams contributors have listed their favorite tracks of the year.
What were your favorite songs in 2012? Leave a comment below.

View our Best Shows of 2012
View our Best Albums of 2012


Mike Frash San Francisco @MikeFrash
Subscribe to Mike’s “Best Tracks of 2012” Playlist on Spotify.

1. Sun Kil Moon “Among the Leaves”

When a song get’s it’s 50th play and just gets better, you know you’ve found something special. This song showcases Mark Kozelek’s voice and songwriting perfectly, and is so good he named the album after it. With every spin the descriptive lyrics evolve in the mind of listener. Kozelek tells the tale of a girl he sees around town and wants to help. And when the wind instruments kick in, the song takes off and flies.

2. Tame Impala“Feels Like We Only Go Backwards”

This track might me the most simple song from Lonerism, but it is also the most memorable. It’s plenty trippy like the rest of the album, and it’s also the most catchy song – the one that’s still bouncing around your head a day later. “It feels like we only go backwards, but every part of me says go ahead.” This refrain so basic yet effective, and Kevin Parker’s familiar vocals blend seamlessly into Tame Impala’s psychedelic fuzz rock.

3. Passion Pit“It’s Not My Fault, I’m Happy”

Once Michael Angelakos’s bi-polar disorder disorder and attempted suicides were made public, this album and track worked on a higher level. It may be the most biographical song on Gossamer (that says a lot), and the penultimate track steps into anthem territory with confessional optimism. It’s like Michael is telling himself, repeating over and over, that he’s going to make it. Knowing the context of the song makes it more effective, but the biographical background is not needed to know this song is great.

4. Japandroids“Fire’s Highway”
5. Frank Ocean“Pyramids”
6. The xx“Angels”
7. John Talabot“Destiny” feat. Pional
8. Fiona Apple“Every Single Night”
9. Tanlines“Brothers”
10.House“Kindness”

Honorable Mention:
Killer Mike – “Reagan”
The Presets – “Fall”
Wild Nothing – “Paradise”


Pete Mauch Los Angeles @PeteMauch

1. Father John Misty“Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings”

2. Neil Young“Walk Like a Giant”

3. Trey Anastasio“Scabbard”

4. Tame Impala “Apocalypse Dreams”
5. Neil Young“Ramada Inn”
6. Kendrick Lamar“Swimming Pools”
7. Alabama Shakes“Hold on”
8. Lumineers“Ho Hey”
9. Gary Clark Jr.“Numb”
10.Jack White“Freedom at 21”


Molly Kish San Francisco @MollyKish

1. Lumineers “Ho Hey”

Due to the incredible commercial success of the Lumineers self-titled debut, you couldn’t escape this song in 2012. Infectiously simple both in lyrics and structure, this song’s basic pop composition grabs it’s audience’s attention immediately and has you singing along from the first listen. An instant crowd pleaser and multi-format radio hit, I still have yet to change the dial.

2. Azealia Banks“212”

A Hard hitting hip hop club hit, this song’s dirty beat and even filthier flow is an immediate dance party call to arms. Bursting onto the scene with this track produced by Lazy J, Azaelia Banks jumped into the female rap game spitting fire. Incorporating the repetitive use of the word cunt into a chorus and making it contagiously catchy and not crude: genius.

3. The Presets“Youth in Trouble”

The Presets came back to the EDM scene after a four year hiatus and did so with authority. Starting off one of this year’s best dance albums, this standout track is a club banger. With its extreme builds, relentless bass line and scream along party lyrics, the Presets win my “drop of the year” award in this bar setting track.

4. Electric Guest“This Head I Hold”
5. Fiona Apple“Hot Knife”
6. The xx“Reunion”
7. Kishi Bashi“Bright Whites”
8. Dr. John“Locked Down”
9. Yeasayer“Reagan’s Skeleton”
10.Bloc Party“Octopus”

Honorable Mentions
Passion Pit“I’ll be Alright”


Kevin Raos San Francisco @kevinraos

1. Tame Impala“Apocalypse Dreams”

Best track on the best album of the year. The more I listen to this album the more my opinion of it morphs and shifts. That’s one of the best things about an album like this – you hear something new every time you listen.

2. Electric Guest“This Head I Hold”

This song sounds like it could have been written 50 years ago. Classic sound, classic song. One of my favorites of the year.

3. Lana Del Rey“Born to Die”

I put this in my top 3 simply because I want to comment about my love/hate fascination with Lana Del Rey. Lana Del Rey’s fragile demeanor and futile resistance towards fame make her one of the most interesting artist of 2012. I’m not a giant fan of her music as a whole, but I LOVE this song.

4. alt-J “Fitzpleasure”
5. Stepdad“My Leather, My Fur, My Nails”
6. Django Django“Default”
7. Passion Pit“Carried Away”
8. Memory Tapes“Thru the Field”
9. Trey Anastasio“Scabbard”
10.Matthew Dear“Her Fantasy”


Eric Shaden San Francisco @3ricShaden

1. Major Lazer feat. Amber of Dirty Projectors“Get Free”

2. Kendrick Lamar“Swimming Pools (Drank)”

3. Passion Pit “Constant Conversations”

4. MIA“Bad Girls”
5. Santigold“Disparate Youth”
6. Hot Chip“Motion Sickness”
7. Purity Ring“Lofticries”
8. Frank Ocean“Thinkin Bout You”
9. Chairlift“Sidewalk Safari”
10.RAC feat. Penguin Prison“Hollywood”


Kevin Quandt San Francisco @KJQuandt

1. TNGHT“Higher Ground”

The duo of Hudson Mohawke and Lunice brought their unique brands of production into one insanely big release this year. This highlight track, among others, features chopped vocals, a plethora of hand-clapping and a massive bass tuba beat that has been destroying dance floors the better part of 2012. Higher Ground begs to be properly rhymed over, but in the meantime the production is the shining light of the year.

2. Pond“Eye Pattern Blindness”

What an epic rock track these Aussies churned out this year. Taking notes from Floyd and Zeppelin equally have helped these lads write and perform a rock masterpiece full of twist and turns, not to mention it clocks in at a rare 6 minutes. Syd Barrett is smiling down from above.

3. Japandroids“House That Heaven Built”

From the distorted wall of guitar to the infectious chorus, epitomizing the sound of Brian King and David Prowse, this track has angst and energy slathered all over it. These guys don’t write typical rock and roll songs, and it is refreshing to see their hard work paying off in dividends. A true rock gem for the ages.

4. Father John Misty“Hollywood Cemetery Forever Sings”
5. The Allah-Las“Tell Me What’s on Your Mind”
6. How to Destroy Angels “Keep it Together”
7. Cloud Nothings“Wasted Days”
8. Jack White“Love Interruption”
9. Clark“Secret”
10.Woods“Size Meets Sound”

Honorable Mentions:
Liars – “No. 1 Against the Rush”
Thee Oh Sees – “Lupine Dominus”
Chromatics – “Kill For Love”


Sean Little San Francisco @splittle

1. Nikki & The Dove“Mother Protect” (Goldroom Remix)

Nikki & The Dove are great as is, but what Goldroom does with this track is reinvent it in a way that’s thoughtful and massive all at once. It’s one of those rare remixes that you hear after the original, and never listen to the original again. It’s that good. Goldroom has really blown up over the last year, touring the globe and this is the track that arguably started it all as it was supported by Aeroplane and The Magician among others giving it, and him, serious credibility. Keep him on your radar and expect more of this for a long time to come.

2. Bicep“Vision of Love”

This is stripped down, essential house. This track could be thrown into any 90’s house set and not skip a beat, which is a testament to Bicep and how they hone their craft. Two dudes from Ireland that just seem to constantly pump out hits and push the party and boundaries. This is the song that shows less can be more, and stripped down production can have a big impact especially when compared with many of today’s overproduced tracks. When the pianos come back in at 3:39 it’s all over.

3. Moonlight Matters“Come For Me” (Might Mouse Remix)

This is huge. It’s just euphoria in a song. I’ve ended more than a few sets with this and hands are in the air, drinks are being tossed around and people are just losing their shit. Don’t sleep on this stellar remix as many people have and it’s a shame. Words don’t do it just so just listen and wait for it to kick in.

4. Waze & Odyssey“Love that (Burns Hot Enough)”
5. ColeCo“Rickey Smiley”
6. Moon Boots“Off My Mind”
7. Presets“Ghosts”
8. Van She“Jamaica”
9. Lykke Li – “I Follow Rivers” (The Magician Remix)
10.Chris Malinchak“The Fourth”

PHOTOS: FYF Fest 2012

FYF Fest //
LA State Historic Park – Los Angeles
September 1st-2nd, 2012 //

We hit FYF Fest in LA last weekend to cover the two-day music festival for our very first time. With headliners Refused, M83 and Beirut leading the way, the FYF lineup also featured sets from James Blake, Yeasayer, Desaparecidos, Sleigh Bells, Simian Mobile Disco, Dinosaur Jr., Warpaint, Twin Shadow, Cursive, Liars, Chromatics, HEALTH, Fucked Up, Future Islands, Tycho, Purity Ring, Baroness, Gold Panda, Aesop Rock, Cloud Nothings, Father John Misty, Dâm-Funk, Wild Nothing, The Allah Las and many more.

You can view the full gallery here on our Facebook page, and you can also check out our favorite sets from the fest here. All photos by Pete Mauch.

FYF Fest 2012 - Aesop Rock

FYF Fest 2012 - Warpaint

FYF Fest 2012 - Yeasayer

FYF Fest 2012 - Chromatics

FYF Fest 2012 - AA-BONDY

FYF Fest 2012 - Nicolas Jaar

FYF Fest 2012 - Dinosaur Jr.

FYF Fest 2012 - Dinosaur Jr.

FYF Fest 2012 - Dinosaur Jr.

FYF Fest 2012

FYF Fest 2012 - Twin Shadow

FYF Fest 2012 - Chairlift

FYF Fest 2012

Best sets from FYF Fest 2012

By Mike Frash //

FYF Fest //
LA State Historic Park – Los Angeles
September 1st-2nd, 2012 //

The location for FYF Fest reinforces some of LA’s ugliest stereotypes. LA State Historic Park has a feeling somewhere between industrial and suburban LA, with billboards, freeways and metro trains ever present. You know you are in Los Angeles.

But the stages are close to each other so it’s easy to get back and forth, and there was plenty of variety to keep full blown 80’s nostalgia from taking over. Here are the five shows that left the strongest impression with me.

MUST-SEE SHOWS

Atlas Sound ~ Sunday 6:10 Hill St. Stage

Bradford Cox is a remarkable solo artist. The frontman from Deerhunter builds songs by looping & layering live sounds from his guitar and mouth with a variety of foot petals. The complexity and layered depth of his songs cannot be overstated – and it’s easy to drift off with Bradford as he extends every song to sonic peaks and back again. This show mirrored the format of the Atlas Sound & Deerhunter albums, variating between songs that feature a psychedelic wall-of-sound with a morose sense of sadness & death with seemingly upbeat low-fi pop that contrasts with clean acoustic guitar. ‘Mona Lisa’ was a stand-out song live, delivering an emotional buildup that peaked with ambient loops that eventually led back into the peaceful refrain. In stark contrast to the overall sad-yet-freeing tone of the music is Bradford himself – he took five minutes before the encore to apologize to his friend for spitting on him for saying something misogynist, declaring that he will always spit on misogynists, added ‘Fuck ya I’m gay’ and led the enthusiastic crowd in a “Thank You Mark” chant, for his friend Mark that picked up his gear from across town. Bradford could talk about the weather and it would be captivating.

Chromatics ~ Saturday 6:35 Spring Street Stage

The Saturday sunset show on the Spring St. stage showcased the first upbeat & authentic dance music (sorry John Maus). The sound of the group lead by Ruth Radelet translates well in a live setting, heavily leaning to the crisp and infectiously danceable side of the coin. Radelet has a stage presence that is as hypnotic as her voice, which blends nicely with grooves that invoke LCD Soundsystem or Hot Chip no matter how hard you try to resist making the comparison. One of the set’s many highlights was ‘Kill for Love,’ which had most in attendance moving in some way, which is quite an accomplishment at FYF Fest. Radelet nonchalantly followed the song by saying “that song was about love’ in a tone that would make April from ‘Parks & Recreation’ proud. Chromatics finished the set with Neil Young’s “Into The Black”, which suits them nicely. It felt like it was just taking off when it ended, and maybe they were up against the (tick of the) clock. They are an act that deserves a full set if possible.

Nicolas Jaar ~ Sunday 8:15 The Tent

Nicolas Jaar has a unique thing going on. Part of it is that he sets his own rules, keeping most of his beats under 100 beats per minute. It’s a weird show in a very good way. The first 8 minutes built ambient sounds coming from the guitarist and saxophonist in his band that ever so slowly built into a beat. Another part is he adds a healthy dose of real emotion that comes from his live vocals. This stands in stark contrast to the button pushing emotion coming from most hooks in today’s mainstream EDM sound. Jaar is mixing, adding vocal effects, matching beats and tweaking pitches all in real time. The improvisational aspects to the building of sounds helps make the moment feel special, like anything can happen. Jaar consistently innovates and surprises with the sounds he coordinates, dropping bass back in off tempo at non standard times. It all adds up to a mind-expanding experience that feels new and exciting.

Tanlines ~ Saturday 7:35 The Tent

Tanlines has quickly shown the professional ability to adapt to their audience and live music situations. Percussionist Jesse Johen & guitarist/vocalist Eric Emm abandoned a typical song-based format and proceeded to put on an upbeat dance show. They would begin a song with a new beat, break it down and back into one of their catchy songs from their debut LP ‘Brothers,’ essentially remixing their own songs. They’ve been touring since the beginning of the year, and as a touring act they clearly aren’t lazy. They’ve evolved their show while playing to their time slot and setting perfectly in this case. “We heard there was a comedy slash DJ tent, so we told them to put us there.” That classification actually fit them perfectly for this festival performance, as Jesse’s banter can be a constant source of chuckles.

The Faint ~ Sunday 10:55 Spring Street Stage

This was the dance show of the weekend and a great time. The light show, the bass turned to 11, & a synth-heavy setlist combined to keep asses shaking and hands up. This was my first time seeing them live, and I hope it won’t be the last because I did not get enough. The Faint proved to be an ideal way to finish FYF 2012.

SETS OF NOTE: SATURDAY

John Maus – The Tent: 2:40

This guy has a stage presence that reminds me of Charles Manson. I like his music to a certain degree, but his live show is weird in a bizarre sense. He started his show by hitting himself over the head in a fit of rage. He looked angry and possessed, a persona that surely works better in a dark setting with plenty of supportive lighting.

Cloud Nothings – Spring St. Stage: 4:15

Founder & lead singer songwriter Dylan Baldi and the rest of the group that comprises Cloud Nothings deliver a live sound that is true to their albums and they do it well. It seems like you shouldn’t expect many surprises at their shows, but the sound was cleaner than I expected.

Chairlift – Main Stage: 4:35

Chairlift put on a great show until the last song of their set, when their best song “I Belong in Your Arms” turned into a bit of a train wreck. Caroline Polachek stopped the band after a minute, saying they wanted to do it right for us. After a long pause, the song started again, but someone clearly missed their mark again as a long, seemingly unintended instrumental interluded happened between verses. You could almost tell Caroline wanted to stop it again but she couldn’t as this is a festival. She left the stage quickly before the last notes without saying a thing, then her creative partner Patrick Wimberly awkwardly said goodbye.

James Blake – Spring St. Stage 7:50

James Blake’s post-dubstep subtleties were overshadowed by Tanlines’ driving bass next door in the tent, but Mr. Blake is a legitimate artist that deserves serious attention. Right at a quiet moment during the minimalist auto-tune dominated “Lindisfarne I,” one concert goer loudly inquired “T-Pane???” to many people’s amusement.

Purity Ring – Hill St. Stage: 8:25

The take-away from a live Purity Ring show is that the music is pretty unique in it’s form and glitchy live vocals, and that they have a fitting, custom made light show that is controlled by beat & A/V genius Corin Roddick’s live percussion elements. Megan James’ presence blends into cocoon-light show aesthetic, and her confident, angelic voice is liberally sampled by Roddick’s MIDI pad. See this show before Purity Ring is playing bigger venues.

M83 – Main Stage: 9:25

Anthony Gonzalez played composer for most the night, allowing Morgan Kibby and his younger brother Yann Gonzalez to get most of the spotlight. The M83 show has clearly evolved since it started touring to support “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming” in 2011. Gonzalez did not rely heavily on the new album, extending ‘We Own the Sky,’ ‘Coleurs’ & many other early tracks. While the volume level was lacking toward the back of the audience, the setlist was great and it’s obvious they are experimenting with transitions and song extensions to a positive effect.

SETS OF NOTE: SUNDAY

Wild Nothing – Hill St. Stage: 2:45
They sounded real nice from the other side of the fence, where I was waiting patiently in the security line. The VIP option suddenly seemed worth while. Probably was a very nice show.

Givers – Main Stage: 3:05

These kids are so full of positive energy you feel like they’re Aussies or something. This was a fun way to get Sunday kicked off.

Father John Misty – Hill St. Stage: 2:45

This man was destined to be a frontman. It’s hard to believe he was the drummer for Fleet Foxes’s first two album. Joshua Tillman knows how to let his freak flag fly, showing off moves that would impress the lizard king himself.

Tiger & Woods – The Tent: 4:20

The duo’s disco grooves got the Tent popin’ early. The dj duo, who won’t reveal their identities to the general public, wear matching outfits onstage and smoke cigarettes at the same time. How cute. The bottom line is they craft super catchy beats that could host an array of samples and overlays, but they keep it simple with house and techno elements.

Glass Candy – The Tent: 7PM

This no wave threesome fronted by Ida No put on a fun, upbeat set. I’d like to see them again.

Yeasayer – Main Stage: 9:10