Moby might think he’s old, but his 15th and newest album doesn’t sound it at Apogee Studio

MobyPhotos by Brian Feinzimer // Written by Josh Herwitt //

Moby //
Apogee Studio – Santa Monica, CA
March 26th, 2018 //

When Richard Melville Hall released his fifth album Play in 1999, probably much to many’s surprise now, it wasn’t an immediate success. Hall, after all, had hit a bit of a rough patch a few years earlier with his fourth LP Animal Rights, which saw him venturing into punk rock and straying far away from the eclecticism that delivered critical acclaim for its predecessor Everything Is Wrong in 1995.

But Play eventually propelled Hall — or “Moby” as his parents called him due to an ancestral tie to Moby Dick author Herman Melville — to mainstream status like his previous records had never before. Boasting eight singles (yes, you read that right) and selling more than 12 million copies worldwide at a point when music fans were still purchasing CDs, it became the biggest-selling electronica album of all time. Rolling Stone, in fact, has included Play as one of its 500 greatest albums on two different occasions. I don’t know about you, but it’s a masterful piece of work that immediately transports me back to the late 90’s, to a time when groove-oriented electronic music was actually starting to be considered “cool.”

Employing everything from early blues, African-American folk music and gospel to hip-hop, disco and techno on Play, Moby created sounds that our ears had never heard before. Today, he stands as one of electronic music’s, if not simply music’s, most important figures, having worked with David Bowie, Daft Punk, Brian Eno, Pet Shop Boys, Britney Spears, New Order, Public Enemy, Guns N’ Roses, Metallica and Soundgarden over a career that has spanned 40 years to date.

That’s a long time for anyone to be making music, but at the age of 52, Moby hasn’t let it catch up to him. Part of that could be related to his diet (he has been vegan for about three decades now), leaving his longtime home of New York City for sunny Los Angeles back in 2010 and an unwillingness to tour extensively anymore, though his latest studio material doesn’t offer any evidence that he has lost the ability to craft a well-conceived/produced song either.

Moby

On Monday night in Santa Monica, Hall took the stage for KCRW’s Apogee Sessions series in support of his 15th full length Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt, which arrived via Mute earlier this month. The record’s title serves as just another reminder of Moby’s passion for the late Kurt Vonnegut’s work, referencing Billy Pilgrim’s epitaph in Slaughterhouse-Five, but he isn’t the only literary influence who shines through on the 12-track album. The second single “Mere Anarchy” from Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt, in fact, was inspired by a quote from Irish poet W. B. Yeats, someone Moby has been a fan of for quite a while and even more in these chaotic, uncertain times under the Trump administration (as you can see from his Instagram account here, he is also very politically outspoken).

Still, despite all of the negativity that’s out there in the world at the moment, Moby appears to be in a relatively happy place on a personal level. He has been sober for about four years after being a self-proclaimed alcoholic and has owned his vegan restaurant Little Pine in LA’s ultra trendy Silver Lake neighborhood since 2015. And for the past two years, he has also found the time to organize his own Circle V festival as a way to celebrate music, vegan food and animal rights, the latter of which being another cause that Hall has dedicated his life to from an early age. Oh, and did we mention that he had a collaborative LP with The Void Pacific Choir come out last year? When you stack them all up, it’s pretty incredible to see Moby juggling so many projects simultaneously and juggling them all well (props to his manager, that’s for sure).

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.

Moby is no doubt a quirky guy. He’s not too insecure to make fun of himself, call some of his music “bad” or say what’s on his mind. Having been his friend for more than 25 years, KCRW Music Director Jason Bentley most certainly knew this, but as he traded questions for answers midway through his performance at Apogee Studio, you could tell even Bentley was surprised by how candid Moby was. The small crowd, of course, couldn’t help but laugh, as Moby made a point of telling us that he’s “old” and later on how the music video for his single “We Are All Made of Stars” was a $1 million disaster that never saw the light of day after being played only once on MTV. But as he juxtaposed the trip-hop that permeates throughout his newest album against the more old-school, ambient vibes of his past work, it was Moby who proved that his star, almost 20 years after Play dropped, continues to burn bright in 2018.

Setlist:
The Ceremony of Innocence
Falling Rain and Light
Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?
Porcelain
Like a Motherless Child
This Wild Darkness
The Tired and the Hurt
Extreme Ways
The Sorrow Tree
We Are All Made of Stars

Outside Lands 2017: Lineup locks, likely acts & long shots

Outside Lands 2016

Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival //
Golden Gate Park – San Francisco
August 11th-13th, 2017 //

Now that Ranger Dave has dusted off his uniform and is once again prepping for duty, we can speculate who will be performing at Golden Gate Park this August for a very special 10th year of Outside Lands. As festival season draws near with Coachella less than two weeks away, it’s time for us to make some predictions regarding this year’s OSL lineup. So while you work on that summer tan, we’ve got all the deets on who you can expect to see in SF in a few months.

If you have a lead or opinion, drop us a comment below.


Outside Lands 2016

Lock It In

Metallica – Ranger Dave basically confirmed the news via Twitter with his “nothing else matters” tweet, which has since been deleted. No worries, we have a screenshot of it here.

Empire of the Sun – Ranger Dave made it fairly obvious with this tweet.

Maggie Rogers – Another Ranger Dave tweet provides the clue for this 22-year-old singer-songwriter, whose “Color Song” is buzzy AF.

Francis and the Lights – See Ranger Dave’s tweet, and their hit single “Friends” features close collaborator Bon Iver, too.

The Temper Trap and/or Shovels & Rope – See Ranger Dave’s tweet, which sounds like a reference to The Temper Trap song “Miracle” but could also be referring to Shovels & Rope’s 2016 LP Little Seeds (the South Carolina duo also have a big gap in its tour schedule between July and August).

Sofi Tukker – See Ranger Dave’s tweet. The New York duo’s 2016 EP Soft Animals is its first and only release so far.

Action Bronson – See Ranger Dave’s tweet. We’re calling it his “Fuck, That’s Delicious: Outside Lands Edition.”

Rag’n’Bone Man – See Ranger Dave’s tweet. The English singer-songwriter included “Lay My Body Down” as a bonus track on the deluxe edition of his debut studio album Human, which he released in February on Columbia Records.

Future Islands – See Ranger Dave’s tweet. “A Dream of You And Me” is the second single off the Baltimore band’s 2014 LP Singles.

Ice-T – See Ranger Dave’s tweet referencing his 1991 album O.G. Original Gangster. But could this instead signal the return of Body Count (Ice-T’s longstanding metal band)?


Outside Lands 2016 - Big Freedia

Seems Likely

Arcade Fire – Awake yee gentle Canadian giants! 2011 marks the last time we saw AF top the lineup, and with new material to showcase this year, we expect — but can’t guarantee — OSL to be their banner West Coast festival slot now that we know they’re not playing Coachella or FYF Fest in LA.

The Weeknd – Abel’s tour gap in August, coupled with headlining appearances at Bonnaroo (which often shares a headliner with OSL) and then Lollapalooza, seem to lead to the obvious for his debut at Another Planet Entertainment’s premier event.

alt-J – With no Bay Area dates scheduled and a show in LA at the Shrine Auditorium on August 9th, a return to OSL seems all the more likely for these gentlemen from Leeds.

Lorde – The 20-year-old New Zealand pop star is hitting a ton of festivals this year in support of her forthcoming album Melodrama, including Coachella, JazzFest, Governor’s Ball, FPSF, Bonnaroo, Glastonbury, Rock Werchter, OpenAir St. Gallen, Fuji Rock, Lollapalooza and last but not least, Osheaga (for now). OSL would definitely be the cherry on top for an impressive festival run in 2017, though.

Fleet Foxes – The Seattle indie-folk giant fronted by Robin Pecknold is back with its first LP in six years this June, and with some down time in August and no Bay Area show on the tour schedule yet, OSL looks like a strong possibility.

Justice – The French electro masters are hitting the festival circuit rather hard, and the recent debut of their live show has the buzz-o-meter reaching critical mass. Having them close things out on the Twin Peaks stage Saturday would be ideal for launching fans into the wild night.

Wiz Khalifa – The Pittsburgh emcee has a new album coming out in 2017 and no Bay Area date scheduled. He’s also playing Lollapalooza the weekend before, making OSL a definite possibility for his NorCal tour stop.

The Avett Brothers – The Avetts are in California the week of OSL to play San Diego on August 10th and LA on August 11th, and the only next stop that makes sense would be SF. There’s this, too.

Cage the Elephant – They’re conveniently skipping SF yet hitting Sacramento this month as the only Northern California stop on their current U.S. tour that includes slots at Lollapalooza and Osheaga already lined up. OSL seems like a logical choice considering the 2017 Grammy winners last played the fest in 2009.

Young the Giant – These guys haven’t played OSL since 2013 and have a week off before heading north to play Seattle on August 11th. Plus, there’s this.

Grouplove – The colorful LA outfit is making the festival rounds this summer and playing Lollapalooza the weekend before OSL. With roughly a three-week gap in their tour schedule, there’s a solid chance they’ll be performing in Golden Gate Park — and this tweet only helps matters honestly.

Vance Joy – The Australian singer-songwriter doesn’t have a lot of 2017 tour dates booked right now, but there is this.

Warpaint – The all-female rockers recently announced more tour dates concluding at Lollapalooza. With no Bay Area appearance scheduled, even around Coachella’s two weekends, there’s a strong likelihood for their inclusion on the bill. There’s also this.

Spoon – Britt Daniel and company are touring the U.S. this summer in support of their newest full length Hot Thoughts and have a 10-day gap in their schedule, with the weekend of August 11th-13th conveniently open and preceding shows in LA as well as Colorado. Plus, with no Bay Area date scheduled yet, it only makes sense that the Austin group would return to OSL after its last appearance in 2014.

Little Dragon – The Swedish electronic band is playing shows up and down California this month to go along with its performances at Coachella, but none are in SF shockingly enough. They also don’t have any tour dates scheduled in August yet. And there’s this.

Electric Guest – The LA-based band led by one-time Berkeley native Asa Taccone was a big highlight at Noise Pop this year, but according to one Reddit user, they’ll be back in SF this August and their schedule is wide open after early May.


Outside Lands 2016

Looking Plausible

Gorillaz – Could OSL really be Gorillaz’s first U.S. date in almost seven years? The Damon Albarn-led group recently announced that they’ll be performing at Festival d’été de Québec (Quebec City Summer Festival) in Quebec City on July 15th.

The Who – Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend still put on a killer show, and their residency in Las Vegas around OSL time has led to this rumor circulating as they’d truly hit the classic rock billing perfectly. Plus, we think this move would fit all too well.

Queens of the Stone Age – Josh Homme and his sidekicks are making their live return this summer, and it seems incredibly possible that they’ll be back in the Bay in August as one of the festival’s sub-headliners. After all, their set would lead into Metallica quite nicely, right?


Outside Lands 2016

Long Shot (but could happen)

Eric Clapton – While he likely has an exclusive contract with MSG for his bi-coastal shows (his LA dates at The Forum have been postponed until September due to illness), could he end his tour in Golden Gate Park?

Daft Punk – And, of course, your obligatory Daft Punk inclusion, especially after this year’s April Fools’ joke.

Outside Lands 2016

  • Coachella 2014 lineup: Emerging artists, throwback acts & potential collaborations

    Coachella_post2

    Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival //
    Empire Polo Club – Indio, CA
    April 11th-13th & April 18th-20th, 2016 //

    2014 is officially in full swing and the impending festival season is on the horizon, especially now that the Coachella lineup has been released. Goldenvoice has done it again with their unique mix of era, genre and relevance which seems to excite and disappoint the eager masses in equal fashion.

    The top of the lineup is decisively more pop-oriented than years past with Ellie Goulding, Pharrell Williams, Lorde, Foster the People, Zedd and Lana Del Rey receiving marquee billing. But beyond the headliners, Coachella 2014 offers essential throwback acts, emerging artists ready to blow up, a wide variety of dance options and a handful of collaboration opportunities.

    Let’s dig into this monster and extract some musical gold.

    SUN


    The Headliners

    An OutKast reunion would have been more thrilling if the news hadn’t leaked over a month ago (though you can’t always believe the rumor mill), but this is a surprise nonetheless as Andre 3000 had shown little interest or optimism in interviews over the past half-decade. Either way Big Boi and Dre will bring their historically high-energy performance to a ton of new fans. “B.O.B.”, “Roses” and “Ms Jackson” are sure to be highlights of the set.

    Muse is one of the biggest bands in the world, this is a cold hard fact. They have plugged away at their 21st Century take on soaring arena-rock and eventually made their way to the top with bombastic live shows, catchy songs and generally doing their own thing. Will the band try to bring their massive UK arena stage to Indio? 

    Yes, Arcade Fire was another act that wasn’t a far reach based upon current tour route, but nevertheless they will close out the event with great grandeur. May be hard to top their big 2010 performance, but sparks are sure to shoot from the stage while playing the more upbeat Reflektor tracks. I am not holding my breath on an appearance by the Thin White Duke, but hope I’m wrong.


    The Throwbacks

    The Replacements took the stage for the first time in 22 years over the summer at various incarnations of Riot Fest. Well, now the West Coast gets a taste of Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson’s authoritative alternative rock, and this set is sure to be one of the bigger ‘reunion’ sets on the bill.

    Roxy Music may not be reuniting this year, but the insanely unique vocal stylings of Bryan Ferry are sure to excite fans that have been visiting the Empire Polo Fields since it’s incarnation some 15 years ago. Is Goldenvoice starting to pander to the aging, original Coachella demographic?

    Pet Shop Boys aren’t only still relevant, but have been killing it on the road the past few years, so it’s no surprise that we see the duo of Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe billed high on Saturday. Their Kraftwerk-esque stage show will be a treat to multiple generations of fans, especially during booming hits like “West End Girls”. 

    Other acts that will appeal more to the Generation Xers will be the Toy Dolls, The Afghan Whigs, and Motörhead.


    Emerging Artists

    British psych rock group Temples only formed in mid 2012, but almost immediate support from the blogosphere and supporting Primal Scream, Kasabian, Beady Eye & Tame Impala on tour throughout 2013 only helped gain traction. And if you are a fan of Tame Impala, be sure to catch this hyper-buzzy act for their first West Coast show. Their stock should rise quickly as their debut LP Sun Structures releases February 10th.



    It has now become a tradition for at least one member of the Odd Future clan to be represented on the bill since their debut, and this year the title goes to producing duo Syd the Kid and Matt Martians as The Internet. Their take on trip-hop and electronic soul is a refreshing breath of air for the LA collective as Syd moves from behind the decks to feature her lovely vocals at the forefront. Sure to turn a few heads.



    Enigmatic trio Factory Floor bathe in drone and noise, ultimately outputting sound somewhere between minimalist techno and experimental house. Releasing their self-titled debut LP in 2013 through DFA, Factory Floor is relatively popular overseas, yet the dance outfit is on the bottom line of the poster for Sunday. The London-based act might offer a good reason to get to the Polo Fields early on day three.



    Laura Mvula may not be a name you are familiar with, but she has made waves the past year in her native UK as her debut album peaked nicely on the charts, and she received a solid slot at Glastonbury. Her straight-ahead take on soul jazz shows great promise both in the studio and on the larger stage as she bursts out of the jazz club into the spotlight. 


    Coming Out West

    The Knife will be bringing their dynamic, even head-scratching stage show to the desert for 2 weekends of artsy weirdness. Though, for all intents and purposes, we have no idea which show the Swedish duo will bring to us. One thing is for sure, it won’t be like anything you have experienced before.

    Apparently Jeff Mangum enjoyed his trip to Indio last year, because this year he is bringing the old band out. West Coast music fans have been waiting patiently for their taste of the reunited Neutral Milk Hotel, and it wasn’t a huge surprise that they’d be on the bill based upon tour schedule. Alas, hipsters young and old can rejoice in a stay at the hippest ‘hotel’ in the valley.

    Sweden’s mysterious band named GOAT will be finally reaching the shores of the Pacific with their characteristic take on ‘world music.’ These guys are truly thinking outside the box with a breathtaking approach to experimental rock, and their live performance follows suit. The band has been in some sort of formation for over the past 30 to 40 years with rotating members, but have only recently been viewed on the world stage. 


    Possible Collaborations

    Robin Thicke (Not Daft Punk) with Pharrell Williams on Saturday
    Pharrell Williams has pretty high billing this year, but in many ways he deserves it. He was featured on the two biggest pop hits of 2013, and if anyone is known for collaborating with a wide variety of artists, it’s the N.E.R.D. frontman. Fool us once (Phoenix last year), shame on you, fool us twice…just don’t count on Daft Punk and Niles Rodgers showing up to perform “Get Lucky” and “Lose Yourself to Dance”. Daft Punk’s confirmed appearance at the Grammy Awards in late January could change this outlook, but a Robin Thicke supported “Blurred Lines” seems more likely. It also wouldn’t be surprising to see special appearances from Snoop Dogg, Pusha T or maybe even Madonna.

    Blood Orange (Dev Hynes) with Solange on Saturday
    NYC’s own Blood Orange made a big push to finish out 2013 and he was nicely rewarded with a set that is sure to be well packed for this buzzy tropi-pop musician. Hynes worked with Solange on her 2012 EP Losing You, but the extent of his production work on the record became a source of contention in November as both artists took to twitter beef about Hynes’ role. Both Solange and Hynes are performing Saturday, so might this be a good time for them to kiss and makeup on stage?

    AlunaGeorge with Disclosure on Sunday
    Disclosure, returning for their second straight year, might be the only dance act to perform outside the tents. Last year, Jessie Ware joined Guy and Howard Lawrence to sing “Confess To Me”, and this year Aluna Francis from AlunaGeorge will appear to perform the smash hit “White Noise”. Lock it in.


    EDM

    As has been the trend for Coachella, more emphasis has been put onto EDM, and with the addition of the Yuma Tent last year, Goldenvoice has been able to book all the big guys for the kiddies and all the OG underground acts for the “adults.”

    Calvin Harris, Skrillex and Fatboy Slim represent some of the biggest names in the genre and are sure to grab some of the biggest crowds in the Sahara Tent. On the other hand, Yuma will have some treats in the form of the Crosstown Rebels (Damian Lazarus, Art Department, Maceo Plex) as well as Scuba and (hopefully) French legend, Laurent Garnier.

    coa_2014_900x1200_v28

    Showbams’ top tracks of 2013

    Best-tracks-post

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

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


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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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

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


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

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

    Kevin Raos // Columnist // @Semirec

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


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


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


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


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

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


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

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

    Brooks Rocco // Columnist // @brooksrocco

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


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


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


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


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

    06. RP Boo – “Invisibu Boogie!”

    07. Dispirit – “All Paths End The Same”

    08. David Bowie – “Where Are We Now?”
    
09. Föllakzoid – “9”

    10. Foals – “Late Night”
    
11. Thee Oh Sees – “No Spell”
    
12. Mikal Cronin – “Shout It Out”
    
13. The Five Eyes – “HEY HEY NSA (Tinfoil in Every Hat)”
    
14. The Knife – “Old Dreams Waiting to be Realized”

    15. Kanye West – “On Sight”

    16. Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats – “Desert Ceremony”
    
17. Parquet Courts – “Master of My Craft”

    18. Cut Copy – “Free Your Mind”

    19. Anthroprophh – “Hermit”
    
20. Telekinesis – “Power Lines”


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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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

    Pedro Paredes // Photographer // @pedropar

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


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


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


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


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

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

    Showbams’ 40 best albums of 2013

    Best-Albums-of-2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    Toro Y Moi at Fox Theater Oakland 11/15.


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

    Kevin Raos // Columnist // @Semirec

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

    Sean Little // Columnist // @Splittle

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

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

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

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

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

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

    MIDTERM REPORT: Best Albums of 2013

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

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

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

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

    Vampire Weekend

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

    Phoenix

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

    Thee-oh-Sees

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

    Sigur-Ros

    Pete Mauch
    1. Sigur Ros – Kveikur

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

    Toro Y Moi

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

    Classixx

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

    Starfucker5

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

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

    New Music Tuesday: Daft Punk • The National • Majical Cloudz

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

    Daft PunkRandom Access Memories

    4-BamsTop Tracks:
    “Doin’ It Right”
    “Giorgio By Moroder”
    “Instant Crush”
    “Lose Yourself to Dance”

    Album Highlights: Arguably the most anticipated album of the last five (perhaps even ten) years, Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories departs from the group’s signature “robot rock” and brings listeners deeper into the production minds of Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter, the duo that has been at the forefront of electronic music since the late 90’s. Reviews have been scattered for this album, and many fans are disappointed with the departure from their “traditional” sound. Random Access Memories is much more a full band “roots” record for Daft Punk and an homage to the music that inspired them to create their own unique sound. The album is contemporary but with obvious nods to influencers such as Griorgio Moroder, while at the same time giving a throwback feel to the days of funk and soul, where dance floors were commanded by elaborate multi-piece bands and not a solitary DJ.

    “Doin’ it Right” is a gem. The slightly odd voice of Animal Collective’s Panda Bear projects his Brian Wilson-esqe voice over a Daft robot voice, repeating words about ‘dancing’ and ‘doin’ it right’. While the lyrics are a bit cheesy, it’s the simplicity and catchiness of the song that hits home; it’s a track I could listen to for hours on end and not get tired of. “Giorgio by Moroder” starts with a monologue by Giorgio himself, which is an interesting choice that is sure to annoy DJ’s. Once the interview intro is done, the track breaks into one of the more traditional Daft Punk style songs with a Giorgio touch found in the synth and sequencer used. “Instant Crush” features The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas on vocals, filtered to give him a distant, robotic, over-the-phone appeal. Key parts of the song also sound similar to earlier Daft (especially “Something About Us” off Discovery), which adds to the song’s forlorn, distant-love quality. Finally, “Lose Yourself to Dance” brings in flashbacks of funk, building up over guitar, handclaps, and Pharell’s high-pitched vocals to set a groove that is built to move the masses.

    Album Lowlight: I really didn’t find many particular lowlights on the long-awaited Random Access Memories. I wasn’t a huge fan “Fragment’s of Time” at first, as it had a sort of yacht-rock adult contemporary vibe to it, but it has grown on me. I think it would be too early, even after about 30 plays, to pick a lowlight. I have considerations, but it’s a complex album and my choices for lowlight seem to shift with each listen.

    Takeaway: Regardless of what Daft Punk was trying to channel in RAM, it’s hard for any group or DJ to deliver on such stratospheric expectations. Inevitably fans will feel either let down or ecstatic with the album, depending on their willingness to be influenced and where they are musically. I don’t think too many college-aged ragers are going to be digging this, as it’s fist pumping appeal is minimal, if even existent.

    It should be noted though that prior to this album, Daft Punk had a much smaller mass appeal, with many fans only latching onto them during the start of the “EDM” craze. Most of these fans never realized that Daft Punk were using samples from old funk albums and putting them through filters, pitch bends, tempo changes and other signature French house effects in order to give credit to the songs that inspire them, while still stamping them with their signature “robot” sound (Justice does the same exact thing). Random Access Memories sounds much like an album that Daft Punk would want to sample from; nothing is pitch bent, filtered, or changed in order to take it back to where the sound truly originated – it’s almost all organic here.

    I think the really interesting thing will be seeing which remix producers don’t just rearrange the parts, but use these songs just as Daft Punk did with older albums that inspired them, taking these samples, filter them, and make them their own tracks. I, along with others, feel this album is what the dance world needs right now: a return to real production, thought, and care when it comes to making dance music. So much of what’s been happening the last few years has become about getting louder and more commercially viable while sacrificing quality and care, and hopefully Random Access Memories helps press the reset button on this.

    ~Sean Little


    The NationalTrouble Will Find Me

    4-BamsTop Tracks:
    “Don’t Swallow the Cap”
    “Sea of Love”
    “Humiliation”

    Album Highlights: Being melancholy has never been so exciting! The Dessner brothers, the Devendorf brothers and Matt Berninger bring the dark joy of another album release, and they have kept on the same track they have steadily been building for over a decade. Trouble Will Find Me is a thick slice of the unmistakable baritone of Berninger coupled with the driving force of the pair of brothers, backing amazingly true-life lyrics dealing with the imperfections we all deal with in our lives. “Sea of Love,” the first single, is a prime example of the feverish construction the National pump out so consistently, and mirrors previous releases in this same manner. Their ability to bring contemplation to records, then transcribe the material to energetic intensity in a live format is one that few bands have continuously achieved over the past 14 years, and fully demonstrates that something special is happening here. Also, Berninger’s voice sounds smoother and richer than ever, apparently due to quitting smoking before recording.

    Album Lowlight: The National have truly cultivated a sound and style all their own, and they achieve this without many bells, whistles or electronic elements. Some parts of this record, and the band’s overall sound, take on a simple characteristic as demonstrated through basic harmonies, chord progressions and even drums beats. It’s with this formula that some songs begin to sound familiar. My best example for this is when new track “Graceless” is stacked against Boxer’s “Brainy.” I suppose these likenesses are byproducts of members’ individual style. On the other hand, luckily the lyrics are more relatable and less violent than previous release, High Violet.

    Takeaway: Trouble Will Find Me is truly just another brick in an immaculately constructed structure that is the releases of The National. It’s fair to say the masses didn’t expect much less from one of the most consistent acts in the business, and I for one cannot wait to see how these songs are blisteringly performed on the live stage. In the meantime, there is plenty of time to further pull all the meaning out of this batch of 13 new tracks, full of real world angst slightly veiled with optimism.

    ~Kevin Quandt


    Majical CloudzImpersonator

    3-BamsTop Tracks:
    “Bugs Don’t Buzz”
    “Childhood’s End”
    “Silver Rings”

    Album Highlights: Majical Cloudz combines Devon Welsh’s clear vocals over minimalist organ/synth/piano-led beats from Matthew Otto, and the result is dreary, hanging-onto-hope emotional state of an album from the Canadian duo. The style of Welsh’s vocal-front arrangement fakes the listener into a literal interpretation of his lyrics. It’s all about the subtleties and what’s not being said behind the poetic phrasing. The inferences made while listening are more striking than what Welsh says; you can tell there is real pain, that Welsh has loved and lost, and that he’s only recently come to embrace his place in the world. What’s most inspirational is how Welsh’s vocals plow through the cloud of sad ambiance like a strong beam of light, searching for a permanent place away from depression.

    “Childhood’s End” is a sad track that uses the simple refrain of “Went down, went down went down…” to establish an emotional, spiraling tone. The strings and vocal moans in “Silver Rings” contrast and question the lyrics “I don’t think about dying alone”, especially when shortly thereafter Welsh cries out “Stay with me”. “Bugs Don’t Buzz” is the most memorable, poetic track on the record, it’s essence summed up with the line, “It pays to be on the edge of existence, just riding the surface my love.”

    Album Lowlight: The effect of Majical Cloudz is comparable to the feeling you get during the first part of a typical Sigur Rós song – but you don’t get the hopeful, transcendent payoffs the icelandic wonders give. Impersonator is dreary yet hauntingly beautiful, but ultimately one-note; it’s hard to see the replay value in this record going forward due to it’s super-somber effect. This is the kind of record that should get heavy play when a family member dies. Conversely, these intense, morose-minimalist power ballads like ‘I Do Sing For You” will fit perfectly into an appropriate cinematic moment or scene on the small or big screen, if they haven’t been used to score visual imagery already.

    Takeaway: Welsh’s poetic waxing comes off like an endless soliloquy that’s best listened to in an immersive situation – being stoned with headphones on or live in concert – but I wouldn’t exactly plan your Friday evening around this experience. I saw Majical Cloudz open for Autre Ne Veut in March, and Welsh is somehow physically more intense and brooding than his songwriting in person. He blasts stand-offish stares into his front-row victims, moving from face to face looking deep into the eyes of each concert goer. I remember reading the following description of Welsh’s live performance before the show, and I’m still not seeing the “Fun loving” part:

    Majical Cloudz is a music project and performance event. Negative and ecstatic. Fun-loving. Seeking relationships with audiences to share transforming experiences.

    Welsh & Otto played most, if not all of this album at The Independent two months ago, and I can attest that Welsh and Otto have the intensity and drive to pull this project off, especially if the goal is to “share transforming experiences.” Just see this act on a random Monday or if you’re in the mood for lost-languid lyrics over morose music beds.

    ~Mike Frash


    AlpineA is For Alpine

    3.5-BamsTop Tracks:
    “Gasoline”
    “Hands”
    “Too Safe”

    Album Highlights: Alpine’s new album is anything but new. A is for Alpine was released in Australia in 2012, and after a long and tumultuous journey, it has finally made its way to the northern hemisphere. Dawning from Melbourne, Australia, Alpine has become a household name to many Australians and they are just now making a name for themselves in the States. Alpine’s sound combines the dreamy vocal harmonies of Phoebe Baker and Louisa James with post-punk, electro-laced beats. Highly danceable, A is for Alpine is filled with catchy hooks and driving beats that don’t get stale. This is a sparkling debut album from one of Melbourne’s hottest and upcoming bands.

    Album Lowlight: What took them so long to get to the USA? The lowlight is that they’ve been depriving us of this magical album for almost a year.

    Takeaway: A is for Alpine is a fantastic album, pairing Phoebe and Louisa’s vocals with the driving electro-surfy-synth to make an upbeat yet soothing record. The songs are catchy, engaging and stay fresh throughout the album. Alpine is still relatively unknown, but that might not last for long. They will be appearing at the Great American Music Hall June 8th, opening for Crystal Fingers.

    ~Kevin Raos


    WKEND MIXTAPE: Daft Punk: ‘Get Lucky’ remixes, covers & mashups

    Get-Lucky

    You knew this was coming.

    As soon as Daft Punk’s latest was released, a flood of remixes started hitting the internet. Our mix this week is a compilation of the latest remixes, covers, and mashups put together by Gábor Deutsch. You’ll find everything from breaks, 8-bit, folk, trap, house, and more in these interpretations. Clocking in at just over an hour, this mix should hold you over until Random Access Memories is released on 5/21. Enjoy!



    TRACKLIST
    Get Lucky (Vanderway edit)
    Get Lucky (JinJin and The Ragdolls cover)
    Get Lucky (feat Bee Gees & Justice edit)
    Get Lucky (Obenhaus remix)
    Get Lucky (WBBL remix)
    Get Lucky (David A remix)
    Get Lucky (Floating Point 8 bit version)
    Get Lucky (Vijay & Sofia Zlatko edit)
    Get Lucky (Full Intention private edit)
    Get Lucky (Cat Kiara Wright acoustic cover)
    Get Lucky (Summer Swee-Singh – Piano, Violin, Bass cover)
    Get Lucky (Daughter cover)
    Get Lucky (Bangers & Mashups remix)
    Get Lucky (Saved My Life) (YYJMYY edit)
    Get Lucky (Jwktje cover)
    Get Lucky (No End) (We Plants Are Happy Plants Remix)
    Get Lucky (Jude Perl cover)
    Get Lucky (iamyank rebass)

    Get-Lucky

    Outside Lands Music Festival 2013: Lineup rumors vs. reality

    Outside Lands

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

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

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

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

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

    OSL

    Paul McCartneyReality

    Macca

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

    Daft PunkRumor

    Daft-Punk

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

    APE-Tweet

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

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

    Green DayRealityGreen-Day

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

    Atoms for PeaceRumor

    Atoms-for-Peace

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

    Nine Inch NailsReality

    NIN

    Nine Inch Nails would be a great grab and a must-see headliner, and their current schedule makes it possible. They’ll be headlining Lollapalooza, and they have dates scheduled in Europe starting August 15, but NIN still has Outside Lands weekend open. The new NIN lineup is Reznor, Eric Avery from Jane’s Addiction, Adrian Belew from King Crimson, Josh Eustis from Telefon Tel Aviv and previous NIN members Alessandro Cortini and Ilan Rubin.

    Mumford & SonsRumor

    Mumford-and-Sons

    Mumford & Sons have a gap in their schedule from August 9-11, and they will be in North America for Lollapalooza & Osheaga Music Festivals the weekend before Outside Lands. They will also be touring in North America after Outside Lands, so it’s possible they could headline OSL. But Mumford & Sons will be playing the Greek Theater Berkeley for three dates in late May, so Outside Lands seems far fetched. Tickets go on sale Friday at 10am are sold out.

    PhoenixReality

    phoenix

    It already seemed fishy that Phoenix would skip the Bay Area during Fauxchella, opting for Davis over SF or Oakland. Then on Thursday The Independent added a last-minute Phoenix date for Monday April 1, and obviously many people did not score tickets. Phoenix is a confirmed headliner at Lollapalooza, then they have a gap in their schedule from August 9-11 before heading to Europe.

    Queens of the Stone AgeReality

    QOTSA

    Queens of the Stone Age will be at Outside Lands, as they are performing at Lollapalooza, then Squamish Music Festival in BC Canada right before and during Outside Lands. SF is the next logical festival stop.

    Vampire WeekendReality

    Vampire-Weekend

    Just like QOTSA, Vampire Weekend are signed onto Lollapalooza and Squamish Music Festivals. Plan on Vampire Weekend being near the top of the Outside Lands lineup when it comes out.

    The Postal ServiceRumor

    Postal-Service

    The Postal Service has a gap in their schedule from August 9th-11th, but they most likely will not be at Outside Lands. They have two dates lined up at the Greek Theater Berkeley, and there are tickets still available for the July 27th show.

    Willie NelsonReality

    Willie-Nelson

    Willie Nelson falls right into the wheelhouse of Outside Lands legends that have played in the past. And the red-headed stranger will be playing at The Hollywood Bowl on Friday, August 9.

    The NationalReality

    The-National

    The National will be playing the Greek Theater in Los Angeles on August 10th, so it only makes sense that they will be at Outside Lands on Friday or Sunday. Last.fm has already indicated The National is a confirmed group. The National into Paul McCartney to end the weekend would be a winning combination.

    Other Likely Performers at Outside Lands:
    The Lumineers
    Pretty Lights
    Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
    Hot Chip
    Grizzly Bear
    Jurassic 5
    Kaskade
    Foals
    Crystal Castles
    Gogol Bordello
    Divine Fits
    Fitz & the Tantrums
    Band of Horses
    Young the Giant
    Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
    Toro Y Moi
    Major Lazer
    Ben Howard
    Steve Martin & Steep Canyon Rangers
    Tegan & Sara
    Freighted Rabbit
    Hall & Oates
    Holy Ghost
    DIIV
    Wavves
    Matt & Kim
    Childish Gambino
    Jessie Ware
    Wild Nothing
    Atlas Genius
    Reignwolf
    Baauer
    Capitol Cities
    IO Echo
    Icona Pop
    Wild Belle
    Midi Matilda
    Bear Mountain
    Deap Valley
    Diamond Rings
    Little Green Cars
    Family of the Year
    Keys N Krates
    The Neighbourhood

    OSL

    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

    WKEND MIXTAPE: Ruckus Roboticus – A Very Daft Punk Christmas

    WKEND-MIXTAPE

    Since we’re in the holiday season, I figured we should try to go for a mix appropriate for the season. This one might be a stretch, only bearing on a reference to Christmas in the title, but a great mix nonetheless. A Very Daft Punk Christmas comes from the outstanding LA-via-Ohio DJ named Ruckus Roboticus. Over the course of an hour he covers originals, remixes, side-projects, associated acts, and otherwise all things Daft Punk. The tracklist is below so you can follow along at home.

    For more mixes and music from Ruckus Roboticus check out his Soundcloud page.



    TRACKLIST
    01. Intro
    02. Thomas Bangalter – Extra Dry
    03. Slum Village – Raise It Up
    04. Daft Punk – Aerodynamic (Slum Village Remix)
    05. Busta Rhymes – Touch It
    06. Kanye West – Stronger
    07. Sebastien Tellier – Kilometer
    08. Daft Punk – Verdis Quo
    09. Daft Punk – Daftendirekt
    10. Daft Punk – Da Funk
    11. Daft Punk – Robot Rock
    12. Daft Punk – Short Circuit
    13. Thomas Bangalter – On Da Rocks
    14. Daft Punk – Musique
    15. Daft Punk – Face To Face
    16. Thomas Bangalter – Club Soda
    17. DJ Falcon – Honeymoon
    18. Daft Punk – Voyager (Dominique Torti’s Wild Style Edit)
    19. Daft Punk – Around The World
    20. Gabrielle – Forget About The World (Daft Punk Remix)
    21. Archigram – In Flight (Raw Mix)
    22. Daft Punk – Revolution 909
    23. Daft Punk – Something About Us (EASTAR Remix)
    24. Daft Punk – Digital Love (Boris Dlugosh Remix)
    25. Stardust – Music Sounds Better With You
    26. Deelat – Wetness
    27. Le Knight Club – Nymphae Song
    28. Daft Punk – One More Time
    29. Daft Punk – Aerodynamic
    30. Daft Punk – Oh Yeah
    31. Scott Grooves – Mothership Reconnection (Daft Punk Remix)
    32. Daft Punk – Crescendolls
    33. The Eternals – The Wrath Of Zeus
    34. Daft Punk – Harder Better Faster Stronger
    35. Kanye West – Stronger (A-Trak Remix)
    36. Roy Davis Jr. – Rock Shock
    37. Daft Punk – Technologic
    38. Diplo – Buy It Use It
    39. Daft Punk – Prime Time Of Your Life (Tits & Clits Remix)
    40. Daft Punk – Human Afterall (SebastiAn Remix)
    41. Daft Punk – Human Afterall (Justice Remix)
    42. DJ Mehdi – Signatune (Thomas Bangalter Edit)
    43. Thomas Bangalter – Outrun
    44. Daft Punk – Television Rules The Nation (Deadmau5 Remix)
    45. Daft Punk – Harder Faster (Alive Acapella)
    46. Senor Coconut – Around The World (Full Version)
    47. LCD Soundsystem – Daft Punk Is Playing At My House (Soulwax Shibuya Mix)
    48. Thomas Bangalter – Spinal Scratch
    49. Bob Sinclair – Gym Tonic (Thomas Bangalter Edit)
    50. Raw Man – Number Seven (Le Knight Club Remix)
    51. Together – So Much Love To Give
    52. Daft Punk – Too Long
    53. Daft Punk – Alive
    54. Daft Punk – Make Love