Panda Bear, Ducktails push Independent crowd to its sensory limit

Panda BearPhotos by James Nagel // Written by Molly Kish //

(((folkYEAH!))) 10 Year Anniversary Show Series: Panda Bear with Ducktails //
The Independent – San Francisco
April 14th, 2015 //

Noah Lennox, one-fourth of the Baltimore experimental outfit Animal Collective and also known for his breakout side project and alias Panda Bear, stopped by The Independent for one of the most anticipated performances of the Bay Area’s annual #Fauxchella festivities.

Fellow Domino Records labelmate Ducktails primed the sold-out crowd with an hour-long opening set. His gorgeous, psychedelic shoegaze entranced the packed venue, with those in attendance there just as much to catch the Real Estate guitarist’s side project as they were to see Panda Bear. Even though Matt Mondanile has been known to perform with a full band, on this current tour stop we were treated to a solo set with a minimalistic stage show focused primarily on his mastery of hypnagogic pop.

Panda Bear

Lennox took the stage near midnight, bringing the late-night audience to life with several tracks off of his critically acclaimed fifth studio album Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper. He washed over the mid-size venue in a sea of noise and optical embellishments, including some standout visuals of nature, abstract art and serenely puking muses.

A somewhat challenging set for those unfamiliar with both Mondanile’s and Lennox’s intricate balance between striking and serene soundscapes, the crowd remained absorbed in the intensity of both performances from start to finish. Observably roused and on a sensory overload after having been audibly provoked into the early-morning hours, the crowd left the venue tested and changed for the better.

New Music Tuesday: Ben Harper with Charlie Musselwhite • Tegan and Sara • Local Natives • Emmy Rossum • Tomahawk • Ducktails

Ben Harper with Charlie Musselwhite - Get Up

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


Ben Harper with Charlie MusselwhiteGet Up!

4-BamsTop Tracks:
“I Don’t Believe a Word You Say”
“I Ride at Dawn”
“Get Up!”

Album Highlight: Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite’s new collaboration Get Up! is one of the best blues albums I’ve heard in a while. A mix of acoustic and electric, Get Up! showcases the strengths of both artists. Musselwhite’s haunting and impassioned harmonica is a constant throughout, while Ben Harper’s signature slide guitar finds it’s moments to shine.

Album Lowlight: This album is very bluesy, and although that is what makes it work so well, it is also the reason it can be a little pedestrian at time. I really would love to hear what Musselwhite can do outside of the realm of blues.

Takeaway: Harper and Musselwhite have created a rejuvenating blues album merging what we love about both artists into one cohesive record. It sounds like Musselwhite had carte blanche to layer his trademark sound throughout. This is a record that will get regular play in my rotation.

~Kevin Raos


Tegan and SaraHeartthrob

3-BamsTop Tracks:
“Closer”
“Drove Me Wild”
“I Couldn’t Be Your Friend”

Album Highlight: “Closer” is the catchiest and most club friendly track on the album. Tegan and Sara divert from their typically indie-rock, girl band strengths to produce a fantastically successful new-wave dance jam. “Closer” showcases their strong grasp of current pop music trends and signifies their evolution as songwriters. However, the opening track falsely sets you up for a less than exciting sophomore effort.

Album Lowlight: “Now I’m All Messed Up” feels like the overproduced, female vocalized electro-rock bands songs of the late nineties. The track lacks in both lyrical content and musical style. The added effects and distorted chorus almost seem like a cover-up for the lack of song structure and lyrics that sound like a high school journal entry.

Takeaway: “I Couldn’t Be Your Friend” has a great piano hook from the beginning, but takes a minute to pick up. Once involved in the chorus though, it is one song that you can’t help but continue to listen and maybe even sing along. “I couldn’t Be Your Friend” is the best lyrical effort on the album and all around most complete track on Heartthrob.

~Molly Kish


Emmy RossumSentimental Journey

2-BamsTop Tracks:
“Sentimental Journey”
“I’ll Be with You in Apple Blossom”
“Nobody Knows You When You’re Down”
“All I Do Is Dream of You”

Album Highlight: “Sentimental Journey” is the title track and best example of the direction this album should have gone in. This song is a wonderful display of Rossum’s vocals and unlike the rest of the obnoxiously campy show-tune album has a beautifully simplistic blues arrangement, paying homage to the female jazz legends she is attempting to emulate.

Album Lowlight: Although an obvious cover straight off the 1933 soundtrack for Roman Scandals, the final track of the album “Keep Young and Beautiful” further accentuates the actress/musician cross-over effort Rossum struggles with throughout the entire album. It’s over the top within the opening five seconds of the track’s vaudeville monologue and instantly makes me want to listen to it as an actresses’ audition rather than as a recording artists tribute.

Takeaway: Amidst the various efforts on the album to display contemporary jazz ballads, “All I Do Is Dream of You” is the most successful. Rossum clearly has the chops to produce a beautiful love song, best done in this manner of a stripped-down standard.

~Molly Kish


TomahawkOddfellows

2.5-BamsTop Tracks:
“Stone Letter”
“White Hats/Black Hats”
“South Paw”

Album Highlight: Mike Patton has always had a knack for the experimental, whether it be Mr. Bungle, Peeping Tom or any of his various acts. “Rise Up Dirty Waters” displays the balance between quiet beauty and maniacal frenzy, always keeping his listeners on their toes.

Album Lowlight: Their sound is kind of stuck in an area of Nu-metal meets Les Claypool. One needs to truly love the singing style of Mike Patton in order to truly appreciate — and enjoy — Tomahawk.

Takeaway: This alt-metal supergroup has been featuring the weird, Patton-fueled sound for over a decade, and this album continues that tradition. A fun romp of a listen for any Nine Inch Nails or Tool fan still holding onto the hard rock heydays of the 90’s and early 2000’s.

~Kevin Quandt


DucktailsThe Flower Lane

3-BamsTop Tracks:
“Flower Lane”
“Under Cover”
“Academy Avenue”

Album Highlight: The Flower Lane is a Steely Dan-inspired album with a fuller sound than previous releases, yet it’s still in the beach vibe of Matt Mondanile. Tracks like “Assistant Director” feature electronic effects and a danceable vibe, a new sound to this once solo project.

Album Lowlight: I feel like a few of these songs might get a better treatment from his No. 1 gig, Real Estate. Vocals could leave a little to be desired, but it doesn’t subtract from the overall sound much.

Takeaway: Ducktails takes the breezy feel of Real Estate and mixes in more 80’s pop and world influence. For fans of heavy reverb! The inclusion of Big Troubles as Mondanile’s backing band adds the feeling of a full band as opposed to the entirely solo efforts previously released under the Ducktails moniker.

~Kevin Quandt

Coachella 2013: Predictions, wishes & rumors vs. reality

Coachella 2013By Mike Frash //

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

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

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

Coachella

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

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

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

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

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

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

Coachella

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

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

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

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

Coachella