BottleRock taps Imagine Dragons, Neil Young and Mumford & Sons to headline 2019 edition

BottleRock - 2019 lineup

BottleRock Napa Valley //
Napa Valley Expo – Napa, CA
May 24th-26th, 2019 //

If you didn’t hear, festival season is officially back.

With Coachella releasing its 2019 lineup last week just two days into the New Year, many other large-scale music festivals are gearing up to unveil their rosters. Up in Napa Valley, BottleRock has done just that with Imagine Dragons, Neil Young and Mumford & Sons topping the bill for its seventh edition this Memorial Day weekend after Bruno Mars, The Killers and Muse led the way for the 2018 installment. For the 73-year-old Young, it will mark his first date in California with Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real backing him since their headlining performance last June at Arroyo Seco Weekend (read our review here).

More than 80 artists and bands will once again hit downtown Napa to perform at the three-day event in late May, including Logic, Pharrell Williams, Santana, OneRepublic, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, Tash Sultana, Sylvan Esso, Gary Clark Jr., Lord Huron, Flogging Molly, Juanes, Michael Franti & Spearhead, AJR, Cypress Hill, Big Boi and many more. Plus, live cooking demonstrations between a variety of celebrity chefs and Hollywood stars, from musicians to athletes, will return to BottleRock’s beloved Williams-Sonoma Culinary Stage.

Tickets go on sale this Tuesday, January 8th at 10 a.m. PT here and start at $359 for a three-day GA pass (or $159 for a one-day). Both three-day VIP and platinum passes are already sold out, but you can buy a one-day VIP pass for $349 and a three-day skydeck pass for an eye-popping $1,599 if you really want to go big.

BottleRock Napa Valley 2016 - The Struts

Arroyo Seco Weekend 2018: Ringing in summer at Goldenvoice’s chilled-out Coachella for grown-ups

Arroyo Seco Weekend 2018Photos courtesy of Arroyo Seco Weekend // Written by Josh Herwitt //

Arroyo Seco Weekend //
Brookside at the Rose Bowl – Pasadena, CA
June 23rd-24th, 2018 //

No matter how old you are, going to a music festival can be a taxing and tiring affair. There’s a lot of walking, a lot of standing, a good amount of dancing and/or rocking out (depending, of course, on your energy level), and more walking and standing. If “festival shape” isn’t a catch phrase yet, it certainly should be. Because for some of us aging live music fans, being on your feet 8-10 hours and in the sun for two, three or four straight days isn’t as easy as it used to be.

Music festivals, in that regard, are designed primarily for the young and youthful, or at least for those who remain young at heart. So, when famed Southern California concert promoter Goldenvoice, best known for founding and organizing the world-renowned Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival every April, announced last year that it would be launching a brand-new, two-day event in Pasadena focused on various forms of rock, funk, folk and country, it served as an opportunity for a different generation of live music fans to experience the same platform that has dominated the industry for the past decade (and for some who are parents, possibly understand why their kids like going to Coachella so much).

Arroyo Seco Weekend 2018 - Neil Young + Promise of the Real


Neil Young + Promise of the Real

With its second installment now in the books, Arroyo Seco Weekend has already carved out a solid niche in Los Angeles’ massive live music scene with a winning combination: great music and high-quality, top-notch local food and drink. It’s the same formula that has made Outside Lands Music Festival in San Francisco a huge success for longer than 10 years, but it’s still one that had also been largely absent from Southern California music festivals until four years ago when Goldenvoice started making a concerted effort to partner with top-notch LA eateries and restaurants for both weekends of Coachella. That’s where the comparisons end, though.

Arroyo Seco is really its own thing. There’s no denying, even after only a couple of years on the calendar, that it fosters a much different vibe than Coachella or Goldenvoice’s other LA area music festival, FYF Fest, which was surprisingly canceled five weeks after dropping its 2018 lineup due to reportedly poor ticket sales. But with a clear identity from the start, ASW stands more than a fighting chance at a time when music festivals are sadly a dime a dozen (except for the ticket price).

Arroyo Seco Weekend 2018 - Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters


Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters

Goldenvoice CEO Paul Tollett and his team, for one, came out of the gate swinging for ASW’s inaugural edition with a roster led by the late Tom Petty, which unfortunately ended up to be one of his final performances before his unexpected death, and British folk rockers Mumford and Sons, plus Alabama Shakes, Weezer, The Meters, The Shins, Dawes, Fitz & the Tantrums, Live, Andrew Bird, Broken Social Scene, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Charles Bradley & The Extraordinaires, Galactic and many more all making appearances. That didn’t mean, of course, it was void of suffering a letdown in Year 2, but such a thought was quickly put to rest when the fest’s 2018 bill came out and proved to be equally good, if not better than what 2017 offered. With rock legends like Neil Young and Robert Plant sharing the top of the poster with modern-day rock stars such as Jack White and Kings of Leon, ASW made sure to cater to more than four generations of live music fans, much like the longtime New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival — which White, Lukas Nelson + Promise of the Real (who also often serve as Young’s backing band), Irma Thomas and Aaron Neville, fittingly enough, all played this year — does each spring in The Big Easy. Throw in some nicer weather and some California-cool flavoring, and you’ve essentially got ASW. So, call it “#Dadchella” if you want, but that won’t stop those of us who are currently in our 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s from going again.

If rock is supposedly “dead” like so many say it is these days, you wouldn’t know it from the size of the crowd that descended upon the Brookside Golf Course adjacent to the Rose Bowl Stadium on a couple of hot summer days. ASW, rather, proved just the opposite, with even a few throwbacks, the Pretenders and Alanis Morrisette most notably, drawing large numbers over at the main stage. Then there were singer-songwriters Seu Jorge, Shakey Graves, Margo Price and Dwight Twilley, as well as blues savior Gary Clark Jr., pouring out their hearts and souls in what felt like a family-friendly environment (maybe the baby strollers helped). And how about Inglewood-bred jazz virtuoso Kamasi Washington mesmerizing with a powerful, mid-afternoon set? There were plenty of memories to be made at ASW in 2018, and we were just grateful to be there to bear witness to them.

Neil Young, Jack White, Kings of Leon, Robert Plant to headline Arroyo Seco Weekend 2018

Arroyo Seco Weekend - 2018 lineup

Arroyo Seco Weekend //
Brookside at the Rose Bowl – Pasadena, CA
June 23rd-24th, 2018 //

After a successful, sold-out debut last summer, Goldenvoice’s Arroyo Seco Weekend is back this year with another strong roster for its second edition.

The two-day festival, which saw Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers (in what proved to be one of Petty’s final performances before his sudden passing) as well as Mumford & Sons top the bill in 2017, returns to “the shady oaks and parkland” of Brookside at the Rose Bowl in late June with Neil Young + Promise of The Real, Jack White, Kings of Leon, and Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters serving as headliners.

Featuring three stages of live music and curated menus from some of LA’s most celebrated restaurants like Jon & Vinny’s, The Ponte, Hatchet Hall, La Esquina, Playa Provisions and Kogi BBQ, Arroyo Seco Weekend will also welcome sets from the Pretenders, Gary Clark Jr., Belle and Sebastian, Alanis Morissette, Kamasi Washington, Third Eye Blind, The Specials, Violent Femmes, Seu Jorge, Capital Cities, Shakey Graves, The Bangles, The Revolution, The Milk Carton Kids, Margo Price, Trampled By Turtles, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Aaron Neville, North Mississippi Allstars, Los Lobos, Gomez, Allen Stone, Dwight Twilley, Dorothy, Pharaoh Sanders, Irma Thomas, Typhoon, Fantastic Negrito and more. Check out the poster above for the rest of the lineup, which even includes Jeff Goldblum and The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra performing on Day 1.

Weekend passes and single-day tickets can be purchased here for $249 and $149, respectively, starting Friday, March 9th at 10 a.m. PT. VIP passes, meanwhile, will be sold at a price of $449 and $349, with weekend preferred parking available for $65. And lastly, for the first time ever, the Weekend Clubhouse VIP pass option will offer fans more amenities, along with exclusive access to intimate upfront viewing areas at both main stages, for $999.

Arroyo Seco Weekend 2017

Outside Lands 2015: Lineup locks, likely acts & long shots

1.OutsideLands2014_post

Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival //
Golden Gate Park – San Francisco
August 7th-9th, 2015 //

UPDATE: The lineup has been announced. View the full lineup here.

Outside Lands 2015 speculation season may now commence.

For the first year, wristbands will be used for all three-day GA and VIP tickets instead of paper tickets or PDF printouts. Could this be a sign that single-day tickets are a thing of the past?

As a comparison, Coachella moved over to wristbands the same year single-day tickets were abolished. If Superfly and Another Planet can sell out the entire weekend with only three-day passes, than why wouldn’t they punt on the one-day option?

We’ve looked at tour dates, researched competing festivals and considered Outside Lands’ curation history. Squamish Valley Music Festival in BC may be the same weekend from August 7th-9th, but those large metal flying birds make it so musicians can easily do both fests.

The same goes for acts booked in Europe the week after Outside Lands — many artists will play Lollapalooza or Osheaga, followed by Outside Lands, then they cross the pond for mid-August festivals abroad.

If you have a lead or opinion, drop us a comment below. We’ll be updating this list as new developments happen. So, allow us to play Nostradamus and offer these predictions.


Outside Lands fans

Lock It In

Kendrick Lamar – Ranger D tweeted he DLed KDot’s new album on March 16th, and he’s also headlining Bonnaroo.
Mumford and Sons – OSL fits their schedule between Squamish and their Washington “stopover.”
Tame Impala – These Aussie psych-rockers and APE loyalists are ready for a prime-time slot.
Deadmau5 – The mouse is atop many major lineups, including Bonnaroo, so his return to OSL seems logical.
St. Vincent – Annie Clark is worthy of headliner status, and she’s confirmed for Osheaga.
Sam Smith – The big question remains: Is he a Land’s End or Twin Peaks headliner?
Bassnectar – This APE regular is long overdue to helm Twin Peaks for a hometown blowout.
Hot Chip – Basically confirmed via Twitter. And they’re in LA on August 11th.
Wilco – The stars are aligning … Tweedy, Cline and company are confirmed for LA on August 5th.
Alabama Shakes – Playing Squamish. Remember how packed their first OSL appearance was?!?!
Run the Jewels – Accidentally confirmed on RTJ’s tour page and would mark OSL’s first B2B booking.
Sylvan Esso – They’ve played The Independent and Fox Theater Oakland in the past year, and they’ll be in the Midwest the week after OSL.
Django Django – Playing in LA on August 6th.
!!! (chk chk chk) – Played OSL four years ago, and they’re touring with Hot Chip in LA on August 11th.
Jeff the Brotherhood – Dates open and booked for Mumford “stopover” up north in Walla Walla.
Laura Marling – Playing LA on August 6th and a perfect selection for a Sutro Stage. (added March 17th)


Seems Likely

Elton John
The Black Keys
The War on Drugs
The Avett Brothers
Brandon Flowers
Death From Above 1979
Toro Y Moi
Of Monsters and Men
Interpol
First Aid Kit
Stromae
ODESZA
ScHoolboy Q
Gorgon City
The Kills
Slow Magic
Slightly Stoopid

Outside-Lands-2014_post


Looking Plausible

Drake (Downgraded to “Looking Plausible” 3/16)
Bruce Springsteen
Chance the Rapper
Caribou
Florence + The Machine (upgraded to “Looking Plausible” on March 18th with Osheaga announcement)
Axwell Λ Ingrosso
alt-J (upgraded on March 18th with Osheaga announcement)
Belle & Sebastian
The Decemberists (upgraded on March 18th with Osheaga announcement)
Flying Lotus
Father John Misty (upgraded to “Looking Plausible” on March 18th with Osheaga announcement)
Future Islands
Mac Demarco
Glass Animals
Hozier
Benjamin Booker
Alvvays
AWOLNATION
Strand of Oaks
Bahamas
Hiss Golden Messenger


Long Shot (but could happen)

Jack White
Sleater-Kinney
D’Angelo
Weezer (added March 18th with Osheaga announcement)
Jack Ü
Nas (added March 18th with Osheaga announcement)
TV on the Radio
Todd Terje
Gary Clark Jr. (added March 18th with Osheaga announcement)
Action Bronson (added March 18th with Osheaga announcement)
Viet Cong (added March 18th with Osheaga announcement)
Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals (added March 18th with Osheaga announcement)
Marina & the Diamonds
MS MR (added March 18th with Osheaga announcement)
Charli XCX
Jamie xx
Kygo
San Fermin (added March 18th with Osheaga announcement)
Milky Chance


View our predictions from 2014.
View our predictions from 2013.

Outside Lands

Outside Lands Music Festival 2013: Top Sets

Outside Lands 2013Photos by Tim Hampson (unless otherwise noted) // Written by Mike Frash, Molly Kish, Kevin Quandt, Kevin Raos, Sean Little & Dara Shulman //

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

Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival is the ideal adult playground for live music fans — you can chow sardine chips and a Denogginizer from Drake’s while taking in a secret set in Choco Lands. Or maybe you prefer to laugh your face off at The Barbary or dance your ass off in the Heineken Dome. It may be a “walking festival” to some, but Outside Lands is at it’s best when you run. Feet don’t fail me now, use ’em while you got ’em.

San Francisco’s music fest is clearly in a groove now. A free comprehensive webcast was brought back this year, enticing future festival-goers near and far to be super jealous and to start saving money for next year. Beer Lands was moved to a strategically perfect spot opposite the Land’s End Stage on the Polo Field, making a quick stop-off convenient on the way to the next show. And it was cold — duh, it’s August in SF.

For the festival’s sixth incarnation, Outside Lands patrons witnessed the festival’s biggest headliner to date: Paul McCartney.

But Macca wasn’t the only auditory treat at Outside Lands. Here are our top sets from 2013.

Girls-on-Fire-Main-Stage-Tim

Paul-McCartney
DAY 1 ~ August 9, 2013

Paul McCartney ~ TOP SET
Friday • Land’s End Stage • 7:10 p.m.

It doesn’t get a whole lot better than Paul McCartney’s show, honestly, it’s nearly 3 hours of brilliantly competent showmanship, blazingly pleasing song selection and sheer crowd emotion. One highlight was watching Paul become giddy when Kronos Quartet joined him for a masterfully beautiful take on the tender Beatles classic, “Yesterday”. Even in his 70s, Macca keeps his crowds, and likely even himself, on their toes with an ever-changing setlist and bombastic surprises up his sleeve in the form of pyrotechnics during “Live and Let Die.” Selections from Wings were pleasantly received, especially “Band on the Run”. Closing the set, as he normally does, the crowd sang along to the timeless communal song “Hey Jude”. Friends locked arm in arm, and all was right in the world. Young and old were abuzz with the show they had witnessed on the exodus out of the park, whether it was vets finally hearing “Lovely Rita” or first-timers discussing their emotion during “Blackbird”. I mean, hey, it’s not everyday a legend plays your backyard. -KQ


Pretty Lights
Friday • Twin Peaks • 8:40 p.m.

Pretty Lights was the perfect Friday night closer for the Twin Peaks Stage and to oppose Sir Paul. Derek Vincent Smith featured most of his new album A Color Map of the Sun, plus the stand-by favorites remixed just enough on the fly to make them fresh and new. His musical ability is truly amazing, and his vibe was infectious as he’d build huge grooves then dropped them into massive basslines with his trademark soul vocals overlays that catapulted foggy Hellman Hallow to the stratosphere. Smith seemed genuinely happy and it bled into the crowd. By the night’s end, everyone was grooving and giving out high fives. –SL


Yeasayer
Friday • Twin Peaks Stage • 7 p.m.

Pitted against the incomparable Sir Paul at a festival is a spot that most bands would dread to be placed in. If you’re Yeasayer, however, it’s a challenge to be lived up to and utilized to your advantage. Knowing the crowd that evening would be filled with strictly die-hard fans, the boys pulled out all the stops. Playing a fan favorite set that included the most dance-heavy tracks from their entire catalogue, the intimate crowd was whipped into a collective frenzy. The best part — there was plenty of room for everyone to lose themselves in the energy of the moment. –MK


Chic---Eric-ShadenPhoto by Eric Shaden

CHIC featuring Nile Rodgers ~ TOP SET
Friday • Sutro Stage • 6:05 p.m.

The last-minute D’Angelo replacement was a surprise hit Friday evening at the Sutro Stage. Guitarist Nile Rodgers accompanied by a crew of horns and backup singers “le freaked” out the crowd with super funky dance hits. Rodgers expressed to the audience, “Now if this is your first Chic show, I have to make you understand something, you absolutely have to sing and you absolutely have to dance.” No problems there. Highlights include “We Are Family” “I’m Coming Out” and a groovy singalong to Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” over the PA system after Rodgers had set down his electric guitar. –DS


The-National-PatPhoto by Pat Tyrrell (Cool Dads Rule)

The National
Friday • Land’s End Stage • 5 p.m.

As many learn every August, SF is not known for its stunning summer weather, but sometimes a little haze can add to the emotive release that is Matt Berninger and The National. However, the group lit the stage on fire with their stylish take on moody indie rock, opening with crowd-pleaser “Fake Empire” before fully utilizing Kronos Quartet’s strings on “I Should Live in Salt” and “Demons”, among others. Berninger’s characteristic baritone was strong, though not at it’s best on this day, but his lively mannerisms were in full effect as he paced nervously around on the large Land’s End stage. Once “Mr. November” had begun, it was inevitable that “Terrible Love” would close the set, but a late guest appearance in the form of Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead would truly put an exclamation point on this afternoon set. -KQ


Zedd
Friday • Twin Peaks • 5:25 p.m.

Zedd may not be the best DJ in the world, but his energy is hard to deny. It was the first truly “rager” set of the festival, and you could see people losing their minds all over the place, getting out the pent up energy they had been sitting on all week in anticipation of the Outside Lands. It ended up being a strong set and a lot of fun with hits “In My Mind” and “Clarity” satisfying the masses. –SL


Rhye
Friday • Sutro Stage • 4:45 p.m.

Rhye’s soothing sounds blanketed Lindley Meadow’s Sutro Stage at the midpoint of Day 1. The sun had fallen behind the eucalyptus trees, sprinkling the stage with beams of light — a perfect setting to relax to the peaceful beauty of Rhye. Rhye sounded excellent, delighting the crowd with many tracks from their 2013 debut album Woman. Minimal, yet captivating, Rhye demonstrated superior musical prowess with their performance, led by the delicate vocals of Mike Milosh. Their set was drawing to a close, and instead of squeezing in extras songs the group opted for a long version of the song “Open”. The extended version of the enchanting song highlighted the bands’ improvisational ability. Although very mellow, Rhye put on a magical performance. A must-see act. -KR


The Plump DJs
Friday • The Dome by Heineken • 4 p.m.

There’s nothing quite like an afternoon break-beat set in the Heineken Dome to get the blood moving. British duo, Plump DJs featuring Lee Rous and Andy Gardner, greeted the crowd with smiles on their faces and fists in the air. Although the Dome is slightly different than their usual SF stop, The Mighty in Potrero Hill, they brought their high-energy 2am beats to their Friday 4 p.m. set. Their beat selection was progressive and original; transitions and mixing were flawless as always. –DS


21-Pilots - PatPhoto by Pat Tyrrell

Twenty One Pilots
Friday • Twin Peaks Stage • 3:50 p.m.

Twenty One Pilots might be trying to be cool, and that seemed to be on the mind of Tyler Joseph, as he kept referencing the ‘cool factor’ in a self-depreciating way. But the duo turned the stage antics up to 11, performing backflips off the grand piano, jumping into the crowd, and donning a full ski mask while climbing to the top of the Twin Peaks stage. And ya know, as much as it was Macklemore-esque cheese, the passion and musicianship these two young men exhibited transcended any second thoughts. -MF


Wild-Belle-TimPhoto by Tom Hampson

Wild Belle ~ TOP SET
Friday • Twin Peaks Stage • 2:15 p.m.

Wild Belle has been making a splash since releasing their debut album in early 2013, and they have only been getting bigger. As one of the first acts of the weekend, Wild Belle got the crowd moving in a major way with their psychedelic reggae beats. Comprised of brother-sister duo Elliot and Natalie Bergman, Wild Belle were lucky enough to draw one of the only moments of sunshine the entire weekend. One could say it was the incredible vocals of Natalie Bergman that elicited the sun’s rays. Wild Belle has been progressively adding more pieces to the puzzle throughout their short career, and they unveiled their latest piece during their performance at Outside Lands. The newest addition to their live show is a large “wall of sound” speaker system meant to enhance their live sound, and boy did it sound good. Wild Belle was an unexpected jewel Friday and one of the reasons we go to festivals: to discover new music. -KR


Houndmouth - PatPhoto by Pat Tyrrell

Houndmouth
Friday • Panhandle Stage • 1:30 p.m.

Houndmouth provided a delightful opening to Outside Lands for many on the festival’s smallest stage, which is solar-powered. From the opening line of “Penitentiary”, which references San Francisco, the foursome brought bluesy gospel goodness right into everyone’s faces. With lyrics that seemed rooted in finding one’s self — and sobriety — Katie Toupin’s seductive stage presence and heavenly vocals were downright delightful. -MF


Midi Matilda
Friday • Twin Peaks Stage • 12:45 p.m.

For an early afternoon festival spot, Another Planet booked properly when deciding to put Midi Matilda on the Friday bill. Kicking off what undoubtedly was going to be a long weekend with bang, this percussion-heavy duo immediately got the crowd moving. Rife with dance-heavy beats, an animated stage show and no expense spared on the lights and fog machines, Midi Matilda came out swinging. The most memorable moment occurred when both guys jumped on the drum set during their last song to deliver a joint solo to close out the set. –MK


Mad-Rush-TimDAY 2 ~ August 10, 2013

Nine Inch Nails ~ TOP SET
Saturday • Land’s End Stage • 8:25 p.m.

Like The National, the fog which veiled the Land’s End stage created an aura of dark beauty for serious talent to shine through. Saturday’s headlining set by Trent Reznor and cohorts was one of nostalgia equally coupled with the future possibilities of Nine Inch Nails. Opening with a trio of new tracks that beckons closer to Radiohead and How to Destroy Angels than Pretty Hate Machine era industrial rock Nails, it was evident Reznor didn’t, nor shall he ever, miss a beat with his primary project. “1,000,000” into “March of the Pigs” picked up the energy, and built upon the ever-shifting new stage setup that has been winning accolades the past three banner festival performances (think Stop Making Sense meets Aliens). Though the masses were at Phoenix, the crowd energy was high, especially during “Terrible Lie” and “Closer”. As per usual, “Hurt” left the crowd in an introspective gloom, though their hearts were surely still pounding from the assault that is Nine Inch Nails live. -KQ


Phoenix
Saturday • Twin Peaks • 8:40 p.m.

French indie-rock sensation, Phoenix, rallied the youth with a strong set featuring many songs from their 2009 album Wolfgang Amedeus Phoenix. “Listomania,” “Rome,” and “1901” were just some of the highlights. Front man Thomas Mars was spot on with his vocals. “This next song is a dancing one, so feel free …” was followed by longtime fan favorite “If I Ever Feel Better”. They played a solid handful of tracks from their 2013 release Bankrupt! such as “SOS in Bel Air” and “Entertainment”, but the clear goal of Phoenix’s headlining festival set is get the crowd rallied and ready to dance. The rock riffs were on point and the visuals were equally entertaining and Mars crowd surfed the entire audience near the end of the set as has been the habit this tour. Yes, he safely made it back to the stage with a little help from his friends. -DS


Yeah-Yeah-Yeahs-PatPhoto by Pat Tyrrell

Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Saturday • Land’s End Stage • 6:30 p.m.

Equal parts punk rock and dance party, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs held nothing back Saturday, perfectly segueing into whichever headliner you chose to witness. Pulling hits from their entire body of work, the set was equally as entertaining for hardcore fans and new converts alike. The band’s energy was at an all-time high, transferring a sense of mania in the crowd, which created dance circles and mosh pits throughout the entire set. The polo fields were electric and gained much more raw energy during the last five minutes, when Karen O. decided to let her body do the talking. After her signature deep-throating, she not only placed the bedazzled microphone down her shirt, but also into the front of her pants, while further emphasizing her need to be heard. Saturday night had officially started, and from that moment on it was going to be epic, whichever stage you ended up at. –MK


Grizzly Bear
Saturday • Twin Peaks • 6:50 p.m.

One of the toughest decisions of the weekend was choosing the electricity of Karen O and Yeah Yeah Yeahs or the tightness of the well-toured Grizzly Bear. Well, everyone won in their respective choices, but Grizzly Bear’s growing crowd demonstrated that these Warp label, psych-folk rockers are more than capable of stepping up to the festival plate and knocking one out of the park, so to say. Shields was well represented on this final tour stop, after 105 shows on the road behind the release. The vocal interplay is one of their strongest suits as the responsibilities are well shared over their contagious take on the rising avant-rock sound. -KQ


The Mother Hips
Saturday • Panhandle Stage • 6:05 p.m.

Organizers of the festival always strive to showcase local Northern California acts, young and old, and this year, Chico’s own legendary act, the Mother Hips, brought their defining take on California rock and roll sound to the under-appreciated Panhandle Stage. “Toughie” opened this set before launching into “White Falcon Fuzz”, which showcased the raw, vibrant sounds of Tim Bluhm and the band. Though few were in attendance, at least a couple of patrons had to have been won over by the soul-drenched psychedelia that these vets bring every time they grace a stage. -KQ


Jurassic-5-Mike-FrashPhoto by Mike Frash

Jurassic 5 ~ TOP SET
Saturday • Land’s End Stage • 5 p.m.

Los Angeles hip hop ambassadors Jurassic 5 took the Land’s End stage to a BIG midday crowd, especially for a hip hop act at a primarily indie rock & electronic festival, which is a testament to their crossover appeal and lasting legacy. Maybe this demonstrates how hungry the people are for more hip hop and rap. The best part of the set went down when Cut Chemist scratched with a turntable guitar strapped to his chest while DJ Nu-Mark elicited sounds from the ridiculously large turntable set up square in the middle of the stage. This collective, allegedly in the midst of a ‘reunion tour’, has most definitely honed their act since Coachella, and festival-goers ate up every minute, following commands as if in a massive yoga class. –SL


Baauer
Saturday • Twin Peaks • 5:15 p.m.

Is the “Harlem Shake” dead? Yeah, but that still doesn’t mean that we can’t get thoroughly down to the bass-heavy set of this “Rookie/One-Hit-Wonder of the Year” candidate that goes by the name of Baauer. His take on Outkast’s “B.O.B” beckoned back to Big Boi’s triumphant set from last year’s Outside Lands, while simultaneously making asses shake and hands fly skyward in ecstasy. Much like Coachella, a youthful cult of EDM lovers are ever-present at any, and every, set that pulsated bass and catered to that beloved phenomena known as “the drop”. And surprisingly, the crowd kind of shrugged when his virally ubiquitous anthem was played, go figure. -KQ


Bombino
Saturday • Panhandle Stage • 4:30 p.m.

The energy Omara “Bombino” Moctar and his band Bombino exhibit while performing is the first thing that is noticeable. They are constantly moving, dancing — vibing to their own music. When a group creates good music, this physical ‘being in the moment’ presence is an effective way to draw the audience into your world, and this tactic worked for Bombino (both the man and the band) in Golden Gate Park. The group stays true to their African roots through their politically anthemic music, and they rock their Tuareg garb with pride, showcasing their culture on the road as the buzz grows with each performance. After seeing them at Outside Lands, it makes sense — they left it all on the Panhandle Stage, pouring their hearts into each song. -MF


Young-The-Giant-PatPhoto by Pat Tyrrell

Young the Giant
Saturday • Land’s End Stage • 3:40 p.m.

Sameer Gadhia is one helluva a front man, and YTG’s rise from the small stage in Orange County to the big show at events across the world is nothing less than earned. They filled both the Lands Stage and Polo Fields with infectious alterna-indie-pop offerings from their lone self-titled release. Luckily, the group had some new selections they were eager to test on the sizable early afternoon crowd, which seemed to go over well, especially to diehards awaiting new material. Singles “My Body” and “Cough Syrup” obviously received the loudest response, and Sameer’s venture down the center barricade further poured on the feverish energy they thrive on. -KQ


Youth Lagoon ~ TOP SET
Saturday • Twin Peaks Stage • 3:40 p.m.

“Robert De Niro” — Trevor Powers uttered the famous actor’s name casually between songs early in his set. Oddly there wasn’t any other memorable stage banter, just hypnotic renditions of the highlights from Powers’ recent Dropla. Youth Lagoon has always thrived on a sharp aural duality; the contrasting of minimalist, quiet soundscapes for half of a song — then BANG — the blooming, triply explorations are more exciting and create a more impacting memory in the listener. You could call it “post-drop” music. And on the Twin Peaks Stage where dance fans usually got their fix, the bass was body-rattling, forcing the maximal parts of the songs to hit harder than one might expect. Consequently, the crowd mostly obliged with the subtle, quiet parts, allowing “Mute” and “Dropla” to play quite nicely. -MF


Gary Clark Jr.
Saturday • Land’s End Stage • 2:20 p.m.

Gary Clark Jr. simply rips, there is no doubt about it. One should be careful to even consider covering a Jimi Hendrix song, but based on Clark’s rendition of “Third Stone From the Sun”, Jimi is smiling down at a man that is following in his footsteps over 50 years later. Clark floats around the stage with ease, flashing easy smiles then melting faces with his reverberating guitar solos. This was a set where it would be best to be close to the stage (or close to speakers) — the sound was entirely too low in some spots, allowing friendly festival conversations to drown out this 29 year-old legend in the making. “Bright Lights” ended the set per usual, coalescing the large audience into the moment. -MF


Atlas-Genius-PatPhoto by Pat Tyrrell

Atlas Genius
Saturday • Twin Peaks Stage • 2:10 p.m.

Another example of perfect placement, Atlas Genius continued Saturday with pop-centric bliss. Catching what little sunshine the weekend had to offer on the hillside of the Twin Peaks stage, one could view the expectedly young crowd so genuinely stoked to catch this band, and couldn’t help but make you smile. No matter how tired you were of hearing that top forty hit, you were undoubtedly up and dancing when it finally played. Spontaneously starting the morning with a sing-along really was a great way to kick off Saturday on the right foot. –MK


On-The-Rail-TimDAY 3 ~ August 11, 2013

Red Hot Chili Peppers
Sunday • Lands End Stage • 7:45 p.m.

Red Hot Chili Peppers closed out the festival Sunday evening, a slot many thought would be reserved for Sir Paul McCartney when the initial lineup dropped. Whether it was a scheduling conflict or Ranger Dave optimizing his own schedule, the Chili Peppers proved that they were up to the task. In a roughly two hour set, the Chili Peppers were playing with something to prove as they ripped through single after single with fervent intensity. Their energy did not cease for the duration of the show as the band took the audience on a musical journey of one of the most celebrated funk-rock bands in history. Hits like “Under the Bridge”, “Californication”, “Give it Away” & “Around the World” sent off the rock fans happy. After a sand-swept Coachella performance, expectations were not very high, so it’s not shocking that they exceeded them at Outside Lands. They might not be the most relevant bands in today’s musical landscape, but they proved they can still bring the freaky styley when the time is right. -KR


Kaskade ~ TOP SET
Sunday • Twin Peaks Stage • 8:25 p.m.

For those in dire need of one more dance party before the weekend came to a close, alas Ryan Raddon was primed to set the field ablaze with his hard-hitting take on deep-house music. The moist air felt nice as revelers fist-pumped and bounced to a particularly bass-heavy set from the longtime San Francisco resident and torch-bearer for the new American electronic sound which gained immense popularity some years back. A tasteful remix of Lana Del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful” was a highlight, and as 9:35PM ticked closer, many hoped the speakers wouldn’t compromise with dead silence. -KQ


Dillon Francis
Sunday • Panhandle Stage • 7:35 p.m.

Oddly placed at the Panhandle Stage, reminiscent of Wolfgang Gartner last year, there was no way Dilllon Francis wasn’t going to be a rager. Crowds rolled deep to watch this bass heavy set, and in no way did this DJ disappoint. Small stage be damned, Francis killed it, rattling off a consistent set of club bangers and EDM hits. The crowd ate up every second of the eardrum pounding womps, causing many members of the passing crowds to second guess the direction they were headed. The haystacks were packed deep with frottage and pool noodles dancing wildly. –MK


Vampire-Weekend-RyanPhoto by Ryan Shulman

Vampire Weekend ~ TOP SET
Sunday • Lands End Stage • 5:50 p.m.

Perhaps one of the most anticipated sets of the weekend came from one of the biggest bands of the year, Vampire Weekend. The Polo Field was packed as everyone and their mother (Hall and Oates performed before them) wanted a piece of the boys from the North East. Vampire Weekend came out firing contemporary classics “Cousins”, “White Sky” and “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa”. Next came the first offerings from their latest record Modern Vampires of the City, “Diane Young” and “Step”. Vampire Weekend dedicated “Step” to Bay Area hip hop legends Souls of Mischief, who were the song’s source of inspiration. Take one listen to Souls of Mischief’s “Step To My Girl” and you will hear the resemblance. During “Oxford Comma”, the camera zoomed in on a sign a fan created that read “I give a f*ck about an Oxford Comma.” Vampire Weekend wound down their set with “Giving Up the Gun” and my personal favorite from the new album “Hannah Hunt”. Two more tracks from their self-titled album concluded the impressive set with “One (Blake’s Got a New Face)” and “Walcott.”

Throughout the performance, the crowd was equally enamored with the older classics as they were with the new material. Vampire Weekend is currently at the top of their game, and their dominance was on full display as they delivered one of the strongest performances of the festival. They may not appear to be enjoying themselves while performing, but open your ears and listen for a moment — you will hear a band in their prime. -KR


A-TrakPhoto by Ryan Shulman

A-Trak
Sunday • Twin Peaks Stage • 5:10 p.m.

Producer, DJ/live mixer extraordinaire A-Trak brought the heat quickly Sunday, feverishly building to sneaky drops that revealed deliciously crunchy beats. The most pleasurable part about taking in Alain Macklovitch live is during transition time, when his scratching abilities deserve close up attention on the video screen. He does it all in a robotic trance; what A-Trak does is on par with what a jazz guitarist does in a blues club or what Ivan Neville did earlier in the day on the main stage — it’s freestyle jamming with pin-point control. After an almost EDM-free Saturday, A-Trak got things going the final day with Duck Sauce’s “Big Bad Wolf” and a raging remix of Kanye West’s “New Slaves”. Fool’s Gold! -MF


Hall-&-Oats-PatPhoto by Pat Tyrrell

Hall and Oates
Sunday • Lands End Stage • 4:20 p.m.

Everyone’s favorite 70’s and 80’s nostalgia act took to Land’s End Stage Sunday afternoon sandwiched between two of today’s most influential acts, Foals and Vampire Weekend. Hall and Oates have been the benefactors of a complete career resurgence despite the fact their only recent album was a Christmas record in 2006. A slow start to their set sent many people to Dawes and A-Trak, but those who stuck around were delighted with classic hits such as “Maneater”, “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do)” and “Rich Girl”. The corny nostalgia was high, but so were the good times. You can’t ask more from a Sunday afternoon set. -KR


Head-and-The-Heart-Secret---MikePhoto by Mike Frash

The Head and The Heart (Secret Show)
Sunday • Choco Lands’ Hell Brew Review • 3:50 p.m.

The tweet came across at 3:30, which inspired thoughts of Jack White performing a special Choco Lands set last year on Sunday. Reeling off of the amazing Foals set, a quick solo sprint to the Hell Brew Review across from Lamb Lands paid off magnificently. The three mainstays from Head and The Heart emerged on the tiny vaudeville stage for a hushed acoustic set, which included their new song “Shake”. Then crowd-pleaser “Lost In My Mind” took center stage when Josiah Johnson asked the close proximity crowd mid song, “Does anyone want to come help sing with us up here?” The stage was quickly at maximum capacity, a couple drunk goofballs stood in front of the performers, and someone managed to pull the plug, ceasing all speaker sound. This only made the sing-along more essential, especially for a song that already relies heavily on community spirit. -MF


Foals-by-Ryan-ShulmanPhoto by Ryan Shulman

Foals ~ TOP SET
Sunday • Land’s End Stage • 2:50 p.m.

Front man Yannis Philippakis walks around with purpose, like he has a chip on his shoulder – something to prove. Maybe it’s hard to go from headliner back home in the UK, then play broad daylight performances in the US like they did at Outside Lands. Philippakis and lead guitarist Jimmy Smith are doing everything they can do to catch the US up to them as Foals gain more traction and success each week. The Polo Field was pretty packed as “Prelude” began, and once Smith appeared ripping on lead guitar, pure fire ensued. Foals purvey cutting edge rock – their so called “Math Rock” deals heavily in progressive time chord changes, while emphasizing the offbeat ‘ones’ and ‘threes’ in melodies that mimic rhythm. Absolute rager “Milk & Black Spiders” finished out the all-too short hour in manic fashion – come back to the Bay soon Foals for a proper show please. -MF


Kurt Vile and the Violators ~ TOP SET
Sunday • Sutro Stage • 2:30 p.m.

Sunday’s weather left a little to be desired, but that didn’t deter the throngs from arriving a bit early for the likes of Kurt Vile. This seasonal festival veteran’s breezy sound lent perfectly to the tepid atmosphere thick with “San Francisco cigarette” plumes. Nodding heads were rewarded with classics like “Freak Train” and newer offerings, “Wakin’ on a Pretty Daze” and “Girl Named Alex”. Some monitor issues didn’t slow the already laid back pace of the band, even when Foals’ sound started to bleed into Lindley Meadow. -KQ


Rudimental
Sunday • Twin Peaks Stage • 2:05 p.m.

An unexpected highlight on this year’s bill, this mash up of blues, rock, funk and soul with DNB percussion was legit. A lively and large band fronted by two modelesque vocalists (knock off Fergie included), the group is accompanied by an assortment of horns, drums, piano, guitar and a live DJ. Rudimental pumped up the crowd for a positively charged last day, and they proved to be an act worth seeing at any venue – whether you’re looking to start a party or keep the fire burning at the end of a festival weekend. –MK


Fishbone-RyanPhoto by Ryan Shulman

Fishbone
Sunday • Land’s End Stage • 1:30 p.m.

Fishbone rocked out Sunday afternoon with their ska/punk-rock hybrid sound. Angelo Moore, aka Dr. Madd Vibes, pumped crowd the crowd up with his high energy vocals and stage banter. Not only did Moore and audience members crowd surf during their fifty-minute set, but Moore introduced “Flying Jay”, clad in a red cape, the ultimate crowd-surfing trombone player. Moore also encouraged a mosh pit during their Sublime cover, “Date Rape”. Highlights included “Party at Ground Zero” and “Everyday Sunshine”, when Moore tried to solicit the sun to come out…the fog won. –DS


Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk
Sunday • Land’s End Stage • 12:10 p.m.

The Sunday morning main stage “Gospel Slot” was appropriately given to Ivan Neville’s (and NOLA’s) Dumpstaphunk — where two bassists and double-bass drum work got booties shaken’ early. Original Neville Brother Ivan asked the crowd if we had been to New Orleans, and when we’d be going back — you’ve gotta love how musicians are the best sellers of tourism for the Crescent City. “Meanwhile…”, a song about still having a good time in post-Katrina NOLA, showcased the spirit of New Orleans perfectly. “You might as well have yourself a good time…there might not be a next time” — a refrain that glows longer then the verses that detail political corruption and violence. It may all read as a didactic song for the TV show Treme, but no one deals with hardship better than New Orleans, led by the “can’t stop, won’t stop” musicians that call the city home. -MF


Polo-Field-3-Tim

Beer Lands!

In only it’s second year onsite, Beer Lands has become a popular meeting spot, and, obviously, the place for the best local suds this region has to offer. An upgraded location in the Polo Fields, as opposed to tucked in the back of Lindley Meadow, made this spot even more popular and viable for social get-togethers. Doing away with the $1 ‘tickets’ as opposed to cash and card was a relief to those who would rather opt to not drink Heineken all day and night. Sierra Nevada offered a fragrant, herbal Saison exclusive to Outside Lands. Anchor Brewing brought their popular new California Lager and debuted an Autumn Maple Red Ale that was a tasty treat to those paying attention to the constantly rotating cast of taps. Drakes 1500 Pale Ale was this writers beverage of choice, but honestly, there were no losers in the bunch, and many look forward to this addition every year. Bottoms up. -KQ

Twin-Peaks-Scene-Tim

We didn’t catch them all this year! We missed Chromatics, The Tallest Man on Earth and Daughter — amongst others. What were your favorite shows at Outside Lands 2013?

Torch us in the “Comments” section below.

Outside Lands 2013: 10 sets not to miss

Outside-Lands-2013

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

UPDATE: The Outside Lands schedule has been announced. Check out these conflicts.

The Outside Lands lineup for 2013 has been unleashed, and it’s as strong as ever. We made our predictions, and they were pretty good, but now it’s time to take a look at the sets that peak our interest most.

There are so many incredible artists not listed below, including Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Grizzly Bear, Yeasayer, Kurt Vile and A-Trak. But with so many great acts to see (and we’re not even including the comedy tent, the Heineken Dome, late-night shows around SF or possible pop-up shows), it’s good to get an idea of which sets you will want to see, as conflicts will happen. Here are ten sets we’re looking forward to.

Follow our Outside Lands 2013 playlist on Spotify, featuring three tracks from each artist.

Paul McCartney

Were you one to pass up on Stevie Wonder last year for Skrillex? Then this does not matter to you. The ‘law of legend’ applies here — you don’t pass on a set by a member of The Beatles, with the exception of Ringo. Even then you probably should pick a Ringo set. I like dance music plenty, and often an EDM show can be the single most fun thing you can do at a music festival. It’s just not an option here, not for Kaskade or Pretty Lights — have an after-party at your apartment after the festival to make up for it and piss off your neighbors. Paul’s son James will also perform, so look for a father-son collaboration and other special guests. Macca would be an ideal Sunday closing set, but look for Sir Paul to play Friday or Saturday since he has dates scheduled in Canada the Monday through Wednesday after Outside Lands. -MF


Nine Inch Nails

Trent Reznor just cannot slow down. It’s a simple musical fact. Whether it’s winning Academy Awards for the “Social Network” soundtrack or forming a new band with his wife, he never lets up and he has totally reconfigured the 90’s industrial-rock staple that we have grown to love. With Adrian Belew of King Crimson fame playing guitar on NIN’s latest studio effort Hesitation Marks, songs are sure to take on a new identity, which seems to be what Reznor is going for. Add in Josh Eustis of now-defunct Telefon Tel Aviv, and this latest lineup that Reznor has put together is sure to excite the masses in Golden Gate Park. -KQ

UPDATE 5/15: Bassist Eric Avery has decided to quit the band.


Vampire Weekend

Vampire Weekend has gone from “skip” to “must-see” at Outside Lands with the release of their new album Modern Vampires Of The City, and what a gem it is. It’s convinced me not to skip them this year, unless they are up against personal bucket-lister Sir Paul McCartney. Their live act was beginning to feel stale, but the introduction of inspired new material with improved songwriting makes this Outside Lands set one not to miss. Do yourself a favor – check out Vampire Weekend and their new songs live. -KR


D’Angelo

The R&B genius is back at it after a multiyear hiatus, and this return has been slow and seemingly calculated, making one wonder if an album isn’t too far behind. His recent shows in NYC were widely hailed for their simplicity in intstrumentation, anchored by D’Angelo’s smooth vocals and a mix of old favorites, new offerings and choice covers. One cannot deny the brilliance of albums like VooDoo and Brown Sugar, and though it’s a name from the past for many, he is an artist with a rising stock. -KQ


The National

The nuanced, somber music created by The National is not for everyone, but those who are into The National love them, and for good reason. The knock-you-down then build-you up songwriting structure the Brooklyn-based indie group uses is contemplative yet comforting, and their show setlists include songs from their extensive catalogue. The National’s sixth LP will be available May 21, and you can stream it now (and it’s pretty damn good). The Pro-move here will be ditching a larger group to slinky up to the front of the main stage with a few like-minded friends, as proximity will be key – you’ll want to be closer to swooning super-fans with their hand over their heart as opposed to loud drunk chick inadvertently chatting into your ear during the quiet parts. The National will be performing in Los Angeles Saturday and Sunday, so plan on seeing them Friday. -MF


The Tallest Man on Earth

Kristian Matsson’s one-man show as The Tallest Man on Earth is a bit of a surprise on the bill. The Swedish singer-songwriter is not scheduled to play any other shows in the US after Bonnaroo summer, so San Francisco seems to be getting a one-off treat in August. He’s tenacious on stage, whipping around like a cobra ready to strike at critical moments for added emphasis. Matsson’s gritty, passionate vocals can be hynotic, and The Tallest Man should help music fans float away at the main stage with a mid-afternoon time slot. -MF


Foals

Already approaching headliner status across the pond, these English rockers produce indie dance-punk that that runs the emotional gamut, from mysterious wall-of-sound ragers (“Inhaler”) to upbeat, rock-your-socks-off party anthems (“My Number”). No matter where the music takes you sonically, it’s pretty impossible to not dance, or at least gyrate when seeing this act live. Their set at Coachella was a top set of the weekend, and word is spreading about their third LP Holy Fire – it’s one of the best records of 2013 so far. Foals are performing in Los Angeles on August 9th, so plan on catching them Saturday or Sunday (and hopefully at a late-night show, fingers crossed). -MF


Gary Clark Jr.

This hard-rocking blues guitarist has been making waves for the past year or two, and is on a meteoric quest to the top. Whether he is sitting in with the Stones in NYC or for the President at the White House, Clark can’t stop turning heads and taking names with his virtuosic guitar chops. Much like Alabama Shakes last year, the popularity of this act lies in a modern spin on Southern music and its palpability to many age groups. Fans of the blues are sure to be pleased as Clark weaves that genre into other styles, creating something fully unique. -KQ


Chromatics

The shimmering beauty from the Chromatics will shower upon Golden Gate Park as they continue to tour on the strength of their 2012 LP Kill for Love. Ruth Radelet’s angelic-cool voice breezes over minimalist noir-electro disco, and their live performance can be serious, sexy and danceable all the same time. Chromatics are one of the only acts in synth-pop territory this year at Outside Lands, so plan on seeing this foursome if you’re a fan of the Drive soundtrack (they were in it). -MF


Atlas Genius

Is Atlas Genius the Foster the People of 2013? When one hears the slickness of summer-tinged track “Trojans,” it’s pretty clear that it’s a strong contender for ‘Song of the Summer.’ One could even dub them part of the ‘Australian Invasion’ over the past few years alongside the likes of Tame Impala, Cut Copy and Empire of the Sun, all heralded acts that Atlas Genius will inevitably be compared to. When It Was Now will certainly fuel their massive summer schedule of festivals galore and loads more radio airplay. -KQ


Best tracks of 2012

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

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

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

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


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

1. Sun Kil Moon “Among the Leaves”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Pete Mauch Los Angeles @PeteMauch

1. Father John Misty“Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings”

2. Neil Young“Walk Like a Giant”

3. Trey Anastasio“Scabbard”

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


Molly Kish San Francisco @MollyKish

1. Lumineers “Ho Hey”

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

2. Azealia Banks“212”

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

3. The Presets“Youth in Trouble”

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

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

Honorable Mentions
Passion Pit“I’ll be Alright”


Kevin Raos San Francisco @kevinraos

1. Tame Impala“Apocalypse Dreams”

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

2. Electric Guest“This Head I Hold”

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

3. Lana Del Rey“Born to Die”

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

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


Eric Shaden San Francisco @3ricShaden

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

2. Kendrick Lamar“Swimming Pools (Drank)”

3. Passion Pit “Constant Conversations”

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


Kevin Quandt San Francisco @KJQuandt

1. TNGHT“Higher Ground”

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

2. Pond“Eye Pattern Blindness”

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

3. Japandroids“House That Heaven Built”

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

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

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


Sean Little San Francisco @splittle

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

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

2. Bicep“Vision of Love”

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

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

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

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

Bridge School Benefit 2012: Sunday Highlights

Organized by legend Neil Young and his wife, Pegi, the Bridge School Benefit Concert is an annual, all acoustic, non-profit charity event held every October at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California. All proceeds directly benefit the operations of The Bridge School.

•The day opened with a short blessing and intro set from Neil Young.

•Austin-based Gary Clark Jr. impressed with an early set that set the tone for the rest of the day.

K.D. Lang played a short, emotional set with a strong voice and stage presence.

Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers mixed comedy and bluegrass into a pleasing set. Comedy aside, Steve Martin is a more than competent banjo player.

Foster the People delivered one the strongest sets of the day. They performed hits including “Houdini” and “Pumped up Kicks,” incorporating xylophone and tubular bells to round out their sound in this acoustic setting. On Saturday, Mark Foster revealed it was a challenge adapting their electronic-oriented music to the required acoustic sound, but it was ultimately a rewarding challenge.

•As good as Sarah McLachlan is, I cannot hear her anymore without thinking about this:

The Flaming Lips enlisted Reggie Watts for their set and ended the night with a cover of The Beatles’ “A Day in the Life.” Reggie accompanied Wayne on vocals with a little help on the lyrics from his iphone. Or he was tweeting.

Jack White brought out his all-male band on Sunday to play tracks from his latest album Blunderbuss, his collaboration with Danger Mouse Rome, and the White Stripes classics “We’re Going to to Be Friends” & “Hotel Yorba.” Saturday night saw the all female band perform with White, and they played their slower-paced songs like “Love Interruption” & “Blunderbuss.”

•After hearing about Saturday’s Guns n’ Roses performance, I expected the worst on Sunday. Axl got his act together and delivered a 40-minute set that actually sounded pretty good. They finished out their set with Neil Young playing Neil’s “Don’t Let it Bring You Down.”

Neil Young previewed a few songs from his upcoming album Psychedelic Pill. As per custom, the night ended with Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World” that brought out almost all the artists from the day, minus Jack White.

New Music Tuesday: Shiny Toy Guns • Gary Clark Jr. • Paul Banks • Titus Andronicus • Diamond Rings

Shiny Toy Guns - III

Every Tuesday, we focus on new music releases by naming our top tracks and supplying the latest videos for select albums.


Shiny Toy GunsIII

Top Track: “Waiting Alone”


Gary Clark Jr.Blak and Blu

Top Track: “Numb”


Paul BanksBanks

Top Track: “The Base”


Titus AndronicusLocal Business

Top Track: “In a Big City”


Diamond RingsFree Dimensional

Top Track: “I’m Just Me”