Lo Moon are officially LA’s newest buzz band after their sold-out show at the Troubadour

Lo MoonBy Josh Herwitt //

Lo Moon with Psychic Twin //
Troubadour – West Hollywood, CA
November 16th, 2017 //

If there’s one public radio station in Los Angeles that always seems to have its finger on the pulse of all things music, it’s KCRW.

The NPR member station broadcasting from Santa Monica College has long had a penchant for discovering some of today’s most buzzworthy bands, and since 1977, its signature music program “Morning Becomes Eclectic” has played an instrumental role in maintaining what has been a strong track record for years. In fact, quite a few up-and-coming acts have come out of KCRW’s own backyard, whether it has been indie-rock groups like Silverlake’s Local Natives or solo artists such as Inglewood-bred jazz virtuoso Kamasi Washington.

But the latest group from the City of Angels to catch the station’s eye has been Lo Moon, the atmospheric, yet soulful indie-electronic trio that has only officially released three songs to date. One of them is called “Thorns”, which opened their sold-out show last Thursday at the Troubadour. With KCRW sponsoring the event, Illinois native/now LA transplant Erin Fein’s dreamy, synth-pop project Psychic Twin paved the way for the evening’s headliner, as a half-empty room prior to 9 p.m. turned into a crowded one 30 minutes later.

Despite what they call home right now, Lo Moon don’t consider themselves an “LA band,” at least not yet. All three full-time members — Matt Lowell (guitar, keyboards, vocals), Crisanta Baker (bass, keyboards, vocals) and Sam Stewart (guitar, keyboards, vocals) — arrived in LA from different parts of the world and wrote most of their forthcoming debut LP that’s due out next year in Seattle, a city Lowell says helped shape the album’s overall sound.

Lo Moon

Lo Moon, sonically, can be somewhat difficult to pin down. With a range of influences, their music has drawn comparisons to many of the UK’s biggest bands: Talk Talk, Cocteau Twins, My Bloody Valentine, Radiohead, Massive Attack and The xx, among others. That’s certainly some impressive company to be mentioned in when you get right down to it, especially for a band that took several months to unveil its second song. But Lo Moon have much more than just comparisons to hang their hat on at this point. The three-piece, for one, has inked a deal with Columbia Records and gotten the attention of former Death Cab for Cutie guitarist Chris Walla, who has since signed on to produce its first full length.

Lately though, Lowell, Baker, Stewart and touring member Sterling Laws (drums) have been hitting the road with some pretty big names, including AIR (read our show review here) and Phoenix, with shows lined up next month as support for London Grammar, Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy and The War on Drugs. With those kind of opportunities this early in the band’s career, don’t be surprised if you find Lo Moon listed on the 2018 Coachella lineup in January.

Back at the Troubadour, Lo Moon ran through a number of tracks that we can expect to hear on their upcoming release, performing “The Right Thing” for the first time before closing the set on a high note with “This Is It”, their sophomore single that you could mistake for a Peter Gabriel song if you didn’t know any better. There’s no question Lowell and company have an affinity for synthesizers, and the limited studio material they’ve revealed so far suggests that. But what also makes them stand out is Lowell himself, who offered a poignant solo rendition on the piano titled “All In” to kick off the band’s brief encore.

Of course, as Lo Moon fans know or will come to know, the show couldn’t have ended without the song that started it all: “Loveless”. The sprawling, seven-minute anthem, which hooked a major record label, an A-list producer and listeners all over the world, is what initially put the threesome on the map, and with Laws’ drum rolls delivering one powerful crescendo after the next down the stretch, the crowd came visibly alive like it hadn’t all night. Sure, this may only be the beginning for these guys, but LA’s newest buzz band knows how to shoot for the moon.

Setlist:
Thorns
The Right Thing (live debut)
Wonderful Life
TTMYMO
Real Love
My Money
Camouflage
This Is It

Encore:
All In (Matt Lowell solo on piano)
Loveless

The best of Treasure Island Music Festival 2014

TIMF2014_postPhotos by Marc Fong // Written by Mike Frash //

Treasure Island Music Festival //
Treasure Island – San Francisco
October 18th-19th, 2014 //

Treasure Island Music Festival 2014 will be remembered for its triumphant headliners along with its embrace of minimalist, finger-snapping electro-pop. Some of the performing acts that have blown up over the past year or so — including Jungle, Zedd, BANKS and Chet Faker — offered relatively tame performances, struggling to elevate their live music experiences. But many other acts gave inspired, breathtaking or insanely fun sets.

Here’s our best (and worst) of TIMF 2014.

Kaleidascope


Massive-Attack

Show of the Weekend: Massive Attack

Massive-Attack2With perhaps the most appropriate name for musical act on the planet, Massive Attack capped Treasure Island Music Festival 2014 in stunning fashion. With a balancing act of bass-infused downtempo brilliance highlighted by Martina Topley-Bird’s singing and industrialized synth-stabbing electronic pieces, a range of emotion is achieved for the listener. With contrasting tempos and a duality of tranquility then intensity, a cause-and-effect narrative starts to take shape — especially when paying attention to the video elements of the intense songs. “United Snakes” left nothing to the imagination with its barrage of corporate logos and national flags. It appeared the expanded duo slipped in one frame of a Ferris wheel, reminding us that yes, us consumers at TIMF, the only U.S. festival Massive Attack played on this tour, are part of the system. “Future Proof” visuals stripped out rows of zeroes and ones, using the simplicity of computer code to inspire multiple paths of thought, especially while absorbing this show in the Bay Area. And Tunde Adebimpe from TV On The Radio joined in for “Pray For Rain” for the grand finale.


OutKast-Big-Boi

Biggest Bay Area Party of the Year: OutKast

OutKast-DreIt’s almost the end of the biggest reunion tour in decades, and TIMF patrons were lucky enough to witness one of OutKast’s last shows. The Bridge Stage was more packed in than any show in memory, and festivalgoers outwardly had more fun compared to performances from past years. The set was perfectly paced, with André 3000 seemingly having a fun time — an important part of the equation compared to Big Boi’s rock-steady appearances throughout 2014. The guys gave shout-outs to Casual and The Misfits in the “local love” part of the show, and “Roses” (including a half-hearted apology for the “crazy bitch” outro) once again was one of the highlights. The set ended at least 20 minutes before the scheduled end of the day, emptying a large percentage of patrons into the shuttle line at the same time — there were some reports of people not making it back to SF until 2 a.m.


alt-J

Most Likely to Headline Festivals Very Soon: alt-J

alt-J is no longer a band on the rise, but one of the biggest bands in the world with this just-launched tour in support of the group’s second LP. This hour-long set at TIMF seemed like a coronation of sorts as it was the first festival set the now-quartet has played with new material. The highlights from An Awesome Wave still act as the backbone of the set while the best cuts from This Is All Yours were cherry-picked and sprinkled in perfectly to enhance their already-inspiring live show. “Hunger of the Pine” got things going while “Left Hand Free” worked well, getting away from the heady elements for a bit. “Dissolve Me” into “Matilda” is still so incredibly beautiful and emotive — alt-J should never break these two songs up. “Every Other Freckle” is the one song where I wish the guys would have considered new lyrics, but it’s a small complaint for a concert experience that had a huge crowd rapturously involved. When music implores a festival audience to be fully invested as alt-J pulled off on Sunday, with no one talking during the quiet intimate parts, it becomes clear you are ingesting something special. Even though their rise in popularity has happened remarkably fast, that trend should continue to move upward through festival season next year.


Classixx

Most TIMF Set of the Weekend: Classixx

On paper, Classixx is the ideal act for Treasure Island Music Festival 2014, and the duo delivered on this promise in the all-important sunset time slot. Restrained but upbeat enough, pop-oriented yet progressive in its sound, the LA-based remixers-turned-original producers brought Saturday together based on what we expect from past TIMF years. Their on-stage centerpiece, a modern take on a 1980’s-era television, visualizes Nancy Whang for “All You’re Waiting For” and YACHT’s Claire L. Evans for a remix of “Psychic City”. The television set offers a surreal scene juxtaposed with the backgrounded City skyline, functionally helping to break down the walls of disembodied vocals.


TVOTR

Best New Material: TV On The Radio

TVOTR2TVOTR gave one of the best sets of the weekend with their wonderful mix of slow burners, dance-punk blasts of energy along with three new songs: “Happy Idiot”, “Careful You” and “Could You”. The latter two were particularly impressive and fit perfectly into the band’s catalog. A couple other notes on the show: producer and multi-instrumentalist David Sitek now looks like Bono, Kyp Malone is still professionally chill and Tunde Adebimpe continues to be offended when listeners don’t give him full attention. After completing “Wolf Like Me”, wherein the TI faithful went nuts, the lead singer said that he couldn’t believe he saw someone leave during the song. Agreed Tunde, and we’re looking forward to the forthcoming record.


Janell-Monae

Best Recovery: Janelle Monáe

What’s exactly the point of sound checking a microphone if you’re not going to do it completely? The guy setting up the mic put it on the stand after unsuccessfully getting it to work, and Monáe sang the first song completely unaware her voice wasn’t projecting through the speakers. After some crowd chanting, a new microphone, and three different people near me saying “Why doesn’t she use the backup singer’s mic?” order was finally restored. Also, when we got “Tightrope”, all hope of seeing Monáe join mentor Big Boi during OutKast was shot. Still, there’s no doubt the Electric Lady is just beginning a long and illustrious career. And as she proved with “Cold War”, it’s damn near impossible to take your eyes or ears off her when it’s her time to shine.


Bill-Murray

Best Pop-Culture Friend-Finder: Bill Murray

Bill Murray is clearly the most important American pop culture icon, and this group knows it. They also had a high-flying Bill Murray flag to triangulate positions.


Ana-Tijoux

Best Festival Outlier: Ana Tijoux

French-Chilean MC and singer-songwriter Ana Tijoux brought the best change of pace on Saturday, something apparent from the beginning of “Vengo”. Upbeat and passionate fire-spitting about social injustice with electronic elements and a horn section? Yes please — this was perhaps the only set on the dance-oriented first day without finger snapping or words in English.


Washed-Out

Most TIMF Set of the Weekend Part 2: Washed Out

It’s impressive how Ernest Greene has evolved Washed Out from bedroom project to leader of the chill-wave movement to a live performer that can mimic the energy of a dance show through instrumentation. Like Classixx, this one just felt right for TIMF.


Polica

Most Immersive Set: Poliça

Sultry. Intensely Moody. World music-infused. These are the words I wrote down before being completely drawn into this set. Once awakening after completing locking in to a couple songs, I opted to get to alt-J early for a good spot. It was a tough call since Poliça were thoroughly captivating — I’ll be looking to see them again soon.


Mo

Best Unintentional Festival Blending:

MØ emerged on stage sporting a black eye-patch, seemingly joining in on the pirate theme that has defined TIMF over the years. But after a song, Karen Marie Ørsted needlessly admitted to an eye infection, even though the optical accessory worked well with her braid and masculine power stances. MØ stood above the other new minimalist-glitch offerings on display at TIMF 2014 with her authentic energy, ownership of the stage and video support. Mixing oddly-appealing archival footage on loop, including a small animal’s still-beating heart in the palm of a hand, with imagery of herself working background vocals, made this electropop highlight even more memorable.


White-Denim

Band that Deserves More Listeners: White Denim

It’s a shame White Denim couldn’t be featured later in the day for more festivalgoers on Sunday. The seemingly spastic song structures and prog-rock mentality make White Denim a group to add to that list of bands you try to see perform live when they come to town.


The-New-Pornographers

Set that Thinned Out the Most: The New Pornographers

Along with the TIMF headliners, The New Pornographers have the most seniority out of all TIMF acts. Cuts from their underestimated 2014 record Brill Bruisers created the backbone of the set with fan favorites laced in throughout. Songs led by Destroyer’s Dan Bejar, with their skewered and self-inflicting lyrics, resonated strongest. This show thinned out as the set went on while most younger festivalgoers were queuing up for Chet Faker, signifying the current state of indie music popularity. Sadly, the eight members of the group walked off stage to nary an audible clap.


Silent-Disco

Best Constant Dance Party: Silent Disco

With no overlapping sets, Silent Disco is always an option if you want house music instead of the provided musicians on stage.


BANKS

Best Pop-Culture Friend-Finder 2: Kim Kardashian with Laser Beam Eyes at BANKS

BANKS kind of sums up the direction indie-turned-pop music has gone in 2014. Sleek bare-bones production, glitch elements and moody synth lay the ground work for whispery vocals. This aural cocktail has captured the collective zeitgeist (along with much of the TIMF curation) this year. Jillian Banks has an immaculate voice and is mega popular worldwide, but her set felt like more of the same. BANKS banned media photography for her TIMF set, so here’s a photo of one of the best location markers of the weekend: Kim Kardashian with laser beams coming out of her eyes.


The-Growlers

Most Entertaining Hype Man: The Growlers

Weirdo garage rock! The Growlers almost didn’t make their set according to the introduction given by the group’s eccentric hype-man named DMTina. But the psych-goth surf rock was pleasant enough, with “Chinese Fountain” giving a fun tone to the afternoon, but the dude in the robe pretty much stole the show.


St.-Lucia

Most Shiny Electro-Pop of the Weekend: St. Lucia

I have to be honest, St. Lucia is a bit too shiny and synth-heavy for me, but damn do they give it their all. If you’re into the nu-disco pop revival, St. Lucia is for you. OutKast was a priority, though.


Jungle

Most Surface-Level Fun: Jungle

Churning soul-disco mystery collective Jungle is a more well-known entity now, and the skyrocketing, UK-based outfit adeptly loops morsels of pleasurable phrasing as a house DJ would. But it all sounds the same. And given their debut record, I expected many similarities from song to song but still hoped for something more out of their live interpretations. Jungle is generic to the point of being an emotional blank slate, tofu without any other tastes involved. But there’s no better time than now to get involved in some Giants pandering — the “Let’s Go Giants” chant sparked by Josh Lloyd-Watson’s jersey and reference to SF’s World Series-bound team was one of the biggest crowd responses of the set.


Robot-Dance-Party

Best Mobile Dance Party: Robot Dance Party

Robot Dance Party can’t stop, won’t stop.


Chet-Faker2

Most Unlikely Show with People on Shoulders: Chet Faker

Chet-FakerChet Faker had the crew bring out a huge bass speaker to put directly behind him after his first song to give his music more oomph. And when he dipped into his career-making collaborations with Flume, “Left Alone” and “Drop the Game”, the Tunnel stage instantly began moving like the rhythm of the ocean. But otherwise, the set was downtempo to the point of boredom. And it’s not a good idea to take one of your best songs, “Talk is Cheap”, and strip it down even more. Some ladies still felt compelled to rock their friend’s shoulders as if it was a dance show, something that I’m still trying to figure out.


Zedd

Biggest Spectacle Over Substance: Zedd

More than any other set at TIMF 2014, Zedd felt out of place. By this point on Saturday, the fest needed a jump of adrenaline, but the Top 40 producer wasn’t the solution. Where acts like Knife Party or Bassnectar would have fallen more in line with the traditional ethos of TIMF, Zedd brought his world of contemporary pop to the island. There was no layering or transitions, his drops didn’t stand out from the EDM pack, and the show lacked any memorable surprises.

What were your favorite sets of Treasure Island Music Festival 2014?

Treasure Island 2014 trends toward indie dance-pop

Treasure Island Music Festival

Treasure Island Music Festival //
Treasure Island, CA
October 18-19, 2014 //

Dance-oriented pop is taking over music festival curation, while rock is beginning to die a slow death when it comes to Bay Area festival lineups. Overall, this appears to be the trend for Treasure Island Music Festival in the San Francisco Bay.

While the daily lineups haven’t been announced yet, the upbeat dance acts for Saturday and the rock-oriented Sunday performers were easy to divvy up at this point in past years. It appears this line has been blurred significantly. Sure alt-J, TV On The Radio, The New Pornographers, White Denim and The Growlers seem like solid bets for the traditional day of rest, if past years hold true, but who will headline Sunday between OutKast and Massive Attack? Rap acts have always seen the stage on Saturday, so we’re thinking OutKast is a lock for Saturday.

And speaking of the first rap headliner in Treasure Island Music Festival history, San Francisco proper will get a visit from the ATLiens after their highly successful headline set in Napa a few weeks back. Since catching their stride, 3 Stacks and Big Boi have been murdering large crowds across the globe with a mix of hits, old favorites and a smattering of solo material. So, go re-learn the “Roses” dance for what is sure to be the peak of energy on the island. Also with Janelle Monáe on the bill, expect at least one special guest appearance for the Big-Boi produced “Tightrope”.

READ OUR REPORT FROM TIMF 2013

BqWqdSuCAAAKH8a.jpg-large

2014 breakout acts Jungle, Banks and Chet Faker, all of whom recently played sold out shows at the Independent in SF, are remarkably high on the bill, but odds are they will be in the perfect slot come October. If you haven’t heard of Jungle yet, they performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live last night and crushed it. Emerging acts that can catalyze ticket sales are an increasingly important premium when curating a festival lineup, hence Jungle & Banks’ mid-to-upper lineup position.

Female acts are never appropriately represented based on the statistical division of sexes at a festival, but TIMF has done a great job of lessoning the gap this year. Janelle Monáe, The New Pornographers, St. Lucia, Banks, Jungle, MØ, Poliça and more will be at the Festival on the Bay come October.

alt-J played at Bottom of the Hill in December 2012, and here they are as a prime sub-headliner. The response to the recent announcement of their second album and tour behind it shows that this makes sense.

The New Pornographers also announced a brand new album recently, and they’ll be returning to the bay via TIMF with original members Neko Case and Dan Bejar from Destroyer.

There may be less rock in the vein of Interpol, The Strokes and Parquet Courts than past years, but there is no doubt this lineup is loaded with fun, upbeat acts. What are you most excited to see at TIMF 2014?

2-Day GA, VIP tickets and Parking Passes On Sale Thursday, June 19th at 10AM PT!

OutKast
Massive Attack
Zedd
alt-J
TV On the Radio
Janelle Monáe
The New Pornographers
Washed Out
St. Lucia
Banks
Jungle
White Denim

Poliça
The Growlers
Classixx
Chet Faker
Ryan Hemsworth
Ana Tijoux
Asgeir
Xxyyxx
Ratking
Tobacco
Bleached
Painted Palms
Waters

Treasure Island Music Festival Scene