Just Like Heaven returns to Pasadena in 2023 with Yeah Yeah Yeahs, MGMT, Future Islands, Empire of the Sun, M83 & more on the bill

Just Like Heaven - 2023 lineup

Just Like Heaven //
Brookside at the Rose Bowl – Pasadena, CA
May 13th, 2023 //

While last Tuesday served as a big day for live music with Goldenvoice revealing the 2023 lineup for its signature event Coachella, the renowned California-based concert promoter is moving full steam ahead by announcing plans for one of its other annual music festivals this spring.

Just Like Heaven, which became an instant success in 2019 and expanded to two days that year for its debut, will return to the Brookside Golf Course at the Rose Bowl with another top-notch roster that most indie-music fans can get behind after an outstanding showing in 2022 featuring Interpol, Modest Mouse, The Shins, M.I.A. and a whole lot more (read our festival review here).

Even with that in mind, we think it’s safe to say that Goldenvoice CEO Paul Tollett and company have once again put together a heavenly assortment of indie artists and bands for its third edition.

This time Yeah Yeah Yeahs, MGMT, Future Islands, Empire of the Sun and M83 will lead the way for only one Saturday in May, but there’s plenty more stellar acts listed further down the the bill with an undercard that boasts Hot Chip, Caribou, The Walkmen, The Bravery, Fever Ray, Peaches, Azealia Banks, Ladytron, STRFKR, Metronomy, The Faint, The Sounds and Cults. See the poster above for those who are not already mentioned and are scheduled to perform. It’s worth bringing up that Yeah Yeah Yeahs, MGMT, STRFKR and The Faint were all part of the 2019 festivities down at the Queen Mary Park in Long Beach, yet as we know, so much has changed since then.

The inclusion of Peaches is particularly noteworthy considering that Merrill Nisker just took the stage at the fest last year and made quite an impression upon many of us (our photos will give you a clear idea about what we mean). How will she top her 2022 set? Well, you’ll just have to be there — or back here — to find out. MGMT, meanwhile, have been booked to play their 2007 debut LP Oracular Spectacular, so we’ll be sure to keep our eyes peeled in case we see Leonardo DiCaprio raving once “Kids” begins.

If you’re sold on going to Just Like Heaven, make sure to register for the presale here before GA passes go on sale this Friday, January 20th at 10 a.m. PT for $149 (Tier 1) and eventually increase to $169 (Tier 2) and $189 (Tier 3). GA+ wristbands will be a new option this year for $249 that offers a dedicated GA+ entry lane at the main entrance, fast-lane access at the main merch stand and an exclusive GA+ lounge with air-conditioned restrooms, shaded areas plus additional seating, complimentary bottled water and a dedicated bar for 21+ patrons. VIP and Clubhouse tickets, should you want to splurge, are also available for $369-389 and $649, respectively, prior to any additional fees. Mark your calendars because “heaven” for music lovers of all things indie is less than four months away!

Just Like Heaven 2023

Albums you’ll want to hear in 2016

2016 albumsWritten by Josh Herwitt //

Now that we’ve said our goodbyes to 2015, it’s time to start looking ahead to 2016 and what lies ahead when it comes to new music. Although it’s still rather early and new albums are sure to be announced after this writing, there’s plenty of ear candy that’s already set to be released in 2016.

Here are 10 upcoming albums (in chronological order by release date) that you’ll want to hear and could very well end up being on some “Best of 2016” lists in another 12 months.

David Bowie – ★ (Blackstar)

David Bowie - Blackstar

Release date: January 8th
Record label: RCA/Columbia

The 20th studio album from Ziggy Stardust will be one of the first to hit stands in 2016, and although the 68-year-old legend has said that his touring days are over, Bowie is still capable of making an intriguing record, much like he did in 2013 with The Next Day. From what we’ve heard on ★, be it the 10-minute title track or in recent weeks “Lazarus” (the song that Bowie is also using in his off-Broadway musical by the same name), we’re eager to hear the rest.

Tortoise – The Catastrophist

Tortoise - The Catastrophist

Release date: January 22nd
Record label: Thrill Jockey

It’s been more than six years since Tortoise last released an album, but the Chicago post-rock outfit will unveil The Catastrophist, led by first single “Gesceap”, later this month. Featuring vocal contributions from Yo La Tengo’s Georgia Hubley and Todd Rittmann of Chicago bands U.S. Maple and Dead Rider, the new LP was inspired by music closely tied to Chicago’s jazz and improvised music scenes that the city commissioned the band to write back in 2010.

Ty Segall – Emotional Mugger

Ty Segall - Emotional Mugger

Release date: January 22nd
Record label: Drag City

Segall announced his eighth studio album by mailing a VHS tape to Pitchfork less than two months ago, and if that wasn’t eccentric enough, the prolific garage rocker followed it up with a dedicated website for the LP, which includes a hotline number to call and two videos — one that shows him and the band wearing baby masks and another that sees him playing a doctor while explaining what “emotional mugging” is. Despite Emotional Mugger not extending quite as long as Segall’s previous solo effort Manipulator did, many of the track names are worth a chuckle, from “Breakfast Eggs” to “Baby Big Man (I Want a Mommy)”.

Bloc Party – Hymns

Bloc Party - Hymns

Release date: January 29th
Record label: BMG

Long known for pioneering a sound that bridged the gap between indie rock and electronic music, Bloc Party return in early 2016 with their fifth studio album and their first with new members Justin Harris (bass, keyboards) and Louise Bartle (drums). Debuting material from Hymns, including newest single “The Good News” at FYF Fest (read our festival review here) in August, the British quartet will also offer a deluxe edition of the LP with four bonus tracks.

St. Lucia – Matter

St. Lucia - Matter

Release date: January 29th
Record label: Columbia

Jean-Philip Grobler released the debut LP for his Brooklyn-based, synthpop project St. Lucia toward the end of 2013, and late this month, the South African native will unveil his follow-up to When the Night. If you were curious as to how Matter will sound in comparison to his first full length, Grobler has a geographical analogy to describe both: “If the last album sounded like the tropics, this album is the desert.”

Black Moth Super Rainbow

Black Moth Super Rainbow - SeeFu Lilac

Release date: N/A
Record label: N/A

Thomas Fec has become well-regarded in indie-electronic circles for his work as Tobacco over the last several years, but for more than a decade, he has also served as the frontman of Black Moth Super Rainbow, the Pittsburgh psych-rock group that’s preparing to drop its sixth studio album later this year. As BMSR fans await the LP’s official release, the band surprised many in mid-November by streaming its new mini-album Seefu Lilac, which features “neon flavored outtakes from a 6th album that doesn’t yet exist.”

Animal Collective – Painting With

Animal Collective - Painting With

Release date: February 19th
Record label: Domino

After streaming new material on loop at Baltimore’s BWI Airport the day before Thanksgiving, Animal Collective are now just a few weeks away from the release of their 10th studio album. Taking some much-needed time off after its latest tour so that David Portner and Noah Lennox could focus on their own side projects, the band refined its songwriting approach for Painting With, removing the long, ambient passages that were often synonymous with their previous LPs and also collaborating with Welsh musician John Cale and multireedist Colin Stetson.

Wild Nothing – Life of Pause

Wild Nothing - Life of Pause

Release date: February 19th
Record label: Captured Tracks

Jack Tatum remains the brains behind his indie-rock/dream-pop project Wild Nothing, having been its founder and lone songwriter since 2009. Feeding off the success of 2012’s Nocturne, Tatum consciously wanted to reinvent himself as a musician while recording Life of Pause in Los Angeles and Stockholm with producer Thom Monahan, and if his double-sided single “To Know You”/”TV Queen” is any indication, we’re starting to see what he means.

Poliça – United Crushers

Poliça - United Crushers

Release date: March 4th
Record label: Mom + Pop

Poliça lead vocalist Channy Leaneagh may have been pregnant last year, but you wouldn’t have known it from the way this Minneapolis synthpop group has continued to work in the studio. In following up its successful sophomore effort Shulamith from 2013, the five-piece takes a more political approach on its third full-length album United Crushers, which boasts first single “Lime Habit”.

Charles Bradley – Changes

Charles Bradley - Changes

Release date: April 1st
Record label: Daptone Records

You have to wonder if Charles Bradley was a Black Sabbath fan growing up as a kid, because his new album Changes draws plenty of inspiration from the legendary heavy metal group’s Vol. 4. While his cover of the famous Sabbath hit serves as the LP’s title track, the “Screaming Eagle of Soul” continues to win us over with his rags-to-riches story (Bradley was at one time homeless before becoming a cook and working various odd jobs) and his undying charisma.

The following artists and bands are expected to release new albums in 2016 but have yet to confirm an official release date and/or an album title:

Band of Horses
Chairlift – Moth
Chromatics – Dear Tommy
Crystal Castles
Death Grips – Bottomless Pit
Diddy – No Way Out 2
DJ Premier – Last Session @ 320
Drake – Views From the 6
Frank Ocean
Gary Numan
GZA – Dark Matter
James Blake – Radio Silence
Kanye West – SWISH
Kings of Leon
LCD Soundsystem
Lupe Fiasco – Drogas
M.I.A. – Matahdatah
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Major Lazer – Music Is the Weapon
Mark Kozelek
Modest Mouse
My Morning Jacket
No Doubt
Pete Yorn – Arranging Time
Rihanna – Anti
The Jesus and Mary Chain
The Killers
The Strokes
Zeds Dead

New Music Tuesday: Metronomy • Elbow


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

MetronomyLove Letters

3-BamsTop Tracks:
“I’m Aquarius”
“Boy Racers”
“The Most Immaculate Haircut”

Album Highlights: Metronomy’s fourth album is strikingly less electronic than prior efforts, taking wonky pop toward the doo-wop, soulful rock and roll of the 70’s. The group’s prior effort, English Riviera, found success in its swirling layers and sophisticated production. This time, Metronomy founder and frontman Joseph Mount uses lyrical repetition to the point that the vocal loops become mantras, driving home the point of confessional simplicity.

For example, album single “I’m Aquarius” repeats the song’s title for about one-third of the song, but that’s not why the song works. Sparkling melodic undertones enriched the track, allowing the mantra to take hold. “The Most Immaculate Haircut” is slightly deceptive in it’s form, which makes it interesting. It dies down, feigning the song is coming to an end, only to revive stronger than before with “Oh hush now” becoming the vocal center-point. “Boy Racers,” an instrumental that inspires a cinematic detective feel is the first song that shifts the tonal attitude of apathy, suitably without lyrics. The dynamic nature of this song, along with no lyrics or mantra, helps it to stick out, in a good way.

The best songs on the record are the ones that diverge slightly from the Metronomy’s consistent approach.

Album Lowlight: This simple approach reduces instrumentation in favor of a measured pace and homogenous tone, therefore making it feel bland. Under a throwback, soulful rock aesthetic, the album’s title Love Letters drips in irony. More of a makeup letter, or a breakup letter, there isn’t much love to be found lyrically. Hell, in the first two tracks, Mount sings about relationship apathy, taking rings back and threatening to leave.

The lyrical mantras are so repetitious that they can become meaningless at times. “I keep on writing love letters”, “We can get better / We can do anything” and “Does it get better?” on the final cut “Never Wanted” does tell a basic, ongoing tale about the pains of love. In the end, Metronomy’s record feels monotonous, both lyrically and in its overall production.

Takeaway: Love Letters has a handful of memorable songs, but as a whole, it doesn’t inspire much feeling or a need to replay. Lyrics from the album’s best song “I’m Aquarius” say it best — “I can love it, or I can leave it.” A forgettable, permeating aura of apathy does Metronomy’s latest no great service.

~Mike Frash

ElbowThe Take Off and Landing of Everything

3.5-BamsTop Tracks:
“Fly Boy Blue/Lunette”
“New York Morning”

Album Highlights: After a three-year layoff, the British indie rockers are back with their sixth full-length album and their third on UK label Fiction Records. The last five years, after all, have been as rewarding as they come for the Manchester band. Its last two albums were both nominated for the Mercury Prize, with 2008’s Seldom Seen Kid edging out Radiohead’s In Rainbows as well as Adele’s 19 to take home the prestigious honor. And even though 2011 follow-up Build a Rocket Boys! would fall short to PJ Harvey’s Let England Shake, such critical acclaim in such a short span set quite the precedent for the quintet.

Still, as tough as those albums are to follow, The Take Off and Landing of Everything isn’t a total dud by any means. Lead singer/guitarist Guy Garvey’s soothing voice sounds as good as it ever has, while the rest of the band — Craig Potter (keyboards, piano), Mark Potter (guitar, vocals), Pete Turner (bass, vocals) and Richard Jupp (drums, percussion) — shows an urge to experiment more than in the past.

With almost eight songs over the five-minute mark, The Take Off and Landing of Everything has plenty of meat to it. “This Blue World” opens the 10-track LP with seven minutes of balladry, but it’s the ensuing “Charge” where things start to click for Elbow, as Garvey immediately tells us how he really feels when he has more than just a few drinks in him: “I am electric with a bottle in me / Got a bottle in me / And glory be, these fuckers are ignoring me / I’m from another century.” Though it’s clear that Garvey has a thing for the sauce — he proclaims “What can be said of the whiskey and wine / Random abandon or ballast for joy” on the subsequent “Fly Boy Blue/Lunette” — he also can be heard professing his love for the Big Apple on new single “New York Morning.” The other tracks, meanwhile, follow suit in continuing at a rather deliberate pace, highlighted by Garvey sharing memories during “My Sad Captains” and later waxing poetic on “Colour Fields” when he offers a young, attractive woman some words to live by.

Album Lowlight: Living up to its past two records wasn’t going to be easy for Elbow to accomplish, and there’s no question that The Take Off and Landing of Everything doesn’t deserve the same praise as either. That’s not to say it isn’t worth listening to more than once or twice, but it also doesn’t carry the same sort of repeatability that some of Elbow’s previous albums maintain. Part of that has to do with the overall lack of tempo we get from start to finish — the nature of Garvey’s lyrics often overwhelms the musicianship. Yet, part of it also has to do with the fact that some songs just don’t hold up as well as others. “Real Life (Angel)” and the album’s title track, for instance, meander along for quite a while without ever reaching a climax, and the spaced-out finale “The Blanket of Night” could easily lull you to sleep after the first two minutes.

Takeaway: There may not be a lot of standout songs here to speak of, but this is still solid work from a band that is trying to push boundaries and test itself. Sure, Elbow could merely have taken the easy way out by filling up an album with conventional, three-minute pop hits, but this band — the same one that was named “Best British Group” at the 2009 Brit Awards — is a lot better than that. There is plenty of thought and reflection that can be heard in Garvey’s lyrics, and Elbow has certainly spread its wings between working with the Hallé orchestra and exploring an interest in minimalistic electronica.

~Josh Herwitt