Desert Daze locks in The War on Drugs, Kamasi Washington & Toro y Moi as headliners for 2021

Desert Daze - 2021 lineup

Desert Daze //
Moreno Beach – Lake Perris, CA‎
November 12th-14th, 2021 //

As the live music industry slowly returns to form this summer amid the COVID-19 pandemic, our attention has already turned to the fall with the hope that some of our favorite artists and bands will once again be touring and performing all across California and the West Coast in the coming months.

And for almost the past decade now, Desert Daze has continued to serve as one of the Golden State’s premier boutique music festivals, even after leaving its Joshua Tree roots for the more spacious confines of Lake Perris a few years ago.

But after taking 2020 off with coronavirus cases spiraling out of control in the U.S., the three-day event presented by Moon Block and Knitting Factory Entertainment is finally ready to welcome fans back to Moreno Beach in November with a scaled-down roster that still leans heavily into psych-rock as The War on Drugs, Kamasi Washington and Toro y Moi each get set to make their headlining debuts at Desert Daze’s ninth edition.

One of the big highlights on this year’s lineup is no doubt The War on Drugs with the fest representing the Grammy winners’ first and only show slated in 2021, but also Washington — a virtuosic jazz saxophonist whose hometown performance at the Hollywood Bowl last weekend for KCRW’s World Festival series saw him team up with Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist Robert Trujillo to celebrate the forthcoming release of The Metallica Blacklist compilation with a nine-minute version of the heavy metal band’s track “My Friend of Misery” — and Toro y Moi following his appearance at Porter Robinson’s sold-out Second Sky Music Festival in Berkeley this September.

Of course, we would be remiss to not mention a strong undercard that boasts Tim Heidecker & Weyes Blood, Devendra Banhart, Japanese Breakfast, Ty Segall, Andy Shauf, Yves Tumor, DIIV, The Budos Band, Crumb, Moon Duo, Sudan Archives, The Black Angels, Deap Vally, Pachyman, Kikagaku Moyo and many more so make sure to mark your calendar and peep the poster above for the rest of the scheduled acts.

Three-day and single-day passes to Desert Daze will be available to purchase here for $225 and $75 during a 12-hour presale that starts this Thursday, July 22nd at 10 a.m. PT before the general public on-sale begins the next day at the same time. And with a limited capacity this year to allow for some more COVID-19 safety measures, you can bet tickets won’t be around for very long. Good luck, Desert Dazers!

Desert Daze 2019: Another intriguing lineup loaded with must-see performances takes over Lake Perris

Desert Daze - 2019 lineupPhoto by David Evanko // Written by Kevin Quandt & Pete Mauch //

Desert Daze //
Moreno Beach – Lake Perris, CA‎
October 10th-13th, 2019 //

After settling into a new location last year, Desert Daze aims to dial in a festival that continues to gain steam and win over rock fans around the globe, beckoning them to come to the shores of Lake Perris. This self-proclaimed “anti-festival” has impressed with their eye-popping artist roster, interactive art and smorgasbord of workshops and otherworldly experiences for all you intergalactic space rangers making the drive from Los Angeles or any of the surrounding hubs across Southern California.

We have a deep love for Desert Daze and want to be your pre-fest sherpas, so we have broken down the best music, camping and food options ahead of this weekend’s festivities.




Let’s jump head first into the real meat of Desert Daze, and that’s its cutting-edge lineup of all things rock, psychedelia, garage, noise, experimental, North African-desert Tuareg blues-pop guitar and so on. Between the festival’s trio of lakeside stages, there should be little downtime for the savvy listener, so we’ll happily offer up a few of our picks and tell you why you should order that chicken tikka wrap a little later on.

Artist: Frankie and the Witch Fingers
Set date/time: Friday, 2:15-3 p.m.
Location: The Block

These LA psych rockers are truly having an amazing year. After unloading their most cohesive and energetic album to date in ZAM, they have found themselves touring non-stop supporting their killer new release. They are currently on a 37-date tour that sees them opening for ZZ Top and Cheap Trick on seven of those dates, with their Desert Daze set coming right smack dab in the middle of their run with both legendary rockers, so we’d imagine that they’ll be fired up to play to their own crowd. This should be an extremely high-energy set that won’t let you take a breath because Frankie and the Witch Fingers are pure psychedelic bliss right now. -PM

Artist: Stereolab
Set date/time: Friday, 6:35-8:05 p.m.
Location: The Moon

Tim Gane and Lætitia Sadier are finally bringing their electro-leaning indie pop back to the western side of the country and should be firing on all cylinders after a nearly decade-long break. Having witnessed one of their first reunion shows at Primavera Sound, I can confirm Stereolab’s laid-back vibe is still delivered with precision as they work classics like “French Disko” and “Brakhage” as well as others from Dots and Loops into the setlist. We can’t think of a better act to catch during Friday’s magic hour. -KQ

Artist: Altın Gün
Set date/time: Saturday, 2:40-3:40 p.m.
Location: The Moon

This Anatolian psych-folk group that calls Amsterdam home has been blending traditional Turkish music and psychedelic melodies to great avail. Their most recent release Gece finds this experimental outfit playing around with time signatures and quick, fierce changes that keeps their listeners wanting more. Their Desert Daze slot in the early afternoon Saturday is really going to get the day rolling. -PM

Shintaro Sakamoto

Shintaro Sakamoto

Artist: The Locust
Set date/time: Sunday, 12:45 a.m.-1:35 a.m.
Location: The Theatre

Shit! This set is not for the faint of heart and will surely be one of the most brutal (looks over shoulder for Lightning Bolt) and thrilling performances for those brave souls still awake after Devo, Ween and Flying Lotus (3D) hit the main stage. Expect a handful of masked musicians bending every boundary of rock music to their back and call, a feat that hasn’t transpired for close to five years. Desert Daze founder Phil Pirrone clearly has the Midas touch whenever it comes to reuniting bands or flying in rarities from around the world. -KQ

Artist: SASAMI
Set date/time: Sunday, 3:30-4:30 p.m.
Location: The Block

Domino artist Sasami Ashworth has been having a moment since the release of her self-titled debut LP back in March. Some veteran Desert Daze attendees might recognize Ashworth from her days as a former touring member of the LA band Cherry Glazerr, which played the festival in 2016 at its previous location The Institute of Mentalphysics. Since departing Cherry Glazerr, she has quickly cultivated a following under the moniker SASAMI that swoons for her unique brand as a guitar-wielding indie songstress. For now, she has toured with her contemporaries, received blessings from Mitski and expanded to larger international tours. -KQ

Artist: Shintaro Sakamoto
Set date/time: Sunday, 7:45 p.m.-9 p.m.
Location: The Block

Japanese composer Shintaro Sakamoto is making his U.S. debut at Desert Daze 2019, and we couldn’t be anymore excited to see him perform on Sunday. Sakamoto has been active in his home country for 30 years, most notably with psych rockers Yura Yura Teikoku, but you will see a softer side to him than with his prior band. Sakamoto at The Block during sunset with the Mad Alchemy light show behind him is an absolute must-see! We should hear plenty of tracks off 2014’s Let’s Dance Raw and 2011’s How to Live with a Phantom, too. -PM

Desert Daze 2019 - map


There’s nothing easier than pitching a tent only a few hundred yards away from any festival site, and Desert Daze continues to excel in this area. Moreno Beach’s plush grounds have it all: trees, campside parking, free hot showers, permanent bathrooms and even a camping-exclusive stage area called The Mystic Bazaar.

The Bazaar features a mind-expanding array of programming, including, but not limited to, Modular Sound Baths, Vinyasa Pranayama yoga and various forms of meditation (check out the full schedule here). Plus, plenty of camping options to fit your liking are available here.

Desert Daze 2019 - The Marketplace

The Marketplace

Whether your home base will be offsite or you’re calling Lake Perris home for a long weekend, you’ll want to do some light shopping, quench your thirst or carb load for Animal Collective’s blistering show on Friday. Desert Daze always prints a whopping selection of show- and artist-specific posters and they’re always sold at affordable prices, so an early trip to the merch tent is a must. And if boutique wares are your preference, a healthy variety of vintage sellers, craft jewelers and visionary designers are strewn about the groves and shoreline. Bring some cash because you won’t be disappointed with what you find.

For all of your consumption needs, Black Fin Sushi, Flavors of East Africa and Good Times Ice Cream are just the beginning of options that will be available onsite. Don’t forget to look at the full listing here to see if your local favorites will be making the trip out to Moreno Beach.

Lastly, make sure to grab your Desert Daze 2019 passes here and we’ll see ya on the other side.

Desert Daze 2019 - David Evanko

New Music: The Black Angels – Clear Lake Forest


The Black AngelsClear Lake Forest //

3.5-BamsTop Tracks:
“Tired Eyes”
“Diamond Eyes”
“The Flop”

Album Highlights: Clear Lake Forest is a super solid album from start to finish. One gets the impression that they purposefully set up the track listing to mirror a good acid trip. The album takes you through highs and lows — both sonically and lyrically. Opening track “Sunday Evening” quickly draws you in with its poppy verses and snappy chorus. Songs like “Tired Eyes”, “Diamond Eyes” and “The Flop” bring with them a darker quality but remain infectious. As the album moves on, we come upon the drone-pop ditty “The Occurance at 4507 South Third Street”, which sets the listener up perfectly for the remainder of the album. Coming back down, we come to “The Executioner”, which advises the listener that “If it feels good, do it again!” Finally, we close the album with “Linda’s Gone”, which appropriately brings you back down to Earth gently but without completely taking you out of your haze.

Album Lowlight: Where The Black Angels excel in creating a dreamy, psychedelic wall of sound, I do believe that they tend to borrow a bit too much from their influences. As with many of the neo-psych rock bands, there is a tendency to reproduce the sonic quality of a vintage 60’s LP. Considering the strength of the songs themselves, that is all well and good, but sometimes it’s best to leave the past in the past.

Takeaway: Those familiar with The Black Angels’ body of work will be pleasantly surprised by their latest offering. It’s a quick seven-track album, with each track leaving you in acid-laced reverie. There is very little in the way of “dead air” on this album, and even with borrowing much from their forefathers, the production quality is top notch. The album starts off very strong, carries you along for a sweet ride and ends on a mellow note … just like a good bourbon.

~Andrew Pohl

FCF finds first-year success for five game-changing reasons

First-City-FestivalPhotos by Marc Fong // Written by Molly Kish //

The inaugural First City Festival was a big success over the weekend (August 24 & 25) — something most new festivals do not pull off.

There were five particular reasons this first-year fest worked so well — and these five game changers are why FCF will return for year two. Be sure to keep scrolling down to view all the magnificent eye-candy captured by Marc Fong — there are over 150 artist and scene photos to take in.

Modest Mouse
Modest Mouse

1. The Comprehensively Diverse Music Line Up
Exhibiting a wide spectrum of genre and talent, First City Festival nailed the booking of the festival’s inaugural year. Filling both days with incredible sets performed by bands both at the height of their musical game or on the verge of a mainstream breakthrough, Goldenvoice SF made sure the bill was stacked.

The fairgrounds housed three separate stages within a five-minute walk of each other, sparse conflicts and ample set spacing optimized maximum viewing pleasure. The line-up encouraged audience members to branch out of their comfort zones between sets, encouraging the discovery of new music.

Passion Pit
Passion Pit


Neko Case
Neko Case2

2. Concession Placement and Prices
Given the spare time allotted between sets, sampling a variety of food and beverage choices located throughout the fairgrounds was a breeze. The general food court was set up at the midsection of the festival — food trucks, cocktails and beers could be found everywhere.

Drink prices ranged from $7-12, offering everything from the standard domestic to artisan crafted cocktails (the option to spritz your beverage with absinthe and chartreuse was available). Food prices also followed suit and presented modern spins on the traditional carnival fare.


3. VIP Perks in General Admission Area
Most festivals go out of their way to generally sanction off the VIP ticket holders from the GA masses. Although FCF reserved a special entrance, carnival perks, seating accommodations and swanky lounges for those who sprung for the VIP pass, the festival worked hard to deliver an enjoyable experience for all that attended. Ample indoor bathrooms were available for all, along with large charging stations, hard alcohol options and outdoor shaded chill areas that were well furnished. In its inaugural year, FCF ran crowd cohabitation smoothly and kept everyone in attendance happily content.


FCF 19

4. The Monterey County Carnival
Taking notes from modern day music festivals, FCF jumped on the idea that concert go-er’s enjoy alternative entertainment to suffice their down time between sets. Beyond providing eclectic acts throughout both days on the vaudeville stage, the festival utilized their fairground landscape to its full capacity.

In prep for Monterey’s upcoming county fair, the festival decided to take initiative and set up the rides and games early, allowing FCF crowds to have a complete carnival at their disposal all weekend. Boasting games, mazes and rides ushered in from Neverland Ranch, the concert attendees were able to split their time between a festival of live music and a dub step sound-tracked carnival. A smart move in crowd control, and an ingenious way to boost revenue and all around surreal experience, the carnival uniquely set FCF apart from other festivals.


5. Location, Location, Location
Although the Monterey County Fairgrounds have an impressive calendar of events and a historical legacy within the Bay Area music scene, there hasn’t been much recently to compete with the crowds and caliber of this past weekend.

Nestled in the small suburban coastal community of Monterey, a town that usually catches cover bands, rodeos and craft fairs at the fairgrounds, the promoters couldn’t have picked a better place to kick off what undoubtedly will become a premiere West Coast music festival.


Even elements such as the constant overhead traffic of the adjacent small aircraft port were met with ease. Instead of being considered a distraction to the sets, musicians embraced the magical nature of each plane taking off or landing throughout their performance, usually incorporating banter and impeccable comedic timing

The weather, layout and charm of the surrounding neighborhood played a key part into how successful the FCF weekend played out. From the ample roadside accommodations and street parking within blocks of the fairgrounds, to the killer family owned restaurants and extremely congenial locals, FCF was a hospitable music festival for the books.

Toro Y Moi
Toro Y Moi

Beach House
Beach House

Washed Out
Washed Out6


Devendra Banhart
Devendra Banhart


Purity Ring
Purity Ring


Father John Misty
Father John Misty2

Okkervil River
Okkervil River


The Hold Steady
The Hold Steady

The Black Angels
The Black Angels

Capital Cities
Capital Cities



The Antlers
The Antlers

Blitzen Trapper
Blitzen Trapper


Electric Guest
Electric Guest

Civil Twilight
Civil Twilight

The Dodos
The Dodos





First City Festival: Set conflicts & resolutions

First-City-FestWritten by Molly Kish //

First City Festival //
Monterey County Fairgrounds – Monterey, CA
August 23rd-24th, 2014 //

First City Festival graces the sacred Monterey County Fairgrounds this weekend, with a jam-packed line up of indie talent. FCF Kicks off its inaugural year with two days full of hard hitting headliners and an undercard of up and coming acts. Catching such an abundance of uniquely curated artists can be a formidable task, requiring careful time management and appropriation.

For your convenience, we’ve broken down the toughest conflicts of the weekend to help you sort out your plan of attack.



The Black Angels vs. The Hold Steady vs. Guards

Depending on what kind of headspace you’re in, this one could be difficult. All three bands round out the first half of the day with a varying take on the modern state of rock music. The Black Angels will draw in a hardcore fan base and offer the most explosive undercard show.

However if a super psychedelic freak out isn’t your bag so early in the fest, The Hold Steady brings the same amount of energy to the stage — but in a much more choral manner. Primed for a punk rock sing along, this band will ignite the Redwood Stage with infectious energy that’ll carry over nicely into the evening hours.

If neither of these options float your boat, Guards is the perfect third choice. Falling somewhere between shoe-gaze bliss and contemporary alternative, this pop rock outfit segues perfectly into an opening night of dance heavy indie-rock headliners.

The Black Angels3:30 pm, Cypress Stage
The Hold Steady4pm, Redwood Stage
Guards3:55, Manzanita Stage

Delta Spirit vs. MGMT vs. Washed Out

This problematic trifecta conflict comes later in the evening Saturday. Although the bands during the magical hours contain musical elements that contribute to the overall sound of headliner Passion Pit, they contrast plenty in their musical focus as groups. Delta Spirit will be the choice for those riding high off the rock heavy vibes this year’s line up offers. Their sunny disposition and group harmonies will provide a perfect set for the seven o’clock hour – the show will also serve as a beautiful sunset transition into the follow up act on the Cypress Stage.

Taking over directly after Delta Spirit will be Washed Out, which if one chooses to stick around for effortlessly shifts the mood from pop rock into dance. Anticipate a mélange of hits from 2011’s Within And Without as well as Ernest Greene’s delightfully spacey 2013 LP Paracosm.

MGMT plays the wild card in this dilemma. Drawing from two albums – Oracular Spectacular brimmed with mainstream hits while Congratulations polarized waves of fans by bathing in psychedelic experimentalism — you never really know what you’re in for with their live show. With a third, self titled release on the way in September, plan on catching a handful of debut cuts. Benjamin Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden are clearly on a mission to do what makes them happy in creating new music, scorning the search for radio hits while honing in on awesome weirdness.

Delta Spirit7:30pm, Cypress Stage
MGMT7:45pm, Redwood Stage
Washed Out8:30, Cypress Stage

Sunday, August 25 – VIEW SUNDAY SCHEDULE

Devendra Banhart vs. Electric Guest vs. Generationals

Three polar opposite artists provide the first difficulties on Sunday’s schedule. The FCF five o’clock hour is filled with some pretty difficult decisions as the fest showcases undercard heavy hitters, all coming from seriously divergent musical backgrounds. Devendra Banhart takes the cake when it comes to the stage that will be most dense during this time slot. Drawing influences from folk, indie, world music and pop, this multi-linguist singer songwriter will have ladies (and many dudes) from all walks of life swooning as he croons into the early evening hours. A perfect booking for a Sunday afternoon set, Banhart may be too mellow for those looking to keep the energy going into the evening.

Electric Guest conversely kicks it up a notch with their dance-heavy soul. This band’s live show is an energy packed production, and the LA outfit promises to rouse audience members to their feet for a Sunday fun day dance party with hits off of their critically acclaimed 2012 album Mondo, which was produced by Danger Mouse. This is a bit of a one off performance for Electric Guest, who are working on a second album and have more touring planned in October.

If neither of those options sound ideal, then the Generationals on the Manzanita stage will be killing it with their patented guitar driven, surf-rock party anthems. Celebrating their recent shift over to indie label extraordinaire Polyvinyl Records with their latest release Heza, this show will provide a burst of welcomed energy to any weary festival go’er.

Devendra Banhart5:10pm, Redwood Stage
Electric Guest4:40, Cypress Stage
Generationals5:05, Manzanita Stage

Deerhunter vs. Toro Y Moi vs. Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks

The most eclectic conundrum of the festival comes up during the twilight hours on Sunday evening. These three acts are equally unique, representing some of the top talent of the entire weekend. Deerhunter, fronted by indie rock ingénue Bradford Cox, is simply a must see live music experience. Cox creates both touching and ecstatic music at a rapid pace with Deerhunter and his solo vehicle Atlas Sound – but Deerhunter thrives on a duality of layered psychedelic screamers and clean, to-the-point pop songs that seem like they came from a simpler time in the past — something our collective minds have manufactured. Fans will be rolling deep to this set, looking to hear live cuts from their 2013 album Monomania for the first time.

There are a couple great opening options for Deerhunter. Toro Y Moi will be on the Redwood Stage curating head-nodding pleasure loops. Blending his smooth jazz vocals with innovative samples and hip hop beats, Chaz Bundwick delivers as front man and live Dj.

This set will provide a soulful come down and polar opposite experience than the competing Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks. One of the most intriguing additions to this year’s bill, ATSF is an experimental electronic journey captained by Animal Collective’s Dave Portner. An audio-visual site to behold for the senses, this show will incorporate Portner’s affinity for sound production, crocodiles and cinematography into one giant spectacle. FCF’s most “choose your own adventure” moment of the weekend, eight o’clock on Sunday night will be a definitive moment in many festival attendees’ night.

Deerhunter7:10pm, Cypress Stage
Toro Y Moi6:25pm, Redwood Stage
Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks6:30pm, Manzanita Stage

We recommend creating and sharing your own personal schedule on the FCF website to help coordinate via social media with friends. While there, you can purchase NO FEE tickets to the recently announced NIGHTSHOWS!


If you aren’t ready to call it a day Saturday night at the fairgrounds, FCF boasts two stellar options to continue the party post festival. Providing a second chance to catch major acts from Saturday line up, these options are factors to weigh into your day time decision making.

Both are not only affordable, but within walking distance from the festival site and WILL SELL OUT QUICK! Click here to purchase tickets and to avoid surcharges.

First City Festival Fringe: Top 5 undercard acts for the fest’s first year

First-City-FestivalWritten by Molly Kish //

First City Festival //
Monterey County Fairgrounds – Monterey, CA
August 23rd-24th, 2014 //

In less than one month, Monterey County’s fairground & event center will play host to the flagship year of the First City Festival. Boasting a roster packed to the brim with indie rock elite, FCF’s lineup is one of summer’s strongest on the west coast. Beyond familiar top-of-the-lineup acts Modest Mouse, Passion Pit, MGMT, Beach House, Toro Y Moi, Washed Out & Deerhunter, FCF’s second billings offer an impressive mix of underrated and up and coming buzz bands from the past few years.

We encourage you to take ample time over the course of the 2-day festival to explore the 30+ bands and attractions, along with a variety of food and local craft beer vendors. There’s a comedy/vaudeville variety stage, and the “Monterey Carnival” comes complete with rides and games. If you’ll be heading down to Monterrey early on August 24 & 25, we’ve got 5 artist recommendations to get acquainted to.

Purity Ring

The Canadian duo of Corin Roddick and Megan James mashes together glitchy hip-hop oriented beats with ethereal pop melodies and crystalline vocal tracks. Relative newbies to the indie scene, Roddick and James convey the song writing skills of seasoned veterans, attacking each track with finite detailing and production expertise.

The duo specializes in creating lush soundscapes filled with dreamlike dance tracks, and their unique stage show incorporates spontaneous lighting elements produced by a handcrafted audio visual synthesizer. Triggered by the group’s improvisational percussion, the machine is something Corin created himself, and it allows each set the band performs to be a truly individual spectacle to behold. Purity Ring will be one of the most all-encompassing and entertaining acts on the bill at FCF.

For Fans of: Grimes, The Naked and Famous, TNGHT

Avey Tare’s Slasher Flick’s

A side project of Animal Collective founding member Avey Tare, Slasher Flick’s brings an experimental element to the First City Festival line up. Formed with ex-Dirty Projector member Angel Deradoorian and Ponytail drummer Jeremy Hyman, Slasher Flick’s is self-described as a “group of three hippies on a road trip through the backwaters of 2013’s rural music scene, (who) fall prey to a murderous cannibalistic band making.”

The trio has made sparse appearances in New York and the UK since their conception this past April, further amplifying the buzz surrounding their Sunday set at FCF, which will mark the band’s first ever West Coast performance as a group. Anticipating live interpretations of the material off of Avey’s 2010 solo debut Down There, this show promises a unique exploration of vivid soundscapes, abstract musical production, songwriting showmanship and fantastical visual imagery. Having just returned from a coveted spot on the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival bill and just before Tare hits the road again with Animal Collective through the Fall, you’ll want to catch this rare opportunity to check out this eclectic super-group, while you still have the chance.

For Fans of: Animal Collective, Dan Deacon and MGMT

The Black Angels:

Ramping up Saturday’s scheduled line up, The Black Angels bring their aggressively modern take on psychedelic rock to the First City Festival stage. As a newly reconfigured quartet, the Black Angels have been touring in support their fourth studio album Indigo Meadow since April. They are making their last appearance statewide on this tour Saturday at FCF before a string of European dates, leading up to their scheduled sets at the Austin City Limits festival in October. Enlisting the support of acclaimed producer John Congleton (David Byrne & Saint Vincent, Clinic, Explosions in the Sky) on their latest full length, the band continues to push the boundaries of modern rock with their seductive drone vocals, resonating reverb, and audacious song structure.

At the forefront of a post-millennial acid rock resurgence, the Black Angels are facilitators to nearly all the fresh new faces emerging in this genre. The group curates the Austin Psych Fest, so the Black Angel’s can be held personally responsible for the progressive nature of the present day psych-rock scene. Ushering in a brand new era of boisterous psych rock, the Black Angels will be a difficult act to pass on at this year’s FCF.

For Fans of: The Velvet Underground, Primus and Tame Impala.


Celebrating their 2013 release Heza, and recent shift over to Polyvinyl Records, Generationals bring their melancholic catalogue of analog recordings to the Sunday line up of First City Festival. NOLA natives Ted Joyner and Grant Widmer formed the Generationals in 2007 after the dissolution of a previous project to start writing songs as a duo.

Embedded in the archetypes of mid-century pop, the Generationals draw upon minimalist retro formulas while incorporating underlying trends in post punk and new wave production. The band has been charming crowds throughout Europe with their infectiously upbeat stage show over the course of the past few months, returning for their first show back in the states the Sunday afternoon of FCF. A prefect addition to a bill ripe with indie talent, this set will be a highlight of the festival and one not worth missing out on.

For Fans of: Vampire Weekend, Born Ruffians, Foster the People


Conceived with intention of producing content for an upcoming Cults album, guitarist Richie Follin, singer/songwriter Kaylie Church and drummer Loren Humphrey indirectly crafted Guards’ critically acclaimed debut album In Guards We Trust. As much of a happy surprise to both band members as it was to the online press, the album gained immediate traction and resulted in the quick formation of a group to fulfill requests for concert bookings and festival dates.

Extracting elements from three decades-worth of influence, Guards sound incorporates a strong appreciation for 50’s doo-wop, 60’s soul and Motown and echoes of choral pop decadence from the 70’s. Creating a comprehensive album that’s both distinctive and nostalgic, Guards aim to celebrate their influences while still remaining stylistically contemporary. Finishing up a string of festival dates before jumping on tour in support of Queens of the Stone Age, this FCF set is a quintessential example of a band worth latching onto early. Be sure to check them out on Saturday.

For Fans of: Cults, Real Estate and The Drums

New Music Tuesday: Tyler, The Creator • Alkaline Trio • Cold War Kids • The Black Angels • Charles Bradley

Tyler, The Creator - Wolf

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

Tyler, The CreatorWolf

3.5-BamsTop Tracks:

Album Highlights: “Wolf” opens Tyler’s new album, flexing his pension for odd intros before bursting into “Jamba.” At this point, you are either nodding along with the analog-sounding beat and rhymes or have turned off the album in disgust. This is the nature of Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All’s ringleader. Love or hate him, Tyler has churned out a stylish album full of profanity and confessional sincerity. “Slater” features the smooth vocals of Frank Ocean, just one of many guests, including most of Odd Future along with Pharrell Williams and Erykah Badu.

Album Lowlight: As long as you can take his obscenity with a grain of salt, realizing this is his “art,” you will enjoy this album if a fan of off-kilter hip-hop. Many people may write off the whole thing as juvenile, but once you look past that there is lots of fun to be had on this release.

Takeaway: Wolf is a wild romp of an album, as is to be expected from the off-the-wall personality that is Tyler, The Creator. The pace of the album is a bit reserved, which is refreshing coupled with the blistering baritone voice of Tyler. Maturity may come slow for this crew, but that certainly does not mean there isn’t a fair amount of talent shining through all the obscenity and profanity.

~Kevin Quandt

Alkaline TrioMy Shame Is True

3-BamsTop Tracks:
“Kiss You to Death”
“The Torture Doctor”
“I’m Only Here to Disappoint”

Album Highlights: “Kiss You to Death” is my personal favorite, as it has a style similar to the songs that gave Alkaline Trio its start. Staccato guitars and big break downs with harmonic vocals that play on the juxtaposition of love, life and death all come together in this track to make you nostalgic for their earlier works, when all the songs seemed to have this same energy and feeling behind them.

Album Lowlight: “Only Love” was a bit of a snoozer to me, and it just sounded like they needed to throw in a more down tempo, change of pace song. It’s also just plain boring, with the chord progressions being pretty repetitive and the slight organ sound in the background just making it seem overproduced and more formulaic pop than the other songs.

Takeaway: “The Torture Doctor” grew on me the more I listened to it. It’s got enough energy and harmony to bring back memories of their older work, but enough maturity to give hope that the band’s particular brand of pop infused, tongue in cheek dark rock can keep going for years to come without sacrificing quality. Overall the album wasn’t amazing, but it has a handful of tracks that will entertain old fans and new fans alike.

~Sean Little

Cold War KidsDear Miss Lonelyhearts

4-BamsTop Tracks:
“Miracle Mile”
“Lost That Easy”

Album Highlight: Packing a punch with “Miracle Mile”, Cold War Kids kick off their fourth album with a track that gives established fans, new listeners and soon-to-be-converts a friendly reminder of just how talented of a powerhouse act they are. Nathan Willet’s vocals reign true, but aren’t necessarily the focus of this piano driven, guitar heavy track. Regardless of where this pop-rock anthem fits into a live set, it will undoubtedly get the crowd on its feet screaming along with the falsetto laced call-response chorus.

Album Lowlight: Although characteristic for the band to throw a couple slow, drawn-out tracks on each album, “Dear Ms. Lonely Hearts” almost is trying to be too epic. The initial build-up prepares you for what lies ahead, but it takes too long to kick in to the remainder of the song. Once past the initial lyrics and operatic drum rolls, the song still remains sub par and simply gets by on the Willet’s vocal skills.

Takeaway: An unexpected electronic effort, Cold War Kids masterfully execute their dance-rock track “Loner Phase”, showcasing their versatility as songwriters and ability to assimilate to current musical trends. Known as a band with a pension to branch out style-wise, this track ups the ante creatively and brings a whole new level of intensity to the band as they teeter between indie rock and mainstream success.

~Molly Kish

The Black AngelsIndigo Meadow

4-BamsTop Tracks:
“Don’t Play with Guns”
“Indigo Meadow”
“Evil Things”

Album Highlights: The opening three songs to Indigo Meadow are the heavy hitters in the bunch, especially the first single “Don’t Play with Guns”, which is dark, psychedelic and could easily come from prior generations if you didn’t know better. The title track and opening song “Indigo Meadow” sets the stage quite nicely for the whole album, which contains The Black Angels’ signature psych-rock.

Album Lowlight: Indigo Meadow fucking rocks, but a few songs were a little too polished. I love the dirty acid rock that these guys started playing almost a decade ago in a grungy garage in Austin. Don’t stray too far.

Takeaway: If you dig the psychedelic sounds of the Velvet Underground and Jefferson Airplane, then I would definitely recommend Indigo Meadow. A casual listen will not do this album justice. You must listen to it loud and late at night — and you’ll get the idea.

~Pete Mauch

Charles BradleyVictim of Love

3.5-BamsTop Tracks:
“Love Bug Blues”
“Strictly Reserved for You”
“You Put the Flame on It”

Album Highlights: Charles Bradley, The Screaming Eagle of Soul himself, is back with his sophomore release Victim of Love. Just like 2011’s No Time For Dreaming, Bradley pours his soul out with every song he sings. This man bleeds soul. Victim of Love continues where No Time For Dreaming left off, full of sounds reminiscent of the 60’s and 70’s. You won’t know what decade you’re in when listening to Charles Bradley.

Album Lowlight: Don’t get me wrong, Bradley oozes and drips soul from every pore of his body, and as great as this style is, it feels somewhat pedestrian at times. Not much new musical ground is broken with Victim of Love, but that’s not the point. This album is all about the funk, soul and Bradley’s emotional release, which is very apparent with this record.

Takeaway: They don’t call him The Screaming Eagle of Soul for nothing. Charles Bradley is a modern day soul singer who draws comparisons to James Brown and Otis Redding. That’s quite a pair to be associated with, but who else is doing what Bradley is doing these days?

~Kevin Raos