Goldenvoice unveils 2019 Coachella sideshows

Goldenvoice Presents: April 2019

Valentine’s Day is back, and even if you don’t have someone special to celebrate the occasion with this year, Goldenvoice is still giving you a reason to love live music in 2019.

As the 20th anniversary of Coachella approaches in less than two months, the famed concert promoter has once again revealed its latest list of April sideshows that will take place across the greater Los Angeles landscape, including some in Orange County, Santa Barbara County and the desert. There are even a few new venues — both big and small — that are hosting for the first time: Zebulon in the gentrifying LA neighborhood commonly known as “Frogtown,” La Santa Modern Cantina (or “La Santa” as locals call it) as well as the Yost Theater in Santa Ana, Chain Reaction in Anaheim and The Forum in Inglewood.

California punk rockers The Frights kick off the festivities with their headlining performance at The Glass House in Pomona on Saturday, April 6th before the action really ramps up just a few days later. That’s when the following acts will take the stage either inside or just outside of LA County:

Mac DeMarco, Tame Impala, Clairo, Blood Orange, Dennis Lloyd, Pusha T, Iceage & Shame, Yellow Days, Hop Along & Soccer Mommy (with Las Robertas), Smino, FKJ (with Ross From Friends), Jaden Smith (with SG Lewis), SALES, Mr Eazi, Charlotte Gainsbourg (with Steady Holiday), Playboi Carti, Bob Moses, Ross From Friends (billed, in this case, as the headliner), Ella Mai, The Messthetics, The Garden, BLACKPINK, HYUKOH, Turnover (with Turnstile), PARCELS (with Cola Boyy), KAYTRANADA, CHVRCHES, Mon Laferte, Khruangbin (with The Marías & Steady Holiday), Superorganism and Perfume. See the full list of sideshows in the poster above.

Much like last year’s sideshows, there won’t be a special showcase at the Palm Springs Air Museum the night before Coachella’s first weekend as there was back in 2017. Nonetheless, there are still two TBA gigs scheduled for April 10th and 17th at The Roxy that we’ll have to await further word on.

Since 2012, Goldenvoice has made a point of capitalizing off its signature event by putting on more shows in and around Coachella — though the volume has started to drop more recently, with the number of sideshows this year down to 34 in comparison to 53 in 2018 and 62 in 2017. With 19 less in 2019, we can only surmise that Goldenvoice is still trying to find a “sweet spot” when it comes to the amount it organizes and promotes in support of the world-famous three-day, two-weekend music festival.

That said, Paul Tollett and company have still managed to give Southern California an eclectic roster that offers a little bit of everything, from lo-fi and indie rock to hip-hop and even K-pop. In fact, at first glance, here are the 2019 sideshows that stick out the most to us: Mac DeMarco at The Echo, Tame Impala at the Fox Theater Pomona, Blood Orange at The Roxy, Pusha T at The Novo, Hop Along & Soccer Mommy (with Las Robertas) at the El Rey Theatre, Bob Moses at The Glass House, PARCELS (with Cola Boyy) at The Fonda Theatre, Khruangbin (with The Marías and Steady Holiday) at Pappy & Harriet’s and Superorganism at The Roxy, which will have a show practically every night during the eight-day run.

Tickets for most of the sideshows go on sale here this Friday, February 15th at Noon PT with the rest of them available on Friday, February 22nd at Noon PT or Friday, March 1st at Noon PT.

Goldenvoice

Soulwax make up for lost time with a wild LA show

SoulwaxBy Zach Bourque //

Soulwax with Rory Phillips //
The Fonda Theatre – Los Angeles
April 19th, 2018 //

Soulwax have always been an elusive force in music. The Belgian electronic group, led by brothers David Dewaele and Stephen Dewaele, has remained relatively hush over the past decade or so, particularly in North America.

Fabled performances at both the 2008 and 2010 editions of HARD Summer Music Festival in LA helped Soulwax’s live instrumentation and unconventional style stand out amid a sea of standard rave acts. The Dewaele brothers would occasionally stop by performing mashup DJ sets under the guise 2manydjs, but for the select few that caught one of those early Soulwax shows, it was the stuff of legends.

In 2016, the group debuted a new live setup, which went by the name of “Soulwax Transient Program for Drums and Machinery”, and this month it returned to the U.S. for two weekends at Coachella (read our festival review here). Fortunately for us (and San Francisco), Soulwax decided to bless our cities with side shows in between festival weekends. Last Thursday they invaded The Fonda Theatre for a sold-out affair that would further cement their live legacy in Southern California.

Their mammoth stage setup looked in part much like a mobile recording studio, engulfing the stage with more metal than a “Transformers” movie. But it actually starts to make more sense once you realize that their new album From Deewee was recorded in one 48-minute take using the same live stage setup. Given the entire rig’s sheer size, it was hardly a surprise that opener Rory Phillips was relegated to a nook off to the side due to the shear lack of space available.

Soulwax

Phillips’ upbeat and unpretentious set provided appropriate background music while the rabid crowd awaited Soulwax, and what a crowd it was. With the majority of the audience members looking like they just stumbled out of Coachella’s Sahara Tent, it was a notably inebriated collection of folks that broke new ground for a Thursday night.

Yes, in fact, we’re talking public nudity, incessant vomiting and more people stumbling to the exit than a San Andreas earthquake. For those who actually remembered the show though, it was one for the books.

While Soulwax’s recorded music has always been perfectly enjoyable, in person it becomes something else entirely. Their new, three-drummer lineup was the ideal format to hear new tracks like “Is It Always Binary” while giving older tracks such as “KracK” a newly textured and complex sound. Sitting stage right, drummer Victoria Smith, for one, offered the group some serious personality thanks to her animated facial expressions.

Soulwax capped things off with “E Talking” from 2005’s Nite Versions and “NY Excuse” off 2004’s Any Minute Now before snapping fans back into reality for their journey home. While their return to LA proved to be a highly memorable experience for those fortunate enough to share a spot inside the packed venue, we just hope that it won’t be another years-long hiatus before they return to the states.

Setlist:
No Drums (intro)
Do You Want to Get Into Trouble?
Essential 3
KracK
Is It Always Binary
Missing Wires
Conditions of a Shared Belief
Heaven Scent
Transient Program for Drums and Machinery
Essential 5
Another Excuse
Glass
The Singer Has Become a Deejay
Here Come the Men in Suits
E Talking
Inward
Miserable Girl
NY Excuse

Encore:
Goodnight Transmission

Goldenvoice announces 2018 Coachella sideshows

Goldenvoice Presents: April 2018

It’s Valentine’s Day, so what could be a better way to celebrate love — or least your love for live music — than with a whole slew of newly announced shows?

Well, with Coachella’s 19th edition just a couple of months away, Goldenvoice has done it again, assembling another massive list of April sideshows at various venues all across the greater Los Angeles landscape, including some in Orange County (at The Observatory and Constellation Room), Santa Barbara County (at the Santa Barbara Bowl and The Arlington Theatre) and the desert (at Pappy & Harriet’s).

Sister trio HAIM kick off the festivities with their headlining performance at arguably our favorite Southern California venue, the Santa Barbara Bowl, on Saturday, April 7th before things ramp up the ensuing week with Kali Uchis, Chromeo, Tyler, the Creator, St. Vincent, Portugal. The Man (with Cherry Glazerr), Perfume Genius (with Big Thief), Princess Nokia, PVRIS, Marian Hill, Fleet Foxes, Carpenter Brut, Tash Sultana, The Drums & Alvvays (with Fazerdaze), alt-J (with BØRNS), Migos, The Bronx, Greta Van Fleet, A Perfect Circle, Yaeji, Angel Olsen, Jessie Ware, BROCKHAMPTON, First Aid Kit, Japanese Breakfast (with Snail Mail), Kelela, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, Buscabulla (with The Marías), Priests, MØ, Jorja Smith & Tom Misch, ODESZA, Miguel, Boogarins (with B Boys & Señor Kino), Ron Gallo, Moon Boots (Live), The War on Drugs, Jungle, Soulwax, Petit Biscuit, 6lack, Aurora, Motor City Drum Ensemble (with Talaboman), Los Ángeles Azules, The Drums, Hayley Kiyoko and Elohim all playing — some even more than once — inside and/or outside of LA’s city limits.

Unlike last year’s sideshows, which included a special showcase at the Palm Springs Air Museum the night before Coachella’s first weekend featuring several artists from British independent record label Young Turks, Goldenvoice has opted not to go down that route again. The two gigs that mirror that mini festival the closest both take place on Thursday, April 19th, as Motor City Drum Ensemble performs at the Palm Springs Air Museum with Talaboman and Los Ángeles Azules invades the Riverside County Fairgrounds with Cuco, Helado Negro and Ocho Ojos just one day before Coachella Weekend 2 commences at the Empire Polo Club. Check out the full list of sideshows in the poster above.

Year after year, Goldenvoice seemingly continues to outdo itself with more and more shows in and around Coachella, and this April the renowned concert promoter has done its best to give music fans in Southern California a little bit of everything, from electro funk and indie folk to hip-hop and alternative R&B. But at first glance, the 2018 sideshows that stick out the most to us include the following: Chromeo at the El Rey Theatre, St. Vincent at The Orpheum Theatre, Perfume Genius (with Big Thief) at The Mayan, Fleet Foxes at the Warner Grand Theater, Tash Sultana at the Fox Theater Pomona, The Drums & Alvvays co-headlining (with Fazerdaze) at Pappy & Harriet’s, alt-J (with BØRNS) at the Santa Barbara Bowl, Migos at The Observatory, A Perfect Circle at The Arlington Theatre, Japanese Breakfast (with Snail Mail) at The Roxy, The War on Drugs at the Fox Theater Pomona, Jungle at Pappy & Harriet’s, Soulwax at The Fonda Theatre, 6lack at The Novo and Portugal. The Man (with Chicano Batman and Deap Vally) at the Santa Barbara Bowl.

Tickets for most of the sideshows go on sale here this Friday, February 16th at Noon PT with the rest of them available on Friday, February 23rd at Noon PT or Friday, March 2nd at Noon PT.

Goldenvoice

Goldenvoice reveals 2017 Coachella sideshows

Goldenvoice Presents: April 2017

We’re already six weeks into 2017, and for many music fans residing in California, that means Coachella isn’t all that far away. But while much of the talk around this year’s lineup has been centered on Beyoncé’s debut and more recently her pregnant-with-twins news (the jury is still out on whether it will put a wrench in her plans to perform both weekends), Goldenvoice has turned a good portion of April into a long stretch of top-notch shows, similar to what Red Bull Sound Select has done in November with its month-long “30 Days in LA” series that last year included artists like Nick Murphy (formerly Chet Faker), YG, Jhené Aiko, AlunaGeorge, Pusha T and Isaiah Rashad (look back at our coverage here).

Much like in 2016, Goldenvoice has once again released a list of sideshows that will take place at venues in the greater Los Angeles area, with a select few extending into Orange County (at The Observatory and Constellation Room), Santa Barbara County (at the Santa Barbara Bowl) and the desert (at Pappy & Harriet’s).

Florida emcee Denzel Curry will kick off the festivities on Friday, April 7th at The Glass House before LA outfit Chicano Batman close things out at the same venue on Saturday, April 29th. In between those gigs, Sampha, Banks, Jack Garratt, Crystal Castles, Francis and the Lights, Bishop Briggs, SOHN, Oh Wonder, Future Islands, Little Dragon (with Sophie Tukker), The Head and the Heart, Joseph, Kaytranada, Banks & Steelz, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, Nicolas Jaar, Car Seat Headrest (with Preoccupations), Bonobo, Mura Masa (with Kamaiyah), DJ Shadow, Breakbot, Blossoms, New Order (with Poliça), Hinds (with Twin Peaks), Bonobo, Galantis, Local Natives (with Tennis), S U R V I V E, The Avalanches, Glass Animals (with Little Dragon and/or Jagwar Ma), Empire of the Sun (with Broods), Tacocat, Bastille, Roisin Murphy, Whitney, Lil Uzi Vert, Mitski, Röyksopp, Future Islands, Pond (with Ezra Furman), Moderat, Swet Shop Boyz, Floating Points (Live), HONNE (with Arkells), Daphini, Jai Wolf, Guided by Voices and Phantogram will all perform — some even more than once — inside and/or outside of LA’s city limits.

Furthermore, British independent record label Young Turks will host a special showcase for its roster of artists with performances by Ben UFO, Four Tet, Francis and the Lights, Jamie xx, Kamaiyah, Sampha and special guest PNL in Palm Springs on Thursday, April 13th. Check out the full list of sideshows in the poster above.

It’s hard to believe that Goldenvoice has found a way to top their efforts from a year ago, but the renowned concert promoter has managed to do just that. This year’s Coachella sideshows are jam-packed with alternative-electronic and indie-rock acts, with Nicolas Jaar’s headlining performance at Pappy & Harriet’s alongside Floating Points (Live) and Pond as well as Future Islands’ date at The Glass House featuring support from Car Seat Headrest as two of the bigger highlights — and no doubt there are plenty on this bill. Yet, one of the most enticing pairings has to be the Glass Animals-Little Dragon-Jagwar Ma one that’s slated to take over the Santa Barbara Bowl, arguably our favorite venue in Southern California, on Saturday, April 23rd.

Tickets for most of the sideshows go on sale here this Friday, February 17th at Noon PT with the rest of them available Friday, February 24th at Noon PT or Friday, March 3rd at Noon PT.

Goldenvoice

Chris Robinson Brotherhood put the pedal to the metal at LA’s newest home for jam bands

Chris Robinson BrotherhoodBy Josh Herwitt //

Chris Robinson Brotherhood //
The Fonda Theatre – Los Angeles
December 17th, 2016 //

Back when MTV was in its heyday, I remember seeing the music video for The Black Crowes’ “Hard to Handle” routinely flash across my television screen. It was my first memory of the now-defunct Southern blues-rock band fronted by Chris Robinson, whose soulful croon for nearly 25 years helped the Crowes sell more than 30 million albums.

But despite all of their success together, Robinson and his younger brother Rich often didn’t see eye to eye. That’s why after two separate hiatuses, The Black Crowes made it official late last year, announcing that they were done once and for all.

For Robinson, the breakup signaled an opportunity for him to focus primarily on his other project, the eponymous Chris Robinson Brotherhood that formed several years earlier and leans more heavily toward the West Coast jam scene that the Grateful Dead pioneered than the feel-good rock ‘n’ roll that The Black Crowes were well-known for fostering in the 90’s.

At this point, CRB are a well-oiled machine. With five LPs — including two this year in Any Way You Love, We Know How You Feel and If You Lived Here, You Would Be Home By Now — under its belt, the five-piece has established itself as one of the hardest-working bands out there, both in the studio and on the road.

The Chris Robinson Brotherhood

With the release of If You Lived Here, You Would Be Home By Now in early November, CRB had already been up and down the West Coast for a couple of weeks by the time they arrived in the city where the group was formed. It was a unusually cold, winter night in LA last Saturday, as Robinson (lead vocals, guitar) and his fellow bandmates — Neal Casal (guitar, vocals), Adam MacDougall (keyboards, vocals), Tony Leone (drums) and newest addition Jeff Hill (bass) — walked onstage at The Fonda Theatre for the very first time.

After all, since CRB formed in 2011, the El Rey Theatre has served as their LA home, like it has for many jam-related acts. But over the past year, The Fonda has reasserted itself as the venue for jam bands. Both Lotus and Galactic have made the move, with each scheduled to perform at the 1,200-person venue that’s changed its name a handful of times in February.

The Fonda, on this night, appeared to serve CRB well, well enough to mix in their newest material like “Roan County Banjo” and “New Cannonball Rag” off If You Lived Here, You Would Be Home By Now with covers of The Byrds’ “Lazy Days” and Robinson’s past solo project New Earth Mud. There were cuts from Any Way You Love, We Know How You Feel, particularly during the band’s second set as CRB plowed through “Ain’t It Hard but Fair”, “Leave My Guitar Alone” and “Forever as the Moon” before wrapping up with “Narcissus Soaking Wet”, which opens the eight-track record that reached as high as No. 118 on the Billboard 200.

CRB are among a rare breed of bands. With Robinson’s roots in Georgia despite moving to California more than 20 years ago, there’s still a Southern quality to his music. His unique voice puts you at ease, and although guitar is still fairly new to him, you wouldn’t know it from the way his playing jives so seamlessly with Casal’s. Yet, as a Marin County resident where friends Phil Lesh and Bob Weir also live, you can see where Robinson’s allegiances have started to lie. Intertwining elements of psychedelic rock, blues and jam, CRB are an amalgamation of Robinson’s many influences. Maybe no better example of that was their cover of swamp rocker Tony Joe White’s “Saturday Night in Oak Grove, Louisiana”, which showed up as “Saturday Night in L.A.” on the setlist. So, as Robinson and company closed with their own rendition of The Velvet Underground’s “Rock & Roll” that had fans singing along to the words Lou Reed once wrote back in 1970, it felt like a good way to celebrate a Saturday night in LA.


Set 1: Lazy Days (The Byrds cover), Roan County Banjo, Badlands Here We Come, Clear Blue Sky & The Good Doctor, Sunday Sound (Chris Robinson & New Earth Mud cover), Meanwhile in the Gods…, California Hymn, Saturday Night in L.A. (officially titled “Saturday Night in Oak Grove, Louisiana”) (Tony Joe White cover)

Set 2: Rosalee, New Cannonball Rag, Ain’t It Hard but Fair, Reflections on a Broken Mirror, Leave My Guitar Alone, Forever as the Moon, I Ain’t Hiding (The Black Crowes cover), Narcissus Soaking Wet > Rosalee reprise

Encore: Rock & Roll (The Velvet Underground cover)

With a new album out, Tycho scratch a strong itch to surprise in front of a capacity crowd at The Fonda

TychoBy Josh Herwitt //

Tycho //
The Fonda Theatre – Los Angeles
October 6th, 2016 //

It’s always inspiring when you see someone incorporate the skills they have developed over the years and apply them in new and different ways. For Scott Hansen, Tycho has been more than just a path to sonic exploration. While music remains at the forefront of Hansen’s vision, the project has served as a vehicle for his overall creative expression.

Before he became better known by his astronomical stage name, Hansen spent more than a decade working as a graphic designer, and his affinity for photography is no secret. For his photographic and design work, he operates under the moniker ISO50, and sometimes he’ll even include notes with his Instagram photos detailing the exact camera settings that were used (like in this one). The results — as you can see here, here and here, for instance — are incredibly beautiful and awe-inspiring for any young photographer. And in many ways, the music Hansen writes is just as pretty.

But it’s also worth mentioning that Hansen designs all of the art (including the album covers) for Tycho, often using geometric shapes like circles to represent such natural wonders as the sun that in turn serve as metaphors for life and the connection to the human experience. The live show similarly plays off these reoccurring themes, with a large video screen set up behind Hansen and his bandmates to reveal footage of nature, surfing and other subject matter that’s pleasing to the eye. In fact, as Hansen recently explained in his ISO50 blog, “the imagery tells a story that the music can’t fully articulate, and vice versa.”

Tycho

It’s rare to find a musician who’s talented enough to create all of the music and artwork on his own, let alone one who can get the two to perfectly coincide with each other. Hansen, though, has managed to do this better than most, and he continues along that path with Tycho’s fifth studio album Epoch, which he unexpectedly dropped less than two weeks ago with no formal announcement. The 11-track LP and third Tycho album originally released on Michigan/New York record label Ghostly International picks up right where 2014’s Awake left off, combining the group’s signature ambient-techno sound with more post-rock flourishes than we’ve heard previously. It hasn’t peaked quite as high on the Billboard 200 chart yet, but there’s still plenty of time for Epoch to make up more ground in the weeks and months ahead.

For as much as Epoch was a surprise, so were Tycho’s two most recent shows in LA last week. It was the first time Hansen and company had played The Fonda Theatre since the Awake tour back in 2014 (read our review here), and Thursday’s sellout, which was announced less than a week before the show, along with the subsequent need to add a second date the next night, made it clear that more than ever, Angelinos have a strong appetite for what Hansen is doing on both a musical and visual level. It helps, too, that KCRW Music Director Jason Bentley, who opened the shows at The Fonda with a DJ set, has helped expose Tycho to a broader audience, whether through the “Morning Becomes Eclectic” theme song or live, in-studio performances by the band. Even nowadays with an abundance of streaming sites, you can’t underestimate the power of radio in a city with a driving culture as large as LA’s. And truth be told, Tycho is some of the best music to drive to, especially when you’re surrounded by nature.

When it came time to take the stage, the four-piece comprised of Hansen (synthesizers, guitar, bass, visuals, programming), Zac Brown (bass, guitar), Rory O’Connor (drums) and Billy Kim (bass, keyboards, synthesizers) didn’t waste any time diving into some material from Epoch, opening a 75-minute set with the album’s lead single “Division”. However, what might have been just as surprising as the album and show announcements themselves was the fact that of the 15 songs they played last Thursday, only one-third came from the new LP — and none were performed during the encore. With three critically acclaimed full lengths to draw from, Hansen has continued to evolve the live show, pulling equally from Dive and Awake and still including a couple tracks from 2006’s Past Is Prologue in crafting a setlist that covers all the bases. I suppose I should lay off the baseball analogies when describing one of Tycho’s latest performances, but we are in the month of October and Hansen, after years of hard work and dedication, has been playing in the big leagues for long enough now.

Setlist:
Division
Dive
PBS
Source
Past Is Prologue
Montana
Receiver
Epoch
Spectre
Horizon
A Walk

Encore:
Daydream
Hours
Awake

Moderat are the cure for the common DJ

ModeratBy Zach Bourque //

Moderat with Telefon Tel Aviv //
The Fonda Theatre – Los Angeles
May 26th, 2016 //

It’s difficult to accurately describe Moderat without dipping into superlatives. The innovative, groundbreaking Berlin-based supergroup has proven to be a modern antidote to EDM, with a fresh take on electronic music that reminds you why you started enjoying it in the first place.

The three-piece outfit hit The Fonda Theatre for a sold-out performance last Thursday ahead of its appearance at Lighting in a Bottle this past weekend. Support came from New Orleans-derived electronic music act Telefon Tel Aviv, now made up of former Nine Inch Nails touring member Joshua Eustis after the accidental death of bandmate Charles Cooper in 2009.

It’s no surprise that Moderat have made waves in the genre given their well-established roots in Modeselektor (Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary) and Apparat (Sascha Ring). What has been surprising, however, is their ability to step outside the conventions of both parent acts and craft something truly their own.

Much of this appeal stems from the ethereal vocals of Ring, whose presence stands to further elevate the group over the current crop of watch-me-press-play DJs in the EDM world. Coupled with the trio’s trippy, layered sound, Moderat are an electronic act that sound spectacular in a recording studio but become something else entirely when they perform live.

At The Fonda, the group wasted no time diving into a wonderfully varied setlist that featured old favorites like “Rusty Nails” and “Bad Kingdom” that were mixed in with newer tracks like “Running” off its 2016 release and third full-length album III.

Moderat

Moderat’s initially dark and subdued visual setup, meanwhile, shifted directions halfway through their set, exploding into a sea of light and color before finally giving the group the psychedelic backdrop it was born to play in front of.

Any sold-out show at The Fonda can be a daunting experience, but the eclectic crowd seemed surprisingly well-behaved, especially considering the show’s proximity to a holiday weekend. Credit goes to a refreshing lack of tank-topped EDM bros and a collective sense of appreciation and excitement for the event at hand, which speaks volumes to the merit of the group.

While we’ll stop short of calling all EDM music garbage, it’s certainly been an embarrassing blemish on electronic music as a whole, which makes it all the more refreshing to witness a live electronic set that puts the focus back on the music instead of the party.

Moderat can’t offer you bass drops, celebrity cameos or goofy costumes. What they can offer, though, is something way more valuable — electronic music that not only sounds awesome live, but would also be a great addition to your vinyl collection at home.

Take that, David Guetta.

Young Thug isn’t afraid to do things his own way

Young ThugBy Joseph Gray //

Young Thug with Rich The Kid, Lil Yachty, Migos //
The Fonda Theatre – Los Angeles
May 16th, 2016 //

Whenever I have been asked about Young Thug, it’s usually been prefaced with “I don’t know why …” or “for some odd reason …” before conceding that I enjoy his music.

Oft-inaudible lyrics. A wardrobe that includes as many free-flowing feather blouses as it does jerseys. These characteristics, of course, don’t make up what most hip-hop fans have come to expect from our fabled stars.

But Young Thug (born Jeffrey Lamar Williams) wouldn’t have it any other way. Managing to toe a stylistic line of convoluted brilliance, Atlanta’s 23-year-old cult hero remains an enigma with lofty pop-star expectations to meet. And they don’t appear to be far from a face-off.

Young Thug’s signature shrilling voice, enveloped with adlibbing squeaks and crazed barks, sounds almost absurd on the surface — until it isn’t. As he manipulates music’s interior over darker, bruising-yet-patient beats with a warm and swift flow, he has seemingly settled into a pace where the melodies will put an ironclad grip on your interest — and it should. Whether you understand everything or not, you’re likely to listen more intently.

A sold-out room full of devotees at The Fonda Theatre last Monday weren’t afraid to admit that and much more during the LA stop of his Hy!£UN35 (HiTunes) Tour, named after his much-anticipated Atlantic Records debut album, which still doesn’t have a release date.

Young Thug

“Can you pleeeease go to the side of the stage and steal us water? I can see some right there. Pleeeeease?”

Pleading front-row attendees, arriving at The Fonda by mid-afternoon for a headliner who wouldn’t descend upon the stage until closer to midnight, were extremely dehydrated and fatigued. They also were hell-bent on maintaining a prime spot for Young Thug’s psychedelic rodeo, willing to take — with the help of those working in the photo pit, including myself — from the stash of stage accessories for the well-liked openers. Among those were Atlanta-area upstarts Rich The Kid, Lil Yachty and a surprise guest appearance from the always juiced-up Migos. All of which would hurl more than enough water and raucous energy their way.

With water bottles in tow to complement dampened clothing, the crowd’s soaked anticipation and “Thugger!” chants would soon be rewarded when the venue’s large curtains were raised to reveal cutouts of Michael Jackson and Prince. And then there, sandwiched onstage between the cardboard iconic figures, would be their unapologetic version of a musical prodigy.

Fresh off releasing the latest — and final — installment of his Slime Season mixtape trilogy, Young Thug took his place on the stage. Arriving in a white blouse, multicolored sequined jacket, dark shades, a polka-dot head scarf and remarkably slim, golden pants, he aligned such a rangy and vibrant uniform with his performance.

There wouldn’t be any towering LED lights, stunts or stage diving. However, Young Thug, who for the majority of his roughly hour-long set played the lone wolf, delighted the crowd with his animated and bright delivery while running through thundering Slime Season 3 favorites like “With Them”, “Digits” and “Slime Shit”. The audience, ranging from high school seniors to seasoned workers likely with mortgages, strikingly recited every uncanny, controversial lyric and Ric Flair-esque “Woo!” like they had been analyzing them for years.

Young Thug

Young Thug’s glossy sleeves weren’t without surprises in the lining, though. While returning to breakthrough hits like “Stoner” and “Hookah”, Young Thug welcomed collaborator Tyga, who provided a jolt to remind us of the moments he had before TMZ’s cameras arguably took the rest of them. Trinidad James and Yo Gotti also made appearances, the latter performing his megahit “Down in the DM” before the lighting started to dim.

“Give me more lights, give me more lights, give me more lights,” stage conductor Young Thug harmonized with a lighthearted and seemingly impromptu carol while briefly heading to his utopia. With his back momentarily turned to the camera-phone flash before the lighting guys again joined the party, Atlanta’s favorite outlander appeared to just take a moment. The point in time could have been one of appreciation or something else on a completely different side of the pendulum. That ambiguity is what seems to keep Young Thug and his pundits going.

What’s next? Last Monday, it was the nostalgic ballad “Worth It” ahead of crossover bangers “Best Friend” and “Lifestyle” to accentuate what appears to be an ascent in the making.

As far as the future? Only Young Thug knows and that appears to be perfectly alright with him and his fans.

Goldenvoice announces 2016 Coachella sideshows

Coachella 2016 sideshows

Each and every April, Goldenvoice puts on a number of sideshows all around Southern California in support of the annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

2016 will be no different, and the renowned concert promoter has unveiled its list of shows that will take place at various venues in and out of the greater Los Angeles area, one of which includes the rustic, Westernized Pappy & Harriet’s in little-ole Pioneertown near Joshua Tree.

The sideshows will kick off on Friday, March 25th in LA at the El Rey Theatre, where London electronic music producer Sophie will take the stage, and will continue through Monday, April 25th with Years & Years headlining The Fonda Theatre. In between those, Goldenvoice will welcome performances by Goldroom, Courtney Barnett, Silversun Pickups (with Foals), Mbongwana Star, Bob Moses, Savages, AlunaGeorge, The Kills (with The Big Pink), Skepta, Rhye (with Ibeyi), AlunaGeorge, M83, The Arcs, Rancid, The 1975, James Bay, Beach House, Museum of Love, Christine and the Queens, Death Grips, Miike Snow, The Heavy, The Front Bottoms, The Last Shadow Puppets, Deerhunter (with Unknown Mortal Orchestra), Matt & Kim, Of Monsters and Men, Lapsley, St. Germain, Ex Hex, Snakehips, Grimes, The Damned, Nosaj Thing, BADBADNOTGOOD, Parov Stelar and more. Check out the full list of sideshows in the poster above.

As in past years, these sideshows will extend outside of LA’s city limits, with The Glass House and The Fox Theater in Pomona once again playing host to quite a few of them in addition to the aforementioned Pappy & Harriet’s. April 14th’s pairing of Silversun Pickups and Foals on the night before Coachella Weekend 1, for example, looks particularly appealing, while The Kills’ April 18th date at the Mayan Theater with The Big Pink and LA Witch stands out as one of our other must-see shows on Goldenvoice’s lineup. Of course, there’s also Miike Snow at The Fonda Theatre on April 20th and BADBADNOTGOOD, one of our favorites from FYF Fest (read our review here) last year, hitting The Roxy Theatre on April 22nd. Much like Coachella and its own lineup, there’s a lot to choose from here, though that’s not exactly a bad problem to have if you’re a live music fan in Southern California.

Tickets for most of the sideshows go on sale here this Friday, January 29th at Noon PT or next Friday, February 5th at Noon PT.

Goldenvoice

Skipping FYF Fest? You can still see all these shows

2015 FYF sideshows

FYF Fest returns to the LA Sports Arena and Exposition Park this August for its 12th edition with an amalgam of trending indie in tow. It’s also one of our eight music festivals taking place in California that you won’t want to miss before the end of 2015.

But if you’re not keen on catching headliners Frank Ocean and Morrissey yet still want to see sub headliners like Bloc Party or The Jesus and Mary Chain without shelling out $175 for a two-day GA pass (single-day passes have already sold out, by the way), well then, you’re in a bit of luck.

FYF and Goldenvoice have announced a series of sideshows around the festival’s August 22nd-23rd dates, which include performances by Toronto experimental hip-hop/post-bop trio BADBADNOTGOOD, Northeastern legendary alt-rockers Dinosaur Jr. and even NorCal industrial hip-hop group Death Grips, who, if you can remember, broke up not all that long ago, reneging on an opportunity to tour with 90’s rock heavyweights Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden last summer.

The sideshows start later this month, with LA’s own HEALTH kicking things off at The Echo before London-based post-punk revival band Savages finish the run off with a headlining gig at The Roxy on August 26th. It’s worth noting, however, that none of the sideshows will take place over the weekend of FYF, much like what Goldenvoice does in April by booking high-profile shows in and around Coachella’s two weekends.

Tickets for the sideshows go on sale at FYFpresents.com this Friday, July 10th at 10 a.m.


Here is the schedule for the festival’s upcoming sideshows with links to purchase tickets:

July 24th: HEALTH at The Echo // BUY TICKETS

August 19th: The Jesus and Mary Chain with A Place to Bury Strangers at The Fonda Theatre // BUY TICKETS

August 19th: Bloc Party at Glasshouse // BUY TICKETS

August 20th: The Jesus and Mary Chain with A Place to Bury Strangers at The Fonda Theatre // BUY TICKETS

August 20th: Bloc Party at The Roxy Theatre // BUY TICKETS

August 20th: METZ at The Echo // BUY TICKETS

August 21st: BadBadNotGood with Show Me the Body at The Regent Theater // BUY TICKETS

August 21st: NAILS at Echoplex // BUY TICKETS

August 21st: The Drums with Froth at Glasshouse // BUY TICKETS

August 21st: Lower Dens with Empress Of at The Echo // BUY TICKETS

August 21st: Dinosaur Jr. at The Roxy Theatre // BUY TICKETS

August 25th: Death Grips at Glasshouse // BUY TICKETS

August 26th: Savages at The Roxy Theatre // BUY TICKETS

August 26th: King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard at The Echo // BUY TICKETS

2015 FYF Fest lineup

Shlohmo concludes first live band tour in U.S. with hometown show at The Fonda Theatre

ShlohmoBy Josh Herwitt //

Shlohmo //
The Fonda Theatre – Los Angeles
May 7th, 2015 //

Los Angeles electronic musician Henry Laufer, or Shlohmo as most know him these days, broke onto the scene in 2011 with his debut album Bad Vibes, drawing early comparisons to other LA experimental hip-hop producers such as Flying Lotus and Nosaj Thing. As part of his own beatmaking career, he’s a founding member of Wedidit, a collection of electronic musicians that includes RL Grime and Ryan Hemsworth, and has collaborated with Tom Krell’s How to Dress Well and hip-hop/R&B recording artist Jeremih over the past two years.

But for his first world tour since the release of his sophomore LP Dark Red on True Panther Sounds last month, the 25-year-old is bringing a live band with him for all 36 dates around the globe. To conclude the North American portion of the tour, Laufer performed in front of a hometown crowd at The Fonda Theatre on Thursday, incorporating guitars, synthesizers and drums into his hour-long set (Laufer played guitar for much of it). While his dark, eery and almost psychedelic offerings at times serve more as introspection than dance music for listeners, Shlohmo, who will play in LA again at FYF Fest this summer, remains a rising star in the low-BPM sector of the EDM world.

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The Bam Team’s 5 Favorite Shows, Albums & Songs of 2014

St. Vincent at Fox Theatre Oakland // Showbams' Photo of the Year, by Pedro


St. Vincent at Fox Theater Oakland // Showbams’ Photo of the Year, by Pedro Paredes

Ah, year-end lists — they’re an exercise in subjectivity and personal experience if there has ever been one. But what better way is there to learn from each other and discover some great new music while capping off the year and beginning anew?

So, without further ado, Showbams presents The Bam Team’s five favorite shows, albums and songs from 2014.

The 25 Best Live Music Acts of 2014
Showbams’ Top 50 Albums of 2014

Listen to The Bam Team’s favorite songs of 2014:


Darkside at The Fillmore

Darkside at The Fillmore // Photo by James Nagel

Mike Frash // San Francisco

Top 5 Shows of 2014
1. Darkside at The Fillmore – San Francisco, CA – January 24th
Looking at my top five shows list for 2014, it appears I favor the weird, ya know, the good weird. This Darkside performance, the only SF show ever (for now) since Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington have put the project on indefinite hold, had patrons at The Fillmore in SF breathing and moving in unison. There was a magical feeling in the air as the hybrid of electronic and organic played out wonderfully with the duo tipping their hat to the past and setting a new standard for the brave new future of live music.

2. Panda Bear at The Fillmore – San Francisco, CA – May 22nd
3. tUnE-yArDs at The Fillmore – San Francisco, CA – June 6th
4. Phish at MGM Grand – Las Vegas, NV – October 31st
5. Volcano Choir at The Fillmore – San Francisco, CA – January 21st

Top 5 Albums of 2014
1. Run the JewelsRun the Jewels 2
Ever since Jamie and Mikey blew my mind performing Run the Jewels almost in its entirety at The Independent in August of 2013, I’ve been a loyal RTJ soldier. And without taking a break, El Producto and Killer Mike stepped it up to an even higher plateau with their production precision, an uncanny balance of fun and intense, while lyrically honing more on the important issues of our time. Sensing the unstoppable momentum, Run the Jewels are already heading back into the studio for Run the Jewels 3. When Mike was recently asked if they’d continue to name their albums numerically, he said “Why not?!? Zeppelin did it!” Exactly. Say it with me now: Festival headliners circa 2016?

2. The War on DrugsLost in the Dream
3. D’Angelo – Black Messiah
4. Aphex TwinSyro
5. The Antlers – Familiars

Top 5 Songs of 2014
1. Sturgill Simpson – “Turtles All the Way Down”
This is country music turned on its head, while staying mostly true to the hallmarks of the genre. Lyrically subversive while instrumentally emotive to the core, this song kept me coming back throughout 2014. It’s positive message of love winning over all else is certainly timeless, but when was the last time you heard a country tune tell a story of mind over matter transcendence? “There’s a gateway in our minds that leads somewhere out there, far beyond this place / Where reptile aliens made of light, cut you up and pull out all your pain.” Stirgill Simpson is as progressive as you can get within the realm of Americana, urging the listener to both think and feel.

2. St. Vincent – “Digital Witness”
3. Future Islands – “Seasons (Waiting on You)”
4. FKA twigs – “Two Weeks”
5. Flying Lotus – “Never Catch Me” feat. Kendrick Lamar


Nine Inch Nails

Nine Inch Nails // Photo by Rob Sheridan for NIN.com

Josh Herwitt // Los Angeles

Top 5 Shows of 2014
1. Nine Inch Nails & Soundgarden at Red Rocks Amphitheatre – Morrison, CO – July 21st
What a dream come true. Having the opportunity to see two of my favorite childhood bands at one of the best venues in the country would be hard to beat any year, let alone in 2014. Sharing the bill with Soundgarden on this tour, Trent Reznor made the most of a minimalist stage setup and trimmed-down lineup of sidekicks. Of the four shows (Red Rocks, Chula Vista, Irvine and Hollywood) I saw on this tour, this one felt particularly special. If this was one of the last times I ever got to see Nine Inch Nails perform live, it was a night I will never forget.

2. Jack White at The Fonda Theatre – Los Angeles, CA – June 10th
3. Cinquanta featuring Puscifer, A Perfect Circle and Failure at The Greek Theatre – Los Angeles, CA – May 10th
4. Queens of the Stone Age at The Forum – Los Angeles, CA – October 31st
5. Tool at Valley View Casino Center – San Diego, CA – March 16th

Top 5 Albums of 2014
1. The Black KeysTurn Blue
Akron’s favorite rockers answered the call this year, following up their Grammy-winning album El Camino with arguably their most ambitious effort to date — especially when you consider the turmoil that surrounded Dan Auerbach’s life at the time of its recording. Over the last five years, the Keys have become one of rock’s biggest bands, but they haven’t stopped taking risks as a result. Turn Blue dabbles in a myriad of styles, from the psychedelic sound of Pink Floyd on its opening track “Weight of Love” to the hip-hop groove on “10 Lovers.” For as many critics as they have, Auerbach and Patrick Carney have come a long way since their early years as strictly a blues duo.

2. The War on DrugsLost in the Dream
3. Jack WhiteLazaretto
4. Aphex TwinSyro
5. Death from Above 1979The Physical World

Top 5 Songs of 2014
1. Jack White – “High Ball Stepper”
Jack White seems to be on another level these days. The former White Stripe has grown into one of rock ‘n’ roll’s most exciting talents, and this blues-heavy, instrumental track showcases that better than any other offering on Lazaretto. White’s ferocious guitar riffs dominate the tune, taking listeners on an emotional roller coaster from start to finish. And when he plays “High Ball Stepper” live, the song takes on a new whole life of its own.

2. Foo Fighters – “Something for Nothing”
3. Interpol – “All the Rage Back Home”
4. TV on the Radio – “Happy Idiot”
5. Tycho – “Awake”


Jack White at BGCA // Photo by

Jack White at Bill Graham Civic // Photo by David James Swanson

Steven Wandrey // San Francisco

Top 5 Shows of 2014
1. Jack White at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium – San Francisco, CA – August 22nd
From the dramatic curtain drop that slammed into high-octane rock, this show never let off the gas. Even with a bum ankle, Jack White stalked the stage and held power over the crowd. When the slowest moments of a show are White Stripes ballads that you’re giddy to hear and the other half of the show is headbanging, guitar-slinging rock, it’s easy to see how this show cemented itself as the best of 2014.

2. Atomic Bomb! The Music of William Onyeabor at The Warfield – San Francisco, CA – May 6th
3. The War on Drugs at The Independent – San Francisco, CA – April 1st
4. Run the Jewels at Mezzanine – San Francisco, CA – November 14th
5. Duck Sauce at Outside Lands Music Festival – August 9th

Top 5 Albums of 2014
1. Flying LotusYou’re Dead!
This album makes me feel like I’m actually traveling through the underworld to the land of the dead. From front to back, the first thing that caught me about this album was its consistent message. Steven Ellison has an inviting sense of storytelling that’s infused with hip-hop but touches on an array of different music styles, involving a star-studded cast of guests, including Kendrick Lamar, Thundercat and Snoop Dog. I have a feeling Flying Lotus is on the forefront of creative hip-hop and that this album will prove to be influential down the line. More importantly, I just love listening to it. Taking wild turns from frenetic to serene, listening to this album from start to finish is a journey.

2. Aphex TwinSyro
3. Run the JewelsRun the Jewels 2
4. Future IslandsSingles
5. Tweedy – Sukierae

Top 5 Songs of 2014
1. Run the Jewels – “Oh My Darling Don’t Cry”
The minimalist production and deep, rumbling bass frequencies have helped this track become my No. 1 listened to on the album and also No. 1 for the year. The complimentary flow that El-P and Killer Mike have together is on display in this track. This cut has infected my brain like a virus (the good kind?), and I just can’t get enough.

2. Future Islands – “Seasons (Waiting on You)”
3. Sam Smith – “I’m Not the Only One”
4. Flying Lotus – “Never Catch Me” (feat. Kendrick Lamar)
5. Perfume Genius – “Queen”


Future Islands at The Chapel // Photo by

Future Islands at The Chapel // Photo by Pedro Paredes

Kevin Quandt // San Francisco

Top 5 Shows of 2014
1. Future Islands at Coachella Music and Arts Festival, Weekend 1 – Indio, CA – April 12th
It’s been a banner year for the Baltimore darlings we have grown to love as Future Islands. Breaking through the underground touring circuit to being a highly sought-after festival act was quick and clean as the passionate stage performance of Samuel Harrington could not be ignored by growing audiences. A packed Gobi Tent was eating from the frontman’s palm as Herrington poured himself out on stage, belting out a set heavy on new tracks and old favorites. It was a pivotal point where both the band and audience knew that Future Islands had arrived at the next stage of their career.

2. The Cure at BottleRock Napa Valley – Napa, CA – May 30th
3. Phish at MGM Grand Arena – Las Vegas, NV – October 31st
4. Connan Mockasin at The Independent – San Francisco, CA – May 15th
5. Deerhoof at Great American Music Hall – San Francisco, CA – November 18th 

Top 5 Albums of 2014
1. The War on DrugsLost in the Dream 
Adam Granduciel had one helluva 2014 to brag about. His third studio album Lost in the Dream was an overwhelming success, and all for good reason as the lush waves of rock swell over the listener like a warm Christmas sweater, just less ugly than the one you wore to that one party. “Under the Pressure” opens this release in epic fashion and does not let up from there. Guitar rock is not dead!

2. Todd Terje – It’s Album Time
3. Run the JewelsRun the Jewels 2
4. D’Angelo – Black Messiah 
5. White Fence – For the Recently Found Innocent  

Top 5 Songs of 2014
1. Flying Lotus – “Never Catch Me” (feat. Kendrick Lamar)
Steven Ellison’s left-field meditation on death, as demonstrated on 2014’s release You’re Dead!, is not for everyone and is more about the full album than the sum of its parts (tracks). However, there is one shining beacon of a collaboration that could not be cast aside in the form of “Never Catch Me”. The partnership of one of the hottest MCs with one of the most sought-after producers was meant to be a brutally infectious slice of off-kilter street music. 

2. Caribou – “Can’t Do Without You”
3. Future Islands – “Seasons (Waiting on You)”
4. Beck – “Blue Moon”
5. Ariel Pink – “Put Your Number in My Phone”


Ryan Adams at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2014

Ryan Adams at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2014 // Photo by Pedro Paredes

Pete Mauch // Los Angeles

Top 5 Shows of 2014
1. Phish at MGM Grand – Las Vegas, NV – October 31st
Phish has made the tradition of covering other artists albums on Halloween, and this year they completely outdid themselves by covering essentially an album of only narrative and spooky sounds. The Disney-produced album The Thrilling and Chilling Sounds of the Taunted House was turned into a rock opera of sorts as Trey and company worked through completely new songs based off just minimal sounds, but the night didn’t just end there. The band played this rock opera sandwiched between two very strong sets of original Phish songs that could have held its own alone.

2. Lettuce’s Late Night in Red Barn at Summer Camp Music Festival – Chillicothe, IL – May 22nd
3. Future Islands at Coachella Music and Arts Festival, Weekend 1 – Indio, CA – April 12th
4. Ryan Adams at The Fox Theater Pomona – Pomona, CA – October 11th
5. Todd Terje at FYF Fest – Los Angeles – August 24th

Top 5 Albums of 2014
1. Ryan Adams – Ryan Adams
When someone as prolific as Ryan Adams puts out a new record, you buy that record and you listen intently. The songs in his first self-titled album may seem simple at first listen, but they stay with you in the back of your mind until you just can’t take it and you re-listen again and again. This is exactly how what I’ve been doing the past few months since the release. Songs like “Gimme Something Good” and “Am I Safe” prove once again that Adams is still on top of his game.

2. The War on DrugsLost in the Dream
3. moe. – No Guts, No Glory
4. Todd Terje – It’s Album Time
5. Greensky Bluegrass – If Sorrows Swim

Top 5 Songs of 2014
1. Future Islands – “Seasons (Waiting on You)”
“People change / You know but some people never do / You know when people change, they gain a piece but they lose one too.” These lyrics are so uplifting and real, and the music to accompany these amazing lyrics ties the emotion perfectly together.

2. The War on Drugs – “Under the Pressure”
3. The Barr Brothers – “Come in the Water”
4. Temples – “Shelter Song”
5. Caribou – “Can’t Do Without You”


Old Crow Medicine Show at The Regency // Photo by Pedro Paredes

Old Crow Medicine Show at The Regency // Photo by Pedro Paredes

Pedro Paredes // San Francisco

Top 5 Shows of 2014
1. Darkside at The Fillmore – San Francisco, CA – January 24th
The album Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington put together in 2013 was a delight for the ears, but with the show they played at The Fillmore, they were going after every sense in your body. Jaar once said that Darkside’s music was more experiential rather than musical, and they surely succeeded in delivering one of the best musical experiences to all the lucky attendants on that cold January night.

2. Future Islands at The Chapel – San Francisco, CA – April 10th
3. St. Vincent at The Fox Theater Oakland – Oakland, CA – March 22nd
4. James Blake at The Chapel – San Francisco, CA – December 7th
5. Old Crow Medicine Show at The Masonic – San Francisco, CA – September 20th

Top 5 Albums of 2014
1. BeckMorning Phase
Beck’s Morning Phase follows the same breezy style as Sea Change, but the latter’s serenity seems to come from darker places. Morning Phase is, as the title suggests, a bit brighter and sets the tone for all the good things yet to come.

2. Run the JewelsRun the Jewels 2
3. Real EstateAtlas
4. The War on DrugsLost in the Dream
5. Perfume Genius – Too Bright

Top 5 Songs of 2014
1. alt-J – “Nara”
It is hard to isolate “Nara” as the best song of Alt-J’s latest album This is All Yours since the story told in it is not exclusive to that song and it comes back in different sections of the album (as well as in some of the musical arrangements). But “Nara”, a song about love, deserves to be listened again and again. The 2:58 mark is bliss to my ears.

2. tUnE-yArDs – “Water Fountain”
3. Run the Jewels – “Love Again”
4. Perfume Genius – “Fool”
5. Angel Olsen – “Hi-Five”


St. Vincent at Fox Theater Oakland // Photo by

St. Vincent at Fox Theater Oakland // Photo by Pedro Paredes

Andrew Pohl // San Francisco

Top 5 Shows of 2014
1. Nine Inch Nails & Soundgarden at Shoreline Amphitheatre – Mountain View, CA – August 24th
I had never seen either band live before and based on my experience, it was like they had never broken up or aged since the ’90s. Amazing stage/light shows to go along with what was hands down my most eagerly anticipated show of the year.

2. Cibo Matto at Slim’s – San Francisco, CA – February 26th
3. American Football at The Fillmore – San Francisco, CA – December 12th
4. Failure at Great American Music Hall – San Francisco, CA – May 14th
5. Crosses at The Independent – San Francisco, CA – March 30th

Top 5 Albums of 2014
1. St. VincentSt. Vincent
This album comes off like a chameleon, with many shifts but always staying very characteristically St. Vincent. I feel that she is one of the more important artists to come around over the last few years, and I am excited to see what she does next.

2. Nothing – Guilty of Everything
3. BeckMorning Phase
4. Fugazi – First Demo
5. The War on DrugsLost in the Dream

Top 5 Songs of 2014
1. Spoon – “Do You”
Spoon have a knack for throwing a good toe tapper in their albums. This song is short and sweet, and you cannot help but get caught up in its infectiousness.  

2. Ryan Adams – “Give Me Something Good”
3. St. Vincent – “Prince Johnny”
4. TV on the Radio – “Could You”
5. Nothing – “Bent Nail”


Arcade Fire at Shoreline Amphitheater // Photo by Justin Yee

Arcade Fire at Shoreline Amphitheater // Photo by Justin Yee

Justin Yee // San Francisco

Top 5 Shows of 2014
1) Future Islands at South by Southwest (Cheer Up Charlie’s) – Austin, TX – March 13th
2) Arcade Fire at Shoreline Amphitheatre – Mountain View, CA – July 30th
3) Chromeo at The Independent – San Francisco, CA – April 12th
4) James Blake at The Chapel – San Francisco, CA – December 7th
5) Outkast at Treasure Island Music Festival – San Francisco, CA – October 18th

Top 5 Albums of 2014
1) Future IslandsSingles
2) The War on DrugsLost in the Dream
3) ODESZA – In Return
4) Flying LotusYou’re Dead!
5) CaribouOur Love

Top 5 Songs of 2014
1) Future Islands – “Seasons (Waiting on You)”
2) Chromeo – “Come Alive” feat. Toro y Moi
3) Flying Lotus – “Never Catch Me” feat. Kendrick Lamar
4) Chet Faker – “1998”
5) Mac Demarco – “Let Her Go”


James Blake at The Chapel //

James Blake at The Chapel // Photo by Pedro Paredes

Eric Shaden // San Francisco

Top 5 Shows of 2014
1. James Blake at The Chapel – San Francisco, CA – December 7th
I feel bad telling friends about how great this show was since so few people were able to get tickets. An intimate venue hosting such a phenomenal artist was a no-brainer for my top pick. James covered hits from his albums as well as debuted new tracks and an incredible interlude of house jams. I just wish more friends could have seen this!

2. Chromeo at The Independent – San Francisco, CA – April 12th
3. Todd Terje at FYF Fest – Los Angeles, CA – August 24th
4. tUnE-yArDs at The Fillmore – San Francisco, CA – June 6th
5. Holy Ghost! at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art – San Francisco, CA – April 30th

Top 5 Albums of 2014
1. Run the JewelsRun the Jewels 2
What else can be said about this album that hasn’t been covered already? An outstanding sequel to Run the Jewels that expands on the original with top-notch production and punishing delivery from El-P and Killer Mike. Without a doubt my top choice of the year.

2. Syd Arthur – A Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble
3. D’Angelo – Black Messiah 
4. Sinkane – Mean Love
5. Todd Terje – It’s Album Time

Top 5 Songs of 2014
1. D’Angelo – “Sugah Daddy”
I imagine D’Angelo coming back with his long-awaited album in December showed which writers/blogs/etc. wrote their “Best of the Year” lists early. His style of soulful R&B is sorely needed, and “Sugah Daddy” is my favorite from the album. Looking forward to his tour in 2015!

2. Caribou – “Our Love”
3. Aphex Twin – “minipops 67 [120.2]”
4. Jungle – “Time”
5. Jamie xx – “Sleep Sound”


High Sierra Music Festival // Photo by Benjamin Wallen

High Sierra Music Festival // Photo by Benjamin Wallen

Benjamin Wallen // San Francisco

Top 5 Shows of 2014
1. High Sierra Music Festival – Quincy, CA – July 2nd-5th
2. Paul McCartney at Candlestick Farewell – Candlestick Park – San Francisco, CA – August 14th
3. Jamestown Revival at Great American Music Hall – San Francisco, CA – November 28th
4. The String Cheese Incident at Fox Theater Oakland – Oakland, CA – April 24th
5. Greensky Bluegrass at The Fillmore – San Francisco, CA – November 14th


Cali-Roots_fix

Scott Martin // San Jose

Top 5 Shows of 2014
1. California Roots Music Festival at Monterey Fairgrounds – Monterey, CA – May 23rd-25th
2. Rival Sons, Soft White Sixties & Sir Madam at The Fillmore – San Francisco, CA – September 25th
3. The Pimps of Joytime at The Independent – San Francisco, CA – February 15th
4. Caravan Palace & Rosin Coven at The Regency Ballroom – San Francisco, CA – April 16th
5. Jackie Greene at The Catalyst Club – Santa Cruz, CA – March 26th

Top 5 Albums of 2014
1. Bears Den – Islands
2. Milky Chance – Sadnecessary
3. Lana Del Rey – Ultraviolence
4. Mighty Oaks – Howl
5. Solstafir – Otta

Top 5 Songs of 2014
1. Bears Den – “Agape”
2. Bears Den – “Isaac”
3. Milky Chance – “Down by the River”
4. Mighty Oaks – “The Great Northwest”
5. Crosses – “Bitches Brew”


MIA at BFD // Photo by Marc Fong

MIA at BFD // Photo by Marc Fong

Nikki DeMartini // San Francisco

Top 5 Shows of 2014
1. MIA at Shoreline Amphitheatre for BFD 2014 – Mountain View, CA – June 1st
It had been four years since I saw MIA live and even though I’d prefer to see her play her own show rather than a set at a music festival, I was super excited to see her at BFD last summer. It was the first time in nearly 10 years that my cousin and I went to LIFE105’s annual summer show together. We lucked out and upgraded our tickets just in time to see MIA’s performance. Both of us were out of our seats, singing and dancing along to every song as soon as her set started. I was beside myself as MIA herself made her way off the stage, up into the seats of the venue and stopped near our row to spit lyrics as fans gathered and danced around her, myself included. I still can’t believe I danced with MIA!

2. OK Go at The Independent – San Francisco, CA – July 16th
3. Die Antwoord at The Fillmore – San Francisco, CA – May 22nd
4. Sylvan Esso at The Fillmore – San Francisco, CA – June 6th
5. MS MR at The Fillmore – San Francisco, CA – April 15th

Top 5 Albums of 2014
1. Sylvan Esso – Sylvan Esso
When I covered Sylvan Esso at The Fillmore earlier this year (when they opened for tUnE-yArDs), I had no idea who they were but ended up leaving the show a fan. Their self-titled debut album is an uplifting mix of danceable electropop tracks and indie rock that’s easy to lose yourself in. Their sparkly, layered and melodic sounds translate well whether you’re listening to the album or seeing them live. Sylvan Esso is one of three albums I bought in 2014, and it’s been on repeat ever since I picked it up.

2. Glass Animals – Zaba
3. Die Antwoord – Donker Mag
4. Iggy Azalea – The New Classic
5. First Aid Kit – Stay Gold

Top 5 Songs of 2014
1. Tove Lo – “Habits (Stay High)”
I really enjoy the simple percussion-driven melody and voluptuous vocals of Tove Lo’s hit single “Habits (Stay High)”. The subtle, yet engaging buildup to her belting, emotionally-charged lyrics has me singing along and turning it up every time I hear it on the radio. While it is very catchy, it’s not a super dancey song. However, it is a great go-to for karaoke. 

2. Die Antwoord – “Rat Trap 666”
3. Sylvan Esso – “Hey Mami”
4. First Aid Kit – “My Silver Lining”
5. The Dead Weather – “Buzzkill(er)”

Showbams_Sticker_Rectangle2

Tycho take a big step forward in LA

TychoBy Josh Herwitt //

Tycho with Gardens & Villa //
The Fonda Theatre – Los Angeles
May 7th, 2014 //

It wasn’t that long ago that I stumbled upon Scott Hansen and his musical project Tycho.

At the time, I had heard good things about the San Francisco-based act, but I had yet to take the time to find out for myself.

So, when I learned last spring that Tycho was tabbed as the opening act for a Sound Tribe Sector 9 show I had already been scheduled to cover, I knew I had to make the most of my opportunity.

And boy, am I glad that I did.

Tycho

Because since that night more than a year ago, I have come to realize that Hansen’s foray into music deserves just as much praise as the photography and design work he produces under his ISO50 moniker. In fact, when I saw Tycho perform just a few months later at the boutique festival Lightning in a Bottle, it only validated those initial feelings I had at the Hollywood Palladium.

Fast forward to this month, and Tycho’s appeal has only continued to grow among the masses. With the release of its fourth full-length album Awake in March, the four-piece band — Hansen (guitar, bass, synthesizers, programming, visuals), Zac Brown (bass, guitar), Rory O’Connor (drums) and newest member Joe Davancens (bass, guitar, keyboards, synthesizers) — packed The Fonda Theatre for two sold-out performances, showcasing both new and old material after Santa Barbara’s Gardens & Villa warmed up the crowd with its unique brand of indie-synth rock.

But what may be most impressive about Tycho is the way Hansen continues to captivate electronic-leaning audiences without any of the EDM flare that so many big-name DJs abuse these days.

Tycho

After all, Hansen’s music is not to be confused with the EDM tsunami that’s taken the music industry by storm over the last five years. Rather, these are ambient soundscapes rooted in techno, with dashes of IDM and downtempo sprinkled throughout. Unlike the deep thud of house, trap or dubstep, these are moments of introspection and inspiration metamorphosed into rich, sonic layers and textures.

It’s fitting, then, that Hansen’s visuals — from sweeping, majestic landscape shots of nature to more traditional geometric shapes — pair perfectly with the mood his music affords listeners.

This is nothing new for Hansen, though. He’s been working at his craft for over 10 years, starting with his self-produced EP The Science of Patterns back in 2002. But a lot changed for Hansen in 2008 when he left Merck Records and signed a deal with Ghostly International, paving the way for 2011’s Dive, which garnered critical acclaim while drawing comparisons to chillwave artists like Washed Out and Toro Y Moi.

Tycho

As its successor, Awake feels very much like an extension of Dive, and we were treated to a majority of the eight-track LP at The Fonda, along with a few cuts from 2006’s Past Is Prologue.

Of course, if there were any grievances to air, it was that Hansen and his sidekicks didn’t play quite long enough. For an hour and 15 minutes, they hypnotized a room full of fans with one ambient groove after another, taking us on a short vacation from Planet Earth in the process. As we would later find out when the house lights came back on, the only problem with that was it had to eventually end.

Jim James ignites The Fonda Theatre with ‘Monster’ mate Conor Oberst

Jim-James


Conor Oberst does his best Jim James impersonation, cape and all.

By Pete Mauch //

Jim James //
The Fonda Theatre – Los Angeles
May 11th, 2013 //

My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James performed in LA at the sold-out Fonda Theatre on Saturday night, playing two eclectic sets, including the majority of his 2013 solo LP Regions of Light and Sound of God. The first set featured James and his band playing through the entire album, while the second set gave way to older material from My Morning Jacket & Monsters of Folk.

Jim James started the second set solo with his acoustic guitar and treated the crowd to “Bermuda Highway” and “Wonderful”, two of the best ballads in James’ repertoire. James even showcased his Saxophone skills, which I never knew he had.Bright Eyes crooner Conor Oberst made a late second set surprise appearance to help out with Monsters of Folk heavy hitter “Dear God” while doing his best Jim James impression, donning his cape and over-the-top theatrics.

Jim-James

James was his normal weird self on stage, traversing all over the place utilizing hand motions and head banging. I believe I had a staring contest with him for about thirty seconds during the encore.  Jim James is one of the most exciting frontmen in the business and there truly is something special about him. I don’t know if it’s his stage antics or how sincere he seems with all his “Thank You’s” and “God Bless You’s’. He must of said both those phrases thirty times on Friday.

When James released his solo album back in February, I wasn’t very impressed, but after hearing the songs come to life in a live setting, I have a new found respect for the album and I look forward to re-listening to it. I highly suggest you catch Jim James on his solo tour if possible.

Jim-James