Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals, Zhu, Griz & Fever Ray lead Lightning in a Bottle’s 2018 lineup

Lightning in a Bottle - 2018 lineup

Lightning in a Bottle //
San Antonio Recreation Area – Bradley, CA
May 23rd-28th, 2018 //

Lightning in a Bottle has been considered one of the country’s premier boutique festivals for quite a while now, although in more recent years it has arguably started to outgrow that label with rising attendance numbers and capacity crowds becoming the norm.

But after last year’s edition saw Bassnectar, Bonobo, RÜFÜS DU SOL and Kaytranada lead the way, the 13th year of The Do LaB’s signature event will be headlined by Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals, Zhu, Griz and Fever Ray this Memorial Day weekend. The news, which comes more than four months in advance of the festival, marks the first scheduled show on U.S. soil since 2010 for Fever Ray (aka Karin Dreijer), the former lead singer of The Knife who released her sophomore solo LP Plunge back in October.

Other names listed on what LIB is calling Phase 1 of its 2018 lineup include The Glitch Mob, SOFI TUKKER, tUnE-yArDs, NAO, Beats Antique, Tokimonsta, The Funk Hunters, Monolink, Dirtwire, Tipper, Modeselektor (DJ set), Emancipator, Sango, Giraffage, Bleep Bloop, CloZee, Random Rab, Alix Perez, Nu:Logic, Nicole Moudaber, The Black Madonna, MK and more.

While the “transformational festival” has become a great hangover cure for West Coast music fans suffering from a bad case of post-Coachella blues, it also marks the second straight year that LIB mainstays Lucent Dossier Experience and William Close & The Earth Harp Collective are missing from this year’s bill.

Lightning in a Bottle 2018 - Phase 2 lineup

UPDATE (February 8th): The Do LaB has dropped its Phase 2 lineup for LIB 2018, featuring performances by Beats Antique Lightning Orchestra, Too Many Zooz, Lyrics Born, Con Brio, Jamie N Commons, The California Honeydrops and more. Check out the poster above for the rest of the roster that will be dispersed across four stages.

Weekend passes to LIB can be purchased here for $305 starting this Thursday, January 18th at 10 a.m. PT. As attendees have come to expect over the years, The Do LaB will also continue to promote the ideals of sustainability, social cohesion, personal health and creative expression through its unique collection of art, yoga, workshops and speakers.

Yet, over the past few years, the festival has regularly sold out as the calendar turns to May, and 2018 will likely follow that trend with the lineup shaping up to be one of LIB’s best. So, don’t sleep on getting your tickets for what’s sure to be another memorable weekend at San Antonio Recreation Area.

Can’t wait for LIB? Look back at our past coverage here.

PHOTOS: The Knife at Fox Theater Oakland 4/15

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Photos by Pedro Paredes //

The Knife //
Fox Theater Oakland — Oakland, CA
April 15th, 2014 //

“Self-awareness is the illusion that this is happening only to you” echoed the crowd after the words of our DEEP Aerobics instructor (short for Death Electro Emo Protest Aerobics) at a sold out Fox Theater in Oakland last week. As the audience followed the dance steps and pop mantras recited by the person in charge of warming things up before The Knife, the night’s main event, we knew that we should expect nothing typical for the rest of the evening.

The tone had been set. It was time to shake off the habitual.

Coachella 2014 lineup: Emerging artists, throwback acts & potential collaborations

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Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival //
Empire Polo Club – Indio, CA
April 11th-13th & April 18th-20th, 2016 //

2014 is officially in full swing and the impending festival season is on the horizon, especially now that the Coachella lineup has been released. Goldenvoice has done it again with their unique mix of era, genre and relevance which seems to excite and disappoint the eager masses in equal fashion.

The top of the lineup is decisively more pop-oriented than years past with Ellie Goulding, Pharrell Williams, Lorde, Foster the People, Zedd and Lana Del Rey receiving marquee billing. But beyond the headliners, Coachella 2014 offers essential throwback acts, emerging artists ready to blow up, a wide variety of dance options and a handful of collaboration opportunities.

Let’s dig into this monster and extract some musical gold.

SUN


The Headliners

An OutKast reunion would have been more thrilling if the news hadn’t leaked over a month ago (though you can’t always believe the rumor mill), but this is a surprise nonetheless as Andre 3000 had shown little interest or optimism in interviews over the past half-decade. Either way Big Boi and Dre will bring their historically high-energy performance to a ton of new fans. “B.O.B.”, “Roses” and “Ms Jackson” are sure to be highlights of the set.

Muse is one of the biggest bands in the world, this is a cold hard fact. They have plugged away at their 21st Century take on soaring arena-rock and eventually made their way to the top with bombastic live shows, catchy songs and generally doing their own thing. Will the band try to bring their massive UK arena stage to Indio? 

Yes, Arcade Fire was another act that wasn’t a far reach based upon current tour route, but nevertheless they will close out the event with great grandeur. May be hard to top their big 2010 performance, but sparks are sure to shoot from the stage while playing the more upbeat Reflektor tracks. I am not holding my breath on an appearance by the Thin White Duke, but hope I’m wrong.


The Throwbacks

The Replacements took the stage for the first time in 22 years over the summer at various incarnations of Riot Fest. Well, now the West Coast gets a taste of Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson’s authoritative alternative rock, and this set is sure to be one of the bigger ‘reunion’ sets on the bill.

Roxy Music may not be reuniting this year, but the insanely unique vocal stylings of Bryan Ferry are sure to excite fans that have been visiting the Empire Polo Fields since it’s incarnation some 15 years ago. Is Goldenvoice starting to pander to the aging, original Coachella demographic?

Pet Shop Boys aren’t only still relevant, but have been killing it on the road the past few years, so it’s no surprise that we see the duo of Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe billed high on Saturday. Their Kraftwerk-esque stage show will be a treat to multiple generations of fans, especially during booming hits like “West End Girls”. 

Other acts that will appeal more to the Generation Xers will be the Toy Dolls, The Afghan Whigs, and Motörhead.


Emerging Artists

British psych rock group Temples only formed in mid 2012, but almost immediate support from the blogosphere and supporting Primal Scream, Kasabian, Beady Eye & Tame Impala on tour throughout 2013 only helped gain traction. And if you are a fan of Tame Impala, be sure to catch this hyper-buzzy act for their first West Coast show. Their stock should rise quickly as their debut LP Sun Structures releases February 10th.



It has now become a tradition for at least one member of the Odd Future clan to be represented on the bill since their debut, and this year the title goes to producing duo Syd the Kid and Matt Martians as The Internet. Their take on trip-hop and electronic soul is a refreshing breath of air for the LA collective as Syd moves from behind the decks to feature her lovely vocals at the forefront. Sure to turn a few heads.



Enigmatic trio Factory Floor bathe in drone and noise, ultimately outputting sound somewhere between minimalist techno and experimental house. Releasing their self-titled debut LP in 2013 through DFA, Factory Floor is relatively popular overseas, yet the dance outfit is on the bottom line of the poster for Sunday. The London-based act might offer a good reason to get to the Polo Fields early on day three.



Laura Mvula may not be a name you are familiar with, but she has made waves the past year in her native UK as her debut album peaked nicely on the charts, and she received a solid slot at Glastonbury. Her straight-ahead take on soul jazz shows great promise both in the studio and on the larger stage as she bursts out of the jazz club into the spotlight. 


Coming Out West

The Knife will be bringing their dynamic, even head-scratching stage show to the desert for 2 weekends of artsy weirdness. Though, for all intents and purposes, we have no idea which show the Swedish duo will bring to us. One thing is for sure, it won’t be like anything you have experienced before.

Apparently Jeff Mangum enjoyed his trip to Indio last year, because this year he is bringing the old band out. West Coast music fans have been waiting patiently for their taste of the reunited Neutral Milk Hotel, and it wasn’t a huge surprise that they’d be on the bill based upon tour schedule. Alas, hipsters young and old can rejoice in a stay at the hippest ‘hotel’ in the valley.

Sweden’s mysterious band named GOAT will be finally reaching the shores of the Pacific with their characteristic take on ‘world music.’ These guys are truly thinking outside the box with a breathtaking approach to experimental rock, and their live performance follows suit. The band has been in some sort of formation for over the past 30 to 40 years with rotating members, but have only recently been viewed on the world stage. 


Possible Collaborations

Robin Thicke (Not Daft Punk) with Pharrell Williams on Saturday
Pharrell Williams has pretty high billing this year, but in many ways he deserves it. He was featured on the two biggest pop hits of 2013, and if anyone is known for collaborating with a wide variety of artists, it’s the N.E.R.D. frontman. Fool us once (Phoenix last year), shame on you, fool us twice…just don’t count on Daft Punk and Niles Rodgers showing up to perform “Get Lucky” and “Lose Yourself to Dance”. Daft Punk’s confirmed appearance at the Grammy Awards in late January could change this outlook, but a Robin Thicke supported “Blurred Lines” seems more likely. It also wouldn’t be surprising to see special appearances from Snoop Dogg, Pusha T or maybe even Madonna.

Blood Orange (Dev Hynes) with Solange on Saturday
NYC’s own Blood Orange made a big push to finish out 2013 and he was nicely rewarded with a set that is sure to be well packed for this buzzy tropi-pop musician. Hynes worked with Solange on her 2012 EP Losing You, but the extent of his production work on the record became a source of contention in November as both artists took to twitter beef about Hynes’ role. Both Solange and Hynes are performing Saturday, so might this be a good time for them to kiss and makeup on stage?

AlunaGeorge with Disclosure on Sunday
Disclosure, returning for their second straight year, might be the only dance act to perform outside the tents. Last year, Jessie Ware joined Guy and Howard Lawrence to sing “Confess To Me”, and this year Aluna Francis from AlunaGeorge will appear to perform the smash hit “White Noise”. Lock it in.


EDM

As has been the trend for Coachella, more emphasis has been put onto EDM, and with the addition of the Yuma Tent last year, Goldenvoice has been able to book all the big guys for the kiddies and all the OG underground acts for the “adults.”

Calvin Harris, Skrillex and Fatboy Slim represent some of the biggest names in the genre and are sure to grab some of the biggest crowds in the Sahara Tent. On the other hand, Yuma will have some treats in the form of the Crosstown Rebels (Damian Lazarus, Art Department, Maceo Plex) as well as Scuba and (hopefully) French legend, Laurent Garnier.

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New Music Tuesday: James Blake • Jake Bugg • The Knife • Kurt Vile • The Dear Hunter • White Fence

James Blake - Overgrown

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


James BlakeOvergrown

4-BamsTop Tracks:
“Retrograde”
“Voyeur”
“Digital Lion”

Album Highlights: James Blake continues his standout formula with his sophomore LP; confessional musings with vocal modulation and repetitive lyrics are matched by deconstructed R&B dub step beats and orchestral builds. The most successful tracks are the ones that discover new territory within Blunt’s sound aesthetic. “Voyeur” drops into a blissful dance track for the last third of the cut, driven by moaning synths and surprisingly, a cowbell. “Digital Lion” possesses a tribal ethos that will entice auditory climaxes at concerts all over the world throughout 2013. “Retrograde” is the quintessential track of the record – Blake’s wordless crooning grows into haunting vocal layering as the song progresses.

Album Lowlight: In the end it can be classified as moody music, in that you need to be somewhere between a mellow or drab mood to really get into Blake’s music. Lots of folks will give Overgrown a cursory listen and not notice the intricacies of the record. This would be a mistake.

Takeaway: While this record is a bit of a grower and is exponentially better upon repeat listens, it’s still hypnotic fresh out of the box. The collaboration with RZA on “Take a Fall For Me” flashes even further genre-diverse potential in Blake. With a range that extends from gospel to electronic music to hip hop, the future is blindingly bright for the young British artist. At the age of 24, Blake has crafted an impressive second record with less obvious singles than his self titled debut, yet as a whole his newest effort is more cohesive. It’s worth reiterating how impressive Blake’s writing is. Gems like “I don’t want to be a star, but a stone on the shore, no door frame to wall, when everything’s overgrown” display seriously mature songwriting skills.

~Mike Frash


Jake BuggJake Bugg

3.5-BamsTop Tracks:
“Two Fingers”
“Broken”
“Lightning Bolt”

Album Highlights: It’s impossible not to sound hyperbolic in describing 19 year-old Jake Bugg. England’s finest and fastest-rising young artist has created a record exploding with exported Americana at it’s best. No shit, it sounds like Joan Baez is about to pop up and start a duet at any moment. All you have to do is listen to the first two tracks “Lightning Bolt” and “Two Fingers” to recognize the kid’s got it. These two songs would have been radio hits in the 60’s, and they should be now. “Broken” is a remarkably beautiful song, one that is lovable at first listen. The low-fi, one-take production works well, and it reinforces Bugg’s throwback sound.

Album Lowlight: Bugg’s lyrics would benefit from a bit more bite – maybe some contempt for society or a cause to rally for (or against) would give some songs more meaning. His songwriting point of view will only strengthen and mature with time.

Takeaway: He’s Dylan without the drawn out vocal exclamations, or Kristian Matsson (The Tallest Man on Earth) with less passionate howls. And I feel fine making these comparisons, as Bugg’s self-titled debut exhibits songwriting potential that could be on par with the aforementioned by the time the he finishes puberty. Plan on watching Jake Bugg’s career evolve indefinitely – he’s sure to keep gaining popularity going forward, and deservedly so.

~Mike Frash


The KnifeShaking the Habitual

2.5-BamsTop Tracks:
“A Tooth for an Eye”
“Full of Fire”
“Without You My Life Would Be Boring”

Album Highlight: “Without You My Life Would Be Boring” being the crowning achievement of their fourth studio album, this beat-driven banger exemplifies the Swedish duo’s ferocious return to the EDM scene after a seven-year hiatus. Karrin Andersson’s layered vocals pitch perfectly with the varied flute samples and southeast instrumentation. A looping rhythm section composed of tribal drum rolls and feverish tambourines keep pace throughout the entire track, and this ups the ante in respect to the band’s production quality and composition.

Album Lowlight: Clocking in at a whopping 19:52, “Old Dreams Waiting to Be Realized” is more of a glorified soundscape than a corresponding track within the record. Waiting for the musical substance to kick in becomes a perilous journey through distant distortion and ambiguous song structure. I envision this piece contextually effective as a cinematic score or accompanying an art installation. Interesting as it is to listen to The Knife on an experimental level, the track placement as well as duration push the limits artistically into semi-obnoxious territory.

Takeaway: Marching to the beat of their own drum machines, Karrin Andresson and Olof Dreijer destroy the sample-laden “Full of Fire” with masterfully quirky cohesion. The Knife sibling’s chemistry, even amidst the structure of the most complicated effort on the album, can be heard and it is captivating. The song is elaborate and possesses a sound quality that at times can be overwhelming. However, true to The Knife’s form, it compels the listener’s attention and will provoke most to make an attempt at comprehending it’s complexity.

~Molly Kish


Kurt VileWakin on a Pretty Daze

4-BamsTop Tracks:
“Girl Called Alex”
“Pure Rain”
“Shame Chamber”

Album Highlights: God Bless Kurt Vile. He is truly a beautifully patient writer, musician and performer whom creates some of the most genuine music of our time, not to mention he is consistent. The wait after 2011’s blisteringly magnificent Smoke Ring as My Halo was well worth it with a full, even lengthy, album packed neatly with Vile’s signature psychedelia. The title track leads off with a hazy acoustic romp that sets the tone for the majority, and this song is full of Vile’s twang-electric solos that one can easily get lost in. Vile’s everyman confessional comes through on “Too Hard” with lyrics like “Take your time/ so they say/ that’s gotta be the best way.” Displaying a lyrical maturity akin to the Walkmen would be a fair comparison.

Album Lowlight: No huge departure in sound, just a tightening of a signature style. Though “Air Bud” does add a synth layer that is a bit more contemporary for this artist. Lengthy songs may prove difficult to those whom don’t possess musical patience.

Takeaway: Upwards and onwards is a great way to describe this album, as well as Vile’s future in the industry. Banner sets at Coachella will likely prove to be a highlight, and the accompanying tour is sure to generate buzz, as has proven true in the past for the Philly native. Songs like “Girl Called Alex” sludge along in an upbeat manner, building precisely with warm organ flourishes in the background, equally a sonic thickness he has become so praised for. Wakin on a Pretty Daze is likely to be the soundtrack of the summer, and for excellent reason.

~Kevin Quandt


The Dear HunterMigrant

3.5-BamsTop Tracks:
“Shame”
“Shouting in the Rain”
“Girl”

Album Highlights: A small indie rock band originating from Rhode Island, The Dear Hunter has been making a splash in the indie scene since 2006. Brainchild of Casey Crescenzo, The Dear Hunter’s 5th album Migrant is a departure from their previous conceptual album The Color Spectrum. Casey’s powerful and emotional lyrics, both in delivery and content, are the clear highlight of this record. Haunting at times, Crescenzo’s commanding lyrics take the listener on a euphonious journey. This lyrical adventure is something listeners have become accustomed to when listening to The Dear Hunter albums.

Album Lowlight: The same reason I praise it above, is the same reason I criticize it here. Casey’s lyrics are powerful, but at times they become effusive. I almost had lyrical fatigue a couple of times listening to this record. This criticism however, is likely a personal preference, and should not be judged until you hear this record for yourself.

Takeaway: The Dear Hunter’s music falls somewhere in the indie, progressive, post-rock genre. Mixing traditional rock instrumentation with a string accompaniment, Migrant incorporates many styles to create a unique blend of “rock.” The Dear Hunter is a band that has had great critical reception, yet they have not taken off with widespread audiences. They are a well-kept secret of the indie music scene that has earned them an extremely loyal and dedicated following. Perhaps it is the concept albums of the past that have prevented them from breaking through with the masses? The talent and star power are there, it’s just a matter of putting this music on as many ears as possible.

~Kevin Raos


White FenceCyclops Reap

3-BamsTop Tracks:
“Beat”
“Make Them Dinner at Our Shoes”
“To the Boy I Jumped in the Hemlock Alley”

Album Highlights: Here comes another serving of Tim Presley’s patented brand of lo-fi psychedelic guitar rock. This time we are treated to a single release, as opposed to the double album that was Family Perfume. Presley re-imagines the era of trippy rock and roll that dominated the late 60s with his nasal, English-tinged vocals coupled with twangy guitars swirling to create an aural whirlwind. “New Edinburgh” fully displays the fuzzy sound that has become characteristic of this project. One can only hope to snatch up a vinyl copy of this album, as that seems to be the way it was meant to be heard.

Album Lowlight: At times the production can come across as too busy as seen in first single “Pink Gorilla.” In a live format, the band has a much crisper sound that is a little more palpable for the masses.

Takeaway: One of the more unique acts championing the lo-fi psychedelic sound at the moment, and this album shows off the production skills Presley has gained over the past decade. White Fence has garnered some solid critical success in the past few years, and will likely add-on to that even if the masses prefer the more slick take on 60s psychedelia played by the likes of Foxygen and Tame Impala.

~Kevin Quandt