Our favorite performances from 2017

Best live shows of 2017 - The xx, Miguel, Moderat & Coldplay

2017, where the hell did you go? It just felt like the other day that we were ringing in a new year, and yet, here we are again as we plow straight ahead into 2018.

But before we officially put a bow on 2017, it’s time for us to revisit the past 12 months at Showbams. This year, we had the opportunity to capture many amazing moments in live music, and while we couldn’t pay homage to every single performance we witnessed, we made a conscious effort to include a wide range of talent spread across the industry.

Whittling down our list, though, was not that easy. Those who didn’t make the cut but still deserve to be mentioned here include the following artists, DJs and bands (in alphabetical order) whom we either covered at their own show and/or at a music festival this year:

21 Savage, The Accidentals, Action Bronson, Alice Cooper, Alina Baraz, alt-J, Amber Mark, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, Animal Collective, Atlas Genius, The Avalanches, The Band Perry, Beach Slang, Belle and Sebastian, Black Moth Super Rainbow, Bleachers, Blonde Redhead, Bob Moses, Car Seat Headrest, Cate Le Bon, Cigarettes After Sex, Circles Around the Sun, City of Caterpillar, The Coathangers, Claude VonStroke, Chris Robinson, Con Brio, Conor Oberst, Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile, Crystal Castles, The Crystal Method, Daniel Caesar, Dawes, Dead Meadow, Deafheaven, Deep Purple, Diet Cig, DIIV, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Dr. Dog, Dr. Octagon, Duke Dumont, Eagles of Death Metal, Electric Guest, Emancipator, Emily King, Empire of the Sun, Foxygen, Future Islands, Gabriel Garzón-Montano, Gatecreeper, Girl Talk, Gone Is Gone, Grizzly Bear, Gucci Mane, Hamilton Leithauser, Hazel English, Hinds, The Hip Replacements, Hiss Golden Messenger, How to Dress Well, Iggy Pop, Isaiah Rashad, Jack Johnson, Jagwar Ma, Jamestown Revival, Jamie Isaac, Jay 305, Jen Cloher, Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas, Jessie Ware, Jim James, JR JR, Julie Byrne, Julien Baker, Justice, Karen Elson, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, KAYTRANADA, Kelis, K. Flay, Khalid, Khruangbin, Kilo Kish, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Kurt Vile, La Femme, LANY, Lauv, L.A. Witch, Lettuce, Lil Yachty, Little Dragon, Lo Moon, Lorde, Lord Huron, Miike Snow, Milky Chance, Minus the Bear, Mister Heavenly, MØ, Mondo Cozmo, Neon Indian, Nicki Bluhm, Norah Jones, North Mississippi Allstars, NVO, Oh Sees, OK Go, Once and Future Band, Pallbearer, The Palms, Passion Pit, Peaches, Perfume Genius, Petit Biscuit, Phoebe Bridgers, Playboi Carti, Pond, Porcelain Raft, PRAYERS, The Radio Dept., Real Estate, The Revivalists, Royal Blood, Sampha, ScHoolboy Q, Sheer Mag, serpentwithfeet, Silversun Pickups, Sleep, Sleigh Bells, SOFI TUKKER, Solange, Spiritualized, Styles P, Sunflower Beam, Talib Kweli, Tank and The Bangas, Tash Sultana, Tei Shi, Temples, Tennis, Tennyson, Thou, Thundercat, TOBACCO, Touché Amoré, Tool, Tove Lo, Travis Scott, Twin Peaks, Ty Segall, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Vagabon, Vance Joy, Vic Mensa, Warpaint, Weezer, White Fence, Woods, YG, Young the Giant.

Now, it’s time for The Bam Team to present our favorite performances from 2017.

The Bam Team’s 5 Favorite Shows, Albums & Songs of 2017

Listen to The Bam Team’s favorite songs of 2017:


Best of 2017 - Run the Jewels

Run the Jewels

Date: February 1st
Location: Shrine Expo Hall – Los Angeles

Yet, in just four years, Run the Jewels have already reached hip-hop’s mountaintop with their politically charged lyrics and hard-hitting beats. Just take last Wednesday’s sold-out show in LA for example. With the duo’s third studio album still only a few weeks old, 5,000 or so fans poured into the spacious Shrine Expo Hall to watch El-P and Killer Mike fuck shit up (for lack of a better term). And that’s exactly what they did after opening sets from The Gaslamp Killer, Nick Hook, Gangasta Boo and CUZ. -Josh Herwitt, photo by Josh Herwitt


Best of 2017 - BADBADNOTGOOD

BADBADNOTGOOD

Date: February 23rd
Location: The Fillmore – San Francisco

As one of the bands to take the coveted headlining spot for NoisePop25, BADBADNOTGOOD seemed as — perhaps more — excited as all of the fans who made it to their sold-out show at The Fillmore. Combining consummate instrumentation with classic MC-style showmanship led by drummer Alexander Sowinski, the Canadian jazz-rock quartet has mastered the art of keeping the audience guessing where they’re going. -Brett Ruffenach, photo by James Pawlish


Best of 2017 - Spoon

Spoon

Date: March 7th
Location: Apogee Studio – Santa Monica, CA

In total, Spoon performed five songs from the new record, including “First Caress” to open a brief encore that left us eager for more. But as the five-piece rocked “Rainy Taxi” from 2014’s They Want My Soul to close, I couldn’t help but think to myself that this is one band I never should have slept on. -Josh Herwitt, photo by Larry Hirshowitz


Best of 2017 - Sigur Rós

Sigur Rós

Date: April 8th
Location: Greek Theatre – Berkeley, CA

Now a trio, Sigur Rós have been delivering goosebumps for over two decades — and it’s a delight to hear Jónsi’s voice-as-an-instrument this clear, this powerful and as confident as ever. It would be a wonderful treat to check in on this outfit every 5-10 years going forward and realize they are still going strong. -Mike Frash, photo by James Nagel


Best of 2017 - DREAMCAR

DREAMCAR

Date: April 9th
Location: Great American Music Hall – San Francisco

Fresh off a stop at Berkeley’s Hearst Greek Theatre the night before, Adams showcased some older favorites and a slew of new tunes from his 16th and latest studio album Prisoner, which came out in February. SoCal fans were treated to some extended full-band jamming, a couple of solo acoustic performances and Adams’ usual witty banter over the course of the evening.
-Jared Stossel, photo by Jared Stossel


Best of 2017 - A Perfect Circle

A Perfect Circle

Date: April 13th
Location: Bill Graham Civic Auditorium – San Francisco

In the world of rock supergroups, there are few that have sprung up in the last few decades that can hold a candle to A Perfect Circle. From the onset, APC have been a powerhouse on the senses, combining members from bands such as Tool, The Smashing Pumpkins, Failure, Primus and more over the years. Their body of work has been met with high praise across the board, and they have been able to solidify themselves as one of the most unique and tenured groupings out there, as opposed to bands like Zwan and Velvet Revolver. -Andrew Pohl, photo by Mike Rosati


Best of 2017 - Radiohead

Radiohead

Date: April 14th
Location: Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Weekend 1 – Indio, CA

Yes, the sound problems (all three instances) put a real damper on what was easily one of the most anticipated performances of the weekend. This was the third time Goldenvoice called on Radiohead to headline Coachella, and for one of rock’s most important bands over the last 30 years, it certainly wasn’t a charm as the saying goes. In that moment, it was pretty hard not to feel bad for Thom Yorke, who could only make light of the situation by cracking a joke even if it wasn’t supposed to be one — or so he claimed. But Radiohead more than made up for it with a masterful setlist that opened with A Moon Shaped Pool cuts “Daydreaming”, “Desert Island Disk” and “Ful Stop” before circling back to older hits such as “Everything in Its Right Place”, “There There”, “Idioteque” and even “Creep”. -Josh Herwitt, photo courtesy of Coachella


Best of 2017 - Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick Lamar

Date: April 16th
Location: Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Weekend 1 – Indio, CA

All hail, King Kendrick! Or should we say “Kung Fu Kenny?” The Compton rapper reached hip-hop’s mountaintop more than two years ago with his Grammy-winning masterpiece To Pimp a Butterfly, but headlining Coachella was still on his to-do list. In fact, it was only the second time he had ever been booked to perform at Coachella after being listed on the last line of the 2012 poster. Closing out the fest is no short order for any artist, let alone one who dropped his new album less than 48 hours before taking the stage, but K-Dot lived up to the billing with a show that provoked as much thought as it entertained. -Josh Herwitt, photo courtesy of Coachella


Best of 2017 - The xx

The xx

Date: April 17th
Location: Bill Graham Civic Auditorium – San Francisco

Playfully alluding to their material’s emotional sentiment, Romy Madley Croft (vocals, guitar) and Oliver Sim (bass, vocals) managed to entrance all of us with their tension-filled gazes and syncopated dance moves. Prolonging vocal arrangements, especially during their accelerated live interpretation of “Infinity”, were also stunning to witness. About halfway through the set, Jamie Smith (beats, MPC, production), aka Jamie xx, took the lead and transformed the room into a giant disco party thanks to an onslaught of consecutive dance hits before finishing with “Loud Places” from his 2015 solo LP In Colour. -Molly Kish, photo by Norm de Veyra


Best of 2017 - Moderat

Moderat

Date: April 20th
Location: Mayan Theater – Los Angeles

Moderat subsequently circled back to III, performing “Intruder” before exiting the stage to a rousing applause. Yet, when the house lights didn’t come on right away, the suspense began to build once again. Less than a minute later, the three-piece reemerged, giving the audience more than its money’s worth. Two-encore shows are usually reserved for high-profile groups with extensive catalogs like Radiohead, but Moderat have never played by any rules. -Josh Herwitt, photo by Josh Herwitt


Best of 2017 - The Flaming Lips

The Flaming Lips

Date: May 9th
Location: The Theatre at Ace Hotel – Los Angeles

The Lips, of course, made sure to play that song, and even though it was without Watts, it still proved to be an unforgettable moment due to the fact that Coyne rode a life-size unicorn from one end of the stage to the other as he belted out lines like “Yeah, there should be unicorns / The ones with the purple eyes / It should be loud as fuck / Hope the swans don’t die” to open the tune while wearing a big smile across his face. If that’s not psychedelic to you, then I don’t know what is. -Josh Herwitt, photo by Josh Herwitt


Best of 2017 - Ryan Adams

Ryan Adams

Date: June 3rd
Location: Greek Theatre – Los Angeles

Fresh off a stop at Berkeley’s Hearst Greek Theatre the night before, Adams showcased some older favorites and a slew of new tunes from his 16th and latest studio album Prisoner, which came out in February. SoCal fans were treated to some extended full-band jamming, a couple of solo acoustic performances and Adams’ usual witty banter over the course of the evening.
-Stephanie Port, photo by Stephanie Port


Best of 2017 - Jay Som

Jay Som

Date: June 17th
Location: Potrero del Sol Park – San Francisco

Melina Duterte’s band goes by the name Jay Som and hails from Oakland. Do yourself a favor and remember this name: Jay Som. The Polyvinyl-signed songstress bathed the crowd at the Potrero Stage in her dreamy vocals and inanely catchy tunes that appeal to a wide-range of music fan; her songs could feel just as viable in the 90’s college rock area as they do today. Highlights from the set included a vibe-soaked rendition of “Baybee” as well as “The Bus Song”, arguably the artist’s first real “hit.” -Kevin Quandt, photo by Emmeline Munson


Best of 2017- AIR

AIR

Date: June 23rd
Location: The Masonic – San Francisco

AIR’s live performances focus on capturing the crisp, detailed production style that the duo has honed over two decades. It’s a vibrant, textured sound. Centered around acoustic guitar, synthesizers and the breathy timbre of the duo’s immaculate harmonized vocals, the use of live drums helped round out the contrast between both the artificial and acoustic sounds in songs like “Cherry Blossom Girl”. -Brett Ruffenach, photo by Steve Carlson


Best of 2017 - PLANETARIUM

PLANETARIUM

Date: July 21st
Location: Fox Theater Oakland – Oakland

PLANETARIUM’s music, which channels Stevens’ reflections on astronomy, science and even the intricacies of human consciousness, is a fusion of styles from all four band members that evokes feelings of unity. The group’s performance was accompanied by otherworldly visuals that filled the backdrop as it traversed the Solar System with quite a few emotionally charged songs inspired by the planets and other celestial bodies like “Neptune” and “Jupiter”. -Norm de Veyra, photo by Norm de Veyra


Best of 2017 - The Drums

The Drums

Date: July 21st
Location: The Fillmore – San Francisco

By the time The Drums took the stage, the intimate venue was packed to the brim with fans. The Brooklyn outfit made as much of an impression as it did when frontman Jonathan Pierce and company exploded onto the scene in 2009 with their initial EP Summertime! From then on, it became glaringly obvious with their eccentric band members and seemingly effortless style that they possessed an energetic presence. And at their SF show, it didn’t take long for the capacity crowd to fall into a groove as the venue’s whole atmosphere lit up. -Jacqueline Moore, photo by Jacqueline Moore


Best of 2017 - Miguel

Miguel

Date: July 23rd
Location: Annenberg Space for Photography – Los Angeles

Once the sun set and Miguel stepped onstage, the audience was transported somewhere else entirely. Born and raised in LA, the 31-year-old’s silky-smooth voice floated through the cool evening breeze over the twinkle lights in the trees, giving the impression of an island retreat rather than a concert in the park. -Rochelle Shipman, photo by Rochelle Shipman


Best of 2017 - The War on Drugs

The War on Drugs

Date: August 5th
Location: Apogee Studio – Santa Monica, CA

Granduciel’s raspy voice, as well as his driving (no pun intended) guitar rhythms and reverb-laden riffs, are largely what separates The War on Drugs from the rest in a crowded indie-rock scene, but the sum of the band’s parts — Charlie Hall (drums), David Hartley (bass), Anthony LaMarca (guitar, keyboards), Robbie Bennett (keyboards) and finally Jon Natchez (saxophone, keyboards) — also creates a sound that while familiar, still feels uniquely different. -Josh Herwitt, photo by Larry Hirshowitz


Best of 2017 - Gorillaz

Gorillaz

Date: August 11th
Location: Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival, Golden Gate Park – San Francisco

Easily one of the most anticipated acts of the weekend, Gorillaz’s Humanz tour made its West Coast debut on Day 1 at OSL. After a six-year hiatus, expectations ran extremely high for this headlining performance. On previous tours, the band’s members had played second fiddle to the cartoon projections of their alter egos onstage, but everyone was visible this time around. Several collaborators from Gorillaz’s previous albums, including Kali Uchis, Yukimi Nagano and Del the Funky Homosapien, came out to join them, and the Damon Albarn-led group still pulled some even bigger surprises with cameos appearances from De la Soul and Pusha T. -Molly Kish, photo by James Pawlish


Best of 2017 - Cage the Elephant

Cage the Elephant

Date: August 12th
Location: Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival, Golden Gate Park – San Francisco

While the cancellation of Queens of the Stone Age was a blow a week prior to the event, the replacement that was lined up more than delivered a blistering set of rock ‘n’ roll. Cage the Elephant are now being widely considered festival-headliner material, and frontman Matt Shultz is making a strong claim for that accolade as he continues to elevate his stage act to near-Mick Jagger levels of pomp and energy. “Come a Little Closer” and “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked” received hearty sing-alongs from a decidedly youthful crowd as Cage have become a favorite of Generation Z. -Kevin Quandt, photo by Marc Fong


Best of 2017 - J.I.D

J.I.D

Date: September 9th
Location: Day N Night Fest, Angel Stadium – Anaheim, CA

While the headliners thrilled as expected, it was at the side “Day” and “Night” stages where the festival’s biggest highlights were generated. J.I.D, the rising Atlanta rapper who is signed to J. Cole’s Dreamville imprint, absolutely thrilled during his set. Dazzling with his rapid-fire and agile flow, J.I.D showed off his ability to command a crowd with songs such as “General” and “EdEddnEddy” before jumping into the crowd for the tempo-changing hit “Never” that left the crowd chanting for “one more song!” -Joseph Gray & Rochelle Shipman, photo by Rochelle Shipman


Best of 2017 - SZA

SZA

Date: September 9th
Location: Day N Night Fest, Angel Stadium – Anaheim, CA

Saturday, meanwhile, featured the vintage gospel spirit and warm vibes that have elevated Chicago emcee Chance the Rapper to superstardom. Earlier in the day, SZA, this summer’s breakout star, delivered her first festival performance since the release of her well-received debut album Ctrl. Swaying, spinning and singing her raw emotions and shortcomings while coming of age, the Top Dawg Entertainment songstress didn’t disappoint. -Joseph Gray & Rochelle Shipman, photo by Rochelle Shipman


Best of 2017 - Bonobo

Bonobo (Live)

Date: September 27th
Location: Greek Theatre – Los Angeles

The real reason things felt different this time around, though, was the music. Extending and reimagining his tracks for easily one of the largest crowds he has ever performed in front of, Bonobo followed an uplifting opening set from Canadian electronic duo Bob Moses with an array of soothing sounds that paired beautifully with his lighting setup and entrancing stage production in the same way Scott Hansen (aka Tycho) creates an awe-inspiring audio-visual experience during his live-band performances. -Josh Herwitt, photo by Josh Herwitt


Best of 2017 - Coldplay

Coldplay

Date: October 4th
Location: Levi’s Stadium – Santa Clara, CA

Coldplay took the stage shortly before 9 p.m. as a video montage of fans who introduced them as “the biggest band in the world” played onstage. While I’m pretty sure there are a few other artists or groups from their side of the pond (ehem, U2) who might take issue with that claim, they certainly did nothing during their electric, almost two-hour performance to dissuade that sort of thinking. Chris Martin and company, in fact, wasted no time getting down to business, flooding the stadium with confetti and firing off pyrotechnics at a steady clip while opening with “A Head Full of Dreams” and subsequently all throughout the night. -Steve Carlson, photo by Steve Carlson


Best of 2017 - Broken Social Scene

Broken Social Scene

Date: October 26th
Location: Fox Theater Oakland – Oakland

Here’s the thing about BSS — after 15 years, the web of musicians that makes up the collective have created their own individual projects, from Metric to Stars to Feist to Do Make Say Think to Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton. And while many of the band’s members who have gone on to find success in their own solo careers didn’t happen to join the group on this particular tour, the sense of professionalism built into the BSS live experience remains prevalent. Every person who stepped onstage demonstrated consummate abilities in their own realms, never missing a beat or a note. -Brett Ruffenach, photo by Norm de Veyra

Best of 2017 - Jim James

Showbams_Sticker_Rectangle2

Woods lead an eclectic night of music at The Chapel

WoodsBy Norm de Veyra //

Woods with Peacers, Golden Daze //
The Chapel – San Francisco
May 21st, 2017 //

Bay Area music fans were treated to an eclectic evening at The Chapel as Brooklyn folk-rock band Woods performed for a Sunday night crowd in support their new album Love Is Love.

Hailing from Los Angeles, fellow indie rockers Golden Daze kicked off the show while SF outfit Peacers filled out the sounds for the evening with their buzzy, harder-edge tunes.

Showbams’ Top 50 albums of 2014

Best-albums-2014-coverBy Mike Frash, Josh Herwitt, Molly Kish, Steve Wandrey & Kevin Quandt //

Showbams presents the Top 50 albums released in 2014 (yes, all of 2014) that we just can’t stop listening to.

These are the albums that made us double-take upon first listen, while also being auditory art pieces that we continue to spin as we head into 2015. They are the bundles of songs that innovated and inspired us more than the rest, signifying musical progression, defining our time with a soundtrack that challenges traditional expectations, while boldly trekking into new frontiers of pop music.

Because as music continues to become more accessible, the bridge between independent and mainstream gets shorter each year.

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

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


1. Run the JewelsRun the Jewels 2

run-the-jewelsSo often sequels don’t deliver, but ascending hip-hop stars Killer Mike and El-P have simply progressed their brilliance as Run The Jewels one year removed from their first official collaboration. From the top of RTJ2, Michael Render manages to set a higher bar for pumped-up aggression, there’s more social activism laced throughout, more special guests that only add to the fuck boy-crushing populist mentality. And compared to RTJ1, there are more stand-alone gems that are primed for remixing and cultural integration. The sequencing is superb, and El and Mike are having more fun than ever as they tour the world and snowball momentum with their brand of hardcore, yet intricate rap that contains shades of weird. Like a championship baseball team, the songs in the two hole through cleanup hitter offer the biggest impact, wreaking instant classics upon us with masterful experimental production from El-P that emits new, subtle surprises the more you listen. As the album unfolds, tales of police brutality (“Early”), introspection and personal improvement (“Crown”), along with over the top raunch (“Love Again”) prove RTJ2 shines in every moment in a variety of ways through multiple lanes of success. -Mike Frash


2. The War on DrugsLost in the Dream

war-on-drugs-lost-in-dream-album-coverWhen a truly inspired artist borrows from the past while looking to the future, the outcome can be something fully new and exciting, which is what we have here. The brilliance of Adam Granduciel lies in his delivery, both musically and lyrically, crooning about the sometimes-not-so-simple intricacies of existence. Life, love and everything else in between can be tricky, yet Granduciel calmly assures us that things can work out.

Granduciel knows how to structure albums with the best of them — this acutely demonstrated via the nine-minute, sprawling opener “Under the Pressure”. First single “Red Eyes” keeps on a similar path as we sink deeper in, bobbing along to the pounding drum machine that has been a constant over the years for the Philly-based band. “Disappearing” takes us soaring above the clouds as we hear new, thrilling piano instrumentation with warm bass lines, creating a sense of weightlessness and flight. An extremely strong finishing track, “In Reverse” perfectly captures the fleeting minutes on this release before jarring us back into a slightly crueler reality. The long play of this record is so rewarding, and it grows with hopes that more can be brought into the light. Oh, and that the state rock ‘n’ roll is just fine. -Kevin Quandt


3. D’Angelo and the VanguardBlack Messiah

dangelo-black-messiahThere’s an intentional off-kilter spontaneity and cohesive force at the center of D’Angelo’s first album in 15 years, Black Messiah. The percussive and vocal syncopation here makes the off-beat feel natural — layered vocals get treated with filters and are multi-tracked to lend an unfamiliar presence to the back-and-forth vocal pitch shifts D’Angelo employs from line to line.

The end product is a record that possesses its own musical language, telling stories that are incredibly meaningful, but achieve balance between serious and playful, while always being sexy. The confusing, driving funk of the first two cuts give way to “The Charade”, which manages to hit a rare aural sweat spot of ultra-pleasurability. But then “Sugah Daddy” follows as an unplanned Sunday in the park, with vocal scats skipping along to the breezy song’s pacing. D’Angelo arguably can now join the ranks of the all-time great R&B/soul artists with the delivery of his long-awaited third record. -MF


4. Future IslandsSingles

Future IslandSingles jumps right out of the gates, showing its cards early, presenting the listener with Future Island’s trademark new-school, new-wave sound. Samuel Herring’s vocals are stunning as he pitches and growls through tales of the tougher side of love. It’s pretty, gripping and powerful while also holding certain pop sentiments, lending to an overall lightness while being arresting. “Seasons (Waiting On You)” is a quintessential slice of the emotion this band has become well known for both onstage and in the studio. “Doves” balances all the elements nicely, shining a light on the top-notch production featured on Singles. -KQ


5. Aphex TwinSyro

FINAL MASTER SYRO DIGIPAK.inddRichard D. James has been practically an enigma for the last decade plus, hiding out in a small Scottish village of 300 and releasing no new music as Aphex Twin since 2006. But the long layoff hasn’t changed the fact that he remains one of the most unique and influential electronic producers in the game today. Some of James’ best material on Syro comes early on, from his club-oriented mixes like “minipops 67 [120.2]” to the techno funk ­he crafts on the ensuing “XMAS_EVET10 [120]” and “produk 29 [101].” These aren’t beats designed to make you sweat your ass off — if anything, the cerebral nature of James’ work makes him the ultimate antithesis of the current EDM scene. -Josh Herwitt


6. Flying LotusYou’re Dead!

Flylo_youre_deadOn Flying Lotus’s latest record You’re Dead!, the Los Angeles producer forgoes the acid kool-aide test for a cyanide kool-aide dive straight into a fourth dimensional confrontation with the afterlife. You’re Dead masterfully trips through the journey of the soul into the next episode with sun-scorched psychedelia, 8-bit snapshots of g-funk and gorgeously redemptive jazz. The cold transition between the frantic jazz freak out of Kendrick Lamar featuring “Never Catch Me” and the cooled-out West Coast bounce of Snoop Dogg and FlyLo alter-ego Captain Murphy’s “Dead Man’s Tetris” highlights the producer’s prolific ability to craft varying hip-hop textures. FlyLo fully buries his new album’s death aesthetic through ecstatic, free-form layers of acid jazz and sprawling EDM planes of sound. -John Venanzi, Community Review


7. St. VincentSt. Vincent

St. VincentAnnie Clark ups the electronic ante on her fourth studio album. Branching out of her experimental indie-pop compositions, she embraces more cohesive arrangements that ironically focus her creativity on deconstructed production and sound obstruction. Both equally impressive in sound quality and sass, the opening tracks “Rattlesnake” and “Birth in Reverse” set the tone for the rest of the records’ exciting stylistic shifts and the intriguing unveiling of Clark’s gritty rock goddess persona. “Digital Witness” is a spot-on snapshot of our brave new 21st century day-to-day reality. Unapologetic, raw and sonically genius, St. Vincent is Clark’s breakthrough moment, and she appears to be doing it all with ease. -Molly Kish


8. Mac DeMarcoSalad Days

Mac DemarcoMac DeMarco’s signature style is here. It’s still fresh and in ways stronger than ever; it’s more pointed, focused and accessible. DeMarco is able to write in a way that allows the listener to easily empathize with him, as he turns his issues into ones that most of us have dealt with at some point. In “Chamber of Reflection”, it’s easy to really feel a sense of solitude. “Goodbye Weekend” sounds like a stoney Sunday afternoon coming to a soothing end. Every track has a personality of its own while holding up the overall ethos of the album. This album is lighthearted enough for multiples listens in a row with its breezy beach vibe, but also easily induces deep thoughts with its many lyrical gems. -Steve Wandrey


9. CaribouOur Love

our-loveWhat we have here is one of the most addictive albums of 2014. Our Love keeps deep house in its front pocket with steady beats per minute and an introspective mantra-centric lyrical conceit, but it’s also exploratory in nature, finding success in consistently building toward intense, euphoric plateaus. A steady flow of pleasant sounds ascend into impacting transcendence with “Can’t Do Without You”, “Silver” and “Your Love Will Set You Free”, and you must give Snaith extra credit for the masterful pacing and song-to-song flow — there is never a “skip ahead” moment. Like many classic albums, it opens up if you give it more time to radiate around your head, and listening to it becomes more pleasurable over time, even though it is mostly presented in poetic simplicity. -MF


10. Sun Kil MoonBenji

Sun Kil MoonBenji must be interpreted as a concept album about death, but more importantly, it’s about the importance details related to memory. For example, the title is taken from what seems like a throw-away line toward the end of the breathtaking “Micheline”. It’s powerful, visceral storytelling that is self-reflexive and biographical, yet so relatable that it compels personal introspection from the listener’s own experiences. Mark Kozelek’s lyrics are the centerpiece of the listening experience — they are so deep and resonant that the instrumentals and production are absorbed secondarily, although the stripped-down approach is intentional and noteworthy. Built around obsessing about the state of human demise — and the randomness of it — it’s easy to join Kozelek’s dire state of mind hours or days after listening. -MF


11. Todd Terje – It’s Album Time
12. Ryan Adams – Ryan Adams
13. Sharon Van Etten – Are We There
14. Spoon – They Want My Soul
15. Ariel Pink – pom pom
16. Beck – Morning Phase
17. Jack White – Lazaretto
18. The Black Keys – Turn Blue
19. Tycho — Awake
20. TV on the Radio – Seeds

21. Sturgill Simpson – Metamodern Sounds in Country Music
22. Tweedy – Sukierae
23. Jungle – Jungle
24. Temples – Sun Structures
25. tUnE-yArDs – Nikki Nack
26. Death from Above 1979 – The Physical World
27. Ty Segall – Manipulator
28. The Antlers – Familiars
29. Real Estate – Atlas
30. Angel Olsen – Burn Your Fire For No Witness

31. Cold War Kids – Hold My Home
32. Interpol – El Pintor
33. Alt-J – This Is All Yours
34. Swans – To Be Kind
35. Strand of Oaks – HEAL
36. White Fence – For the Recently Found Innocent
37. Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Piñata
38. Phantogram – Voices
39. Broken Bells – After the Disco
40. SOHN – Tremors

41. The New Pornographers – Brill Bruisers
42. Thom Yorke – Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes
43. Karen O — Crush Songs
44. Chet Faker – Built on Glass
45. Woods – With Light and with Love
46. Cloud Nothings – Here and Nowhere Else
47. Kishi Bashi – Lighght
48. Mark McGuire – Along The Way
49. Courtney Barnett – The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas
50. Adult Jazz – Gist Is

Run-the-Jewels4

The-War-on-Drugs5

10.future-islands

4.st-vincent

12.Ryan Adams

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Spoon

Tycho

TVOTR

Temples

8.tune-yards

Real-Estate

Interpol

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Outside Lands Day 3: Flume draws massive crowd, inspires tree dancing

Outside-Lands-2014_post
Photos by Marc Fong // Written by Mike Frash //

Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival //
Golden Gate Park – San Francisco
August 8th-10th, 2014 //

When we wrote about Flume possibly playing Outside Lands this year in our artist rumors article, we mentioned the Australian DJ could headline this year, a divisive point that got some folks questioning our claim. Based on the crowd that showed up and the high level of sustained excitement on Sunday, that possibility isn’t too far away for Harley Streten. Sure, CHVRCHES’ cancelling their set caused some massive swelling at the east end of the festival for Flume, but many of the disappointed must have found a new favorite.

Australian producer Harley Streten weaved together a crowd-pleasing set that had a saturated Twin Peaks field bouncing along with hands up for the duration, all in the 3 p.m. hour on Sunday. In the past year, Flume’s set has become more sophisticated, led by a restrained approach that intermingles hip-hop, trap, R&B and rap. The drops are inverted in their intensity compared to traditional EDM, offering slight delays and unpredictable syncopation.

Flume has helped to create and capitalize off music’s popular trend toward marrying dance music and hip-hop, and his ability to curate a festival-sized mega party cannot be questioned at this point. Fortune favors the bold …

Add in remixes, including Major Lazer’s “Get Free” & Lorde’s “Tennis Court”, while throwing back to Friday with a rework of Disclosure’s “You & Me” and “Insane” with Killer Mike’s verses, and even the uninitiated were pulled into the excitement. Streten was also able to bring in “Touched” by What So Not, his new duo with Emoh Instead.

And did I mention how packed it was? Twenty minutes before Flume was to start there was nowhere to go. Some folks had to resort to tree dancing … for mostly hilarious results (watch the video above). While the conservationist in me says raging out a tree for an hour isn’t right, it was pretty funny — but not to Ranger Dave. According to a user on a Reddit thread titled FLUME FUCKING KILLED IT, “Apparently he got fined, and just posted his ticket on Facebook.” So think twice before trying this next year.

Some shows, per usual, were very crowed this year. Perhaps too crowded. Atmosphere’s show on Saturday left no room to breath. Capital Cities looked really packed. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis easily outdrew Tom Petty. So, would you pay a little more money if Outside Lands sold less tickets? Or do you prefer the masses like penguins huddling to keep warm in the winter, or maybe just going to where the crowds aren’t.

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Woods are the most quintessential California band that is not from here — they call Brooklyn home. The group curates the Woodsist Festival down the road in Big Sur, their most famous song before this year was “Cali in a Cup”, and they felt right at home in the confines of Golden Gate Park early Sunday. When they played their new song “With Light And With Love” — one of the best songs of 2014 — the spirit of the Grateful Dead performances from the late ‘60s felt present on what used to be Speedway Meadow.

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Jenny Lewis, sporting a snazzy technicolor dream-coat that matches her new album cover for The Voyager, delighted with a slew of new cuts from the record along with some Rilo Kiley joints.

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• A buzzy yet not overwhelming crowd came together for Spoon, who released their addictive new record They Want My Soul the Tuesday before Outside Lands. There are a bunch of future classics to be found in the new material that was played, including “Inside Out”, “Do You” & “Outlier”, and the new jams mixed in seamlessly with songs such as “I Turn My Camera On” and “I Summon You”. Britt Daniel looked inspired after four years on break from Spoon with Divine Fits. Watch for Spoon to have a big year, and give the new album a listen if you haven’t yet.

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• You certainly can’t say The Flaming Lips aren’t trying. They seem to change from year to year, and when the Lips form a set that centers around Wayne Coyne’s voice as they did at Outside Lands, it can feel uninspired at times and triumphant at others, but our heroic muscle man gives 100 percent the entire time amongst psychedelic spectacle. Their Halloween show from 2013 in SF made my top 10 shows list last year because they took the opposite approach with Coyne’s voice, modulating it into an electronic instrument, and gone were the hyper happy Yoshimi songs, the cheerleaders, the confetti cannons and human hamster ball. All of it. Instead, the Halloween show was a glorious drone-filled, psychedelic freak out, reflecting the studio work they’d released the past two years.

Coyne and company realize a festival set is different than a normal show, so they have tried to find middle ground. The Flaming Lips leader wore a muscle body suit as if he was skinned, the cheerleaders are now put in rainbow, sun and earth costumes, while songs like “Do You Realize?” and “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” were played with a dystopic, bleak tone. So, by having a setlist of lighter hits that were played through a jarring lens, nobody got what they really wanted. On a positive note, the Flaming Lips are keeping it weirder than ever, and many of the extended whiffs of Pink Floyd’s languid guitar hit the spot.

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• We weren’t that excited about The Killers or Tiësto to finish the festival, but we’re ready to eat our hat. I went to Tiësto since I firmly believe it’s best to say goodbye with a dance party, leaving it all on the field. The Dutch DJ was far less anthemic than anticipated, dropping some surprisingly powerful bass that speaks to his progressive nature behind the dials. Lands End was going bonkers. The overall reaction to The Killers from various press and social media websites has been very positive — Another Planet Entertainment and Superfly Presents have got their fingers on the pulse of what works for entertaining the masses at Outside Lands. We’re already looking forward to the schedule for year No. 8 in 2015.

What was your favorite act on Sunday? Did you see the dude in the tree at Flume? Tell us your story below.

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WIN TICKETS: Outside Lands 2014 night shows

Outside Lands fansWritten by Molly Kish //

This weekend in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, the Bay Area will celebrate the seventh annual Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival. After each day at the grounds, post-festival activities are being scattered throughout the electrified 7×7 cityscape, and we have your tickets for some of the best after-parties happening all weekend long!

View the 2014 festival schedule and create your custom grid to share with friends!
View our 2014 beer/artist pairings!

Win-2-Tickets

CONTEST CLOSED.

Winners will be picked at random and notified by email. Your email will be kept private — we will share your email with no one.


THURSDAY, AUGUST 7TH

Those Darlins

Those Darlins and Diarrhea Planet @ Brick and Mortar Music Hall // Buy Tickets

It’s going to be a dual-headliner, Nashville rock throw down Thursday night at Brick and Mortar Music Hall. With Those Darlins founding members meeting at the Southern Girl’s Rock & Roll Camp in Tennessee, country roots run deep in the musical history of this band. Formed in 2006, releasing their alt-country debut in 2009, the band fluctuates between traditional southern instrumentation, rockabilly and garage rock. Partners on the bill, fellow Nashville natives and six piece rock band Diarrhea Planet complement the foursome perfectly with their explosive guitar shredding, pop-laden “drunken sing-along” spectacle of a performance. Fresh off of touring their volatile live show to this past year’s South By Southwest, Bonnaroo, Governor’s Ball and various other festival stages (we reviewed their inspiring show at The Indy in 2013), the band brings their energetic ensemble to Brick and Mortar Music Hall for another exclusive night show only performance. Be sure to grab your tickets here. 18+ only.

Enter to win if you can attend this show on Thursday, August 7th at Brick and Mortar Music Hall in SF by submitting your full name and email address in the contact form above. Contest ends Thursday, August 7th at Noon.

Mikal Cronin

Mikal Cronin and Bear Hands @ The Independent // Buy Tickets

Two separate OL acts for the price of one! Mikal Cronin and Bear Hands, both performing day one of the festival, will be headlining The Independent in a one-off warm up session on Thursday night. Cronin, having released his self-titled debut in 2011, has had a busy few years questioning long term relationships, moving to San Francisco, touring and recording with musical counterpart Ty Segall, forming his own band and releasing his sophomore album MCII as a Merge Records artist. A multi-instrumentalist, Cronin’s gritty garage rock sound blends perfectly with co-headliner Bear Hands’ post-punk influenced indie rock. Fresh off the release of their second studio album, Distraction, Bear Hands’ “New York buzz band” reputation precedes them, gaining the group national attention on several music blogs and entertainment websites. Be sure to grab your tickets here. 21+ only.

Enter to win if you can attend this show on Friday, August 8th at The Independent in SF by submitting your full name and email address in the contact form above. Contest ends Friday, August 8th at Noon.

Glen Hansard

Glen Hansard @ Fox Theater Oakland // Buy Tickets

Irish songwriter, actor, vocalist and guitarist Glen Hansard will headline the Fox Theater in Oakland on Thursday night with Sean Hayes opening the show. A founding member of The Frames and half of the critically-acclaimed duo The Swell Season, Hansard has been creating seminal folk rock internationally for more than a decade. Gaining attention in the states initially for his role in the 1991 film The Commitments, Hansard recorded his first solo album in 2006 with the help of Czech singer and multi-instrumentalist Marketa Irglova, whom he would go on to co-star with in the 2006 Sundance winner Once and form The Swell Season together that same year. Hansard has since then recorded and produced various songs on film scores and compilations, lent opening support for Eddie Vedder’s U.S. solo tour, guest starred on American prime-time sitcoms and released his solo debut Rhythm and Repose in 2012. Hansard is not performing at Outside Lands this year, so this performance at the Fox is an exclusive after-party date! Be sure to grab your tickets here.

Enter to win if you can attend this show on Thursday, August 7th at the Fox Theater Oakland by submitting your full name and email address in the contact form above. Contest ends Thursday, August 7th at Noon.


FRIDAY, AUGUST 8TH

The Soul Rebels

The Soul Rebels @ Brick and Mortar Music Hall // Buy Tickets

Bringing the NOLA funk to Friday’s Outside Lands festival lineup, The Soul Rebels plan to keep the party going well into the evening at Brick & Mortar Music Hall that evening. Fate brought together original members Derrick Moss and Lumar LeBlanc when they met as percussionists in Dejean’s Young Olympia Brass Band. Although trained in New Orleans jazz fundamentals, the two opted to take the traditional brass band sound they were raised on to the next level, incorporating their love for contemporary R&B, funk and hip hop. Branching off in a new direction, the duo left to form their own group, quickly winning over local audiences and officially being christened the “Soul Rebels” backstage before their opening slot for the Neville Brothers, by Cyril Neville himself. Since then the band has released several full lengths albums, set up a residency at Uptown NOLA club Le Bon Temps, have become a staple act at festivals throughout the globe and most recently released a mixtape Power=Power, premiered by Noisey, including brass band renditions of Jay-Z, Drake, Kanye West, Daft Punk and more. Easily the most funky of post festival Friday night festivities, this show will be the dance party of the weekend. Be sure to grab your tickets here. 18+ only.

Enter to win if you can attend this show on Friday, August 8th at Brick and Mortar Music Hall in SF by submitting your full name and email address in the contact form above. Contest ends Friday, August 8th at Noon.


SATURDAY, AUGUST 9TH

Gold Panda

Gold Panda @ Mezzanine // Buy Tickets

Multi-faceted producer Gold Panda returns to Mezzanine on Friday night with his genre-bending take on electronic music. With the rise of producers such as Flying Lotus and Flume, many other similar artists are breaking out to larger crowds and stages as forward-leaning electronica garners a new level of popularity and appreciation. Gold Panda represents a vast amalgam of electronic music, borrowing influences from all over the world to weave an upbeat, futuristic tapestry. His latest release Half of Where You Live has been critically hailed as his third stab at a comprehensive full-length album. Tracks like “Brazil” demonstrate his use of South American rhythms in a contemporary manner while consistently maintaining a dance beat. There are no ‘drops’ or huge frills to his dance ethic, but rather a rapturing, constant beat that listeners can lose themselves in rather easily. Ghostly International only signs the finest in contemporary dance music, so it’s no surprise that Gold Panda reps the prolific label. Teamed with local opener Doseone, this after party will keep the positive energy flowing from Saturday night straight into Gold Panda’s festival set that closes out the weekend on Sunday. Purchase tickets for the only electronic night show announced for Saturday here. 21+ only.

Enter to win if you can attend this show on Saturday, August 9th at Mezzanine in SF by submitting your full name and email address in the contact form above. Contest ends Saturday, August 9th at Noon.

Woods

Woods @ Brick and Mortar Music Hall // Buy Tickets

Brooklyn-based Americana, neo-psychadelia outfit Woods will be headlining Saturday night at Brick and Mortar Music Hall ahead of their festival set on the final day of OL. The trio have released eight albums since their formation in 2005, which have garnered them both critical acclaim across the board. Dubbed “pop shamanism”, the band is currently on tour celebrating the release of their new album, With Light and with Love, exploring “expanded sonic palettes” heavy with percussion, altered vocals and experimental guitar riffs. Their latest release on their self-run record label, Woodsist, is described as distinctly different from their previous work, “showcasing a more sophisticated brand of contemporary drug music,” relatable to the Beatles iconic Magical Mystery Tour, catering to a “new age of searchers, of Don Juan and Animal Chin alike.” Easily the biggest head trip of the OSL night show options, if you’re looking to get weird Saturday night, you’re going to want to buy your tickets here. 21+ only.

Discover our Outside Lands beer pairing for Woods.

Enter to win if you can attend this show on Saturday, August 9th at Brick and Mortar Music Hall in SF by submitting your full name and email address in the contact form above. Contest ends Saturday, August 9th at Noon.


Outside Lands 2014 night shows: Keep it going ’til the AM

Girls-on-Fire-Main-Stage-TimWritten by Molly Kish //

Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival //
Golden Gate Park – San Francisco
August 8th-10th, 2014 //

We’re only a few weeks away from one of the most anticipated summer festivals of the 2014 season. Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival has announced their official schedule for this year’s five consecutive evenings of night shows. In case you missed this past weekend’s announcement or weren’t privy to the ticket holder password, fret not — we’ve got you covered with our rundown of after-parties and links for you to win or purchase your tickets. The party does not have to stop on the polo field!

View the 2014 schedule and create your custom grid to share with friends!
View our 2014 beer/artist pairings!


Phosphorescent

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 6TH

Phosphorescent @ The Independent // SOLD OUT: Win tickets via Do 415

Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Matthew Houck, aka Phosphorescent, kicks off this year’s lineup of OL night shows with a sold out performance Wednesday night at The Independent. A follow up to last year’s show at the Indy with his five piece band, the Alabama native returns to the venue, bringing his mix of “western ballads and swelling jams” to the intimate venue. On tour promoting his most recent record Muchacho, one can expect to hear standout tracks from this critically acclaimed 2013 release. A perfect Wednesday night warm up for Houck’s Friday set, hardcore fans will be starting their weekend early, and we recommend you do the same!


THURSDAY, AUGUST 7TH

Typhoon @ CA Academy of Sciences // Buy Tickets

Comprised of twelve singers, songwriters and multi-talented instrumentalists, this small army of a band will be bringing their impressive live show to the CA Academy of Sciences on Thursday night. A band whose sound is characterized by their complicated arrangements and articulate orchestration, Typhoon’s catalogue of work ranges from “sea shanties, to country western and Eastern European inspired songs.” Across the board they cover various styles, meld multiple genres and produce thematically dense work, focusing heavily on lead singer-songwriter Kyle Morton’s struggles with mortality and finding strength through personal relationships. A beautiful setting to catch an equally stunning set, grab your tickets here to take part in this OL edition of Nightlife.

Discover our Outside Lands beer pairing for Typhoon.

Glen Hansard @ The Fox Theater // Buy Tickets

Irish songwriter, actor, vocalist and guitarist Glen Hansard will headline the Fox Theater Oakland with opener Sean Hayes on Thursday night as well. Founding member of The Frames and half of the critically acclaimed duo, The Swell Season, Hansard has been creating seminal folk rock internationally for well over a decade. Gaining attention in the states initially for his role in the 1991 film The Commitments, Hansard recorded his first solo album in 2006 with help from Czech singer and mutli-instrumentalist Marketa Irglova, whom he would go on to co-star with in the 2006 Sundance Festival World Cinema Audience Award winning film Once and form the band The Swell Season within the same year. Hansard has since recorded and produced various songs on film scores and compilations, leant opening support for Eddie Vedder’s solo American tour, guest starred on American primetime sitcoms and released his solo debut Rhythm and Repose in 2012. NOT PERFORMING AT THE FESTIVAL, this performance is an exclusive night show only date! Grab tickets to this limited OL affair right here.

Diarrhea-Planet

Those Darlins and Diarrhea Planet @ Brick and Mortar Music Hall // Buy Tickets

It’s going to be a dual-headliner, Nashville rock throw down Thursday night at Brick and Mortar Music Hall. With Those Darlins founding members meeting at the Southern Girl’s Rock & Roll Camp in Tennessee, country roots run deep in the musical history of this band. Formed in 2006, releasing their alt-country debut in 2009, the band fluctuates between traditional southern instrumentation, rockabilly and garage rock. Partners on the bill, fellow Nashville natives and six piece rock band Diarrhea Planet complement the foursome perfectly with their explosive guitar shredding, pop-laden “drunken sing-along” spectacle of a performance. Fresh off of touring their volatile live show to this past year’s South By Southwest, Bonnaroo, Governor’s Ball and various other festival stages (we reviewed their inspiring show at The Indy in 2013), the band brings their energetic ensemble to Brick and Mortar Music Hall for another exclusive night show only performance. Be sure to grab your tix here.

Mikal Cronin and Bear Hands @ The Independent // Buy Tickets

Two separate OL acts for the price of one! Mikal Cronin and Bear Hands, both performing day one of the festival, will be headlining The Independent in a one-off warm up session on Thursday night. Cronin, having released his self-titled debut in 2011, has had a busy few years questioning long term relationships, moving to San Francisco, touring and recording with musical counterpart Ty Segall, forming his own band and releasing his sophomore album MCII as a Merge Records artist. A multi-instrumentalist, Cronin’s gritty garage rock sound blends perfectly with co-headliner Bear Hands’ post-punk influenced indie rock. Fresh off the release of their second studio album, Distraction, Bear Hands’ “New York buzz band” reputation precedes them, gaining the group national attention on several music blogs and entertainment websites. Be sure to grab your tix here.


Soul-Rebels

FRIDAY, AUGUST 8TH

The Soul Rebels @ Brick and Mortar Music Hall // Buy Tickets

Bringing the NOLA funk to Friday’s Outside Lands festival lineup, The Soul Rebels plan to keep the party going well into the evening at Brick & Mortar Music Hall that evening. Fate brought together original members Derrick Moss and Lumar LeBlanc when they met as percussionists in Dejean’s Young Olympia Brass Band. Although trained in New Orleans jazz fundamentals, the two opted to take the traditional brass band sound they were raised on to the next level, incorporating their love for contemporary R&B, funk and hip hop. Branching off in a new direction, the duo left to form their own group, quickly winning over local audiences and officially being christened the “Soul Rebels” backstage before their opening slot for the Neville Brothers, by Cyril Neville himself. Since then the band has released several full lengths albums, set up a residency at Uptown NOLA club Le Bon Temps, have become a staple act at festivals throughout the globe and most recently released a mixtape Power=Power, premiered by Noisey, including brass band renditions of Jay-Z, Drake, Kanye West, Daft Punk and more. Easily the most funky of post festival Friday night festivities, this show will be the dance party of the weekend. Be sure to grab your tickets here.

Death Cab for Cutie @ The Independent // SOLD OUT: Win tickets via Do415

Heavy hitters on Saturday’s OL bill, Death Cab for Cutie bring their iconic indie rock to The Independent for an extraordinarily intimate one night only performance. For 17+ years, DCFC have been impacting the modern shape of indie rock, becoming one of the most prominent mainstream alternative bands during this time. Recording a discography comprised of seven studio albums, five EPs, a demo and numerous side projects/solo efforts, DCFC has carved out a significant place in music history and remain a staple within the contemporary scene both through their continual contributions to music, film and live entertainment. Announcing via social media that they’re in the process of working on their eighth studio album, the group just celebrated the 10 year anniversary of their seminal 2003 album Transatlanticism and released a live album of material from their 2012 tour dates with Magik Magik Orchestra. This show will be one for the books and quite possibly the only time you’ll be able to catch this caliber of a band in a club-sized venue ever again. Register to win a pair of tix here.


The Killers

SATURDAY, AUGUST 9TH

The Killers @ The Independent // SOLD OUT: Win tickets via Do 415

Headlining what is undoubtedly the biggest night annually in the SF music scene, The Killers will be playing to a sold-out crowd at The Independent on Saturday night, preceding their Sunday night closing set at Outside Lands. The Las Vegas foursome formed in 2001 and has become one of the largest names in alternative rock over the past decade with four hit studio albums. Selling over 25 million albums worldwide, the band has garnered mainstream success worldwide after performing in over 50 countries and headlining arenas on six continents. On the 10-year anniversary of their first show ever, The Killers released their greatest hits compilation Direct Hits last September and have been touring the festival circuit and selling out dates around the globe since then. This year’s OSL appearance will be their first at the festival and first show back in the Bay Area since playing the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium last April. Tickets to their pre-festival, late-night show sold out minutes after their release, but there’s still a chance to win a pair of tickets to what easily will be one of the most coveted shows of this year’s summer concert calendar. Register to win a pair of tix here.

Gold Panda @ Mezzanine // Buy Tickets

Multi-faceted producer Gold Panda returns to Mezzanine on Friday night with his genre-bending take on electronic music. With the rise of producers such as Flying Lotus and Flume, many other similar artists are breaking out to larger crowds and stages as forward-leaning electronica garners a new level of popularity and appreciation. Gold Panda represents a vast amalgam of electronic music, borrowing influences from all over the world to weave an upbeat, futuristic tapestry. His latest release Half of Where You Live has been critically hailed as his third stab at a comprehensive full-length album. Tracks like “Brazil” demonstrate his use of South American rhythms in a contemporary manner while consistently maintaining a dance beat. There are no ‘drops’ or huge frills to his dance ethic, but rather a rapturing, constant beat that listeners can lose themselves in rather easily. Ghostly International only signs the finest in contemporary dance music, so it’s no surprise that Gold Panda reps the prolific label. Teamed with local opener Doseone, this after party will keep the positive energy flowing from Saturday night straight into Gold Panda’s festival set that closes out the weekend on Sunday. Purchase tickets for the only electronic night show announced for Saturday.

Woods @ Brick and Mortar Music Hall // Buy Tickets

BK-based Americana neo-psychadelia outfit Woods will be headlining Saturday night at Brick and Mortar Music Hall ahead of their festival set on the final day of OL. The trio have released eight albums since their formation in 2005, which have garnered them both critical acclaim across the board. Dubbed “pop shamanism”, the band is currently on tour celebrating the release of their new album, With Light and with Love, exploring “expanded sonic palettes” heavy with percussion, altered vocals and experimental guitar riffs. Their latest release on their self-run record label, Woodsist, is described as distinctly different from their previous work, “showcasing a more sophisticated brand of contemporary drug music,” relatable to the Beatles iconic Magical Mystery Tour, catering to a “new age of searchers, of Don Juan and Animal Chin alike.” Easily the biggest head trip of the OL night show options — if you’re looking to get weird Saturday night you’re going to want to buy tix here.

Discover our Outside Lands beer pairing for Woods.


SUNDAY, AUGUST 10TH

Deer Tick @ The Rickshaw Stop // Buy Tickets

The ever-rambunctious, consistently capricious, gut punching Americana enigma that is Deer Tick will be closing out the weekend after parties at Rickshaw Stop with help from fellow Saturday OL performers, The Districts. After years of touring with a rotation of band members and various name changes, Deer Tick officially formed and released their debut album War Elephant in 2007. Signing to Partisan Records in 2008, re-releasing their debut along with second and third albums to critical acclaim, the band took off running. On their fifth album Negativity in 2013, the band has aimed to “capture the raw and spontaneous kerosene blaze” of their live shows in their studio recordings. Exploring personal tragedies suffered throughout the recording process such as his father’s tax evasion prison sentence, the death of his uncle, a broken engagement, drug and alcohol abuse, etc., lead singer John McCauley brings brutal honesty to the stage that is an all-encompassing, sometimes tragic, explosive performance. Truly an incomparable performance, this show will be the one that punctuates the weekend with one, final, lasting impression.

Kool and the Gang SuperJam @ The Independent // Buy Tickets

Last but not least, the Kool and the Gang SuperJam will be taking over The Independent Sunday night for a one-time only collaborative concert event, closing out the festival in proper fashion. Featuring members of the legendary funk outfit along with Eric Krasno, Adam Dietch, Nigel Hall, The Shady Horns and top secret special guests, this diverse group of musical luminaries will be on stage reimagining a variety of classic songs from Kool and the Gang. The Grammy Award-winning group have influenced three generations of musicians worldwide, selling over 70 million albums which earned collectively 2 Grammy’s, 7 AMA’s, 25 Top Ten R&B hits, 9 Top Ten Pop hits, 31 gold and platinum albums and the title of the longest running R&B group in the history of the genre. If there is one show where artists from Outside Lands would randomly decide to sit in on a performance, this would be the one. Can’t see yourself wanting to call it an evening on Sunday night? This show might be the best option for you. Be sure to buy your tix here.

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Outside Lands 2014 beer/artist pairings

Polo-Field-3-TimBy Steven Wandrey and Corey Jay //

Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival //
Golden Gate Park – San Francisco
August 8th-10th, 2014 //

When strolling through the polo fields at Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival, sometimes you need a refreshing beverage. Most of the beers listed here are so good that you’ll have a sip and be forced to stop walking to take in the overwhelming flavors, but don’t lose your friends. Located conveniently at the back of the main stage, Beer Lands has been getting better and stronger with (mostly) local craft beer selections. Here is a carefully curated list of beer/artist pairings that will even further accentuate each other at the festival.

The wind rips through the park at night with a chill from the ocean, which is why there is a focus on darker more robust beers here. While all of these beers may not be the exact selections offered on the days of the festival, there are sure to be plenty of tasty options from these tip-top breweries.

View the 2014 schedule and create your custom grid to share with friends!
View our Outside Lands night show breakdown!


Kanye-West

Bitter American by 21st Amendment Brewery for Kanye West

Here’s Kanye on a review for College Dropout: “A horrible album with just Jesus Walks on it is a four! C’mon dog, the demo version was a five! You need to rate it again, but you’ll have to create a new rating system.” Bitter, Kanye? While he may not actually be the most bitter person around, I think we can all agree that he is always full of … confidence. In spite of Kanye’s overflowing self-love and general obnoxious behavior, we’re all plenty stoked to go see the production Yeezus puts on. Bitter American is a hoppy American pale ale with relatively low ABV that’ll be perfect for the polo fields during the rap king’s headlining set. Just remember not to be too bitter while he’s ranting about how incredible he is (in the third person), and have fun. -SW


The-Flaming-Lips

Wookey Jack American Black Ale by Firestone Walker Brewing for The Flaming Lips

When subjecting yourself to the intense sensory onslaught of the Flaming Lips’ live show, you may need a hefty beer to anchor yourself down. That’s where the Wookey Jack comes in. This 8.3-percent beer will give your taste buds a grip with a balance of syrupy but crisp, roast-y, hoppy goodness. The Flaming Lips may decide to play a set deeply mired in psychedelia or a poppy one heavy with Yoshimi, and you’ll be dually covered with the Wookey Jack. -SW


Typhoon

Inception by Triple Voodoo Brewing for Typhoon

Only four years since their debut release, Typhoon is experiencing a breakthrough in exposure and popularity. Their anthemic indie rock is cathartic and widely appealing. Triple Voodoo is also close to its debut release, and the SF-based brewery has been making big strides as well. Inception is a Belgian-style Triple with a dry finish that neatly disguises its burly alcohol percentage of 8 percent. Hopefully both Typhoon and Triple Voodoo continue to grow in popularity, because both are well deserved of their acclaim thus far. -SW


Woods

Campfire Stout by High Water Brewing for Woods

High Water Brewing out of San Leandro, Calif., has been making some fine brews for a while now, and one of the best is their Campfire Stout. Made for the outdoors, roasty malts, vanilla, caramel and marshmallows will swirl around your palate as Woods’ psychedelic-folk swirls in the air around you. This beer is as close to eating a s’more in liquid form as you can get. Touring in support of their new album With Light and With Love, Woods has a hefty slate of shows on the docket, including a night show at Brick & Mortar the night before their Outside Lands performance. -SW


Nicki-Bluhm

Kalifornia Kolch by Magnolia Pub & Brewery for Nikki Bluhm and the Gramblers

Nikki Bluhm is a local favorite in SF because of her powerfully soulful singing and classic feel-good rock. What better way to enjoy the show than with a beer most likely brewed within five miles from her? Magnolia is making fantastic beer with storefronts in the Dogpatch and the Upper Haight. Assuming this is a day time show, their Kalifornia Kolch will blend perfectly with some sun and dancing. Clearly a group of heady guys, whatever Magnolia decided to bring will be solid. Other favorites are their Proving Grounds Double IPA and the Weakapaug Gruit. -SW


Duck-Sauce

Bigfoot Barleywine Ale by Sierra Nevada Brewing for Duck Sauce

Right as the true depths of the intensely flavored Bigfoot by Sierra Nevada surface, the non stop rhythm and beastly sounds of the “Big Bad Wolf” by Duck Sauce should be allowing your true inhibitions to surface. The pairing will create a plethora of robust favors, explicit undertones, and sensual excitement if given the chance to groove side by side. When you see “Barbara Streisand” on the dance floor, just make sure to thank the local Bigfoot by Sierra Nevada. -CJ

OutsideLands

Outside Lands 2014 daily lineup highlights

Outside-Lands-2013

Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival //
Golden Gate Park – San Francisco
August 8th-10th, 2014 //

So, three-day tickets for Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival sold out in record time. Now’s your chance to snag single-day passes for SF’s premier music festival. Get ready: tickets go on sale Thursday, April 17th at 10 a.m.

Still choosing which day might be best for you? Here’s our take on the headliner options, along with choice picks and reasons to get there early this August in Golden Gate Park.

OSL-2014

Friday, August 8th

HEADLINER OPTIONS: Kanye West Vs. Arctic Monkeys (or Disclosure)

Yeezus himself will handle headlining duties on day one, but the real question is whether or not Arctic Monkeys or Disclosure will helm Twin Peaks come nightfall. Both acts are worthy of a headlining slot — time will tell.

CHOICE PICKS:

Run the Jewels: El-P + Killer Mike , “Rap’s most dangerous Duo”, are returning to SF after their game changing shows last year at the Independent. Expect top notch beats over future-forward production. In a perfect world they would open for West.



Phosphorescent: Matthew Houck’s understated, twisted take on indie rock is refreshingly breathtaking, exemplified most strikingly by the majestic “Song for Zula”:

Holy Ghost!: Ready for a disco-dance party fed by instrumentals? Yes you are. One of our favorite acts from the last year will set Golden Gate park ablaze.



DIGGING DEEP: (reasons to get there early)

• Mikal Cronin
• Greensky Bluegrass
• Typhoon
• Bear Hands

THE VERDICT: Eclectic with as many rap options as dance choices.

OutsideLands

Saturday, August 9th

HEADLINER OPTIONS: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers vs. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

This one’s going to be a pretty simple choice for most folks — the classic rock singalongs versus the contemporary pop-rap anthems. These headliners starkly contrast from one another.

CHOICE PICKS:

SBTRKT: Known to perform with iconic tribal masks, Aaron Jerome fuses innovative electronic production with drums, synth, keys & live singing, usually with help from touring partner Sampha. SBTRKT’s new EP Transitions delves into icy-instrumental territory.



Atmosphere: Slug and Ant are back this year, and they’ve got a new song entitled “Kanye West”, which doesn’t go after the Day 1 headliner, but it does address hip-hop crowd interactions in a playful, positive way.



Tycho: Scott Hansen is as much a visual artist as he is a musician — his projected imagery melds simple geometry and super slow-mo romanticism and works in hand with his newly cemented band’s ambient, yet driving beats. This one deserves a night time slot, say closing down the Panhandle Stage?



DIGGING DEEP: (reasons to get there early)

• Woods
• Jagwar Ma
• Valerie June
• Trails and Ways

THE VERDICT: Save for a handful of rowdy spots (Macklemore, Duck Sauce, Capital Cities), the offerings are relatively mellow.

OutsideLands2

Sunday, August 10th

HEADLINER OPTIONS: The Killers vs. Tiësto (or The Flaming Lips)

These two options to end the weekend are, once again, clear cut. But here’s hoping Ranger Dave harkens back to the early years and offers a third headliner option in The Flaming Lips. Their drone-psyche spectacle of a freak out deserves darkness and would offer an incredible third option.

CHOICE PICKS:

Cut Copy: Every time these electronic-oriented Australians swing through the Bay Area, we’ll be there. Dan Whitford & Co. will make you dance and reach for the sky.



Lykke Li: The Swedish Songstress is returning to the touring circuit this year, and her first offerings from her forthcoming LP I Never Learn are more sedated than swirling. Li’s ownership of the stage and visceral passion request your attendance.



Flume: Skyrocketing electronic-music amalgamator Harley Streten creates big, bold beats centered by a chill tone. Since releasing his self-titled LP to worldwide acclaim in 2012, he’s brought in a host of top level rhymers to give the music new meaning and fresh life (listen below). We’re excited to see how this influences his live show.



DIGGING DEEP: (reasons to get there early)

• Gold Panda
• Courtney Barnett
• Jonathan Wilson
• Tumbleweed Wanderers

OVERALL VIBE: Sunday has a lot of high-decibel acts. A good day for dance enthusiasts.

Check out our Outside Lands 2014 playlist:

OL 2014 Daily Lineups

Showbams’ best shows of 2012

Showbams contributors name their favorite shows of 2012.

Showbam contributors reflect on the best concerts they went to in 2012 & list their favorite shows.

2012 has been a top-notch year for live music, and the Showbams team has witnessed some great acts that have come through California in the last 11 months. Take a look at our contributor’s favorite shows of 2012.

What was your favorite concert in 2012? Let us know in the comments below.

The xx at Treasure Island Music Festival

The xx at Treasure Island Music Festival


Mike Frash San Francisco

1. Sigur Ros @ Outside Lands Music Festival 8.11.12
Leaving Metallica for Sigur Ros to end the second day at Outside Lands was a torturous decision. Metallica was a warzone spectacle, but i stuck to my guns and headed to the Twin Peaks stage. I’m glad I did. Jonsi now conducts a mini orchestra, and the eerie SF fog lowered on command to the slow builds & crescendos. It was a spiritual show that effected me more than any other concert in 2012.

2. Japandroids @ The Independent 6.14.12
Brian King and David Prowse brought ecstatic energy to the sold out Independent in June the week after Celebration Rock was released. Brian King understands how to control the pace of his set, offering fun pre-song statements that prepare you for what’s next. Their songs are vibrant live – it doesn’t sound like only two people are playing instruments. They truly seem to live the life they glorify on their 2012 album – still drinking, still smokin, and full of hyperactive desperation.

3. Phish Night 3 @ Bill Grahm Civic Auditorium 8.19.12
The highly anticipated phish three-show SF run in August started off a bit slowly. Saturday’s show left me a little bummed about Phish due to some sloppy play (“Split open and melt”) and what felt like a lack of enthusiasm. I was questioning why I still see Phish live heading into the last show of the weekend. My lowered expectations combined with a killer show quashed those thoughts. Crosseyed > Light > Sneakin’ Sally > Crosseyed was some of the best Phish I’ve ever heard, “Boogie on” redeemed Stevie Wonder’s omission of the song at Outside Lands the week before, “Meatstick” made me really happy, and the San Francisco-mentioning “Ride Captain Ride” made a surprise encore appearance. The show was pure bliss.

4. The Rapture @ Coachella 4.13.12
5. The xx @ Treasure Island Music Festival 10.14.12
6. The Presets @ The Independent 10.12.12
7. STS9 @ High Sierra Music Festival 7.5.12 & 7.6.12
8. Head and the Heart @ Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 10.6.12
9. Tame Impala @ The Fillmore 11.15.12
10. My Morning Jacket @ The Greek 9.15.12

Honorable Mention:
Father John Misty at Jansport Bonfire 9.30.12
Of Monsters & Men at The Independent 3.22.12

My Morning Jacket performing at The Wiltern in September

My Morning Jacket performing at The Wiltern in September


Pete Mauch Los Angeles

1. My Morning Jacket @ The Wiltern 9.13.12
MMJ capped off the best 3-night run I saw this year with this stellar closing show complete with a Horn section. This is a big statement for a band I knew I loved but wasn’t fully convinced about until this night. Highlight: “All Night Long” & “Movin On Up” with Horns

2. Phish @ Bill Graham Civic Auditorium 8.19.12
Phish played a terrific 3-night run, and topped off by an amazing Sunday night show that proves that Phish is still top of the Jam Scene. Highlight: Light > Sneakin Sally Through the Alley

3. Ryan Adams @ Walt Disney Concert Hall 2.17.12
Ryan Adams, an acoustic Guitar, and a Piano is all this show contained, and it was truly special. Adams’ classic songs stripped down with his raspy croons is all I needed to make this a top show of the year. Highlight: “Rescue Blues” on Piano “Holy Diver” on Guitar

4. Trey Anastasio and LA Philharmonic @ Walt Disney Concert Hall 3.10.12
5. Neil Young and Crazy Horse @ the Hollywood Bowl 10.17.12
6. Charles Bradley and The Menahan Street Band @ UCLA Royce Hall 11.29.12
7. Radiohead @ Coachella Music Festival 4.21.12
8.Trombone Shorty @ the Key Club 2.11.12
9. Wilco @ the Palladium 1.24.12
10. New Multitudes (Tribute to Woody Guthrie) @ the Mayan Theatre 3.7.12

Honorable Mention:
Phish at Long Beach Arena 8.15.12
String Cheese Incident at Greek Theatre Berkeley 7.14.12
Roger Waters The Wall at the LA Coliseum 5.21.12
Umphreys Mcgee (True Hollywood Stories Acoustic Show) at the House of Blues 3.16.12

The Faint performing in November at The Regency Ballroom

The Faint performing in November at The Regency Ballroom

Molly Kish San Francisco

1. Radiohead @ HP Pavilion 4.12.12
After merely catching glimpses of them while shoved against thousands of festivalgoers at Outside Lands 2008, I was determined to catch Radiohead the next time they came through the Bay Area. The sound, visuals, performance and energy of the evening were electrifying. Although I was extremely lucky to have been viewing the concert from the sixth row, the entire crowd looked as though they were just as lost in the moment as I was. The band’s enigmatic stage presence, fully developed set composition and career spanning choice of material made for one of the most collectively impressive concert experiences that I have ever had the opportunity to be a part of.

2. Kishi Bashi/Of Montreal @ Slim’s 3.22.12
As a long time Of Montreal fan, I was ecstatic to get the opportunity to interview their opening act and latest addition to the line up (Kishi Bashi) the night of their performance at Slim’s. It wasn’t only for the sake of getting a personal perspective on the band, but also due to the fact that this would actually be my first time catching them performing live. The entire show and evening that followed was everything I could’ve wanted for my first experience seeing Of Montreal. Accompanied by three screens of psychedelic visuals, various costumed extras, balloon drops, props and whole score of vaudevillian rivalry, the band took the crowd and venue by storm. During the encore to top it off, I was able to reconnect with Kishi Bashi and ended up initiating an after-party with the entire band, crew and record label affiliates at an industrial themed “dark carnival,” taking place across the street at local dive bar Butter. Several jello shots, deep fried twinkies and contortionist carnie-prompted dance battles later, I looked around and felt assured that I had enough material to develop my own personal “Of Montreal” concert story contender.

3. The Presets @ Treasure Island Music Festival 10.13.12
Completely blown away by their performance the night before, I was overwhelmed with excitement and intrigue to see how the Presets could accomplish translating such energy to a festival setting. Anyone who had caught their Treasure Island Music Festival opener at the Independent instantly was taken over by sensory recall as they broke into song almost right where they left us hanging less than 24 hours earlier. Almost in homage to those who witnessed them destroy their previous set, they picked the dance party up right where they left off, only this time kicking it up about ten notches with the accompanied stage show, visual intensity and professional grade sound of seasoned professionals. Completely upstaging their more commercially recognized headliner and showing the younger generation how it should be done, they stole the show and were easily the stand out act of the 2012 TIMF. To this day I still find myself saying that I wish I could continually be going to a Presets show, based off of the concert experience I had at these two performances.

4. Dan Deacon @ The Great American Music Hall 10.23.12
5. Against Me! @ The Catalyst 9.10.12
6. The Faint @ The Regency Ballroom 11.18.12
7. Justice @ The Fox 11.4.2
8. Metallica @ Outside Lands 8.10.12
9. Animal Collective @ The Fox 9.21.12
10.The Shins @ The Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium 4.22.12

Honorable Mention:
Yeah Yeah Yeah’s @ The Creator’s Project SF 3.17.12
Cold War Kids @ The Bottom of the Hill 3.5.12
Dr. John @ The Independent 8.17.12
Girl Talk @ Sasquatch 5.25.12

David Byrnes & St. Vincent performing in

David Byrnes & St. Vincent performing in October

Kevin Raos San Francisco

1. David Byrne & St. Vincent @ the Orpheum Theater 10.15.12
This is my number one show of 2012 for a couple of reasons. First off, Love this Giant, the recently released collaborative album between Byrne and St. Vincent, was a major disappointment. One of my most anticipated albums of the year ended up being one of the most disappointing. All was redeemed, however, when I saw these songs performed live. The accompanying brass band and the chemistry on stage breathed new life into was I felt was a stale album. Playfully executed and precisely choreographed, these songs shined live.

Secondly, I am a huge David Byrne fan and was able to check a big one off my bucket list of musical artists. Byrne’s career needs no introduction and this evening we were treated to a few Talking Head’s classics such as “Burning Down the House,” “This Must Be the Place,” and “Like Humans Do.”

This show was simply a once in a lifetime experience.

2. Phish @ Bill Graham Civic Auditorium 8.19.12
A three night run at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium was capped off with a masterful performance by jamband kings, Phish. The final night of the run was easily the best night as the band flexed their improvisational muscles in a blistering 2-set performance, highlighted by covers of the Talking Heads’ “Crosseyed and Painless” and Robert Palmer’s “Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley.”

3. Sigur Ros @ Outside Lands 8.11.12
Sigur Ros on my birthday to cap off an unbelievable festival day? How could it possibly get any better? It can’t really.

4. Les Claypool’s Duo De Twang @ Terrapin Crossroads – San Rafael 10.4.12
5. Keller Williams, Steve Kimock & Kyle Hollingsworth ft. Bernie Worrell, Wally Ingram & Andy Hess @ Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Music Festival 10.7.12
6. Miike Snow / Penguin Prison @ Fox Theater Oakland 4.12.12
7. Washed Out @ Mezzanine 5.4.12
8. Electric Guest @ The Independent 11.2.12
9. The Album Leaf / Blackbird Blackbird @ Bottom of the Hill 9.30.12
10. Citizens! Lescop, Housse de Racket, Tomorrow’s World @ The Rickshaw Stop 10.12.12

Honorable Mentions:
Zee Avi @ New Parish 9.28.12
M83 @ The Fillmore 4.22.12

Japandroids performing in 2012

Japandroids performing in 2012

Eric Shaden San Francisco

1. D’Angelo @ HOB – Los Angeles 7.4.12

2. Passion Pit @ Rock en Seine – Paris 8.26.12

3. Starfucker @ the Independent 1.7.12

4. Stevie Wonder @ Outside Lands 8.12.12
5. Miike Snow + Penguin Prison @ The Fox Oakland 4.12.12
6. A.Skillz + Krafty Kuts Presents Tricka Technology @ Mighty 6.1.12
7. Aaron Freeman (Gene Ween) @ the Independent 10.19.12
8. Japandroids @ the Independent 6.14.12
9. Guns n’ Roses @ Bridge School Benefit 10.21.12
10. Kid Koala Vinyl Vaudeville Tour @ Independent 11.4.12

The Lumineers performing at The Chapel in August

The Lumineers performing at The Chapel in August

Marc Fong San Francisco
1. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros @ Slim’s 3.25.12
It’s not often I gush like a school girl (only about once or twice a week), but seeing ESatMZ at Slim’s was panty dropping. Can I say that? Well, I just did. It was a secret/private show so Slim’s was overcrowded. I stood center stage close enough to see the dirt on Alexander’s suit. The sound was great and the band always puts on a damn fine show.

2. The Lumineers @ The Chapel 10.11.12
LIVE 105 brought the Lumineers to newly opened Chapel in SF and the band didn’t disappoint. The venue was the perfect size for the band and like most of the other bands on this list, the Lumineers had fun playing and it made for a great show.

3. Kronos Quartet @ Greek Theater 10.5.12
Okay, it was really Amon Tobin’s deal, but Kronos opened and performed beautifully. Being a long time fan, it’s not a surprise these openers made my list. Great music from great performers. And The Greek Theater in Berkeley was the best venue to see them. (And most other shows.)

4. Willie Nelson and Family @ The Fox Oakland 3.15.12
5. Of Monsters and Men @ Independent 5.22.12
6. Fun. @ The Independent 5.28.12
7. Sage Francis @ Independent 3.17.12
8. Steve Aoki @ Bill Graham 1.21.12
9. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros @ The Fox Oakland 5.12.12
10. AVICII @ Bill Graham Civic 6.28.12

Tame Impala at The Fillmore in November

Tame Impala at The Fillmore in November

Kevin Quandt San Francisco

1. The Walkmen @ The Independent January 20th & 21st
These 10th Anniversary shows were a Walkmen fan’s wet dream as they played their first album in full among multiple sets and configurations including a horn section. Over 30 songs of Hamilton Leithauser and company churning out their own brand of rock and roll to devote fans from across the States.

2. Refused with the Hives & the Bronx @ The Warfield 4.18.12
Having seen their Coachella show a week prior, the anticipation was less palpable, yet the reigning post-punk champs delighted a more rowdy and dedicated crowd with a spirited set for the masses who patiently waited a decade to witness.

3. Trey Anastasio and The Los Angeles Philharmonic @ Walt Disney Concert Hall 3.10.12
Dressing up for a show is fun, especially when Trey is at the helm of philharmonic symphony in one of the best rooms to hear, and see, music in. From the playful rendition of “Guyute” to the half hour “Time Turns Elasctic,” this night had the packed concert hall re-charmed by Ernest and his recharged song book.

4. Tame Impala @ The Fillmore 11.15.12
5. Phish @ Bill Graham Civic Auditorium 8.19.12
6. Woods and White Fence @ The Chapel at Preservation Hall West 10.17.12
7. Howlin Rain @ The Independent 2.18.12
8. Radiohead @ The Santa Barbara Bowl 4.12.12
9. Father John Misty & Har Mar Superstar @ Bottom of the hill 5.5.12
10.Mala @ Yoshi’s San Francisco 6.23.12

Festival sets:
Sigur Ros @ Outside Lands 8.11.12
Future Islands @ FYF 9.1.12
Flying Lotus @ Coachella 4.14.12

Justice performing at The Warfield in November

Justice performing at The Warfield in November

Sean Little San Francisco

1. Justice @ The Warfield 11.4.12
What else is there to say about Justice that hasn’t already been said. They came, they saw, and they melted faces with an amazing set the blew fans away and converted first timers alike. At least half my friends decided to go last minute (tickets were still available because it was a Sunday) and all of them became huge fans. Some of these friends are not into electronic music of any kind either, so that really says something. It was one of those rare shows where you leave euphoric and can’t stop saying “wow” to the people you went with.

2. Florence & the Machine @ Coachella 4.15.12
The only other performer I’ve ever seen that commanded an audience like Florence did was Snoop Dogg back in 02 at the Smoke Out (stop-you’re not better than me so put that eyebrow back down). It was one of the rare festival sets where everyone felt really in tune with the performer and each other, singing along and knowing when to interact with each other and the songs. She was absolutely amazing, and the set was a dark horse highlight to my festival as I didn’t expect her to command the audience like she did. She’s truly a presence.

2ManyDJ’s @ Regency Ballroom
I saw them about this time last year but fuck it, it still counts. If you have never seen them live then go. Even if you don’t like electronic, go. Even if you hate music go. If you want to be schooled in what real DJs as performers can do, you have to go. They blend the most amazing remixes, edits, mashups and drops all together with a mindblowing set of animated artwork, based on the song that is being played behind them. I won’t even try to explain because it won’t work.

Best tracks of 2012

Some of our favorite tracks in 2012 are from The Lumineers, Tame Impala, Japandroids, Father John Misty, & Electric Guest.

The Lumineers, Tame Impala, Japandroids, Father John Misty, & Electric Guest created classic songs in 2012.

Showbams contributors have listed their favorite tracks of the year.
What were your favorite songs in 2012? Leave a comment below.

View our Best Shows of 2012
View our Best Albums of 2012


Mike Frash San Francisco @MikeFrash
Subscribe to Mike’s “Best Tracks of 2012” Playlist on Spotify.

1. Sun Kil Moon “Among the Leaves”

When a song get’s it’s 50th play and just gets better, you know you’ve found something special. This song showcases Mark Kozelek’s voice and songwriting perfectly, and is so good he named the album after it. With every spin the descriptive lyrics evolve in the mind of listener. Kozelek tells the tale of a girl he sees around town and wants to help. And when the wind instruments kick in, the song takes off and flies.

2. Tame Impala“Feels Like We Only Go Backwards”

This track might me the most simple song from Lonerism, but it is also the most memorable. It’s plenty trippy like the rest of the album, and it’s also the most catchy song – the one that’s still bouncing around your head a day later. “It feels like we only go backwards, but every part of me says go ahead.” This refrain so basic yet effective, and Kevin Parker’s familiar vocals blend seamlessly into Tame Impala’s psychedelic fuzz rock.

3. Passion Pit“It’s Not My Fault, I’m Happy”

Once Michael Angelakos’s bi-polar disorder disorder and attempted suicides were made public, this album and track worked on a higher level. It may be the most biographical song on Gossamer (that says a lot), and the penultimate track steps into anthem territory with confessional optimism. It’s like Michael is telling himself, repeating over and over, that he’s going to make it. Knowing the context of the song makes it more effective, but the biographical background is not needed to know this song is great.

4. Japandroids“Fire’s Highway”
5. Frank Ocean“Pyramids”
6. The xx“Angels”
7. John Talabot“Destiny” feat. Pional
8. Fiona Apple“Every Single Night”
9. Tanlines“Brothers”
10.House“Kindness”

Honorable Mention:
Killer Mike – “Reagan”
The Presets – “Fall”
Wild Nothing – “Paradise”


Pete Mauch Los Angeles @PeteMauch

1. Father John Misty“Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings”

2. Neil Young“Walk Like a Giant”

3. Trey Anastasio“Scabbard”

4. Tame Impala “Apocalypse Dreams”
5. Neil Young“Ramada Inn”
6. Kendrick Lamar“Swimming Pools”
7. Alabama Shakes“Hold on”
8. Lumineers“Ho Hey”
9. Gary Clark Jr.“Numb”
10.Jack White“Freedom at 21”


Molly Kish San Francisco @MollyKish

1. Lumineers “Ho Hey”

Due to the incredible commercial success of the Lumineers self-titled debut, you couldn’t escape this song in 2012. Infectiously simple both in lyrics and structure, this song’s basic pop composition grabs it’s audience’s attention immediately and has you singing along from the first listen. An instant crowd pleaser and multi-format radio hit, I still have yet to change the dial.

2. Azealia Banks“212”

A Hard hitting hip hop club hit, this song’s dirty beat and even filthier flow is an immediate dance party call to arms. Bursting onto the scene with this track produced by Lazy J, Azaelia Banks jumped into the female rap game spitting fire. Incorporating the repetitive use of the word cunt into a chorus and making it contagiously catchy and not crude: genius.

3. The Presets“Youth in Trouble”

The Presets came back to the EDM scene after a four year hiatus and did so with authority. Starting off one of this year’s best dance albums, this standout track is a club banger. With its extreme builds, relentless bass line and scream along party lyrics, the Presets win my “drop of the year” award in this bar setting track.

4. Electric Guest“This Head I Hold”
5. Fiona Apple“Hot Knife”
6. The xx“Reunion”
7. Kishi Bashi“Bright Whites”
8. Dr. John“Locked Down”
9. Yeasayer“Reagan’s Skeleton”
10.Bloc Party“Octopus”

Honorable Mentions
Passion Pit“I’ll be Alright”


Kevin Raos San Francisco @kevinraos

1. Tame Impala“Apocalypse Dreams”

Best track on the best album of the year. The more I listen to this album the more my opinion of it morphs and shifts. That’s one of the best things about an album like this – you hear something new every time you listen.

2. Electric Guest“This Head I Hold”

This song sounds like it could have been written 50 years ago. Classic sound, classic song. One of my favorites of the year.

3. Lana Del Rey“Born to Die”

I put this in my top 3 simply because I want to comment about my love/hate fascination with Lana Del Rey. Lana Del Rey’s fragile demeanor and futile resistance towards fame make her one of the most interesting artist of 2012. I’m not a giant fan of her music as a whole, but I LOVE this song.

4. alt-J “Fitzpleasure”
5. Stepdad“My Leather, My Fur, My Nails”
6. Django Django“Default”
7. Passion Pit“Carried Away”
8. Memory Tapes“Thru the Field”
9. Trey Anastasio“Scabbard”
10.Matthew Dear“Her Fantasy”


Eric Shaden San Francisco @3ricShaden

1. Major Lazer feat. Amber of Dirty Projectors“Get Free”

2. Kendrick Lamar“Swimming Pools (Drank)”

3. Passion Pit “Constant Conversations”

4. MIA“Bad Girls”
5. Santigold“Disparate Youth”
6. Hot Chip“Motion Sickness”
7. Purity Ring“Lofticries”
8. Frank Ocean“Thinkin Bout You”
9. Chairlift“Sidewalk Safari”
10.RAC feat. Penguin Prison“Hollywood”


Kevin Quandt San Francisco @KJQuandt

1. TNGHT“Higher Ground”

The duo of Hudson Mohawke and Lunice brought their unique brands of production into one insanely big release this year. This highlight track, among others, features chopped vocals, a plethora of hand-clapping and a massive bass tuba beat that has been destroying dance floors the better part of 2012. Higher Ground begs to be properly rhymed over, but in the meantime the production is the shining light of the year.

2. Pond“Eye Pattern Blindness”

What an epic rock track these Aussies churned out this year. Taking notes from Floyd and Zeppelin equally have helped these lads write and perform a rock masterpiece full of twist and turns, not to mention it clocks in at a rare 6 minutes. Syd Barrett is smiling down from above.

3. Japandroids“House That Heaven Built”

From the distorted wall of guitar to the infectious chorus, epitomizing the sound of Brian King and David Prowse, this track has angst and energy slathered all over it. These guys don’t write typical rock and roll songs, and it is refreshing to see their hard work paying off in dividends. A true rock gem for the ages.

4. Father John Misty“Hollywood Cemetery Forever Sings”
5. The Allah-Las“Tell Me What’s on Your Mind”
6. How to Destroy Angels “Keep it Together”
7. Cloud Nothings“Wasted Days”
8. Jack White“Love Interruption”
9. Clark“Secret”
10.Woods“Size Meets Sound”

Honorable Mentions:
Liars – “No. 1 Against the Rush”
Thee Oh Sees – “Lupine Dominus”
Chromatics – “Kill For Love”


Sean Little San Francisco @splittle

1. Nikki & The Dove“Mother Protect” (Goldroom Remix)

Nikki & The Dove are great as is, but what Goldroom does with this track is reinvent it in a way that’s thoughtful and massive all at once. It’s one of those rare remixes that you hear after the original, and never listen to the original again. It’s that good. Goldroom has really blown up over the last year, touring the globe and this is the track that arguably started it all as it was supported by Aeroplane and The Magician among others giving it, and him, serious credibility. Keep him on your radar and expect more of this for a long time to come.

2. Bicep“Vision of Love”

This is stripped down, essential house. This track could be thrown into any 90’s house set and not skip a beat, which is a testament to Bicep and how they hone their craft. Two dudes from Ireland that just seem to constantly pump out hits and push the party and boundaries. This is the song that shows less can be more, and stripped down production can have a big impact especially when compared with many of today’s overproduced tracks. When the pianos come back in at 3:39 it’s all over.

3. Moonlight Matters“Come For Me” (Might Mouse Remix)

This is huge. It’s just euphoria in a song. I’ve ended more than a few sets with this and hands are in the air, drinks are being tossed around and people are just losing their shit. Don’t sleep on this stellar remix as many people have and it’s a shame. Words don’t do it just so just listen and wait for it to kick in.

4. Waze & Odyssey“Love that (Burns Hot Enough)”
5. ColeCo“Rickey Smiley”
6. Moon Boots“Off My Mind”
7. Presets“Ghosts”
8. Van She“Jamaica”
9. Lykke Li – “I Follow Rivers” (The Magician Remix)
10.Chris Malinchak“The Fourth”