Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2014 proving to be as diverse as ever

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2013

Written by Mike Frash // Photos by Shawn Reiss //

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2014 //
Golden Gate Park – San Francisco
October 3rd-5th, 2014 //

The 14th incarnation of Hardly Strictly Bluegrass is shaping up to be one of the finest offerings yet, especially if the four rounds of medley preview clues are any indication.

Adept at balancing legends, local Bay Area acts and fast-rising talent, the curation team for Hardly Strictly Bluegrass never disappoints the hundreds of thousands of music lovers that show up for the free event.

The HSB website has shared the traditional four medleys that preview many of the acts that will play, and variety is the key word (listen below). Returning legends include Emmylou Harris, Chris Isaak, Lucinda Williams, Shawn Colvin, Dave Rawlings Machine and Buddy Miller.

But take a look at the standout indie, rock and neo-soul acts announced so far, including a dash of hip-hop and punk:

•Ryan Adams
•Sun Kil Moon
•Deltron 3030 with The 3030 Orchestra
•Social Distortion
•Yo La Tengo
•Thao & The Get Down Stay Down
•Jonathan Wilson
•St. Paul & The Broken Bones
•The Sam Chase
•Cibo Matto
•Malawi Mouse Boys

History tells us the complete lineup will be announced after the four rounds of medleys — it could come as early as next week!

Watch webcasts, read our survival guide and view our photos from Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2013.







Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2013

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2013

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2013

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2013

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2013

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2013

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2013

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2013

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2013

New Music Tuesday: Jessie Ware • A$AP Rocky • Yo La Tengo • Parquet Courts • Christopher Owens

Jessie Ware - If You're Never Gonna Move

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


Jessie WareIf You’re Never Gonna Move [EP]

4.5-BamsTop Tracks:
“If You’re Never Gonna Move”
“Sweet Talk”

Album Highlight: Tracks from the tail end of the Devotion LP like “If You’re Never Gonna Move” and “Sweet Talk” get the proper spotlight in this EP.

Album Lowlight: Not much to complain about here.

Takeaway: Jessie Ware is already a star to many. Ware should be a force to be reckoned with by the end of 2013 due to her MTV-pop appeal and her credibility within the EDM scene.


A$AP RockyLongLiveA$AP

4-BamsTop Tracks:
“Fuckin’ Problems” feat. Drake, 2 Chainz & Kendrick Lamar
“Long Live A$AP”
“1 Train” feat. Kendrick Lamar, Joey Bada$$, Yelawolf, Danny Brown, Action Bronson & Big K.R.I.T.
“Goldie”

Album Highlight: The diversity of beats, track production and supporting players. LongLiveA$AP has appearances from Schoolboy Q, Santigold, Skrillex, Drake, Joey Bada$$, Danny Brown, Action Bronson and Kendrick Lamar, which means A$AP has surrounded himself with some of the most creative names in music from the last couple years.

Album Lowlight: Repeated use of “purple.” We get it, you love purple swag, purple drank and probably the fact that purple doesn’t rhyme with shit.

Takeaway: With his first LP finally arriving — and delivering — A$AP Rocky takes his place as one of the top rappers in the game. It’s not surprising the best tracks on the album are super-collaborations that involve Kendrick Lamar.


Yo La TengoFade Out

3.5-BamsTop Tracks:
“Before We Run”
“Ohm”
“Cornelia and Jane”
“The Point of It”

Album Highlight: The amazing penultimate track “The Point of It” and the slow-building, triumphant finale “Before We Run” end the LP on a high note.

Album Lowlight: The pacing of the record slows down around “I’ll Be Around” and “Two Trains,” but the energy lull around the two-thirds mark works to enhance the wonderful ending.

Takeaway: Fade Out is a slow-grower. Give it an extra listen if it doesn’t strike you the first couple times. The subtleties add up to a sum that is greater than it’s parts.


Parquet CourtsLight Up Gold

3.5-BamsTop Tracks:
“Stoned and Starving”
“Master of My Craft”
“Borrowed Time”

Album Highlight: “Stoned and Starving” feels like some magical mix of Broken Social Scene and King Tuff. Any way you look at it, this is a great track.

Album Lowlight: The chord repetition becomes a bit monotonous during some of the slower tracks.

Takeaway: Distortion, lo-fi sound, stoner singing and lyrics and surf-rock-meets-Brit-rock chord simplicity. Light Up Gold feels familiar but offers originality with its genre-blending tracks.


Christopher OwensLysandre

2.5-BamsTop Tracks:
“Here We Go”
“A Broken Heart”
“Lysandre”

Album Highlight: When the guitar solo allows the record’s best track “Here We Go” to take off. This tracks sums up Lysandre pretty well.

Album Lowlight: It’s a bit too minstrel with the reoccurring Lysandre’s theme. At times, it feels like the pied piper is traveling down a lonesome road with you.

Takeaway: Owen has crafted a record with even more confessional whispers in his first solo since the breakup of Girls. The attempts at cohesive pop are more straight forward than Ownes’ work with Girls, but the themes of insecurity and dwindling confidence continue on.

Coachella 2013: Predictions, wishes & rumors vs. reality

Coachella 2013By Mike Frash //

With a casual tweet, festival season is about to begin. Anticipation over the imminent 2013 Coachella lineup is building, and recent history shows the festival lineup could come this week.

Do you have your accommodations set? Hopefully your ticket is taken care of, because Coachella 2013 could already be close to sold out.

Presale ticketing for this year’s Coachella sold out within hours of going on sale both weekends last May, and it was the first time pre-sale sold out in such a quick fashion. The Coachella 2012 general on-sale sold out within an hour for both weekends a year ago, and if you weren’t ninja-quick at getting into the waiting room, you were shit out of luck. Take all this into account, and there might be a very limited amount of tickets available after the 2013 lineup drops. Is it possible Coachella 2013 is completely sold out from presale ticketing?

Coachella

Headliners: Reality vs. Rumors
The headliner rumors arrived early this year, with speculation over The Rolling Stones and Daft Punk dominating the conversation. At this point The Rolling Stones seems like the more likely of the two to be headlining, even though they haven’t played a whole lot of festivals since Altamont in 1969. Besides, Coachella rumors about Daft Punk and David Bowie playing Coachella are a yearly running gag at this point — we’ll believe it when we see it. Bowie even has a confirmed album coming out in the spring, but his bandmates are saying Ziggy has ruled out performing live … forever.

Reunions are a big part of Coachella’s top-notch lineups, and last year saw the regrouping of At The Drive-In, Pulp and Refused. This year it looks like The Postal Service and My Bloody Valentine could happen. Blur would also make sense since they reunited at the Olympics last year. Black Sabbath was reportedly on board to headline last year until they had to pull out at the last moment, and they have a new album coming out in June. Outkast would be the perfect hip-hop headliner, but that seems unlikely with Big Boi pushing his new LP. Wu-Tang Clan seems like the most likely rap act to play the main stage, but are they big enough to headline one of the three days each weekend?

Last year saw The Black Keys headline Friday along with Swedish House Mafia, and most people thought The Black Keys weren’t worthy of headliner status. But Coachella is good at king-making groups and artists, elevating them to the top level simply by making them headliners. Goldenvoice could repeat last year’s Friday concept by crowning Phoenix, The xx or Mumford and Sons headliners while putting deadmau5 on the top line to satiate the EDM masses.

Reality (likely headliners):
The Rolling Stones, The Postal Service, deadmau5, My Bloody Valentine, Black Sabbath, Pearl Jam, Phoenix, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Wu Tang Clan, No Doubt, Mumford & Sons, The xx

Rumors (probable wishlist-fiction):
Daft Punk, Outkast, David Bowie, Nine Inch Nails (How to Destroy Angels is likely)

Artists to see before they get big:
Last year, Frank Ocean, Kendrick Lamar, Death Grips, Azealia Banks, First Aid Kit, and lots of other artists performed at Coachella before getting exponentially bigger by the end of 2012. Possible contenders for 2013 include Angel Haze, AlunaGeorge, FIDLAR, Foxygen, Wilde Belle, & Earl Sweatshirt, although the hype for Earl is already tremendously loud.

Coachella

Best EDM acts most likely to not perform in the Sahara Tent:
• deadmau5
• Bassnectar
• Tiesto
• Simian Mobile Disco
• Andy Stott
• Nicolas Jaar
• Dan Deacon
• John Talabot
• Disclosure
• Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs

Artists most likely to return for second consecutive year:
Kendrick Lamar and Dawes, because Dawes somehow plays every festival.

Headlines we’d like to see:
“Frank Ocean, Tyler The Creator join Earl Sweatshirt’s first solo set”
“Progressive-house trend baffles Sahara tent candy-kids”
“Thom Yorke, Bradford Cox & Trent Rezner play a combined 9 sets each weekend”
“Katie Perry attends Coachella again, never considered for performing duties.”

Plausible Acts We’d Like to See:
Alabama Shakes
alt-J
AlunaGeorge
Andy Stott
Angel Haze
Animal Collective
Atlas Sound
Atoms for Peace
Bassnectar
Bat for Lashes
Beach House
Ben Howard
Big Boi
Bjork
Black Sabbath
Blur
Cloud Nothings
Chromatics
Crystal Castles
CHVRCHES
Dan Deacon
Divine Fits
Disclosure
Die Antwoord
Django Django
Ducktails
Earl Sweatshirt
Father John Misty
Fiona Apple
Frightened Rabbit
Grimes
Grizzly Bear (Added 1.17.13)
Haim
Hot Chip
How to Dress Well
James Blake
Jamie Lidell
Japandroids
Jessie Ware
John Talabot
Jim James
Kendrick Lamar
Kishi Bashi
Killer Mike
Local Natives
New Order
Nicolas Jaar
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Major Lazer
Matthew Dear
Mumford & Sons
Passion Pit
Penguin Prison
Phoenix
Pretty Lights
Sigur Ros
Skrillex
Spiritualized
Stars
STRFCKR
Tame Impala
The Faint
The Joy Formidable
The Knife
The Postal Service
The Rolling Stones
The Walkmen
The xx
Toro Y Moi
TNGHT
Ty Segall
Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Vampire Weekend
Warpaint
Wavves
Wild Belle
Wild Nothing
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Yeasayer
Yo la Tengo
!!!

Coachella