coachella

FESTIVAL HEADLINERS: WHERE ARE THE WOMEN?
February 11, 2016 11:57 am

Since festivals became a thing, there has been a lack of female presence. Recently, I read an article pointing out that there is a major lack in female headliners at a vast majority of festivals. I looked into a few line ups over the years because I’m generally not a huge festival goer…and it’s true. Most if not all of the female headliners are found somewhere in the middle to bottom of the line up list for most major festivals. You know, the fine print. What gives?

Coachella is the president of this club. They have had the same female artist headline two different years and that was the extent of their feminine influence. It’s a tough time to be a musically talented female. It’s harder to get people to take you seriously as an artist when they gawk at you for getting up on stage and having something to say. Music has seemingly always been a male dominated business and this trend proves that it is not the easiest to overcome.

There have always been a plethora of talented stars that are waiting to show their stuff in the limelight of festivals, people like Tegan and Sara, Florence and the Machine, Sia and Lana Del Ray to name a few.  If we want to talk reunion headliners, a Coachella favorite, lets get Alanis Morisette or Fiona Apple up there again. Last year Drake headlined one of the days… you’re telling me Rihanna or MIA couldn’t have drawn as much as he did? Come on.

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This massive hierarchy of the music industry is loud and clear. Women are not given the slot or the credit they deserve and it seems that the ones who are only afforded it because the music industry doesn’t want a push back for being unfair. I think it’s time for things like that to change. It is time for me as a female artist to be able to stand up and genuinely believe that someday I could headline a festival if I have the talent and put all the work into it. Much like any paying job, women are under appreciated and it seems, no matter how high they soar, there is always that glass ceiling.

“If Lily Allen hadn’t stepped up at the last minute to fill in for Two Door Cinema Club’s Friday night headline slot at Latitude in July, there would have been no woman headlining a major music festival this summer.

In fact, without Paramore, the American punk rock band fronted by the flame-haired Haley Williams and Arcade Fire, which featured two women in its Glastonbury line-up, there would be no women gracing major festivals’ main stages in the top slot at all.”

as stated by Alice Vincent in The Telegraph. How sad is that? If Two Door Cinema Club wouldn’t have backed out there would have been no female headliner. This has personally happened to me in Darling and at first I was very excited about the spot until I really thought about he fact that it is not exciting to be a replacement for our male counterpart and only when they’re unable to make it. Then next year, they’re still going to get the call to headline even if they were unreliable and that just sucks.

Any female who has ever tried to thrive in a male dominated environment knows that we have to work twice as hard to make it halfway. It’s, ‘Oh she’s pretty watch her’ but the follow through is never present. We want to change this, what do you think Beasts?

LCD SOUNDSYSTEM’S INEVITABLY TRIUMPHANT RETURN
January 14, 2016 1:40 pm

By now the “farewell concert” has become something of a cliché.

Ever since Jay-Z hosted his retirement extravaganza back in 2003 (which didn’t last very long), the legitimacy of other acts celebrating their exit from show business has been somewhat questionable. Let’s be honest though, are we ever upset when one of favorite artists decides to come out of the wood work and start performing again? Absolutely not.

LCD Soundsystem, what hasn’t been said about them already?  For a band with a relatively short life span of only 10 years, they released three critically acclaimed albums, and for many of us, defined an indelible era of musical history.

Although it’s easy to forget sometimes, given how popular music has shifted toward an EDM-dominated landscape, that there was a time when electronic music wasn’t very ‘cool’ at all.

It was flaunted by cool kids, hipsters.  LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy first made a name for himself by co-founding DFA Records, a record label that quickly picked up steam as an underground advocate for house music’s accession into the mainstream.

By the time LCD Soundsystem formed in 2001 their hometown of Brooklyn had already been transformed into the central hub of hipsterdom (yeah I know, I made up a word, but so what?!).  Indie electronic music was about to explode into a global phenomenon.  Albums like Cut Copy’s In Ghost Colours, Jus†ice’s , and lest we forget, LCD Soundsystem’s Sound of Silver, received not only rave reviews from the music press, but were starting to cut mainstream pop out of the picture all together. This empowering shift marked the beginning of the digital age, for the first time since recorded music’s inception, listeners were choosing their own music, and plugging their iPod’s (that’s right) into their car stereos rather than listening to overly-glossed Top 40 hits and mainly commercials.

By the end of the decade LCD Soundsystem was on top of the world.  Sold out concerts, packed festivals, and Murphy plastered onto the front page of every music publication possible.

Then, like all good things, LCD Soundsystem decided it was time to call it quits.  On February 5th, 2011, the band announced on their website that they thought it was better to quit while they were ahead and go out with a bang.

On April 2nd, 2011, at Madison Square Garden, the band performed their final show.

Hold on, hold on. Where have a heard this before? This is bogus! You know this isn’t going to last! Come on!

Sure enough…on January 5th this note was posted to their website.  That’s right, they’re back. Like really back.

Of course, it’s no surprise that somehow Coachella managed to cash in on their triumphant return. While we can safely assume plenty of festival-goers will flock to the outskirts of Palo Alto to sweat it out this April, where will LCD Soundsystem appear next?  For now, my friends, the answer to that question is shrouded in mystery.  The only hint is a promising yet cryptic message on their website: “2016 tour dates coming soon.”  I supposed we’ll have to wait it out (although, I think it’s safe to assume they’ll be playing somewhere in the vicinity of New York.)

By far the most important tidbit of information is that there’s a new album in the works.

LCD Soundsystem has a pretty awesome discography. It’s dancey, but sophisticated. It’s music that celebrates dusting off obscure records for audiophiles with an interest in obscure music. You know, like cool kids. Hipsters.

So in short, farewell concerts are probably a sham, so don’t drive halfway across the country to celebrate your favorite band’s early–er, I mean, botched retirement. LCD Soundsystem is back and 2016 is going to be an awesome year to ”Dance Yrself Clean yet again!

MiiKE SNOW REV UP FOR iii
January 6, 2016 1:46 pm

Miike Snow is revving back up. Their highly anticipated iii is set to drop via Atlantic March 4th. But let’s face it, this Swedish synthpop trio is all about their propensity for bombastic club hits.

“Heart is Full,” the first single off their new album, dropped late last October.  The track fits neatly into Snow’s boogy-inducing catalog.

In typical Miike Snow fashion we have here 4 minutes of polished, immaculately-produced, radio-ready dance pop.  The track opens with a sample of “The Cook Up“, a deep album cut of Apollo Brown and Guilty Simpson’s 2012 record Dice Games.

Andrew Wyatt compares the heat of love, or perhaps the commitment, to a prison sentence: “I’ve got you locked down like police / And no three-to-five, you’re doing life, so.” The chorus here doesn’t exactly make sense either; “Please don’t knock over my heart / because my heart is full of you.” It’s a bit perplexing. It’s damn catchy.

This one’ll get the crowd jumpin’ for sure when Miike Snow takes the highly coveted Coachella stage this April. We’ll see you there.

MUSIC’S MOST INFLUENTIAL WOMEN OF 2015
December 26, 2015 12:14 am

2015 was kind of a hectic, yet exciting time in the music industry. It’s time to remember those female artists who have made a huge impact on their fans (and haters). No, I’m not talking about how Taylor Swift brought her whole girl squad at every performance and music award, and trended the word ‘squad’. I’m not even talking about how Adele’s latest album 25 made this whole generation cry. Sure, they could be great role models but there are quite a few other female artists who deserve to have some light shed on their talent and grit.

Florence Welch (Florence and the Machine)

Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine  The V Festival 2010 held at Weston Park - Performances - Day Two Staffordshire, England - 22.08.10 Mandatory Credit: Nick Pickles/ WENN.com

Did you know she’s bff’s with Taylor Swift, and is officially part of her girl gang? Thanks to T.Swift, she even inspired Florence to write “How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful” that debuted number 1 in the top US Billboard 200. That album even received five Grammy Nominations! Even the extraordinary Taylor has some things to learn from Flo’s powerful presence. “What sets Florence apart? Everything. Every time I’ve been around her, she is the most magnetic person in the room…There are very few people I’ve met in my life who are truly electric, and Florence is one of them.” (Billboard) Suffering from dyslexia, anxiety, and dyspraxia (a neurological disorder that impairs motor, memory, judgment and other cognitive skills) (Fuse), Flo still manages to write kick-ass songs and excite the crowd until she drops. Literally. She’s had a few tumbles on stage this year but she gets up and goes on with the show. She can’t stop, and won’t stop. The band had many festival appearances this year including Coachella, Governor’s Ball, Way Out West, Glastonbury Festival, and more. I’d have to say that she won me over at Governor’s Ball when she told a girl with a “HUG?” sign to crowd surf her way to the stage and made that girl’s life.

Melanie Martinez
Since her debut on The Voice, she’s pretty much had a core fan base that supported her music and believed in her talent. Although she wasn’t the ‘official’ winner of the show, she has won over many teen hearts with her relatable, grim music. They’ve even named themselves ‘cry babies’ (you know, like the Beliebers), which come from her recent debut album Cry Baby. Along her album release, she’s been putting out music videos for every single song on her album, which she has been directing. She’s also been working with notable music connoisseurs like Babydaddy, Phoebe Ryan, and Emily Warren and she’s only 20 years young! Be sure to check out her North American tour in early 2016 and join the madness.

Sky Ferrira

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You might recognize her as Zachary Cole Smith’s (DIIV) side chick. Or as that chick who signed a record deal after she was discovered singing her own songs on Myspace. Either way, she’s a cool gal who’s not afraid to put herself out there, both physically and emotionally. But sometimes, haters hate when you express yourself through social media. She recently confronted her frustration over online bullies on Instagram, claiming that calling her a ‘slut’ or ‘bitch’ on a daily basis is NOT okay (but really, don’t you have anything else to do?) Not only did she voice her opinion on verbally abusing public female figures, but she also roasted her label Polydor for ripping off her ideas and not giving her any financial or creative support. “Maybe I would have ‘sold more records’ if I had the resources to do so. It’s completely unfair that can even get used against me…I’m talking about labels & how they all need new structure…& need to be more creative & supportive of the people that they sign.” Ouch. Sadly, this isn’t the first time her label’s fucked her over- She wasn’t so happy when Capitol didn’t have vinyl copies in time for the My Time Night Time release date, and how EMI delayed her album for years. Nonetheless, we’re hoping that she’ll have somewhat of a more peaceful and positive year in 2016, especially because her new album Masochism is being released soon!

Courtney Barnett

Courtney Barnett: 'In interviews I feel like a bit of a doofus.'
You’re basically screwed if you don’t know who she is. Everybody note her name down because this girl from Melbourne, Australia has been nominated as the Best New Artist for the Grammy Awards 2016! And surprisingly, she doesn’t know her fellow nominees Megan Trainor, James Bay, Sam Hunt, or Tori Kelly- But that’s okay. “I don’t know who they are. I probably won’t [check them out]” (NME). Since her debut album Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, she’s gained attention from the media and indie music lovers. It was even nominated at the ARIA Music Awards this year….In eight whopping categories! Now that’s pretty insane. Unlike any other artist, her sound is honest and grungy with witty rambling lyrics. You can check her out on this in-depth article we wrote on her.

Laura Jane Grace (of Against Me!)

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I don’t know what this petition for getting Laura Jane Grace in Star Wars Episode VIII is…But I do know that she’s a likable figure in the music industry. When her band signed to Universal, she was known as Tom Gabel. Now, she’s performing as Laura since 2012 when she opened up about being transgender. She got so sick and tired of being judged by her choices, she wore a black statement jersey on stage that read “GENDER IS OVER! IF YOU WANT IT” for 60 nights. Now that’s dedication! She signed her jersey and “donated it to the group that created it for a charity giveaway.” (RollingStone) She even set up a contest where fans can win her jersey by donating $10-$15, and the proceeds would go to NPO’s. Let’s all learn from her and pay it forward. The band is currently working on their next album which will be released sometime in 2016.

Grimes

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She never fails to surprise us with her psychedelic, pop-influenced, irresistible dream world. The Spectrum sum her up very well when they say “Grimes makes the kind of music you might expect from someone who was formerly both a dancer and a neuroscience major.” The creepy giggling, whispering, talking jibberish basically tell us that she’s nuts- but in a good way. She had an opportunity to open up for Lana Del Rey, exposing herself to (mostly) teenage girls who’ve never heard of her. In her interview with Fuse, she mentions how touring is “bad for the environment” and shows her concerns for the environment. “I think it’s real important to have real cups because we’re trying to reduce garbage…Shipping stuff around and flying 11 people around the world is quite the carbon footprint…So we’re just trying to reduce as much as possible.” She’s also a healthy eater who drinks kombucha and does not allow a single candy in her dressing room “because otherwise, I’ll only eat candy.” We’re hoping that her views on the environment and healthy will rub on to her fans, converting everyone into a bubbly and intelligent woman like her.

Governor’s Ball Is Whatever You Want It To Be
June 15, 2015 2:20 pm

Last weekend’s Governor’s Ball music festival was fantastic. Everyone expects amazing music and exotic, quirky foods, but something very unique to this event is the attitude and the ambiance that can only be found on Randall’s Island. Governor’s Ball is admittedly not Coachella, the fashion week of music festivals, or EZOO the strange, beaded, bedazzled, acid trip of music festivals,  but it does have a distinct look of its very own, and that look is- whatever the hell you want it to be.

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While there was undeniably an abundance of flower crowns (myself included), FLASH tattoos and glittery accessories, we also saw sturdy workman boots, beautiful summery gauze dresses and every different look imaginable from the street savvy festival goers, to the artists themselves. You do not have to be a California hippie waif or a zonked out, neon pink, molly-popping tween. You can be either, or both, or anything in between.

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Florence Welch looked like a 70s flower child while Liz Nistico from HOLYCHILD was wearing an all white ensemble with bright and electric Sephora-esque eyeshadow and lipstick. The ladies of Clean Bandit wore black and white leotards with beautiful cascading skirts, Charli XCX channeled her inner animal (100% zebra print), Marina Diamandis wore a bright purple latex body suit, and Bjork was dressed like a butterfly. No one cared that there was a guy walking around all day with a 50ft flag that said “MORE BASS”, drunkenly waiting for DEAMAU5, the exact same way nobody cared that every sad girl in the tri-state area put on their best pout and flower crown for Lana Del Rey.

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This spirit was expressed in the lineup as well. Each headliner championed a different genre- hip-hop, electronic, pop and even old man country rock (I’m looking at you Ryan Adams). I personally have never experienced a better or more diverse crowd at another festival. The east coast’s answer to Coachella is not as large or as acclaimed, but maybe those factors work to its benefit. Where the expectations are not so rigid or expected and the lineup is so diverse and inclusive, every niche is welcome and every freak flag is flown. Governor’s Ball is easily the highlight of the NYC summer experience, and I cannot wait to see what it has in store next year.SONY DSC