festival

THE PHILANTHROPIC POETRY OF NAS
June 30, 2016 1:26 pm

Who’s World is This? (The World is Yours The World is Yours) It’s Mine It’s Mine It’s Mine, Who’s World is This?

This year, the world clearly belongs to Nas. Everyone else is just living in it.

Nasir Jones–better known by his stage name Nas–is consistently ranked among the top rappers of all time. He’s been spitting bricks about social justice for minorities and growing up in the Queensbridge housing projects since he dropped his 1994 Illmatic, an essential hip-hop classic. Since then seven of his records have been certified platinum–he is an undisputed master, an urban poet laureate.

Even Harvard University can’t deny his profound impact on culture.

In 2013, Nas forged a partnership with the Ivy League School, thus establishing the Nasir Jones Hip Hop Fellowship with the broad intention of funding scholars and artists who demonstrate exceptional creative ability in the arts, in connection with Hip Hop. Now I know what your thinking–Harvard?! But hip-hop is less than 50 years old, has introduced sampling to the general collective conscious, and has been a key factor in not only enabling people of all backgrounds to think critically about society, but also acting as a tool for minorities to offer a strong sense of community and an expression of life through the eyes of the silenced. The Hip Hop Archive & Research Institute and the W. E. B. Du Bois Research Institute will utilize the fellowship to bring in hip hop talent, fund projects, and allow the next generation of underprivileged poets to reach the pinnacle of academic achievement. It doesn’t stop there. In addition to helping pave the way for the next generation of hip-hop talent, Nas also wants to shake up the white and male-dominated tech sphere.

Nas isn’t alone in his assertion that Silicon Vally doesn’t have a diverse enough workplace–especially when you factor in that California is also one of the most diverse states in the country. Even Google admitted they needed to work on diversity when they released this report a few years ago. Then in 2014, the Internet services giant, along with Nas and software mainstay Microsoft, began collaboratively funding an initiative by The General Assembly (GA). The New York-based vocational program specializes in providing scholarships to underrepresented African Americans, Latinos and women that want to persuit a career in software engineering and web design. Pretty cool stuff Nas.

If you’re still unimpressed, Nas isn’t done giving back quite yet either. Nas will be hosting a free music festival for you New Yorkers this summer! In collaboration with his own Mass Appeal Magazine, Live At The BBQ will feature Ty Dolla $ign, DJ Shadow, Danny Brown, and Machine Gun Kelly.

IT’S IN LOVESPEAKE’S DNA
June 13, 2016 12:30 pm

If you like dancing, you’ll love Lovespeake. DNA, the Norwegian band’s debut album, seems tailor-made for listening to while swaying back and forth with a frozen margarita in your hand. Formed from members of angsty indie rock band Emma Eye Jedi, Lovespeake sounds like the night before the morning after.

ATYPICAL SOUNDS got to trade some emails with vocalist/guitarist Pav (Alexander Pavelich), and find out what’s good in the land of the midnight sun.

Congratulations on your debut album, DNA. Did you do anything special to celebrate?

Thanks! I actually went to London that week for some sessions and hung out with a bunch of friends from university. It was a blast!

Did you help come up with video ideas for the title track?

We worked closely with Ferdinand Film bouncing ideas back and forth. We really wanted to implement the colours and branding from our artwork. Our lead designer Jørn made the concept and created these giant painted boards that we used for our photoshoot, so we ended up using them in the video too. Rebecca, Christopher and the team over at Ferdinand Film did a great job coming up with the story and making it work with the music.

Do you prefer performing at large festivals, or in smaller (more intimate) clubs?

The more the merrier! I always find it easier to play for larger crowds, feeding off the energy they create… it’s the ultimate rush. The more energy we get from an audience, the better we play. But we go into every show with the same attitude: give those folks the time of their lives, and it doesn’t matter if it’s only 10 people! And even if 9 of those people are talking or not paying attention, you still need to give everything you’ve got to that one person who’s there to see YOU. I definitely like playing sweaty, intimate shows when there’s a passionate crowd, but there’s nothing like playing at a huge festival where you’re pretty much guaranteed a good audience.

What’s it like to be a band performing at a festival?

In our experience, artists usually have a nice area to hang out with sofas, snacks and drinks. Some festivals also arrange activities and excursions. It’s always fun to get to see the sights where you play…when you’re a broke musician the only time you really get to travel is when you’re on tour, haha! We’ve never toured on a bus before, but in any case we love meeting fellow artists and making new friends.

I think you’re the first band I’ve interviewed from Sandvika. What is the music scene like in Norway?

The Norwegian music scene is at an all-time high at the moment, thanks to the recent success from artists like Kygo, Aurora, Matoma, Alan Walker and Kvelertak. A lot of eyes are looking to Norway…There’s a lot of great new music emerging at the moment. I think actually Norway has the highest number of festivals per capita or something! There’s festivals everywhere, and my favorite festival has to be Malakoff.

What are your favorite local places to see live music?

In Oslo there are some great venues such as Parkteatret and Rockefeller. Good size and great sound.

Are there any Norwegian bands you feel deserve more attention?

Look out for up-and-coming artists like Ary, Carl Louis, Coucheron and Baya.

Your sound is often described as “psych pop.” Does that seem accurate to you?
I think there’s definitely some dreamy, psychedelic elements in the production and instrumentation to justify that term, but I’d say that a majority of the album’s emphasis lies more towards retro-electronic indie pop, blending in with feel-good disco and soul.

Do you listen to much disco, or music from the 70s?

Oh yeah! I grew up with that stuff.

Are there any albums from that time you can recommend to someone looking to expand their record collection?

I recently made a little Spotify-playlist with some of my favourite disco tracks! You can listen to it here:

Also, more 70s feel-good tracks that will definitely put you in a great mood for summer:

What are your plans for the rest of the year?

We’ll be releasing a few more singles, some music videos, and touring. First up is the UK in June, then a festival summer in Norway and booking a big album tour in the fall. We really hope to make it to the US soon. And I’ll also be writing some brand new music. Gotta keep going!

GET OUT AND DO512
March 9, 2016 5:45 pm

Hello, fellow party goers/people that love fun. As a New Yorker, there’s a multitude of places I can refer to to get a head’s up of what’s going on around town. This city is always hustling and bustling and because of that there is always something fun happening. For me, I have my personal stash of outlets like Thrillist, Eater, Gotham, and ILoveFreeConcerts for stuff like top margarita spots, best bottomless brunch, outdoor summer movies, and the list goes on and on.

In light of next week’s SXSW, we at ATYPICAL SOUNDS are highlighting one particular site that does for Austin what many great sites do for SXSW.

Do512.com is a site where you can find a high variety of different events to do in the 512 (Austin area code). The whole DoStuff Network has a plethora of other cities in its grasp; Do617 for Boston, Do312 Chicago, Do503 Portland and many others.

With categories like: Music, Comedy, Arts & Fashion, Happy Hours, Sports & Outdoors, Film and Food, the site manages to keep the citizens of Austin in a constant state of happy by promoting places where this kind of stuff can be revered.

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Austin is on the rise to a social utopia, breaking barriers in the past few years to become the hotspot it is now. It’s basically the Portland or Brooklyn of Texas. A city that people can look to as a place where art and business can flourish together.

And although we can’t put all the credit on SXSW, we also can’t ignore that the festival has done for Austin what Comic Con has done for San Diego.

In the Atypical Beasts spirit, this is one place that we revere because of their attitude. It is a city that stands for a place where your passion and your career can be one in the same.

Go to the site to check out some great, and cheap, places to go while you’re down there in Austin, as well as some great parties to keep your SXSW experience one to remember…or not remember.

MANSIONS ON THE MOON GET SHIT DONE
December 30, 2015 5:27 pm

In the music biz connections are your lifeline. No, that doesn’t mean you can’t establish yourself purely on the merits of your own raw talent or dedication to perfecting your craft. It’s just, competition is fierce. In a world saturated to the bursting point with MIDI laptop DJs and YouTube divas, it doesn’t hurt to know someone.

Mansions on the Moon are your textbook example of how to get it done. Back in 2011 they jumped on the festival-centric EDM hype train and rode it for the victory lap. Although they attracted an avid fan-base with their brand of hook-friendly synth pop, again, it doesn’t hurt to know someone.

Mansions are the collaboration between Pnuma Trio members Ben Hazlegrove on keys and Lane Shaw on drums, along with guitarist and singer-songwriter Ted Wendler. Pnuma Trio achieved a considerable following sharing stages with live music heavyweights such as String Cheese Incident, Disco Biscuits, and Michael Franti, eventually culminating with the release of 2007’s Character via Columbia. Upon forming Mansions in 2011, high-profile acts were eager to help the startup find their footing.  Again, it doesn’t hurt to know someone.

Their first release, Paradise Falls, was ‘presented’ by DJ Benzi and Diplo. The album is packed with collaborations from other notable names such as Xaphoon Jones of Chiddy Bang and Big Gigantic.  In 2012 the group followed up with another EP, Lightyears, this time teaming up with N*E*R*D.  Believe it or not, being produced by Pharrell Williams can dramatically boost your grade on the Hype-o-Meter.  Did I mention it doesn’t hurt to know someone?

In 2014 Mansions self-produced their Full Moon EP to commemorate their move to LA.  Most recently it seems Mansions has been someone dormant–while their Facebook page is rife with news of other EDM peers, very little recent actively can be accounted for other than a timely vinyl pressing of a few of their singles just in time for the holidays.

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.

SAY GIRL SAY SPEAKS AT CMJ
November 2, 2015 4:46 pm

Who knew there’d be a whole showcase dedicated to bands from Texas? CMJ was packed with delightful bands playing around the city, but the “Texas Takeover” at The Delancey was something that was worth checking out and helped me discover some bands outside of the local scene I’ve been stuck in lately. Even if you missed it, no worries! We got to speak to one of the talented bands, Say Girl Say, and hear what they had to say about music, tacos, and their bond to mother nature.
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How’s CMJ so far?

Suzan: SO COOL. We started off with the kick-off party at Pianos on Tuesday and then we played a private dinner party at the Chef Club.

Was it part of CMJ?

Suzan: No, not really, but it was really cool. It was like a Houston by New York mixer. So it was like Houston culture being introduced to New York. It was just us. There were a couple of chefs there from Houston that are pretty well known and got some really awesome food down there.

What’s your favorite food?

TACOOOOOOS(in unison). Straight up!

I thought you’d say BBQ!

Suzan: We’re known for that, but we’re vegetarian. But tacos…Breakfast tacos, lunch tacos. Put eggs, veggies, mushrooms, spinach, avocado, onion, red pepper, green pepper, jalapeno, sriracha!

So have you discovered any good taco places around New York?

Suzan: We stay away from that food when we’re here because we can have it when we go back home. We’ve had pizza and bagels- The food’s great here.

How did you guys get together as a band?

Suzan: Bridget and I worked at an environmental non-profit and we immediately clicked once we found out we love music and at the time I just learned how to play the ukulele and later on Bridget bought a ukulele and started playing infront of friends at open mics. There’s a local bar called the Avant Garden that we play at on Tuesday nights and that’s where Luke met us!

Luke: They were actually on stage when we walked in. I immediately flored at their voices and performance. Both these girls were singing into one microphone and they both had ukuleles and were playing it into the other microphone. It was funny, but I loved what I was hearing.

Bridget: It’s pretty DIY

And how many years ago was this?

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Luke: This was on October 10th, 2011.

Suzan: Wow, Luke remembers the date!

All this face paint- Tell me all about this tribal look you guys portray!

Suzan: So we have a lot of tribal rhythms in our music. Luke uses a lot of different instruments- jambes, tables, steel drums, so there’s a wide range of influences globally to our music. So yeah, the African beat man. We have a connection to mother nature, so we really like to look like we’re coming out of the dirt sometimes, like we’re growing out of the earth. And so the more face paint, the more raw it looks and closer we are to ourselves.

How would you describe your sound in one sentence?

Suzan: Let’s make it a long sentence. Indeginous free folk soul R&B world awesome. Everything we do is very organic. The way that we write music, so it’s really cool that technically we’re all just friends, and it’s awesome that brought us together. So we like to just sit down and mess around, constant jam sessions. That’s how we write music so we just produce what comes out in the moment. We channel our productivity. We feed off each other very well, very naturally.

Art Outside; The Festival Awaits
October 15, 2015 9:43 am

The festivities are about to begin! Art Outside is next weekend folks, October 22nd-25th. A four day camping festival just one hour outside of Austin. This festival includes music, performances, visual art and workshops to stimulate all of your senses. This is the 11th year and it is not cooling down! Well, the weather will be but nothing else! The fest has a close intimate feeling with guests and artists, and that’s something you just don’t get at other festivals here in ATX.

There are 4 stages with 83 sets starting Thursday and isn’t stopping till Sunday at midnight. The acts vary from electronic to rock n’ roll, folk to DJ sets to live performance art . Lettuce, Holding Space, Bonobo DJ set, Sangre Del Sol, Elephant Revival, Transcontinental Trip, Greensky Bluegrass, Golden Dawn Arkestra, Rising Appalachia and Papasido are just a few to start with! The list just doesn’t stop on the amazing acts that are about to happen. AOS fest has an amazing schedule set with music going on every day and every night till sunrise.

Live art is in the making all day. You can watch artists create their master pieces from start to finish as the weekend rolls through. The artists are set up all throughout the festival grounds surrounding stages, under trees and vending set up with pieces ready! You have the chance to meet artists personally and see their passion and creativity from hand to canvas. Featured Guests Artists include Michael & Violet Divine, Randal Roberts & Morgan Mandela, DELA, Zach Johnson, Andy Reed, Kengo, Ian Spencer, Bild, Norm4eva , Molly Gardner and Olive Love are going to be in the gallery with more TBA! Art Installations will be covering Apache Pass fest grounds by Christina Sporrong, Shrines, Christian Ristow, The Wooden Nickel Carnival, James Peterson and Michael Christian.

THERE IS A DIDGERIDOO WORKSHOP. How cool is that?! Who doesn’t want to learn the didgeridoo?! Just the name of it is something to spark interest. There is also acro yoga, essential oil mixing, permaculture 101 and a galactic portrait art class w/ DELA and more. There has been some talk of “laughing concentration circles” too. Hmmm.

You can think of it as “Austins’ Burning Man” without the harsh weather conditions. The festival is stimulating and interactive, there are so many things going on to see, do and experience. The music, art, food, workshops, interactive art pieces, camping, and vending are all kid-friendly and totally catered to the people and the artists. Those are just a few of the things to anticipate the experience of true expression.  TICKETS STILL ON SALE. Who knows what else is going to happen that they haven’t told us, —> hinting to you AOS! Can’t wait!!

Slip Into The Haze With Elliot Moss
August 3, 2015 9:00 am

Elliot Moss, 21 year-old New York native, has taken a big step into the world of electronic-indie this year. Earlier this spring we caught him opening for Cold War Kids and just recently, we were able to take a second look at his work during the Eaux Claires Music Festival in Eau Claire, WI. And with each performance, Moss expelled his ability to lull you into a deep haze of electronic wonder.

Luckily for us, we were able to chat with Moss and discover some of his favorite things about touring, and being a part of such historical and influential festival.

It’s the inaugural year of the Eaux Claires Music Festival, and many artists here are local. How does it feel to be a part of the line-up?

EM: I’m absolutely honored. Justin has thrown together something really gorgeous. It’s a wonder that this is the first time; you’d never know. It feels like it’s been going on for much longer.

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Being from New York, how do you feel the music scene differentiates from the mid west?

EM: Crowds seem different. They are both very cool, but they behave and react differently. For instance, there are sections of songs in New York where the audience remains focused, like the breakdown in “Faraday Cage.” Here, the crowd erupted during that bit! And it’s the other way around with some passages. It’s fascinating to see how people’s reactions differ from stage to stage.

With the differentiation in crowds, do you see playing in one region more enjoyable?

EM: I wouldn’t say I have a favorite, it’s the combined experiences of all these places that make a tour fulfilling.

You’ve been touring a lot this year, how’s it been going so far? Are you enjoying it?

EM: It’s been really nice, honestly this is my favorite thing. You have no excuse not to be productive when you’ve got so much “van time” on your hands. I spend most of it working on pieces of tunes, mixing, and writing lyrics. The shows have been so much fun. I’ve gotten to see many of these cities for the first time this year (Eau Claire being one of them) and meet a lot of great people.

The last question I always ask every artist is if you could describe your music in one word, what would you say?

EM: In a way it’s cinematic, I try to make things into a movie. So I guess, I would have to say “Movie”? I would like everyone to close his or her eyes and picture a continuous movie.

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I dare you all to close your eyes and listen to Moss’ latest release “Highspeeds” and catch their set on tour with Wild Child this fall. The chilled out vibes that fall so closely to fan favorite Chet Faker will not disappoint, and will keep you wishing for more.

So. What will your hazy movie look like?

The Hottest New Music Festival: Eaux Claires
July 23, 2015 9:00 pm

I’d have to say the past weekend at the Eaux Claires music festival in Eau Claire, WI was influential at best. Rivaling with the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago, IL, Justin Vernon and Aaron Dessner (of The National) co-curated the most tasteful celebration of music I’ve seen thus far. The fans were kind, the music was serene, and the wooded surroundings of Wisconsin were perfect. It was almost as if we were not at a festival but at an intimate concert in Justin Vernon’s own backyard.

There were no over the top celebrity inspired fashions, no obnoxious showcases of intoxication by the fans, just an overall appreciation towards the hardworking artists taking the stage. Although not all artists took the stage in complete confidence, each brilliantly professed their awe of the family they brought to their home territory of the mid-west.

The two-day camping festival was kicked off on Thursday evening by special performances at the main campsites stage. Appearances by Haley Bonar and female lead of Sylvan Esso graced the stage with local bluegrass groups to welcome in guests. The camp grounds were muddy, some sites even flooded, but the campers went on without a care in the world, appreciative of the excellence that was about to come.

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The Lone Bellow @ Eaux Claires

Day one was a collection of folk and bluegrass, gracing each stage with an unrenowned presence. The Lone Bellow and Field Report shone through as a shining starts to the day while interacting with the crowd, keeping their positive energy up to kick start through the afternoon.

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The Staves at Eaux Claires

Of the other shining performances before the “headliners” hit the stage were The Staves, a sister trio from the UK. This talented trio took control of the crowd, wooing each and every one of us with the brooding tracks for their latest album If I Was, produced by none other than Justin Vernon himself. Vernon’s overall influence to the group’s sound could not fall unseen, and we were graced with their presence yet again on Saturday with a guest appearance during the Bon Iver set.

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Doomtree at Eaux Claires

Keeping up the pace of the day was Minneapolis based, Doomtree, one of the only hip-hop groups amongst the weekend’s lineup. The 7-person collective raged across the stage. Each artist with their own individual spotlighted segment, while the remainder of the group echoed in the background. The set kept the all-ages crowd dancing and was definitely one of the best performances of the afternoon. Catching up with lead vocalist, Sims, we asked how their collective group differentiates themselves in the massive music scene. He said, “We do us, be natural, be authentic to ourselves, and tell our story honestly,” and looking back, that statement helped perfectly define the overarching theme of the festival.

 

Rounding out the rest of the day were performances by the major music players, Spoon and The National.

Spoon continued on with a repeat performance from previous festivals of the season. Only difference was a guest dance spotlight by Har Mar Superstar of Minnesota.

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Spoon with Har Mar at Eaux Claires

The winning performance of day one was undoubtedly by The National. Off to a shaky start (presumably due to the inebriation of the lead vocalist), Matt Berninger slurs through the first few lines of “Don’t Swallow the Cap” and tells the band to stop. “We can’t fuck up the first song. Let’s start over,” he yells to the group, and the show continues. As the set progresses each and every song hits you with emotion. The heartfelt words streaming from Berninger’s mouth fade into the starry night and the crowd erupts with excitement. Special guests Sufjan Stevens, and Justin Vernon dance on and off the stage, with little introduction, but a very noticeable presence both physically and vocally. We end the night with Berninger running into the crowd, walking 100 feet in and floating his way back up to the stage to exit after The National’s 15-minute encore.

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The National at Eaux Claires

For the last few moments of Friday night, festivalgoers had two choices. Marijuana Deathsquads and Boys Noize or Frances and the Lights and the premiere of PHOX’s self produced film. Each entirely different, but both a strong representation of what the festival was, an eclectic collection of artists. Watching the PHOX film premiere the audience was introduced to the quirky Wisconsin band, understanding where they came from and how they’ve gotten to where they are today.

 

Starting out the sets for day two was Elliot Moss, one of the few non-mid western artists of the lineup. The New York native drew a significant crowd for the time slot and wasted no time in sharing his excitement and gratitude for being a part of such a historical moment of the festival.

Progressing into the afternoon we watched as Haley Bonar captivated the crowd with her happy-go-lucky mix of tracks. She as well voiced her opinion of the festival and stated, “it’s our turn to show the United States what the Mid-West is made of.”

Other outstanding performances of the afternoon were by S. Carey (supporting vocalist of Bon Iver) and Aero Flynn with a special appearance by Justin Vernon.

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Tallest Man on Earth at Eaux Claires

Afterwards, PHOX took the afternoon by surprise with an emotional and heartwarming set. Almost a year prior to the Eaux Claires festival, PHOX had finished recording their debut self-titled album at April Base in Eau Claire, WI. Seeing the support of their family and fans before them flustered lead vocalist Monica Martin, in the most flattering of sorts. They continued on in their set, with silent whispers amongst the band mates. They never knew they would get this far, and gracefully thanked the crowd for all the support over the past couple of years.

Playing directly opposite of PHOX was Minneapolis native, Polica. Lead vocalist Channy Leaneagh killed the set in the excessive heat, although being visibly pregnant. It was impressive to say the least, and definitely a performance worth watching.

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Tallest Man on Earth at Eaux Claires

Following these remarkable performances was North Carolina duo, Sylvan Esso. The dance moves were weird, the sound was impeccable and again, the appreciation of such celebration of music was vocalized. This duo has been one of the most scheduled festival artists of the year, already playing at everything from Coachella to Bonnaroo, and still awaiting performances at 5 additional festivals before the end of 2015; they are about to see it all. And even with that said, it was made clear this festival was unlike any other.

The last couple hours of day two was what we had had come to Wisconsin for; the headlining sets from Sufjan Stevens and Bon Iver, who had come off from a 3-year hiatus of touring.

As expected, Sufjan did not, and could not disappoint. He referenced the weekend as a “48 hour episode of My Little Pony” and carried through his set inserting small sarcastic anecdotes. His airy, calming voice hypnotized the crowd. Sending chills with his performances from his latest album Carrie and Lowell and throwbacks from 2005 hit record, Illinois.

The National at Eaux Claires

The National at Eaux Claires

As the night finished, Bon Iver closed out with the most stunning of performances, bringing yMusic and The Staves to the stage for some of the weekends’ best collaborations. Among the set, the band debuted two new untitled songs, both being a bit more upbeat and synthed than that of previous Bon Iver sounds, but also both being exactly was Bon Iver fans all over the world were craving. Bon Iver was back from hiatus, and we couldn’t be more excited for the new songs that are yet to come. Closing the festival, Vernon expressed his thanks to all the artists who attended and performed. His words were sincere and he proclaimed that the most important thing to have is friendship, as none of this would have been possible without the support and friendship of the people surrounding him.

Looking at the full picture, the Eaux Claires Festival was a weekend of collaboration. The No BS! Brass Band popped up in multiple sets throughout the weekend, regardless of genre and Justin Vernon himself dropped into multiple sets when least expected. It was truly more than a just collection of performances. In these woods of Wisconsin, we celebrated the talent, and extracted the true artistry behind the music itself. We look forward to watching this festival flourish in the upcoming years.

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Art Installation at Eaux Claires

 

No Socks for Priory at Governor’s Ball
June 17, 2015 2:48 pm

First day of Governor’s Ball 2015, I started my day with electro-pop band Priory. You might know them from their hit songs “The Weekend” or “Put Em Up,” the perfect summer tunes that keep you on that weekend flow. If you haven’t heard it yet, check it out here:

They were probably the best band to kick off Friday by getting everyone in the mood for ‘The Weekend.’ Despite the rain, Brandon Rush and Kyle Sears didn’t fail to energize the crowd.

I had a chance to ask Brandon a few questions about the band:

I heard you guys were pursuing different careers. How did you end up forming a band?

Kyle was working with special needs kids at a nonprofit and I had a business as a Farrier shoeing horses in the Northwest. We got together, started writing music in my basement and within a couple weeks we had the foundation and turned out to be a first record. We toured on that record for a couple years before deciding and that we were not completely happy with the sound we had made. We had been growing a lot on the road and decided that we needed to lock ourselves away and really work hard on an album if we were ever going to do this for real. We quit our day jobs, built a recording studio in an old cement building in Portland and wrote the record, Need to Know.

I think a lot of people know you from the song The Weekend. Do you think that song summarizes your sound? Is it your favorite song?

We wrote that song really fast. I don’t think it encapsulates us, or our sound, by any means. I do like that I was able to reference the dictatorship of the proletariat and still get it played on top 40 radio.

What were you inspired by when you guys wrote The Weekend?

The song is about being frustrated in life and acting out. It’s more or less a working-class anthem.

You guys used to be with an Independent label, and now you’re with Warner Brother’s. What’s changed? 

We have a really good relationship with our major right now. It’s great having fun and people that actually care about your music. Couldn’t imagine a better situation.

Have you guys attended music festivals in the past as an audience? What’s your favorite part about festivals?

I like the festivals like Bonnaroo. You get to camp, you go hard, stay up with your buddies until the wee hours of the morning and then wake up and do again.

Favorite drink to bring onstage?

Big Ben IPA, but any libation will do.

I heard you guys are big on fashion. Is there a particular way you like to dress onstage? 

Yeah we like clothes. I don’t know yet what we will wear at Govball, I kind of packed light this go-round. Definitely no socks though.

Stay tuned for their new video for ‘Put Em Up’ that should be coming out VERY SOON!