florence and the machine

BLOOD ORANGE’S FREETOWN SOUND
August 23, 2016 11:26 am

 

Blood Orange is fucking awesome. Like his namesake citrus, Dev Hynes’ newest album Freetown Sound is a delicious mix of sweet and sour, oscillating between phat beats/enduring hooks and raw frustration/societal truth.

Dev Hynes began his musical career as a member of The Test Icicles, after moving to London from his home in Edinburgh, Scotland to attend art school. He released his first Blood Orange album, Coastal Grooves, in 2011 and has since worked as a songwriter for an increasingly impressive series of artists: Theophilus London, Florence + The Machine, Solange Knowles, Sky Ferreira, Foals, and Britney Spears, to name a few. His chillwave core has taken on 80’s and 90’s influences over time, and his message has become decidedly more political.

Sometimes refreshingly calm, sometimes painfully poignant, Freetown Sound has struck a keen balance between what people today want to hear and what they need to hear. It’s smooth, angry, sexy and frustrated, but never ambivalent or verbose. It’s cool and clear, crisp and modern, but also intense and passionate and vivid and timeless. It’s about racism. It’s about sexism. It’s about religion. It doesn’t mince words addressing these sensitive issues truly and directly, and it couldn’t possibly be more relevant to the modern zeitgeist. This is what we need to be talking about, and Blood Orange is doing it’s damnedest to get the conversation moving. All you have to do is go listen to the music.

Glad to see someone as awesome as he is addressing what really matters in the world today.

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.

latitude-festival

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?

The Beast Recap of Bonnaroo 2015
June 23, 2015 4:56 pm

Every year, tens of thousands of festival lovers (to the heights of 80,000 to be exact) travel to Manchester, TN for one of America’s most well know festivals, Bonnaroo. This music and arts festival has a whirlwind of opportunities for its festival-goers, going way beyond the music itself. From the hammock haven found in the shadows of the only trees of the campgrounds, to the comedy tent hidden inside Centeroo, there is constant activity to please all likings. But with 125+ artists across 8 stages (including the silent disco) how can one decide their destiny in this 4-day chose-your-own-adventure festival? Here’s the run-down of what we saw, what we learned, and why we will ALWAYS be the first ones buying our tickets to Bonnaroo.

THURSDAY: DAY 1

BONNAROO ALABAMA SHAKES

First day on the farm is of course overwhelming. The campground is slowing filling, the Bonnarovians (the official name given to the inhabitants of the farm) are out and about and exploring what greatness this festival is about to provide for the next 4 days. Not to mention the spectacular line up in which Bonnaroo did not feel shy.

BONNAROO TEMPLES

Starting out our line up for the festival, we saw Temples. Their lights and 70’s inspired melodies (and hair) revved the crowd in preparation for the balance of the evening on the highly anticipated first day. Playing each of our favorites, Temples rocked their golden hour, and left us wishing they would play Shelter over and over again as the sound reverberated throughout the packed tent.

BONNAROO CENTEROO

Through the rest of the evening, we moved from space to space and were able to catch hints of The Growlers and Glass Animals, both pulling impressive crowds for a not yet fully populated festival. Courtney Barnett however, stole our attention as her femme fatal rock played into the crowd. Of course she played our favorite hits, History Eraser and Pedestrian at Best, and the crowd agreed with our taste as they screamed out the lyrics and swatted at the copious amounts of balloons soaring through the air. At this point, we couldn’t get enough of her kick ass energy and were left feeling ferocious and ready to be the next female ruler.

As the night continued, you would have to say that Mac Demarco and his trio of equally weird bandmates took the cake when they trekked all the way to Tennessee to camp in the excessive heat. Demarco proceeded to introduce each song with his famously creepy voice, like the one your parents told you to always run away from, while alternatively swooning the crowd with his latest hits; Salad Days, Blue Boy, and Freaking Out the Neighborhood being the stand out songs of the set. And just to top their night off, Demarco and band claimed to be on a mission to set the world record for the most crowd members on top of other crowd member’s shoulders. Like any beast would, I hopped onto of my neighbor’s shoulders to join in on the mission for Demarco’s claim to fame.

FRIDAY: DAY 2

BONNAROO BELLE AND SEBASTIAN

Day 2 on the farm welcomed us with a wave of heat, promptly at 7:30AM, and the only cure was to explore the vast campground and accompanying art scene. As mentioned before, the farm offers their Bonnarovians a hammock haven hidden in the only natural shade found on the festival grounds – but you better claim your hammock early, because they were a hot commodity (pun intended). Through the hammocks, we found tables for crafts. Yes crafts. All materials needed for bedazzling the official shoe of Bonnaroo, the Teva sandal. But if arts and crafts weren’t your jam, Centeroo offered a variety of art venders spanning from unique, one-of-a-kind prints, to specialized body art drawing.

BONNAROO CROWD

As the heat (sort of) let up, our impatience got the best of us and we headed off to the tents to start the day. Opening our lineup for the afternoon was Rustie, the Scottish electronic artist from Glasgow. His instrumental mix between electronic and hip-hop electrified the crowd as they jumped to each beat in unintentional synchronized fashion. A crowd pleaser to the max, he gave a performance that goes to show the variety of electronic we’ve come to recognize within the past couple of years. To keep the electro buzz strong, Unknown Mortal Orchestra hit our next chord as they overflowed the tent pleasing us with old hits and ending strong with one of their latest (and excellent) releases, Can’t Keep Checking My Phone.

BONNAROO PHOX 2

The show stopper of the day was of course, Alabama Shakes. Lead singer Brittney Howard owned the stage immediately as she stepped foot into the crowd’s sight. Playing hits from their latest album, Sound and Color, Alabama Shakes could not disappoint, and their appreciation of the massive crowd presence did not fall unseen. Mid performance, Howard pauses, “I don’t even know what to say,” as she scans the crowd in amazement. After a long silence and a soulful sigh, she proceeds with “thank you. Now we can move on” and continues the set to play everything, but their original hit Hold On.

The rest of Day 2 was spent idolizing our past, listening to Tears for Fears and replaying Donnie Darko over and over in our heads. Standing behind the crowd you couldn’t tell what was clearer, the band’s voices or the crowd belting out Everyone Wants to Rule the World.

SATURDAY: DAY 3

BONNAROO PHOX 1

The third day of Bonnaroo was by far the most loaded of the weekend. (So many artists, with so few hours in the day.) Being the mid west gal that I am, seeing PHOX was first on our list. Having the chance to see a familiar face on stage was a breath of fresh air, just like the band itself. The eclectic group, made up of lead singer Monica Martin along with 5 other Baraboo, Wisconsin friends, I like to label as a mix between Beirut, Alabama Shakes and Amy Winehouse. Their soulful sound and quirky character gives a whole new take on indie pop. After their performance, with a special cover of Blink 182’s I Miss You, I was able to sit down with Ms. Martin and uncover her thoughts on Bonnaroo and festival life itself.

BONNAROO MONICA INTERVIEW

You guys have played at so many festivals this year, so far what has been your favorite?

Sasquatch is perfect, Newport Folk Festival is perfect, Coachella is a whole different animal and it’s a scary one to me but I also acknowledge that people really get into it.

And how do you feel about Bonnaroo?

Oh right, I should talk about this one. It’s great, it’s really really great. I like it.

Since you’re not able to hang out long, what artists are you most disappointed to miss?

Not just because he’s sitting right here, but Shakey Graves. I would love to see them play. I’m also sad that we’re missing Bahamas, they’re great. But we are playing a one off show with them soon, so I’m excited for that. Umm, D’Angelo. I really wish I could see D’Angelo. I mean who I really wanted to see I got to see and that was Kendrick Lamar last night.

Oh so you guys stayed last night, did you camp?

I did, I stayed, I camped! That was weird. That was a new experience.

Camping can be sort of terrible.

It’s a thing. It was weird. Part of me would rather just go camping.

OK, and one last question- If you could describe PHOX in three words what would it be?

Oh man. Three words. Confused eighth grader. I would elaborate more, but I’ve only got three words.

BONNAROO TRAMPLED BY TURTLES

As Monica and I parted ways, Atypical Sounds kept up on the folk inspired trend and watched Woods, the folk rock band from Brooklyn take over the tent and wow the crowd with Shepherd and Moving to the Left from their latest album ‘With Light and Love’. From there we saw Trampled by Turtles (another mid west favorite) lure in the crowd at the main stage, and we danced away the afternoon to the feet tapping, head bobbing blue grass perfection.

Changing gears for the balance of the afternoon to some synth-pop, we had the chance to catch Phoebe Ryan at her first ever performance at Bonnaroo. Playing at the smallest of the spaces Ms. Ryan surely did not disappoint as she owned the stage and kept the crowd singing along with her biggest hit Ignition/Do You.. (Mashup). Later in the weekend we had the opportunity to sit down with Ryan and talk about her latest EP released Tuesday, June 9th , and her thoughts on her very first performance at the farm.

BONNAROO PHOEBE RYAN 2

You released your first EP last week. How does it feel to have all that hard work finally out there?

It feels amazing! It’s literally been a year in the making. A year ago I flew down to Nashville for the summer and started writing the EP, and now here I am back in Tennesee. It’s mind-blowing.

BONNAROO PHOEBE RYAN INTERVIEW

This is your first year at Bonnaroo! How did you feel?

I love it. The vibes are so great, people are getting weird here, I love it

There is definitely a little bit of everything here!

Yea it’s wild, I’m a supporter! A supporter of the weirdness.

Have you been able to see any other performances while you’re here?

I haven’t been able to see as many as I wanted to, but I did get to catch Tove Lo’s set and I saw my friend Kevin Garrett. It’s been pretty great.

Anyone you regret not being able to see?

Haha everyone! Everyone is so cool, I wish I had more time to observe.

We definitely will keep an eye out for Ryan as she’s working on a new album this summer and just released a new single, We Won’t, with Jaymes Young. We are pretty sure that although her set at Bonnaroo was killer, the best is definitely yet to come.

Another indie-pop band that grabbed our attention was Belle and Sebastian. Their happy-go-lucky sound gave the crowd an extra jump of energy on the day, and when we least expected, lead Stuart Murdoch hopped onto the corner amp to shout out his jealousy that in the comedy tent, someone was fed fake gummy bears by a celebrity. His dreams came true (and so did ours) when Jon Hamm waltzed onto the stage to fulfill Murdoch’s fantasy.

The balance of the evening was overtaken by Childish Gambino, playing a variety of hip-hop and soulful power ballads. From was the EDM take over, where Bassnectar lit up the sky with glow stick showers and Flume defined the perfect ending for Bonnaroo Day 3 by playing our favorites Sleepless and Insane and ensuring we dance until the sun comes up on the final and last day of our festival adventure.

BONNAROO CHILDISH GAMBINOBONNAROO CHILDISH GAMBINO

SUNDAY: Day 4

The 4th and final day of Bonnaroo. We never thought it would come, nor did we ever want it to. It had been a long hot week and the perfect remedy was to lay low; our blanket game was on point.

Starting out our day we basked in the sun for Spoon. Lead singer and guitarist Britt Daniel captivated the crowd starting the set with old time classics, like The Way We Get By. The band continued to play from their newest album ‘They Want My Soul’ as they threw in old time favorites and ended the set with I Turn My Camera On.

To continue the lounging experience of the day, we sat through parts of Punch Brothers, and Florence and the Machine (knowing she would have an amazing performance after watching her glide across the stage this past Governor’s Ball). We caught Florence just in time to bring a guest from the crowd to the stage (as she had done for past sets), and to get chased by her own security as she continuously ran through the open areas of the venue. Surprisingly quick for having just recently broken her ankle at Coachella this past spring.

A highlight of our evening was Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters. As a music community we’ve grown to love Robert Plant from his role as lead singer of Led Zeppelin, and although he’s at the age of 66, Plant still fully understands how to rock and roll with his crowd. We sang along and watched from afar as Plant played some of Zeppelin’s best hits, which unfortunately did not include Stairway to Heaven.

As all good things must end, it came to be this sad time for Bonnaroo. One last artist and our 4-day adventure was over. We had highly anticipated this performance as not only was Billy Joel the only set of the night, but was also was slotted for a magical 2 and half hours. At the age 66, this New York native vocally amazed us. The field was filled with Bonnaroovians of all sorts and all ages, but somehow Billy Joel pulled everyone together to appreciate these last few moments. Joel played his classic hits, Piano Man, Uptown Girl, and We Didn’t Start the Fire, although we had secretly hoped Vienna would grace the set list. The disappointment set in early, when Joel walked off the stage at 10:15pm, only to be followed by a 20 minute encore and confusing delay before fireworks (his set time was slated for 9pm-11:30pm). Do we wish he played longer, of course. But was this early ending a blessing in disguise, absolutely.

Bonnarovians slowly left Centeroo, forming a mass of walking zombies as they all made their way back to their camps to either pack or pass out before the long (or short) journey home the next day. Despite the heat, and the massive crowds, Bonnaroo holds a dear place in our hearts. It’s not until after you leave, that you realize life on the farm is (debatably) better than life in reality itself.

BONNAROO RADIATE POSITIVITY

BONNAROO THAT TENT

BONNAROO THE GROWLERS

Governors Ball 2015 Rocked NYC
June 17, 2015 7:43 pm

Governors Ball kicked off on Randall’s Island last weekend, bringing back the best outdoor music festival in New York, and my personal favorite time of year. Although the sky was filled with clouds letting down a light drizzle, droves of music fans continued on their quest across the RFK Triborough bridge in search of the booming music that could be heard all the way in Harlem. The bridge offered a sneaking glimpse of the Main Stage while walking towards the festival grounds, empty beer cans and bottles littered about on the way, the first sign of the free wielding party atmosphere that Governors Ball always delivers on.

The first act I encountered was GorgonCity, who brought an intense energy to the Gotham tent. The crowd bounced up and down with their hands in the air as they played their biggest single to date (and a new personal favorite) “Ready for Your Love.”

Charlie XCX delivered a powerful performance on the Honda stage, proving herself as one of the most intriguing pop artists today. While most artists would be happy to let their background dancers carry the show, Charlie matched her vocal prowess with some amazing dances moves, even rapping Iggy Azalea’s verse in “Fancy.” Charlie closed the set out with an excellent version of “Boom Clap” which had the crowd singing along to every word, but ended on an even more powerful moment, asking the crowd to join her in a feminist call for recognition of “pussy power.”

Chromeo came back to GovBall for a second time, this time blasting songs out from the main stage. They played their newest songs before breaking into a Vampire Weekend cover, teasing the crowd before delivering the full thing. They then broke into “Bonafied Lovin”, moving the crowd with their sweet beats under the hot summer sun. The undeniable party anthem “2 Step” followed, leading the crowd to a 2 step dance party at the end of their set.

The crowd for Odesza swarmed out of the Gotham tent late in the afternoon, spilling into the field behind it as their booming beats flowed out. A cloud of smoky haze arose as the set continued and they played their hits “Say My Name” and “All We Need.”

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The nostalgia crowd for Death from above 1979 was thin at this years Governors Ball, not matching last years turn out for The Strokes.  But despite this, Sebastian Grainger and Jesse Keeler continued to pummel their instruments, unleashing a sonic barrage across the crowd.

The backdrop of the stage shimmered in the wind as Florence + the Machine took the stage, the sun setting to the right of the stage, making for a perfect setting for an epic festival set. The band started the set with “What the Water Gave Me,” an apt choice as the Hudson River quietly flowed to the right of the main stage. Florence took time between each song to tell the crowd how excited she was to be there, mentioning how she was actually performing with a broken foot, but you could never tell the way she ran and danced around the stage. A Buzz Lightyear ballon took off over the crowd as they broke into their third song “Shake It Out,” the stage lights holding the audience captive in a way they haven’t all day. By the fifth song, every chorus was an endless call and response from the crowd, like hits “Sweet Nothing” and “How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful.” Florence stopped for a moment when she saw an audience member holding up a handmade sign asking for a “hug?,”  quickly replying “crowd surf up here and you can get your hug!” A girl in a purple dress instantly floated over the crowd, taking the stage to collect her hug from each member of the band, awestruck as she did it. It was this happy atmosphere that the band held through the entire set that made this one of the best shows of the evening, when they ended their set with a rousing version of “The Dog Days Are Over.”

St. Vincent drowned the crowd in the thick reverb of her guitar at the Big Apple, showcasing her skill as one of the heaviest players in rock music currently. Synchronized dancers blast off 80’s inspired dance moves behind her, adding to her rock aesthetic. Throwing her guitar into the crowd on the last song, the excellent “Krokodil,” St. Vincent showed off her punk rock side.

My morning Jacket
My Morning Jacket
played to an ecstatic crowd, delivering their pure guitar driven rock against the dark night sky. Looking like a cross between Allan Ward and Jimi Hendrix, lead singer Jim James picked away at his guitar precisely, performing a medley of the bands greatest hits including “Big Decisions,” “Compound Fracture,” and ending the set with a excellent version of “One Big Holiday.


Drake
hit the stage to the opening beats of “Legend” off of his new album, working from the moment of his headlining set to cement his legacy at Governors Ball. The stage was decorated in a jungle theme, pulled directly from his recent tour with Future, who had performed earlier in the day. With an unbound confidence, Drizzy ran through a setlist of his greatest hits, including “Crew Love,” “The Motto,” and “HYFR.” He even took time to turn the lyrics of his songs to reflect New York City, calling out “all those Brooklyn girls who like to take it slow.” Hopefully he makes good on his teaser of an OVO Festival in New York City sometime soon.

Drake

Overall the festival was more crowded and fast paced than last year, barely giving the audience a second to catch their breath before the cant-miss performances from some of the biggest names in music. with additional art installations and plenty of spaces to find a wide array of food and an easy place to use the bathroom, GovBall continues to prove itself as one of the best festivals in the country, providing a comprehensive festival experience while just across the river from the nonstop grind of Manhattan.