governors ball

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.

Traveling Time and Space with DMA’s
August 1, 2015 9:00 am

Do you miss the 90’s? Do you miss brushing your barbie’s hair while listening to the Spice Girls? Well DMA’s is nothing like that! In fact, they’re more likely to dropkick you in the face, steal your barbies and rip their heads off! They are, however, a radical brit-pop revival act (think Oasis with a Blur ‘Song 2’ days attitude) which happened to roll through New York City’s Mercury Lounge this past Wednesday night. The room was packed for a mid-week show, perhaps due to their recent slot at Governor’s Ball. Naturally, there was no shortage of Aussie accents in attendance. These mates from Down Under have serious swagger on stage; larger than life attitude. Somehow, it all ties in well to the sensitive guitar-driven songs they’re playing. With all the touring and festivals they’ve been doing it seems they have their set down to the T, encore and all.

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The band formed in Sydney, Australia as the bedroom project of three best friends, each a respective singer/songwriter and band member in his own right. With a stockpile of recordings, DMA’s released their single “Delete” in February of 2014 along with a home made video. The song blew up almost

imagesinstantly gaining them national recognition. Shortly after, they released their debut self titled EP through I OH YOU and hit the touring circuit. With a recent American release, and a full LP in the works, Mercury Lounge was just one stop on the boys’ International tour. Next stop, Chicago.

As a kid who spent most of the 90’s growing up in Australia, this band had me reveling in all my boyhood glory. Be sure to check out DMA’s in the near future, as they expertly archive one of the greatest periods in rock and roll history.

Streets of Laredo: The Kiwis of Bushwick
July 8, 2015 11:32 am

There’s something about indie folk music that makes it the perfect summer tune while you’re laying on the grass enjoying the nice weather. Streets of Laredo is a Brooklyn based band that makes you want to do exactly that while forgetting all about your problems for a few sweet moments. Their Governor’s Ball Music Festival debut officially marked their 3rd year anniversary in Brooklyn after moving from New Zealand as a three piece. “Me, my brother, his wife were a three piece for a little while and we kind of gathered members as we went on. They picked up a few more players over a couple of years to make the band “more legitimate.”

You might be thinking, why would anybody think of leaving such a beautiful country and move to Brooklyn? “I think we’ve all been in bands and we’ve all been doing music back in New Zealand. We wanted change and wanted to challenge ourselves. Throw ourselves into a big pond.” Dan continues talking about how much of a tight community it is, and that it’s a great place for musicians. “I think it kind of helps musicians to be in that culture and create relationships/friendships. LA is really different. Its cool and all but it’s not so closely knit. The music scene here in Brooklyn – there’s so many bands, so many venues, so many bands kind of doing stuff here and there. And we kind of wanted to put ourselves in the middle of it.”

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Moving somewhere halfway around the world, I expected they must have experienced some sort of culture shock or been through some struggle adjusting to the American environment. “It was really hard to order a bagel because nobody understood my accent! I would go to the deli in Bushwick and the guy just didn’t understand me. I literally just had to say bagel so many times and change the way I pronounced it. Sometimes I’ll get something a little different, but I just go along with it. You probably still can’t understand me. [laughs]”

Their performance at Governors Ball was sensational and perfect to start off my festival groove. Though they haven’t had many previous experiences of playing on such a big stage, they seemed calm, collected, and very experienced. “Man, I’ve just always wanted to play it so it was a highlight. It was a highlight for the whole band and we were so honored and humbled to be a part of the bill!”

With such talent and great musicianship, I feel as though they don’t get as much attention as they should. I go on and ask Dan about how they started getting into music. “My mom was the musician of the family who was in a women’s choir group, so she’d play guitar and sing. She would teach me how to harmonize, which was really annoying. She would pick me up after school and play choir tapes in the car and she’d make me sing along. Sometimes I’d have a friend in the car and my mom would be singing. That was embarrassing. I joined choir for a little bit but it wasn’t for me. It was a big melting pot of music. There was a lot of music around me growing up.”

Their latest EP was released in two parts last fall which outlines a narrative story of their musical journey, and their struggles of moving to a new environment. “The songs are about all of us in the process of moving here and living here for a couple of months. Then we recorded the records over in New Zealand. There’s this sort of really strong narrative adventure, missing home, and the tough emotion we used to be in especially forming a band.” Their EP cover with two dear heads fighting each other also illustrates their blood, sweat and tears. “We met a really great artist in New Zealand, Alexandra. I think she called it struggle or something, and we really liked the visual of two dears struggling. It’s that kind of narrative of struggle, triumph and heartache, and things like that really kind of buried the songs individually.”

They recently released a new song “Diamonds” so be sure to check it out!

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.

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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.

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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.

No Socks for Priory at Governor’s Ball
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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!

 

A Few Things You Missed at Governor’s Ball Day 3
June 16, 2015 5:40 pm

Last year was the first time I’ve been to Governor’s Ball Music Festival and I had the time of my life, so this year my expectations were pretty high. I’ve been looking forward to this big day for months since I purchased my ticket in February, and it’s finally come. It’s a time where we get to watch our favorite musicians perform live, rage with our friends, eat amazing food, and exhaust ourselves from dancing way too hard.

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The weather this year wasn’t as great with some rain here and there during the first two days, but luckily the weather was on our side on Sunday. The last day of the festival had finally come and I was heartbroken that the past two days had already flown by so quickly. Despite the fact that I was exhausted from the first two days running around and constantly being on my feet, I wasn’t quite ready for this day to end.

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I started the day with Streets of Laredo, a Brooklyn based indie folk band at the big GovBallNYC stage. They have a clear cut acoustic sound that’s perfect during the daytime when people are laying out on the grass.

I went over to the other side of the park afterwards to catch Australian band DMA’s rocking out at the Big Apple Stage. I fell in love with them after listening to ‘Laced,’ which had somewhat of a nostalgic sound that reminded me of Green Day or Oasis.

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Echosmith was right after DMA’s so I ran back to the main stage. During their set, they invited two lucky fans to get up on stage and “dance like they’re in love.” ’Cool Kids’ was my ultimate summer jam last year, so I didn’t want to miss out on them. The lead singer Jamie said some pretty inspirational quotes during that song about how we should accept ourselves for who we are and who we aren’t. You go girl!

The band I’ve been looking forward to most was Tame Impala, so I decided to wait 45 minutes before their set to get a good spot for the show. Their music was very soothing with the help of some trippy graphics going on in the back. You could tell that a lot of people were pretty ‘baked’ and having a good time dancing to their vibrating tunes.

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There’s something about Big Gigantic that just makes you want to get up and dance, even if your feet are dying from all the walking. The sounds of the trumpet and saxophone kept me going, and got me excited when fire emerged out of the stage!

Hot Chip knows how to keep the crowd going, because everybody…I mean, EVERYBODY was raising their hands and dancing the night away.

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dont worry beyonce

By the time Lana Del Rey and The Black Keys started playing, I was pretty exhausted and the post-concert-blues were slowly creeping up on me. Being a fan of both artists, I went back and forth to check both of them out. Even though I was physically drained, my friends and I powered through until the end of the festival. Thank you Governor’s Ball for yet another successful year – the Beasts hope to see you again next year!

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