music festival

JESSE MAC CORMACK: NEVER ENOUGH
August 16, 2016 8:20 am

 

Montreal native Jesse Mac Cormack recently toured the US with Half Moon Run and played shows around Europe with Patrick Watson, Cat Power, and The Barr Brothers. Now he’s getting ready to release his new EP, After The Glow, on September 16th (my birthday!).

Have a listen to “Never Enough”, the first single off the EP, while you read up on what Jesse thinks of recording at home, his French roots, and staying sane while on tour.

As you’re becoming more well known outside of your hometown of Montreal, what would you like people to know about you if they’re new to your music?

I do what I do without pretension and I don’t expect anyone to love me. I’m just a musician.

I’ve heard you record all of your music in your home studio. Is it a convenience thing, or is it because of the intimacy a setup like that can offer?

I’m very at ease at home, I got everything I need and I love producing music. I don’t see why I would go to a studio and pay to record. The clock is never ticking at home as well, that’s a big advantage.

Many of your Facebook posts are in French. Is it important for you to retain that piece of culture from your home in Montreal?

My family is half French, half English and that’s also how I was raised. So when I talk to the Montreal crowd it’s important to do it in French, of course.

You performed at a number of music festivals throughout the spring and summer. What are some pros and cons of playing to a large audience versus a more intimate crowd? Is there one setting you prefer over the other?

Small crowds up to now. There’s nothing like the ambiance in a bar on a hot summer night. People dance, sweat and exchange with you a lot more.

How did your tour with Half Moon Run go?

I love the states, especially the western and the southern parts. The shows and crowds are very cool and welcoming to us. For a lover boy, a month is a long time away from home. I missed my studio and girl a lot but at least I had palm trees and exotic weather to comfort me.

How do you prepare to go on the road? How do you kill time while traveling?

Hummmm. I write a lot, exercise, listen to music, sleep and look out the window. “Kill time,” what a horrible thing to say.

19Is there anything in particular you miss about home while you’re away?

Decent food, my bed and my love.

Where are your favorite places near Montreal to see live music?

Casa del Popolo, Bar Le Ritz, and Brasserie Beaubien.

Are there any artists from Montreal you feel deserve more attention?

Helena Deland.

What are your plans for the rest of 2016?

I’m starting to record an album just now and hope to release it in the beginning of 2017. I’ve got a European tour coming up in the fall and a couple of recording projects with various artists. I might go to South America to escape Montreal’s terrible winter and on top of that, be sober and happy.

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.

ARTIST OF THE MONTH: METHYL ETHYL
April 1, 2016 10:58 am

Here at AtypicalSounds we’re always looking out for the next big thing. Our April Artist of the Month is Methyl Ethel, a Perth-based dreampop trio that are hot off the heels of releasing their debut record Oh Inhuman Spectacle, which was released digitally last month via 4AD.  The album showcases a sleek backdrop of psych-rock influences, reverb-drenched guitar, and Jake Web’s oddball lyrics: the chorus to lead single “Twilight Driving” caution unsuspecting drivers to watch out for “roos”.

Methyl Ethel are the latest indie upstart to burst out of Australia in the wake of big acts to emerge from the continent including Courtney Barnett and Tame Impala. The band’s following has been growing steadily since CMJ this past October, demonstrated by their insane and successful performance at this year’s SXSW. They’ve proven their ability to arouse new fans to faithfully follow them wherever their tour may take them.

Unfortunately, if you haven’t had a chance to catch them live yet, you might have to wait a bit. They’ve just wrapped up the US-wing of their international tour and are doing their last handful of shows in Europe and in native Australia. We’ll be waiting their return.

THE BEST OF CMJ
November 16, 2015 9:02 am

Another year, another CMJ. It’s no doubt that CMJ Music Marathon is one of the best music festivals held in NYC where you can discover both local and international bands. The city turned into a playground for bands and made millennials stay up all night dancing to some catchy tunes. Not only did CMJ offer great music to our city but also incorporated daytime programming where people could learn about music politics, attend Q&A sessions with radio promoters, and even have a cheeky breakfast with music industry individuals.

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Here at ATYPICALSOUNDS, we’re all about celebrating indie music so we curated three killer showcases with the best bands you need to know right now. Our first showcase on Thursday featured artists like Stolen Jars, Weaves, Methyl Ethyl, and IDGY Dean who slammed drumbeats along her soulful voice. Our biggest day party was on Friday at The Delancey and we had a lineup to fill all three floors. We managed to squeeze in Bent Denim to our lineup who were perfect to start the day with their calm shoegaze tunes. The rooftop crowd was amazed by Avi Jacob who nailed “Cannonball.” Wolkoff and Caveboy were also astounding artists who added an extra umph to the show. Beverly played at our last showcase at Cameo Gallery and performed smoothly with her breathy vocals. Lena Fayre, who’d been in all three showcases, closed the night with her deep, dark, and emotional tones that gave chills throughout the room.

Throughout the week there were many more artists we discovered that blew our minds. Australian band Good Morning played the Cake Shop on a Tuesday night and talked about their favorite video games after the show. We headed to The oberjikjDelancey later that night to check out City of the Sun who never fails to leave us in amazement with their rhythmic skills. Birch was playing on a Wednesday night at the Bowery Electric and energized the room with Michelle’s electric blue hair and dancy beats. Cosmo Sheldrake was a pleasant change from the guitar and drums we’ve been used to listening to. A multi-talented instrumentalist who creates a piece by putting together different sounds especially wowed the crowd with his improvisation skills. We headed to see the Brooklynite Oberhofer own the stage at Mercury Lounge and had a chat about his album Chronovision after his show behind the merch table. Saturday at The Delancey were dedicated specifically to bands from Australia. Gordi caught my attention with her acoustic guitar folk tunes and calming voice.

The BEASTS are are pretty damn good at this whole “knowing where to find good music” thing. Last month’s CMJ was an obvious reminder of that, and there will be plenty more where that came from. Just wait for SXSW….

Slow Magic: Our Unknown Imaginary Friend
September 16, 2015 6:06 pm

slow_magic_djl_photographyWhile Last FM  stuck him within the genres of chillwave, electronic, glo-fi, and poptron, Slow Magic answers the genre query with a simple “no.” So who is the man behind the mask? In interviews he has done in the past, Slow Magic has never revealed personal details about himself and cordially fields reporters’ many questions on why he chooses to remain anonymous.     

In an interview with Huffington Post earlier this year Slow Magic explained, “When I started Slow Magic I wanted it to be separate from a place, face, or identity. It is interesting to be presented with just the art and experience that first.” Of course Slow Magic is not the first to don a mask and maintain a mysterious persona.  SBTRKT, DeadMau5, Lightning Bolt, Daft Punk, and others in the electronic scene also possess veiled identities.   

On tour with artists like Gold Panda and XXYYXX, Slow Magic’s music instantly connects with something visceral inside audiences.  Tribal beats and a myriad of synths and layered sounds create ethereal soundscapes that are easy to get lost in.  His latest album out last year is appropriately titled “How To Run Away” and it is like a dream for listeners to temporarily disappear into.    

His music has the ability to invoke in people childlike giddy feelings they may have lost or forgotten long ago.  A time where you felt wide-eyed, innocent, and alive, where imagination ruled your world and everything was new, exciting, and sometimes scary too.   

The feelings are addictive and contagious and those who have attended Slow Magic shows have likened them to a religious experience. After the first time seeing him live, most are converted into devout followers going to shows again and again whenever he plays anywhere near their vicinity.  

This past year Slow Magic has heavily toured the festival circuit and has been around the world and back.  He will be returning to New York this Fall to play Webster Hall on November 20th.  Which is a Friday by the way, so no excuses for holding back.
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Boogie Nights In Downtown Nashville
September 2, 2015 3:50 pm

The roads around Public Square Park are closed. This brings a bit of an unfamiliar sight to the Nashville streets: crowds of people walking across the Victory Memorial and Woodland Street bridges into downtown Nashville to attend the city’s annual music festival, Live On The Green. This past Thursday was the second of four consecutive Thursdays that traditionally make up the festival. This year, Lightning 100 (the radio station that organizes the festival) is adding two more days, filling out the weekend of the September 10th-12th, making it a more serious affair, with two stages as opposed to the typical one. Headliners this year include Ben Folds, Passion Pit, Rodrigo Y Gabriela, Lord Huron, Cold War Kids, and Moon Taxi.

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Houndmouth @ Bonnaroo shorefire

Thursday August 27th started the evening off with Houndmouth. The four piece from New Albany, Indiana has been gaining steam over the past couple years, performing at this year’s Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, among others. The band delighted the still forming, yet significant crowd with their indie-country rock. All four members sing and play at the same time, and all four will take the lead singer role at times. A particular highlight of their set was when the keyboard player Katie Toupin stepped forward and sang a solo with just electric guitar. In general, the band just seemed to be having so much fun on stage that it was hard not to get infected.

Up next was Richmond’s J. Roddy Walston and the Business. This act caters to a taste that is more present in Nashville than many places today: Rock n Roll. Heavy guitars and a hard grit, Walston and the Business draw comparison to classic rock bands like Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones before more recent bands. With a tinge of southern flair, they are right up Nashville’s alley.

The night was closed out by Cold War Kids, and they truly affirmed their role as headliners. The band performed with energy and passion, playing a solid mix of new songs and old favorites. While they played energetically, CWK helped highlight some issues with the show. The band was practically only lit from the back. The sun had set by the time they started, so this made it so you could only see the band on the big screen. While the images projected on the screen did look awesome, you couldn’t really just look at the band. It seemed to be a creative choice rather than awkward technical difficulties since it’s been mentioned before how they enjoy playing in dimmed lighting.

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This tied in with another issue with the festival that was also present last year: the music isn’t loud enough. Now, don’t get me wrong, a huge issue with live music today is that many concerts are WAY too loud. Rarely do I attend a show that I think is too quiet. However, in huge outdoor spaces, it takes a lot more to deliver a show that really sounds powerful, especially to people at the very back of the crowd. Big outdoor festivals like Bonnaroo will counter this with huge metal tent-ceilings above the crowd, or a second tier of speakers about halfway back. While the former option doesn’t make sense for a temporary concert space, it would seem that the latter could be a viable option. Instead, the audience is left feeling underwhelmed by intense rock acts like J. Roddy and Cold War Kids. This issue is very probably tied to city regulations. It’s more likely than not that Nashville has a decibel limit on outdoor concerts, especially in the middle of downtown on a work night. However, it is estimated that over 100,000 people attended Live On The Green last year, and with the expanded schedule, that number could very well rise. As it currently operates, over half of those people (those not standing by the sound board or closer) are not going to hear a good sounding show, and in the case of Cold War Kids, they aren’t going to see much either.

There may not be an obvious solution to this problem, but hopefully there will be one out there. This is arguably one of the biggest concert events in one of the biggest music cities in the country (with one of the more discerning base of concert goers). The festival boasts serious talent, and it’s a serious bummer that, for many people, the show won’t fully deliver on the promise of the acts performing.

 

Time Traveling For The Jazz Age Lawn Party
August 26, 2015 2:33 pm

Last weekend Governor’s Island transformed into a 1920’s oasis. Featuring vintage shops and clothing vendors, a motorcar exhibition, live music and dance performances and vintage inspired cocktails (most notably the St.Germain, made with St-Germain liquer, MARTINI & ROSSI sparkling wine, sparkling water and a lemon twist).

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One of the more notable aspects of the Jazz Age Lawn Party was its food. Vendors included, Coco & Co., Empanada Lady, Empire Biscuits, Fire Belly Korean BBQ, Lobster Joint (truly amazing), Local 215, Perfect Picnic, Butterstein’s Popcorn and Vintage Ice Cream Guys. Over 4,000 guests flocked dressed to the nines to learn to Charleston, picnic in the sun and relive the beauty of a bygone era. The performances were amazing! It showcased some serious talent that perfectly did good justice to the throwback theme, including Michael Aranella and his Dreamland Orchestra! Check out our photos from the event!

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Little May Keeps it Real
July 28, 2015 10:00 am

As I walk into an artsy Airbnb loft located in East Williamsburg, I was greeted with three friendly hip Australian girls. The place was decorated with all sorts of props from trippy rainbow paintings to slightly terrifying mannequins. Hannah and Annie had just come back from a bikram yoga class while Liz struck some chords on her acoustic guitar and hummed some melodic tunes. It was the first time I’ve had an opportunity to sit down with musicians in such an intimate setting without having to worry about shouting over the loud music at a bar, or having the pressure to finish the interview in time before their set. I was more than thrilled to have a chat with these girls and know more about them beyond their music.

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Seeing Little May play at Rough Trade during Northside Festival for the first time, I was pleasantly surprised with their performance. Their dreamy sounds and great harmony captivated the audience and had their eyes glued on the girls the whole time. “We always struggle putting down a specific genre, but I guess maybe we’re just…honest?” A lot of their songs seem to expose their emotional journey through life with genuine lyrics that recognize sentimentality. It seems as though their lyrics come organically, and they use it as a platform to express their feelings rather than forcefully getting some words out on paper. “When you’re going through something, it’s really hard to figure out what you’re feeling and sometimes thats a good thing because you can vent in that way, but it’s really great to reflect after certain situations have passed and get inspiration from those situations as well.”

During their set Hannah mentioned that one of the songs was about a boy that she liked who ended up kissing somebody else. “Liz and I made that song after we were in a single situation so we wrote a verse each. I guess it’s tongue-in-cheek now but we look back at it and we can joke about it. I think that happens when you’re going through relationships and coming out of them, somebody liking someone else,” Hannah says in a reminiscing tone. Perhaps Hannah also gets inspiration from the popular love guru popstar. “If I’m in a bad mood I like to listen to Taylor Swift, but I’m not embarrassed by it. I just save it for those special occasions.”

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These girls offer some words of wisdom to girls who go through the same relationship struggles – “Just stick it out I guess. Stick it out in life. The thing is, it always get’s better if you just give it a little bit of time. Things always seem worse than they are, so be brave.”

Not only did I pick up on their excellent lyrical content, but I realized that they also have a great sense of fashion. “I think the black pants are any musicians staple and I guess with traveling, being on the road for quite a while, you kind of have to be frugal of what you’re packing so you tend to wear similar things on stage. I think if we had more options that would be great, but we just try to wear something that we’re comfortable in.” Speaking of comfortable, Liz learned that lesson the hard way by experiencing a slight wardrobe malfunction on stage. “There was a show when my top was to the side of my bra. Hannah pointed it out on stage and she was like “Liz..” and I was like oh shit!”

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During their short stay in New York City, they were fortunate enough to have some time off to explore around the city. “Mark, Ken and I went to a Mets game yesterday which was super fun and bought a pretzel and Bud Light. I really wanted to get a hotdog but that’s kind of pushing it” Hannah said excitedly. Liz seemed to enjoy strolling around Brooklyn, doing some shopping. “I was amazed by everything in Williamsburg, on Driggs Avenue. I found some jewelry at a handmade jewelry shop, and also bought some old records.” While Hannah and Liz were focused on certain duties, Annie just wanted to wander around. “I kind of just wandered around and ate vegan food. I’m a vegetarian but out of the past two weeks we’ve been driving around and I’ve been eating a lot of fries and stuff. You know, just wandering around and drinking coffee and just hanging out really.”

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We go off on a tangent and start talking about a food, which is a topic everyone gets excited about. I ask if they’ve had the full New York experience by going out and eating the staple NYC food. “All the typical New York things like bagels and big pizza slices and hotdogs and stuff – You remind yourself, “I gotta eat bagels!” but you can’t eat too many bagels you know?” Annie mentions a Japanese restaurant called Zenkichi in Williamsburg. “I think we’re going there for dinner tonight, but I’m not sure where we’re going.” Hannah is feeling for Mexican food, but pouts because “it’s a group decision.” “There’s this Mexican place when we were staying in Brooklyn not long ago and it had the best quesadilla I’ve ever had, so I’m going to miss that. I wish that we had time to go back.”

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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

 

Sol Cat Keepin’ it Trippy
July 18, 2015 9:00 am

If somebody’s going to name their band Sol Cat you’d think that they’d be a groovy, old school jazz orchestra…or at least have a liking for cats. “I’m super allergic to cats and I don’t like dogs either. I’m actually not an animal person for the record. Except fish, I love fish” lead singer Brett Myers tells me. Apparently the name was given by some “‘bohemian roulette dealer” that he came across while taking a vacation in the bahamas. “I could be hallucinating still, I still can’t figure out if it happened or not.”

This five piece band hailing from Nashville, Tennessee played a trippy show at Pianos and seemed to attract a wide range of fans from young hipsters to middle aged men in suits. They stay true to their dance-y psychedelic tunes and it’s clear that they’ve pulled influences from classic rock. Brett’s deep vocals echo through the room sending good vibes to everyone in the room who start swaying their body to the music. There’s something nostalgic about their sound that no other band has achieved so far, instantly bringing you back to the 90’s music scene.

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These kool kats met in college while Tom Myers (drummer) was schooling at a different location and eventually connected through mutual friends. “We were most like acquaintances in similar groups that kind of overlapped, so the band didn’t click until pretty much my last semester of college.” They originally envisioned Sol Cat as a World Music genre with “crazy, eclectic, Latin, African percussive influences with more contemporary pop American sort of things. So the original demos are very hilarious.” As much as we’d like to hear Sol Cat jam on congos and bongos, sadly, they are no where to be found on the interwebs.

They’ll be touring pretty much non-stop this month which means they’ll be spending most of their time in a van, sleeping and talking about “weird stuff.” “Jaan threw up a caesar salad on the way to New York [laughs]. We left really early and I don’t know why we had to be up here so early. That’s the most interesting thing that’s happened in the van so far.” Living their life in a van for a month seems pretty adventurous and fun, but Tom mentions the downside of it – “I miss my fiance. I should also plug in my dog, I miss my dog. I miss consistency, being home, and sleeping in my bed.” On the other hand, Brett seems to prefer the tour life. “I enjoy being on the road for the most part. I would say I miss being able to not have a schedule. I just miss waking up whenever I want to and work on music, be productive and just lay low.”

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Unlike every other band that writes music on the road, Brett prefers to write in the comfort of his home. “I don’t really do writing on the road thing. I hardly ever write anything when I’m on tour. My theory is that if I don’t write anything while we’re gone for two weeks, by the time we get home just by the nature of life, I have things that I need to get out after that. So it’s almost like – you’ll fill the glass up for two weeks, and then when you get home you just spill it. I find it really hard to sit in the van or venue and try to write. I think it’s awesome when dudes can go sit in the corner of bar and bring a notepad and channel it, but I can’t do that.”

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Being able to work as full time musicians now, he talks about another great job he’s had in the past working at a zipline when he was a teenager…Which turned out to be sort of a life lesson. “I loved pushing kids off that zipline! Think about it, this kids crying and you’re 40/50 ft up in the air and have a 100 yard zipline rolling down that makes them nervous, but guarantee every time they got to the bottom they came back and wanted to do it again. And that’s life. You just gotta push people ’til they fucking feel so uncomfortable they have nothing to do but have a good time and they come back for more.” So deep.

They released their EP “UNO” a few weeks ago and have another called “DOS” that should be out “August-ish.” They also have an appearance at Austin City Limits at the end of the summer, so don’t forget to give them some love if you come across them!

sol cat band