Music Festivals

TWIN ATLANTIC TAKES EUROPE
October 17, 2016 9:00 am

Twin Atlantic seem to be celebrating the release of their album GLA by tearing Europe to shreds. After a summer spent playing festivals including Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds, and T in the Park, the band is taking the show on the road with dates in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, and a whole ton of other places.

ATYPICAL SOUNDS exchanged some transatlantic emails with drummer Craig Kneale and got the scoop on the creation of GLA, and the finer points of living in Glasgow.

I was in Glasgow over the summer, and did a number of things that are probably considered “touristy”. What do you think visitors to Glasgow generally miss?
Glasgow has a thriving arts scene, and I suppose you would miss that if you didn’t dig a little deeper below the surface. The four compass points of the city (East/West/South/North) are all so different from each other too – you won’t get the full picture unless you experience a little bit of each of them.

King Tut’s is a pretty well-known music venue in Glasgow. What others do you like for seeing live music?
Well, not being biased – but Barrowlands is one of the greatest venues in the world. I’ve never seen a bad show there – there’s something in that room that creates an electric atmosphere between the performer and the crowd that’s really special.

You’ve performed at a number of music festivals, as well as some smaller venues. Do you prefer one over the other?
I think you can’t really appreciate one without the other. I suppose that our own shows are always more special to us – but it’s great getting to spend the summer playing festivals when the pressure is off a little. When it’s your own show and people have paid to see you, there’s more at stake as you don’t want to let people down.

Are there any bands/musicians in Glasgow you feel deserve more attention?
I’m a little out of the loop on music in Glasgow at the moment, but I really like Holy Esque. I think they’re already on their way up, but even the biggest bands in the world could do with more attention I guess.

GLA, your new album, has a much heavier sound than your previous releases. Did something make you want to create a less pop-sounding album?
It kind of naturally happened when the album was being written. Perhaps subconsciously the songs turn out heavier as there were moments on the last album where we weren’t all fully attached to the songs. GLA seemed to be much easier to record than the previous album – so perhaps it’s a more natural sound for us.

What music are you listening to currently?
I’m currently listening to a lot of Parquet Courts + Mac DeMarco. And I got the new Local Natives album this week which I really like.

You recorded GLA in Los Angeles, which is obviously very different from Glasgow. Is there anything you miss from your time there that you can’t do at home?
Well, the sun is out constantly so you don’t have to plan to do things dependent on weather like you do in Glasgow. Being able to drive to a beach and look at the ocean is something I don’t think I would get bored of either.

What advice would you give a band who are just entering the music business?
Just throw everything at it and always go with your instinct.

Is there anything you were surprised by when Twin Atlantic was first starting out?
Hmmm, not really. Everything at the start of this band was a learning curve for the 4 of us so we kind of tackled everything together. We started right at the very bottom so we were kind of prepared for most steps by the time we got to them.

Are you planning any shows in New York?
I really hope so. It’s one of our favorite cities, and one we’d love to come to more. I think there are plans to get over early next year, so hopefully it all works out.

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.

AN INSIDE LOOK AT THE BIGGER AND BETTER 4KNOTS FESTIVAL
June 2, 2015 9:38 pm

The Village Voice is back this year for its 5th annual 4Knots Fest at Hudson River Park’s Pier 84. The headliners are Mikal Cronin, Super Furry Animals and Twin Peaks. These acts are very culturally similar to the bands chosen for last year, Mac Demarco, Speedy Ortiz and Vietcong. All have subsequently blown up this year, each respectively playing major headlining shows and saw skyrocketing social media figures. The entire lineup (including supporting acts, Heaters, Happyness and Meatbodies) is very live-band centered with a psychedelic indie-rock focus. Affordable tickets, gorgeous views, amazing music all in NYC, this is a must-do for summer 2015!

Photo Credit Bryan Bruchman

Photo Credit Bryan Bruchman

Mikal Cronin is at heart, a singer-songwriter. His last record MCIII is his first major production solo work, and does not disappoint. He uses straightforward pop melodies and 70s inspired grooves, as well as engaging his audience with large string arrangements, pianos and guitar lines. Cronin is an excellent choice as headliner because he is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.

Super Furry Animals, hailing from Wales, is similarly a psychedelic rock group. This group is particularly interesting because of their atypical history (having 40 foot tall bears on stage, hit single titled “The Man Don’t Give A F**k”, and two highly experimental, highly strange studio albums before breaking into the main stream). SFA retains hallucinogenic roots in their more recent work, with a deliberate and successful diffusion into the market of “mass appeal”.

Anyone who has been following the Brooklyn indie music scene for the last few years will be happy to see the Twin Peaks dudes getting a headlining spot. These guys have more than played their way through NYC, recently playing bigger shows and going on bigger tours. They are a classic rock group with a very New York vibe, a punkier and grittier Strokes.

Photo Credit Bryan Bruchman

Photo Credit Bryan Bruchman

Fans of 4Knots Fest in past years have another thing coming to them. Pier 48 is Hudson River Park’s largest public pier, centered in the middle of the park. Not only will you get to see the concert, but picturesque views of the Hudson River will dazzle you all day and all night long. Food sponsors include Kind, Whole Foods and Dos Toros Taqueria. 4Knots is set to take place July 11, 1pm-10 pm, rain or shine and you can purchase your tickets here. Be sure to add this to you summer t0-do list!

Written by Alessandra Licul 

4KNOTS flyer

The Five Best Music Festivals You Haven’t Heard of Yet
March 15, 2015 6:00 pm

With spring approaching and temperatures slowly rising, music fans around the US are thawing out and getting ready for the best time of the year: festival season. With over 800 music festivals in North America alone and new ones popping up every year, it can be overwhelming to try and find one with the perfect lineup and atmosphere to match your personal style.

That’s why we’ve gone ahead and found the five music festivals you may not know about yet, each with a diverse lineup of artists and unique setting that take you from down South to the majestic plains, and from the bumping beats of Techno to the savage sounds of Metal.

Movement Electronic Music Festival – Detroit, Michigan – May 23rd-25th

While this festival, currently in its 15th year, may not have the name recognition of Ultra or Electric Daisy Carnival, it stands out as one of the most well-rounded and diverse electronic music festivals for everybody from teenage ravers to techno purists. Movement boasts a long and impressive lineup that mixes elder statesmen of electronic dance like Jeff Mills and Richie Hawtin with the hottest acts in EDM like Flosstradamus, Boyz Noise and Ryan Hemsworth.

It’s very fitting that it happens in the birthplace of techno music, Detroit, acting as a shrine in dedication to the electronic gods that have emerged from the city. Hart Plaza, where the festival is held, is situated between the Detroit River and the towering skyscrapers of Downtown Detroit, providing a perfect urban playground for dancing the day away. And dance you will, because as the name implies, Movement is all about finding the right groove to move your body to, whether it be Drum and Bass, House or Trap.

Rock-on-the-Range-2015-Tickets

Rock on the Range – Columbus, Ohio – May 15th – 17th

This festival, going strong for nine years, delivers the best of hard rock, hardcore and metal to the heartland of America. Perfect for the crowd who would rather drink beer and headbang than worry about an album’s score on Pitchfork, Rock on the Range features a lineup of over 53 bands including Slipknot, Marilyn Manson and Judas Priest.

Rock on the Range is the largest festival to be included in the World’s Loudest Month, a collection of festivals dedicated to bringing hard rock to the huge communities of fans in Middle America. This festival is perfect for everyone from the rebellious teen looking to escape suburbia to the grizzled metalhead with a tattered denim vest over a sleeve of tattoos.

Buku Music + Arts Festival – New Orleans  –  March 13th -14th

Buku Music + Arts festival has the immediate advantage of being located in New Orleans, known most famously for Mardi Gras, but also home to a rich history and a nonstop party scene. Buku manages to fuse together a lineup of the hottest acts in hip-hop, indie rock and EDM, highlighted by heavyweights Bassnectar, Passion Pit and A$AP Rocky.

With an emphasis on art as well as music, you will find live painting done by graffiti artists on the festival grounds. The festival also features a wide variety of stages, from the main stage that looks out on the ramshackle Market Street Power Plant, a large warehouse to fulfill your rave vibes, to the VIP SS Blu-Ku, a New Orleans-style riverboat docked in the Mississippi River that hosts special performances throughout the festival. A must-attend event for the music fan with a diverse taste who needs an excuse to travel to New Orleans.

hangout-panorama

Hangout Festival – Gulf Shores, Alabama – May 15th – 17th

Hangout Festival has the unique advantage of being the only American festival that takes place on a beach, with clean white sands and palm trees to provide some shade from the constantly sunny weather. While digging your toes in the sand, the bumping sounds of some of the best contemporary bands will fill the air.

Hangout Fest will be headlined this year by the Foo Fighters, Sam Smith and Beck, as well as the pumping party music of Major Lazer, assuring fans an unforgettable and well-rounded festival experience. It also benefits from a strong offering of Gulf Coast cuisine like shrimp, crab and oysters, all fresh and locally sourced.  The scenery of the Alabama coastline provides the perfect backdrop to rock out to the sounds of the impressively deep lineup.

Shaky Knees – Atlanta, Georgia – May 8th – 10th

A relatively new festival in only its third year, Shaky Knees has established itself by featuring arguably one of the best lineups for fans of indie and alternative rock. Moving the location to Atlanta’s Central Park, the new venue reflects this growing festival’s effort to provide an experience on caliber with more established festivals. With a lineup that includes The Strokes, Wilco, the Pixies, Ryan Adams, Social Distortion and Neutral Milk Hotel, that shouldn’t be too difficult.

Easy travel between stages, which eliminates the problem of having to decide between bands with overlapping set times, as well as an abundance of food and drink vendors help make this festival accessible and exciting. With a dedication to curating a guitar-centric sound, Shaky Knees promises to deliver the finest indie rock festival in the country. If you’re more in the mood for good old fashion country music, you can also check out Shaky Boots, the countrified spinoff of Shaky Knees that features Blake Shelton, Brad Paisley and Rascal Flatts, among many others.

Ready to leave New York or Austin and take a trip into the heartlands? We know we are.

 

The Ultimate Festival Survival Guide
3:00 pm

With the snow just starting to melt and spring and summer on the horizon, so comes the season of music festivals. With over 150 national music festivals set to grace the US, we’re preparing ourselves for what can only be a fantastic festival season. As many experienced festivalgoers may tell you, you have to expect the unexpected.

Those realities include inclement weather, safety precautions and the danger of going too hard. While having a great time is the ultimate goal of any festival trip, being prepared can make the difference between festival bliss and festival doom.

Surviving the Elements

Rain or shine, sleet or snow, the show must go on. Some of the most epic festivals on earth have taken place in foul weather—ever heard of Woodstock? It’s as if a collective bond forms between attendees when wet weather adds to the musical euphoria. That being said, maintaining comfort can only make your festival experience that more enjoyable.

Pick the Right Tent

festival 2While sleeping conditions vary depending on which festival you’re attending, you’re most likely going to be sleeping or setting up camp in an area next to a dozen other people. Many people choose to bring camping supplies such as tents, sleeping bags and lawn chairs.

If you don’t have your own gear that you are familiar with and trust, then we recommend you find a waterproof tent and sleeping bags that will keep you warm at night. Even if the forecast doesn’t predict rain, remember that dew can still make your morning wet.

Party Hard, Party Safe

While going over safety precautions may not appeal to most, it can save your life. In 2013, the Electric Daisy Carnival was cancelled after two festivalgoers fatally overdosed on molly (the purest form of ecstasy). Drugs and alcohol have become synonymous with music festivals, and if you choose to engage with them, there are ways to minimize the risk.

Hydrate, Eat and Get Some Sleep

Our biggest advice for all festivals is to stay hydrated. Drugs and alcohol dehydrate your body, and with the hot sun and your sweltering dance moves, your body will be dehydrating at an accelerated pace.

festival 4

To combat dehydration, make sure to consume an abundance of water. Consider investing in a camelback backpack for when out at the stage.

Proper nutrition is also essential to giving you more energy throughout the day. Eating properly portioned, healthy meals will help keep your body from shutting down.

The other element that many people miss out on is SLEEP. While you may not want to miss out on any of the action, exhaustion can keep you from seeing that killer set that you have been waiting to see for months.

Bring Snacks

Having the right tools, food and equipment can really strengthen your camp and make you look like a festival professional. Food and drink can rack up a hefty bill, so it’s in your best interest to bring those munchies yourself. A portable grill comes in handy for hot dogs and burgers. And if you bring meat, make sure to pack a cooler to keep all your supplies cool and fresh.

Don’t Be the One Burnt to a Crisp

festival 3It’s also important to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays. Bring sunscreen and sun gear: hats, sunglasses, fans, the works. We also recommend if at all possible that you bring some type of tent or tarp to provide shade.

Nothing can be more agonizing and uncomfortable than sunburn. Don’t let Mother Nature ruin your experience. If you take the right precautions, all can be overcome.

Have a Plan and Stay Calm

It’s also a good idea to locate the medical tent before venturing out to the stages. This way, if an emergency should arise, you’ll know exactly where to go. Be smart, and if something happens always remain calm.

Finishing Touches

Comfortable chairs and even an air mattress can make a world of difference for seating arrangements around the camp. Blankets both keep you warm and provide a personal touch that screams, “I got festival fever.” Bug repellent is a must if you’re not looking to be a feast for the mosquitoes. Lanterns and flashlights are also a necessity at the campsite.

Expect the Unexpected

Tool kits can come in handy for that unexpected situation that somebody will end up having. A pair of jumper cables is also a clutch if you don’t want to be stranded in the middle of nowhere once the festival is over. Yes folks, the right furniture, gizmos and gadgets can put you over the top in becoming the ultimate festivalgoer.

Conquest

Now that you’ve been equipped with the right tools and knowledge, you can conquer that festival that you’ve been dying to go to. Plan for the weather, take the necessary safety precautions and pack all the right goodies and your festival experience should be divine.

And so begins the 2015 festival season. May it be ever in your favor.