The May playlist is here! Ft. new tunes from Hot Chip, Beck, Anderson .Paak, The Black Keys and more. 🎶Have a listen below.
Here's the highlights:
Beck is back with another collab song ft. Pharrell titled “Saw Lightning”.
Hot Chip released a new single and announced an upcoming album. If you know me, you know that Hot Chip is one of my favorite bands and I’m so excited! (I’m actually seeing them tonight! Ahh!) The music video for Hungry Child is a wild ride and I suggest you give it a watch here. “A Bathfull of Ecstasy” is out June 21st.
The Raconteurs also announced a new album! It’s also out June 21st and is titled, “Help Us Stranger”.
Let me just start by saying that Festival No. 6 was the best festival I've ever been to.
The festival setting in Portmeirion, Wales is amazing and unlike any other; it felt like we were walking in a dream.
Here's some things from the festival that really stood out to me as being different from ones in the states:
- GLITTER. Glitter everywhere. You're probably going, "yeah yeah I've seen festival glitter before." No. Not like this. Faces, beards, bodies... Actually On the shuttle ride over, everyone had glitter smothered on their faces. "That all looks very similar," I thought. They told us there was a Festival No. 6 party train car that did free glitter for everyone. (They mucked up our tickets so we weren't on it). Damn.
- Someone from every age seemed to be there, and it was extremely family friendly. And even older people had glitter, too.
- There was almost no limit to what you could bring into the festival. I saw a guy wearing a massive disco ball around him. It had a boombox inside of it and it was my favorite thing ever.
- The weather, obviously. But we'll get into that later.
Getting there was a bit of a trek. And by "a bit of a trek" I mean we were traveling for at least 24 hours straight.
Our itinerary looked a little something like this:
Yes, we are crazy.
Since Emily and I went through all of that travel and knew we'd be exhausted traveling across the world, we had splurged and got a yurt.
And let me tell you, it was so worth it.
Not having to deal with lugging a sleeping bag and other camping necessities on our travels was a smart move on our part. Plus crashing in a bed every night in a warm yurt is so much better than shivering out in a little tent on a hill in the mud.
The festival didn't officially start until the day after we arrived so we wandered the grounds a bit.
All of the vibrant colors around us made me so happy. And better yet, it felt like fall: the leaves actually changed colors.
One of the first things we did day 1 of the festival was get a physical lineup. Or as they call them in the UK: programs.
Their programs are very different over there than they are in the states. It was almost bigger than I was once folded out. Think, "old Thomas Guide" style.
On the back of the Festival No. 6 program was an illustrated map of Portmeirion. The far right is where Emily and I stayed, in the middle is the main arena, to the left of that the general campground area, then the village, the estuary and the woods.
If it looks big, that's because it was. One day at the festival we walked 30,912 steps!
- Dance a la Plage
- Bad Sounds
- Beach Baby
- Horse Beach
- Clean Cut Kid
- M. Ward
- Kaiser Chiefs
- The Two Bears
Emily and I grooved on a dance floor floating on a pond underneath a massive disco ball, got lost in the woods for forty minutes trying to find a stage, drank our weight in beer, saw Joe Goddard perform in front of a castle, and jumped around to Kaiser Chiefs. Plus so, so much more. And that's only day 1!
The weather was perfect on Friday - almost a little hot considering it was so much colder than LA. I think that's one of the main reasons we were able to catch 11 bands since it made walking from stage to stage easy.
AURORA was super cute. Talking about her surroundings at the festival she shyly said, "I feel very much like I'm in the middle of Lord of the Rings. But without Mordor obviously."
Not only were the sights stunning... the food and drink was great too. Waffles, banana and cream with a flat white for breakfast, vegan sushi burrito for lunch and jalapeno cheese hot dog for dinner (churros for dessert). Oh and espresso martinis. Can't forget those!
At Sushi Maki, the burrito truck, the guy working turned to his co-worker and said, "There's two dollars under the till. Why are there two American dollars there? We've had no American customers". Emily and I go, "We'll take 'em". He shrugged and went, "Yeah alright". So we got sushi burritos and some money back! Wish they could've been twenties though.
The vintage selection they had on site was great. I found a 70s dress with an obnoxiously long, amazing collar for 10£, and two pairs of earrings handmade in Asia.
Later on Friday night, we stayed for a few Bastille songs and headed back to the yurt. The 2 Bears weren't on until 1 in the morning. We rested for an hour and a half until I convinced Emily to go back out with me.
In between shows we explored. We stumbled upon this tinseled out motorhome and I took quite a few photos before realizing the owner was in the window waving out at me. She hid for the photos.
- Groove Theory
- The Amazons
- Oh Wonder
- Roisin Murphy
- Hot Chip
Saturday we woke up to the sound of rain hitting the top of the yurt. "That's nice," we thought. Little did we know that was only the mild beginning of rain for the day.
We went in to the festival around 11am, grabbed a brekkie boy bagel and watched Hot Chip's sound check. The rain started coming down harder so we went into the House of Rum and saw Groove Theory. Not many people were out as it was now pouring. The burlap floors of the House of Rum turned into an unintentional "Great Lake" art installation.
Sipsmith Gin Shop was the next spot with coverage. I've been drinking salted gin palomas all weekend. They're delicious. When the gin shop literally began to acquire a river we went on our way to see Amazons. I never realized they were so young!
Trekking through the mud, we went to the village for Blueprint Blue. Bummer that Tim Peak's Diner was so tiny we couldn't even get standing room.
Carnival No. 6, a parade where festival goers can get done up in glitter and costumes, got postponed due to the rain. I think that shows how bad the weather really was. We watched dancers on the Village Stage instead. They were swing dancing and did a lesson for the crowd to learn too. We left before the lesson; somehow wide leg movements and mud didn't seem a good combo.
When we arrived back at the main stage it was completely roped off. A tractor was piling wood chips slowly into the pit. The security guard let us know Lawrence Taylor canceled due to the weather. Shit. And the workers didn't know when it would open back up. Slight panic went over me as Hot Chip was that night.
Luckily, Oh Wonder played at the Grand Pavilion next and that's covered. A giant "OW" light lit the back of the stage while they played their slow, dancey tunes.
The main stage opened back up in time for Blossoms. After a few songs from afar, we went back to the Grand Pavilion for Temples. So. Much. Mud.
Roisin Murphy took the main stage next. Emily and I had split up at this point and it was raining again. I can't even begin to count the amount of outfit changes Roisin had, but it was a lot. She did request an umbrella off the side of the stage at one point because of the rain.
When waiting up front for Hot Chip, a procession of red lanterns could be seen from a distance in the side of the crowd. Then a crane came, carrying a geometric-UFO-box-like-thing covered in lights and mirrors. It spun while dramatic music played and then someone was lowered down from the middle to disco music.
Definitely wasn't expecting that. I overheard someone ask, "Does this have anything to do with 'The Prisoner'?" A TV show filmed in Portmeirion in the 60s. Maybe I'll have to watch it.
The rain had stopped by now, and Hot Chip put on a fantastic show as always. My fries sign made it all the way to Wales with me and somehow didn't get destroyed by the rain. They smiled when I held it up. It was Alexis's son's birthday and he brought his kids out for "Dancing in the Dark". The kids played maracas and danced around. Confetti was everywhere. After the show, I asked security for a set-list. He said, "Only if those guys," (pointing to the roadies), "hand me one I can give it to you, sorry". A few minutes later the set-list blew off the stage and on the ground in front of me. I guess I was just destined to have it.
Afterwards I met up with Em again. I got some pasta and her some churros and we slowly walked in the mud back to camp.
- Get Inuit
- Fickle Friends
- C Duncan
- Milky Chance
- Lucy Rose
- Super Furry Animals
- Noel Gallagher
- Maribou State
Sunday, the final day of the festival, our first band was Fickle Friends at the woods stage at 2:15pm. We went in a bit early so we could get food. After Aussie style eggs and sweet potato fries there was still extra time. The floating dance floor seemed like a good time killer, so we danced.
Since the carnival got canceled the day before, it was on our to-do list for Sunday. They never released a new time for it, but I mean you'd think it'd be the same as they initially intended right? Wrong.
Luckily, we happened to be walking through the village when it was going on and we caught the very end of it.
We got to the Lost in the Woods Stage while the 1:30 band was still playing. I actually knew of them and didn't realize they were here. The band was called Get Inuit. Glad we caught them.
It was only slightly drizzly but made the Fickle Friends set-up a bit dodgy. They finally got all set and put on a great show. The awesome thing about a festival with so many stages is you can get close to pretty much whatever since everyone is so spread out.
C Duncan was thankfully in the Grand Pavillion (the covered space). Though, the floor was basically a mud pit now. Their little Irish accents were so cute! And all of them had such great voices.
Teleman played the main stage and the rain had died down. There was a girl in the crowd to our left that the lead guitarist kept looking at with a big smile. She was getting down. Groovin' in the mud, letting it all go. I was jealous of her mustard yellow corduroy overalls and teal tights. So adorable!
Next up was Milky Chance who was kind of "meh". I honestly haven't listened to any of their other songs prior to this show other than "Stolen Dance". They all sound exactly the same. Not impressed.
Someone who surprised me though was Lucy Rose. Emily wanted to see her - I'd never heard of her but thought, "Why not?" Her voice is like a choir of angels; I don't know how it comes out of her tiny body. Sidenote: I was reading the Festival No. 6 booklet - apparently she used to be in Bombay Bicycle Club.
Super Furry Animals had a big crowd and we hung back. We left after they played "Bing Bong" (weird song) and went for a drink before Noel Gallagher came on.
Of course the rain started up again, but not too hard. We got some chips (fries) and hung to the side, stage left. The crowd went crazy when he played "Champagne Supernova" by Oasis.
We headed over to Maribou State at the Grand Pavillion. The crowd was nonexistent. But that's what you get when you play at the same time as Noel, the headliner. It got bigger mid-set though. It was a dance party.
On stage, they had a pack of Moretti, a bottle of Sipsmith Gin and some mixers. These girls got to the front bar and kept chanting, "Sipsmith! Sipsmith!" The DJ confusingly held the bottle out to them. They shook their heads no and motioned for a photo. He obliged and they rejoiced. I'm pretty sure they worked for Sipsmith. Or at least I hope so.
A bit later, the same girls shouted, "The gin! The gin! Sipsmith!" This time they wanted the bottle. The DJ actually jumped down from the booth, gin in hand, and gave it to them. The guards kind of just let it happen. I mean, they'd been dancing with the crowd and joking around the whole time anyways. Also, they literally were bringing trays of water cups 'round to people in the front. So nice!
Later, the same girls called the DJ again. They somehow had a new, full bottle of gin. Maybe vodka? Maybe flavored water? I don't know. Regardless he came down and took it from them. Later in the set, he smelled it and shook his head to his band-mate. Something was off and they didn't drink it. I wonder what it actually was...
We successfully made it back to the yurt without falling and got a good night's sleep for our early shuttle ride back to the trains.
Initially, we were going to head straight back to LA this day. But enough people talked us into staying longer that we extended our trip and spent a few days, including my birthday, in Manchester. (Post on that coming soon!)
Throughout our trip, Emily and I traveled 12,140.5 miles by plane, 240.6 miles by train, 81.2 miles by automobile, and walked 64.21 miles with our own two legs!
Festival Number 6 was an experience I'll never forget. If I could give any advice to someone looking to go to a UK festival, it'd be: BRING YOUR WELLIES! (And a waterproof backpack can be really helpful, too!)
Be seeing you...
FYF '16 /
Fuck Yeah Fest (FYF) was really good this year! I remember it being an unorganized clusterfuck when I went back in 2014; they've totally cleaned up their act since then! (A bit of bottlenecking aside).
I went both days and didn't get sunburnt! Patting myself on the back, and it doesn't even hurt.
Here's what the weekend consisted of:
- Todd Terje & the Olsens
- Gerd Janson
- Junior Boys
- Tame Impala
- Hot Chip (Live)
- Explosions in the Sky
- Moby (DJ)
We watched Classixx from the beer garden; it was good, dancy, (drinky?) music for the background. While we were there, I creeped on this guy's "Dedicated to the Craft" shirt and I whipped out the sign I made for Hot Chip.
The stage for Junior Boys was sort of tucked away in the back, and at first we ended up grooving a bit in "The Woods" before heading to "The Club" (stage names). In doing so, we stumbled on this guy named Gerd Janson who I ended up really liking.
We made our way to "The Club" and caught my favorite Junior Boys song, In the Morning, just in time! Dancing our way under the disco balls, we headed to Tame Impala. I've seen them twice before so I didn't mind ducking out early for my main obsession, Hot Chip.
Because I was front and center, guess who got the set list!?!?! Hoping I can get another one from next week's show in Wales!
Sidenote: On day 2 of the fest, I actually saw Alexis Taylor walking through the park with his wife and daughter. I choked and didn't say anything to him and I'm still slapping myself for it!
Explosions in the sky filled the stage with vivid colors while exploding peoples' minds with their sound. Instrumental music always feels like a dreamscape to me and is really, really wonderful. It's refreshing to strip away all lyrics and dig deep into the sound.
We danced to Moby and then stumbled home around 1:30. Getting a Lyft out of there was an absolute nightmare!
- Wild Nothing
- Blood Orange
- Father John Misty
- Anohni: Presents Hopelessness
- Mac Demarco
- Beach House
- LCD Soundsystem
Saturday, I went solo to the festival and Emily met up with me later in the day. I caught the middle to end of Preoccupations' set. They're previously known as Viet Cong, but changed their name for obvious reasons. Starting my day off with a bit of grungy punk felt good.
Emily found me mid-Wild Nothing set. Having purple hair really does come in handy.
Blood Orange was next. They brought out Carly Rae Jepsen and Nelly Furtado for a song each... which is quite possibly the most random combo of guests ever for Blood Orange. I mean, good, but odd.
Father John Misty always puts on a hell of a show. Talk about drama. He kept flailing himself all over the stage, falling to his knees and completely on his back.
We couldn't figure out if his graphics were malfunctioning or purposefully ironic. First, the screen quickly flashed to a desktop background of a baby with a mess of folders. Next was the software update failed message. Then a Windows start-up screen, and the set ended with a "Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival 2014" banner. It was then that we knew (or are pretty sure?) it was all on purpose.
After grabbing some Fruity Pebble churro ice cream from Ridges, we met up with my coworker Zack and his girlfriend at Anohni. Her graphics were really powerful. I turned to Zack and said, "This feels like something that would be in a back room at MOCA or LACMA for an art installation". He's a copy-writer at work and does lots of artist bios, so knows lots of fun facts about the music scene.
He explained to me that it probably was art-installation-esque because in the past, Anohni has worked with the likes of Lou Reed and Bjork on installations and projects. Plus, the show was called Anohni: Presents Hopelessness which in itself seems like an art piece with an underlying message.
We went from Anohni to Mac Demarco and met up with a few more friends. Fighting our way through the crowd, we ended up to the side of the sound booth which was a pretty good spot.
Afterwards, we caught a few Beach House tunes and moseyed our way over to LCD Soundsystem.
Hey, remember that time I waited for 8 hours to be very front row for LCD at Coachella? Me too.
Anyways, LCD was AMAZING. I danced so hard, as soon as I got out of bed and stood up the next morning I felt my legs scream, "What have you done to us?!" Worth it though. Totally worth it.
I metro-ed home, showered at like 1:30 or 2am, and tried to get some sleep for work the next morning.
Speaking of mornings, I leave tomorrow morning (6am flight) for Festival Number 6 in Wales! I'm beyond excited but man is it going to be a long trek.
Cross your fingers for us!
2015. This is farewell, isn't it? I feel like I just wrote my roundup of 2014 yesterday.
This past year I saw 106 bands. Granted there’s a few festivals in there, but still. That’s A LOT of music. Let's see if I can top that in 2016!
Out of all that music, here's my top 10:
- Why Make Sense? // Hot Chip
- Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit // Courtney Barnett
- Currents // Tame Impala
- b’lieve I’m goin down… // Kurt Vile
- Return to the Moon // El Vy
- Yours, Dreamily, // The Arcs
- Multi-Love // Unknown Mortal Orchestra
- The Waterfall // My Morning Jacket
- I Love You, Honeybear // Father John Misty
- The Magic Whip // Blur
I've made a playlist of my top songs of 2015 including some of my favorite songs off these albums. Have a listen below.
One of my fondest memories of 2015 was at Sasquatch! Music Festival when Joe Goddard of Hot Chip danced the entirety of Why Make Sense doing a shuffle sort of thing while still fully playing his keyboard perfectly. Of course, they're my number 1. Always will be!
Courtney Barnett was also at Sasquatch! this year, and she blew my mind. Ever since Avant Gardner, I've been paying very close attention to this Aussie chick. Seeing her play the main stage in front of The Gorge was just breathtaking. Tame Impala and Father John Misty also played that festival. What a great lineup... can't wait to go back!
My Morning Jacket was a staple show of this year as well. I won tickets from KCRW along with a signed album of The Waterfall, and on top of that they played with Dr Dog and Fruit Bats at The Shrine. It was amazing.
El Vy sort of came out of the woodwork this year. I've always been a fan of The National, and when I heard that Matt Berninger was taking on a side project I got so excited. Happy to say that they did not disappoint. This album is constantly on repeat.
The Arcs remind me of old school Black Keys, a.k.a. when they were REALLY good in my opinion. Dan Auerbach is just magic when he slows it down. You should check out his solo stuff, too. Mm SO GOOD.
Pretty Pimpin on Kurt Vile's b’lieve I’m goin down… might be one of my most played songs of the year. To me it's about figuring out who you are as a person, and learning to know yourself as you change. I've been doing a lot of that lately.
Multi-Love from Unknown Mortal Orchestra is just a feel good album. The kind that gets you swaying a little bit in your seat when you listen.
There's a little bit of electro sprinkled into Blur's latest album. They still have that mellow feel about them but it's sort of refreshing having something different with it. Speaking of sprinkles... that album cover?! A neon sign AND ice cream is almost enough for me to sell the album even without listening to it. ALMOST.
Last Wednesday I woke up at about 1:30pm. The reason for that is I was in a car driving home from Washington the day prior for 21 hours straight and I was beat.
Why was I in WA you ask? Well there was this 4 day music festival called Sasquatch! at the Gorge, which was in fact, GORGEous.
My 4 favorite bands were playing: Hot Chip, Spoon, James Blake and Little Dragon. So obviously, I had to go.
We met some really rad people, listened to awesome music and had a great time. I'll definitely be back one day, Sasquatch!
Part 1: Getting There
Emily and I drove through to Portland. We left at 5am and got there around 7pm. There were frequent bathroom breaks and the occasional stopping to get food. Coffee came first, of course.
As soon as we hit Oregon, it started pouring rain. Goodbye cute lil' window paint drawings. You just weren't meant to make it to Washington.
We stayed the night at her cousins house and got some much needed sleep. The most dramatic part of getting there was the fact that we forgot our camping ticket on the fridge at home in LA. Jackson was kind enough to overnight ship it to her cousins house, which unfortunately got mis delivered and lost forever. (Thanks Fed-Ex). Luckily after spending some time on the phone with Live Nation, I was able to have it emailed to myself and just had to print it out.
Brunch was a bust as we used up our morning hunting down a ticket. But we did make time to stop at Stumptown before driving the remaining 4 hours to Washington.
Part 2: The Music
28 shows in the span of 4 days. I would say that's a pretty solid deal. And look at those beautiful backdrops. Damn, nature.
- Ayron Jones and The Way
- Gorgol Bordello
- Action Bronson
- Little Dragon
- Will Butler
- Benjamin Booker
- Milo Greene
- Sylvan Esso
- Glass Animals
- Father John Misty
- Modest Mouse
- St. Paul & the Broken Bones
- Jenny Lewis
- St. Vincent
- José González
- James Blake
- Hanni El Khatib
- Courtney Barnett
- Future Islands
- Sharon Van Etten
- Tame Impala
- Ryan Adams
- Hot Chip
Part 3: The Weather x Camping
The weather in Quincy, WA is insane to say the least. Super summery sunny weather and all of a sudden, RAIN. Then intense winds. Then freezing cold, then sun again. Oh but those winds though. The winds messed with us the most.
Our E-Z up canopy or as we learned Canadians would say, “Gazebo”, is completely destroyed. We came home to camp the first night around 2am to an MIA canopy. Same with our neighbors. Just totally gone.
I picked up my trusty dusty ice cream cone lamp for use as a lantern and we scoured the campgrounds. Us and our Canadian neighbors, Annalise and Madison, found our canopies mangled together 400 feet away from camp. One of our corner poles was bent at a 60 degree angle, and our tarp had holes ripped into it. Did I mention Mega-Canopy also knocked in a tent on it's way to destruction? Luckily, the tent made it out OK.
Part 4: The Way Back
It was really hard to wake up at 5am after 4 days of music. But we did it. Then took down our canopy (which by this point was 100% broken [#sadsquatch]), disassembled our tent and wrangled up all the little things at our campsite.
We left Washington at 6am and got back to Los Angeles at 3am. That's right... 21 hours. Don't worry, we swapped off with sleeping and had lots of coffee.
All food stops this time around were via drive-thru, bathroom breaks weren't as frequent, and we didn't get out of the car as much. We really just wanted to be home.
The 1 stop we made sure we hit up in Portland was VooDoo Doughnuts. I had a peanut butter oreo one and felt 10 pounds instantaneously show up on my body. But it was worth it.
Home feels so good but I'll definitely miss those beautiful Sasquatch skies.