indie rock

Father of the Bride: Album Review

On Friday, one of my most anticipated albums of the last year came out. Since early 2018, I’ve been waiting for the release a new Vampire Weekend record. Friday it happened. Vampire Weekend’s latest album, since Modern Vampires of the City came out in 2013, Father of the Bride was released. The album’s been teased for months with the release of singles like “Harmony Hall”, “2021”, “Sunflower”, “Big Blue”, and most recently “This Life” and “Unbearably White”. Finally the full album is out and I must say it’s not what I was expecting, but it hasn’t disappointed me yet either.

Father of the Bride is one of those albums that need to grow on you. It’s clear that in the last six years things have changed for frontman and songwriter Ezra Koenig as well as for the band itself (original member Rostam Batmanglij left the band in 2016). The sound is much more different than prior Vampire Weekend records. Koenig’s vocals are the one thing that distinguishes many of the new tracks as being Vampire Weekend songs. There are elements of country, jam, and pop in the record, which is much different from the former albums that have taken sounds from music of other cultures.

Another new addition to this album is the collaboration with Danielle Haim from the sister trio group Haim. She’s featured on three tracks and provides background vocals for a few other songs as well. As a big Haim fan, I’m into this. I never expected the collaboration, but I sort of love it? It adds a female voice to Vampire Weekend that didn’t exist prior. The songs featuring Haim are the ones that sound much different than typical Vampire Weekend. I do like it, but I also kind of wish the songs were more Vampire Weekend sounding with a Haim addition instead of being more Haim sounding with a Vampire Weekend addition.

It’s evident that with FOTB Vampire Weekend has grown and matured in life and in music. In fact, I noticed while seeing them at Lollapalooza last summer that the people attending their set were all older, probably in their 30’s or late 20’s, which if you’ve been to Lolla you know is rare because there’s an overflow of high school and college kids every where. It was pretty cool. So I guess in a way with their new music, Vampire Weekend is growing with their fans. Overall I like the album. I don’t love it. There are a few tracks that are sure bangers, mainly “Harmony Hall” and “This Life”.  The rest really need to grow on me. As I listen to the album more and more though in preparation of seeing Vampire Weekend in concert in September I’m sure I’ll be into a few more songs. I’ll probably still be jamming to “A-Punk”, “Walcott”, “Unbelievers”, and “Oxford Comma” though too. And if you’re a big Vampire Weekend fan I’m sure you’ll be doing the same.

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Coachella Band Preview: the 1975, CHVRCHES, A R I Z O N A, & Gryffin

3 more weeks! 3 more weeks! 3 more weeks! Coachella is in 3 weeks!!!! I know I write similar posts with the same hype level every year, but every year I’m that excited for Coachella, especially this year. Last year felt a little disappointing to me. This year feels like I have zero expectations. I’m just happy to be working the event, even if it’s not in the role I hoped for. To put it best, my hype level feels pure right now. Yours should be too! This week I’m previewing 4 bands because I’ve written about all of them before. Three of them I’ve written about when they played Coachella in the past. Two of them I’ve written about because I was into them at the time. One of them I’ve written about twice already. That band is the 1975.

The 1975 is headed out to their third Coachella. They last played in 2016 after their sophomore album I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It dropped. Since touring and promoting that album, the 1975 has released a third studio album and has a fourth on the way with a release slated for less than a year after A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships came out at the end of November 2018. Their fourth album Notes on a Conditional Form is due out this summer with the first single coming out in May. 2019 is definitely going to be a big year for the 1975.

In 2016, I saw the 1975 perform twice. Both times I didn’t pay for tickets to see them and both performances were at festivals, sweetlife and Lollapalooza. Since they’re back on the festival circuit this summer, I’m hoping I’ll get to catch them again at least once. They play Friday at Coachella and I can pretty much guarantee you’ll see them on the Main Stage or the Outdoor Stage. Here’s a few new songs and some old ones that you’ll want to know in preparation to see them:

  1. It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You)
  2. Chocolate
  3. The Sound
  4. TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME
  5. Sex
  6. Somebody Else
  7. Love It If We Made It
  8. Girls
  9. Give Yourself a Try
  10. Sincerity is Scary

Just like the 1975, CHVRCHES last played Coachella in 2016 and will be making their third appearance in Indio this spring. Since 2016, CHVRCHES also released their third studio album Love Is Dead on May 25, 2018. It debuted at number 7 on the UK Albums Chart. Their latest album also features a collaboration with Matt Berninger of the National. Recently CHVRCHES released the song “Here With Me” in collaboration with electronic DJ Marshmello.

I’ve never been a huge CHVRCHES fan, but I did watch their performance on the live stream in 2016. I remember being really impressed with Lauren Mayberry’s stage presence. I’m hoping to see them live for the first time this time around. They play Sunday and I’m sure they’ll be on the Main Stage or the Outdoor Stage if previous performances are any indication. I’ve casually listened to CHVRCHES over the years and as a casual listener here’s my best recommendations on what songs to listen to so you’re ready to see the band play their third Coachella:

  1. The Mother We Share
  2. Leave a Trace
  3. Miracle
  4. Recover
  5. Clearest Blue
  6. Get Out
  7. Here With Me (Marshmello ft. CHVRCHES)
  8. Gun
  9. My Enemy
  10. We Sink

Almost two years ago I wrote a post about A R I Z O N A. It was about 3 years ago that I started listening to the band, not the state. They weren’t that big at all. I saw them perform in the fall of 2016. They opened for Hayley Kiyoko at a 450 person capacity venue. Neither were that big. Flash forward to last summer, both bands joined Panic! At the Disco on their Pray For the Wicked Tour arena tour. A R I Z O N A played to a packed Bud Light Stage at Lollapalooza and Hayley Kiyoko joined Taylor Swift onstage during Taylor’s summer tour after simultaneously selling out her U.S. headlining tour. It’s safe to say both A R I Z O N A and Hayley Kiyoko have come a long a way. Last year Hayley played her first Coachella. This year it’s time for A R I Z O N A to visit the Coachella Valley for the first time.

Since releasing their debut album, the band has played numerous other festivals as well as going on their own headlining tour in the fall of 2017. Last summer they released two new songs. They also recently released the song “Find Someone” at the end of February. This spring they play Coachella on Saturday. I’m not sure where you’ll find these guys at the festival but I would expect them to play a late afternoon set. I’d also recommend that you get to their set early. If their first Coachella appearance is anything like their Lollapalooza set last summer, it will definitely be crowded. Out of all the bands on the lineup this year, this is one that I’m most familiar with and high on my list of bands I’d love to see perform at the festival. I’ve been following the group for a while so I know quite a few of their bangers. Here’s what you need to know to be ready for their Coachella debut:

  1. Oceans Away
  2. I Was Wrong
  3. Electric Touch
  4. Find Someone
  5. Freaking Out
  6. Where I Wanna Be
  7. Feed the Beast
  8. Annie
  9. Ain’t Gonna Leave
  10. What She Wants

Last on the list of bands playing Coachella 2019 that I’ve already wrote about is Gryffin. Since playing his first Coachella in 2017, Gryffin has released several more singles and part of his debut album Gravity. The second part of the album is due to be released this year. The first half was released in December 2018.

Since getting into electronic music, I’ve always been into Gryffin. After previewing him in 2017, I learned just how cool his live performances are since they incorporate instrumentation along with standard electronic artist DJ production. I didn’t get to see him perform at Coachella in 2017, but I did get to watch his Lollapalooza set that summer. It was great. I’m eager to see what he has in store for his second Coachella especially now that part of his debut has been released with the other part on the way. He plays Saturday. I would expect his set to be at the Sahara Tent in the afternoon or early evening. I’m not sure how many people to expect, but the Sahara Tent is one of the most popular stages at the festival so give yourself enough time to get a good spot. To get you ready for Gryffin’s set, here’s what you need to listen to:

  1. Tie Me Down
  2. Feel Good
  3. Whole Heart
  4. Desire (Years & Years Remix)
  5. Heading Home
  6. Love In Ruins
  7. Nobody Compares to You
  8. Remember
  9. Just For A Moment
  10. Bye Bye

Coachella Band Preview: Mansionair

Hola! I’m back in Mexico this week, but still bringing you another Coachella band preview because we officially have 2 months to go. This week I’ve got a band for you that I first found out about during Coachella 2018! They’re due to release their debut album in 2 weeks, but they’ve been putting out jams for the past 5 years.

Mansionair was formed in 2014 in Australia when singer Jack Froggatt was invited to join producers Lachlan Bostock and Alex Nicholls on music they had been making. They released the song “Hold Me Down” in early 2014. It hit two million views in 2 months. The trio then signed to Glassnote Records and were asked to join CHVRCHES on tour.

In 2015 the band released the EP Pick Me Up which featured their hit single “Hold Me Down”, a remix of the song, and 2 other tracks. They were also asked to join alt-J and Florence and the Machine on tour. They released the single “Easier” in 2016 followed by the hit single “Astronaut – Something About Your Love” in 2017. The 2017 hit reached number 44 on the Billboard Rock Airplay chart. The band also collaborated with electronic artists Odesza on their song “Line of Sight” also featuring WYNNE, which peaked at number 23 on Billboard’s Alternative Chart and number 37 on its Dance/Electronic Songs chart. Last year Mansionair dropped 3 more singles which will all be on their debut album Shadowboxer along with their latest single “Shadows”.

Mansionair’s sound is a perfect blend of alternative/indie rock and electronic music. Although their sound is definitely different, their style is similar to fellow Australians and Coachella 2019 performers RÜFÜS DU SOL. Their music has a darker, sensual feel to it though. It’s such a vibe to be honest.

As I mentioned, I first heard of Mansionair during Coachella 2018. We constantly listened to Alt Nation on Sirius XM on our drives to and from site each day and Mansionair’s “Astronaut – Something About Your Love” was part of the rotation during that time. There were several other songs that were continuously played on that station last spring and will always remind me of Coachella in some way. Mansionair was a part of that. It’s pretty cool that Mansionair already has that Coachella association for me since they’re actually playing the festival this year.

Coachella 2019 marks Mansionair’s first Coachella appearance. With their first album being released March 1st, the group will be touring and undoubtedly playing some of the festival circuit in the U.S. this summer. They’re already booked for Firefly as well. Mansionair plays Sunday at Coachella. I doubt they’ll be playing one of the main stages unless it’s an early afternoon set time. My guess is that they play Gobi or Mojave. The timing is in question though. They could easily play at any time of the day. Since Mansionair doesn’t have a huge discography yet, listening to all their tunes should easily prep you to see them. I guarantee it’ll be worth it too as these guys seem to be rising in their respective music scene. Before heading to see them at Coachella you should check out:

  1. Astronaut – Something About Your Love
  2. Shadows
  3. Easier
  4. Speak Easy
  5. Hold Me Down
  6. Technicolour
  7. Falling
  8. Violet City
  9. Pick Me Up
  10. The rest of their debut album!

Coachella Band Preview: Mac DeMarco

We’ve hit February. One month down, two to go until Coachella 2019. I hope you’ve been jamming to all the Coachella bands and prepping your flower crowns for the annual two weekend party in the Indio desert. This week I’m previewing another indie rock act set to make his third Coachella appearance this year.

Canadian artist Mac DeMarco came onto the music scene as a backing musician around 2008 shortly after he graduated high school in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He relocated to Vancouver but failed to reach success as a musician there. He then moved to Montreal in 2011 to work on a solo project. It was from there that DeMarco signed with Captured Tracks and released his first EP Rock and Roll Night Club. The EP lead the way to DeMarco’s first full-length album 2. The album received a nod from indie music outlet Pitchfork being labeled as “Best New Music”.

Mac DeMarco’s second album Salad Days was released two years later and again it received the same praise from Pitchfork. He released another mini-album/EP Another One in 2015. He also released an instrumental album that same year entitled Some Other Ones. Mac’s latest album This Old Dog was released on May 5, 2017.

Mac DeMarco has described his style of music as “jizz jazz”. I think it fits the indie music category perfectly. It’s something you’d hear at Urban Outfitters circa 2011. It’s super chill and vibey. Some might call it indie rock or psychedelic rock. It does have elements of both genres, but in my opinion it’s way less rock from what you’d consider indie rock to be and way more pure indie, if that’s a thing?

I found out about Mac DeMarco from a friend in 2016. He was playing a music festival that I had hopes of volunteering at that spring as well. I ended up volunteering at the festival but not seeing Mac DeMarco since he performed while I was on my shift. I did see one of his live sets in 2017 though. I was working Lollapalooza and I was supposed to finish at 10 p.m. that night but I was cut early. I realized I had some time so I decided to catch Mac DeMarco’s set since he was closing out the night at one of the smaller Lolla stages and I didn’t care for the headliners. The set was so fun. Seeing him live is nothing like listening to his music. He jams, gets drunk, plays crazy Vanessa Carlton covers and plays his tunes in the midst of all that. It’s a great live music experience.

Mac DeMarco plays on Saturday. I’m guessing he has a late afternoon, early evening time slot, but as for what stage I don’t have a great guess. It may even be possible that he headlines a smaller stage just as he did at Lolla in 2017. His music fits the chill Coachella atmosphere perfectly. Unless you’re a huge fan who wants to be front and center, this is a perfect set to catch while laying out in the field, sitting under some shade (if he plays in the afternoon!), or just relaxing while soaking up all those Coachella vibes. I highly recommend catching his set though because like I said his live performances are fun and highly crowd-oriented. You never know what you’re gonna get from Mac DeMarco. Here’s a few tunes you should know:

  1. Salad Days
  2. Chamber of Reflection
  3. Freaking Out the Neighborhood
  4. Still Beating
  5. Ode to Viceroy
  6. This Old Dog
  7. Honey Moon
  8. On the Level
  9. Let Her Go
  10. Another One

(and also Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles” just in case that cover happens again!)

Coachella 2019 Lineup Release

Happy 2019 bitches! With a new year comes a new festival season and the hype for me always starts with Coachella (as most of you know). 5 years ago I decided to attend Coachella. I also began this blog about music, sports, and entertainment making the decision to review the Coachella lineup and preview bands leading up to the festival a no brainer. Who knew I’d make it a yearly thing? I mean I guess you could’ve figured it might happen. So here we are… on the brink of Coachella 2019 and I’m proud to say this is the 5th time for Coachella Band Previews leading up to the 20th anniversary of the spring festival in the Indio Desert. I know I haven’t kept up with my blog as much this year because of work and travel but I’m taking steps and measures to assure you (and myself honestly) that I have weekly band previews leading up to Coachella.

Now on to the important stuff…the LINEUP! It just dropped last night around 11:30 ET and I have a lot of good feelings about this one. Back in September, the headliners were projected to be Childish Gambino, Justin Timberlake, and Kanye West. It bummed me out. It felt like another year with mainstream Coachella and no indie rock headliners. In the coming months it seemed that plans changed for Justin Timberlake and Kanye West. Reports in mid-December indicated that Justin Timberlake had dropped out of Coachella. Then yesterday as all of Coachella’s devoted fans waited for the lineup to drop, reports surfaced of Kanye dropping out of Coachella because both parties couldn’t come to agreements on stage size. It brought a new wave of excitement and anticipation for the lineup for me. After a few teasers around 7:00 p.m. and another around 10:30 p.m., the lineup dropped an hour later for the east coasters and 8:30 p.m. for those on California time. I was immediately hyped upon seeing the headliners and in general, which is crazy because it feels like none of my favorites play Coachella anymore. The lineups are so broad and encompass music across genres at this point, but I’ve reached a point of acceptance of that with Coachella. There’s no longer a hype to make every year 2014 even if I’m still a little bummed I didn’t see Vampire Weekend’s name on the ticket (it’s their year people!). It’s zero expectations from here on out. So without further delay and teasing, here it is the Coachella 2019 lineup:

The Headliners: Childish Gambino, Tame Impala, Ariana Grande

After the drop outs from Justin Timberlake and Kanye West, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I heard Rihanna rumors and some Ariana Grande rumors as well. I honestly expected Rihanna, but Ariana Grande felt like an ironic fit to the lineup for me. After listening to “thank u, next” for the first time last week, it became a guilty pleasure. It was the new year’s motto and now she’s headlining Coachella. Isn’t it ironic? Don’t ya think? Ha! I mean it’s not. “thank u, next” has been a big deal for a few weeks now, but it just seems like the icing on the cake after so much Ariana Grande talk in my life over the last week It’s actually not her first Coachella appearance either. Last year during Kygo’s set on Weekend 2, she joined the Norwegian DJ to perform her new single “No Tears Left to Cry”. She then joined in on Kygo’s “Sexual Healing” remix. Childish Gambino was the least surprising of the three. Donald Glover’s stage alter ego was part of the original three Coachella headliners since September. I’m indifferent to him honestly and expected his name to be there. Tame Impala, however, was the most exciting for me. After last year’s drop of an indie rock headliner and a lack of indie rock performers in general, seeing Tame Impala’s name on the bill got me stoked. I saw them headline Panorama aka Coachella East in 2017. They killed their performance. Seeing them play at night added another element to their set with insane strobes and visuals that I’m sure will be a highlight of their Coachella headlining set as well. These might not be the greatest headliners ever, but something about them feels right. And it just feels good too.

The Other Highly Billed Performers: Janelle Monáe, the 1975, DJ Snake, Diplo, RÜFÜS DU SOL, BLACKPINK, Solange, Kid Cudi, Weezer, Aphex Twin, J Balvin, Billie Eilish, Bassnectar, Khalid, Zedd, Gesaffelstein, Bad Bunny, Dillon Francis, CHVRCHES, YG, Anderson .Paak & the Free Nationals, Kacey Musgraves, Juice WRLD, Ella Mai, Los Tucanes  De Tijuana, Four Tet, Christine & the Queens, Wiz Khalifa, Mac DeMarco, Bazzi, Maggie Rogers, Sheck Wes, Cirez D, Playboi Carti, H.E.R., Blood Orange, Pusha T, Unkown Mortal Orchestra, Kaytranada 

From the other top acts at Coachella this year, I’m most excited about RÜFÜS DU SOL. I’ve gotten into RÜFÜS over the past 2 years. They played Electric Forest last summer and I caught part of their Weekend 2 set. I wanted to see as much as possible but I was tired. I stayed for about 20-30 minutes though and it was incredible. They were killing it, but I was alone, had to get up early the next day, and had no one with me to peer pressure me into staying, so I left. I was both happy and sad about it, but Coachella is another chance for me to see them. Plus I know it’ll be a great vibe at their set in the Coachella atmosphere.

Another one of my faves from this list is the 1975. After the band announced their tour dates a month or two ago, it was expected that they would be at Coachella. I got really into the 1975 almost three years ago and saw them twice over the summer of 2016. They’re super fun live. I actually previewed them back in 2016 when they last played the festival and wrote a blog about them a few months before that. So needless to say I can’t wait to see Matt Healy and the crew performing again!

Weezer is also a staple on this list and I’ve never been able to catch them live. They’ve been in my life since high school and although I’ve never been a major fan, I’ve been a fan of several Weezer jams throughout the years. I’m hoping to be able to see them at Coachella this year.

I’m pretty stoked about CHRVCHES too. I watched their 2016 performance via livestream and also previewed them in anticipation of their 2016 performance. Lauren Mayberry had such a killer stage presence. I’m sure she still does too. Since watching the livestream that year though, I’ve never had the chance to see the band in person so hopefully it’ll work out at Coachella 2019.

A few others from this list worth mentioning are Janelle Monáe, Billie Eilish, Zedd, Diplo, Dillon Francis, Mac DeMarco, and Kid Cudi. Janelle Monáe released a new album last year (Dirty Computer) and is up for a Grammy for it. I’ve noticed a lot of hype around her from my friends/coworkers and not gonna lie, I even got into a few of her songs myself. Billie Eilish has exploded over the last year. I first heard of her in 2017 when my friend played a remix of one of her songs on our work trip in Sacramento. The remix version is a jam but her music overall is mood music. As far as rappers go, Kid Cudi was one of the first ones in a while that I actually enjoyed. This was back in 2011 but I used to vibe “Up, Up, and Away”. Mac DeMarco is always a good time. Listening to his music vs. seeing him live is completely different too. His live sets are one of a kind and you honestly just have to see him play to understand. I was lucky enough to see his set at Lollapalooza in 2017 and it was wild. Zedd, Diplo, and Dillon Francis are sure to bring the electronic flare at this year’s festival. I can’t say I’m a huge fan of any of them but “The Middle” is definitely a guilty pleasure of mine so I’d probably enjoy a Zedd set the most.

Also I hope everyone is prepared for the young wooks this year since Bassnectar is playing. That set is gonna bring all the head bangers out.

The Rest: FISHER, Jaden Smith, Nina Kraviz, Rosalia, Gorgon City, Mon Laferte, Khruangbin, Kayzo, dvsn, King Princess, Chris Lake, Jauz, the Interrupters, Hot Since 82, Charlotte Gainsbourg, SOPHIE, Nicole Moudaber, Tierra Whack, Pole & Pan, Beach Fossils, Yellow Days, the Frights, Nora En Pure, Yves Tumor, SG Lewis, Kero Kero Bonito, JPEGMAFIA, Calypso Rose, Nic Fanciulli, Kölsch, CamelPhat, Let’s Eat Grandma, Anna Lunoe, Amelie Lens, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Walker & Royce, Turnstile, RAT BOY, 88Glam, Ross from Friends, Lauren Lane, Still Woozy, Bakar, Blondish, Tomasa del Real, Las Robertas, Dave P. Gryffin, Bob Moses, Virgil Abloh, Tale of Us, Mr Eazi, Sabrina Claudio, Ty Segall & White Fence, Deep Dish, Smino, FKJ, SiR, Idris Elba, Parcels, JAIN, Soulection, Turnover, SALES, Stephan Bodzin, CloZee, ARIZONA, Murda Beatz, Jambinai, Ame, CHON, Little Simz, Adriatique, Lee Burridge, The Garden, Agoria, Hop Along, shame, Superorganism, serpentwithfeet, Dokay, Steady Holiday, Javiera Mena, The Messthetics, The Red Pears, Heidi Lawden, Gucci Gang, Jon Hopkins, SOFI TUKKER, Burna Boy, Lizzo, Dermot Kennedy, SOB x RBE, Clairo, NGHTMRE, Perfume, boy pablo, Guy Gerber, HYUKOH, Emily King, Dennis Lloyd, Alice Morton, Shallou, 078 Shake, Soccer Mommy, Rico Nasty, Cola Boyy, Wallows, Mansionair, Nocturnal Sunshine, Dusky, Yetto, Patrice Bäumel, Easy Life, Jan Blomqvist, U.S. Girls, Iceage, Men I Trust, Charlotte de Witte, Social House, Ocho Djes, Razorbumps, Tara Brooks

There’s a lot of great hidden gems in the rest of these performers. I think several of them should be billed higher actually but it is what it is. Out of these guys I’ve been super hyped on Bob Moses recently. A friend of mine told me about them recently and I’ve been slowly getting into them. I love the song “Back Down” along with a few others. I’m sure by Coachella I’ll be full on into them.

I’m also really stoked about Gryffin. Gryffin last played Coachella 2 years ago but I never made it to his set. I did catch his performance at Lollapalooza that summer though. He’s a great electronic artist who also incorporates instruments into his sets. I love his music too. It’s a win-win with Gryffin for sure.

ARIZONA is another one of my favorites from this year’s lineup. I’ve been digging ARIZONA since the winter of 2016. You already know because I’ve blogged about them before, but I saw them open for Hayley Kiyoko in late 2016 in a tiny Philly venue without even knowing it was them until I recognized their second song. The following summer I saw them play a small stage at Lollapalooza and the set was packed! This past year they played Lollapalooza again on the Bud Light stage (main stage) to another huge crowd! They also toured with Panic! At the Disco. They’ve just been growing and growing over the past few years so I know their set for their first Coachella appearance will be packed as well.

A few of my other favorites from the rest of the lineup are Turnover, Lizzo, and Mansionair. I found out about Turnover on my way to Coachella in 2017 and now here we are in 2019 with them on the lineup. It’s pretty cool. They’re part of the pop punk scene but their music is more indie. I’d probably say it’s on the indie punk spectrum, if thats a thing? During Coachella 2018 when we spent our drives listening to alt nation on Sirius XM, Mansionair’s “Astronaut” was always in the rotation. Now they’ll be back for real in the Coachella Valley. I’ve listened to them a few times since last spring, so I’ll definitely try to listen more in prep for Coachella 2019. Lastly, Lizzo. Lizzo is a big mood. I saw her open for Haim last spring shortly after I returned from Coachella. Slay is the word that comes to mind when I think back on that performance. She’s been getting bigger ever since so it makes sense that she’ll be at Coachella this year. I expect her to draw a decent sized crowd too.

I also suggest looking out for Wallows. They bring a great indie rock vibe to the festival and their claim to fame is their guitarist Dylan Minnette who is the star of Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why amongst other TV and movie appearances. Will Smith’s son Jaden is also on the list of those performing and who knows maybe Dad will show up for a guest appearance. Beach Fossils is another indie band worth checking out too if indie music is your thing.

So there you have it. The Coachella 2019 lineup with a few brief overviews of all my recommendations for this year. In the coming weeks it’ll be Coachella Band Previews and prep from here on out. Although I’ll be working a few music festivals down in Mexico over the next two months I’ll still be releasing weekly blog posts up until the festival, which means I’m going to be doing a lot of writing in my free time.

I’m so stoked for Coachella this year. Once again, there will never be another 2014 it seems, but I’m okay with it. I’m excited. I’m happy with lineup. I love its diversity. I love that Coachella always seems to find up and coming artists. Mostly though, I love Coachella in general. It’s the reason why I’m following my dreams in the music industry and I can’t wait to spend another spring in the desert with my favorite people at my favorite place. Cheers to 20 years Coachella! I’m ready for you.

Top Tunes of 2018

Each of the last two years I’ve written posts about how much music has shaped the year. In 2016 there was a lot of shit that went down and music was the bright spot. Last year was one of my favorite years in music in a while so 2018 had a lot to live up to. So as the year comes to a close, the results are in. It was in no way comparable to last year, but thats okay! Because music was still important as it always is.

2018 as a whole will never be comparable to last year. I felt too much in 2018 and in the process I lost a lot of perspective. I had to dig myself out of personal holes so many times. A lot of which I hadn’t felt in years. In a way I’m still trying to overcome some personal struggles but one thing I learned this year is that it could be worse. So I try to remind myself of that. Despite losing perspective at times, I was able to gain it back through meeting new incredible people, through traveling all over the country, through new experiences, and most importantly through music.

I worked harder and put in more miles than I ever had in the past this year all because of a goal that started last January. My friend and I planned a trip to London. I went on that trip last week and it was definitely a trip I won’t soon forget. As much as all the work made it worth it. It was the journey of the year that made it special and so many songs and bands that got me through this weird rollercoaster of a year. So without further delay, here are some of my faves from 2018:

“NUMB” by Hayden James

According to Spotify, this is my top song of the year. Spotify isn’t lying either. It’s now my second most played song on my iTunes. I fell in love with this song during EDC Las Vegas, a festival which ultimately changed the course of the year for me. This song related to my life in all the ways at times, so I kept turning to it. Plus it’s a big fucking mood! I saw Hayden James perform at Electric Forest this year and was able to catch this song during his sets both weekends and during his Weekend 2 DJ set. The bass was so overpowering, but I loved it nonetheless. Now, 7 months later and I’m still choosing to listen to this song. It will forever be associated with this year and all the ups and downs that came with it.

“Safe” by Bay Ledges

This song was released in 2017 but I first heard this song in the spring of 2018 and I became hooked on it. It was a song that I would constantly choose to play whenever I was scrolling through my iTunes in the car or on Spotify. We also kept hearing it on our drives from Joshua Tree to Indio during Coachella this past year. It always puts me in a good mood and creates such a vibe. I was lucky enough to see Bay Ledges play last month and to hear this song live. Even if the song was released in 2017, it still got me through 2018.

Kygo

Kygo was my top Spotify artist this year. It makes sense. After seeing Kygo play at Coachella, one of my favorite sets of the festival, I got really into listening to his music. I eventually created a Kygo Spotify playlist that I’ll occasionally use to work out to. I’ve always been into the tropical house style of electronic music so it was a matter of time before I dove head first into Kygo and all of his tunes that I’ve already been listening to over the past 3 years. I kind of credit the song “Stargzing”, but overall I love almost all of Kygo’s tracks and seeing him live was incredibly fun. This was the year that made it happen for me and the Norwegian DJ.

“Curious” by Hayley Kiyoko

2018 can be defined by the hashtag 20GAYTEEN and that’s all in part to Hayley Kiyoko. She released her first full length album this year and exploded in the music scene. She performed at Coachella, sold out her tour, opened for Panic! At the Disco, performed with Taylor Swift, and won a VMA! It’s been an epic year for Lesbian Jesus. This song was released early in 2018 as a single to promote Hayley’s debut album. It’s been one of my faves ever since. I snuck away during work at Coachella to catch a glimpse of her set Weekend 2, but missed a large portion of it. It wasn’t until I worked a Panic! At the Disco show that I got to see the entirety of her opening set and felt all the proud mom feelings. I saw Hayley play a small venue show in Philly in late 2016 and it’s been pleasure being a fan and seeing her grow so much since then. This year was the icing on the cake for that. So to answer the question, in case you were curious, it is serious that she’s only going up from here.

Arctic Monkeys

2018 was a comeback year for Arctic Monkeys. They released their first album since 2013’s AM, toured worldwide, and played numerous dates on the festival circuit. It was my goal this year to see them play and I did while working their show at Forest Hills Stadium back in July. Although their new album wasn’t the comeback I hoped for, 2018 revitalized my interest in Arctic Monkeys and caused me to listen to their music even more than I did in the past. I found a love in old songs like “Suck It And See” and “I Bet That You Look Good On the Dance Floor”. I also eventually started to enjoy their latest release. It seems like the Monkeys will be riding the 2018 wave into 2019 as well so hopefully they coast back to the states soon.

“Saturday Sun” by Vance Joy

Vance Joy released his sophomore album this year back in February. “Saturday Sun” was a single from that album that was the theme of my Coachella 2018 experience. On our 1 hour drives to and from work every day from Joshua Tree, we listened to Alt Nation on Sirius XM. “Saturday Sun” was in the rotation at the time at it seemed like we heard it ever time we got in Denise’s car. It became our Coachella song. The whole experience culminated on Sunday of Weekend 2 when Vance Joy asked to sit at our table in catering and ate lunch with us. This song will always remind me this year and drives through California with my Day One since Day One Weekend One, Denise.

“Wanderlust” by James Bay

There’s no special story behind this song compared to the others I have on here. It’s just one that I kept going back to once I had it on my iTunes and Spotify playlists. I got into it right before I left for Electric Forest in June and it’s been a staple ever since. It gave me a new opinion on James Bay, whose music I thought was always slower and created romance type vibes. This song was an indie pop/rock dream that I never knew I needed from James Bay this year.

Florence and the Machine

It took me a while to get into the new Florence and the Machine album, but I did just in time to see her live at the Barclays Center in October. Again just like the Arctic Monkeys, High As Hope, the 2018 follow-up to 2015’s How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, was a bit of a disappointment to me initially. In general, it seemed like after a big 2017 of brilliant albums, 2018’s hype wasn’t cutting it for me. New music from 2018 just took a little while to get used to. Once I did I fell for songs like “Hunger” and “Patricia”. Florence reminded me this year when I needed it most that “it’s a wonderful thing to love” and I’m grateful for that.

“Body” by Loud Luxury

“Body” came to me around the same time as “NUMB” at EDC Las Vegas so it makes total sense that it would always play after “NUMB” on my iTunes rotation. I first heard the song on the way to site at EDC via Josh Hurlbert’s music. My friend Erin and I were jamming to it. I didn’t know the name of the song after that, but I needed to find out. So after some detective work, Josh figured out the song I was referring to and told me what it was called on load-out day. It’s been as much of a favorite as “NUMB” since EDC and a great work out track as well. I can’t say I’ve listened to Loud Luxury beyond “Body”, but it’s been a big hit of 2018 all around so I’m sure there will be more great tracks to come from the electronic artists.

Bishop Briggs

Bishop Briggs ended 2017 for me and moved right in 2018. Her debut album came out in May and she was high on my list to see live until I saw her perform at Electric Forest. I will say my interest in Bishop Briggs kind of faded after seeing her perform live, but for the first half of this year I was focused on her debut album and possibly seeing her in the summer. She didn’t disappoint at Forest either. Her performance was full of energy and power that had everyone feeling as bad ass as her by the end of the set. It was a highlight of the festival that seemed to be one of my lowest points of the year. Thankfully, I survived the Forest and went on to have some great festival experiences beyond that.

Runner-Ups

Years & Years

“Happy Man” by Jungle

“Happier” by Marshmello, ft. Bastille

Dashboard Confessional

“Whippin'” by Kiiara

So that’s it! 10 songs and artists that were big for me in 2018 (plus a few runner-ups!). There was another band that I easily could have put on the list but I decided to hold off because 2019 will surely be a big year for them. That band is Vampire Weekend. Their comeback started in 2018 with a few festival appearances, including a special one that I was witness to at Lollapalooza, but they’ve yet to release their much anticipated fourth full length album. There were rumors it would come out in 2018, but that hasn’t happened. So I expect 2019 will be the year for them. They’re already slated to play Firefly in June and I’m sure more dates and festivals are in the works as well. I can’t wait. They’re who I’m most excited about heading in to this new year.

As with any year, there will be plenty of new music and new discoveries for me. I didn’t plan on this year being better than 2017 and it wasn’t honestly as far as music goes. Professionally though, 2018 was my best year yet. When I set out to follow my music industry dreams in 2015 (technically 2016 but it started in 2015), my goal was always to be better, learn more, and grow every year. I’ve done that so far, especially this year. I have no plans to stop any time soon either. I’ve started to reach some goals I’ve had, but I have so much more to do and accomplish. I’m so lucky I get to do what I love. I’m grateful for everyone that’s helped and supported me, everyone I’ve met, and all the experiences I’ve had. I owe it all to music. So hopefully next year is even better because I plan on trying to make it that way and I’m sure I’ll have plenty of new tunes to help me through it all. Be back next week for the Coachella 2019 lineup release!

“All of life is energy vibrating at different frequencies. It has been said, the universe is a uni-verse, one song or vibration that plays throughout existence and gives us life. When we get in tune with that tone, we are in harmony with life. Music is a way we can tap into that power. That is why we feel music with our whole being. It moves us, stimulates our imagination, opens emotions, and can pass language and cultural barriers. It lives on a primal level, one that we can all connect with.”

First the Window, Then It’s to the Wall

Last week I worked my third Lollapalooza in the box office/ticketing department, but for the first time, I managed my own ticket help. Lolla was where I started working in ticketing 2 years ago so it felt like a full circle moment being able to work Lolla in a higher position. Another full circle moment happened on Saturday night when I was able to see Vampire Weekend. I found out about the band in 2008 way before I was even into the indie rock scene. A friend of mine in my Music 101 class in college told me about them. He was also the first person to tell me about Lollapalooza so being able to say the first time I saw Vampire Weekend was at Lollapalooza is super cool and special to me. All that aside, much like Arctic Monkeys, Vampire Weekend is back from their 5 year hiatus and will be releasing a new album soon!

Vampire Weekend was formed when founding members Ezra Koenig (vocals, guitar), Chris Tomson (drums), Chris Baio (bass, backing vocals), and Rostam Batmanglij (keyboard) were in college at Columbia University. Their name comes from a summer project of Koenig’s inspired by the 1980 film The Lost Boys. With the project, he decided to create basically the Northeastern version of the film. The project also inspired the song “Walcott” as well even though he abandoned it after working on the short film for only a few days. The band started playing shows around 2006 by performing at battle of the bands around Columbia. Then in 2007 they opened for The Shins on their UK tour. They self-produced their self-titled debut album while simultaneously working full time jobs. The album was released on January 29, 2008. It peaked at number 17 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums Chart and number 15 on the UK Albums Chart.

Vampire Weekend’s second album Contra was released just short of 2 years later. It debuted at number 1 on the Billboard 200. The band also began a large festival circuit in 2010 making stops at Coachella, Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits, and Glastonbury. They had played their first Lollapalooza the previous summer. They also toured in support of the album in 2010. Contra was nominated for a Grammy for Best Alternative Album, but did not win.

Their most recent album to date Modern Vampires of the City was released in May 2013 after much talk of its release in 2011 and 2012. Like Contra, it debuted at number 1 on Billboard’s Top 200 Albums Chart making them the first indie rock band to accomplish this feat with two consecutive albums. The album won Vampire Weekend a Grammy for Best Alternative Album in 2014.

In 2016, Rostam Batmanglij announced his leave from Vampire Weekend via Twitter, but also noted that he would still continue to collaborate with Ezra Koenig. Koenig confirmed this by saying the band was working on a new album with help from Batmanglij. At Lollapalooza last week, the band announced that the 4th album was complete after playing a set list of all old hits including the song “A-Punk” three times in a row to open the set (…and I missed it!).

Vampire Weekend is a pretty standard indie rock band. Their sound is a mixture of indie rock, indie pop, baroque pop, afro-pop, and art pop. Most of their hits have an upbeat, joyfulness to their sound. You can’t help but want to dance to their tracks like “A-Punk”, “Unbelievers”, or “Diane Young”.

As I said, I found out about Vampire Weekend 10 years ago. I kept up with them by periodically adding songs to my iTunes as new releases would come out. I never saw them live though, until last week. They were on my “must-see” list for a while. Since seeing them last week, I haven’t been able to stop listening to them. It was like Lollapalooza revitalized Vampire Weekend for me. It did the same thing for me last year with The Killers. I guess that’s another reason why I like Lollapalooza so much.

If you haven’t been listening to Vampire Weekend for the last 10 years or started somewhere in between there, here’s my call for you to listen to them asap. An album release date for their fourth full length has yet to be announced, but it’s coming soon! I’m sure I’ll probably review it once it’s out, but until then there’s tons of jams to help you wait it out. I swear. Like Lil Jon, I always tell the truth.

Tranquility Base Hotel: Album Review

It took almost 5 years for Arctic Monkeys to release a new album. They went on hiatus after supporting AM, which is arguably their best album to date. 2018 is the return of the British indie rock band though. On May 11th, they released their 6th album Tranquility Base Hotel. The album title has never been truer though because tranquil is definitely a word to describe this record.

It has a different sound than many of their prior records. Arctic Monkeys have been labeled as a quinessential modern indie rock band. This record strays from the pure rock sound they’ve been known for. It’s more melodic and vibe-y.  Aside from Alex Turner’s crooning vocals, it doesn’t sound like an Arctic Monkeys record. I’ve been listening to the band Magic City Hippies and it reminds me of them a lot. It’s missing that edge and uptempo sound. It’s the kind of thing you’d listen to on a rainy afternoon.

After anticipating this album for at least a year and a half, I was disappointed. I got stoked on the Monkeys for a little while there in 2016 after being a casual fan since AM‘s release. I was waiting to hear some brand new bangers from the boys from Sheffield, but instead I got music that could probably put me to sleep. Maybe I’m just being picky and this record will take time to get used to, but I needed another “Do I Wanna Know?”, “Snap Out of It” or “Fluorescent Adolescent.”

Despite my disappointment in the new record, I’m still stoked that Arctic Monkeys are now touring again. I plan on working a show of theirs in July and sticking around to see their set. I’m definitely stoked for it and need to binge on their old records. I guess I have to listen to their new one too. After hearing the album, I decided not to purchase it. I was disappointed. I need to let it grow on me before I revisit the buying option. That’s what happens sometimes though. Sometimes an album isn’t what you expect or what you want to hear, but that’s what makes the good ones even better!

Church of Scars: Album Review

It’s been close to 2 months since I last posted, so let me update you on what’s been going on.

 I planned to post after I returned from Coachella, but honestly I had 2 1/2 weeks before I left to go to Las Vegas for EDC and I got busy. I worked. I traveled to NYC and Washington, D.C. Then, I prepped for one of the biggest music festivals in the country (EDC Las Vegas) and for being away for another week and a half.

EDC was a roller coaster. It’s a chaotic mess of a festival and nothing compared to the glory that is Coachella. Our ticketing team had great moments and terrible ones. I’ve never seen my best friend feel so stressed at times. On a personal level, I made things happen, had some amazing times, and a lot of laughs, but there were other moments that made me feel unwanted, unnecessary and useless. It truly was a roller coaster. After I returned, the aftermath of EDC spilled over and this blog got pushed to the back burner. 

I leave for another festival in 2 weeks, so again there’s gonna be more posting delays. I’m trying to catch up on what I missed posting since Coachella though, which are a lot of new album reviews. Sure the 2018 hype isn’t as high as it was last year for me when it comes to new music, but a lot that I like has been released in the past 2 months.

One of those is the debut album from Bishop Briggs, Church of Scars. Church of Scars was released on April 20th. I was still at Coachella. I didn’t even go out to buy it until 2 weeks after I returned. When I first discovered Bishop Briggs last year, I was excited to know that she hadn’t released a full length album yet. It felt like I could still be part of the anticipation for that. Plus, I knew after the music high of 2017, it was something I could look forward to this year. 

Three tracks from the debut album were also part of her self-titled EP, which was released in full in April 2017. Two other tracks “Dream” and “White Flag” were released in the build up to the album release date. Fans (me included) were already familiar with half of the album upon its release because of that. The other tracks follow suit to her dark, soulful, indie/alternative pop/rock style and provide you with more of what you already love from Bishop Briggs.

Out of the completely new songs, I really enjoy “Tempt My Trouble”. It’s a jam for sure. The other previously unreleased tracks are a little slower and a lot more soulful, but they’re still everything you’d hope for from her full length debut. 

Although Bishop Briggs played a number of festivals I worked at last year and I even saw part of her set at one of them without really knowing her music, I feel like I’ve never really seen her perform because I wasn’t paying attention to her before last fall. I’ll be working Electric Forest for the last 2 1/2 weeks of June and she’ll be performing both weekends. It’s safe to say that if there’s one performance I’d like to see at Forest, it’s hers. 

I highly recommend picking up her debut or at least listening to it. She’s an artist you don’t want to miss out on because her music is fantastic and she can kill it on vocals. If you’re a fan, I’m sure you already have or you’ve at least listened to it on Spotify. You still have time to hop on her fan train though because Bishop Briggs’ music career is just getting started.

Coachella Band Preview: the Neighbourhood, alt-J, BØRNS, Odesza, & Hayley Kiyoko

It’s only been 2 days since my last post, but that’s okay. This week I’ve decided to do two blog posts because there’s still a ton of bands to talk about and not much time left. So let’s talk about five bands who I’ve written about before that are playing the festival this year. Two of them are actually 3 of my top 4 must-see sets of Coachella 2018.

A lot of time has passed since I wrote about the Neighbourhood in the fall of 2015. Since then, there hasn’t been much news surrounding the band until late last year. In September they released their first new music since 2015’s Wiped Out!, the EP Hard. Then in early January the band dropped a second EP To Imagine followed by the release of their third album, The Neighbourhood, on March 9th. With a bunch of new music out, playing Coachella for the first time in 5 years seems fitting. They play on Friday. I’ve never seen them live and I’ve been obsessed with “Sweater Weather” since 2013. It was probably my favorite song of that year. There’s no doubt I’d love to check them out if I had the time making them 1 of the 3 bands on this list that are must-sees for me. If you plan on checking them out, here’s a few songs to get you ready:

  1. Sweater Weather
  2. Afraid
  3. Daddy Issues
  4. Scary Love
  5. Sadderdaze
  6. R.I.P to My Youth
  7. Cry Baby
  8. You Get Me So High
  9. Stuck With Me
  10. Let It Go

alt-J are no strangers to Coachella. They’ve played twice but haven’t been back to the Indio desert since 2015. Since their last Coachella, alt-J has released a new album. It came out last June. I reviewed it here. I’ve also written about alt-J two other times on this blog. Once previewing them for Coachella in 2015, where I saw them live for the first time and another time reviewing a concert I saw them play in Philly in September 2015. I really like alt-J and I love how different their music sounds from other stuff I like. They played Panorama last summer and I was able to catch part of their set. If it wasn’t for my work schedule and several other concerts I already spent money on in the fall, I would have seen them play again. They’re a band that I would rarely turn down if I had the opportunity to see, making them another one of my top choice sets for Coachella 2018 along with Haim and the Neighbourhood. They play Saturday and probably at night on either the Main or Outdoor stage. What would be the biggest heartbreak is if they overlapped with Haim. Here’s my recommendations for you if you decide to follow my lead and check them out:

  1. Left Hand Free
  2. Breezeblocks
  3. In Cold Blood
  4. Every Other Freckle
  5. 3WW
  6. Tessellate
  7. Fitzpleasure
  8. Deadcrush
  9. Something Good
  10. Hunger of the Pine

BØRNS is back at Coachella after a year break from the famous Southern California music festival. He just released his second album, Blue Madonna, back in January. The album features a collaboration with Lana Del Rey as well as plenty of new music from the “Electric Love” writer. I saw BØRNS play live in 2016. It was kind of a last-minute decision since my friend and I bought tickets about a week before the performance. It was a fun set, so I’d definitely want to see him perform again if I had the chance. He plays on Saturday as well. I would guess BØRNS would be a late afternoon-early evening set, but we’ll see what happens. These are the songs you need to prep for his set:

  1. Electric Love
  2. Seeing Stars
  3. 10,000 Emerald Pools
  4. God Save Our Young Blood
  5. Sweet Dreams
  6. American Money
  7. Past Lives
  8. I Don’t Want U Back
  9. Faded Heart
  10. The Emotion

I only got into Odesza about 6 months ago because of planning to see them in NYC with my friend, but getting into them definitely wasn’t a waste of my time. The concert we went to in December was incredible so I have no doubt that their Coachella set predictably on Sunday night at the now larger Sahara Tent will be just as good and a large draw amongst festival-goers. I would guess they headline the Sahara and overlap with Eminem as the overall headliner Sunday evening. Initially, I believed Odesza would be my Sunday night choice no question, but the inner early 2000’s middle-schooler in me has been fighting hard. Odesza will no doubt put on an incredible live performance, but I just saw Odesza. I’ve never seen Eminem nor do I think I’d ever buy tickets or choose to see Eminem, but I used to be a fan at one point. It’s definitely up for debate. What would be ideal is to be able to catch parts of both sets. However if you so choose to skip out on the Real Slim Shady, here’s a few Odesza tracks you should hear:

  1. Sun Models
  2. Higher Ground
  3. Across the Room
  4. Say My Name
  5. Falls
  6. Line of Sight
  7. A Moment Apart
  8. All We Need
  9. It’s Only
  10. Late Night

The artist I’m most excited for who is playing Coachella this year is Hayley Kiyoko. From seeing her a little over a year ago play a tiny venue in Philly that wasn’t even sold out to playing the most well-known U.S. music festival, my stoke level couldn’t be higher for Hayley Kiyoko. Her debut album, Expectations, came out today! Until this point, she’s only released EP’s, but those have gained a huge appreciation from her small, dedicated fan base. The new album builds on Kiyoko’s previous hits with bangers like “Curious” and “Feelings”. It’s got a mystical, feel good sound giving true meaning to Kiyoko’s dreampop style. As an openly gay singer, the theme in her music involves being in love with girls and complications that may arise with being gay and falling for girls. This new album is consistent with Hayley’s style that her fans have grown to love over the past few years. (I just had to give you a mini-album review here too.) She plays on Sunday at Coachella. I will definitely try my hardest to catch her set one of the weekends making her the 4th and final must-see for me. My guess would be an early Sunday afternoon set, but you never know. She may play later in the day at Gobi or Mojave. We’re a little over a week from the schedule release and probably a few days from the food vendor list, then the official planning can begin. In the mean time, check out Expectations along with these other songs:

  1. Girls Like Girls
  2. Cliff’s Edge
  3. Gravel to Tempo
  4. Palace
  5. This Side of Paradise

(On Expectations, pay special attention to “Curious”, “Feelings”, “Sleepover”, “Let It Be”, and “What I Need (ft. Kehlani)”)