Categories
Music News and Interviews

The Strokes Awaken From the Dead!

It’s been a little over two years since their last live performance in November 2011 in Brazil, but The Strokes are back for a much anticipated performance at this year’s Governor’s Ball Music Festival. Julian Casablancas will also be performing a separate show during the festival. 

The band released their fifth album, Comedown Machine, in 2013 but no tour came along with the new release.

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Other headliners for the Governor’s Ball music festival in New York City include Outkast, Jack White, and Vampire Weekend along with performances from Phoenix, TV on the Radio, Broken Bells, Neko Case, Sleigh Bells, Grimes, Washed Out, Earl Sweatshirt, Kurt Vile and the Violators, Wild Belle, Tanlines, among others. 

Categories
Music News and Interviews

Sleigh Bells Give New Album Trailer

Sleigh Bells are scarce on details these days about the follow-up to their excellent 2010 album Treats. However, they recently announced that their new album will be titled Reign of Terror.

Although the date is not set in stone for the release of their sophomore album, they do have a trailer for  it. You can watch it below.

 

Categories
Concert Review

Constellations Festival Brings Some of Indie’s Best to Leeds

I think I picked the right place to study abroad.

Constellations Festival is relatively young, but that doesn’t keep the event from bringing in some of Indie’s finest acts. 2010’s festival included the likes of Broken Social Scene, Sleigh Bells, Local Natives, The Vaccines, and many other fantastic acts. With hopes high for this year, the festival returned to the University of Leeds Student Union on Nov. 12, and it brought acts including Yuck, Braids, The Big Pink, The Antlers, and Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks.

One building, five different proper music venues, and nine hours of cramming in as much music as possible is a daunting task to say the least, and thankfully the folks planning this event allowed for seeing the majority of the largest names with ease. They could have easily planned the event in a way that makes more sense musically. This would include The Antlers opening for Wild Beasts, Yuck opening for Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, and Summer Camp opening for The Big Pink. Thankfully the large acts played back to back in the same venue with the periods in between sets long enough to pop over to another venue and catch the majority of another band’s show.

The culmination of these elements made for one hell of an afternoon and night filled with music, and below are some of the highlights.

Summer Camp

This was by far the biggest surprise of the night. I was amused by the sound of Summer Camp after my initial listen of their debut album Welcome to Condale, but I felt as if there was still much to be desired. Although I had my reservations about the group, they put on one of the most delightful performances of the festival. Their love of 80s nostalgia, although they are probably too young to remember the 80s, brought about a charm to the performance. Famous dance scenes from 80s films projected to a screen on stage alongside the upbeat pop duets with some real swing left me wanting to reevaluate my initial stance on their debut.

 

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks

One of the most anticipated acts of the festival did exactly what they needed to do. Consistent throughout, Malkmus and company brought their a-game during their hour-long set. Playing mostly new tracks off of Mirror Traffic, they also revisited some of the earlier solo work from Malkmus. The act left me feeling satisfied and lived up to many of expectations I had.

Yuck

If you are a fan of Yuck’s self-titled debut, you need to see this band live. There are certain things that recorded songs cannot convey, and the sense of raw, distorted power is definitely one of them. The band had some initial technical hiccups after the mics cut out on them toward the end of their last song, and walked off as the stage crew came back on to get everything working properly. The band took it in stride. After walking back on stage frontman Daniel Blumber jokingly announced, “This is our longest encore ever.” The band mixed up their tracks much like in their album, going from one faster paced harder sound to one a bit more reserved. It was the track “Rubber” that stole the show. The 7-minute song provided a visceral listening experience that shook the ears and body to its distorted 90s rock core, something much better understood when experienced instead of described.

 

The Antlers

This band is easily one of the best in filling the room with their atmospheric sound, regardless of size. That’s exactly what they did on this night. Playing the best from their debut and their second album, The Antlers demonstrated how they are able to beautifully construct songs that in some moments lack vocals yet sound structured, and when the vocals kick in it provides a fine compliment to their rest of their truly gorgeous sound.

 

Wild Beasts

It was a bit of a homecoming for the band currently based in Leeds, and their set brought out the largest crowd of the entire night. The large room was packed to the ceiling as the band covered tracks from their entire discography, and the songs both slow and upbeat highlighted the best of the band. Like Yuck, Wild Beasts live proved just how incredibly powerful their vocals are. It felt like a somewhat surreal experience to hear these regular guys produce such operatic and captivating voices. All in all, they gave one of the best performance of the night ending what was already a fantastic day.


Categories
Festival Coverage

Asheville meet Moogfest

I had the pleasure this past Halloween weekend of attending the inaugural MoogFest in Asheville, North Carolina. Surrounded by the beautiful sight of the Blue Ridge Mountains, I witnessed sets ranging from the achingly beautiful sounds of jónsi to the infectious electro-pop of Hot Chip. The festival was a huge success and one of the most fun weekends I’ve had all year. Instead of doing the usual “write a paragraph about each act you saw,” I offer you a list of various this and that’s. Stay tuned for a gallery of photos from the weekend coming soon. Enjoy.

Best show of the weekend: Massive Attack and jónsi (tie)

Most common theme of the weekend: Acts who are laid-back on record being not-so-laid-back live (see Thievery Corporation, Four Tet, Massive Attack)

Coolest instrument: Neon Indian guitarist Ronald Geirhart’s guitar, featuring an embedded LED screen

Most common smell: It was a music festival. In Asheville. Figure it out.

Best surprise guests: Mark Mothersbaugh and Gerald Casale of Devo (who were forced to cancel their set due to a hand injury sustained by guitarist Bob Mothersbaugh) coming out at the end of The Octopus Project’s set to perform a couple songs (including my personal favorite, “Beautiful World”)

Best stage show: Massive Attack’s absolutely stunning set-up, featuring several LED screens displaying socio-political messages alongside striking visuals

Most amusing moment: Part of the floor in the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium sinking in due to hardcore dancing during Sleigh Bells and Neon Indian, forcing security to clear the pit and front row

Best non-musical moment: Yelling “WOOT WOOT” at a gaggle of (real) Juggaloes

Biggest surprises: RJD2 and Pretty Lights, neither of which I’d been a huge fan of before the festival

Best costume: The giant sasquatch

Person having the most fun: According to a brief exchange I had with him, head of AC Entertainment (one of the main forces behind this festival, as well as Bonnaroo) Ashley Capps

Did you attend MoogFest? Who were your favorite acts? What were some of you favorite moments?

Categories
Weekly Charts

8/2 Top 10 albums WKNC Afterhours

Artist Album Label
#1 CHEMICAL BROTHERS Further Astralwerks
#2 CRYSTAL CASTLES Crystal Castles II Universal
#3 SLEIGH BELLS Treats Mom and Pop
#4 LCD SOUNDSYSTEM This is Happening EMI
#5 N.E.R.D. Hot-N-Fun The Remixes [EP]
#6 BORGORE Borgore Ruined Dubstep [EP]
#7 RUSKO O.M.G.! Mad Decent
#8 M.I.A. Maya Interscope
#9 BATHS Cerulean Anticon
#10 UFFIE Sex Dreams and Denim Jeans Because
Categories
Concert Review

Sleigh Bells (7/6/10)

The show began with a deafening start by NERVE CITY that made us grateful to have our earplugs. Although not unpleasant, the duo played a short and forgettable set. They were followed by PO PO; a quirky pair that put on a good show.

The wait for Sleigh Bells was impressive (almost as long as their set!) but definitely well worth it. The stage was a mass of speakers, and, as soon as band took the stage, the crowd became a dense, sweaty mass. The next 40 minutes was electro-rock dance madness.

By the time the show came to a close, we had witnessed an onstage kiss between Alexis Krauss and a female audience member and the stage had to be cleared of 20 or more ecstatically dancing fans.

We left the show with our ears slightly ringing despite the ear plugs, but, overall, the Sleigh Bells were pure fun and their impressive sound translated undeniably well at the Cat’s Cradle.

Categories
Weekly Charts

6/21 RPM ablums for WKNC’s Daytime Music

Artist Album Label
#1 TAME IMPALA Innerspeaker Modular
#2 GRAND LAKE Blood Sea Dream Hippies are Dead
#3 CASIOKIDS Topp Stemning Pa Lokal Bar Polyvinyl
#4 LIGHT POLLUTION Apparitions Car Park
#5 VILLAGERS Becoming a Jackal Domino
#6 PONTIAK Living
#7 PEGGY SUE Fossils and Other Phantoms Yep Roc
#8 PETER WOLF CRIER Inter-Be Jagjaguwar
#9 WILD MOCCASINS Skin Collision Past self-released
#10 SLEIGH BELLS Treats Mom and Pop
Categories
Weekly Charts

6/21 RPM albums on WKNC Afterhours

Artist Album Label
#1 SLEIGH BELLS Treats Mom and Pop
#2 CRYSTAL CASTLES Crystal Castles II Universal
#3 RATATAT Lp4 XL
#4 LCD SOUNDSYSTEM This is Happening EMI
#5 RUSKO O.M.G.! Mad Decent
#6 M.I.A. XXXO: The Remixes
#7 BORGORE Borgore Ruined Dubstep [EP]
#8 NINJASONIK Art School Girls Green Owl
#9 UFFIE Sex Dreams and Denim Jeans Because
#10 N.E.R.D. Hot N Fun The Remixes
Categories
Weekly Charts

6/14 RPM albums on WKNC Afterhours

Artist Album Label
#1 CRYSTAL CASTLES Crystal Castles II Universal
#2 RATATAT lp4 XL
#3 SLEIGH BELLS Treats Mom and Pop
#4 LCD SOUNDSYSTEM This is Happening EMI
#5 GORILLAZ Plastic Beach Virgin
#6 TORO Y MOI Causers of This Carpark
#7 BASSNECTAR Timestretch s
#8 M.I.A. (single) XXXO
#9 RUSKO O.M.G.! Mad Descent
#10 NINJASONIK Art School Girls Green Owl
Categories
Weekly Charts

6/7 Top 10 Afterhours/RPM albums on WKNC

Artist Album Label
#1 CRYSTAL CASTLES Crystal Castles II Universal
#2 SLEIGH BELLS Treats Mom and Pop
#3 GORILLAZ Plastic Beach Virgin
#4 HOT CHIP One Life Stand Astralwerks
#5 BESSNECTAR Timestretch Amorphous
#6 RUSKO O.M.G.! Mad Descent
#7 CROOKERS Tons of Friends Anticon
#8 RATATAT LP4 XL
#9 SUGAR AND GOLD Get Wet! Antenna Farm
#10 TORO Y MOI Causers of This Carpark