MoSS? Monthly Mixtape: May 2013


Side A : Todd’s Picks

Side B : Chris’ Picks

Lolla 2013: Can Vampire Weekend and Grizzly Bear switch stages? Please?!

lollapalooza logoWhen I made that impulse buy, the Sunday ticket for Lollapalooza 2013, I was swayed by a couple of factors. One, my friend Travis Who Isn’t the Beast was going; the morning the one-day tickets went on sale, we were both waking in Chicago the day after the Sigur Ros show. He egged me on, and I was still riding the live-music high provided by the Icelandic trio. So without checking with the missus, I bought a ticket via smartphone. I’m a pushover. (As a result, I’m also probably taking the family to Chicago for the weekend, as it happens.)

Second, the killer roster, headlined by the Cure, my all-time favorites. I haven’t seen them in 13 years…it’s time. Vampire Weekend, Beach House, and Tegan & Sara also jumped off the poster. Looking at the artists and paying no mind to the logistics of stage placement and prominence, I envisioned a dream day as follows:

  • Palma Violets
  • Wild Belle
  • MS MR
  • Lianne La Havas
  • Wild Nothing
  • DIIV
  • Tegan & Sara
  • Beach House
  • Vampire Weekend
  • The Cure

Now that the schedule is out and logistics come into play, here’s what I’m looking at:

  • Guards
  • Wild Belle
  • Wild Nothing
  • Lianne La Havas
  • Tegan & Sara
  • Alt-J
  • Grizzly Bear
  • Beach House
  • The Cure

VW is the huge omission, but there’s not a whole lot I can do about it unless I want to sacrifice Cure position. VW will play before Phoenix on the other side of the park; Grizzly Bear precedes the Cure. That’s a bit of a nut-punch (I don’t get the Grizzly Bear love), but I am seeing VW in October, so I can live with this.

(However, I am considering starting a Kickstarter campaign to see if I can bribe Grizzly Bear to switch stages with Vampire Weekend. I might even match every dollar pledged to the cause. Check MoSS? regularly for updates.)

DIIV also falls off the list, which is a bummer, but they are playing much later in the day than I would have anticipated, so I don’t want to move too much at this point. I might be able to sneak off to Palma Violets between Guards (whom I’ve seen up close and personal, opening for Cults back in 2011) and Wild Belle.

All in all, I’m happy. I must admit, my Vampire Weekend tickets for the Kansas City show make this a much easier pill to swallow. But I’ve been getting a kick out of all the people whining on social media about the various conflicts. Like how in the world could you put Nine Inch Nails against the Killers? Or why are Mumford and Sons going up against The Postal Service?

It should come as no surprise that the day’s two headliners would be pitted on opposite ends of the park. And really, is there much debate as to which band you should see, assuming you can maneuver around the park as you wish?

If you need help making a choice, you’re in luck: I’m here to help. I’ll address some of the conflicts I’ve seen discussed on Facebook…


First off, why is Jessie Ware playing so early? 1:00 is the best she could pull?

Band of Horses vs. Crystal Castles (4:15): A bunch of wusses who make decent tunes against the manic energy of Ethan Kath and Alice Glass. Even though I fear their sound doesn’t translate well live, I’m still going with Crystal Castles.

New Order vs. Queens of the Stone Age (6:15): “Blue Monday” and “Bizarre Love Triangle” and “Age of Consent” and on and on and on vs. the guy whose best work (to my ear) is the stuff he did with John Paul Jones. New Order

Nine Inch Nails vs. the Killers (vs. Lana Del Rey?) (headliners): The worst tracks on The Downward Spiral would easily make the cut against the Killers. And LOLa Del Rey…come on. Nine Inch Nails

SATURDAY (a.k.a. “Bro Day”)

Heartless Bastards (6:00)/Death Grips (7:15) vs. The National (6:00) vs. Kendrick Lamar (6:45) vs. the Lumineers (7:15): Duh. The National

Mumford and Sons vs. the Postal Service vs. Azealia Banks vs. Steve Aoki (headliners): Duh. Get some sleep at the hotel


Palma Violets (1:00) vs. the Orwells (1:00) vs. Wild Belle (1:30): I like what I’ve heard of Palma Violets, but not quite as much as Wild Belle. Orwells are third, but not meant as an insult. Wild Belle

Lianne La Havas (3:00) vs. MS MR (3:30) vs. Baroness (3:30): Baroness might provide some much-needed testosterone, and MS MR is cool as shit. I’m going with La Havas just to stay in one area, but if everything were equal…MS MR

Grizzly Bear (6:00) vs. Vampire Weekend (6:30): Overrated vs. Hypeworthy. Modern Vampires of the City came out today; I’ve listened to it at least six times all the way through since waking this morning. The tracks that came out early (“Unbelievers,” “Diane Young,” and “Step”) are fantastic (“Step” in particular), and songs on the second half of the album (“Worship You,” “Finger Back,” “Hudson,” and even the quirky “Ya Hey”) get better with each listen. Seriously need to consider that Kickstarter/stage swap idea. Vampire Weekend

The Cure vs. Phoenix (headliners): Of course I’m going to say the Cure. How Phoenix headlines over Vampire Weekend baffles me, so I’m not even going to consider recommending the former against Robert Smith & Co. The Cure is sounding fantastic live with former Bowie guitar man Reeves Gabrels in the fold, and Simon Gallup is still the coolest guy in music.

If you’re going to Lolla, or even if you’re not, I’d like to hear the tough choices you’d make.

From the MoSS? Pit: Best Coast

This is long overdue. Sorry about that.

It’s not like it wasn’t worth writing about. In fact, it was a good night all around. Consider…

holding best coast poster

Before the signatures were applied.

We took advantage of happy hour at Red’s Ale House in North Liberty. Even though they didn’t have any Golden Nugget on tap, it’s not like the joint was dry. And the buffalo chicken flatbread? Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit….

The show was in a church. So now I can tell people that I’ve been to church this year, and not for some “everyone goes” event like Easter or Christmas, either.

The sound was good. The setlist was good. The sightlines weren’t bad, considering that the band wasn’t exactly on an elevated platform.

Good mix of songs from the two albums, as well as the Record Store Day single and some new material.

Bethany looked and sounded great. Bob rocked out. Even though the set wasn’t the longest in the history of live music, I felt I got my fill.

As those of us who follow Best Coast on social media already knew, they had hit the town the night before and got crunk on jello shots. They recapped the night out between songs. They praised Joe’s Place. They slagged off the Airliner. They forgot the name of the third bar, which I later gathered was the Summit from their description of the place.

(Their description, you ask?)

Yeah, so during the show they asked the crowd where they should go out afterward. A few people yelled out “Deadwood,” a venue that has Golden Nugget on tap, if you must know. So our gang figured we’d head over there post-show.

women smiling for camera

Post-show hangout at Deadwood.

And sure enough, they came by. Everyone else was busy doing other things when they came in (peeing and playing air hockey…separately, of course), except for me and our friend Michelle. So the two of us stepped over to them, praised them for taking the advice of post-show venue, complimented them on the show, talked about their exploits from the night before, complimented them again, and went back to our booth in the corner (the “Corleone booth,” I like to call it) to brag to Jess and Jen and Tracy about our new friends.

The ladies ran over and sort of hovered around; Tracy broke the ice and snapped pictures of Bethany with Jess and Jen. Jess also got her recently pilfered show flier signed by the whole BC gang. They were super nice and down to earth, which is fun; hell, they said goodbye to us as we left, rather than forcing us to act like super dweeb fans all over again. Since Deadwood doesn’t have a popcorn machine, I don’t know where Todd hid while Bethany was in the bar.

Anyway, I’m glad they made the trip to Iowa. I’m glad I got to see them after the show, Bethany in her full denim-jacket-with-Metallica-patch-on-back glory.

The new song, “Who Have I Become”:

“Last Year” from The Only Place:

“I Want To” from the first album:

Let’s try that stage jump again:

Road Trip Revelations

My job sometimes requires me to spend a lot of my day in the car. I don’t mind too much. It gives me time to think, reflect on my life and most importantly listen to great music. On these trips I sit back, relax and turn up the tunes. After many hours alone in the car though, I tend to have quite a few random and moronic thoughts. These are just a few of the revelations I came away with on the road.

We’ll break these chains of love…together

In previous road trip posts, I’ve discussed my car singing bashfulness. Normally, if another vehicle pulls up beside me and I’m wailing along to a good tune on the radio, I clam up until said vehicle passes me by. I could be in full on Mick Jagger, lip pucker, finger waving, front man mode and stop right in the middle until that car passes.

Well that didn’t happen today. Today I was in a synth pop trance singing along to…Erasure. Yes Erasure. Their song “Chains of Love” was on the ‘80s station and I was hooked in hard. Here is the video for the song.

I was doing my best falsetto filled Andy Bell imitation when unbeknownst to me, a tow truck pulled up along side of me. The driver probably watched me for a solid minute until I looked over. The truck driver shook his head and accelerated away. Was I embarrassed? Yup. Did I stop my performance? Hell no! It’s impossible to stop singing along to that catchy chorus.

Come to me, cover me, hold me
Together we’ll break these chains of love
Don’t give up, don’t give up now
Together with me and my baby
Break the chains of love

I did have a question after this experience though:

Why could I sing along to Erasure but not something more, let’s just say manly, like say Guns N’ Roses?

I realized that for some reason, as the levels of ‘80s new wave increase, my inhibitions decrease. Henceforth, we shall call this new metric… “The Coefficient of Synthpop.” Now, to get a little perspective on this new number, I will give you a few song examples with their “The Coefficient of Synthpop.”

Pet Shop Boys, “It’s a Sin” Two dudes. A lot of keyboards. C.o.S. = 8.9

Flock of Seagulls, “I Ran (So Far Away)” Five dudes. Totally key-tastic. C.o.S. = 8.3

Mumford and Sons, “The Cave” Four dudes. Lots of strings. One accordion. C.o.S. = 2.5

Japandroids, “The House That Heaven Built” Two dudes. No keyboards. C.o.S. = 0.0

The song I was caught singing today, “Chains of Love”, has a C.o.S. of 9.8. As you can see, we were approaching maximum levels of pop perfection in my car today. No wonder I couldn’t hold back.

Gene and Paul know the true origins of Rock n’ Roll

After my Erasure sing along I was in dire need of some adrenaline filled rock. As I flipped channels to Hair Nation,  I wondered, “Where does the Rock n’ Roll come from?”  Then I thought, “Who invented Rock n’ Roll and just handed it over to the world?” Lastly I questioned, “Who puts the Rock n’ Roll in the soul of everyone?” All of these questions were soon answered when the song “God Gave Rock n’ Roll to You” started playing over the stereo. Not “God Gave Rock n’ Roll to You I” by British band Argent but the no makeup era K.I.S.S. cover version, “God Gave Rock n’ Roll to You II.”  You know, the version that appeared on the soundtrack to Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey. Didn’t everyone have that CD?

God gave rock and roll to you, gave rock and roll to you
Gave rock and roll to everyone (oh yeah)
God gave rock and roll to you, gave rock and roll to you
Put it in the soul of everyone

All in all it was a pretty good trip.  Plenty of tunes.  Plenty of Erasure. If you see me cruising down the interstate sometime give me a wave. Depending on the C.o.S. of the song I’m listening to, I may stop singing and wave back.