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…

FRIDAY

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

SUNDAY

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.

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MoSS? Presents… The Undisputed Top Albums Ever, #100-91

Yep, we’re making a list. Two separate lists, actually, so the above graphic is a bit misleading. Accounting for the limited overlap in Todd’s and Chris’ lists, it’s more like the top 174 or something like that.

Anyway, after months of scientific analysis, hours of listening and re-listening to albums from years gone by, we have arrived at a definitive list of the top albums ever recorded. Our research is not open to interpretation, but you’re more than welcome to complain about the fact that your favorite albums aren’t on this list; we’ll simply respond by telling you that your favorite records aren’t really all that good.

Here are some spoilers: you’re not going to find the typical hipster stuff like Neutral Milk Hotel or Slint or even stuff one/both of us actually likes such as DJ Shadow or Pavement. This isn’t Rolling Stone so you’re not going to find Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band or Pet Sounds at the top. Wham’s Make It Big was snubbed.

We’re not going to roll it all out at once; no sense rushing through all this quality music! But Music or Space Shuttle? is gonna be pretty busy over the next two months.

That’s enough of an intro. Let’s get on with it…

Chris’ 100-91

(click play button below to sample these 10 albums)

100. Jane’s Addiction, Nothing’s Shocking

99. Ice Cube, Amerikkka’s Most Wanted

98. Pet Shop Boys, Please

97. Rodrigo y Gabriela, Rodrigo y Gabriela

96. Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins, Rabbit Fur Coat

95. Blood, Sweat & Tears, Blood, Sweat & Tears

94. Motley Crue, Too Fast for Love

93. Hooray for Earth, True Loves

92. The Cure, Seventeen Seconds

91. Ministry, The Land of Rape and Honey

A CLOSER LOOK AT…

#95: Blood, Sweat & Tears, Blood, Sweat & Tears

blood sweat and tears self-titledIt might seem a bit odd to see this album on my list, ahead of Jane’s Addiction’s Nothing’s Shocking and albums that won’t make my list like Alice in Chains’ Dirt or Smashing Pumpkins’ Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. (That’s right, I couldn’t find room for either of those. Dirt is probably my #101; Mellon Collie needs to be a single disc.) But here it is all the same.

This is a pick of sentimentality. This is the first “real” record I remember listening to as a child. We were living in Eagan, Minn., a suburb of Minneapolis. I used to dance around like a little banshee to “Spinning Wheel”; my parents might not remember this, but I truly do remember getting scolded for jumping around on my bed during the instrumental breakdown a little over halfway through the song. Good times.

Nowadays it’s one of those “right mood” records, but when I’m in that zone, I love hearing stuff like “Sometimes in Winter” or “More and More” and the aforementioned “Spinning Wheel,” the song that represents the album in my playlist above. Better stop typing before Mom and Dad come in and yell at me…

#91 Ministry, The Land of Rape and Honey

cover for the land of rape and honeyI remember first hearing Ministry over at my friend Jeff Perry’s house. He had the 12″ Singles compilation, which features “Everyday Is Halloween” and the unfairly maligned “The Nature of Love” (I still think that song is OK). I thought it was decent synth pop. Flash forward a couple of years: I go golfing with my cousin Mark; he’s wearing combat boots and a Ministry T-shirt that has a skull on it. Same group? Nah, couldn’t be. I don’t ask.

Then one summer, my friend Brian’s cousins roll up to Iowa from San Antonio. One of them, Billy, is armed with Ministry cassettes, including one called The Land of Rape and Honey. We throw it in the Ford Tempo tape deck, and “Stigmata” subsequently blows my mind and scares me a little bit. For weeks (certainly for the rest of Billy’s stay) I find myself annoying people by using my voice to make the guitar riff noise from that song (duh duh duh duh DUNNNNNN!!!).

The rest of the disc is great too. Odd chants, mad drumming, Kevin Dillon samples from Platoon…this album had a little bit of everything. Even my Grandma Clair liked it, coming into the room dancing while I was listening to the powerhouse second track, “The Missing.” I even crashed a car listening to this album. Yep, sounds like the 91st best album of all time.

Todd’s 100-91

(click play button below to sample these 10 albums)

100. Radiohead, The Bends

99. Hoodoo Gurus, Mars Needs Guitars

98. Michael Jackson, Thriller

97. Motley Crue, Dr. Feelgood

96. Bjork, Debut

95. Modest Mouse, We Were Dead Before the Ship Evan Sank

94. Band of Horses, Cease to Begin

93. The Rolling Stones, Some Girls

92. The Church, Gold Afternoon Fix

91. Eels, Daisies of the Galaxies

A CLOSER LOOK AT…

#94 Band of Horses, Cease to Begin

This record is a bit of as sentimental pick for me. It came out in early October 2007, and was on fairly heavy rotation on the alternative satellite radio stations. One day around that time, I was running errands for my very pregnant wife. My daughter, who at the time was 3 years old, was with me. The song “Is There a Ghost?” came on the radio. It’s a pretty simple tune with basically one verse repeated over and over behind slow building guitars.

I could sleep
I could sleep
I could sleep
I could sleep
When I lived alone
Is there a ghost in my house?

Since this was around Halloween and the song had the word ghost in it, my daughter thought it was cool and asked to listen to it again. When we got home I bought the record to play on future car trips with her (anything to get a break from the Annie soundtrack). After a few listens though, I realized the rest of the record was very good too. I generally am not a fan of country rock or down home type rock but this was different. The big reverb filled vocals and sweeping guitars really sucked me in. Band of Horses was a mainstay on my iPod for the next few months.

It was actually playing in the car as I drove my wife to the hospital to deliver my son. So whenever I hear Cease to Begin, I think of both of my kids. Plus, how can you go wrong with a record that has a song titled after former NBA superstar Detlef Schrempf?

#92 The Church, Gold Afternoon Fix

When I started the 9th grade, all I really listened to was hair metal and classic rock music. That was until a friend of mine introduced me to a few albums his older brother brought back from college. It was my first exposure to so-called “College Music” bands like The Cure, HooDoo Gurus, The Connells and many more (some of which you will see on this list). I was hooked right there. I have gotten into other genres of music since then but have never strayed far from “alternative” or  “college” or “indie” or “whatever they are calling it now” music.

Back to #92. One of the records my friend had me listen to was Gold Afternoon Fix by The Church. I couldn’t stop listening to it. Maybe it was the excitement of hearing new type of music. It was all dark and moody and at that age I think sometimes you need to feel dark and moody. Whatever the reason, I thought it was great and this record definitely shaped my future musical tastes.

It wasn’t until later that I found out the band basically hated this release. I read an interview where the lead singer Steve Kilbey called the album lousy, hashed together and hideous.  I would agree that The Church albums before (Starfish) and after (Priest=Aura) are probably better all-around albums but I discovered Gold Afternoon Fix first and it holds a special place in my heart. Lousy? Really? Let’s look at a small sample of lyrics from the song “Metropolis.”

Back in Metropolis, circuses and elephants
Where the oranges grew
Back in Metropolis nothing can ever topple us
When I’m standing with you
Back in Metropolis talk about a holocaust
And then visit the zoo

OK, maybe that is a bit hashed together and lousy. I still love it.

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