Best albums of 2013: No. 8-10

The Music or Space Shuttle? braintrust rolls out its top albums of 2013 this week! Today we unveil our individual picks for #8-10. We’ll reveal our top 10 throughout the week, culminating with our top pick on Friday, Dec. 20. Don’t miss our picks for #11-20.

Todd

#10: Palma Violets, 180

180It probably took me 10 listens to the first song on Palma Violets 180 , “Best of Friends” , before I realized I was singing along to the songs raucous chorus incorrectly. I was singing…

“I don’t wanna be your best friend…I want you to be my girl.”

Assuming this song was like nearly every other rock song about a guy/girl relationships were the guy really wants to be with a girl. Well, at least spend some quality time with the girl’s lady bits. Of course I was wrong. It was actually the opposite…

“I wanna be your best friend…I don’t want you to be my girl.”

A switch-up that I found to be a much more interesting a thought. Unless the girl looks like and has the personality of Nancy Grace, what guy wants that situation? Just friends with an attractive cool chick? Not even friends with benefits? Mind blown.

It was that song that got me to check out the whole 180 album and I wasn’t disappointed. Track after track of post-punk gems. Many of the songs remind me of The Clash during the London Calling era. Although, Palma Violets frontman Chilli Jesson’s lead vocals are a bit more varied than on some of the old Clash songs. Throughout, 180  he will seamlessly switch from crooning verses to screaming choruses. I also think they end the album perfectly with the anthemic song “14.” Seems like the ideal song to hold up a lighter and sway back and forth with a concert crowd. I hope they come around here soon to see.

#9: Golden Youth, Quiet Frame: Wild Light

golden youth

This is an album that may not have been on too many people’s radar. I ran across a free download of one of their songs, “Brother in the Morning Light”, and really liked it. Enough in fact to throw it on one of our 2013 monthly mix tapes. Musically it reminded me quite a bit of some of Sigur Ros’ more uplifting  “movie moment” type songs. The only difference being the vocals of female lead singer Stephanie Lauren.

I eventually downloaded the whole album during a 3 hour car trip to the Chicago area.  I must have played it 15 times during that trip and countless others after. It’s a quick listen. Unfortunately, of the 10 songs on the album, only 7 are unique. They tacked on alternate/live versions of 3 songs at the end of the album. If they had 3 new songs on there instead, the record probably would have scored a much higher ranking.

#8: My Bloody Valentine, m b v

m b vYes, the unthinkable happened and MBV announced via their Facespace page that they had a new record and website. The website immediately crashed and I wore out my computer’s refresh button until I was able to download the album. You can’t imagine the joy I felt as I listened to the lead track “she found now” and realized A, that it wasn’t a fake and B, it was really good.

The night of the release as I was constantly refreshing and battling the dreaded “403 Server Error”, I read a lot of comments on the MBV Facebook page. The best comments were by younger fans. They didn’t really get the excitement of us older dudes. One kid posted something like, “the only people that care about this album are middle-aged white dudes in the suburbs.” He nailed my demographic for sure. I don’t think he was 100% correct but m b v was certainly the biggest thing to happen in my world of music in a long time.

Chris

#10: Bleached, Ride Your Heart

bleached ride your heart album coverWhat do I like so much about the Bleached record, a collection of songs that earned my consideration for top-5 positioning at various points of the year? I love the way the vocals have that sun-drenched quality without sounding cheesy-cheery. I love the rapid-fire drum fills on songs like “Next Stop,” which also has fun lyrics that will force even the grumpiest guy to sing along a bit. I love the high-hat/bass line vibe in the verses of “Dead in Your Head” that relent to a bursting chorus.

Songs like “Searching Through the Past” and “Dead Boy” are nothing complicated, but they’re really great tunes that don’t get old on subsequent listens. I’m attracted to the lo-fi sound throughout. If you like Best Coast (and if you’ve seen my lists from previous years, you know I am in that camp), you can’t go wrong with Bleached. It’s the sort of album that will never sound dated, and it’s a statement brief enough that you don’t tire of it halfway through.

#9: Julianna Barwick, Nepenthe

julianna barwick nepenthe album coverThe first wave of Mission Creek 2014 bands was announced the other day, and my reaction mirrored how I felt when the 2013 lineup was announced: meh. But this year, I’m learning it might be worth looking into the artists I’m not familiar with. Because I missed a chance to see one of my favorite artists of 2013 do her thing for an intimate audience in Iowa City.

Yep, Julianna Barwick was one of the 2013 Mission Creek performers, and I can only imagine how glorious the songs from Nepenthe would have sounded live. The vocals more often than not serve as yet another instrument, creating a dreamy end result that can calm the feistiest of souls. There is intensity within this music, taking it beyond simple background music to something special.

I think the best way to describe this album is to consider it a younger sibling of sorts to Sigur Ros’ ( ). And if you know what high regard I have for that album, you’ll realize what a compliment I’m paying Nepenthe. (If you’re wondering what Nepenthe means, it is a medicine for sorrow mentioned in ancient Greek literature. The definition applies here, too.)

#8: Chelsea Wolfe, Pain Is Beauty

pain is beauty coverThere are some differences between Chelsea Wolfe and Ian Curtis. Wolfe isn’t a dude, doesn’t appear to suffer from epilepsy, and, well, she’s alive.

But there are certainly some similarities in their musical stylings. The title of her latest album, Pain Is Beauty, is very Joy Division sounding. Her voice conveys the same sort of emotionalism that Curtis used to deliver on a regular basis (in a much lower register, of course).

I love the minimalist beat of “Feral Love” and “The Warden.” I love the combination of Wolfe’s aching vocals and the plodding drums and the low, ringing guitar blasts found on “We Hit a Wall.” The album’s intensity is felt throughout its 12 tracks, and the album’s tone is far from monotonous. Fans of the post-punk era should enjoy this disc quite a bit.

Advertisements

From the MoSS? Pit: Sunday at Lollapalooza (but pretty much the Cure)

Seems fitting that on the day when musical perfection headlined Lollapalooza, the weather would be perfect too.

Seriously, one of my greatest fears about going to Lollapalooza, something I hadn’t done since the traveling circus days (1994, to be exact), was being among thousands and thousands of people on a 100-degree, high-dew-point kind of day. But when the Cure was named as the headliner for Sunday, I knew that I needed to brave the masses and the potential mugginess to see Robert Smith and Co. one more time.

So it was in 75-degree sunshine (with a slight breeze to boot) that I took in Lolla 2013’s closing day, making the trek with my boy (and devoted MoSS? reader/commenter) Sam and his good friend Tony, whom I met back in my Marshalltown days. We met up with friends who were there all three days (two with ties to my hometown, Waukon, bringing the grand total of people with Waukon ties at Lollapalooza to, um, three, I’m guessing?) and had a hell of a time.

Before I get to the Cure, I should at least mention the other stuff I saw…

palma violets

Palma Violets

Palma Violets: Love the album. Love the energy they brought to the stage. They were having a blast and sounded great. Only thing: they seemed a bit dwarfed by the stage they were on, that being one of the two main stages (Bud Light, bro) in the park. Had they performed in The Grove or even the secondary stage not far from the Bud Light behemoth, I’m thinking it would have been a perfect fit. All the same, good way to start the day, even if I was by myself for this one (let’s just say the post-arrival Park and Ride experience was a stressful one and leave it at that).

Wild Nothing: By this point, I had met up with the friends who had been there for the entire festival, so I spent a good amount of time catching up with them while Wild Nothing played. Sounded great. Jack Tatum mentioned how cool it was to perform on a stage that would be graced by his favorite band of all time, the Cure. He’s worthy of sharing those planks.

MS MR: OK, so I thought I was heading to the stage where Baroness would be playing, but when the huge block letter “MS MR” appeared on the backdrop, um, well, I guess not. But it was the Grove, a smaller space lined with trees (hence the name), so I decided to stay put with my friend Denise and enjoy a little shade and synth. While it wasn’t the “rock your face off” show that Baroness put on (a point hammered home by Sam, Travis, Tony, and Annie a few times throughout the evening), it was a good showing from a band that put out a killer EP. (Not a big fan of the debut album consisting of the same four songs from the EP plus a few more new ones, but whatever.)

Two Door Cinema Club: Between MS MR and this point, a friend of Denise’s joined up with us and we tried to reconnect with the Baroness crew. Text messaging at this point was lagging; while we waited for messages to go through, we caught a couple of songs by TDCC. A lot of people were pretty excited about it; I was not one of them. Soon we decided it was time to head to the other end of the park where the Cure would be playing, a decision made partly to rescue Denise’s friend, who found herself on radar-lock by a drunk dude who made me look young and hip. We’re good people.

Alt-J: When we reached the south end of the park, we decided it was beer time. Sam and Tony magically appeared at the beer tent. It was a glorious reunion, and at least 18 times we heard about how great Baroness was. The girls left to go to 2 Chainz; the boys decided it was wise to go claim real estate near the Red Bull Stage for the Cure, even though Grizzly Bear still had to go on before them. While this was happening, Alt-J was playing in the background. Meh.

Grizzly Bear: So with the sole intention of making sure we had decent spots for the Cure, we headed over to the Red Bull stage. We were able to get a good spot on the left side of the crowd, probably 15-20 human rows back from the front gate. This would be closer than I was when I saw the Cure in 2000, and closer than the first time I saw them, in 1996.

So I’m looking at the following wait for the Cure:

  • 5:30-6:00: Stand around and wait for Grizzly Bear
  • 6:00-7:00: Grizzly Bear plays on Red Bull Stage
  • 7:00-8:00: Stand around and wait for the Cure to go on

Here’s how long these portions felt:

  • 5:30-6:00: 30 minutes (we were happy about our position, so time moved forward)
  • 6:00-7:00: FOR-FUCKING-EVER
  • 7:00-8:00: An hour (it helped that we could hear Beach House on the secondary stage behind us, and Cure fans, despite our reputation for being mopey, can make small talk amongst ourselves)

I don’t get the love for Grizzly Bear. At all. I’ve never liked their recordings. And hearing them live added nothing for me. I get the same vibe from them that I get from Wilco: “Dockers Rock.”

But again, remember the primary objective here: a good spot for the Cure. Mission accomplished. Just deal with this, just like you dealt with Red Red Meat opening for Smashing Pumpkins in 1994, and Elite Gymnastics opening for Sleigh Bells, and Oneohtrix Point Never for Sigur Ros, and that guy who exerted most of his talent trying to hang a tapestry at the Ducktails show in Iowa City. You’re a survivor, I told myself!

I will credit “Adrien Brody” for one thing: as Grizzly Bear’s set was wrapping up, he encouraged everyone to go over and check out Beach House. Yes, I thought, make room up front for me! Of course, hardly anyone took his advice. And almost everyone was thinking the same thing as me: “I hope all these people in front of me are huge Phoenix fans.” (Phoenix was headlining on the other side of the park.)

So while Beach House chilled out across the way, we all pressed forward until we became rather well acquainted with one another. And we waited. Thankfully I was surrounded by three cool dudes from Austin, Texas, and a woman presumably a little north of my age who was seeing the Cure for the first time. And a woman of Latin American descent who, although not the talkative sort, was drop-dead gorgeous. (shrug) And a dude in a Washington Nationals ballcap who was the leader of our platoon, fighting the good fight against people who tried to push past us when there was absolutely no room to be had. He handled all the talking, but he expected us all to stand our ground. And we did, despite the pleas of “but my friend/husband/little brother is up there!” And the ones who kept pushing got ushered the fuck out by the security along the gated central walkway…or they turned around.

While I waited, I caught myself bouncing. I was so excited to see this band, even if they weren’t my “white whale” as they were for everyone in my small circle (except for Sam, who accompanied me to the St. Louis show in 2000). The set list might not be filled with a vast selection of deep cuts, but it’s not like I don’t enjoy the Cure’s singles and poppy side, too. (“Friday I’m In Love” is a bit trying for me, I’ll admit.)

As the clock struck 8, the chimes started. After two concerts without it, I was going to get to experience “Plainsong,” the leadoff track from Disintegration, my favorite Cure song. It was as majestic as it had ever sounded.

How nice it was to hear four Disintegration songs within the first six titles. “Pictures of You” led into “Lullaby”; after “High” (the most underrated of their singles, I might argue) and “The End of the World,” we got “Lovesong.” At this point, Robert mentioned to the crowd that the evening’s proceedings had a bit of a poppy feel, and the band launched two staples of the live sets over the years, “In Between Days” and “Just Like Heaven.” After the final keyboard note of “JLH” ceased, I could hear someone behind me exclaim, “Holy shit! I’m fucking spent, only a half-hour in!”

We got a song from the post-Pornography pop set (“The Walk”), four more songs from Wish (“Friday,” “Doing the Unstuck,” “Trust,” and the powerhouse “From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea”), the fourth of the Disintegration singles (“Fascination Street”) and that album’s title track, and the song from 1997, “Wrong Number,” the studio recording of which featured Reeves Gabrels, the band’s new fifth member. There was even a song from 4:13 Dream, because, well, I don’t know. Seems like it would have been a perfect time to go with “Play for Today,” and let the rabid fans sing the keyboard line a la the version that appeared on the live album Paris. (I mention this as I wanted to prove to myself that I could find fault with the show.)

The band took a short break before coming out for the all-out pop hurricane encore. Robert mentioned that the “very precise” festival had 21 minutes left, so, augh! We better get crackin’! So out came “The Lovecats,” “The Caterpillar” (!), “Close to Me,” “Let’s Go to Bed,” “Why Can’t I Be You?,” and “Boys Don’t Cry” (“If they pull the plug on us, you’ll need to keep singing”). And then the music stopped, Robert walked to each side of the stage to nod and smile to the adoring fans, and that was that.

Specifics to note:

  • Simon Gallup is the coolest person in music, and plays a hell of a bass. And he appears to be ageless. What a stud.
  • Nice to see Roger O’Donnell once again in the fold. I love that “Trust” was part of the set, which gave him a true spotlight moment, and he was obviously enjoying the proceedings. I think he feeds off Simon’s unending energy, too; he was really getting into his playing at times.
  • Robert is known to alter the original lyric from “Let’s Go to Bed” (which goes “You think you’re tired now / well wait until 3”) to fit the occasion. Usually he refers to an hour even later; he used this line to comment on the “this ends at 10 p.m.” attitude of Lollapalooza. On this night it went: “You think you’re tired now / well, wait until [shrug] 11, I guess.”
  • After “The Walk” finished, someone tapped me and asked me what that song was called. I told him, and then I heard him relaying the answer to another dude. The original inquiring mind yelled, “The what?” So I turned around, yelled, “‘The Walk’!,” and did the old Yellow Pages “let your fingers do the walking” gesture. I got a smile and a thumbs-up in return. I love helping people!
  • I knew I was actually among real people and not in an Internet chat room because I didn’t hear a single person whine about Boris Williams not being the drummer anymore. (It’s been 20 years, and some fans online still won’t let it go.)
  • “From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea,” “One Hundred Years,” and “Disintegration” are played practically every single time the Cure performs a concert, and I think because of that, many diehard fans groan about their inclusion anymore. But for people like me who haven’t been able to see them very often, I absolutely love the fact that I know I’m going to get to hear these three intense numbers. “Deep Green Sea” in particular was searing on this particular night.

The set, both in song choice and performance, shows how multifaceted and multitalented the Cure really is. There are numerous kinds of Cure fans in my opinion (opposed to one person’s opinion that you’re either an “In Between Days” fan or a “Just Like Heaven” fan—what the hell does that even mean?), and I’m guessing that they all left the park very satisfied.

MoSS? Presents: The Best 13 Albums of 2013…So Far

2013

At the beginning of June, many music sites started posting their “Best Albums of the Year So Far” lists. They considered June 1st the perfect time do so. It being the halfway point of the year and all. Well, we here at Music or Space Shuttle? actually own and know how to operate a calendar. Bear with me here, I’m going to do some math. You see, there are actually twelve months in a year. The halfway point would be after six months. That would make the the end of June or early July the perfect time for a “Best Albums of the Year So Far” list. Enough snark. Let’s get to the list!

deap-vally-get-deap-epDeap Vally, Get Deap! EPGet Deap! is probably my biggest guilty pleasure record this year. The rock duo’s EP is four songs of dirtyDeap+Vally+DeapVally guitars,  screaming vocals and questionable feminine hygiene. Don’t get me wrong, I’m crushing hard on the both of them. They’re like a cross between PJ Harvey, The White Stripes and Led Zeppelin. Hoping they come to the area for a live show soon. I may just run away with them. –T

Key Track(s) – “Lies”, “Gonna Make My Own Money”


dtDucktails, The Flower Lane – This one surprised me. I was never a big fan of Ducktails in the past. The last LP was fine but never really kept my interest. Pitchfork streamed this record for free last prior to the release and I couldn’t stop playing it. The mastermind behind Ducktails is the guitarist for Real Estate so there are some similarities between the two but this record stands up well on its own. Chris’ former pretend girlfriend Madeline Follin from Cults even makes a cameo on my favorite song from the record “Sedan Magic.” They were in Iowa City in April and put on a great show. Chris wrote about it here. -T

Key Track(s) – “Sedan Magic”


m b v album cover

My Bloody Valentine, m b v – What was almost as unbelievable as the release of a new My Bloody Valentine album is the fact that somehow it was not an absolute letdown. In fact, it was brilliant. The first three songs sound like a natural continuation of LovelessThe middle third reminds me of stuff the band released on the various EPs from 1988 to 1991. And the final third showed where the band could go if it damn well wanted: jungle beats, devilish swirls of guitar, soaring synths. A longer examination of an instant classic can be found in a post from February. –C

Key track(s) – “in another way,” “wonder 2”


2012PalmaViolets180Press171212

Palma Violets, 180 – When I hear hype surrounding bands like Arctic Monkeys or the Vaccines or the like, I give their records a spin and often come away disappointed. This isn’t at all what I thought I would hear! Yet when I listened to a band that lacked the “next big thing” tag, one called Palma Violets, lo and behold, there it was! 180 is the album I’d always thought I’d hear from the buzz bands. “No-frills” rock, but punctuated with a charismatic singer and nice use of keyboard among the garage rock sounds. I’m starting to rethink my declaration of seeing Wild Belle instead of these guys at Lolla. –C

Key track: “Best of Friends”


rhye

Rhye, Woman – Reminiscent of The Weeknd in a couple of ways: one, is the singer a guy or a girl (answer: guy); two, regardless, this is really freakin’ great. Slinky, sexy, smooth as silk. “The Fall” is a vocal treasure, while “Last Dance” parts the smoky haze of the record for a few minutes to allow for moments of upbeat groove. While the vocals are natural to pair with slow and low tempo, it’s the juxtaposition of the emotion against the more up-tempo instrumentation that keep this collection from coming off as one-note. The comparisons to Sade and the xx are fair both in terms of similar sound and similar quality. –C

Key track: “The Fall”


Savages-Silence-Yourself

Savages, Silence Yourself – The savage (ahem) rumble of the drums and bass is what does it for me when it comes to Savages’ music. Of course, that alone isn’t going to get the job done, and thankfully the vocals and guitar work provide sharp contrast. That’s not to say the drumming is some sort of sloppy, tribal, Meg White-kind of stuff (which I like as well, in that context); Fay Milton snaps off precise snare hits and provides a tight, fast backbone. Anyway, this is what you get when you get four people dedicated to art but aren’t afraid to also make tight, listenable songs in the process. –C

Key track(s): “Shut Up”


srSigur Ros, Kveikur – I love that one of the coolest, heaviest records of the year was created by three dudes from Iceland, including the pixie-like Jonsi. It’s not like the band had to reinvent itself to sound this way; songs from the early albums have been intense, bordering on metallic at times. Even on the relatively chill album ( ), they showed they could deconstruct into harsh madness (“Untitled 8,” anyone?). As one reviewer put it, perhaps Georg (bass) and Orri (drums) were sick of never getting any credit, and just went buck wild on all our asses. It worked. –C

Key track: “Brennisteinn”


umojacketv1Small Black, Limits of Desire – I had big hopes for this album after loving their first full length album New Chain and subsequent Moon Killer MixTape. After the first listen, I was less than impressed. Maybe it was their bizarre album cover. Maybe it was because the chillwave vibes of the first album were mostly gone and what was left was mainly a synth pop record. It took a few additional listens for me to remember, “I f’ing love synth pop records!” -T

Key Track(s) – “No Stranger”


tsTegan and Sara, Heartthrob – This one is a shoo-in for a #2 spot on my overall Best of 2013 list since their previous two records had that title in 2007 and 2009. This time the ladies changed up their style a bit and released this synth-pop gem. It took me a few listens to warm up to the new direction. At first, it seemed like an attempt to cash in with a Katy Perry-ish type record. Hidden behind those up-beat hooks they have some seriously dark and painful lyrics. In a way it is a perfect pop record but with some depth behind it. -T

Key Track(s) – “How Come You Don’t Want Me”, “Closer”


Thee-Oh-Sees-Floating-Coffin

Thee Oh Sees, Floating Coffin – Let’s say Tame Impala had a love-child band with one of those garage rock groups you might find on an old Lenny Kaye Nuggets compilation. Sounds as dreamy as chocolate and peanut butter coming together, no? Thee Oh Sees pretty much sounds like the spawn of the aforementioned scenario, doing its thing at an incredibly prolific rate, to boot. Floating Coffin seems like their fourth album in three years–probably because it is!–and each output continues to satisfy. Not only is there energy galore in the tunes, you won’t find a much better use of the vocal weapons “Whoooo!” and “Owwwwww!” anywhere. –C

Key track: “Toe Cutter – Thumb Buster”


torres

Torres, Torres – I know I’m supposed to use these single paragraphs to sing the praises of our favorite albums thus far in 2013, but with Torres, I’m having trouble pinpointing. Perhaps it’s the way her voice melts throughout the opening song, “Mother Earth, Father God.” Or the lyric “Honey, while you were ashing in your coffee, I was thinking about telling you what you’ve done to me” on “Honey.” Or how there is a sinister element to her songs. Or how the chorus just falls out of her mouth so wonderfully on “Jealousy and I.” Or that someone named Mackenzie Scott decided, “You know what? I’m going to go by the moniker ‘Torres’!” (shrug) Oh, look what I just did. I guess it’s all pretty great. –C

Key track: “Jealousy and I”


vw

Vampire Weekend, Modern Vampires of the City – This might be the year that Vampire Weekend finally drops its bridesmaid status on my end-of-year lists and moves up one slot to the top. (Finished second to Portishead in 2008; Crystal Castles in 2010.) 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. The esoteric lyrics are still here, but the most moving words come on “Step,” where Ezra declares “I feel it in my bones” and “I can’t do it alone.” –C

Key track(s): Pretty much all of them


waxahatchee-cerulean-saltWaxahatchee, Cerulean Salt – Waxahatchee is the solo project of songwriter Katie Crutchfield and is for the most part very simple. One vocal, one guitar and occasionally some drums. The songs ebb and flow from soft acoustic to droning distortion filled guitars and her vocals float effortlessly overtop all of them. I started listening to Cerulean Salt a few weeks after the new My Bloody Valentine record was released. Like anything else that was released post   m b v,  I assumed I would be over it quickly and back listening to the masters of shoegaze. I was wrong. I was stuck on this album almost as long as I was on m b v. It was tough picking a “key track” for this one because this is one of those rare records that I find all the songs to be equally as good. Take a listen to “Peace and Quiet” below and judge for yourself. -T

Key Track(s) – “Peace and Quiet”

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.

Music You Should Be Listening To: March 2013

I’m just gonna get right to introducing the music this month because after last months post I had quite a few complaints.

@2indastink wrote, “Quit messing around and get to the music!”

@5nuckshuff wrote, “Todd sux. Space shuttle rules!”

@peaceandlove wrote, “I fucking hate your guts. Who gives a shit about your thoughts and feelings?!! Get to the music already.”

And that is just a small sample. Now, far be it from me to keep you all from the music you long for, so here you go…

Because I don’t want to be the guy that upsets your day. I know you’re in a hurry and have limited time at the computer/tablet/smartphone for exploring interesting new things. I too hate having to wait one maybe two whole minutes for something that I should have access to immediately. It’s like when you’re at the local grocery store, fast food restaurant or Gap-type clothing outfitter and waiting in line to pay. The people in front of you should just get out of the way. We have shit to do! Instead, they selfishly pay for their own items and make us all wait. Insufferable. That’s why I’m getting straight to the music today, no messing around…

No waiting. No delays. No sifting through poorly written stories about music and non-music related topics. Who wants to read that stuff? Not me. livinNo sir, I will not read for enjoyment. I’ve read too much already. Besides, there’s no time to read when you’ve got livin’ to do…“L.I.V.I.N.”… We should be out having real world experiences. Back packing through exotic locals. Meeting new and interesting people. Having great love affairs. Sleeping in hostels. Nearly dying in said hostel because it is actually a backer packer slaughterhouse. Come to think of it, because I’ve taken time to read things in the past, I’ve not lived my life to its fullest. I’ve never been caught with a pound of hash duct taped to my belly in a Turkish airport. I’ve never done time in a Malaysian prison for a crime I didn’t commit. Do you know how many criminal plots I’ve foiled with just my wits and my never say die attitude? Two. Only two. I’m 38 years old. My father had twice as many under his belt at that age. But it’s a different time now. My father didn’t have things like video games, the internet and Honey Boo Boo re-runs to distract him from his destiny. I’ll not be to blame for your wasted lives. So I’m getting right to it…

Well, is anyone ever really to blame for something like this? To quote the late great Howard Jones, “No one is to blame.”…Wait…This just in…Turns out Howard Jones isn’t dead. Who knew? Well the sentiment is still the same. Some things are just out of our hands. We can’t control time. We can only do the best with what little free time we have. There never seems to be enough of it does there? So to avoid any anxiety attacks à la Jessie Spano from Saved by the Bell

I’m getting right to the music this week…

Dig right into it. Immerse yourself in the awesomeness. You need a little “Me Time.” Put the kids to bed early. Wear your headphones so they can’t distract you. Listen while you drink a latte from Starbucks. Treat yourself. You deserve it. Life is fleeting. Me? I’m going to be listening while simultaneously training for the Iron Man Triathlon, learning Japanese and teaching my son how to throw a curveball. Well, I may have to shorten that list. There’s probably not enough time for everything. Uh oh. Anxiety attack time. No time. No time! Never any time!

I’m so excited
and I just can’t hide it
I’m so excited
I’m so…scared

Ok… Took my Lexapro… I feel better now.

Crap. Looks like I really am out of time. Didn’t get to the music.  Well, I don’t want to leave you hanging. Here’s a quick list of some albums you can check out. Enjoy…

Palma Violets, 180

Waxhatchee, Cerulean Salt

Youth Lagoon, Wondrous Bughouse

CHVRCHES, Recover EP

MoSS? Monthly Mixtape: March 2013

112

Side A : Todd’s Picks

1. Palma Violets, “Best of Friends”

2. Waxahatchee, “Peace and Quite”

3. Parquet Courts, “Stoned and Starving”

4. Foxygen, “Shuggie”

5. Small Black, “Free at Dawn”

Side B : Chris’ Picks

1. Alpine, “Gasoline”

2. Cotillon, “Talk to Her”

3. Fantasmas, “No Soul”

4. Kate Boy, “In Your Eyes”

5. Vampire Weekend, “Step”