Entries tagged with: How to Dress Well
photo: How to Dress Well at Pitchfork Fest 2015 (more by James Richards IV)
R&B boundary pusher How to Dress Well already has an upcoming set announced for Asbury Park festival Shadow of the City on 9/19 at Stone Pony Summer Stage (with The Front Bottoms, Vic Mensa and more), but he'll be playing an intimate NYC show before that. It happens September 18 at Baby's All Right. Tickets go on sale Friday (7/31) at noon.
Those are the only dates he currently has announced. Listen to his new DJ mix (aka the just-uploaded Soundcloud file of his DJ set at a Pitchfork Fest afterparty) below...
photos by James Richards IV
Courtney Barnett / The Julie Ruin / Run the Jewels
Waxahatchee seems all grown up since its 2013 appareance at Pitchfork. Back then, crowd chatter and indifferent fans drowned out a majority of leader Katie Crutchfield's lyrics on the small stage. Here, Crutchfield receives support from a backing quartet that adds muscle, volume and thickness to her musings. In her world, holding back emotions is for sissies. Framed by fuzz-rock and elastic pop arrangments, she navigates gray areas of romantic relationships and insecurities of getting older. Her deceptively sweet voice relays the worries, wishes and misgivings common to almost every 20-and 30-something. For 45 minutes, Waxahatchee functions as a personal diary, complete with smart analogies that spare no one blame, including Crutchfield herself. [Bob Gendron for Chicago Tribune]You've seen day 1, more day 1 and day 2, and here's pictures of the third and final day of the 2015 Pitchfork Music Festival. This time we got Chance the Rapper, Todd Terje & the Olsens, Run the Jewels, PC Music's AG Cook, Caribou, Clark, Jamie xx, How to Dress Well, Courtney Barnett, Perfume Genius, Madlib & Freddie Gibbs, The Julie Ruin, Waxahatchee, Mourn, Viet Cong, SIngle Mothers and Bitchin Bajas. More pictures below...
photo: Pitchfork Fest 2014 (more by James Richards IV)
The Pitchfork Music Festival happens this weekend in Chicago (7/17-7/19), featuring performances from Wilco, Sleater-Kinney, Chance the Rapper, Future Islands, The New Pornographers, Run the Jewels, Caribou, Panda Bear, Todd Terje & the Olsens, Mac Demarco, Kurt Vile and loads more. BrooklynVegan will be there, so stay tuned for coverage and photos. If you can't make it, Pitchfork will also be streaming it live.
As usual, the fun continues later each night with a plethora of aftershows, both official and unofficial. There's something for every type of fan, with shows from Parquet Courts, Viet Cong, ILoveMakonnen, Jessica Pratt, Ariel Pink, Ex Hex How to Dress Well, Protomartyr and more. A guide to the night time action, below...
photos by Amanda Hatfield
St. Vincent / Nelly Furtado, tUnE-yArDs, Dev Hynes / finale
In "Contemporary Color," a copresentation of Barclays Center in Brooklyn and the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Mr. Byrne has organized collaborations among 10 elite color guard teams and recording artists, including St. Vincent, Nelly Furtado and Devonté Hynes. Between acts, the showcase, performed on Saturday at Barclays Center, included video clips making it clear that for many students, color guard is a way to find like-minded souls in what can be the most harrowing of American experiences: high school.After two shows last week in Toronto, David Byrne brought his music-meets-color-guard "Contemporary Color" extravaganza to Barclays Center on Saturday (6/27) and Sunday (6/28), pairing performers such as St. Vincent, How to Dress Well, Dev Hynes, Ad Rock & Money Mark, tUnE-yArDs, Nelly Furtado and Zola Jesus (performing songs written just for this production) with high school color guard teams. Pictures from Saturday's performance, plus video of St. Vincent and David Byrne's performances from Sunday, continue below...
The idea to pair color guard with live music is an intriguing one, but the results don't entirely click. One exception was the pairing of Somerville High School in New Jersey with Money Mark and Ad-Rock of the Beastie Boys whose music, not unlike that of a marching band, grew in power. But too much of the music was on the slow side, suffocating the routines and making it apparent that the earnestness of the performers clashed with the musicians who had difficulty shedding their personas. They may have been in bands in high school, but it didn't feel as if they had ever been band geeks. - [NY Times]
by Andrew Sacher
photo by Mark Jaworski
The Front Bottoms haven't announced a followup to 2013's great Talon of the Hawk yet, but they do finally have a new single. (Last year's Rose EP was re-recordings of old songs.) It's called "West Virginia" and it's basically The Front Bottoms doing what they do best -- highly specific lyrics and ultra catchy melodies in a song that's somewhere between folk and pop punk. We've got the premiere of the video below. You can also get a free download by signing for the band's fan club, The Front Bottoms Motorcycle Club.
The Front Bottoms also have a few shows coming up, including the 'Front Bottoms Motorcycle Club Party' happening in Brooklyn on June 22 at Music Hall of Williamsburg. The show's with two of TFB's old pals, GDP and Youngman Grand. Tickets go on sale Wednesday (6/10) at noon, and you get a presale password if you sign up for their fan club. Show flyer below.
They also play Jack Antonoff's upcoming Asbury Park festival, Shadow of the City, on September 19 at Stone Pony Summer Stage with Jack's band Bleachers, his tourmate Charli XCX, as well as Vic Mensa, How to Dress Well, Cults and more. Tickets go on sale Friday (6/12) at 10 AM, with various presales starting Wednesday (6/10) at 10 AM.
The band are wrapping up a run with LVL UP in Baltimore tonight (6/9), and they also have a Cooperstown show with Brand New in August and a free Philly show in September. All dates are listed, with the new song, below...
Ad Rock, Money Mark & Somerville High School Color Guard
David Byrne's high-concept Contemporary Colors shows, which pair pop musicians with high school marching band color guard troupes, are coming up, happening June 22 & 23 in Toronto (tickets) and June 27 & 28 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn (tickets).
More details have been announced since we posted, including the composer and team pairings which are as follows:
David Byrne and Les EclipsesFor a better idea of what to expect, you can check out a couple Contemporary Colors videos below. The first, directed by Bill and Turner Ross and edited by Steven Lippman, follows Ad Rock and Money Mark to Somerville High School in NJ for their first meeting. It makes its premiere in this post. The other is more of an overview of the event and a look at what color guard is, featuring Byrne and some of the students. Watch those below.
Nelly Furtado and Ventures
How To Dress Well and Mechanicsburg High School
Devonté Hynes and Black Watch
Kelis and Brigadiers
Lucius and Shenendehowa High School
Money Mark + Ad-Rock and Somerville High School
Nico Muhly + Ira Glass and Alter Ego
St. Vincent and Field of View
tUnE-yArDs and Emanon
Last year, Hundred Waters threw their first-ever FREE three-day FORM Festival in Arizona's experimental town Arcosanti, and this year they're doing it again from May 22-24. They've got a few of the same names, including How to Dress Well, Majical Cloudz, Julie Byrne and Kodak to Graph, as well as new faces such as The Antlers, Holly Herndon, Jacques Greene, Julianna Barwick, Mutual Benefit, Pharmakon, Mitski, Tokimonsta, Machinedrum and more. Here's what Hundred Waters say about the fest:
Festivals are usually fast paced and high stress for artists and attendees. We're lucky to spend a single day on site and even luckier to have a meaningful conversation with an artist we know or wish to know. With FORM, all of the artists and attendees stay on site together for the entire weekend. We eat together, dance together, share the whole experience together, and when it's time to part ways, we leave with a very distinct memory of a very distinct time and place. We let the place and the environment shape that experience. As visitors to this beautiful, highly intentional micro city of Arcosanti, our appreciation for every day things like infrastructure, sustenance and community are heightened without even realizing it. Every human interaction more meaningful. Every cup of coffee or tea more delicious with the underlying thought of what it took to get it into your hands. A more present state of consciousness. A place to cultivate ideas.This year will also have a Moog Sound Lab performance series, "where artists can experiment and explore analog sound-scaping, synthesis and effects on never before seen Moog prototype synths and archival equipment. This will be the first time that the Moog Sound Lab experience has ever traveled outside of the Moog Factory."
If you're interested in coming, we ask that you answer a few simple questions. The more creative your response, the better. After receiving your submissions, we'll send out invites. Capacity is made limited to ensure the space is treated with care. If invited, just arrive and share a little piece of yourself with us as we will with you. See you in the desert :)
Once again, it's totally free, you just have to RSVP to go. Full lineup and a new mini-documentary video about last year's festival, below.
Hundred Waters are also hopping aboard a train with Skrillex, Diplo and friends for this year's Full Flex Express tour.
Speaking of The Antlers, they're releasing a live album, The Antlers in London, on June 15 via Transgressive. You can check out the tracklist and a video from that show, below...
photo: Paul McCartney in Austin, 2013 (more by Tim Griffin)
You may remember that when Firefly Music Fest announced its 2015 lineup, the first headliner was blurred out on the poster. Well, as rumored, it's Paul McCartney, the fest revealed today. Macca will join Morrissey, Modest Mouse, Spoon, Run The Jewels, How To Dress Well, Snoop Dogg, Tycho, Sturgill Simpson, Sylvan Esso, Zola Jesus, Rustie, Le1f and many more at the fest which happens June 18-21 at the Woodlands in Dover, DE. Updated lineup below.
General admission passes to Firefly go on sale Monday (3/2) at noon, EST.
McCartney was just in NYC for a surprise Valentine's Day show and an appearance on the SNL 40th Anniversary special. He since spent some time skiing in Vermont, much to the delight of the J.J. Hapgood General Store & Eatery in Peru.
Delaware's annual Firefly Music Festival comes back June 18-21 and the lineup's now been released. Kings of Leon, The Killers and
a TBA third act rumored to be Paul McCartney (update: it's Paul) sit atop the list, with Morrissey, Modest Mouse, Spoon, Run The Jewels, How To Dress Well, Snoop Dogg, Tycho, Sturgill Simpson, Sylvan Esso, Zola Jesus, Rustie, Le1f and many more joining them on the list of performers. Pre-sale passes are sold out, but more general admission and VIP passes will be available soon at the festival's website.
Firefly is Morrissey's first US date since canceling his dates last summer, and no other US dates are announced yet.
Check out Firefly's full lineup below...
photo: Cass McCombs in Brooklyn in 2012 (more by Greg Cristman)
As you may know, there's no lack of events going on all over the country this year in celebration of The Grateful Dead's 50th anniversary. One of those is "Brooklyn Is Dead," Alex Bleeker and the Freaks' tribute show on February 10 at Brooklyn Bowl, and since we last posted, the lineup for that got way more impressive. It now also includes Cass McCombs, Darkside's Dave Harrington, Darkside collaborator Will Epstein, Woods' Jarvis Taveniere, and Patti Smith Group's Lenny Kaye. Tickets for that show, which also celebrates Relix's 40th anniversary, are still available. Flyer below.
In other news related to Alex Bleeker, his other band Real Estate are among the artists announced for Iowa City's Mission Creek Festival happening March 31-April 5. Also on that lineup is Freddie Gibbs, How to Dress Well, The Sea & Cake, King Tuff, Father John Misty, Glenn Kotche & Jeffrey Zeigler, Foxygen, Amen Dunes, Ryley Walker, Silver Apples, SQÜRL (ft. Jim Jarmusch) and more. Full lineup below. Tickets are on sale.
In other news related to The Grateful Dead, drummers Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann have announced that they'll team up ahead of the Grateful Dead shows for a collaborative set with The Disco Biscuits (which they also did at Gathering of the Vibes 2014) on April 17 at Red Rocks Amphitheatre.
Grateful Dead tribute band Dark Star Orchestra also have six NYC-area dates coming up, including Brooklyn Bowl.
And right before Phil Lesh's 75th birthday shows at Capitol Theatre (two of which are still on sale), Warren Haynes (who's joining Phil for those shows) will play the Cap with his own band Gov't Mule, joined by special guest (and past Phil Lesh collaborator) John Scofield on March 13 & 14. Tickets for those shows are on sale now.
Lastly, two days after the "Brooklyn Is Dead" show, Dave Harrington plays his own Brooklyn show on February 12 at Shea Stadium with Sam Cohen, Shark? and Kinsey.
Mission Creek Festival lineup below...
With the most recent run of David Byrne's Here Lies Love now in the past, David Byrne has just announced his next high-concept project which is on an even bigger scale. It's called Contemporary Color which happens at Barclays Center on June 27 & 28. A co-production with BAM (part of their 2015 Winter/Spring Season), it's a mix of live music and color guard (the synchronized flags will be familiar to anyone who's watched a high school or college marching band). The live music portion feature performances from Byrne, Nelly Furtado, How to Dress Well, Devonté Hynes, Kelis, Nico Muhly + Ira Glass, St. Vincent, and tUnE-yArDs, plus 10 color guard teams from the US and Canada.
Tickets are on artist presale now (password: DBCOLOR). Tickets are also on sale today (1/21) for Friends of BAM, with an AmEx presale starting Friday (1/23) at 10 AM. Tickets go on sale to the general public January 28 at 10 AM.
Here are more details from Byrne:
Some years ago, a Colorguard team wanted to use some music I'd written (from a theater piece I did with Robert Wilson, called The Forest) for one of their routines. I said, "Fine, no charge... you are a high school team after all." But I asked that they send me documentation out of curiosity and for my archives. I eventually got a DVD of the whole World Championship competition. I watched, and was amazed and delighted to find myself in a new world that I didn't know existed.You can watch a video trailer about Contemporary Color below and learn more at its website. The extravaganza will make its world premiere the week before (June 22 & 23) at Toronto's Luminato Festival.
What I was viewing is more properly referred to in that world as winterguard--as it takes place in the winter and spring--after fall football season, when the colorguard teams are more closely associated with drum lines and marching bands. Off season they do their own thing--still employing flags, rifles and sabers--but their routines are less about formation than about themes, emotion, concepts and visual spectacle. Over recent decades, the teams have evolved into something strange and wonderful; they've created a vibrant, innovative and original vernacular artform that is wildly popular across the whole North American continent, but is all but unknown in many of the big urban centers--like New York, where I live. Contemporary Color aims to remedy that situation.
I was stunned at what I was seeing, and being a musician I naturally wondered to myself, "What if these performances had live music? Really great live music! Wouldn't that be amazing? And wouldn't that lift it to another level?" (Besides being fun for the musicians too!). The competitions these teams engage in already fill arenas with their fans and supporters, so I thought to myself, "Let's take it from there!"
First tracks, then honorable mentions, and now Pitchfork has put out their Top 50 Albums of 2014. There's nothing entirely out of left field, but there's definitely some surprises here. Taylor Swift, whose album was not reviewed at all (I guess it was a pretty obscure one), comes in at #31 with her album, 1989. Sun Kil Moon, which was the only 2014 album in their Top 10 Albums of the Decade So Far this past August (and seemed like a sure bet for #1) dropped down to #7 and was beaten out by his enemies The War on Drugs. TWOD actually came in at #3 themselves, and the two ahead of them are two you may not have seen coming.
We already knew that Pallbearer, the only Best New Music metal album of 2014, was an honorable mention, which unsurprisingly left zero metal albums on this list. No other BNM album got snubbed (save for a Hyperdub compilation and the Beyonce album, but that was probably because it was technically a 2013 release), and there's not really any glaring omissions in terms of what Pitchfork appeared to champion this year.
See the list for yourself below...
Pitchfork have begun rolling out their year-end coverage, and today they posted their Top 100 Tracks of 2014. Like every year, it's a very diverse list, with songs from Taylor Swift, The New Pornographers, iLoveMakonnen, Protomartyr, Cloud Nothings, Rae Sreummurd, Makthaverskan, Ty Segall, Parquet Courts, Azealia Banks, White Lung, Perfect Pussy, Dej Loaf, Migos, Alvvays, Against Me!, Kendrick Lamar, Ariana Grande, Bobby Shmurda, Charli XCX, Grouper, Beyonce, Perfume Genius, Shamir, Michael Jackson, Tinashe and more. And their #1 seems to be the most ubiquitous #1 of 2014.
Check out the full list below...
How to Dress Well at Flow Festival 2014 (more by Dominick Mastrangelo)
As discussed, How to Dress Well is playing one of the last-ever Glasslands shows on December 16, and it's since been revealed that he'll be appearing live in NYC the day after that too. On December 17 at Verboten, HTDW will take part in SPIN and Microsoft's The Connect Sessions, which "pairs groundbreaking artists across the worlds of music, digital design, and visual art to build one-of-a-kind, collaborative pieces of content."
The pairings include Ian Williams of Battles/Don Caballero with visual artist Ron Amstutz, How to Dress Well with multi-media artist Melissa Matos (TRUSST), and electronic musician Com Truise with videographer Deborah Johnson (aka CandyStations). The show goes from 8 PM to midnight, and is 21+. To get in, you have to RSVP.
Watch a video from How to Dress Well's 2014 album, below...
SPIN returned with their Top Albums of 2014 list today. It's got a lot of the indie albums that usually show up on these lists (Caribou, Future Islands, FKA twigs, Parquet Courts, Cloud Nothings, How to Dress Well, Swans, St. Vincent, Real Estate, etc), a handful of rap albums (YG, Young Thug, Shabazz Palaces, Run the Jewels, Schoolboy Q, Freddie Gibbs & Madlib, etc), metal (Pallbearer), punk (Against Me!, Joyce Manor), mainstream pop (Taylor Swift, Miranda Lambert), and a couple headscratchers (Betty Who at #11?). You-know-who scores the #1 slot once again here. Check it out for yourself below.
How to Dress Well at Glasslands in 2010 (more by Erez Avissar)
Brooklyn music venue Glasslands has just over a month left before they close and they keep expanding their schedule of cool final shows. The newest addition is an especially cool one: How to Dress Well on December 16 with a DJ set from Heems and a special guest. HTDW made his live debut at the club in August 2010 and now plays much bigger venues, and says "Glasslands and Popgun have supported me since the beginning of my career and I am honored to be invited to play at one of their final shows, back where it all began for me." Tickets are on sale now.
HTDW also made a second mixtape of 2014 which you can stream below. This one has music by Jacques Greene, twigs, Default Genders, Akron/Family, Majical Cloudz, The Microphones, Dej Loaf, Philip Glass, Sia and more. He also has a few other dates (NZ, Australia and Japan) which are also listed below...
by Johnny Zachman
Pitchfork Paris began yesterday (10/30) in the Grande Halle de la Villette, a slaughterhouse-turned-cultural center in the city's 19th arrondissement. The festival featured two stages at opposite ends of the venue, with acts performing in immediate succession on alternate sides of the room.
Montreal's four-piece art-punk band Ought kicked off the night, injecting the already sizable crowd with good energy off the bat. Lead singer Tim Beeler channeled David Byrne, David Bowie, and most especially Jonathan Richman in his performance - which was spoken almost as often as it was sung - and the band's combination of keyboardist Matt May on Nord Electro 3 and the rhythm section's tight, dynamic and often repetitive grooves made for a refreshing take on punk.
How To Dress Well performed next, also as a four-piece. "It's nice to be back in the barn" remarked singer and songwriter Tom Krell, before saying hello to his mentor Beck, who was watching the show via live stream. The band performed many of the highlights from this year's excellent album "What Is This Heart?" while a series of muted, abstract visuals were projected behind them. I was impressed by the band's ability to recreate the album's sounds in a live atmosphere. On stage, Krell performed with two microphones - one dry and the other soaked in full reverb - between which he would modulate throughout the show, sometimes mid-phrase. Krell was backed by a drummer and two multi-instrumentalists covering violin, maracas, guitar, vocals and keys. Krell gave props to Ought for their excellent performance and also expressed his excitement to see The War On Drugs later in the night, who are his current favorite band.
The Notwist brought a packed stage including two xylophone players to the party. Compared with other times I had seen the band, I was impressed by how quickly they moved away from their songs and into heavier psychedelic territory, executing multiple movements of noise-based chaos that each felt earned and not excessive. Markus Acher's relaxed voice contrasted nicely with the more dissonant, anticipatory mood of the music, and the festival's extensive lighting rigs played especially well into The Notwist's swirling experimental soundscapes.
The War on Drugs
The War On Drugs performed "Burning," "Eyes To The Wind," "An Ocean In Between The Waves," "Under The Pressure," "In Reverse" and "Red Eyes" to the most palpably energetic crowd of the night. The band was as tight as the last time I saw them (in June at Williamsburg Park), and I was happy to see so many young Frenchmen jumping up and down to Adam Granduciel's guitar solos and singing along to the "Woo!"s from the album. Even within the 45 minute format, the band still took their time with the instrumental sections, extending multiple guitar solos well beyond the album's length, including an exceptional version of "Red Eyes" to end the set.
Mogwai's performance began with remarkable force. The Glasgow natives played to the biggest crowd of the night, sending their dynamic waves of emotional post-rock slamming down on the audience's ears. The band played with excellent restraint: quiet instrumental passages were pursued for minutes at a time; louder peaks were continued well past their originally-perceived climax. I was surprised by how much louder Mogwai's set felt than everyone else's - not in amplitude but in thickness. The band had a confidence in them that flowed into their music, setting a dark, almost terrifying mood within the room.
Jon Hopkins carried the mood from dark to hypnotic, delivering his tastefully emotional electronic compositions along with projections whose concepts included an alternating series of solid colors and the "Collider" music video. Hopkins was very active within his setup - which added to the energy of the performance - and a constant stream of red lights flashed around the room to enhance the ambience. The crowd reacted well to Hopkins' cinematic soundscapes, with relatively subtle shifts in the music drawing various cheers.
James Blake closed the night with performances of "Retrograde," "The Wilhem Scream," "Limit To Your Love," and an arresting show-closing rendition of the entirely loop-based "Measurements." Blake's voice was in stellar form, modulating between multiple octaves and singing over his loops with remarkable ease. I'm always impressed by how much Blake adapts his sets to fit the mood of the room, and last night's late show was rightfully less song-based and more reliant on the ambient, with a healthy dose of songs (including one new one) mixed in.
It was an excellent first day for Pitchfork Paris. The sound was spot-on for all of the artists, and I especially enjoy festivals when only one artist performs at a given time so that there is no sound bleed between stages.
Belle & Sebastian, St. Vincent and more play today's portion of the festival, and we'll be back with coverage of that too. If you're not at the fest, stream it live HERE. Today's stream begins at 1:30 PM EST with Perfect Pussy.
A few more pictures from yesterday below...
Belle & Sebastian at Pitchfork Chicago 2013 (more by Amanda Hatfield)
Pitchfork Paris begins this Thursday (10/30) and continues through Saturday (11/1), but if you won't be in Paris for it you can still stream many of its sets from the comfort of your own home. (Buy some croissants and it will be just like you were there!) You can watch sets from Belle and Sebastian, St. Vincent, Mogwai, Four Tet, Future Islands, tUnE-yArDs, Foxygen, the Notwist, Ought, Son Lux, Perfect Pussy, Jungle, D.D Dumbo, Kwamie Liv and possibly more TBA, in the video player below.
Stay tuned for Thursday, meanwhile check out the fest's schedule and a teaser video below...
HTDW at 2014 Flow Festival (more by Dominick Mastrangelo)
As mentioned, How to Dress Well plays Irving Plaza tonight (9/17) with Nite Jewel. Tickets are still available but if you can't be at the show but still want to see it, HTDW's set will be webcast on Yahoo Live tonight at 9:30 PM. And if you won't be near a computer then, you can watch an archived version for the following 24 hours.
In other news, How to Dress Well collaborated with RL Grime on new track "Reminder" from his new album Void, due out in November. The track recently premiered on Zane Lowe's BBC Radio show and a rip of that can be heard below. Also, HTDW recently shared a new remix of "Repeat Pleasure" (from his What is This Heart) by A.G. Cook (of QT) and that can be streamed below as well.
photos by Dominick Mastrangelo
The National / How to Dress Well / the scene
Earlier this month, we sent longtime BrooklynVegan contributor Dominick Mastrangelo to the 2014 Flow Festival in Helsinki, Finland. Here's his report and photos from Day 2...
Flow Festival Day 2 ended up leaning heavily toward American bands. It wasn't planned, but with The Horrors canceling a couple days earlier and some scheduling conflicts, it's just how it played out. And not that it was necessarily a bad thing. There's definitely something cool and pleasantly disjointing about seeing bands you've seen stateside in a time zone seven hours away.
But the day did start out with two really solid Finnish bands back to back: The electro-pop of Shivan Dragn and prog-rock instrumentalists - and Spencer Krug collaborators - Siinai.
With a bit of time to kill I venture to the Main Stage to see Les Ambassadeurs led by Salif Keita. The catchy Afro-pop of the ensemble provided an enjoyable, uplifting respite before a run of bands in quick succession.
I caught a brief bit of How To Dress Well. My first time seeing Tom Krell since Pitchfork in 2011 and I was struck by how intense his live set had become. A much more assured and visceral performance than before -- eschewing the string quartet he had with him at Pitchfork in favor of a more straightforward live performance.
From there it was over to the Blue Tent for Bill Callahan, one of the artists I was truly jazzed about seeing in Helsinki. Callahan always seems to come across as the coolest guy in the room and as great as his set was, I was disappointed that much of the crowd chose to talk during his set. (Apparently, this is not a problem exclusive to concerts and festivals in the States.) But I maneuvered to a spot close up where the attention was more rapt and mesmerized by Callahan's smooth bass-baritone and stayed for the entire set; the first band whose set I stayed from start to finish.
I managed to catch a few songs of Danish pop-songstress, MØ at the Black Tent. It was a high-energy set and Karen Ørsted was dressed appropriately in boxing trunks and black tank top, bouncing from stage to speakers and whipping the crowd into a frenzy as us photographers in the pit worked hard to keep up with her.
After a bit of a break, I ventured over to the Balloon 360 stage to see Marissa Nadler. The stage-in-the-round setup, where the sound seemingly comes from everywhere, was perfect for Nadler's haunting, airy songs. It was simply beautiful.
The Main Stage was the next stop for The National. I'd mentioned earlier how wonderfully disjointing it was to see bands across the pond and maybe the The National were more so than any of the American-based bands I saw on the weekend. My first National show was seeing them open for John Vanderslice at a tiny rock club in Denton, TX nearly ten years ago. I've seen them at various points since on their upward trajectory so it was only fitting that I see them headline a festival in Europe. From Denton to Helsinki in a decade.
I finished off my night back at the Balloon Stage for Poliça. Drummers Drew Christopherson and Ben Ivascu faced each other and singer Channy Leaneagh and bassist Chris Bierden took up opposing spots with producer Ryan Olson on the edge of the stage running production. It was hypnotic as the glow of the balloon and hazy LED lights provided dreamy ambiance for rhythmic drum beats and the effects-laden voice of Leaneagh. With Jamie xx performing in the Black Tent and French electronic mastermind Kavinsky in the Blue Tent at the same time as Poliça it was impossible to be everywhere, so I opted to stay outside under the cozy environs of the balloon.
The evening continued at a techno club where we drank cider and beer and danced to generally undanceable songs before spilling out into the brisk Helsinki night and heading to another summer-specific after party out at the water. There young locals were hanging out drinking and chatting in a mashup of languages: Finnish, German, French, English... Some opted for an early morning swim, stripping down and flinging themselves off the dock into the chill. Some drifting way, way out into the dark.
As I rolled up to my hotel in the early morning hours of Sunday, with the sky brightening in the east, I got that feeling you get when you're having an absolute blast somewhere that you don't call home.
I didn't want to leave.
by Andrew Sacher
Yesterday, Pitchfork posted their top 200 tracks of the decade so far, and today they've listed the top 100 albums to have come out between 2010-2014. There's some surprises on there. For example, I didn't expect to see Bon Iver's self-titled, their #1 album of 2011 and with a score of 9.5, rank as low as #27 on this list. I was also surprised to see Chief Keef make it but not, say, Shabazz Palaces or Schoolboy Q. And there's a few other glaring omissions: nothing by The National? Grizzly Bear? One thing that will surprise no one though, is their #1 pick.
You can check out the full list below...
Helsinki has some nice architecture...
After spending three days shooting portraits and other SoundWave tent activities for us at Lollapalooza in Chicago, BrooklynVegan photographer Dominick Mastrangelo took off to Finland for this year's Flow Festival. Keep checking back for his coverage from the fest throughout the weekend, starting now...
With Lollapalooza in the books for another year, this weekend's summer festivals look west to San Francisco for Outside Lands. And they also look east, way east, across the pond to the Scandinavian and Nordic countries whom are all holding their own festivals. Norway's Oya Festival is up and running while Sweden's Way Out West and Flow Festival in Finland take place Friday through Sunday. At the time of this writing, I'm 31,000 feet over Iceland and bound for the beautiful seaport city of Helsinki for Flow. The lineup is a healthy mix of heavy hitters, indie-popular bands as well as Finnish talent.
Last week's Lollapalooza headliners, Skrillex and OutKast, are headlining on Friday (8/8) and Sunday (8/10)respectively. The National, whose seemingly endless tour in support of last year's Trouble Will Find Me, roll in to town after playing Oya and Way Out West to headline on Saturday.
In addition to the headliners, the fest also features Röyksopp & Robyn, Polica, Little Dragon, Marissa Nadler, The Horrors, Darkside, Bill Callahan and Janelle Monae are also performing. And a handful of artists who performed at Pitchfork a few weeks ago will be making their way to Helsinki as well including Slowdive, Real Estate and Neneh Cherry.
Flow also gives a nod toward festivals like SXSW and CMJ with a host of talks on tech and music as well as a screening over 40 short films. The National will also feature on the film side with a screening of the documentary Mistaken For Strangers.
Update: Being seven hours ahead of New York, I've been out and about in Helsinki today. Posters for Flow are everywhere, the weather was gorgeous and I spent most of my afternoon out on Suomenlinna, a fortress built on six islands in the Gulf of Finland. (That beautiful weather disappeared in less than an hour as it's presently pouring outside.) Some photos from my afternoon jaunt, plus the full Flow lineup, below...
HTDW at Slipper Room in June (more by Chris La Putt)
How to Dress Well released his excellent third album, "What Is This Heart?" this past June and he's now released a bonus track from it, "Let U Know." According to press release, "[main member Tom] Krell insisted that this song come out before his next single from "WITH?" because, as he put it, "in singing 'Let U Know,' I discovered the title of my album and a lot of its meaning -- I needed this song to be heard by people, even though I couldn't find a place for it on the album proper." Listen below.
Updated dates are listed, with the new song stream, below...
by Andrew Sacher
It's his third full length, following 2010's Love Remains which introduced him as maker of sweet, sultry atmospheres and 2012's Total Loss which brought more of a traditional "songwriter" sense to his work. That songwriting excels even more here, and though many of the R&B sounds he's used in the past are here, it's a deeply personal record in a way rarely associated with R&B. Tom just spoke to Pitchfork about the new record, including the influence his emo upbringing had on it:
That latent emo influence is found on a few "What Is This Heart?" tracks, including the throbbing "A Power", which Krell describes as "extreme philosophical poetry that stemmed from meditating on Taking Back Sunday." Meanwhile, the electric guitar-stung "Childhood Faith in Love (Everything Must Change, Everything Must Stay the Same)" was originally put into motion when Krell revisited a 2002 track by Philadelphia pop-punk band the Starting Line called "Best of Me".TBS and The Starting Line were also both represented on Tom's recent mixtape (along with Beyonce, Lou Reed & Antony, Prince, Whitney Houston and more). Take a listen to "What Is This Heart?" here.
"I thought about what music like that meant to me as a teenager, how I was moved so intensely by this schlocky pop punk like it was fucking fine art," he says, smiling at the memory. "For me, the most important thing about music is immediacy, which is part of the reason why I have such broad listening habits. I'm pretty shameless about it: I was playing the Starting Line in bed the other night, and my girlfriend was like, 'What the fuck?! Turn this off.' But that song still completely thrills me."
HTDW recently celebrated the album with a pre-release show at NYC's Slipper Room and will bring his full tour back here for a much larger show on September 17 at Irving Plaza. Tickets for that show are still available.