Entries tagged with: Waxahatchee
After the lineup leak that happened last week, the official 2016 Bonnaroo lineup has been announced, featuring Pearl Jam, Dead & Co, LCD Soundsystem, J. Cole, Tame Impala, Death Cab for Cutie, M83, Ween, Haim, Miguel, Chris Stapleton, Big Grams, Father John Misty, and more. Tickets go on sale Friday (1/22) at noon.
Full 2016 Bonnaroo lineup below...
Last night, the Bonnaroo 2016 lineup briefly leaked on the Bonnaroo app (part of it at least), and it was quickly taken down but not before someone could grab it put it on Reddit. A commenter suggests it's just the first wave, and the artists listed as headliners -- (Grateful) Dead & Co., LCD Soundsystem and Pearl Jam -- are just speculated headliners. (The poster also has misspellings like "Fidler.") The rest is listed in alphabetical order, and includes Big Grams, Blood Orange, Bully, Clutch, Death Cab for Cutie, Dungen, Father John Misty, Jason Isbell, Kamasi Washingotn, Kurt Vile, Lamb of God, Leon Bridges, M83, Mavis Staples, Miguel, Purity Ring, Shamir, Tame Impala, Vince Staples, Waxahatchee, Ween and more.
The lineup will officially be announced on Tuesday, January 19 on an episode of Conan, airing at 11 PM EST on TBS. The fest happens June 9-12 this year in its usual home of Manchester, TN. It's the festival's 15th anniversary, and in honor of that they're introducing some new improvements:
For the first time, Great State Park, home of Bonnaroo, will now feature its own permanent water line, allowing for the installation of more than 400 permanent toilets (38% of the total toilets onsite will be flushable), hundreds of permanent shower stalls (35% of the total shower stalls onsite), and a large number of water filling stations newly installed throughout the site.More improvements for the 2017 festival are being planned too.
Tickets go on sale January 22 at noon EST.
photo: L7 at FFF Fest 2015 (more by Tim Griffin)
SXSW already announced two rounds of 2016 artists, and today a third round was announced, including L7, Bloc Party, The Cult, Loretta Lynn, Waxahatchee, Frankie Cosmos, D∆WN, Polica, Dilly Dally, Eleanor Friedberger, Protomartyr, Holy Fuck, Ra Ra Riot, Fat White Family, Domo Genesis, Hodgy Beats, Thao & the Get Down Stay Down, All Dogs, Judy Collins & Ari Hest, The Dandy Warhols, Des Ark, Mick Jenkins, Lady Leshurr, Mitski, Supersuckers, Teen Suicide, together PANGEA, Turnover, Younghusband and more.
Full list of additions, below...
photo: Waxahatchee at Terminal 5 in December (more by Greg Cristman)
Waxahatchee hasn't announced a full 2016 tour yet, but she does have some dates scheduled for this year. One is a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood, happening at Brooklyn's Silent Barn on January 22 (the 43rd anniversary of Roe V Wade). Katie Crutchfield will be playing solo, and the bill also includes Trophy Wife and Vagabon. It's a $12 show and a ticket link is coming soon.
Her only other known dates are in Australia in February. All are listed, with the video for "La Loose" off 2015's Ivy Tripp, below...
photos by Greg Cristman
Sleater-Kinney @ Terminal 5 12/13/2015
Sleater-Kinney are capping off a very busy comeback year with five sold-out NYC shows. The biggest two of those happened over the weekend, playing Brooklyn's Kings Theatre on Saturday (12/12) and Manhattan's Terminal 5 on Sunday (12/13). In addition to their own songs, both night's featured covers. At Kings they paid tribute to both the Ramones and the holiday season by performing "Merry Christmas (I Don't Wanna Fight Tonight)." Then last night at T5, Sleater-Kinney covered The B-52s' "Rock Lobster" and brought out Carrie Brownstein's Portlandia pal Fred Armisen to sing the the parts of another Fred (Schneider). Videos of both, plus pictures from Terminal 5 (including ones of openers Waxahatchee), are in this post.
The five-show run continues tonight (12/14) at Irving Plaza, and then hits Music Hall of Williamsburg on Tuesday (12/15) and finally christens the renovated Market Hotel with its first real show back on Wednesday. We'll have pics from those shows as well. Meanwhile, more from Sleater-Kinney's Terminal 5, below...
Illustration by Derek Erdman
AV Club have published their list of The 15 Best Albums of 2015. Besides two forward-thinking California rappers (guess which ones?) and Grimes, this list leans the most heavily on guitar rock of all the ones we've seen this year, whether it's the hushed sounds of Sufjan Stevens and Julien Baker or the harder-edged Sleater-Kinney and Courtney Barnett. You can check out the full list below, and see the writers' individual ballots here.
photos by Amanda Hatfield; words by Bill Pearis
Parquet Courts & Lee Ranaldo / Rainer Maria & Meredith Graves / Kurt Vile & Kim Gordon / Waxahatche & Mac McCaughan / Titus' Patrick Stickles
None of the acts on any of Webster Hall's three stages last night (12/2) asked if anyone actually knows what Ground Control Touring is, but their name was on the marquee and many of them thanked them. I guess for those not in the biz it doesn't really matter when in one night you get to see Kurt Vile, Superchunk, Parquet Courts, Deer Tick, Rainer Maria, Screaming Females and more.The booking agency, who usually do their magic only behind the scenes, handles tours for many of indie rock's biggest names and was celebrating 15 years in business. The main ballroom was already packed when Hop Along kicked off the night and things stayed that way.
Very few of last night's acts played what you'd call a normal set, instead opting for fun collaborations and covers. Waxahatchee brought out Superchunk's Mac McCaughan and The Clean's Hamish Kilgour to cover The Clean's "Getting Older." Kurt Vile, with Violators guitarist Rob Laasko, played two songs before bringing out Kim Gordon, former Violater Steve Gunn (who'd just played a great solo set in the Marlin Room) and Woods' Jarvis Taveniere for a cover of Velvet Underground's "Sister Ray."
Kurt Vile would later turn up at Woods' set in the Marlin Room to cover Dylan's "Knockin' on Heaven's Door." Woods also had Parquet Courts' Andrew Savage out for two Neil Young covers" "Barstool Blues" and "Powderfinger." Parquet Courts' performance in the Marlin Room, meanwhile, basically had them as Lee Ranaldo's backing band, performing Sonic Youth's "Mote" and "Eric's Trip." (For those who already thought that Parquet Courts' Austin Brown looks like Thurston Moore, this underlined it.) That was the whole set. But cool. It was that kind of night.
Elsewhere at Webster Hall: Rainer Maria had Perfect Pussy's Meredith Graves onstage for "Tinfoil" ("Rainer Maria are my favorite band", Meredith said to the crowd); Titus Andronicus' Patrick Stickles played solo to a sardine-packed Studio; and Perfect Pussy finished off the night with a typical crazed energy, and Meredith Graves writhing on the floor. They played a new song. Superchunk, meanwhile, just did what they always do: knocked out the hits with an energy most bands half their age can't muster. Tonight's sold-out Superchunk show at Baby's should be a treat.
Deer Tick can sell out Webster Hall on their own, but were added last minute to a show full of big names after it was already sold out, so that surely contributed to them closing out the main room to a less than full crowd, but it was a special treat for their fans that were there, and John McCauley and his seasoned band still gave it their all. Catch them again twice this month at Brooklyn Bowl.
As the night progressed there was overlap, and with navigating Webster Hall's stairs (fine going up, slower going down) and set times which weren't always adhered to so closely, meant missing some acts. (Sorry Porches, Frankie Cosmos, Beach Fossils, Speedy Ortiz and Felice Brothers) But it was a fun, unique night even if don't know what the hell Ground Control Touring is. More pictures from the whole night (our photographers actually did catch everyone), plus some videos of those special collaborations/covers (with more on the way), below...
photo: Waxahatchee at Webster Hall in October (more by PSquared)
"La Loose" is a song of love and longing, though dark at its edges with feelings of ambivalence. I wanted the video to be a visual equivalent to the song lyric, 'a charming picture of hysteria in love'--a spinning emotional kaleidoscope of desire and rejection, adoration and anger, hope and despair. For this reason I set the video in mirror-twin locations: an abandoned, haunted amusement park and a thriving farm out of a beautiful dream.You can watch it below.
Happy December! SPIN are celebrating the first day of the last month of the year by putting out their Top 50 Albums of 2015 list. It's a diverse list, with the top 10 ranging from DIY-indie (Alex G) to mainstream country (Kacey Musgraves) to leftfield major label rap (Vince Staples and Kendrick Lamar). The list also has metal from Deafheaven and Krallice, electronic from RP Boo, Rabit, Oneohtrix Point Never and SOPHIE, R&B veteran Janet Jackson, and plenty more. Check out the whole thing below.
They also put out their 101 Best Songs of 2015 list, which is topped by Justin Bieber.
photo: Deer Tick at Forest Hills Stadium in 2014 (more by PSquared)
The Ground Control Touring 15th anniversary show at NYC's Webster Hall happens this Wednesday (12/2) with "short sets, collaborations, covers and surprises" from a very impressive lineup. That lineup now also includes Deer Tick, and other artists that were added since we last spoke are Screaming Females, Lee Ranaldo, Perfect Pussy and Woods.
Those additions join the initial lineup of Superchunk, Kurt Vile, Waxahatchee, Steve Gunn, Parquet Courts, The Felice Brothers, Rainer Maria, Torres, Titus Andronicus, Beach Fossils, Speedy Ortiz, Hop Along, Porches and Frankie Cosmos. (Conor Oberst dropped off.)
Also below is the flyer with set times...
photo: Sleater-Kinney at Pitchfok Fest 2015 (more by James Richards IV)
Sleater-Kinney's tour brings them to NYC in December for FIVE shows, and now the openers for all five have been announced. The first four are with newer female-fronted punk-related bands who likely consider S-K an influence, Torres, Waxahatchee, Perfect Pussy and Charly Bliss, and the last show (and most intimate) is with another veteran musician, Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth. The full schedule looks like this:
Dec 12: Kings Theatre w/ Torres (tickets)Torres also tours with Palehound in 2016, Waxahatchee plays the big Ground Control anniversary show in NYC, and Perfect Pussy (who just played the last-ever live show at Elvis Guesthouse) play the S-K show right in the middle of their December tour.
Dec 13: TERMINAL 5 w/ Waxahatchee (tickets)
Dec 14: Irving Plaza w/ Perfect Pussy (sold out)
Dec 15: Music Hall of Williamsburg w/ Charly Bliss (sold out)
Dec 16: Market Hotel w/ Lee Ranaldo (sold out)
If you missed it, we just interviewed Carrie Brownstein of Sleater-Kinney. Earlier this year, Lee Ranaldo's former Sonic Youth bandmate Kim Gordon interviewed her too. Watch the hour-long video of that below...
We're happy to announce that BrooklynVegan is part of Spotify's "In Residence" series where we'll not only curate a monthly playlist, but premium users can hear us talk about it too. Head to Spotify HERE now and click "follow" to make sure you never miss an episode.
For our first show, BV editors Andrew Sacher, Bill Pearis and Dave sat down to talk about some of our favorite music of 2015 so far, and other digressions. We taped the show in late July, so keep that in mind if any of it sounds slightly dated. (A segment where Bill bets Dave a million dollars that Lush will never ever reform was cut.)
Anyone can listen, though you will need to be a Spotify Premium subscriber to hear our lovely speaking voices.
Other Spotify In Residence shows/hosts include former Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones, dance act Jungle, and UK grime artist Big Narstie.
Stay tuned for a brand new BrooklynVegan episode in December. Meanwhile, listen to November's...
It's that time of year again when folks start publishing their End of Year Best-Of lists. Almost always first out of the gates is UK-based Rough Trade Shops who dropped their 100 Best Albums of 2015 list today. Coming in at #1 was Bjork's devastatingly personal Vulnicura. And here's their Top 20:
1) Bjork - VulnicuraYou can check out Rough Trade Shops full Top 100 Albums of 2015 list below...
2) Father John Misty - I Love You Honeybear
3) Courtney Barnett - Sometimes I sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit
4) Ezra Furman - Perpetual Motion People
5) Max Richter - From Sleep
6) Wolf Alice - My Love is Cool
7) Kamasi Washington - The Epic
8) Royal Headache - High
9) Romare - Projections
10) Jamie XX - In Colour
11) John Grant - Grey Tickles, Black Pressure
12) Sufjan Stevens - Carrie and Lowell
13) Tame Impala - Currents
14) Nadine Shah - Fast Food
15) Wand - Golem
16) Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp a Butterfly
17) Django Django - Born Under Saturn
18) Tobias Jesso Jr - Goon
19) Georgia - S/T
20) Palma Violets - Danger in the Club
photo: Superchunk at Riot Fest Chicago 2014 (more by James Richards IV)
Booking agency Ground Control Touring turns 15 this year, and they'll be celebrating that anniversary with a seriously stacked NYC show on December 2 at Webster Hall.
The show will take over all three rooms, and include Conor Oberst, Superchunk, Kurt Vile, Waxahatchee, Steve Gunn, Parquet Courts, The Felice Brothers, Rainer Maria, Torres, Titus Andronicus, Beach Fossils, Speedy Ortiz, Hop Along, Porches, Frankie Cosmos and more. Tickets go on sale Friday (10/23) at 10 AM with a presale starting Thursday (10/22) at 10 AM (password = GCT15).
Webster Hall show flyer below...
photo: Whirr at Baby's All Right in April (more by Mimi Hong)
Whirr are no strangers to controversy, but yesterday they came under fire for some offensive comments that got them dropped from one of their labels. They posted a series of tweets insulting G.L.O.S.S., the Olympia, WA punk band of transgender women whose name stands for Girls Living Outside Society's Shit. The tweets were as follows:
Plenty of other people on Twitter immediately took notice and called them out for transphobia, including several other bands. Their Run for Cover labelmates Crying, Tiny Engines band Adult Mom, members of Swearin' and Waxahatchee and more all weighed in:
This is Whirr. pic.twitter.com/78TanNuEwj— CRYING (@cryingband) October 20, 2015
@cryingband word this is funny but I'd rather you be more outwardly critical about their violence tbh— ADULT MOM (@adultmomband) October 20, 2015
Honestly its fucked up that people have been supporting Whirr prior to this violence, they've ALWAYS been fucked up.— ADULT MOM (@adultmomband) October 20, 2015
.@rfcrecords you should definitely drop Whirr— Allison Crutchfield (@aqcrutchfield) October 20, 2015
yeah @free_whirl are transphobic af / supporters of this band should check themselves / GET WITH THE NOW— waxahatchee (@k_crutchfield) October 20, 2015
Nothing, who share a member with Whirr, tweeted that whoever made that post from the Whirr account "does not have ANYTHING to do with my opinions or this band." The singer of G.L.O.S.S. also joined Twitter just to fuck with Whirr:
@free_whirl r u just sad u missed the boat on punk and play music for people with Macklemore hair who blog about bacon-infused bloodymarys?— SadieSwitchblade (@trannyterrorist) October 20, 2015
@free_whirl "boys in panties" > boys with clean flannels and backstage laminates who hate women because they know women are superior to them— SadieSwitchblade (@trannyterrorist) October 20, 2015
@free_whirl your band is nothing but background music for Pitchfork-reading GoogleGlass enthusiasts and NPR liberals— SadieSwitchblade (@trannyterrorist) October 20, 2015
One of Whirr's labels, Run For Cover Records, took notice and quickly decided to drop Whirr from their label:
We as individuals and as a label are accepting of all people and require the same from the bands and people we work with...— Run For Cover (@rfcrecords) October 20, 2015
We will not be working with Whirr from this point on and do not support that behavior in anyway. We will post a full statement tomorrow.— Run For Cover (@rfcrecords) October 20, 2015
G.L.O.S.S. is awesome and crucially important and we need more bands like them.— Run For Cover (@rfcrecords) October 20, 2015
Whirr's most recent album came out on Graveface Records, who have yet to comment.
UPDATE: Nick Bassett (the member who is also in Nothing) deleted the tweets about G.L.O.S.S. and posted the following apology:
UPDATE 2: Graveface has now tweeted the following:
@vivalanina Rest assured I'm not cool with any of this. Being on tour I'm just now checking my socials and I'm pretty floored.— Graveface Records (@graveface_recs) October 20, 2015
Graveface supports positive action and equality. We have zero interest in working w/ hateful people. Donate here: https://t.co/IP8KBjZ4H0— Graveface Records (@graveface_recs) October 20, 2015
UPDATE 3: Pitchfork asked Run For Cover if Whirr's apology changes their decision at all, and RFC's Jeff Casazza replied:
Frankly, no, it doesn't change anything. We were aware of the information in Whirr's statement when we made the decision. Although the band is not signed to our label, and never have been, we have decided to not work with them in the future, and stop selling their releases we did have a hand in. Also, despite being at a financial net loss with Whirr and Camera Shy, we will be donating $3,000 to a TBA non profit in support of equal rights for LGBTQ.--
We will be posting what organization later today, we just didn't want to jump the gun on that decision.
photos by P Squared
Kurt Vile / Waxahatchee / Luke Roberts @ Webster Hall - 10/7/15
The same night The War on Drugs began a two-night NYC run, their old pal Kurt Vile wrapped up his. We already reviewed his first night at Webster Hall (10/6), and now we've got pictures of the second (10/7).
Both were sold out, and both had the awesome triple bill of Kurt being joined by Waxahatchee and Luke Roberts. His setlist was almost exactly the same as the first night, but this one included the live debut of "I'm An Outlaw" off the new record. Check out the whole setlist, and more pictures from the show, below...
by Andrew Sacher
photo: Kurt Vile at Webster Hall - 10/6/15 (via BV Instagram)
Kurt Vile's on the road in support of his new album b'lieve i'm goin down..., and he and the Violators began a sold-out two-night run at NYC's Webster Hall last night (10/6). They mostly stuck to the new album, playing seven of its twelve tracks, and cherry-picked just a few older ones. We got the bookends (and two longest tracks) of Wakin On A Pretty Daze ("Wakin On A Pretty Day" and "Goldtone"), "Jesus Fever" from Smoke Ring For My Halo, and one oldie, "He's Alright." Plus, as many Kurt Vile shows do, the pre-encore set ended with "Freak Train." (The encore was b'lieve closer "Wild Imagination," which was also a great way to end a show.)
Kurt and his band, which now has the bassist and guitarist playing keys at various points (the new album is his most piano-heavy), were great as ever. Even with the new sounds explored on the new album, it still has all the masterful fretwork we've come to expect from Kurt -- he continues to make a case for himself as one of our generation's most inventive rock guitarists -- and watching that come to life is always a treat. Kurt's someone I've seen a lot, but it's been a while since I've seen him indoors (maybe not since opening for Dinosaur Jr in 2010?) and KV's not half bad with a light show. There's nothing like seeing Kurt Vile with a natural breeze, but the little bulbs they had scattered around the stage set the mood for his lightly psychedelic sounds too.
Direct support on this tour is coming from Waxahatchee, which was an awesome pairing. Both bands have roots in folk and punk, but they bring entirely different approaches to the table. And it seemed just as full in there for Waxahatchee's set as for KV's. I've said this before, but Waxahatchee's current five-piece band (with two members of Swearin' and Pinkwash/Bleeding Rainbow drummer Ashley Arnwine) is by far their best live setup yet. Their super full sound is perfect for the big-sounding new record, and sparser old songs like "Brother Bryan" sound tighter and bolder than ever. We also got the Lucinda Williams cover that Waxahatchee has been incorporating into recent sets, which they do really well.
Opening the show was Luke Roberts, whose 2012 album on Thrill Jockey I thought was pretty underrated. I hadn't ever seen him play though, and I thought last night's set was great. He's joined just by a drummer and a a keyboardist, and they make sad, slow country rock not too far removed from On The Beach or I See A Darkness. His set ended with "Unspotted Clothes" off his 2010 album, for which Kurt Vile came out to sing harmonies.
Kurt, Waxahatchee, and Luke do it again at Webster tonight (10/7). Also tonight, Kurt's pals/former collaborators The War On Drugs begin a two-night run in NYC. They're at MHOW tonight (Jukely members only) and Radio City on Thursday (10/8) with Natalie Prass (buy tickets or win them).
KV's setlist from last night is below...
Asbury Park, NJ venue Asbury Lanes had a party on Saturday (10/3) which will be their last event until this coming spring (tentatively). The venue is now closed for renovations, which they announced in a Facebook post that also mentioned the cancellation of the Waxahatchee show that would have happened on 10/10. The venue writes:
Sadly, our show with Waxahatchee has to be cancelled...Our renovation schedule for the Lanes got moved up to October 5th, so, we don't want anyone to have to risk life and limb to come to a construction site to see a show...Even know we know that Waxahatchee would make it a wonderful experience nonetheless...We apologize for this.If you bought tickets, you can get a refund from your point or purchase. Go to NYC and see them open for Kurt Vile...We hope you will forgive us!App.com adds:
After Saturday, the "approval and renovation process" will begin, said Brian Cheripka, senior vice president the development for iStar, the owner of Asbury Lanes, via email. "The renovations will be completed in phases, with the exterior improvements taking place over the next several months"As the Lanes' announcement points out, you can see Waxahatchee on their tour with Kurt Vile, which hits NYC this week on Tuesday (10/6) and Wednesday (10/7) at Webster Hall. Both shows are sold out.
The renovations are expected to last into the spring. iStar will share their initial plans with the city in the coming weeks and those plans include keeping live music at the venue.
"We're committed to keeping it an iconic music venue," Cheripka said.
photos by Kenneth Bachor
X / Godflesh / Chelsea Wolfe
Right before [Dwight] Yoakam was one of my all-time favorite bands, X, the great Los Angeles punk quartet that has endured many travails over the last four decades. The latest is that guitarist Billy Zoom is battling cancer and unable to tour, so Texas roadhouse guitarist Jesse Dayton filled in this time around.Hopscotch Festival wrapped up on Saturday (9/12) after two other days. The outdoor show at City Plaza this time had long-running country singer Dwight Yoakam and punk legends X, with support from The Vibekillers and American Aquarium. After that show, we headed to various downtown Raleigh venues to catch Godflesh, Waxahatchee, Chelsea Wolfe, Prurient, Wovenhand and Black Clouds.
There's no replacing Zoom's maniacal rockabilly blare, of course, but Dayton managed a fine approximation. D.J. Bonebrake remains a machine on drums, and John Doe and Exene Cervenka's vocal harmonies still cut to the bone.
It was punk-rock bliss, and not just for those of us of a certain age. I was heartened to see actual little kids jumping up and down to the old folks' boogie. [David Menconi for News Observer]
by Andrew Sacher
"Pop punk" was once widely considered a dirty term in most indie rock circles, but over the past few years it's been sneaking into indie rock vernacular. We use it here on BV a lot. Pitchfork has used it when talking about anyone from Cloud Nothings to Upset to Joyce Manor. Stereogum has used it for The Sidekicks, Chumped, and Cayetana. NPR for Wavves, Title Fight and Waxahatchee. The list goes on.
It's easy to see what made "pop punk" such a turnoff as it became progressively more mainstream in the '90s and early '00s. "Punk" is a genre with a code of ethics that punk fans feel should be kept sacred, and "pop" is basically the antithesis of those ethics. So "pop punk" is theoretically the worst thing that could ever happen to punk. Indie rock fans adhere to similar ethics, so when "What's My Age Again?" hit TRL, it's no surprise that Sebadoh fans weren't gluing their eyes to their TVs.
But for a younger generation, some combination of Green Day, The Offspring, Rancid, blink-182 and New Found Glory (or all of the above) was a foundational listening experience, and an entry point into alternative music. Those bands may have made punk more mainstream, but they were also gateways to older and more universally canonized artists. blink-182 directly led to Descendents, Dinosaur Jr and Drive Like Jehu; Green Day to Husker Du; Rancid to Roger Miret and Sham 69; New Found Glory to Lifetime and Gorilla Biscuits; and so on. The people who grew up on those bands are becoming today's indie rock musicians, fans, and critics, so it makes sense that the sounds of pop punk are making their way into indie rock. Not to mention Best Coast, who started as a lo-fi band on Mexican Summer, went on to cover blink-182, collaborate with New Found Glory, and tour with Green Day.
photo: Best Coast opening for Green Day in 2013 (more by Dana Distortion)
Right now, the amount of bands blurring the lines between indie rock and pop punk is pretty astounding. We saw pop punk's influence sneak into indie rock on a handful of our favorite records of last year, and this year we have great records from Colleen Green, Bully, Superheaven, Turnover, All Dogs, Radioactivity, Royal Headache, Titus Andronicus, Worriers, Hop Along and Adventures that all fit the description.
Even with this huge influx of indie rock bands taking influence from pop punk, it's not hard to see why there's still resistance against the "pop punk" tag. The kind of over-produced pop punk that critics cringed at in the early 2000s is still very popular. All Time Low's new album debuted at #2 on Billboard this year and there's nothing "punk" about this. 5 Seconds of Summer may be the biggest band in the world right now that anyone is calling "pop punk," but they also share management with One Direction, have toured with them, and are closer in sound to 1D than to any band who ever signed a contract with Fat Wreck Chords. If 5SOS can be called pop punk, or apparently anyone who plays Warped Tour -- like Front Porch Step, who in addition to his questionable actions, makes cringe-worthy music that has nothing to do with pop punk -- it's understandable why some people want to avoid the term.
There's also a group of bands who frequently play Warped Tour and not only warrant being called pop punk, but pride themselves on it: bands like Man Overboard, The Story So Far, Four Year Strong, Neck Deep and State Champs. Their approach is basically to take the moment pop punk took over the world and recreate it. (The Drive-Thru Records catalog is a big influence here.) They're not shy about their style -- Man Overboard make shirts that say "Defend Pop Punk" and Neck Deep make ones that say "Generic Pop Punk." They don't seem to be after hugely mainstream success and tend to build their fanbases like punk bands do, but to our ears they're usually unoriginal at best and still kinda cheesy at worst.
If you have any place in your heart for early 2000s-era mainstream pop punk though (and if you've read this far, you probably do), there's one band I think is doing a hell of a lot of justice to it: The Wonder Years. Unlike the bands bringing pop punk's influence into indie rock, The Wonder Years are making the kind of pop punk that is in fact pop music, but they also happen to make really fucking good pop music. It's becoming more prevalent for critics and "serious music fans" to discuss great pop music, and this is a good thing because great music can truly come from anywhere. The recent Beyonce and Justin Timberlake albums were steps forward for music in general, whether or not you normally listen to the radio. A lot of fans and critics noted that, but for whatever reason there's still a stigma when it comes to pop punk. You're more likely to see certain critics champion Fifth Harmony, a new teen-pop group formed by Simon Cowell on The X Factor, than even mention the latest Bad Religion or Rancid albums. It's a stigma that hopefully disappears, because The Wonder Years don't deserve to be ignored by any serious music fan.
photo: The Wonder Years at House of Vans in 2011 (more by Andrew St. Clair)
The Wonder Years started out as more of a generic pop punk band, and while in hindsight I respect the people who knew they were great from day one (or at least since their 2010 breakthrough The Upsides), they didn't really catch my ear until 2011's Suburbia I've Given You All and Now I'm Nothing. And it didn't really click until 2013's The Greatest Generation, which might be the greatest true-blue radio-ready pop punk record since Enema of the State. It probably owes more to New Found Glory and The Starting Line than it does to blink-182, but even if those bands have proved to be more influential, they never had this level of songwriting or maturity. Even on New Found Glory's "mature" album, they couldn't escape writing songs about girls who "smell like angels ought to smell." The Greatest Generation grapples with hitting your mid-to-late '20s, seeing your friends and cousins getting married and transitioning into adulthood, and thinking "did I fuck up?" When they do sound like they're singing about high school crushes ("I hadn't felt a heartbreak until now") you quickly realize they're singing about the death of a friend.
It's close to an absolute perfection of its form, and it's hard to say just yet if they've topped it, though they've undoubtedly made another artistic leap on the new No Closer to Heaven. It's the band's most overwhelmingly emotional album yet, and the most musically diverse too. In 45 minutes it touches on double-time pop punk, slower atmospheric songs, heavy rock riffs, and an acoustic song to close things out. It's the kind of record that might piss off some old fans and cause them to say The Wonder Years "aren't pop punk anymore," but it might win over a bunch of new fans in the process. It's pop punk's Sunbather. The thing is though, unlike say Title Fight's trek into atmospheric rock, this is a pop punk album. It pushes the boundaries of the genre about as far as they can go without losing the type of thrill you specifically get from this style of music. Really it shouldn't piss off old fans because it manages to retain the sound they've always had while clearly pushing it forward.
It makes me think a lot of Brand New's The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me. It doesn't sound like Devil and God, but that was the moment Brand New made a devastating, cathartic album that defied its genre without abandoning it, and that's what TWY do here. They're also similar to Brand New in that each record is a shift from the last, and that people (rightfully) worship these guys. To compare it to an album it does sound like, it's actually a little like The Hotelier's last one, and that may be the most acclaimed album the entire emo revival has given us. But it feels a little unfair to compare those two, because The Hotelier are a young (yet fully-formed) band and No Closer to Heaven is clearly the work of seasoned songwriters.
The Wonder Years are more dynamically diverse here than ever. They know just when to switch from a chorus turned up to 11 to a bridge of clean guitar arpeggios and back again. They know which lyric needs a three-part harmony, which needs frontman Dan "Soupy" Campbell to sing gently and which needs him at the top of his lungs. At least half the songs completely avoid the standard verse-chorus-verse. Recurring lyrics and themes throughout an album aren't new ground for The Wonder Years, but No Closer to Heaven might be the closest they've come to a true concept album. Death, if it wasn't obvious, is that concept here. The lyric we hear over and over is "We're no saviors if we can't save our brothers," and that's only one of the instantly-quotable lines packed into this thing. There's a harsh reality to Soupy's lyrics this time around, and when he brings his voice to a shout it feels more like a reflex than an artistic decision.
Like the last record, his melodies are familiar without being predictable. Thanks in part to the fact that almost every member can sing, they've mastered the kind of multi-part harmonies and overlapping vocals that most of their peers aren't even attempting. (My only complaint about the new album is the guest vocals from the singer of letlive. who come too close to a maligned genre I won't defend, nu-metal.) The production is once again shining with gloss, but nothing sounds artificial -- unlike many of their peers, the band and longtime producer Steve Evetts (who has helmed other pop punk classics like Jersey's Best Dancers and Through Being Cool) have long discussed avoiding auto-tune and sample replacing. The interplay between the band's three guitarists also make this far more detailed than punk's "learn three power chords, form a band" mentality. But The Wonder Years do stay true to the latter half of the phrase "pop punk," and if you've seen them live you know this. They typically fill big rooms these days, but they still play like they came out swinging from a South Philly basement. They might not win over a snobby punk purist, but for the genre-hopping listener who finds emotional depth and musical ambition in both the new Drake and the new Sufjan Stevens, you may find it in the new Wonder Years too.
photo: You Blew It! at Riis Park Beach Bazaar - August, 2015 (more by Mimi Hong)
No Closer to Heaven is out today via Hopeless (order yours) and you can stream the whole thing via Rdio, below.
They'll be on tour this year with another unique pop punk band, Motion City Soundtrack, emo revival darlings You Blew It!, and State Champs. That tour hits NYC for two Webster Hall shows in October, but first TWY play an acoustic in-store at Rough Trade on Wednesday (9/9).
Sexwitch / Songhoy Blues / St. Vincent / SFA / GOAT @ Green Man 2015
The Green Man Festival has been taking place in Wales' beautiful Brecon Beacons for the past few years, drawing an increasingly impressive line-up of worldwide and Welsh musicians to the sprawling Glanusk Estate. The 2015 edition happened August 20 - 23 and added enough extras (Hot tubs! A cinema! A beer festival! A science garden!) that you didn't really even need to see any bands at all. But that would be silly, because the bands are great. Read on for some of the best bits from the last two days.
Most anticipated set: Sexwitch - the act billed only as "Special Guest" turned out to be the debut performance of a new project from Bat for Lashes' Natasha Khan, TOY and Dan Carey - dark, droney and insistent.
Best set by someone we hadn't heard of before: Hannah Lou Clark and her band, equal parts angsty and dreamy.
Best place to hide out to during the sudden three-hour heatwave on Saturday: The Cinedrome tent with Gulp, because angel-voiced dream pop makes everything better, even when you're simultaneously horribly sweaty and covered in mud (somehow singer Lindsey Leven was immaculate in head-to-toe white, which reinforces our theory that Gulp are slightly magic.)
Most fun to shoot portraits of: Girl Ray, three London ladies who were finalists in the Green Man Rising competition and are very fun to hide between tents with.
Song we still have stuck in our heads: "Moons in My Mirror" by H Hawkline, whose pleasingly intriguing songs and deadpan demeanour were so appealing that the tentful of watchers were quite happy to comply with his request that they whistle the theme from the Great Escape while he tune his guitars, twice.
Most talked-about performance we failed to see: Northumbrian balladeer Richard Dawson [and not the late Family Feud host - Ed] in the Walled Garden, who we are assured was brilliant and unusual.
Youth enterprise award: The three children at the festival entrance with an acoustic guitar busking Super Furry Animals songs: Charlotte, Amelia and James. "Fire in My Heart" was a delight:
Most packed tent: Songhoy Blues from Mali, because they manage to combine deeply cool rock-star stage presence with an overwhelming sense of glee. Plus singer Aliou Touré does really good dancing, and everything they played was brilliant.
Most unfortunate scheduling: Stealing Sheep, who are great but played at the same time as (and right next to) Songhoy Blues.
Most committed crowd: Super Furry Animals. Fans stood ankle-deep in mud and didn't seem to mind the torrential rain, and in return received a predictably first-class set. There can't be any better setting to hear "Mountain People" than the Mountain Stage at Green Man. (Extra points to the gentleman who crowd-surfed all the way to the front sitting in an eight-foot inflatable dinghy.)
Best between-songs chat: Welsh folk legend Meic Stevens, who at one point delightedly exclaimed, "I've had cancer for three years, you know, and I've had 150 hours of radiotherapy on my throat - they said 'I wouldn't have thought you'd be able to talk after that, let alone sing!' but you've got to sing, don't you?! Because it makes people happy!"
Most appropriate name: Towel, who played just after the 21-hour rain storm (complete with 6am wake-everybody-up thunder) stopped.
Best impromptu special guests: Deep Throat Choir who, 24 hours after Matthew E White apparently asked them to join him, appeared en masse at the end of his set and started making up dance routines while singing the outrageously catchy backing vocals to "Rock & Roll is Cold."
Most rapt audience: Father John Misty, who was throwing himself on the floor by the first chorus of the first song and had row after row of grown adults grinning with glee like kids on Christmas morning.
Most apt headliner: Goat, whose vaguely pagan masked glory closed the final night of the Far Out stage and were followed by the ceremonial burning of the giant Green Man. Plus, "Run to Your Mama" might've been the best performance of the entire festival.
Pictures from the first two days of Green Man 2015 are HERE. Lots more pics from the final two days, below...
photo: Kurt Vile at Pitchfork Festival 2015 (more by James Richards IV)
As you may know, Kurt Vile is supporting his anticipated new album b'lieve i'm goin down... (due 9/25 via Matador) on tour this fall with Waxahatchee and Luke Roberts. That tour includes a previously-mentioned NYC show on October 7 at Webster Hall which is now sold out, but they added another happening a day earlier (10/6) at the same venue. Tickets for the newly-added show go on sale Friday (8/21) at noon.
Waxahatchee also play an Asbury Park show around then. Updated dates are listed 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
Speedy Ortiz / Weyes Blood
The annual River Rocks series of free shows on NYC's Pier 84 kicked off yesterday (7/9) and thanks to the weather, it got off to a rocky start. Rain and lightning caused headliner Waxahatchee's set to be cancelled, for which the band apologized and said "we'll make it up to NY." Speedy Ortiz did get to play, but unfortunately the weather wasn't too kind to singer/guitarist Sadie Dupuis' gear:
all my guitar pedals got destroyed due to the rain but i ain't mad. it was a <3 show— sadie dupuis (@killquilty) July 10, 2015
As far as we know, everything went over just fine for opener Weyes Blood's set though. Pictures of her and Speedy are in this post.
Waxahatchee are set to return to NYC on their tour with Kurt Vile, which hits Webster Hall on October 7 (tickets). They also have an Asbury Park show with Weyes Blood on 10/10 at Asbury Lanes (tickets).
Speedy will be back here on July 22 at Terminal 5 with Courtney Barnett and Torres. That show is sold out.
River Rocks continues with We Were Promised Jetpacks and Krill on 7/23 and U.S. Girls and Yuck on 8/6.
More pictures from last night's show, below...