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[Recap] Um, A Lot Of Music Just Dropped Out Nowhere Today
me trying to keep up with how many songs just keep falling out of the sky today 

me trying to keep up with how many songs just keep falling out of the sky today 

lol remember when the RIAA was so proud of themselves 2 years ago because we all agreed on a global release day and we went from #NewMusicTuesday to #NewMusicFriday worldwide? 

lol lol lol #tbt to that cute idea according to Foster The People, Phoenix, HAIM, and Fall Out Boy. 

In an attempt to make your life easier so you don't feel as frantic as I do right now, here is a recap of what just the fuck dropped: 

Foster The People - III

Well this was a nice surprise! Earlier today Foster the People released 3 new tracks globally before bundling them as a cutie lil EP called III. Apparently these are off an upcoming 3rd album that's going to be dropped this summer. No other info there, but they did unveil some tour dates which you can check over on their website because I'm tryna make this update quick and dirty and don't feel like copying and pasting. 

Phoenix - "J-Boy" 

Another album announcement! Another solid jam! Phoenix just unveiled their lead single, "J-Boy" off their forthcoming album, Ti Amo, which will drop on June 9th. This is glittery and summery af, but not quite punchy enough for the coveted title of Song Of The Summer. I will still be drinking in the sunshine to this regardless. 

HAIM - "Right Now" 

If you have been waiting 4 long years for new HAIM music then you best stop everything and peep this video RIGHT NOW. This comes from their just announce upcoming album, Something To Tell You, which drops on July 7th. 

Fall Out Boy - "Young And Menace"

So here is a Fall Out Boy song that I believe would be better suited as a Patrick Stump song than a Fall Out Boy song but it is still pretty dang good. The track follows yet ANOTHER album announcement. You ready for this name, y'all??

It's called

M A  N   I    A

Yes, spaces and all. I don't know either. Bless these dudes. But yeah the record drops on September 15th, so we have plenty of time to get this fucking spelling right. That all said, props to the guys for the video, which features a glimpse into a fictionalized characters somewhat-hard-to-watch home life that tries to escape a home riddled with domestic violence. 

SZA - "Love Galore (feat. Travis Scott)"

LAST ONE (I think?)! SZA also after keeping her fans anxiously waiting for music from her upcoming album CTRL has finally dropped another morsel today for everyone to savor, "Love Galore" featuring Travis Scott. It's been said that CTRL will be the next project released on TDE but other than that there's  not much else we know. 

AM I MISSING ANYTHING ELSE FROM TODAY? Jfc. 

[2016 Recap] A Few Of My Favorite Things
bless Topsters for assembling this graphic infinitely easier than prior years 

bless Topsters for assembling this graphic infinitely easier than prior years 

Surpriiiiseee!! I'm going to do my year end wrap up differently than most of the ones I've seen. Mostly because I have so many to share, but mostly because I like to let the music do the talking and help you get better connected to the artists themselves. Instead of recaps of each record, I'm going to point you to my favorite tracks so if any of these are new to your ears you'll have the best starting point I can give you. 

Personal Observations for 2016

This was a weird year for me in terms of listening/discovery habits. Instead of fighting against music consumption trends, I decided to play along. I dove head first into my Discover Weekly playlist. I even followed some of my friends' in order to see what I would find and set up an IFTTT recipe to archive everything recommended to me so I could go back and reference it later if I wanted. I barely touched my SKOA inbox, which probably upset a lot of publicists. Anyway, according to Last.FM's data (since Spotify never ended up sending me mine), I listened to 1,919 new artists this year, which is ABSOLUTELY INSANE. But really when you think about how much music Discover Weekly puts in front of you, it's really less than what everyone had the potential to check out (which is 1,560 if you figure we get 30 new tracks a week for a year). I am in the 98th percentile in music listening per Last.FM (meaning I listen to more music than 98% of people who still scrobble to Last.FM) and I found myself panicky and overwhelmed by the sheer volume of music that Spotify thinks I can get through on TOP of the music I already love and want to enjoy, or the random rabbit holes I end up falling into that typically bring me great new baby bands. I guess most people approach Discover Weekly differently than I do, letting artists come and go as they please, but knowing the transformative power that music possesses, I'm always wary of passing on an opportunity to be affected and share those experiences with others. 

It's crazy to think that 20% of what stuck with me this year was randomly generated by The Algorithm and not delivered to me by humans. I almost said that the human delivery was through cosmic forces, but really, if music finds its way to your ears/hearts by friend or by Algorithm, both are cosmic in a way, no? 

This is my struggle at present. I value the connection that happens when a humans experience music together, whether it be by recommendation or attending shows together. I worry this experience will continue to be diminished the more we silo ourselves into our algorithm-based echo chambers. I really hope I'm just out of touch and someone will point me to where this is the opposite, but I can't ignore how self-serving shows feel now every time I treat myself to a Night Out. This has been on my heart/mind too much lately to ignore it, so expect some changes to how things go down on the site (starting with making more time for this now that my new job isn't crazy busy for awhile). 

What music moved you this year? Did you like some of these records but different tracks? I'd honestly love to know so please drop me a comment. Also if you want more than favorite tracks out of me for these records, feel free to bug me on Twitter I am happy to share! 

My Favorite Things Of 2016

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Tragame Tierra

Big Black Delta 

Top Tracks: "It's Ok", "RCVR", "Let's Go Home", "I See Fit"

Buy/Listen/Befriend: Spotify | iTunes | Facebook | Twitter

 

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Prism Tats

Prism Tats

Top Tracks: "Pacifist Masochist", "Creep Out // Freak Out", "Death or Fame"

Buy/Listen/Befriend: SpotifyiTunes | Facebook | Twitter

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Still Waters 

Breakbot 

Top Tracks: "Back For More", "2Good4Me",  "My Toy", "Get Lost"

Buy/Listen/Befriend: SpotifyiTunes | Facebook | Twitter

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Ellipsis 

Biffy Clyro

Top Tracks: "Flammable", "On A Bang", "Re-arrange" 

Buy/Listen/Befriend: SpotifyiTunes | Facebook | Twitter

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Grasque

Choir of Young Believers

Top Tracks: "Face Melting", "Serious Lover", "Jer Seg Dig"

Buy/Listen/Befriend: SpotifyiTunes | Facebook 

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Epoch

Tycho

Top Tracks: "Horizon", "Epoch", "Division" 

Buy/Listen/Befriend: SpotifyiTunes | Facebook | Twitter

Warm On A Cold Night

HONNE

Top tracks: "Someone That Loves You", "Warm On A Cold Night", "It Ain't Wrong Loving You", "Good Together"

Buy/Listen/Befriend:  SpotifyiTunes | Facebook | Twitter

Figure EP

Anoraak 

Top Tracks: "We Lost", "Figure"

Buy/Listen/Befriend:  SpotifyiTunesFacebook | Twitter

Peach

Culture Abuse

Top Tracks: "So Jealous", "Dream On", "Peace On Earth" 

Buy/Listen/Befriend:  SpotifyiTunes | Bandcamp |Facebook | Twitter

Man About Town

Mayer Hawthorne

Top Tracks: "Breakfast In Bed", "Love Like That", "Out of Pocket", "Cosmic Love"

Buy/Listen/Befriend:  SpotifyiTunesFacebook | Twitter

Sonderlust

Kishi Bashi

Top Tracks: "Ode To My Next Life", "Statues In A Gallery", "Can't Let Go, Juno", "Say Yeah"

Buy/Listen/Befriend:  SpotifyiTunes | Facebook | Twitter

Weaves

Weaves

Top Tracks: "Tick", "Shithole", "Coo Coo", "One More"

Buy/Listen/Befriend:  Spotify iTunes | Facebook | Twitter

Headlunge

CAPYAC

Top Tracks: "Fascination", "Speed Racer"

Buy/Listen/Befriend:  SpotifyiTunes | Bandcamp | Facebook | Twitter

Above Water

Gibbz

Top Tracks: "I Really Love You", "Stay For Awhile", "Feel So Good"

Buy/Listen/Befriend:  SpotifyiTunes | Facebook | Twitter

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Matter

St. Lucia

Top Tracks: "Winds Of Change", "Dancing On Glass", "Help Me Run Away"

Buy/Listen/Befriend:  SpotifyiTunes | Facebook | Twitter

Lemonade

Beyonce

Top Tracks: "Don't Hurt Yourself", "Formation", "All Night" 

Buy/Listen/Befriend:  Tidal | Facebook | Twitter

For All We Know

NAO

Top Tracks: "Girlfriend", "Bad Blood", "Fool To Love"

Buy/Listen/Befriend:  SpotifyiTunes | Facebook | Twitter

New York Fascist Week

BLXPLTN

Top Tracks: "I'm Still Waiting", "Gun Range", "Auf Wiedersehen"

Buy/Listen/Befriend:  Bandcamp | Facebook | Twitter

Mossy

Mossy

Top Tracks: "Electric Chair", "Ginsberg", "Shipping Yard"

Buy/Listen/Befriend:  SpotifyiTunes | Facebook | Twitter

Legend EP

Magic Sword

Top Tracks: "The Curse", "Uprising"

Buy/Listen/Befriend:  SpotifyiTunes | Bandcamp | Facebook | Twitter

Dame Fortune

RJD2

Top Tracks: "Peace of What", "We Come Alive"

Buy/Listen/Befriend:  SpotifyiTunes | Facebook | Twitter

Sweet Addiction EP 

Yuksek

Top Tracks: "Sweet Addiction", "Make It Easy", "Golden Age"

Buy/Listen/Befriend:  SpotifyiTunes | Facebook | Twitter

Blackstar

David Bowie

Top Tracks: "Blackstar", "Lazarus", "I Can't Give Everything Away"

Buy/Listen/Befriend:  SpotifyiTunes | Facebook | Twitter

The Impossible Kid

Aesop Rock

Top Tracks: "Rings", "Dorks", "Blood Sandwich"

Buy/Listen/Befriend:  Spotify | iTunes | Facebook | Twitter

Michl

Michl

Top Tracks: "Kill Our Way To Heaven", "Tell Me The Same", "When You Loved Me Least"

Buy/Listen/Befriend:  Spotify | iTunes | Facebook | Twitter

Revolutionaries 

You Won't

Top Tracks: "Yah Yah Yah", "1-4-5", "No Divide"

Buy/Listen/Befriend:  SpotifyiTunes | Facebook | Twitter

Cut The Body Loose

Astronautalis

Top Tracks: "Kurt Cobain", "Running Away From God"

Buy/Listen/Befriend:  SpotifyiTunes | Bandcamp | Facebook | Twitter

Calm Down

Future Unlimited

Top Tracks: "Calm Me Down", "Tame"

Buy/Listen/Befriend:  Spotify | iTunes | Bandcamp | Facebook | Twitter

Death Of A Bachelor

Panic! At The Disco

Top Tracks: "Golden Days", "Death Of A Bachelor" 

Buy/Listen/Befriend:  SpotifyiTunes | Facebook | Twitter

OPERATOR

MSTRKRFT

Top Tracks: "Runaway", "Party Line" 

Buy/Listen/Befriend:  SpotifyiTunes | Facebook | Twitter

Release

SOULS

Top Tracks: "I Wait For You", "Bad Girl", "Down On Me"

Buy/Listen/Befriend:  SpotifyiTunes | Facebook | Twitter

Mirage

Digitalism

Top Tracks: "Arena", "Go Time", "Destination Breakdown" 

Buy/Listen/Befriend:  SpotifyiTunes | Facebook | Twitter

Building A Beginning

Jamie Lidell

Top Tracks: "Don't Let Me Let You Go", "I Live To Make You Smile", "Walk Right Back"

Buy/Listen/Befriend:  SpotifyiTunes | Facebook | Twitter

Who Sold My Generation

Night Beats

Top Tracks: "Sunday Mourning", "Right/Wrong", "Bad Love"

Buy/Listen/Befriend:  SpotifyiTunes | Facebook | Twitter

Alas Salvation

Yak

Top Tracks: "Harbour The Feeling", "Victorious", "Alas Salvation"

Buy/Listen/Befriend:  SpotifyiTunes | Facebook | Twitter

[Night Out] OMG CMJ 2014 Day Four: WALTZ, Shilpa Ray, Lost Boy ?, Ron Gallo, The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die, Kate Boy

WALTZ @ Piano's for The Deli Mag Showcase 10/24/2014Fridayyyy. I continued to lose my momentum as the photographs and writeups began to pile up. Sleep deprivation was really getting to me. I kept it low key during the day and then decided to take myself on an adventure for Friday night. I was still amped from the night before and wanted to find more fun new bands to give my heart to, but I didn't want to be influenced by anyone else. I've mentioned previously that in my heyday that I used to randomly pick up albums based on whether or not I thought their album artwork looked interesting, so I took the same approach for CMJ Day Four but with press photos that were readily available on CMJ's much improved mobile app.

First band of the night was WALTZ at Piano's for the Deli Mag Showcase. I arrived a little late and caught a glimpse of what appeared to be some dudes in speedos up on stage while I was getting stamped outside. I didn't think much of it because they were gone by the time I got to the back. It was Australian turned New Yorker Matt Hutchinson's "whatever" scowl sporting an 80s windbreaker in his press photo that had me willing to take a chance. Not sure why, he just seemed like a friend I hadn't met yet or something. At any rate, my gut did not lead me astray. His erratic movements whilst furiously strumming on his guitar with his mic coupled with his tortured monotone wailing stirred something inside of me that lives in my dark and twisty place. Oh yeah, those speedo dudes? They came back. I hadn't noticed before, but they each had a letter painted on their chest to spell out "WALTZ". That part is still a bit of a head scratcher for me. Looking forward to getting more familiar with this band. I briefly spoke to Hutchinson after the set and he said they were wrapping up an album and working to get it out the door to the public, so more on that front as the details become available.

After WALTZ I was chatting up a photographer from Pancakes and Whiskey about the wonders of Bo Ningen from the night before when the keyboardist/guitarist from the band setting up next chimed in to share his love for them as well. I hadn't settled on a next step at that point, but that interaction made me want to stick aroud to see what kind of music this friendly fellow contributed to.

Shilpa Ray @ Piano's for The Deli Mag Showcase 10/24/2014The band ended up being singer/harmonium player Shilpa Ray and her band of chill dudes. I don't know how else to describe Ray other than the ultimate badass bitch that I aspire to be. I hung on to every snarl and howl that rang out with each song they played. Around the middle of their set, Ray came to a full stop and said something to the effect of, "If all these other fucking people are gonna play shirtless tonight then fuck it I'm gonna do it too." She then proceeded to finish her set shirtless as if nothing had ever happened. It didn't seem to distract her or the audience from the performance. If anything it made her all the more fierce and fearless than before. I am anxious to spend some time with her music now, but I know the experience won't be complete until I purchase a nice bottle of whiskey first.

Lost Boy ? @ Trash Bar 10/24/2014Next I ventured into Brooklyn to have a peek at Lost Boy ? over at Trash Bar. The allure with this band was their press photo consisted of the lead singer feeding himself what appeared to be a partially eaten piece of pizza in a passed out dude's hand. I would say that it appropriately captured the essence of the band. They were witty, carefree, and super fun. I'm glad that I kept "accidentally" seeing New York bands that night. I look forward to incorporating them and the other I stumbled across into my ongoing show schedule.

The World Is A Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid To Die @ Cameo Gallery 10/24/2014As the night progressed on, I attempted to see what a band with an epic name (The World Is A Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid To Die) and another fun press photo of a dude with a slice of pizza on his face wearing sunglasses (Ron Gallo) that were both playing at the same time. If you had seen the way I darted from Spike Hill to Cameo Gallery and managed to slide my way into semi-prime positioning at both shows you would have been impressed. That said, both had me all "meh" but for different reasons. TWIABPAIANLATD was good, but in a pretentious way that I wasn't really in the mood for. Ron Gallo, on the other hand, was more goofy than playful and I found it to be off putting. Also worth mentioning that the audiences of both bands were really annoying and I didn't want to be associated with them so I bounced.

Ron Gallo @ Spike Hill 10/24/2014Nothing else looked terribly interesting until 1AM when Stockholm group Kate Boy were set to hit the stage at Knitting Factory so I grabbed a Criff Dog and took advantage of my old watering hole for a few drinks and a place to charge my phone. I was sort of anxious about staying out so late on the offchance that Kate Boy MIGHT be worthwhile, but #YOLOOMGCMJ2014 and all that.

Kate Boy @ The Knitting Factory 10/25/2014I'm happy to report that I was able to end the evening on an ultra high note. Kate Boy is pure pop fire that consumes you in their pulsating beats, succinct synths, and bright vocals. I'm just mad that this didn't make it to my radar sooner. Tracks like "In Your Eyes", "Self Control", and "Open Fire" have already made it into my rotation since then. I look forward to their forthcoming debut album, whenever that is slated to drop. Don't worry, I'm already working on getting more details shortly.

You can check out photos from my night out in the slide show below!

[Night Out] OMG CMJ 2014 Day Three: Flavor Raid, Bo Ningen, HSY, Weaves

Weaves @ Shea Stadium 10/23/2014Thursday. Weird vibe all day during the day. Had planned on rushing to see The Kickback and then hit up the Texas Takeover Party at The Delancey but Sprout's camera that she graciously let me borrow just did not want to be BFFs with my computer so getting photos sorted for Wednesday's wrapup took longer than I had ever dreamed of. I was bummed about missing The Kickback, Catch Fever, Ravin' Symone, and overall just not making the most of my time off during the day. I guess the lack of sleep attributed to my inability to move more quickly, but I was reminded throughout the evening that you don't need a perfectly planned itinerary for CMJ in order to have a good time. Sometimes you need to just roll with it and some really cool bands end up right in front of you.

Flavor Raid @ The Delancey for the Texas Takeover Party 10/23/2014I tried to stick to my schedule. I really did. As soon as I was set free from the chains of SD card insanity I scurried down to The Delancey to see if Flavor Raid and the rest of the Texas Takeover party was all that it was what I had been stressing over. I think the best word to describe the half hour I spent there was...lackluster? Nothing on Flavor Raid. I had been genuinely excited to check them out. It was just the wrong night, wrong set up, wrong everything basically for me.. I did get a kick out of their song about shitty high fives and the need for elbow fives though. Overall, there weren't gonna be enough strobe-y light sticks in the world for the crowd to play with for me to really connect. If you're relying on your stage gimmicks to get people to like you, it's likely that you won't get very far. Not giving up on those guys, but this just wasn't their night in my opinion.

That set made me decide not to mess with Texas the rest of the night. I needed to shake the vibe of the day so I hit up my friend Dan who was already making a go of it in Brooklyn to see if we could meet up and maybe catch something worthwhile. You know when you're in a weird mood and you put on a bunch of different records trying to shake it and nothing seems to work? That was totes my feel bro between the time I left the LES and by the end of Bo Ningen's 1st song at Baby's All Right.

We just showed up. We were open for anything. While Dan was having a cigarette we chatted about how the music industry has reached this crazy saturation point where things come and go so fast and there's so much of the same thing that things like CMJ seem like marathon moments of futility. I was hardcore feeling that and wasn't sure how to make that feeling in the current moment.

Bo Ningen @ Baby's All Right 10/23/2014But then Bo Ningen, y'all. Dang. Did not see that one coming. The Japanese four-piece brought the fury down on all of us in the form of blazing guitars, screeching vocals, and enough long jet black hair that I don't even want to imagine what the shower drain in their hotel room must look like. They played with such intensity that by the end I felt like I had eleventy billion shots of espresso. I was PUMPED to hear more music, specifically with all the guitars I could find. I texted my friend who was over at Shea Stadium to see if my needs would be met there. As luck would have it, they had some Canadian bands that unbeknownst to me were about to make my evening.

When I arrived Toronto four piece noice punk outfit HSY (pronounnced "hussy") were just finishing setting up. Admittedly, I'm not sure that they're for everyone, but man they just hit the spot like nobodys business for me. I especially enjoyed how few fucks they gave, specifically guitarslinger Anna Mayberry, who made several laps into the crowd screeching and howling the whole way. It was terrible in terms of being able to get any snaps of them since it was dimly lit inside Shea, but they left a lasting impression on me that no photo could.

HSY @ Shea Stadium 10/23/2014And then came Weaves. *SWOON*. I was already riding on this high of fuzzing guitars from HSY and the intensity of Bo Ningen when singer Jasmyn Burke opened her mouth and starting sassily wagging her finger at the crowd. All of my insides tightened up like someone just informed me that Beck was coming over to my house for a tea party. I was smitten almost immediately. It's been awhile since I fell that hard that fast for a band. I couldn't keep it together as a "professional". I kept leaning over to the other photogs there and yelling, "OH MY GOD I LOVE HER SO HARD I JUST WANT TO TAKE PICTURES OF HER FACE ALL DAY". I was so in awe of the way she managed to just yank everyone in the room to focus and give her their undivided attention. I tweeted it that night and I will say it here again: This is a band is about to blow the heck up. I give it less than 6 months. Their self-titled EP that dropped back in April does not do them justice, in my opinion. It does a pretty good job bottling up Burke's energy, but then again she does not seem to be the kind of woman that you simply contain.

Weaves @ Shea Stadium 10/23/2014When the show ended it took everything in my being not to run up and hug her. I settled on stammering to Anna from HSY that I thoroughly enjoyed them as a compromise, but I was in East Williamsburg and not acting terribly Williamsburgy, so I split shortly thereafter to avoid any further embarrassment.

You can check out all the photos from my night out for CMJ Day Three in the slideshow below:

[2013 Year In Review] Shey & Kibbe's Picks From 2013

It's always hard at this time of year to put together an end of year list. Last year we opted just to not do a list at all. This year we thought we'd do share our personal favourites and stand outs from 2013. None are in any particular order and by no means are we snubbing any who aren't listed. These selections simply represent the records we've constantly had on since their release. Albums that we've truly championed. We considered ranking a vat of albums that would include ones we didn't care about, but it doesn't feel very "us" to do that anymore. Each come with a little tid-bit about why we've put them in our top 5. We also have a few honourable mentions, because narrowing down the albums we've listened to most over the year was tough. So without further ado, make the jump and check out our picks for 2013. Or don't, I think between the rising popularity of Buzzfeed and the time of year you all may be suffering from list fatigue.

Shey's Pick: Biffy Clyro - Opposites

Biffy Clyro made 2013 their biggest year to date. The release of their double LP, Opposites, launched them into the stratosphere of rock royalty. Headline sets at numerous festivals. An army of fans, new and old flocked to their first ever arena tour, and night after night they delivered some of the best shows you could hope for as a music lover. Not many albums can hold your attention for the 9-12 tracks they offer up. Biffy created a double album of none-stop bangers (before Miley, too) that has a broad range of emotionally poignant track with building bridges all the way to riff heavy tracks with a hat tip to their roots. 20 tracks of their best work to date. The albums title track "Opposite" tells a tale of a broken man. "Baby I'm leaving here, You need to be with somebody else." The lead single that came mid-2012 "Stingin' Belle" sounds just as huge now with the bagpipes as it did 16 months ago. The recording process nearly tore the band apart but the album shows their solidarity as a band with it ending in a perfect arena sing-along of "Picture A Knife Fight" rattling around as it fades out with the lyrics, "We've got to stick together, we've got to stick together!" ending the 20 track jaunt perfectly. They've come a long way since 2000. I can't really say enough positive things about this album and it pleases me that a band who've slaved for over a decade on the live circuit are now up their with the rock royalty. Dave Grohl's been a fan for years and I think a lot of people realised why he was so fond of them in 2013. Let's see if they can top in years to come. They've already been announced as the headliner of The Isle of Wight festival in 2014. The future of Biffy Clyro is looking brighter than ever and I can't wait to see what it brings. This album is my top album for 2013. Well done boys. 


Kibbe's Pick: Washed Out - Paracosm

 Prior to the August afternoon when my ears had their first taste of Paracosm, I was really only familiar with Washed Out's popular single, "Feel It All Around" from their 2010 EP, Life of Leisure, but that was because Portlandia uses the song as the show's intro/theme song. I was hesistant to try it out because there is really only so much chillwave one can take in a lifetime before you end up accidentally putting yourself in a coma, but thankfully my curiosity got the best of me. I knew within seconds of the opening track, "Entrance", that this was going to be a different kind of experience than I had initially imagined. I think what I appreciate about this album the most is how seems to elevate every mood imagineable. Insanely stressed out at work? Songs like "It Feels All Right" and " Paracosm" will slowly wash away all the worry in your brain. Having an awesome day? "Don't Give Up", "All I Know", and "Falling Back" will make you feel like your insides are glowing and the smile on your face will be warm and bright. I could go on with other examples, but you get the picture. While I wouldn't consider this to be a terribly complex record, I think this is one of those "less is more" type situations. That said, the amount of programming and live instrumentation was crafted with a steady hand because they consitently work in tandem - one never overpowers the other.   My only complaint is that the album was released at the end of the summer and not the beginning of it. I can't wait for warm summer days in the city with "All I Know" pumping through the speakers in our apartment with the windows open and the sun shinning on my face.

Shey's Pick: Queens of the Stone Age - …Like Clockwork

As with Arctic Monkeys return, Queens of the Stone Age's had me getting my knickers in a twist for all kinds of reasons. Firstly, the guest spots that were to be taking place on the record; Alex Turner, Trent Reznor, Sir Elton John, Joey Castillo, Nick Oliveri, Mark Lanegan, Scissor Sisters’ Jake Shears, and James Lavelle of UNKLE. Them debuting "My God Is The Sun" live at Lollapalooza Brazil way back in March got everyone excited and before long their ominous and dark sounding album …Like Clockwork would come packaged and it was a show of song writing at its finest and musicianship from the gods. The opening seconds of "Keep Your Eyes Peeled" sets the tone for the album with a shattering of glass and then the gut rumbling bass drones let you know what is in store. The aforementioned huge names that feature on the album, do just that, they feature in the background and if you were to have never been told they were there you'd be none the wiser for the production and prowess of the artists involves keeps the limelight firmly pressed on QOTSA in the present form. It doesn't use the artists involved to steal away the focus from the story arc inside. …Like Clockwork delivers an older, wiser, and more rounded out album from a band that have delivered some of modern rocks go to staples for quality. They can add this to that list now too. Sheer brilliance.

Kibbe's Pick: Studio Killers - Studio Killers
You guys, being a fan of Studio Killers is so much fun. This is not the kind of band that you ever gloat about discovering first, they're the kind of band that you rush to get others around you to join in on the party the second you come across them. This virtual band's debut self-titled album is an energetic dose of sugary electro-bubblegum pop. Although the group has been stringing their audience along since 2010 with their debut single, "Ode To The Bouncer", I would say the finished product was well worth the wait. The bands bright dancy tunes are a fun ride from start to finish, leaving you wanting  more. While I appreciate the peppy synths, the uniqueness of the vocals and the vocal performance is really what keeps me coming back to this record. I can't get enough of it. I think the key to both the band and the albums successful execution is the anonymity of the musicians involved. Although there has been much speculation about the identity of the members of the three-piece from both critics and fans, none of the identities have been revealed, allowing the band to truly have a life of its own without the characters being tied to their true identities, which in turn creates a new kind of experience for fans. As the internet continues to embrace virtual bands like Studio Killers and the others that came before them I'm anxious to see what they have planned for the future. If they can keep their current momentum, I see them really going places.

Shey's Pick: Arctic Monkeys  - AM

When Arctic Monkeys first started playing a few new tracks back in June, it was hard for me not to get excited. They've been on elf my favourite bands since I first saw them play in Sheffield on a school night back in 2005. Fast forward to 2013 and they're one of the biggest bands on the planet, filling arenas on a nightly basis. It's always a scary moment when one of your favourite bands release a new album. What if it sucks?! Well, Arctic's ÂM definitely delivers a sexy, hear on its sleeve ride from the opening thumps of " Do I Wanna Know?" to the closing line of "I Wanna Be Yours" that rattles into the distance, much like a statement of intent front he album as a whole. It can definitely be mine if it wants to 'cause AM has shown yet another growth from the band that used to sing about getting pissed on nights out in Shef, to a band weaving together an album, which to me, seems to be a tale of Alex falling in and out of love with a wonderful Lady from start to finish. I'm excited to see what more the newly styled band have up their sleeve for the future, for now, AMwill be getting heavy play for the foreseeable future. Long live to Monkeys. 

Kibbe's Pick: Kenna - Land 2 Air Chronicles Vol 2: Imitation Is Suicide: Chapter 2
I was going to group all three EPs together as one write up because when the Land 2 Air Chronicles were first announced Volume 2 wasn't supposed to be a three part series, but for some reason that felt like cheating to me. Either way, of the three, this by far was the one that I kept coming back to again and again. Even though the opening track, "Long Gone" had been released before Kenna's hard drive crashed, causing him to rethink and rework the L2AC series, additions "Heaviness" and "Love Is Still Alive" both sound as though the trio of songs were initially cut from the same cloth. The reason why I always come back to Kenna's music is his ability to deliver such tenderness in his voice, which comes through loud and clear in his delivery on "Heaviness", all the way down to the way choice moments where he audibly exhales during part of the heaviness of the subject matter. He closes out the EP with, "Love Is Still Alive", which rounds out the EP and leaves it on a higher note, reminding you that it's better that it's "better to love than to never". I'll admit, I wasn't the world's biggest fan of Volume 1: Chaos and the Darkness, but it's apparent throughout all three chapters of Volume 2 that Kenna has found his footing again. I can't wait to hear what he does next.

Shey's Pick: Dan Le Sac Vs. Scroobius Pip - Repent Repenish Repeat

I seem to have a thing for pairings in recent years and the return of Dan Le Sac Vs. Scroobius Pip kept that trend alive in 2013. Following up from their last release together, The Logic of Chance, the extremely talented story telling skills of Pip, and the genial beat making skills of Dan come together like a perfect sunrise. Filling the sky with a brightness and emotions you didn't know possible. From the huge sounding "Stunner" and Flux Pavilion featuring "Gold Teeth", to the slower, ever growing and huge climactic Christmas single, "You Will See Me". These two manage to offer up a throughout provoking album that one minute will have you jumping and dancing around the streets to the next minute wanting to go and hug a loved one for the emotional buttons Scroob pushes in his story telling skills. I will always look forward to releases from these two and Repent Replenish Repeat is one of this years standouts for me.  

Kibbe's Pick: Anamanaguchi - Endless Fantasy
The easiest way to explain how this stands as one of my favorites of the year is that I'm not sick of it after how often Mark binge listened to it. Nothing against the guy, but we enjoy new albums in different ways. I tend to listen to albums more sporadically and do my best to switch to something else for awhile so I don't immediately get burnt out. Mark, on the other hand, will put something on repeat for days (sometimes weeks) and then go without listening to it for months. That's not to say I've never had albums I've loved so much that I ended up listening to them incessantly, I am just not very good at being a camel when it comes to music. All of that aside, Endless Fantasy takes your ears on a crazy fun magical journey that no other album was successfully album to do so in 2013. Unlike standard albums these days, this one clocks in at over an hour in length. By the time you get to the end, however, it's hard to not want to start it over. This is especially the case when you're driving/traveling for any extended period of time. It's one of the few heavily instrumental albums that can keep my attention to the point where I savor every last note/blip of it, especially with songs like "Akira", "Pastel Flags", and "In The Basement". My other obvious favorites from the album were "Prom Night", "Meow", and title track, "Endless Fantasy", which range in levels of goofiness and awesomeness. Side note for you vinyl lovers out there: this was one of the most beautiful vinyl records our household has ever acquired. Clear vinyl with pink, blue, and yellow marble?! Yes please!

Shey's Pick: Run The Jewels - Run The Jewels

Ever since R.A.P Music dropped, anything involving Killer Mike and El-P in a single entity has had to be in my ears within seconds. Run The Jewels was no different and the paring delivered once again. Yet it was a little different. The albums as aggressive and hard hitting, with wonderful production and beats you'd hit repeat on happily until the years end. The two veterans of the scene push each other to their limits and all the while we get to see a wonderful chemistry evolve in front of our very eyes. It even comes packaged with a festive track "A Christmas Fucking Miracle". Seriously, how could I not put this on my end of year list? What's even better is that they're planning another release next year under Run The Jewels. Hallelujah, praise the baby jesus. RTJ are here to stay and they've firmly placed there cards on the table and they are definitely not bluffing about the hand they've been holding. 

Kibbe's Pick: Disclosure - Settle

I'll admit, I was totally late to the game on Disclosure, but I took to them almost immediately. The English electronic duo have been releasing songs and EPs since 2010, but I only stumbled across them a few months ago. For those not well acquainted in the garage/house universe, Settle is a great gateway drug into the genre with tracks like, "White Noise", "Voices", "January",  "Help Me Lose My Mind", and my personal favorite track from the album, "Latch". With every spin of this record I find a new reason to love it. Each track is dynamically different from the next, but not to the point where it doesn't come across as one cohesive album. In addition to all the wobble and fuzzy bass that one could ask for, the featured vocalists on the album are all exceptional selections that really compliment their respective songs. Highlights of the guest artists include: Jamie Woon, London Grammar, Sasha Keable, AlunaGeorge, and Sam Smith. Fair warning though, like I said on air during BBC Radio 1's Review show, pretty sure this album can get you pregnant. I'd say it's definitely worth the risk, but you have been warned.

Shey's Pick: Bring Me The Horizon - Sempiternal

This was a complete curve ball for me. I've been aware of Bring Me The Horizon ever since they started playing shows in Sheffield back when they sounded rather different. A lot heavier. And they seem to have gone through that transition that a lot of bands do, and they've changed their sound in the past 10 years. It's natural and on that journey they seem to have annoyed some fans and gained a hell of a lot more. I've just never been into them and wasn't expecting to enjoy their latest offering Sempiternal because they Lead single "Shadow Moses" attracted my attention via a rather cool looking glitchy video, and I needed an album to kick me up the arse in the morning sat the gym. I thought, "heck, let's give this a full listen". Opening track "Can You Feel My Heart" was nothing like I expected with electronic elements filling our the track giving it a far more dance orientated sound than I'd of expected and throughout the album they delivered surprises for me. Maybe it was the going into it with no expectations, and expecting it to underwhelm me which is a sucky attitude I'll admit. Fast forward to December and this album features on my gym playlist every morning and hasn't left it since being added back in March when it leaked. They've converted me into fan, even if their older stuff was never to my liking.

Honourable mentions:

Shey:

Creating top 5's is hard, and Shey failed and accidentally wrote 6, I could write 50 but who wants to read that? I'll be surprised if you're still reading now so here are a few I loved that would feature should the list be longer.

The 1975's self titled debut was a triumph and for a 16 track release it manages to hold your attention throughout and it rocketed them from bar shows to academy shows in just 12 months. They've got a bright future.

Dead Sons long awaited debut, The Hollers & The Hymns, was the first album and last album I listened to this year and last. Dark, twisted and a ride through a riff filled desert. Perfect driving music. I'm extremely excited to hear more from them in 2014 after their new teaser "The Rain". Chance The Rapper seemed to appear from the outskirts to become a figure head this year and his release gets better and better every listen. He's sure to come back fighting on his next release.

Kanye's Yeezus was a great album but I feel the highs, as perfect as they were, came along with some big lows too. I skipped tracks regularly and for me, "Black Skinhead", "Blood on the Leaves" and "New Slaves" far outshine the rest of the album. 

Deafheaven were another surprise for me in 2013. A band I had never heard of arrived, having released material before, but having no preconceptions, they blew me away with Sunbather and they seem to have done the same with everyone else too. Stunning and nothing like I've heard before.

The return of Arcade Fire and Daft Punk had everyone excited but both left me wanting more. That's not to say that both albums weren't brilliant in their own special way, they just didn't strike the same chord they had on previous releases.

Kibbe:
The only reason St. Lucia's debut full length, When The Night is an honorable mention and not amongst my 5 favorites is because I feel like it's a cheap move to basically re-release an EP with extra songs on it, especially when you're so well acquainted with the EP that the first few spins of the full-length constantly confuse you because you're already used to a different track listing. All of that aside, I loved how huge this album feels in terms of the depth of sound they were able to create. It almost sounds like they played in a large empty stadium or something. There isn't a single song that I would ever think of skipping over, although admittedly, "Elevate" is probably my favorite of the newer material included on the album.

I also thorougly enjoyed Tegan & Sara's poptastic Heartthrob. It was really different from their previous albums, but I happily enjoyed every synthy note of it.

Like I could go a whole year-end review without mentioning Beck at some point!? Yes, it wasn't a full album, but the three songs he dropped were certainly a good time.

Like Shey said, I tried incredibly hard to lose my mind over the new Daft Punk album, but it just didn't connect to me the way I had hoped. Although I do thoroughly enjoy "Doin' It Right", but who doesn't?

I was pleasantly surprised by Panic! At The Disco's latest effort, although there were a few songs on the record that I don't mind skipping over.

The debut full-length from Lucius was a proud moment for me, considering how long I've been cheering those ladies on. That's certainly a must listen.

[Sasquatch! 2013] Recap: Day Four

Monday arrived, the final day of Sasquatch! 2013. Despite worsening weather conditions, the upbeat attitudes were still going strong. After a decent Friday and memorable performances on Saturday and Sunday, day four continued to impress. Seriously, who could complain with bands like CHVRCHES, Disclosure, Alt-J, Steve Aoki, Dirty Projectors, Toro Y Moi, P.O.S and The Postal Service? The final day proved a worthy close to the festival, solidifying the heartiness of attendees and the strong breadth of its lineup. It also revealed the downfalls of four days of continuous music and intoxicants. Read below for my take on the closing day of Sasquatch!.

Photo by Christopher Nelson.

We awoke on Monday morning to the sound of pattering rain on our tents, a disheartening thought but not enough to completely dampen our spirits. Pulling together all of our leftover breakfast food—mostly bacon and eggs—we enjoyed one last feast at The Gorge. There was little time for me to hang around in the campground, though, as I had media duties to attend to. With a joint in one hand and my iPod in the other I began my solo trek to the festival grounds, striding eagerly to the upbeat sounds of Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros' "Man on Fire."

A while later I emerged from the media area, fully satisfied with the people I'd met and the interviews I had. Stoned, I made my way to Honda Bigfoot where CHVRCHES were throwing down a dynamic set on a rain-covered stage. Immediately impressive was lead singer Lauren Mayberry, a petite woman with a voice much more grand than expected. Whereas other bands had audio problems at this stage, Mayberry had no problem ensuring her vocals were the center of attention. Amidst fantastic electro pop production, she was able to completely command the surprisingly large crowd before them. There was no better example of this than the band's hit single "Recover," which had the whole crowd dancing in their rain jackets and ponchos. It was only once Mayberry took a step back that CHVRCHES started to falter. For one song, producer Martin Doherty decided to give an attempt at singing, but it really fell flat. He was honestly not good. It got me thinking about the other members of P.O.S in the crowd. Photo by Christopher Nelson.the band: Why hadn't they told him that his singing voice was... well, shit? Thankfully, it only lasted one song, with Mayberry returning to the mic for a few last closing tracks. Overall, it was a surprisingly good set.

As the CHVRCHES crowd diffused, it made room for fans of Doomtree collective's P.O.S to rush to the front barriers. Stefon Alexander made his way on stage, greeted by a mass of cheering admirers and an increasing downpour. The rain tooks its toll on him, as he slipped on the wet stage and fell onto his side. He quickly returned to his feet, joking that it was entirely "intentional." But that didn't affect him at all, as he began tearing into his new album We Don't Even Live Here. For the majority of the set Alexander was right up against the barriers, grabbing the hands of an excited audience as his verses and flows spewed out. The set was made even more energetic by the beats underlying his raps, some grimey, electronic production that got people dancing their asses off at three in the afternoon.

P.O.S left us in a great mood, such that all we wanted to do was party. Realizing our campsite was stocked with plentiful alcohol and good food, we headed back for some R&R. With rain pouring overhead, we happily ate spaghettti and smoked weed until everyone succumbed to the toll of a weekend's worth of drinking and lack of sleep. Unfortunately, while passed out in my tent, I missed a few shows I wanted to see—Dirty Projectors, Death Grips, Toro Y Moi, Twin Shadow and Odesza—but hey, sometimes there are sacrifices we need to make. Especially for the sakes of our bodies.

With food in my stomach and alcohol sifting through my liver, I gathered our group and we all headed to the festival grounds for one last night of music and partying. We had a very direct goal, to go directly to the El Chupacabra tent to see Disclosure. My girlfriend and I are huge fans of these guys and missed them while they were in Vancouver, so seeing them at Sasquatch! was a definite priority. The El Chupacabra tent was packed, but we edged our way around the outside straight to the left side of the stage. After one hour of body-jacking electronica, I just wanted Guy and Lawrence Howard to DJ the rest of the festival. I mean, holy shit, these brothers can really manipulate a crowd. The excitement felt when they began playing "Latch" and "White Noise" was electric, and every song played saw one brother plucking basslines on his guitar while the other triggered claps and high hats on his drum kit. It was a subtle inclusion that added a lot to the overall experience of seeing these guys live. It also helped that every song they played was fantastic.

Exiting the sweaty confines of the Chupacabra tent, we heard Alt-J plucking the first note of their set at the not-too-distant Bigfoot stage. Rushing over, our group found a good spot on the right side of the stage, just outside of the tightly-packed masses. I'm hoping it was Alt-J. Photo by Matthew Lamb.just because of our spot—it was at around a 170° angle facing out from the stage—but the band suffered from similar problems to others who performed at Bigfoot. You could hear the versatile talent of vocalist Joe Newman, but his voice lacked the punch it needed and was often overshadowed by a drum kick or bassline. Perhaps for the stage to sound perfect you had to be facing it directly, but it was still disappointing for these sound issues to appear again and again over the course of the weekend. Small gripes aside, I was still enthusiastic to hear Alt-J perform. Relying solely on their debut album An Awesome Wave, each song played was met with cheers from a crowd anxious to hear their favorites. "Tesselate," "Breezeblocks," "Taro," "Fitzpleasure," and "Matilda" were all there, and they were all great. I can't help but imagine how fantastic these guys would sound playing at a mid-to-large-sized indoor venue. Guess I'll have to wait till their fall tour.

As Alt-J's set drew to a close, the sounds of Steve Aoki at the El Chupacabra tent took over. We meandered over, lifted up the side of the tent and crawled under. When we emerged, it was to the sight of Steve Aoki popping champagne bottles all over the crowd, an inflatable boat with a girl in it skimming the tops of the audience. It was a raging party, and props to Aoki for his undeniable talent at partying, but it really emphasized an issue I have with a lot of producers. So many of them are great at making music, at using production programs to remix and create fantastic beats. But, and this is a big but, they rarely have a clue of how to be a live performer. Sure, Steve can blast his electronic stylings and revel in the drunken crowds ready to consume, but he's not really doing anything. He's mostly pressing play, fiddling with knobs when the song is about to drop and then crowd-surfing on an inflatable boat. It's fun, yeah, but it's not impressive from an artistic standpoint. There's no talent in pressing play.

I wasn't about to dedicate the rest of my time at Sasquatch! to Steve Aoki, so I opted for The Postal Service instead. A much better choice, I think. It's been ten years since I got hooked on their lone album Give Up, but I never got the chance to see Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello (aka Dntel) live. I jumped on the opportunity this time around. With ten minutes to go until the band's set time, the main floor of the Sasquatch stage still offered pockets of space ready to be occupied. My friends and I found one with ample view of the stage and held our place. Applause was overwhelming as the newly reunited outfit took to the stage, comprised of a svelte Gibbard, an upbeat Tamborello and the beautiful Jenny Lewis (of Rilo Kiley).

They performed nearly all of Give Up's ten tracks, as well as a fantastic rendition of "A Tattered Line of String." I listened in excitement as Gibbard hopped on the drums for "This Place Is a Prison," or as Lewis and Gibbard exchanged playful looks as the sung a duet on "Nothing Better." The crowd's excitement elevated my elation, cheering wildly as "Brand New Colony" began with its echoing synthesizers or as "Clark Gable" shifts from soothing melodies to quick-tempoed synth pop. The sound during this show was simply outstanding, and each element—the bass, vocals, guitars, drums and synthesizers—came through crisp and clear. Even though the bass was loud it didn't take away from Gibbard's singing. It all resonated perfectly. Ten years later, I'm still a sucker for Gibbard and Tamborello.

The Postal Service. Photo by Matthew Lamb.Returning to Vancouver, we were exhausted, wet and hungover. Despite this, there was a definite sense of fulfillment. No matter how battered and bruised we were, we left The Gorge feeling more excited than when we arrived. All this thanks to so many incredible performances, (mostly) good weather, cheap alcohol and great friends. Sasquatch! 2013 was memorable in a lot ways, so many that it deserves a return visit. I will gladly return to The Gorge again soon.

By Adrian McCavour.

[Sasquatch! 2013] Recap: Day Three

Following a tired Friday and an outstanding Saturday at Sasquatch! 2013, Sunday kept the good vibes going. The sun continued to beam down, festival goers were in high spirits, and day three promised great things. The diverse lineup was really showcased this day, with such a great breadth of performers ready to get the Sasquatch crowds moving: Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros, El-P, Earl Sweatshirt, Mumford & Sons, Killer Mike, The Tallest Man On Earth, Dropkick Murphys, Grimes, Baths, Elvis Costello & The Imposters, Primus and many more were ready to provide a continuous barrage of fantastic music. Not everyone was in top form, though. Sound problems ran rampant and drugs rattled performers' abilities. Read below for my high points and low points of the third day at Sasquatch!.

Photo by Christopher Nelson.

Starting the day off right, my friends and I heartily devoured breakfast, ready for drinking and debauchery. Ladder golf was played, beers were consumed, marijuana was smoked, and we continued making new friends around the campgrounds as well as running into old ones. The overall sense of friendliness was really great, and everyone was eager to offer a thoughtful "Hello." This was only apparent in the campgrounds, though. Once you began the journey to the festival grounds, people became focused on two things: which bands they were going to see and where their immediate group was. I'll admit, that was the mindset I fell into. It became stressful if you lost your friends, but in the end the buddy system always proved reliable.

Katherine and I made our way to the media area around 1:30pm, ate some snacks, gathered ourselves and got ready for the day. She had one goal that day, to see Mumford & Sons. That was the one concert we decided we would see from start to finish. Mumford and co. wouldn't be on for another eight hours, though, so we headed to the main stage for our first show of the day, Danny Brown. We arrived a bit early, enoughDanny Brown. Photo by Matthew Lamb. to see the end of Youngblood Hawke's set. We heard their hit single "We Came Running," but I wasn't overly impressed. This band wasn't for me, I decided. Then came time for Mr. Brown. Meeting up with my friend Nathan, we headed into the crowd, easily finding a good spot in the crossover. We had some time to wait for Danny Brown's set, and Nathan relayed how impressed he was with Capital Cities' performance earlier that day. He wasn't the first person we heard that from.

Danny Brown started at 3:15pm, exactly when he supposed to. Good sign. Clearly, though, he was pretty fucked up. My observations proved right as he jokingly admitted he smoked "...some of the best weed I ever had..." just before performing his first song, and repeatedly telling us how fucked up he was throughout. But that's just Danny Brown, right? Sure, he's charming in his weird, high-as-fuck kind of way, but it became annoying when almost every song consisted of him harshly rapping into the mic to the point of it being incomprehensible. That, and he would often forget lyrics and start over or just switch songs entirely. These are mistakes that a goofy, stoner laugh doesn't make up for.

Thankfully, the bro'd out, trap-loving crowd of Danny Brown quickly cleared and made way for The Tallest Man On Earth. I had never seen Kristian Matsson live, but his alias immediately proved to be very ironic. A short, thin man, you would think his stage presence to be lacking. He swiftly pushed that thinking out of my head. His lone presence on stage, armed only with an acoustic guitar and the shoes on his feet, is very unassuming, but he completely owns that environment. His limbs stretched and he never seemed able to sit still, with every guitar pluck garnering a reaction in Matsson's face. What he lacks in size, he surely makes up for in emotion and animation. That, and the simple combination of his voice and his guitar is mindbogglingly good. His vocals boomed outward from the main stage, drawing in a massive crowd. It was humbling seeing his reactions to the crowd, who reacted to his music with such great enthusiasm. "I’m not high or drunk or anything but I know I stare at you guys from time to time just to make sure you like what I’m doing. I’m a little weird but I try to do good by you cause I am so grateful that this is my job," he said to his fans as his set drew to a close. Keep doing what you're doing Matsson.

The Sasquatch stage saw such a drastic turnover this day. One minute, it was Danny Brown. One hour later, it was The Tallest Man On Earth. As that crowd dispersed, it cleared room for the energetic, wild crowd of Dropkick Murphys. I'd only ever heard of these Boston boys through their hit single "I'm Shipping Up to Boston," but I was thoroughly impressed at how proud and passionate they are. It really comes through in their music. They kicked things off with "The Boys Are Back," and the energy never let down till the band left the stage. Apparently this was their first show together in quite some time, but that was never apparent. Banjos, bagpipes, guitars, drums, bass, piano and accordions assualted my eardrums for an hour straight, and when it finished on a cover of ACDC's "TNT" I couldn't help but raise my voice in cheering applause. The boys delivered one hell of a show.

Snaking through the departing Dropkic Murphys crowds, we planted ourselves in front of the main stage ready for what Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros had to offer. I've had friends see them live and come away disappointed, but that was nowhere close to the experience I had here. I'm stating this now, this was easily one of the best shows of the festival. The energy that Alexander Ebert and co. brought to the stage was infectious and spread throughout the surrounding masses immediately. They lit up The Gorge with "Man on Fire," causing the whole crowd to joyously and passionately sing along. "40 Day Dream" really highlighted the charm of this mismatch musical collective, as they crowded the stage, jumping and playing with vigor and joy. "Home" really brought it all together, though. Every person in the crowd was clapping along, pleased as all hell to be here at The Gorge with the people they love and enjoy. It was a genuinely special moment. What was truly special was the breaking of the "crowd-musician" barrier, as Ebert and vocalist Jade Castrinos made their way down to the crowd and handed the mic off to fans eager to tell their stories. "You just heard our story, it’s time to hear yours," he said. While some of these stories were laughably cheesy, others were truly touching. It was amazing to see the band extend beyond the stage and bring fans into the experience.

Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros. Photo by Christopher Nelson.

Following Edward Sharpe's fantastic performance, we were left with a good deal of free time and numerous options to choose from. We decided we would quickly stop by the Bigfoot stage to check out Earl Sweatshirt. I previously mentioned the sound problems at this stage, and it definitely took away from my enjoyment of his show. The beats laid out beneath Earl's voice were really good, but there were times where the bass was cranked up way too high. As well, Earl's raps were too often drowned out by the overpowering bass. It sounded like his mic levels just weren't high enough to match everything else. After hearing a few songs, we didn't bother sticking around. Annoyed by audio issues we made our way to a beer tent and forgot all about it.

With liquor fueling our bodies, our group took off to the Yeti stage to see Killer Mike. His sixth LP R.A.P. Music was one of my top hip-hop releases of last year, so it was great to finally get the chance to hear him in Killer Mike. Photo by Christopher Nelson.the flesh. I was expecting great hip-hop, but not to the degree that Mike delivered. He began his set by cooly stating, "Two things: first, I'm fat, get over it, and second, my doctor says that performing on stage is cardio." It was a charming and hilarious start to a great performance. For a man his size, he moves nimbly across the stage, dancing and pouring his heart out on stage. The ATL rapper tore through his newest album, delivering high-octane raps like "Go!" and "R.A.P. Music" and "Reagan." Raps aside, Mike made the most of his time on stage to show his appreciation to his fans. He humbly thanked us for our support, how he feels redeemed and thankful for everyone around him. It was emotional and truly grounding to hear his words, a moment that, for me, set Killer Mike above any other rapper I've ever seen live. He thanks us for our support but I thank him for his music.

Next up was Grimes. She performed at the Honda Bigfoot stage, and the sound issues were never more apparent than her set. We listened to two or three songs at the rear of the crowd and Claire Boucher's voice was nearly non-existant, struggling to seep through the overpowering presence of bass. Every other aspect—the basslines, the synthesizers, etc.—sounded good if not great, but her voice never managed to find a place above the instrumentation. I've seen her live before and she excels in smaller spaces and enclosed venues, but she just couldn't find her footing here. After the problems with Earl's set, it was pretty disappointing to hear them persist.

Leaving Grimes early had its benefits. It gave us plenty of time to catch up on some drinking as well as the chance to get to the main stage and secure a decent spot for Mumford & Sons. We carved a path towards the main floor in front of the stage, finding a spot on the right with a good view of the stage. As 11pm approached, the crowd grew larger by the minute. Cheers exploded as Marcus Mumford, Ben Lovett, Winston Marshall and Ted Dwane walked on stage but subsided as the band eased into the slow ballad "Lovers' Eyes." The calm didn't last for long, being completely replaced with roarous excitement as the band's hit single "I Will Wait" was ushered in by frantic banjo plucks. What is most apparent seeing these guys live is their unrelenting passion. Marcus Mumford tears apart his guitar with furious energy all the while his feet thump away peddles attached to a kick drum and a tambourine. Meanwhile, Lovett plays piano, Marshall's fingers pluck his banjo a mile a minute and Dwane drives the underlying bassline. On top of it all, every member raises their voice alongside Mumford, adding a great depth of harmony to every chorus line sung. It's truly impressive how energetic the four of them are, standing mere feet apart in front of thousands upon thousands of fans. "Little Lion Man," for instance, was a sight to behold, as every person in sight of stage was up on their feet dancing and cheering enthusiastically. The enthusiasm never left the amphitheatre. "Awake My Soul" was extended from four minutes to ten, with every voice in the crowd singing back to band to the point that it drowned out his own voice. That's what you get what when you cheekily ask, "Shall we have a sing-a-long now?," Marcus. Returning for an encore, the craziness continued to escalate. The band performed "Babel," the title track from their sophomore album. It was sheer excitement on stage and in the crowd. Excitement continued to build when they performed fan-favorite "The Cave," the second song that saw Marcus playing the drums. By the end of the song, everyone was in a state of euphoria, completely caught off guard by the arrival of Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros. The two bands, together in a moment of elation, delivered a loud, unexpected cover of Fleetwood Mac's classic song "The Chain." Holy crap, what an end it was.

Mumford & Sons. Photo by Christopher Nelson.

Day three ended on an incredible note, with Edward Sharpe and his Magnetic Zeros and Mumford and his Sons hightening the moods of thousands to an incredible high. There were a few disappointments throughout the day, but they were completely overshadowed by the plentiful awesome experiences that were had. What was most exciting was the diversity of these experiences, that at one moment I could be watching an amazing hip-hop show and the next be blown away by the energy of a group of Boston rockers. It really highlights what is so amazing about Sasquatch!, something that became even more apparent on the final day. The story concludes tomorrow with a recap of day four.

By Adrian McCavour.

[Sasquatch! 2013] Recap: Day Two

As the weekend of Sasquatch! festivities continued, the weather got better and so did the overall mood. The sun beamed down and the festival goers were waking up eager to party. The smell of bacon was met with the crack of beer cans opening, and campers were quick to set up ladder golf or throw a frisbee around. Day two was already off to a fantastic start and the nighttime was even better. The xx, Bloc Party, Holy Ghost!, Porcelain Raft, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, a hilarious stand up set by Nick Offerman and more, Saturday really impressed with some of the best performances of the festival. Check out the recap of day two below (and read our recap of day one here).

Photo by Christopher Nelson.

Much of Saturday was spent hanging out in the campgrounds, meeting our neighbours, drinking beer and enjoying the sun, putting us all in a good mood. Spirits were high as well as being consumed, and around two in the afternoon my girlfriend Katherine and I headed off to the festival grounds. Over the next couple of hours, we spent some time in the backstage and media areas doing interviews (these will be appearing on the blog over the next five days) with some fantastic musicians. Everyone we met was so interesting and fun to chat with and that's the feeling I got throughout the whole festival. There was always someone new to meet.

At around 6 o'clock, we made our way to the El Chubacabra tent to see Nick Offerman. For those unfamiliar, get familiar. Offerman is best known for playing Ron Swanson on Parks and Recreation as well as being married to Megan Mullaly of Will & Grace fame. The guy is hilarious, with a very straightforward, dry Nick Offerman. Photo by Matthew Lamb.delivery, and it all works into his American everyman style. He strutted out without a shirt on, calmly stating, "You were warned that minor nudity was included." Putting on an American flag button-up, he offered attendees his "10 tips for prosperity." He encouraged the consumption of plentiful meat and bread, to practice romantic love and to do it often, as well as the safe use of drugs and intoxicants. He also dished out a few songs on his guitar, and at the end even brought his wife and actress Stephanie Hunt on stage. They did a mashup of Dusty Springfield's "Son of a Preacher Man" and Cypress Hill's "Hits from a Bong" that was simply awesome. You can check out the mashup here, but be warned the sound quality isn't the best.

Next up was Holy Ghost!, who performed at the Honda Bigfoot stage right after Offerman's set. It was good timing and I was really excited to see these guys live again. Rest assured, they did not disappoint. The sun was still bright when Alex Frankel and Nick Millhiser tore up their hour-long set. With a full touring band supporting them, they sounded great. Kicking it off with their new single "Dumb Disco Ideas," the New York duo then dished out loud, dancey renditions of "Hold On," "Wait & See," "Do It Again," "Hold My Breath" and pretty much their whole debut album. I didn't stop dancing that whole hour.

Still on a bit of an energy high from Holy Ghost!, we caught the second half of Bloc Party's set at the main stage. While we showed up late, what we did see was fantastic. I caught them last year at Outside Lands Bloc Party. Photo by Christopher Nelson.Festival in San Francisco, and they sounded as good if not better this time around. Sitting comfortably up on the hill, their set sounded so tight and it was a treat hearing songs from all four of their albums. While most of the set was material from Four, hearing old highlights like "Helicopter" was great. They even debuted a new song titled "Ratchet." Crowds were high-energy for this one.

With a bit of free time on our hands, we caught a short bit of Porcelain Raft at the Yeti stage. I had never seen Mauro Remiddi live but I really enjoyed his debut album Strange Weekend, so I was excited to find out what he sounded like in person. After hearing both "Drifting In And Out" and "Put Me To Sleep" I was very impressed. Remiddi's dreamy tunes sound great live, floating effortlessly through your eardrums. After what I heard, I was sad to leave, but The xx was waiting right around the corner.

Heading back to the Sasquatch stage, we prepared for The xx. Tucking into the left side of the stage, we made our way into the crowd and up to the front left. With a great, up-close view, we parked ourselves inRomy and Oliver of The xx. Photo by Christopher Nelson. place. As the band walked on stage the sun was giving us it's final minutes of light, giving way to the band's dark attire and stunning light show. All I can say is these three blew me away. Romy Madley Croft, Oliver Sim and Jamie xx know how to build and atmosphere and completely own a crowd. Their stage presence is minimal and quietly charming, and for good reason. They let their instruments and sounds do the talking, using heavy bass kicks, explosive claps, rolling basslines and dazzling light arrangements to put you in a trance. It was so mesmerizing to see and hear "Reunion" live, being carefully strung along by the slowly-encompassing atmosphere. "VCR" was met with roaring applause, and then complete silence as the crowd gave way to the music. As was "Islands." As was "Swept Away." "Angels." "Crystalised." Seriously, it was like that with every song. I had no expectations going into it, but I left that stage in awe.

Walking away from the main stage, my mind was lost, still in a daze. We wandered to the El Chupacabra for a change of scenery. It was a drastic shift going from the minimalist beauty of The xx to the pulse-pounding electronic beats of Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs. That didn't matter. My excitement for TEED quickly took over. Easily securing a spot against the front barrier, our eardrums were met with a barrage of pulsating bass and synthesized sounds. Surrounded by flashing lights, he kept the crowd moving for an hour straight, never letting go. TEED assaulted the senses with a well-paced set, and fans responded with high-energy dancing. He threw down tracks both old and (mostly) new, including "Your Love," "American Dream Pt. II," "Garden," "Stronger" and more. This was my first taste of electronic music at the festival, and it was so good.

Following TEED's set I had a ton of energy, so my friends and I bounced around to different stages for a while. First, we headed to the main stage, reaching the crest of the hill overlooking the tail end of Sigur Rós' set. The view was beautiful. A clear black sky speckled by stars dominated while the band doled out their final songs. It was a brief visit to the main stage—only 10 minutes—but it was a mellowing follow-up to TEED. My attention was occupied by something else, though, as Sigur Rós' quieter presence lost out to Tame Impala's raucous sounds at the nearby Yeti stage. We brashly decided that the party should continue and headed in that direction.

Tame Impala were supposed to perform at the Honda Bigfoot stage at 10pm, but due to their gear arriving late they were moved to an 11:15 set at the much smaller Yeti stage. That didn't matter, though. By the time we arrived at Yeti, the crowd was massive. Thousands of dedicated fans amassed around the stage, and the band responded with a fuckin' rowdy set. They brought songs from both Innerspeaker and Lonerism and Empire of the Sun. Photo by Matthew Lamb.unleashed them in loud, blistering fashion upon us, enveloping vocalist Kevin Parker's fragile vocals in warm, psychedelic sounds. It was incredible to hear "Elephant" roar to life, causing the excitement level to explode, and to lose yourself in "Feels Like We Only Go Backwards" as it drifts along in a dream-like manner. The highlight was easily the end of their set, as "Solitude Is Bliss" so very loudly echoed from the stage, leaving everyone with the words "You will never come close to how I feel" etched into their minds.

Still feeling the reverberation of Tame Impala course through my body, we set our sights on the final show of the night: Empire of the Sun. Gladly choosing this band over Laidback Luke's set at El Chupacabra, I prepared for the bright, colorful extravagance of Luke Steele and Nick Littlemore. That's exactly what we got. Booming explosions of light and smoke introduced the band, donned in absurd outfits and accompanied by bizarre dancers. Apparently, they needed over an hour to prepare the stage and costuming for the show, and it certainly showed. This is pure showmanship, with stage-wide visual wonderment. The music was fantastic too. It was great to finally hear "Standing on the Shore," "We Are The People," "Half Mast" and "Walking on a Dream" live, but it was the new material that really stood out. "Alive" was anthemic and the whole crowd was chanting along energetically, while brand new songs from their upcoming album Ice on the Dune really showcased a catchy '80s dance vibe. I did get the sense that their was a lot lip-syncing going on, but I admit I didn't care because it was so bright and theatrical and fun. Fuck... is that a bad thing? It was just so good!

Day two really showcased all of what Sasquatch! has to offer: amazing music diversity, stunning vistas and weather as well as tons of memorable experiences. It was a day full of continuous high notes, amazing performances and ridiculous fun, and the story continues tomorrow with a recap of day three.

By Adrian McCavour.