Tag Archives: alabama shakes

[new music roundup] 4.21.15

alabama shakes - sound and color


A few of my favorite new releases this week…


Alabama Shakes//Sound & Color



Built to Spill//Untethered Moon



Nicki Bluhm and The Gramblers//Loved Wild Lost



Passion Pit//Kindred



Rocky Votolato//Hospital Handshakes



San Fermin//Jackrabbit



Say Lou Lou//Lucid Dreaming



Speedy Ortiz//Foil Deer


(31) Days of Good: 12.6.12

2012 had more than a handful of impressive debut full-lengths, including Alabama Shakes’ Boys & Girls, Porcelain Raft’s Strange Weekend, and Jack White’s Blunderbuss.  The tracks below don’t even begin to scratch the surface of debuts this year, but these are a few of my favorites.


The buzz band of 2011 did not disappoint.  If you have yet to give this record a chance, you’re only hurting yourself.  It’s more than just “Southern rock”.  It’s rock and soul at it’s best, due in large part to Brittany Howard’s incredible voice.

Alabama Shakes – Heavy Chevy [from Boys & Girls]


Chilean indie-pop at it’s best.  I have no idea what they are singing about, but I love it.  This particular track sounds like M83 in Spanish.

Astro – Panda [from Astro]


Bright Moments is the brain child of multi-instrumentalist Kelly Pratt (best known for his work with Beirut and Arcade Fire).  Natives is a very uplifting record (i’ve heard it described as “sunny-pop”).  Whenever I listen, I feel like going on adventures.  With tracks like “Tourists”, “Travelers”, and “Drifters”, maybe adventures is exactly what Pratt had in mind.

Bright Moments – Travelers [from Natives]


Critics shat all over Clock Opera’s debut full-length, but I enjoyed it immensely.  Was it perfect?  No, but how many perfect albums are there?  Ways To Forget has a handful of fantastic tracks, including “Let Go The Lifeboats”, “11th Hour”, “Belongings”, “Move To The Mountain”, and best of all, the lead-off track “Once And For All”.

Clock Opera – Once And For All [from Ways To Forget]


Exitmusic’s (Brooklyn husband-wife duo Devon Church and Aleksa Palladino) Passage was one of my top 10 albums of 2012.  An amazing and emotionally charged record that I seem to enjoy more with every listen.  If Beach House were to team up with Sigur Rós, I imagine it would sound like this.

Exitmusic – White Noise [from Passage]


J. Tillman (former drummer for Fleet Foxes) released his debut solo album as Father John Misty this year.  I’m still a bit surprised with how much I like Fear Fun.  I’m generally not a fan of freak-folk/jam-band music, but there’s something about Father John Misty’s sound that I like.  I should also add that this was one of my highlights at this year’s Outside Lands.  One of the best set’s I caught and it was totally on accident.

Father John Misty – Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings [from Fear Fun]


Jack White is one of God’s gifts to rock music.  Easily one of the most prolific rock musicians of my generation.  Now, after music slutting it up in so many great bands over the years, White released his first solo record this year, Blunderbuss.  If you’re not hooked on this record after you listen to “Sixteen Saltines”, there’s something wrong with you.  Robin Hilton (NPR: All Songs Considered) puts it best — “White writes better about youth and the teen years, the school years, better than anybody.”  Mr. White totally blew me away at this year’s Outside Lands.  If you get the chance, you MUST see him live.

Jack White – Sixteen Saltines [from Blunderbuss] [stream]


The Lumineers debut is folk-rock at it’s best — gritty, raw, and heartfelt.  I’m very interested to see what’s next for this Denver trio.

The Lumineers – Stubborn Love [from The Lumineers]


Porcelain Raft is the brain child of Italian born Mauro Remiddi.  Over the last couple of years, Remiddi has teased us with some impressive EPs and singles and toured extensively, with the likes of The Antlers, Youth Lagoon, and M83.  His debut LP, Strange Weekend, is one of my favorites.  Definitely in my top 10 of the year.  With so many great tracks to pull from, i’ll make it easy on myself and go with the first track I ever heard.

Porcelain Raft – Drifting In And Out [from Strange Weekend]


Purity Ring is an indie-electronic duo from Canada.  I’ve heard them compared to The Knife, which is a bit of a stretch in my opinion.  If I were to compare them to anybody, you could find some production similarities with Crystal Castles.  With that said, they have a really cool, very synth heavy, sound that they’ve made their own.

Purity Ring – Fineshrine [from Shrines]


Tanlines are an electronic, indie-pop duo from Brooklyn.  Mixed Emotions was a strong debut and an undeniably fun record.  Bummed I missed them out Outside Lands this year.

Tanlines – All Of Me [from Mixed Emotions]


When I listen to the experimental and up-beat sounds on Vacationer’s debut album, Gone, I go on adventures in my memories.  I can’t help but picture myself as a carefree kid at the lake every summer, crushing on girls i’ll never see again.  Gone is childhood memories and chill-wave music wrapped into one and I love it.

Vacationer – Be With You [from Gone]


[memories] Outside Lands 2012

It’s been three plus days since Outside Lands came to an end and i’ve needed every minute of it to fully recover.  This was my first legitimate music festival and it was a lot to take in.  With that said, I would do it all over again this weekend if I could.  I had so much fun last weekend, not even the total lack of sleep, the nightly struggles of finding my way home, the $9 beers, or the bird that shat in my eye Friday night will keep me from attending next year.  And THANK GOD for San Francisco’s signature fog and below normal temps, I don’t think I could’ve survived three days of this with the burning sun and scorching heat.  So without further ado, a few of my fondest memories from Outside Lands 2012.

photo: Josh Withers via facebook.com/sfoutsidelands

Sigur Rós was the sole reason I purchased tickets this year.  Every other band on the bill was an added bonus.  I’ve wanted to see Jonsi and company live since my first listen and they did not disappoint one bit.  High points: “Hoppípolla”, segued into “Með blóðnasir” and the lovely gals to my left that gave my freezing wife their blanket.  Low points: the hour set was not merely enough…but at least I have another reason to see them headline their own tour.  Listen to Sigur Rós’ entire set on spotify here.

photo: David Hall via OC Register

And though an hour wasn’t enough for Sigur Rós, it was plenty of time to convince me that Jack White is rock incarnate, not to say I wouldn’t have enjoyed a longer set.  High points: Kickin’ the set off with Little Willie John’s “I’m Shakin”, wrapping things up with “Catch Hell Blues”, segued into some song called “Seven Nation Army”, and some spot on stage banter — “you’ve all been wonderful and i’ve been Jack White”.  Low points: again, the hour set felt too short and I was really hoping for a mini Dead Weather reunion with Alison Mosshart…and I wish I would have been lucky enough to catch his pop-up set in the woodsy food-truck forest [good thing someone put it on youtube].  Listen to Jack’s entire set on spotify here.

photo: Josh Withers via facebook.com/sfoutsidelands

Speaking of Alison Mosshart, how f-ing rad are The Kills?  Alison, along with Jamie Hince, completely owned the main stage with their minimalist rock and swagger.  High points: “Baby Says” and the huge leopard print backdrop.  Low points: i had to skip out early to catch Passion Pit, which forced me to miss “The Last Goodbye”, which is probably my personal favorite.  Listen to The Kills’ entire set on spotify here.


Passion Pit’s set was one of the most fun.  By this time, my little caravan was 10 people deep and everyone was in fantastic mood…which may have been due to the fact that Wine Lands and Beer Camp were on the way to the Twin Peaks stage.  High points: I’m pretty sure Gossamer was made to be played live, especially “Take a Walk”.  I definitely got my dance on here.  Low points: volume was way too low.  Listen to Passion Pit’s entire set on spotify here.


While enjoying a delicious, and festival exclusive, “Outside Lands Saison” at Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp, I was able to catch most of Father John Misty’s set.  Though it was one of the smaller crowds, it was definitely the most chill and one I enjoyed immensely.  High points: “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings” is even better live.  Low points: my friends got lost in Wine Lands and missed out.  Listen to Father John Misty’s entire set on spotify here.


I’ve been a fan of Alabama Shakes ever since I first heard “You Ain’t Alone” and their name was still the Shakes.  I knew they were in for a big 2012 and would be a popular show, but I never expected the crazy huge crowd their set attracted.  High point: this band deserved to be on the main stage and they proved it.  Low point: this band deserved to be on the main stage and they weren’t.  Listen to most of Alabama Shakes’ setlist on spotify here.


Regina Spektor was definitely an unexpected treat.  Her voice is even more stunning live and was definitely the cutest thing in Golden Gate Park all weekend (other than my lovely wife of course).  High points: “On The Radio”, “Fidelity”, the mouth noises for “All the Rowboats”, and taking full advantage of my blanket for the entire hour (thank you Ethel for the blanket recommendation).  Low points: honestly, can’t really thing of any, other than missing  out on Electric Guest and Amadou & Mariam, the latter of which I heard was one of the best sets throughout the entire festival.


I got to watch Stevie Wonder play music for 2 full hours.  My parents haven’t even seen Stevie Wonder live.  He was amazing.  High points: every single minute of his set.  Low points: n/a.

A few more tid bits…

I should’ve eaten way more food.  I didn’t even try one of the many delicious offerings until late Sunday night.

This is the second time i’ve seen Zola Jesus live and her voice was just as amazing.  Unfortunately, I only caught the second half of her set and completely missed out on Yellow Ostrich.  My lucky wife was able to catch a special backstage performance of “Marathon Runner” in one of the VIP areas.

Would’ve loved to see more of Bloc Party’s set, but it was a small price to pay to catch all of Stevie’s 2-hour sing-a-long.

Though I really wanted to see Neil Patrick Harris and Big Boi, it was well worth it to catch Explosions In the Sky instead.  Why haven’t these guys scored more films?

Bummed I skipped out on Washed Out to catch a few minutes of Neil Young.  I know, I know, Mr. Young is a rock legend and I’m happy to say I’ve seen him live, but the 2 minutes of Washed Out I did hear were soooo good.

It never crossed my mind to leave Stevie Wonder early for Skrillex, but the mixture of fog and lights over at the Twin Peaks stage were quite enticing.  It looked like aliens were invading Tron.

Foo Fighters played “Everlong” and Brendan allowed me to sing-a-long with him.

Turn the volume up at the Twin Peaks stage.  Passion Pit and Justice were not nearly loud enough.

And speaking of Justice, their closing set Friday night saved me.  I don’t think I would’ve made it home that night without the energy I got from their set.

And last, but certainly not least, BIG THANKS to everybody that had anything to do with making Outside Lands a reality.  I’ll see you next year.

Out of the Office

I’m off to San Francisco for Outside Lands and won’t be back until Monday.  For those of you unable to attend, stream the festival live (thanks to Tunein) or enjoy the playlist below.  Either way, hope you have a fantastic weekend, because I know I will.