April 30, 2010

Friday Send Off | Teen Daze | "Shine On, You Crazy White Cap"

Down from the heavens (of Vancouver), with coastline on the mind, Teen Daze arrived bearing euphoria this week (via white guys with beards). "Shine On, You Crazy White Cap" feels like an an instant summon for summer, and our S&S header makes a cameo in the opening shots of its unofficial video, so what we have here is a worthy send-off:

Here's a .zip of the starburst above with two others found on his tumblr. Those three will appear with three more on the Four More Years EP. Hot damn, the title track hits HARD with a pulse reminiscent of every time the cool dude in an 80s film walks the halls of a high school. Lots of promise here. If you're in British Columbia, let me know how their first ever show goes next weekend.

Have fun. Be safe. Get weird.

April 29, 2010

Dozens EP

When the crafty minds over at cokemachineglow lay down glowing verbosity of this nature, ears follow. Especially when it's in reference to an unknown like Chicago's Dozens. 

This bizarrely bold and varied 20 minute sit broke past yesterday's early speed dating by 11am to pretty much own my afternoon. CMG's best attempt to classify was "hyper-accelerated jazz breakouts and drug-driven beach pop" and that works. Dozens EP is a curve ball, throwing harmonies against swift talk-verses and the occasional scream, a traditional trio of instruments against organ and brass...and you guessed it, sand against space.  

It's free to download at their bandcamp.  

April 27, 2010

Micachu & The Shapes + Beach Fossils @ Bruar Falls [Brooklyn; 04/24/10]

Volcanic cancellations and unfortunate events caused the 1990s and German Measles to drop out of Saturday's special gig, but worthy replacements fell from the sky just in time to keep this free show as advertised: a party. Victoria swung by the ballooned room for two of its four exceptional sets (Holiday Shores, not captured). She sent a little gmail report, so let's cut and paste that:
I have to say that I was feeling quite full and satisfied in the live music front after three days in the desert, but when I got word late Saturday afternoon of that evening's Bruar Falls lineup, I just could not say no to another sweaty, hot mess fest.

Heard a bunch of screaming coming from Moonmen on the Moon, Man set as I waited outside but got in just in time for Beach Fossils. During the first 3 songs they complained of sound issues (dead amp, f'ed reverb) but the head-bobbing crowd didn't seem to notice. Moving my way through the dense jungle of sweaty hipsters, we successfully made our way to the back of the stage where we found bathrooms and a single fan (sweet relief!!!). They finished their set strong and ended with a slow motion attempt at smashing a guitar. It just bounced off the stage a few times and is prolly just f'ed up now.

Still in this back area, we basically helped Micachu set up. She, fortunately for us, got stranded in NY because of the volcano and picked up this show. They killed it...everyone was impressed. They have a lot going on in their tight little setup, Micachu with several guitars, Raisa rockin' solid on keys/electronic fun, and an intensely focused drummer. All very happy. Went outside for a breather before Holiday Shores and couldn't get back in due to massive humans taking over the bar. Ah well, they'll be other chances...they had just came from MHOW opening for the Morning Benders. It's a good thing they're not going anywhere.

Note: been meaning to post about Beach Fossils' debut LP. While Vic got the real thing, I spent much of my weekend streaming these simple surf pleasures from a dock in the sand. Recommended activity.

April 23, 2010

Coachella 2010 in Highlights

The Indio air was kind enough not to reach an unbearable maximum or minimum, just an even magical. Like it would continue to all weekend, this late Saturday night cool was more of a calm, more of an embrace than usual. From my back, in a rare loner moment, I looked up into the strobe-lit sky and connected; the desert spirits were dancing up there, just as the lovers were down here.
This was the best Coachella I’ve ever been to (a scale that starts in 07'). 2010 can wear that turquoise studded, feather decorated crown even with its noticeably longer lines, AT&T FAIL service, and a lineup that was questioned just as much as it was praised. So how did it, with these logistical plagues, soar higher than any previous festival on S&S record? Well, it got plenty weird (partly explaining my delay in blog/brain activity this week). And more importantly, its three days overflowed with supernatural performances. Rather than recounting every occurrence, here are the special ones:

- Friday, April 16th -

Passion Pit [Outdoor Theatre; 7:00PM]

“OK, see you at Passion Pit.” This was a universal meeting place (a necessity without phone reception); you could pretty much count on everyone knowing these songs and enjoying them on some level. Having seen these Boston boys before, I was ready to jump around in places and socialize in others. But Passion Pit went out and eclipsed the latter agenda with a triumphant, downright possessed display of JAM. They’ve grown a lot in a year. Love em’ or eye-roll em', they’re here to stay.

LCD Soundsystem [Coachella Stage; 9:00PM]

Maybe that power of visualization stuff is starting to work (see: recent viewing of The Secret) or maybe it was just meant to be, that my dream of taking in “All My Friends” with all my friends would transpire perfectly. As sappy as drawing those kinds of retrospective parallels between lyric and reality are, holding onto the ones we love, the ones we can “always come home to”, in the presence of such an affecting anthem is just well, perfect. Those eight minutes were ours, supplied by the man in white who owned the night. Backed by a gang of percussion and groove, with disco ball spinning, main stage lights all up in the atmosphere, a new album all up in the blogosphere, and enough innate coolness that you’d think David Byrne gained a few pounds, James Murphy rattled off as many favorites as time would allow. Since most of those are long-winded, cuts were made, and in mostly the right places. “Losing My Edge” was kept, drawn out and beaten up, putting the crowd an inch closer to full-tweak with every blow. Bravo. The highlight of Friday, and until Thom came along, I was saying weekend.

Fever Ray [Mojave; 11:10PM]

I imagine at this point a flying origami bird's eye view would find most in attendance covering the open field for Jay Z - a turnout indeed fit for a king of hip hop. And a slight pan past the mass would reveal a glowing blue tent buzzing with laser beams and Fever Ray fans, masked and/or wide eyed. To be in that tent, meant you were dedicated, defiant, or at least curious. Being one half of the infamously disguised Swedish electronic act, The Knife, Fever Ray already had a mystique working for her, still she filled space differently here. Evil greens and icy blues crossed infinite smoke, creating neon tron walls overhead.
It was electric. It was damn near scary. The visuals were matched, if not topped by the sound. Her moody, self-titled (2009 fav) release was literally all around us.

- Saturday, April 17th -

Beach House [Mojave; 4:25]

One of the most anticipated sets for many, Beach House gave the stuffy mid-day slot a long, soothing breath of fresh air. To say this grade of dreamy chamber pop could have felt out of place here is an understatement, but Victoria Legrand is a hypnotic force, and we became a mushy heap of overheated hearts under a 50 minute spell. I hadn't seen her and Alex Scally perform in over three years (which contained two sprawling masterpieces), and like you'd expect, they were now a fully realized band. Enchanted even. About midway through the set I knew we weren't leaving (for Edward Sharpe), never. "Real Love" to "10 Mile Stereo" and I could have driven home right then with a smile.

The xx [Outdoor Theatre; 6:25PM]

Another potential misfit, this intimate outfit were given the unlikely task of slow-talking the sun down. In probably their first ever setting of this sort, they stayed close to their echo-y studio takes, saying very little, until a truly bizarre happening. From across the grounds a flame flashed and fizzled on top of the main stage (perhaps causing a few people to question what their drug intake). Singer/bassist Oliver Sim stopped in his flat British tone, "the roof is on fire." Attention was theirs again, and with all energy collected, they turned it up, ending on a ferocious, unexpected drumdown freakout. A reminder that batshit crazy can be an emotion of love as well.

Hot Chip [Outdoor Theatre; 7:35PM]

In their 3rd appearance in four years, Hot Chip accepted destiny: they are the Coachella house band. And true to their reputation, this one was even better than the last. Gods of the desert dance, they laid down an almighty playlist custom tailored for short shorts and headbands, free of sentiment (and they are underrated at sentiment), and full of weightless, pulsing pleasure. Of the new tracks, they chose the fun ones ("I Feel Better", "One Life Stand", "Take It In"), along with old crescendo staples ("Over and Over", "One Pure Thought" and "Ready For The Floor").

The Dead Weather [Outdoor Theatre; 11:05PM]

I knew this time not to sleep on The Dead Weather. It's pure, hard, raw, rock, delivered by rock royalty, Jack White and Allison Moshart - like this set would ever suck. We did only stay for half though, due to an uncontrollable, gravitational pull. It might be called 'zef'. We had to know. We had to see...

Die Antwoord [Sahara; 11:35PM]

This last minute addition carved a random 20 minutes into Saturday, suddenly marking the US debut of what might be the fastest international viral hype story to hit the 'interweb', ever. They've claimed their shocking South African rave-rap to be "next level" and you know what, it was. Yo-landi Vi$$er let out a few preliminary chirps before the big hand off, "Enter The Ninja". Ninja. Entered. After two planned false starts to the lead line, a earthquake bass dropped on the 3rd "I'm a Ninja!" and just like that, we'd never be the same again. Sounds ridiculous. Looks ridiculous. Was bananas.

The only thing left to do on the way out was walk by Devo playing "Whip It", a song that forever turned heads 30 years prior.

- Sunday, April 18th -

Jónsi [Outdoor Theatre; 5:55PM]

Half a Deerhunter, half a De La Soul - not a bad way to start a Sunday. However it was Jónsi that first broke down that third wall of external chatter, and demanded a complete lock on our systems. Just like Antony Hegarty had last year at our favorite stage, the Sigur Rós frontman blinded us with beauty and otherworldly grace. At times overcome by himself, he'd shield his face or take to his knees, twisting nobs, which did all but distort his rare ability to touch souls with a transcendental language. "Grow Till Tall" (watch) closed out with a towering crash, and I think we were all overcome by then.

(ps - I love you, Jessica Sutton)

Phoenix [Outdoor Theatre; 7:10PM]

The conditions couldn't have been more ideal (okay, maybe put Pavement at a different time): the best pop act around celebrating the youthful spirit of pop with 'the youth' and those treating Indio like a fountain of it. The French megastars did not disappoint, running through the better half of Wolfgang complete with "Love Like a Sunset" intermission, a few loyalty checks from It's Never Been Like That, and a house-light check during United's hit. Everyone was there - a notion that hadn't hit until the big screen showed how far back we went. Welcome to the center of the universe.

The final darkness had reached and the spirits circled for a grande finale.

Thom Yorke (Atoms For Peace) [Outdoor Theatre; 9:00PM]

Last October seems so long ago. Back when Thom sent us all for a scramble in LA with this supergroup (Flea, Nigel Godrich, etc). I said then that "at no point was anyone 'off' or did anything sound like they hadn't written it together, 10 years ago", so was there really room for improvement? Apparently. The Eraser got stronger, heavier, and funkier in those touring months. It bends and twitches. It fucking erases. It's a tool I'm not sure Yorke ever intended to use in this way. And that's why he's still the most progressive artist on the planet.

With Eraser wrapped up, the band took a proper encore, giving Yorke a solo return on acoustic for "Airbag", "Everything In Its Right Place" and stunningly looped new track, "Giving Up The Ghost". In the words of Victoria, "there'd be tears if I wasn't so dehydrated." The band returned with four more including the bass-boosted Radiohead b-side "Paperbag Writer" and recent seizure single "Feeling Pulled Apart By Horses" - aptly introduced as "the one to freak out to."

Sunday hangs in a frame on the wall of my mind forever - Yorke in mid-dance, Flea in mid-slap, winds swirling, friends gasping. It's an image that leaves me thinking I should either retire from this search or more likely, press forward with new fire. Afterall it is an addiction, and Coachella 2010 was too good to us.

A big thank you to our amazing crew this year and to all who sweat through a set with us/passed a whiskey sunscreen along the way, and a special thanks to Friday photo contributors Caroline Park and Kati Cesareo. And of course, Ms. Victoria Masters who not only took half these shots (and edited them down from hundreds), she let me act like a photographer too. Team S&S 4L.

Speaking of shots:

Beach House

The xx

Jay Z spotted at The xx

Hot Chip

The Dead Weather

Die Antwoord


Thom Yorke

April 20, 2010

an Airbag saved my life

As I gather all mental (and literal) snapshots of Coachella, no single happening calls for a pre-post maneuver quite like this. I'm amazed it even came out, since most was shot blindly with my face digging into Victoria's shoulder in disbelief. Plenty of words to come for Thom Yorke (and Atoms For Peace), and so many others. In the meantime, in an interstellar burst:

April 14, 2010


Kites Sail High | Secrets EP (2010)

You may have seen the name in a random rainbow, or perhaps further up the Stratosphere, or even in your wildest Ice Cream Dreams. If you've encountered Kites Sail High, then you've been there - in a cloud, long after the string's been cut free and the lawns have shrunk to satellite specs beneath your feet.

On its final two tracks, Secrets transcends the norms in an ever-present daydream genre. It's an exploration that will no doubt push the name that much higher in 2010.
Both this and Alone will LP it on Lifes Blood very soon.

Sidenote: I finally watched The Secret over the weekend. Makes sense.

April 9, 2010

Coachella 2010 Mixtape | "Desert Spirit Lover"

Here's a 'compilation' dedicated to those wild souls preparing for a dance with the desert next week (especially the few that asked for it). Twenty-ten's lineup is varied per usual; looks pretty good on paper (sounds pretty good on headphones), and honestly, I've learned not to really sweat the specifics. Once the spirits get involved, it all seems to flow.

[SIDE A] updated 4/13

This side skews a little more towards the big names. Being a festival that celebrates mighty headliners and success stories from previous buzz cycles, Coachella doesn't quite lend itself to a sampler the same way say SXSW does. Still, in the interest of keeping it interesting, worthy substitutions were made for tracks that have probably graced enough mixes by now (looking at you, "1901", "ONE", "Two Weeks", etc).
View tracklist here.


Like its kind has done
before, SIDE B gathers choice gems of any size. View tracklist here.

In roughly 6.5 earth rotations, an Indio dusk will hit, and with it, collective inhibitions shall set behind the mountains for good. The phrase "get weird" is derived from this very happening.

See you there,

April 7, 2010

Wednesday Love

Friendship Bracelet Club Volume 4 cut through the atmosphere yesterday to freely warp our minds with JAMma rays. Pause whatever you're doing and go befriend it.

April 5, 2010

Surfer Blood @ Detroit Bar [Costa Mesa; 03/28/10, Carson Daly]

Having just been in West Palm Beach, I can say that it's not exactly a thriving mecca of indie spirit. And that plays partly into what makes its hero export, Surfer Blood, so magnetic. Perhaps they are a rare isle of style in Southern Florida, but it's more in that they sound like guys who prefer the company of a good record collection to the camaraderie of any current musical movement. They aren't a basic throwback, but they are a return to the basics of solid songwriting and the almighty riff. Astro Coast feels at home on so many headphones in 2010 because it requires no geographic starting point, just an appreciation for one of our favorite pastimes: guitar rock.

The west coast however, was an especially good fit for it. I rationalized going stag to Detroit Bar on a blurry Sunday night (it was a block away, and I really needed some guitars in my life after Friday, no offense Washed Out). Turbo Fruits took care of that fix right away, blitzing through like 15 garage shakers in 30 minutes. A taping of Carson Daly's show probably amplified an already hyped crowd for Surfer Blood's set. And the young act was the real deal, meshing tight as a 5-piece, hanging loose in all the right places - respective solos, occasional tropic drum-tangents, and nonchalant deliveries from singer John Paul Pitts.

Over to you, Carson:

April 3, 2010

Branches | Alto Astral

Savasana vibes from my morning routine speckled throughout a Saturday of crystalline activity. Exertion met relaxation in serene balance. The latter force had a soundtrack on loop, and it came from Porto, Portugal (by way of Ice Cream Dreams, a blog you should follow). 
"Branches has something of nomad. He wasn't born to stay in the same place. There's little (or even nothing) left of the embryonic recordings, other than an excavating will/determination of exploring the darkest corners of sound. But even in this something has changed. In Alto Astral, conveniently released on tape, there is a slow but candid opening of windows to the sun and the light, a stretching out of toes towards the warm sands of the beach, a perfectly healthy flirt with the melodic beats and flavours of the 80s. All this with crafty cut and paste aesthetics, an abuse of minor samples (in a sinful collab between Pedro Rios and Miguel Carvalho), and acknowledgment of the remains of a certain pop, so many times mistreated and rejected, doomed to end up in cardboard boxes brimming with old LPs for less than 5 euros.

Entering Alto Astral is also putting on repeat those 10 best seconds of the Caribbean LP we found in the attic in the holiday house, it's admitting to like that melody of dubious taste, it's finding life in keyboards kept forever in closets up to the top with memories, it's like watching life slowly unfurl in front of our eyes. Entering Alto Astral is seeing Branches reinventing himself while going with the tide, arm in arm with the beats and melodies we thought were lost forever. To see the entrance of the sun." - André Gomes
Download | Branches | Alto Astral (2010)

Hope you had fun, were safe, and got weird.

April 2, 2010

Delorean/Lemonade @ Mercury Lounge [NYC; 03/29/10]

Earlier this week, Victoria and Blaire teamed up (again) to visually and experientially cover the sweatiest show in New York City. Blaire drafted this on her phone while flying back west, next to a 5 year old with "severe ADD" who was making up songs, some of which were "kinda good."
"I've had Lemonade in the freezer for a couple of years now. They're great on paper, but whenever I listen to their songs I feel indifferent. Last night they played a sold out show at Mercury Lounge with Delorean, whose tour I have been stalking for a year now. I got to the venue and shoved my way to the front just in time for three skinny hipster dudes to take the stage as Lemonade. They got right down to it - percussion, keys, vocals, dancing, lights and cowbell to boot. The singer danced in front of a podium, which he adjusted in height throughout the show. The band played off of each other's crazy enthusiasm, which they handed right off to the crowd. I have only given their albums sporadic listens over the past couple of years, so I am not dedicated to any particular tracks. Regardless, they kept my attention throughout the entire set. By the end, all three were playing drums together. Needless to say, a perfect energy had been created for Delorean's entrance. They opened with "Seasun," which was mind numbing, and also a great segue to the introduction of their unborn songs. They were so charming and pleasant and spanish and polite and tan and I wanted them to play forever. Every song was clean and came out through the speakers sounding perfect. The keyboard player stood out the most to me, using two seperate machines simultaneously. He was dancing so hard and lifting the keyboards off the ground with every move. It was a short lived set, but they played everything I wanted to hear and I felt like I was on some warm beach far away. Then I walked outside and it was raining sideways.

My ears are still ringing but I don't mind."
She added, "I fucking loved this show". Sounds like it's time to go see the SXSW darlings (and recent Friday send-offs), like now.