Here’s our second SXSW/Lollapalooza 2014 Crossover post, checking out bands on Saturday’s schedule that showcased in Austin earlier this year.Four bands take the stage by 1:00 on this list, so take your pick on some great ways to start your Lollapalooza Saturday and more.
Lollapalooza 2014 OEB Spotlight: Anna Lunoe – “All Out”
Pairs Well With…Flume, DCUP, The Goodwill
Lollapalooza has had a nice track record of evenly booking rock, pop and dance acts, connecting the dots in these increasingly interlocking genre pillars.Anna Lunoe is a nice testament to that – a DJ whose 2014 singles range from airy pop jams (“All Out”) to furious, rhythmic beats (“Bass Drum Dealer”).It’s rare to see this mix of lounge and cerebral dance and makes one of Lunoe’s set pleasingly unpredictable.Her Lollapalooza set is sure to do the same for the early risers – Anna Lunoe opens up Perry’s on Saturday at noon.
2013 Review: Anna Lunoe has built up her reputation in her native Australia over the past couple years not only for her turntable technique, but also for her indie pop sensibility to what is normally a space reserved for booming bass and fist-pumping antics.Lunoe throws back to Chicago house throughout her singles, a laid-back approach meant to generate a hazy sweat.In fact, Lunoe is more a traditionalist than a futurist in the genre, a comforting palette for the 30+ crowd (i.e. me).
Lollapalooza 2014 OEB Spotlight: Jagwar Ma - “Uncertainty”
Pairs Well With…Cloud Control, Tame Impala, Panda Bear
Jagwar Ma’s pop is like a game of hide and seek – active, shielded and child-like fun.The handclaps, jangly guitars and watery harmonies of key single “Come Save Me” all take what was once a surf-pop track into waved, psychedelic territory.The rest of the Australian band’s 2013 debut LP leaps around the creative ends of pop and rock. The band dips its toes into dance music even (“What Love”, “Four”), but it’s the loose rock sound that really works for Jagwar Ma.If they took away the sonic experimentation and dreamy harmonies, Jagwar Ma would essentially be a power pop band.It’s a good that they don’t – Jagwar Ma’s creative mold is what makes their impressive debut hard to turn off. Jagwar Ma has an early Friday afternoon slot at Lollapalooza, taking The Grove stage at 3:30pm.
As OEB continues to slowly evolve this summer, next week takes us west on I-90 from Newport, sights set to Chicago, Illinois.Lollapalooza takes over Grant Park next week, August 1-3, bringing along key 2014 artists in pop, rock and dance music.
Over twenty-five (!!) artists at Lollapalooza this year also received top marks as part of Operation Every Band–SXSW 2014.Eight of those are set to perform Friday, including a conflict between Roadkill Buzz Choir and San Fermin fifteen minutes into the festival.Decisions…
Pairs Well With…Gayngs, Phantogram, Bat For Lashes
After catching up with Polica at SXSW 2012, the Minneapolis space-rock band has followed up with the form-fitting Shulamith, a record both weirder and more accessible than the band’s splendid debut, released just a year prior.The quick buffering of the band’s catalog is great proof of Channy Casselle and friends’ powerful songwriting ability.Two drummers, a bassist and electronic atmospherics make up the palette of Polica’s foundation, a deep, sexy and salient territory.This is what psychedelia sounds like in 2014 and we are all better for it.
2012 Review: Representing the electronic pop corner of the Gayngs gang, Polica is getting ready to release their debut LP early next year.Polica features Channy Casselle, formally of roots band Roma di Luna alongside a bassist and two percussionists.The bass carries the two tracks released earlier this year with interesting electronic dynamics adding color and a sense of space.“Dark Star” features auto-tune turned up to “Bon Iver” to add a little more mystery to their already deep sound.Though we’ve only gotten a taste, I buy what Polica is selling and can’t wait to see what these guys are all about in 2012.
Pairs Well With…The Head and the Heart, Deer Tick, Alabama Shakes
So, it looks like The Pollies have been laying low since last summer with SXSW being one of the only shows on the Muscle Shoals band’s agenda.The good news is that time was spent in the studio – hopefully a follow-up to the band’s solid debut Where the Lies Begin.For now, check out what had us hopeful last year:
2013 Review: Muscle Shoals, Alabama is one of the best hotbeds of musical talents going right now. Out of the fray comes The Pollies, a band that must have spent some time studying at the Wilco song camp last year while recording their debut record Where The Lies Begin. Opening with a salvo of vocal harmonies that bleeds into waves of understated feedback, “Good For Nothing” is quite a revelatory introduction. Where The Pollies break away from their Chicago brethren is the Southern grit that infuses the record, whiskey-soaked vocals holding the notes for a half-second longer than expected, almost unwilling loosen their grip. Most of these songs come from a rootsy, Americana place, led by acoustic guitar and a healthy share of kick drum. While The Pollies’ style invites them into a crowded alt country field at SXSW, I could see these upstarts catching some waves next week in Austin.
I wrapped up my bottom-half Newport Folk recommendations this afternoon, so what better time for a Post-SXSW breather before Lollapalooza takes over OEB’s coverage for a week.Highlights:
Polica (9) - Two drummers, a bassist and electronic atmospherics make up the palette of Polica’s foundation, a deep, sexy and salient territory.This is what psychedelia sounds like in 2014 and we are all better for it.
The Pollies (7) - Where The Pollies break away from their Chicago brethren is the Southern grit that infuses the record, whiskey-soaked vocals holding the notes for a half-second longer than expected, almost unwilling loosen their grip.Most of these songs come from a rootsy, Americana place, led by acoustic guitar and a healthy share of kick drum.
Parquet Courts (6) – The rambunctious punk rock grooves of Parquet Courts are loosely dismembered on the band’s latest, 2014’s Sunbathing Animal.The twists of feedback give Parquet Courts a classic, analog sound, vaguely experimental and oddly catchy.
Polytype (6) – Electronic pop artist Polytype lives within a mysterious air, best displayed on single “Cyclone”.The circular nature of the title applies to the winds of harmony that builds in this patient R&B track.
Peking Duk (5) – Australian producer Peking Duk deals in builds and drops, but there is an increased level of detail in his big-tent dance music.In another way, deep, technical minutia isn’t need for sing-a-longs and big beats.
Newport Folk 2014 OEB Spotlight: Gregory Alan Isakov – “Amsterdam”
Pairs Well With…Ryan Adams, Bright Eyes, Bon Iver
The Weatherman, Gregory Alan Isakov’s fourth full-length starts off as one would expect.Soft, acoustic strumming and hushed atmospherics have acted as a calling card for the introspective songwriter and are the foundation for The Weatherman as well.While not of experimental ilk, Isakov’s understated vocals and lyrical strength are sure to make for a splendid Newport Folk set.Isakov takes the Quad Stage at 1:25 on Sunday afternoon.
2013 Review: I caught Gregory Alan Isakov as an opener years ago and I’ve been following his career ever since.Unfortunately, it has been too long since his last release The Empty Northern Hemisphere, but Isakov did post some pictures from the studio a month or so back.The most catching element of Isakov’s songbook is his voice, a rich instrument that carries Isakov’s quiet-folk based music.While Isakov never chooses to turn up the heat on his sound, the plaintive landscape he paints on suits the music wonderfully.I hope his new material pushes more on the orchestral moments throughout Hemisphere, but we shall see with what will hopefully be plentiful previews at this year’s SXSW.
Newport Folk 2014 OEB Spotlight: Puss N Boots – “Bull Rider” (live)
Pairs Well With…Norah Jones, Wilco, Hurray For the Riff Raff
The distinct voice of Norah Jones is a quick giveaway that Puss N Boots isn’t some new indie act, rather its Jones’ alt country band along with Catherine Popper (Ryan Adams, Grace Potter) and singer-songwriter Sasha Dobson.Their just-released debut LP No Fools, No Fun indeed has the vibe of a group of talented friends passing the microphone back and forth.A mix of studio and live cuts, originals and covers, No Fools, No Fun exceeds expectations by just being damn good in tone and delivery.Jones sounds noticeably comfortable in the rootsy genre, ditching her piano virtuosity for spoonfuls of soul.The whole is really relaxed – even the more electric tracks keep it in a mid-tempo pocket.Puss N Boots headline the Harbor Stage at 5:00 on Saturday night – I bet this will be one that will really turn the curious Newport onlookers to a new side of all three artists.
Newport Folk 2014 OEB Spotlight: Pokey Lafarge – “Central Time”
Pairs Well With…Carolina Chocolate Drops, Shovels & Rope, Brown Bird
Pokey Lafarge has found such a unique crack to grow out of, continuing to find something new in something old on his 2013 self-titled LP.Traditional folk, blues and jazz are the baseline for this timely throwback in an age of digital wonder.Lafarge is pristinely authentic – even the recording gives the aura of a ramshackle studio paid by the hour.This is guaranteed to kill at Newport – a hip sound that will appeal to folk veterans and their grandkids.Pokey Lafarge is smartly booked for the main Fort Stage, 12:25 Saturday afternoon.
2013 Review: Genuine and traditional authenticity can be hard to find with so many bands reaching towards the future to define a new sound.For Pokey LaFarge, greatness is found in the past, which he commits to both in his persona and his music.Drawing from country and Americana traditions from the early to mid-20th century, LaFarge sounds like a love letter from the past, a novel rather than a laptop.This “all in” approach to his traditions has a great payoff for a SXSW crowd who respects history and good music.
Newport Folk 2014 OEB Spotlight: Lucero – “Texas & Tennessee”
Pairs Well With…Deer Tick, The Hold Steady, Tom Waits
Fifteen-plus years in, Lucero has matured their sound, anchoring in traditional roots since our last check-in for SXSW 2012.Women and Work and follow-up EP Texas & Tennessee have peeled back Lucero’s rambunctious rock nature a bit, exploring alt country and Americana tones more often than not.Nichols’ distinct rasp of a voice takes a second to get used, but once it clicks in, it’s easy to realize how imperative that timbre is to Lucero’s infectious sound.Look for Lucero to solidify their throwback, throw-forward nature closing out Newport Folk’s Harbor Stage at 5:15 on Sunday.
2012 Review: Lucero is one of the more established acts on the early SXSW bill, currently headlining clubs across the US.They’re country in their roots, but Lucero succeeds best when they turn the rock energy up to eleven.I’ve caught Lucero a couple times in the past few years and totally get while they’ve received decent billing on the festival circuit the past few summers.Ben Nichols’ whiskey-soaked vocals sound like a broken pickup in constant heartbreak and that’s a very good thing.There is so much emotional resonance in Lucero’s music that it kind of sneaks up on you amongst the patient alt country inspired licks.Lucero will have no shortage of material at SXSW next year; they’ll be supporting their ninth album, Women & Work, due in early 2012.
Newport Folk 2014 OEB Spotlight: Tall Tall Trees – “Waiting On the Day”
Pairs Well With…Kishi Bashi, Andrew Bird, My Morning Jacket
It’s been two years since Tall Tall Trees’ expansive sophomore record Moment was released and the hope here is that NYC songwriter has embraced even more of his weird side for his upcoming 2014 follow-up.The base here is Mike Savino and his electric, effects-fueled banjo and Savino’s first efforts were relatively minimal solo efforts.Moment is a completely different animal, a record of multi-layered, psychedelic spins on melody and structure, complex yet strikingly personal.The bigger, the better with Tall Tall Trees – songs like “Vacation”, “Alaska” and the Raga-threaded “Waiting On the Day” are all highlights and completely different from one another.This one seemed to fell under the radar in 2012, but the talent, emotion and experimental grounding are all there and seemingly ready to burst at the seams.Tall Tall Trees is an excellent left-field choice for Newport Folk and one that will surprise a few early entrants as they take the Harbor Stage forty-five minutes after gates open on Friday afternoon.
Pairs Well With…Trippy Turtle, Flume, Cashmere Cat
Brooklyn electronic artist Obey City’s sound is dance music by form, but the details and layering demand a listen beyond a late night lounge.Funk-fueled rhythms are spliced and diced, falling off the beat unexpectedly.That anticipation pulls like a rubber band, tensely laying an undercurrent of mystery and grace.Hip hop and R&B both find homes in Obey City’s originals, down-tempo twists and turns with an artist’s precision.Above all, Obey City’s mostly wordless music has soul.For digital creations, the warmth is admirable and a quality that keeps me digging for more songs he has gotten his hands on.In addition to a handful of loose singles, Obey City has three EPs out, two solo and the latest, 2014’s Shochu Sounds, a collaboration with Japanese electronic artist Seiho.
Pairs Well With…The Temper Trap, Miike Snow, The Naked and Famous
While the upbeat pop hooks of tracks like “Always” are the initial draw, the Australian band’s tracks are deeper than surface beats and melodies.Mid-tempo dance beats are complimented by droned-down synths on tracks like “How We Feel” and “It’s Not Over”, shading the light within Panama’s music.EDM elements are sampled at will through Panama’s pop filter – this band is accessible to both an indie and club crowd.More shine than soul, Panama avoids being too distant through new wave bass lines and specks of electronic experimentation - little things that connect created music to a natural ear.“Always” is definitely the standout amongst Panama’s ten or so recorded tracks, an anthem that could close any set, any day.
I’m sneaking one in this Sunday evening to spotlight a pair of electronic-based artists who find warmth in a many times cold genre.Highlights:
Obey City (8) - Funk-fueled rhythms are spliced and diced, falling off the beat unexpectedly.That anticipation pulls like a rubber band, tensely laying an undercurrent of mystery and grace.
Panama (8) - Mid-tempo dance beats are complimented by droned-down synths on tracks like “How We Feel” and “It’s Not Over”, shading the light within Panama’s music.EDM elements are sampled at will through Panama’s pop filter – this band is accessible to both an indie and club crowd.
OWSLA All Stars (6) – This one is a little hard to rate, but reports called out some OEB favorites like Hundred Waters and What So Not showcased at OWSLA’s SXSW event.Skrillex’s label is on a hot run in 2014 and hopefully the collaborative nature of the OWSLA All Stars leads to some mixed multi-artist studio tracks.
Paper Diamond (5) – Beat maker and EDM collaborator Paper Diamond’s long EP Paragon is fairly minimal for a dance record, letting disco synths and thick bass lines carry the artist’s poppin’ take on House/R&B.Down-tempo trance plays a big part in the record as well, especially succeeding when the beat dissipates.