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Lollapalooza 2014 OEB Spotlight: Kate Nash – “Sister”

 

Pairs Well With…Ida Maria, Lily Allen, Regina Spektor

 

Kate Nash’s 2013 record Girl Talk is a 180 from the quirky piano pop of her breakout early tracks.  Kate Nash of today is a rock artist.  Fuzzy guitars and focused, punk-infused songwriting make Girl Talk the most cohesive statement of Nash’s career.  Personally, the style of her UK hits “Foundations” and “Pumpkin Soup” doesn’t draw much appeal to my ears, though 2010’s My Best Friend Is You’s Motown feels much more natural.  The progression to now is that mighty impressive – it’s rare to even see an artist take such dramatic turns record by record.  Even without a growth perspective, Girl Talk is just a strong record from an on-point rock band and hopefully these songs dominate Nash’s festival gigs this summer.  Kate Nash will perform at Lollapalooza Saturday afternoon, 2:45 on the Bud Light stage.

Lollapalooza 2014 OEB Spotlight: The Airborne Toxic Event – “Hell & Back”

 

Pairs Well With…Arcade Fire, The National, Interpol

 

Since our last check-in with The Airborne Toxic Event, the band has followed up with 2013’s Such Hot Blood, a notably pared back effort from the epic, dramatic nature of their earlier tracks.  That’s not to say the band has abandoned big choruses and heartfelt exclamations, but the relentlessness has receded to allow more space to some nice, cohesive results.  Even better - “Hell And Back”, a one-off that followed from the Dallas Buyer’s Club soundtrack, is honestly one the strongest tracks of The Airborne Toxic Event’s catalog, a bluesy rave that’s a fascinating deviation from the band’s baseline sound.  The band will be performing at Lollapalooza’s The Grove Sunday night at 6:00.  

2013 Review: It’s interesting reading back on my last Airborne Toxic Event write-up, especially given the support the band has received since releasing their sophomore LP All At Once shortly after.  Be on the lookout for their third record to come out in conjunction with their SXSW appearance next year.  From a few early listens stemming from an orchestra-backed show at Red Rocks this summer, look for the band to push more towards a dramatic and sweeping sound, not too unlike The National.

2011 Review: an indie rock band from Los Angeles with an accessible and edgy sound.  The Airborne Toxic Event made some waves in 2008 with their incredibly strong debut self-titled LP.  Since then they’ve steadily built their fanbase to headlining status that is well deserved.  Much like The Black Keys latest album, they find the sweet spot between their indie roots and a mainstream sound that draws both the casual and serious listener in.  Their songs have the energy of a teenage garage rock band, but there is a polish to their sound that shows a great deal of maturity.  They sound very established, which really speaks to their potential in the future.  Since their debut album, The Airborne Toxic Event have taken their music in different directions, including shows with a full orchestra and an acoustic tour.  This really speaks to the strength of their songwriting and their adaptability as musicians.  The band will be at SXSW supporting their anticipated sophomore release All At Once due in April.

Lollapalooza 2014 OEB Spotlight: Kodaline – “One Day”

 

Pairs Well With…Coldplay, Snow Patrol, Tom Odell

 

Pop enough for mainstream, but folksy enough for traditionalists, gentle rock band Kodaline’s In A Perfect World is unrelentingly pretty.  Mostly driven by acoustic picking, piano chords and a bass drum beat, Kodaline’s music stays at a slow, inward pace.  Frontman Steve Garrigan has an epic voice, a timbre that rings in a truthful manner.  Everything here is emotional, even the beat seems to ride a little behind, from the heart rather than the head.  It’s good the band is getting the chance to hit some big festival stages this year – an open air setting is perfect for Kodaline’s full, anthemic sound.  Kodaline is performing at Lollapalooza Friday afternoon, greeting early entrants at 1:30 on the Lake Shore stage.

Lollapalooza 2014 OEB Spotlight: Run the Jewels – “Run the Jewels”

 

Pairs Well With…Killer Mike, El-P, Aesop Rock

 

El-P and Killer Mike’s Run the Jewels live by a sum-of-their-parts predestination, a collaboration that has elevated both rapper/producers to the top of their game.  Killer Mike’s lyrics with Run the Jewels may not be as heavy as R.A.P. Music, but his approach is fierce nonetheless.  El-P’s wordplay doesn’t slouch either, mixing clever twists of language with traditional hip hop forms.  I caught Run the Jewels live last fall and their loose, playful vibe countered brilliantly with the precision of their performance.  These guys could do this in their sleep and they’d still leave a crowd beaming.  Run the Jewels 2 is set for later this year and is previewed by a portion of “Blockbuster Night Part 1” (embedded below), a track that picks up right where the band left off in 2013.  Check out new tracks and more as Run the Jewels take Lollapalooza’s Palladia stage at 3:45 Sunday afternoon.

Lollapalooza 2014 OEB Spotlight: Delta Rae – “If I Loved You” (feat. Lindsey Buckingham)

 

Pairs Well With…Lady Antebellum, The Lumineers, Punch Brothers

 

For what can be categorized a pop country, Delta Rae is uniquely dramatic, a sound that continues to blow strong on the band’s Chasing Twisters EP, a follow-up to 2012’s full-length success Carry the Fire.  The title track bursts with power, like a train that just realized its brakes were cut.  The rest of Chasing Twisters goes for broke, including the witchy “I Will Never Die” and reworks of “Dance in the Graveyards” and “If I Loved You”, the latter now with Lindsey Buckingham providing a big time cameo.  Delta Rae’s tear continues at Lollapalooza this weekend as the band takes the Palladia stage at 1:45 on Sunday.  

2013 Review: Delta Rae’s debut record Carry the Fire is as intense as it is catchy.  Just taken in doses, there are some elements of Delta Rae’s music that falls into saccharin territory, with the harmonies being just a little too sweet.  Underneath, there is a gritty honesty that shines through here and there, moving my radar up to keep listening through.  Delta Rae’s music is accessible and enjoyable, tender and peaceful.  Utilizing four (!) singer-songwriters, Carry the Fire is predictably diverse, but also hit and miss.  From my perspective, it would be great for Delta Rae to commit more all-in to one of directions and the rattling and rousing “Bottom of the River” is by far their strongest angle.

Lollapalooza 2014 OEB Spotlight: Smallpools – “Killer Whales”

 

Pairs Well With…fun., The Mowgli’s, Passion Pit

 

Smallpools are one of those little bands that sparked a fire right out of the gate, reaping the rewards with what must be their biggest performance to date this weekend at Lollapalooza.  While Smallpools has an expectedly fresh sound, they don’t hesitate to go big.  Breakout “Dreaming” still is the nucleus of Smallpools’ music, a soaring pop banger that’s a really nice example of synths and guitars working in fluent harmony.  Their debut LP is four-out-of-four anthems, power pop that understands what makes electronic pop, well, pop.  New track “Killer Whales” doesn’t slow the train, grabbing some 80s dance melodies to fatten Smallpools’ sound.  It’s suggested taking Smallpools in small doses, even more fitting in a festival environment.  Smallpools is consistently upbeat, so moping will not be tolerated if you are walking past their give-it-all gig at Lollapalooza, Saturday at 5:15 at The Grove.

Lollapalooza 2014 OEB Spotlight: Blood Orange – “High Street”

 

Pairs Well With…Twin Shadow, Future Islands, How to Dress Well

 

It’s been a couple years since our support of Blood Orange’s debut Coastal Grooves and it’s an easy to call to say the electronic-R&B-funk-pop musician has stepped it up even further on 2013 breakout Cupid Deluxe.  Every sound is so delicately and precisely placed, best shown in Dev Hynes’ expansive rhythms that are so full and multi-faceted.  The record is more slow-dance than dancefloor, but Blood Oranges’ set is liable to get you moving to with the 70s-style groove of tracks like “You’re Not Good Enough” and “Uncle ACE”.  Catch Blood Orange at Lollapalooza this weekend - 4:45 at The Grove Friday afternoon. 

2012 Review: Blood Orange is the moniker of Dev Hynes (aka Lightspeed Champion), a British musician and songwriter who stands out for mixing many disparate genres into something that works.  Electronic pop, R&B and indie rock are all strongly represented.  His music has a Prince vibe throughout, echoing the highly creative artist’s experimental approach to soul-pop.  He’s truly the full package, touring in a streamlined fashion with just a laptop and a guitar.  Blood Orange has a cool vibe, pairing relaxing beats with funky baseline and a smooth falsetto riding right on top.  It’s experimental while still maintain a rhythm and swagger.  Blood Orange will at SXSW in support of his debut record Coastal Grooves, which was released in August.

Lollapalooza Webcast Schedule
Stacked!

Lollapalooza Webcast Schedule

Stacked!

Real Estate – “Crimes”

 

Pairs Well With…Grizzly Bear, The Pains of Being Pure At Heart, The War on Drugs

 

Somehow, Real Estate pulled off a dramatically fuller sound by subtracting.  Real Estate’s debut and follow-up Days stood out for their density, but it’s evident through the first track, “Hard To Hear”, that the band is letting every note ring – less is more is certainly the case here.  Atlas acts as a dreamy pop album recorded by a rock band, an understated yet weighty achievement.  The pace is slow and meaningful, picking up to a bounce at most.  Atlas is hazy, yet not quite psychedelic.  This middle ground ends up a beautiful listen and its nice to see a talented group of songwriters push over the ‘new buzz band’ hill with such grace.  Real Estate are spending most of the year on the road with a week-long California run in August followed by a European festival run, US club tour and even a couple runs in the UK and South America this fall.

The Range – “Washingtons”

Pairs Well With…Bonobo, Sampha, Four Tet

 

Down-tempo and innovatively patient, The Range’s Nonfiction is a slow burner that uses repetition and build as the cornerstone of its musical statement.  It’s a dramatic one, formed out of nothing to only be engulfed in sound.  Each part of The Range’s music is spotlighted before another layer is added, allowing the ear to hear every texture, so precisely placed.  Avoiding pop, 4/4 forms, The Range takes his cues more from the heart than as a pure technician.  This type of layering likens The Range more to post rock than down-tempo EDM, replacing a traditional band format with pads and keyboards without losing a sense of soul.  The Range has followed up this year with an EP, Panasonic, that focuses more on off-backbeats than the harmonic one of Nonfiction, a pivot with sharper, extroverted results. 

Roosevelt – “Montreal”

 

Pairs Well With…Classixx, Chromeo, Washed Out

 

Electronic producer/performer Roosevelt mixes together dance and pop music like an alien who doesn’t know any better.  Disco beats and synth pulses drive Roosevelt’s 2013 EP Elliot, but the artist’s hushed, yearning vocal takes the four-track effort into unique waters.  Extroverted and introverted melodies play right up against one another and the mix is surprisingly natural.  While this could seep into moody territory at anytime, Roosevelt instead keeps something upbeat within every second.  The final track “Sea” sounds borderline hopeful at times, but in a matter-of-fact rather than a lofty way.  This bridge of indie pop and dance beats puts Roosevelt in at an interesting intersection, a place where fans from both end may multiply right in the middle as Roosevelt preps a full-length due this year.

Post-SXSW 2014 Spreadsheet 153
 
Here’s a little break in our Lollapalooza action this evening for some primo post-SXSW recommendations from the spreadsheet that won’t give up.  Highlights:
 
Real Estate (9) - Atlas acts as a dreamy pop album recorded by a rock band, an understated yet weighty achievement.  The pace is slow and meaningful, picking up to a bounce at most.
The Range (7) - Each part of The Range’s music is spotlighted before another layer is added, allowing the ear to hear every texture, so precisely placed.  Avoiding pop, 4/4 forms, The Range takes his cues more from the heart than as a pure technician.
Roosevelt (7) - Disco beats and synth pulses drive Roosevelt’s 2013 EP Elliot, but the artist’s hushed, yearning vocal takes the four-track effort into unique waters.  Extroverted and introverted melodies play right up against one another and the mix is surprisingly natural.
Rodney Crowell (6) - Texas country veteran Rodney Crowell has looped together Southern pop shine and rootsy songwriting into 2014’s accessible, rambling Tarpaper Sky.  There are a few moments that are relatively sparse (“God I’m Missing You”, “Famous Last Words of a Fool in Love”) and hit the gut as hard as Crowell’s classic catalog.
Roky Erikson and the Hounds of Baskerville (6) – Roky Erikson is another Texas legend, but of a whole different sort.  His 70s and 80s psychedelic rock work holds up in 2014 as Erikson takes his gothic, grungy tones on the road with his five-piece, the Hounds of Baskerville.
Real Magic (5) – Dramatic synth tones drive Real Magic’s debut record Deep Breathing.  Heavy and thick, Deep Breathing takes an 80s new wave sound and twists it into something new.
The Reverend Kathy Russell (5) – Austin mainstay and innovative DJ The Reverend Kathy Russell deals in jungle break-beats and hip hop swerves, good times all around.

Ricoshei (5) – I could only dig up a one-minute preview of an original Ricoshei track, but the dark and stormy electronic pop song “Perfect Like You” had enough emotional heft to it wonder if the LA duo has more up their sleeves than down-tempo House mixes.

Post-SXSW 2014 Spreadsheet 153

 

Here’s a little break in our Lollapalooza action this evening for some primo post-SXSW recommendations from the spreadsheet that won’t give up.  Highlights:

 

Real Estate (9) - Atlas acts as a dreamy pop album recorded by a rock band, an understated yet weighty achievement.  The pace is slow and meaningful, picking up to a bounce at most.

The Range (7) - Each part of The Range’s music is spotlighted before another layer is added, allowing the ear to hear every texture, so precisely placed.  Avoiding pop, 4/4 forms, The Range takes his cues more from the heart than as a pure technician.

Roosevelt (7) - Disco beats and synth pulses drive Roosevelt’s 2013 EP Elliot, but the artist’s hushed, yearning vocal takes the four-track effort into unique waters.  Extroverted and introverted melodies play right up against one another and the mix is surprisingly natural.

Rodney Crowell (6) - Texas country veteran Rodney Crowell has looped together Southern pop shine and rootsy songwriting into 2014’s accessible, rambling Tarpaper Sky.  There are a few moments that are relatively sparse (“God I’m Missing You”, “Famous Last Words of a Fool in Love”) and hit the gut as hard as Crowell’s classic catalog.

Roky Erikson and the Hounds of Baskerville (6) – Roky Erikson is another Texas legend, but of a whole different sort.  His 70s and 80s psychedelic rock work holds up in 2014 as Erikson takes his gothic, grungy tones on the road with his five-piece, the Hounds of Baskerville.

Real Magic (5) – Dramatic synth tones drive Real Magic’s debut record Deep Breathing.  Heavy and thick, Deep Breathing takes an 80s new wave sound and twists it into something new.

The Reverend Kathy Russell (5) – Austin mainstay and innovative DJ The Reverend Kathy Russell deals in jungle break-beats and hip hop swerves, good times all around.

Ricoshei (5) – I could only dig up a one-minute preview of an original Ricoshei track, but the dark and stormy electronic pop song “Perfect Like You” had enough emotional heft to it wonder if the LA duo has more up their sleeves than down-tempo House mixes.

Lollapalooza 2014 OEB Spotlight: Wildcat! Wildcat! – “Holloway (Hey Love)”

 

Pairs Well With… Passion Pit, Alt-J, M-83

 

Wildcat! Wildcat!’s lead singles from their upcoming debut full-length No Moon at All (due 8/5) are the real deal.  “Hero” is a pulsing synth-rock track has a hushed, yet epic nature.  “Holloway (Hey Love)” is an even more accomplished track, spaced out melodies twisting through a joyous march.  Wildcat! Wildcat! take a huge pop sound and then cut it in half, pulling back to not be abrasive to an indie ear.  Sick stuff.  Wildcat! Wildcat! have an early afternoon slot at Lollapalooza, Saturday at 1:30 on the Lake Shore stage, one of many reasons to spot up early at these big tent festivals. 

2013 Review: With only a triplet of released tracks floating around the web, Wildcat! Wildcat! are brimming with potential leading into SXSW.  The Los Angeles based trio builds their songs both organically and electronically, reaching towards a pulsing pop sound.  This isn’t quite radio-friendly material, rather Wildcat! Wildcat! focuses on inventive melodies and diversions with an experimental eye towards songwriting.  Their introverted style is similar to Passion Pit – you could beat your head to the beat or take a closer listen to discover a fully formed composition.  Dance pop, reggae, ambience and indie rock all take their turns within each track.  Wildcat! Wildcat! is the most interesting electronic-based artist I’ve reviewed so far (note: Lucas covers many of these), so I’m really hoping they can translate this well to the stage at SXSW.

SXSW/Lollapalooza 2014 Crossover Artists – OEB’s Sunday’s Picks
 
Rounding the band on our Lollapalooza pre-coverage, over ten bands gigging at Lollapalooza Sunday also drew a top recommendation write-up from OEB for SXSW 2014.  This actually covers most of the day, so here’s a good start for planning a festival route across Grant Park this day.
The rest of the week will see new recommendations from OEB for this year’s Lollapalooza, after which we’ll head west to San Francisco’s Outside Lands Festival.
 
Sunday
12:15 – Kongos - Palladia
1:00 - Gemini Club – The Grove
2:15 - NONONO – The Grove
3:00 - London Grammar – Lake Shore
3:30 – RAC – The Grove
4:45 – Chromeo – Bud Light
5:30 – Flosstradamus – Perry’s
6:45 - Childish Gambino – Bud Light
6:50 - Bronze Radio Return - BMI
7:15 - Young the Giant – Lake Shore

8:30 - Chance the Rapper – Perry’s

SXSW/Lollapalooza 2014 Crossover Artists – OEB’s Sunday’s Picks

 

Rounding the band on our Lollapalooza pre-coverage, over ten bands gigging at Lollapalooza Sunday also drew a top recommendation write-up from OEB for SXSW 2014.  This actually covers most of the day, so here’s a good start for planning a festival route across Grant Park this day.

The rest of the week will see new recommendations from OEB for this year’s Lollapalooza, after which we’ll head west to San Francisco’s Outside Lands Festival.

 

Sunday

12:15 – Kongos - Palladia

1:00 - Gemini Club – The Grove

2:15 - NONONO – The Grove

3:00 - London Grammar – Lake Shore

3:30 – RAC – The Grove

4:45 – Chromeo – Bud Light

5:30 – Flosstradamus – Perry’s

6:45 - Childish Gambino – Bud Light

6:50 - Bronze Radio Return - BMI

7:15 - Young the Giant – Lake Shore

8:30 - Chance the Rapper – Perry’s

Lollapalooza 2014 OEB Spotlight: Jhene Aiko – “The Pressure”

 

Pairs Well With…Alicia Keys, Banks, Rhianna

 

It’s hard at this point to imagine that Jhene Aiko’s upcoming debut full-length will score a growing fanbase.  Hip hop, pop and chillwave ideas blend into a contemporary R&B foundation in Aiko’s music.  She’s really accessible, but still nakedly personal – a sick combination that works with Aiko’s songwriting.  If Aiko sings a pop hook, melodies underneath will be foreign and mysterious, and vice versa.  She’s teamed up with No I.D. and his Cocaine 80s squad for production throughout the record, one that has already been previewed in spirit with last year’s transitional EP Sail Out.  Jhene Aiko has found some perfect gigs this year opening for both Drake and The Weeknd, both of which align well with her sound and presence, forgoing coordinated dance moves for honest, soul-baring performances.  Jhene Aiko opens up the Samsung Galaxy stage at Lollapalooza Sunday at 12:45.