Tag Archives: KXUA

KXUA Abroad: Rocking the block at Capital Hill Block Party 2014

This year’s Block Party was a genuinely cool fest, and a buzzing success—to a ratable, visible extent. As can be anticipated in any large music festival, some acts fell short (A$AP Rocky), while others exceed expectations and fucking kill (Angel Olsen). The sun was out, water guns streaming from balconies over the streets, all degrees and ages of stoners present, and tons of great food and handy booze within eyesight—the party was well prepared.

The crowd was a mix of UW student—lots of mom shorts and cute little girls, fun parents with ear-budded babies; probably 45% hipster (that’s a rough estimate). Apparently the festival was never sold out over the three-day weekend; however, each day North Pike St. filled around the main stage for the day’s biggest name; while off-center acts’ crowds remained manageable and pretty dope.

Café Vita Coffee Roasters put on a badass showcase – Café Vita’s Endsessions – with acts like Spoon, Duke Evers, and Iska Dhaaf, and War On Drugs each day, usually featuring two or three shows, often fit in before the group’s show at a festival stage. So, good work, Café Vita –way to be cool.

Matt and Kim. Coming from a non-fan of the pair, Matt and Kim had a pretty rad party. Both members of the act make a point to interact, and to a pretty cheesy extent, entertain the audience, rather than engross them in music. Matt jokes and Kim danced and shakes her ass for the crowd—not to be misogynistic, this actually happens. Lots of tiny girls ran through the crowds naturally, forced like veins moving oxygen toward the front of the stage, to feed the band’s energy. And acts like Matt and Kim do well to get people moving and give off a “fuck-it” fun vibe—girls move, guys move; it’s a party.

A$AP Rocky was the festival finale, and unfortunately so. He spent the majority of the show jumping up and down to other artists’ songs, rarely spitting out any verses; instead, yelling out the hooks of songs. The streets filled and walking became the sort of annoying game it becomes when more people dancing than standing still or walking. Some people still looked excited when the show was over, while most rubbed their ears and probably shrugged, “A damn shame – maybe A$AP’s just better at home.”

Angel Olsen rocked out, hitting strings slightly harder than much of the material from her album. The band seemed to have a good time playing, although it could be said that Angel wasn’t as engrossed a host as she could have been, limiting the small talk and joking with the crowd. Can’t complain though, Angel Olsen rules and she backed up her music by not skipping a beat live.

War on Drugs put on a big-feeling show. Lit up from an overhead sun, the hot street filled with hands-in-pocket hipsters and some late-arrival attendees who most likely meandered to the first, biggest sound on the street. Like a Tom Petty or Neil Young show, War on Drugs played and dressed the part—hitting long, country-tinged notes and rolling drum beats like any good driving song has. The band played late afternoon and as the sun set, continued until dark, playing for nearly two and a half hours. Sadly, the sun and the Saturday drunk-kid crowd dampened the attitude in the audience—as I had to do the “proud shoulders” move to keep a few kids from falling over, through me. Finally a few fading teenagers left, to be replaced by a couple of guys who clearly didn’t listen to War on Drugs, and clearly didn’t come to the show to begin. They just started talking and dancing to some far away DJ set in the middle of the street. Fuckers.

Spoon was the biggest name at the festival, no doubt. Their show was a nice mix of old hits (“The Way We Get By”) with some newer stuff from Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga like “Underdog” and ish, then some new sounds from their alum—which was released today, August 4th. The new album seems to be mostly praised for it’s Spoon-ish style, sort of bumpy-pop with some wrenching singing.

Lots of local bands and other national indie groups played pretty awesome shows, many in smaller venues with great areas and bars. Gaythiest was a metal triplet from Portland, nearly all of their songs coming in under two minutes, fast and screaming. They played a quick fun set at Nuemos on Saturday. As The Stranger put it, the band won the Best Band Name award. Duke Evers, another triplet—though from Seattle—played for Café Vita’s Endsessions Saturday. Duke Evers seems somehow like a West Coast version of Smith Westerns, maybe loosened up a little.

See also: Dum Dum Girls, Iska Dhaaf, Katie Kate, Country Lips.

- Drew Tully and Cole Fite | Contributing Bloggers

 

KXUA Abroad: Prepping for Capitol Hill Block Party

Capitol Hill Block Party seems to be a true indie music festival. Maybe like a smaller Pitchfork Music Festival (maybe not so silently self-contented?). Basically CHBP seeks to generate a small congregation, or concentration, of the Seattle vibe—progress and community. Running annually since 1997—a fundamental period in Seattle’s music scene—the CHBP has bolstered its foundation in the Capitol Hill neighborhood.

Our ethics and esthetic are liberal and DIY. CHBP is the only independently owned festival of its size, and we strive to break out, propel and inspire new talent. We are a community-conscious organization and also run a non-profit called Sound Culture. (capitolhillblockparty.com)

CHBP’s 2014 line-up appears to be pretty on the level. There are the generally underground local artists; some dope small (but emerging) artists; and the indie-ish headliners (not a derogatory distinction). Of course there are then the dozens of artists who comprise the “more than 100 local and national artists” lineup.

Headliners include household names such as Spoon, A$AP Rocky, Chromeo, Matt and Kim; cool lesser-known acts like Angel Olsen, War On Drugs, RAC, Dum Dum Girls, and A$AP Ferg.

For the weekend of July 25, 26, and 27, I plan on taking off the from West Lake Union, taking a walk around the water, and climbing the hill to the 6-block area of the CHBP Festival. Over the course of the festival I’m going to want to see a long list of acts.

My short list:

Angel Olsen

Angel Olsen at NPR
Angel Olsen at NPR

Sunday 2:45 | Main Stage

Indie/Folk/ Pop singer from St. Missouri, MO, Angel Olsen is a ghostly, transient voice. Before signing to Jagjaguwar Records, Olsen backed up artists like Bonnie “Prince” Billy, and Wilco’s Leroy Bach on guitar. On her first full-length album with Jagjaguwar, Olsen’s lyrics divulge some trace of folky, plainspoken sentimentality; meanwhile her pacing, droning, and soft wailing guitar riffs exceed humaneness. Olsen sings of love and loss of love with a beachy angst and bleakness. The singer belongs to a small number of female acts whose attitude and temperament seem entirely apart of every sung word.

The War On Drugs

Lost In The Dream album cover art
Lost In The Dream album cover art

Sunday 6:30, Main Stage

The War on Drugs is an American indie rock band from Philadelphia, PA. The band puts out cuts with smooth, slowly rounded drums, guitar and piano riffs like they were Journey or Genesis. Not in a bad or cheesy way (maybe sometimes cheesy, but good-cheesy). Lost in the Dream (released December 2013 from Secretly Canadian) is the bands second studio album since Kurt Vile left the band. The band definitely has a sound that reflects Vile’s influence, or at least is comparable to Vile’s blunt, often brash nature. Lost in the Dream is a nearly perfect end-of-summer album—nostalgic and hypnotizing with its echoing, tinged descriptions of moon-lit nights.

Chromeo

Chromeo kicking it with youredm.com
Chromeo kicking it with youredm.com

Saturday 11:00, Main Stage

Electronic-funk outfit Chromeo are a keyboard-heavy, Montreal-based pair comprised by David Macklovitch and Patrick Gemayel. Macklovitch, who is the soulful singer of the two, is Jewish and Gemayel is Arab—a fact that both members joke about, remarking that they are “the first successful Arab/Jewish partnership since the dawn of human culture.” Active since 2002, Chromeo is a fairly common name in indie music fests and electro-funk line-ups. The group’s hardcore treatment of bass and synth lends itself to Daft Punk-type dance tunes. However, the humor of Chromeo is hard to miss—lines about girls’ small breasts, sexualized female legs for keyboard stands. Chromeo is like a friendly middle finger to ballads and lonely singer-songwriter music, poking you to jump and dance. Get down.

-Drew Tully | Contributing Blogger

KXUA Abroad: Bonnaroo Recap 2014

2014 marked the 13th anniversary for the Bonnaroo Music and Arts festival in Manchester, TN. With nearly 100,000 attendees and fans from all over the world, it’s best to assume that this festival is really something amazing. I finally got to the festival around 4:30 in the afternoon on Thursday, just in time for Robert DeLong to take the stage at “The Other Tent”. As one of my most anticipated acts, he put on an incredible show. Obviously after closing with “Global Concepts” I was literally jumping up and down and ready for the long and packed weekend. Next on the list was Cass McCombs, who also put on a great show. I sat for this one, but that was only because Thursday night meant Real Estate, Cherub, The Weeks, Omar Souleyman, White Denim, and Ty Segall. One thing worth noting is that on Thursday, the big stages are not open. So that means almost 100,000 people divided up into 3 tents. Expectedly, things got crowded very quickly, especially at “That Tent.” As soon as the Real Estate show ended, everyone pushed forward and went crazy because Cherub was up next. Being from Nashville and having the reputation of being a party band, “That Tent” was packed and my movements felt like I was completely at the mercy of the crowd. Again, this show was amazing and proved to actually be one of my highlights from the entire weekend. The Weeks put on an excellent show at the Sonic Stage, which typically only brings about 20-50 fans. I then ran back to That Tent to catch Omar Souleyman and White Denim and I must say that both shows were fun, energetic and left me wishing that they had played even longer. I ended Thursday with Ty Segall, a true icon of modern rock. Naturally, it was the perfect ending to the first night at Bonnaroo.

Day two started around mid-day with St. Paul and The Broken Bones at The Other Tent. One common theme that I found at this festival was how emotional so many of the artists were to finally be playing at Bonnaroo. Paul Janeway, the lead singer of St. Paul and the Broken Bones, even shed a tear after playing “Broken Bones and Pocket Change.” I stuck around The Other Tent because next up was the emerging talent, Sam Smith. What an incredible voice. And on top of his original works, he also managed to cover Artic Monkeys’ “Do I Wanna Know?” After that, I then saw a few songs by Jake Bugg, but was quickly dragged away after my brother heard a song by a band from Ukraine known as Dakhabrakha. That show was not only surprisingly good, but it was actually amazing. After stopping by Silent Disco, The Naked and The Famous, Andrew Bird and The Hands of Glory, Vampire Weekend, and Phoenix, I waited on the Rail at The Other Tent for nearly two hours for what would prove to be an incredible, loud, bass-drive, head-pounding show by Disclosure. And after thirty minutes of a spectacular spectacle by Skrillex, I was ready to call it a night.

Day three started once again at The Other Tent who’s “All You’re Waiting For” will absolutely make you dance wherever you are. I then wandered over to This Tent to hear one of my absolute all-time favorites, First Aid Kit. And as I expected, those Swedish Folk singers were absolutely amazing. Being sisters, their vocal harmonies were very powerful and legitimately gave me goose bumps. I then went to see a number of other shows including Cage the Elephant, Damon Albarn, Cayucas, Chromeo, Cut Copy, and James Blake. And honestly, none of the shows were less than amazing. The big headliner of Saturday was the genius himself, Jack White. After absolutely shredding and putting on one of the best shows I’ve ever seen, including a six song encore, I quickly hurried over to That Tent to hear Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Shortly after a stop at Frank Ocean, I decided to call it a night, and prepare for my last day of the festival.

Day four was a bittersweet day because there were so many incredible shows again to see, but it brought the sadness of being done with the festival. The first show of the day was a combination of Vance Joy and Lake Street Dive. After going back and forth between both venues, I decided to head over to the Sonic Stage for a short set by the Icelandic, Asgeir. After that was a decision to head over to What Stage in order to get a good spot for Yonder Mountain String Band, and a really great spot for the Arctic Monkeys. Fortunately, I was able to work my way to the very front of the crowd for Arctic Monkeys and I can honestly say that that show was remarkable. It feels that with every album, Alex Turner carries a different persona. Currently he is stuck in the smug rock star phase, and that was absolutely prevalent during this show. One of my favorite things about the Arctic Monkeys is that despite all the other lights and graphics during most of the shows at the festival, Arctic Monkeys is a straight forward and in your face rock band who relied on their music to amaze us rather than their lights and flashiness. After arctic monkeys was a quick stop at Shovels & Rope, and then onto Syd Arthur. Syd Arthur played a short set, but was excellent in their jazzy psychedelic way. After that I went to Which Stage to hear a bit of Broken Bells and then headed back to What Stage in order to hear The Avett Brothers, who put on a seriously great show as well. To finish out the night, I stopped by Ed Helms’ Blue Grass Situation and Wild Child before finally going back, yet again, to What Stage for the legendary Elton John. The iconic Englishman put on the perfect ending to what was an absolutely amazing festival, closing with “crocodile rock”. Bonnaroo was truly an incredible experience that will take forever to get here and is gone in an instant. All we can do at this point is remember how great every moment was and start looking forward to next year’s Bonnaroo!

- Ben Fly | KXUA DJ & Contributing Blogger

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Ben Fly. The man himself.
Ben Fly. The man himself.

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The famous Bonnaroo arch

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Damon Albarn
Damon Albarn

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First Aid Kit

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Classixx

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Sam Smith
Sam Smith

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IMG_1899All photo credits go to Ben Fly.

 

KXUA: SXSW Photo Recap 2014

If you are into music, chances are you have probably heard of SXSW. It is a glorious time of year when the music industry descends upon Austin.  For older artists, it is a great way to connect with younger, festival-going generations, labels, and your fellow artists. For up-and-coming artists, SXSW provides an outlet to share their music to all who are within earshot.

Over the years, the SXSW has drastically affected countless acts, making it a music-industry-mecca, of sorts.

Check back this week for a post of video highlights and to see interviews with artists, including Phantogram, Miami Horror, Mas Ysa, Royal Canoe, Milagres, Classixx, Speak, UME, and many more.

Follow us on Twitter for more SXSW recaps: @KXUA

If you would like a first-person account of SXSW, listen to a recording with the 808 Underboss of Indie Dancefloor here.

Photo credit: Joseph Noga

1221 at Spotify House

 

2. Phantogram at Spotify House
Phantogram at Spotify House

Phantogram at Spotify House
Phantogram at Spotify House

 

Phantogram at Spotify House
Phantogram at Spotify House

Charli xcx at Spotify House
Charli xcx at Spotify House

Charli xcx at SXSW

Rob Delong
Rob Delong

Rob Delong
Rob Delong

Ms Mr
Ms Mr

Ms Mr
Ms Mr

Royal Teeth
Royal Teeth

UME
UME

UME
UME

Hurray For The Riff Raff
Hurray For The Riff Raff

Hurray For The Riff Raff
Hurray For The Riff Raff

 

Charli xcx
Charli xcx

Jamestown Revival
Jamestown Revival

Glass Animals
Glass Animals

Glass Animals
Glass Animals

Kins
Kins

 

Sam Smith
Sam Smith

Phantogram
Phantogram

Roosevelt
Roosevelt

Roosevelt
Roosevelt

 

Roosevelt
Roosevelt

Jerome LOL
Jerome LOL

Jerome LOL
Jerome LOL

Mark McGuire
Mark McGuire

Mark McGuire
Mark McGuire

Future Islands
Future Islands

Classixx
Classixx

Classixx
Classixx

Milagres
Milagres

Milagres
Milagres

Jagwar Ma
Jagwar Ma

Jagwar Ma
Jagwar Ma

Royal Canoe
Royal Canoe

Mas Ysa
Mas Ysa

Mas Ysa
Mas Ysa

Phantogram
Phantogram

Phantogram
Phantogram

Sleigh Bells
Sleigh Bells

Sleigh Bells
Sleigh Bells

Miami Horror
Miami Horror

Danny Brown
Danny Brown