As my musical taste has expanded, I’ve been trying to hit up some of the slightly more off the beaten path festivals that are out there, having been to many of the mega festivals already. So this year, a few of us decided we were going to head to the Jersey shore, more specifically Asbury Park, to check out one of the much lauded festivals thrown by All Tomorrow’s Parties. This would be the inaugural US version of the I’ll Be Your Mirror festival and this time it was curated by none other than Portishead and it had a vibe unlike any festival I’ve been to before. If you aren’t familiar, the festival organizers essentially give the headliners, in this case Portishead, a budget and the band actually selects several of the acts that play for the weekend.
The Paramount Theater, Convention Hall, Asbury Lanes and The Berkeley Hotel served as the venues, all conveniently within walking distance of each other, and hosted an extremely diverse set of bands over the three days. In this case, there really was something for everyone (check out the full lineup here). In addition to Portishead’s two headlining spots on Saturday and Sunday, Jeff Mangum also played two highly anticipated solo sets in the Paramount Theater. I went into the festival only knowing about 25% of the acts and didn’t see one set I didn’t love all weekend.
One of the more interesting facets of the fest is that there aren’t really any VIPs — that is, the artists mix and mingle with the crowd just like the rest of us. It creates an atmosphere where everyone is comfortable talking to one another and I met more great people than I have at any other festival, including many of my favorite artists. Even though Asbury Park is not the greatest area in the world outside of the shore, the boardwalk is great and the venues felt just perfect for a festival like this one. For many of us, the nights ended with dance parties as Asbury Lanes, one of the coolest bowling alleys around thats got a great vibe and is bursting at the seams with art from local artists, with a stage occupying the central lanes while festival goers bowled on either side. But like I like to do, instead of talking about it, just check out a ton of pictures from the weekend after the jump.
Hey kids, it’s Chris from dailybeatz.com here with a special guest post for my boy The Music Ninja as he drives from Florida to Texas with no cd player or ipod connection, suffering through each painful minute with nothing more than FM radio to keep him company. I sent this track to him last night because I thought he would go crazy over it, and sure enough he did. It’s from M+A, the Italian duo of Michele Ducci, 19, and Alessandro Degli Angioli, 22 and is one of the more interesting tracks I’ve heard in a while. The song is very sample based, but the samples are of keys, horns, harps, etc which makes for a really great sound all over a nice beat with some incomprehensible vocals thrown in to complete the circle. This track is from their upcoming album things.yes out this November. Hopefully we get to hear a little more from them before that.
A bunch of people remixed some Porcelain Raft songs, including this totally chill, totally headphone-worthy (for the full effect) Memoryhouse remix. And I can’t deny the Pierce & Pierce take on “Talk To Me”, with its quick beat and hand claps right on top of long, melting chords. But for real, I really liked every single one of these remixes. You can download them all for free here. Big ups to Acephale for a steady streak of pretty good releases.
This past Tuesday night I had the pleasure of checking out Ellie Goulding at the Royal Oak Music Theater here in Royal Oak, MI, just outside of Detroit. I’d seen her at Coachella so was excited to catch a proper gig of hers, and was even more excited when I found out Aussie electro-dance duo Bag Raiders would be starting out the night. Their set was 10x more energetic than I imagined it would be and thankfully the crowd was responding appropriately. I took a bunch of pictures of them, but thanks to my lack of checking my shutter speed, they were all blurry.
Luckily, I remedied that issue before the lovely Ellie Goulding took the stage. She came out wearing shorts showing off those runner’s legs of hers and some sort of military inspired coat which she quickly shed as the show went on. Her set was even more enjoyable than the last time I’d seen her as the whole crowd was there just to see her. Even though her tunes are all pretty dance-inspired, she did slow things down in the middle to play a few of her slower tunes, including her now famous cover of “Your Song”. The show ended with her signature “Starry Eyed”, and to save us all a few obvious puns, we all walked out into the rain with tired legs and smiles on our faces. It’s only a matter of time before she’s a household name in the states just like she’s become overseas.
If you’ve ever heard any tunes by those merry music makers Gobble Gobble, then you probably would not be that surprised if you were to find out that this track from Purity Ring was brought to us by some of the same folks responsible for Gobble Gobble’s awesome/experimental/beat heavy sounds. As it turns out, this is the project of Corin from Gobble Gobble and Megan James (who may or may not have been an original member of the band). But even without knowing anything about that band, this track still holds its own all on its own. Its one of those tracks where all the music is made up of perfectly placed samples of who knows what that all work in perfect harmony with each other. Add in James’ lovely vocals and you’ve got yourself a really nice, glitchy and creative song that at its heart is way less experimental than it first may appear, thanks to it’s fantastic execution.
When you first hear of a band named DREAMS, you’re likely to think that it’s going to be soft and flowing and that it could possibly put you to sleep. But Portugal’s DREAMS is anything but what you might think. It is hazy and flowing, but there’s a really great beat and a little bit of a psychedelic aspect that keeps these songs completely fresh and upbeat. “Don’t Leave Me” is a tune that doesn’t really make a ton of sense at first, but once you hit the halfway point, everything comes together perfectly when the beat finally kicks in for the first time. We’ve also included the slightly more straightforward but still like a dream. But, the kind of dream where you are at an awesome party with really great music. If you like these tunes, make sure to check out the Forgotten Thoughts EP being released digitally in the states on January 18.
Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs is Orlando Higginbottom, the oft headress-laden producer responsible for some of the freshest electronic sounds I’ve heard this year. My first taste was his low key “Garden”, a song that when I first heard it just felt like, for lack of a better term, a breath of fresh air. It’s tough for me to describe his music without using the word fresh, but with newer tunes like “Household Goods”, I think it’s a pretty justified description. The minimalist start of the song is a really nice contrast to the rest of the tune which gets a lot bigger and more complicated but never over the top. I don’t really have an official list of artists to watch in 2011, but if TEED keeps it up at this pace, I have a feeling it’s going to be tough not to watch him.