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Song of the Day – “Pulse” by Shigeto

08/20/2015

Yesterday was a great day in my world. Michigan-based artist Shigeto announced a new EP and released the first track, “Pulse.” Starting off as an epilogue to 2013’s No Better Time Than Now, the track carries you from one musical world to another over seven sparsely lush minutes, hinting at Tropicália with its polyrhythms.

Shigeto’s music was introduced to me by his brother, himself an incredible artist and (then) barista at Detroit’s ineffable Astro Coffee. He suggested we check out his set at Movement, the electronic music festival the city hosts. Since then, No Better Time  has been a mainstay of The Soundtrack Of My Life. Released on Ghostly International, (a home he shares with Matthew Dear, Fort Romeau, Tycho & Phantogram among others), the album has kept Zach Saginaw busy hustling and experimenting with new sounds and performance styles. (He’s always played his drums live, but is bringing a full live band with him most recently). Through it all, the pulse remains the same. His is solitary music. Thinking music. Intensely creative. His Ghostly bio describes it perfectly:

These releases are nominally indebted to instrumental hip-hop but, like Zach, straddling many worlds at once. Cool shades of ambient music, stuttering early IDM, dubstep sub-bass, and jazz melodicism color Shigeto’s palette, which he wields with a painterly attention to detail.

The 6-song EP, Intermission, called by Saginaw “a halftime of sorts” between albums, is due out October 30th. I’m just throwing it out to The Universe that he should bring it to San Francisco. Please, Universe.

Check “Pulse” out below and let us know what you think.

Press photo by Jon DeCola

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Because They’re Fucking Rad: A Review of Day Wave @ The Phoenix Hotel

08/18/2015

Earlier this month, Day Wave played a poolside show at the legendary Phoenix Hotel. Put on by Noise Pop and Boing Boing, and billed as the GOOD MEASURE tour, the band was touring in support of their recently released (and inaugural) EP, Headcase – a five song ditty from a five piece band, headed by Jackson Phillips of Oakland. Some of you might remember the band Carousel, which included current guitarist Kevin Friedman and was the impetus for Day Wave.

I’ve been excited to see this band for a while. If you’ve been paying close attention, we’ve covered them before. Well, a couple of times. And there’s a reason for that. There’s a reason they’ll be heading out on tour with Albert Hammond Junior soon, because they’re fucking rad, that’s why. Read More

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Outside Lands 2015: A Weird Slice of San Francisco Wrapped in a 3 Day Music Festival

08/12/2015

This week I woke up sore and happy. After the pain of three days of music, friends, and even a little sun from time to time, I sat down to the monumental task of writing about Outside Lands. Like my thoughts on most things San Francisco, there is a lot more gray area than concrete opinions.

The festival brings together many of the things that make San Francisco amazing. There is food from local vendors, Northern California craft beer, wine, live art and of course music. But this isn’t a utopia and there were a lot of reminders of the current excesses of the Bay. For starters, everything is branded; notorious meal replacement startup Soylent even had a booth. The crowd skews toward the younger, less diverse tech scene, and like at Dolores Park, my soul hurt seeing all the trash around the park. (Thank you Outside Lands clean up teams.) This is 2015, so of course there was a police scandal when SFPD targeted and detaining local act Fantastic Negrito for allegedly selling a wristband.

At the end of the day, what makes or breaks a music festival is the caliber of music, and how it compares to Coachella (half joking, but this happens every year). Photographer Pedro Paredes-Haz and I set out to discover the best, most surprising acts of Outside Lands. If you are just looking for the good stuff stop reading now and go check out Pedro’s photos:
Friday
Saturday
Sunday

I always make a plan for Outside Lands, but I have found that you have to allow space to discover the acts you would never see on your own. Last year that meant Big Freedia and this year it meant… well, Big Freedia again. New rule, no Outside Lands without Big Freedia. After 3 days, a few beers and several miles of ground covered the following list appeared to me on golden tablets that I could only read with magic spectacles. Read More

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The Suffers Prove that ACTUALLY, Tuesdays are the New Friday

08/10/2015

While San Francisco always finds a good reason to party, most people don’t think of Tuesday night as the prime time to do it. The Suffers, a 10-piece feel-good ensemble from Houston, TX, might have just changed that with their blistering set at Slim’s on Tuesday. They’re pioneering a sound they call “Gulf Coast Soul”, an eclectic combination of influences including (you ready??) old-school American soul, rock-n-roll, blues, Caribbean & Cajun styles, and even a dash of hip-hop. After their first-ever SF show back in February at Amnesia, the band has gained a lot of momentum (and a lot of followers), with coverage in multiple national outlets, and a highly-coveted appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman.

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Photos: Outside Lands 2015 Day Three Feat. Elton John, Benjamin Booker, Caribou + Many More

08/10/2015

Although our feet and brains were exhausted from three jam packed days of music, we were sad to see this years Outside Lands Music Festival come to an end Sunday. Elton Johns two hour set of crowd favorites was a great way to end the festival.

While we all wait for next year’s festival check out some great pictures from our photographer Pedro Paredes-Haz.

Artists featured include:

  • Benjamin Booker
  • Sky Ferreira
  • Dan Deacon
  • Caribou
  • Elton John

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Outside Lands Night Show: Win Butler, aka DJ Windows 98 at Rickshaw Stop

08/09/2015

Thursday night, at the Rickshaw Stop, a figure appeared on stage whose identity was concealed by a suit of mirrors. The light shined off of this character, making him a human disco ball. As the crowd gathered to the front, assuming that it was Win Butler, aka DJ Windows 98, whom they were watching, Butler stealthily appeared at a less conspicuous location near the back of the dance floor. Butler’s DJ table was hardly noticeable with such an eye-catching figure on the main stage, but it was “just a Reflektor.” Only those close by realized the deception at first, but as word spread, the crowd around DJ Windows 98 grew.

The music was a mix of hip hop, world music, and 80’s hits, with memorable tracks like Juvenile’s “Back That Azz Up,” Stevie Nicks’ “Edge of Seventeen,” a slowed down version of Outkast’s “Hey Ya,” and Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough.” Most of the songs were accompanied by Butler’s cowbell or tambourine. Some of the crowd made their way onto the main stage briefly before getting the boot, while others squeezed to get as close to Butler as they could. The atmosphere was similar to a college house party; very laid back and intimate vibe but with enough dancing to satiate even the wildest party animal.

The evening was a proper way to kick off the Outside Lands festivities. If you couldn’t make it to the festival, hopefully you got to check out some of the night shows this weekend. If they were anything like the party DJ Windows 98 threw, you surely had a blast.

Photos by Leticia Molina

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Photos: Outside Lands 2015 Day Two Feat. Kendrick Lamar, Tame Impala, Billy Idol + Many More

08/09/2015

I hope you remembered to put on sunscreen Saturday because against all odds it was actually pretty hot. Taking advantage of the perfect August weather were some of today’s biggest acts across multiple genres.

The highlight for us was King Kendrick and our photographer Pedro Paredes-Haz got up close and took some great pictures of acts:

  • Hurray for the Riff Raff
  • MisterWives
  • Langhorne Slim
  • Mac Demarco
  • Django Django
  • Angus & Julia Stone
  • Billy Idol
  • Tame Impala
  • Classixx
  • Kendrick Lamar

Check out the photos and see if you can find yourself in the crowd! Read More

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Photos: Outside Lands 2015 Day One Feat D’Angelo, St Vincent, Wilco + Many More

08/08/2015

Friday was a perfect start to Outside Lands 2015. Perfect weather and a great mix of new artists and old favorites.

Our photographer Pedro Paredes-Haz was there to capture all our favorite acts of the day including:

  • Natalie Prass
  • Lake Street Dive
  • Leon Bridges
  • First Aid Kit
  • St Vincent
  • Wilco
  • Chet Faker
  • D’Angelo and The Vanguard
  • Crazy pictures of you

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Ratatat Proves Mondays are the New Friday With High Energy Show at Regency Ballroom

08/05/2015

On August 3rd, Ratatat made sure that everyone forgot that it was a Monday. The Brooklyn-based duo consisting of Mike Stroud and Evan Mast had planned on performing at the Regency Ballroom two days prior, until a broken down tour bus forced them to postpone. The assumption that a Monday show would bring a lower energy crowd was instantly dashed the moment the lights dimmed. Ratatat transformed the Regency Ballroom into a place far removed from a mundane work week.

Along with Ratatat, the tour included New York-based rapper Despot. His demeanor and commentary were intentionally and amusingly bleak. “My name is Despot. I am a rapper. Here is a rap song” was his introduction, and then he proceeded to rap. On the verge of releasing his first studio album, he revealed that most of the tracks on the album, and in his performance, were produced by Ratatat. The crowd was definitely feeling the fusion of Ratatat jams and East Coast rap.

Ratatat’s set began with an empty stage and a slowly building guitar riff that climaxed in a blast of blinding white light. Before vision could return to normal, Stroud and Mast were onstage, opening with “Pricks of Brightness.” As the show progressed, the energy of the crowd rose quickly, as did the temperature. The Regency Ballroom soon became a steam room where intense lasers and lights sliced through the heavy air in a mesmerizing light show that persisted the whole performance. The sound and the lights were a single spectacle, playing off each other while three-dimensional projections of birds, chains, and brains in a piece of coral dance on plexiglass screens on each side of Ratatat. Mike Stroud, who handles the guitar work, used all of the space on the stage to play the psychedelic-esque riffs that Ratatat is known for. Evan Mast played the driving bass lines that kept the crowd moving. Dance pits were forming all night and caused someone to spill their vodka redbull down my back, which was almost a welcome relief from the heat that was created by the raucous crowd. Read More

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Outside Lands 2015 Survival Guide

08/05/2015

Today I was sitting on my couch eating chips and saw a clip on ultra-marathoners and all I could think was, yeah this is pretty intense but it’s nothing compared to three days of drinking and listening to music in a park. This weekend thousands will pour into Golden Gate Park for fun in the sun (fog), booze, food in compostable containers and some of today’s top music artists. Outside Lands is the real deal and only the strong will make it all the way to Elton John‘s set Sunday.

Getting to and from the park

Getting to the park usually isn’t too bad, but the car drop-off areas are near the entrances on Fulton and Lincoln tend to slow to a crawl. The easiest way to go is by bike, there are like 70 acres of bike racks there. If you are near a bus line or Muni line that goes West to the park, it’s also usually a good way to go, as they add extra buses and trains to keep up with the high demand. Team up with friends if you are taking Uber or Lyft because the surge rates tend to be steep. Also check out Flywheel (Disclosure I work for Flywheel) and Sidecar, which don’t do surge prices. Parking near the park is very limited, but I have friends who have gotten lucky in the past if you are willing to do a long walk.

Getting home from the park is a totally different story. You could of course try public transportation, or if your phone isn’t dead and gets signal you can try calling a car. Personally I think one of the great parts of Outside Lands is walking through the park after the shows – thousands of people high on life (and other things) walking together. It is also easier to catch a ride once the crowd dies down. Grab a drink at a local Richmond, Sunset or Haight bar and decompress from the festival.

What to bring

Early weather reports put the weekend at a beautiful 70 degrees every day. But if there’s one thing we all know about the West side of SF it’s that the fog can roll in at any point. Make sure that you don’t get stuck wearing your crop top when the temp drops 20 degrees in 10 minutes. Layers people. Bring sunscreen. Not trying to be your mom here, but you can still get sunburnt in the fog, especially if you are as pasty-Irish as me.

You can also save yourself a few bucks by bringing in food. Every year I see people talking about going to the park early to bury booze, but I’ve yet to see someone pull it off. The most creative way to sneak in booze I’ve seen is some girls who wrapped tall boys in lettuce, tortillas and tinfoil to look like burritos.

If you have a portable phone charger you may want it to get home after the festival. The cell service is terrible and your phone will die quickly if it is searching for signal all day. Also the bathrooms can go downhill really quick so you may want to grab some hand sanitizer and TP. If you are going to pee in the bushes please don’t do it directly uphill from people sitting at the Twin Peaks stage. Peeing in the bushes is also a great way to get kicked out, keep that in mind.

How to Prepare

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