Long-time readers may remember my fondness for Athens, GA freak-rockers Reptar. Reptar played Baeble Music’s (the company that I interned with in NYC) showcase at the 2012 SXSW in Austin, TX, and I was responsible for writing our introduction for the band. I fell in love with their single “Sebastian” on first listen. They were the first band that I saw on Friday at this year’s Bonnaroo, and though their set was far from perfect, they were an appropriately fun and crazy way to start of the first full day of Bonnaroo (and were one of many very good acts I saw that day). Their psychedelic spin on indie rock and freak folk may not be for everyone (Pitchfork notoriously hated their debut LP), but I enjoy them. I hope you do as well.
I really am terrible about remembering to do this. In fact, had I not been randomly singing today’s Song of the Day while walking down the stairs, I would have likely forgot all about this, yet again. Anywho, although I didn’t feel that way about the band way back in last year when I made “The House That Heaven Built” my Song of the Day, I’ve sort of fallen in love with Japandroids. Every time I listen to their album Celebration Rock, I like it more and it worms its ways higher up the ranks of my favorite albums of the 2010s so far. As an exercise in bombastic, anthemic indie punk, it’s spectacular. I’ve been really into “Younger Us” for a while, and I’m not sure why. They put on a superb show at Bonnaroo, and the above photo was one of my favorites from their set. Enjoy.
Well, this wasn’t quite the way that I intended to use this particular song, but if I was ever going to use it, I suppose this Bonnaroo series works. “Round and Round” from Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti’s 2010 album Before Today is my favorite song of this decade so far. I mean, it’s not even a close race. I had the opportunity to shoot Ariel Pink at this year’s Bonnaroo, and I’m sad to say that I was actually sort of really disappointed. I only stayed for three songs. That’s how little I was feeling his set. I probably should have been stoned. I’m choosing this song, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t hear him perform this particular number which was pretty disappointing. Still, it’s my favorite song of the 2010s to date. It’s insanely catchy and has so much going on underneath the surface that even after three years of endless listens, I still find new things to discover in this phenomenal song. Enjoy.
(side note. I couldn’t get any good photos of Ariel Pink himself. I got a bunch of good photos of the Asian guitar player, but I figured I should use one of my pictures of Ariel Pink himself for this post. Also, be warned, this Wayne Coyne-directed music video is weird as fuck).
I promised yesterday that this post would go up before I left for work this evening (which was 10 hours ago now), and I did not keep that promise. I offer my sincerest apologies to my readers. I am continuing to resurrect my long-dead Song of the Day series by focusing on the bands that I photographed at this year’s Bonnaroo Music & Arts festival. Milo Greene is a band that I had never heard of before I began my prep-work for the festival but their communal folk sound is very reminiscent of Arcade Fire or Of Monsters and Men. After their set, they quickly became one of my sister’s favorite bands. I’m glad she found a band to latch on to at the festival that she hadn’t really known before. That’s the whole point of music festivals in my opinion. Enjoy their fantastic single, “1957.” Once again, the photo credit in this photo belongs to me.
I’ve been meaning to bring this part of my blog back for more or less a month and a half now. It had become, consistently, one of my favorite things to do here as I’m nearly as passionate about music as I am about movies. Anyways, long time readers know that I used to have a regular Song of the Day feature on my blog, and they might have also known that I covered Bonnaroo this year both as an editorial journalist and as a photojournalist. So, I’m going to choose a picture and a song by each band that I shot at this year’s Bonnaroo Music & Art’s Festival.
The first band that I shot was Vermont based psychedelic soul band, The Stepkids. Their show was good if nowhere near one of the best I saw that weekend. This particular picture is fairly terrible, but in my defense, it was also the first time I had ever used a digital SLR camera and I had literally no idea what I was doing. They have an awesome song called “Santos and Ken” that I really enjoy. It’s weird to do my Song of the Day post at nearly 4 in the morning, so I’ll actually have two Songs of the Day today because I’m going to put up my next one before I go to work later today. Enjoy.
This is not a Bonnaroo-related Song of the Day (although they performed at the 2011 Festival as one of the headliners. what I wouldn’t have given to be there for that). I’ve just had this song stuck in my head ever since I woke up for reasons that I literally can’t comprehend. I actually remember most of my dreams from last night (mostly cause one was especially long and vivid), and I’m fairly certain that Arcade Fire didn’t figure in that dream at all. It definitely didn’t figure in the one where the government quarantined my hometown and everybody started to slowly turn into the aliens from Steven Spielberg’s E.T. Anyways, I love the song “We Used to Wait” by Arcade Fire. It’s one of my favorite songs off of 2010’s The Suburbs, although it still doesn’t come close to being as magical as “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)” but I’m saving that song for another day. Anyways, if you haven’t heard this song before, enjoy.
Sorry that this is being put up so late. I put a lot of time in today on listening to the rest of the bands that are playing at Bonnaroo on Thursday. I only have one band left that I have to listen to. I would have gotten them all done (and likely part of Friday) but I wound up taking a nap today and then my sister and her friends came over to my apartment which impeded my ability to get any real research done (despite her promises earlier that they wouldn’t be a distraction). So, I’m taking this chance now that they’ve left (she’s heading to a gay bar) to get some work done. Allen Stone is one of the artists playing at this year’s Bonnaroo that I will not be seeing. I’m going to see rapper Killer Mike instead. Cause R.A.P. Music was one of my favorite albums of last year. But, modern soul/R&B/folk singer Allen Stone is pretty awesome himself (and was actually beating Mercury Prize winners alt-J in terms of priority to see), so everybody should check out this great song, “Say So.” I really like it.
(quick aside before my actual post begins. My sister came over today, and therefore, I didn’t have a chance to do very much of my Bonnaroo research. Therefore, this Song of the Day is not Bonnaroo related and was really just the first thing that popped into my head)
Are we far enough removed from the summer that “Pumped Up Kicks” dominated the radio non-stop (requested by legions of listeners who apparently didn’t catch on to the song’s darker subtexts) to finally admit that Foster the People is actually a pretty good band. Yeah, they’re no Radiohead or Arcade Fire, but as far as fun (and I can’t stress how important that is and how little credit “serious” music types tend to give it) indie rock/pop goes, they get the job done. Their album, Torches, is a consistently pleasant and surprising mix of danceable and catchy pop-rock tunes that stick with you even after the album is over, and I think they suffered the same sort of shaming that many “indie” bands who get super popular do, where “indie” fans decide they no longer like them (look at what’s happened to Mumford). I like Foster the People and am not ashamed to admit it. My favorite song on the album is “Don’t Stop (Color on the Walls),” the danciest of all of their tracks. Check it out.
So, they finally (after what seems like a torturously long wait) announced the official Bonnaroo schedule today. I was, understandably, euphoric at the discovery when I awoke. So, just like last year, I will be listening to at least 3-5 songs of every band that’s playing so I can figure out my optimal schedule. I worked on that for well over six hours today and I only made it about 3/4 of the way through Thursday (the first day of the festival), when there’s only three main tents (and one side tent). So I have my work cut out for me for the rest of the weekend (the Roo weekend. I have my work cut out for me the next week at least to make this schedule). Anyways, I’ve already had to make an absurd number of really tough decisions about which bands to see and which bands not to see. I’m going to save songs by the bands I’m seeing until after the festival itself (so I can do a system like last year where I did a Song of the Day for each act I saw) and instead use this opportunity to mention some of the really cool bands I may not be seeing. This is “Little Too Late” by Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers. It’s fem-powered blues rock. And I think it’s pretty cool. Enjoy.
I guess the theme for the very few Songs of the Day that I’ll get to do for April is that a lot of it involves bands who haven’t released new material in a while. David Bowie and Justin Timberlake both waited over nearly a decade and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs waited an excruciating four years between albums. Their new album, Mosquito, hasn’t exactly been getting rave reviews, but I’ve listened to the whole thing once, and while it’s clearly no Fever to Tell, I still like it, and the lead single “Sacrilege” is classic Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Karen O has always had one of the most distinct female voices and song-writing perspectives in indie rock, and “Sacrilege” finds her really expanding (literally) the band’s sound into a very outward facing territory (as opposed to their usual quiet introspection). If you like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, you should definitely give this song a listen. Enjoy.