The Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival returns to San Francisco's Golden Gate Park August 5-7 with scores of diverse musical acts, comedians, visual artists, and more food, beer, and vendors than you can shake a corn dog at. And now add to that roster of attractions The Muppets' own rock and roll legends, Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem, in what is their "first-ever live festival performance."
Just today, the lineup was announced by these far-out puppets in an amazing video, revealing their festival mates Radiohead, Lana Del Rey, Sufjan Stevens, LCD Soundsystem, Grimes, Duran Duran, Chance the Rapper, Beach House, Vince Staples, Lionel Richie, Peaches, Kamasi Washington, and many, many more.
#1 Julien Baker - Sprained Ankle (6131 Records)
These are truly the kind of albums that I live for every year. They just seem to come out of nowhere. I knew after listening to the first song that I was going to love this album. She is sort of like a young Chan Marshall of Cat Power. A beautiful and haunting voice that I just can't resist. An album I want to listen to again as soon as it ends. I have always been a fan of anything Mark Kozelek and Bill Callahan. All things dark and introspective. And she will fit nicely on your shelf next to those artists. I never find music like this depressing. There were a lot of great albums out this year but it was sort of hard to come up with my favorite of the year. But as soon as I finished this album for the first time I knew that I had found it. A perfect album.
#2 Tamaryn - Cranekiss (Mexican Summer)
This is the third album by Tamaryn but my favorite by them so far. And it is really rare to make an album this good on your third try. A perfect album for fans of anything dream pop or shoegaze. Tamaryn often sounds to me like 90s shoegaze greats like Cocteau Twins, Cranes or Curve. I have spent a lot of time with this album this year. The perfect album for long drives home from work. I can never get enough of this genre and am so happy that bands keep putting out albums like this.
Right at the turn of the aughts, the nebulous genre known as “chillwave” was all the rage, and Neon Indian’s Alan Palomo was its poster boy. On the excellent Psychic Chasms, he took chintzy beats and funky lo-fi synths to psychedelically chilled out heights, while the underrated follow-up, Era Extrana, looked further into the underbelly of ’80s pop for a nighttime pop album worthy of Donnie Darko. Now years later, Palomo has his work cut out for him as EDM rules the summer fest circuit. Somehow, Vega Intl. Night School manages to remind you of the bets bits of chillwave while successfully moving forward. For those in the know, “Annie” was the banger of the summer, flowing new agey flutes into a digi reggae bounce that sounds like a reconfigured synth-funk memory. The old school hip hop vibe of “Street Level” and synth R&B smear “Smut!” seem to drip acid, coming at you and receding simultaneously. “Slumlord” and “Techno Clique” really let Palomo venture into his classic house fetish, naturally extending the sound he’s cultivated thus far into a rewarding new direction. By far his longest and most complete album, Vega ends on a few lightly tossed off tracks—“C’est La Vie” is an italo disco-inspired splatter of color, “61 Cygni Ave” sounds like two Men at Work and Cameo tapes were left in the sun and melted together, and “News From the Sun” ends things on a straight up Prince homage. Detractors might still find fuel since Palomo primarily mines well-worn ’80s pop influences. However, his ability to render those inspirations as alien forms makes him as relevant as ever, bleeding tracks into one another in a perfectly packaged, post-Internet free-for-all that sets your pleasure sensors on overdrive.
What! Another new Beach House album? You heard that right.
Even if you haven’t finished digesting the delicious stew that is Beach House’s most recent album, Depression Cherry, which was released just two months ago, there’s a new one coming out Oct. 16 called Thank Your Lucky Stars. Which is what we’re all doing right now because you can never have enough Beach House in your life.
The album will first come out as a full-length LP, with the CD out a couple of weeks later. You can preorder both now on Amoeba.com. Why might you want to do that now, you may ask? The early birds who preorder now will get Sub Pop's "Loser Edition," the label's early color vinyl releases (this one's green). The LP also comes with a download card of the album.
According to the band’s Twitter account, it’s not a companion album nor a B-sides comp but rather its own album, as Pitchfork reports.
Beach House’s latest album strips back some of the pop shimmer of their last two albums while maintaining the more confident songcraft they started debuting on 2010’s Teen Dream. It’s a bold move, and one that proves to be the right one for Beach House, as they’ve kept the reins on their trajectory and integrity while furthering the quality of their songwriting. First single “Sparks” is a powerhouse shoegazer that showcases the duo’s strengths, pairing Alex Scally’s emotive guitarwork with Victoria LeGrand’s lush, layered vocals. “Space Song” is a luscious, swaying love song built on a bubbling synthesizer and sighing guitar slides. “10:37’s” deliberately chintzy drum machine keeps time like a cheap alarm clock while Legrand’s vocals and synths float by hazily like nighttime clouds. Album highlight “PPP” reimagines girl group devotion in a serpentine, whispery ballad that ranks among the band’s finest songs. You might miss some of Bloom’s bombast, but you also can’t argue with the quality here. Beach House remain the most consistently great band of their ilk on another album of uncommon, unflinching beauty.