June 15, 2012

Saturday at Sasquatch


Pickwick - Hacienda Hands on the Mainstage

Hacienda Hands on the Mainstage ::: Photo by Josh Lovseth

Saturday’s Sasquatch was marked by both the bigger names and the up-and-comers in our schedule really showing up for the crowd.

Pickwick –> Charles Bradley and the Menahan Street Band on the Sasquatch Mainstage

Pickwick’s selection to open the Saturday mainstage put the band on their biggest stage yet, and they proved their booking wise with one of the more fiery performances I’ve seen from them and with it the biggest showing of Hacienda Hands yet. The “Screaming Eagle of Soul” Charles Bradley and his Menahan Street Band followed them up and with a combination of expert hip shaking and robot moves that never fails to bring a smile. With such a strong showing by both bands my only lament is that this pairing wasn’t on later in the so they could be in front of more people.

Alabama Shakes

This actually from Alabama five-piece is the latest band find a tidal wave of early interest thanks to the magnifying effect ye ole Internet, and yet they actually have the chops to be deserving of those roving eyes and ears. A southern Soul band the likes of which recent generations haven’t seen, lead singer Brittany Howard sings intuitively and full throated over a locked in guitar groove. By contrast to the buttoned up and tightly rehearsed soul of yesteryear putting spit and shine on life with harmonies and a horn section, the Shakes garage gospel is naturally funky and rough, not just “rock” but a true helping of vintage “rock and roll” to stir up the adults as much as the kids.

Shins –> Jack White

The newest iteration of the Shins has James Mercer surrounding himself with a group of ringers to bring life to the latest batch of songs and breathe some into plenty of old ones. The differences caught me off guard at first, but I mostly dug the rhythm changes Mercer thew our way. Jack White’s surrounded himself with his own set of ringers, and too be sure, they are also unfuckwithable. It’s an ultra-competent gospel leaning blues band that White has probably always wanted to assemble as a backing, one where the band stands out as much as the frontman. And as we all know, that is really saying something.



Pickwick ::: Photo by Josh Lovseth


Pickwick at Sasqatch ::: Photo by Josh Lovseth

Charles Bradley

Charles Bradley ::: Photo by Josh Lovseth

Charles Bradley dance circle

A Charles Bradley dance circle ::: Photo by Josh Lovseth

Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires

The Screaming Eagle of Soul ::: Photo by Josh Lovseth

Blitzen Trapper

Blitzen Trapper ::: Photo by Josh Lovseth

Craft Spells

Craft Spells ::: Photo by Josh Lovseth

Fatal Lucciauno

Fatal Lucciauno ::: Photo by Josh Lovseth

Fatal Lucciauno

Fatal Lucciauno gets into the crowd::: Photo by Josh Lovseth

Alabama Shakes

Alabama Shakes ::: Photo by Josh Lovseth

Kurt Vile and the Violators

Kurt Vile and the Violaters ::: Photo by Josh Lovseth

Dry the River

Dry the River ::: Photo by Josh Lovseth

The Shins - Richard Swift

The Shins – Richard Swift ::: Photo by Josh Lovseth

Shins Crowdsurfer

Shins Crowdsurfer ::: Photo by Josh Lovseth

The Shins - James Mercer and a Sasquatch

The Shins – James Mercer and a Sasquatch ::: Photo by Josh Lovseth

Jack White

Jack White ::: Photo by Josh Lovseth

December 15, 2011

A Few End of Year Lists From Our Friends At Hardly Art



It’s been a banner year for Hardly Art.  Seemingly back-to-back-to-back-to-back fantastic albums filled out a year capped of by the Gem Club album Breakers, a truly somber bit of orchestration. To celebrate the festive days cluttering up the calender before the inevitable turn towards 2012, the good folk at Hardly Art sent over a list of some of their favorite albums this year.

For your enjoyment:

Sarah Moody


01. The Sandwitches – Mrs. Jones’ Cookies 02. Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring for My Halo 03. Shannon & the Clams – Sleep Talk 04. Tim Hecker – Ravedeath, 1972 05. Magic Trick – The Glad Birth of Love 06. Grave Babies – Deathface 07. Fucked Up – David Comes to Life 08. Grouper – A I A : Alien Observer 09. A Winged Victory for the Sullen – s/t 10. Woods – Sun & Shade 11. Thee Oh Sees – Carrion Crawler / The Dream

Best live shows

Ty Segall, Davila 666, Nu Sensae, White Lung, Thee Oh Sees, Pictureplane

Honorable mention

Demdike Stare, The Babies, Hunx & Tuffy, up all night in Austin, up all night in NYC, Gil Scott-Heron & Jamie xx, Factory Floor, Clap reissue, Bill Cosby & His White Pudding Pops, James Blake, Total Control, Iceage, Grass Widow, Case Studies… everything on Hardly Art and Sub Pop that I am refraining from putting in the proper 10.

Read the rest of the Hardly Art family’s favorite things (more…)

December 7, 2011

Kathleen’s 10 Favorite Records (National) of 2011


Girls ::: photo by Josh Lovseth

End of year lists give me the cold sweats. Much like when I was in college and finals were looming, I suddenly forget about everything that sparked in my mind, and all I’m left with is, “I don’t know…when did River Deep, Mountain High come out? THAT COUNTS, RIGHT?”

2011 was a spitfire of a year. While I was still knee deep in snow in Colorado, artists had started to bury themselves in my chest with warm melodies, inventive loops, lyrics that bound to me with knots as tight as the ones in my throat.

So, barring Ike and Tina Turner actually releasing River Deep, Mountain High in 2011, here are my top national releases for this year. Yes, there was a playlist made on Spotify called “Sophie’s Choice” with 30 possibilities, so I can safely say this was a good twelve months for our ears, and all the other soft human parts that music electrifies into waking.


1. Megafauns/t

Clearly fans of Phil Lesh, this band of bearded brutes crafted an album that solidified their predilection for lush folk. It often veers into psychedelic, brain melting jams, and then transitions without a breath into piano heartbreakers like “I Hope You Know.” The album flows with flawless precision, and airtight songwriting that allows for the kind of sonic free fall these guys always send me into.


2. AA BondyBelievers

AA Bondy is a songwriter who pulls me closer, seeking warmth in his stark, distant melodies. I didn’t think he could top a song like “Mightiest of Guns,” or improve upon spellbinding melancholia. But he has in Believers, which blooms into an opulent soundscape that has moments of such pure sparseness that the whole world exhales into the song and all of a sudden you realize that you’re in a whole different world than when you started.


3. TinariwenTassili

A desert guitar band hailing from the Sahara desert (actually), Tinariwen set aside the electric guitars they had adopted during their extensive touring and picked up their acoustics for a release that has such threads of longing and homesickness through it, it unravels even girls who grew up in the safe concrete suburbs. With guest spots from Nels Cline, who throws in his own ambient touch, and a couple pals from TV on the Radio, the album is a beautiful homage to roots and change.


4. FeistMetals

What can I say about Feist’s 2011 powerhouse of an album? I don’t skip a song. A long way from the safety of the precious, breathy singles like “Mushaboom” and “1234,” Feist has emerged creatively refreshed, her amber voice darker, her songs full of dynamism that I hadn’t heard before. With towering numbers like “Anti-Pioneer,” and some folk-pop tunes that bring back her fans from the beginning, it’s an album that animates, spiritualizes, and expands fearlessly.


5. Kurt VileSmoke Ring for my Halo

I think Kurt Vile read my diary. And then put it to music. And then channeled John Fahey, and then washed off some of that gritty lo-fi grime he had accumulated, and then made an album that crystallized all his guitar influences into a singularly beautiful, wry, and affecting work.

For the rest of Kathleen’s favorites & runner’s up (more…)

September 6, 2011

The Daily Choice: Kurt Vile – The Creature


I’ve been having an on-going conversation about the new Kurt Vile-convert that is my brother as of late and it’s starting to make feel like the super-hipster I’ve been trying to avoid for years.  My brother claims that Smoke Ring For My Halo is the best Kurt Vile album, a claim I vehemently disagree with.  The best Kurt Vile album is of course Constant Hitmaker, his arrival on to the bigger stage of the blog-o-sphere in 2008. Smoke Ring For My Halo isn’t a bad album it just continues the Vile trend of slowly sloughing off the more noise/psych aspects of his sound.  Aspects of his sound that I dearly loved.  My brother of course is in the same lot as so many new Kurt Vile fans – they saw him open for Thurston Moore (and he rightly melted there dome pieces) or they listened to a track from him on this new site called “Pitchfork” and realized that he’s the feline’s night wear, the shit you might say.  And of course, as history as become something we write books about not something we learn from, the new generation of Kurt Vile fans think Smoke Ring For My Halo is this this talented kids only album, never even checking to see that Constant Hitmaker is smoldering on a shelf somewhere, its spaced out highway melodies pulsing with a need to be listened to.  And the dirty music hipster that lives inside of me is so bothered by the notion that the Kurt Vile I was first introduced to and first loved isn’t the Kurt Vile that everyone else out there is first falling for me that I argue with my brother that Smoke Ring For My Halo is “boring” or “not like the old Kurt Vile” or “far inferior to Constant Hitmaker.

In truth though, Kurt Vile’s new album is a beautiful complex bit of lyrical song-writing that is clearly a step forward in his musical journey and if you’re lucky enough to crack the shell of pop music that is slowly glazing over the youth of the world and discover this as the only Kurt Vile album you ever listen to, you’re in a good place.  And now Mr. Vile is releasing a six-song EP called So Outta Reach that contains a few gems he put together during the production of the quite great Smoke Ring For My Halo and though they still in my sad, sad, mind don’t live up to the diamonds of Constant Hitmaker, they are great songs and deserve to be listened to and cherished like small fuzzy babies.

Consider this a external apology for the internal struggle I constantly lose against the deep dark forces of my own internal hipster critic.  They should have a support group.

There are many ways you can purchase this album and you can find them all at Matador Records.

Kurt Vile – The Creature

January 11, 2011

The Daily Choice: Kurt Vile – Jesus Fever


Kurt Vile can be a lot of things.  Spacey and strange, a sort of psyched-out sonic rendition of On The Road.  Bluesy and hard, a long-haired commander of a group of derelict musicians.  Or, as he is on his new single “Jesus Fever” a man with a guitar, gently strumming out an upbeat little guitar ditty.  I usually prefer my Vile a little darker and weirder, but with a Arctic winds battening my door, a warm number like this melts a thin veneer of frost from my heart.

Vile’s newest, Smoke Ring For My Halo releases on March 8th on a lil’ label called Matador.

Kurt Vile – Jesus Fever

October 26, 2010

The Daily Choice: Kurt Vile – In My Time


Kurt Vile has always skirted the edge of class rock and roll.  His voice sounding something like Dylan and Springsteen mixed.  His melodies pulled from some nebulous time somewhere between 1971 and 1985.  His distorted blasts of feedback and wiry guitar solos somehow modern and nostalgic all at once.  This new track, “In My Time” (a teaser for his upcoming album on Matador) seems to embrace whole heartedly the home he’s lived on the border of for so long.  The track is soft and slow, a sort of typical Kurt Vile ballad, but gone are the beloved trappings of fuzz and sonic experimentation.  Let us not question my love for all things Vile, I’m just saying that when the hollowed out guitar solo wings its way in to the song somewhere around minute two, it feels a little forced.  Or perhaps not forced, lets say unadorned.  And maybe that’s just what young Vile is going for, a simple shedding of the extraneous so his massive talent can just shine all on its lonesome.

Kurt Vile – In My Time

June 22, 2010

The Daily Choice: Kurt Vile – Invisibility: Nonexistent


Kurt Vile, prolific sum’bitch that he is, has released another one.  This time in the form of a free EP that once again captures his sort of crusty, brittle take on Americana.  It is, as any Kurt Vile release ever is, moody and deeply immersed in the backwater towns of this strange country we, or at least most of we, call home.

Also entertaining, the whole damn thing is free.

And you can pick it up here for FREE courtesy of Matador.

Kurt Vile – Invisibility: Nonexistent

Source: Weekly Tape Deck

April 9, 2009

The Daily Choice: Kurt Vile & The Violators – The Hunchback


Kurt Vile’s Constant Hitmaker was a like putting on a well worn glove.  It had some holes in it where your fingers might poke through, the elastic around the wrist was a bit frayed, but god damn if you didn’t enjoy the shit out of putting it on.  Thus, a new track from Vile and his Violators, makes my naked hands shiver like a drunkies DTs.

Again, Vile somehow finds a happy medium between digging in to his weird musical experiments and harkening back to an era that you might even call classic rock.  It’s slow and a bit dreary and completely invocative of an battered roadhouse sparsely littered with rheumy eyes barflies, shying away from the break of day.  It’s like comfort food, but comfort food that has just a lingering tang of powdered glass.

MP3: Kurt Vile and The Violators – The Hunchback

Kurt Vile on Myspace

February 26, 2009

The Daily Choice: Kurt Vile – Slow Talkers


I believe it’s because Kurt Vile’s last name is “Vile” that I was prepared, coming in to my first experience with the Philadelphian solo-artist, that his music would be, well, grimey, coated with a layer of filthy distortion.  I put on my white painting coveralls (alright, lets be honest, I was already wearing them, just for shits and giggles) pressed my finger gingerly to the space bar …

…and out comes this absolutely beautiful mix of a sort of rural sounding voice and the lightest of guitar strums.  I imagine Kurt Vile drives his beat up 1967 Volvo in to the stark industrial landscape outside of Philly, plugs an amp in to a barely functional wall socket and just plays to the clear blue sky and dust.  It’s sad music that seems to exist on the edges, always in a state of erosion.

Kurt Vile – Slow Talkers