One month and 6 Days Late – Happy 2015!

As my good friend @begt likes to point out, I have been slacking in 2015. The truth is, I’ve started a new job, I’ve got a new outlook on my year, and I’ve got a beard. All these things take time and energy…but rest assured, Sandy Beats and music are still a priority for 2015.

I know it is only February, but I’ve already found a couple of my favorite bands of the year.

The first is Air Review. This Dallas based quartet found their way into my ears via Spotify when listening to a a few “suggested” bands. The song that pulled me in was “America’s Son”.

Their 2013 album Low Wishes is incredible. I definitely suggest listening if you like a more atmospheric indie folk rock vibe.

My other first favorite band of the year is Priory. I saw this band at Life Is Beautiful and I vaguely remember them as being good. Then late last year they were one of the bands on the bill for a local radio station’s holiday show. I was excited to see them again and they did not disappoint. They were definitely a stand out in that show and after giving their debut self-titled record a listen and then their new EP, I was hooked. I think  that their song with radio play, “Weekend’ is good, but it does not even begin to showcase their sound and talent.

My favorite from them is “Put ’em Up”.

So there is just a small taste of what I’ve been listening to. More is definitely to come as 2015 progresses.

Here is to more music, more shows and more fun in 2015!

It is the end of the world (aka 2014) as we know it…and I feel fine.

It has been too long, and we are sorry. There has been a long absence from us. But 2015 is upon us, and that means more new music and more shows.

2014 has ended out with a bang. I think I’ve seen the last two shows of my 2014 (who knows, that may change). With great joy I witnessed the homecoming of one of Sandy Beats’ favorite bands, Imagine Dragons, as well as a new locally bred favorite Brumby. I also enjoyed the sweet sounds of one of my Life is Beautiful favorites Priory and revisited my teenage years with Bush.

It is not quite yet time for the best of 2014 from @begt and I, but that will come in January, I can assure you.

In the meantime…

My “classic” Repeat One of the moment is “Calamity Song” by indie folk leaders The Decemberists.

My “new” Repeat One of the moment (which should be no surprise) is “Shut Up and Dance” by WALK THE MOON (who will be gracing Las Vegas in May!!)

And while they didn’t play the song when I saw them this week…it is only fitting to honor Imagine Dragons with “Look How Far We’ve Come”. If the time comes that I leave Las Vegas, this band will signify my time here. I cannot help but get goosebumps any time I hear their music.

Another band I saw recently who has held a top spot on my playlist as of recent is We Were Promised Jetpacks. This Scottish band rocks my world each and everyday with “Quiet Little Voices”

As mentioned, Las Vegas bred Brumby is new discovery to me. “High Waters” has been on my playlist for the last week.

I’ll leave you with my three biggest Life is Beautiful surprises. First up is St. Paul and the Broken Bones with “Call Me”. If this doesn’t get something stirring inside of you, I think you should call your doctor.

Nahko and Medicine for the People brought me back to my roots with with “Manifesto II”.

And finally, Catfish and the Bottlemen with “Cocoon”.

Repeat One & The Head & The Heart Preview

In direct response to @begt I have a couple Repeat One selections. Granted, by having more than one, they aren’t technically Repeat One’s. However, here at Sandy Beats we do not always follow the rules. This post is no exception.

Next week @begt and I will make a trek to my hometown and the world famous Red Rocks Amphitheater to see The Head & The Heart and Iron & Wine. It will be a great trip seeing a couple great bands (and my family and hopefully some friends along the way). I was not really much of a Head & The Heart fan until about a year ago, and so in their honor, my first Repeat One is my favorite off of their current record Let’s Be Still called “Josh McBride”.

The second Repeat One is more traditional, in that, I am listening to it on repeat pretty frequently. Readers of this fine blog are aware of my love affair with the music of Moby despite not posting about him as often as I could. His latest release is a song from the newest Paul Haggis movie called Third Person. The video features a few scenes from the movie as well. The song is called “The Only Thing”. The lyrics, the visuals and music make this song my Repeat One.

I’ll leave you with that. Between last Saturday and next Saturday I have 4 shows to see. The first one was a great way to start off the week, The Hold Steady,  the final show will be Cut Copy. I’ll see you on the flip side.

What are YOU listening to?

I really want to know what YOU are listening to right now! Please take to the comments, the twitter, the instagram, sky writing, and let us know what you are listening to. Please, it is really all I ask.

I am now too far out from May to give you my entire May recap. But…I am going to present to you the three of the bands that made May a great month for music.

Las Vegas locals Play for Keeps have been around for a while. I’ve seen them open for Imagine Dragons and play a local bar over the last few years. They’ve come a long way from being a garage band, to a great band with a tight sound a strong stage presence. I think they have a future in music if they keep up the good songwriting and keep improving their stage presence. Here is “Come Around”:

Hailing from one of my favorite cities, New Orleans, Soul Rebels are a second line brass band that plays a mix of jazz, funk, hip hop and more. They played a few nights at the Brooklyn Bowl here in Las Vegas. I was fortunate to catch them twice. Here is “504”.

I knew going into the month that the concert of the month was going to take place on May 7th. On that night, Hunter Hunted, NONONO and Twenty One Pilots would be performing at the Brooklyn Bowl. The night started right with Hunted Hunted, and continued on with NONONO and their sweet electro-pop sounds. Now, I’ve seen 12 shows at the BBLV…including one of my most favorite bands The Naked & Famous…but no show that I’ve seen there, and maybe a handful I’ve seen elsewhere can compare to Twenty One Pilots. Words cannot describe just how good these two guys are at what they do. They feel every damn song. If you’ve never taken a listen to their music or their lyrics, you may not realize how much Tyler, the lead singer, bares his inner thoughts in each song. Here is my favorite “Guns for Hands” live:

 

June did not have anywhere near the number of shows for me that May did, but July has already started with a bang and that will continue on through Life is Beautiful in October. Stay tuned for more on that.

I will leave you with one last song…here is Trampled By Turtles (who will be at Life is Beautiful!!!!) with their newest single “Wild Animals”. I cannot get enough of this song.

April Music Round Up

April has a been a complete and utter whirlwind of a month. Now with 3 days into May, I can finally look back at April with a grin on my face and knowledge that rarely have I experienced time periods with such amazing live music.

The first show was Young the Giant with St. Lucia at the Cosmopolitan Resort’s Blvd Pool. You already know how much I love that venue.

I was a bit nervous that St. Lucia’s sound would not work outside. Let me tell you how wrong I was. St. Lucia put on the second best show I’ve seen at the Blvd Pool (only Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros were better). It was obvious most of the crowd was there for YTG, but the energy level of St. Lucia was incredible. It is very clear that Mr. St. Lucia himself and front man of the touring band, Jean-Philip, loves what he does. He had a huge smile on his face during the entire show. I cannot wait to see them live again.

IMG_0264Young the Giant was also fantastic.

I am now more of a fan of St. Lucia than I was before the show. Enjoy my favorite track “This is the Way You Remember Me” (this is not from the show I saw)  

Show two was the one I thought would be the highlight of April (I’ll get to that later). On the bill was White Lies, The 1975 and The Naked and Famous. If you’ve read this blog, you know how I feel about TNAF. This was my first show at the brand new Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas. After having seen 6 shows at the BBLV this past month. I can tell you that I’ve never felt this way about a venue before. This venue knows my needs and desires. The Brooklyn Bowl completes me. I had a feeling that TNAF would be an “inside” band. This show was far and away better than their show at the Cosmopolitan pool in October. I was very impressed with White Lies. I didn’t like their album so much, but when they preformed these songs live, I felt like I was present for the heyday of the Cure. Their sound is very strong, clear and Cure like (which is not a bad thing in my book). My favorite song of the evening, (no shocker here) was “Girls Like You” from The Naked and Famous. 

Show number three was also at the Brooklyn Bowl…This time it was Robert Randolph and the Family Band. I’ve been a fan of RRTFB since the early 2000’s, but never lived anywhere he would tour…until now. He played super late shows (4:00am) and afternoon shows (1:00pm). I saw him on Easter at 1:00pm and it was as close to god as I may get. The man plays the sacred steel like no other, and despite the small crowd (of mostly Phil Lesh fans from the night shows) Robert Randolph and his band (many of them actual family members) had huge smiles on their faces during the very jam heavy set.

photo 2 (8)Show number four was one I was hoping to see but wasn’t sure. I like “dad rock” and despite what others may think O.A.R. fits into this category. Now, don’t get me wrong, they are a great band with a great number of excellent songs, but they tend to skew a bit to the late 30’s early 40’s demographic…aka…young dads. I went to the show with a group of people I never met before, and had a blast. I saw the band on the their 3rd night of a 3 show weekend at the Brooklyn Bowl. As a band with a very deep catalog, I know that each show was different. For the final show, the band had a full horn section which was not present in the previous two shows. I was an OAR fan before the show, but as with many bands…now that I’ve seen them live, I am hooked. I would love to see them again.

After seeing them live, their song “Shattered” is now one of my songs of the season. 

During the weekends the Brooklyn Bowl usually has two shows a night. The early show (8:00pm-ish) and the late show (12:00 am). The weekend of O.A.R. the band Gogol Bordello was playing the late show. @begt had recommended that I see this band. Obviously I love live music…but 12:00am? Really? I mean, they would have to be really good to keep my attention. Well, dear reader, I can assure you that Gogol Bordello puts on one of the most amazing live shows I have ever seen. You read that right…they put on one of the most amazing high energy shows I have ever seen. The proof is the in pudding. When they announced two more shows this past weekend (not in April, but its okay) I made sure that I saw them again. This “gypsy punk” band knows how to rock. If you see one show from a band you are not familiar with this year…go see Gogol Bordello. Seriously, go see them. Both nights were incredible. The first night was more “mellow” but that is only because the second night I saw them I experienced being in a mosh pit for the first time in my life. I also had beer, wine, sweat and god knows what else spilled on me. It was worth it every minute. Enjoy “Wanderlust King” 

Not to be outdone by April, May has started off with a bang. Two shows in the 3 days. The first was the 1970’s hard rock band Wishbone Ash performing their classic Argus  in its entirety. I was not familiar with this band, but did recognize their music. It is obvious by looking at the lead singer/co-lead guitarist Andy Powell that drugs may not have been as big of a priority for him as with his contemporaries. It was clear why Andy Powell is one of the most important guitarists in rock history (Traffic Magazine). And then of course, I saw Gogol Bordello again.

Next week May kicks into high gear with Hunter Hunted, NONONO and Twenty One Pilots…but that show deserves its own post.

 

 

April Music Extravaganza!

@Begt has been encouraging me to write about the April full of music I am about to have. Lets be real, I wish I was wealthy because there are SO many good acts coming  to Las Vegas in the next month. Though if I spend all my money this month, I will not be able to attend things like LouFest, so I need to keep my priorities in order!

I’ll start with who I am going to see, and then talk a bit about those I will not see, or I most likely will not see.

My April of music starts next Friday with one of my favorite new bands, opening up for a band that I just started getting into. This concert is at the Cosmopolitan Pool on the same night that indie favorite Lana Del Ray is playing the newly renovated Chelsea at the Cosmopolitan. Now, I like Lana Del Ray, but I would not miss this show at the pool.

The openers for the evening is the great St. Lucia. I am pretty pumped to see them. I’ve watched a couple live videos and the band seems to know what they are doing. My only concern is that when I saw another synthpop group at the BLVD Pool, The Naked and Famous, their sound just didn’t work outside. Regardless, I am excited to be taken back to the synthpop glory days of the 1980’s.

Here is “September” from their 2013 release When the Night. 

The headlining act of the night is Young the Giant. These guys hail from due west and the city of Irvine, CA. I really enjoy their indie style and catchy lyrics. I think this show has the potential for being the best I’ve seen at the pool save Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes.

Here is “Mind Over Matter” from their 2014 release of the same name.

Up next is a show I’ve been waiting for since I first saw The Naked and Famous in October before Life is Beautiful. This time they are playing the brand new Brooklyn Bowl at the Linq with The 1975.

Here is “I Kill Giants” from their newest release In Rolling Waves. (I find this video only slightly disturbing).

I’ve not listened much to The 1975, but I enjoy their 80’s vibe. Here is “Settle Down” from their self-titled release.

The other show that I am not going to miss is Robert Randolph and the Family Band. They just wrapped up their first of two weekends and Brooklyn Bowl today, and will be coming back later this month. I’ve been a fan for a few years, and never thought they’d come to Vegas. I am glad I have been proving wrong. Ask yourself, “do I want to see the greatest steel guitar player who has ever lived play live?”. There is only one answer to that question.

Here is “Amped Up” from Lickety Split. 

So on to the bands I probably won’t see, but maybe I will:

(this is why April is so freaking outstanding)

Grouplove (sorry B, YtG and St. Lucia win out)

Empire of the Sun (miracles happen, so maybe I will be able to go)

Haim (I wouldn’t see them unless it was free anyway)

Foster the People (sorry B, this one is also hella expensive)

Gogol Bordello (this is looking more like a yes that I will see them)

Lorde

O.A.R. (would be awesome but these tickets are not wallet friendly)

The Infamous Stringdusters  (the price is right, but its a Sunday night)

Let us not forget that May will bring at least one show I will be seeing, Twenty One Pilots, and hopefully Childish Gambino (tickets are actually reasonable).

The summer will have more in store as the Cosmopolitan has the summer series “Set your life to Music” kicking off at the end of May and only a few bands are on the lineup.

TBT: Mumford & Sons, Wakarusa 2010

I’ve had “Little Lion Man” playing on repeat in my car for two days. I am not ashamed of disclosing that. And this morning, that song, and maybe the nice and humid morning drive to work, reminded me of the Mumford & Sons set at Wakarusa 2010 (aka the best lineup that Wakarusa has and, most likely, will ever have). Man, the memory of that show still makes me so happy. I watched the show alone after shooting the first three songs. I made my way to the front row and then… bliss. That was a nice crowd, everyone was letting me go in front of them when seeing how I was struggling to see over their heads (I’m 5’2″). This is what I wrote about the set:

Mumford & Sons @ Wakarusa 2011
The set began with “Sigh No More” and the crowd roared. It was the perfect set, balanced with beloved hits and new songs like “Bellow My Feet,” “Lover of the Light,” and “Lovers Eyes.” Bringing it to the grand closing with “The Cave.” I’m sure I wasn’t the only one on cloud nine at that point. I’m still smiling. I’m positive this set brought the biggest crowd to the main stage. Mumford, Winston, Lovett, and Dwane, along with other supporting musicians, did an excellent job that day. The intimate lyrics and their love for their music made the Wakarusa stop an unforgettable show.

Mumford & Sons @ Wakarusa 2011
Mumford & Sons @ Wakarusa 2011
Mumford & Sons @ Wakarusa 2011
Mumford & Sons @ Wakarusa 2011

Imagine Dragons @ BOK Center, Tulsa

A week ago, I woke up with Imagine Dragon‘s “Nothing Left To Say” in my head. It stayed there the whole drive back from Tulsa, even though my friends and I were listening to a bunch of different music. That was the last song of the show the previous night. A show that rocked the BOK Center in Tulsa. 

It was an amazing show. We got there in time to catch The Naked And Famous, but late enough to miss Nico Vega. I only knew NV played when I saw the shirts at the merch tables. 

Imagine Dragons dedicated the night to Tyler Robinson, who passed away last year at a very young age, after battling cancer. All the profits from that show also went to the Tyler Robinson Foundation, which was such a great gesture. The whole band wore matching shirts promoting the foundation. 

ID started out with “Fallen” one of my most recent favorites. Can you believe I didn’t know of the existence of this song until about 4 weeks ago? It came up on Pandora while I was getting ready for work and I had to run to the living room to check out the name of the song, because it didn’t sound familiar and I recognize that it was ID. That’s when @DocMurda pointed out I didn’t have the deluxe version of the album (damn you, deluxe versions!)

They played several favorites, from “Amsterdam,” to “Demons,” which made everyone get up and  take out their phone to record it, to the must of probably every performance, “Radioactive.” No “Tokyo,” though. I keep my hopes high that “Tokyo” will make its way back into their catalog. 

Now, before you hit play on the videos, let me apologize. I really don’t have any business singing, but you know… that’s what we do at concerts. Sorry for messing up the videos (LOL!)

Now, if you thought “that wasn’t so bad” well, that’s because this is where it really gets bad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkyxzqpChSE

And here’s The Naked And Famous, who put on a great set. They sound a lot better indoors (last time I saw them was in the open, at the Blvd Pool at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas). They are coming back to Tulsa on May 31. And I’m currently looking for someone who wants to come with me to that show. Any takers?!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YcVI1mIYsf0

Synth Pop Love

Much of my early music education took place during the late 80’s and early 90’s when synth heavy pop found significant airplay on the radio and MTV. Some of my favorite groups growing up included some of the more well know synthesizer heavy groups like  Erasure, Depeche Mode and Tears for Fears. While I am not happy that 80’s and 90’s fashion trends are coming back, I am very happy that this style of music is making a comeback.

Many of this current wave of synthpop bands have had relative commercial success like SandyBeats favorites The Naked and Famous and vets, M83. There are two bands in particular that I have been grooving to recently. The first lead me to the second. Brooklyn based St. Lucia (or Santa Lucia (loo-see-uh) to some) reminds me of the 80’s music I loved so much but with a contemporary vibe.

Here is Elevate (which once stuck in my head, never leaves)

St. Lucia (which is essentially just one guy, South African born Brooklyn resident Jean-Philip Grobler), is the producer of the album from my other guilty pop pleasure, HAERTS. HAERTS is a bit more introspective than St. Lucia and features a very strong and ethereal lead singer, Nini Fabi.

Enjoy Hemiplegia (from their newest EP of the same name).

Both acts are touring and appearing at various festivals during the spring and summer. I know I am hoping to see St. Lucia when they come to Las Vegas with Young the Giant.

Imagine Dragons, Tulsa 2/22

I haven’t been posting much lately, but it’s because I haven’t had time to search for new music as I usually do. I’ve only been craving Vegas… that music scene is so awesome. I’m totally jealous of @DocMurda. He went to The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan to see Fitz And The Tantrums and Capital Cities last night. I blame his texts for the weird dreams I had.

But I have my share of awesomeness coming up, as I get on the road to Tulsa with a couple of friends on Saturday for a night with Imagine Dragons. Aaaah, yeah! And not only that, but I’m also excited to catch The Naked And Famous once again, as they are opening for ID (note to self: find the TNAF t-shirt). I just realize that my first ID and TNAF concerts were both in Las Vegas (I’m telling you.. I’m jealous).

Tulsa, I can’t wait!