Summertime Repeat Ones

With the official start to summer last week, and Spotify releasing personalized Summer playlists, I have been reminded to share some of the music that I’ve been obsessing over the last few weeks. This summer will bring a bit of travel and excitement into my life, which is fantastic, and as usual, I am sure the music will keep me grounded and help me enjoy the fun (and challenging) times ahead.

My newest musical obsession is Ásgeir, an Icelandic singer-songwriter. Now, I love Icelandic music, probably more than anyone who is not Icelandic. I was shocked I had not heard (or maybe paid attention is a better phrase) to the genius of this man. Earlier this month he released his 2nd full length record Afterglow. On his first record he sang in Icelandic (and later released an English version). I could listen to Icelandic being sung all day, but I am so happy I get to understand the lyrics in English. Some of them are from the poetry of his father.

The song I am listening to the most is the the title track from Afterglow. I will be honest, it is not everyday you hear and song and know that this song will be with you forever. I listen to a lot of music, and love a lot of songs, but as soon as I heard this song, I knew I had heard a song that will be a life-time favorite. For met it is in the same league as Oasis’ “Don’t Look Back in Anger” and The Killers’ “Read My Mind”…the real deal. Here is a pretty spectacular live version (along with another great song “Stardust”).

I first heard The Collection because of my Spotify discover list (aka my weekly present). They have many of the elements of the bands that I am currently listening to, so after I heard the first song, I had to dig deeper. They currently have two full-length records and an EP. The lead singer and lyricist, David Wimbish also has a new solo record. His lyrics are very introspective and full of emotion. The song that I keep coming back to is “Some Days I don’t Want to Sing” from Ars Moriendi.  With lyrics like this, how can I stay away:

Is this the end? Are we in?
Do I watch all my friends just take dives off of cliffs ‘cause their heads are full of questions we can’t know now, unless we go?
And the weight of the world does not rest on your shoulders
No, it strains and it bends on the same arms that hope sends
So don’t carry it now! Lower it down!
When faith dies and hope flies, then love must prevail or else this all means nothing

Up next is The Brevet out of Irvine, CA. I first heard this band when they were on the lineup for the never to happen Goosenecks Music Festival. I really liked their music from day one. Last week I was able to see them as they opened up for Sister Hazel. Here is “Moving Mountains”.

Up next and no stranger to Sandy Beats is the newest song from The National Parks, “Places”. I cannot get enough of this band, and I am super excited for their upcoming new record. I do hope they hit up Las Vegas this summer. I’ve seen them twice, and that is not anywhere near enough.

The final song for the day is “Long and Happy Life” from the forthcoming new album from Delta Rae. This is one of my favorite live bands (who also sing one of my top favorite songs – on the same list as mentioned above), and one of the more outspoken “Americana/country-ish bands” out there. With their Fleetwood Mac style songs, and high energy it is difficult not to like them. This new song is a bit more “country” than much of their previous work, but they were recently signed by a country label and have been doing a bunch of radio station gigs. I am looking forward to seeing them in August.

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Life is Beautiful Preview – Day 2

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Here I sit, Tuesday night and already thinking ahead to Saturday at Life is Beautiful. I am not going to lie. I am least excited for Saturday. That is not to say, I am not going to have fun. There are some AMAZING acts performing on Saturday, and this is my hometown festival…there is no other option than having the best time I can manage. If there is a day that I wander onto a performance that I love…Saturday is the day.

So, there are a few acts that are not to miss on Saturday. In order of awesomeness, they are:

1) Fitz & the Tantrums – as far as live shows go. There are few bands that can even compare. The energy of this LA based group blows most bands away. It does not matter if you aren’t familiar with their songs (which, lets be real, means you haven’t been paying attention), you will dance. If you don’t at least nod your head, you have no soul (I am just kidding).

If you don’t tap your foot or nod your head while listening to “Moneygrabber” please do not tell me.

2) The Roots – Philly bred hip-hop hybrid The Roots are a staple of American pop music. They’ve been relevant longer than many festival goers have been alive. I was first exposed to them in the 90’s as a hip-hop alternative to the prevalent “gansta rap” and they are now best known as the house band on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Regardless of how they are known, they are a headline worthy act, and I wouldn’t miss seeing them live.

3) OutKast – I’ll be honest, when I saw OutKast with @begt at LouFest 2014 I actually said to myself “how can Outkast fill up a 2 hour set”. Those are words I lived to regret. I’ve never been a really intentional fan of Outkast, except maybe during the Dungeon Family record era. Their LouFest show was incredible. Each song better than the last, and the show itself was visually stunning. I know the choice is between Outkast and The Flaming Lips…two very visually dramatic performances, but Outkast will win this round for me. I can also assure you that you know more Outkast songs than you think you do.

For example, “Whole World”…you’ll be singing along in no time.

Other bands of note that I am hoping to catch on Saturday include: Welsh rockers Catfish and the Bottlemen (best name ever?); NYC Based post-punk outfit Bear Hands; @Begt’s recommendation J. Roddy Walston and the Business; and English Indie rockers Alt-J.

I’ll leave you with Catfish and the Bottlemen with “Fallout” which is a freaking awesome video that I probably like more because of my recent trip to the UK.

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.

The Sounds of Summer

I know that I owe you and the world a wrap up of May. And trust me, I am working on it. But in the meantime, lets talk summer songs. Summer starts on Friday, so what better way to start off right with some amazing tunes for the upcoming season. We also want to know your summer songs… and @begt, @bernard and I are going to share with you our songs of summer.

So here I go…

I know this song came out this past fall, but it screams summer to me. We Are Twin is a an LA based Duo with international roots. Currently they only have a 5 song EP out, but hopefully have more soon. Off of their self-titled EP here is “The Way We Touch”.

Up next is a band that @Begt knows, but I just stumbled on to this spring. New York based electro-rock-ish Ghost Beach combines synths, rock, beach and a little bit of psychedelica to craft some truly unique music. I am excited because they are touring with Cherub this fall and will have stops in both Fayetteville and Las Vegas.  Here is “Miracle” off of their first full-length record, Blonde. If you don’t move around a bit listening to this song, I will question your humanity.

SoCal (OC) based The Colourist have a similar vibe to other SoCal favorites (Family of the Year, Grouplove, the Mowgli’s, etc) but clearly have their own sound. While this song could be called a song of last summer, I’ve only recently heard it, and this is my list, so this is a song for this summer. Here is “Little Games” from their self-titled 2014 release.

We are going to go across the pond for this next one. I was exposed to Lux Lisbon through The Twitter, and am so thankful for it. This Durham, England based 5 piece band has a sound reminiscent of a young Killers, but with a bit more of that English swagger. To be honest, I am a fan of all of their songs I’ve heard, but their new single “Memento Mori” is on my current rotation. I do hope this band catches fire and visits the US in the near the future. Here is “Memento Mori” from their forthcoming full-length Your Heart is a Weapon the Size of Your First.

Last but not least, my favorite Atlanta based outfit, Paper Lights, with a more slower summer evening reflection type song, “Never Let You Go”. I don’t know what it is about this band, but I am just really digging everything they put out. Here is “Never Let You Go” which is currently available on iTunes but isn’t on an album or EP at this moment.

So what are your songs for this start of the summer?

 

 

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.

 

 

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!