Spring Heavy Rotation

There have been so many new albums released over past few months that have captured my ears. Mixed in with bands that are old favorites are a couple new discoveries and new found appreciation for bands I did not give much time too in the past.

The National is a band that I should like because they are often quiet and sad. I do like some of their songs, and very much appreciate their influences on bands like Frightened Rabbit. Their newest record I Am Easy To Find is filled with such great melancholy that I really have no choice but to embrace it. My favorite song off the album is “Light Years”.

Speaking of Frightened Rabbit, through an online group of Frabbits I found out about an up & coming Scottish band called Wrest. Wrest can easily fit in a set with Frightened Rabbit, The Twilight Sad and We Were Promised Jetpacks. They recently released their debut album Coward of Us All. I love each song on the record, but my favorite is most definitely “Human”. I really hope for big things from this band. Their insightful (and melancholy) lyrics really hit the spot.

Sandy Beats favorites Of Monsters and Men will be coming out with a new album later this year, and will also be performing at Life Is Beautiful (!!!). From the sound of their first single “Alligator” off the upcoming record Fever Dream that they may be a bit less folky… that is definitely okay with me. I am excited to see them live again and to hear more new music.

My most anticipated album for the first half of 2019 was definitely Living Mirage from The Head and the Heart. The album does not disappoint. I like it just as much as their sophomore release Let’s be Still. Each new THaTH record has a new favorite song…this time it was “See You Through My Eyes”…I cannot wait to hear this song live. The first single off the record is “Missed Connection” and is another incredible song.

Another album that I was anxiously awaiting during the first half of 2019, Bear’s Den’s So That You Might Hear Me brought another hefty dose of English melancholy and introspection into my world. I am pretty sure its the album I’ve listened to the most this year (with Wrest and THaTH coming in tied for second). I love each song on this record, but have two favorites: “Crow” and “Hiding Bottles”. The video for “Crow” gets me every time.

The last song is not new, but the version most definitely is. While the band Penny & Sparrow does have new music coming out this year (Finch), this song is a John Denver original. “Annie’s Song” will always remind me of parents. Apparently my uncle performed this at their wedding (I have heard a couple different stories regarding this)…but whether or not this song was at their wedding, it is their song to me. I love the John Denver version and it will always be my favorite, but this version is just so perfect as well.

There is no better way to end a post than with this beautiful song.

“I can’t promise you anything”

September is always a busy month with both LouFest & Life Is Beautiful taking place. This year there were a few bands who were at both of these festivals (as typical). One of the bands who has stuck with me since I started listening to them before LouFest is LA based Mondo Cozmo. The band is the brainchild of Josh Ostrander who is not new to the music life having been in two previously signed bands. While touring, Mondo Cozmo includes a live band including former Imagine Dragons drummer Andrew Tolman. Prior to LouFest as I was listening to the bands who would be playing, I was struck by the honest lyrics and powerful songs. Hearing and seeing the songs performed at both Life Is Beautiful and LouFest exceeded expectations. After having watched a couple of the music videos that accompany the songs, I am even more enamored with Mondo Cozmo. I am excited to see them again in November for the Emerge Music + Impact conference.

My favorite song prior to LouFest is “Hold on To Me”. It can be found on the recently released Plastic Soul. This video is beautiful, and it hits close to home for me. I needed this song and this video.

“Shine” is raw and Josh Ostrander has an almost Bob Dylan quality in his voice during this song. I believe I heard the term “hippie jesus” used in reference to this song at Life Is Beautiful.

My favorite lyric from “Shine” is “My friends are so alone, it breaks my heart. My friends don’t understand we all are lost”. Pure poetry.

“Plastic Soul” is a song I will find myself humming and thinking about all day long. When I first heard it, I had swore I had heard it before. Maybe I had, but one thing is clear, the song sticks with me.

Mondo Cozmo is currently touring, and it seems like they will not be stopping any time soon. If you get the chance, check them out!

New Music & A Bonus Video

After @Begt telling me about The Naked and Famous a few years ago, they quickly became one of my favorite bands. After excitedly spotting them on the Life Is Beautiful line-up I knew they would be releasing new music soon. Finally it has happened. The first single, “Higher” off of their upcoming release Simple Forms was came out today. The album will be released in October.

This song will be a Repeat One for sure.

 

While not new music, The Lumineers just released a video for “Cleopatra”. With such an incredible song with really powerful lyrics, I was really excited for the video. I was not disappointed.

 

 

Extreme Festival Preview

This may be the furthest in advance I’ve written a post about a festival preview. This one is different though. I am going to take the three festivals I know I am going to, and selecting a band or two from each and featuring new music (or RepeatOne’s) that they have.

Chronologically, the first festival is one that is brand new. Goosenecks Music Festival is a two day festival outside of Capitol Reef National Park. It will be my first camping festival and includes a lot of regional bands, but will be headlined by Canadian Electro-Pop band Purity Ring and SandyBeats.com favorite Young the Giant. Two of my favorite bands will be there. The appropriately named National Parks and The Colourist.

The first Goosenecks band is new to me, so I am going to feature a song that is currently my Repeat One of the week. Like many of the bands at this festival, VanLadyLove is a Utah based “folk-ish” band. The song “Neverland” is my jam.

Foreign Figures is another Utah based band who just released their first full-length LP Paradigm. The title track from that record is catchy as all get out, and they have a sound familiar to readers of SandyBeats.

 

Up next is LouFest and this will be @Begt and my 4th year at the festival. There are some great names on the lineup including country and bluegrass crossover Chris Stapleton, Greensky Bluegrass who I saw earlier this year, and one of my personal favorites St. Lucia (I am a St. Lucian). One of the bands I am most looking forward to seeing is Scottish Indie group Frightened Rabbit. They’ve been on the lineup for a lot of other festivals and I was hoping they’d hit LouFest or Life Is Beautiful. Their newest record Painting of a Panic Attack may be one of my favorite records of the year so far. The song that sticks out to me is “Get Out”.

 

Finally on the list is Life Is Beautiful. The local Las Vegas festival is back for year 4. There have been a lot of changes in the festival since last year, including the founder leaving the management team. However, the good news is it seems like the people booking bands finally discovered Folk-Pop. Which for me makes this lineup one of (if not) the strongest in the LiB history, and one of the best of festival season. With groups like Mumford & Sons, The Lumineers, The Strumbellas and The Naked and Famous (I know, not folk, but I LOVE THEM).

One of my Repeat One’s for this lineup is from Seattle based indie pop band Hey Marseilles. Their self-titled newest record contains the song that I just cannot get enough of, “Eyes on You”. The video is a bit of a trip.

 

That is just a bit of what is in store this summer. There will be more previews, so hopefully this is just the tip of the iceberg on that front.

Diving In

Earlier this year I read about a study that said that people stop listening to new music by the time they are 33. Basically, most people will stop listening to music that they are not familiar with around the age of 33. Now, I would say that since hitting 30, my new music intake has been through the roof. But to prove this study wrong, over the last few weeks I’ve been listening to new music almost exclusively. Here are a few things I’ve found.

1) The National Parks – maybe I should live in Utah, and thankfully I live close enough, because this Utah band is making music that fills my soul. With similarities to some other favorites like Churchill and The Mowgli’s, this multi-member band combines traditional folk elements and indie sensibilities. Here is “Wind & Anchor”:

2) Parade of Lights – Unbeknownst to me, this LA based band got some of their first gigs in my wonderful city of Las Vegas. They have a unique sound in the world of electro-pop combining soothing melodies with strong lyrics and powerful vocals. I am super excited that they are on the bill for Life Is Beautiful this year. They have a similar vibe to some favorites like The Naked and Famous and St. Lucia, but feel a bit more rock to me. Here is “Feeling Electric” from their new album of the same name.

3) Mount Saint – Readers of Sandy Beats will know how big of fans we are of Imagine Dragons. Well, the first few times that I saw them and the first time that @begutierrez they had a husband and wife duo on the drums and keys. I was a big fan of Dan’s booming voice harmonized with Brittany Tolman, and definitely missed those harmonies when the duo decided to leave ID. Well, now I can get more of her voice with her new band, Mount Saint. They are reminiscent of early Imagine Dragons, but also have a bit of that 80’s synth pop that I love. They are based in L.A. so maybe they will hit up Las Vegas soon. Here is “Criminal” from their self-titled EP.

Stay tuned for some more new music…because screw statistics. Ha!

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”.

Life is Beautiful Preview – Day 2

SAM_2375

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.

Life is Beautiful Preview – Day 1

Life is Beautiful 2014 is only a few days away. It seems like it got here super fast, but its been a busy fall for me, so it is probably just my imagination.

I will be honest, the lineup this year did not have me itching like the 2013 Lineup. Unless this is your first visit to the blog, you know how big of fan I am of bands like The Killers, Imagine Dragons and Childish Gambino who all had big performances last year. This year it is not the headliners that have gotten me excited, rather it is the smaller bands and local acts that will be causing me to move my feet and nod my head.

With 3 days of music and just around 69 bands on the bill, there is a lot more room for lesser known and local acts to have their place.

This year, I decided I would break the preview up so as to make sure I can actually finish three posts as opposed to failing and finishing one long one. With that in mind, here are my picks for Friday. I won’t be able to hit all of these acts up, but I am going to give it my best shot.

It is my belief that Friday has the most solid line-up of the weekend. Literally every time slot has someone I want to see…and a couple have multiple acts I would like to check out. I am not sure if that will happen this weekend, but I will give it the old college try.

My first tough decision comes at the start of the day. It is a choice between two local acts. The first is Ekoh, a local hip-hop artist who has been working the scene for a while. I’ve known of him for a while, but haven’t had the chance to see an entire set until he opened for one of my favorite hip-hop artists, Grieves, this summer. The other choice is local rock outfit Rusty Maples. Also veteran’s of the Vegas scene, this group could be poised to make it big. I had seen them a couple times over the last few years, but became very excited to see how far they’ve come when they opened for Built to Spill early this fall.  This will be a game time decision, but to show you just how tough it will be…here are the two acts in question.

First is Ekoh with “Zzyzx Road”

Next here are the Rusty Maples with “Long Walk Home”

With toughest decision of  the day out of the way, I am off to the races.

Up next is Portland based Priory. This group has had a minor radio hit with “Weekend”. I am not a huge fan of “Weekend” but the rest of their stuff sounds pretty good. Enjoy “Alone” off of their first release.

At this point, I could head over to the Mainstage to see Phantogram (who I hear is awesome live) or hit up a double header of Kentucky pop rockers Sleeper Agent and LouFest 2014 favorites Vintage Trouble. This would mean I would also miss electro act Girl Talk, but it would put me in great position to see one of my first SoCal favorites (and one of the three last remaining “Christian”-ish groups that I still follow), Switchfoot. There is no doubt that I will be seeing Switchfoot, I just am not sure which path I will take to get there. Check out “When We Come Alive” from their recent Fading West release.

At this point, I will be sticking near two stages who have the rest of the bands I will be watching. My only regret is that I won’t be able to see one of my LouFest 2014 surprises, RAC. From Vegas native and former Rilo Kiley front-woman, Jenny Lewis  to fellow desert dwellers and some of Utah’s finest, Neon Trees, and the artists who @begt and I saw at Red Rock, Seattle based The Head and the Heart (!!!). Ending the evening for me will be Vegas locals (and the biggest Vegas headliner of this year’s Life is Beautiful) Panic! At the Disco.

Just so it is clear who I am most excited for, please enjoy “Down in the Valley” by The Head and the Heart.

Stay tuned for preview of Day 2 and Day 3