“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!

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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.

LouFest year 4 for us!


We’re excited about this year’s LouFest! The lineup was released this morning and none of our guesses for headliners were correct (we thought The Lumineers or Mumford and Sons might make an appearance in the STL fest). But we’re still happy with the lineup. I’m super excited to see Lauryn Hill and @docmurda is a St. Lucia lova, so he’s pumped about them. There is jazz, hip hop, R&B, and blues. I am down!

This is going to be our 4th year and I promise I will take better photos and post them in a timely fashion, unlike my slacking of previous years.

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LouFest: The Favorites

LouFest 2015 will include many old favorite acts as well as bands that I’ve either wanted to see live but have not, or, are bands that have come into my life due to LouFest. In the first of my LouFest series, these are the groups that I’ve seen before, but am SUPER excited to see again.

3) Young The Giant – I’ve been fortunate to see YTG twice as they headlined a show with St. Lucia and opened for Imagine Dragons. From those two performances, I’ve learned that they are a band with incredibly high energy, and Sameer, the lead singer, has one of the best live voices I think I’ve ever heard. I know they are going to have a very great set.

Here is “Crystallized”

2) The Avett Brothers –  I was so excited to read that they would be headliner at LouFest. Despite the negative comments about the festival lineup (which I thought where completely uncalled for – see: The Case for LouFest) I couldn’t have been happier. I had the pleasure of seeing these guys for 2 of the 3 shows they did last August here in Las Vegas. They may be the best live band I’ve ever seen. The two shows I saw where very different from each other and only had a few songs that were performed at both of those shows.

Here is “Open Ended Life”

1) This should be no surprise to the readers of Sandy Beats, but act that I’ve seen before that I am most looking forward to is Brandon Flowers. His album, The Desired Effect was my first favorite record of 2015, and may take the top spot at the end of this year. I was fortunate enough to see him with 250 of my fellow fans at the epic show at the now gone Bunkhouse. He is a hell of a performer, and I know I’ll be in for a treat again. And I know that he will sing my second favorite song of all time, “Read My Mind” (Killers “cover”).

Here is “Magdalena” my favorite cut from his first solo effort.

(I just get goosebumps when I watch his performances… he loves what he does so much).

Stay tuned for the next LouFest preview.

The Feels

Music is my outlet. It has been that way for a while. There are emotions that are much better felt with music accompanying them. I had thought about titling this post “Melancholy and the Infinite Sadness” but lets be real, I am nowhere near emo enough to use a Smashing Pumpkins title for this post. I mean, I love the Pumpkins as much as the next guy who was in high school in the 1990’s, but I am a grown ass man now, so I won’t use such titles.

However, I don’t want to let you believe that there isn’t some “emo” in the post…but I’ll let the music speak for itself.

In listening to artists for the upcoming LouFest 2015 I found myself gravitating to Strand of Oaks. His music is a bit more “rock-ish” than I often listen to…but his lyrics drew me in. His lyrics on his newest record HEAL are very introspective and relate back to his personal struggles over the past few years that this amazing article from Spin outline. After spending some time with Strand of Oaks and the record HEAL, this went from a “I’ll see SOO if the timing works out at LouFest” to “Unless he’s up against Brandon Flowers I am seeing this man perform”.

I love the entire record HEAL, so it is hard to figure out what song to play, but “Shut In” wins.

I greatly slowed down my show going over the last few months. I needed to take more time for life. I had a list of shows I was considering, and knew that I wouldn’t make some. However, there was one show I couldn’t miss. After years (literally) of @begt raving about the John Butler Trio, I had to go see this band when they came through Las Vegas. I don’t know if they had ever performed here, so I didn’t want to miss out. The crowd was spectacular. Each time I go to a show that caters to a more hippy crowd, I am surprised to see the people come out of the wood work in Las Vegas. I am sure many came in for the show, but it is always good to see these people are around. I loved the entire show, each song was great and John Butler is one of the best guitar players I’ve ever seen. There was one song in particular which took me to another world. I think @begt texted me during the show saying that this song can change your life. I will say that I’ve divided my concert going life into two parts. Before I heard “Ocean” performed live, and after.

Here is “Ocean” from the Live at Red Rocks DVD (seeing him and Red Rocks would be amazing).

I am not sure how I stumbled upon AURORA, a Norwegian singer. Her songs are all very haunting as her voice is very ethereal. Her songs also tell a heck of a story. Here is “Awakening” from Running with The Wolves”. 

My favorite album of 2015 (so far) is Of Monsters and Men’s Beneath the Skin. It is my opinion that this record is leaps and bounds better than their first (which I also quite enjoyed). The lyrics have matured significantly and the music has become a bit more complex (while still maintaining the OMAM sound). I enjoy each song from the record, but my favorite is “Hunger”. They lyrics are devastatingly real.

Here is “Hunger”:

There is enough of the feelings for one post. Stay tuned for LouFest previews coming soon.

The Case for LouFest

These days it seems like there is a music festival in every city during the summer. Each week it seems like there is a new one popping up. To the non-music professional, this seems like a tough environment to be in if you are either a small music festival, or a festival in a smaller non-coastal market. Now I don’t know what goes into a planning a festival. I don’t know about booking acts, and I don’t know the process for picking the best acts for any given festival. I do love music. All kinds of music. And I also love LouFest. LouFest was my first major music festival. For that reason it will have a special place in my heart. But I also love LouFest for the friendly environment it creates, and I love it because St. Louis is such a great place to visit. Since my first LouFest, Begt and I make it a point to go back every year. We don’t live near each other, and sometimes don’t get to see each other very often. But we have Sandy Beats and LouFest.

This year, I was very excited for LouFest. I bought the super early bird ticket, and anxiously awaited the lineup. Begt and I made predictions, and assumptions. When the lineup hit, I was thrilled. But I felt like I was alone. Reading St. Louis newspaper articles, the comments on LouFest’s instagram and comments in the LouFest subreddit illustrated to me that people were not happy.  The comments varied from the disgruntled, to the downright angry. I didn’t (and don’t) understand the anger. I mean, I wish that LouFest featured the reunion of Oasis (unlikely that reunion will happen) or included a performance from Tupac’s hologram…but I realized that LouFest isn’t going to cater to just my taste. They are going to cater to a wide variety of tastes that will result in ticket sales and happy guests. I am fortunate that I live in a city that gets more than our fair share of shows. I am fortunate that I get to see more shows that most people can dream about, but I understand that there is a lot of competition out there for music festivals and different markets. St. Louis cannot complete in terms of sales to places like LA, Chicago, DC or Seattle. But, they can still host a heck of a festival that beats some of those other cities when it comes to the friendliness of attendees, the cleanliness of the park, or the green-ness of festival facilities. I choose to go to LouFest for the things I cannot get in Las Vegas or other nearby cities. The quality of the festival is the draw. I am spoiled because there is also incredible music.

This year’s lineup rivals the two previous years I attended. There are some great well-known acts, some under the radar wonders and up & comers. I personally am beyond excited to see The Avett Brothers again. I caught them in two back to back shows last year and they proved to be one of the best live bands I’ve seen. Readers of this blog know how much I love Brandon Flowers. Heck, I am paying less to see The Avett Brothers, Brandon Flowers and two full days of music than I did just to see The Avett Brothers once. I am super excited to see a band I’ve been following for a while that doesn’t seem to make it out west very often, Delta Rae. And I am looking forward to experiencing bands I didn’t even know about before the LouFest lineup like Pokey LaFarge, Knox Hamilton and The Suffers. LouFest is the place where I discovered some of my favorite bands like The Mowgli’s, Wild Cub and Vintage Trouble.

I know that this year will be different…as every year has been and will be. But I can tell you I am ready to hop on that plane and head to St. Louis for LouFest 2015. I will enjoy every minute, and in the end I won’t be upset that Liam and Noel didn’t get back together in front of my eyes under the lush trees of Forest Park.

Here is the first of many previews of LouFest 2015.

Here is “Live and Die” from The Avett Brothers.

Here is “Can’t Deny My Love” from Brandon Flowers

Delta Rae with “Morning Comes”

Here is Pokey LaFarge with “Something in the Water”

Knox Hamilton (featuring the Clinton Presidential Library and Mr. Ray Zerback) with “Work It Out”

And finally, The Suffers with “Gwan”

LouFest is going to kick some major ass.

New Music and Repeat One

I am going to try to be brief and include a lot of music in a (hopefully) tiny post.

New Music

The last two weeks have seen some really solid releases. Overall I’ve been listening to a lot of different music, but for the new music I will go back to some old favorites.

Readers (or co-author) of this blog may understand the depth of love I get from the music of The Killers. Well, frontman Brandon Flowers has recorded a new record out mid May. His second solo record The Desired Effect is thought to have a more 80’s influence than Flamingo. The first single off the record is the very 80’s inspired Can’t Deny My Love”. I had the extreme pleasure to see him perform a tiny (250 capacity) venue here in Las Vegas a couple weeks ago. One of the best live shows I’ve ever seen. Brandon Flowers is quite the performer.

Here is “Can’t Deny My Love”

Up next is a favorite of Sandy Beats, Twenty One Pilots. Their newest single “Fairly Local” is a bit more “hip-hoppy” sounding than their previous work, but the dark introspective lyrics are still there.

“Fairly Local” from the forthcoming Blurryface

My last new music pick is from Of Monsters and Men. I enjoyed their first record, and am quite excited for this new release, particularly after hearing the first single “Crystals”.

Here is “Crystals” from the release Beneath the Skin

Repeat One(s)

I’ve been listening to a ton of music as I recently paid for Spotify. It has opened up my ears to a lot of different bands. Which is great.

There are a variety of reasons that this happens, but sometimes, just sometimes, I go through a phase where I listen to music that is just a bit more “country” than normal. During one of those binges I found Sturgill Simpson. A mix of outlaw country from the 70’s with topics that are very much today. Here is “Turtles All The Way” from Metamodern Sounds in Country Music. Hopefully I will get to see him later this month as he plays the Brooklyn Bowl with special guests The Lone Bellow(!!!).

When I heard that Belle & Sebastian were coming out with a new record, I was quite excited. They were one of my favorites back in college when I had a radio show. I had not really followed them much after college, but now some 13 years later they are back in heavy rotation in my world. I love the entirety of Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance, but “Nobody’s Empire” has become one of my favorite songs. The lyrics are pure poetry…

In my more somber moods, I’ve been turning to music like Tourist’s “Wait”. It reminds me of much of the electronic music I listened to years ago, but is of course as modern as it gets.

In other news, 2015 has started out on a similar path as 2014 in regards to live shows. I finished out the first quarter of the year with Trampled By Turtles, and start off April with 3 shows: Milky Chance, St. Lucia (!!!) and Alt-J.

And in the next few weeks LouFest will start to come alive with tickets, and some teasers for line-up. Who do you think will be there this year?