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.

LouFest Wrap-Up: Top 10 Favorite Moments from LouFest Part 1

Admittedly, I am still very much in the LouFest honeymoon stage. The festival ended 6 days ago, but it was my first, and I loved every single moment of it. We had heat, humidity, rain downpours and the most beautiful sunsets I’ve seen outside of the desert and the mountains of Colorado. I could go on for days about the non-music reasons I enjoyed the festival, but that is not what you are here for. So, without further delay, here are my Top 10 Favorite Moments from LouFest (split up into Top 5 of each day).

Saturday:

On Friday night after a day of sightseeing, @begt and I determined which of the bands we didn’t spend much time researching, that we were going to see. There were a few times we changed our minds, and I don’t think either of us regretted the choices we made.

5) We started off the day and festival completely on the right foot. We had both listened to the two acts opening up the festival before, but only really briefly. One of the bands, Kentucky Knife Fight had appealed to me due to their bluegrass influences. They are a local St. Louis band. The other band with an opening set on Saturday was Jukebox the Ghost from Brooklyn, NY. After listening to a coupe of their songs on Friday night (after a few drinks) we decided to go with Jukebox the Ghost…and I was not disappointed. Their set was high energy from the first note. This 3 piece is a mix of Queen, Ben Folds Five and the Fray with a side of Brooklyn Hipster. From my personal favorite song (after purchasing their newest record Safe Travels) “Adulthood” to the catchy relationship woes filled “Oh, Emily” the band kept the energy through the roof. They even ripped out an amazing version of “Somebody to Love” from Queen. Not many artists can sing that song well, lead singer and keys player Ben, did an incredible job. They ended their set with their most popular song, “Somebody” from Safe Travels. 

4) I didn’t get to catch much of the set of this next band (as I went early to the set mentioned in #2), but we had to take a break from the heat and watched the band Modoc under the trees at the BMI stage. This Nashville based band has a very powerful sound and occasionally breakout a bit of a Southern rock sound. I hope that this band comes out west soon so that I can see a full set.

3) One of the bands that I was excited to see that was unknown to me before the LouFest lineup, is Utah based Desert Noises. These guys played about halfway through the day on the smallest stage of the event. The stage setup was very idyllic with an open back and a beautiful view of the trees of Forest Park. These four guys look to be about 20 years old each, but have a very mature sound. I feel that  their name is very representative of their music as I can think of few bands who would go as well as these guys when driving through the expansive deserts of Utah and Nevada.

About halfway through their set, Kyle, the lead singer looks out into the crowd and says to the audience “This is good…this is good right?”. I hope he realized just how good their set was.

I have a feeling that these guys are just beginning a long career. They just wrapped up a tour across the US, but I am sure they will head back out on the road soon. Check out the haunting “I Won’t See You”.

2) As mentioned in #4, I had to leave the Modoc set early. The reason I left that set early was to head to the main stage to prepare myself for Trampled By Turtles. When finding out about LouFest I was so excited that TBT was playing the festival. I’ve been listening to this band for a couple years, and really wanted to see them live. They don’t travel a lot to the western US, so I was very happy to catch them here. I went to this set alone, as @begt and Jennifer (aka the comedian) needed some more time to lay around…but I met a delightful couple from Peoria, IL who had seen TBT on a couple different occasions. Trampled by Turtles did not disappoint. This Duluth, MN based band keeps  their energy high and makes sure that each member gets to showcase their skill. I was very excited as I’ve not seen a live mandolin player since starting to play one myself. The TBT mandolin player is quite good, and at one point the fiddler brought out a mandolin and the two of them were getting down.

They played many of their hits including “Victory”, “Whisky”, “Wait So Long” and they finished their set with my personal favorite, “Alone”.

1) There is really no contest about the best show of the day on Saturday. I first heard this band when playing around on our Roku  while watching music videos on the one of the many music video channels. Their sound is unlike any other group I’ve heard. I was bummed slightly as they played Las Vegas the day we left for St. Louis, and it would have been great to see them twice in the same week, but I believe that I will have many opportunities to see them. What is the band you ask? None other than Los Angeles  own Fitz & the Tantrums. I was blown away by their performance. They have so much energy and they know exactly how to get the crowd into the show. Other than the National and Wilco, this was the biggest crowd I saw at any performance. FATT is one of those groups that sounds better live. Their recorded stuff is great, and definitely gives a feel for the band, but they should be enjoyed live and in person.

From LouFest (not taken by me) “Out of My League”

And “MoneyGrabber”

Stay tuned from my wrap up from Sunday. I am still processing the amazingness that was Sunday at LouFest.

LouFest Spotlight: Trampled By Turtles

@begt and I are only two months away from LouFest and while I am not fully prepared in regards to travel arrangements or time off, I am prepared when it comes to the bands that I will be enjoying. One of those bands is Trampled By Turtles. TBT are a not quite bluegrass indie folk band from the great white north of Duluth, MN. I cannot be sure when and where I first heard of TBT (lets be real, probably Spotify) but the first song I heard from them was “Wait So Long” (see video below). I was just starting my most recent folk/bluegrass kick and instantly loved the song. I started discovering their other work, and built a strong appreciation for the music they make (or sometimes cover like the Pixies tune “Where is my mind?”).

I would say they are probably the most “bluegrassy” of the bands in the LouFest lineup, and as a recent student of the mandolin, I can tell you that I am very excited to see them perform and to watch the mandolin being played live.

Please enjoy “Walt Whitman” (as seen on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim)

and “Wait So Long”.

They are on tour this summer, so if they are coming to a nearby town, you owe it to yourself to see them in action.