Fresh Tunes – Indie and R&B

Mutual-Benefit

Mutual Benefit’s debut LP, Love’s Crushing Diamond, is beautiful. It’s a simple, sunbathed collection of tracks that – to be completely honest- took us entirely by surprise.

a4241493582_10This folk album is warm and earnest and a bit slow, entirely unlike the rollicking folk pop that finds its way onto top 40 playlists all over. The songs on this album often start after a good fifteen seconds of fooling around and giggling, or after what seems like a sort of coalescing of separate sounds; on “Let’s Play’ / Statue of a Man”, a drummer gives a few taps while a keyboard plinks about aimlessly over what sounds like a children’s toy coming to life. Somebody hiccups and laughs quietly and suddenly every click, plink, and strum is together. This small bit of playfulness makes many of the songs feel quite open ended, like a group of friends sitting down and making something they all love together.

Jordan Lee, the master songwriter behind this album, doesn’t seem to be grappling for attention in the same way that other artists are. There are neither ear worm hooks to get stuck in one’s head, nor foot-stomping choruses to shake stadiums of sweating, dancing people. Instead, Lee has crafted something that flows easily and joyfully and quietly. I think much of this album’s power lies in the sentimentality of the listener. If one has ever felt a pining for home or old friends or slow, sunny days I think that person will find much to love in this music.

Devonté Hynes- the man behind Blood Orange- seems to be restless. Prior to Cupid Deluxe, he recorded five albums underBlood-Orange-Cupid-Deluxe three different groups.  He has written or produced songs for Sky Ferreira, Florence and the Machine, Theophilus London, and Britney Spears. Despite his eclectic musical past, Hynes newest album is incredibly focused and cohesive.

At the moment, many indie rockers seem infatuated with recreating the sounds of the 1980s, and Blood Orange is no exception. Every track is a swirl of R&B, new age beats, and vocals provided by either Hynes himself or one of the many guests he brought along to help him articulate his often mournful sentiments. Caroline Polachek (of Chairlift) and Samantha Urbani sing wet-eyed echoes of Hynes, or duet with each other throughout the album. On “No Right Thing”, Dirty Projectors’ David Longstreth lends his voice to make tight harmonies that glide over the skittering and shaking beats built by producer Clams Casino. Rappers Despot and Skepta make appearances, breaking out of the traditional 16-bar form, and spin their own nostalgic tales of broken relationships and recording equipment.

There are many guest artists on this album with their own voices. And like a conductor with an orchestra, Hynes carefully crafts a single space for all his voices to inhabit. Whether that be the head-nodding album opener “Chamakay”, or “High Street” that races through memories of a newly successful artist, all the tracks on Cupid Deluxe mutter or shout proclamations of heartbreak or loneliness or emancipation from comfort. Hynes has gazed inside himself and collected his fears and sadness to create something meaningful. With this album, Hynes leads us through a world of alienation and struggle that we would have otherwise missed.

 

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Shows of Note – Sasquatch Predictions

Macklemore-Ryan-Lewis-perform-at-Sasquatch-Music-Festival-2011-Day-4-2011-05-30-DSC_0216

Well folks, everyone has been anxiously waiting to hear the official line-up for this year’s Sasquatch Music Festival, hosted at the beautiful Gorge Amphitheater in George, Wash. Due to its overwhelming popularity, the festival has been extended to both Memorial Day weekend and Fourth of July weekend! This means that Sasquatch is going to pack a much harder punch than previous years, even considering that 2013 hosted some of the world’s biggest indie music acts.

Arctic Monkeys

Arctic Monkeys

Energetic folk rock quartet Mumford & Sons made a massive appearance last year following their sophomore album, Babel, and shared the headlining bill with the Grammy award-winning indie rock outfit Vampire Weekend, and Icelandic post-rock pioneers Sigur Ros. Could any of these acts be returning to the Sasquatch stage?

Following the major acts, we also had the Arctic Monkeys, who will definitely making a come-back for 2014’s festival in support of their new record AM. The Arctic Monkeys have a solid chance of being on the headlining bill for this year considering the great success of AM, which sold over 150,000 copies in the first week with critics claiming it as “the band’s most original album yet.”

Seattle-native Macklemore and Ryan Lewis saw the light of 2013’s festival after The Heist dropped. After taking home four Grammys from the 2014 Grammy Awards, you can be sure that Macklemore will be spitting the lyrics to “Thrift Shop” on the main stage as a primary headlining act in the 2014 festival.

Run the Jewels

Run the Jewels

The rap scene made a huge statement in 2013 with artists such as Danny Brown, Killer Mike, Schoolboy Q, Earl Sweatshirt and Ab-Soul. We should definitely be expecting to see some of these rappers come back for 2014’s festival; Danny Brown is riding the train of his newest critically-acclaimed record, Old, which dropped in October of 2013. Killer Mike and El-P became a dynamic duo in 2013 and formed Run the Jewels; a collaboration project that has gotten them massive respect. They released the self-titled debut just a month after Sasquatch, so we’re expecting to see them come back in support of that record.

In terms of RUMORS for the 2014 line-up, we’ve heard that Pearl Jam and Queens of the Stone Age might be headlining the May weekend in support of their new records that dropped in 2014. QOTSA’s …Like Clockwork went up for a Grammy award, so it’s more than likely to see them come out for the biggest festival of the summer. Indie rock bands that will probably make the line-up are Foster the People, The National, Portugal. The Man, of Montreal, Cage the Elephant, and HAIM.

HAIM

HAIM

What we’re most skeptical about right now is whether or not Sasquatch will be able to fill up the two weekends completely with great artists. 2013’s festival will be hard to live up to, but we think that if they scheduled two full weekends this year, they’ll make it happen.

The release party is today (02/03) and the lineup will be released officially Tuesday morning. Visit the Sasquatch Music Festival website and our blog for updates on line-ups and ticket details. Tickets officially go on sale February 8th. The ‘Burg is giving away tickets to Sasquatch so be sure to check out our Facebook page for details on how you can win.

Thanks for staying in touch with your friends here at 88.1 The ‘Burg!

-Tim Mitchell – Music Director

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