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New Music Tuesdays – Let’s Play Catch Up Edition


Musicheads,

This week is an interesting one in terms of releases.  It’s interesting not so much for its new releases, but for its re-issues and releases from older artists.  Out this week were deluxe reissues of Led Zeppelin’s IV and Houses Of The Holy as well as a reissue by KISS and new music from Yusuf / Cat Stevens and Jerry Lee LewisAlso out today is the latest album out by The Flaming Lips, a tribute to The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album titled  With A Little Help From My Fwends.

 

With all these reissues and re-imaginings, how did I spend my time at the record store this week you ask?  I spent it picking up previously released albums I had missed in prior trips.  Starting off with Zola Jesus‘ latest album that released at the beginning of October, Taiga.

 

The new album is a distinct move towards pop music for Nika Rosa Danilova (aka Zola Jesus).  Highlighted by the lead single Dangerous Days, the album is a change of pace from prior endeavors.

With heavy use of artificially produced sounds and simplistic and direct transitions, the music lends itself well to the style of similar artists in the spectrum (like the Sia’s of the world who write for so many other top pop acts) while also being prone to being remixed multiple times for an even larger audience.  Her music does maintain a darker edge to it though in both feeling and lyrics which helps center .  Tracks like TaigaGo (Blank Sea) and Hunger are solid tracks that truly make up the crux of what was the album’s goal.  Other tracks such as the final two tracks Hollow and It’s Not Over are also stellar tracks that utilize an echoing effect and her distinct voice with perfection.  Be sure to catch these and check out the rest of the album.

 

Also acquired this week was technically a new album, the début self-titled full length from Brooklyn outfit Haerts.

The album Haerts got a physical release this week and the 10-track album is primarily a compilation of all their previous releases.  Bolstered by singles WingsAll the Days and Hemiplegia from the EP Hemiplegia that had originally surfaced in 2013 as well as by newer singles from earlier this year in Call My Name and Giving Up, the album is very strong.

Despite its lack of truly new music (only 4 tracks that had not been pre-released), the album stands as a solid début that has some lasting power.  On top of this, Haerts have become a première support act of late in the US market.  Having previously toured with Atlas Genius, Washed Out and London Grammar and currently on tour with St. Luciaas well as having shared the spotlight with The 1975 and Bastillearriving early to the shows has been a major benefit.

 

I will leave you this week with a recently released new track from electronic artist Robert Delong who, after coming off his breakout 2013 album Just Movement is beginning to start releasing new music into the world again.

And now, as always, here was everything acquired on this New Release Tuesday:

and be sure to follow on Facebook and on Twitter @AudiofileAkwitz at to get even more music updates that don’t make the posts.

Spotify Playlists:

-Akwitz

Now Playing:  Robert Delong – Long Way Down

 

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Coachella 2014 – A Complete Guide To This Year’s Festival (Spotify Playlists Included)


Musicheads,

Coachella is mere hours away and I am here to present to you your survival guide to the actual music of the festival.  For those of you going that haven’t yet figured out what you are going to see, look no further.  For the rest of us who aren’t going (or happen to be doing Weekend #2) read on and get yourself acquainted with these acts that are worth seeing, hearing, feeling and any other sense you would like to utilize to enjoy the music.

So if you really hadn’t given much thought as to who to see this weekend, or moreso, who to pay attention to, look no further.  Let me give you the skinny/4-1-1/low down, (whatever you want to call it) on what’s worth your time.  First off, I just have to say, the festival promoters really packed Saturday.  While Friday and Sunday are pretty manageable and straightforward, Saturday is a real cluster for picking one quality act you want to see over another all day long.  Now let me breakdown my ideal schedule for each day, maybe you’ll agree with me.

Note: When I mark conflicts the first listed act would be my winner

 

Spotify Playlist: Coachella 2014 – Friday – “A Good Start”

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Let’s start off with making a schedule for the opening day:

 

Spotify Playlist: Coachella 2014 – Saturday – “Fantastic Lineup, Terrible Conflicts”

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Now onto the day from hell (scheduling-wise):

 

Spotify Playlist: Coachella 2014 – Sunday – “The Final Day: A Fitting End”

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Last day, are you tired yet? Let’s close this baby out!:

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HH set times

With regards to this schedule, who are my Not-To-Miss Acts?  Well, I don’t think I need to speak about many of the “larger font” bands, however, some smaller print bands definitely do deserve attention.

Here is my DO NOT MISS list:

Be sure, if you are going to Coachella, to make time for these acts.  They are well worth your time and ears.   Now show us some of your fancy footwork!

 

 

This year as well, Coachella has decided to live stream some of it’s shows so all of us non-attendees can still partake in the auditory 7 visual enjoyment.

Here is the live streaming schedule: Coachella LIVE! on YouTube

COACHELLA WEEKEND ONE WEBCAST:

Friday, April 11th:
03:30 – Flatbush Zombies
03:30 – ZZ Ward
03:30 – Jagwar Ma
04:15 – Grouplove
04:20 – Wye Oak
05:15 – MS MR
05:20 – AFI
06:00 – Bastille
06:05 – ASAP Ferg
06:10 – GOAT
07:00 – The Afghan Whigs
07:00 – Kate Nash
07:50 – Neko Case
08:15 – Woodkid
08:40 – Ellie Goulding
09:05 – Chromeo
09:30 – Broken Bells
09:30 – Carnage
09:55 – Bryan Ferry
10:30 – Girl Talk
11:00 – The Cult
11:20 – Martin Garrix
12:00 – Anti-Flag
12:20 – Zedd

Saturday, April 12th:
03:30 – White Lies
03:30 – Bear Hands
03:30 – Foxygen
04:10 – CHVRCHES
04:15 – Temples
04:30 – Ty Segall
05:20 – The Head and the Heart
05:30 – Bombay Bicycle Club
06:10 – City and Colour
06:30 – Washed Out
07:00 – Capital Cities
07:05 – Future Islands
07:55 – Lorde
08:00 – Warpaint
08:25 – Dillon Francis
08:45 – Foster the People
09:00 – Pixies
09:25 – Fatboy Slim
09:40 – Queens of the Stone Age
10:25 – Empire of the Sun
10:35 – Pharrell Williams
10:45 – Sleigh Bells
11:25 – Skrillex
11:35 – Pet Shop Boys
11:35 – Muse

Sunday, April 13th:
03:30 – Preservation Hall Jazz Band
03:30 – J. Roddy Walston & The Business
03:30 – Surfer Blood
04:15 – Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
04:30 – Frank Turner
05:10 – Fishbone
05:30 – Superchunk
06:00 – Blood Orange
06:00 – Flosstradamus
06:30 – The 1975
07:15 – Little Dragon
07:40 – The Naked and Famous
07:50 – Alesso
08:30 – Daughter
08:30 – Calvin Harris
09:00 – Big Gigantic
09:25 – Beck
09:55 – Adventure Club
10:10 – Nas
10:20 – Arcade Fire
10:45 – Duck Sauce
11:10 – Disclosure

 

So….what are your thoughts?  Like my daily schedules? Hate them? Did I leave someone out I shouldn’t be? Let me know your thoughts.  If you are going to Coachella, and you use these lists, drop me a line as well!   Also, be sure to check out each day’s Spotify Playlist, chocked full of each day’s lineup from the official poster.  Hours of listening pleasure in each of those playlists, so be sure to get your fill.

 

-Akwitz

Now Playing: Coachella 2014


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2014 – A Down Year for Music


Musicheads,

As much as I’d like this not to be true, I can’t help but think that 2014 will be a very weak year musically.  Don’t get me wrong, I truly hope that is not the case, but I personally just can’t see this year being all that great, and I will explain why.

1) Although we are not even through three months of the year, the quantity and strength of quality and big name new and upcoming releases simply just isn’t there.  Not only are we not seeing the same volume of quality releases, but neither are we seeing much hype for new and upcoming bands in 2014.  Maybe I’m wrong here, (please prove me wrong) but after just about a quarter of the year in the books, we are already behind in terms of quality releases worth everyone’s ear’s attention.  Yes, there are still hype bands, but have I personally heard any that will stand the test of time and be more than a one-hit wonder, not particularly.  Don’t get me wrong here though, there will always be quality music coming out, even in a down year, and I can name a few worth getting excited for (Beck (x2)U2ColdplayDamon Albarn’s solo album, Foster the PeopleBanks and the ever-rumoured year for the next  Modest Mouse album release) but overall, the year’s prospectus looks fairly dull.  Maybe it will get better and maybe we will have more surprise releases and some up-and-coming stars rise up later in the year, but right now, the outlook is bleak.  Having been engrossed in the music industry and been an avid student of trend analysis, I have come to notice, the music industry is cyclical.  This brings me to my second point.

2) Let’s face it, 2013 was a banner year for the music industry.  Maybe not in terms of overall album sales or financials, but in terms of breakout acts and exposure to new and up-and-coming bands and the resurgence of older acts returning to the fray.  Not only did we have the return of big names like Daft Punk, Arcade Fire and Vampire Weekend, but the larger world was introduced to stellar acts Haim, CHVRCHES, Lorde, Bastille, London Grammar, MS MR, The 1975, Capital Cities and many, many more.  On top of that, a number of acts that began to hit it big at the end of 2012, really hit their stride in 2013, primarily alt-J, who played at every festival and drew humongous crowds.  Not only that, but we received a series of great one-off covers, remixes and singles as well, from the likes of Tears For FearsRAC and The Knocks, among others that took the world by storm in 2013.  2013 also brought with it a number of great collaborations and major themes.  It was the Year of the Woman, with girl groups and female-lead singers at the forefront of all the hype and music production last year.  Last year also happened to be the year of Dave Grohl and Pharrell.  Plain and simple, they dominated the music chatter in 2013. In one way, shape or form, one of these two men was in everything it felt like.  With all that happening in 2013, the bar has been set incredibly high.  It’s perfectly understandable why 2014 won’t live up to its predecessor.  If it does though, shame on me for being a doubter and hooray for music! 

3) In my opinion, a good litmus test for the year’s music is the lineups of the major Summer music festivals.  Are the lineups full of up-and-coming acts that have yet to release albums, or with more seasoned vets and artists that have in the previous year gotten big?  So what has the announcement of this year’s festivals brought to the table? Well, we see the announcement of the OutKast reunion and their 30+ date festival headlining tour.   The duo are headlining almost all of the festivals this year and this is deeply depressing.  Although festivals often do have tried-and-true performers for their top-bill, the lack of disparity in this year’s festival lineups is disconcerting.  On top of that, a majority of the headliners this year have not released new albums in the past year and I have yet to hear of any rumours that they plan to do so in 2014.  Apparently, there are very few acts that festival producers are willing to risk their money on as most of the lineups are chocked full of acts that started their rise in 2013.  Not a bad move financially or sonically for all those involved, but the risk/forethought is not there either.  Usually, one can discover some quality new acts from the smaller font artists on the lineup poster with the festival producer playing the role of taste-maker, however this year, it seems like every festival has either the same acts as the others, or the smaller font acts have been established or discovered last year.  Maybe I’m just more in-tuned to the musical environment and maybe a lot of the smaller font names are new to festival goers, but I’m unimpressed by the festival outlook for music discovery in 2014.  While the festivals may be amazing events and fun and enjoyable experiences will be had by many, a precedent is being set for festivals, moving away from years of new music discovery and more towards a larger, more proven artist roster that will be bound to sell out every year and cater to the masses.  Festival promoters bring in (what I like to call) the “bucket list”/cash cow performers and watch them put butts in the seats and their job is successful.

Maybe I’m looking at it all wrong, but either way, 2014 does not look like a blockbuster year for new music.  Please world and readers prove me wrong!  Show me why 2014 is gonna be awesome musically and perhaps you can change my mind.  Maybe we’ll Get Lucky?

The task is yours. I hope you choose to accept it.

-Akwitz

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