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Outside Lands Underdogs Prevail: Thee Oh Sees, Sharon Van Etten & Reggie Watts

John Dywer from Thee Oh Sees

John Dywer from Thee Oh Sees

Another Outside Lands music fest has officially come and gone from the foggy summer city that is San Francisco. Every year, the three-day music/food/art shit show is held amongst the trees in Golden Gate Park – which also happens to be a mere 15 minute bus ride from home – hello convenience! Nothing’s better than the ability sleep in your own bed after spending an entire exhausting day dancing with and/or being a drunkard in the dirt.

The Outside Lands line up was interesting in that it ranged from Skrillex, to Big Boi, Santigold to Stevie Wonder, Metallica, fun., Jack White, Beck, Passion Pit, Justice and other random bands. While the line up had some serious competition in the form of ‘big name bands,’ There were a slew of bands who performed way beyond expectation, and down right rocked the fuck out. Sure, Metallica had flames bursting from hell on stage, and Skrillex threw down beats from a high-rise space ship for Christ’s sake, but as far as no-thrills go, the Outside Lands underdogs certainly prevailed.

Now I know you’re like, suddenly expecting me to list Washed Out, Tanlines, Explosions in the Sky, Geographer, Tennis and every other indie band that performed (as every other blog will) – They’re great bands and had sweet sets, but to put it simply: they sounded just as they always do. Thee Oh Sees, Sharon Van Etten & Reggie Watts, however, were the undeniable highlight of Outside Lands purely due to their ridiculous raw talent and exceedingly amazing stage presence. hear for yourself:

1. Thee Oh Sees: Wow! Does this band know how to fuckin’ rock it or WHAT? What amazingly energetic, upbeat and pumped-up performers. The San Franciscans’ set was full of garage rock, sweat, spit, body surfing, (look ma!) no-hands beer chugging, guitar slinging, whiplash inducing fun. I also had the pleasure of seeing them for a second time donning black masks after David Cross did a stand up set about colon cleanses. Thee Oh Sees are an absolute must-see if you’re into having a good time and moving your body at a show – hey, some people aren’t.

Thee Oh Sees – Tidal Wave

Sharon Van Etten

Sharon Van Etten

2. Sharon Van Etten: Not only was Sharon Van Etten‘s voice even more beautifully stunning live, her sarcasm, wit and banter with the audience, and ability to belt out such heart-felt and somber lyrics with a laugh and an occasional “That’s fuckin’ right!” was downright impressive. The Brooklyn indie folk singer gave background stories to each song; some she even mocked (Give Out): “This is a song about moving to NYC for love… You can go ahead and throw up now.” Listen and weep:

Sharon Van Etten – Give Out (found on her 2012 album, Tramp)

Reggie Watts

Reggie Watts

Reggie Watts: Standing on stage donning suspenders and his iconic ‘fro, Reggie Watts worked the crowd with his hilarious, yet catchy-as-hell beatbox hip hop set. I swear he had to’ve made everything up on the spot, but it certainly worked in his favor. Reggie Watts combines the best of both comedian and musician worlds by enticing fans with satirical and laugh-inducing lyrics, yet still knows how to throw down some seriously funky beats.

Reggie Watts – Fuck Shit Stack

NEW Electro-Bubblegum-Pop: Ellie Goulding – Anything Could Happen

Ellie Goulding - Anything Can HappenThere’s no denying that Ellie Goulding, the UK sweetheart of pop produces some of the most unbelievably catchy indie-electro-pop jams that consistently blow you away with each release. Goulding’s hearty yet simply sweet voice and synthy beats combine the best of both bubblegum pop and electro worlds.

“Under the sheets,” from her debut album in 2009 was my first introduction to the addiction and pop prowess that is Ellie Goulding.

No surprise, the electro-pop princess has done it again. Anything Could Happen is the debut single from her upcoming album, Halcyon due October 8th (UK) and October 9th (US.).

Ellie Goulding – Anything Could Happen

NEW Psych-Rock Jam from SF Band: Moon Duo – Sleepwalker

Not sure why, but for some reason there seems to be an unfathomable number of bands (okay, I can only think of two right now) who are hailing from San Francisco and forming, performing and producing ridiculously good psych-rock, post-punk, and/or darkwave, all with “moon” in the name. ie. The Soft Moon, and Moon Duo. No complaints though, as the sounds these two bands produce transport you into a deep psychedelic trance that make you forget it’s Monday, and you’re rotting… er, working in a cubicle.

Vice Magazine said it best back in November of 2009: “If you like your goth music dignified and spooky like Death in June, then you should come over and we’ll have a little goth-together where we have some beers and turn off the lights and listen to Moon Duo.”

Moon Duo (Ripley Johnson of Wooden Shjips and Sanae Yamad) already have another LP Circles due sometime this fall. Download Sleepwalker – the first track on the anticipated album for FREE on Soundcloud.

Moon Duo – Sleepwalker

NEW JAM: Black Moth Super Rainbow – Windshield Smasher

Trippy, trancey, rockin’ and upbeat is all that encompasses the new Black Moth Super Rainbow jam, Windshield Smasher. The mysterious members of the psychedelic pop band from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania will be self-releasing a new LP, Cobra Juicy, on October 9th; and this new addictive gem will presumably make an appearance on it – The video to accompany your un/healthy addiction to this jam will be released for your viewing pleasure sometime this week. In the mean time, trip out man:

Black Moth Super Rainbow – Windshield Smasher

NEW BAND: Le Galaxie (fresh electro beats from the emerald isle)

You guys, this is the very first band recommendation (sent via a homie in Ireland) for coco stereo. (Exciting!)

Le Galaxie is a fresh electronic band hailing from, of course, Dublin, Ireland.  Ireland never ceases to amaze, as it’s such a tiny country, yet produces and possesses some of the greatest literary and musical talents in the world. And regardless of its economic ups and downs, fresh music consistently flows from the Emerald Isle at alarming rates. I may be biased as I used to live in Dublin, but the Irish are also the friendliest, wittiest and most charming humans on the planet. Fresh jams, sweet beats and addictive electro-pop seeping from Ireland’s seams comes as no surprise.

Le Galaxie is comprised of  four Irish bros with sweet moves and an affinity for wearing US Prez masks – I dig the look. They recently released (July 13th) an EP Fade 2 Forever (found on bandcamp here). The sound is an electro-pop, trance-techno-fest with a sprinkling of 80s and 90s throwbacks. Their 2011 album Laserdisc Nights 2 is also available to download for FREE on bandcamp. Find ’em on Soundcloud and Twitter too.

Le Galaxie – Love System (feat. Elaine Mai)

Le  Galaxie – Midnight Midnight

NEW: Black Marble – A Great Design (dark jams to warm your black heart)

Black Marble, the “coldwave, minimal synth, post-punk, goth-pop” duo (Ty Kube and Chris Stewart) from Brooklyn have been described as a couple of sombre 80s ‘bot boys with machine-like vibes. There’s a slight Ian Curtis monotone-ness to the vocals combined with “cold electronics” that results in an undeniably addictive sound, which can be found on their EP, Weight Against the Door.

On October 9th, the band will release its debut album, A Different ArrangementA Great Design is the first release:

Black Marble – A Great Design

Black Marble – Pretender


The xx – Angels … is not that good.

I’m sorry guys, but NEWS FLASH: The new jam, Angels by The xx… is kind of boring. I know you wanted it to be epic and all, but it just isn’t there. Can you believe their last album was released in 2009? Hence, Angels is off of their highly anticipated (and hopefully more enticing than just this jam) album, Coexist due in September.

Have a listen, but it might put you to sleep:

The xx – Angels