Governors Ball Reconnaissance, Part 1 (plus a little something about “the Robots”)

governors ball

We’re well within the one-month-mark of the fast approach of Gov Ball (the countdown on their site informs me we’re at just over 23 days, as it happens) so I’m actually a little behind on my “Governors Ball Initiative,” as I’ve labeled the en masse consumption of previously unknown or unfamiliar groups that’ll be performing there. Luckily, as I’ve been known to brag, one of the perks of my job is that my time poring over Annual Reports generally has a pretty nice soundtrack, so I’ve got hours at my disposal for the task.

I’m pretty much just going straight down this list from BrooklynVegan that shows the mostly-manageable schedule. The Nas/Guns’n’Roses and Kanye/Avett Brothers conflicts don’t exactly make me happy but for the most part I’m unconcerned. But that could just mean that I don’t know enough of the bands well enough yet…

(click for full list)

(click photo for full list)

It’s been a fun two days. First up are Swear & Shake, an “Indie Folk” quartet outta Brooklyn. I liked them quite a bit; Kari Spieler’s voice is to die for and they’ve got some tight arrangements that maintain a pretty true folk sound.

Check out their EP (aptly titled “Extended Play”):

A couple of my personal favorites were “Daggers,” “The Light,” and “Johnnie,” (allegedly the first song Spieler and Adam McHeffey, the other vocalist[/guitarist/banjoist] recorded in Spieler’s bedroom their senior year at SUNY Purchase College).

Next was a change of pace with St. Lucia, a former boys-choir member from Johannesburg turned electro-pop marvel out of New York. Before long I had to remind myself (…numerous times) to cease dancing in my office chair. I enjoyed his remixes a lot:

But also took a shine to a number of his original tracks, such as “September,” “All Eyes on You,” and “Paper Heart.”

Dinosaur Jr. completely switched things up again with their very classic/alt rock stylings. I think I had listened to them on a few occasions previously, but nothing that stuck with me too drastically. I remember thinking to myself, this would be a pretty fun band to watch on a sunny summer day… as I ran through their SoundCloud offerings twice this morning, but will confess that they still haven’t left the hugest impression on me. That said, unless Holy Ghost! totally blows me away I’d probably go see ’em.

I was pretty close to giving Of Monsters and Men a skip, but decided I was being unfair in letting their fate be decided by the fact that radio stations went completely overboard with “Little Talks.” SoundCloud didn’t offer much original material for them (though the Until the Ribbon Breaks remix of “King and Lionheart” and Passion Pit remix of “Little Talks” did get the ice around my heart to meltin’) so I turned to my old stand-by, YouTube. (Spoti-what?) There I found their live sets at Coachella 2013 and Lollapalooza 2012, which I thought would be appropriate for my reconnaissance. I’ll include the latter set here, mostly because I just want to be that girl in the tree at the beginning.

Ultimately I found them endearing (oh ye Icelanders… get me every time) and guess I wouldn’t mind seeing them.

But wait– we waited with baited breath for the new Daft Punk album and they delivered yesterday!

(click to stream on soundisstyle.com)

(click photo to stream on http://www.soundisstyle.com)

(Ah, they’ve taken down their stream option, directing you instead to iTunes.)

And did the Robots ever deliver… I’m one of the seemingly-few whose heart still races for “Get Lucky” even after hearing it multiple hundreds of times, and think the album really lived up to its strong lead single. Let’s just say I’ve had a few very enjoyable walks with Ollie while plugged into this since putting it on my phone yesterday afternoon. I’m running out of commentary so I’m just going to throw these other entertaining/interesting DP-related items at you without any: The amazing Daft Punk|Random Access Memories|The Collaborators episode featuring Pharrell in which he only ever refers to them as “The Robots” and claims to have no memory of making “Get Lucky” and This inspiring Billboard interview that delves into their philosophy and methodology a bit.

My favorite quote from the last piece: “It’s mostly a question: Is it still possible to have this dream of looking at the way music is made like movies are made? It used to be teamwork. Is it still possible? Is there still an audience, a market for it? All interesting questions as an experiment. We are musicians even more than producers, in some sense composers. We’re not the best-selling artists in the world, but we have this dream; this ability to try to do this project and see if it we can make it happen.”

I’m having trouble finding good files to link to but I want to take this moment to profess my love for “Lose Yourself to Dance,” Pharrell’s other collab track. And I was completely engrossed in Giorgio Moroder’s spoken-word contribution to “Giorgio by Moroder.”

And yes, as I mentioned in my last post, Vampire Weekend’s new album dropped today and I regrettably haven’t even gotten around to it. In a minute, there is time…

One year ago: Snorkeling on Gili Trawangan

I… haven’t been able to access any of my China blogs or the host site for the past few days. Starting to worry a little that they shut down? Meh :(.

[update:]

With the top comment, “Can you imagine how many children are going to be conceived to this song?” I’m sayin!

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Off to the Races (Again!)

photo cred: ben holmes

photo cred: ben holmes

My dear mother had the good fortune of being born on May 4, which happens to fall on or near the weekend of an important horserace (and, as her “Third Son” has pointed out, is the day before Cinco de Mayo. Every year!). Sure, some of you may know it as the weekend of the Kentucky Derby, but round these parts (specifically, in a place truly called The Plains, Virginia) Gold Cup is the name of the game. My parents have made a sort of tradition of it over the past few years, but that whole being-on-the-other-side-of-the-world thing has thrown a wrench into any chances of my own participation.

Until this year! And what a blast it was. Slightly classier (at least in some areas haha) than Foxfield, with plenty of horses seen and documented, and even bet on. Daddy ended up showering Momma in birthday winnings after sweeping three races, but the $20 he lent me went nowhere. Alas.

gold cup virginia

'a wooden table? a glass pitcher? flowers in a glass vase? we're not at foxfield anymore...'

‘tablecloths? a wooden table? a glass pitcher? flowers in a glass vase? we’re not at foxfield anymore…’

the birthday girl and me with an old neighbor, michelle. hadn't seen her in 14 years, i wanna say!

the birthday girl and me with an old neighbor, michelle. hadn’t seen her in 14 years, i wanna say!

he was dubbed my 'horse race bf,' which meant that we called each other 'dahhhling' and belly laughed in a very highbrow manner. also that he was responsible for wiping from my chin the bloody mary that invariable found itself trickling down on various occasions.

he was dubbed my ‘horse race bf,’ which meant that we called each other ‘dahhhling’ and belly laughed in a very highbrow manner. also that he was responsible for wiping from my chin the bloody mary that invariable found itself trickling down on various occasions.

actually watching the races... what a novel idea.

actually watching the races… what a novel idea.

sweet gig

sweet gig

horses overexposed

i have a feeling their photos turned out better than mine

i have a feeling their photos turned out better than mine

spectating

as it turns out there's not much skill or research involved in the gambling we do... just drawing numbered balls from a cigar box... but we have fun.

as it turns out there’s not much skill or research involved in the gambling we do… just drawing numbered balls from a cigar box… but we have fun.

numbers 1 and 2... my horse didn't even finish the race.

numbers 1 and 2… my horse didn’t even finish the race.

stupid kingdom...

stupid kingdom…

one-time president of serp, future [co]-president of gold cup

one-time president of serp, future [co]-president of gold cup

the golf cart whence we phoned our girl kathy chen. and it's old hat by now, but i feel it's worth reiterating that the photographer left us with these parting words: 'don't worry, i've got bail money for the both of you. i'm so rich it's not even funny.'

the golf cart whence we phoned our girl kathy chen. and it’s old hat by now, but i feel it’s worth reiterating that the photographer left us with these parting words: ‘don’t worry, i’ve got bail money for the both of you. i’m so rich it’s not even funny.’

father/daughter shot. right before this my dad pronounced, 'my daughter IS me!' this was followed shortly by, 'i'm KING of the idiots!' if a=b... and b=c... well i'm just not really sure if i should be offended or not.

father/daughter shot. right before this my dad pronounced, ‘my daughter IS me!’ this was followed shortly by, ‘i’m KING of the idiots!’ if a=b… and b=c… well i’m just not really sure if i should be offended or not.

i got four grown men to link arms wedding-style with me to take shots of sambuca... maybe one of my greatest achievements to date.

i got four grown men to link arms wedding-style with me/each other to take shots of sambuca… maybe one of my greatest achievements to date.

photo credit: kyle moller (whom i may or may not have threatened to knock off the tailgate if they didn't turn out well... lucky him.)

photo credit: kyle moller (whom i may or may not have threatened to knock off the tailgate if they didn’t turn out well… lucky him.)

ran into carol and kelly, two of my old gym buddies from high school!

ran into carol and kelly, two of my old gym buddies from high school!

someone, at the very end of the day, presented us with a mint julep (very poorly mixed, i might add). this pleased ben, who'd been in search of a libation to match his bowtie all day.

someone, at the very end of the day, presented us with a mint julep (very poorly mixed, i might add). this pleased ben, who’d been in search of a libation to match his bowtie all day.

while awaiting the traffic to disperse ben and i went to kick it with the boys blasting eminem from their car. saw fit to switch hats with this upstanding gentleman, though mom was none-too-pleased and, completely fairly, i should add, asked him if he had lice when he went parading over to our car in his new headwear. hahaha.

while awaiting the traffic to disperse ben and i went to kick it with the random boys blasting eminem from their car. saw fit to switch hats with this upstanding gentleman, though mom was none-too-pleased (it… may or may not have been HER hat i was giving away all willy-nilly) and (completely fairly, i’ll admit) asked him if he had lice when he went parading over to our car in his new headwear. hahaha.

It was a really nice time with great weather and great company! And… we were all ready to crash by 9:30pm, just like real adults.

In other news, got my wisdom teeth out yesterday! Am feeling surprisingly good and will almost certainly be crashing another of my parents’ events tonight by attending the Sons of Bill show with them at the State Theater. In honor of the extraction, and of Vampire Weekend’s forthcoming new album:

the gloves are off, the wisdom teeth are out… what you on about?

And it’s no “David After the Dentist“, but my brother did make a six-minute video of my coming-out-of-an-anesthised-state that shows me in my most childlike and mumble-tastic state (not to mention strangely resembling a dinosaur of some sort).

One year ago: Gili Trawangan
Two years ago: First Day of School

(Olliefield/)Three Things

I keep wanting to post about FoxOlliefield, but the task overwhelms me. <-That links to photos. I started making a Grooveshark version of the playlist, but it kept deleting songs after I added them (quite sure this wasn’t user error) so I only got 86 out of nearly 300 songs on it. Anyway, Emilie made a retrospective list of the only songs that really mattered, and by that I mean:

what rhymes with ‘hug me’?

(And we were so sure “Get Lucky” was going to be the Foxfield anthem… Pharrell’s just all over our charts right now. For a total change of “Get Lucky” pace, by the way, check out this downbeat-but-beautiful Daughter cover.)

Long story short, twas the bestie-best of times and it was wonderful having so many old friends in one place. Who says 13’s an unlucky number?!?!?!

girl pic foxfield

Alright but this post was originally supposed to just be “Three Things.”

Thing #1: My good friend Jack, formerly known as “The Tallest Man in Thung Song,” is an excellent photographer and I was just made aware of a really gorgeous blog he has of his work done in various locations across the globe. Give it a look:

Thing #2: My brother is a comedic genius:

Ketchup from Ryan Calonder on Vimeo.

Thing #3: This video’s awesome. Uses clips from glamorous ’80s and ’90s ads to make what really feels like a narrative. So amazing what having a soundtrack tricks your brain into thinking it’s seeing. Also just a cool track.

One year ago: The Ubud Market
Two years ago: Home Improvement
Three years ago: Chinese Transportation (maybe my favorite post from the whole time I was in China haha!)