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

(click photo to stream on

(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 :(.


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