Virgin Mobile FreeFest presented by Kyocera
The Black Keys, deadmau5, Cut Copy, Bombay Bicycle Club, Cee Lo Green, Two Door Cinema Club, TV on the Radio, Big Sean, Patti Smith, Okkervil River, Empire of the Sun, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Alberta Cross, DJ Set by JAMES MURPHY (DFA/LCD Soundsystem), Ghostland Observatory, Calvin Harris, !!!, Porter Robinson, Eclectic Method, Teddybears
10475 Little Patuxent Parkway
Columbia, MD, 21044
Virgin Mobile FreeFest presented by Kyocera
The Black Keys
The Black Keys’ new album El Camino will be released December 6 on Nonesuch Records. Produced by Danger Mouse and The Black Keys, the 11-track album was recorded at singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach’s Easy Eye Sound studio in the band’s new hometown of Nashville during the spring of 2011.
In advance of the release, the album’s first single, “Lonely Boy,” will be released on October 26. Pre-orders of El Camino include an instant download of the single.
El Camino follows the most successful two years in The Black Keys’ career. In May 2010 they released their breakthrough album, Brothers, to widespread critical acclaim. Debuting at #2 in the US, it went on to win three Grammy Awards and an MTV Video Music Award, and topped numerous year-end lists, including iTunes, NPR, and Rolling Stone. Brothers, which included the hit singles “Tighten Up” and “Howlin’ for You,” has been certified Gold in the US and UK, and Platinum in Canada. Worldwide sales are now over one million and counting.
Drummer Patrick Carney said of the band’s recent success, “We’ve taken the long road to get where we are. It’s pretty cool to be in your early 30s making music with your best friend. We’ve experienced everything from driving a thousand miles to play for no one to winning Grammys.” Auerbach further describes the band’s dynamic, “We don't talk before we play. We don’t practice before we record, we just fly by the seat of our pants.” He says of El Camino, “I think where this record is going to shine for me is playing the songs live. This record is more straight ahead rock and roll—raw, driving, and back to basics.”
The Black Keys—Akron, Ohio, natives Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney—released their debut album, The Big Come Up, in 2002, followed by Thickfreakness (2003) and Rubber Factory (2004). In 2006 they signed to Nonesuch Records in the US and released their fourth album, Magic Potion, which was followed by the Danger Mouse-produced Attack & Release in 2008. El Camino is the first Black Keys album Nonesuch will release worldwide.
"Born Joel Zimmerman on January 5, 1981, Deadmau5 rose to prominence when his track "Faxing Berlin" found its way onto the playlist of legendary DJ/producer Pete Tong's radio show. Deadmau5 soon became an important figure in the world of progressive house music, with his songs appearing on more than 15 compilation releases (including In Search of Sunrise, Vol. 6: Ibiza). A native of Toronto, Canada, he released his work through his own label, Mau5trap Recordings, and scored a number of awards in 2008, including a Juno Award for Dance Recording of the Year. He released Random Album Title that same year along with the first volume of the remix-collecting At Play series. The year 2009 saw the release of the singles collection It Sounds Like along with the mix album For Lack of a Better Name, while the studio album 4 X 4 = 12 followed in 2010." - Chris True, AllMusicGuide
When Cut Copy offered their hand on Where I’m Going, the first leak of their third album, it was an open invitation to an uncharted destination. The festive explosion of kaleidoscopic Californian acid hippie reborn as UK glam star explored new terrain, hinting a further evolution for a group that is yet to make the same record twice.
Zonoscope was dreamt in the comedown of In Ghost Colours, the album which cemented Cut Copy as a global sensation. Their perpetual touring cycle found the band headline a stage at Lollapalooza, become the first Australian act to play Colombia since INXS, have fire marshals shut down an LA performance mid-set as crowds began to buckle the seams of the Henry Fonda Theatre and be raced to the Pitchfork Festival via police escort following a cancelled flight.
After over two years of exhilarating chaos, frontman Dan Whitford bunkered down at home to flesh out rough synth and vocal skeletons, before heading into the studio with the band to bring these textured grooves to life. Whitford describes the wonderland which he set out to create with Tim Hoey, Mitchell Scott and Ben Browning, “All the way along we had this weird vision of a tropical, jungle, tribal sound. A place or an idea that we wanted to reach with some of the songwriting; to explore a looping hypnotic trance and revise the whole palette of what Cut Copy was about.”
Rather than fighting the strictures of conventional studios, the band produced the album on their own terms in a warehouse located in Melbourne’s northern suburbs. Minds ran wild with a free approach to experimentation during elastic sessions held in a space littered with piles of vintage studio equipment and instruments. Cheaply decking out the makeshift playground with drum enclosures built from pyramids of op-shop mattresses, the surroundings facilitated a full-length of uncompromised high fidelity. After spending months in this low pressure environment, they were able to fully realize their aural utopia of organic psychedelia intersecting with repetitive robotics.
A melting pot of ideas streaming from a collective of music fanatics, the album embraces new combinations that span a rhythm section on motorik overdrive (Alisa), the reincarnation of Chicago’s raw house pioneers producing EBM deep in the wilderness (Pharaohs & Pyramids and Blink and You’ll Miss A Revolution) and the epic 15 minute closing minimal disco mantra (Sun God). Seamlessly bridged together by a series of ambient hallucinatory miniatures, the percussion drenched celebrations are lively awakenings. Whitford runs through the exotic arsenal of percussion which they gathered to give their tracks that infectious tropical propulsion; “we used all sorts of strange bongos, rototoms, congas, 10 kinds of shaker, 15 different cowbells; anything and everything. Even wine bottles filled with different amounts of water.”
The band mixed the record in Atlanta, working with Ben Allen who has previously elevated albums from Animal Collective, Deerhunter and Gnarls Barkley. Whitford explains that the decision to work with their newly found kindred spirit was due to their disparate musical backgrounds, “Ben comes from a different perspective having started out in hip-hop/urban culture [and he’s tapped into] Atlanta’s history of southern music, funk and soul. We were really interested in throwing ourselves into something like that, rather than work with someone from the house music or indie guitar world.”
In their own space and time, these audio architects have designed a stimulating world where nature and machines harmonize; a paradise for escapists to loose themselves in eternal euphoria. Zonoscope is Cut Copy boiled down to their purest form.
Bombay Bicycle Club
Bombay Bicycle Club, the unexpected break-out band who have took the UK by storm this year, have announced plans for the US release of their acclaimed debut album I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose. The album will be released in the states on August 31st via Portland based label Arena Rock Recording Company.
This U.S. release will finally give American music fans an opportunity discover what critics and fans in the UK have been touting as one of the most exciting new bands for the past year, even awarding Bombay Bicycle Club the crown of “Best New Band” at the 2010 NME Awards, beating out The xx, La Roux, The Big Pink and Mumford and Sons. The U.S.version of I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose will feature three exclusive bonus tracks not available on the UK release.
Bombay Bicycle Club’s skyrocketing journey to indie rock notoriety started in 2007 when the band, made up of Jack Steadman (vocals, guitars), Jamie MacColl (guitars),Suren De Saram (drums), and Ed Nash (bass), from North London self-released their debut EP, 2007’s The Boy I Used to Be followed by 2008’s Indie Chart-topping EP How We Are. After the success of both releases,Bombay Bicycle Club took to the studio to record their debut full length with studio veteran Jim Abbiss, the producer of landmark debut albums by Arctic Monkeys, UNKLE, Kasabian and Adele. The record encompasses a garagey and intimate feel punctuated with sonically epic and soaring moments. From the dizzying swoops and morning-after ruefulness of opener “Emergency Contraception Blues” to the ambitious, open-tuned, Appalachian folk feel of “The Giantess,” the album thrums with subtle invention and quiet emotional intensity. It’s an outstanding debut, brimming with youthful urgency, honesty and romance. Like its bashful creators, I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose doesn’t feel the need to shout, scream or bluster to be heard. Instead, its chiming chords and sighed melodies blaze proudly like flushed cheeks on a cold day.
Cee Lo Green
Known far and wide as one half of Grammy Award-winning superstar duo Gnarls Barkley, Cee Lo Green is a true 21st Century renaissance man. Having first made his bones as a member of southern hip-hop pioneers, Goodie Mob, Green soon struck out on his own with 2002’s “CEE LO GREEN AND HIS PERFECT IMPERFECTIONS,” highlighted by the Timbaland-produced hit single, “Closet Freak.” The acclaimed “CEE LO GREEN…IS THE SOUL MACHINE” followed two years later, again featuring a Timbaland-produced hit single in “I’ll Be Around.”
As if that weren’t enough, Cee Lo also became one of R&B/hip-hop’s most in-demand collaborators, penning and producing tracks for such like-minded artists as Jennifer Hudson, Brandy, Amerie, and Solange. His greatest success as songwriter/producer came in 2005 with the RIAA platinum-certified, international #1, “Don’t Cha,” by Pussycat Dolls featuring Busta Rhymes.
In 2006, Green teamed with producer/DJ Danger Mouse as Gnarls Barkley and quickly made history with the international #1 smash, “Crazy” (later named as “Song of the Decade” by Rolling Stone). The duo’s kaleidoscopic debut, “ST. ELSEWHERE,” proved a critical triumph and chart-topping blockbuster, ultimately earning RIAA platinum certification in the US for sales exceeding 1 million. At 2007’s 49th Annual Grammy Awards, Gnarls received seven nominations and snagged two of the event’s most coveted trophies – “Best Alternative Music Album” and “Best Urban Alternative Performance.” “THE ODD COUPLE” followed in 2008, earning further praise along with an additional trio of Grammy nods.
“THE LADY KILLER” – Green’s first solo work in more than six years – sees the endlessly inventive singer/writer/rapper/producer continuing to push hip-hop and soul’s creative envelope, this time working with a star-studded cast of producers that includes Salaam Remi (Nas, Amy Winehouse), Jack Splash (Alicia Keys, Missy Elliot, Jamie Foxx), and Fraser T. Smith (Nelly Furtado, James Morrison, Ellie Goulding).
Two Door Cinema Club
Two Door Cinema Club are 3 people with the help of technology and a thirst for anything quirky. If you were to pose the question, “Where do Two Door Cinema Club live?” and someone was to answer, “Why, Bangor!” That someone would only be 66.67% correct because Two Door Cinema Club are a Bangor/Donaghadee based electro pop band. An obvious absence in the rhythm department is humbly filled by an unadulterated Macintosh and the electronic thump from the fourth imperceptible member goes hand in hand with the electro/pop direction. Their music has been loosely compared to the likes of Death Cab for Cutie and Broken Social Scene but without a definitive capacity to be pigeon-holed. Melodic vocals, which hail from all three members of the outfit, infuse with guitar riffs that have been described as “oceanic” and rhythm described as “pulsing”. To get the symbolism out of the way, take your seats; it’s going to be a blockbuster!
TV on the Radio
"The Brooklyn-based group TV on the Radio mix post-punk, electronic, and other atmospheric elements in such a creative way that it only makes sense that their core duo, vocalist Tunde Adebimpe and multi-instrumentalist/producer David Andrew Sitek, are both visual artists as well as musicians. Adebimpe is a graduate of NYU's film school and specializes in stop-motion animation, which his Brothers Quay-like video for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs single "Pin" demonstrates amply. He is also a painter, as is Sitek, who also produced the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Machine EP and their full-length Fever to Tell.
The duo met when Sitek moved into the building where Adebimpe had a loft; each of them had been recording music on his own, but realized their sounds would work well together. Sitek's brother Jason began playing drums and other instruments with the pair during their recording sessions, which resulted in OK Calculator, a self-released disc of four-track recordings. Jason Sitek left the band for a short time due to other musical commitments but returned to the band when it recorded its Touch & Go debut, the Young Liars EP.
After the EP was completed, TV on the Radio added guitarist/vocalist Kyp Malone to their fold. Young Liars, which also features the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Brian Chase and Nick Zinner, was released in summer 2003 to critical acclaim, coinciding with their gigs opening for the Fall. Their first full-length release, Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes, arrived in spring 2004. The band remained busy for the rest of the year, embarking on its own tours as well as dates with the Faint and the Pixies. That fall, they released the New Health Rock EP and won the 2004 Shortlist Prize.
In 2005, the band kept busy with touring and returned to Sitek's Stay Gold studio to work on its second album. They also made an MP3 criticizing President George W. Bush, "Dry Drunk Emperor," available on their website. TV on the Radio signed with 4AD for European distribution of their albums and moved to Interscope in the U.S. In summer 2006 they resurfaced with Return to Cookie Mountain, a more polished but still searching collection of songs that featured David Bowie on backing vocals. The band went in a sleeker direction on 2008's Dear Science, which featured cameos from Antibalas and Celebration's Katrina Ford. Following that album the band went on hiatus. Malone worked on his own project Rain Machine and appeared on Iran's 2009 album Dissolver, while Sitek formed the collaborative pop project Maximum Balloon, which released its self-titled debut in 2010. As planned, their hiatus ended the following year, and TV on the Radio released their fifth album, Nine Types of Light, early in 2011. In March of that year, the band announced that bassist Gerard Smith, who had joined the TV on the Radio lineup in 2005, was suffering from lung cancer; the following month, on April 20, 2011, Smith passed away at the age of 34 as a result of the disease." - Heather Phares, AllMusicGuide
Sean Anderson, p.k.a. Big Sean, is the newest artist signed to G.O.O.D. Music/Island Def Jam at the young age of 20. Sean was born in Santa Monica, CA and relocated to the west side of Detroit, MI when he was 2 months old. He was raised by his mother and grandparents who worked steadfastly to instill in him the principles of hard work and determination. Sean attended the Detroit Waldorf School, a school of art, from Kindergarten to 8th Grade where he was introduced to a spectrum of art and culture. He later attended Cass Technical High School where he furthered his music career, met life long friends, and gained the support of fans and peers as he independently sold copies of his music. Sean gained a strong relationship with 102.7FM, a local radio station in Detroit where he displayed his rhyming skills weekly. There, he met Kanye West after a radio interview in 2005 and got a chance to display his talent by freestyling for Mr. West, giving him a copy of his music and sending numerous tracks for him to critique. After months of submitting songs and numerous meetings, Sean finally got the call from Kanye West himself saying that he wanted to sign him. Big Sean officially signed to G.O.O.D. Music in 2007 and then signed to Island Def Jam in 2008. Sean has two mixtapes under his belt starting with “Finally Famous–The Mixtape” [Nov. 2007] and “U Know Big Sean–Finally Famous Vol. 2” [Nov. 2008]. His hit single “Getcha Some” vastly took over the airwaves and created major buzz for the artist and quickly solidified him as a breakout star. The single first debuted on Kanye West’s “Cant Tell Me Nothin’ Mixtape” giving him the exposure needed to showcase and introduce his talent to the world. Big Sean is scheduled to release his debut album entitled “Finally Famous” in Spring 2009. The album features Hip Hop stars such as ten-time Grammy Award winning artist Kanye West, Pharell, The Dream, and many more. Big Sean has been spotted beside Kanye West all over the world including Los Angeles, New York, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Hawaii, etc. To stay connected to Big Sean check out his official MySpace at WWW.MYSPACE.COM/UKNOWBIGSEAN for exclusive updates that you wont see anywhere else. Also look out for Big Sean’s official website WWW.UKNOWBIGSEAN.COM coming soon.
"Punk rock's poet laureate, Patti Smith ranks among the most influential female rock & rollers of all time. Ambitious, unconventional, and challenging, Smith's music was hailed as the most exciting fusion of rock and poetry since Bob Dylan's heyday. If that hybrid remained distinctly uncommercial for much of her career, it wasn't a statement against accessibility so much as the simple fact that Smith followed her own muse wherever it took her -- from structured rock songs to free-form experimentalism, or even completely out of music at times. Her most avant-garde outings drew a sense of improvisation and interplay from free jazz, though they remained firmly rooted in noisy, primitive three-chord rock & roll. She was a powerful concert presence, singing and chanting her lyrics in an untrained but expressive voice, whirling around the stage like an ecstatic shaman delivering incantations. A regular at CBGB's during the early days of New York punk, she was the first artist of the bunch to land a record deal and release an album, even beating the Ramones to the punch. The artiness and the amateurish musicianship of her work both had a major impact on the punk movement, whether in New York or England, whether among her contemporaries (Television, Richard Hell) or followers. What was more, Smith became an icon to subsequent generations of female rockers. She never relied on sex appeal for her success -- she was unabashedly intellectual and creatively uncompromising, and her appearance was usually lean, hard, and androgynous. She also never made an issue of her gender, calling attention to herself as an artist, not a woman; she simply dressed and performed in the spirit of her aggressive, male rock role models, as if no alternative had ever occurred to her. In the process, she obliterated the expectations of what was possible for women in rock, and stretched the boundaries of how artists of any gender could express themselves.
Smith was born in Chicago on December 30, 1946; her parents moved to Philadelphia when she was three, and then to the nearby, less urban town of Woodbury, NJ, when she was nine. Something of an outcast in high school, she found salvation in the poetry of Arthur Rimbaud, the writings of the Beats, and the music of soul and rock artists like James Brown, the Rolling Stones, the Doors, and especially Bob Dylan. She attended the Glassboro State Teachers College, but dropped out due to an unplanned pregnancy. She gave the baby up for adoption and took a job on a factory assembly line, thus saving enough money to move to New York City in 1967. She worked in a bookstore and met art student/future photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, who became her lover despite living most of his adult life as a homosexual. In 1969, Smith went to Paris with her sister, busking on the streets as a performance artist. Upon her return, she moved into the Chelsea Hotel with Mapplethorpe for a brief period, then became involved with underground theater, not to mention playwright Sam Shepard; she co-authored and co-starred with him in the somewhat autobiographical play Cowboy Mouth in 1971. During this time, she was also working on her poetry, and met guitarist Lenny Kaye, also a Bleecker Street record store clerk and rock critic. Kaye had written a magazine essay on doo wop that impressed Smith, and the two found that they shared a love of early and obscure rock & roll. When Smith gave a public poetry reading at St. Mark's Church in February 1971, she invited Kaye to accompany her on the electric guitar for three pieces.
Over the next two years, Smith continued to perform in plays and poetry readings; she also wrote for several rock magazines, published two volumes of her poems, and began contributing lyrics to the literary-minded metal band Blue Öyster Cult. She and Kaye performed again in late 1973, and their partnership grew into a much more regular occurrence. The following year, they added pianist/keyboardist Richard Sohl, and their performances grew into unique blends of Beat-influenced poetry, improvised spoken word with equally spontaneous musical backing, and covers of rock & roll oldies. Regular gigs around New York cemented their growing reputation, and in June 1974, with Mapplethorpe paying for studio time, the band cut a groundbreaking independent single, "Hey Joe" b/w "Piss Factory." The former added a monologue about Patty Hearst, while the latter recounted Smith's stint as an assembly line worker in vivid detail, incorporating lyrical snippets from the rock records in which she took solace. Both songs featured Television guitarist Tom Verlaine, who briefly became Smith's lover, and along with Television's own "Little Johnny Jewel," the single helped kickstart the independent, do-it-yourself aesthetic that remains punk rock's hallmark even today.
In late 1974, Smith and her band played a few gigs on the West Coast. When they returned, they added guitarist/bassist Ivan Kral to flesh out their sound, and joined Television as part of the emerging new-rock scene at CBGB's, a dive bar in the Bowery. Their two-month stand in early 1975 sometimes featured drummer Jay Dee Daugherty, who became a regular member, and attracted the notice of Arista Records president Clive Davis, who offered Smith a record deal. She entered the studio with ex-Velvet Underground member John Cale serving as producer, and in late 1975 released her debut album, Horses, which was essentially the first art-punk album. Rapturously received by most critics, Horses offered unorthodox covers of party-rock tunes like "Gloria" and "Land of 1000 Dances" (Smith opened the former with the declaration "Jesus died for someone's sins, but not mine"), as well as a mix of original songs and lengthy, improv-driven spoken word pieces. Despite nonexistent airplay, it sold well enough to climb into the Top 50.
The 1976 follow-up, Radio Ethiopia, was credited to the Patti Smith Group, and placed some of Smith's most straightforward rock songs ("Ask the Angels," "Pumping [My Heart]") directly alongside some of her most experimental, free-form pieces (the title track). In early 1977, Smith was performing in Tampa, FL, when she twirled herself right off the stage; she broke two vertebrae in her neck and was forced to take some time off to recuperate. During that period, she wrote a book of poetry titled Babel. She returned to recording in 1978 with Easter, a more accessible nod in the direction of album rock radio, which featured Smith's writing collaboration with Bruce Springsteen, "Because the Night." The ballad climbed to number 13 on the pop charts and sent Easter into the Top 20; plus, 10,000 Maniacs' 1993 cover of "Because the Night" became their biggest pop hit and made the song something of a standard for the Lilith Fair generation. Easter also contained Smith's most notorious cut, "Rock n Roll Nigger," which attempted to redefine the term as a badge of honor for anyone who lived outside the establishment. Some critics roasted her for the conceit in the ensuing controversy, but the song achieved a measure of redemption when it was included on the Natural Born Killers soundtrack in 1994.
1979's Wave found Smith's sound becoming increasingly polished, thanks in part to new producer Todd Rundgren; however, many reviewers found it her least developed set of material. Smith had been living with Blue Öyster Cult keyboardist Allen Lanier for some time, but now took up with MC5/Sonic's Rendezvous Band guitarist Fred "Sonic" Smith; indeed, Wave's "Dancing Barefoot" and "Frederick" were both dedicated to him. The couple married in 1980, and Smith retired to a life of domesticity near Detroit, raising two children with her husband. In 1988, Smith re-emerged for a one-off album, Dream of Life, on which Fred co-wrote all the material and also played guitar, with backing by Smith Group members Sohl and Daugherty. However, it wasn't intended to establish a full-fledged comeback, and Smith disappeared from music again following its release. She continued to write, however, completing a poetry collection called Woolgathering (among other projects), and gave occasional readings.
Sadly, in the span of a few years, Smith lost some of her closest associates: longtime friend and album-cover photographer Robert Mapplethorpe died in 1989, followed a year later by pianist Richard Sohl. At the end of 1994, both her husband and her brother Todd died of heart failure, within a month of one another. A grief-stricken Smith returned to performing as a means of therapy, and re-formed the Patti Smith Group -- with Kaye, Daugherty, and new bassist Tony Shanahan -- for a few small-scale tours aimed at reconnecting with her audience and reorienting herself to the concert stage. In 1996, the group entered the studio and recorded Gone Again, which featured a new second guitarist in Oliver Ray and guest spots from Tom Verlaine, John Cale, and Jeff Buckley. Gone Again took a stronger, more optimistic tone than might have been expected, and was well received by many critics. Following closely on its heels, Peace and Noise appeared in 1997 and earned a Grammy nomination for the track "1959"; a much darker affair than its predecessor, it took into account the deaths of two more of Smith's inspirations, Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs. Smith returned in 2000 with Gung Ho, the most aggressive-sounding and socially conscious album of her comeback; the song "Glitter in Their Eyes" also earned her a second Grammy nomination.
Smith and Arista parted ways in 2002, with the label issuing Land (1975-2002), a double-disc compilation of hits and rarities, as a wrap-up. Smith subsequently signed with Columbia. Her first album for the label, Trampin', appeared in spring 2004. Horses received the deluxe two-CD treatment in 2005 when it was reissued by Arista in a 30th Anniversary Legacy Edition. On March 12, 2007, Smith was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame alongside Van Halen, the Ronettes, Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five, and R.E.M. She released an album of typically eclectic covers, Twelve, that same year." - Steve Huey, AllMusicGuide
"The goal was to push my brain to places it didn't want to go. The idea was to not have any idea – to keep myself confused about what I was doing," frontman Will Sheff says about Okkervil River's newest album. "I produced it myself so that I could extend the songwriting process all the way through to the very last second of recording, so the songs would never really stop changing." The resulting record, 'I am Very Far,' is a startling break from anything this band has done before. By turns terrifying and joyous, violent and serene, grotesque and romantic, it's a celebration of forces beyond our control.
When Okkervil River released their breakthrough 'Black Sheep Boy' in 2005, Uncut wrote that "Sheff's novelistic lyrics and the dexterous blend of country, folk and nervy indie-rock suggest a band approaching the peak of their powers." A New York Times piece on their 2007 follow-up 'The Stage Names' (and its companion album 'The Stand Ins') echoed, "Sheff writes like a novelist," and Pitchfork called him, "One of the best lyric-writers in indie rock." But on 'I am Very Far,' Sheff emerges not only as a songwriter of the highest caliber, but a producer and arranger of singular vision. Abandoning the tidy conceptual arcs of Okkervil River's previous albums, 'I am Very Far' is a monolithic, darkly ambiguous work, one that doesn't readily offer up its secrets.
Work on 'I am Very Far' started in early 2009, after a year spent on the music of others. Sheff contributed vocals to The New Pornographer's album 'Together,' wrote a song for Norah Jones' 'The Fall,' produced an upcoming album for Brooklyn-based Bird of Youth, and helmed the Roky Erickson record 'True Love Cast Out All Evil,' for which his album notes received a GRAMMY nomination. "I'd never worked with Roky before and never produced someone else's record before. It was a life-changing experience," Sheff recalls, "When it was over I felt both completely drained and completely inspired." Immediately upon wrapping up work and leaving Erickson's company, Sheff drove to his home state of New Hampshire for lengthy isolated writing sessions. "I wanted to go back home and re-start writing again, like I'd never written a song previously," he says, "and I wanted the music and lyrics to be both completely wedded together and a little bit beyond my control. I kept trying to write from the state of mind of someone who had just been born, that feeling of being very young and being aware of not existing before a certain moment, which is a feeling I remember having as a kid."
Sheff emerged from the writing process with 30 or so songs, which he narrowed down to 18. In contrast to Okkervil River's usual practice of holing up in one studio for months on end, he opted for a series of short, high-intensity sessions, each in a different location, each employing completely different methods than the one before it. For songs like "Rider" and "Wake and Be Fine," Sheff gathered together a massive version of Okkervil River – two drummers, two pianists, two bassists, and seven guitarists, all playing live in one room – and led them on a week of live-in-the-studio marathon session, performing a single song obsessively over and over for as many as 12 hours to capture just the right take. Songs like "Show Yourself" and "Hanging from a Hit" were worked out in improvisational sessions with the core band, minimally recorded to 8-track tape, and then re-structured and re-written in the editing process. For the strange science-fiction parable "White Shadow Waltz," Sheff self-recorded the entire song and then had Okkervil River re-record every instrumental track on top of that. After basic-tracking was done, Sheff overdubbed the songs with the band's largest instrumental palette to date – not only choral elements and orchestral colors like strings, tympani, tuba and bassoon, but also file cabinets thrown across the room, unreeled rolls of duct tape, and, on "Piratess," a solo created out of a fast-forwarding and rewinding boombox. Finishing the record from home, Sheff constantly edited and reworked the album, reinventing the song structures, re-recording vocals, re-writing until the very last minute, reshaping even the tiniest of details, ultimately creating an album that plays not only as a lush, seamless epic, but also as the most deeply personal effort of his career.
What can listeners expect? Richer and weirder than 'The Stage Names' and deeper and moodier than even 'Black Sheep Boy,' 'I am Very Far' is dense, fragmented, opaque. A reverie of uncertainty, it feels at once disorienting and oddly familiar, threatening and friendly. Okkervil River have thrown away all maps and compasses but they continue to chart their way, unblinking, toward destinations unknown.
Empire of the Sun
“Hot pink square guitars and men in full laboratory jumpsuits were what I spotted on stage, and I knew we were in for something special. Sure enough, when Luke Steele hit the stage his world of dreams exploded with him and I witnessed one of the most stunning debut live performances ever. Beautiful lights, otherworldly video projections, and Luke with his spiky headware and flanked by four costumed dancers, taking to the stage. Pitch perfect, he ran through Empire of the Sun's debut album with costume changes, heavy beats, and a world of intergalactic colour and light filling the stage. The dancers changed costumes almost every song. I pondered to a friend if this was the work of a genius art director but no, this is what is inside Luke Steele's head. Empire of the Sun put so much into their maiden voyage into live performance, and it blew me away.” Zan Rowe, Triple J
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
"Born in Waitsfield, VT, Grace Potter grew up in a family that encouraged her artistic pursuits in areas from music to theater, the latter of which she was studying at St. Lawrence University when drummer Matt Burr heard her singing at an open-mike night in 2002 and asked if she would form a band with him. She declined, but when her high-school friend and bass player Courtright Beard enrolled in their college, she reconsidered the invitation, and the three of them began to write and perform jazz-influenced songs, Potter also taking duties on the Hammond B-3. Soon, guitarist Scott Tournet joined, and the bandmembers, calling themselves Grace Potter & the Nocturnals -- thanks to their late-night practice habits -- began to think seriously about making music their careers. When Burr graduated in 2003, they decided to move back to Vermont to some land that Potter's parents owned and dedicate themselves more fully to their craft, replacing Beard (who chose to stay at school) with Bryan Dondero in the process. In 2004 they self-released their debut, Original Soul, receiving positive response and comparisons to artists like Norah Jones and early Bonnie Raitt. This in turn garnered major-label offers, but the band preferred to build its fan base by constant touring and festival appearances. Word of their electric performance spread, and shortly after their second album, Nothing But the Water -- also self-released -- came out in 2005, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals signed to Hollywood Records, with their third full-length, This Is Somewhere, hitting shelves nationwide in August 2007. In 2010, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals was released; Hollywood pulled out all the stops in order to break the band internationally." - Marisa Brown, AllMusicGuide
"Alberta Cross are a blues and country-influenced roots rock act drawing their sound from the foundation built by the Band and Neil Young. The London group's main members and songwriters are bassist Terry Wolfers and vocalist/guitarist Petter Eriksson Stakee, who as a child traveled with his singer/songwriter father. The full band includes John Alexander Ericson (organ) and Seb Sternberg (drums). The self-produced EP The Thief & the Heartbreaker was delivered through the prestigious U.K. label Fiction in May 2007. Wolfers and Eriksson Stakee moved to NYC after that leading to some personnel changes. Ericson and Sternberg were out, replaced by Alec Higgins (keys), Austin Beede (drums) and Samuel Kearney (guitar). This lineup released Broken Side of Time in 2009." - Kenyon Hopkin, AllMusicGuide
DJ Set by JAMES MURPHY (DFA/LCD Soundsystem)
"Prior to starting the DFA label with production partner Tim Goldsworthy, James Murphy had played in indie rock bands -- Pony, Speedking -- and produced, engineered, and mixed records by Six Finger Satellite, Turing Machine, Les Savy Fav, and the pre-DFA Rapture. In addition to releasing routinely well-received material as/with LCD Soundsystem (which featured him on virtually every instrument while also juggling production, songwriting, and vocal duties), Murphy established himself as a club DJ, recognized by a volume (the 36th) in the Fabriclive mix CD series. Put together with LCD Soundsystem drummer Pat Mahoney, it was released in late 2007." - Andy Kellman, AllMusicGuide
Ghostland Observatory’s entire approach to music – sonically, aesthetically, conceptually – is essentially a melding of the two distinctly different personalities of its two members, Thomas Ross Turner and Aaron Behrens. Whereas Turner, the producer/drummer/keyboardist of the duo, finds solace in the minimal, bleak cable-patch squawks of Karlheinz Stockhausen and the analog-disco-thump of Giorgio Moroder, Behrens’ interests lie more along the lines of psychedelia, rock and various country and blues artists.
The result is a shimmering, pulsing pop music that is at once kinetically alive with Behrens’ striking vocals and driving guitar work but also anchored firmly by Turner’s percussive beats and Moog-generated melodies and hooks. Common descriptions include “electro-dance rock,” “synth-funk” and “Freddie Mercury-helms-Daft Punk.”
Deciding to produce a style of music that as yet existed only in their collective consciousnesses; Behrens and Turner formed Ghostland Observatory in Austin in 2003 and haen’t looked back since. They now sell out prominent venues across the country, have played at Lollapalooza, Bonaroo, Coachella and the Austin City Limits music festival, which they headlined, and continue to play at various music festivals and venues around the globe to an ever increasing fan base, thanks to their now-famous live shows.
The duo has released four albums to date, all on Turner’s label, Trashy Moped Recordings: Delete.Delete.I.Eat.Meat..., Paparrazi Lightning, Robotique Majestique and their latest offering, Codename: Rondo, which was recorded in Turner’s Austin studio.
The ten-track Codename: Rondo is equal parts psyechedelia, minimal electronic, rock, funk and soul. It was recorded with what Turner calls a more “linear approach” in mind. Rather than layering sound upon sound to fill out a track, the band sought to use fewer sounds while striving to make each of them count.
Highlights on the new album include the first track, “Glitter,” with its loping, fuzzed-out bassline, tremolo-tweaked vocals and Spaghetti Western guitar break. “That’s Right” is a Cars-meet-ZZ Top ripper with the former’s signature synth breaks skipping across the latter’s overdriven, chugging guitar riffs. Another standout, “Miracles,” finds Behrens haltingly phrasing his lyrics in perfect syncopation with Turner’s raw keyboard melody before exploding into an irresistible, hand-clapping chorus that is soon chased by running swells of disco strings. “Codename: Rondo,” the album’s title track, is a perfect example of the band’s efforts toward minimal maximization: a surreal narrative recalling a series of nebulous incidents in Newark, New Jersey spoken over nothing more than a steady kick and some faint electronic warbling while, during the breakdown, deep space satellite transmissions blip intermittently over a loop of what seems to be a robot with hiccups and poor phone reception attempting to leave a voicemail.
With Codename: Rondo, Ghostland Observatory has taken a step in a new direction, both creatively and technically, while still maintaining the essential elements of their unmistakable sound: “sweaty, raw-boned, and direct from the future; committed to electronics, stuck on big beats, yet unmistakably powered by rock ‘n’ roll.”
"Favoring a naughty schoolboy look that makes him seem even younger than his already tender years (22 when his first major-label album was released), Scottish artist, producer, and remixer Calvin Harris has a similarly youthful and forward-looking approach to his music. Skipping the usual apprenticeship in the clubs or on indie labels, Harris went from posting his own D.I.Y. electroclash music online through MySpace and similar sites to signing with the multinational giant EMI almost in a single step.
Born on January 17, 1984, in the southern Scotland city of Dumfries, Harris was first attracted to electronic music in his teens and was recording bedroom demos by 1999. Two of these songs, "Da Bongos" and "Brighter Days," were released as a 12" club single and CD-EP by the Prima Facie label in early 2002 under the artist name Stouffer. With that single to his credit, the still teenaged Harris moved from Scotland to London, but as a very small fish in one of the world's largest and most competitive ponds, Harris floundered; only one of his songs was released during his time in London, "Let Me Know" with vocalist Ayah on the Unabombers' 2004 live-mix CD Electric Soul, Vol. 2.
Returning home to Dumfries, Harris began posting homemade solo recordings to his MySpace page. An A&R representative from EMI liked what he heard and signed Harris to the label in 2006. Following a pair of successful singles, Harris released his debut album, I Created Disco, in the summer of 2007. It featured two Top Ten hits ("Acceptable in the 80s" and "The Girls"), and climbed high in the album charts. Along with his work as a solo artist, which includes touring in front of a full live band, Harris quickly became an in-demand remixer -- working on singles by Jamiroquai, Groove Armada, All Saints, and CSS. He also wrote and produced songs for Kylie Minogue's 2007 comeback album, and collaborated with Dizzee Rascal on "Dance wiv Me," which reached number one in the U.K. "I'm Not Alone," the first single from his second album, also hit number one upon release in April 2009, as did the album (Ready for the Weekend) when it appeared in August." - Stewart Mason, AllMusicGuide
"!!!, which can be pronounced by repeating any one-syllable percussive sound three times (e.g., "chk chk chk"), formed in 1996 after the demise of the Yah Mos; while on tour, members of that post-hardcore act envisioned forming a band oriented toward danceable music, and once they returned to their native Sacramento, CA, they turned the concept into an actual group. The band quickly became an eight-member ensemble: Nic Offer on vocals, Mario Andreoni on guitar, Justin van der Volgen on bass, Dan Gorman on trumpet and percussion, Tyler Pope on guitar, Allan Wilson on saxophone and percussion, Mikel Gius on drums, and Jason Racine on percussion.
!!! spent its first few years developing its groove-oriented, post-punk-indebted sound while playing local house parties. At the same time, Offer, Pope, and van der Volgen were in a dub-inflected instrumental outfit called Out Hud. After releasing a 7" on Hopscotch and a split single with Out Hud in 1998, the two bands issued a split full-length, a 1999 release jointly sponsored by Gold Standards Laboratories (a Sacramento label) and Zum (a San Francisco zine).
After extensive touring of the States, !!! released a self-titled album on GSL in December 2000. Soon after, the band re-entered the studio and recorded enough material for a follow-up. Some members moved to New York, but the group remained intact and active as it booked regional tours. In 2003, the band issued Me and Giuliani Down by the School Yard (A True Story), its first release -- a ringing, hypnotic single nine minutes in length -- for Touch and Go. It set the tone for 2004's politically charged Louden Up Now, mixed to bold effect by Maurice Fulton. The relatively lighthearted Myth Takes and Strange Weather, Isn't It? (their first for new label Warp) were the band's third and fourth albums, released respectively in March 2007 and August 2010." - Josh Eppart, AllMusicGuide
Unlikely doesn't even begin to describe Porter Robinson's rapid ascent to the forefront of the world of dance music. Hailing from North Carolina, 18-year-old Porter Robinson had never set foot in a club when his smash hit "Say My Name" shot to number one on Beatport's Electro-House chart, making people do just that on dancefloors and DJ booths across the globe. Complex yet catchy, and classic yet cutting edge, Porter Robinson's instantly recognizable sound has earned him the raving support of legendary producers such as Tiesto, Paul Van Dyk, David Guetta, The Crystal Method and Armand Van Helden, and landed him shows across the globe – all before he had even had the chance to finish high school.
Some might call Porter a prodigy, but that label belies his musical maturity and ignores his years of production experience, which reveal themselves in the way he blends the best of seemingly distinct genres into a style uniquely his own. His massive electro hooks paired with nasty dubstep warbles and shimmering trance breakdowns transcend tired genre adjectives like "progressive" or "fidget", taking listeners into an uncharted territory of hard-hitting house music.
What is it about Eclectic Method that inspired U2, Phish, Fatboy Slim and Public Enemy to employ their talents? That inspired Cannes and Sundance to have them headline their closing night parties? That impressed Motown and XL Records to hire them for official remixes; Sony PlayStation to have them develop video games levels, and MTV Europe to have them kick-start the MTV Mash series? Simply put, it’s because Eclectic Method is reshaping the platforms to bring us tomorrow’s entertainment today.
Eclectic Method – featuring London natives Jonny Wilson, Ian Edgar and Geoff Gamlen – helped pioneer the emerging art of audio-visual mixing since first cutting U2’s Mysterious Ways music video with the Beastie Boys’ Intergalactic as an experiment back in 2002. The trio’s audio-visual mash-ups feature television, film, music and video game footage sliced and diced into blistering, post-modern dance floor events. It’s a cyclone of music and images mashed together in a world where Kill Bill fight scenes and Dave Chappelle’s Rick James rants are ingeniously cut and looped over bootleg samples, DVD scratches and pumped-up dance anthems. It’s a real-time subversion of technology and media performed live on video turntables for what LA Weekly called a “mesmerizing” sensory overload.
“Eclectic Method are the remix kings… a head-rush that unites disparate pop culture elements into an insanely infectious, beat-wise roller coaster,” raved DJ Magazine, while music-producing legend Brian Eno says, “Earwax problem? Eclectic Method will shake it loose.”
Eclectic Method have released two “video mix-tape” DVDs, 2005’s We’re Not VJs and 2008’s Lock Up Your Videos, but millions have seen their work in other contexts. There’s the U2-commissioned Zoo TV video remix the rockers used as a concert opener, and a mega-mix for Fatboy Slim’s 2006 DVD Why Make Videos. XL Recordings celebrated their 10th anniversary by commissioning an Eclectic Method mega-mix and live performance combining everyone from M.I.A. to the White Stripes, while the Bob Marley Family and Motown have both used Method remixes to showcase their rich video catalogs. From the Jammy Awards and Getty Images World Tour to film studios like Palm Pictures, New Line and Lion’s Gate, content creators are lining up to invigorate their catalogue with the Eclectic Method stamp.
Eclectic Method also claims one of the freshest live shows in music. The group’s performed at such popular events as Glastonbury, The Festival, Winter Music Conference, BBC’s One Big Weekend and at several major film festivals. Top companies like Blackberry, Motorola, MTV, Spike TV, Oakley, Adidas, Apple, AOL and Red Bull have all tapped Eclectic Method for content-launch parties.
With such visionary ideas, it should be no surprise the trio boasts a wealth of experiences. When the group formed in 2002, Ian was already a popular scratch DJ and journalist. Geoff, a regular at The
Haçienda and a veteran of Manchester’s Factory Records scene, had a front row seat to the Soviet Union’s collapse working at the British Embassy in Moscow. Jonny, who spent several trying years in post-war Bosnia, worked as a sound engineer and beat-maker for legendary producer Brian Eno (U2, Coldplay) and
played in bands with future members of the Libertines and Razorlight. With these types of resumes, Eclectic Method were bound to do something revolutionary… and so they have.
With Europe and Asia already jumping, Eclectic Method is readying the New World for the 2.0 AV revolution. To expand their U.S. efforts, Jonny relocated to NYC and Ian to the City of Angels to give American fans a jolt of the Method live show. With upcoming shows in Mexico, Canada and Brazil and Geoff holding down the fort back home, Eclectic Method have truly become a global brand.
Back before MySpace or Facebook even existed, Eclectic Method came together to push the limits of technology and create a window into the future. More than a half-dozen years later, they now sit at the forefront of audiovisual entertainment with a style and technique that’s redefining the way people enjoy music. Needless to say, it’s no longer just a Method—it’s a movement.
"Notable for their eclectic musical style as much as for wearing large bear heads, Teddybears were formed in Sweden in the early '90s. Although the group -- whose members also direct videos, short films, and commercials -- takes on a variety of genres including electronic, dance, rock, and reggae, Teddybears' original incarnation was as a grindcore band. Members Patrik Arve and Joakim Åhlund (who is also guitarist for the Caesars) had met in art school in Stockholm, soon adding Åhlund's brother Klas on guitar. In defiance of typical grindcore band names, the group switched its first name, Skull, to Teddybears, named after a band from the '50s featuring Phil Spector. After Teddybears' drummer left, the other members relied upon drum machines, guitars, and vocoders. The result was the electronic-leaning Rock 'n' Roll Highschool in 2000, followed by Fresh in 2005. Signing on with Atlantic, the band's first U.S. release, Soft Machine, came out in September 2006 and featured guests Iggy Pop, Annie, Neneh Cherry, Mad Cobra, and Ebbot Lundberg of the Soundtrack of Our Lives. Devil's Music followed in 2010." - Kenyon Hopkin, AllMusicGuide
FREE • $49.50 Fan ePak
GF#Free tickets are now "free'd" out! A limited number of Fan e-Paks are still available. Fan ePak includes admission to the festival, a FreeFest T-shirt and poster, a souvenir cup that comes with discounts on drinks, and early admission to the grounds.
Merriweather Post Pavilion
Sat, May 18
Thu, June 6
Fri, June 7
Sat, June 8
Sun, June 9
Tue, June 11
Sun, June 16
Mon, June 17
Tue, June 18
Sat, June 22
Virgin Mobile FreeFest presented by Kyocera with The Black Keys, deadmau5, Cut Copy, Bombay Bicycle Club, Cee Lo Green, Two Door Cinema Club, TV on the Radio, Big Sean, Patti Smith, Okkervil River, Empire of the Sun, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Alberta Cross, DJ Set by JAMES MURPHY (DFA/LCD Soundsystem), Ghostland Observatory, Calvin Harris, !!!, Porter Robinson, Eclectic Method, Teddybears
Saturday, September 10 · 11:00AM at Merriweather Post Pavilion