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Iceland Airwaves Music Festival 2017: Coverage

The ice-cold wind touched my face as I stepped out of the airport. The sun had yet to rise and I had an hour to wait until I would head toward Reykjavik. I grabbed a cup of coffee, sat down, and waited. After waiting and scrolling aimlessly through my phone, we were on a shuttle toward to the city. Passing in and out of sleep, the sun ceased to rise and it was already 9:30 am. Arriving upon our hotel, our radio media group napped until we were ready for our first venture at 1:30 in the afternoon.

The radio group met with our jet-lagged eyes (slightly less open than normal) and made our way to Borg Brewery. We ate Icelandic cheese, meats, and tried around 15-20 Icelandic craft beers.  To top everything off, we finished our time at the brewery with the Icelandic schnapps, Brenevin. Everyone, except one colleague who chose to drink water, walked out feeling a bit buzzed to say the least.

We made our way over to a private dinner where we were blessed with the ‘Best Icelandic Chef of 2016.’ We were stuffed with 13 courses and wine pairings. Myself and the other radio personalities began to get to know each other more - exchanging laughs, stories, and knowledge about life, school, and travel.

The next day we made our way up to the northern city of Akureyi. Here in the small town of 18,000 people, I was captivated by the quaintness of the landscape, the  lifestyle, and the architecture.

I explored the city on foot, snapping pictures on my journey and enjoying deep breathes of the cleanest air I’ve breathed (or so it seemed). Some of the artists I saw in Akureyi were Mura Masa, GKR, Glowie, Milkywhale and more, those of which can be found here.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Milkywhale who had the most amazing bio I’ve ever read. You can check out my whole interview with them here.

"Milkywhale is a bowl of Skittles combined with eight double espressos, topped with the mania of receiving both a new puppy and a trampoline on Christmas morning. Imagine an aerobics instructor in a 1960’s quasi-futuristic space station jumpsuit, with a giant “M” in the background meant to hypnotize you — like Zoolander at the Mugatu compound. Or, if you’re old enough to remember, a Rainbow Brite doll from the 80’s come to life."

-The Reykjavik Grapevine

Other great artists that I interviewed consisted of Lord Pusswhip and GKR.

One thing that struck me about Icelandic culture and Icelandic people was their openness to other people and other cultures. Although there has been some controversy on the amount of tourists coming into Iceland, everyone was very inviting toward myself and the group that I was traveling with.

The synergy between the US, EU, and Iceland is growing to the point where cultures are blending and release amazing, quality music. The mayor of Reykevik said that in Iceland, “the alternative is the main stream in Iceland.” I believe this statement is a good sum up of Icelandic culture.

One of the most amazing experiences was seeing JFDR in a church. The crowd was silent when the two sisters were playing their music accompanied with a small orchestra. The artist that traveled the farthest to the festival was a New Zealand indie rock band called Fazerdaze.

One of the comments that I had gotten from locals in Iceland was that music is so popular because there is nothing else to do for entertainment. That’s another reason why I found many people who are musicians are in multiple acts.

The most interesting part about my trip was the Icelandic people. For example, I had the chance to meet one of the programmers of the Iceland Airwaves festival who had tattoos that read, “capitalism we have a problem” and “Is Jesus your friend?” which was tattooed on his outer forearm.

During our time in Akureyri, we were lucky enough to witness the first snowfall of the year.. After the first night I woke up, opened up my window, and saw a foot of snow that had fallen overnight. There was also some treacherous aspects of the first snow in Iceland. We had a member of our team slip, fall, and break her shoulder.  Along with her fall, I also witnessed a four-car pile up on the bottom of the huge hill.

Later that morning, we went to a geothermal pool, which was incredibly relaxing. Apparently, locals go to the geothermal pools that reek of volcanic sulfur up to four times a week. While in the geothermal hot spring, we were able to watch a hip-hop show by Emmsje Gauti. I saw Gauti literally 4 times that day– all in different venues. Gauti played at the hot springs, my hotel, a venue and a local radio station. Gauti began his set outside of the geothermal pool. He ending up taking off his large winter coat and crowd surfed on the people in the hot spring.

After 2 days in Akuryri, we went back to Reykavik. Once we got back, we went to a press party. To get to the party, we walked through a man-made glacier. It simulated a real glacier and was made from millions and millions of pounds of ice. Later that night, I fell asleep during Fleet Foxes’ set, who played really well but the combination of sitting down and having etheral and laid back music was not ideal for my lack of sleep.  

Reykavik got piles and piles of rain once we got back, which unfortunately impacted the turn out of the last night of events.

After running around for interviews, my Sunday night ended on a calmer note by watching and interviewing Lord Pusswhip. Overall, this was one of the most interesting concert experiences I’ve ever had. The people, the food and the music were out of this world. Icelandic culture is unique, growing, genuinely humbling and genuinely invited to foreigners.

To see more coverage on my trip to Iceland, check out my vlog:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yG1Elkyv-NU​ 

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Parquet Courts Rocking and Rolling (pc: Red Bull Sound Select)

Parquet Courts & Built to Spill #30DaysinChicago Day 15

Ok...to start, let’s list out the bands that played night #15 of the Red Bull Sound Select #30DaysinChicago:

 

Good Willsmith

Meat Wave

Built to Spill

Parquet Courts

At the legendary EMPTY BOTTLE

 

Woah.

 

The night started very relaxing, as people were being turned down at the door for the sold out show, and attendees entering the venue to receiving Red Bull gifts, grabbing a drink, and hanging out as Good Willsmith took the stage first. The local ambient garage rock trio took the stage, and felt very humble to be there, as they were saying that they “have been coming to the Empty Bottle since they were 21, and even tried to sneak in before” they were of age. Thanking the crowd numerous times, Good Willsmith warmed up the crowd on a chilly Wednesday night in Chicago.

Up next, local punk trio Meat Wave. You’ve probably heard them on the station, as they have had a good amount of airplay through their albums Delusion Moon (2015) and Incessant (2017), as they have been on rotation surrounding their releases. Upon taking the stage, the band set forth the attitude that “ok, so we need to burn through our set, so we can get to the next bands”. And that’s basically all they did. They ripped through their heavy punk sound, wooing fans, but also being a good pump-up for the follow acts.

Following, we had the last-minute surprise act: Built to Spill. I, and probably like many others, was surprised to see Built to Spill added to this lineup, especially after the show had been sold out for quite some time. It’s been about two months since they played in Chicago at Riot Fest, where they featured their album “Keep it Like a Secret”, and played an aftershow with Dinosaur Jr. Having said that, I was hoping they weren’t going to play much of that record, and that’s exactly what they did. Built to Spill took the stage as a 3-piece, and put out a surprisingly full, balanced (and loud) sound. They played a good variety of songs from their large catalog such as “Big Dipper (There’s Nothing Wrong With Love, 1994)”, “Living Zoo (Untethered Moon, 2015)”, and a rarity: “Randy Described Eternity (Perfect from Now On, 1997)”. Seeing Built to Spill at the Empty Bottle was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

And time for the post-punk headliner: Parquet Courts. Having just released a collaborative album “MILANO” with the works of Italian composer Daniele Luppi and Karen O, and A. Savage’s debut solo record just released not too long ago, this quartet has been awfully busy as of late. However, for this show, they kept the set to their prior releases. They came out with a handful of tracks from their Grammy Award winning 2015 release “Human Performance” such as “Dust”, “Human Performance”, and “Paraphrased”. What took me by surprise was that there wasn’t a mosh pit for the first half of their performance. Which was odd as the last time I saw Parquet Courts (2015 at the Metro), the crowd got rowdy quick. But once it started, it didn’t end as the electricity and excitement from the crowd translated into the band’s performance. It isn’t a Parquet Courts performance without their blunt stage banter. A Savage commented that “Red Bull is bad for you to drink”, however, they did complement on Red Bull for putting together this festival, and specifically the lineup for the show they were playing. They were trying to be health conscious, and deliver some of the health questions that arise from drinking a lot of energy drinks, but thankful for the opportunity that Red Bull presented to them, the other bands, and the attendees.

As previously mentioned, this was a once-in-a-lifetime show, and I will never be able to experience a show like this one again. Great bands, great intimate venue, and one amazing festival. Stay tuned for more coverage from the rest of the #30DaysinChicago!!

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https://events.redbullsoundselect.com/2017/11/red-bull-sound-select-presents-30-days-in-chicago-nigh

Red Bull Sound Select Coverage Day 7 - Mitski

On day 7 of the RBSS #30DaysinChicago, Mitski headlined Lincoln Hall, with support from Miya Folick and Hazel English. She started things off with a favorite from her third release, Bury Me at Makeout Creek: “Frances Forever”. With three bands on the bill, and roughly a two and a half hour window for music, things had to be quick. Luckily for the majority of Mitski’s music, she was able to power through 16 bass/guitar driven anthems. When coming up on what she noted as the “hit single”, she engaged the entire venue in a sing-a-long of “Your Best American Girl”. Nearing the end of the set, Mitski said goodbye to her band mates, and she finished the rest of her set solo. Finishing up, she encouraged the audience to “walk away” as she noted it was “much more graceful that way. Save the encore for your mother. Call your mom”. No encore. What you see is what you get, and it was one heck of a performance.

 

Setlist:

  1. Francis Forever

  2. I Don’t Smoke

  3. Happy

  4. Dan the Dancer

  5. Once More to See You

  6. Townie

  7. Your Best American Girl

  8. Thursday Girl

  9. I bet on Losing Dogs

  10. First Love / Late Spring

  11. I will

  12. Drunk Walk Home

  13. My Body’s Made of Crushed Little Stars (solo)

  14. A Burning Hill (solo)

  15. Last Words of a Shooting Star (solo)

  16. Class of 2013 (solo)

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Paris 2017

Pitchfork Paris Coverage 2017

On November 2-4th, 2017, Pitchfork hosted their Paris Music Festival in their usual venue, La Grande Halle De La Villette. Originally an old slaughterhouse, it now hosts medium size festivals and conventions and has been the venue for Paris Pitchfork for the past few years they have hosted it.

Despite being their side festival, Paris Pitchfork was able to get some major bands to headline, including The National and Sylvan Esso.

Seeing The National was an amazing experience–I've been wanting to see them for the past five years. The set was one that stayed true to their tour for their new album Sleep Well, Beast, with dystopian imagery and Matt Berringer frequently making political commentary about Donald T****, a key inspiration for the album. Hearing the newest album live gave me a new appreciation for it and inspired me to listen to it over again.

Pitchfork Paris made it a point to support local artists– with merchandise including jewelry, clothing, ceramics on display and even local tattoo artists offering flash tattoos.

Another highlight of Pitchfork Paris was Sylvan Esso. The 40-minute set felt all to short and the crowd really got into their set. The lead vocalist, Amelia Meath had a bright enthusiasm to her and watching her interact with bandmate Nick Sanborn was really enjoyable to watch. It was also incredible to see how authentic her voice and instrumentals sounded for being an electronic based band.

Paris Pitchfork was tastefully decorated with an emphasis on local artists, and presented an incredible efficiency at meeting artists set times– truly a once in a lifetime experience.

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Girlpool on their 'Creative Marriage' and Growth as Musicians


WLUW chit-chat patty wacked with Cleo Tucker and Harmony Trividad of the folk-rock band, Girlpool. They’ve been on a U.S. tour after releasing their second album, Powerplant, and make their way to Chicago on October 25 at the Logan Square Auditorium.

*This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity

 

M: How ya guys doing today?

C: I feel good, I just had tomato soup

M: Aw nice nice. What’d you have for lunch Harmony?

C: Harmony didn’t eat yet, she made some ramen this morning.

M: Ooh breakfast ramen. Where are you on your tour right now?

C: Heading to Iowa, and just left Kansas

 

M: How’s touring been?

C: You know what? It’s been full of… surprises

M: Can you elaborate?

C: I got my wisdom teeth out maybe t-minus 4 days ago. It’s been crazy, honestly. I can’t really open my mouth all of the way, the side effects of the pain medication is kind of altering the energy in the tour van

M: Oh my god i’m so sorry, that sucks.

C: It’s pretty weird. I’m just kind of going with it

M: I wish you fast healing in that process.

C: Thank you. Thank you Madeline

 

M: What show has been your favorite and why?

C: Boise was cool, wait no that wasn’t my favorite. I think Reno was my favorite.

H: I’m trying to think, you know it’s been a fun tour. Last night was quite pleasant. I think Denver was my favorite for sure.

M: Why’s that?

H: It was just a really good vibe at the show, it was popping perhaps. A popping gig. I don’t know I had a pleasant time. I had a really nice thing of ice cream with my friend Megan that night. We shared a basil blackberry Earl Grey shortbread combo ice cream. It was really really incredible.

M: Never even heard of that, that is extremely pleasant. Have you guys been writing any songs on tour?

C: We’re not able to write any music on tour usually because we don’t have the time. We wrote one song on tour once.

M: What has been your go-to car music?

C: Go to car music…SZA. Megan showed me SZA

M: So good. Ctrl.

C: Sooo good.

M: Would you collab with SZA if you could?

C: My god. That’d be cool.

 

M: What did you listen to growing up as a kid?

C: I listened to a lot of Bob Dylan, Elliott Smith,Neil Young, and was really into the Bright Eyes band in middle school and in high school. I got really into folk punk. I liked punk music, I really liked The Germs in middle school. I’ve always really been into hip-hop and rap music too. I kind of like a lot of stuff of wide selection. My mom really likes funk music so I’d listen to funk, B.B. King too.

H: Music I loved as a child. It all started with The Beatles, then it was ABBA. My first concert was Queen in 2005 with Paul Rogers leading the band. I loved Queen. Then I loved Elliott Smith and Bright Eyes, and Vashti Bunyan. And as I continue to grow as a person I develop new favorites everyday.

C: My favorite guitar player in the world is Harmony Trividad!

M: Awww haha

C: Harmony just said that...

 

M: Going off that, have you guys felt like you have grown as musicians?

C: Definitely, everyday. Yeah totally I think that honesty I was talking to my Dad about this the other day because Tom Petty died. I loved Tom Petty’s guitar playing. And I used to play ‘Breakdown’ on guitar all the time, that was one of the first guitar solos that I really learned, and he was talking to me about how he saw my play in Girlpool recently and he was like “ you’ve just gotten so much better at guitar” and I was like it’s weird because I felt like I reached this plateau of guitar playing where I just know what I’m comfortable doing but I think that honestly playing every single day, even if it’s the same SHIT, you just get stronger. You feel more comfortable and ya know ‘in it’ or whatever. I’d love to take a class though of a different type of guitar playing. I think that’d be cool. I really wanna learn piano. But I also learn a lot from Harmony. She’s my favorite guitar player in the world.

 

M: Did you teach yourself growing up?

C: No I had Marcus Watkins, a sweet person on Pico Boulevard in Los Angeles, California teach me guitar. He’s cool, I messaged him on Facebook recently and he had a kid. Adams Music  was the name of the guitar shop. I got my first guitar at Toyorama, this really cool toystore in Westwood that closed down. Harmony want to talk about your experience?

H: Well, hm. I was choir kid and loved music theory, and then my uncle sent me a guitar that he had white-outed my name onto that said ‘Harmony’ and it had little flowers on it when I was 13. And I started playing acoustic guitar and learned ‘First Day Of My Life’ by Bright Eyes on it, and ever since that day… you know, it’s been a pretty wild few years and I think I have learned a lot through….. You know I feel like Cleo and I are basically married. Creatively married, and, you know in any relationship of any sort you grow together and I feel like we have learned a lot through and with eachmother and bounced ideas off of each other and expanded each other’s perspectives on things. I think so much of everything is perspective, so I feel like it’s even less about the physical action and more about the perspective on the physical action. So I feel like a lot of my views on how I play guitar, how I play music, has changed because of my perspective on what makes music good, and being less judgemental about what makes art good, and if things I make are good or not, you know, just feeling like good about the thing in it of itself because it’s existence is solely enough, you know.

 

M: Yeah it can be hard to put yourself out there. Do you feel like it’s easier because you have this solidified band?

H: Honestly I don’t know because I feel like it’s a daily thing, like– wow sorry, I’m driving really bad suddenly and everyone’s mad at me haha. I think it’s just like when I can be my most honest I make things that I feel best about. But sometimes you don’t get to being the most honest for a while. It’s just all process. Processing and I don’t know, not being judgemental but then also having to be judgemental to get to the honest moment where you’re not judging, and then… I don’t know I feel like everything in life is just about constantly uncovering truth, and then hiding it again and then uncovering it again…. I feel like that is what resonates with me creatively, also. I dont’ know if that makes sense.

 

M: Yeah yeah I’m following. Are most of the songs on your album personal stories?

H: I think most of the music that Cleo and I write are glimpses into a feeling or an idea, not usually super explicit about anything in particular but sometimes it may encapsulate different experiences.

 

M: Can you tell me what Fast Dust is about?

C: It’s about a person and then resenting how ginormous a feeling I had was because it was like debilitating and holding me back from feeling free, because I felt so confined in this giant emotion that was consuming me. And the song is about needing to breakout of feeling imprisoned by my own love for somebody, and creating meaning for something, creating a new, big moment to look at.

M: Thanks, good to know.

C:Sure thing

 

M: If you were a breed of dog what would you be?

C: THAT’S the question.

C: To be honest with you ( I’m going to be honest with you) I think I have a Pitbull vibe. But my favorite dogs are English Bull Terriers with the sharkheads and when I see dogs like that I really get worked up and I have like a really intense experience because I really see myself in their behavior and like their physicality and the way they get rambunctious, the way that they move their head, that’s really how I feel.

H: Dogs. I have a lot of feelings about dogs. I love a mutt Terrier.

M: You can be purebred or a mutt

H: I feel definitely like a mutt. I’m just trying to think what mutt I would be. I guess I probably am a terrier mutt. My dog Lucky,  my first dog, I got him when I was in fourth grade and he would prance around and the terrier nose is really special and he was just like joyous and gleeful and had a lot of energy, and had really sad eyes. And I really relate to that experience haha.

 

M: What’s the first thing you’re going to do when you get home from tour?

H: I’m honestly not sure, probably shower honestly. Probably take a really intense shower. That’s what I’m about right now. I’ve been smelling horrible everyday, the most toxic smell. And I don’t know hot to make it stop. It’s really tragic.

C: First thing I’m going to do when I get home is take off my tennis shoes, and probably get really comfortable. Eat something good, have some coffee, and hug my loved ones.

 

M: Aw well thank you so much you guys. Have a good tour and I hope you get to all of your places safely

H: Thank you so much, have a good day. Thank you very much. Cleo say thank you

C: Goodnight







 

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