Before we kick off the Quadros series, a quick story about this year's Sasquatch wristbands. I have to be critical for the sake of anyone who stumbles upon this entry. A wristband is supposed to be a solid piece of cloth with some sort of lock/latch to attach it to your wrist. There should never be a seam inside the lock (a seam being a portion of the wristband where two pieces of cloth are sewn together). I'll trust a plastic lock to keep a $350 investment attached to my wrist for four days more than a tiny piece of thread attaching two portions of cloth.
Why is this relevant you might ask? Last year, that tiny piece of thread inside the lock of my wristband fell apart Saturday night during the walk back to the campground. Luckily, I was holding hands with a blog fan, and my wristband tickled her hand before plunging to earth. She thought it was a bug, and seconds later she is holding my unattached wristband. If it had hit the ground, I was going home two days early.
To the credit of the festival, getting the wristband replaced was relatively easy, but I still wasted over an hour of my Sunday morning doing so. It was only easy because I held the defective wristband showing them the seam which came apart. I don't think, "my wristband fell off, I don't know where it went," would have worked as well. So please, keep an eye on that seam near the lock throughout the weekend, because I don't want anyone getting screwed over by faulty wristband technology. Hopefully next year's wristbands won't be so cheaply manufactured.
Now, on to this beast of a series in which two loyal readers have frantically (ok, inquisitively) requested:
Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
I don't need to tell you who this band is. Even your mom recognizes the song "Home," and I'm not one to make mom jokes (too often). They started out playing an act, that of a hippie rock band meant to capture the Volkswagen Bus riding free love style of the 60s and early 70s. It created a sound which is not only nostalgic, but catchy with the fist pumping anthems made popular by Arcade Fire. They are the reason Of Monsters and Men are so huge right now. Having caught the Zeros live a handful of times, they can be a blast. They were one of my favorite shows in 2010. I wrote a review you can read on the Cog here (back when I used to write live reviews).
I was convinced they would eventually reach Sasquatch headliner status until their second album was released, titled Here. It's much more mellow than their debut, without the catchy songs. It's like they are looking for musical integrity now that they are famous, but they became famous by having no musical integrity to begin with. Such irony.
Their early shows were analogous to performing after six shots of whiskey, but their recent shows have unfortunately been more like performing the morning after those shots. It is still great seeing such a large band perform, and everyone loves a trumpet live. I hope they bring their A game this year, because seeing a large group of musicians performing catchy songs on the Sasquatch main stage will be much more entertaining than watching a DJ with a play button pumping their fist. Maybe I'm just "jaded" because of my fond memories of their earlier shows. I believe this band leads the league in songs featured in commercials. I know of at least four commercials featuring their songs ("Home" twice, "Janglin" and "Om Nashi Me").
1. 40 Day Dream - Yeah, I know "Home" is their hit, but this is the song that gets me pumped up.
2. Janglin - I still pump my fist, "We want to feel ya, HEY!"
3. Home - Why not?
4. Om Nashi Me
5. Fiya Wata - I loved this song the first time I heard it live, and it's still one of my favorites.
6. Up From Below
7. Man On Fire
I like Alt-J a lot. They have one of the most unique sounds of an up-and-coming "indie" band. If you hear an Alt-J song, you don't confuse their sound with The Lumineers. It's distinct, and that is as nice as I'll be. I play the role of cheerleader when writing the Quadros, so I typically only write about the bands I think you should see at Sasquatch. However, unless there is a long line at the Honey Bucket, this is a band I just can't stand behind.
So what's the reason this post isn't full of praise exclusively? They bored me to near sleep at Coachella. The lead singer/guitar player looks like a better looking version of the FreeCreditReport.com guy, but seems to bask in his curly haired cuteness rather than show any signs of being entertaining or having fun. At least their drummer displayed some energy, but that is part of the job requirement. My favorite part of their set was when they went silent between songs, then played the opening note of the next song causing the crowd to cheer loudly. The crowd figured out a couple seconds later that they either don't like that song, or didn't realize how bored they were, and the cheering disappeared.
It's obvious Alt-J are hugely popular based on the enormity of their crowd at Coachella, so their wallets care very little about my opinion. If you are a fan of The Lumineers and have never listened to Alt-J, I highly suggest you ignore my suggested tracks below. One less Sasquatch conflict.
1. Breezeblocks - Such a fun song. Did you happen to notice the "hey" shout halfway through the song? Totally trying to be like The Lumineers.
2. Matilda - I wake up with this song stuck in my head. I'm not sure why. I don't think it's their best song, but it caught my ear.
3. Fitzpleasure - I'm pretty sure this song is just baby talk with a heavy bass-line.
5. Something Good - Fact: Any song with the lyrics "get high" is going to be a crowd favorite at a music festival.
The Lumineers ya'll. They sound like fun, am I right? Millions of radio listeners and VH1 viewers can't be wrong, can they?
Seriously though, the Lumineers rise to fame occurred during my music black period (which ended a couple months ago), so I don't know anything about them. I don't listen to the radio, and I rarely get anything regarding modern music from TV. I heard they have a song called "Hey Ho." I bet they shout it out too? Isn't a folk-rock band shouting a song called "Hey Ho" like Skrillex playing a song called, "Womp, Womp?"
If you are one who dislikes The Lumineers because of their popularity, I'm telling you that you take yourself way too serious. It's also likely your friends don't like you as much as you think they do. I've listened to their self-titled debut album enough to form an opinion of only their music, and it's a positive one. They sound like a blast live. After the first several listens, I don't remember any "Hey Ho," but I do remember digging the heck out of the Submarine song. When I gave this record one more spin while writing this post, I'm reminded that I like pretty much every song. What is not to like except their popularity?
1. Submarines - SUBMARINE! SUBMARINE! SUBMARINE! Yes, I'll be the guy in the campground screaming SUBMARINE! all weekend.
2. Stubborn Love - Classic sing-a-long folk song. It doesn't even sound original (don't shoot me if it's a remake, I already warned you I know very little about this band)
3. Classy Girls
4. Dead Sea
5. Big Parade
6. Morning Song
7. Ho Hey - I barely recall this song from when I listed to this album last year. I can see how hearing it five times a day could be, um, taxing.
Father John Misty
After seeing his recent performance (also at Coachella), this is one act I will beg you not to skip. Father John Misty is the alter-ego of solo artist J. Tillman, who performed at Sasquatch in 2009. He is also the drummer for the now defunct Fleet Foxes. One reason I enjoyed the Fleet Foxes live so much is because of how entertaining their interaction with the crowd was, especially Josh Tillman. He is a naturally funny guy, full of improv jokes relevant to the situation. At Coachella, a festival filled with DJ's mixing other people's music, he made it a point to tell the audience he writes all of his songs, while poking fun at the EDM artists for their antics and lack of creativity. He danced around on stage like a male stripper, rolling around, screaming, and creating a enthusiastic energetic show.
One of my favorite albums of 2013 was his debut album, Fear Fun. It's full of love songs and has an alt-country sound, so it doesn't feel like it will translate well live. He's been in the industry long enough that he knows how to work it. He often added extra versus to his songs, so don't expect to hear only the album versions. I'm a sucker for different version of songs live. In one added verse at Coachella, he poked fun at his new name (Father John Misty) in the song "Every Man Needs a Companion." After the line "I never liked the name Joshua, I got tired of J," he screamed, "WHO WAS THAT GUY?" When his time ran out, he told the crowd he wanted to play one more song (something frowned upon at Coachella with their strict time limits), then said, "but first, I'm going to drink this beer." You'll laugh at least once per song, or your money back. I will pay to see Father John Misty every chance I get.
1. Nancy From Now On - This song has a very Hall & Oates early 80s vibe, even though the theme is very dirty.
2. Only Son of the Ladiesman
3. Now I'm Learning To Love The War - A song about science, logistics, and being relevant.
4. Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings
5 . Funtimes in Babylon
6 . Tee Pees 1-12 - The most country song on the album
As always, feel free to add any thoughts about these four acts, including disagreements, your favorite songs, or your impression of them live. I'll try to get Quadros 2 up next week.