This Track is Pure (Santi)GOLD

We haven’t heard from Santigold since her contribution to the Hunger Games: Catching Fire soundtrack in 2013 (“Shooting Arrows at the Sky” — less than stellar work if you ask me).  And if I’m being technical, we haven’t REALLY heard from the Philly-born singer/producer since 2012 when she dropped her album, Master of My Make-Believe. Understandably though, she’s been busy with her adorable son, Radek (I guess if your name is Santi, it’s only right that your child’s name is just as, uh, unique).

We can thank sweet baby J for this new Santigold track, “Radio,” a contribution to the Paper Towns soundtrack.  With a big beat (trap is SO in), a catchy hook, and classic Santigold vocals, this track is the perfect mixture of banger and anthem.  Santigold-mainNo doubt the song plays during the part in the movie where the main characters, played by Cara Delevingne and Nat Wolff, are feeling particularly young and free causing them to stick half of their bodies out of a car window or sunroof just lovin’ life — assuming Paper Towns is like any other John Green/coming-of-age book-turned-movie.  Storyline aside, the Paper Towns soundtrack is impressive and diverse, featuring artists like Galantis, Vance Joy, Saint Motel, Vampire Weekend, and more.

This new Santigold track has me stoked to hear her new album, which she plans on releasing later this year.

Paper Towns track list:
1. Santigold, “Radio”
2. Twin Shadow, “To the Top”
3. Sam Bruno, “Search Party”
4. Kindness, “Swingin Party”
5. Vance Joy, “Great Summer”
6. Vampire Weekend, “Taxi Cab”
7. Son Lux, “Lost It To Trying” (Paper Towns Mix)
8. Saint Motel, “My Type”
9. Galantis, “Runaway (U & I)” (Svidden & Jarly Remix)
10. HAIM, “Falling”
11. Grouplove, “No Drama Queen”
12. De Lux, “Moments”
13. Alice Boman, “Be Mine”
14. The Mountain Goats, “Used To Haunt”
15. The War on Drugs, “Burning”
16. Nat & Alex Wolff, “Look Outside”

Stay tuned,

Roxanne

Advertisements

Top 10 Best Songs for the Beach

There’s nothing quite like the slight breeze, the seashell and rock-filled sand (and possibly other junk if you’re in Atlantic City or Seaside), the sound of crashing waves, and the piercing sun (sensitive topic since I’m still suffering the effects of my first shoulder sunburn from two weeks ago).  It’s almost impossible to have any legitimate worries while at the beach (Zac Brown Band said it best) — it’s as if the salty air sneaks into your nervous system and works its destressing magic.  The only thing that can improve the experience is a playlist of sunny, relaxing tracks.  Anyway, you’ll probably need to blast these songs to drown out any bennies/shoobies:

beach 2

1. Shine by Donavon Frankenreiter.  You can rely on music from Donavon to be perfect for your beach trip considering he’s a surfer and a good friend of the prince of the beach, Jack Johnson.  In fact, this quirky guy’s debut album was released on Johnson’s Brushfire Records in 2004.

2. To The Sea by Jack Johnson.  Speaking of the prince of the beach — you can almost feel the salty sea water surround you as you listen to the sunny melodies of Jack Johnson.  This surfer/filmmaker/musician is in a state of perpetual chill vibes that eventually rubs off on you after listening to him for so long.

3. Three Little Birds by Bob Marley & The Wailers.  If Jack Johnson is the prince of the beach, then it’s only right that Bob Marley is king.  “Don’t worry about a thing/ ‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right” — I agree 100%, but this may be hard when you have exceptional sunburn.

4. Thunder Clatter by Wild Cub.  It’s easy to smile and feel carefree with this track’s tropical indiepop undertones.

5. The Sound of Sunshine by Michael Franti & Spearhead.  This song’s a friendly reminder to remember to enjoy friends, sunshine, and life in general despite other worries.  “‘The Sound of Sunshine’ is a song about the sun’s ability to make any day better,” said Franti.  Ain’t that the truth.

6. I’m Good by The Mowgli’s.  “I’m good, I’m good, I’m good, I’m good/ Living life just like I should” — well, damn, if you’re at the beach, you’re definitely living life just like you should.

7. Lay Down by O.A.R.  Shout out to one of my favorite bands, especially when I was still a little nugget.  The combination of the guitar and drums give off the perfect summer vibes.  I mean, really, pretty much any other O.A.R. song has the same effect (listen to: “Hey Girl”).

8. Let’s Go Surfing by The Drums.  Wait are they saying “Obamaaa, I wanna go surfing”?  Nope, they’re actually saying: “Oh momma, I wanna go surfing” BUT actually, in an interview with NME, The Drums revealed that the 2008 presidential election, in which Barack Obama was elected president, was the inspiration behind the track.  “We actually wrote it on the day that Obama won the election, and everyone was so excited,” said guitarist Jacob Graham.  “The whole country had suffered eight years of feeling like we were in prison or something and then Obama came through and it was impossible not to get swept up with the whole nation, so that’s when we wrote ‘Let’s Go Surfing’,” he said.

9. 5 Years Time by Noah and The Whale.  “SUN, SUN, SUN” — This song is airy and just plain “fun, fun, fun” with sweet vocals and a playful ukulele in the background.

10. Om Shakti Om by Trevor Hall.  With the combination of the laid-back guitar, soulful percussion, and raspy but relaxed vocals, I bet you can’t not picture yourself in a tropical setting while listening to this track.

Stay tuned,

Roxanne

A Different Feel to MGMT’s “Electric Feel”

With a signature psychedelic pop beat and a happy bounce, MGMT’s hit “Electric Feel” is 100% on every hipster’s “Party,” “Chilling Out,” and “BBQ” playlists.  crookedcolours2But Perth-based electronic trio Crooked Colours have completely changed the vibe of “Electric Feel” with their reworked version.  Crooked Colours has managed to turn the MGMT hit into a mysterious and edgy song with haunting vocals and a steady synth.  Who knew “Electric Feel” could sound so dark?

In a 2014 interview with Triple J, the trio said audiences can expect “live drums, hard-synths and three sloppy rigs” at a Crooked Colours live show.  They had me at “live drums.”  Unfortunately, this summer, the trio is only hitting up Australian cities, like Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and their hometown Perth.

I’ve only heard a couple tracks from these guys and I’m already down (under).

Stay tuned,

Roxanne

Mud, Sweat & Beers: Firefly 2015

Now that the mud and filth that had been accumulating in layers on my body have been scrubbed off, I can finally recover comfortably by binge watching shows and movies all day on my couch in my wonderfully air conditioned home, and recall all of the memories made this past weekend.

Firefly 8

I had never camped at a music festival before, and I had never been to a four-day music festival either so Firefly seemed a bit daunting to me at first, but I was ready for the challenge.  The squad was more than prepared — though, it didn’t initially feel like it as we made the trek to Dover, Delaware (more like DelaWHERE, am I right?!) unsure of what to anticipate.  Upon arriving at our home for the next four days, we were forced to set up camp in our muddy swampland (that’s over exaggerating, but not entirely inaccurate) while it was lightly raining.  There was an unspoken nervousness about the precedent that this set for the long weekend ahead of us, but at the same time, there was a oh-well-fuck-it-let’s-have-fun-anyway vibe in the air.  And that’s exactly what we did despite the weather, living conditions, hygiene levels, and chaffing issues (our weekend was sponsored by Johnson & Johnson baby powder).

Day 1, Thursday.  After setting up camp and getting acclimated with our makeshift home, we chilled until the late start of the festival.  What was supposed to be a relaxing day, though, turned out to be kind of strenuous since the mud made trekking through the festival pretty tough.  Thank baby J for Target rain boots because it made getting from stage to stage just a tiny bit easier.  After solving some wristband entry issues, we were off to an otherwise great start music-wise with Hey Rosetta! at the Backyard Stage.  The lighthearted indie rock sound of the band made it easy to jam out despite not previously knowing their songs.  After hearing the one Panama Wedding song I knew, we headed over to catch a bit of Grizfolk, who I’d previously seen open up for Bastille on their Bad Blood tour.  When I first saw Grizfolk, I was extremely underwhelmed, but at Firefly, it was clear that they had improved and their typical alt rock sounds were exactly what I needed while I chomped on Hawaiian-style soba noodles (the real MVP of the weekend).  Catching the tail end of Solidisco at the Pavilion Stage (which housed most EDM acts for the weekend) pumped us up for Sweater Beats, who I had seen open up for Flume and, later, Chance the Rapper when he came to Rutgers.  Sweater Beats was one of my favorites of the weekend — his use of choppy synths and tight drums remind me of Flume and Cashmere Cat, but are unique in the way he combines multiple layers of sound packaging it all in a dance-worthy track (i.e., “Cloud City”).  After Sweater Beats was the first tough scheduling conflict of the weekend between The Kooks, X Ambassadors, and Tycho.  Since I’ve already seen Tycho at Coachella, I stayed for about 3 songs before moving to X Ambassadors who I was STOKED to see. Besides “Jungle” and “Renegades,” I was unaware of other X Ambassadors songs.  I was pretty disappointed with their other songs, which when played live, sounded like they were confused about what sound they wanted to establish for themselves.  Nonetheless, “Renegades” and “Jungle” were on point and the perfect amount of rock and roll.  On the way out, we heard The Kooks and were still jamming, so I can only imagine what it was like to be in the heart of the crowd during hits like “Junk of the Heart (Happy),” “Bad Habit,” and “Naive.”

Day 2, Friday.  The first day of waking up early due to the heat started with a trip to the porta potties, which were steadily hoarding all types of waste products.  After taking a baby wipe shower and feeling like a million bucks after doing so, we hung out at the campground until leaving around 2:30pm to try and catch Manchester Orchestra at the Main Stage.  Firefly 10Despite my face melting off, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed Manchester Orchestra and their alt rock songs — it provided a nice break from the predominantly indie weekend.  Other notable performances of the packed day included Walk the Moon and Odesza (another weekend favorite of mine).  I was stoked to see Cage the Elephant and even left Walk the Moon a bit early to catch ’em.  I wasn’t particularly impressed but not necessarily disappointed by their performance — I would say their set was just average.  “Come a Little Closer” and “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked” were still amazing, of course.  Lead singer Matt got me stoked to see Paul McCartney later that night by singing Happy Birthday to Sir Paul.  Glass Animals was just as groovy as you’d imagine with their hard-to-pinpoint sounds that put you in what feels like a drug-induced trance (perfect for: those tripping on Acid).  After Glass Animals was the second tough conflict: Modest Mouse, Run the Jewels, and Kygo.  After staying for about 10 minutes of Modest Mouse, we headed over to Kygo, which was  a no brainer for me since I had skipped out on him early at both Ultra and Coachella.  Listening to Kygo’s steel drum synths just felt right, but when the second set of speakers shut off leaving only the main speakers, it got kind of old after a while.  From what I heard from my other friends, Run the Jewels was as aggressive as their music is, creating a fun and wild atmosphere for the crowd.  After finally finding a spot on the grass that wasn’t too muddy, we popped a squat and enjoyed listening to Paul freakin’ McCartney.  Having parents who always sung Beatles songs to me growing up, and I mean, being a functioning human and knowing who the Beatles were, it was hard for me to come to terms with the fact that I was seeing a Beatle perform LIVE right in front of me who was also breathing the same air as me.  Since he had just turned 73 the night before, it was only right that Paul opened up with “Birthday.”  My Firefly moment- and the moment I’ll remember for the rest of my life- was when thousands upon thousands of festival attendees came together to sing along to Hey Jude.  Looking at the illuminated stage and the crowds that surrounded, I couldn’t help but get choked up thinking: you’ll never be as young as right now.  I get the chills every time I think about the moment.  It felt weird going from that magical moment to the raging crowd of Zedd, who I was initially excited to see, but was ultimately unimpressed (although my friends had a blast).  I made what I consider one of the best decisions of the entire weekend by leaving Zedd early to catch Marian Hill who was straight up swagger and baby-making music.  The use of heavy beats, sensual saxophone solos, and smooth vocals immediately made me 8-months pregnant.  I was sweating profusely both from the humidity and the music.

Day 3, Saturday.  After marinating in my filth for 3 days, I finally took a mini-shower via watering can and a few water bottles.  I felt like a new woman — and that’s no exaggeration.  Still exhausted from the day before, we took it easy and played several rounds of Mafia, which was full of ridiculous death stories and random accusations (shout out to the South Beach Killa), before leaving around 3pm to catch Gary Clark Jr.  We were all so clearly beat from the day before so we spent most of the day sitting on a picnic blanket listening to the music.  Firefly 2Gary Clark Jr. was awesome and obviously one long guitar riff upon guitar riff.  Andrew McMahon was underwhelming, but it could also be because I was expecting him to perform more Jack’s Mannequin stuff.  After was the most energetic set and one of my absolute favorites of the weekend: Matt and Kim.  I love Matt and Kim, but I was totally not expecting their set to be THAT much fun.  The Brooklyn duo are perfect together and their stage presence/energy was palpable; aside from catchy pop beats with heavy percussion, their set was full of crowd surfing (“If you have never crowd surfed before, now’s the time to check that box off!”), t-shirt waving, and jumping.  Matt and Kim got the crowd moving like no other artist I had seen that weekend.  After Matt & Kim, I caught a bit of Spoon while spooning some salad into my mouth (lol), and was expecting to see Dirty Heads, However, because of an impending storm, Foster the People was moved up 15 minutes earlier than expected, which means I had to go right from Spoon to Foster.  Firefly 7One of my biggest disappointments of the weekend was not being able to see Dirty Heads.  My favorite of the entire weekend was Foster the People, and while yes, that is probably a biased opinion, their set was amazing nonetheless full of all its typical glorious psychedelic indie rock through a combination of songs from Supermodel and Torches.  It felt almost religious while they were playing “Coming of Age” knowing that they had first debuted the song at Firefly 3 years ago.  We were at Kid Cudi for a few songs before he stopped short with an announcement that Firefly was shutting down for the night due to a big storm with approximately 60 mph winds (aka enough to blow me away).  Because of the storm, Kid Cudi was unable to continue and Kings of Leon didn’t get to perform.  Firefly 12A bit freaked out by this, we rushed back to the campsite and acted like a mini-army moving quickly to get everything in place before the storm came — it almost felt like we were in The Day After Tomorrow, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t for a second consider calling an Uber to take me anywhere but there.  That night, we slept inside our cars, but at 4am I couldn’t take the heat of the cramped trunk of the van and had to go for a walk around the campgrounds with a friend.  It felt a little surreal to see some of the damages the storm caused and reminded me vaguely of the time I drove around with my family after Hurricane Sandy had hit New Jersey.

Day 4, Sunday.  Momma, we made it!  It’s safe to say that every single one of us (and there were 12 of us to be exact) felt both exhausted and excited on the last day of the festival.  It was a weird combination of excitement for the day ahead, but also for the day to be over because that meant home, real showers, air conditioning, a bed, and food other than burgers and hot dogs.  Firefly 9After packing up our campsite and moving to a parking lot closer to the actual festival, we were all ready to endure the day.  Although we were excited for all the acts we were seeing that day (to name a few: Hozier, Bastille, and The Killers), we were all counting down (“After this set, we only have Bastille, Empire of the Sun, The Killers, and then home!!”).  Despite having already seen Hozier at Coachella, he was one of my favorites of the weekend.  With his man bun, blues-y, rock and roll rhythms, and romantic yet destructive lyrics, Hozier wow-ed the crowd playing hits like “From Eden” and “Someone New.”  Because mother nature took Sunday a little too seriously, it was incredibly hot the entire day, so for as many acts possible, we took shelter on the good ol’ grass.  I enjoyed Bastille so much and sang along to every song because it’s impossible to not, but I was a bit disappointed with the sound production considering they performed on the Main Stage.  The bass created an uncomfortable sound that slightly took away from the vocals.  Still, Dan from Bastille is a dreamboat and I’d listen to him sing any day.  FINALLY, we were waiting in the tightly packed crowd for The Killers with sweat dripping from all possible places on our bodies.  The Killers were 20 minutes late, but were immediately forgiven when Brandon Flowers ran onto the stage with his boyish charm and nothing but a smile and a “Hello” before bursting into “Mr. Brightside.”  It didn’t take long for the crowd to lose control and sing along to the song that we’ve all screamed at the top of our lungs at least one time before.  Responsible for so many hits, The Killers made sure to play all of them from “All These Things That I’ve Done” to “Somebody Told Me.”  Along with their hits, The Killers paid homage to Creedence Clearwater Revival (“You guys like CCR?”) by playing “Bad Moon Rising” and honored Kings of Leon (“You guys like Kings of Leon?”) by performing a cover of “The Bucket” and an abridged version of “Use Somebody.”  I, personally, had another Firefly moment when the band performed “Runaways,” one of my favorite songs.  I felt honored to have been able to see The Killers perform considering a performance from them nowadays is rare.  Just like during Foster the People, it was amazing to watch the band come in a full circle since they performed at the inaugural Firefly in July 2012.  It only felt right that the night and the entire weekend closed out to “When You Were Young.”

While my time at Firefly was enjoyable, there are things the festival can improve, like having more stadium lights put up considering both the wet and dry mud created uneven and almost dangerous walks at night.  Also, their evacuation method was unorganized and could have easily been chaotic if the hordes of festival attendees began to run back to their campsites.  Although the severity of the storm was unexpected, a precautionary plan should have been created and implemented given that the forecast for the festival had predicted rain for the weekend anyway (trust me, I know because I checked the weather several times beforehand to help plan my #ootd).  As for the mud though, I think Firefly did what it could to make things a bit easier for attendees.firefly 1

In the heat of the moment (literally — if it wasn’t hot, it was humid), I was unable to truly consider my time at Firefly — honestly, I think dirt was clogging my brain.  But looking back now, Firefly was the perfect way to end my season of festivals.  The dirt might be gone, but my sunburn and memories live on.

Stay tuned,

Roxanne

 

Chet is No Faker When it Comes to Music

This morning, Chet Faker premiered an unreleased track called “Bend” originally recorded for his debut album Built on Glass on Triple J, an Australian radio station.  “Ever since it got cut from the album it’s just been sitting on my iTunes, sitting there looking at me,” said Faker.  “Usually when I cut a song after a few months I’m like ‘yeah cool, that song’s dead’ but it’s been annoying me… [so] it was either never going to be put out, or now, with this tour.”  The best way to describe “Bend” is: eclectic.Chet Faker It’s got Faker’s smooth vocals, a unique guitar riff, and irregularly timed percussion.  The track definitely stands out from the other songs on Built on Glass.  It’ll definitely take me a few more listens to grow to like the funky song.  It’s not one of my favorite Chet songs, but you can sense the authenticity behind it and it, of course, gets me pumped for a second studio album.

For his next album, Faker is aiming for a more “heavily performance-based sound.”  “Yeah there’s heaps of that [new music] coming and that was another reason why I had to put this track out now because once I put new stuff, you can’t go backwards,” said Faker.

Hey, I’ll take whatever I can get from Chet.

Stay tuned,

Roxanne

10 Best Songs to Make You Feel Badass

Some days you need to be reminded that inside of you lives a rebellious badass that’s tatted up, in a motorcycle gang (what’s up, Jax Teller?), and only wears combat boots.  Or some days you just need a killer playlist to make you strut with your head held high.  Whatever day it may be, grab your leather jacket and wayfarers, and bump this percussion and guitar riff-heavy playlist to feel like the ultimate badass:

Michelle badass1. Nasty Freestyle by T-Wayne.  If you’re hopping out of a Porsche, you are most likely a badass.

2. Jungle by X Ambassadors, Jamie N Commons.  If that drum-clap pattern doesn’t make you feel tough, nothing will.

3. Sweet Talk by Kito, Reija Lee.  Currently signed to Mad Decent, the producer/singer duo originally from Perth, Australia delivers a perfect badass song with their blend of bass and vocals.  Aside from being featured in Victoria’s Secret 2013 Spring/Summer commercial, “Sweet Talk” was also sampled in Trinidad James’ single, “Females Welcomed.”

4. Elephant by Tame Impala.  Perfect for: the groovy badass.  Maintaining a classic rock guitar riff throughout the song, Tame Impala gives their take on “badass” by mixing it up with rhythmic retro/futuristic shifts in sound.

5. Howlin’ For You by The Black Keys.  Picture this: you and your squad walking strutting in one of those typical formations — preferably in slow motion.

6. Black Skinhead by Kanye West.  Can this be played every time I’m about to walk in a room to get people absolutely pumped for my arrival?!

7. Believe by The Bravery.  *Cue an exploding building in the background as you walk in slow motion.*

Stefan badass

8. Bad Girls by M.I.A.  THIS ONE’S FOR ALL THE BAD BITCHES.  “My chain hits my chest/ When I’m banging on the dashboard” — I don’t wear a chain and I don’t bang on the dashboard (that’s rude and annoying), but I identify so much with this song.

9. 99 Problems by Hugo.  Speaking of bitches, here’s a catchy cover of Jay Z’s “99 Problems” — the banjo and tambourine combo makes me want to duel someone Western style and trade in the combat boots for some tough cowboy boots.

10. Wicked Ones by Dorothy.  What makes this song so badass is its wicked heartbeat and raspy vocals.  “This night ain’t for the faint of heart, ‘cause the faint of heart gon’ fall apart,” sings Dorothy, obviously prepping you for whatever badass activity you’re up to.

Stay tuned,

Roxanne

Mystery Solved

But this time, it doesn’t feel so fulfilling.

Last month, Proximity, a popular EDM YouTube channel, posted an anonymous track titled “Slowly.”  The track gained mounds of support from artists like Oliver Heldens and Pete Tong.  Reddit users and music blogs alike speculated that the track belonged to ZHU due to its anonymous nature (even though we know who you are already, Zhu).  So, basically, everybody lost their shit because this dance-worthy track was so ~mysterious~.

Turns out, the track belongs to Dropout, a trio of friends (Ethan, Ray, and Selden) from Santa Barbara and Big Beat Records’ newest signees.  “We want our music to help listeners not only dance their faces off, but also find a sort of meaning or release in that dance, beyond just the fun of jamming out,” Dropout explains. “So that’s why we decided to initially release the track as an ID, because we wanted people to have an opportunity to experience the song independent of us, and just to feel the music as a piece of art that isn’t necessarily tied to anybody but the listener.

Dropout

LOVE the track — it’s fresh, groovy, and will 110% be one of my summer jams.  The combination of pitch-shifting vocals and bouncy beat makes for a perfect festival hit.  It’s one of those rare songs that can be light, fun, and airy, but heavy and meaty all at once (thanks to the dub step undertones).  But as for the mysterious marketing technique behind the track release: over it.  Don’t get me wrong — I still obsess over the novelty of Zhu’s initial anonymous marketing concept.  Jake Udell (of Th3rd Brain) and his team were the creators behind Zhu’s mystique marketing concept.
The_Nightday_EP_ZhuThere was just something so inexplicably cool about seeing that low-key Zhu logo and being unable to see him clearly as he hid behind a mesh screen while playing.  Similar to the well-known street artist Banksy, there’s just some grandeur about not knowing who is actually behind a work of art that you love — it could be anyone.  In Dropout’s case, though, it seems a bit stale and overdone.  I mean, the trio probably had good intentions and really wanted people to initially connect solely with the song rather than the three of them, but after only a month of anonymity, they reveal themselves!  I’m being so unnecessarily hard on Dropout, but there’s just something about it all that doesn’t seem genuine, and instead, seems manufactured and maybe a little desperate.

Regardless, “Slowly” is still one of my favorite songs at the moment

Stay tuned,

Roxanne

10 Best Songs from Governors Ball 2015

Since I went to Gov Ball days 1 and 3 this past weekend, I thought it would be appropriate to theme this week’s “10 Best Songs” post around Gov Ball — kind of like a festival recap.

When it comes to great music, Gov Ball is pretty much on point.  When it comes to the entire festival experience, though, Gov Ball is slacking.  Compared to other music festivals, Gov Ball seems like a series of diverse concerts thrown together in the park.  And sure, they might have tasty food trucks/stands and a super fun silent disco (who doesn’t love looking like an idiot?), but they lack that certain umph that makes the festival feel like, well, a festival.  Being held in a city that overflows with emerging artists, Gov Ball could easily feature various art installations that would totally be Insta’ed, which would add to Gov Ball’s festival cred and image.  Regardless, I still had so much fun at Gov Ball both this year and last.  Gov Ball has no where to go but waaay up (I’m saying this primarily to make a play off of Big Sean’s “Blessings”).  Here are my favorite songs from the weekend:

Gov Ball

1. Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa by Vampire Weekend.  Unfortunately, Vampire Weekend wasn’t officially at Gov Ball this year. BUT Chromeo teased the crowd by playing the beginning chords of “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa,” and then proceeded to bring Ezra Koenig on stage to perform the song.  It was AMAZING, and it definitely brought me back to Gov Ball 2014.  After, Chromeo played “I Could Be Wrong,” which Ezra is actually featured on — and if I’m being completely honest, I had no idea they even had a song together.

2. Jealous (I Ain’t With It) by Chromeo.  Chromeo is always so groovy, and when they played their hit, the entire crowd (even way back where I was) got funky and pulled their weirdest dance moves out with no judgment whatsoever.

3. Bloom by ODESZA.  It’s probably obvious by now that I may or may not be Odesza’s #1 fan so it will come as no shock that I loved their set. However, just like Coachella, they were stuck in a tent so I had no choice but to squeeze through the tight, sweaty crowd to get a little further in from the back to fully hear the set. Again, I wasn’t thrilled with the sound quality since it didn’t quite reach the back, but the duo was amazing as usual. To be fair, I had high standards for the quality of the performance since I saw Harrison and Clayton (yeah, we’re on a first-name basis now) play the night before at Rough Trade to a super intimate crowd of maybe 200 fans.  No matter how many times I see them, their live performance will never get old to me.  The energy at their Gov Ball performance was so palpable and quite possibly my favorite of the weekend.

4. What Kind of Man by Florence + The Machine.  I’m a sucker for heavy percussion so this song was definitely my favorite of her Gov Ball set. When I saw Flo last, it was at Coachella right after she broke her foot; due to her broken foot, she had to have a stripped performance, which was great, but kind of a downer since she always has the best stage presence with her electric energy.  This time, she didn’t hold back one bit.  Her performance was a mix of songs from Lungs, Ceremonials, and her newest album How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful.  I’m a huge fan of her old albums, but it was cool to hear her perform new songs, like “St. Jude” and “Ship to Wreck.”

5. Energy by Drake.  Talk about ENERGY when it comes to Drake’s performance.  Drake started and closed with “Legend” and boy is he a “motherfucking legend.”  He was just as amazing as he was at Coachella, but there was something about that Gov Ball/New York vibe that made his performance that much better.  Also, nice try, Drake, but you also said “this is the best festival crowd I’ve ever seen” and “I’ve never experienced a crowd like this before” at Coachella — I guess his acting gig on Degrassi really paid off.

6. You + Me (Remix) by Flume, Eliza Doolittle.  I didn’t go to Gov Ball day 2, so I wasn’t there for Flume’s set, but from what I’ve seen via Instagram video, it was absolute *fire emoji*.  If it was anything like his performance at Terminal5 that I was at last summer, I’m sure it was nothing short of amazing.

7. Elephant by Tame Impala.  I said this at Coachella too, but Tame Impala is definitely meant for people tripping on acid.  They just have a way of sending out those triply, groovy vibes.  It would’ve been a different experience if the band played at night though since it was a little hard to see their visuals in the daylight.

8. Get On Up by Big Gigantic.  I was pleasantly surprised by the successful blend of jazz and electronic music — the mix of saxophone, drums, and bass flowed naturally into one another.  I was also pleasantly surprised to see that the saxophonist is a D.I.L.F. (I don’t know if Dominic Lalli is actually a dad, but still).

9. Video Games by Lana Del Rey.  I’m a huge fan of Lana with her deep vocals and melancholy rhythms so I was stoked to see her perform.  In fact, she was a big part of why I decided to go back to Gov Ball on Day 3.  Her back drop was a sight, her outfit (a New York Yankees jersey dress) was on point, her hair was perfectly coiffed, her face was obscenely beautiful, and her voice was- well I’m not really sure.  For some odd reason, the sound was terrible at the Honda stage, and the crowds to the side of the stage and all the way back could hardly hear her.  From seeing other people’s Instagram videos who were closer to the stage, she sounded angelic.  But looking back at my own Snapchat story where I recorded Lana, I could only hear the people talking around me instead of the music.  However, every time I was able to hear tiny snippets of her singing, I was in love.

10. Little Black Submarines by The Black Keys.  Since I was at Lana for her entire performance, I sadly missed all my favorite Black Keys songs, like “Howlin’ for You,” “Gold on the Ceiling,” “Lonely Boy,” and “Gotta Get Away.”  However, ending Gov Ball weekend with “Little Black Submarines” just felt right.  Starting as a ballad that could almost pass as a lullaby, the song explodes with energy as it erupts into a full-on rock chorus heavy with guitar riffs and drums.  As we were all air guitar-ing, fireworks burst into the air right on cue to signify the end of a weekend filled with great friends and live music.

Stay tuned,

Roxanne

Top 10 Best Songs for an Intense Workout

It’s #BulkingSeason, and if you’re like me, you need all the motivation you can get to power through an intense workout.  Whether it’s during cardio and I need that extra push for 5 more minutes on the treadmill, or it’s lifting day and I need to get pumped to pump iron (5-pound weights count, right?) — I’ll always have an aggressive playlist blasting through my almost broken, off-white/brown-ish Apple headphones.  I don’t know if it’s just my gym that plays not-so-great music, but I don’t consider Echosmith or Jack Johnson to be workout music — love ’em both, but no, just no.  Release your inner juice head with this workout playlist:

Pitch perfect

1. Wild for the Night by A$AP Rocky, Skrillex, Birdy Nam Nam.  (“Okay, feelin’ good and strong!”) This mash-up is equal parts EDM and hip-hop with two artists who are at the top of their game in their respective genres.  The combination of Skrillex’s extraterrestrial, dubby beat and A$AP’s vocals gets at least an extra 8 minutes out of me (umm, maybe that’s pushing it actually) on the treadmill.

2. UFO – Trap Edit by Vigiland.  (“I wonder how many more songs there are until I’m done. Maybe like 5?”) The Swedish duo (was NOT a part of Swedish House Mafia — I’ll admit I sometimes categorize all DJs hailing from Sweden under the trio of super-DJs) remixed their electro house song and made it into a trap banger.  With this song playing, you can’t really tell if I’m shuffle-dancing or running.

3. Speakerbox by Bassnectar, Lafa Taylor.  (“Okay, after this song, I’m probably at least 10 minutes into the workout… right?!”) A part of Bassnectar’s latest 16-track mixtape, Into the Sun, “Speakerbox” is intense and straight-up aggressive.  I’m not a huge fan of Bassnectar, but this track’s rude beat and angry-sounding vocals amp me up and keep me going.

4. NRG (Skrillex, Kill the Noise, Milo & Otis Remix) by Duck Sauce.  (“Aw, this song’s nice and light and airy!”) Providing a little break from the almost hostile trap- and rap-heavy playlist, this song gives you some lighthearted NRG (lol).

5. Syclla by RL Grime.  (“SOS: my shorts are riding up.”) RL Grime serves up a main dish of trap with two extra sides of trap on this track.  This is what I’d consider a “dirty” beat.  As soon as the beat drops, this song gets your heartbeat going (ya know, as if it wasn’t already obnoxiously beating out of your chest, but hey, at least you’re burning extra calories?).

friends

6. ‘Till I Collapse by Eminem, Nate Dogg.  (“If I pretend I’m in Marine bootcamp right now, I can keep going until at least the end of this song.”) The stomp-stomp-clap beat made famous by Queen’s “We Will Rock You” will never get old to me.  Also, how much more perfect can this song get for a workout with its mini-motivational talk in the beginning: “‘Cause sometimes you just feel tired,/ Feel weak, and when you feel weak, you feel like you wanna just give up./ But you gotta search within you, you gotta find that inner strength/ And just pull that shit out of you and get that motivation to not give up/ And not be a quitter, no matter how bad you wanna just fall flat on your face and collapse.” Dawww thanks, Eminem!

7. Born To Rage – USA Version by Dada Life.  (“I think I’m dying.”) These guys are straight up wild, and released 39 versions of “Born To Rage” based on which country you’re from.  It’s a huge anthem with a big beat that will definitely keep you going strong (I mean, it just doesn’t feel right to walk to this song).

8. Radio by Santigold.  (“I’m dripping. Wow, I sweat a lot… is this normal?”) I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: This track is pure (Santi)GOLD.

9. Turbulence – Radio Edit by Steve Aoki, Laidback Luke, Lil Jon.  (“Oh God, I don’t know if I can make it.”)  At this point in my workout, this intense banging beat is the only thing that can help me finish my workout strong.

10. 2AM (Matoma Remix) by Astrid S.  (“Oh thank sweet baby J — I’m done. I need to air out before I go back into the car.”)  The perfect cool-down song.

Stay tuned,

Roxanne

How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful

After much anticipation, Florence + the Machine released its third studio album, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful earlier this week.  And how beautiful indeed.

Flo

Florence Welch is known for her booming, choir-worthy, almost reverent voice.  After seeing her perform new material at Coachella, I was absolutely stoked to hear the album in its entirety and observe the flow (or should I say “Flo”) of songs.

Welch has said that How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful was a lot more truth and a lot less hiding behind metaphors.  “I guess although I’ve always dealt in fantasy and metaphor when I came to writing, that meant the songs this time were dealing much more in reality. Ceremonials was so fixated on death and water, and the idea of escape or transcendence through death, but the new album became about trying to learn how live, and how to live in the world rather than trying to escape from it. Which is frightening because I’m not hiding behind anything but it felt like something I had to do,” said Welch.  For the most part, I’ve found this to be true.  Take the straightforwardness of “What Kind of Man” (“Sometimes you’re half in and then you’re half out/ But never close the door/ What kind of man loves like this”) and compare it to “No Light, No Light” off of Ceremonials (“No light, no light in your bright blue eyes/ I never knew daylight could be so violent/ A revelation in the light of day/ You can’t choose what stays and what fades away”), which speaks somewhat abstractly about trying desperately to hold on to a sinking relationship — Flo’s courage to step out of her comfort zone and confront a feeling head-on is palpable in How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful.

Flo’s growth from the first studio album, Lungs, is undeniable.  It’s amazing to witness the transitions she goes through in life by just listening to the differences in the albums.  Lungs was a stellar introduction to Welch’s soulful voice, but the lack of cohesion in the album made it obvious that she was still exploring different sounds.  Ceremonials, one of my personal favorite albums, presented a theme of semi-darkness (i.e., ghosts, angels, devils, myths) through gothic tribal rock with harps and heavy percussion.  How Big, which I still need to repeatedly listen to until I get obsessed, seems more playful and lighter than Ceremonials with its floral rock-and-roll, bluesy sound.  If there’s one thing I miss, though, it’s the heavy beat of drums that was so constantly present in Ceremonials.  Keeping with her past albums, How Big also has the religious and mythical imagery that Flo has frequently alluded to/hid behind, but this time, it seems just a tiny bit more personal.  At Coachella, Flo had said that upon returning home from touring for so long after Ceremonials, she was reckless and would binge drink, party hard, and even say “I love you” to potential significant others at the absolute worst times- all things she did while on tour- but unlike tour, she could’t just move on to the next city without looking back — she had to deal with the consequences whether it be a trashed house or an awkward encounter with a past lover.  And that, I think, sums up the essence of How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful perfectly.

(Ceremonials is still my favorite Florence + the Machine album.)

Stay tuned,

Roxanne