August 10, 2012

Red Hot To Release Arthur Russell Tribute Album

Red Hot, the organization behind the fantastic Dark Was The Night compilation, will release a album paying tribute to songwriter Arthur Russell. The album, released in association with Pitchfork, will be titled This Is How We Walk On The Moon and will be co-funded by a Kickstarter campaign. There is an incredible lineup or artists participating including Robyn, 
Hot Chip, 

Devendra Banhart, Nico Muhly and Owen Pallett
, Okkervil River's Will Sheff, Laurel Halo, Cut Copy
, Twin Shadow, Washed Out, José González, 
Scissor Sisters, Sam Amidon, 
Ólöf Arnalds, Sandro Perri, Thao with the Get Down Stay Down, and more. The collection will benefit the organization's fight against AIDS.

You can donate to the campaign here.

August 08, 2012

Guide To Outside Lands: Bands You Can't Miss

The 5th annual Outside Lands Music Festival is coming back to Golden Gate Park in only two days! If you're heading to the Bay, here are some suggested acts for you to check out.

The Big Shots:
Neil Young and his associated rock band, Crazy Horse, are bound to put on a show harkening back to classic rock 'n' roll concerts, playing both familiar tunes and songs from their newest album, Americana. Unfortunately, their set conflicts with Justice, the French electronic duo. I have high expectations for this group, whose shows have been described as epic, complete with jumping, dancing fans and crazy light shows. As a compromise, I would suggest seeing the first half of Young's set, and then before you're ready to settle down for the night, head over to Twin Peaks Stage to see the final songs by Justice, which will be familiar dance-heavy beats.

If you feel like letting out your inner metalhead (or if you already are one), get ready to be rocked with an excellent show by the forefathers of the thrash metal scene. The conflicting set is Icelandic band Sigur Ros, which couldn't really play more contrary music. While their recent album Valtari is made up of mostly slow, quiet songs and haunting melodies, the live shows put on by Sigur Ros are supposedly incredible; the band envelopes their audience with beautiful compositions and the soothing voice of the lead singer, Jónsi.

Stevie Wonder is truly a legend, known as one of the "most creative musical figures of the late 20th century," and his music will get you to boogie and jive. The conflicting act is Skrillex, the dubstep, electro house king. Totally different types of music, but both danceable. Just depends on what kind of music you want to dance to!

Other notable acts:
Jack White will, and I repeat, WILL rock you. The man was born to be a performer, and will play most of the classics from his days in the White Stripes, the Raconteurs, the Dead Weather, and much of his new music from his debut solo album, Blunderbuss. It is going to be loud, and it is going to be awesome.

This gang of soulful funk musicians will have you grooving to their throwback tunes of the band's debut album, Pickin' Up the Pieces. Both the lead singer, Michael Fitzpatrick, and vocalist Noelle Scaggs are wonderful performers. Having seen this group multiple times, I can assure you that you will not be able to stop dancing during their set.

The talented Dallas Green, who goes by the moniker City and Colour, is sure to mesmerize the crowd with his magnificent singing voice and guitar playing. We have been lucky enough to see this Juno Award-winning Canadian previously in concert. Read our review here!

Joey Youngman, better known by his stage name Wolfgang Gartner, is a Grammy-nominated house music DJ that creates infectious dance beats. His performances are up-beat electronic dance parties, so if you go all out, be prepared for some sore feet the next day. Good thing his set's on the last day!  

Two Gallants
The bluesy indie rock band Two Gallants are San Francisco natives, and are bound to have a devoted crowd at their set. Combined with the band's high-energy music and demeanor, this folk rock duo should present an electrifying act you won't want to miss. The band will most likely playing both old favorites and upcoming tunes due out on their fourth studio album, The Bloom and the Blight, releasing this September. Check out their album trailer below.

Honorable mentions:
- Of Monsters and Men
- Alabama Shakes
- Yellow Ostrich
Read our review of these bands' performances from Sasquatch 2012 here, they are sure to live up to our expectations again!

See Part 1 of our Guide To Outside Lands for bands lower on the bill!

Tunesday: Grynch - "My Volvo"

If you like: Macklemore, Scribes, Sol
Young Seattle MC Grynch loves his car and he wants you to know about it. Even though it's an old, rickety 1986 Volvo 240 DL. On his track "My Volvo" he talks about the endearing, frustrating, and downright terrible aspects of his ride. The subject matter may seem silly at first, the song is actually pretty touching and works surprisingly well. And the track has some serious swagger. If any of you out there drive a Volvo, you now have an anthem to bump with the windows down. The video also features some of Seattle's finest MC's, with cameos by Macklemore, Sol, Fatal Lucciano, and more. Happy Tunesday!

Grynch-"My Volvo"

August 07, 2012

Guide To Outside Lands: Bands To Know

With some big name headliners this year at the Outside Lands Music Festival, it's easy to get forget about smaller bands at the bottom of the bill. Never fear, however! Write To The Beat is here to help remind you (and maybe introduce you) to some fabulous bands and artists that are lesser known, but still great!
If you like: The Drums, Portugal. The Man, Girls
PAPA's debut EP, A Good Woman Is Hard To Find, only came out less than a year ago, but this band has been making waves. PAPA has a rough yet lovely, easy-going, surf-rock vibe that brings the California coast to your headphones. I predict that their energized yet simple tunes will gather a fun crowd at the festival.

PAPA - "I Am the Lion King"
If you like: Cut Copy, Holy Ghost, POLIÇA
I have been a fan of Tanlines ever since I heard their dance jam, "Real Life." Since then, I can't help but groove to all the wonderfully energizing beats this Brooklyn duo has continued to produce. Their newest album, Brothers, came out earlier this year, and has given the band a lot of buzz. Jump over to their early afternoon set at the Panhandle Stage on Friday for some great dance time.

Tanlines - "Real Life"

If you like: Pretty Lights, Paper Diamond, MiMOSA
Big Gigantic is referred to as "instrumental livetronica" for a reason. The band combines electronic beats with live drums and saxophone instrumentation. This unique sound allows for stellar live performances, complete with awesome light shows and visuals. Big Gigantic's latest album, Nocturnal, which reached #2 on iTunes electronic charts, is available for free on the band's website here.

Big Gigantic - "The Uprising"

If you like: Said The Whale, Gold Motel, Foster the People
If you're looking for some summery, peppy, catchy music, you've found the right band. Jukebox the Ghost, a Brooklyn-based trio, released their third album Safe Travels earlier this year, and I must say, their music is infectiously happy. See their fun one-take video of "Somebody" here, shot on the Coney Island boardwalk.

Jukebox the Ghost - "Oh, Emily"

If you like: Ben Howard, Amos Lee, Otis Redding
Michael Kiwanuka, an expressive and eloquent singer-songwriter, has a voice that really gets into your soul. This incredibly talented Brit has gotten quite the spotlight after touring as Adele's opener, and truly deserves it. His debut album, Home Again, displays his immense musicality and deep emotion in his songwriting. If you'd like a preview of Kiwanuka live, check out this Take Away Show he did with La Blogotheque, and be ready to be blown away by his set this weekend. 

Michael Kiwanuka - "Home Again"

If you like: Blitzen Trapper, Dawes, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
With a little bit of blues, a tinge of folk, and a lot of rock, Cory Chisel and his band really reflect the age of Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, and the other legends. You can't help but get inspired by the spirit of these musicians, with some truly great classic rock-style anthems and tender, bluesy ballads. Even though they have an early set time (12PM on Saturday), make sure to get over to the Sutro Stage to see this talented band perform!

Cory Chisel and the Wandering Sons - "Born Again"

If you like: Dispatch, G. Love, Jack Johnson
Sean Hayes brings about a romantic, passionate gesture toward music. This soulful singer-songwriter, a San Francisco-based artist, croons with a rough yet entirely soothing warmth that echoes another era. Check out the music video below for his new single, "Miss Her When I'm Gone." His full album, Before We Turn To Dust, is due out September of this year.

Sean Hayes - "Powerful Stuff"

Check out Part 2 of our Guide To Outside Lands here!

August 03, 2012


Two hot producers, Hudson Mohawke and Lunice, have combined forces to create something even larger. They go by the name of TNGHT, and have just released an EP of the hardest, heaviest, most intense hip-hop beats I've heard in a while. The five enormous tracks have been making waves that big too. Apparently the duo are being courted by quite a few rappers who want to use some of these beats. And I don't blame them. They are simple, and impossible not to headbang to. Listen to all of "Higher Ground" and a sampler of the whole EP below. Go crazy. 

August 02, 2012

Aunt Martha

When I saw the amazing Delta Rae perform in New York, I got an extra treat when the opener, Aunt Martha, took the stage. The band (nobody is named Martha) drew a small crowd of rabid fans, and their tender acoustic folk stood out. The problem with bands like this is that there are so many that, at first, sound very much alike. And I must admit, Aunt Martha, may sound like one of the pack at first. But give them a deeper listen, and you will be pleasantly surprised. The melodies stick, the vocals never disappoint, and live, they are captivating. Below, you can stream one EP, and download another. Check it out!

August 01, 2012

Glen Hansard, Lisa Hannigan & John Smith Cover The Band

A.V. Club is known (at least to me) for their brilliant series, Undercover, where they invite artists to cover songs outside of their comfort zone. This time, they're taking a break from the usual formula, and bringing us just a fantastic, but fairly expected, cover. Glen Hansard, Lisa Hannigan, and her collaborator, John Smith, team up to cover The Band's "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down." Hansard often performs this song live, and a few weeks ago in New York, I caught a live version of this cover from all three of them. It was absolutely fantastic. Now you can see it too!