Category Archives: Album Reviews

Leaked Copy of NEW Alt-J Album “This Is All Yours” on Grooveshark

Alt-J’s highly anticipated sophomore album “This Is All Yours” comes out today or tomorrow depending on who you ask, but you can get the FULL ALBUM (minus the bonus track) on Grooveshark plus my initial thoughts here:

I remember first listening to the bones of what would become “An Awesome Wave” on Soundcloud in my apartment a few years back. 

KEXP had just featured this up and coming British trio who made a new kind of indie-pop song, something that I hadn’t heard a whisper of in any contemporary music at the time and something I realized I longed for and instantly connected with. The way Alt-j first struck me was a melding of melodic indie rock and folk, with the time changes and booming basslines of dance and dubstep. I instantly realized that this was not just some band that the KEXP DJ’s were excited about, they were the real deal.

I was able to see them perform a few  times and I have to Admit, when I heard An Awesome Wave live over and over again, with very little new material, I was a bit worried that the follow up would not be able to recapture the essence of a few guys just messing around on Garage Band in their dorm rooms, all the while knowingly or unknowingly creating a masterpiece. It is with this baggage that I set about to listen to the band’s sophomore release (and first without “silent leader” Gwil Sainsbury)

Intro: Reminiscent of the harmonies of the 1st record, the “la la” refrain slowly gives way to cascading melodies before a heavily vocoded voice mumbles some chorus lines and finally we hear that trademark Alt-J rasp and snare/hat percussion about 3 minutes in to the album. This track reminds me of one of those recap reels at the beginning of your favorite weekly drama. In about 5 minutes it neatly sums up lots of the themes and melodies from An Awesome Wave while injecting medley foreshadowing some newer melodies and soundscapes that Alt-J has yet to play with, the intro is great at just what it says it will do.

Arrival In Nara is a beautiful early interlude. This is a song that you may honestly anxiously sit through the first listen through the album, but on subsequent listens it becomes pretty hard to skip, especially in front of the subsequent Nara. Similar structurally to the first three tracks from an awesome wave; just as Tessalate  feels somewhat incomplete without hearing how she she she wants to to to count count her steps first; so is Nara without Arriving there first.

Nara was my first true  love from this album. The 3 prerelease tracks are awesome, and totally belong on the album, are probably better songs than Nara objectively, just not as shiny, but Nara is absolutely mindshatteringly beautiful with headphones.

Speaking of the prerelease tracks, let’s talk about this album’s In your snatch fits pleasure line; “I want to turn you inside out and lick you like a crisp packet” from Every Other Freckle what I consider the counterpart to, you guessed it, Fitzpleasure. While a little less dubstep influence makes its way into this track than the aforementioned barn burner, it still carries a ton of the same  tropes but overall doesn’t feel like a sequel (though the subject matter is similar). The cellophane sex metaphor aside, this is definitely one of the standouts from the album and will carry extremely well live as well as with the casual listener.

Which brings us to Left Hand Free, the next track we’ve all (probably) heard, which continues the theme of “filthy” that occupies the early middle part of this album. Overall, I have to say that even though this is the “pop” song on the album that is also about “jacking off”, it is a “damn good song” and one of my “favorites” on the album. I won’t really talk too much more about this track as it has been out for a few months.

The garden of England – I get the interludes guys, and I get the mood you are trying to get us in for the next few songs I guess, but this interlude sounds like a recorder recital and  kinda sucks. Luckily it is only a minute and gives way to yet another great slow burner.

Choice Kingdom is that slow burner, the 4th on the album so far if you include “Nara” and another great track. It takes a couple listens but it is slowly becoming one of my favorites.

Hunger of the Pine “I’m a female rebel!”, whatever, hate if you want to-it fits the track well.

Warm Foothills currently reminds me of The Head and the Heart/Of Monsters and Men and is poppy and kinda out of place on this decidedly darker and more ethereal album. Maybe I’ll grow to like it with time, but it is currently the only track I don’t mind skipping. And fuck those bands.

I might have been a bit disappointed after that if the next song was not The Gospel of John Hurt  which is in a strong race for my favorite track on the album, and kicks off the great ending sequence of this album. I am predicting that this super-psyched-out chant-refrain-filled jungle of sound will be a featured track at the live show and most likely will be featured in an encore somewhere. You almost don’t want this track to end, but like all good things it must, and luckily gives way to yet another great track.

Pusher is another track that will play extremely well live. It is almost entirely reliant on the beautiful harmonies the band creates and can stand alone pretty nicely as well as fitting in well here.

Borrowing the chorus bars from pusher, the piano breaks in on Bloodflood II, an elegant reminder of the calm of that track shatters away into a low bassline with some low saw synths sweeping in and out. In the same way that Intro provides a recap and medley from an awesome wave to this is all yours, Bloodflood II marries the two albums in a way that almost makes this whole album feel like part II. This, along with The Gospel of John Hurt, are having a little cagematch in my head over which gets to be my favorite new song on the record. My jury is out, but what do you think?

Leaving Nara, the official end to the album, does a good job exploding all that has been created through the course of the record. It is another great song that ends up as kind of a liner note to the album, but nonetheless sounds great.

Lovely Day (Bonus) The album should end with this song, the fact that it is a bonus should not deter you from including it because it is awesome. The textures and melodies in this track really make it stand out, and the build up satisfies itself nicely with about a minute left, and as if rolling the credits allowing the listener some reflection time to sit back and think about what they have just experienced, Alt -J has done it again.

Alt-J may have managed to put together a better effort on their second record than the breakthrough, festival-packing first, even without the would-be the brains of the group, Gwil Sainsbury who quit this year. This sustained success without going for cross-genre, not compromising, but extending their sound, is exactly what I had hoped for in this record. If Alt-J is able to continue to extend the sound that they have trademarked and perfected, while including 4-5 single ready songs per album, they are going to become an indie powerhouse. Here’s hoping we’ll get a chance to see them for less than the whopping $125 that is market price for the paramount show in October.


Post-Sasquatch Summer Camp Blues

Every year after Sasquatch I tend to get the same feeling as I would after my week at summer camp as a child…

I long to joke with my camp mates, cook hotdogs, and listen to some of the best artists making music in one of the most magnificent venues known to me. Well, maybe that last one isn’t like summer camp, but the point is, Sasquatch is kinda like a weekend summer camp for not-so-adults to recapture that sentiment…generally with some assistance.

But the view, alcohol, cigarettes, and other assorted memorabilia are not the only ones assisting with the decidedly unique “Vibe” that Sasquatch has attained. After all, we go to see music…right? In the eight years I’ve attended the festival, I’ve heard many an artist say that this a favorite festival for performers to attend as well as perform because the people are nice and the venue is pretty, it’s not too hot and not too cold. The best view in the house, you’ll often hear, is from the Bigfoot stage looking out on the crowd at dusk.

I ran into Aziz Ansari a few years back when comedy was a new thing for Sasquatch and Parks and Rec was still “that show that copied The Office“. We started talking a bit about Human Giant a bit and how we were both planning on going to a few of the same shows later on. Granted the guy was still relatively unknown at the time, but my point is that our conversation could have happened between myself and just about anyone random I met walking down the lawn. At Cochella, the celebrities go to get spotted watching the trendy bands, but at Sasquatch, the performers enjoy the festival just like you or I would.

At this years show there were some defining performances, some that delivered the goods, and some that just plain fell flat. I tried to capture as much of the “Vibe” as I could, but just like at summer camp, not everything can live on in pictures and video. Most of the pictures and videos I’ve included are my own, but I’ve attributed where they are not. I’ll also apologize for the random freeze frames in a few of the vids, I did not fully understand my new camera at the time.

Sasquatch Friday

Chance The Rapper

Great pic right? Phosphoresecent

Phosphorescent put on a great set early Friday evening. The crescendo being the 7 minute plus track from the most recent album “Muchacho”


Among my peers, feelings were mixed about Phantogram’s newest offering “Voices” (I personally love it) but the is performance got across the board positive reviews from the same crowd. Gone was the terrible chunkiness of the sound that comes with not being used to your new songs that spoiled their show in November at Neumos. This was definitely one of the first day highlights.  One of my personal highlights from this show was when a friend and I got almost the whole crowd to start clapping clap clap—clap clap—clap clap—clap clap clap clap clap clap (the beat of the breakthrough hit “When I’m Small”) and the sound guys actually started playing the track over the PA in unison with the clapping for a second. That was fun. My camera ran out of battery for the night right about here so thank you to the random youtube users featured in the next two sections.


Not my video- thanks to Youtube user Jason Lennox

Wow. All ive got to say is I’m glad they got a month to practice after cochella because they DID. That show was amazing, nostalgic, fun, and crazy. Andre is such a showman, Big Boi’s flow seems to have improved recently. Overall the two didn’t miss a beat, aka everything was as tight as B.O.B. in the video above. Great set!

Die Antwoord Not my video- thanks to Youtube user sckaterbean

Man, this show was terrifying, what an awesome way to end the night. This video is cool, but nothing sums up these guys like these photos from Eric Tra

Continue to Saturday

Post-Sasquatch Summer Camp Blues: Saturday

Sasquatch Saturday

First Aid Kit

Beautiful afternoon set from these girls.

Great way to kick off day two of Sasquatch. Growlers

One of the great surprises of the festival for some, Growlers are a southeastern fried surf rock band. If you haven’t checked out their most recent albums (two released in 2013) I highly recommend it.

Washed Out

One of my highlights for the festival, Ernest Greene knows how to turn an album full of songs to have breakfast to into a full blown party. The riffs and transitions in this set were even better than the great set Washed out played at Bumbershoot 2013.

This was a great show for both fans of old school Washed Out as well as those who had Paracosm near the top of their year end lists last year. Something that made this set so much more special than the Bumbershoot one, in my opinion, it was played in the afternoon on a beautiful day, exactly the “Paracosm” that Greene wants us to experience when listening to his latest masterpiece. Washed Out and Sasquatch go hand in hand and this will be sure to be a recurring act for years to come!


Anyone who has been around Sasquatch for awhile knows that M.I.A. has quite the history with this festival, having to cancel in 2007 before playing a makeup set in 2008 (ironically enough, because she had no ‘visas in her name’ to get into the US).

The return of M.I.A. to Sasquatch is much like the release of her album this year, it was good. In my opinion most everything that she put out between Kala and Matangi was shit and this represents a triumphant reclamation of her kick-ass fuck-you mentality that feeds into the star status she has worked up over the last few years. Though it has not always been absent (remember when she performed at halftime and flipped off the camera at the Superbowl?) she hadn’t been putting out the quality of material that is needed to back up her attitude.


Another surprise of the festival for those who stuck around after cloud control or stopped by after M.I.A. Being a Fan of Austra I suggested everyone go see her and I had folks thanking me all night for the recommendation. If you get a chance to see her, I highly recommend it.

Tyler The Creator

Here’s the story- he was an asshole and played a bunch of songs (including “Yonkers” which was kind of unexpected).

I kinda only want to talk shit about this dude, but he is a great performer and really entertaining. He makes me think of all the shit that I’d want to do if I were famous and in front of people all the time. I’d fuck with them, make them hate me but respect me and love me at the same time. I’d love to find some shitty prefab r & b artist and get my fans to chant his name as a mantra (“Jason Derulo”, if you’re curious, was an oft heard cheer in the campground on Saturday night). The point is, Tyler is treating his life like a game of secondlife, bringing a whole lot of people with him, and creating a very interesting place for himself in music in the process.

Continue to Sunday

Post-Sasquatch Summer Camp Blues: Sunday

Sasquatch Sunday


(not my video) thanks Youtube user: AD-Rock

These guys were a great start to what would be a rowdy Sunday. I’m only bummed because we ended up getting in to the venue about 4 songs into the set, however what I saw was magnificent. If you haven’t checked out the new album Nikki-Nack- I recommend it!

Cold War Kids

Cold War Kids played an equal mix of classics (in my opinion, the entirety of Robbers and cowards and not much else) and new stuff which translated pretty well live. “We used to Vacation” stood out as a fantastic performance .


Elbow put on a great performance on the main stage to an afternoon crowd undersized for say Glastonbury, but not Sasquatch. The one song of theirs that all the Americans had heard before it was “Grounds for Divorce”, and the crowd sure showed their appreciation.


Haim was a crowd pleaser. A festival staple, it was hardly apparent that one of the sisters was nursing the flu as was recently reported by Rolling Stone.

Big Freedia

Speaking of festival staples, what can I say about Big Freedia except that goddammit I love how fun her shows are. The music is repetitive, songs sound alike, and there is always booty-shakin, but it is SO FUN! NOLA’s original bounce queen is worth the price of admission anytime anywhere.

Parquet Courts

With a brand new album less than 2 weeks from release, Parquet courts were not fooling around at this year’s Sasquatch. The band put on a 13 song set that clocked in at just about 45 minutes (they were scheduled for 1:30).

Yes you read that right, and that included the 4 minute “Sunbathing Animal” and 6 and 7 minute “She’s Rolling” and “Instant Disassembly”.

They somehow finished just after 10 even though they had 25 minutes left in the set. Under normalcircumstances I’d be pissed but this set was so chock full of songs we’ll all no doubt be listening to all year long, it’s hard to blame them for trotting out all the new ponies and then dropping the mic. all in all they played 10 of the 14 songs on the recently released (and fantastic) “Sunbathing Animal” (out Jun 3). According to this was the live premiere for at least three new songs.

Portugal. The Man

Portugal. The Man better have played a fantastic set to keep me from Tycho. Rest assured, they delivered.

As night wore on, PTM played an even mix of the classics as well as the favorites from “Evil Friends”.

Queens of the Stone Age

Queens of the Stone Age ended a fantastic Sunday with a bang. Here is one of the first songs from their set, and a great one from the newest album “…Like Clockwork”.

One of the last songs that Queens played was this barnburner from the 2004 breakthrough record “Songs for the Deaf”. This was a much more pronounced and pointed end to the main-stage festival than last year’s Postal Service act. Kudos to organizers for the scheduling on this one.

Major Lazer My god, I was so excited for Major Lazer and Gessaffelstien, then both happened to earn spots against each other to close the entire festival out. That’s like choosing between the above and below ground levels on Mario, “can’t I just play em both?”.

We got a good ways into the crowd and at some point the answer just became “no” and we let Major Lazer overtake us, or at least that’s what everyone wanted. Unfortunately diplo decided to stop the show every 10 seconds so getting one’s groove on was a bit more difficult at this show than, say, I don’t know, deafheaven. The anticipation of hits like “Bubblebutt” and “Original Don” kept us in the crowd, but I just want to use this forum to officially condemn diplo’s dumb ass for making me stop dancing abruptly and losing my balance at least 18 times.

Monday Awaking to 3-packs-of-cigarettes lungs on Monday morning, it’s almost like everyone in Quincy just got done with an outpatient procedure and now needs to go home and recover with Netflix and Thai. All of the campsites we fawned over and adjusted, cleaned and re-soiled have been reduced to piles of beer boxes, red cups and broken camp chairs. In the end, we all think the hardest part of Sasquatch is getting through all three days, but I’d venture to say it’s getting over how amazing all three days really were. (tied with getting out of the campground at 10 am on Monday morning)

See you all again next year!