Happy 2014 …or is it? I entered the new year with an unexpected burst of illegal pyro, quarter chaos, & unwritten resolutions, many of which were swiftly knocked to the ground. It’s been a bad run of weeks on the mental level. What I have to complain about (failed pitches, breaking from certain publications, trying to embrace others) professionally is still a nice chunk of nothing. It’s a miracle I get paid at all; that thought prompting a crisis of faith with an infinitely looping mantra of “what the hell am I doing?” set to a blank page, empty screen, & fleeting concentration.
A close & very creative friend of mine said that I seem to have more questions than answers; vague paths arriving at further interrogation. Being inquisitive is probably one of the biggest reasons as to why I write anything. Prioritizing those questions & determining what needs pursuing & what’s a false lead is the bigger problem. So, before I get to the resolutions I’ve finally decided to not only write down but stick to, here’s a friendly round-up of what I’ve been up to since my last happyass check-in.
Now, here’s what I’ve got resolution-wise:
I’ve got quite a few general well-being resolutions but this blog really isn’t the venue to tell you that I want to finally quit smoking once & for all or that, for the first time in my life, I’m looking to alter my diet in a more healthful manner.
Tomorrow’s a new day & a new month & to that I say onward!
I’ve been sitting on these for way too long. Here it is, my favorite albums of 2013, in no particular order:
1. Portugal. The Man — Evil Friends
2. Nine Inch Nails — Hesitation Marks
3. Wavves — Afraid of Heights
4. Atoms for Peace — Amok
5. Arctic Monkeys — AM
& my artists to watch are right here:
2. Bantam Foxes
1. White Fence
2. Wax Idols
The festival game is a strange one. Whether its pitfalls are steeped in greed or a bit of over-ambition, there’s a right way to showcase some of the best acts in the world and most definitely a wrong way. Here’s a short list of who just so happens to be doing it right:
Why it’s awesome:
1. Despite a bit more commercialization, (it’s inevitable; just look at Burning Man) Bonnaroo stands to be the most communal camping festival out there for fans & for workers. What’s better than music with friends?
2. Bonnaroo takes their sense of collaboration seriously both offstage and on. Annual Superjams pair genre-bending musicians with fellow artists & surprise guests you’d probably never see on a stage together.
3. Unlike most top-tier festivals, Bonnaroo doesn’t go for the easy headliner or the predictable industry darling. It has the Polyphonic Spree doing their Rocky Horror best and Tom Petty closing the experience as rain cascades to “Free Fallin’”.
Why it’s awesome:
1. Outside Lands is one of the most comprehensive festivals out there. You’ve got high-quality SFian food options, beer & wine from around the world, & performances galore from the comedy tent to the main stage.
2. The recent addition & promotion of night shows has made it so that folks unwilling to brave the crowds at Golden Gate Park can also take in some seriously rad music at non-fest prices. This past year, I saw Milo Greene, Yeasayer, & OSL’s very first Superjam & that’s not even half of what went on each evening.
3. There is an entire area dedicated to chocolate with weird psuedo-freak show performances within its confines. Need I say more?
Why it’s awesome:
1. The burgeoning NOLA festival may have been a rather loud neighbor to, well, the entire city, but it’s fast establishing itself as far more than “that techno festival”. Heavy-hitting legends like Primus & Public Enemy came to play alongside newcomers Kendrick Lamar & Alt-J, who bridged the gap between genres & ages as they played alongside special guests Preservation Hall Jazz Band.
2. It’s important to note that set times don’t necessarily factor into who’s headlining a particular day. Primus may have had a later slot, but there were DJs spinning to their heart’s content on a docked steamboat long after Les Claypool & co. had finished out their 3D antics.
3. Buku may only be entering its third year of production, but the support & growth of the festival has been dizzying. Though much can be said for its iconic riverfront location at Mardi Gras World, Buku may soon need a larger spot for its fans to play.
Now, here’s a list of what’s to come on this here blog. I’ll update & add links as items get posted:
I’ve got even more readying & marinating for 2014 so let’s do it big together. Thanks for reading & looking & being there. To another rad year :]
Another year, another set of festivals in the books. My final one just so happened to be Fun Fun Fun Fest & boy did it end epically: I shot Slayer onstage, as this photo proves. (I mean, shit, I can hardly believe it myself) Despite festing it up like crazy, I’ve done quite a bit in a month’s time. Here’s yer round-up:
Alright, I know it’s been a bit but remember when I interviewed Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne? That was pretty rad. Not only did I get some awesome info about their Halloween show at the Fillmore in SF, (which you can read here; & yes, Tame Impala did dress up at the Spice Girls) but I ended up having quite the lengthy chat with Coyne about so much more.
Wayne Coyne on how the Enders Game EP came together:
"We were considered for the project and I talked to many people about it. Whenever I’d ask if they liked the book they’d always say, ‘oh, I loved it growing up.’ Now most of the time, I’m a good ten years older than the people I’m working with so if anyone asked why I hadn’t read it I would always say I was busy doing something then. Moby loved it, actually. We talked about the book on a video shoot and he just gushed about it… The director really shaped why we took this project on. He let me see the unfinished movie that was finished enough at the time. It was well done and the people were cool and the direction was solid."
& why he’s taken to holding a baby doll during performances:
”I go through phases where I feel slightly embarrassed about just standing there and singing and I made this video with Justin Vernon of Bon Iver. My video guy at the time, his baby was not quite a year old and we made this video where I was just eating and carrying this baby and the backdrop had giant rotating eyeballs flickering at mega-speeds. The baby is really realistic looking. If you saw it in real life it would shock you.”
Greetings, y’all. It’s the night before FFF Fest proper & there are already night shows throughout the many rad venues of Austin, the supposed live music capital of the world. I’m exhausted as shit in a South Congress apartment cramming words into this blog post to make me feel like I’ve got a handle on my festival coverage.
It’s been a bit since I’ve tried something new fest-wise, so instead of hard must-sees, here’s a top
fiveseven of general things I’m looking forward to seeing & doing at Auditorium Shores. Enjoy & be on the lookout for my rad coverage via Antiquiet. Follow along on twitter @ayetalian & instagram @knottedkitelines :]
Y’all know I cover a shit ton of festivals, right? It may be the end of this year’s festival season run but to celebrate my four years of running between stages & losing sleep for the raddest of reasons, I’m starting Quick Picks: bite-sized recommendations of who to see at the next fest I’ll cover. See ya there :]
[last year’s coverage right here]
[what I’m doing this year: coverage with Antiquiet & Diffuser; don’t forget to follow me on twitter @ayetalian & instagram @knottedkitelines for live updates from City Park!]
Shovels & Rope - down & dirty southern husband wife duo Shovels & Rope are spooky good mixing bluegrass sensibilities with a gothic twist.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - there’s a reason I’ve seen Macklemore & Ryan Lewis four times already this year. Gimmicks aside, the Thrift Shop hero is an absolute blast live.
Pearl Jam - have you heard Lightning Bolt yet? Give it a listen & look back at Pearl Jam’s extensive catalog. Their closing slot set is set to be epic.
He’s My Brother She’s My Sister: HMBSMS are a must for their joyous Americana & tap-dancing drummer. Try not to move & groove to Nobody Dances in this Town. It’s damn near impossible.
Reignwolf: Reignwolf is punk enough to take over Chicago with guerrilla performances & win the heart of Rachel Ray at SXSW. Guitar fiends rejoice; this man is rockin’.
Nine Inch Nails: NIN are at the top of their game with total package production for their fest run & the career revitalizing Hesitation Marks; hauntingly good.
Sports & Leisure: NOLA’s indie rock scene is a robust one & Sports & Leisure make for a great way to wake up to the final day of Voodoo.
The Revivalists: One of my Voodoo Fest favorites. The Revivalists know how to completely take over a stage & uplift an audience.
The Cure: Robert Smith & co. do not give a fuck what you think about how they currently look. They’re more than content blowing your minds with how they sound.
Music journalism is a tricky bit of business when you’re trying to balance an overstuffed life with the even more overstuffed world of a touring musician. I had a rad interview with King Khan frontman Arish Khan that unfortunately didn’t run, thus I bring you Lagniappe: all the extra stuff from unpublished articles, expansive interviews, (like my previous Grouplove, Best Coast, & the Breeders posts) & maybe a few photos along the way. Enjoy :]
2013 has been a banner musical year for King Khan and the Shrines frontman Arish Khan, who found himself at his seemingly lowest just a few years ago. There had been recorded radio silence from King Khan and the Shrines since 2008, after the release of The Supreme Genius of King Khan and the Shrines. Khan returned to his music with the meandering, fragile “Darkness”.
Claymation may be a difficult medium to convey heavier emotions but the combined intensity of “Darkness” with its Hylas Films-made video, the sadness of the subject matter is almost too much to take. The song itself came about after a particularly dark three years in Khan’s life, in which he lost three close friends and eventually checked himself into a psychiatric facility.
“’Darkness’ came about after so much soul-searching,” Khan tells the Appeal. “I had my tarot cards read and they told me to be careful, that this was the year of my crucifixion.”
“For the video, I really felt like it was alchemic, almost. When we put it together, there were just so much synchronicity to the song and the video. The timing is perfect. All they [Hylas] really added was an extra thirty seconds and a few bits of Egyptian mythology and rebirth at the end.”
Religion and mythology factor heavily into the making of latest LP Idle No More as well as within Khan’s general style, whether he’s acting as an aerobics instructor/cult leader in the Moon Duo video for “Sleepwalker”, battling Jesus Christ alongside Hylas Film personnel in “Bite My Tongue” or leading fans through a revival-style experience onstage.
“I’ve always modeled my performances after kind of a gospel revival. It’s transforming from pain and chaos where you can abandon your troubles and uplift them. The best part is that people keep coming,” Khan explains. “I’m really happy to always see our crowds getting younger and younger. I fee like people regard the band as a well kept-secret in their heart.”