Music Festival Roundup – The Festival Season’s Best

Polish off your bedazzled culottes and cowboy boots; music festival season is here. It’s that glorious time when legacy meets novelty in the musical arena. We come, we dance, we listen to music, we fall in love.

In an effort to streamline your party-planning, here’s a little guide to shed some light on the hottest music festivals this season:

Coachella – Indio, CA (April 12-14 and April 19-21)

Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on Slacker Each year, Goldenvoice litters the desert with spectacular musical talent, the best and worst dressed celebrities, and mind-blowing installation art. Some past Coachella unforgettable moments include: the resurrection of Tupac, Daft Punk headlining, Roger Waters playing Dark Side of the Moon, and the sounds of Radiohead penetrating the desert atmosphere.

This year’s lineup, albeit heavy on the alt-rock, is wonderfully eclectic at heart. From trip-hop to hip-hop, there’s something for everyone. The headliners are Blur, The Stone Roses, Phoenix and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Highlights:

– Check out the living, breathing art installations that are scattered across the dusty desert. Each piece will pair perfectly well with your heat-induced megalomania.

– The Heineken Dome is a must-see for the 21 and up crowd. When the temperatures rise to the triple digits, cool-off in the Heineken Dome and get your electro-dance fill.

– The lineup is packed with lesser-known acts too, be sure to check out these artists: Beach House (Dream Pop), Alt-J (Experimental), Baauer aka the DJ that brought you the 2012 hit “Harlem Shake” (Trap/Bass), Yeasayer (Psychedelic Pop), Wild Belle (Indie Rock), and the Neighbourhood (Indie Pop).

 

Governors Ball – Randall’s Island, NYC (June 7,8 & 9)

This is only the third installment of the Governor’s Ball, but the lineup is stacked. Kuddos to Founders Entertainment for securing power players like Kanye West, Kings of Leon and Guns n’ Roses to headline. The Governor’s Ball is a multi-sensory experience with fun-tivities, local eats, and an impossibly cool lineup, all set against the sparkly backdrop of New York City.

Highlights

– NYC food trucks — enough said. Take a break from your head-bobbing and fist-pumping to savor some culinary magic.

– The Silent Disco, a Governor’s Ball tradition, is a must-see. Picture this – hundreds of people dancing their pants off while wearing wireless headphones that play music from live DJs.

– Everyone loves a good photo op. So take some photos on the Governor’s Ball’s dime.

– Frat parties aren’t the only place you can enjoy a casual game of corn hole or ping pong. Check out all the lawn games the Governor’s Ball has in store.

– The headliners are massive, but be sure to check out these acts too: Of Monsters and Men (Indie/Folk), Animal Collective (Experimental), Cut Copy (Electronic), Icona Pop (Synth Pop), the Lumineers (Folk Rock), Kendrick Lamar (Hip Hop), and Azealia Banks (Rap) to name a few.

Bonnaroo – Manchester, TN (June 13-16)

Imagine a festival set amidst lush greens, massive trees, blue skies, fresh air and flying songbirds. If Mother Nature herself could put on a music festival, it would be Bonnaroo. This Tennessee music festival runs for four glorious days across 700 acres of beautiful naturescape with over 10 music stages, a mini film festival and thousands of happy campers. This year’s main acts include: Sir Paul McCartney, Mumford & Sons, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers and Bjork. Take a look at the Slacker Bonnaroo Station to hear more from this years artist lineup.

Highlights

– We’ve already mentioned it, but there are over 10 music stages. For those with festival ADD, your needs will be more than sated.

– There’s a comedy tent because Bonnaroo celebrates talent across a rainbow of genres.

– Bonnaroo’s got swagger — it was named one of the “50 Moments That Changed Rock & Roll” by Rolling Stone.

– Attractions for days — Bonnaroo has craft vendors, a silent disco, a cinema tent and an obligatory music festival ferris wheel.

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival – New Orleans, LA (April 26-May 5)

The New Orleans Jazz Fest is a whopping 10-day festivus that celebrates all that is good in this world: music, cajun food, craft shops, art, mint juleps and partying. There’s heavy emphasis on the indigenous music and culture of good ol’ New Orleans, but new-age music styles influenced by bluegrass and jazz are also welcomed. The event is held at the Fair Grounds Race Course and is hailed as having a “wider, deeper lineup of essential American musical styles than any festival in the nation..” by Life magazine (nbd).

Highlights

– Eclectic food items from local businesses including: alligator sausage po’boys, Jambalaya, Oyster patties, boiled crawfish, muffulettas, beignets, fried green tomatoes and cochon de lait. You must try all of these items.

– Each day of festival attendance includes a history lesson, access to crafts and immersion into Cajun culture.

– There are several colorful parades that deck the streets, as well as marching brass bands, social aids and pleasure clubs.

– This year’s lineup includes: Billy Joel, Fleetwood Mac, Dave Matthews Band, Maroon 5, the Black Keys, John Mayer, Phoenix, Frank Ocean, Willie Nelson & Family, Patti Smith, Ben Harper, Jimmy Cliff, B.B King, Widespread Panic and more.

Stagecoach – Indio, CA (April 26-28)

Stagecoach on SlackerStagecoach is not your average rodeo. Set against the backdrop of Palm Desert at the Empire Polo Club, also home to Coachella, is an outdoor country music festival of epic proportions. Cowboy boots, hats and flannel are recommended for this celebration of folk, bluegrass, country, roots, rock and alternative country. Prepare to be serenaded til sun down by some of the hottest country crooners in the world.

Highlights

– This year’s already announced lineup includes: Toby Keith, Lonestar, Hank William Jr., Jeff Bridges & the Abiders, Riders in the Sky, Maggie Rose, Zac Brown Band and many more to come.

– It wouldn’t be a country music festival without a BBQ contest, BBQ vendors and a pancake breakfast in the campgrounds. Noteworthy vendors include: Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, Fisherman’s Market & Grill, Spicy Pie, Waffleman Ice Cream Sandwiches and Jackelope Ranch.

– For all the aspiring stars and wannabes, there’s Karaoke in the RV Resort from 10 pm- 1:30 am.

– Be sure to checkout the Country DJ also in the RV Resort located in the Dome near the General Store.

Movement – Detroit, MI (May 25-27)

This massive festival was dubbed best Music Fest of 2010 by the New York Post. Aptly named, Movement, is more than just a music festival –it’s a sound, dance and technology revolution. With over 100 artists and over 107,000 attendees, things are gonna get weird (in a good way). The production is grandiose to say the least, with state-of-the-art interactive stages that will literally melt your mind. The phase I & II lineups are already looking pretty legit  with: Brodinski, Gesaffelstein, Big Gigantic, Andy C, Amtrac, John Digweed, Noisia, Soul Clap and Adult.

Highlights

– The stages are seriously high-tech. You will be shot into outer space and floating around the atmosphere. Lights shoot out from every square inch of the stage, while glowing mass dance the night away.

– The festival is dedicated to electronica and technology, and the beautiful offspring they’ve procured. From electro legends to trap bass newcomers, Movement will accommodate EDM lovers across genres, ages and ethnicities.

– The location is prime Detroit real-estate. Your partying will be accompanied with views of the glittery city. You’re hard pressed to find a better melange of technology, music, human and metropolis.

 

Electric Daisy Carnival – Las Vegas, NV (June 21-23)

Electric Daisy Carnival Now the largest North American music festival, this is EDC’s 17th annual celebration. It is one of the most highly anticipated events of the year and an incredible 3-day exploration of electronic dance music. Thirsty souls and music lovers can satisfy their wanderlust among a sea glittery faces, laser light shows and deeply penetrating bass. Born in LA, EDC has transformed itself into a brand new experience with every new chapter. This year’s festival attendees can expect over 150 musical acts, 500 theatrical performers, 12 massive interactive art installations, exhilarating pyrotechnics and over 300,000 music fans.

Highlights

– The EDC celebrations extend further than the Motor Speedway with daytime pool parties at some of the hottest clubs on the strip. For example, Kaskade will be playing EDC weekend at Marquee Dayclub for his Summer Lovin’ residency.

– You’re hard pressed to find a more accommodating hostess than Miss Sin City herself. You can literally party 24/7 (not that we recommend it), but from after hour clubs to daybeds that open at 10 am, it’s nearly impossible to not party your face off.

– The Discovery Stage is a must-see; in an effort to recognize talent in all forms, Insomniac hosts a DJ talent contest and amasses the winners to play on this stage. It’s refreshing, progressive and entirely spellbinding.

– Neatly organized chaos. There are seven stages including: the kineticFIELD, cosmicMEADOW, circuitGROUNDS, neonGARDEN, bassPOD, heinekenDOMES, and Q-Dance Stage. Each stage has a unique theme, style and genre specific talent.

– Thirty hours of EDM, ‘nuf said.

Five New Dance Music Songs in Heavy Rotation Right Now

Spring is here! It’s time to shed our winter coats, opt for cocktails that slush and add a shiny new playlist to our respective iPods. With back-to-back music festivals underway (ie SXSW, Ultra and Coachella), it’s not surprising that we’re being pleasantly inundated with sweet new tunes for all to enjoy.

In order to preemptively honor your booze-fueled, poolside shenanigans this weekend, here is a compilation of the top five new dance songs that are getting a lot of repeat play right now. These songs will have you fist pumping in your sleep. Grab your dancing cleats, turn up the volume, press play and enjoy!

1. “Meet Her in Miami” – Gareth Emery
First up is Brit DJ and one of a few personal favorites, Gareth Emery, who has revamped the classic dance beat “Meet Her at the Love Parade” from Da Hool. The song is masterfully re-purposed and designed to really get you off your feet and onto the dancefloor. How fitting that he’s changed it to “Miami”, since he will be spending a solid chunk of spring break time in the Magic City. Challenge accepted Gareth, we’d love to meet you in Miami.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwvOFdX1Xrg

 

2. “Summertime Sadness” – Cedric Gervais
French House DJ, Cedric Gervais, also has a new song for us this spring. It’s a slight diversion from last year’s controversial hit “Molly”, but just as play-worthy. Here he is, adding some sultry beats to the already enchanting “Summertime Sadness” by Lana Del Rey. Is anyone else in love? *Swoon*

 

3. “Together We Are” – Arty (Featuring Chris James)
Feel good jams are far and few between – but the universe has done us a solid with Arty’s new dance hit “Together We Are” featuring Chris James. At only 23, Arty has already made an indelible mark on the dance music scene and this song is only one in a succession of chart-toppers from Arty the Great. “Together We Are” will no doubt penetrate the club circuit in no time. Prepare to see glittery masses hand-in-hand, dance-battling it out with smiles from ear to cocktail.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=QsIr877r4SM

 

4. “Black Room Boy” – Above & Beyond
Never ceasing to amaze, Above & Beyond has remained en pointe since their inception.  “Black Room Boy”, their latest single, is no exception. The delicious vocals are driven from Above & Beyond’s Tony McGuinness for your voracious consumption. Music that is entertaining and transformative is a rarity, but leave it up to the trance trio to give birth to the musical equivalent of a unicorn. This song will be all the “group therapy” you need this spring.

 

5. “Clarity” – Zedd Featuring Foxes
“Clarity” is third single from Zedd’s Clarity album, and already a chart-topping success. This song is dangerously addictive and easily one of the favorite songs of 2013 so far. Equal parts club banger and poignant ballad, this hit is a music lover’s dream. To further show off his musical prowess, Zedd released a stripped-down version of “Clarity” relying solely on a piano and the angel sounds of Foxes. Perfection!

 

Check out all these songs and more on Slacker’s 2013 Ultra Music Festival Station, which is set for two weekends this month: the 15th through the 17th, and the 22nd through the 24th.

Artist of the Week – Justin Timberlake

Justin-TimberlakeSlacker’s Artist Of The Week is Justin Timberlake. From his boy-band beginnings to rocking both SNL and the hipsters at SXSW in the last week- JT has done a remarkable job of trading his frosted tips for a suit and tie.

His new album- The 20/20 Experience– dropped this week, and a co-headlining tour with Jay-Z will follow. On this station, Slacker explores his beginnings with NSYNC, his biggest hits as a solo artist, his collabs with artists like Timbaland, his influences, and his musical peers.

You can also catch some old NSYNC and new JT on Slacker’s Attack of the Boy Bands Station.

 

Enjoy the world of JT, on Slacker.

Artist of the Week – The Band Perry

Slacker’s Artist Of The Week is The Band Perry. Kimberly, Neil, and Reid Perry are siblings from Mississippi that broke through in 2010 and 2011 with huge hits like “If I Die Young” and “All Your Life”.

They are currently preparing the release of their second album- Pioneer is due April 2nd, and they’ve already got a #1 single from it with “Better Dig Two”. Slacker Country curator Bo Thomas recently sat down to interview the band on the eve of their album release, and on this station you’ll hear exclusive clips from that interview, plus their biggest hits, and music from their influences and contemporaries

Brit Sensation Emeli Sandé is Artist of the Week

Slacker's Artist of the Week

Emeli Sandé is a 25 year old British/Scottish artist that is poised to make a major impression in the US this year and is spotlighted as our new artist of the week.

After dropping out of medical school in her 4th year, she went on to become one of the biggest artists in the UK.

Since its release in February, her debut album, ‘Our Version Of Events’, went on to become the UK’s biggest selling debut album of 2012, winning Emeli the coveted BRITs Critics’ Choice Award as well as the Best British Female and Best British Album of the Year at the 2013 Brit Awards.

She’s now set her sights on the US. After securing the coveted support act spot on Coldplay’s US tour, Coca-Cola’s Olympic Torch Relay City Celebrations, and public support from the likes of Bono and Elton John – we doubt it will take long for the US to catch on to this powerhouse.

Take a look at her recent performance on Ellen this past month:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGSLMH1OLtE&feature=youtu.be

 

On Slacker’s Artist of the Week station, you will hear Emeli Sandé as well as other collaborators, influences, and contemporaries. Just think – in a few months you’ll be able to say you heard her here first.

Five New Country Artists to Watch in 2013

Every year, the Nashville labels trot out one or two new artists apiece.  And the truth is, not many become even “B” list country stars. Most will see their single releases stall out in the mid-30’s on the country charts and after a few of those, the labels will bid them adieu and move on to the next big thing.

Country music has definitely shifted from being an artist-driven genre to being a song-driven genre.  Yes, you still have your superstar artists like Blake, Carrie, Brad and Taylor… and perhaps Miranda.

The old list of usual suspects have now been put to pasture as far as radio is concerned. It’s very hard for Martina, Faith, Alan and George to get automatic airplay and even now to have top ten songs. It’s sad, but that’s change. In 2013, I predict the same fate for Tim McGraw and Rascal Flatts.  Their music just doesn’t appeal to the younger demographics like it used to.  Hence, less airplay and songs that die mid-chart.

But there is new blood on the horizon and talent is abundant. Whether or not it is marketable talent is up for debate.  And marketability is at least 50 percent of an artist’s success.  Nashville is filled with really talented singers, songwriters and musicians.  But it’s that certain something that is both hard to define and difficult to quantify that separates the talented from the stars.

Here is my list of five that I believe have the chops to make a run to the top in 2013.  See what you think.

Parmalee

Parmalee

This four-piece band has just enough of a rock ‘n’ roll attitude to get people’s attention. Their first single called Musta Had a Good Time did okay, but eventually fizzled out due to lack of exposure. But some folks noticed. I thought the song was catchy and I feel even better about their second single Carolina.

Their label, Stoney Creek, has a good promotions team and has big success with the likes of Randy Houser and Thompson Square. Hopefully, the promotions team isn’t spread so thin that they can’t give Parmalee the backing they deserve.

 

Henningsens

Henningsens

I really dig their first single called American Beautiful, although it is starting to show signs of death. Again, it’s just really hard to get exposure on a debut single from the established country outlets. Slacker New Country has seen positive feedback from you, our listeners.  So, I feel confident in my own opinion that perhaps their next single will be the one to get them into the top ten.

Their Achilles heel might be the abundance of groups featuring two guys and a girl (Band Perry, Lady Antebellum, etc.).  However, the twist here is it’s a brother, sister and dad.  Hope dad doesn’t hold the kids back.

 

Kacey Musgrave

Kacey Musgraves

She certainly has the look.  Wow!  And looks mean marketability in country music. Does she have the talent?  I think she does.  Her first single Merry Go Round has rocketed up the charts and is threatening to crack the top ten.

If it does –  look out.  Radio programmers will be chompin’ at the bit to get her next song and see if she’s the real deal.  I like her a lot.  And again, our feedback from listeners has been positive.

 

Blackberry Smoke

Blackberry SmokeIt’s been a long time since I heard a band that make my heart skip a beat the first time I heard them.  Not since the Zac Brown Band have I been as excited as I am with Blackberry Smoke.  They are edgy and earthy at the same time.  They can twang and they can bang.  And they are oh, so cooool. Look at their pictures and you’d think it was Three Dog Night or Creedence Clearwater Revival.  But these guys are country rock at its best.  Of course, it could just be me.  Living in Austin, I tend to lean favorably to this sound. We’ll see. Listen for their debut single Pretty Little Lie, now playing on Slacker New Country.

 

Florida Georgia Line

Florida Georgia LineYeah, I know… you’re saying that these guys are already a hit in 2013, and you’re right.  Their debut song Cruise went all the way to number one and then stayed there for another week.  Multi-week number ones are rare enough in this genre, but from a debut single?  Unheard of.  These guys are the real deal and their follow-up single Get Your Shine On is already screaming the charts and will positively be a top ten song for them… and ultimately another number one.  Slacker Country listeners continue to tell us that this duo is the next Brooks & Dunn and they have already been featured as Artist of the Week.  I have to agree. Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard, aka Florida Georgia Line, are superstar material.

 

Till next time … keep your powder dry and keep listening to Slacker Country!

“Big” Jim

 

Trinidad James is Slacker’s New Artist of The Week.

This week we would like to introduce you to Atlanta rapper Trinidad James- he is Slacker’s Artist Of The Week. I had the chance to interview Trinidad James at the Grammys this year, and it was there that I realized how truly eccentric and unique he is. Check it out:

 

 

Trinidad James is one of the most charismatic and distinctive new artists in Hip Hop, and this may be due to his background in fashion. Prior to persuing his rap career, he managed a high-end boutique in Atlanta, and he’s got his own line- called “Gold Gang”.

To get an idea of how quickly things happened for Trinidad James: in July of last year, he released his very first mixtape- Don’t Be S.A.F.E. By November, he had a hit with the track “All Gold Everything”, and in January, he signed with Def Jam Records, who re-released his one mixtape as a proper album- that’s how strong his debut tracks are.

Even with so much success so quickly, Trinidad James has a lot of powerful rappers in his corner. In a recent interview, T.I. had this to say about the possibility of James being a one hit wonder-

“When Atlanta first came out, it made a huge impact on the scene, but it was thought to be something that was gonna be fly-by-night — here today gone tomorrow, and we withstood the test of time.” Trinidad is an example of that new generation of what’s next to come, because there’s still a lot of talent out here,” he said. “He’s gonna be one of the ones spearheading the charge to the future.”

On this station, you’ll hear tracks from Don’t Be S.A.F.E.-  “All Gold Everything”, “Females Welcomed”, and “Gold On My Macbook”. You’ll also hear tracks from his extended Atlanta family- artists like T.I., Young Jeezy, and 2 Chainz. You’ll hear his influences- like Jay-Z and Eazy-E, and we will also give you a look at his equally eccentric and creative counterparts in the new Hip-Hop scene, like LA’s Black Hippy crew, New York’s A$AP Mob, and Danny Brown.

 

Who Should Win the Oscar for Best in Original Song

Oscars 2013 Best Original Song Slacker

So here we are.  Deep in the heart of awards season, with the Academy getting ready to pass out their golden statuettes this weekend.

As Slacker’s (arguably) most pop-culture obsessed curator, I want to talk to you about this year’s Academy Award nominated songs (best original song), and who I think will (probably)(maybe)(most likely) win.

Let’s start at the top, alphabetically speaking:

“Before My Time” from “Chasing Ice”

Music and Lyric by J. Ralph

This song features Scarlett Johansson & Joshua Bell – the latter, in case you don’t recognize the name, is a grammy award winning violinist.  Scarlett sings this haunting track that plays over the credits of the documentary about climate change in Greenland, which was expected to earn a nomination for Best Documentary Feature, but was left off of that list.  The academy might want to throw it a bone in this category, but more likely this just wasn’t high profile enough to win this year.  You never know.  Could be a dark horse.

 

“Everybody Needs A Best Friend” from “Ted”

Music by Walter Murphy; Lyric by Seth MacFarlane

Can I be honest here and say that if Seth MacFarlane wins an oscar I’m probably going to boycott these awards for the rest of my life?  That being said, this is a sweet throwback to the 40’s sung by Norah Jones.  Despite the fact that he’s hosting this year, I just feel like the Academy knows better than to RECOGNIZE SETH MACFARLANE.  EVER.  Or I hope so, at least.

 

“Pi’s Lullaby” from “Life of Pi”

Music by Mychael Danna; Lyric by Bombay Jayashri

Everyone I know who read this book (including myself) got super excited about the movie, and then came out of it feeling… OK?  Not amazing, not entirely disappointed, just…  I think at that point we all finally recognized the challenges of making a story almost entirely set in a boat in the middle of the ocean interesting for 2 hours.  Anyway, this song is ok, but it’s nothing compared to the final contenders.

 

“Suddenly” from “Les Misérables”

Music by Claude-Michel Schönberg; Lyric by Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boublil

Listen, nobody ever likes the new song added to these productions, especially one as tried and true as Les Mis.  I’ve been a fan of the musical since 8th grade and there’s no way this song was going to stir me in the way “I Dreamed A Dream” or “On My Own” would.  It’s not even exhilarating in the way “Do You Hear The People Sing” is.  But they had to nominate something in this category from the film (or look kind of silly) and this is the only new, original song in it.  Probably added explicitly for the purpose of getting nominated for this exact award.  This song could win – it’s got the star power and the promotion behind it, but my bet is safely on…

 

“Skyfall” from “Skyfall”

Music and Lyric by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth

Awards shows love Adele.  They don’t just love her, they luuuuuuuuve her.  They want to marry her.  And not only do we have a big ol’ crush on Adele, we have a societal obligation to love James Bond films.  This was an amazing flick, with a perfect, old school sounding theme song.  It’s *almost* too obvious, but I think Adele is going to win it (as usual.)  It’s not so hard to imagine Adele going on to perform on Broadway at some point, where she’ll win a Tony.  Then just throw a television appearance or two into the mix, and Adele is certain to be the world’s next EGOT winner.

 

But before I get ahead of myself, let’s review.

Will win: “Skyfall”

Could win: “Suddenly”

Should win: “Skyfall”

Obviously I could be wrong about all of this, so feel free to speak up and share your predictions – plus your arguments for or against  – in the comments! Also make sure to check out the new Oscar Movie Music Station on Slacker Radio for more scores, themes and songs of the greatest cinematic masterpieces

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