Summertime means warm weather, no classes and — most importantly — the best music festivals of the year. Here’s a list of just a few of them, including where, when and, of course, who is going to be there. No matter what genre of music you like to jam to this summer, Muse has you covered.
When: May 23-25
Lineup highlights: Jack Johnson, Death Cab for Cutie, Modest Mouse, The Decemberists, Bastille, The Neighbourhood
Why you should go: Why venture far when there’s a great music festival right in Boston University’s own backyard? Boston Calling also offers the chance for concertgoers to get their fix twice a year — once in May and once in September. So if you’re leaving Boston for the summer, look out for that September lineup come move-in weekend.
When: May 23-25
Where: George, Wash.
Lineup highlights: Outkast, The National, Queens of the Stone Age, HAIM, M.I.A., Kid Cudi
Why you should go: Although Sasquatch! usually sticks to indie bands and singer-songwriters, it still has a rather varied lineup. It also boasts a pretty great view: The Gorge Amphitheater, carved right into the cliffs above the Columbia River Gorge, was voted “Top Amphitheater” in the 2013 Billboard Touring Awards.
When: May 24-25 (New York City), June 20-22 (Las Vegas)
Where: New York City and Las Vegas
Lineup highlights: Tiësto, Bassnectar and Afrojack are included in New York; the Las Vegas lineup has yet to be announced
Why you should go: For the electronic music fan, this one’s a no brainer: EDC Las Vegas is the biggest electronic music festival in the world. Last year’s festival certainly seemed to promise more good things to come too, and year’s EDC in Las Vegas has sold out before even releasing a lineup.
When: June 19-22
Where: Dover, Del.
Lineup highlights: Outkast (again), Foo Fighters, Imagine Dragons, The Lumineers, Arctic Monkeys, Weezer
Why you should go: One of the smallest states is packing some major festival game. Firefly is a relative newcomer to the world of music fests, but has gotten everything right so far with its killer lineups and pleasant, woodland setting.
When: June 25-29, July 1-6
Lineup highlights: Neon Trees, B.o.B., A Great Big World and Pentatonix are all performing on the general admission stages; Bruno Mars and Lady Gaga are among those performing in the Marcus Amphitheater
Why you should go: Though those from the coasts may never have heard of Summerfest, it holds the title for world’s largest music festival. Last year, attendees could buy a pass for all 11 days of the festival for just $60. The pass offered admission to any concert on any day, excluding the performers in the headliner arena, the Marcus Amphitheater.
When: Aug. 1-3
Lineup highlights: Eminem, Lorde, Foster the People, The Kooks, Chvrches, Jacob Plant
Why you should go: Lollapalooza is one of the biggest music festivals in the country — and notorious for selling out before half of concertgoers even get a chance to look at the lineup. With those kinds of stats, they must be doing something right.
When: June 12-15
Where: Manchester, Tenn.
Lineup highlights: Kanye West, The Avett Brothers, Jack White, Vampire Weekend, Elton John, Neutral Milk Hotel, Lionel Richie
Why you should go: Bonnaroo is the holy pinnacle that all music festivals strive toward. An extravaganza that can attract indie royalty like Vampire Weekend, hip-hop messiahs like Kanye West and kings of music in general like Elton John really needs no further explanation.
When: June 14 to Aug. 3
Where: Various cities throughout the U.S.
Lineup highlights: Less Than Jake, K.Flay, Bayside, Yellowcard, Anberlin, The Devil Wears Prada (lineup varies from city to city)
Why you should go: This year let the festival come to you! Warped may have strayed from its punky roots in recent years, but a diversified lineup has only made it stronger as it approaches its 20th birthday.
It’s Music Issue season here at The Daily Free Press, and because we’re all Spotify-surfers, Groovesharks and Pandora nerds, we decided the best way to celebrate — and blow off steam — would be by making playlists. We’re all music lovers here, but it’s more than that — it’s a compulsion. We check follower counts, we trade new artists like Pokémon cards and it’s impossible to walk anywhere without a pair of headphones.
Pretension? Maybe. Okay, yes. But at least we accept it, right? But regardless, we’re providing a service. We’ve compiled our favorite songs for studying, waking up in the morning, turning up, getting underground, throwing back, crying with angst, and finally, after finals, having fun in the sun.
3 Hipster 5 U:
Study for Finals:
Angsty Cry Sesh:
Old School Rap:
By Brooke Jackson-Glidden, Features Editor
Choosing twenty or so “favorite” songs almost feels like unusual punishment. So, instead, I gave myself a new task: Make myself into a playlist.
The result is an odd combination of Motown, contemporary indie rock, classic folk and of course, a splash of funk. The songs themselves have little to nothing to do with one another. But each of them represents certain parts of my past: people, moments and facets of who I’ve become (for better or for worse).
I grew up with Aretha Franklin and Etta James. My mother, a second-wave feminist with a profound love of belting black female soul artists, had Lady Soul and Miss Peaches on in the house 24/7 in the early days. “RESPECT” in the morning and “At Last” at night. Etta was there for my first crush with “Something’s Got A Hold on Me,” and Aretha was there after my first breakup with “Ain’t No Way.” Even now, “Ain’t No Way” stops me cold, not only because she has a ridiculous set of pipes, but because she emotes vocally unlike anyone on the planet… except for maybe Etta James.
My love for Bob Dylan came from my father. Like Dylan, he encouraged me to pay attention to the world around me and find interesting ways to express what I observed. Both men showed me how much I could change over my life, and how predictability, in certain ways, was overrated.
I’m far too young to be nostalgic, but certain songs are on this playlist because they evoke memories I’m scared to lose. “Maybe This Time” echoes through the brownstones on Commonwealth, my roommate and I singing Liza at the top of our lungs on Friday nights. “Ball and Biscuit” skips in my purple, spherical boom box, The White Stripes’ Elephant sitting in my lap: my first CD I purchased with my own money. The ridiculous Leslie Hall, in her gold spandex’d glory, dancing with my managing editor on a cold Cambridge night.
“Thirteen” and “Trouble” sound like being in love for the first time — as cheesy as that is to say, I can’t think of any other way to say it. “White Winter Hymnal” sounds like driving in northern Oregon and the smell of cold mornings hidden under pine trees. “The Dark of the Matinee” sounds like spontaneity and “Paper Hearts” sounds like pretention.
Songs haunt me like ghosts, but that doesn’t seem to be a bad thing. If I’m living in the past, thank God music is the way I get to do so.
By Hannah Landers, Muse Editor
I could say that it was hard to narrow my life down to just 20 songs, that I struggled and debated and agonized over every track. But when I really sat down and thought, when I really contemplated which songs have had real impact and given my life real substance, it was easy to knock off the ones I simply replayed for weeks on end and then forgot about.
In the end, my playlist is surprisingly centered about my family. I have vivid memories of singing Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl” with my father, erroneously insisting that Morrison said “Casper” at one point in the song, in reference to my favorite children’s movie featuring a friendly ghost. And I was first introduced to the weird mind of David Byrne through my mother. Whenever “Psycho Killer” comes on the radio, we take turns yelling the “fa fa fa’s” and “aye-aye-aye-aye’s” at one another.
My younger brother, a rich wellspring of music with an iTunes library that would take a couple months to get through, has expanded my music tastes more than anyone. He took the sunny indie music preferences of my teenage years and gave me a healthy dose of grunge in the form of noisy surf punk like Wavves and the kings of grunge themselves, Nirvana.
My younger sister, a staunch Directioner, has been far less influential. Still, I couldn’t help smiling to myself hearing her sing along to the Arctic Monkeys’ “R U Mine?” over winter break. It’s nice to know I have some kind of effect on the person she’s becoming, regardless of how inconsequential it may be.
Bright Eyes’ “Lua” belongs to my cousin and I, who spent so many of my early years with me that people used to mistake us for twins. As we grow apart, physically and figuratively, Bright Eyes will be one of the things that will always link us together.
“Aaron’s Party (Come Get It)” reminds me of my hometown friends, who aren’t technically my family but may as well be. Take it from me, there’s no better soundtrack than Aaron Carter for cruising around suburban Pennsylvania on a humid, cloudless night with the people you’ve known since kindergarten. The Killers’ “All These Things That I’ve Done” and Discovery’s “Swing Tree” were tracks on Sharpie-covered blank CDs given to me by crushes and ex-boyfriends — need I say more?
But most important are the songs that I discovered for myself. Band of Horses’ “Dilly,” Tokyo Police Club’s “Your English Is Good” and Andrew Bird’s “Fake Palindromes” are songs I can play on repeat endlessly from artists or bands that I happened to stumble upon for one reason or another. And it’s these songs, the ones that start out as a sort of special secret between the artist and you, which are most important to cherish.
By Sarah Kirkpatrick, Editor-In-Chief
My entire life has extremely music-rich. There was a constant supply of classic rock playing as my mom drove me around as a child. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, grunge was part of the culture (I still wear flannel and beanies quite frequently, prompting plenty of reactions from my staff such as “God, Sarah, you’re SO Seattle.”).
I sang in school and church choirs, so I was exposed to a lot of gospel and soulful songs that way. I went through my rebellious Linkin Park/My Chemical Romance/Three Days Grace phase in middle school, and found myself in a brief popular music phase in high school before eventually becoming more well-rounded.
Today, I’m very much into the indie pop and indie rock scene, constantly scouring underground music blogs for new sounds and new emotions, anything that sparks my interest. I don’t return to the songs of my childhood too often, but I believe my current musical interests are shaped from the constant rock and soul to which I was exposed as a kid.
So, tasked with listing my favorite songs, I tried my best — with a few exceptions — to look at the songs that serve as the inspirations or in some way have raw connections to my present-day tastes. From spooky synths to hell-yeah-don’t-need-no-man powerful vocals, to depressing acoustics and flannel-wearing, long-haired rockers, these are the songs that in some way relate back to what I listen to now.
And, of course, Kanye. Because obviously.
By Ross Hsu, Staff Writer
The way I see it, everyone gets their music taste from his or her parents. I’ve liked a ton of different bands in my time, and most of them have lost my attention as I’ve found new loves. The ones that stay around, though, are the ones that remind me of being a kid — of leaning against the bookcase that held my mom’s old stereo, feeling the voices of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Mike Love and Paul Simon reverberate in my skull.
Raised on the weirdest selection of new wave, early punk, classic rock and folk, I grew up appreciating songs that either defied their genre or lampooned it. This playlist, made in honor of our music issue, is a testament to that. Traversing my tastes from childhood to now, it contains as many of my dirty new wave guilty pleasures as it does my modern electro trash guilty pleasures. I think most of my favorite songs are guilty pleasures.
Listen to this playlist of my favorite songs! It’s an eclectic mix of blues, electronic, new wave, early R&B, modern indie rock, and whatever M.I.A. is. If ever you’ve found yourself wondering what The FreeP’s music subhead listens to in his free time, now is your chance!
Hint: never trust any group of music that calls itself “eclectic.” Unless of course, you’re been given this information by an astute and informed scholar of the popular arts such as myself.
straightens tasteful tie and understated monocle.
By Brandon C. Kesselly, Staff Writer
In 2007, the realm of hip-hop was introduced to someone spectacular. A man calling himself Jay Electronica released “Act I: Eternal Sunshine (The Pledge)“, a 15 minute song in which he rapped continuously over Jon Brion’s soundtrack to “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”. It was, to put it short, a breath of fresh air to see someone unique to the genre with a poetic approach, incredible rhyme scheme and a willingness to take risks with his projects.
In 2008, he began working with legendary producer Just Blaze (Jay Z’s “Public Service Announcement,” T.I.’s “Live Your Life”) to work on his first two singles: “Exhibit A” and “Exhibit C”. Both tracks were met with critical acclaim, and everyone was poised for more. By 2010, he was signed to Jay Z’s Roc Nation and announced his debut studio album “Act II: Patents of Nobility (The Turn)”.
But it never happened.
It has been many years since a full project from Jay Electronica has been released. He was featured on a few Roc Nation mixtapes with Jay Z and J. Cole in 2010 and 2011, with new songs like “The Ghost of Christopher Wallace” featuring Diddy and “Shiny Suit Theory” featuring Jay Z. In 2012, he famously tweeted a picture of the album’s track list and announced that it was complete, and that Jay Z was looking for a single from the album for promotional purposes. Alas, nothing came about, and the album was again delayed.
It was not until 2013 that Jay Electronica became a more prominent artist. He made guest appearances on five different songs, collaborating with the likes of Mac Miller, The Bullitts, Rapsody and, most notably – with Big Sean and Kendrick Lamar for “Control” (in which Lamar’s verse names Electronica as one of his competitors). Now, the stage was set for his return and he needed a strong comeback.
On Sunday, a new song surfaced: a remix of “We Made It” by Soulja Boy and Drake. This remix featured the likes of Jay Electronica and Jay Z. In the song, the two make numerous references to slavery and the recent Academy Award-winning film 12 Years a Slave. This was the second song featuring Jay Electronica to be released in a month, following “better in tune w the infinite” featuring LaTonya Givens.
“We Made It” has been generating a lot of controversy over Jay Z’s comments toward Drake, but the bigger buzz right now is what does this mean for Jay Electronica? Is it finally his turn? Will “Act II” be released this year? Keep your eyes and ears peeled!
By Brandon C. Kesselly, Staff Writer
Have you seen “Despicable Me“? How about “Despicable Me 2“? Have you heard the soundtrack from both movies, especially that upbeat song “Happy” from the sequel? How about Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines”? Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” and “Lose Yourself to Dance”?
Chances are you’ve heard at least one of these songs and have become quite well acquainted with the man on the microphone (or the producer, in the case of “Blurred Lines”), Pharrell Williams.
What you may not know is that Williams has been around producing some of our favorite songs for over a decade. As member of the dynamic production duo The Neptunes, the Virginia native and his longtime collaborator Chad Hugo have produced for many acts in the past, landing numerous Billboard Hot 100 hits. To name a few:
Justin Timberlake’s “Like I Love You” and “Señorita”
Britney Spears’s “I’m a Slave 4 U”
Jay-Z’s “I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me)”
And that’s just before 2005!
With such a long list of smash hits for others under his belt, one would think that Williams’ Midas touch would translate well into his own music, no? Unfortunately, his first solo LP, “In My Mind” (2006) did not do him justice and he had a very limited fan base. He was not a household name – yet.
After a stellar 2013 in which he won multiple Grammy awards and an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song, on March 3, 2014 Williams released his sophomore album effort G I R L.
“It might sound crazy what I’m about to say”, but this album is downright funky.
Somewhere between Prince and James Brown, Williams has crafted a unique mixture of modern pop and dance music fully inspired by disco themes as well as modern cinema strings, electronica and hip-hop. G I R L pays interesting attention to detail production-wise, with each instrumental complementing Williams’ vocals as well as those of his collaborators.
Lyrically, G I R L focuses a lot on attraction, love and sex. The opener “Marilyn Monroe” mixes strings with a smooth bass line as Williams croons and grooves over the beat in an homage to beautiful ladies everywhere. “Brand New” finds him in a duet with Justin Timberlake as the two sing over horns and snares about how they feel young again when they are in love.
One of G I R L’s high points, “Hunter”, is told from a female perspective, detailing an amorous woman’s thoughts as she is “up all night to get lucky.” “Come Get It Bae”— featuring Miley Cyrus — is a playful track with a chorus revolving around a motorcycle metaphor and the Daft Punk collaboration “Gust of Wind” is a mid-tempo dance number that sounds like a Random Access Memories bonus track.
The rhythmic chants and African-influenced drums in “Lost Queen” make it a welcome ballad in the mix. Amidst this variety of instruments and synths, “Happy” sits in the center of the track list. Toward the end of G I R L, Williams and Alicia Keys sing a mellow duet in “Know Who You Are”. “It Girl” closes out the album on a high note, with mid-tempo drums, bass guitar and falsetto.
Williams’ ear for sound is incredible and, when combined with his unique singing voice, makes G I R L a fun sonic journey from start to finish. While drastically different from his previous efforts, he has proven quite capable of crafting an enjoyable pop album while remaining a top producer from the realm of urban music.
By Brooke Jackson-Glidden, Features Editor
Let’s be honest: MTV has sort of lost its spark. Maybe it’s because mainstream music generally falls flat once you enter college (or leave the eighth grade). Maybe it’s because MTV rarely plays music anymore.
Regardless, the mtvU Woodie Awards, which celebrate the music “college students love,” may revive MTV’s image in the eyes of the pop-apathetic 20-somethings who haven’t watched an MTV music video since The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus and Lupe Fiasco dominated the airwaves.
The Woodies, a “people’s choice” anti-VMAs, will feature acts that are hard to disregard, including hip hop goddess Iggy Azalea and hipster gospel preacher Jack Antonoff. Azalea was nominated for her video “Bounce,” in which she tours the streets of Mumbai in ornate saris and gold spandex atop an elephant.
“It’s a very surreal video,” Azalea said in a phone interview. “Because the song didn’t have a narrative element to it, I wanted that escapism.”
Azalea released the music video for her song “Fancy” Tuesday, and is set to release her next album next month.
Azalea has been on the scene for the last two years, after moving to Miami alone when she was 16 and emerging as the girlfriend of rapper A$AP Rocky. The artist exposed her past in her single “Work,” released last year.
“It’s my journey into adulthood in that song,” Azalea said of “Work”. “That’s the part of my life being chronicled.”
“It’s about desperately wanting to get better at stuff,” Antonoff said. “I think that’s a more clear version of happiness that people can relate to. It’s not exactly being happy, but wanting to be happy…My only hope for Bleachers is that [he] reaches the people who need it.”
Azalea and Antonoff join artists like Bastille, Childish Gambino, James Blake, Disclosure and Lorde at the award show, which will air on March 16 for national audiences. Voting is still open for all of the categories including best college radio station, for which BU’s own WTBU is nominated.
By Hannah Landers, Staff Writer
Awards season is the shining beacon of glamour and celebrity in an otherwise dismally dull late winter. With the pinnacle of the season – the 86th Academy Awards – happening Sunday, it’s getting harder to keep the excitement and ardor over who will win (and, equally important, what that winner will be wearing) in check. Keeping in mind that that excitement often turns to disappointment as the Academy inevitably chooses to bestow their honor on someone who (in your humble opinion) just isn’t up to snuff. Here are the official Muse Oscars predictions:
Best Writing – Adapted Screenplay
Ridley’s heartbreakingly compelling adaptation of Solomon Northup’s 1853 memoir blows all other competition out of the water. Plus, Ridley just bagged the USC Scripter award, which has predicted the Oscar sceenplay winner for five of the past six years (Sorry, “Up in the Air”).
Best Writing – Original Screenplay
With all of the powerhouses competing for Best Picture, Bob Nelson’s quiet little black-and-white story of the tumultuous but loving relationship between an aging alcoholic father and his adrift middle-aged son will, unfortunately, be lost in the shuffle—all the more reason it warrants the Oscar for its screenplay. Jonze will likely take home the prize, however, after wins at the Golden Globes and the Critics’ Choice Awards.
Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Who Should Win: Lupita Nyong’o for “12 Years a Slave”
Who Will Win: Lupita Nyong’o for “12 Years a Slave”
There is so much misery and suffering in Steve McQueen’s slavery drama – and rightly so – but the most captivatingly tragic figure is the young slave Patsey, played by Lupita Nyong’o with achingly terrific force.
Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Leto has swept the other awards in this category and most of the other contenders – with Fassy being the only possible exception – don’t hold a candle to his groundbreaking role and electric performance.
Best Actress in a Leading Role
Adams’ fiercely desperate performance was a highlight of over-hyped “Hustle,” but Blanchett has taken home pretty much every award she’s been nominated for, so an Oscar win for her is almost a certainty.
Best Actor in a Leading Role
Alright, alright, alright – There’s no stopping Hollywood’s favorite surfer from dominating the award shows this season, although veteran actor Ejiofor certainly deserves some kind of recognition for his heart-wrenching breakout performance.
“Gravity” was a stunning feat of technical brilliance and Cuarón earned his right to recognition for the film that required months of preparation, consultations with space experts and a shooting process that basically involved a more high-tech version of Photoshop-ing the actors’ faces and movements into a pre-animated sequence.
What Should Win: “12 Years a Slave”
What Will Win: “12 Years a Slave”
There’s been some buzz about “Gravity” for this category, but McQueen’s excruciating tale of free man-turned-slave Solomon Northup packs the kind of filmic impact that only makes an appearance every few decades.