Sep 3 2014

Bonnaroo 2014: Day 2 (Feat. Sam Smith, Janelle Monae, Kanye West, Disclosure)

Bonnaroo 20141 1024x768 Bonnaroo 2014: Day 2 (Feat. Sam Smith, Janelle Monae, Kanye West, Disclosure)

Together with approximately 80,000 other people we headed to Manchester, TN to witness this year’s edition of Bonnaroo. With great vibes and amazing music on display throughout the 4 days it is clear that Bonnaroo isn’t outdone by any of the other global festivals.

 Sam Smith

sam smith bonnaroo 2014 Bonnaroo 2014: Day 2 (Feat. Sam Smith, Janelle Monae, Kanye West, Disclosure)

With a 2pm set, UK’s Sam Smith kicked off Day 2 of ‘Roo properly. In the last year, this contralto has exploded onto the music scene – specifically across the pond and into the States. His absolutely gorgeous vocals have taken him very far in the last year, and hearing them live is truly hypnotizing. Smith played mostly slower tunes as the crowd slowly but surely gravitated to the power of his sound. He waited until the middle of his set to perform the upbeat “Money On My Mind” and let the true magnetism draw the thousands nearer. Despite everyone wanting Disclosure to come on stage for a few of the collaborations the duo has with him, Smith performed a solo acoustic version of “Latch,” instead.

Janelle Monae

janelle monae bonnarroo 2014 Bonnaroo 2014: Day 2 (Feat. Sam Smith, Janelle Monae, Kanye West, Disclosure)

Taking over the What Stage on Friday afternoon Janelle Monae, accompanied by her fantastic band and dancers, put on one of the more elaborate performances at Bonnaroo. It is a truly rare sight to see full blown choreography on the farm – it’s just not that kind of festival – and yet, Monae owned her audience, captivating the crowd with not only her high energy, but with her soaring vocals. The best moments were crowd-pleasers “Dance Apocalyptic” and “Tightrope” which had everyone dancing in the grass, and wishing she had a few more uptempo tracks.

Kanye West

fuckkanye 1024x768 Bonnaroo 2014: Day 2 (Feat. Sam Smith, Janelle Monae, Kanye West, Disclosure)

For those that don’t know the story behind this controversial show, allow me to briefly enlighten you, as I learned the real story from Kanye West himself while he ranted on stage in between long stretches of silence and hit songs. Back in 2008 Kanye was slotted to play a 2am set at Bonnaroo, and didn’t go on until about 5am – apparently this was because Phish ran over their set by about 2 hours, and there wasn’t enough time to set up all of Kanye‘s pyrotechnics that he refused to perform without. According to him festival-goers even vandalized his equipment in the interim before he took the stage.

Needless to say Bonnaroovians were outraged, and despite our main slogan being “Radiate Positivity,” most have additionally adopted the slogan “Fuck Kanye” – and the whole community is aware of how hard it has stuck.

Joining the stage at exactly 10pm on the nose, Kanye began his set by angrily growling a few choice Yeezus tracks into the microphone while wearing a gold mesh chain face mask. After his first of many pontifications, he went directly into “Power” with the all-too-appropriate lyrics “screams from the haters, got a nice ring to it, I guess every superhero need his theme music.” The show was a bizarre roller coaster of emotions – some boo-ing, some cheering, some chants of the aforementioned abhorrent phrase, and some people like me who were singing along loudly. You can’t deny West‘s ability to turn a crowd around that quickly. Highlights included “Jesus Walks,” “Blood On The Leaves,” “All Falls Down,” “Heartless,” and his verse on Jay-Z‘s “Run This Town.”

As I have been saying for years, in the simplest words, Kanye is brilliantly out of his mind.

Disclosure

1035x690 140614 bonnaroo 12 cc disclosure 1024x682 Bonnaroo 2014: Day 2 (Feat. Sam Smith, Janelle Monae, Kanye West, Disclosure)

We’re all here for the music, and it was nice to take a break from the talking and get back to the dancing with Disclosure. The electronic duo gave us the epic dance night that Friday nights at ‘Roo are supposed to be. Playing out “When A Fire Starts To Burn” along with the incessant teasing of “Stimulation” the audience was overwhelmed by endless clever beats to move to. The day came full circle, as the boys introduced Sam Smith to join them for their final song of the night, “Latch.” It was expected, extremely worth the wait, and naturally the perfect way to close out their set.

Note: I did catch South Africans Die Antwoord, which was genuinely scary. The dude was essentially yelling obscenities into the microphones while the chick squeaked out a very high-pitched echoing of obscenities. I rarely leave shows because of the actual music… sad to say, this was one of those moments.

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Words by Jabes
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doublecougar Bonnaroo 2014: Day 2 (Feat. Sam Smith, Janelle Monae, Kanye West, Disclosure)


Sep 3 2014

Bonnaroo 2014: Day 1 (Feat. Robert DeLong, ZZ Ward, Banks)

Bonnaroo 2014 Bonnaroo 2014: Day 1 (Feat. Robert DeLong, ZZ Ward, Banks) Together with approximately 80,000 other people we headed to Manchester, TN to witness this year’s edition of Bonnaroo. With great vibes and amazing music on display throughout the 4 days it is clear that Bonnaroo isn’t outdone by any of the other global festivals.

Robert DeLong

robert delong bonnaroo Bonnaroo 2014: Day 1 (Feat. Robert DeLong, ZZ Ward, Banks)

Having heard only a few Robert DeLong songs, I assumed that he was primarily a DJ and that I was headed dance to some good electronica from a guy bouncing around behind a laptop. Much to my surprise, once I could see the stage under The Other Tent, DeLong had half a drum set in front of him, as well as a microphone, a keyboard, and a synth – to say I was impressed would be an understatement. DeLong is a true one-man-band, and watching him prove it on stage is truly a sight to see. His vocals are reminiscent the soft understated Ben Gibbard, but his beats tend to drop and glitch out similarly to Diplo. As if the music hadn’t already caused the first official dance party of ‘Roo - once the 28-year-old Washington native started to play his track “Global Concepts” the crowd exploded with its perfect hook of “Did I make you fucking dance?

ZZ Ward

bonnaroo 2014 shaltz zz ward 25 Bonnaroo 2014: Day 1 (Feat. Robert DeLong, ZZ Ward, Banks)

ZZ Ward (née Zsuzsanna Eva Ward) and her band rocked out the late afternoon from That Tent. She sat down at the piano to solo for the sweet sadness of “Last Love Song” and her band gradually joined her one by one to beautifully add to the drama of the song as it builds. The crowd went wild during the catchy upbeat “Put The Gun Down,” so she took advantage of the energy and allowed her drummer to take off on a solo that was nothing short of awesome. She finished off the song milking it for all it was worth, displaying the breadth of her range by riffing like her voice was an electrical guitar for a solid 30 seconds.

Banks

banks bonnaroo 2014 Bonnaroo 2014: Day 1 (Feat. Robert DeLong, ZZ Ward, Banks) Announcing that this was her first time playing a festival after dark, Banks took control of the night with the ominous heavy bass of her tracks. She was at piano for majority of the show, though it was hard to see if anyone else was on stage with her through the thousands of fans gathered to see her perform. With her full album set to drop at the end of the summer, it was impressive to see the numbers she drew. In the midst of the melancholy theme looming through the show, Banks took a sharp (but welcomed) turn into a cover of Aliyah‘s “Are You The Somebody” at the piano, complete with Timbaland‘s verse. She mellowed her crowd back down, closing out her set with her most popular “Waiting Game.” —– Words by Jabes —– doublecougar Bonnaroo 2014: Day 1 (Feat. Robert DeLong, ZZ Ward, Banks)


Aug 25 2014

Weekend Videos: Dorine Levy – “Lenyrose”

It’s very hard to describe Dorine Levy in terms of genre. Words like ethereal and celestial are too generalising, and comparing the sound to Bjork or Sigur Ros would be lazy. Sure, there are effected guitars and filmic ambience but what I’m trying to say is there is something entirely unique about Levy’s vocals and the creations she inhabits.

Lenyrose“, a single taken from Levy’s excellent debut LP is as beautiful as Elizabeth Fraser fronting the aforementioned Sigur Ros. It’s hypnotic rhythms and twinkling melodies are both captivating and beguiling in equal measure.

Levy’s artistic and brilliant take on indie pop saw her debut single at 16 years old sell over 50,000 units worldwide and since then has seen her 2008 EP picked up by fashion brands H&M, Zara and River Island and been selected as a ‘top 5 international acts’ in Australia.

The video to accompany “Lenyrose” is mesmerising. A curious tale of psychological caging and self-discovery, an office worker lives with her eyes closed until she opens the box in which her potential lies. The cinematography is gorgeous and mirrors the song perfectly.

Dorine Levy debut LP ‘Underwater’ is out now.
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Post by T.R. Wicks
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TRACKS:

doublecougar Weekend Videos: Dorine Levy   Lenyrose


Aug 19 2014

Dead Seem Old releases first single “They Won’t Find Us”

deadseemoldimage Dead Seem Old releases first single They Wont Find Us

Beginning with a spidery guitar line and warm handclaps, “They Won’t Find Us” is the first track to be released by Dead Seem Old. With a whole LP’s worth of songs written by Thom Wicks during an inspiring trip to Indonesia, he contacted producer Javier Weyler and together the pair recorded the album on an old 4-track recorder at Weyler’s Studio, The Beat Factory.

Sticking strictly to the influences of rare 1960’s surf instrumentals and Grimm fairy tales the collaboration’s first track continues with a flowing bassline and more intricate guitar work, with subtle electronic twinges accompanying the vivid lyrics.

The single “They Won’t Find Us” is out on Lo Records In September and here at Cougar, we can’t wait to hear more.

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Post by Sam

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TRACKS:

doublecougar Dead Seem Old releases first single They Wont Find Us


Aug 17 2014

Weekend Videos: The Flight – The Idol And The Idle


The musical partnership between Joe Henson and Alexis Smith aka The Flight have produced something impressive dating back to their coming together in 2005. Since then, their creative production hub in East London has worked with some of the biggest names in music such as Lana Del Rey, Bjork and Elbow.

Their latest EP ‘The Sinner Inside‘ sees talented American singer/songwriter Alana Stewart, an artist we have been following for some time, taking on vocal duties may just be their most wondrous and exciting project to date.

The Idol and the Idle‘, the 2nd track from the EP is everything British music should be proud of. Understated is a word that is thrown around in this post-XX time, but moody, patient production cooks at the bottom of a pot of brooding vocal sass and beautiful analogue synths. The fact that the song is immediately so iconic without an obvious chorus only strengthens their case.

The lyric “God gets muddy in the glass” is the stuff of Twain, and conjures up a revelation of a world stuck between false promises, filling our voids with frivolous and carnal passions. This is combined with a stark and gritty video accompaniment that asks whether it is better to drink, dance and lay my way into middle age, or to actually think outside the box. Or look up from the box. Or remove my face from someone’s box. Either way I couldn’t have enjoyed it more.

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Post by T.R. Wicks

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TRACKS:

doublecougar Weekend Videos: The Flight   The Idol And The Idle


Jul 21 2014

SKYROADS Release New Double A-side Single

skyroads band image SKYROADS Release New Double A side Single

Fresh from their first ever UK tour, SKYROADS released their disco infused double A-side single “1,2 Steps/ Beyond The Doors” and it proves these boys and gal have a great future ahead of them.

The Tel Aviv based 5-piece channel the spirit of Nile Rodgers through the funk bass backbone of “Beyond The Doors” whilst twinkling synths give a fizzing zest to the dancy track.

1,2 Steps” begins with yet another irresistible bassline built upon with a great sense of restless urgency before the joyous chorus rids the band of all the angst allowing for a free flowing synth line to lead the line to yet more dancy disco infused musicianship. Both tracks are now available on the band’s soundcloud.

Make sure you catch them this autumn when they’ll be bringing their disco rock vibes to Europe and the States.  SKYROADS were born to play live and it won’t be long until we see them across  the biggest stages and festivals.

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Post by Sam

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doublecougar SKYROADS Release New Double A side Single


Jul 8 2014

Alt-J release first official single from upcoming ‘This Is All Yours’ album

Alt J This Is All Yours album cover Alt J release first official single from upcoming This Is All Yours album

Ever since Alt-J dropped their brilliant debut ‘An Awesome Wave on us back in 2012 we have been wondering what the Cambridge outfit’s next steps would be. Following the release of unofficial single “Hunger Of The Pine” (because that’s what bands do nowadays) we now have the first official single in the form of “Left Hand Free“.

Built on a quasi White Stripes riff “Hunger…” is a lo-fi slow burner that was apparently written in just 20 minutes but kind seems timeless. It sounds like nothing the band released before and raises the expectations for their sophomore album even higher.

This Is All Yours‘ ia suw on September 23rd via Canvasback/Infectious

TRACKS:

doublecougar Alt J release first official single from upcoming This Is All Yours album


Jun 29 2014

Big Scary live @ Mercury Lounge, New York City

Big Scs 1024x768 Big Scary live @ Mercury Lounge, New York City

Hailing from Melbourne, Australia, I was lucky enough to catch Big Scary at Mercury Lounge in late April, while on their tour around the States promoting their new album ‘Not Art‘. Opening for Say Hi, Tom Iansek and Jo Syme graced the crowd with a mix of new tracks off their aforementioned latest album, such as “Phil Collins,” and “Invest,” alongside some more older upbeat favorites from ‘Vacation‘ including “Gladiator.” A true gem off of the recent album would have to be their first released single “Twin Rivers” which displays Tom‘s phenomenal piano skills. Seeing him slide his fingers across the piano creating an illusive sound of wind chimes is a true display of his mastery of the craft. Continue reading