Sep 30 2014

Pitchfork Music Festival Paris Preview

pitchforkparis Pitchfork Music Festival Paris Preview

Following our planned October foray over to the United States to attend CMJ and Culture Collide festivals, in New York City and Los Angeles respectively, we are excited to confirm our attendance at the 2014 European version of Pitchfork Music Festival coming October 31st, November 1st and November 2nd. Time off work has been booked, flights have been confirmed and we found a hotel deal at Venere which means we can’t wait to land in Paris and enjoy what the city and especially the festival have to offer.

Pitchfork Music Festival is set in the historic surroundings of the Grande halle de la Villette in the 19th arrondissement. The former slaughterhouse and it’s neighbourhood had fallen on some dark times towards the end of the last century and by all accounts didn’t represent the safest area to walk around in. However, following a regeneration boom the area now truly offers one of the city’s most buzzing music scenes with The Grande Halle representing the jewel in it’s crown.

There really couldn’t be a better venue to host 3 days of exciting talents featuring some of the artists whose releases we have enjoyed the most in recent years. With the likes of headliners and perennial favourites Belle and Sebastian playing on an expansive stage alongside relative newcomers such as Future Islands, Chvrches, The War On Drugs, Jungle and How To Dress Well. Elsewhere artists who have established themselves with brilliantly with their recent releases including the likes of Caribou, Four Tet, St. Vincent and James Blake show up on a bill that looks packed with talent from top to bottom.

Tickets for individual days are now available through the festival website although it seems like the Saturday night show is already sold out (general three day passes are still available for 110€).

Paris already represents one of the most visited cities in the world and Pitchfork have put on an event that can rival most of the other major festivals on the European circuit in terms of venue, bands confirmed and sheer vision. We can’t wait to report from France.

TRACKS:

doublecougar Pitchfork Music Festival Paris Preview


Sep 28 2014

Bonnaroo 2014: Day 4 (Feat. Vance Joy, Little Dragon and Elton John)

Bonnaroo 20141 1024x768 Bonnaroo 2014: Day 4 (Feat. Vance Joy, Little Dragon and Elton John) 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.

 Vance Joy

Vancy Joy bonnarroo 1024x768 Bonnaroo 2014: Day 4 (Feat. Vance Joy, Little Dragon and Elton John) I awoke early for my last day on the farm, and came to Centeroo to catch Australia‘s newest acoustic sensation, Vance Joy. Backed by 3 other band members – drums, keyboards, and a bass – Vance played some simplistic, standard, singer-songwriter arrangements such as “Snaggletooth.” The only unique part of his set was when he performed “Play With Fire” on ukulele. I was surprised to see how well he kept the crowd despite how ordinary he turned out to be. Then again, like myself, we all might have been hanging around to hear him close out with “Riptide,” which is, undeniably his best composition by far. With its vocals that climb and fall down the scales much like that of an ocean wave, bolstered by a Hawaiian type strumming, “Riptide” is the standout favorite worth waiting for.

 Little Dragon

Little dragon Bonnarroo 1024x768 Bonnaroo 2014: Day 4 (Feat. Vance Joy, Little Dragon and Elton John)

Fresh off the heels of their latest album release ‘Nabuma Rubberband‘, Little Dragon sauntered onto the stage for an especially mellow show, just as the night time was approaching. Despite the volume of chanteuse Yukimi Nagano‘s multi-colored full-length skirt, her vocals were way too low for the first half of the show. A gradual progression of better sound mixing, alongside the steadily increased BPM, songs like “Klapp Klapp” slowly and steadily came together. The highest energy of the show was brought on by past electropop favorites from ‘Ritual Union‘. Then, with the sunset backdrop, it was time to bring it down a notch to end the set. Amidst the haunting piano introduction of “Twice,” the entire audience held up their lighters – not their phones – for a moment of nostalgic concert-going beauty that closed out the show in sweet melancholy.

 Elton John

elton john bonnaroo Bonnaroo 2014: Day 4 (Feat. Vance Joy, Little Dragon and Elton John)

With his natural panache, the 67-year-old Sir Elton John made his way onto the What Stage, dressed in a blazer adorned with sparkly rainbows on the sleeves and pockets. Seated behind a bright red grand piano, he performed for 2 hours straight, breezing through old favorites, such as “Tiny Dancer,” “Bennie & the Jets,” “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” and “Your Song.” An amusing moment was when a festival-goer released the enormous Buzz Lightyear balloon he had been toting around perfectly in sync with the first chorus of “Rocket Man,” eliciting massive cheers from the audience. Later in the show, Elton invited friend, and fellow piano connoisseur, Ben Folds, to the stage to perform a tune off of “Yellow Brick Road“, “Grey Seal.” The only disappointment was the lack of Lion King songs, which were heavily expected to be slipped into the night’s repertoire. Thankfully, we were given “Crocodile Rock” to close out the night – and all of Bonnaroo – on a soaring high. —– Words by Jabes —– doublecougar Bonnaroo 2014: Day 4 (Feat. Vance Joy, Little Dragon and Elton John)


Sep 27 2014

Bonnaroo 2014: Day 3 (Feat. Royal Canoe, Haerts, Cayucas and Skrillex Superjam)

Bonnaroo 20141 1024x768 Bonnaroo 2014: Day 3 (Feat. Royal Canoe, Haerts, Cayucas and Skrillex Superjam)

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.

 Royal Canoe

royal canoe Bonnaroo 2014: Day 3 (Feat. Royal Canoe, Haerts, Cayucas and Skrillex Superjam)

After two days of clouds and sporadic rain, Saturday brought the first truly hot summer Tennessee day of Roo. Seeking shade, I caught Royal Canoe cozied up on the small stage under the Cafe Where tent. Upon playing “Birthday,” I couldn’t help but compare their sound to Flight of the Conchords (sans comedic lyrics,) which was so bizarre to me since Flight is only two dudes. Royal Canoe has 2 drummers, a guy on synth/keyboards, a lead guitarist, a bass player who looks exactly like James Van Der Beek, and a lead singer who showcased an array of talents jumping from synth to tambourine to guitar throughout the set. “Hold Onto the Metal” was the most playful, but with it’s bouncy 80′s synth instrumentals, along with it’s staccato vocals and quick lyrics, all I could think of was Flight – and I mean that in the best way possible. They closed out their set with the slow grooves of “Summersweat,” and just as the lead singer said at the time, it was applicable.

 Haerts

Haerts Bonnarroo 1024x768 Bonnaroo 2014: Day 3 (Feat. Royal Canoe, Haerts, Cayucas and Skrillex Superjam)

Elegantly clad in a white dress with a deep V-neck that nearly reached her belly button, lead singer Nini Fabi graced the stage with her band HAERTS. With only an EP under their belt, many songs were new to the throng of devoted fans drawn out of the heat and into The Other Tent. Considering the depressing concept that it’s based on “Hemiplegia” was well received, strengthened by dream pop instrumentals and Fabi‘s legato crisp and pure vocals, it was difficult to not be mesmerized. They closed out with their first single “Wings” which is exceedingly more popular due to being the most upbeat of the set. Considering that single was released in 2012, I find that this band’s whole existence is based on the premise that slow and steady does, in fact, win the race.

 Cayucas

Cayucas bonnaroo 1024x682 Bonnaroo 2014: Day 3 (Feat. Royal Canoe, Haerts, Cayucas and Skrillex Superjam)

Saturday was a great day for steering clear of the thousands flocking to the big acts, and checking out the smaller stages instead. Drawn in by the California vibes coming off the Solar Stage, I caught indie-pop band Cayucas. With catchy choruses such as “High School Lover,” this 4-piece act hosted an adorably small, sun-drenched dance party in the grass. Surf pop at its finest, complete with a song titled “Hella,” with had a chorus that merely repeated the ever-present SoCal slang word, with some hip shaking music behind it. Later in the day I overheard them playing the catchy chorus “hella, hella, hella” again, for a quick second chance to dance over to the next act I was heading for.

Skrillex Superjam

skrillex live Bonnaroo 2014: Day 3 (Feat. Royal Canoe, Haerts, Cayucas and Skrillex Superjam)
If there is one thing that makes Bonnaroo unique amongst all festivals, it is Superjam. The annual tradition of hosting a wide array of artists to jam together on a stage to make beautiful music, is still at its height after 13 years. This year, Bonnaroo went over the top with Superjam, by having not one, but three separate jams – and the one I chose to attend was easily the most hyped up, and the most talked about for the rest of the festival: Skrillex ‘s Superjam.

Similarly to the masses, I quickly assumed that this event would be a solid lineup of musicians playing their tunes with heavy EDM blaring behind them from Skrillex‘s laptop. We couldn’t have possibly been more wrong. To paint the picture, Skrillex was actually on electric guitar for the better part of f the 3-hour set, with Big Gigantic acting as house-band.

There’s no way for me to properly explain what I witnessed, other than to merely list all of the awesomeness as it happened. Warpaint opened up the night with Techtronic‘s “Pump Up The Jam,” which got the crowd going, only to have everyone let loose on “Let Me Clear My Throat.” When Janelle Monae joined on stage, she played her own “Tightrope,” then had the whole tent chanting “mamase mamasa mamakusa” as she rocked out on Michael Jackson‘s “Wanna Be Startin Something,” and segued into “I Feel Good” channeling her best James Brown. Robby Kreiger, now the only living member of The Doors, took over the stage to wail on guitar for “Break On Through,” something my father would have fainted at the sight of. Other highlights included stellar covers of Bill Withers‘ “Use Me” and Toto‘s “Africa,” but unfortunately due to my distance from the stage, I have absolutely no idea who performed these songs.

As the set came to a close and the crowd dissipated, a few of my friends and I stayed for what was hands down the greatest highlight of all of Bonnaroo: Ms. Lauryn Hill came out for a half hour encore. With Big Gigantic replacing her own new afro-fusion band (which I seriously disliked at her solo set) Hill took off rapping in double time to “Lost Ones” and “Oh La La La.” They closed out the whole night with Hill serenading the crowd Fugees‘ “Ready or Not.” It was absolutely fantastic.

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Words by Jabes
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doublecougar Bonnaroo 2014: Day 3 (Feat. Royal Canoe, Haerts, Cayucas and Skrillex Superjam)


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