Iceland’s Ólafur Arnalds continues to gain renown with his diverse solo and collaborative projects. His For Now I am Winter was well-reviewed, he’s done the soundtrack for the detective drama Broadchurch, and his neo-classical project with Alice Sara Ott, The Chopin Project is one of the most intriguing albums I’ve come across in 2015. Kiasmos, a collaboration with Janus Rasmussen, a member of electro-pop Bloodgroup, is a project that began in 2009. But the duo only released their first full-length album last year. Though I didn’t discover it till this year, I was fortunate enough to catch Kiasmos in New York on a rare tour—one that will wrap up soon with a couple California shows before a few European dates (listed below).
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Memorial Day Weekend kicked off in style at the Boston Calling Festival. The three-day event, set beneath the buildings surrounding City Hall Plaza, received strong performances from headliners Beck, My Morning Jacket, and the Pixies, with a well-rounded supporting cast that included Tame Impala, St. Vincent, and TV on the Radio.
Radio 104.5 in Philadelphia celebrated their 8th birthday with an awesome lineup of bands. Specifically, Of Monsters and Men, Death Cab For Cutie, Hozier, Passion Pit, Walk the Moon, AWOLNATION, Vance Joy, Coasts, Meg Myers, X Ambassadors, Night Riots, Holychild and Andorra. Held just outside Philly in Camden, the day-long festival was packed with people, with those furthest from the stage, on the lawn, enjoying an incredible early summer day. The event felt like the unofficial start of the summer festival season in the Northeast with a variety of different kinds of music across two stages. In the Northeast, people now have many other events to look forward to including Radio 104.5’s Summer Block Party shows, Boston Calling, Governors Ball, The Roots Picnic, Newport Folk Festival, Wilco’s Solid Sound Fest and many, many more.
On the second stage, we caught fast-rising rock band, X Ambassadors, and promising new singer Meg Myers. On the main stage, dance pop acts Walk the Moon and Passion Pit, supporting their new album, Kindred, led into rock music from Hozier. A lot of people left following Hozier’s set but the lawn still appeared packed for Death Cab for Cutie and the final band, Of Monsters and Men, who are about to release a new album Beneath the Skin. Photos from the event are below with a larger gallery on Facebook as well as some video clips we found.
When Tahliah Barnett, aka FKA twigs, performs, she doesn’t require super elaborate stage setups to fix the audience’s gaze. Her wild dance moves, her seductive yet fashionable attire and her synchronized light show command attention. However, her ambitious ‘Congregata’ show, which premiered in London earlier this year, is ten times as wild as her regular show. ‘Congregata’ was brought to New York City for three sold-out nights as part of the Red Bull Music Academy month-long series of events. Taking place at the Brooklyn Hangar, ‘Congregata’ was a hot, sweaty show, and not just for the dancers. The warehouse was downright swampy before the show event began. But for those in attendance, the show was a wild mix of dancers (including Leiomy Maldonado), powerful lights, ornate costumes and of course, FKA twigs in full force, all choreographed with precision to create a two-hour long epic event. There wasn’t even a scheduled break for twigs to talk with the audience, though she did share some genuine love for her family and friends once it was over. With all the flash, it was possible to lose track of the musical progression, which varied through twig’s released material and some other instrumental fillers. But at the cohesive peaks, ‘Congregata’ is a stunning performance inspired by all that FKA twigs is and does and one that promises even greater theatrical and musical endeavors will come.
The core of Brooklyn-based Secret Weapons is comprised of friends Danny and Gerry. The outgoing pair “are making their ascent into the judicious arena of noteworthy pop/dance music. In a genre that is by and large, a tricky animal to command, the band manages to instill promise into an often times, abysmal market”, as Pancakes and Whiskey noted in their interview. I too was hanging out ahead of the band’s April 25th show headlining Rough Trade. I was there capturing a few shots of the band sound-checking and hanging out as I intended to stay for their set. The buzz was their live shows are a lot of fun and that Secret Weapons do wild after-parties (which I did not actually go to). Their set was short (no more than eight songs) as they are just over a year old and still working on their material but the audience was enjoying every minute. I could definitely see their potential, as they’ve got a pop-friendly dance sound that reminded me of other Brooklyn bands like Wolf Colony or Little Daylight.