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by Sachyn Mital

31 Jul 2015


José González is an indie singer-songwriter from Sweden and, with the release of his first proper album Veneer in 2003, he found a lot of fans, particularly as his songs “Crosses” and his cover of the Knife’s “Heartbeat” got a lot of buzz. The album was successful enough that he ended up not following through with his pursuit of a PhD and he has continued to work on a variety of musical projects since then, most recently another solo release, 2015’s Vestiges & Claws. I’ve followed his musical career since that album and, having seen him perform a couple of times in the past year, was looking forward to his Newport set.

Unfortunately, his Harbor stage slot on Saturday July 25th conflicted with Sufjan Stevens on the Fort stage so I knew I couldn’t see it all of González’s performance. But I did get over in time to watch him perform “Line of Fire”, a song he did with Junip, and one of Vestiges’ singles, “Open Book”. The next day, it turned out he was to do a surprise set at a corporate sponsored stage but I arrived there to find a large crowd already spilling out of a small room. I could neither see him nor hear his delicate music very well in part due to louder music from the Quad Stage. The two Newport sets were more intimate than the two recent performances I saw of his in New York, so it would have been a treat to see them entirely. But fortunately, I had spotted González lingering back stage (and talking with Jon Batiste at one point) and had arranged to speak with him about his various musical interests, projects and his birthday show last year.

by Greg M. Schwartz

31 Jul 2015


Photo: Debi Del Grande

It was a beautiful night in the summer of 2015, but the harmonic convergences taking place had some feeling like it could have been the mid-’90s. Both the Smashing Pumpkins and Veruca Salt were launching summer tours in the Golden State during the week, lending 2015 an appealing retro vibe harkening back to the alt-rock glory days of the late 20th century.

Smashing Pumpkins bandleader Billy Corgan even had old pal Jimmy Chamberlin back in the mix on drums, leading to a renewed anticipation for the sonic power of the Pumpkins in their prime. The mercurial Corgan may not have made all the right moves over the years, but he always seems to make up for any missteps. Breaking up the Pumpkins in 2000 was an extremely disappointing move. But putting the band back together in 2007 even with only 50 percent of the original lineup was a great move for rock ‘n’ roll, as was mending fences to get Chamberlin back on board this year.

by Sachyn Mital

30 Jul 2015


As a fan of Guster since the late ‘90s, I’ve got a special place in my heart for the band. Their album Lost and Gone Forever remains their standout for me even as I have found gems on newer albums, like this year’s Evermotion the group’s first for Nettwerk. So when I they came around New York to perform at Summerstage in Central Park, I figured it would be an enjoyable show. And, despite the heat, it was.

by Greg M. Schwartz

29 Jul 2015


Photo: Tommy Cahill

It was not just another Wednesday night at the Soda Bar, a dive with a tiny stage that rarely hosts a band with platinum album sales. Veruca Salt was launching their first tour with their original lineup since the 20th century, a cross-country trek that will take them to a number of more venerable venues. But San Diegans were thrilled to have a chance to help the band kick off the tour and word even had it that some hardcore fans had traveled many a mile to witness the tour opener.

by Sachyn Mital

24 Jul 2015


A rare live performance from UK electronic duo Basement Jaxx, packed in as much wild fun as they could before a 10pm curfew in Central Park. Apparently the band hadn’t performed live in New York for at least ten years (though they have come around for a DJ set at least). But unfortunately, for whatever reason, three openers (Fei Fei, Masters at Work and the Internet) were allotted time before Basement Jaxx, cutting into what could have been a longer set from the duo. When they finally went on around 8:45, Basement Jaxx had the crowd going crazy (one woman in the front row wore a unicorn horn). But for all the craziness offstage, there was more on stage, with outlandish costumes (including multiple gorillas at the end) and multiple kinds of dancers (including a ballerina) instead of the standard, trippy projected visuals other acts use.

//Mixed media
//Blogs

A Chat with José González at Newport Folk Festival

// Notes from the Road

"José González's sets during Newport Folk Festival weren't on his birthday (that is today) but each looked to be a special intimate performance.

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