Governors Ball 2012 - Sunday
Beck's music—with its pop-junk culture collage of musical styles, oblique, ironic lyrics, and post-modern arrangements incorporating samples, drum machines, live instrumentation and heady sound effects—was hailed by critics and the public as among the most idiosyncratic of 1990s alternative rock: critic Steve Huey describes him as "One of the most inventive and eclectic figures to emerge from the '90s alternative revolution." Although Beck's work defies easy categorization, his eclecticism and genre experiments sparked comparisons with Prince, though Beck was undoubtedly a less prolific artist and drew on an absurdist, free-flowing lyrical style that was totally original when first exposed to mainstream audiences. Indeed, some critics labeled him and his breakthrough single "Loser" as novelties.
Despite this individualism, Beck's music is very much a product of the 1990s and the media age in general, with hip hop, indie/underground rock, electronic music and genre-benders like the Beastie Boys as notable touchstones; in addition, some critics liken his head-spinning lyrical aesthetic to a post-modern Bob Dylan sensibility.
Devendra Banhart: DEVENDRA BANHART BIO INFO (using excerpts from SF Weekly lead ARTS article)
Man of La Mantra /The psychedelic folk of wandering minstrel Devendra Banhart /By Garrett Kamps/SF WEEKLY/Jan 08.2003
“…Banhart was born in Texas in 1981, and named by an Indian mystic whom his parents followed. When his folks divorced two years later, he moved with his mom to Caracas , Venezuela , where he was raised amidst the shanties and sweatshops. Though his family had enough money to stay above the poverty line, life wasn't easy.
" Venezuela was insane," says Banhart. "You don't go out after 8 because it's too dangerous. You don't wear nice sneakers because, while here you may get assaulted, there you just get killed."
When Banhart's mother remarried, his stepfather moved the family to Los Angeles . In the fall of 1998, having written songs since he was 12, Banhart left home to begin school at the San Francisco Art Institute, with a hefty scholarship. Though he was instantly disillusioned with the constraints of academic art, his environs took him in more productive directions.
Living in the lower Castro, he was tapped by his roommates -- a gay couple whom Banhart refers to as "Bob the Crippled Comic and Jerry Elvis" -- to play two classic songs at their wedding: the gospel hymn "How Great Thou Art" and Elvis Presley's "Love Me Tender." Touched by the request, Banhart found himself newly inspired.
Shortly thereafter, he had a second epiphany. While vacationing in Bish Bash Falls , a state park in Massachusetts , Banhart and his girlfriend were quarreling about the Rolling Stones.
"The argument was about [the song] 'Street Fighting Man,'" he says. "And I'm like, 'That's bullshit. Mick Jagger wasn't fighting nobody.' And she was like, 'Well, how do you know? Maybe they just made it up.' And I was like, 'Well, I can make up a song about something!' And it turned out to be this little song ..."
Banhart proceeds to sing, limerick-style: "There once was a man who really loved salt/ So he tied his nose to the sea/ And then God came down from his silver throne/ And said, 'Honey, that water ain't free.'"
"That's when I realized I could write about anything I wanted," he adds casually. "It was like being constipated and then taking a suppository."
Thus began Banhart's days as a wandering minstrel. When he returned to San Francisco , he began playing anywhere that would have him, be it an Ethiopian restaurant, an Irish pub, or Du Nord's weekly "Monday Night Hoot."
"We had to pretend like he was just helping us with equipment and then sneak him in," says Eric Shea, host of the "Hoot." "He was too young to get into the club."
In the summer of 2000, Banhart dropped out of art school and moved to Paris . There, he was discovered by the owner of a small club, who chose him to open shows for indie rock bands. All the while he was recording songs, both on a borrowed four-track and on a friend's answering machine.
Moving back to the United States in the fall, Banhart bounced between San Francisco and Los Angeles . At a gig at the Fold in L.A. , Banhart was doing a sound check when Siobhan Duffy overheard his set. A lover of old bluegrass and folk music, Duffy is also a close personal friend of Michael Gira, the one-time frontman for New York gloom-rock legends Swans and current owner of Young God Records.
"She couldn't believe it," says Gira of Duffy's reaction. "So [Banhart] gave her a CD-R, and I listened to it and had the same response. His voice is so unique, his songwriting is just amazing…"
Modest Mouse: Modest Mouse has been indie rock's most exciting band since they formed in 1993. Modest Mouse tour dates are currently scheduled this 2011 and will have the Washington rockers touring throughout the States and Australia. Act quick, shows are limited and tickets are selling out fast; Use Eventful as your source for Modest Mouse tour dates and concert schedule (2011) information.
Modest Mouse released their first EP, Blue Cadet-3, Do You Connect?, in 1994, however, it wouldn't be until 2000 that the band would achieve mainstream success. In 2000, Modest Mouse released their Epic debut, The Moon & Antarctica. The album reached #131 on the Billboard 200 and was a critical success. Their single, "Gravity Rides Everything", was featured in a Nissan commercial and Modest Mouse tour dates were scheduled alongside Cake and The Flaming Lips on the Unlimited Sunshine Tour.
In 2004, Modest Mouse released their breakthrough album, Good News for People Who Love Bad News. The singles, "Float On" and "Ocean Breathes Salty" propelled sales of the album and earned the band their first Platinum plaque. The disc was nominated for a Grammy for Best Alternative Rock Album and Modest Mouse toured the world. They followed up with, We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank, which was released in 2007. The album debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 and the band embarked on a national tour with R.E.M. More recently, Modest Mouse has been in the studio with Big Boi of Outkast fame and are working towards finishing their hotly anticipated fifth album. Until then, check out Modest Mouse tour dates when they arrive to a venue near you. Stay on top of Modest Mouse's concert schedule (2011) using Eventful as your Modest Mouse tour calendar.
Explosions in the Sky: How does one classify the unclassifiable? In her fifty years as an entertainer, Nina Simone consistently defied categorization by playing (often at the same) the roles of singer, pianist, dancer, actress, arranger and political activist. Moreover, her repertoire was as diverse as the roles she played, spanning the styles of jazz, soul, R&B and pop to gospel, folk, blues and even Broadway. The High Priestess of Soul, as her fans called her, was renowned for her distinctive vocal style, characterized by a passionate low-range vibrato and theatrical display of shouts, whispers, moans and even silence. With her rare ability to stir such intense response from her audiences, it is fitting that Nina Simone became a key figure in the civil rights movement of the 1960s, fighting through her art for justice and racial equality. Known to the world by her independence and brave spirit, Dr. Nina Simone is truly one of the preeminent artists of our time.
In the grand hierarchy of the greatest African-American female vocalists of the 20th century – Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Mahalia Jackson, Ella Fitzgerald, Dinah Washington, and Aretha Franklin, among them – Nina Simone (1933-2003) holds a special position of honor for the fearless role she played as an uncompromising ambassador of cultural pride at the height of the Civil Rights and Black Power movements from the late 1950s to the 1970s.
Underpinning her status as one of the outspoken voices of that tumultuous period in history was Nina Simone’s fascinating and wide-ranging musical taste. Her palette ranged from the 1920s blues and jazz of Duke Ellington and Miles Davis, to the standard songbook of Irving Berlin and the Gershwins, from traditional American balladry and the poetry of Langston Hughes, to the folk and folk rock of Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Randy Newman, Richie Havens, Sandy Denny, Jimmy Webb (and many others). Her song choices further spanned the repertoire of the Beatles, the Byrds, the Bee Gees, and Hair, to Olatunji and the exciting new strains of Afro-pop and World Music before the genre even had a name – and much more.
All these musical roots and branches of Nina Simone’s life are explored in depth on TO BE FREE: THE NINA SIMONE STORY, a deluxe new four-disc (three CDs + DVD) box set that is the most comprehensive and wide-ranging collection of Nina Simone’s music ever compiled. Containing 51 audio tracks – eight of them previously unreleased – covering her recording years from 1957 to 1993 for the Bethlehem, Colpix, Philips, RCA (for whom she cut nine LPs that are considered the pinnacle of her output), CTI, and Elektra record labels, plus another nine performances on the 23-minute documentary DVD – the box set will be available at all physical and digital retail outlets starting September 30th through RCA/Legacy, a division of SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT.
Don't forget to check out Nina Simone's Discography!
Nina was born in North Carolina, USA, February 21, 1933. In the late 50s she recorded her first album. One song, "I Loves You Porgy", became a hit and Nina became a star, performing at Town Hall, Carnegie Hall and at jazz festivals with a repertoire ranging from gospel music to African music, from blues to Ellington songs, from classical music to folk songs of diverse origin.
Although Nina was called the "High Priestess of Soul" by her fans and was regarded by them as an almost religious figure, she was often misunderstood as well. The High Priestess would walk different paths to find the adequate songs to spread her message.
A protest singer; a jazz singer; a pianist; an arranger and a composer, Nina Simone is a great artist who defies easy classification. She is all of these: a jazz-rock-pop-folk-black musician. In fact, we can find her biography in jazz, rock, pop, black and soul literature. Her style and her hits provided many singers and groups with material for hits of their own.
Nina Simone died April 21, 2003 in Carry-le-Rouet, Bouches-du-Rhne, France.
Freelance Whales: We enjoy practicing often, exploring abandoned farm colonies in Staten Island, eating at the Bakeway in Astoria, drinking coffee, and rolling our own cigarettes.
Cage The Elephant: Music lovers that haven't heard of Cage the Elephant have probably heard their hit single "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked" on the radio or TV. Those same lovers are probably also missing out on Cage the Elephant's amazing concert dates. This Kentucky band is a group up-and-coming stars who are bringing a much needed kick to mainstream music through their folksy yet rocking beats and frenzied tour dates. Their style is a unique blend of bluegrass, punk, and rock that has been garnering attention from both fans and critics. For those people who have heard and enjoyed "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked", there's good news in the form of tour dates for 2011.
Cage the Elephant was formed by brothers Matthew and Brad Schultz in 2006. Their sound was almost immediately a hit and gained the band a concert date at the 2007 Lollapalooza, immediately following Lady Gaga's breakout performance at the festival. It wasn't until they played at the South By Southwest Festival that Cage the Elephant were signed to UK record label Relentless Records, eventually relocating there. Their debut eponymous album was released in June of 2008 in the UK and almost a year later in the US to positive reviews. Shortly after, the single "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked" began to circulate as a hit single and the band began to play concert dates with a number of UK and US bands, including The Pigeon Detectives and Manchester Orchestra. Cage the Elephant returned to play a tour date at Lollapalooza in 2009 as well as playing the Outside Lands Festival in San Francisco and Bonnaroo in Tennessee.
Cage the Elephant's new album, Thank You Happy Birthday, was released in January of 2011 and has prompted the current 2011 tour dates with superstars The Black Keys. The two bands share a similar bluegrass sound, as well as the energy they both expend on stage. The concert dates will kick off in Cage the Elephant's home away from home of London on March 23, with tour dates in 2011 extending into July. Part of Cage the Elephant's meteoric rise to fame is due to their energetic tour dates, where the band's members visibly play like it's their last night on Earth. While Cage the Elephant won't be opening for The Black Keys on every tour date in 2011, the shows with The Black Keys are selling out fast, so buy tickets soon.
Built To Spill:
When Built To Spill wanted to find out what their music sounded like they locked themselves in Doug Martsch’s garage. Without a tentative conclusion or even a hypothesis the four members began to experiment. Their collaborative efforts lasted seasons and yielded dozens of hours of ADAT tape. The album documents the newest branch of Built To Spill’s chaotic, yet elegant evolution.
When Doug is asked what he wants people to know about the album, he replies, I would rather not manipulate people’s opinions about it. Bassist Brett Nelson thinks this record is what everybody in the band would want it to sound like. Brett also mentions the different styles of songs, anything from New Wave to Reggae breakdowns. While many influences and song structures arise and dissolve, none dominates the overall force of the album. myspace profile
Phantogram: The music of Phantogram can be placed into a number of electronic music sub-genres that somebody seems to sit around and think up. What's certain is that the driving percussion, synthesizers, distorted guitar, ethereal sounds, and melodic vocals of Phantogram have become a favorite of audiences around the world. International tour dates and the duo's lone album have been spreading the popularity of Phantogram, and the stage has been set for a hugely successful career. Audiences can find out what they're all about on the remainder of their 2011 tour dates.
Guitarist Josh Carter and keyboardist Sarah Barthel had been friends since junior high, but didn't start making music until their college years. Carter had written some beats as a side project from his main band, and Barthel showed talent in adding to them. After playing local tour dates in Sarasota, New York, they released two EPs and scored hits with the singles "Mouthful of Diamonds" and "When I'm Small". Following an acclaimed performance at Sasquatch in 2010, Phantogram released their debut album, Eyelid Movies, which became critically acclaimed for its unnerving yet cohesive sound.
The success of the album has led to huge performances at Lollapalooza, Treasure Island, and Outside Lands, and fans are still excited over Phantogram's remaining tour dates in 2011. August holds performances in Chicago, California, and Michigan, and September will features shows in the Pacific Northwest. Phantogram's last 2011 tour date is on November 17, so plan accordingly to avoid missing these rising electronic stars.
Fiona Apple: "All along, I really wanted each song to be its own little world," says Fiona Apple. "Every song that I write, I feel like I'm in a different world. And with this album, because it's been such a long period of time, I didn't want everything to sound one particular way."
It's been a long and tangled road for Apple's stunning, intricate new album, Extraordinary Machine. But over the course of six years, multiple producers, business struggles, and life changes, she has maintained a clear sense of her musical vision-and returned with a collection of songs that reconfirms her place as one of the finest singer-songwriters of her generation. From the fragile music-hall lilt of the title track to the rollicking "Better Version of Me," from the fever intensity of "Not About Love" to the dreamy melancholy of "Oh Sailor," Extraordinary Machine reveals an artist with a sprawling, hard-fought range of emotions about love and identity, and with the musical palette to express them all. These are complicated songs for complicated sentiments.
Almost a decade has passed since Apple, now 28, astonished listeners with her 1996 debut, Tidal. It was almost impossible to believe that a voice and a style so fully-formed was coming from a performer who was so young. Spurred by the controversial video for "Criminal" and such hits as the evocative, flawless "Shadowboxer," Tidal sold over three million copies, landed her on the cover of numerous national magazines, and established Apple as a major new figure in pop music.
The 1999 follow-up, When the Pawn Hits the Conflicts He Thinks Like a King What He Knows Throws the Blows When He Goes to the Fight and He'll Win the Whole Thing 'Fore He Enters the Ring There's No Body to Batter When Your Mind Is Your Might So When You Go Solo, You Hold Your Own Hand and Remember That Depth Is the Greatest of Heights and if You Know Where You Stand, Then You Know Where to Land and if You Fall It Won't Matter, 'Cuz You'll Know That You're Right took Apple even further. Produced by Jon Brion (who has worked with artists from Aimee Mann to Kanye West), it was even more mature and realized than the debut, adding moods and tones to her unique, finely-wrought style. The platinum-selling When the Pawn...topped numerous critics' lists as the best album of the year.
When Apple finished touring, though, she wasn't immediately compelled to start writing again. "I had little bits and pieces of songs that will lie around forever unless somebody gives me a kick in the ass," she says. "I don't really worry about it when I don't feel creative, because it always happens in seasons. Since I started playing piano, there would always be a year or two when I wouldn't play at all. Or there would be an art season, where it's not about making music but about making art. But when I'm not in it, I'm not in it, and I believe it's just as important to have those spells in your life. Everything contributes to what you produce."
She was, however, having weekly lunches with producer Brion. "Every now and then he'd ask, 'Are you writing anything?'," she says. "And I'd say no and change the subject. And then one time he was like, 'I think enough is enough-for you and for me, I want to work on something again.'"
And so, in 2002, with the songs and song fragments that she had, they began sessions at Ocean Way studios. Eventually operations moved to the Paramour in LA's Silver Lake region, and they continued working into 2003. But Apple was having trouble finding the album she wanted to make. "Because I was kind of cajoled into doing it," she says, "I didn't really know what I wanted to do. I started feeling panicky, like do I want to do this at all, be a part of this again? So I kind of mentally checked out of those sessions."
As Apple wrestled with her material, the next chapter in this saga unfolded when someone leaked the unfinished tracks to radio-after which they wound up on the Internet. "First it felt like somebody took my diary," Apple says. "And then I started thinking, now I'm never going to be able to do this the right way."
All the while, rumors were running rampant about the insidious reasons that this album wasn't being released. Apple has maintained all along, though, that such responsibility lies squarely with her. "The actual reason it didn't come out is that I wasn't satisfied with the way it was," she says. "I felt really bad because I wasn't really there to captain the ship. I didn't feel capable of doing it. So I left Jon to make all the decisions, and as a result it became more of a Jon Brion record. I still love that version of the album, I'm still proud of it, but I wouldn't have been able to live with myself if I didn't at least try to get to a place where I could make my own decisions about it."
Following the Internet leak, everyone retreated to their corners and tried to determine how best to proceed. Apple spent her days watching Columbo reruns and pondering her future. She got as far as applying for an internship with an organization in upstate New York that does occupational therapy with children, incorporating the use of farm animals. "I was really almost to the point where I was going to have a completely different kind of life," she says. "I was starting to get excited about starting over and figuring out what else I can do." Eventually, though, she was able to return to the studio and finish what she had started.
The key that unlocked the project's final sessions was the arrival of producer Mike Elizondo. Best known as Dr. Dre's right-hand music man, Elizondo is also an in-demand session bassist who has played with everyone from Sheryl Crow to Ry Cooder-he had even contributed to When the Pawn.... Elizondo had already presented some rough treatments for the new songs before the leak threw things out of kilter. "When he came in and played some of these skeletal tracks," Apple says, "I remember I was so excited, I called my dad. It made me feel so inspired. And I just know when things are right-I knew, this is how it's supposed to be, and finally it can happen the way it's supposed to happen."
And so, at last, the epic journey of Extraordinary Machine reached its conclusion. Even Fiona Apple, obviously not one who's easily satisfied, was delighted with the results. "There were a couple of things when I would go 'OK, it was worth all of the trouble to get to do it this way,'" she says. "The song 'Red Red Red' we totally took apart-it wasn't right on the first version, and I really wanted it to be right because that song is important to me, it really is exactly what goes on in my mind. Mike played his upright bass and I just went in and sang to that, and then it finally felt right. So OK, if it hadn't been for all this trouble, and I hadn't gotten myself into this mess, we would never have gotten that right."
One thing that never changed in all these years and all these configurations was the album's title-in fact, the title song is one of two tracks from the original Jon Brion sessions that remained on the album's final cut. "'Extraordinary Machine' really says how I feel about myself," says Apple. "I like it when I write a song that if somebody were to ask me a question like, 'how do you feel about yourself?' I could say, 'here.' I like songs that are like speeches or essays, that make a point very tidy and clear.
"I've always had this pet peeve," she continues, "it makes me physically ill when I see somebody looking at me with the worried eye. And I've gotten a lot of it my whole life-partly because, at any given time, I've always been the youngest person in the room. I always want to say to people, even when I'm not alright, I'm alright. My life has taken some pretty great turns, I've been through a lot, I've had some really low lows and some really high highs, but I get better all the time. Whatever people do to me or don't do to me, I want some credit here for being a pretty extraordinary machine. All these things you're trying to protect me from, I make something out of it. So I'm fine and please stop looking at me that way!"
A few other things remained intact through this album's long history, as well. The photograph on the cover is a picture that Apple took of a flower in her yard-"before we even started recording," she says, "I went, 'oh, that's what the cover is going to be.'" She adds that the sly, affirming "Waltz"-a testament to resisting pressure and staying in the moment-was the first song she wrote for this project, and that "I always knew it was going to be the last song on the album, even when I didn't know if I was going to have an album."
Not surprisingly, Apple expresses some apprehension about getting back into the touring cycle, but says she's excited to reconnect with the songs from her first two albums. "I love the idea of applying them to my life now, and I also love being able to dip back into where I was then," she says. At a recent performance at Largo, her favorite LA hang-out, Elizondo asked if she'd sing "I Know," When the Pawn...'s intimate, powerful closing song. "Man, did I go into an emotional place!," she says. "Everything takes on a new meaning and you can still feel the old meaning. It's really a great, alive feeling."
So what has Fiona Apple learned from the making of Extraordinary Machine? She's gained perspective on just where her music fits into her life. She's seen the passion and loyalty of her fans. From all the twists and turns this phase of her life has taken, she's learned, in the end, something like maturity-at least, her own, free-spirited version. "It all just proves that you can grow up and be a happier person and make good things," she says. "You don't have to suffer for it all the time. It's not like my inner basket case is absent, it's just that I've lived with it long enough that I can manage it now.
"I've had a surprisingly Zen feeling about this whole thing," she says. "I kind of always knew that it would work out somehow."