Raleigh Plays Musical Hopscotch, Plus A Festival Update

You can imagine the excitement that shot through WM headquarters when the lineup for Raleigh’s Hopscotch Music Festival was announced. This event is in the mold of South By Southwest in that bands will perform at multiple venues in the heart of the city, and it looks like an amazing time. The headliners – Broken Social Scene, Public Enemy, and Panda Bear – will perform along with selected others at Raleigh City Plaza, the new downtown promenade that opened late last year. The lucky locals that get to warm up for the big guys are The Love Language and The Rosebuds, both of whom definitely deserve the added attention.

Venues for the festival will include The Pour House Music Hall,The Berkeley Cafe, Deep South the Bar, Five Star, The Hive at Busy Bee, Kings, Lincoln Theatre, Raleigh City Plaza, Slim’s and Tir Na Nog. Here’s the rest of the lineup!

Tortoise, Megafaun, No Age, Collections of Colonies of Bees, Fucked Up, 9th Wonder & Friends, Active Child, All Tiny Creatures, American Aquarium, Americans in France, Atlas Sound, Balmorhea, Bear in Heaven, Best Coast, Birds of Avalon, Black Congo NC, DJ George Brazil, Brutal Knights, Richard Buckner, Burning Star Core, Cannabis Corpse, Caitlin Cary’s Small Ponds with Tres Chicas, Cults, Greg Davis, Double Dagger, Double Negative, The Dynamite Brothers, EAR PWR, ExMonkeys, First Rate People, Followed by Static, Ben Frost, Future Islands, Golden Boys, The Golden Filter, Goner, Gray Young, Ryan Gustafson, Hammer No More the Fingers, Harlem, Harvey Milk, Horseback, John Howie Jr. & The Rosewood Bluff, I Was Totally Destroying It, Javelin, Jeb Bishop Trio, Juan Huevos, Kill the Noise, The Kingsbury Manx, Kooley High, Kylesa, The Light Pines, Lonnie Walker, Lucero, Luego, Max Indian, Erin McKeown, Midtown Dickens, The Moaners, The Monologue Bombs, Motor Skills, Mountains, Jon Mueller, Marissa Nadler, Ocean, Old Bricks, Pattern Is Movement, Pictureplane, Plague, Pontiak, Schooner, Sightings, spcl gst, Spider Bags, Thien, Tigercity, Treasure Fingers, US Christmas, Sharon Van Etten, Veelee, Vincent Black Shadow, War on Drugs, Washed Out, Weedeater, Whatever Brains, Keith Fullerton Whitman, Yip-Yip. More bands will be announced on April 12th. This Facebook posting has some interesting quotes and insight from the organizers.

Remember the Wakarusa Interstellar Meltdown page we highlighted a few weeks ago? They’ve gone and made it pretty and full of info. Looks like Ott, Mark Farina, James Izabella, Lotus, Boombox, Future Rock, and others will be playing a pair of stages at the event.

Oh, Osheaga – we want to go to you. The Montreal festival announced its lineup about a week ago. As previously reported here, Arcade Fire and Pavement will headline, along with Weezer, and the best of the rest includes Metric, The National, Deadmau5, The Black Keys, Stars, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Jimmy Cliff, Beach House, Blitzen Trapper, and Chromeo.

April 5th and 6th will be eventful, as our big crushes Lollapalooza and Mile High announce their lineups, so be sure to check back with us!

Wounded Messenger’s Top 10 Albums of 2009

Well, it’s that time of year again, where everyone from Rolling Stone to your neighbor’s pet iguana is unleashing a yearly “best of” list. As far as my list of the year’s best albums is concerned, this year is different in a couple of ways.

First, I don’t think 2009 was as aesthetically impressive as 2008 in terms of albums. Last year, my top 10 included TV On The Radio, Beck, MGMT, Blitzen Trapper and Plants and Animals, among others. This year’s crop, while amazing, lacks some of the “wow” factor of 2008’s group. But the quality of the music is equal – maybe even superior – even if the names and instant recognition are not.

Second, I haven’t heard as many albums this year as I did in 2008. While there’s little that could be done about that, what with the whole “real life” thing interfering with my ability to listen to every mildly-hyped release, this list is slightly less informed than some.  But indulge me anyway, if you will, for my favorite ten albums of the year in random order.

-Andrew Bird – Noble Beast – Revealing, intricate, scatterbrained, and gorgeous.

-Dave Matthews Band – Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King (review) – The band’s triumphant return to great songs, not just good songs.

-SeepeopleS – Apocalypse Cow Vol. 2 (review) –
Will Bradford again proves to be one of the world’s most criminally ignored musical talents.

-Circlesquare – Songs About Dancing and Drugs (review) – A woozy, shoegazey period piece for the still-young millennium.

-Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion (review) – A once in a lifetime work that made a million music critics swoon this year.

-Charles Spearin – The Happiness Project (review) – Aptly titled, this album is what happens when the world of music orbits tantalizingly and satisfyingly close to the world of art.

-Five Peace Band – Live (review) – Jazz in our present age doesn’t get any more virtuosic, expressive or explosive than this all-star collaboration.

-Emeralds – What Happened (review) – An example of thought-provoking, modern instrumental music so rare and pure that it belongs in a museum.

-M. Ward – Hold Time (review) – Great songs – now what to do with them? Ward finds perfect sonic companions for his words on every track of this masterpiece.

-Wilco – Wilco (The Album) – A routinely fantastic flourish to end an unforgettable decade of music from the veteran band.

Here are the last 5 albums I deleted from my master list, or, honorable mentions:

-The Phenomenal Handclap Band – The Phenomenal Handclap Band (review)
-Sondre Lerche – Heartbeat Radio (review)
-David Bazan – Curse Your Branches
-Monsters of Folk – Monsters of Folk
-Portugal the Man – The Satanic Satanist

2009 was an insane year for music and it shows in the diversity of this list. Only one round of year-end celebration to go, and I’ll be posting my favorite 101 albums of the decade tomorrow!

The Messenger at Bonnaroo – Festival Schedule Available

Bonnaroo is just over a month away, and now that the schedule is available, it’s as good of a time as any to let you know that I will be attending the festival and providing updates numerous times per day.

Eventually, there will be a Wounded Messenger Twitter feed, which I will use to keep you updated on what music I’m seeing, post setlists, and bring you some of the festival atmosphere. On the blog, I’ll be doing daily wrap-ups, posting photos, and maybe even posting some audio or video interviews with artists!

When it’s all said and done, I’ll be bringing you an in-depth review of the whole experience, with photos and detailed remembrances of the event. You can see my two most recent Bonnaroo reviews here : 20082007.

So…now that you know where to come for Bonnaroo updates, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the schedule and who you’re going to see!

On Thursday, I’m excited to hear some bands that I will be hearing for the first time, like Hockey, The Zac Brown band, and Portugal. The Man. Friday holds the possibility, with a little fortuitous scheduling, that I might be able to catch a little of Public Enemy’s set during Phish’s setbreak…if a setbreak even happens. I’m also hoping to see Kaki King, Animal Collective and TV on the Radio on Friday.

Saturday, I can’t miss Wilco – I have been waiting a very long time to see them! I’m also looking forward to my first Nine Inch Nails show. Sunday afternoon is a jam-packed time that will have me running all over the place before the Phish fest closer. I hope to see Merle Haggard, Andrew Bird, Okkervil River, and Snoop Dogg, and they are all playing at basically the same time. That’s what makes Bonnaroo so great!

I’m looking forward to bringing you some of the most up-to-the-minute coverage possible this year! Bonnarooooo!

Depeche Mode, Tool, Killers Lead Lollapalooza Lineup

Grant Park

Chicago’s Grant Park will once again host Lollapalooza, which takes place August 7-9, 2009. This year’s headliners – Depeche Mode, Tool, and The Killers – are hardly the main attraction, as the event features dozens of worthwhile bands for less than 200 bucks.

One look at the schedule, posted below, reveals some heavyweight bands that weigh in just under headliner status. Kings of Leon, Beastie Boys, Lou Reed, and Jane’s Addiction stand out as non-headliners that will draw huge crowds. Beyond the biggest names, the lineup offers a slew of top talent, such as The Decemberists, Of Montreal, Animal Collective, Band of Horses, Andrew Bird, Ben Folds, TV on the Radio, Fleet Foxes, Dan Auerbach, and Silversun Pickups. Those bands are enough to make any weekend fantastic, and the surface of the lineup is barely scratched – great acts like Manchester Orchestra, The Greencards, and Portugal. The Man lurk even further down the list.

Also of great interest will be the festival’s DJ sets, which will include a special Animal Collective DJ set along with performances from MSTRKRFT, Bassnectar, Simian Mobile Disco, and Kid Cudi.

Lollapalooza 2009 Lineup:

* Depeche Mode
* Tool
* The Killers
* Jane’s Addiction
* Beastie Boys
* Kings of Leon
* Lou Reed
* Ben Harper and Relentless7
* Thievery Corporation
* Snoop Dogg
* Rise Against
* Andrew Bird
* TV on the Radio
* Vampire Weekend
* The Decemberists
* Neko Case
* STS9 (Sound Tribe Sector 9)
* Animal Collective
* Band of Horses
* Of Montreal
* Arctic Monkeys
* Coheed and Cambria
* Ben Folds
* Fleet Foxes
* Silversun Pickups
* Kaiser Chiefs
* Crystal Castles
* Bon Iver
* Santigold
* Atmosphere
* Dan Auerbach
* Cold War Kids
* Deerhunter
* Lykke Li
* Robert Earl Keen
* Peter Bjorn and John
* Heartless Bastards
* Gomez
* Glasvegas
* Federico Aubele
* Dan Deacon
* Passion Pit
* Zap Mama
* The Raveonettes
* The Gaslight Anthem
* The Airborne Toxic Event
* White Lies
* Ra Ra Riot
* No Age
* Asher Roth
* Los Campesinos!
* Bat For Lashes
* Chairlift
* Gang Gang Dance
* The Virgins
* Amazing Baby
* Portugal. The Man
* The Knux
* Ida Maria
* Delta Spirit
* Friendly Fires
* Manchester Orchestra
* Constantines
* Ezra Furman & The Harpoons
* Hockey
* Miike Snow
* Alberta Cross
* Hey Champ
* Sam Roberts Band
* The Henry Clay People
* Davy Knowles and Back Door Slam
* Cage the Elephant
* Living Things
* The Low Anthem
* Blind Pilot
* Langhorne Slim
* Other Lives
* The Builders and The Butchers
* Eric Church
* Joe Pug
* Kevin Devine
* The Greencards
* Carney
* Thenewno2

And spinning at PERRY’S
* Bassnectar
* Simian Mobile Disco
* Deadmau5
* Boys Noize
* KiD CuDi
* Crookers
* A-Trak
* Hercules and Love Affair (DJ Set)
* The Bloody Beetroots (DJ Set)
* LA Riots
* Kaskade
* The Glitch Mob
* Hollywood Holt
* Rye Rye
* He Say, She Say
* Car Stereo (Wars)
* Dark Wave Disco
* Moneypenny
* Yello Fever
* Animal Collective (DJ Set)

Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion

Few and far between are albums like Merriweather Post Pavilion (CDMP3) – albums that vehemently deny easy categorization, but possess enough mass appeal to become revered and beloved. Animal Collective brilliantly combines freakish waves of psychedelia with tuneful, hooky vocals and beats, making the Baltimore band’s eighth studio album the closest, purest example of truly revolutionary pop music in this decade.

Animal Collective - Merriweather Post PavilionThey somehow manage to make touchstones out of their influences – which range from the flower-child pop of the 1960’s and decades worth of experimental music to the symphonic barrage of modern bands like Broken Social Scene and Arcade Fire – without aligning themselves with any particular musical camp. The sound of Merriweather Post Pavilion is expressly theirs, unmistakable and sublimely unique, conspicuous among the hordes of bands that surface every year.

Songs like “My Girls” and “Summertime Clothes” encapsulate the band’s sonic synthesis, with blatantly trippy backdrops that warble and wander alongside deliciously catchy vocals and uplifting rhythms. “Also Frightened” displays a the band’s relentless sense of aural overload, as skittering synthesized sounds, off-kilter time signatures, and dreamy, echoing harmonies combine to create a style that rests in the enormous valley between Brian Wilson’s layered pop sound and Brian Eno’s collage-like constructions.

There’s plenty of interesting territory in that valley. Each song employs increasingly wild varieties of sonic fauna, and it seems that no specimen is used twice during the album, which allows each unique sound to have the greatest impact. Songs build to dizzying crescendos while primary vocalist Avey Tare sends ghostly, prophetic proclamations along the listener’s spine, often conjuring memories of The Beatles’ more sinister lyrical moments. When he’s in the throes of mind-expanding questions such as “am I really all the things that are outside of me?”, it’s easy to mistake music for mantra.

Rhythmically, Merriweather Post Pavilion is relentlessly satisfying, insistent and hypnotic without being heavy-handed or repetitive. Inexplicable sounds sizzle and pop at just the right times, like the hissing stabs and cascading swells in “Daily Routine.” These moments prove that even when they’re going way out there, Animal Collective are uncannily tuned in to what works for the end user.

Merriweather Post Pavilion proves that musical “chops” are not always the key to making good music. There’s so much succinctly expressed drama, atmosphere, and emotion here that their admittedly average musical abilities never enter into the equation. There may not be enough verbiage to describe how addictive this sound is. You’ll simply say “more, please” after hearing this album, which is a lock to reside among the greatest accomplishments of the year and perhaps the decade.