The festival concert is an interesting beast. They beguile you with their attractive band list (which look oh-so-impressive on the back of a t-shirt), their free-spirited collective nature between music lovers (slash, mass gathering of musical hippies/hipsters), and the promise of an excellent juxtaposition of genres. Although, there’s always another side. Between ferocious heat, growling crowds, and overpriced couscous, the three-day festivals bite back with a vengeance. Perhaps after a few different festivals, one acquires a sense of what they want over the course of the musical extravaganza, and not all of these expectations can be met. A few quick notes about Primavera Sound:

The setting: Fórum, by the Mediterranean Sea in Barcelona, Spain. The gusts of salty breeze were refreshing, but didn’t compensate for the lack of luscious grass as at Coachella or the abundant shade at Chicago’s Lollapalooza. Pavement ground covered with empty beer cups and cigarette butts just isn’t the same. Although the side program held in Parc Joan Miró – in an oasis of palm trees and a more personal feel with the band – was a different story.

The timing: Aside from the side-program, the shows didn’t start until the late afternoon/early evening. Likely, this is to avoid the stifling heat of the midday. That, and the Spaniards do things late (DJ Medhi’s set started at 4:30am!). I have mixed feelings about this. While I prefer the nighthawk approach, I think it leads to a tighter schedule with very unfortunate show overlap. On that note…

The scheduling: Oh God, why? Why were The Pains of Being Pure of Heart playing the same time as Carsick Cars, who were cut short by My Bloody Valentine? Gang Gang Dance with Sonic Youth? (Sarah’s personal nightmare). Andrew Bird and Phoenix? Deerhunter with my only opportunity to eat during the night? Sigh. It happens every time.

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— , June 8, 2009    10 Comments

Dan Deacon

Hey y’all. It’s been a while since my last mixtape but I promise this one is wicked awesome to make up for the past few months. I’ve been busy with final exams and…graduating. So, if you’ve graduated, this is in dedication to you! And if not, it’s in dedication to you anyways! To summer and adventures! Let’s celebrate! In the words of ‘Ye: “Yes, barely pass any and every class, looking at every ass, cheated on every test. I guess this is my dissertation. Homie this shit is basic, so welcome to graduation! Get on down!”

DownloadWelcome to Graduation Mixtape

Pet Shop Boys

01 | Pet Shop Boys – Did You See Me Coming?

Despite the fact that Yes is Pet Shop Boys 10th studio album, they show no signs of slowing down powering out hits like this one. The entire album is great to listen to and ranks right up with their previous release Fundamental that gave synth pop a new face of minimalism. This track destroys the dance floors and will be Pet Shop Boys’ next single from Yes!

Röyksopp

02 | Röyksopp – The Girl and the Robot

Aaaah how we all love Puffball Mushroom (way to represent in costume Torbjørn)! Junior is an album that slightly moves away from the more downtempo ambient tendencies of Melody A.M. and the Understanding with songs like ‘Happy Up Here’, ‘Tricky Tricky’, ‘Vision One’, and this one, ‘The Girl and the Robot’. Watch the video for the latter below. It totally kicks ass and gets me excited for a potential Röyksopp tour…if the stage set up is anything like the one in the video, I will be so stoked! I love Robyn too, she knows how to shake it.

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— , May 25, 2009    3 Comments

Primavera es está en el aire, spring is in the air.  In Spain, anyway. (Thanks for Marc for the correction… clearly, my Spanish still has a ways to go!) Considering the pilgrimage to Coachella was a bit unmanageable this year, my summer concert festival will be Barcelona’s Primavera Sound 2009. The three-day tunesfest takes place may 28 to 30 (next week) and features a indie-packed international crew that will make your head spin. There are few names on the playbill that we haven’t yet spun here at Ca Va Cool, (as well as some old classics) so I thought I would do the honours and throw the records in the jukebox for all to hear. And, there’s a selection of favourites for good measure.

Download | Primavera Sound Festival 2009 Preview

girls-2

01 | Girls – Lust for Life / Lust for Life EP / 2009

Talk about an ingenious way to prevent pirating: Band name = Girls. EP name = Lust for Life. Search results = sketchy. I’m not even sure how to buy this EP, owing to my fear of opening any of the Google hits. But this track holds a lot of promise for the San Francisco group; irony, clarity, and levity. If anyone discovers the proper way to buy this album, comment away.

a-certain-ratio

02 | A Certain Ratio – Teri / Mind Made Up / 2008
03 | A Certain Ratio – Do the Du / Do the Du 12” / 1981

One of the original Factory Records post-punk bands, A Certain Ratio were featured in one of the best music movies ever, 24 Hour Party People. While maybe not explicitly named as one of the forerunners in the Madchester scene, they followed the wave by making the move into house music. Their most recent releases have been more-or-less modernized versions of their original sound, with some exceptions (like the dreamy ‘Teri’ included here).

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— , May 23, 2009    5 Comments

The National

So, I read Pitchfork a lot.  And by a lot I of course mean daily.  And by daily I of course mean whenever my Profs become less than adequately engaging.  Thus, I get a lot of my musical stylings from Pitchfork recommendations, especially the ‘Best New Music’ list.  However, on occasion, it’s difficult to cut through the hype to see which records are actually worth spinning and which records are simply getting positive reviews because the writer knows a guy who knows a guy who robs a guy who plays in, say, Vampire Weekend (although I’m really getting into their demos).  As Ca Va Cool Contributor / Headmaster / Generalissimo Dan suggested, I will be attempting today to cut through the hype with a clear head, open ears, and biting satirical wit.  I will be giving you guys the top three records from 2007 that deserved the Pitchfork hype, and the top three records from 2007 that did not deserve the Pitchfork hype.

Records that Deserved the Hype:

The National – Boxer

Put simply, I think that this is one of the great records of this decade, taking a place alongside Is This It?, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, Elephant, Turn On The Bright Lights, etc. etc. (you can insert your record of choice here to avoid argument).  On Boxer, Matt Berninger crafts intensely personal stories in a more understated manner than on Alligator.  However, what Berninger loses in ‘jaw drop factor’ he makes up for in understated beauty and one of the most accurate accounts of modern American life yet put to vinyl.  Further, Boxer features beautiful orchestral arrangements that complement the band’s instrumentation while never overshadowing it.  I could continue on for pages upon pages, but I won’t.  I will simply ask you to pick up this record as soon as possible (get yourself a Christmas gift, you deserve it).

The National – Brainy

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— , December 16, 2007    7 Comments