Meet the counselors of Dirtybird Campout: Tennyson

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Dirtybird Campout, Southern California’s wildest adult summer camp, is preparing for its third installment this weekend, October 6-8. As has been established in its past editions, the campout will be packed with childhood nostalgia, scrumptious BBQ, and earth-shaking beats. Furthermore, this year will be its biggest yet, with a move to a larger venue at Lake San Antonio. Adding to the label’s nest of talent, acts like Amtrac, Coyu, and the Desert Hearts crew will be joining the house haven’s music lineup with more special guests still to be announced. Ahead of this weekend’s bonfire debauchery, we’ve teamed up with Dirtybird for an ongoing interview series spotlighting both the imprint’s own stars and the myriad of world-class artists on the concert’s bill.

Brother and sister act Tennyson represent a step outside the status quo when it comes to electronica. Hailing from Canada, the two wield their vast experience as musicians (they began as buskers) into their work with full blinders on toward whatever tropes are taking over the contemporary dance space. What results is rich, fluid bass music whose experimental flair involves everything from jazz to glitch elements. Their eclectic, yet avant-garde take on production has made them a well-loved act in the underground indie realm despite having only gotten started in 2013.  The past year in particular has been bountyful for Tennyson, with a remix signed to Fool’s Gold records and collaborations with Mr. Carmack under their belt, in addition to a brand new EP titled Uh Oh!, whose release is on the horizon.

Given Claude VonStroke’s outspoken love of the lower frequencies of music, it makes perfect sense that the fledgling duo were handpicked to appear at this year’s Dirtybird Campout. The two sat down to answer camping-related inquiries, as well as provide us with an inkling of what’s coming down their pipeline.

 

Tennyson

 

How long have you been performing for & how did you get your start?
Very first Tennyson performance was in 2013 around Christmas time. We had a jazz cover band before that so we had all the instruments we needed.

What was your first label release? Would you still play it?
Luke: The release at end of this month will be the first!

What has been the biggest breakthrough of your career?
Tess: Our first tour with Ryan Hemsworth was a huge step. The exposure from playing those shows got us a ton of new listeners, and we made a lot of great friends as well.
Luke: “Like What EP” changed a lot of things for us, it’s probably the reason we had fans in Asia and Europe.

If you could be another artist for a day, who would you pick?
Tess: Psy (Gangnam Style!)
Luke: Yeah, probably Psy too.

What are you looking forward to most about Dirtybird Campout?
Tess: I really love playing outdoor music festivals. There’s something nostalgic about sitting on dry grass and smelling trees while listening to music. I think it’s because when we were kids our parents took us to a lot of smaller outdoor music festivals so they will always have really nice warm vibes for me.
Luke: Kickball.

If you could recommend three artists to catch from the lineup, who would you pick?
Luke: Matthew Dear, Deebs, Justin Martin

What are three essential items you wouldn’t go camping without?
Tess: Three packs of tiny camping cereals.
Luke: Porlex, Aeropess, Coffee

Do you have a favorite (or funny) camping memory?
Tess: Our family attended this tiny music festival in Alberta when we kids and Luke and I both brought our best friends. We met all the other kids who were camping and when the sun went down we organized a massive game of hide-and-seek tag. I love the kid feeling of like hiding in the trees somewhere with your friends and catching your breath because you’ve been running and the whole time there’s been a band playing music in the background.

Watch Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong Play “Ordinary World” Solo On Fallon

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Green Day’s latest album Revolution Radio closes with the solo acoustic song “Ordinary World,” and late last year, frontman Billie Joe Armstrong went on Conan to play the song himself without the rest of the band. And last night, he did it again, bringing his acoustic guitar over to The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy … More »

Watch The Killers Cover The Gaslight Anthem In NYC

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The Killers just released their new album Wonderful Wonderful yesterday, and to celebrate, they played a concert at the New York City venue Terminal 5. The Killers shows often feature covers, and during last night’s set, the band played the Gaslight Anthem’s “American Slang” live for the first time. Watch their performance below. More »

Livestream Global Citizen Festival 2017

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Stevie Wonder is headlining Global Citizen Festival, the annual star-studded benefit concert that raises money to fight extreme poverty around the world, in New York City’s Central Park today. Green Day, the Killers, the Lumineers, and the Chainsmokers will also perform, and the show is set to feature special guest appearances from Pharrell Williams, Big … More »

Watch the 2017 Global Citizen Festival Live Stream, Featuring Stevie Wonder, the Killers, More

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Green Day, Pharrell Williams, Big Sean, Alessia Cara, more to perform

City Hearts captured: photos from CHLA show off the real magic of Desert Hearts [Gallery]

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City Hearts captured: photos from CHLA capture the real magic of Desert Hearts

Desert Hearts’ spring iteration passed by half a year ago, and festival season is coming to a close. This means that it’s officially time for Mikey Lion, Lee Reynolds, Marbs, and Porkchop to deliver their mantra of “house, techno, & love” as far as they can — and they’re doing just that. The core crew is right in the middle of their City Hearts “Take The Ride Tour,” which sees them traveling across the United States as well as global locations and providing loving audiences with a raucous party that carries their high spirit.

Their growth has been so vast as of late that 2017 has opened up a new chapter for the movement: an entire festival around City Hearts. Come November 12, LA will become the first city to receive the fledgling event, with all proceeds going to the homeless.

Those intrigued by the City Hearts festival can proceed onward for a gallery of the most recent City Hearts iteration at The Belasco theater in Los Angeles, where the joy ensuing that night is palpable through sheer imagery.

All photos courtesy of Jess Bernstein

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Metz – Strange Peace

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Back when Toronto three-piece Metz first unleashed their debut, self-titled album in 2012, it was like a tidal-wave had been unleashed. It had been some time since the legendary Sub Pop label had released something so ferocious (bar perhaps, Pissed Jeans) though it was quite clear why the band and label were a perfect match from the onset. Rarely this side of the millennium had such an explosively LOUD band bothered the ‘indie-mainstream’ bar acts like Fucked Up or Ice Age.

The hype was justified too as METZ was a terrific, bolt out of the blue debut. Since then, the Torontans ran a little out of steam on their follow-up, 2015’s II, which was a solid record but largely stuck to the winning formula before. Two years on, the band have a renewed sense of vigour, thanks in no small part to the legendary producer and reviver of many band’s careers, Steve Albini, on their third record Strange Peace.

Immediately, Albini’s presence is felt with his voice feeding through from the control room saying ‘You are rolling’ on the propulsive opener ‘Mess of Wires’, bringing his signature live drum sound to life. There is an expanse Albini naturally brings to all his recordings, it is why bands so regularly go to him for the kick up the ass they so often require after a couple albums into their careers.

Songwriting-wise however, this is par the course for Metz. These are still the fast-moving, shape-shifting, ear-splitting ragers we have come to expect from the Toronto trio, and if you are a fan of that already, this album will not disappoint. The thing is, a lot of Metz’s appeal is based on wishing Albini-alumni Nirvana were still an active band. ‘Cellophane’, for instance, has a catchy hook right out of Cobain’s playbook, with a similarly dissonant guitar solo to boot. ‘Mr. Plague’ is a sped up version of one of Krist Novoselic’s best moments in ‘Radio Friendly Unit Shifter’ while finale ‘Raw Materials’ at least borrows from the earl-Nineties alt-rock era’s other major influencers, Sonic Youth, during its middle section.

Still, without wanting to sound too harsh on this pretty great band, there are some interesting embellishments they bring when they slow down and take stock of themselves. The central two-piece ‘Caterpillar’ and ‘Lost in the Blank City’ rachet up the tension to excruciating quantities, better than they’ve perhaps ever done before in their career so far. ‘Drained Lake’ however brings out a dynamic the band sometimes forget about, going loud and quiet but never losing pace akin to some of the greats like NEU! or Can. Meanwhile, ‘Sink’ brings things to a rather creepy, almost Slint-esque head whereas ‘Common Trash’ is about as classic of a Metz song one could hope for, bent strings and all.

Metz are perhaps never going to quite shock and awe as they did with their volcanic debut, if you don’t know what they do by now then you can’t have heard them before. That said, full marks go, as usual, to Albini who breathes life into these often familiar songs to make them sound positively MASSIVE for a band who already had a pretty ‘big’ sound in the first place. Metz keep consistently ticking along and will always be a welcome addition to any year’s new releases, regardless of whether they’re the most original band in the world and Strange Peace does nothing to disavow that.

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Questlove, Aaron Dessner, El-P, More React to Death of Charles Bradley

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The soul giant died today following a battle with cancer

RIP: Charles Bradley

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From Charles Bradley’s camp:

It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of Charles Bradley.

Always a fighter, Charles battled cancer with everything he had. He was diagnosed with stomach cancer in the fall of 2016 and underwent treatment. Bradley headed out on the road earlier this year after receiving a clean bill of health but the cancer recently returned, spreading to his liver.

Born on November 5, 1948 in Gainesville, FL, Charles then moved to Brooklyn, NY at the age of 8. He lived across the country throughout his life including Maine, Alaska and two decades in the Bay Area before returning to New York City, his home for the last 20 years. Bradley passed away in Brooklyn on September 23, 2017, surrounded by family and friends including members of the bands he worked closely with: Menahan Street Band, His Extraordinaires, Budos Band and the Jimmy Hill Allstarz—his band from his time performing as Black Velvet.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the following organizations:
– All-Stars Project: https://allstars.org
– Music Unites: http://www.musicunites.org

Thank you for your prayers during this difficult time. Mr. Bradley was truly grateful for all the love he’s received from his fans and we hope his message of love is remembered and carried on.

Bradley’s dynamic and heartfelt live performances won over crowds across the world. He released his first album No Time For Dreaming (2011) at the age of 62, and Victim of Love in 2013. His third album Changes was released in 2016 to wide critical praise and performed on national television shows including The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Conan and CBS This Morning: Saturday—a performance that led to an Emmy nomination for “Outstanding On-Camera Musical Performance in a Daytime Program.”

Charles Bradley Dead At 68

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Soul singer Charles Bradley has died after being diagnosed with stomach cancer last year. Earlier this month, he was forced to cancel tour dates for treatment after learning that the cancer had spread to his liver. He was 68. More »