Best of 2013 Spotify Playlist

Posted: January 15, 2014 in Playlist
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I know we are already half way through January but its not too late to look back at the best songs of 2013 according to TheSystemOfSound.Com.  Listen here on Spotify.

Another Festival announcement.  This time of year is so exciting.  The Hangout Beach, Music and Arts Festival lineup has been announced for May 16-18, 2014 in Gulf Shores, AL.  Haven’t attended this one before but have to look into it this year.  What better place for a festival than the beach!  Starting to get an idea of what the festival circuit is going to look like this year and this one is pretty standard.  Not saying that it is not a great lineup, just no big surprises.  Good to know that Outkast is going to do the circuit this year so there is no need to deal with the craziness of Coachella to see them.  Also looks like Jack Johnson and Queens of the Stone Age are going to be at it all summer.  And you can never go wrong with The Black Keys and The Killers to round out the headliners.  Looking further down to the medium sized print Fitz and the Tantrums, Portugal. The Man, Flaming Lips and Capital Cities always entertain.  Then we get to the small print which is the most exciting for me.  I would definitely arrive early to see Amos Lee, Bastille, Black Lips, Bad Sun, and RDGLDGRN.  Finally, DO NOT MISS Robert DeLong who blew me away at the Life Is Beautiful Festival in Vegas last fall

Hangout Festival Lineup

The lineup is finally here!!  Vegas Seven Magazine just revealed the lineup for the Life is Beautiful Festival to be held October 26-27, 2013 in Downtown Las Vegas.  Headliners will be Kings of Leon along with local superstars The Killers.  Great job of supporting the local music scene by also including Imagine Dragons, up and comers Same Sex Mary, Rusty Maples, The Dirty Hooks, Kid Meets Cougar, and many more.  My personal highlight….Living Colour who I had been anxiously awaiting announcement of after a cryptic, teasing post on the Life Is Beautiful Facebook page mentioned the lyrics “Memories Can’t Wait”.  Yes I’m old.  I first saw Living Colour in 1990 at the Tower Theater in Philly.  Read a review here

Read the full article here

Full Lineup

Kings of Leon
The Killers
Beck
Imagine Dragons
Pretty Lights
Empire of the Sun
Passion Pit
Jurassic 5
Childish Gambino
STS9
Purity Ring
Big Gigantic
Portugal. The Man
Danny Brown
Dawes
Earl Sweatshirt
Andrew McMahon
The Joy Formidable
Charli XCX
Living Colour
Allen Stone
Capital Cities
Haim
Youngblood Hawke
Twenty One Pilots
ZZ Ward
Poolside
Family of the Year
Robert Delong
Five Knives
Cayucas
Cosmic Suckerpunch
Knocked Up Kids
Moondog Matinee
Shalvoy Music
Most Thieves
Rusty Maples
Kid Meets Cougar
Same Sex Mary
Beau and the Outfit
DJ 88
The Dirty Hooks
American Cream
Sabriel
Crazy Chief
DJ Supra
A Crowd of Small Adventures
HaleAmano
Jordan Kate Mitchell
DJ Zo
Albi Loves Chicken Tenders

Music festival fans in Vegas have been waiting anxiously for the lineup announcement for the inaugural Life Is Beautiful Festival in Downtown Las Vegas October 26-27, 2013.  Well we may not know who is playing yet but we do know that we will find out on June 4 as teased in the below video posted on their YouTube site.  We do know that there will be more than 50 bands ranging from past festival headliners to up and coming national acts to local favorites playing at various locations surrounding the historic Fremont St.  Knowing LIB festival founder, Rehan Choudhry, and Head of Music and Live Performances, Craig Nyman, you can trust me when I say that you will not be disappointed.

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A great big Thank You from Las Vegas to Coachella for expanding to cover two weekends  Cosmopolitan, House of Blues, The Joint, and the Hard Rock Cafe should be commended for taking advantage of so many great bands stuck in the area for the week by combining to host 10 straight days of No-Chella shows featuring these bands.  Just like being at a music festival, fans in Vegas are forced to make some difficult decisions between bands playing in the same time slot.  Last night that decision was between Foals and The Neighbourhood at House of Blues vs. Yeah Yeah Yeahs at the Boulevard Pool at Cosmopolitan.  Despite my current obsession with Foals and their new album Holy Fire, I opted for Yeah Yeah Yeahs after watching the somewhat boring Foals performance at Coachella streamed live on YouTube.  I was not disappointed with that decision.  The nearly packed house was treated to an energetic set that included all of their hit songs as well as new cuts off of their upcoming fourth album, Mosquito, due out 4/16/2013.  A sign of a great performance is when even the side stage ultra-VIP area is shaking from all of the dancing and bouncing and singing along.  One thing I definitely learned is that lead singer Karen O is crazy.  I mean that in the most complimentary eccentric rock star lead singer way possible.  From her bright red, bedazzled, tassled outfit to her various scarves, head coverings and miner’s headband spotlight to her yoga-like twisting and bending ending up on the floor dance moves topped off with her mic jammed into her cleavage before being deep throated to get the most out of her guttaral screams (deep breath taken).  If that over the top run-on sentence description isn’t enough to make you fall in love then you are not a true rock n roll fan.  A random stranger asked on the way into the show if I was a big Yeah Yeah Yeahs fan.  My response was that I liked them and knew some songs but wouldn’t consider myself a “big fan”.  I would like to retract that answer and now say that I am a Huge fan and am already anxiously awaiting their next Vegas appearance which I hope Karen O will once again proclaim “Best. Vegas. Show. Ever!”

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The first single off the upcoming Yeah Yeah Yeahs album Mosquito

I have always had a soft spot in my heart for bands that play hip-hop over live instruments.  Combine a smooth hip-hop flow with heavy rock/alternative/punk music and you get yourself a fan who will even write about your new album in his music blog.  Washington, D.C. based RDGLDGRN (pronounced Red Gold Green) has done just that on their new Red Gold Green EP.  Although RDGLDGRN’s sound is not quite as unique as they seem to think (see Gym Class Heroes), it does successfully combine their eclectic mix of influences which includes The Beatles, Vampire Weekend, Outkast and Bad Brains.  This sound has already caught the attention of music heavyweights Dave Grohl and Pharrell Williams who contributed to Red Gold Green during its recording at the legendary Sound City Studios.  Pharrell co-wrote and co-produced the track “Doing the Most” while Grohl was so impressed that he decided to play drums on all four tracks.  You can catch them this summer on the Van’s Warped Tour.

Spotify has just released the exclusive “The Soundtrack of My Life” playlist created by Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee, Legendary Music Industry Executive Clive Davis as an accompaniment to his recently released memoir of the same title.  What makes this different from other celebrity playlists is that each song is preceded by audio commentary by Davis himself explaining the significance and facts about the songs.  Did you know that Barry Manilow’s “Mandy” was originally an upbeat song titled “Brandy” that was changed because they wanted to release it as a single but there were 2 other singles titled “Brandy” out at the time.  Or that Clive Davis had to re-write the lyrics to Air Supply’s “All Out of Love” because the original contained too many Australian terms that the American audience wouldn’t understand.  The 20 songs themselves are a greatest hits of music collection by artists from Janis Joplin, Bruce Springsteen and Dionne Warwick to TLC, Puff Daddy and Alicia Keys that makes great listening even without the commentary.

Spotify playlists are proof that the Mix Tape is not dead.  Everybody should create their own “Soundtrack To My Life” playlist.  Mine already has 340 songs and each has a related story that I could tell about how I saw it performed entirely by the audience because the PA system crashed (Jane’s Addiction – “Jane Says”) or how I saw it performed on a street corner by an, at the time, unknown band who would win a Grammy 10 years later (The Roots – “Pass The Popcorn”) or how when I was in high school and feeling depressed I would pick myself up by putting on head phones and turning it up so loud that I’m surprised I still have my hearing (Metallica – “One”).  Cheers to Spotify for coming up with new ideas and this exclusive content that gives more reasons for people to subscribe.  Let’s hope that they continue to work with artists and other important people in music to create more of these “Storytellers” type commentary filled playlists.  And if they’re reading this I’m ready to create commentary for all 340 of my songs in the “Soundtrack To My Life”.  You know where to find me

Clive Davis’ “The Soundtrack of My Life” with commentary

My “Soundtrack To My Life” (Sorry no commentary yet)

On February 4, 2013 music lost an amazing and influential artist.  Jazz Master trumpeter Donald Byrd has passed at the age of 80.   You don’t think you know who Donald Byrd is?  Well I bet you do even if you are not a jazz fan.  His music has been sampled in over 100 hip-hop songs including Nas “NY State of Mind” and A Tribe Called Quest “Footprints”.  He has performed in traditional jazz, acid jazz, R&B, soul and hip hop groups.  He has performed with all of the jazz greats and was a teacher and mentor to artists such as Herbie Hancock.  Byrd began playing his hard bop style of trumpet in the 1950s and continued as a performer, band leader and producer for almost 60 years.  In the 1970s he adapted to the changing face of music and started the jazz-fusion, R&B group The Blackbyrds along with some of his students from Howard University with whom he had a Grammy nominated hit song “Walking in Rhythm”.  Admittedly I did not become a fan of Byrd until his 1993 collaboration with Guru on the album Jazzmatazz Vol. 1 playing a sweet trumpet backing to Guru’s smooth rap on “Loungin'”.  Byrd was an extremely well educated man who knew the importance of sharing his knowledge through teaching.  He had an undergraduate degree from Wayne State University, a Master’s degree from Manhattan School of Music, and both a law degree and doctorate in teaching from Columbia University.  Throughout the years he taught at more than 10 colleges including Cornell University, Rutgers University where he was the first jazz teacher, and Howard University where he founded the jazz program.  Although he is no longer with us, his legacy will live on through his own music as well as his influence on so many other artists (and samples in their songs).  I encourage you to spend some time exploring his works.

If you’re like me and don’t want to deal with the craziness of Coachella you can stay right here in Vegas and catch some of the highlight bands playing at The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas during the Spring Concert Series (I prefer the unofficial name No-Chella) April 10-20, 2013.  Currently 7 nights of shows and 13 bands are booked.  We can only assume (hope) that one more big name (Lumineers? Jurassic 5? Modest Mouse? Gaslight Anthem?) is added to the currently open Saturday of the first weekend.  Show I’m most excited for: Of Monsters and Men with Local Natives.  Great job Cosmo.  You’re giving us hope for a solid summer lineup

4/10 – Phoenix with Mac Demarco @ Boulevard Pool
4/11 – New Order with Johnny Mar @ Boulevard Pool
4/12 – Vampire Weekend with Tanlines @ Boulevard Pool
4/17 – Of Monsters and Men with Local Natives @ Boulevard Pool
4/18 – Hot Chip with Four Tet @ Boulevard Pool
4/19 – Postal Service @ Chelsea Ballroom
4/20 – Band of Horses with Jake Bugg @ Boulevard Pool

It’s difficult for me to call The Mowgli’s new music because I have known them for quite a while as a part of The Collective CA along with my friends and family The Jane Does and D. Hollywood.  Although their debut EP Love’s Not Dead (Listen on Spotify) was released in fall 2012 they are just now starting to break out.  If you’re from the Bay Area you may know their single “San Francisco” as the unofficial theme song of the San Francisco Giants 2012 World Series run.  Soon many more of you will know them as they have been added to the SiriusXM Alt Nation rotation.  Expect to see them fly up the Alt-18 Countdown chart in the next few weeks.  They are playing fun, folk pop at the right time to follow in the successful footsteps of bands like Grouplove, Edward Sharpe, and Ball Park Music.  They also recently released the official video for “San Francisco” and they kick off a US tour along with Family of the Year on March 23 at the Spring Jam Music Fest in Charleston, SC.  Don’t be surprised to see their summer filled with appearances on the festival circuit.  If you want some happy feel good music, support the band by picking up their album and buying your concert tickets now.  And while you’re at it, check out the rest of the great The Collective CA bands.

Check out The Mowgli’s Spring Tour Dates here.  Let’s hope for a Vegas addition soon!