San Diego reggae band Tribal Seeds are rising stars in the landscape of California roots music. They have sharp, inspiring verses, solid stage presence, and vocals that melt. Both lead singers, Steven Jacobo and newly added E.N. Young, have that hypnotic, echoing vocal style similar to Harrison Stafford of Groundation.
With so many one-dimensional skank rhythms tying up the airwaves, it’s refreshing to hear a band that embraces melodic bass lines and off-the-wall keys. E.N. Young’s melodica performances practically steal the show. As was the case at California Roots Music & Arts Festival along with bringing up Rebelution’s lead singer, Eric Rachmany, Adam Taylor from Iration, and Kyle McDonald, singer/guitarist for Slightly Stoopid to sing “Vampire”, all while smokin’ a giant spliff.
Tribal Seeds are touring nationally with Slightly Stoopid and Atmosphere this summer. They play the Greek Theater in Berkeley July 19th.
Ever heard of Bulldog Media from Windsor? You have now – and you’ll most likely hear a lot more of them in the coming year. With 15 Bulldog Media crew members at Cali Roots Fest 2013, they were by far the most influential media presence on the ground. Check this Day 2 compilation video from five different “Bulldog” angles during Tribal Seeds’ “Vampire”.
She is known as the Queen of Rock n’ Roll. Rolling Stone Magazine called her one of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time. She’s hot, she’s vegan and she runs her own NYC-based record label Blackheart Records. Viva La Glam Rock!
“I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll” was originally by the Arrows but Jett’s version hit the stratosphere of classic rock anthems (Billboard number 1 in 1982). If she doesn’t win this year’s Rock And Rock Hall Of Fame nomination, you’ll be stoked you saw her before she becomes embossed in rock and roll gold.
If you avoid Top-40 on the radio and don’t tune into what’s left of MTV, you probably haven’t seen the music video for “Thrift Shop” by Seattle hip hop duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. Well here it is, and it’s good – its got nearly 300 million YouTube views for crying out loud.
“One man’s trash is another man’s come up”: they strut grandpa’s coats, jump racks of old blue jeans, and mock everyone in the club with matching $50 t-shirts. It’s an ode to the working class and a big overdue fuck you to capitalism. For all the materialistic lust of the early 2000’s, in post-recession times what else is there to do but hype the thrift shops?
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis perform the official opening night of BottleRock. If you already have a 3- or 4-day pass you can go for free, but you need to fill out the RSVP form to guarantee a ticket. They are asking for donations as little as $1 are requested to benefit Autism Chords and The City of Napa Parks and Recreation. And if you didn’t buy festival passes, tickets are only $40 (purchase them here) – definitely the most affordable show on the BottleRock bill.
From inside the dark, dingy dives of century-old buildings to the roof-top pool bars of boutique hotels, Mexican rockers Café Tacvba are played at least once every hour, of every day, somewhere in Mexico City. They are by far one of the most prolific bands of the “Spanish Rock” movement of the 1990’s. And with the same original members since starting in 1989, their sound is perfected experimental rock. If that makes any sense.
Five years after the release of their last album Sino, which won two Grammys for Latin song of the year, the band just came out with El Objeto Antes Llamado Disco (The Object Once Called An Album). The record is a pretty good look at the band’s sound over the last decade, including their classic mix of alt-rock with ska, electronica, and varieties of indigenous folk music of the Americas – you can hear the entire album here.
The New York Times once called Cafe Tacvba “one of the most important bands in the hemisphere. A smart, cosmopolitan band with a broad streak of lighthearted surrealism.”
Among many great tracks, one of their more famous songs is “Eres“, but this video of “Olita de Altamar” (2013) shows the eccentricity and spirit you can probably expect on stage at BottleRock.
If you need a reason to show up early to BottleRock on Saturday, Best Coast should help. If you’re still sleeping off a hangover or whatever, though, at least get there to see Sharon Van Etten. Her great 2012 album Tramp keeps blowing new listeners away,and she’s tremendous live.
Music is a funny thing, and you never know when it’s going to fuck you up. I wandered over to a side stage at Outside Lands last year and ran into Van Etten singing “I’m Wrong,” and just started crying, and I don’t know why.
Here’s footage of the same song, from New York City. Hang with it. It’s a slow build.
Once, I watched Robert Pollard from Guided by Voices go off on every “it” band of the moment in a typically drunk onstage rant. He lambasted the Strokes, Bright Eyes, Modest Mouse, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs (this was 2003) and, finally, Kings of Leon, whose name he spat out with disgust.
Then, good ol’ Pollard: he reconsidered. “Actually I kind of like Kings of Leon. Sorry.”
This had once held title as the greatest thing to happen in the band’s career, until 2010, when a flock of pigeons decided to shit all over the band in St. Louis, abruptly ending the show.
No, really, it’s true. Below is footage, and though you can’t make out actual aviary feces, you can check the drummer’s reaction at 1:12. After “Taper Jean Girl,” only the third song in the set, the band stormed off the stage and cut the show short.
I have a tattoo of this band, so that settles the personal affirmation of their greatness, right?
But, if you care, you can read my story of listening to and loving X that appeared in the Bohemian in 2005. Heavily influencing that love of X is the documentary ‘The Unheard Music,’ which is more than a band documentary—it’s just as much a perfect snapshot of Los Angeles history as those great “Driving Down Whittier Boulevard” videos.
And behold, someone’s posted the whole thing on YouTube. It’s great. Crack open a six-pack and watch:
Amidst the surge of folkie-indie-hipster songwriters that took hold of Americana music over the last three years, few are as authentic as The Avett Brothers. These North Carolina boys harmonize like they were born with it – which isn’t surprising since they’ve been doing it since they were kids.
Their 7th studio album, The Carpenter (produced by the infamous Rick Rubin), was released last year and soared to number 4 on the U.S. Billboard Charts after being nominated for a Grammy. While categorized as every sub-genre of folk rock you can image, the real element to their music is that sweet southern front-porch songwriting.
A YouTube quote by ScartonsmithIrving pretty much sums up their sound: “when the Avett brothers harmonize….someone, somewhere gets laid.”
Since they will be performing on the smaller Miner Family Winery Stage at BottleRock, this lovely performance of “I And Love And You” at Glastonbury Festival in 2010 is probably what you can expect. We hope they decorate the Miner stage with giant mushrooms as well.
Because rock and roll is what this festival is really all about, and because we haven’t seen this video since circa 1996, our second countdown pick is “She Talks To Angels” by The Black Crowes. Aside from the video’s awesomely grainy 1990s shadow play, the song defines a generation of melancholy rock star culture: it is supposedly about a heroin-goth dilettante that lead singer Chris Robinson once met in Atlanta. We really hope they play mostly the classics.
There is exactly one week remaining until the biggest music festival the North Bay has ever seen. In honor of the lucky concert-goers who are about to embark on a massive planning mission that will likely involve hours of calculated preparation to see as many bands as possible, we’ve decided to post some of our favorite studio and live recordings of the bands, art troupes and comedians you probably shouldn’t miss.
It’ll be impossible to highlight everyone scheduled to perform, but this unabashedly discerning (and totally subjective) must-see list should help guide you through the mind-blowing five days, 4 stages, and 60 bands at BottleRock this year. If anything, it will help ensure you don’t end up like these Coachella kooks.
Only because they are the best damn rock and roll band to come out of Ohio in the last decade, first on our BottleRock Countdown list is Akron duo The Black Keys. They just won three Grammy Awards for best rock album, best rock song, and best rock performance. There really isn’t a better reason to stop everything and get as close to the stage as possible. Check out this video of “Strange Times”, live at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland: