Festival Freak Summer 2014 Mixtape

I've discovered too much good new music the last few months to fit on a CD, so I've decided to make a mix for the modern age on Rdio. (In the past, this mix would have lived on MOG or Lala, alas those excellent music streaming services were bought and shuttered by Beats and Apple, respectively.)

This mixtape features tracks by Allen Stone, Nick Waterhouse, White Denim, Beck, Jeff Buckley, Joseph Arthur, WATERS, The War on Drugs, Caveman, A Million Billion Dying Suns, Blitzen Trapper, City and Colour, Broken Bells, Sam Roberts Band, Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, Ray LaMontagne, Sturgill Simpson, First Aid Kit, Arctic Monkeys, Spoon, Typhoon, Kurt Vile, Washed Out, Toro y Moi, Foxygen, Foals, Elbow, Damon Albarn, Wye Oak, The Clientele, Neil Finn, World Party, and Syd Arthur.

Nearly every one of these 34 tracks is off an album released in the last 12 months. Most were released this year. Most are by artists I've seen recently at Bonnaroo, Stern Grove, Phono Del Sol, The Chapel, Brick and Mortar Music Hall, The Independent, The Regency Ballroom, The Fox in Oakland, or Great American Music Hall. (Notable exceptions include tracks by Jeff Buckley and The Clientele.)

If you're interested in getting this mixtape in some other medium, hit me up on Twitter: @FestivalFreak.

Enjoy the music!

Sturgill Simpson Makes Classic Country Sound Cool

I can't say I've ever discovered an artist because of a headline on Salon.com, but that's exactly the case with Sturgill Simpson. The headline?

Sturgill Simpson is the Radiohead of country music:
Simpson's masterful new album may be the first truly modern country LP

Marissa Moss writes for Salon:

“Metamodern Sounds in Country Music” is a masterful work of musical experimentation, but it’s not revivalist: actually, it’s future-forward. Sure, it can be tempting to label it vintage-goes-bizarre, particularly the minute those pedal steel vamps swivel like a Southern version of a Rod Serling soundtrack – you’re traveling through another dimension, alright, and it’s nowhere near Music Row. But what it really is, if you strip away all the noise, is a truly modern offering. Sturgill Simpson isn’t the second coming of Waylon Jennings. He’s more likely on the path to becoming country music’s Radiohead.

Having listened to “Metamodern Sounds" a few times now, I can say that Marissa Moss overstates things a bit with the Radiohead comparison. In fact, if you check out the studio set Simpson performed at KEXP back in October 2013...

... it's hard to see Simpson as anything but the second coming of Waylon Jennings. And I mean that as a huge compliment.

So why the Radiohead comparison? Perhaps it's the lead track on the album, "Turtles All The Way Down." It's probably the trippiest country song I've ever heard.

Regardless, Moss's piece is well worth reading and Simpson's latest record is well worth listening to.

Thanks, Marissa and Salon, for getting my attention. And thanks Sturgill, for making classic country sound cool again.

2014 Phono del Sol Music Festival

I'm excited about catching Wye Oak, Thao & the Get Down Stay Down, and A Million Billion Dying Suns at today's 4th Annual Phono del Sol Music Festival in Potrero del Sol Park.

The music starts at 12:30pm and runs until 6:30pm. In addition to some great music, there will be all the things you've come to expect at Bay Area gatherings: food trucks, craft beers, and hipsters.

Tickets are still available: $25 in advance, $30 at the door.

In the meantime, get psyched by listening to this Phono Del Sol mixtape on Rdio: