To follow last year’s strong lineup at the annual indie-leaning weekend gathering, FYF Fest (now in its fifth year in Los Angeles’ State Historic Park) once again boasts one of the best festival lineups of the year. While not near the scale of neighboring California mega fests like Indio’s Coachella and SF’s Outside Lands, the LA festival has once again managed to book an extremely high quality array of artists currently boasting strong and current records to be proud of. This year’s lineup is a who’s who of bands with new albums that will likely land on my personal Best of 2013 list and most importantly, talented acts with a live pedigree to match their creative studio outputs. Finally, at around $100 for a weekend pass, this event is one of the best bangs for your buck on the festival landscape this year. Check out ten songs worth looking forward to this this weekend in downtown LA.
CHARLES BRADLEY “STRICTLY RESERVED FOR YOU” (5:10 SATURDAY – CARRIE STAGE)
When the Screaming Eagle of Soul says he’s “got the love strictly reserved for you,” he means YOU. Perhaps no artist touring in 2013 possesses a more genuine and emotional connection with his fans and Mr. Bradley’s inclusion in the FYF lineup this year gives this fest a bit more of a regal appeal. Although, despite his age, endless wisdom and experience as a performer, Charles is still not quite a ‘veteran’ of the festival circuit just yet, but he’s already undoubtedly established himself as soul royalty and a can’t-miss at every festival he graces. Make a stop at the Carrie Stage on Saturday afternoon, your spirit will thank you.
TORO Y MOI “STUDIES” (6:10 SATURDAY – CHARLOTTE STAGE)
Given the timing of Toro’s set, things will begin to cool down and this track from his latest Anything In Return LP has a captivating and insistently soothing vibe to it that should play well as the scorching downtown sun begins to set. With Toro Y Moi and Washed Out on the bill this year, it’ll be interesting to compare these two major frontrunners of chillwave side-by-side at FYF. During a set to likely feature an entirely built out, full band sound, seeing this brief and luxurious soliloquy would provide a peaceful momentary contrast.
DEVENDRA BANHART “FüR HILDEGARD VON BINGEN” (7:25 SATURDAY – CHARLOTTE STAGE)
A song about a medieval feminist that also just happens to be on a short list of the best songs I’ve heard all year. This one kind of comes out of left field for the eccentric folk artist and honestly, without researching and wasting the time to Google it, I can say with confidence that this is the only song about an 11th Century saint becoming an MTV VJ. Very much looking forward to seeing Banhart live for the first time in at least a half-decade.
“Now she’s leaving congregation / the abbey’s suffocation / she’s been dreaming revocation / from the nasty regulations / now she’s working at the station / as a VJ on rotation”
TV ON THE RADIO “CAFFEINATED CONSCIOUSNESS” AND ANY NEW SONGS FROM FORTHCOMING LP (9:15 PM SATURDAY – CARRIE STAGE)
This driving and percussive rocker with a monster riff exudes the more furious side of TVOTR than some of the funkier fare from Dear Science. The band also has a new tune called “Mercy” that should pop up during the set. Expecting this to be one of the peak sets of the entire weekend.
KURT VILE AND THE VIOLATORS “WAS ALL TALK” (5:20 PM – CARRIE STAGE)
There was a time in Kurt Vile’s life when “they” thought he was all talk. After a string of critically well-received records and most recently releasing the almost universally-praised breakout LP Wakin’ On A Pretty Daze, KV has vaulted from forklift driver, to War On Drugs member to his solo band playing mid-sized clubs and theaters (and places like The Echoplex (where tickets were pretty hard to come by when he played in May)). After seeing this driving, guitar-driven track for the first time on Sunday afternoon up at Outside Lands a couple weeks back, I’ve been anxious to hear it again. The layers upon layers of guitar sprawl so smoothly without an obvious major key change or blatant peak moment in a downright mesmerizing fashion. This is vintage Vile at his best, as “Was All Talk” creates a familiar pillow-y, warm vibe that will resonate for miles into the LA cityscape and create a veritably comfortable headspace for all in attendance to live in, even if just for 8-10 minutes.
“Makin’ music is easy / Watch Me” – KV
10-4, see ya Sunday.
POOLSIDE “SLOW DOWN” (5:00 PM SUNDAY – CHARLOTTE STAGE)
For KCRW listeners and the FYF-going contingent of the City of Angels, Poolside’s disco-inspired beats have come to define summer in LA over the past couple of years and “Slow Down” is the kind of crawling, gently pulsing summer tune that should vibe out the sun-baked Sunday crowd at FYF. Here’s a mantra to live by this weekend:
Don’t move so fast
Let this feeling last
The starlight will guide us through the night
BARONESS “SEA LUNGS” (7:05 PM SUNDAY – MIRANDA STAGE)
The fact that Baroness are alive, able and back on the summer festival circuit just a year after a unimaginably perilous bus accident that sent the band’s tour rig careening 60 feet off the side of a European highway is truly a miracle in itself. The South Georgia progressive jam-metal heroes have returned to the touring grind this year and are not an act anyone with an aggressive side will want to miss. This melodic metal force brings a gargantuan, arena-sized sound that will play perfectly at the wide open FYF Fest on Sunday.
WASHED OUT “IT ALL FEELS RIGHT” (8:30 SUNDAY – CHARLOTTE STAGE)
“It All Feels Right” is the first proper track from Washed Out’s captivating and entrancing 2nd LP Paracosm, a record new enough to still be in constant loop on my Spotify and turntable at the moment. While 2011’s Within And Without was made for the bedroom, the newest effort finds Ernest Greene exploring a more fleshed-out and stage ready sound that should do wonders for his live set. With a set beginning just after sundown on the festival’s final day, this one’s gonna feel right, right?
MGMT “SIBERIAN BREAKS” (9:20 SUNDAY – CARRIE STAGE)
Surfing in Siberia? Consider this one a fitting metaphor for MGMT’s unwillingness to play puppets within the music industry after experiencing such a high level of early career success. MGMT’s 2010 Congratulations album was somewhat of a left turn from their massively popular debut LP Oracular Spectacular and, if I had to guess, some big wig record exec’s worst nightmare come to life. The 12-minute psych-pop epic “Siberian Breaks” best encapsulates the band’s unwillingness to sacrifice their creative license for the almighty dollar and also happens to be, in at least my opinion, the best song Benjamin Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden have created. The tune is about the give and take of the creative process and the darker sides of commercial success. Intrigued to see if this one is still a part of MGMT’s festival repertoire and to hear new material from the band’s eponymous LP3.
HOLY GHOST! “DUMB DISCO IDEAS” (11:00 SUNDAY – CHARLOTTE STAGE)
Hard to imagine a better way to round out a festival weekend than an 11 pm dance party with this DFA disco duo to put an exclamation on the FYF Fest weekend. “Dumb Disco Ideas” starts out fairly simplistic before the groove twists and turns through an array of hollow drum sounds, an infectious and plain bass pulse, and countless different percussive elements. Bleeps, bloops, random unexpected synth fills and a disco beat. What a way to go out.