Tomorrow is 4/20…

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New album by Flatbush Zombies

On April 7, Flatbush Zombies, the eight-year-old rap group from the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, released their latest album entitled Vacation in Hell. The 19 song album includes features from Joey Bada$$, A$AP Twelvyy, Bun B, Judakiss, Portugal. The Man, Dia, Dave B., Nyck Caution, and Denzel Curry. This is the group’s second full-length album, their first being 3001: A Laced Odyssey, which was released during the spring of 2016, and was an album I personally couldn’t stop listening to. 3001: A Laced Odyssey only had two featured artists, Anthony Flammia and Diamante, as opposed to Vacation in Hell, which had many more.

The group is composed of three members: Meechy Darko, Zombie Juice, and Erick Arc Elliott. They’re style has been described as psychedelic hip hop, and they rap a lot about life struggles, societal issues, working to make money, and drugs. Each of the three members has a unique and distinct voice, which work together to make their music interesting, engaging, and overall just uncommon.

The group is currently on tour, playing Coachella this weekend, and traveling all over the country (including two nights in Denver May 3rd & 4th), and will be wrapping up in San Francisco on June 16th.

Listen to A Vacation in Hell on Spotify below:

Via Chicago

Jeff Tweedy – guitarist, signer, and founder of Wilco – kicked off his lengthy North American tour last week in Michigan. His tour will cover a lot of the US and Canada, stopping at some festivals along the way. At the end of August, Tweedy will travel to Europe for four shows and wrap up his tour in Oslo, Norway.

Tweedy’s most recent album is Together At Last, which was released last year. I personally am a big fan of the album and love the version of “I am Trying to Break Your Heart” that is featured on it.

Being from Chicago, and a fan of good music, I am a big fan of Jeff Tweedy, and Wilco. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is one of the first albums I downloaded on my iPod nano when I was 9. Unfortunately I have yet to catch Wilco or Jeff live, so maybe I’ll have an opportunity this summer.

Listen to Together At Last on Spotify below

Trampled by Turtles release new single

On March 23rd, Trampled by Turtles released a new singled titled “The Middle.” It has been four years since they came out with a new album, that being Wild Animals released in 2014. According to Rolling Stone, this is the bands 2nd sample from their new upcoming album entitled Life is Good on the Open Road. It is due to be release next month on May 4th.

The song is upbeat and fast-paced with a sort of poppy sound, and has the typical instrumentation and sound of the Trampled by Turtles that we know and love. Dave Simonett, lead vocals, sings about past decisions and how things don’t always go the way we want it to, as well as the distance that has grown between the subject of the song and someone, maybe a former girlfriend or something of that nature.

With the release of “The Middle,” I am very excited for Life is Good on the Open Road and happy to hear some new tunes from TBT. It seems as though they have a busy summer ahead, with a tour already announced including a July 19th show at Red Rocks. They also are billed to play a few festivals, including the Forecastle Festival on July 15 in Louisville, KY, Moon River Music Festival on September 8 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Fresh Gras Festival on September 14 in North Adams, Massachusetts.

Listen to “The Middle,” on Spotify below

Lollapalooza releases 2018 lineup

The lineup for Lollapalooza was released yesterday. The festival returns to Grant Park in Chicago for it’s 27th summer in the city. As someone who grew up in the Chicagoland area, Lollapalooza has been a big part of my summer since I was 15. A lot of people think that we’re now “too old” to attend the music festival, because what a lot of people did when we were teenagers was binge drink warm vodka that was snuck in, and spend the entirety of the three day event at the Perry’s stage – which is pretty much just different EDM artists playing every hour. My friends and I, however, actually went for the music that was playing throughout the festival and it’s six stages, and continue to do so.

The festival went from three days to four days two years ago for it’s 25th anniversary, and when they realized how much more money they can make from one more day, they have continued to keep the festival four days. Thursday, August 2 – Sunday, August 5, 2018 in Grant Park.

This will be my 7th year going to Lolla – a Lollapaloozer, if you will.

Who I’m excited for

This year’s lineup is fairly diverse, as was last year’s. When adding a 4th day to the festival, it could be difficult to keep a good consistency throughout the festival, but I think Lolla does a better job than many give it credit for.

I’m excited for: Jack White, Arctic Monkeys, The National, Odesza, Portugal. The Man, Zedd, Brockhampton, Catfish and the Bottleman, Greta Van Fleet, Rebelution, Franz Ferdinand, Rainbow Kitten Surprise, Manchester Orchestra, Hippie Sabotage, Lizzo, Parquet Courts, and Taylor Bennett (little brother of Chance the Rapper).
I’m also excited for any artists/bands I will discover just walking around the festival grounds.

Lollapalooza is a staple of summer in Chicago, and I’m looking forward to traveling home for my 7th year as a Lollapaloozer.

Update 3/27: Something interesting to note is that in previous years, tickets have sold out within hours. Today, one week after the 4 day tickets have gone on sale, they are still not sold out. Is this because people just aren’t as interested in Lollapalooza anymore? Did they add more tickets? Or maybe they have used measures to prevent scalpers from buying a lot at once to sell later for a high profit. One can only speculate!

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Lollapalooza 2018 lineup

Grateful Dad

I thought I would switch it up from a concert review today and write about how I got introduced to the Grateful Dead.
My dad was born in 1958 and by the time he had got to college, he was a Dead head. So was his brother, my Uncle Paul, and most of their friends.
When I was five, my dad gave me one of my first CDs: Grateful Dead’s In the Dark. I would play it on repeat on my boombox in my bedroom, and quickly learned the lyrics. Although I was very young at the time and didn’t quite understand how cool it was that my dad was getting me into good music at such a young age, I knew that there was something special about this band.
As I started to get older my dad would show me his vinyl collection, including his many Dead albums, and tell me (age appropriate) stories about concerts that he and his friends attended in the ’70s and ’80s. His stories made me extremely jealous that I wasn’t able to experience the magic of a Grateful Dead concert, and as I got older and into my teens I wanted more than anything to have a taste of a Dead experience. Something I’ll always lament is I never got to see Jerry Garcia live, as he died a year before I was born.
In March 2014 I was lucky enough to see Bob Weir play in Chicago with his band Ratdog, and that was my first Dead experience. I went with my best friend, and my dad & Uncle Paul went, but they sat in a different section from us. Then, the next summer, a dream had come true. The remaining members of the Dead announced they were doing a 50 year anniversary concert series titled “Fare Thee Well” with Trey Anastasio, Bruce Hornsby, and Jeff Chimenti, over 4th of July weekend in 2015…at Solider Field…in Chicago…were the Grateful Dead played their last ever show in 1995…and I was lucky enough to live 40 minutes away. I won’t even get into how we scored the tickets, as that is a whole other story that I will save for later. But by the grace of God, tickets found us, and I got to experience the second night of the three night run, which was 4th of July. Hands down one of the best nights of my life. I went with my dad, his best friend from high school and who I grew up calling “uncle” John, and his son, who is somewhat of a “cousin” to me.
The summer after that, the birth of Dead & Company was announced, which is comprised of founding members Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, and Bill Kreutzmann joined by John Mayer, Jeff Chimenti, and Oteil Burbridge. I saw them that summer with some friends, my dad, a family friend, and my Aunt Nancy & Uncle Paul at Alpine Valley in Wisconsin for their two-night run there. Alpine is an iconic venue for the Dead, as it was a staple venue for them all throughout their main 30 years. My dad, Uncle Paul, and Aunt Nancy have all seen a number of Dead shows there together.
And then, last summer, Dead & Co. came to Wrigley Field. Wow. My favorite band in my favorite place! What better? My dad, Uncle Paul, some of their friends, and my best friend from high school, and some other friends all joined up for two outstanding nights at Wrigley Field.

I am so lucky to have a dad (and uncles) who introduced me to the Grateful Dead (and other wonderful music, of course) at such a young age. It is something that bonds our family, gives us a topic of discussion we will never get tired of, allows us to create special family memories each summer, and overall I just think that it’s really cool that my dad gets to share something he loves with me, and that we get to experience these shows together.

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My dad and I at Solider Field for Fare Thee Well on July 4, 2015
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Uncle Paul (left) and my dad (right) tailgating in the lot before the show at Alpine Valley on July 9, 2016
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Uncle Paul (left) and my dad (right) outside of Wrigley Field on June 30, 2017
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One of my favorite photos ever, snapped on accident by my friend Molly. Heading into Wrigley Field on June 30, 2017

 

J Boog at The Aggie

J Boog and his band took the stage at The Aggie on Thursday, February 22nd. I hadn’t really heard of J Boog at all, but was getting semi-pressured by a friend to attend his concert. So I looked him up briefly, and saw that he’s a reggae artist and once toured with a band I like called Stick Figure, so that was enough to sell me. I rushed to get all my homework done on Thursday and arrived to The Aggie at about 10pm, right as J Boog was starting. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, and I was pretty impressed by what I saw. He had an impressive band complete with two backup singers/dancers, a saxophonist, bassist, drummer, and guitarist. J Boog was on vocals. Something that stood out to me was the saxophonist, and how he added a smooth jazz element to J Boog’s reggae style.

The crowd was primarily older, although there were a few other college-aged people amongst the crowd as well. Since the show was not sold-out, there was plenty of room for people to move and groove on the dance floor to some funky reggae jams.

J Boog is currently in the middle of a North American tour that will wrap up in Monterey, California on May 26 at the California Roots Music and Arts Festival.

 

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J Boog at The Aggie on February 22nd, 2018
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J Boog’s saxophonist holding it down at The Aggie