When I decided to go to Bumbershoot this year, there were two things I knew to be true: 1) I was going to eat a gyro every day of the festival, and 2) I would undoubtably get sunburnt. By some miracle granted by the universe, I didn’t get sunburnt, but I did have an incredible weekend packed with quality gyros and music. Here are my top two artists of the festival, including an up-and-comer and an indie wonder:
In April of 2014, Mac DeMarco released Salad Days as follow up to his 2012 full-length debut, 2. DeMarco’s self-described “jizz jazz” style has gained him much public and critical acclaim, as well as frequent radio play on KSUB and KEXP. His smooth vocals and jangly guitar riffs blend making DeMarco’s sound more dreamy that your average slacker rock. As goofy and charming onstage as is perhaps humanly possibly, DeMarco puts on a killer live show with a raw energy that can’t be contained within the confines of the stage (and usually isn’t). I had the opportunity– nay, privilege– to see him twice at Bumbershoot, and each time he delivered with full force. Whether he’s playing a metal rendition of the Beatles’ “Black Bird” while waiting for guitarist Andy White to restring, or crooning an audience of doe-eyed teens with “Still Together”, DeMarco’s stage presence is unmatched.
I feel confident when I say Real Estate’s 2014 release, Atlas, is one of the best albums of the year. While keeping true to the clean and breezy melodies of 2009’s self-titled Real Estate and 2011’s Days, Real Estate has produced a collection of songs that retain their suburban beach party sound, but with an added darkness absent in their previous work. Watching guitarist and lead vocalist Martin Courtney sing “The only thing that really matters/ is the one thing I can’t seem to do” on “Talking Backwards”, or “It’s so hard to feel in control here/ Like I’m behind the wheel but it won’t steer” on “The Bend”, seems deeply reflective and personal for the New Jersey native. Seeing the band live while touring Atlas is one of the smartest choices a fan could make. It’s a unique experience where you’ll feel solemn and thoughtful, but still want to dance along.
Both Mac DeMarco and Real Estate have gained much popularity and critical acclaim (the incredibly picky Pitchfork Media, which I often disagree with, gave Salad Days an 8.5 and Atlas and 8.8, making each their “best music picks”. And who can argue with that?) recently, making them artists to watch. Both are currently on tour and you can check for local dates at the links below:
Some more links:
Shannon Phelps / Master of Disguise / KSUB General Manager