Friday, August 22, 2014

Jam of the Day | The Henry Millers - Beautiful Woman

I'm in love with hazy guitars and layered vocals this summer; to me they sound the way the air feels in the South in August, all lemon yellow and heavy with unfallen rain. Humid, sweet, a little bit dark, a little bit off-kilter.

The Henry Millers have all that in "Beautiful Woman", and so I'm in love with it. I'm kind of a little in love with everything right now, including love.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Jam of the Day | J. Cole - Be Free

via Soundcloud

Can you tell me why
Every time I step outside
I see my niggas die?

I'm letting you know
That there ain't no gun they make
That can kill my soul 

According to the most recent justifiable homicide data published by the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting program, a white police officer killed a black person approximately two times every week between the years of 2005 and 2012 (USA Today). This data is made even more harrowing when you consider that it isn't even accurate; there is no national database dedicated to police shootings, and providing information to the FBI's UCR program is voluntary for state and local police agencies.

On Saturday, August 9, 2014, an 18-year-old black man named Michael Brown was shot to death by white police officer Darren Wilson following an altercation in Ferguson, Missouri. The details of what exactly happened are shaky and eyewitness accounts conflict, but this tragedy has sparked nearly two weeks of protests, demonstrations, and clashes with police that have received widespread, highly polarized media coverage.

J. Cole's "Be Free" is a deeply moving, somber track addressing the legacy of racism and injustice in America. The song utilizes recordings of eyewitnesses accounts of Michael's shooting to great emotional effect, and no matter how you feel about what happened/is happening in Ferguson, it's difficult to argue against this sentiment:

All we want to do is take the chains off
All we want to do is break the chains off
All we want to do is be free

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Jam of the Day | Brooke Fraser - Psychosocial

I love your protection
But I don't love you

This is miles away from "Albertine."

Or maybe it isn't.

Maybe it's just Brooke Fraser being the wonderful artist she is, expressing herself in the moment. Whatever it is, it's been four years, and we're happy to hear from one of our favorite artists again.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Festival Preview | LouFest Founder Brian Cohen: "We continually assess all aspects of the festival to make sure it gets better each year."

The sun sets on LouFest 2013 | Photo by Jason Gonulsen

In 2010, LouFest started with a song called "Lucky Break."

The band who played it, St. Louis' The Bottle Rockets, wasn't even supposed to be on the bill. They had been a last-minute replacement -- catching their "lucky break" -- and it was fitting that one of St. Louis' most successful bands would play the first note.

I remember riding my bike to Forest Park in the morning and being able to hear The Bottle Rockets' soundcheck "Radar Gun" as I drew closer to Central Field. I remember there being around 200 or so of us standing in the sun for their early-afternoon set. And I remember thinking that maybe someday this could all work out.

It has, and with your support, LouFest will keep growing and improving.

Let's re-live last year's highlights.

This year's LouFest (Sept 6 & 7; purchase tickets here) features headliners OutKast and Arctic Monkeys, and the setting is the same: Forest Park in St. Louis. As we did last year, we checked in with LouFest founder Brian Cohen to chat about the festival's progress.

[SIC] Tell us about last year's festival, and how it was different from the three previous LouFests. Did you get a clear sense of what worked and what didn't? What did you change for this year's festival?

[Brian Cohen] The biggest change last year was the size of the event.  It was larger in everything from the lineup, to the number of stages, to the size of the footprint.  Based on fan feedback and what we experienced first-hand, most things went very well.  But with something this size there are always things you can tweak to enhance the experience.  For instance, this year we’re increasing the size of the nosh pit to keep the food lines down and we’re adding a second entrance on the north side of the field to make it easier to enter and exit. We continually assess all aspects of the festival to make sure it gets better each year.
Previous LouFest lineups have been light on hip-hop, although you had The Roots scheduled to perform in 2011, and they unfortunately cancelled the day before their performance. This year, you have the biggest hip-hop festival act, OutKast, on the bill. How do you feel hip-hop suits LouFest?

Over the years we’ve booked several hip-hop acts, including The Roots, Das Racist and Thee Satisfaction. It’s a style that works well in outdoor festivals and our fans enjoy it.  Outkast is definitely the biggest hip-hop act we’ve booked and they fit perfectly into our model, which is to bring world-class artists to St. Louis. Their reunion is one of the hottest tours of the year and we’re excited to be part of it.

You stayed true to your word and have recruited local bands/artists to play LouFest every year, including 2014. What do you look for in a local band to play LouFest? Do you think more local bands are worthy of playing the festival?

There are many local bands that can easily hold their own in our lineup.  More than we could ever book in a single year.  With so many contenders, it’s a challenge to decide how to fill the spots we set aside for local artists.  On the one hand, we look for bands that have paid their dues in local clubs and are ready to play a large stage.  But we also look for up-and-comers who are ready to make a splash.  The only real test is whether you can wow an audience from the stage.

Besides enjoying the music, what's one of your favorite things to do at LouFest? Is there a moment every year that really makes the festival feel real to you?

I love walking around and meeting new people.  We have a very interesting and diverse fan base.  Some are into food, some are into fashion, others are into art, and over the course of the weekend they all find something to tap into.  For me, LouFest feels real the first time a crowd gathers in front of a stage.  I scan the audience and see people of different ages, races, and lifestyles all sharing the same experience.  That’s very rewarding.

Finally, if LouFest continues to grow, will you consider using more of Forest Park or adding a third day? What needs to happen in year five to take more steps to eventually become a "destination festival?"

In many ways, I think we’re already there.  Last year, over one third of our fans came from outside of Missouri.  In terms of growing to three days or adding more stages, we’ll let the fans decide that.  If it’s what they want, and they show us by buying tickets, then we’ll continue to grow.

WIN TICKETS TO LOUFEST! Contest runs through Wednesday, August 20th at 5PM (CST).

Monday, August 18, 2014

Win Tickets to Bleachers at The Ready Room in St. Louis on August 21st

Good evening, Bleachers fans! We have a pair of tickets to see Bleachers at The Ready Room in St. Louis on August 21st! Before we get to details on how to enter to win, let's have a listen to "I Wanna Get Better" from Strange Desire.

To enter to win a pair of tickets to the show, please leave us a message on our Facebook page. (Leaving a comment on our original post is fine.)

The contest will run through Wednesday, August 20th at NOON CST, and we'll randomly pick and contact the winner shortly after. Good luck!