Life is what goes on between one Bon Iver album and another. Or, at least, this is what happens to Justin Vernon. His increasingly complicated relationship with fame and his ego have pushed the author of For Emma, Forever Ago towards unexplored terrains like those of Volcano Choir, The Shouting Matches and now Big Red Machine, a project that actually began years ago when doing a collaboration for a charity compilation together with his brother from another mother, Aaron Dessner from The National. Together they organise utopic festivals (Eaux Claires), create alternative models for the industry (the streaming portal PEOPLE) and they also write music, of course. They are surrounded by so many artist friends that it is surprising that the result of Big Red Machine, the album, is so spot on. It’s a dream crossover, a perfect fit of Dessner’s intimate epic and Bon Iver’s melancholic evocations, of Justin’s experimental laments and Aaron’s astounding progressions. Music as an excuse, as a way and as a purpose.
The second day of Primavera Sound 2018 at the Parc del Fòrum is just as full and amazing as the first. Established and adored American indie rock band The National, with the voice and presence of frontman Matt Berninger, take the stage with their seventh album, ‘Sleep Well Beast’ (2017); then you can opt for something completely different with the Barcelona debut of the best-selling hip hop superstar trio from Georgia (USA), Migos, with their latest effort, ‘Culture II’ (2018), which entered the US Billboard charts at No 1; also from the States, it’s Californian MC Tyler, the Creator, who’s back at Primavera Sound to present his fourth album, ‘Flower Boy’ (2017); the trio of sisters Haim also return to the festival with a new album, ‘Something to Tell You’ (2017), under their usual influence of ’70s and ’80s pop and rock; the return we’ve all been waiting for with French actor and singer Charlotte Gainsbourg – daughter, if you didn’t know, of Jane Birkin (who’s also performing in the festival) and the legendary Serge Gainsbourg – presenting her album ‘Rest’ (2017); guru of American pop folk of these turbulent times, Josh Tillman, also known as Father John Misty, who’s promised a new album in 2018, even though ‘Pure Comedy’ (2017) is still hot in our hands; the unclassifiable sounds of musician and producer Arca; a session at the decks from former Beastie Boy Mike D; favourites from Scotland Mogwai; big guitar sounds from The Breeders; mellow tunes from Cigarettes After Sex; experimental pop from Panda Bear; and a bit of unexpected madness from John Maus.
Dynamic pair Audun Laading and Stephen Fitzpatrick are both outsiders from sleepy coastal towns several countries apart but have established themselves as Her’s on the banks of the Mersey.
Fitzpatrick possesses a swerving, low rasp endorsed by Julian Casablancas (The Strokes) and engineered by Matt Berninger (The National).
Coupled with wave after wave of luscious, Beach Fossils-esque jangle pop and the striking aesthetics denoted within, it’s a refreshingly modern take on the beach-scuzz exploration of the ’80s.
Dreamy, hazy and yearning for escape with every jangle or croon, Her’s are the summery angst everyone – even the happiest of souls – can embrace.
The London boys Palace who have releases their debut LP So Long Forever will play tonight at Sidecar.
Palace sounds like a band that has always existed. Beautifully crafted and mature, their debut album So Long Forever is sure to ascend them to the status of indie darlings. Fans of Foals and The National will especially appreciate their melancholy and unrushed vibe as well as their existential songwriting, which will stay with you long after the final play.