Happy Friday, friends, and welcome to August. We're only about a month away from summer weather!
As happy hour draws closer, here's a look back at the best music and music news we heard and saw this past week:
-- Sharon Van Etten shone in a free, intimate (though packed-to-the-gills), Pandora-presented evening at The Chapel on Tuesday night [July 29]. "I wrote this song while living in my parents' basement...I was 26," she said with a laugh in her voice. "How many of you have ever tried to move back in with your parents' when you were in your twenties?" [Loud whooping from most of the room.]
"I think that just usually means you're trying to figure out who you are, that you're still finding your path, you know?" she continued. "I mean, if you really knew who you were by the time you were 20, fuck you. No, sorry, that's great. Anyway, this song is about trying to get your shit together." Millennial anthem for the ages?
-- New for this year at Outside Lands: an entire stage devoted to food events, called "GastroMagic." Some of said events are paired somewhat hilariously with accompanying musical acts, like the "Beignets & Bounce Brunch with Big Freedia and Brenda's French Soul Food," in which audience members who answer the Queen of Bounce's call to twerk will be "awarded with beignets." No word on the distribution method, exactly, but we pictured t-shirt cannons?
-- This NPR piece on why band photos look the way they do is relevant to our interests. Specifically, if any banjo-laden alt-country/Americana band ever sends us an EPK that includes a photo shoot in an alley full of burning crash cans, we will run it.
-- Speaking of Americana: This is a fun piece from the Bay Bridged about the boys of Goodnight, Texas, who make it work despite being in what amounts to a four-way long-distance relationship. Are there Cosmo tips for that yet? Get with it, lady mags. Anyway, GN,TX's new album Uncle John Farquhar drops Aug. 5, and it's rather good.
-- Here's a smart essay at Ebony about the shitstorm that ensued this week from Nicki Minaj's new album, um, art for Anaconda.
-- Like much of the music-related Internet, we too got obsessed with a little-known Canadian singer-songwriter named Tobias Jesso Jr., who by all appearances is a young reincarnation of Harry Nilsson mixed with shades of Joe Jackson and who hasn't even put out an album yet, but damn does he need to hurry up (quick, while Stereogum, Pitchfork, Consequence of Sound, your local PTA president, etc., are addicted to this song):
-- Hardly Strictly Bluegrass keeps dropping hints about this year's lineup. Listen here and tell us your guesses.
-- Andrew Bird is a self-deprecating sweetheart in addition to being very good at songwriting and whistling, as you can see in this SFist interview, and he's playing Stern Grove for free this Sunday at 2pm.