Outside Lands 2016: Artist Breakdown (Friday)

As it is with most festivals, half the bands you know, half the bands you don't. And while you can click on the artist and get a little info it still doesn't help with the question of, "is this how I should spending my time?" There's simply too much going on, and without a plan you might end missing your new favorite band. Discovery is one of the best things about going to festivals. Catching some new act, or maybe an old act that you never got around to. But navigating the lineup can be tough, and listening to everyone to figure it out takes a lot of time. I know, I do it. 

While I don't enjoy every artist playing, I can find something to enjoy about (almost) every artist. With this in mind, I've chosen one or two songs to represent each act, allowing you to get acquainted just enough to make the decision to attend, or skip. Simple enough, right? Let's get to it...


*The bands are in order of starting set time, which you will see listed in parenthesis next to each artist* 


Whitney // (12:00-12:45) // Their debut album Light Upon the Lake released June 3rd. Quiet folk with subtle classic rock influences. They’re good but something seems to be missing. I can’t place my finger on it. My favorite track is either the title song, “Light Upon the Lake,” or the short, beachy “On My Own.”


Down And Outlaws // (12:00-12:40) // I’d never heard of this band before I saw them on the OSL schedule and for whatever reason I assumed they wouldn’t be a group I liked. I was right. It’s bar room rock with 80’s punk-like vocals. Their debut album, Above Snakes, released on July 8th, is….fine. Actually no, I didn’t like it. But then again, it’s not my style. I will actively choose to avoid them. My “favorite” track on the album is “Obsession.” That guitar is beefy, I'll give them that.


LANY // (12:45-1:35) // LANY’s latest EP kinda is just as good as their last (Make Out), which is a good thing. They have a great handle on their sound and with each release they seem to progress. Their light, electro-pop sound is perfect for summer, and will make them a fun day time show. My favorite track off kinda is the throwback love jam “pink skies.” So smooth. Unfortunately I’ll have to miss them because the next artist's show starts at the same time…


Marian Hill // (12:45-1:30) // If you’ve been keeping up with my site then you’ll know how I feel about Marian Hill. But since you definitely have NOT been keeping up I’ll help you out, they’re incredible. Fresh off their debut LP, ACT ONE, they’re ready to tackle to festival circuit. Here’s my review of the album (click me so good). This is a show not to be missed, so like...don't miss it...


Caveman // (1:15-2:00) // Otero War, the groups third LP, came out late June, and it’s ok, good even, but not great. However, I definitely think it would play well live; just listen to the album's first track, “Never Going Back,” and you’ll know what I mean. I’ve always been on the brink with this group, I won’t change it when it comes on, but I also won’t choose to put them on. They’re also playing during Marian Hill, so…another time boys!


Moon Taxi // (1:30-2:10) // Here’s a group I’m definitely excited to catch. This Nashville based, blues rock outfit has a great sound (think Kings of Leon), and is even better live, as evidenced by the excellent record they put out a few months back, New Year’s Eve 2015 (Live). Here’s a taste. Sit back and enjoy. 


Ra Ra Riot // (2:05-2:55) // It’s been eight years since they charmed me into being a life long fan with the The Rhumb Line and they’ve been steady ever since. Their latest album, Need Your Light, was co-produced by former Vampire Weekend member and one of my music obsessions, Rostam. You can hear his influence on their sound and I dig it. I'll be in attendance here. 


Jidenna // (2:10-2:55) // I’m not a huge fan. His main hit “Classic Man” bugged me, and his newest single, “Little Bit More,” sounds like everything else. “Long Live the Chief” is probably my favorite single of his, but favorite is a loose term. I guess I just don’t know who he is as an artist, and his style seems to be similar to a lot names already working. And all of this pains me to say because he is under Janelle Monae’s label, who, in my eyes, is one of the most innovative artists in the industry (any industry!) right now. She’s the best. I can’t stress enough how much I love her. All done. 


Wet // (2:30-3:20) // Wet’s wonderfully broken feel is something I’ve gone back to time and time again. It’s soft, gentle, and heartbreaking, yet there’s power in the sorrow. Their debut album, Don’t You, released earlier this year, is good. My only concern is that I’m not sure how their intimate, sensual sound, will lend itself to a sunny midday set. I’ll probably just stay after Ra Ra Riot and wait for St. Lucia. It’s the first day, I’m gonna keep the good vibes rolling. 


Vulfpeck // (2:55-3:35) // Speaking of good vibes. VULFPECK. Old school, fun, light; just listen to the opening instrumental ("Welcome to Vulf Records") off their 2015 release Thrill of the Arts. It sounds like a cut from a Randy Newman record. It’s a blast, and it plays right into their lead single “Back Pocket,” which keeps the grooves going. Think 70’s funk with a hint of soul, all with a slight modern spin. 


St. Lucia // (3:25-4:15) // I hope no introduction is needed here, St. Lucia is one of the bands I’m looking forward to the most. Their songs streamline the fun and this years album, Matter, has been one of my favorites this year. Alt-pop at its best. To get a feel for their live sound you can check out the Spotify Session they did earlier this month! This show is going to be a dance party. 


POLIÇA // (3:40-4:30) // Their latest album, March’s United Crushers, delivered the goods in the realm of alternative...goth pop? Its collection of brooding tones would be better suited for a chilly night time set, but unfortunately they’re stuck with the mid day heat. Despite that hiccup, fans of the band should attend with confidence; I saw them during their tour after 2013’s Shulamith and they put on a great show. I’m sure their OSL set will be no different. 


Foals // (3:50-4:40) // Foals has come a long way since 2008’s Antidotes, each album seems to fine tune their skill set while exploring a more complex sound. 2015’s What Went Down was right on par with the excellent prior release Holy Fire. Their alt. rock sound will lend itself well to the atmosphere. I’m definitely going to try and catch the second half of their show after St. Lucia. 


TOKiMONSTA // (4:30-5:10) // Since 2011, TOKiMONSTA has put out A LOT of music, releasing five EPs and two LPs. Her latest record, FOVERE, came out in March, and I love it. Doses of R&B, pop, trap, and a mess of other genres gives us a heavy, spacey, fun and at times noir-ish feel. Itsimultaneously engages and calms you, but can also set you off. The nice thing about this set is that it comes right before the heavy hitters, making it the perfect show to set the atmosphere for a great night.

Here's her track with Anderson .Paak, who will be performing a late set on Saturday night!


Miike Snow // (4:45-5:45) // Like most, I really dug Miike Snow’s self titled debut album; and like most again, I think they’ve been on a steady decline since then. Their albums haven’t been bad, not at all, all three have been a good listen, they just haven’t progressed at all. Nothing feels new. Though the singles from their latest effort, 2016’s iii, might be worth dropping by for. I really like “Genghis Khan” and “Heart Is Full.”  


The Claypool Lennon Delirium // (5:10-6:00) // The joint project of Sean Lennon and the bassist of Primus, Les Claypool, is a journey to say the least. Their debut album, Monolith of Phobos, has quite a few moments of intrigue, taking after the psychedelic rockings of acts like Pink Floyd, but ultimately just isn’t my style. I’ve never been much of a fan of either artist, so it wasn’t hard to imagine their collaboration wouldn’t suit me. Still, it could be worth a listen if you grew up on classic rock as it sounds like an adequate homage to the times but with a modern twist. Here's the album opener and the title track...


Thomas Jack // (5:15-6:05) // There’s very little I know about Señor Jack, aside from the fact that he's released a few singles I’ve really enjoyed. The lack of output at this point gives me MORE motive to check him out. If that was his plan then kudos. His latest single, “Rise Up,” is a great summer track, and his smash hit “Rivers,” blends that acoustic dance sound oh-so-sweetly. Could be fun. We’ll see! 


Låpsley // (6:05-6:45) // I really REALLY liked her debut LP Long Way Home, an album that I’ve visited time and time again since it’s release earlier this year. Her show should be a calm before the storm set (I’ll be heading to see Grimes after). Her music sounds like that of a seasoned performer, low key electro pop with lyrics that stick. Good stuff.


Duran Duran // (6:15-7:25) // Do I really need to explain them? They’ve actually experienced a nice resurgence in the last five years (their 2015 record Paper Gods was decent), but ultimately their sound feels dated and doesn’t compare to their hits of the 80’s and 90’s. And when I say hits, I mean HITS. They were a powerhouse. Their show would be fun I’m sure, but…Grimes, you know? She can’t be beat. Here's a classic. 


Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats // (6:30-7:20) // This is one show I pretty upset that I’m missing, my only real dilemma with Friday’s schedule. It wasn’t until earlier this year I became aware of their blast of a record, the self titled debut. It’s equal parts throwback rock, soul, country, and blues; it’s a gem. I can only imagine what kind of party it would be to see them in concert. Honestly, I think I just talked myself into catching them for 20 minutes before sprinting to see Grimes. Yeah, yeah I’m gonna do that. Never mind, I don't want to miss any of Grimes. Sorry Nate. 


Grimes // (6:50-7:50) // What might be the biggest crime of the festival is that Grimes’ set is only an hour long. ONE hour?! That’s it?? There’s nearly an hour gap before J. Cole takes the stage, and I doubt he’s doing his stage setup from the tour, so lets give her at least another 15-20 minutes. Who do I call? Grimes style is beautiful, intense, spastic, and fun. Her brand of pop is unlike anyone else, I can’t get enough. Last years Art Angels was in my top five of 2015. This show will be great.


Hiatus Kaiyote // (7:50-8:35) // Some of their songs I really like, others I really don’t. What I classified as psychedelic jazz funk they deemed “future soul,” no matter how you brand it, it’s unique. Lifted by lead singer/ guitarist Nai Palm’s excellent vocal stylings they definitely have a sound all their own. They remind me a bit of Esperanza Spalding’s progressive jazz style. I’d imagine their live show would be a treat, but I’m going to stay put after Grimes and wait for J. Cole to change my life. 

If you dig this single, here's their latest album, 2015's Choose Your Weapon.


Beach House // (7:50-9:00) // I have to say, they did a great job with diversifying the headliners at all four stages. For those who want to end their night in a dream sequence, Beach House is the destination. I wish they were a Sunday night option, because this is how I want to end my weekend. Laying on the grass, looking at the stars, with “On The Sea” playing somewhere in the distance. The late night feels are here for anyone not looking to jam with James Murphy or get down with J. Cole. Here's a cut from the second of two 2015 releases, Thank Your Lucky Stars


LCD Soundsystem // (8:10-9:55) // Seen 'em twice. Both times they KILLED. Frontman and founder James Murphy is nothing but a force, and I’d imagine his return to stage will be just as grand as his exit was back in 2011. Though their sound is all over the place I wouldcomfortably say they’re a synth-pop/ progressive rock band. Murphy’s influences seem to come from far and wide, making for an eclectic evening. This set will be a blast no doubt, and I WISH he was the weekend closer, what a jam that would be, but unfortunately I didn't make the set times. I will be at J. Cole, but if you've seen J. Cole or are not a fan of hip hop, this really is the only place to be. 


J. Cole // (8:40-9:55) // Initially I was hoping J. Cole (COLE WORLD ERRYBODY!) would have an everlasting set, but then I remembered that he released one of my favorite live albums of all time earlier this year, and it was only one hour and seven minutes. He’s got eight more minutes here!! EIGHT MORE. I’m honestly so excited. J. Cole is a true poet; a passionate and talented wordsmith. Not many in the hip hop game can match him, and that’s going to show in full on Friday night. I can’t wait. Listen to that crowd. That's gonna be me!


That concludes the Friday schedule! If you guys have any questions feel free to comment or message me!