Summer Music Preview
Technically Summer doesn’t kick off until June 20th, however many are already feeling the heat, despite whatever temperature might actually be outside. Schools have begun gradually letting out for the season, various graduation ceremonies and proms come and go and the stress of finals melts away like that first soft serve of the season, flowing cooly down your arm.
With the impending heat and some much needed vacation time comes countless movie premieres and music releases, news of TV cancellations as we gear up for the new Fall schedules, and some of the hottest music/art festivals the country has to offer opening their gates for another heat wave of mayhem and music.
We’ll take a close look at some of these festivals – including this month’s Boston Calling and next month’s Firefly, both of which I will be covering on-site for The Voice – and various album releases you should definitely keep an eye out for. Although in our current world of surprise album drops, who’s really to say when any of these albums will actually grace us with their eagerly anticipated lamentations (looking at you Frank Ocean. Seriously, where in the world is Boys Don’t Cry??).
So pour yourself that second (or third) glass of lemonade, sprawl out on a beach chair and jam to some summertime tunes…
~ 20th ~
Fallen Angels – Bob Dylan
This is Dylan’s 37th studio album. Comprised of covers of classic songs hand picked by Dylan himself, every track on the album, save for “Skylark”, was also once recorded by Frank Sinatra, similar to last year’s Shadows in the Night in which every song was once touched by Ol’ Blue Eyes.
Dangerous Woman – Ariana Grande
The sophomore album for the impressive impersonator, Dangerous was originally named after another track “Moonlight”. It was changed because Grande believed the new name reflected a stronger female message of empowerment and respect. On the album she collaborates with Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Macy Gray and Future.
If I’m Honest – Blake Shelton
The tenth studio album for the southern crooner, the album promises to showcase Shelton’s highs and lows of the past year. He collabs with Gwen Stefani and The Oak Ridge Boys and features a track that was previously featured on 2008’s Startin’ Fires.
~ 19th ~
Hangout Fest – Gulf Shores of Alabama – Through May 22nd
Party with The Weeknd, Calvin Harris, Forence + The Machine, Alabama Shakes, Ellie Goulding, Lenny Kravitz, Flume, HAIM, Cage the Elephant, Panic! At the Disco, Grimes, The Chainsmokers to name a few. The beach front festival is celebrating their 7th year with more lounging, surfing and dancing. Take in the sounds with fresh seafood, ride the attractions and even tie the knot at the on-site wedding chapel. Tickets available on StubHub beginning at $289. Thursday, May 18 Kickoff tickets available for $50. For more information visit hangoutmusicfest.com or email info@HangoutMusicFest.com.
~ 27th ~
Sasquatch! – Gorge Amphitheatre, Quincy WA – May 27-30
Make the trip to Washington to catch Florence + The Machine, The Cure, Disclosure, Alabama Shakes, A$AP, Sufjan Stevens, Grimes and Jamie XX. While Florence and Disclosure seem to be covering most of the festival track this year, Sasquatch! managed to snatch Grimes, Jamie XX and Mac DeMarco, three rarer options this summer with major pull. Returning to the Gorge for the 14th time, Sasquatch! continues to impress with it’s gorgeous backdrop and attractive lineups. Tickets start at $350 via Live Nation. For more information visit sasquatchfestival.com.
Boston Calling – City Hall Plaza, Boston – May 27-29
Returning for their 7th edition, the festival which began as a small two day celebration of eclectic sound and diversity, has grown into one of the most widely regarded music festivals on the East Coast. Snagging superstars like Sia, Disclosure and Courtney Barnett with ease, the now three day festival will also showcase Swede bopper Robyn, android Janelle Monae and Boston’s own rising talent Palehound. Come for the music, stick around for the expanded beer program, added third stage for smaller local acts and comedy, and their ever growing selection of local and national food vendors ranging from favorites Tasty Burger and Bon Me to interesting choices like Ruth Chris’ and Whole Heart Provisions. Tickets range from $60 to $375 for single day to 3-Day VIP. For more information visit bostoncalling.com.
~ 3rd ~
Stranger to Stranger – Paul Simon
His thirteenth solo album, Stranger has brought Simon in some interesting directions. He collaborates with electronic dance music artist Clap! Clap! and the composition has been noted for its complex combination of experimental echo and rhythm with a fusion of electro beats and African influenced woodwind stylings.
~ 10th ~
Last Year Was Complicated – Nick Jonas
Celebrating his third Solo release, first since his breakout 2014 self titled, the current-yet-former Jonas brother has been enjoying a quiet rise to superstardom. His timid demeanor has held him back from completely enjoying the spotlight, which gives the artist freedom to still withdraw himself into his work. He features collaborations with Tove Lo, Ty Dolla $ign, Big Sean and Daniella Mason.
~ 17th ~
The Getaway – Red Hot Chili Peppers
Their first studio album since 2011’s I’m With You and their eleventh in total, it is being produced by Danger Mouse which is a departure from Rick Rubin, who was produced every RHCP album since 1989. The lead single “Dark Necessities” became their 25th top ten single, a record they dangle close in front of U2 with 23.
~ 3rd ~
Governors Ball – Randalls Island Park, NYC – June 3-5
In six quick years, the Big Apple’s weekend party has become one of the high profile festivals of the nation recruiting names like Drake, Lana Del Rey, Kanye West, The Black Keys, Outkast, Phoenix, Guns n’ Roses, Animal Collective and Vampire Weekend. This year they continue that streak with The Strokes, Big Grams, Matt and Kim, HAIM, Father John Misty and Miguel. Including Mini Golf, various liquor sponsored after parties and lounges, silent disco and various installations, the weekend promises to be the most mainstream festival this year apart from Coachella. Tickets are going to cost you starting at $105 for Friday single days and $305 for weekend GAs. For more information, check out governorsballmusicfestival.com.
Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival – Manchester, TN – June 9-12
Pearl Jam, LCD Soundsystem, Dead & Company, J. Cole, Halsey and Macklemore populate this year’s eclectic lineup. Competing with Coachella as the most mainstream festivals its easy to see why they keep up those reputations. Guaranteeing big and surprising names annually with the glamour of attending one of the most internationally developed festivals in the country, all while not showering and sweating to your favorite artists. Various attractions, as well as a cinema, comedy venue and workout practices await guests who have taken time away from seeing the performances and simply want to take in the festival culture. Tickets begin around $349 for the weekend. For more information, visit Bonnaroo.com.
~ 16th ~
Firefly Music Festival – The Woodlands of Dover, DE – June 16-19
Headlined by Two Door Cinema Club, Kings of Leon (who return from being rained out last year), Florence + The Machine, Deadmau5 and Mumford & Sons, with major supporting acts Tame Impala, Ludacris, A$AP Rocky, Blink-182, Earth Wind & Fire and Death Cab for Cutie. The reportedly magical woodland fest awaits eager concertgoers with an ever expanding and developing selection of refreshments and activities including new access to venues such as the Firefly Treehouse Sessions where you can catch DJ sets by St. Lucia, M83 and the Coffee House where Civil Twilight, Silversun Pickups and Nathaniel Rateliff will be performing. All this along with returning favorites such as the Beercade, The Thicket and The Hammock Hangout promise attendees a relaxed and recharged experience every day. Tickets begin at $129. More information can be found at fireflyfestival.com.
California – Blink-182
After catching their packed set at Firefly in June, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited for the punk gods’ latest release. Same goes for fans as band members Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker have been hyping it’s release alongside new member Matt Skiba. Fronted by singles “Bored to Death”, “Rabbit Hole” and “No Future” the album also features a 30-second closing track called “Brohemian Rhapsody”.
Coolaid – Snoop Dogg
The hip-hop mainstay’s seventh album release since 2013 sees Snoop Doggy Lion Dogg styling it with guest collaborators Too $hort, Swizz Beatz, Jeremih, Wiz Khalifa, Trick Trick, E-40, Jazze Pha, Suga Free and October London. The lead single “Kush Ups” was released on June 7.
You Got Me Singing – Jack and Amanda Palmer
Musician and Activist Amanda Palmer teams up with her father to record an album, something she claims she’s wanted to do for years now. Back in 2008 they performed together onstage to cover Leonard Cohen’s “Night Comes On” in DC. Now they’re doing an entire album. Featuring all covers selected by the father-daughter duo, the album promises to be endearing and a tribute to music of yesterday and today.
~ June 29 ~
Open’er Festival – Gdynia, Poland – June 29-July 2
Headlined by Florence + The Machine, Red Hot Chili Peppers, LCD Soundsystem and Pharrell Williams with major support by Tame Impala, Grimes, M83, Sigur Ros, Kygo and Beirut the Polish fest includes museums, fashion shows, activity centers for kids and film. It all began back in 2002 with a one day event headlined by The Chemical Brothers. Now fourteen years later they have showcased the talents of Prince, Muse, Coldplay, Franz Ferdinand, Kanye West, Interpol, The White Stripes, Arctic Monkeys and many more. Gdynia, located along the gulf of Danzig in Northern Poland houses the festival with it’s four stages and fashion pavilion. Attendees are promised a stellar line up with plenty of distractions. Tickets begin around $100 for 2-day GA and $150 for 4-day GA with single day tickets for approx. $60.
~ 9th ~
An intimate one day festival in the south shore of Massachusetts along Wompatuck state park featuring performances by Lettuce, Nahko + Medicine for the People, Moon Taxi, Los Lobos, Rebulution and Tedeschi Trucks Band? Throw in some kids activities courtesy of the Winchester School of Chinese Culture, the Duxbury Bay Maritime School and the South Shore Conservatory and you have a well rounded day of fine blues rock, funk and world music with art and local/international cultures. Tickets are $65 for general admission, $15 for kids 4-12. The festival also offers camping within the forests of the Wompatuck State Park which has since sold out but they have backup offerings on their website including Pinewood Lodge and Ellis Haven among other sites within Wompatuck State Park.
~ 28th ~
Lollapalooza – Grant Park, Chicago, IL – July 29-31
Headlined by Lana Del Rey, J. Cole, Major Lazer, Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Disclosure, Ellie Goulding and LCD Soundsystem the festival is promising the talent and high profile atmosphere, but what for when you want you to take time off from hearing the music? Boasting Chicago’s culinary repertoire and bundles of activities for kids and concertgoers alike, vendors and art markets and several ways to get involved in some of Chicago’s regional and national charitable efforts. GA tickets are sold out with VIP tickets starting at $650 for the weekend and their luxurious Platinum tickets which included catered meals, free drinks and access to exclusive areas. Hotel packages begin at $2,239.
Home of the Strange – Young the Giant
Indie rock mainstays Young the Giant promise the same fuzzy beats and uptempo tracks for their third release. Featuring singles “Amerika” and “Something to Believe In” fans of the Irvine, California based band shouldn’t be disappointed. Watch for when they swing through Boston on September 18th at the House of Blues for their Home of the Strange.
MC4 – French Montana
Dropping the second album release of the hip-hop favorite’s career since 2013, Montana curated a track list with rumored collaborations with Kanye West, Miguel, Nas, Fetty Wap, Big Sean and Drake. The first of his Mac and Cheese series to be released as an album, it features lead singles “Figure it Out”, “Lockjaw” and “No Shopping”.
How To Be A Human Being – Glass Animals
Departing from their seductively mellow sounds of their first album Zaba, the eclectically odd alt group is back with heavier sounds and a lively story to tell packed with unique characters and a sure to be exciting shift for the band. Just check out their action packed lead single “Life Itself”.
Outside Lands – Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA – August 5-7
Catch some rays and enjoy the local flare of one of America’s most exciting and proud cities with some of the biggest names in music. Boasting a killer lineup (Lana Del Rey, Radiohead, Grimes, LCD Soundsystem, Beach House, Foals and ZEDD) the weekend also promises plenty of organic food, wine tastings and even a bike valet. Fog or shine, Outside Lands continues to prove why they are the second best shot at good music on the West Coast after Coachella wraps up early in April.
Afro Punk Fest Brooklyn – Commodore Barry Park, Brooklyn, NY – August 27-28
Described by the New York Times as “the most multicultural festival in the US” Afro Punk returns to Brooklyn for it’s eleventh year this Summer with performances by Ice Cube, Tyler the Creator, Janelle Monae, TV on the Radio, Flying Lotus and The Internet. With sister festivals in London and Paris popping up last year, Afro Punk continues to broaden it’s horizons all while keeping their home base in Brooklyn. With past festivals bringing names like Lauryn Hill, Lenny Kravitz, Questlove and SZA this year should continue to bring the party, no doubt.
Drawings by Andrew Bourque for The Suffolk Voice. Stay with The Suffolk Voice for more music, art and much more! Have a great summer and stay cool out there.