Governor’s Ball Lineup Includes Lorde, Childish Gambino, Chance the Rapper

Just a day after Coachella announced their fire lineup (Beyoncé, Radiohead, Kendrick), Governor’s Ball has unveiled their roster, and it’s certainly proving to be a good year for music festivals.

Governor’s Ball will be headlined by such modern music titans as Childish Gambino, fresh off his first season of Atlanta, as well as Chance the Rapper, Lorde, Wiz Khalifa, Phoenix, Wu-Tang Clan, and countless others.

The news of Childish Gambino and Chance headlining together adds fodder to the rumors that the two are working on a special collab – see this Insta for more evidence:

Hawaii then LA, back to work. #roscoeswetsuit

A photo posted by Chance The Rapper (@chancetherapper) on

Mark Ronson and Kevin Parker will perform together as well, and if our wildest dreams come true, that could mean a cameo from a Joanne-vibing Lady Gaga.

Governor’s Ball runs from June 2-4 on Randall’s Island in NYC. For a full lineup and tickets, visit their site.

Not Going To Governors Ball? Then Drink Here

When Kanye West, Guns N’ Roses, and Kings of Leon signed on to perform at the three-day, island music party Governors Ball, snagging a general-admission ticket got as hard as grabbing a seat on the 6 train at rush hour. So for all you folks who can’t get the last-remaining tickets or don’t want to pay the lowest-priced $95 stub, there are certain…alternatives. And by alternatives, I do mean very special cocktails made with Governors Ball’s official spirit – SKYY Vodka –  that you can get at two bars in NYC all weekend long: Cowgirl Seahorse and Rockbar.

Cowgirl Seahorse – the nautical spot right by South Street Seaport with mounted fish heads and antler chandeliers – and Rockbar – the grungy West Village gay bar – are doling out these three SKYY cocktails for just this weekend:

Moscato Envy: SKYY Infusions Moscato Grape, tonic, and lime

SKYY Palmer: SKYY Vodka, lemonade, and iced tea

Wild Strawberry Lemonade: SKYY Infusions Wild Strawberry, lemonade, wheels of lemon, and strawberries

Ask the bartender to blast Kanye’s "Stronger," and you’ll feel like you’re on Randall’s Island  – but without the ticket price, face-painted crowds, and nonstop Instagramming.

Get the inside-info on Cowgirl Seahorse and Rockbar, & follow Bonnie on Twitter here

Robert DeLong is an EDM Artist on the Rise

Seattle-born, L.A.-based singer-songwriter Robert DeLong has a flare for the alternative. In a good way. The 26 (soon to be 27)-year-old EDM mastermind, dubbed a Young Artist to Watch by MTV, has the music scene in his hands—quite literally. Indeed, among the myriad instruments he manages to maneuver during performances are Wiimotes and Joysticks, rigged like MIDIs and adding edge to his already memorable brand of booty movin’ tunes.

Seriously, though, this whiz kid’s got the chops and multitasks better than the best of us—in front of an audience, no less. He’s a one-man-band who sings, drums, and fiddles with game controllers and keyboards, sometimes going so far as to incorporate guitar, too. His live set is something to behold, a sweaty mid-twenties talent, hair slicked down in an exaggerated comb-over, putting every effort into churning out original numbers while keeping the beat.

“I’m always writing songs,” says DeLong, whose debut album, Just Movement, drops today. Makes sense, since he constantly rocked out in bands back in high school. Now he’s signed to Glassnote, label to the likes of Phoenix and Mumford & Sons.

Recently, DeLong released a video to accompany his catchy track “Global Concepts.” The visual rendition of this f-bomb laden rhythmic ditty features a foggy interior, warehouse-like, smoke somewhat obscuring the agile dancers in the background. Tube lights suspended from above flicker and flash whilst DeLong engages in various aspects of performing, most notably wandering around and gesticulating with Wiimote or drumsticks in hand, or hitting his steel drum to excellent tribal effect as he marches subtly in place. Towards the end, the space is overrun with revelers, morphing into an all-out party you wish you’d been invited to. (The platinum blonde mop you may glimpse amid the shadows belongs to talented dancer James Koroni, the individual responsible for my introduction to and fast fandom of DeLong.)

Another nuance unique to DeLong is his affinity for orange, which he wears with pride in the shape of an “x,” big and bold on a classic black tee, as well as painted with precision on his cheekbone in the shape of a lightening bolt. More on this defining aesthetic to follow.

New Yorkers can catch DeLong in action on February 15 when, as part of a greater tour, he plays The Studio at Webster Hall. Festivalgoers will have several opportunities to indulge as well, from SXSW to Coachella, Ultra to Governors Ball.

Not long ago I sat down with the confident up-and-comer at The Commons Chelsea, one of my favorite neighborhood haunts, where over iced tea we discussed the multi-instrumentalist’s inspiration, interest in hacking HIDs, and what it all means.

What’s it like being dubbed a Young Artist to Watch?
It’s great. I grew up watching MTV, so it’s cool. Wild ride. Exciting. Surreal.

How have people reacted? Any super fans?
Nothing too weird so far. But, it’s definitely getting weirder. After the video came out, all of a sudden friends from high school started reaching out, sending messages. It’s fun to hear from people I haven’t heard from in years. But, it’s just funny.

I bet. Did you always know you were going to go into music?
Near the end of high school I knew I was going to do music. I started out thinking I was going to be in science or something. But, I was better at [music]. I think people knew I was a musician, but I don’t know if people knew I was into electronic music and that I was going to go that route.

What would you be doing if not this?
Since college, all of my jobs have been music related. I taught drum lessons, so that was my thing. If it wasn’t music at all, I guess I’d be going to school.

To become a scientist.
Yeah, I guess. [Laughs]

So, tell me more about this Wiimote rewiring…
You can hack [a] human interface device, anything from Gamepads to Joysticks, and turn it into a MIDI. Basically, the idea is you’re just sending information to a computer and can turn it into whatever you want. It’s the same thing as having a knob, slider, drum pad. It’s all the same if you can hack it and make it work for you. I found out you could do it, it seemed interesting and it’s cheaper than buying a bunch of expensive musical equipment. And it’s fun, people like it.

How many instruments do you have up onstage with you?
Three different electronic things, two computers, game pad, Joystick, Wiimote, six pieces of percussion, drum set, keyboard. Like, 15-20 things. Sometimes I’ll have a guitar. Oh, and two microphones.

Wow. That’s a lot for one guy to keep track of. So, are all your shows like the last time you performed in New York? No pauses between songs, stuff like that?
The show is always continuous and flows together. When I do a longer set, there’s more drumming. I play guitar sometimes, too. It’s high-paced. Jumping around doing a lot of different things.

I’m getting that vibe. You sampled Moby when you last played live in NYC. Have you been a long time fan of his?
When his album Play came out, I was probably, like, 12. That was when I first started experimenting with making electronic music, because it was kind of accessible, mainstream electronic music for the time. It was kind of something I grew up with.

Aww, an audible homage. Thoughts on our fair city?
I love this city, but Manhattan is a little terrifying. And it’s a little colder here. Do prefer the warm. Other than that, it’s beautiful. It’s awesome. Good people.

Who else besides Moby inspired or inspires you?
The songs on the album especially are an amalgamation of a lot of songs over the last four years, so it’s a wide variety of things. I grew up in Seattle, so there’s the whole indie singer-songwriter vibe that I kind of grew up with, like Death Cab for Cutie, The Postal Service, Modest Mouse. I think you can hear that whole Seattle sound in the way I write melodies. As far as things I’m listening to a lot right now, I’m listening to Lucy and Sports. I also grew up listening to a lot of Beatles, Pink Floyd, Radiohead, Talking Heads. Those are some of my constant jams.

Can you tell me what inspired the lyrics behind “Just Movement”?
“Just Movement,” the first track, is sort of the thesis statement for the album. It was written right after college, a time of mental exploring. Just movement: the idea that, if you take this reductionist perspective, everything we do is just atoms moving around. It’s all meaningless. But, once you break it down, where do you go from there? Just movement, the double entendre. Dancing, philosophy. Take it or leave it.

Have you yourself always been into dancing? I’m thinking, too, of “Global Concepts”…
I go out dancing a lot. Do a lot of jumping around on stage. I think that’s an awesome thing. It’s the oldest response to music that human beings had, so it only makes sense to think about that. For a long time I was in the indie scene and no one dances. Everyone looks at their feet.

[Laughs] Shoegaze. How would you describe the music scene in L.A.?
It’s actually pretty cool. There’s definitely a burgeoning DIY electronic scene in Los Angeles. L.A.’s big. There’s always something happening. You can always see new music. It’s good stuff.

So, how did the face painting start?
The whole thing was a group of me and my friends called the Tribe of Orphans, a bunch of people who hang out and go to dance events and stuff. It kind of just evolved over time. My girlfriend Heidi face paint[s] at shows.

So she’s your professional face painter. Does she paint in real life?
Besides face painting she does studio painting and stuff, so it’s great.

Why orange?
Initially? That’s the color paint that shows up the best under black light. It glows the brightest.

Has anyone ever said something to you about your “x” symbol? How it very much resembles the “x” symbol of The xx?
Yeah, people have said that before.

Does it piss you off?
It does a little bit. It doesn’t really. I didn’t even know about them, that that was their symbol. The “x” just was kind of an organic development. My girlfriend had painted it on my headphones probably three years ago or something, so it was before that first The xx album came out. It was just kind of a simultaneous [thing]. We both did it. And then they became famous first. It’s just an “x.” It is what it is.

Emblem wars aside, what’s the greatest challenge of all this?
I think the greatest challenge is to not get sick all the time from running around. But, I have a lot of energy and this is what I wanted to do, so it’s all working out. So far. I get to do what I love. I love playing shows. That’s what it’s all about.

Photo by Miles Pettengell

Governor’s Ball Festival Returns to Randall’s Island With Kanye, Kendrick, More

It’s freezing and gross in a considerable chunk of the country, which means it’s time to start thinking about summer, and with it, the crowded, drunken, heavily-Instagrammed bacchanalia that is the summer music festival. Your first major festival lineup announcement of 2013 happened today, in this case the third-annual Governors Ball Music Festival, which returns to its home on Randall’s Island June 7th, 8th and 9th. The biggest names on the flyer are Kanye West and Kings of Leon, as well as one blacked-out name to be revealed later (let the speculation begin!). The bulk of the bill features people whose albums you really liked last year, or whose albums you didn’t really like but maybe read about a lot on music blogs, including Japandroids, Kendrick Lamar, Grizzly Bear, the xx, Nas, Dirty Projectors, Best Coast, The Lumineers, Gary Clark Jr., Beach House, Azealia Banks and dozens of other year-end list luminaries. Like musical confetti made from cut-up Pazz & Jop ballots. 

Other notable names on the lineup include one of BlackBook’s Stars of 2013, HAIM, Swedish party starters Icona Pop, Erykah Badu, Feist, festival regular Pretty Lights, Wild Nothing, Fucked Up and Dillon Francis. Those less inclined to care about the music can find food courtesy of a few familiar trucks, including Asia Dog, Mexicue and Pie for the People. There is also ping-pong, croquet and bocce and something called a "Silent Disco," which seems to be on the bill at a lot of festivals and the impetus for some half-baked thinkpiece somewhere about the way we live and share music now. Tickets for the big festival thing go on sale this Friday at noon. 

Several top-rated tracks of 2012, including Kendrick Lamar’s "Backseat Freestyle" and Japandroids’ "The House That Heaven Built," soundtrack the Austin Peters-helmed lineup video, which features Jonathan Sollis and Fabrizio Goldstein strolling around New York in tuxes and dark sunglasses, on a neverending quest to make it rain. Watch.

Personal Faves: The Return of Fiona Apple—Live!

Instead of ending the year with a slew of Best Of lists, BlackBook asked our contributors to share the most important moments in art, music, film, television, and fashion that took place in 2012. Here, Nadia Chaudhury writes about fulfilling her dream of seeing Fiona Apple perform live.

Seeing Fiona Apple live won the year for me. Murmurings of her new album in January, after seven years spent doing whatever she does when not making new music (I’ve always imagined her frolicking through the woods), and to-be-expected tour excited so many people, like myself, were the musical highlights of the year before they even happened. Then, in in April, she officially announced the album, with an epic poem of a title (The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw, and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do) that ought to be pretentious but instead comes across as more endearing than anything else.

I had to see her (I never did while in high school; No Doubt was all the female empowerment I needed). I tried desperately to get tickets to what were pegged as her intimate one-off shows smaller venues in New York in March, to the point where, on the day tickets were for sale, I had my browser open up to Ticketmaster five minutes before they were released, and roped a group of friends and my fiancé to help me in my plight. As soon as the clock hit noon, we clicked, typed those ridiculous captcha words (if only it had read “pawn conflicts” that day…), and failed. Miserably.

So I waited.

Soon after my failed purchases, it was announced that she would be playing Governors Ball on Randalls Island in June, the same week that Idler Wheel had been officially released (though it had been streaming for weeks before and I already had it memorized). It was a music festival (that’s bad), so there were other bands (that’s good), but the main draw was Fiona (that’s great). My fiancé and I got there at noon, right when the gates opened, to stake out a spot at the front of the stage, center right (the money spot). Unlike the ticket fiasco, we succeeded in our goal, and we stood there for six hours, trading off who got to walk around the grounds of Randalls before it got too crowded to come back to our spot.

Band after band played, some better than others (Built to Spill, timeless as always). Then, it was Fiona Time, right at the beginning of dusk. While earlier in the day, the sun had been blazing hot, now the skies had since darkened a bit, turning into a soft hazy gray.

She walked onto the stage, settling in the center at the microphone stand. The blurred sun was right behind the stage, illuminating Fiona from behind. Then, without a 1-2-3 prelude, she begins, diving straight into the jaunty “Fast As You Can.”

Her performance is just mesmerizing. There’s the way she sways and bends her body to the music as if she’s a willow. She shakes her hips, stomps her feet, her one bent leg tapping her foot to the beat of her music. She grips the mic stand with one clutched hand, while the other hand rests on her hip, bracing herself from herself, or with two hands on the mic, like she’s trying to coax affection or approval or everything that she’s been searching for (and apparently couldn’t find from Jonathan Ames, if "Jonathan" is to be believed).

While singing, she widens her mouth to its fullest extent to squeeze every single ounce of sound out of her throat, and just look at the way she opens her eyes, drinking everything in front of her into her mind. There’s the way she waves her too-thin arms around, to emphasize her many points, as if in some poetic tantrum. There’s the way she grasps her own hands, or clutches at the edge of her skirt. There’s the way she pulls back from the microphone stand when she’s not singing. She slinks around the stage during extended musical breaks. She dances in a jerky sort of motion that is in sync with the music, as if she’s in a room by herself and no one else can see her. When she sits at her piano, she shakes her head, and whips her hair, she uses her entire body to push down and pound the notes out on the keyboard. It’s unknown whether the physical performance is for her, for us, or whether she even has any control over what she’s doing.

She sings with longing and at times is sweet, and other times, sounds purely guttural or emotes with a such a precisely controlled quiver as she wavers her voice. She exudes childish wonder in the best way (just look at the music video for “Every Single Night”), while at the same time, true earnest pain, all through her voice. There’s the intensity behind her words that extends deep into her voice, which moves throughout her body. Her vocal power is even amplified by her full backing band. “I just want to feel everything,” she sings. Every verse, every single thing she sings, is cathartic for her. The entire time, I just want to hug her, and tell her that everything is going to be okay, while at the same time, remaining several feet away from her.

Her stage banter isn’t much, but that’s not the point of seeing her. She rambles quickly, stumbling over her words, like an over-energetic child, which could be heard during her WTF interview with Marc Maron in July.

Her smile seems sheepish at times. At one point, she slumps behind the piano, only to wave hello to the crowd from underneath the piano. She’s unsure of how to respond to the multitudes of “I love you, Fiona”s that the audiences cries out; she handles them better than she used to, but there’s still a certain level of embarrassment she clearly feels when heaped with praise. And yet, when she thanks the crowd, she’s genuine. She cares, she really does.

Then she sits down on the stage floor during the musical end of “Criminal,” looking at the audience with a slight smile on her face. And then she waves and her face breaks into a huge smile. She gets up, waves more, and then hugs herself. As she walks offstage, a man, likely her manager, puts his hand on her shoulder as if to say, good job. 

Modest Mouse was set to play after Fiona, but they didn’t matter. We walked away. I wanted to remember what just happened for as long as I could. Some eight months later, I still haven’t forgotten even a single second. Good job.
 

Follow Nadia Chaudhury on Twitter

Five Music Festivals That Will Keep New Yorkers At Home This Summer

With Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza both coming up in the next few months, we’re afraid that our festival budgets are already maxed-out. But we here at BlackBook think there’s plenty more fun to be had and jams to be shared, and there are plenty of local music festivals this summer that will help us beat the heat and save some cash. No airfare or accomodation fees? We’re there—we just need to know where to go! Here are five upcoming events that will keep us having fun at home.

GoogaMooga: May 19-20, Brooklyn’s Prospect Park

Headliners: The Roots, Holy Ghost!, Hall and Oates, Fitz & the Tantrums

Special features: Food, food, and more food, including Momofuku Milk Bar, Kutsher’s Tribeca, The Spotted Pig, Dinosaur BBQ, Mile End, Vinegar Hill House, DuMont Burger, and for those health-conscious festival goers, Juice Press! Additionally, the festival will have a wine tasting tent featuring over 100 wines from around the world and a beer tasting pavilion featuring over 30 different domestic and foreign draft beer makers.

The gist: Eating Momofuku crack pie and drinking artisanal beer to the tune of “Rich Girl” sounds like my idea of a perfect Saturday.


Camp Bisco
: July 12-14, Indian Lookout Country Club, Mariaville, NY

Headliners: The Disco Biscuits, Skrillex, Crystal Castles, Atmosphere

Special features: Camp Bisco will feature three days and nights of music on five stages. Boogie away to top international dance acts as well as in the silent disco, where listeners tune in on wireless headsets. And the most fun part? Camping! Pull up in your RV or pitch your tent, and enjoy the fresh air of the great outdoors. Buy a VIP ticket for access to a VIP lounge and showers, plush toilets, and complimentary massages! VIP Platinum ticketholders get extra perks including a backstage Surf and Turf with members of the Disco Biscuits and other artists. I’m sold.

The gist: Camping in the unsullied upstate air, upbeat dance tunes, plush toilets, showers, and MASSAGES! What else would I need!?


Catalpa
: July 28-29, Randall’s Island

Headliners: The Black Keys, Snoop Dogg, TV on the Radio, Girl Talk, Cold War Kids

Special features: A silent disco will also be featured at Catalpa (seeing a new trend here?) There is also an Ultimate VIP Cabana and Hot-Tub Package for a group of ten with bottle service and other special accommodations. Frisky’s Church of Sham Marriages is setting up a basecamp within Catalpa. Looking to get married during the festival…or at least fake-married?? This 60-foot inflatable church is available for all of you lovers out there to get hitched. Great way to test (read: scare) your boyfriends, ladies! Don’t worry: rings and veils are provided! There’s also a raggae stage procured by High Times Magazine, which is sure to provide chill vibes. 

The gist of it: Snoops Dogg performing his seminal Doggystyle in its entirety, celebrating the sanctity of marriage, and cabanas with hot tubs, Catalpa will surely not disappoint.

 

Governors Ball Music Festival: June 23-24, Randall’s Island

Headliners: Beck, Passion Pit, Kid Cudi, Modest Mouse, Fiona Apple, Chromeo

Special features: An impressive roster of food offerings, which includes Luke’s Lobster, Asia Dog, The Taco Truck, Food Freak Grilled Cheese, and Hill Country. Lawn games include ping pong (presented by Spin New York), beer pong, bocce ball, and croquet. There will be a silent disco room (Yes, again!). VIP ticketholders will receive massage services, shaded seating, and more. The kicker? No overlapping sets! 

The gist: Eating Luke’s Lobster while getting a massage while playing beer pong whilst listening to Beck. I’m up for multitasking.

Electric Zoo: August 31-September 2, Randall’s Island

Headliners: Steve Aoki, Skrillex, Benny Benassi, Tiesto, David Guetta, Above and Beyond, A-Trak,

Specials features: Last year 85,000 people attended this special event and we are expecting a large turnout again! VIP passes include access to air-conditioned bathrooms, plush furniture, complimentary food, and an open bar. For all of you on a budget, Electric Zoo is offering a payment plan for ticket purchasers. You can now pay in installments over time. How thoughtful!

The gist: Three days of house music, electronic vibes, and thousands of festival-goers fist-pumping on Randall’s Island. Tiesto under the stars? And pay later? Done.

Girl Talk, Empire of the Sun, & Big Boi Shine at Governors Ball

There were plenty of outdoor events this past weekend to keep you slick with sunscreen and sweat: the Coney Island Mermaid Parade, the Northside Festival, Pride Kickoff. But where all things shiny are concerned – from glitter to lasers to, yes, copious perspiration – nothing compared to the lineup at this year’s Governors Ball. Thousands flocked to Governors Island to dance their collective asses off to the sounds of Passion Pit, Big Boi, Das Racist, Miami Horror, Empire of the Sun, Girl Talk, and Pretty Lights.

The crowd was a mix of indifferent twenty-somethings and drunk high school girls clad in glitter and face paint. There was enough neon, Native American prints, and feathers to make you re-think what decade you were in.

Those of us who are of age partook in delicious Six Point Sweet Action and Magic Hat #9 brews to stay hydrated in the actually-quite-tolerable 78-degree heat. Big Boi played all of his Outkast hits and Empire of the Sun put on an interesting show with other-worldly shimmery silver and blue costumes (I still can’t get “Half Mast” out of my head). The crowd’s energy reached its climax around 9pm, when Girl Talk took to his computers. Filling the stage with audience members, shirtless and standing on top of a table, Girl Talk took the crowd from swaying to sweating throughout the entire set, finishing out with John Lennon’s “Imagine,” complete with audience sing-along.

Drenched and drained, I only managed to catch a few songs by Pretty Lights. The bass was vibrating from my chest to my toes and — of course — the light show had the whole crowd in a trance.

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