Don’t Miss: Moogfest 2016, 5/19-5/22/16 (Part 2)

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Gwenno (Photo courtesy 5ive Roses Press)

Moogfest 2016: Three Acts Not to Miss

Moogfest 2016 is shaping up to be a pretty exciting affair, and I say this after a very successful last edition of the synthesizer-inspired music festival, which I attended in 2014.

This time around, a few of the artists are the same but many of them are quite different. Take for example synthpop icon Gary Numan, who will conduct a three-night residency at Moogfest 2016 in Durham, NC, presumably May 19, 20, and 21. Gary will perform three of his classic albums -– Replicas, The Pleasure Principle, and Telekon -– over three nights.

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Don’t Miss: Moogfest 2016, 5/19-5/22/16 (Part 1)

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Gary Numan will play three performances at Moogfest 2016, each dedicated to a different classic album. (Photo courtesy BB Gun)

Moogfest 2016: Initial Details Revealed!

In 2016, the top music festival for celebrating the synthesizer returns to North Carolina. Moogfest 2016, named for Dr. Bob Moog and his innovative synthesizers, will come to Durham, NC, from Thursday, May 19, to Sunday, May 22, 2016. In Durham, the festival will encompass 17 different venues across the core downtown area of the city.

This year’s festival, the 10th Moogfest, will feature headliners Gary Numan (for a three-night residency) and GZA (for two-night residency), as well as Odesza, Laurie Anderson, Oneohtrix Point Never, Suzanne Ciani, Blood Orange, and Sun Ra Arkestra, with keynotes by transhumanist pharma tycoon Dr. Martine Rothblatt and virtual reality pioneer Jaron Lanier.

Watch comedian Reggie Watts announce the lineup for Moogfest 2016:

The rest of the festival includes more than 100 music acts, such as Explosions in the Sky, Sunn O))), The Orb, Daniel Lanois, DJ Harvey, Tory Lanez, Robert Hood, Simian Mobile Disco, Ben Frost, Floating Points, King Mez, Kode9, Hundred Waters, Empress Of, Mad Professor, Mike Dean, Moses Sumney, Mac McCaughan, Lunice, Ryan Hemsworth, Tim Hecker, and YACHT!

Moogfest 2016 offers a range of activities for day and night. By day, festival-goers can explore tech and art with a conference consisting of panels, workshops, and displays. By night, revelers indulge in performances by synthpop pioneers and newcomers alike.

You can find a full list of performers at the Moogfest 2016 website.

If that doesn’t sound enticing enough yet, Laurie Anderson will host a daytime conversation as well as a night-time performance. Blood Orange will present a performance of future soul. Brian Eno protégé Daniel Lanois will experiment with ambient sounds. GZA leads the biggest hip hop presence at Moogfest ever with artists like Lunice, Tory Lanez, Denzel Curry, Dr. Dre protégé King Mez, and Well$.

Ryan Hemsworth brings together a crew of international DJ/producer friends for a kick-off party. And in a segment that is free and open to the public, DJ Lance Rock and Yo Gabba Gabba bring guest hosts Mark Mothersbaugh of DEVO, Bootsy Collins, DJ Nanny Canteloupe, thereminist Dorit Chrysler, and others to celebrate electronic music for kids.

Tickets are available online.

Moogfest 2016
The City of Durham, NC
Thursday, May 19-Sunday, May 22, 2016
Exact schedule TBA
$249 General Admission; $499 VIP
$1,000 Engineer VIP includes two-day synth-building workshop
All ages

Music Park: Parklife DC Top 10 Concerts of 2015 by Mickey

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Steve Norman of Spandau Ballet was a star player at the 9:30 Club on April 28, 2015. (Photo by Joy Asico)

When I look back upon 2015, I certainly discovered my share of new favorite bands. But I have to confess, the best shows of the year were dominated by legacy bands returning to reclaim their pop thrones. And so the shows I am most excited about in 2015 were generally those shows where a genre-defining artist came back to DC and absolutely mastered their art.

But I’ll add this postscript: 2015 also was the year of the punk rock girl, as several notable bands reminded me of how much I like a woman’s voice over a bit of surf or rockabilly guitar. I’ll explain more after my official list of Parklife DC Top 10 Concerts of 2015.

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Music Park: YACHT @ U Street Music Hall — 11/7/15

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YACHT perform at Treefort Music Fest in Boise, Idaho, on March 28, 2015. (Photo courtesy Treefort Music Fest)

Claire Evans trailed off singing the catchy new song “Hologram” from the new album by YACHT and peered over the audience in mock concern.

“Whose phone is ringing?” she queried.

Turning to her right, she found that her own phone was apparently ringing at U Street Music Hall on Saturday night. She picked up the phone receiver, seated next to a synthesizer of course, and began to explain to the “caller” that she was at a show, so it wasn’t the best time to talk.

“What show? YACHT,” Claire said.

“No, not a boat,” she continued after a pause. “It’s an acronym. [beat] Yes, I’m sure they regret that too.”

Claire and her YACHT bandmates then launched into “Ringtone,” another catchy new album from I Thought the Future Would Be Cooler, released last month via Downtown Records.

As Claire intimated, YACHT was conceived as Young Americans Challenging High Technology by Jona Bechtolt some years ago. Jona, who plays synth and guitar, eventually would recruit Claire as full-time vocalist, and most recently Rob Kieswetter on synth and bass. The trio stopped in DC for a show in support of the new album, easily their most accessible and appealing effort yet.

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Music Park: New Video from YACHT (Appearing @ U Street Music Hall, 11/7/15)

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Jona Bechtolt and Claire Evans of YACHT (Photo courtesy Downtown Records)

YACHT will perform at U Street Music Hall on Saturday, Nov. 7, after releasing their new album, I Thought the Future Would Be Cooler, last Friday. We’ve been recommending that you go!

Today, the L.A.-based art pop collective debuted the video for the album’s title track — clearly in hopes that the future would have turned out cooler than it did. It’s really quite clever in pointing out the silliness of some things of NOW — including selfie sticks, Segways, vaping and Tinder.

Watch the official video for “I Thought the Future Would Be Cooler” by YACHT on YouTube:

Claire Evans and Jona Bechtolt of YACHT say, “This is a science fiction video that uses only existing technologies—VR, drones, self-balancing scooters (“hoverboards”), telepresence robots, selfie sticks, Soylent, and vape pens. All of these things have variably been presented as symbols of our futuristic world, but up close, they just feel straight-up comical. Our director, Eugene Kotlyarenko, has a unique perspective on this material, as a filmmaker. His feature film, Zeros and Ones, takes place entirely in computer interfaces. He was a perfect partner. He totally understood what we wanted to do and how to do it—from faux FaceTime to faking scrubbing ahead on YouTube.”

It’s a shame in a way that YACHT are no longer with DFA, as the label that made famous LCD Soundsystem is surely ground zero for a literal peek at now as the future from the reference point of a late ’70s/early ’80s synth-driven idealistic outlook formulated by the new wave sensibilities favored by both LCD and YACHT.

All the same, YACHT clearly are in good form, and you should see them when they are here in a few short weeks.

Tickets are available online.

YACHT
w/ Larry Gus
U Street Music Hall
Saturday, Nov. 7
Doors @7pm
$20
All ages

Don’t Miss: YACHT @ U Street Music Hall, 11/7/15

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Jona Bechtolt and Claire L. Evans (Photo by Ricky Tompkins)

Disco-punk duo YACHT are about to release a new album, I Thought the Future Would Be Cooler, via Downtown Records — their third full-length effort operating as a band rather than as a solo project by founder Jona Bechtolt.

After the new album’s release on Oct. 16, YACHT will appear mystically at U Street Music Hall soon after on Saturday, Nov. 7, in a tour stop to support the album.

The new album finds Jona and his songwriting partner Claire L. Evans concerned about the quality of life and the future of mankind — two themes that preoccupied them in previous albums See Mystery Lights and Shangri-La, which lyrically assessed topics like the lack of an afterlife and utopia, despite mostly being earnest dance records. Aside from being an arresting performer, Claire is also a science journalist, writing and blogging about science for the likes of National Geographic, OMNI and Vice.

The first single from the new album “L.A. Plays Itself” is a love letter to their adopted city, inspired by the 2003 Thom Andersen documentary Los Angeles Plays Itself and incorporating 163 production location signs.

Watch the video for “L.A. Plays Itself” on YouTube:

YACHT cites a mind-boggling array of influences on The Future Would Be Cooler — including 80s Japanese electronic reggae (Sandii & The Sunsetz, Haruomi Hosono), 70s and 80s post-punk and no wave (Family Fodder, The Waitresses, Suburban Lawns, Killing Joke, A Certain Ratio, Devo), Norwegian disco (Todd Terje, Lindstrøm, Prins Thomas), and Grand Royal Records-era alternative music (Cibo Matto, Luscious Jackson, Money Mark).

Tickets are available online.

YACHT
w/ Larry Gus
U Street Music Hall
Saturday, Nov. 7
Doors @7pm
$20
All ages