Count Down To Splendour.

Only one more sleep till I hit the road for Byron Bay and gear up for Splendour In The Grass!

To ensure I’m in the right head space for three days of festival madness, I’ve got my driving playlist prepped with all of my favourite tunes from Jack White, Lanie Lane, San Cisco, Friends, Bloc Party, Jinja Safari, Metric, Lana Del Rey, The Kooks and of course, The Smashing Pumpkins.

And…in order to look my festival best, I have the following items ready to pack…

A WIDE BRIMMED HAT:

LACE UP BOOTS:A GREAT PAIR OF SHADES:

A VERSATILE JACKET:

A STATEMENT ITEM: (because the best thing about festivals is getting away with things you usually wouldn’t!)

AND A BAG THAT’S JUST THE RIGHT SIZE:For those of you heading along this weekend, here’s a little something to get you excited!

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Music Roundup. Primavera Sound, Barcelona.

You know we at SurfStitch love a music festival and the SurfStitch Europe crew are no different. Just a quick, cheap flight away from the our base in the south-west France, it would have been rude not to have made the trip for one of Europe’s best festivals – Primavera Sound in Barcelona!

Primavera is held over five days at the impressive Parc del Forum, an urban park designed by famous Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron. Situated right on the harbour and facing the Mediterranean sea, different stages sometimes appear to float like islands as sailing boats pass by in the distance. A special festival atmosphere.

The days were long and hot and beers plentiful as you kept a constant look out for the ‘San Miguel man’ – an ingenious concept whereby mobile bar staff with kegs strapped to their backs wander around the festival stages ready to render top-ups at any time.

And of course, the lineup this year was out-of-control with something for everyone and every phase of your musical life. Here we walk you through the looks to match the bands…

Grunge Revisted.

Cut-offs denim shorts, raw edges, chunky boots, a touch of army and lots of jingle jangle accessories equals rocker perfection for the likes of The Cure, Wilco, Franz Ferdinand, Death Cab for Cutie, Wild Beasts and The Walkmen.

Colour Me Bad.

Keep it colourful with fluro accessories, coloured denim, mad prints and an irrepressible smile while dancing like a mad (wo)man to M83, SBTRKT, Justice (Live), The Rapture and The Grimes.

Keep it Clean.

Why over-complicate things? Nothing could be purer than double-denim and your trusted Vans to take in the sounds of Beach House, Kings of Convenience, Rufus Wainwright, Washed Out, Beirut, Jeff Mangum, Yo La Tengo and The XX.

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Friday Arvo Tunes.

SANTIGOLD – MASTER OF MY MAKE BELIEVE

After seeing Santigold perform her latest album Master Of My Make Believe at Coachella (read about it here) this year I was definitely psyched to get a copy for myself. An electric blur of punk, pop, reggae and dance, Santigold once again retains her crown as the Queen of misfit party anthems.

THE HIVES – LEX HIVES

Lex Hives is the latest and fifth album for the iconic Swedish punk rockers. It sees the band returning to their roots with an original, dirty, garage sound, while at the same time navigating exciting new territories. A must hear!

HOT CHIP – IN OUR HEADS

These guys are being played not stop at the moment on triple J! And it’s not hard to see why! Exploding with dance deconstructions and genuine ruminations on love, protection and life, I can’t get enough of this quirky new album, In Our Heads by Hot Chip.

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Friday Morning Tunes.

Beach House – Bloom

The American duo, Beach House, made up of Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally, released their fourth album, Bloom, earlier this year. Described “like eighties revivalism, soft-rocking kraut-rock, 60s girl groups, The Beach Boys”, there sound is perfect, beautiful and more sophisticated than their previous album ‘Teen Dream’. Legrand’s dream-like voice will no doubt take you on a mystical journey – what more could you ask for!

Arctic Monkeys – R U Mine?

A new track ‘R U Mine’ was posted by the Arctic Monkeys in late Feb. A bit of a mystery, the one-off single in not part of last year’s album Suck It and See, nor does it seem to be a teaser for an upcoming album. Very 70s rock-and-roll, with its bold Free-like fret work, harmonious vocals and plenty of drum work…there’s even a vocal break down in the bridge which turns up the white boy funk.

Oh Mercy! – Great Barrier Grief

Not exactly a new album but I’ve been listening to these guys non-stop for the past couple of days. The second album from Melbourne’s Oh Mercy, ‘Great Barrier Grief’ is memorable and pretty. Front man Alex Gow, although capable of understated sentimentality, appears to take pleasure in adding to this mood a sarcastic turn of phrase, leaving something unsaid.

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The Temper Trap. Album Of The Week.

One of my personal most anticipated albums this year is Temper Trap’s self titled EP. Their 2009 debut album “Conditions” was a work of art and I’m hoping this one will be the same.

Introducing the album to the world with “Need Your Love” it perfectly sets the scene for what’s to come. A pounding beat provides the perfect backdrop as frontman Dougy Mandagi showcases his strong yet fragile voice as he documents his broken heart. “Oh / I need your love / I need your love / I need you now / I need you”.

The Temper Trap will be playing a sold out show at The Forum Theatre in Melbourne, The Sydney Opera House in Sydney and Triple J’s One Night Stand in Queensland this week. I wonder how their new tunes will translate in concert… And if you weren’t lucky enough to score tickets, they’ll be back in November with Coldplay. Check out concert dates here.

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Tunesday. Youth Lagoon.

It feels like I’ve been waiting forever to see this guy perform live…although it really hasn’t been that long. Trevor Powers is an unassuming character, a 22 year old American musician with a boyish-like face accompanied by a mass of dark curly hair and a mesmerizingly innocent voice. The debut album “Year Of Hibernation” was released late last year with its delicate tracks and an undeniable vibe of hushed intimacy.

Performing with only a keyboard and a guitarist on stage, Powers is surrounded by an untouchable aura as his usually hushed vocals are put on show. With so little standing between him and the audience, Youth Lagoon’s performances are intimate and personal. I’m so stoked to be seeing Youth Lagoon perform live at Byron Bay’s Splendour In The Grass. Who are you most looking forward to at this year’s Splendour?

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Music Roundup. Splendour Edition.

SPLENOUR in the grass tickets went on sale last week and sold out in a record time of just 43 minutes. The three-day music festival has finally returned to Byron Bay’s Belongil Fields this year with one hell of an impressive line-up. Bloc Party, The Kooks, Lana Del Rey, Hilltop Hoods, Kimbra and local Angus Stone to name just a few.

BLOC PARTY

After three years, Bloc Party will be returning to Australia for Splendour 2012. Debuting material from their forthcoming new album (as well as our favourite old stuff) I can’t wait to see these guys perform live!

KIMBRA

Ever since Kimbra’s duet with Gotye in the worldwide smash hit ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’ I’ve been waiting to see this quirky, soulful songstress perform live… Can’t wait!

LANA DEL REY

Welcome Lana Del Rey. Introduced to many of her fans through her DIY video for, “Video Games”, her contemporary, darkly enchanting album ‘Born to Die’ is currently on high rotation around the world.

Splendour 2012 here we come!

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Blogger Diary. Coachella Day 3 Music Round Up.

The final day of Coachella 2012 was once again stifling hot. As we made our way to the main stage we could hear Santigold blasting out tunes from her latest album Master Of My Make Believe. Despite the heat, Santigold managed to draw a huge crowd in the 40-degree heat…one of only a few that could.

As the sun began to set, it was the perfect backdrop to The Weeknd’s soulful, baby-making music and the crowd went nuts. On the big screen we could see a young lady openly weeping, whilst there were even reports of fans holding up their panties in the air.

Rushing over to the Mojave tent, we managed to enjoy the last few songs of Gotye’s performance. Engaging the audience in a sing-along with everybody’s favourite “Somebody That I Used To Know”, he powered through popular songs from his Making Mirrors album. Unfortunately, after hearing the knockout, the crowd had gotten their fix and began to file out.

I, along with thousands of others had high hopes for Girl Talks set, and he certainly exceeded all expectations. It was clear that front man, Gregg Gillis’ had an appetite for upbeat rap and pop, as he created a 45 minute set of sing along bliss! His music captivates the audience with his creation of new supergroups – Bruce Spingsteen fronting N.E.R.D is just one example. He did not need a hologram to keep the audience’s attention.

Gillis, must lose 10 kgs each set he plays, as he enters the stage in trackies and a hoodie and never, and I mean never stops to take a break from head banging and dancing like a raver.
Enjoyed this set from start to finish, he was one of the highlights of our Coachella experience.

Next on our hit list was the amazing and enchanting Florence & The Machine. An all time favourite of mine, she did not disappoint. At one point dedicating a song “Rabbit Heart” to the ladies. “This is for the ladies,” she stated. “I want to see girls on shoulders. Be strong, boys”. And just as we were about to leave the stage to secure a good position for Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, we were confronted with hit “Dog Days Are Over.”

After hearing reports from the first weekend expectations were high for headlining act Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, featuring the hologram of Tupac. With guest appearances by 50 cent and Eminem the performance was definitely a must-see. The perfect end to Coachella 2012!

Coachella 2013 here we come!

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Blogger Diary. Coachella Day 1 Music Round Up.

Coachella – It is the ultimate place to surround yourself with other music lovers in the middle of the desert to party all day and night. Held at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, these grounds go on for miles. I had prepared myself for the heat, just like the weather report showed me this morning saying “HOT” above Fri Sat & Sun of the festival this weekend. Thank god I have had the experience of a 43 degree big day out, but that was just a warm up for today, and it’s going to heat up even more. The punishing heat made the day a bit of a game of dot to dot from shade to shade until around 6′oclock when it finally went behind the mountains and gave everyone some much needed relief.

As night time descended, it was clear that Coachella really comes alive under the blanket of darkness. The Palm trees are illuminated blue, green, pink and orange, light shows engulf the night’s sky and the individual sets show their true characters. With the temperature dropping, now is the time to truly enjoy ourselves.

The music was our savour from the heat. Basically from 2 – 4 the Do Lab was my sanctuary. This place is an oasis in the middle of a steaming hot bowl of soup. There was some amazing dubstep, drum & base and electro cranking out of here all day long – I was enjoying it, but I think 50% of the people hanging around were just here for the water getting sprayed over the crowd.

We went and caught the last of Grouplove who played their biggest hit “Tongue Tied” – This song was made famous when featuring in an iPod ad last year, and as a result it seemed to resonate best with the crowd. The group then payed homage to Whitney Houston when they played a short version of “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” – The crowd went crazy! The audience thrived off the group’s energy and all seemed to forget about the 40 something degree heat and enjoyed the music they had to offer.

A few vodka Red Bulls later it was time to get dooown and dirty to The Rapture. The tent was packed. We made our way through the crowd to get as close to the stage that we could, but the heat was a killer. The band delivered a rad set with saxophone, cowbell and more beats then the guy in front could shake his glow sticks at. The highlight for us was “House of Jealous Lovers” with the crowd hanging onto every word that left Luke Jenner’s mouth.

Using some of the energy from the Red Bulls, I sprinted over to the other side of the festival back to the main stage to see The Black Keys – My Dad’s fave. These guys were the highlight of my day, fully embracing their headlining status. They saved the best til last and also invited a surprise guest John Fogerty onstage to pay tribute to The Band drummer and singer Levon Helm, who died last week after a long battle with cancer. The trio sang The Band’s classic The Weight “Take a Load Off Annie, Take a Load For Free..”

After this, all anyone was talking about was Swedish House Mafia, this was a set which I couldn’t miss out on. I made my way over to the main stage along with every other single human body who survived the heat of the day – The crowd was packed! The trio that make up SHM were just tiny silhouettes beneath a pumping lightshow.

Come 12am, it was time to drag my tired feet home, sneak into the pool for a quick dip and prepare to do it all again tomorrow!!

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5 Can’t Miss Acts At This Years Coachella.

Coachella Music Festival starts tomorrow and runs through the weekend. So tomorrow I’m heading down to check out the amazing sounds of this years hottest artists, soak up the energy of the Californian desert and source the ground for the best fashion L.A. can offer.

I’ll have some more info on what I’m going to be doing over the weekend but for now, here’s a look at some of my fave bands who will be performing at this years Coachella Fest!

Bon Iver

I recently saw Bon Iver perform live at the Opera House and let me just say it was amazing. His sophisticated sound is unique and each song he creates is embodied with copious amounts of melodic layer and an intimacy, which creates an undeniable tale for the listener.

Needless to say, I’m pretty excited to park myself under a palm tree and escape to Vernon’s soulful, captivating and chill-inducing voice.

David Guetta

European DJ, David Guetta’s dancefloor-friendly recipe has conquered pop and my attention. I first saw him play live in Barcelona a few years back and have been a big fan of him ever since. He’s incredible live and I can’t wait to see him again.

Swedish House Mafia

After performing live in Madison Square Garden last year, Swedish House Mafia were invited to play at this year prestigious desert fest, Coachella 2012. With intense pyrotechnics and panoramic visuals, they give one impressive show. And after playing at the first weekend, in an interview last week, Ingrosso alluded to an ‘addition’ being added to the show…we can’t wait to find out who!

M83

This is one set that I have been DYING to see. I have never been lucky enough to see these guys live, but have heard that Anthony Gonzalez’s vocals are incredible. They are known to be first class entertainers, and have heard to expect nothing else tomorrow. An artistic lifelike alien creature to start the show and “Midnight City” to finish it off – what more could you ask for?

The Weeknd

There are three main things that I love about Abel Tesfaye. 1. He streams all of his music free to the web 2. He declines interviews, instead communicates to his captive audience directly through his blog. 3.His music delves into a deeper place then Johnny Cash’s voice. I will be taking a seat on the lawn by the outdoor stage to chill out and listen to this set.

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