Today, we are proud to present a "guest" piece from one of our friends.
Adding to our list of great people who contribute to our work or share via our site,
we present the great work of Alex Dohm.
Okay, I get it.
We didn’t all graduate from (or drop out of – hey-o!) music school, but I don’t think anyone needs to be a music snob to appreciate the eclectic mix of artists being featured at Eaux Claires Deux.
Yeah, okay, there are a lot of new age composers over basement bands, throwbacks over local classics (c’mon, we’re all in favor of an Amateur Love reunion, right? RIGHT??). Rather than thinking about the bands I’d pay to see, I’m paying into the potential to discover or experience something that, a) I’ve never seen/heard or b) has never been done before. This may be obvious to everyone else, but this year I’m really trying to just listen to the music and not use name recognition as a way of validating the lineup. But I’m still excited about a bunch of acts I recognize in the second installment of the festival. Even though I’m fully aware that not everyone likes music for the same reasons I do, I still like to have my reasons.
The collaboration that jumps out to me first is The Staves and yMusic. The Staves bring these instinctual/biological harmonies that work with so many things, as Justin Vernon has shown us by bringing them into the Bon Iver fold. Their dynamic range - from soft and haunting to powerful and jaw-dropping – is really what makes their live show so compelling and why they’re a logical fit with BI. Dynamics are a fun thing in music, you guys! They convey emotions and stuff! Also, YouTube yMusic and see what they’ve already done with Jose Gonzalez, Ben Folds, or just their own stuff. Adding this layer of orchestration to what The Staves are already laying down should be nothing short of awesome.
Breaking the number one rule of the almighty Hipster Code, I have to admit that I had not heard of Jon Hopkins before the ECX lineup announcement. But then I listened to him. He plays with simple melodies and song structure, and really builds these musical landscapes (sidenote: my internal monologue is going crazy after writing that but it really is an accurate description). Anyway, it’s like seeing a movie and knowing what happens but only having heard the soundtrack. So totally my thing. I’m going to close my eyes and be silent for the entire set and just see where I’m at afterwards.
And more widely appealing - Mavis Staples! Bob Dylan tried to propose to her! American musical history. I don’t know how much I need to (or even could) say about her, but you want to see Mavis Staples. Trust me.
Francis and the Lights were totally new to me last year and their set blew me away. I wasn’t wild about the shirtless dude running around, but the music was tight, succinct, and had every pop sensibility in the world. The overtly 80s vibe was what I needed Friday night, and I suspect nothing different this year. It’ll be a repeat show for me. I mean, I really want to see that guy take off his shirt again.
I’m also suuuper pumped for Vince Staples (“Black and hooded is the official probable cause for cops to keep weapons on / I can’t breathe through the chokeholds and gun smoke”), S. Carey for whatever he’ll end up doing, Lucius for their pop-song fun, Sloslylove bringing us a State of the Union, and of course, Badu (holy shit, Badu!).
So yeah, even though we can’t listen to Rosenau/Sandborn or Efiro/Westerlund on Spotify over the next few months, I’m still looking forward to scooping up the collaborations Eaux Claires is dishing out and smearing them all over my delicious face like a chili in 90-degree heat. Don’t look at me like that; you know what I’m talking about. See you and everyone from the last 25 years of my social life there!
by Alex Dohm (@alexlaserbeam)