Now in its third year Mad Cool Festival has already delivered some stunning line-ups, with the likes of The Who, The Prodigy, Foo Fighters and Green Day all featuring in past editions of the Madrid-based festival. This year was perhaps one of the most stacked line-ups to date, not only in the small history of the festival, but also compared to other festivals around Europe. Spanning across seven different stages this years edition featured some amazing acts, from Tame Impala and Arctic Monkeys, to Depeche Mode and Pearl Jam. But where most of the attention was drawn to the headline acts, and I guess understandably so, this year also featured a bunch of fantastic up-and-coming bands too. Both local and international artists took to the two smaller stages, called the ‘Mondo Sonoro Stage’ and the ‘Thunder Bitch Stage’, and it was here where I had the pleasure of discovering these five new (to me) bands.
Since 2008, National Public Radio have hosted an online live music series called ‘Tiny Desk Concerts’. Featuring artists from all genres, the show has starred musicians such as Chance The Rapper, Sampha and Cigarettes After Sex, to name a few. The format continues to routinely deliver, allowing artists to perform a few of their favourite tracks in an intimate office enviroment. After watching Jorja Smith‘s mesmerising performance in her latest Tiny Desk Concert, I decided to pick out five of my favourite sets from recent months.
Kanye West & Kid Cudi – Kids See Ghosts
Whatever your opinion of Kanye West is, you can’t deny that he has made some great music. The enigmatic figure, love him or hate him, loathe his manipulation of the media and outspoken personality, his relationship with Kim Kardashian, he’s an artist who has consistently released good music, whilst pushing boundaries and often changing perspectives. On ‘Kids See Ghosts’ he is joined by long-term collaborator Kid Cudi, who like Kanye is returning to music after battling depression. The album feeds off the two oposing personalities, the impulsive brashness of Kanye, as he raps “I love all your shit talking, you ain’t got nothing better to do with yourself” and the melancholy tones of Cudi, who croons his way through the album, ocassionally breaking out into verses reminding us as to why so many have been inspired by him.
I saw these guys whilst at All Points East festival in London last weekend and fell in love with them straight away. Their infectous grooves are undeniably influenced by the great Bee Gees and electronic duo Daft Punk, who they have recently worked with on their single ‘Overnight’. Originaly from Byron Bay in Australia, they’re now based in Berlin.
For fans of: Daft Punk, Nile Rodgers & Chic, Bee Gees
Escapism is an important part of life. Whether that comes from sport, film, art or something else, the escape from the daily rigmarole of work and routine can often be the release that we need. Nothing embodies that notion of escaping the reality more than psychedelic rock, the captivating imagery, and the wandering larger than life sounds, the grandiose vocals and lyrics, it’s a genre bursting with imagination and other-worldliness. Since the genre beamed its colourful head back in the late 1960s, the sound has been twisted and blended with different styles, each era bowing their heads to the originators, but having their own unique take on it.
At different times in life music will come along and make an impact on you that words will never do justice. A particular band or a musician may encapture all those feelings, or it might just be a genre or a scene. During my teenage years it was mainly hip hop and grime, mixed with a flavour of pop punk and nu metal, that fueled my inner angst and confusion with the world. Artists such as Kid Cudi and Blink 182 would be interchangeably blasted from my room. It was a weird mixture of styles, summing up my varying music tastes but also the confusing, conflicting and changing times that growing up through your teenage years can be like.
Since I lived in Valencia for a year, I’ve become increasingly interested in Spanish music, not only as a means to learn the language, but learning about the different scenes and innovation that is taking place, stumbling upon some fantastic artists and bands along the way. This led me onto discovering the absolute hidden gem that is Quentin Gas & Los Zingaros, after reading an article on Spanish Psych Rock that a friend sent me, which you can read here. As the name of the article suggests, Quentin Gas & Los Zingaros are a Psychedelic Rock band, but with a twist.