5 Reasons you MUST go to a Music Festival

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My dearest of hipster sirs and hipster ladies, how I have missed you all. I am deeply apologetic about leaving you all in your utmost time of need: Summer. Yes, it might appear like all sunshine and good times but summer is also the most dangerous season for getting sucked into soulless pop music blasting out of your radio because you mixed up the euphoria of that Twisted Tea with the pointless lyrics of Jason Derulo. I can blame it on the fact I lost motivation after school was out or I filled my life with work and soccer or the more current factor that I broke my wrist and now type like Captain Hook. All of these excuses don’t matter. What matters now is that you are about to be enlightened of the world of music festivals. 

Summer is the time for music festivals; cue flower crowns, high-waisted short shorts and patterned hats. Festivals to some people seem like an unnecessary waste of money and time. I can see where you are coming from as they do cost a fair amount of money and you have to factor in hangover time along with travel time meaning your out for a solid week, I can’t take that off work! I am here to tell you it is worth every overtime hour and every effort you put into it (and if you can’t work hungover you can’t work at all).

This summer I managed to make it to two music festivals both located within 5 hours of me: Pemberton and Squamish Valley Music Festival. They aren’t yet ranked up with the Coachella’s, Bonnaroo’s, and Glastonbury’s of the world but let me tell you, they were amazing. I will be writing reviews for them later but for now I want to enlighten you all on 5 reasons you really must go to a music festival. My goal is basically just to get you to your first one because after that you will want to go to ALL of them, trust me on this one.

Here’s my 5 reasons you need to get your fine hipster ass to a music festival:

1) The lineup

This is probably the most obvious reason to attend a music festival. In no other setting on this planet will you get to see The Temper Trap followed by The Arctic Monkey followed by Eminem. Only at a music festival will you get to see a hologram of Tupac, witness the Trailer Park Boys watching Snoop Dogg, or have British Dj duo Disclosure bring out Mary J Blige as a guest appearance. Are you out of breath yet? I hope not because we have 4 more to go. Only at a music festival will you get to see rock followed by rap followed by a massive DJ, my little hipster heart is smiling. The lineup is a massive part of going to a music festival, but aren’t you wondering why ticket sales go up before the lineup is announced? Stay with me here.

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2) The camping

In the past I have stayed at hotels and camped on the grounds for music festivals and let me tell you, camping is the way to go. Yes, you might be incredibly sleep deprived by day 3 because your neighbours were having a drug influenced bro-out at 4:30am. Yes, you might feel nasty when your hair turns into a massive dreadlock due to the constant sweat and dirt flying around the campground (showers cost money? thats like one whole beer). And finally, you might be dying to use flush toilets (the name Honey Bucket makes me gag). But how I see it, this is part of it. Everyone there is going through the same thing and if you can keep a positive attitude about it all, the camping is half of the fun! Everyone wakes up excitedly anticipating the amazing live music they will see that day and that’s an atmosphere you can’t get from a Sandman or Hilton. So my friends, throw your high maintenance habits out the window, grab a Rockstar Vodka in the morning and throw in some dry shampoo because YOU are there for the experience, and an experience you will get.

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3) The friends

It is a known fact that those humans that face adversity or experience phenomenas together grow a close bond. There isn’t any adversity quite like a festival hangover and powering through for round 3 or even 4. Naturally, everyone is at the festival for similar reasons. We all made a combined effort to buy these overpriced wristbands and get our shit together in time to set up a livable area for several days. Festival friends are the best friends. Nobody is in it for a long term relationship. We are there to have the best time of our whole summer and when these attitudes are in the minds of a large group you are bound for a killer time. When making friends (usually with you neighbours because everyone’s too lazy to roam around) you realize that people are naturally drawn to like minded people. Unlike in your everyday life when you try to avoid all eye contact with the people in Walmart, here you are giving random people high-fives and getting flung up on the shoulders of a random stranger so you can see eye to eye with Frank Ocean (oh it happened). The friends you make at festivals are there to look out for you and be your little family for the time spent there, and that is something you really must be a part of.

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4) The road trip

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “half the fun is getting there”.  I always thought this was a bunch of malarky until I was subject to music festival road trips. The anticipation of the entire weekend is built up and compacted into your tiny Honda Civic, bursting at the seems with your camping attire and carefully picked out outfits. The sound system is blasting the artist you still can’t believe you are going to see and everyone still has a fresh face on. A convoy is an even better idea with regular car switches at the passing by Starbucks’. I like to call this stage of music festivaling ‘The Calm Before the Storm’ because once you park that little car I can guarantee you will have a team shot gun as you begin your journey to the campsite. Never over look the road trip part of the festival my friends, it’s all part of it.

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5) The aftermath

Now I know what you are thinking, those who have been to festivals: ‘The aftermath is the worst part!’, ‘How could she say it’s a reason to go to the festival when I am depressed for days.’ Two things for you people: lay off the drugs and drink coconut water. When you come back from a festival you are usually sun burnt, dehydrated, sleep deprived but extremely and utterly happy. You STILL can’t believe you saw the Rap God/Slim Shady/Eminem, witnessed Tyler, the Creator skateboarding and heard Nas perform Illmatic. Oh it happened kids. You crowd surfed, you ate a large tub of mini donuts and you drank from 11am-2am everyday. You my friend are a survivor and you got to do all these crazy things with some pretty amazing people. Why are you depressed? Because it’s over maybe, but you get the bragging rights over all your lame friends who didn’t have the balls to dive into this experience with you. Don’t be depressed my friends, be excited for next year because we all know you are now addicted to music festivals. And my job here is done.

 

Review: Deep Web Tour

 

Childish Gambino In Concert - Detroit, Michigan

This is not for the light of heart or those prone to the most contagious disease known as jealousy. After all Drake did tell us jealousy is just love and hate at the same time. If you didn’t make it to Childish Gambino’s Deep Web Tour I simultaneously pity you and am happy for myself as I get to tell you about it first hand. I may have lacked the vertical to get a birds eye view of good ole Donald but the show was nothing short of creative genius no matter where you were at the concert.

The pre- DJ spun anthem after anthem as the stage screen lit up by those informed enough to use the Deep Web App. This was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. The app could be downloaded onto any smartphone but could only be used if the location your GPS found you at matched the one that the show was happening at. Highly interactive and extraordinarily genius, users in the building could post what looked like tweets down the right side of the screen for everyone to see or switch to the other option which was drawing with your finger which showed up in real time covering most of the rest of the screen. What really got the crowd excited was the messages highlighted in red sent by Childish Gambino himself along with Steve G. Riling up the crowd he posted messages like “Who wants to be my girlfriend for the night?” which obviously is just a big tease…right?… Numerous times the crowd would erupt in chants of “Worldstar” posing as a uniting demand as if we had to remind each other we were all there for one guy.

After an hour of sweaty jumping and debates on whether to return to the beer gardens or not the stage light up with futuristic images paired with attention grabbing lasers as Gambino opened with ‘Crawl’. An appropriate song to get the night going being the first full length song on his album ‘Because the Internet’. Now I’m not here to tell you the set list, you can google that any bloody day, I’m here to enlighten you on the atmosphere of the show. The entire album is an experience in itself with encompassing bass in songs like ‘Zealots of Stockholm’ which sounds like Childish is caught in cyber space and is trying to rap his way into material existence. He seems to have succeeded as he energetically runs around the stage in his hipster perfection. What sets Gambino apart from other rappers is his presence and his vocals. In this show he demonstrated not only his capability of unfaltering flow but also his mesmerizing voice. He doesn’t talk much but makes up for his lack of banter with creative transition. One of the highlights of the show being when he kicked the girls who happened to be lucky enough to end up on stage back into the crowd with ‘The Party’ which is a short track that ends up with Gambino demanding ‘get the fuck out of my house’. Sorry lady hipster sluts but you can’t even be mad, I mean we paid to go see him, not your ass hanging out of those short pleather shorts… sorry that might have been my own jealousy monster. Other transitions included thought provoking voices seemingly coming from the ‘deep web’ and more app generated interactions. Whilst Gambino was in the middle of a particularly melodious song a question came up on the screen: How does this make you feel? The app flashed up on the screen of my iPhone with three choices to answer with A) lost B) some type of way C) :o D) roscoe’s wetsuit. Needless to say the Donald Glover spread claim to internet curiosity ‘roscoes wetsuit’ ended with the most percentage of answer with more uniting grins and fist pumps to follow. Gambino’s live performances of the tracks from ‘Because the Internet’ solidify the widely known fact that once you see it live, you will love it forever. This album was great bumping out of my shitty sound system in my car but when you are faced with the reality of seeing it uttered out the makers mouth, well that might just be the reason for living.

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In a sweaty satisfactory the crowd erupted in genuine shouts of anticipation as Gambino declares he is switching gears and the stage screen fades from cyber chic to a creepy forest scene. Images of his music video for ‘Bonfire’ flashes in my mind with a cracked out Gambino gallivanting around the forest with incredibly short shorts. Any non-possers in the building began to mentally prepare themselves for Camp, and they weren’t disappointed. The beauty of a live rap show is when you can hear the entire building spit the words you thought only you knew. If you still have a friend who insists that they are the only ones who can spit alongside their idol (and are proud of it?) well chalk them full of alcohol and take them to a rap show. Not even the most pretentious of souls could have stuck with their asshole ways when they are surrounded by people of all walks of life jumping energetically, arm in arm, aggressively spitting every artfully crafted lyric to ‘Freaks and Geeks’ to the live Childish Gambino as their partner in the very same room. And you thought only Jesus could save your soul… too far? Steve G appeared on stage making Gambino seem like a kid but the two lead with equal levels of gangsterness as they spit a single dating back to the mixtape ‘Royalty’ known as ‘One Up’. The beauty of this one is you can hear everyone yelling the most known line “You ain’t liking what we doing? Shut Up”. At this stage of the show inhibitions had flown out the window with the entire building yelling this line like they were on the verge of fisticuffs.

The biggest highlight of the show happened near the end as Gambino asked the music maker for a ‘hard beat’. “You guys wouldn’t mind a little free styling would you?”. Would the crowd of Woodstock have wanted marijuana? This was the quietest the entire building had been since we had all been in the pre-boozing/pre-dj/’I think I lost my phone’ stage. The beat started as gangster as he had asked as he spat a freestyle rhyme with cheers after references to his tv bff Abed, Hastings street (the hooker and crack head street of downtown Vancouver) and of course BC bud. Steve G chimed in to create what hipsters thrive for, a one time track that we were the only ones to hear, and of course it was killer. We all left the arena slightly more sober than we had entered but a universe more satisfied. Once you see him live, you’ll be an addict for life.

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Having seen him twice before (not bragging, maybe a little, okay I am) it was hard for me not to compare my experiences. The first time I saw him, back in 2012, I was a new fan having stumbled upon his red-sweatered running in the ‘Freaks and Geeks’ video and having seen him on Community. This first exposure was a but of a musical blur which any of you Sasquatch veterans can relate to. However, due to his ‘under the radar’ status at this point in time I managed to be front row which helped solidify my fandom for Childish Gambino. The next time I saw him was at Squamish Music Festival in 2013. By this time I knew basically every song he spat and even though I wasn’t front row I still managed to get chucked into the air in a forced crowd surf (ah the beauty of being 5’3”). Both of these performances weren’t as long as I wanted them and I knew I had to go to an exclusive concert sooner or later. In every show I have seen Childish Gambino at he is always a man of few words and small shorts with a miraculous amount of energy. I don’t think I will ever get sick of seeing this guy live.

Whether you have been a fan since Royalty, Camp, or Because the Internet or your brother made you listen to him once on a forced road trip to go visit your grandmother, I’d suggest you make an effort to see Childish Gambino live. The power of live music mixed with the sheer depth of his talent and creativity will never disappoint. You have my hipster word.

21 Things I’ve learned in 21 years

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Every birthday it seems to become less about the presents and birthday party and goodies bags and more about a marking of what you have accomplished over the last year. Am I still a drunk lunatic like I was at 19? Do I still have a hardcore addiction to Taylor Swift like I did at 16? Do I still let my brother straight arm me down the hallway like I did at 4? Thank goodness age has given me something. I’m not telling you all these things shaped me as a human being into a almighty saint. On the contrary I have fucked up more times than I can even count. But 21 years with an older brother, two crazy weird loving parents, and an array of friends who always keep me laughing have taught me something that I thought maybe you hipster’s trying to get ahead of the times would like to hear. Time to give up your constant wall of judgement and let me drop some knowledge on you like only one can on their 21st birthday.

1) Don’t take yourself too seriously. Seriously, if you can’t laugh at yourself then you clearly aren’t fun. Who doesn’t wanna be fun?

2) Stop stressing over trying to ‘figure it all out’. Some of the best rappers started as crack slingers, hell Channing Tatum started as a stripper so there is no rush with the struggle my friends.

3) Be happy within your own self. I know this sounds like some bunk buddhist bullshit but it is straight up true. You shouldn’t have to rely on others to make you happy, that’s on you.

4) I got one word for you: forgiveness. I’m not trying to take you to Sunday school I am trying to set you free. Grudges are tiring and usually end up with you in a glass case of emotion so forgive and forget. This goes for forgiving yourself too.

5) Know the importance in those who let you be yourself. There is nothing worse than feeling like you can’t be yourself around certain people. Hey, even if you are a naturally born asshole, there’s plenty of them out there so just keep to your damn selves.

6) Have a passion that isn’t attached to a screen. Maybe your passion is climbing trees, antique shopping, zumba, or moonshining, doesn’t matter to me as long as you are out there killin it. I don’t give a shit if you got to level 14 in zombies, get your ass off the couch and do something!

7) Never underestimate the power of ‘I’m Sorry’. Whether you forgot to close the garage and the car got stolen, you forgot your 7 week anniversary or you made fun of someone’s face when you were a hormonal bitch, an ‘Im Sorry’ goes a long way. I’ve been witness to an apology 12 years in the making from a high school bully and it was downright beautiful.

8) Tell people you appreciate them. Don’t be a sarcastic asshole with this one. ‘Hey waitress I really appreciate you taking 6 hours to fill up my water glass’ does NOT count. Tell your friends you appreciate them being there for you, tell your parents you appreciate them putting up with you after they made you. Stuff like that.

9) Being happy is a choice. This is an important one. We are all going to have bad days but it comes down to YOU choosing that the universe doesn’t owe you anything. BE HAPPY, DO IT NOW.

10) The best stuff you will ever do and learn from is going to happen outside your comfort zone. Trying new stuff is the best shit. Whether it has you leaping off of suspension bridges attached to a bungee rope or diving into waves with your leg attached to your surf board, you might feel uncomfortable but variety is the spice of life.

11) Stop trying to ‘find yourself’. The truth is ‘yourself’ is in a constant state of change. Instead of finding that ever fickle ‘self’ try growing that ‘self’ instead. Be the best ‘self’ you could ever possibly be. Shabam.

12) You know when you are at that point where you feel like you have to prove to someone your worth? Slowly. Carefully. Walk away. To the right person you are worth more than Dr. Dre’s music empire combined with Beyonce and Jay-Z’s will. Believe me.

13) Stop waiting for the opportune time to have fun. Have fun doing the dishes. Have fun at work. Have fun making breakfast (maybe in the nude, no judgement). Laughing at nothing works too.

14) Music makes the world go round. There is a song for EVERYTHING. Maybe you want to be really really happy and dance like a fool? Maybe you want to be sad for a little and hug your pillow to your face? Maybe you want to walk like a pimp down the street and point and smile at strangers? If you have the right music all these things could come alive in a beautiful array of lyrics and sound.

15) Never be scared to look completely and utterly stupid. This could come from admitting to someone how you really feel or trying to eat a banana while driving a standard. If you are going to look back in retrospect and smile, it was worth it. Heck I look stupid everyday of my life just to make my brother laugh and it’s worth every bit.

16) Ladies you will always have a choice between Han Solo and Luke Skywalker. Don’t come crying to me if Han Solo ditches you for his most recent Princess Leia even if he told you that you were his one and only. He’s a space pirate and Luke is a genuine good Jedi even if he is a little too nice and see’s ghosts. If this was weird for you then get some culture, gawsh.

17) Everyone has a story. People are the best lessons you will ever get. Talk to as many as you can and be kind to them, they will usually return you the favour.

18) Learn how to do something really obscure. This makes for great party tricks and priceless reactions. I learned to rap the entire A Milli song by the one and only Lil Wayne and have won several rap battles with this ridiculous skill. I’ve also beaten unassuming gentlemen with rapping the entirety of Freaks and Geeks by Childish Gambino. People don’t believe you when you have the balls to bet them you can do something they think you can’t. Their face after you succeed is worth more than feeling like a goof doing it.

19) Never wear something that you don’t feel your absolute best in. I know we might not all be made of gold or be famous for nothing like the Kardashians but you should never get stuck with wearing something that makes you uncomfortable. You don’t have to look like you just walked off New York fashion week to feel like a 10.

20) In the words of the brilliant Mumford and Sons: Where you invest your love, you invest your life. If you find yourself investing a lot of time and caring into something that isn’t truly important and fulfilling, then change it. Your life is going to shape itself around the things you subject yourself to. Invest your love, your life, your thoughts and your mind into something you truly want to be known for.

21) Finally, my final piece of advice is simple: worry less, live more. Worrying ages you, it consumes your body and your mind. Live your life in a beautiful, messy, crazy, awesome, loving way. No Ragrats, right?

I hope you enjoyed my list shaped by 21 years of thought provoking fuck ups, heartbreaks, soccer injuries and victories, sun burns, and music induced drives. Here’s to life, Happy Birthday to Me :)

 

 

It’s Only Logical

The beauty of the age of internet goes beyond being able to creep anyone you like (or hate). Artists, specifically rappers, are using the internet as a highly effective way to gain a following before they even get signed or release an actual album. What’s in a name? Well this kid is a paradox of a name fit for a king with a stage name fit for the streets. Sir Robert Bryson Hall II sounds like the furthest thing from a rapper. This 24 year old has taken the name Psychological but you probably just know his as Logic. Without an album out yet he has gained his fame from the internet and it’s a story definitely worth knowing.

First of all I should clarify that he is by no means royalty or knighted. The ‘Sir’ just came from his mother at birth determining that quirky creativity does in fact run in the family. He was born in Gaithersburg, Maryland which doesn’t sound vey gangster but he had a fairly tumultuous childhood. His African-American father and his caucasian mother both suffered with crack addiction and alcoholism throughout his childhood. The man who he shared a name with, his father, was not a part of his childhood but they are now in contact. His mother was abusive towards him using racial slurs. They are no longer in contact as he notes she had emotional and mental problems. Logic faced issues with his mixed race, his brother selling crack cocaine and his lack of interest in school. As a young teenage Logic was seeing crack cocaine manufactured and sold out of his apartment building. He was kicked out of his high school in the tenth grade as he began skipping resulting in him failing everything but english. He had the recipe to be a rapper already he just needed the creativity and the drive, he already had the struggle and English skills. By the age of 17 Logic had moved out and gotten two jobs, the grind begins.

So clearly his childhood would provoke one of two things: massive amounts of character and persistence or a bad attitude and distaste for life. We both know that I would never write about a distasteful rapper, don’t be ridiculous. In an article in The Baltimore Sun Logic opens up about his coming of age stating “It wasn’t the best childhood, but I did my best to make it good on my end. I didn’t let it pull me down. In my music I don’t glorify [my upbringing]“. This is one of the most refreshing things you could hear from a rapper even if he admitted to being a ‘huge pothead’ as a youngster. Too many times the genre is defined by the glorification of gang violence, drug selling, and abuse, but here is a guy who has seen it, and decided to not let it define him. Many times he has been criticized for his clean image but I say the hell with them, he has flow, lyrical ingenuity and a great sense of style.

Logic had been rapping seriously at the ripe ole age of 15 influenced after hearing the score of ‘Kill Bill’ produced by Wu Tang leader RZA. When Logic was 16 his mentor Soloman Taylor, who had came into his life at age 13, gave him beat CDs to write lyrics over. In 2009 by the name of Psychological he released an unofficial mixtape ‘Psychological: The Mixtape” (real creative). He opened a show for Pitbull, EPMD, Method Man, Redman and Ludacris and soon after dropped his name to Logic. His rap career really took off in December 2010 with the release of the mixtape “Young, Broke and Infamous”. If that title isn’t straight up honesty then I don’t know what is. This project included two videos for singles on the mixtape ‘Stain in the Game’ and ‘Backpack’.

Logic began to get noticed including by the likes of independent record label owner Chris Zanou. He was signed to Chris’s Visionary music group soon after. Logic released his second mixtape ‘Young Sinatra’ on September 16, 2011. The video for the single ‘All I Do’ was the first of his to hit over one million views. By March 2012 Billboard had named Logic the Next Big Sound. Th this mixtape by the name of ‘ Young Sinatra: Undeniable’ was released in April of 2012. If you haven’t caught on Logic was influenced heavily by Frank Sinatra and how he treated people. He says that Frank is the reason he carries himself ‘in an intellectual and kind manner’. In his songs he exposes the struggles he faces growing up with stark honesty. This kid is as versatile as he is likeable. He states about the mixtape “There’s stuff on there for the motherfuckers that don’t pay attention to lyrics and just want to have fun, but every kine in constructed with such depth that the real lyricists and nitpickers have something to listen to and analyze as well”. This statement is a great backup to why I believe it is more important to fall for an artist and not just their music. Artist are going to change sounds, they can never stay stagnant or you will grow old of them. They have to be able to show who they truly are and if you like them to the core, that’s what makes you a true fan. Now that was a little soft lets get back to the good stuff.

In the beginning of 2013 Logic was working on his fourth mixtape while finishing his European tour in March. On May 7 ‘Young Sinatra: Welcome to Forever’ was released with the announcement of the Welcome to Forever Tour throughout the U.S Like our boy Kendrick Lamar, Logic was named to the ‘Top 10 Freshmen List’ for XXL. He solidified he was here to stay when he signed to Def Jam Recordings on April 15, 2013. In July it was announced he would be touring with the likes of Kid Cudi, Big Sean and Tyler the Creator which makes me extremely jealous of any of you who got to that one.

2014 is looking promising for this up and comer with announcement of a debut arriving sometime by the end of the year. He stated to XXL about the album that he won’t have any major collaborations even with his tour hook-ups because he wants to make it his own. He toured with the EDM group Krewella on their Verge Campus Tour this spring which I also hold a high amount of jealous for you if you got to see that one. Basically, keep your ears out for this debut album, its going to be a gooder.

Now for the style. Much like his paradox of names, his style tends to sway between two extremes. This might sound like he is confused but really he is nailing it. Logic can wear a button up hipster print shirt one day and chains, backwards hat gangster style the next. He walks the line between hood and hip and does it better than most ever could. Think leather and letterman’s paired with hoodies and graphics. A brilliant contradictory if you ask me.

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Logic is an admirable rapper with a twisted past to back up his quick paced flow. He’s a force raised by the internet. From crack cocaine to touring alongside some of the biggest names in the game, he’s been a class act. Take a listen, would I ever steer you wrong?

Making Iceland Cooler

Some famous Icelanders include Bjork Guomundsdottir, Einar Orn Benediktsso, Eirikur Hauksson and Hilmar Orn Hilmarsson. What do you mean you have never heard of them and can’t even say their names without extreme confusion? Well don’t worry you aren’t alone. As obscure as Iceland is, if you truly think about it, it is the perfect breeding ground for hipster. Nobody would expect you to be from Iceland until you are standing at main stage at Sasquatch telling all your faithful fans it’s true. Of Monster and Men did just that. Just when you think Iceland can’t get cooler, they made it so.

Of Monster and Men is made up 5 very Icelandically named musicians: Nanna Bryndis Hilmarsdottir (lead singer/guitarist/nanny), Ragner Porhalisson (singer/guistarit), Brynjar Leifsson (guitarist), Arnar Rosenkranz Hilmarsson (drummer) and Pall Kristjansson (bassist). Take an Advil after attempting those names and stay with me here. Out of the 320,137 outrageously named people who live in Iceland, these 5 found each other when Hilmarsdottir decided to expand upon her solo project ‘Songbirds’. Of Monsters and Men entered Musiktilraunir in 2010, directly translated as music experiments. Although this annual music competition sounds illegal in English, it resulted in the expanding fame of the band when they won. The name for the band was made up by Ragner or Raggi who mentioned it to the rest of the band members and it just stuck. After their win at Musiktilraunir they were invited to perform at Iceland Airwaves festival that same year. It was there that Of Monster and Men were recorded playing ‘Little Talks’ in a living room session by Seattle-based radio station KEXP. If the term ‘living room session’ doesn’t pull that those acoustic heart strings at yours I’m at a loss with you. This look inside the band gave them significant U.S. exposure which is an unfortunate necessity if you ever want to take advantage of the age of consumerism (aka Get Rich and Famous).

After an extremely successful 2010 as far as growth, they signed with Record Records in February of 2011. The next month they went to Studio Syrland in Reykavik to record their debut album. As of August 2011, Radio 104.5 started blasting ‘Little Talks’ through the car stereos and offices of Philadelphia. Of Monster and Men began to gain a following for their uniquely crafted indie-rock sound outside their home country gaining global recognition. This group of daydreamers released their debut album ‘My Head Is an Animal’ only in Iceland in September 2011 with both it and the single ‘Little Talks’ hitting number one and also being the only time in my entire life that I wanted to live in Iceland. As word got out to the fellow hipsters of America and their popularity began to grow the band was signed to Universal for the worldwide release of ‘My Head Is an Animal’. To build up their debut album the band released the ‘Into the Woods’ EP on December 20 containing four songs from the full length album which before then was only available in the mystical country of Iceland. They are so much more than a one hit band so make sure to listen to it all, trust me!

On April 3, 2012 after their praised performances at the SXSW festival, ‘My Head Is an Animal’ was released. Sending their fame to a level much higher than the sounds waves of Iceland, Of Monsters and Men began booking festivals and tours. They played at Osheaga and Lollapalooza but first decided to steal my heart at Sasquatch. There was something about the sunset over the Gorge paired with the complimentary vocals surrounded by uplifting lyrics that made for an intoxicating experience. They continued to steal the hearts throughout Europe on their tour. Since their little battle of the bands event back before their discovery they have played at massive shows including Bonnaroo and at Glastonbury on the same stage as The XX, Two Door Cinema Club, Azealia Banks and The Lumineers (might have shed a tear there). The album continued to entrance people around the world charting at number 1 in Australia and Ireland, number 3 in the UK, number 4 in Canada, Germany and New Zealand with a respectable number in the U.S.

The band looks like and award collection of people who happened to be thrown together at random. Technically speaking this could be the truth about the origin of this band making it a beautiful mix of talent recognized by the world. To think that this fancy-named group hail from one of the most obscure places in the world and ended up playing out the sound system of your local Starbucks is truly an inspiration. Give it up to Of Monster and Men, and if you are so much as in 8 hours of seeing them live, DO IT.

 

15 tell tale signs you are in fact a Hipster

I know it might not be possible to even try and sum up all you lovely unique hipsters out there but I thought for a couple laughs I would give it a try. Here’s a list I composed and if you so much as answer yes to one of these, I’m sure we are going to get along just fine. Whether you hail from Portland, Oregon (the epicentre of hipsterness) or Vancouver, BC we all have certain tendencies that are extremely similar. Let’s get real, don’t deny it, you are a fabulous hipster. Embrace it.

1) All or 90% of your devices are made by Apple.

2) Your order at Starbucks is longer than your shorts.

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3) Your alcohol of choice is one of the following: Pabst, micro brewery beer, Bombay Sapphire gin or anything with a clever label.

4) Your cat is your biggest music fan.

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5) Your car is older than you are, and that gives it character.

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6) You always refer to live music listenings as ‘shows’ because only rookies go to ‘concerts’. 

7) You own at least one pair of over-priced sunglasses. Bonus points if they are Ray Bans.

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8) You prefer not to wear socks in your shoes because you have lovely ankles.

9) Your music taste cannot be limited to a genre but is always more obscure than your friends (and better but I didn’t say anything).

10) You insist on wearing your brightly patterned shirt buttoned all the way up.

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11) You judge people HEAVILY if they listen to the Top 40. Like could you be any less original?

12) Your four major food groups are kale, quinoa, coconut water, and yam fries.

13) You are extremely protective over your hair. Don’t even think about touching this masterpiece on my head.

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14) You have a degree in Communications, Theatre, Liberal Arts or Political Science which you reference to justify witty banter. 

15) You heard of them BEFORE they got big. Duh.

Passenger

The beauty of being a hipster is that you can swing from hood rappers to sultry vocals paired with an acoustic guitar without batting an eye. Just to keep you on your toes I am going to do just that. Michael David Rosenberg is an English folk/rock singer-songwriter with talent bigger than his title. He started as a lead singer for the band Passenger but recently has kept the name for his solo career. If you are looking for some casual music to wake up to or you just want to smile, Passenger is your guy. You Are Welcome.

Rosenberg was born and raised in Brighton, England into an American/English/Jewish family. His father who was originally from New Jersey had Michael listening to Simon and Garfunkel at an early age (parenthood at its finest). He poetically states “When you’re a kid and you listen to music, it just feels magical. You don’t understand how it’s made, who’s making it or what’s going on. It just hits you”. He learned classical guitar very early on and was writing songs by age 14/15. The only thing I was worried about in the 10th grade was trying to get out of science class and playing soccer. At the age of 16 while the rest of use were trying to remember to wear deodorant  Rosenberg had his first performance. His official music career began it’s long strenuous journey when he announced to his parent’s at the age of 17 that he was dropping out of university to become a musician. Rosenberg said it stressed out his mother until she realized he was putting his heart and soul into it by committing countless hours to busking on the streets and songwriting.

The first step up the endless ladder of fame happened when Rosenberg met Andrew Phillips backstage at a show. Rosenberg had scored a one-song slot and Phillips was playing with his current band ‘Slovo’ (don’t worry I don’t expect you to know that one). Phillips is a Bafta award winning film and TV soundtrack composer. The pair started chatting about football and music and bonded almost immediately. This makes me happier than a furry boot merchant at EDC. Ah the power of football. A few months later Phillips and Rosenberg were writing music together which escalated to countless hours in Phillip’s studio. The pair were making eclectic sounding songs influenced heavily by Phillip’s established background in cinema. With the back bone of Phillips and Rosenberg, the band Passenger was created consisting at various times 4-5 other members. These are just empty names to you so lets continue on down the road to the Passenger we know of today.

The band’s debut and only album ‘Wicked Man’s Rest’ was released in 2007. I also don’t expect you to know about this one as it had really no impact on a large enough scale to mention. Rosenberg believe that Phillips and himself had compromised their true vision to satisfy the other people in the band. He described the constant struggle of folksy hipster stating the sound “…wasn’t cool enough for the cool kids and it wasn’t poppy enough for the pop kids”. The band not surprisingly broke up in 2009 around the same time Rosenberg experienced a painful breakup with his girlfriend. The struggle of no money and loneliness shaped this singer into the brilliant voice he is today.

He decided to take to the streets of Europe, back to his roots of busking with a suitcase of CDs and two t-shirts. He posted videos on Facebook and started playing in tiny pubs around the U.K, like so tiny there was around 6 people there. The kind of refreshing passion Rosenberg maintained for music even at a time where it seemed to have abandoned him is just another reason to admire him. He was travelling alone completely off the grid of any radio stations or labels many times being told that his busking was illegal. Instead of growing resentful Rosenberg made the decision that he wasn’t playing music to get noticed or make money, he was playing to connect with people and make songs he was personally proud of and loved. With a mindset as positive as this good things were bound to happen, and they did.

Things began to turn around when Rosenberg took his act to Australia in October of 2009. He eventually grew his fan base as a supporting acts for indie artist in the land down unda. That same year he recorded his debut solo album ‘Wide Eyes Blind Love’ having gained recognition from playing at the ‘One Movement’ festival in Perth. His fame was based almost entirely in Australia which is where he produced his next album ‘Flight of the Crow’ released in 2010.

Passenger’s big moment came when Rosenberg landed a local gig which contained highly successful song guru Ed Sheeran on the list of performers. Rosenberg seems to be a smooth talker backstage as these two got chatting and really liked what the other was doing (music wise). Passenger began opening for Sheeran throughout Europe Australia, and the U.S for most of 2012.

These two can clearly make some brilliant music together and the music industry began to take notice at a level that we can all relate to without being Australian. Rosenberg has a knack for singing about dark subjects with a lightening tone paired with a uniquely brilliant voice. His disarming honesty has no doubt bloomed from his many years of struggle, so keep the faith my pavement pounding songsters. He finally found the perfect balance of catchy chorus’s and chords to capture the heart in his most successful album yet. “All the Little Lights” was released on August 28, 2012. The album contains 12 original tracks with Passenger’s quirky brilliance shining through. ‘I Hate’ was recorded live at The Borderline in London and mocks the likes of ‘racist blokes telling tasteless joke’ and also calls out festival toilets and the idiot we all hate who talk through live shows. ‘Let Her Go’ was the most popular singe dominating radio waves around the world was released prior in July. The smash single laden with depressing tones told with a creative genius sold 1 million copies that October and 2.5 million overall (as of December 2013).

On March 26, 2014, Passenger announced he will released his fifth album ‘Whispers’ on June 9, 2014. He has yet to make it in any top tens on any charts because apparently that’s what makes people famous or something (ridiculous concept) but Passenger has talent unlike anything we have seen in a long time. His lyrical genius will jet grow better if he keep developing his sound. I hope you are just as excited for what this artist can do as I am.

This story is what you fellow hipsters should strive for in an artist. Michael Rosenberg’s creative edge that finally helped him make it big was developed through years of struggle. The man we now know simply as Passenger could have remained a stranger if it wasn’t for his admirable persistence in busking and his undying love of music. If the thought of that doesn’t make you smile for the hope of humanity then I just don’t know what to tell you.

The artist formerly known as K-Dot

Now I don’t really expect you to know the hip-hop crew known as Black Hippy. The cause of this might be because they seem to have chosen the worst name ever and never rep but I’d be more surprised if you haven’t heard of their most popular member who has been stirring up the rap scene since 2010. Hailing from the origin of the likes of Dr. Dre, The Game and Eazy- E, Kendrick Lamar Duckworth reps his roots like only hood-ass rappers from Compton can. You might hate him because he called out every rapper in the game in his ‘Control’ verse but I’d be damned if I didn’t respect someone who is ballsy enough to come out of the depths of Compton to the most talked about performance at the Grammys. I’ll never be able to sum up Kendrick Lamar into words, but I thought you should know a little bit about his story before you decided whether his talk is bigger than his talent or not.

Kendrick Lamar’s first noted influence happened back in 1995. Living in Compton, California, eight year old Kendrick witness Tupac Shakur and Dr. Dre film the video to a tune you might have heard of called ‘California Love’. Kendrick was a straight-A student in high school and was keen enough to make his first mixtape at 16. ‘Youngest Head Nigga in Charge’ was the first we heard of K-Dot (Kendricks pseudonym reminding me heavily of the 90s). The kid got some local recognition with some feature verses on The Games songs but Kendrick wasn’t anyone yet. K-Dot released another mixtape named ‘Training Day’ in 2005 as his slow climb to the top continued. He made an impact on the Charles Hamilton show who is basically a failed rapper named to XXL’s Freshman in ’09 then released too many mix tapes, stepped on some toes and fell of the face of the earth. This video is basically a mess of tin sounding music in the background of a club while teenage Kendrick raps over drunk shouts wearing plaid and a down vest looking much to hipster in a crowd of gangsters. Hamilton might not be worth a damn but his fame opened a door for K-Dot which lead to him stumbling into the hands of Lil Wayne. Weezy co-signed Kendrick resulting in the third mixtape for K-Dot. ‘C4′ was released in December of 2009 and is basically Kendrick Lamar’s version of The Carter III. Soon after Kendrick dropped K-Dot (goodbye 90s) and decided to stick with the name his momma gave him (because mom knows best). Also in 2009, Kendrick joined forces with Ab-Soul and Schoolboy Q to form the previously judged So-Cal group Black Hippy. Do you have to be black to be in the group while simultaneously not wearing shoes, dropping a lot of acid and wearing wrappable clothing? Get it together kids you might rap super hood but your name is lame.

2010 came around and Kendrick Lamar is still fraternizing with rappers I avoid like the plague. Kendrick toured with Tech N9ne and Jay Rock on The Independent Grind tour that year. Now this might not seem like the ideal reach for popularity but try to remember my lovely hipsters that even bad attention is good publicity. The artist formally known as K-Dot released his fourth album ‘Overly Dedicated’ on September 14 for digital junkies under Top Dawg Entertainment and on the 23 to all you normal folk (I hope you got that Diddy/P.Diddy reference).  This record sneaked onto Billboard debuting at number 72. Keep this in mind as we approach the chart topping debut of Kendrick Lamar’s ego. Now although this album as a whole didn’t shatter any charts or any hearts it did continue to score Lamar credit for his creativity. ‘Ignorance is Bliss’, a single off the fourth mixtape paired with an equally creative and illuminating video caught the attention of Dr. Dre.

Ah yes we appear to have come full circle from baby Kendrick witnessing ‘California Love’ to working with the man who inspired him. He began working with Dre and Snoop Dogg on the much awaited ‘Detox’ album that had been in the works since 2001. In late December of 2010 Kendrick graced the cover of ‘Complex’ magazine and was named to ‘XXL’s Freshmen’ in January of 2011. In an interview Kendrick was noted by saying he wasn’t nervous to meet fellow freshmen Meek Mill, Mac Miller, Yelawolf and big K.R.I.T. but excited to ‘feel their vibes’. Stay with me folks because the Kendrick Lamar train is just gaining speed. In April of 2011, Lamar announced the upcoming release of his debut studio album ‘Section.80′ and followed the next day with the release of the albums first single ‘HiiiPower’. This single marked the first of many collaborations with ‘Cole World’s’ J. Cole (but don’t think for a second think this makes him safe). The album was released on July 2, 2011 featuring GLC, Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul and Wu Tang leader RZA with production still being handled under TDE. ‘Section.80′ scored an ironic 8.0/10 by Pitchfork and named it 45 on the list of Top 50 albums of 2011, a large improvement from 72 on Billboard. This album showed the rap world what Kendrick Lamar had to offer. The lyrics of this album were dripping in references to the 80s including Ronald Reagan and the rise of the crack epidemic. This kid has come a long way from praising gang violence to addressing the fact that ‘justice and morals are rarely cut and dry’.

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In August of 2011, while onstage at a West Los Angeles show, Kendrick Lamar was crowned ‘New King of the West Coast’ by the only Kings who could do so: Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, and the Game. Kendrick’s rise continued as he was graced with the opportunity of surrounding himself and his music with talent. Basically, once you’re crowned King by Kings, you can do whatever the hell you want. He was given a solo track on Drake’s breakthrough album ‘Take Care’ by the name of ‘Buried Alive’ which if you haven’t heard of, is attached to the end of ‘Marvins Room’. If you still haven’t heard of it you probably didn’t purchase the album so stop being lazy, get a job, and respect these artists you pirate. Drake had reached out to Kendrick after being the first person to hear ‘Section.80′ when the two met in Toronto. Thank the rap gods that Kendrick wasn’t induced into the cracked-out high of Young Money but decided to stick to his hipster/hood roots.

February of 2012 revealed a song called ‘Cartoon & Cereal’ by our boy Kendrick which although was named to ‘Complex’s Best 50 songs of 2012′ failed to make the biggest album Lamar has made to date. This month Kendrick was casually travelling with Drake’s Club Paradise Tour opening for the beloved ASAP Rocky and the not so beloved 2 Chainz. Those on top of gangsta news could feel a build up to something big when Top Dawg Entertainment signed a joint venture with big wigs Interscope (Macklemore’s homie Jimmy Iovine) and Aftermath Entertainment (Dre, duh). Don’t think for a second Lamar’s end of being an independent artist would make him less tenacious. On the contrary, Kendrick Lamar now had the attention and funds to say exactly what he wanted everyone to hear. The first single ‘The Recipe’ was release on April 2, 2012 in the lead up to the equivalent to ‘Take Care’ of Kendrick’s career.

July 31, 2012 the lead single ‘Swimming Pools (Drank)’ was released consuming the brain waves of partiers everywhere. Look I could list all the singles and wow you with the fact that Lady Gaga was supposed to collaborate on ‘Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe’ but I’d rather get down to the nitty gritty. The highly acclaimed ‘good kid, m.A.A.d city’ was released on October 22, 2012 selling 242,122 copies in the first week alone. The album has atmospheric beats layers with background vocals, a smidgen of piano, a heavy dose of bass with an icing of bitter sweet contemporary hip-hop (oh how creative). The album has been compared to Outkast’s ‘Aquemini’ album back in 1998. It also sports heavy references to Compton’s harsh realities and plagued streets contrasted with Lamar’s homesickness for the California city in which he grew up.

‘Good kid, m.A.A.d’ city was basically nominated for every Grammy award relating to rap with Macklemore upsetting all of them leaving Kendrick’s calloused hands empty. This lead to Macklemore’s awkward text message to Kendrick Instagrammed for the world to see which leaves a bit of a bad taste in my mouth but such matters are too petty to expand upon. The album debuted at number 2 on Billboard and was certified platinum by March 30, 2014 having sold a total of 1,226,000 copies. If you haven’t heard the album covered by a creepy looking rapist van then I’ll forgive you for now but probably would de-friend you on Facebook if I had the choice.

No good rapper comes without their controversies. In August 2013 Kendrick Lamar spat a verse on Big Sean’s track ‘Control’ that would rock the rap world. If you aren’t a confrontational person then you might not understand why Kendrick decided to call out everyone who is anyone but stay with me. In this verse the previously knighted ‘New King of the West Coast’ declares he has love for his fellow rappers but is trying to murder them (via rhymes don’t worry). He called out a total of 11 artists including  J.Cole, Big K.R.I.T, Wale, Pusha T, Meek Mill, ASAP Rocky, Drake, Tyler the Creator, Mac Miller and Big Sean (what on his own track? Yes). Kendrick even had the audacity to call Nas, Eminem and Andre 3000 old and to not get involved: ‘new ni**as, just new ni**as, don’t get involved’.

Before you get all weepy and start crying yourself to sleep saying nonsense like ‘How dare Mr. Lamar say those things about such brilliant rappers’ I’m going to need you to take a few deep breaths into a paper bag and realize the reality of the situation. This is the biggest move a rapper could make and has seemingly died out of the culture. Rap evolved from the streets through battles and just because you get to sit in a comfy chair in the studio of Aftermath doesn’t mean you should stop battling. Kendrick Lamar ruffled some feathers declaring himself as ‘The King of New York’ and you ask why? To stir that creative pot and maybe because the kid wasn’t satisfied with being King of the West (greedy or ambitious?). The truth of the matter is you can either be offended by being named on the list, offended by not being named to the list, or rap about it. Don’t lose sleep over this move, it was thought out and clever.

Finally, Kendrick had a little run in with Imagine Dragons at the Grammy’s which might have even been talked about more than the Beyonce and Jay-z ‘Drunk in Love’ set. No way? Yes way. Rock and Rap are pairing up in a coming trend which I will inform you lovely hipster about as soon as Kendrick stops consuming my life.

Take a listen to this paradox of hood and hipster hailing from Compton and self proclaimed King of both the West and East. We are watching you Kendrick Lamar, don’t mess it up.

 

 

 

The Declaration of Disclosure

If you told me I would be listening to a 20 and a 23 year old pair of DJs from England who don’t just mix top forty tunes into a calamity of nauseating hideousness I would call you absurd, ludicrous and a straight up genius. Brothers Guy and Howard Lawrence are the masterminds behind mixing ground breaking voices with beats equally as impressive. If you haven’t heard of them yet, buckle up, because Disclosure is taking over and you better just get used to it.

The Lawrence brothers’ rise to fame is the purest you’ll hear of in the ruthless industry of music. When there are hectic stories like Macklemore and Childish and Lana Del Rey’s out there it is good to know that it all boils down to love of the music and the talent behind it. Growing up in Surrey, England, these two brothers admit to not being the closest when they were younger but always had a love for electronic music and enjoyed it at clubs since they were 17. I don’t know what they are feeding them over in England but they seem to produce the most innovative and original artists so keep it up (my personal guess is the chips and beer). Not only do they have their British roots they have the family connection and if you won’t pay to go see brothers mix some seriously good music you are probably cheap and buy no-name peanut butter and I just pity you.

These two started making music for a basically the reason that they just wanted to. In a interview with Pitchfork from 2013 Guy states how they were always surrounded by music and listened to dub step but never thought of making it until brother Howard started getting involved. That’s it folks. If you were an attractive and highly talented Brit with an equally attractive and talented brother you too could be touring some of the greatest festivals of our time and working with some of the most well respected voices in the industry. So close, yet so far. These two have a backing of a musical family. Both their parents made a career out of music from playing on cruise ships to radio jingles. Their Uncle is even in a band along with their grandparents having played in orchestra’s. Basically the entire Lawrence family is a paradox for the evolution of music from orchestra, to garage bands, to the current age of spinning. Put that metaphor in your pipe and smoke it.

The duo released their first single in August of 2010 by the name of ‘Offline Dexterity’ but the regular bloke wouldn’t have heard them until they got their first national radio nod with the single ‘Tenderly’ in January of 2012. As interest began to build for these new kids with remarkably clean production and layers of mind-capturing synth the pair released their first EP named ‘The Face’ which has become their trademark ever since. A drawn on Disclosure face on a powerhouse singer makes me happier than a hipster in a well stocked Value Village. Still haven’t heard of them? Don’t throw away those over-sized glasses just yet. The Lawrence boys were making crisp and aesthetically pleasing tunes but the only recognition they were managing to get were from electronic music junkies in Belgium and the Netherlands which wouldn’t surprise you at all if you have ever partied with the Dutch. Disclosure made a name for themselves off a song that I HOPE you have been smiling to since 2012 and if not well then you are welcome. ‘Latch’ was released in October peaking at number 11 in the UK Single Chart but Sam Smith’s vocals in it are number one in my heart.

The British brothers continued to impress us with their moody euphoria and creativity as they landed two consecutive top 10 singles in 2013. Aluna George used her quirky clean sound in ‘White Noise’ making it to number 2 and soon after Eliza Doolittle’s pop-princess sounding vocals paired with the wholesome production of Disclosure brought us the single ‘You & Me’ peaking at number 10. These three singles were collected on and EP cheekily names ‘The Singles’.  After casually blowing the minds of everyone in the dance tent at Coachella in 2013 they released their first full album off the ultra-British label PMR in June called ‘Settle’. Disclosure’s album was met with praise and charted in countries from Europe to Australia debuting at number 1 in the UK.

Disclosure were on tour for most of 2013 hitting around 40 cities worldwide along with pit stops at Sasquatch, Coachella (as previously noted), Lollapalooza, SXSW and Glastonbury. These brothers aren’t even both legal in the United States yet but are blowing the roof of the stigma of electronic music. Many times if I were to think of a DJ its seem’s like an empty pit of emotionless sounds that numb your mind with repetition. At live shows these guys are actually still making music, hitting on electric drum sets, playing guitars and basses and keyboards and even adding vocals. Some real talent behind the turn tables? About bloody time. Disclosure is bringing in voices and lyrics and ambience that gives their music soul and substance. These two brother managed to like each other enough to find out they are damn talented together and just happen to have the know how and the chops to go for and thank goodness.

Disclosure won’t disappoint you with their simplistic feel but unique sound. Keep an eye out for these two brothers. They have big plans for collaborations and its only a matter of time until you’re just as addicted as I am. Hey it’s better than your addiction to over-priced leather luggage. Who needs that anyways?

Something to Cure that Summertime Sadness

Amongst some of the most anticipated albums of 2014, this pouty-mouthed songstress is one of the most vague and celebrated by airy hipsters. Elizabeth Woolridge Grant is another product of Youtube like our boy Justin Beiber but unlike him is sticking to wooing us with her massive mouth and equally massive vocals rather than practicing her hand at drugs and Lamborghini’s (that we know of that is).  If you haven’t been floating along to Lana del Rey, probably wearing something crocheted and floral, then time to step up your music game, but don’t worry, you came to the right place.

Lana was born into a wealthy family but that didn’t stop her from finding her own struggles with an alcohol dependency at the ripe ole age of 15. She was sent to a boarding school in Connecticut for three years to get her shit together. I think everyone should think of attending this school as she came out of it at 18 and moved to the Bronx to study metaphysics at Fordham University (well that escalated quickly). She said this subject interested her as it “bridged the gap between God and Science”. We would soon discover this influence in her music with songs like ‘Born to Die’. Her Uncle had taught her how to play guitar as a young girl and she used this to play in small clubs in Brooklyn. This should be the fuel to you fellow hipsters to getting out there and supporting some random obscure band. Imagine having seen Lana del Rey when she performed under the name Sparkle Jump Rope Queen or Lizzy Grant and the Phenomena (I kid you not). At this time she independently recorded ‘Sirens’ her first album under the name May Jailer which she would later buy the rights back to and release in May 2012.

I don’t like to say ‘big break’ because it makes me sound like Randy Jackson trying to make American Idol sound legitimate, but with that being said, Lana Del Rey’s big break came in 2006 while she was still a senior at Fordham, at a Williamsburg Live Songwriting Competition. She caught the eye of 5 Point Records rep Van Wilson who introduced her to David Kahne who has been producing records for the likes of Paul McCartney, The Strokes and Stevie Nicks. At the age of 20 she signed what was rumoured a $10,000 contract but turned out to be more around $50,000 and moved into a trailer park in New Jersey (a beautiful paradox). She released her first EP ‘Kill Kill’ under the name Lizzy Grant in 2008. Lana or Lizzy or Sparkle Jump Rope, whatever you want to call her, categorized this album as ‘hawaiian glam metal’. That probably makes the top ten for best sentences ever written. At first Lizzy was getting positive recognition on iTunes scoring the title ‘Emerging Artist of the Year’ but things began to change as she worked towards the creation of her first real album.  Lizzy was becoming Lana and with management change involved it became a tumultuous time in this young artists career as she struggled to find the image she was destined to become. But as you know by now, struggle often makes for the most well rounded, humble, and uniquely magnificent artists.

The name Lana Del Rey came from the mind of Lizzy herself. She thought it up after spending a lot of time speaking Spanish with her friends. She wanted the name she finally chose and settled on to fit the image she wanted to portray. It’s luxurious and sultry, just like her vocals and her lips, well played Elizabeth, well played. A song snuck up on YouTube in October 2011 called ‘Video Games’ under Stranger Records as Lana Del Rey’s first official single. That same month she brought her talents to a joint deal signing with Interscope and Polydor. Now I know what you are thinking “Lana Del Rey is kind of a record company whore”. Before you so quickly jump to conclusions this switching from record deal to record deal kinda adds some recognition to Lana. She hasn’t let anyone mold her into anything but what she had designs on becoming. ‘Born to Die’, her second album, but first one under her new record deal,was released on January 31, 2012. Critics tended to have mixed reviews as they usually do (everyone wants to be a hipster) but nonetheless her album made number 1 in 11 countries. This is when Lana Del Rey’s popularity really picked up. ‘Born to Die’ was the fifth best selling album in 2012 selling 3.4 million copies. This album is what we know Lana Del Rey for containing songs like ‘Summertime Sadness’ which we can all relate to right now while mother nature is being a cruel bitch and ‘Blue Jeans’ along with title track ‘Born to Die’.

In the November of that same year Lana released the ‘Paradise’ EP and then the Paradise version of ‘Born to Die’ which included singles such as ‘Ride’, even though it was seen as pro-prostitution, (how presumptuous) and the more popular ‘Young and Beautiful’ which I know you’ve all blasted through the speakers of your secondhand car belting out to the audience of your steering wheel. Nothing to be ashamed of because hey we have all wanted to say to someone ‘all that face makes me wanna party’. Lana takes another turn for the fabulously obscure when she released a short film called ‘Tropico’ on December 5, 2013. This film has many biblical references and signs of the usual redemption and sin Lana Del Rey is so perfect at. The same day ‘Tropico’ was released we all praised the hipster gods as Lana announced the highly anticipated upcoming album named ‘Ultraviolence’ to be released this very summer. She describes it as being ‘a little more stripped down but still cinematic and dark’. This is good news to all you Lana fans as the last thing we want this bombshell singing about is pop anthems of fluffy content (oh I’m looking at you Taylor Swift). The anticipation is killing me!

The style this girl has is incomparable to many. She has a fifties (for lack of a better word) swagger to her with long nails, blinged up wrists, perfectly wavy hair with a style somewhere between hippy/glamour/boudoir. Have I lost you yet? Lana Del Rey could probably wear a paper bag and make it work but she decides to invest in numbers like short-shorts, fabulous head pieces and quaint dresses to contrast her dark vocals.

I hope ya’ll appreciated this one as it took me much too long to write. This lil chickie is a hard one to trace due to the multitude of record labels and names she has written and sang under. Lana Del Rey is some kind of mystery making me love her just that much more. Now if only I could rock winged eyeliner like she does then everything would be perfect.