Twice a year, Lawnparties brings famous bands and some not-so-famous musical artists to Prospect Avenue. Whether they are up-and-coming, established, or washed-up artists, the selection of a Lawnparties act always causes a stir. This year, what are the stories of the artists playing at Lawnparties? Let Street be your guide –read about the acts coming to the eating clubs on Sunday, May 1 for Princeton University's biannual music festival.
This year, the USG-selected headliner is the Scottish synthpop group Chvrches, an announcement that was met with great acclaim. Building on a trend of booking mainstream pop acts in response to the criticisms of booking hip-hop artists known for explicit and misogynistic lyrics, Chvrchesis apt to be crowd-pleasing headliner. Read about Chvrchesand the other acts performing on the "Street" below.
In case you were wondering, Chvrches’ name doesn’t mean anything particularly religious –they “just thought it sounded cool.”
The Scottish synthpop indietronica trio, composed of Lauren Mayberry, Iain Cook and Martin Doherty, hails from Glasgow of (at least for their target audience) music festival fame. Formed several years ago, the band found both critical and commercial success with the release of their “Recover EP” in March 2013 and “The Bones of What You Believe” only six months after. They were soon included in the BBC’s Sound of 2013 list of up-and-coming artists, as well as several other “Best of 2013” features. Most recently, their second studio album, “Every Open Eye,” was released in September 2015 to further acclaim.
The trio first formed in 2011 when Cook and Doherty invited Mayberry to record vocals for a few demos for Blue Sky Archives. Mayberry had grown up playing both the piano and the drums. Before entering the music scene, she’d earned a degree in law and a Masters in Journalism, freelancing for several years before joining the band, though the singer still pens the occasional article, including, in 2013, an op-ed for "The Guardian" regarding the online misogyny directed towards her. Cook played guitar for alternative rock bands Aereogramme and The Unwinding Hours, writing for film and television on the side and Doherty played keyboards for the indie group The Twilight Sad.
Chvrchesdraw from the heyday of 80s new wave, often heralded the modern-day New Order and Depeche Mode. But catchy beats and tapping feet aside, there’s also a sense of strength, of self-assertion in their music. Despite Mayberry’s seemingly sweet vocals –at times girlish and giddy yet always cleanly layered over echoing synth –which call to mind pop of the bubblegum variety, Chvrches’ is a brand of synthpop that calls for close listening. Their lyrics seem vague but prove personal through their bleary-eyed, rounded-corner ambiguity. And it’s this clash of birdlike vocals together with these nebulous lyrics that results in what may be called Chvrches’ signature sound: accessible, emotive electronica that reclaims strength from the pain of departures and almost-departures, of near-breakups and toxic relationships. Their most popular track to date, “The Mother We Share,” declares, “In the dead of night, I’m the only one here/And I will cover you, until you go-o-oh.” “Leave a Trace” claims, “And you had best believe/That you cannot build what I don’t need.” Their music is powerful in the way only pop can be: perhaps Mayberry doesn’t reach the vocal vibrato of Tove Lo’s “Habits (Stay High)” or Sia’s “Chandelier,” but she doesn’t have to –sometimes the music reaches those emotional highs, sometimes Mayberry does, and sometimes they strike a perfect balance. The music may be synth-heavy and born of computers, but the emotion is all too real.
And if all this talk of passion and power means nothing to you –hey, at least you can dance to them.
After Lawnparties, Chvrches is scheduled to play Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Tennessee and Flow Festival in Helsinki this summer.
CannonDial Elm Club
Tell me where you want to go (*cough* Cannon *cough*)
Tell me what you want to do (*go to Cannon*)
Just be comfortable, K Camp will be here right next to you.
No matter what your Lawnparties plans are for this Sunday, make sure that you find your way to Cannon to see K Camp perform some of his most popular songs such as “Cut Her Off,” “Comfortable” and “1Hunnid.” Before he found fame, K Camp was a normal kid from Atlanta, Georgia. Although he was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, his family’s move to Atlanta, a city center for hip-hop and rap music and culture, no doubt had a large impact on his entryway into the rapping world. After HBC, the name of the group he performed with in high school disbanded, K Camp began performing at open mic contests that were attended by many famous rappers, including Waka Flocka Flame (“No Hands”). Attending these open mic contests helped K Camp gain fame in Atlanta. In 2009, K Camp released “All Night” which became popular among listeners around Atlanta. While being famous in Atlanta was definitely beneficial him as a rising star, K Camp wanted to extend his music’s reach beyond the hip-hop center of the world. He signed a deal with Interscope Records where he released his debut EP, "In Due Time,"which was a remake of one of his original mixtapes. "In Due Time"featured one of his most famous songs today, “Cut Her Off” which reached number 5 on Billboard’s Hot Rap Songs chart. K Camp did not stop at Billboard's chart, however. At the 2014 BET Hip Hop Awards, his song was nominated for Track of the Year and Best Club Banger. It has been remixed multiple times by fellow rappers: Wiz Khalifa, Rick Ross, T.I. and YG. In 2015 K Camp released his debut album, “Only Way Is Up” which features “Comfortable”, the song lyrics sampled above, and other rappers including Snopp Dogg, T.I. and Jeremih. His debut album was recognized by SPIN as one of the 50 Best Hip-Hop Albums of 2015. K Camp has seen lots of success in the past two years. Go to Cannon on Sunday to see why! If you don’t, remember, it doesn’t mean a thing to cut you off.
The Ying Yang Twins
Cap & Gown
HANHHHH. I know where you will be on Sunday for Lawnparties: Cap & Gown to see the Ying Yang Twins of course. It has come to my attention that not many people are aware of who the Ying Yang Twins are and this greatly disappoints me. No matter who you are, your background, your musical preferences, you have heard of the song “Get Low” by Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz featuring the Ying Yang Twins. Whether this was at an awkward middle school dance or in the eating clubs themselves, you have heard the song “Get Low.” Thus, you have heard the Ying Yang Twins, even if you haven't heardofthem.
Kaine (born Eric Jackson) and D-Roc (born Deongelo Holmes), also know as the Ying Yang Twins, are a rapping duo from Atlanta, Georgia. In 2000 the unknown duo debuted their first single, “Whistle While You Twurk” (further evidence that twerking, was in fact a form of dance before Miley Cyrus made it popular during her 2013 MTV VMA’s performance). Their single gained instant fame and reached #17 on the US R&B/Hip-Hop chart. The Ying Yang Twins became more popular when they toured with fellow rappers: Juz tha King, Kat Nu and Demo Dil, and released their debut album, "Thug Walkin’"later that year. When the duo found Lil Jon in 2002, there were immediate negotiations to sign them to TVT Records. 2005 was a big year for the Ying Yang Twins as they released two albums just months after each other. "Me & My Brother"the Ying Yang Twins’ first album with TVT Records went platinum in April 2005. This album featured some of their most popular songs today: “Whats Happnin!” and “Salt Shaker” a collaboration with Lil Jon. In summer 2005 the Ying Yang Twins released "U.S.A. (United State of Atlanta)". In 2012, the group announced via Twitter that they were signing to Epic Records.
If you are trying to support your own “lituation” the Ying Yang Twins performance is not to be missed!
Hailing from New York, indie group The Heydaze consists of Jesse Fink on vocals and guitar, Andrew Spelman on guitar, Alexander Glantz on bass and Tyler Matte on drums. Conceived by Fink and Spelman in 2013 when they were dewy University of Pennsylvania grads, the band’s name derives from the longstanding tradition of the Penn Hey Day, a celebration of the last day of classes and the juniors becoming seniors. And it seems that The Heydaze wants to keep the band within the Quaker family–Glantz, the newest addition as of 2014, chose to forgo junior year at Penn for the indie pop scene.
Of the self-proclaimed “Windows down, stereo up” genre, the band’s first single, “Little Bandit,” amassed over 256,000 plays on Soundcloud. Ever since, they’ve been playing sold-out venues in New York such as Webster Hall and, most recently, touring with Jesse McCartney on his In Technicolor Tour and Timeflies on The After Hours Tour. After releasing several other singles, including “Arnold Palmer” and “City Girl,” the group finally released their debut self-titled EP under Island Records in June 2015. Featuring four tracks, “THE HEYDAZE” is reminiscent of DNCE and other indie, feel-good music.
For a group of former Ivy League students, the title of their first track seems out of character –“Dumb,” an ode to the morning after, deals with regret while never abandoning the group’s lighthearted vibe, with Fink declaring, “Guess I’m just young and foolish” in the chorus. “ABC,” a playful spin on the alphabet, reads as a love letter in colored verse, proclaiming in its opening lines, “Be my world/See all the things that you deserve/De-ny me but you’re easy to read.” “Side Effects” fixates on the archetypal on-again, off-again relationship, while “Headlights” celebrates the freedom of the open road.
While a small sampling of what the band has to offer, “The Heydaze” captures the quartet’s spirited sound and celebration of youth and carefreeness. It’s indie pop with a funky twist. You can probably expect an EP from them soon, but to tide you over till then, they’ve also been releasing covers of Tove Lo’s “Habits” and Taylor Swift’s “Style” on their YouTube page.
“We just want to write music you can sing along to,” Fink said in an interview. “The songs are clever, but they’re not overthought. We hope everyone can share in that energy.”
Twin Peaks, which will be playing at Colonial on Sunday, is a garage rock band which was formed in 2009 in Chicago, Illinois. Members of the band include lead vocalist and guitarist Cadien Lake James, guitarist Clay Frankel, bassist Jack Dolan, keyboardist Colin Croom (who officially joined in 2015) and Connor Brodner on drums.
The band was formed by lead vocalist James in 2009 while all the members were in high school. The band’s musical style has been heavily influenced by music from the 1960s. Back in 2012, the band recorded its debut album “Sunken,” in James' basement using Garageband. Sunken was released in July 2013 by Autumn Tone Records, an independent record label. Less than twenty minutes long, the album was positively received by Pitchfork, an online music magazine, which called Sunken “a very good album in a style –Twin Peaks have perfected the kind of songwriting that puts you in a practiced, happy headlock.”
All members except Frankel went on to attend Evergreen College in Olympia, before making the collective decision to drop out and return to Chicago to seriously pursue a music career. The band’s second album “Wild Onion” was released by the Grand Jury in August 2014. Wild Onion was twice as long as the band’s debut effort, and was very well received by fans for the two distinct musical styles which were evident. As Pitchfork said in an online review, “they seem to be offering two distinct versions of themselves: in one, they're good-times party rockers, and in the other they're heartbroken sweethearts.”
Their third album “Down in Heaven,” has thirteen tracks, and is scheduled to be released on May 13 this year. In an interview with Spin, the band noted that it had been inspired by one year in particular: 1968. James noted that the album is “not necessarily lyrically, but in sonic aesthetic, like the Kinks’ Village Green Society, Beatles’ White Album, and Rolling Stones’ Beggar’s Banquet,” three albums which were all released in 1968. The album was recorded over the course of a month in the summer of 2015 while the band stayed at a friend’s house in Massachusetts. New York-based record label Grand Jury Music claimed that the band’s third album “makes it increasingly hard to call their sound 'classic.' It’s rock new and old, it’s a little bit of country, it’s a whole lot of punk attitude, and it’s something to get excited about.”
The band is currently on the road, as has scheduled shows in Spain, Australia, Chicago, Canada and Washington DC. After playing at the Levitation Festival in Austin, Texas on Friday, the band will come to Prospect Street to play at 2:30 p.m. during spring Lawnparties.
Top Tracks:“I Found a New Way”
The Big Wahu
Editor's Note: A version of this review was published in our Spring 2015 Lawnparties preview.
Cloister Inn is bringing back The Big Wahu, a Caribbean band based in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, which previously performed for Cloister last year's spring Lawnparties.
This band of three plays a variety of musical genres including authentic calypso, reggae, Caribbean and beach music. Over the past five years, The Big Wahu has built up a steady reputation as a fun and talented group that has played at gigs along the East Coast and even in Costa Rica. With specialty instruments such as flutes, bass and steel pan drums, this band is not to be missed. Be sure to stop by Cloister to listen to The Big Wahu perform their summer hits and covers under the blue sky.
Terrace F. Club
According to their band bio, Phony Ppl “either crash-landed from the past or the future: critics and fans can’t decide”—and they are not exaggerating. These six Brooklyn natives have, since first performing together in 2011, found a delicate and delectable balance of R&B, soul, retro hip-hop and a touch of tropical house that, when combined, make for an original sound that defies genres by fusing them.
Terrace F. Club
Lawrence, a New York-based soul-pop group, cites Stevie Wonder, Janis Joplin and Eggo waffles as major influences, so you know they’ve got to be good. Led by siblings Clyde and Gracie Lawrence, who are only 22 and 18 respectively, Lawrence combines youthful, high-energy zest with old-school soul and R&B (Terrace, we’re picking up on a theme here). Their debut LP, “Breakfast,” was created with input from Grammy-winning producer Eric Krasno and artists from Lettuce, Snarky Puppy and Tedeschi Trucks Band. With vocals that exceed the singers’ years and feel-good melodies to boot, “Breakfast” sounds more like the work of 70s and 80s funk icons than the work of college-age newcomers.
But you see, while Lawrence as a band is new to the scene, Clyde and Gracie are far from being novices. Clyde was the youngest member of the Songwriters Guild of America at age six, when he contributed to the “Miss Congeniality” soundtrack, and he has been involved in several film scores since. Meanwhile, Gracie has appeared on Broadway as well as in various films and TV shows, including “The Americans.” Whether you want to hear some exceptional R&B/funk or see some amazing talents for free before they skyrocket to stardom, Lawrence will not let you down.
My Hero Zero
My Hero Zerois a cover band from State College, PA. The band consists of five members: Mike Lee, Jason Olcese, Noah Connolly, Donovan O’Rourke and Greg Folsom. They have a few original songs but mostly perform covers and mash-ups of popular songs.
Olcese is the lead singer, who is extremely good at getting the crowd pumped with his enthusiasm. O’Rourkeis in charge of fronting as well. Together, “acoustic indie meets indie punk,” as described on their official website. The band performs regularly in The Saloon, an English pub in Penn State, on Thursdays, and Café 210, a bar in Philly, on Fridays. On the weekends and on breaks, the band would take trips all the way from Key West to Canada. In fact, My Hero Zero came to Cottage this past April 17, where a Sunday Funday event replicated the Coachella music festival and everyone showed up with floral crowns and crop tops.
The purpose of the band is to “remind you why you fell in love with live music at the first place,” as advocated on the website. Live music is crucially important for people to enjoy and appreciate music in the moment, with the musicians. The band goes across the country because they want to bring live music to people’s parties. Their willingness and dedication in doing so partially explained why the band has gained its popularity so quickly over the past two years. In 2015, My Hero Zero performed live in THON, a 46-hour dance marathon in Penn State University. It takes place in Bryce Jordan Center annually and aims at rising funding for children with cancer. This was one of My Hero Zero's biggest events of the past year.
In the summer, My Hero Zero plans on performing in various states and on the beaches. On May 1, this Sunday, My Hero Zero will make an appearance in TI at 12:30 p.m.
Metro Station is an American pop band with its roots in an American icon–that icon being Hannah Montana. The original band members, Mason Musso and Trace Cyrus, met on the set of the Disney Channel show. Mason’s brother Mitchel was Oliver in Hannah Montana and Trace's sister is, you guessed it–Miley Cyrus. Mason and Trace bonded over their passion for punk fashion and pop music. Mason is the lead singer while Trace the lead guitarist. They started uploading their music on MySpace and their popularity increased as time went by, and eventually an intern at Columbia Records noticed them. Shortly after, the pair signed the contract.
In 2007, the two made their debut in the music industry with two released singles “Kelsey” and “Control.” While these two songs didn't exactly hit the mainstream, in 2008 their single “Shake It” skyrocketed to #10 on Billboard's Hot 100, granting Metro Station a great deal of airplay.
However, the band broke up in 2010. Mason purchased the name Metro Station and Trace left to become a solo artist. Both individuals released songs during the time, but none of them achieved the popularity to sweep the nation.
In 2014, Trace returned to Metro Station and they released an album called “Love & War” not long after. The other members in the band have been changed multiple times, but the current members include Mason, the lead singer, Trace, the lead guitarist, drummer Spencer Steffan and keyboardist Jimmy Gregerson.
The style of Metro Station is known as synth pop, meaning they incorporate synthesizers as the main instruments. Synthesizers are electronic instruments that produce sounds through electric signals, and with the use of amplifiers, the audiences are able to hear it. Metro Station uses synthesizers to create buzzing and pumping beeps, which can be heard in a lot of their songs–“Shake It” is a perfect example to symbolize the style.
Not only their style, but the sense of fashion is what makes Metro Station unique. Trace Cyrus goes for the total punk star look: tattoos all over the body, spiky hair, spooky eyes, extremely skinny, etc. On the other hand, Mason appears more laid back. He is often seen singing or playing the guitar in the back while Trace is jumping up and down or taking his shirt off to pump the audience up. The opposing features in their style is partially what makes Metro Station so catchy and memorable.
Metro Station will perform in Tower at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 1. You should get ready to shake it, I guess.