Lawnparties always brings musicians from all musical backgrounds to Prospect Avenue. This year, the artists coming have music permeated with genres such as island reggae, the blues, '80s dance pop, and rap. Let Street be your guide and read about the history, inspirations, and personalities behind the musical acts coming to the eating clubs on Sunday, Sept. 18 for Princeton University’s biannual music festival.
OPENER: SAMMY ADAMS
This fall, Lawnparties will have hip-hop Sammy Adams as the opening act to the Swedish electropop duo, Icona Pop.
Samuel Adams Wisner, better known by his stage name of “Sam Adams” or “Sammy Adams” is the fourthgreat grandson of John Quincy Adams, the sixth president of the United States. The 29-year-old Massachusetts native started music at a young age, playing piano from he was seven and creating his own rhythms and melodies by the age of 11.
Adams started recording songs from his college dorm room in 2008, and was launched into popularity in 2009 when he released “I Hate College,” a remix of Asher Roth’s “I Love College,” on Youtube, which has about 10.5 million views as of September 2016. Adams’s college fan base allowed his first EP, "Boston’s Boy," to reach #73 on the Billboard 200 and #1 on iTunes.
Adams signed with Sony’s RCA Records following a performance at Lollapalooza in the summer of 2011. “Only One” became Adams’s first song to receive attention on the radio outside from college and online fans, and Teen Vogueeventually named Adams an “Artist to Watch” in 2012. Adams has recorded songs as a featured artist as well, such as his feature on Enrique Iglesias'“Finally Found You.” Adams switched to 1stRound Records in 2015, and recently released his album "The Long Way"in March 2016, with the single “Overboard.”
The duo was launched into popularity with the hit song “I Love It” featuring Charli XCX in 2012, which was featured on many television shows such as "Snokki and JWoww," "The Vampire Diaries,"and HBO’s "Girls," and moved "Iconic EP"to #21 on the U.S. iTunes dance chart. In 2013, Icona Pop went on a U.S. tour with Passion Pit and Matt & Kim, performed “I Love It” at the Billboard Music Awards, and received two Teen Choice awards (Choice Music Breakout Group and Choice Single: Group).
In 2014, Icona Pop acted as the opening act for both the Katy Perry “Prismatic” and Miley Cyrus “Bangerz” tours, and collaborated with various artists, such as Tiesto and Cobra Starship, to produce some singles. Their songs “All Night” and “Emergency” charted on the Billboard Dance chart. The pair’s second album "This Is… Icona Pop"debuted at #36 on the Billoard 200, and the duo also opened for the North American section of One Direction’s 2015 tour “On the Road Again.” Icona Pop recently released the song “Weekend” with Chicago-based electronic duo Louis the Child.
Do you like Walk The Moon? Ever danced to Neon Trees? Enjoy listening to Twenty One Pilots? If you answered yes to one or more of these questions then you definitely need to stop by Charter this Sunday for the always fun and festive Lawnparties. Public, an indie pop / rock band, will be on campus performing some of their hit songs including: “Heartbeating,” “Pretty Face,” “Red,” and their latest single, “Perfect.”
The group, originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, has three members: John Vaughn, Ben Lapps, and Matthew Alvarado. The trio gained popularity when they began performing at festivals such as the CMJ Music Marathon, Bunbury, MidPoint Music Festival and most recently the Fashion Meets Music Festival.
Public further increased their popularity and fanbase when they toured with Walk The Moontwo years ago. The “Trendsetter” tour was great exposure for the band, thanks to the sold-out shows and the audience's immediate connection to their familiar genre of music. According to the band, the tour had two major benefits; firstly, the members learned a lot about themselves personally and gained experience in how to tour and effectively perform to engage their fans.
In an interview with Diana Buchert from The Indie Sound, a blog run by music enthusiasts, one of the members recounted that playing music without being nervous took a while to properly master.
“We played the show and I felt like I was a little too self conscious because I knew people were there to look at us, and then it kind of affected the way my game was on stage, and since then I’ve learned to literally play the same set no matter who’s watching or who’s out there.”
The second benefit is that the tour helped to attract much of the band’s current fanbase and established the band as a potential game changer in the rock / indie pop genre. After going on tour, Public had over 9,000 followers on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook combined.After spending much of their time prior to the tour performing on small side stages in bars, they are now performing on stages that Passion Pit, New Politics, and DJ Khaled have also performed on.
On Sept. 8, the band released the single, “Perfect." They explained on social media (follow them on Twitter at @publictheband!) that the inspiration for their song was you (yes, you!), since "Perfect" is an anthem for people everywhere to embrace their imperfections and be comfortable not being society’s definition of perfect.
*SOUNDS OF THE ISLAND
On his website, Lyl Harper calls himself a “one-man Caribbean band.” To an extent, this is totally true.
A self-taught musician who has proven several times (via Youtube videos posted to his personal website) that literally any song you can think of can be turned into a kitschy, island rendition that has you feeling ready for an overpriced drink and a tropical vacation.
Harper tends to add a reggae/Caribbean influence to the some popular or classic tunes from different genres and decades that people can recognize and love.
His inspiration comes from his childhood. After growing up on the Caribbean island of Grenada, he played with many local groups including the Royal Grenada Police Force Band.
During his time as a musician, he has traveled the world on Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and Carnival Cruise Lines performing Caribbean/reggae music with the steel drum, keyboard, and guitar.
Currently, he is located United States and spends his time creating a repertoire of music that can entertain any audience regardless of their knowledge of Caribbean music. Recently, he formed a group called “Lyl Harper Music Production LLC” with several other Caribbean music performers.
His website welcomes visitors with the promise of a “authentic Caribbean entertainment,” complete with videos and photos of his previous sets.
His ability to entertain in a soothing way has made Lyl Harper popular amongst his customers.
One review that stands out on the tropical themed website notes that Lyl Harper is “professional, polite, and extremely friendly” while also providing “great island style music that was not overpowering which allowed our guests to mingle and talk easily while he played.”
Upon perusing his website and giving a few of his covers a listen, you can almost hear the swish of grass skirts and the gentle the sway of a palm tree, see too many dads wearing Hawaiian shirts, and sense some inflatable beach balls hovering over you somewhere.
It’s true what the testimonials say — he really knows how to effectively create an island atmosphere.
Inspired by a self-described “toxic relationship,” Kat Dahlia has found her place in the music industry as an artist with sharp, aggressive lyrics that blend well with husky yet fierce vocals.
Born in Miami as Katriana Sandra Huguet, the 26 year old showed an early interest in music, rapping by the age of eight and writing songs by the age of 15. Her musical tastes evolved from Celia Cruz to Britney Spears before her older brother introduced her to classic rock bands like The Doors and The Beatles and she fell in love. However, Huguet also listened to reggae, rap, jazz, and the blues, so her songs like “Gangsta” and “I Think I’m In Love” reflect hints of a mish-mash of genres within a pop song.
After growing up by the seemingly paradisiacal South Florida beaches, Huguet found herself bored by her surroundings. There were not many opportunities in Miami, and her mother had always been strict to compensate for her father's lackadaisical lifestyle. Huguet spent some time working as a cocktail waitress to save up some money before deciding to move to New York on a whim. She originally planned to only work there for a summer after disliking several of her work managers, but found something unique about the city’s propensity to attract artists and ultimately decided to stay.
However, as Huguet stayed in New York for that first year, she became entangled in an obsessive love that ultimately became a tiresome relationship. At her lowest point, Huguet's boyfriend was fired from his job, and she ended up living in a crackhouse and sending her checks to her boyfriend to use. Upon ending the relationship however, Huguet found herself immediately inspired to develop her own music, and began self-financing an EP (entitled "Seeds") as well as a music video.
Working every night until 1 a.m. as a waitress in New Jersey, she would hop on a bus to New York City to write and edit songs until 4 a.m., when she would return home. Eventually, while she was in the hectic phase of creating her EP, Huguet was discovered and signed by Epic Records’ record executive Sylvia Rhone. Having served as president of Universal Motown Records until 2011, Rhone founded her own label called Vested In Culture in 2012. Huguet was one of the first artists signed to the label under the stage name Kat Dahlia.
In an interview with Complex Magazine, she revealed that she chose the name Kat Dahlia because even though Dahlia has a soft and beautiful connotation, referring to sunflowers and daisies, she found that it also had a dark undertone to it. This was the same description that she used for Miami, her hometown. Even as she worked in New York, Huguet was still heavily inspired by her past in Miami,explaining that while her hometown seemed wonderful to tourists, the lifestyle was repetitive and draining, often dragging locals into dark places in life.
Additionally, Dahlia’s biggest hit to date, “Gangsta,” which was her first single released with VIC, has influences from Miami as well as New York City. In the song, she describes her experiences with her family while growing up in South Florida, as well as her dislike for many of the men she had encountered while living in New York City. The music video acts almost like a biopic, with Dahlia starting off in different locations near a South Florida beach and ending with her singing by a New York City skyline.
After “Gangsta,” Dahlia released her debut album in 2015 titled “My Garden.” The album was received well, with Billboard’s Meaghan Garvey saying "she sings, writes and raps; she has a bit of Rihanna's swagger and the gravelly vocals of 1990s grunge. If that sounds like a lot to balance, well, sometimes it is. But if nothing else, on Dahlia's debut, My Garden, she transcends the sum of her seemingly disparate influences, proving herself to be a relatively distinct artist."
In May of this year, she released a third EP titled “20s, 50s, 100s,” which can be downloaded for free on SoundCloud. The album has three songs on it: “Run it Up,” “Voices in My Head,” and “Lion.”Top Tracks:
KRISTEN AND THE NOISE
Often found at clubs, weddings, and corporate events, Kristen and the Noise are a cover band that has been requested all over the country for over ten years now. Originating from the greater Philadelphia area, the band has shared the stage with Pitbull and Macklemore.
The band has five members as well as an endless supply of song covers available to suit any occasion. With top 40 pop hits under their belt, they can also cover R&B, Oldies, Classics, Rock, and Hip-hop music as the audience requests with ease.
Kristen Kwolek is the front-woman of the band who is known for her high-energy performances as well as her adaptability. According to her booking agent Midnight Sun, her best performances come in a private setting due to her ability to connect with people easily. Her vocal talent is what enables the band to find such a good balance of material that covers multiple genres like Adele's "Hello," Paramore's "Ain't it Fun," and Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'."
The band has four members who were assembled together and called their band the “Noise." However, all were experienced group players and they quickly established themselves a key component to the band’s overall sound while forming a nice sense of onstage and offstage chemistry.
Of the four, Pete Ahern is on bass, Jordan Demarest is on guitar and vocals, Zhach Kelsch is on drums, and Mike Myers is on keys, guitar, and vocals. In spite of the good chemistry between the band members, the band is currently looking for a sixth member to play keyboard, guitar, and sing backup vocals, which was announced on their Facebook page at the end of August.
As an established cover band on the east coast, the band has a busy schedule. After performing in Ocean City and Baltimore, they will be at Cottage Club for Sunday afternoon’s fall Lawnparties and then head to New York for another private performance.Top Tracks:
Don't Stop Believin'(Cover)
Known for his soundcloud mashups of songs such as Love and Roses (Justin Bieber x Chainsmokers x AVNU) and Take It Back (Flume x Audien), Tyler McMurray has recently made his name as DJ Trademark, an up and coming artist on the stage and music streaming sites.
In an interview with ThunderTreats, McMurray commented that his friends came up with his stage name when he used to make hip-hop tracks for them and they noted that his initials were ™. McMurray started mixing music in 2009 when he was a sophomore at Ripon College. At first, his music was showcased in house parties and and bars in rural Wisconsin. A year later, however, he managed to put together an album entitled ‘House Party’ which combined retro tracks with dance and pop songs.
McMurray also noted that his songs are influenced by dance and electro artists such as Porter Robinson, Axwell, Chuckie, Sebastian Ingrosso, Afrojack, Kaskade, Knife Party, Avicii, Diplo, among other artists.
Currently, DJ Trademark is based out of Chicago, Illinois. His songs combine together nicely in a soundcloud playlist that he has taken the liberty of calling ‘pregame series.’ So it's no wonder that previous to Princeton University, DJ Trademark will have performed at the University of Michigan, Chapman University, and University of North Carolina and will be performing at Duke University, and Louisiana State University.
When asked what advice to give to aspiring DJs mixing in their bedrooms, McMurray replied “Patience and persistence. Everyone and their mom is a DJ these days, but the people who will get the most out of it are confident in the brand they’re putting out there.”Top Tracks:
This Sunday, F. Scott Fitzgerald meets Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in TI's front yard.That's right —fan-favorite '80s and '90s cover band TheDeLoreansare back! Known for their over-the-top style and funky tunes, this band can even make the '80s and '90s seem cool. Don’t miss out on belting out Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” and Cyndi Lauper’s “Girl’s Just Want to Have Fun” with the rest of your Brooks Brothers-clad friends.Come on over to TI’s lawn to party like it’s (1980 to) 1999!
Kaoru Ishibashi, who goes by the pseudonym Kishi Bashi, first started his career as a solo artist around four years ago. His pieces began as violin recordings that were looped and cut together to produce an upbeat, ambient feel, somewhat similar to Capital Cities and Phoenix. During live performances Kishi Bashi’s music is often edited together as complicated pocket symphonies of violin pieces, layered singing and beatboxing. His songs sometimes seem intricately composed, while other times they seem intentionally haphazard and improvised.
Kishi Bashi has just released his third album, "Sonderlust." The album name comes from the word "sonder," which stands for the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own. The album features songs that would easily accompany summer footage for an indie music video. With minimal words and chopped up synth recordings, this album is unabashedly cheerful and effectively easygoing. The album was produced by the Grizzly Bear’s Chris Taylor. It features an eclectic arrangement of disco and violin sounds with songs such as "Ode to My Next Life" and "Hey Big Star."
In July, Kishi Bashi spoke with NPR’s All Songs Considered about the album and shared his thoughts, saying “This album is a complete departure from what I've done in the past. A lot of it is really personal. A lot of heartache and hardship hit me last year. But I tapped into that and made all these songs about the tumultuous journey I had."
Kishi Bashi was born in Seattle, Washington and grew up in Norfolk, Virginia. He studied film scoring at the Berklee College of Music where he trained to become a professional violinist. He is currently based in Athens, and is also a composer and a singer of NYC synth rock band Jupiter One.
Since his debut, Kishi Bashi's music has gradually become more publicly recognized. Host Bob Boilen from NPR All Songs Considered listed Kishi Bashi as his favorite new artist in 2012. Additionally, he was featured in the "Tiny Desk" video concert series. That year Microsoft also asked to use his song "Bright White" for a Windows 8 commercial.
Kishi Bashi has since played in major festivals like SXSW and Austin City Limits, which featured other artists such as The Cure, Muse, Kings of Leon, Vampire Weekend, along with many others. Additionally, he has collaborated and toured with indie artists, including Regina Spektor, Sondre Lerche, and Of Montreal.Top Tracks:
EXMAG W/ SWARVY
Terrace F. Club
Exmag consists of five members: Eric Mendelson, Gramatik, Illumntr, Tyler Dondero, and Mike Iannatto. Their music can be described as funky R&B mixed with chill EDM and soul. The guitar melody carried by Mendelson intertwines with the soft vocals from the other members to yield a groovy yet relaxing vibe.
After releasing two successful singles, Exmag debuted their first album, "Proportions," in December 2013. The album runs over an hour and includes 18 tracks. The description of the album on their website is: “With Planet Earth in a state of great chaos and turmoil, a force of extraordinary magnitude from across the multiverse has come to assist.” Their sound of soul R&B creates a saving cure to a world in flux.
Part of what makes this album so unique is the seamless transitions between the tracks, which make it hard to discern the change from one song to the next. Although as one progresses through the album the tracks gradually become more intense toward the end. Their first song, True Love from the Future, is introduced by Mendelson’s guitar solo, occasionally with some soft vocals in the background. After that, songs like Tilt Mode or Jukecreate an atmosphere that would make anyone stand up and sway to the music. Finally, the last song, Taking to the Max, marks the peak of the album, as the title suggests. Thus, with smooth transitions and a gradual buildup of intensity, the audiences go on a one-hour journey of funky and soulful music.
Accompanying Exmag is producer, composter, teacher, and instrumentalist Markus Swarvy. In addition to playing the bass, Swarvy also plays the drums, the guitar, and the keyboard. Although he hasn't released an album, Swarvy has produced three volumes on his own — Mirrors, Blends, and Elderberry, and has done several outtakes with other artists.
Focusing heavily on electronic music, Swarvy typically starts performances on the drums, then moves on to the guitar or the bass, and eventually, the keyboard. Sometimes he complements his instruments playing soft vocals. While his own music is highly instrumental, when he is working with other musicians, his vocals fill in the melody or the background, treating listeners to a laid back and groovy vibe.
GO GO GADJET
Cannon Dial Elm Club
In keeping with their usual fall Lawnparties fare —pop cover bands that serve up songs everyone can sing along to —Cannon will be bringing Go Go Gadjet onto its stage this Sunday. The five-man band, which describes itself as “a burst of electric funk carried on the back of a thundering juggernaut of searing rock,” is ten years old and has performed at the Red Robin Festival, the Shamrock Fest DC, Running of the Santas, as well as in Dubai.
As part of their self-described “cutting edge musical experience,” the band offers a visual landscape through lighting and production, which enhances the audience’s impression of the music by tapping into their senses. In 2014, their vision of a musical revolution manifested itself in a visual and musical show entitled “Escape.” While their interpretation of the music is unique, the band primarily performs covers of well-known hit songs that include Coldplay’s “Yellow” and a mash-up of Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself” and “Sorry.” However, they recently wrote their first-ever original song,“Make You Feel Good,” which they may choose to debut at our very own Princeton University. But even if they decide to stick to covering other songs, we have a feeling they’ll make us feel good anyway. After all, who doesn’t love a good sing-along?
And yes, the band’s name does sound strangely familiar for a reason —“Go go gadget” was the signature phrase of Inspector Gadget in his eponymous ’80s cartoon series and ’90s films.