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Lollapalooza 2013 Recap

For those of you who missed this past weekend’s annual music festival in Grant Park, first off shame on you. But it’s fully understandable that there are many reasons to not be hitting up the notoriously crowded, hot, and usually storm-ridden Lollapalooza, and it is also understandable that if you did happen to miss it, you are curious about what you missed. Even for those that did land on the woodchip-covered park sometime this weekend, it sure is fun to reminisce. So here it is; the Nutshell Music Group Lollapalooza 3-Day Recap.


Friday: The air was buzzing with yet another big-billed festival weekend upon us. There was a short drizzle early, and the day’s high temperature of 81 was the highest on schedule for the whole weekend. Things really were looking up with a solid set of headliners performing later in the evening, and a solid undercard to boot.

Friday’s Notable Moments:

  1. San Cisco starting off the day with a dance party except, you know, one that indie kids would go to.
  2. Father John Misty french kissing a stuffed unicorn.
  3. Bernard Sumner joining The Killers on stage to perform Joy Division’s “Shadowplay”.
  4. Thievery Corporation defining the word “groove”.


Saturday: For many reasons, the second day of this year’s festival was very possibly the most exciting. One band was preparing for a comeback show (actually their second show back) after their bassist suffered a brain clot, and another took the stage for one of their final performances ever. On top of that, some of the biggest names in indie rock, hip-hop, and EDM all powered through electrifying sets to cap off day 2 of Lollapalooza.

Saturday’s Notable Moments:

  1. Pujol enjoying some candy thrown on stage by an audience member during their soundcheck.
  2. Matt & Kim repeatedly sampling, among many other rap classics, Ace Hood’s “Bugatti”. The band later suffered so many technical difficulties that “Daylight” had to be cut in mid-song, and they instead ended their set with “Cinders”, which they had admittedly not played in years.
  3. Ellie Goulding ending her hit “Lights” with a snippet of the Bassnectar remix.
  4. Two fans in wheel chairs crowd surfing during Kendrick Lamar’s set being helped over the front guardrail, and being allowed to watch the remainder of the show from the front of the stage.
  5. The Postal Service playing absolutely every song in their repertoire, and the crowd singing the last line of “Brand New Colony” over and over again as the band left the stage.
  6. Death Grips and Azealia Banks both separately cancelling Saturday night performances, resulting in Shaun White’s band Bad Things headlining on The Grove stage.


Sunday: The same as always, the weekend seemed to be coming to a close much too quickly and the initial hype was slowly turning into sunburn, hangovers, and fatigue. The weather was a blessing with it actually becoming a bit cold by the end of the night, and that shot enough energy into the crowd to see some of the most successful musicians, both new and old, in their respective genres. The night ended on such a high (and tired) note that the only thing I could muster up for my personal Twitter account was “So. F*****g. Good.”

Sunday’s Notable Moments:

  1. Mario Cuomo of The Orwells taking off his pants at the tail end of the band’s set.
  2. Alex Trimble of Two Door Cinema Club keeping it classy, performing in a suit and drinking wine.
  3. Vampire Weekend not being able to get through their set without laughing at the crowd throwing toilet paper on stage or watching as a fan ran on stage (showing his bare butt) and was quickly restrained backstage.
  4. Phoenix putting on an absolute spectacle of a performance, including Thomas Mars making two trips over the guardrail and laying down for the group’s extra-long rendition of “Love Like a Sunset”.

Keep your eyes peeled for some concert reviews of a few of the Lollapalooza sets, along with another upcoming festival review next week!

Lollapalooza 2013 Predictions (Pt. 2)

IMG_0148After ten days of buzzing and a good string of contact following our last Lollapalooza prediction post, the second handful of bands has been compiled (some of which are based on your suggestions). As was the deal with the last post, comment, tweet @NSMusicGroup, or email us at if you have changes to be made or things to say. This is a debate, that is welcome and preferred. You can also check out the new Lollapalooza 2013 page for all of our lineup speculation and live updates. Most additions will be normally posted, but bands taken off the list will not. Happy guessing folks!

Here’s the next batch of bands I expect to see August 2-4 in Grant Park:

  • Youngblood Hawke – With the release of one of this year’s big indie anthems, YBH has become quite a force. With the power of iTunes hit “We Come Running” behind them and an almost guaranteed festival-filled Summer 2013, the five-piece may be hitting the stage with an early time slot.
  • Two Door Cinema Club – The band was already playing an evening slot in 2010 on one of the festival’s biggest stages, and the recent release of Beacon means they will not be strangers to festival goers this year. With tour dates in Chicago falling early this year, it would not be surprising to see the Irish indie pop group back again in August.
  • Mumford and Sons – Mumford and co. is going to be the festival hog this year. Everybody in the entire world wanted to book them after they released one hot album; with that total doubled and a handful of new singles like “Babel” and “I Will Wait” that are being shoved down the throats of alternative radio listeners, the group will be hitting almost every major festival this year. If not Lollapalooza, be expecting the modern folk lords rounding out the Pitchfork Music Festival on Sunday night.
  • Matt and Kim – The duo last hit the festival in 2009 in support of Sidewalks, and have recently been hitting the Midwest pretty hard with tour stops. With signs of that dying down after February, the band seems to have enough experience under their belt (plus an awesome new album in Lightning) to grab an evening slot at Lollapalooza this Summer.
  • Andrew Bird & Wilco – The pairing of these two is intentional because both have released new material somewhat recently (Bird with Break It Yourself and Hands of Glory EP, Wilco with The Whole Love) and they both hail from the Chicago area. However, with enough new music to share a headlining concert just outside of the city last Summer, neither band ended up hitting any popular Chicago-area festivals. At least one of these two could likely show up at Lollapalooza this year as one of those “I don’t know why they’re here this year, but that’s awesome that they are” kind of acts.

Nutshell Album Review: Two Door Cinema Club – Beacon

Sighs of relief have erupted as the musical super month has come. September 2012 promised great things in the music industry, and other than Muse’s new album being pushed back to October, it hasn’t been a disappointment. One of the most exciting things was the return of the Irish, out-of-nowhere-super-indie-pop-dance-fun band Two Door Cinema Club with their second LP, Beacon. Following up an album like platinum-selling Tourist History is always a challenge, plus I’m sure the trio was just peachy about adding the second-album jitters to that. But they came out swinging, and you couldn’t expect anything else from the 2011-2012 festival staple, who spent more than enough time teasing fans that they were more than ready to put out a new album (and the release of random, just-for-kicks single “Hands Off My Cash, Monty” sure didn’t help). Sure enough, the final product is mind blowing, and never has it been more clear that the industry may be too easy for one particular group.

“Next Year” is a phenomenal opening track. First off, this is the only time that I will not call house synths like this corny. It was done in a magical way, and if you had the 15 seconds of buildup and held breath before the song turns into something the fans were waiting for, you’re golden. “Handshake” is the next song, quickly recognizable as the teaser track released months ago with the album’s promo video. This song also heavily features the token Two Door Cinema Club sound, with the poppy guitar riffs and upbeat drum tracks. It also marks the beginning of a trend throughout the album of a larger emphasis on bass and vocalist Alex Trimble hitting lower notes. “Wake Up” has a groove to it that hasn’t yet been heard from the Irish trio, with Trimble cranking out Thom Yorke-style vocals on the verses and gritty rock solos used to transition between choruses and verses. “Sun” has a pretty opening that turns into a slowed down, but equally fun version of a Two Door song. It takes a melting pot of everything heard on Tourist History, adds a horn section, and slows down the tempo to create a very unique track. Nonetheless, it stands out and is definitely a track to look out for.

“Someday” explodes into a thick fog of the sound the band made famous two years ago. The almost-synth-pad guitar sounds and fast drums sound almost identical to their earlier sound. “Sleep Alone”, the album’s first single, is another song that quickly draws comparison to the band’s early work. It is one of Beacon‘s powerhouse songs that you can expect to be hearing for a long time (and don’t worry, it’s already hitting radio stations). “The World Is Watching” has a very different, almost beachy sound to it that is reminiscent of Young The Giant. A song with a catchy riff, huge percussion support from the toms, and multi-range vocal harmonies (including female guest vocalist Valentina), this is a song that is sure to stick in your head and remind everyone that they’re mad about Summer’s end. “Settle” starts very subdued, and shows Two Door’s mastery of the big explosion. It is able to take the most quiet and subtle verse part of the record and turn it into the most powerful chorus in a matter of two beats. Then to top it off, it manages to toy with the muscles in your legs for 4 minutes, wondering if and when you’ll start dancing again.

“Spring” is another diverse track with a groove, with another big emphasis on the bass part. The musical interludes are extremely memorable and recognizable, along with with entrancing lyrics (“One more day is not enough”) that are truly just adorable. “Pyramid” is another slow starter, with the groove mentioned before combining with a solid house-style build up. The kicker is that it instead erupts in normal fashion for these three, only to drop back down to the jazzy-groove level shortly after. It isn’t until around the 2 minute mark that you hear the song hit its stride and retain its power in common electro-pop form. The album then closes with title track “Beacon”, a song that seems like the ball of a six-way ping pong match, where each player is a different end of the spectrum Two Door Cinema Club has touched upon.

With a month as big musically as this one is shaping up to be, there are some generally big albums that just need to be skipped over due to exponentially bigger albums, and Beacon seemed to fall in the irritating purgatory of “no one really knows how this is going to turn out, do they?” Two Door Cinema Club is part of the gargantuan handful of this generation’s underrated bands, and they proved to the world everything else they needed to that was leftover from Tourist History. The Irish trio not only proved that they are the princes of European electronic indie pop (and apparently 3-4 minute songs that start with the letter “S”), but also that they know how to cut a new, interesting, and just generally awesome album. Twice. Beacon takes a commanding 94/100, and you can get your paws on your own copy today.

Beacon Tracklisting:

  1. Next Year
  2. Handshake
  3. Wake Up
  4. Sun
  5. Someday
  6. Sleep Alone
  7. The World Is Watching
  8. Settle
  9. Spring
  10. Pyramid
  11. Beacon


Top Albums To Look Out For

There has been some recent buzzing and single circulation that has everyone all excited about new albums (some confirmed, others speculated). Here is Nutshell’s top albums to look out for in the upcoming months:

Beck – With the recent release of the “I Just Started Hating Some People Today/Blue Randy” single, Beck’s various projects seem to be coming full circle to scream “NEW ALBUM”. “Looking For A Sign” was another single released by Beck earlier this year, plus reports by country singer Dwight Yoakam and bassist Justin Meldal-Johnsen that he’s been in the studio. Nothing official yet, but expect it soon.

Animal Collective (Centipede Hz, due out September 4th) – After spending the large part of their 2011 tour debuting new material, Animal Collective officially announced their tenth album this past May. The cover and tracklisting have both been released, along with the non-album “Honeycomb/Gotham” single. The now 13 year old band has really hit every end of the musical spectrum, so be excited to see what they’ve come up with.

Two Door Cinema Club (Beacon, due out September 4th) – Earlier this month, Two Door’s second album was announced, including all of the info seen here. The release video that included teaser tracks has all fans of the band excited for the follow up to the platinum-selling Tourist History. This is really helping set up September 4th as a pretty great day in music.

The Strokes – Not much to be said here, other than the fact that three of the five band members have released some form of information regarding the completion of their fifth album. No title or new singles yet, but the follow up to Angles will be something to look out for.

MGMT (MGMT, no release date) – MGMT’s third studio album has received a lot of press coverage, and most of it concludes that the band is in the studio with no solid evidence of new material yet. They have been playing a new song on their South American tour called “Alien Days”, and at one point confirmed that Andrew VanWyngarden had written a handful of R.E.M. inspired songs. No singles yet, but more will come soon enough.

Muse (The 2nd Law, due out September 17th) – Muse has spent the time between their Grammy winning fifth album The Resistance and its follow up album recreating their sound. An album trailer was released on their website on June 6th, along with a countdown clock that was later tied to the release date of The 2nd Law. The band cites groups like Justice and Does It Offend You, Yeah? as influences for the album, so a world of Muse fans will be excited to hear the new sound as soon as possible.

Phoenix – Another one with no large-scale information, Phoenix’s fifth studio album has been a generally well-contained secret. The only thing to show for the recording process are a few stills that have been posted on the band’s website and reports of a late Summer 2012 release. The current photo on the band’s site is the word “Thermidor”, a month from the French Republican Calendar that spans from July 19th to August 18th, so expect some new Phoenix music around then.

If you have any more suggestions of albums to keep your eyes peeled for, comment or tweet it! @NSMusicGroup


Throughout the last few days, details on Two Door Cinema Club’s new sophomore album Beacon have been released through the band’s website and Twitter account. The excitement has reached such levels that #tdccbeacon became a trending topic on Twitter, and this video that gave out the initial release date has hit over 27,000 views on YouTube. Based on the teaser tracks available, this album is going to make all Two Door Cinema Club lovers rejoice due to the band’s retaining of the same musical independence from their platinum debut album Tourist History. The album is due out September 3rd (September 4th for U.S.A./Canada), and the tracklisting is as follows:

1. Next Year
2. Handshake
3. Wake Up
4. Sun
5. Someday
6. Sleep Alone
7. The World Is Watching (with Valentina)
8. Settle
9. Spring
10. Pyramid
11. Beacon

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