The sun is shinning and you want to head out to the park. You drag out that awesome t-shirt you bought last summer while on vacation. Once on you notice it feels a little tight and there's a baby bump. The problem is: you're a guy! Put down that IPA.
If you aren't a snow player it's easy to earn some mid-section curvature over the winter. As we plunge into the days of 75 degrees and over don't be the guy who goes to the park, takes his shirt off and immediately scares the children or the teenagers with paint on their faces (they are Juggalos). Don't make grow men shake their heads in embarrassed empathy. Don't make the folks in the drum circle miss a beat and kill their buzz. Don't...well, you get it. I've thrown together a little playlist with some new music to accompany you in whatever your shape-shifting endeavors may be. Take note that some of these songs are NSFW.
"Does and Mimosas" by Cherub is song you will hear all over this Summer so get used to it. Embrace it. Much like Lorde's "Royals" last year this song is all about being an underdog. It's all about hating "that high-class ass that's too hot and fast" and "all the bitch-ass hos." Then coping with drugs and alcohol. Not a good message for the kids, but it's just music and these shoes were made for dancing. Listen to this while doing ladders.
The Faint "Help in the Head" starts off abrasively but this band has an odd talent for getting under your skin. Their new album "DOOM ABUSE" is more abrasive and probably less dancy than their previous catalogue, but this track will have you doing sprints past that woman with two water bottles strapped around her waist pounding the pavement in $300 running shoes. They are in SLC on June 11th.
"Cardiac Arrest" by Bad Sun is a song I hated on first listen, so I listened again then again and now I like it. Funny how that works. Anyway, this track reminds me of bands I have loved that never quite made it like Maximo Park, The Cribs, etc. It's those throaty English bands that try to sing like Cher. I quite like that for some reason. Great song for push-ups.
Big Data "Dangerous (feat. Joywave)." This video even has people working out in it...and blood...and bewbs. Not naked ones, but according to the market research portrayed in this video people like bewbs. It's cheeky and a great song. Go ahead and ponder the social message here while hiking your favorite Wasatch Front canyon trail.
Junior Prom "Sheila Put the Knife Down" immediately makes you think it might be a Smith's cover and that could be the band's intention. It's just good marketing. The version you hear on the radio drops the "f" word and replaces it with "messed." In most songs it doesn't matter, but in this case I think it takes a lot away from the song's impact. Enjoy this gem while doing lunges and hating all the men who have wronged you for maximum calorie burn.
Skaters "Schemers" is MY song of the summer of 2014. I am so obsessed with this band. Their debut album "Manhattan" is my hands down winner this year. I haven't been this excited about an album since I heard Yeah Yeah Yeah's "Fever to Tell" in 2003. Listen to this track while shadowboxing.
Thumpers "Unkider (A Tougher Love)" is pure London pop. It's uplifting and you can sway to it. Works well on a rowing machine if you can find one.
"The City" by The 1975. I swear this is boy band in rock clothing. There is nothing wrong with that, but I feel it's an odd juxtaposition. I see this being a world-class, huge band one day. Good some for jumping jacks.
Sleeper Agent "Waves" is a video that gets my heart rate sky-rocketing mostly because Alex Kandel is so cute, swoon. Her voice is sultry but can still moonlight into Haley Williams territory. This song is so damn good I don't know if I can say anything else about it. There is a rebellious sentimentality in the lyrics. It's the same feeling I had after watching "Never Let Me Go." If you've seen it you'll know what I am taking about. This is a song for lunges if I've ever heard one.
DVBBS & MoTi "This Is Dirty." Being a workout mix you knew some EDM was going to end up here, so why not go Dutch. Good song for sprints. The build-up will have you moving faster and faster until the drop hits. Then you'll be off faster than the Roadrunner after watching Wile E. blow himself sky high with Acme dynamite. You'll get enough bars for a breather before you start burning the tread on your nifty sneaks. Interval training is the best.
Calvin Harris "Summer" might not be an obvious selection considering it's more pop than EDM, but you're going to hear it everywhere: radio, grocery stores, fashionable clothing stores and in your mom's car. Just embrace it and accept it. This one is good for combo toe-touches and pull-ups.
St. Vincent's (Annie Clark) "Digital Witness" is the only song of her's I have really liked. I know, I lose hipster cred over that. This off-putting, horn-driven beat is lovable like a pet hedgehog: cute, but prickly. Squat your way to sexiness to this one.
Hyper Crush's "Rage" is pretty last year, but I just can't kick it off any of my playlists. It's a bit douchey, but it's cheeky. Holly Valentine is so sexy, you'll be doing dead-lifts in hopes you may one day catcher her attention.
> Conor Oberst "Hundreds of Ways" is my list and workout ender. The Bright Eyes boy is dropping a new solo album, "Upside Down Mountain" on May 19th and playing the last show of the Red Butte Summer Concert series this year. He is one, if not the, loudest live musician I have ever seen.
Feel free to add to this list in the comments below and thanks for reading.
Hit up our concert page here for more shows and to buy tickets.
Good luck getting sexy for the Summer.
-Corey O'Brien (Twitter @coreyx96)
*Photo Credit "SLIM FIT" by Md saad andalib is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Day 3 was about a perfect a day one can have at a music festival. The desert was not angry. Rather than dust, a nice, cool breeze kept things from getting too hot and it was a day of amazing performances. A nice clip poolside in the morning at the compound and the group was off to catch The 1975. The thing The 1975 they could fit in many contexts. You could put them in matching suits with some choreography and they'd be a boy band. Acoustically, a coffee shop quartet. I don't mean this in a negative way. Their songs are truly catchy. Lead singer, Matthew Healy, is a cross between Aldous Snow and Christopher Martin of Coldplay. His voice is great live and he has the swagger it takes to sell it. I could tell because every hot lady around me was belting out the lyrics like gospel. Mr. Healy is tattooed and leather clad, playing up the rockstar persona, which may have been lacking otherwise at this year's fest (aside from Queens of the Stone Age, which I only caught a glimpse of). Leather pants in 90 degrees, no problem. Accompanied with a brunch of pizza and beer The 1975 was a great way to start the day on the Outdoor Stage (clever name, I know).
I stuck it out in the beer garden (the last day, you've gotta go big) for the artist I who was at the top of my list, Blood Orange. I've had their album playing non-stop since I discovered it in February. Blood Orange is the brainchild of Dev Hynes, who was also in the short-lived, but grandiose Test-Icicles then went under Lightspeed Champion for a spell. Very different sounding projects from one another, but all great in their own right. The best breakdown to describe Blood Orange is Prince meets Frank Ocean. This is baby-makin' music.
Before planting our flag at the main stage the group was lured to the adjacent Gobi Tent by the a familiar groove. A familiar sound, know to us from junior high parties. The sound of Montell Jordan, but it wasn't Montell Jordan. It was AlunaGeorge singing Jordan's "This Is How We Do It." Dancing, we hung out and watched the sexy AlunaGeorge while admired the final sunset we would witness over Empire Polo Field.
Calvin Harris took the main stage and did the opposite of what Fatboy Slim did the day before: he played the hits. Opening with, "Feel So Close" to "We Found Love" to Icona Pop's "I Love It." He demanded the audience show their hands and not miss a beat. He kept the hits coming and no once seemed to mind.
Finally, another must-see, Beck this the stage opening with "Devil's Haircut" and, like Calvin Harris, the hits kept coming. A highlight for me was the surprise selection, "Debra" from "Midnight Vultures" - a song touting the benefits of picking up women at JC Penny and driving a Hyundai. Beck was on a role, telling stories about playing the first Coachella between songs and reminding the audience why he is so revered by those who really love music and live performance. Therefore, it was quite disappointing when Goldenvoice cut him off during "High 5" for going over his allotted time. I know these things need to run like trains and not airplanes, but come on! It's a headliner and one with Coachella tenure. Beck shrugged it off, danced a bit and then was disappeared by his band as they surrounded him and shuffled him off stage, forcing smirks and chuckles from the crowd.
It was now meat and potatoes time. We bumped and hustled as close as all 11 in my group could get to the mainstage to see what Arcade Fire would finish the weekend off with. They did not disappoint. A thing, covered from head to toe in mirrors announced himself as Fred, then announced the band who promptly opened with the title track from their latest, "Reflektor." I can say this song paces better live. All the songs they performed from "Reflektor" paced better live including my favorite, "It's Never Over (Oh Orpheus)."
Many would say, including myself, the highlight of the show was Debbie Harry, looking amazing, joining the band on stage for her own "Heart of Glass" and the epic "Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains). The set was passionate, defiant (Win Butler calling the VIP section "bullshit" to the pleasure of the crowd. Well, those not in VIP, anyway) and at times heart-breaking. The set and the show ended with warnings the sound may be cut off again, just as it was with Beck.
Luckily, they made it through the closer, "Wake Up" with a few folks around me actually tearing up. As the rise of whatever was left of the 90,000 plus in attendance singing, "Whooooaaa ohhhhh, ohhh, ohhhhh, ohhh, oh, ohhhhhhwhooaaa..." the sound was eventually cut, the band pulled together some acoustic instruments and, accompanied by a small brass section, leapt into the crowd, marching band style. The crowd chanting for as long as everyone realized the weekend was over. We would all be leaving Coachella on this bittersweet note and back to real life until next April.