There’s a reason everything tends to come back around. Yes, people love nostalgia and hindsight is 20/20, but the consistent resurgence of past trends stems from one thing: a lot of things were just better “back then.” Despite the technological progress made year after year, many photographers still swear up and down by film. Even with the endless possibilities laid out by virtual reality, millions of people still turn to Pokemon for entertainment. And despite the advances and accessibility of music software, many musicians are striving for that older sound, tossing aside the hollow center that accompanies so much modern music.
Outside Lands is a festival that gets it. While it’s never been one for the basic, too-hip-to-watch crowd, its lineup is one that reflects that more and more each year, instead turning to newer artists leaning on classic genres and influences to bring the spice to the festival (often alongside the influencers themselves). This year in particular, they nailed it. When you tire of mindlessly dancing to all that bass in the Dome, take a step outside and check out one of these artists who are absolutely killin’ it right now—the old school way.
Once making headlines for outsmarting the man and releasing a silent album on Spotify (Sleepify) from which they earned nearly $20,000 in royalties, Vulfpeck directed the attention back to their audible music last year with the release of the stellar album Thrill of the Arts. The funk band aims to record live as much as possible, guaranteeing their live set to be nothing less than impressive.
There’s a lot of great music coming out of Australia lately but there’s no doubt one of the most inspiring acts is Hiatus Kaiyote. The neo soul group are two albums in with a Grammy nomination for each, as well as endorsements by everyone from Animal Collective to Prince. You can listen to Hiatus Kaiyote anytime, but if you want to experience the full breadth of their sound, the only way to do so is to see them live.
Anderson .Paak and the Free Nationals
Rapper/producer/drummer .Paak has been on the scene for years now and the world is finally catching on. He made a splash on Dr. Dre’s Compton last year, followed quickly by the powerhouse of an album Malibu that combines soul, hip hop, r&b, and even a little bit of disco. Dre called the singer the next Marvin Gaye but if his exuberance as a performer is any indication, Anderson .Paak is on a level no one else has reached just yet.
Who the hell gave Kamasi Washington a 12PM slot? On second thought, hopefully they put him on early so he can let the day take his set as it pleases. Aside from having a hand in making Kendrick Lamar’s Grammy-winning To Pimp a Butterfly, the jazz saxophonist released his 3-disc, nearly 3 hour, appropriately titled debut The Epic last year to critical acclaim.
Chance the Rapper
Chance has always incorporated elements of gospel and soul into his hip hop, but on his latest mixtape Coloring Book, he lets those sounds drive the album rather than simply uplift it. Hell, he even brings the Chicago Children’s Choir on to help. No doubt Chance’s set will encompass a blatant, welcome spirituality that many churches (and people) are lacking today.