LIVE REVIEW: Magic City Hippies @ The Regent

Magic City Hippies at The Regent (photo by Ashley Prillaman)

“What kind of music was that?” my husband asked as we left The Regent on a Saturday night. We had just finished watching Magic City Hippies perform for the second time (the first at the That Tent during Bonnaroo 2019). I scrolled over to Spotify and found the band’s self-written description: “a mosaic of poolside grooves and lingering, sun-kissed melodies.” That, we agreed, was an accurate description.

Miami boys to the root, the band started on the streets of the “Magic City;” Robby Hunter had been performing as a one-man-with-a-guitar-and-a-loop-pedal band, but after meeting Pat Howard (drums) and John Coughlin (guitar) at a local haunt the Barracuda Bar in Coconut Grove, a trio was formed. Originally called The Robby Hunter Band, they performed ’90s rock and hip hop covers before hitting it big with 2015’s Hippie Castle EP; the EP led to a successful tour with bands like Hippo Campus and Moon Taxi, laying the groundwork for 2019’s LP Modern Animal.

The Regent has been home to some of my favorite nights out in Los Angeles. The crowd was already pretty thick for openers The Palms and unlike some shows where the crowd merely tolerates the opener, the audience was behind them from the first licks of “Future Love (We All Make Mistakes).” A duo comprised of Los Angeles natives Johnny Zambetti and Ben Rothbard, The Palms brought both swagger and swag (Zambetti paid homage to Kobe Bryant with a jersey draped across an amp) to the stage. The set was tight, with even the bouncer bopping his head along to Zambetti’s vocals, a bit of an Alt-J invocation at times, but clearly influenced by iconic Cali locales, with songs like “Beach Daze,” “Sunset Strip,” and “Mulholland Dr.” “Levitate” ended the set with a perfect shot of melancholy hope: “All these thing that they told me / Used to mold me / But that’s the old me / We’re going straight to the stars / ‘Cuz that’s who we are.”

The Palms (photo by Ashley Prillaman)

Magic City Hippies started their set in the dark and with the first beats of “Spice,” the party began. Robby Hunter has the kind of bravado one often finds at country music shows: he’s relaxed, confident, and clearly enjoys the music he’s making. It’s a rare treat to watch a band that seems equally into playing their b-sides as their singles. “Franny” was the first song that got the crowd seriously groovin’; a woman in front of me was sliding around in sneakers and a neon jumpsuit.

“How many lives are you gonna let expire / How many sparks of love have died in vain / How many nights will it take ’til you grow tired / Hunting the one that got away,” Hunter sings sweetly on “Limestone” (my tried-and-true favorite). Vocal manipulation is a mainstay throughout Magic City Hippies’ music and is sometimes jarring to hear in a live setting. At times, the effect was a little too auto-tune-tastic for my taste; at best, the manipulation created a distinct flavor that separated songs from each other. As with many great bands, the Hippies music has a feel to it, a vibe that’s altogether their own. So the occasional vocal change-up on songs like “What Would I Do” were refreshing.

“We are here for one reason and one reason only and that’s to mother fucking party with you!” Hunter shouted into the crowd midway through the set. The group didn’t shy away completely from their cover band past, covering Anderson .Paak’s “Make It Better” and Travis Scott’s “Goosebumps.” The band doesn’t rest; there were no water breaks or long stories. From drummer Pat Howard’s relentless beats to Hunter’s occasional Sprechgesang, the band members never let up, understanding that this a paid performance and the audience is going get what they came for: the funk. I left wanting to revisit 2019’s Modern Animal… and will admit that it’s been on heavy rotation for the last few days now. With two MCH shows under my belt, I’ll be front row and center the next time they make their way back to the City of Angels.

FESTIVAL REVIEW: Highlights from Bonnaroo 2019

Photo by Alive Coverage via Bonnaroo Facebook

Bringing a one-year-old baby to Bonnaroo never seemed like an easy idea – an interesting one, but not an easy one. The average weather at Bonnaroo varies from an intense dust-bowl heat to a chilly, rain-infused swamp mess. Your days are spent trekking from one end of The Farm to the other, pushing past an average of 40 to 80,000 people in order to catch a new act that may perform well (or may bite the dust). So this year, we wandered into the unknown, armed with a #killer stroller, snacks for miles, and grandparents…

We also cheated. Instead of camping with our cohorts over in Reddaroo, we climbed into an RV in Austin, Texas and drove the 13 hours to Manchester, Tennessee. Once on property, we plugged into our power hookup, turned up the AC, and took a look at the lineup. Overall, the experience was a very different one from the last four years we’ve gone. VIP camping definitely had its perks, with special viewing areas for both the main stages. It allowed us to do our usual hustle to the tent stages, while not feeling as rushed for the bigger name acts.

Even with a baby in tow, we didn’t slow down this year: The Grande Ole Opry, Childish Gambino, Maren Morris, The Lonely Island, Phish. It was a packed year, with a wide variety of music from across all genres. We narrowed it down to those stand-outs who really embody the Bonnaroo spirit, radiating positivity with music that speaks to a listener’s soul. Here are our highlights.

The Nude Party

Thursday nights are for new bands, tunes that feel fresh and in step with the times. North Carolina’s The Nude Party is definitely on the pulse of music’s semi-recent psychedelic rock resurgence. From beginning to end, the show felt like a college party, complete with a pickle party totem dance (thank you, The Pickle Crew), fishnet-clad bottoms wagging, and the kind of easy, fun lyrics a whole crowd can sing along to: “Spend half your life in that Chevrolet / Driving up and down the freeway / Someday when you’re too old to play / Yeah, you’ll wish you got a job.”

Magic City Hippies

Miami was in the house this year. Indie funk trio Magic City Hippies was as smooth as Rob Thomas in 1999 (that may read as an insult, but we were seriously into Mr. Thomas in 1999). Lead singer Robby Hunter crooned to the crowd with a sideways smile that said “I know you’re into it.” “Limestone” continues to be one of my favorite MCH tunes, its relaxed sexiness lulling the crowd into a dope-infused stupor.

Nahko And Medicine For The People

In the blistering sunshine, there’s not a lot of wiggle room when it comes to whether you like a band or not. Decisions are made quickly, with little to no regret involved. We came in halfway through Nahko’s Friday set and were immediately transfixed by the Oregon native’s stirring vocals and heartfelt lyrics. If you’re looking for music that will challenge and transform, here’s the ticket; Nahko describes his own spiritual journey with a jubilation that’s infectious: “So, tap me out and tap me into you / Heal my brain / and my body too / Balance my chemistry, hydrate these cells / Cause the body talks and meditation helps / The body talks and meditation helps.”


It’s always a little terrifying to look forward to one band at a festival above all others. For me, the band to see at Bonnaroo was Rubblebucket. For two years, I’ve been wanting to see them live, but with pregnancy and a busy first year, this mama hasn’t been able to see a lot of live music. Rubblebucket had the dreaded first set of The Which Stage on Saturday, but despite the hour and the heat, the band rose to the occasion. Kalmia Traver (vocals, saxophone) and Alex Toth (trumpet, band leader) have an enviable onstage relationship built on balance and play; how they came to work through alcoholism, cancer, and a breakup is a miracle in itself. The band’s music reflects the turmoil they’ve been through and the joy they’ve found through song.


I’ve skipped out on Hozier many times throughout the years. At least three times, maybe more. There’s always been something more juicy, a set rumored to be the talk of the festival. After all, we’re talking about Hozier. This year, there were no conflicts, no reason to skip; I found myself sitting on the mound at sunset, crying, because it turns out Andrew Hozier-Byrne is more than just a beautiful voice. His songs are tightly constructed political messages woven into pop songs. The real intent of Hozier’s message is never more clear than in his live performance, where you can hear him sing about homophobia on “Take Me To Church,” social justice on “Nina Cried Power,” and the end of the world on music from his latest album Wasteland, Baby!

After a few years of rebuilding its image, Bonnaroo 2019 felt more like itself, a solid mixtape of music spanning many genres. Sold out tickets and the sad smiles of festival goers leaving the grounds echoed the positive sentiment of this year. We already can’t wait til next ‘Roo.


NEWS ROUNDUP: St. Vincent Producing Sleater-Kinney LP, Woodstock Returns, & More

sleater-kinney and st. vincent, hollywood, ca, jan 2019. photograph by jonny cournoyer

New Year, New Music

By Lindsey Rhoades

Sleater-Kinney is in the Studio… Producing an Album with St. Vincent

If this tweet didn’t warm your riot grrl heart, we don’t know what will. Though details are scant (no official release date, no title, no tracklist, no leaked audio) Sleater-Kinney announced via Twitter that St. Vincent mastermind Annie Clark is producing their next record, the follow-up to their return-from-a-decade-long-hiatus-instant-classic No Cities To Love, released in 2015. The tweet came with a photo so amazing we thought we were dreaming: four of our favorite female musicians sitting at a mixing board, their expressions saying only one thing: Y’all are not even ready for this amazingness. Though it’s officially become our most anticipated release of the new year, other artists aren’t slouching – keep reading below for the veritable onslaught of recently released jams. But first…

Woodstock Will Return in 2019… Can it Compete With New Festival Lineups?

Break out the patchouli – Woodstock is coming back for its 50th anniversary. The original founder, Michael Lang, announced Wednesday that he’s planning to book multi-generational artists with an activist bent for a weekend-long festival in August at a racetrack called Watkins Glen; meanwhile, another Woodstock Anniversary fest helmed by LiveNation at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts (the original site of the 1969 gathering) was already in the works. No artists or ticket prices for either fest have been announced, but our heads already ache at the thought of sorting out nightmare radius clauses.

Woodstock, of course, has already had some disastrous anniversaries – most recently Woodstock ’99, which ended in rapes, rioting, and violence. But perhaps the bigger challenge than putting that memory behind them will be simply competing for audience numbers in an over-saturated festival market. Coachella announced its lineup, including headliners Childish Gambino, Tame Impala, and Ariana Grande, onm January 2. This week, Bonnaroo announced they’d also be hosting Childish Gambino as a headliner, along with Post Malone and multiple sets from jam band stalwarts Phish (this prompted Forbes to beg the question: Why isn’t Cardi B’s billing higher?). New York’s own Governors Ball has once again invited The Strokes (who have played the fest before but not headlined), as well as Florence + The Machine and Lil Wayne to play their top spots, with Tyler, The Creator, Nas, Sza, Brockhampton and more rounding out the bill. And though it’s not strictly a festival in the same sense as those mentioned above, SXSW has begun hyping the first handful of buzzworthy acts who’ll play showcases all over Austin in March, including Amanda Palmer, Swervedriver, Ecko, The Beths, and Wyclef Jean.

That New New

Kehlani has a new song featuring Ty Dolla $ign; “Nights Like This” will appear on a mixtape due in February, which is itself a precursor to a new album due sometime this year.

Girlpool have a new album coming out February 1st, and have shared the title track, “What Chaos Is Imaginary.”

Ex Hex is finally releasing a follow-up to 2014’s Rips, called It’s Real (out March 22 via Merge). Their first single is “Cosmic Cave.”

Sharon Van Etten will release her first album in five years, Remind Me Tomorrow, on January 18. This week, she shared a video for “Seventeen,” after previously sharing “Comeback Kid” and the absolutely stunning “Jupiter 4.”


Mineral are releasing new music for the first time in 20 years, including this video for “Your Body Is The World.” The song appears (alongside “Aurora“) on a limited-edition 10” that comes with a hardcover book commemorating the Austin band’s 25th anniversary.

Beirut release Gallipoli on February 1; Game of Thrones actor Ian Beattie plays a kind of klutzy knight in the video for “Landslide.”

Pedro the Lion shared “Quietest Friend,” a companion video to “Yellow Bike.” Both singles appear on the group’s first record in over a decade, Phoenix, which you can stream now in full via NPR.

Priests have announced a new album, The Seduction of Kansas, and shared its title track. The LP comes out April 5 and they’re doing a huge tour around it.

FIDLAR ironically manages to Skype in their entire LA crew in a video for “By Myself,” from their forthcoming LP Almost Free (out January 25 on Mom + Pop).

Cherry Glazerr shares “Wasted Nun” from Stuffed & Ready, out February 1 via Secretly Canadian.

Deerhunter released the third single, “Plains,” from Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared? but Bradford Cox is worried no one will listen to the record in its entirety when it comes out January 18.

Also releasing an album on January 18, experimental rock duo Buke & Gase premiered the title track from Scholars.

End Notes

  • Attention Brooklyn! Early aughts rap-rock one-hit-wonders Crazy Town are inexplicably playing Sunnyvale on February 23rd. Sorta wondering if it’ll just be one forty-five minute set of “Butterfly” played over and over.
  • If you’ve got kids, or have simply interacted with one in the last year, you’ve probably had “Baby Shark” stuck in your head at some point. But this week made it official – every toddler’s number one jam appeared for the first time on Billboard’s Hot 100, making it one of the few children’s songs to do so.
  • A documentary on Lifetime called Surviving R. Kelly aired the first week of January, and with it has come some new hope for victims seeking justice. The doc has prompted a kidnapping investigation in Georgia, more victims have come forward, and Phoenix, Lady Gaga, and Chance the Rapper have all recently released statements apologizing for working with R. Kelly in the past. Chance recently appeared on Sesame Street and admitted in an Instagram recap that he saved someone’s life by pulling them from a burning car last April, so we think his karma may be in the clear.
  • In a rare interview, Frank Ocean shared his very respectable skincare routine (and some other stuff) with GQ.
  • Risqué rap sensation CupcakKe (real name Elizabeth Harris) made some worrisome allusions to suicide on social media, prompting her hospitalization – but she seems to be on the mend, having released a single on Friday called “Squidward Nose.”
  • Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody was a big winner at the Golden Globes last Sunday, taking home Best Picture and Best Actor for Rami Malek’s portrayal of Freddie Mercury – all in spite of its negative critical reception. Honors for Best Song went to Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga duet “Shallow,” from A Star Is Born.

NEWS ROUNDUP: Festival Announcements, Copyright Cases & More


  • Radiohead vs Lana Del Rey

    On January 7th, Lana Del Rey confirmed news reports that hinted at a copyright lawsuit with Radiohead. The band is reportedly suing her over the similarities between their 1992 breakout hit, “Creep,” and her 2017 track, “Get Free.” Del Rey tweeted:

    It’s true about the lawsuit. Although I know my song wasn’t inspired by Creep, Radiohead feel it was and want 100% of the publishing – I offered up to 40 over the last few months but they will only accept 100. Their lawyers have been relentless, so we will deal with it in court.”

    The situation is considered by many to be the result of the “Blurred Lines Effect” – the 2015 court ruling that awarded $7.4 million in damages to Marvin Gaye’s estate for similarities between Pharrell, T.I., and Robin Thicke’s massive 2013 hit and Gay’s 1977 classic, “Got To Give It Up.” However Radiohead’s publishing company have disputed Del Rey’s claims. Warner/Chappell issued a statement acknowledging that they have been in copyright negotiations with the Lust For Life musician’s label but deny filing a formal lawsuit or demanding 100% of Del Rey’s “Get Free” publishing rights.

    Interestingly enough, “Creep” was once at the center of a similar copyright dispute. After the early-nineties release of Radiohead’s single, Brit-pop band The Hollies successfully sued Thom Yorke’s group over similarities between “Creep” and their 1974 hit, “The Air that I Breathe,” which was written by Mike Hazlewood and Albert Hammond (yep, the father of Strokes member Albert Hammond Jr.). “Creep” now lists Hazlewood and Hammond as writers alongside Radiohead. If a court determines that Del Rey’s song does borrow from “Creep,” Radiohead, Hazlewood, and Hammond could all be credited as co-writers of “Get Free.” Compare the three tracks side by side below.

  • 2018 Festival Announcements

    This week, major spring and early summer festival announcements are helping us defrost from record-breaking cold! On January 10th, South by Southwest released their third round of showcase announcements. Superorganism, Goatgirl, A Place to Bury Strangers, Sunflower Bean, and many more will join the 500+ lineup and perform from March 12 – March 18 this year. Bonnaroo announced that Muse, The Killers, and Eminem will headline the normally rootsy jam-band oriented fest, surprising some. Then on Thursday, Delaware music festival Firefly announced they’d also be hosting Eminem and The Killers as headliners, as well as Kendrick Lamar and Arctic Monkeys, in June. Audiofemme favorite, SZA, will also perform; she is one out of only nineteen women included in Firefly’s ninety-five act lineup. Many have lamented the homogeneity of this year’s festivals, particularly the lack of female musicians. Pop singer and festival circuit staple Halsey tweeted, “Damn guys come onnnnnn. Where the women at….It’s 2018, do better!!!”

  • Other Highlights

    The Breeders have announced their first album in ten years, All Nerve, out March 2nd on 4AD, and have shared the title track. The Dandy Warhols are playing two shows in NYC at the end of February. Karen O and Michael Kiwanuka recorded a song for a short Kenzo film (hear it at the 4.45 mark in the video below). Kali Uchis’ brand new song, “After The Storm,” features Tyler, The Creator and Parliament-Funkadelic legend, Bootsy Collins. Sunflower Bean debuted single “Crisis Fest” off of their upcoming sophomore album, Twentytwo In Blue. The album is slated for March 23rd release and is co-produced by members of Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Friends. Taylor Swift’s new video for “End Game” came out yesterday and also stars Ed Sheehan and Future, the lone musicians featured in Swift’s latest album, Reputation. Fifth Harmony ex-member Camila Cabello’s self-titled album was released today and has already risen to the top spot on the charts in more than ninety countries. Wednesday marked the two year anniversary of David Bowie’s death – we still can’t believe he’s gone! #BowieForever


FESTIVAL REVIEW: Highlights from Bonnaroo 2017

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photo by Jorgenson Photography via Bonnaroo Facebook

Four years in the Tennessee heat. Bonnaroo 2017 was my fourth year heading to “The Farm” and despite grumbles over Live Nation buying the fest, Bonnaroo remained true to its core: filthy, socially conscious, and driven by the music.

After flying into Austin, we traveled up to Dallas to pick up the rest of our gang and then made our way to the rolling hills of Tennessee. Every year, we camp with the Reddaroo Groop: like-minded music nerds who know how to use the internet. Our Reddit friends organize elaborate drinking games, a craft beer exchange, and can be found dancing wildly each year to the left-hand side of the main stage.

Four days of non-stop music (the Farm doesn’t shut down at night) may seem intimidating, but Bonnaroo regulars know that it’s all about pacing yourself; it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Naps throughout the day are required if one is planning on dancing back at The Grind in Pod 7 til 6am. Only a novice drinks craft beer all day (coconut water is a must-have). And if you’re not digging the show you’re at? Get up and find another. The lineup this year was dense, with impressive headliners like U2, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and The Weeknd; the undercards were equally stacked, boasting indie favorites like Cold War Kids and Glass Animals. We had to edit this list several times for length, a sure sign of a successful Roo.

July Talk dished out the sexual tension.

Thursday at Bonnaroo is usually the day to do a quick tour of the grounds, take inventory of the fried food vendors, and make friends with your camping neighbors (when Sunday comes, you may be out of beer, after all). However, our Canadian campmates talked us into trekking out early to see Toronto favorite July Talk. Singer Leah Fay’s borderline saccharine voice battles with guitarist and co-vocalist Peter Dreimanis’s guttural growl; the pair denies any private romance “for personal reasons” but the often physical, “Push + Pull” nature of their onstage interactions make it difficult to think of anything else.

The Strumbellas lifted spirits.

Canada hit it out of the ballpark this year, introducing the Bonnaroo crowd to The Strumbellas on Friday. The band’s 2016 release Hope is full of… well, hope. Despite the Tennessee heat, the audience danced and sang along as though they really needed those lyrics to feel true, the lines “And I don’t want a never ending life / I just want to be alive while I’m here” hitting close to home. The Strumbellas have been vocal about their positive vibes, telling AXS “We get a lot of really awesome messages from people, saying how the lyrics have helped them through hard times, like depression, or anxiety, or PTSD.” With a foot-stomping Americana sound to back it up, it’s no wonder they’re picking up fans south of the border.

In the shade with Michael Kiwanuka

The near-sunset set is always a coveted slot for performers, their audience sitting placid after a day of running around in the heat. After hitting up Tegan And Sara on Saturday, we moved over to the This Tent to watch Michael Kiwanuka perform. Songs like “Black Man In A White World” reflect Kiwanuka’s diverse background, having been raised by Ugandan parents in North London. Kiwanuka doesn’t shy away from the controversial, explaining in a recent interview with The Telegraph that “A lot of people who are way more famous than I am say they don’t feel obligated to speak out on important issues, but I do. One of the cool things about Muhammad Ali or David Bowie is that they always stood for stuff; it wasn’t uncool to believe in something and follow it through.

Dancing is required for Cage The Elephant.

Matt Schultz, the lead singer of Cage The Elephant, danced shirtless on stage, channeling a young Iggy Pop with his spastic, sexual movements. The crowd sang favorites like “Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked,” “Cigarette Daydreams,” and “Come A Little Closer” word-for-word, their energy matching Shultz’s. Our group was so taken with their performance it was difficult to leave early for the Chili Peppers; we ended up splitting up (I remained bouncing up and down until my group dragged me away).

The Soul Shakedown makes Bonnaroo unique.

What sets Bonnaroo apart from a festival like Coachella? Many things, but the yearly SuperJam is definitely a gem unique to the fest. Each year, the SuperJam is curated by a specific artist or band. 2017’s SuperJam was presented by the Preservation Jazz Hall Band and featured performances from Chance The Rapper, Margo Price, Tank And The Bangas and more. “Hey Ya,” “Waterfalls,” and A Tribe Called Quest’s “Can I Kick It?” were just some of the highlights from the horn-infused set.

Umphrey’s McGee Tears It Up (TWICE).

Shpongle was the reason my brother decided to go to Bonnaroo this year. I myself listened to Shpongle for hours in preparation for their late-night Saturday set. Due to visa issues, they couldn’t make it. Devastation. “After 18-plus years of performing more than 100 concerts annually, releasing nine studio albums and selling more than 4.2 million tracks online, Umphrey’s McGee might be forgiven if they chose to rest on their laurels.” Thus read Bonnaroo’s description of the band that would replace them: Umphrey’s McGee. I was not familiar (neither was my brother). Umphrey’s late night jam set made us forget our Shpongle woes (if only for a few brief hours) as we danced with wild abandon next to Bonnaroo’s hippie tribe.

Margo Price brings outlaw country flair.

On certain Sundays, the Reddaroo crowd doesn’t go into the festival grounds til dusk. This year, however, I had made a date with Margo Price. Price was cool as a cucumber, despite the grueling sun. She sprinkled tales of time spent in jail and her struggles as a musician in a male-dominated industry throughout her set. “Tennessee Song,” “Hurtin’ (On the Bottle),” and “Four Years of Chances” got the crowd on their feet and dancing. My attention was only diverted by a man struggling to dance with his scarf despite dropping it every few minutes.

Bonnaroo 2017 was chock full of outlandish characters, outstanding performances, and motivating messages. As I roamed the festival grounds, I couldn’t help but be moved by sentiments of love and community. “Some people may think [/fusion_builder_column][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][Martin Luther King Jr.’s] dream is dead, but not at Bonnaroo tonight. Maybe the dream is just telling us to wake up,” Bono said passionately during Friday’s performance. As the Weeknd closed down the festival Sunday night, I looked around at the large crowd, singing at full voice into the darkness, and thought: We’re awake.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]