FREEwilliamsburg’s Top 25 Albums Of 2016

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2016 was the dirt fucking worst. There’s no other way to put it. It seems almost absurd to talk about what a great year it was for music, in light of all of the terrible things that have happened, but music helped us cope a lot over the last twelve months. And serendipitously, a wealth of great records were released this year, as everything else seemed to go for broke. Here are twenty-five of them that allowed us to forget the cruel dystopia that has become our reality, if only for a little while. We needed both their comforts and catharsis, perhaps more than ever before.

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Bonnaroo 2015 Lineup

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UPDATE 1/13/15

The official Bonnaroo lineup is here, and WHAT A LINEUP INDEED! For headliners you’re looking at the Piano Man Billy Joel, returning acts Mumford and Sons and one of rap and hip-hops finest, Kendrick Lamar. For the first time ever, it’s been said that an EDM act will also be taking a coveted spot at the mainstage, and this year it’s all about the mysterious helmeted dub/chord/bass aficionado Deadmau5!

Other “HOLY SHIT THIS INSANE” acts include Tears for Fears, Earth Wind and Fire, and Robert Plant and the Sesational Shapeshifters. Bonnaroo stays true to its jam and bluegrass roots with acts like Pokey Lafarge, The Punch Brothers, Medeski, Scofield, Martin and Wood, Bela Fela and Abigail Washburn and STS9.

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Coachella 2015 Lineup

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Well here it is folks! Festival season is officially upon us with the announcement of Coachella’s 2015 lineup. It’s an eclectic mix heading to California’s Indio Valley this year with Jack White, Drake and AC/DC headlining the bill. While Jack White may come as a bit of a disappointment to those of us who saw him at basically every other festival last year, there’s not denying he puts on a great show and Lazaretto was undoubtedly one of the top albums of 2014. Drake comes hot off of his “Drake Vs. Lil Wayne” interactive tour which relied heavily on audience interaction through the use of integrated iPhone technology, and AC/DC, well  if you keep up with Rolling Stone or any of the other major outlets, you’d know that Angus Young and the rest of the “schoolboys” were hitting the road again, making them an obvious pick for the “classic rock” slot.

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INTERVIEW: Eliot Lipp of Pretty Lights Music

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It was a big week for Brooklyn based electronic DJ and producer, Eliot Lipp. Lipp’s in the middle of a national tour and just celebrated the release of his newest LP out on Pretty Lights Music, Watch the Shadows, which is a deliciously diverse collection that fuses hip-hop sounds, synth beats and vocals for tracks that keep you guessing, “what’s next?”

Even though I caught Eliot while he was getting over a cold, it didn’t stop the ambitious artist from sharing his excitement about recent collaborations, his most anticipated tour stops and tips for staying healthy on the road.

Megan Venzin: Where do you feel like you get most of your influences for producing music?

Eliot Lipp: Probably from listening to my friends music and listening to stuff with other producers that I hang out with. I’m influenced a lot by them, also from playing live and recently kind of starting to make me want to make more club and dance music.

MV: And this your something like your 7th or 8th release!

EL: Something like that, I can’t really remember but it’s getting up there. (Laughs)

MV: How do you feel like your sound has evolved over time, and how have you grown as a performer?

EL: There’s a lot more layers. I’m trying to make it so musically there’s more depth to it, but I don’t know I’m also trying to get better at the engineering side of it. I took a mixing and mastering class at Dubspot in New York and that helped me quite a bit, just learning the technical aspects of being a producer.

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Electric Zoo DJ to Watch: GRiZ

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Dropping bass, spinning house, laying trap – international artists from all genres of EDM will be making the trek to NYC over labor day weekend for the 6th Annual Electric Zoo Festival. Staff writer Megan Venzin will be highlighting her favorite artists each week leading up to the Zoo, taking place August 29-31st on Randall’s Island.

Who are they?: GRiZ (aka Grant Kwiecinski) is a 24-year-old Detroit-based DJ, producer and Saxophone player. He’s a former member of LEAK, and is half of GRiZmatik, a side project with popular New York producer Gramatik, and one-fourth of Big GRiZmatik, a collaboration that also includes the two members of Colorado’s Big Gigantic.

What do they sound like?: GRiZ blends dubstep, glitch and live saxophone to create a unique genre he refers to as “electro-soul”.

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