Posts tagged #Pickathon

20 Songs for Pickathon Music Festival

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Pickathon has finally arrived. And if you're attending, you're most likely crossing off all the camping necessities you'll need for the long weekend camping excursion. 

For those unfamiliar with the fest, it's been an ongoing event for the past 20 years. The festival focuses its efforts on spreading sustainable practices — introducing a reusable dish-ware system several — and of course, spotlighting music. 

With Marmoset helping to sponsor the fest, the 30 minute drive to Pendarvis Farm in Happy Valley, Oregon has us creating the ultimate playlist and revving up for the anticipated musical acts. Past festival-goers can look forward to escaping the bustling city, to recharge among the serene backdrop of the Pacific Northwest.

So whether you're grubbing down, amping up for the drive to the fest, or just winding down, we've got the compilation for you. Check back next week for a special journal edition covering Pickathon Festival firsthand on location — courtesy of Jamie McMullen, a member of our Creative Licensing Team!

Posted on July 26, 2018 and filed under Mixtapes, Music, Marmoset.

Marmoset's Favorite Albums of 2015

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Holy moley, 2015 was a crazy good year for new music.

From the early moments of spring to the last days of winter, this entire year was packed with some of the most innovative releases to date. New sounds came out, many artists pushed boundaries and with one more revolution around the sun, some damn good music was shot out into the universe. 

No doubt, the toughest part of such a good year in music is narrowing down our favorites into one comprehensive list -- a list to fully express how many times our minds were blown. 

Enter the Marmoset Deliberation Chamber. Once we entered and the doors were sealed, we cried, laughed and argued, which led to more laughing while crying...and one person even peed their pants. After hours of this ever intensifying cycle, we emerged bleary-eyed and only a little whiskey drunk, with ink on paper and our list in hand.

If you're into streaming, we created a Spotify playlist of our favorite 25 albums of 2015 (plus 15 honorable mentions) to make your listening experience easier. Over 30 hours of some of the best music 2015 had to offer. Listen here.

Now, onto the list...


1. Carrie & Lowell // Sufjan Stevens

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Firmly placed at the top of our list is the quiet, yet immensley powerful new album from Sufjan Stevens. It seems like he took a couple years to fully let these songs marinate and emerge in their raw and vulnerable state. Moving along like a fever dream haze, each song keeps a bare-boned feel, with guitar and hushed vocals leading the way. Drawing from a deep well of emotion, each song is incredibly personal and keeps digging deeper into a healing silence. There's an innate human connection in how intimate and inventive this album is. At one point or another, Carrie & Lowell was on repeat in all of our headphones at Marmoset HQ, especially of Behind the Scenes Phenom, Kaitie Todd and Artist Relations Manager, Brandon Day. Marmoset Co-Founder, Ryan Wines says he actually wept the first couple of times he listened to it.

Listen to Carrie & Lowell by Sufjan Stevens on Spotify.


2. Currents // Tame Impala

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This is the breakup album that will make you rethink what a breakup album is. Each song is an exercise in meticulous attention to detail, with some of the group's catchiest hooks to date. From open to close, songwriter, Kevin Parker produces spacey and infectious grooves within each densely-arranged track. Moving from riff-heavy guitar jams to keyboard and disco beats, this album tests how far a song can go before venturing out to space and into chaos, right before reeling back into one dancey body of work. Music Supervisor, Eric Nordby and Studio Manager, Katie Seaton have a choreographed duo dance routine mapped out to the entire album. It's that good.

Listen to Currents by Tame Impala on Spotify.


3. Multi-Love // Unknown Mortal Orchestra

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Multi-Love is a series of colorful outbursts packed into one psychedelic freak-out of an album. Portland locals and general weirdos Unknown Mortal Orchestra have created one of our favorite records this year with their pop-laden, 60's inspired bizarro-funk. Multi-Love requires multiple listens. Every second counts and features a treasure trove of effects, layered into subtle tracks that are newly discovered with each listen. Don't worry though, UMO enthusiasts Director of Music Production, Rob Dennler and Artist Relations Badass, Steve Schroeder are drawing out graphs and notations to each moment in the album. There is a method behind the madness of this album -- a loose and enigmatic method, but a method nonetheless. And it's one worth getting to know.

Listen to Multi-Love by Unknown Mortal Orchestra on Spotify.


4. To Pimp A Butterfly // Kendrick Lamar

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Kendrick Lamar's dense masterpiece explores the complex relationship between power, politics, unrest and civil movement within personal snapshots that feel both raw and vulnerable. Bridging together future-jazz flurries (from contemporaries Thundercat and Kamasi Washington) with hard-hitting beats, this album moves like a tapestry of sound and ingenuity. Digital Team Lead, Shane Geiger and Community Ambassador, Stirling Myles have been geeking out to this album for the entire year, since there's so much to dig through between its perfect balance of artistry and arrangement. You will return to this one again and again. Watch the intense and stirring music video for "Alright" below. And don't miss Kamasi Washington laying down the brass during the outro of the last track.

Listen to To Pimp A Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar on Spotify.


5. Sometimes I Sit and Think, Sometimes I Just Sit // Courtney Barnett

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Courtney Barnett has one again blasted us out of the room. Her new release Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit, says a lot with simplicity. Her music is charged with a gritty punk rock ethic, machine line drums, jangled and distorted guitar and a lyricism that feels more like a conversation with a close friend. Her stories are delivered more by talking than singing and unwind into a literary mosaic of pop-culture pieces and anecdotes. We sometimes catch Community Ambassador, Bob Werner and Project Coordinator, Allison Soule mouthing the lyrics while working at their desks. All throughout this album, there's a hint of humor, making for an entertaining study into a generation. 


6. Darling Arithmetic // Villagers

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It's safe to say that Licensing Coordinator, David Katz has played this album at least 2,015 times. It makes sense, because from the very first track, you're completely taken in by its beauty. This ethereal folk record is colored with brushstrokes of gentle guitar, plodding piano and subtle electronic hues that create a serene, pastoral soundscape. Let's get emotional.

Listen to Darling Arithmetic by Villagers on Spotify.


7. Viet Cong // Viet Cong

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Dissonance never sounded so good. The self-titled release from the Calgary-based ensemble Viet Cong mends together pop songs with sharp angles and jagged textures -- never giving listeners a moment to settle. Yet, around each turn, there are pockets of harmony that are equally surprising and jarring at the same time. On any given day, you'd probably hear this blasting out of Director of Music Production, Rob Dennler's studio. It's really gets him pumped. And if you looked closely enough, you'd probably see him air drumming along to the odd time signatures like the music nerd that he is.

Listen to Viet Cong by Viet Cong on Spotify.


8. The Epic // Kamasi Washington

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To put the music of Kamasi Washington into words is like trying to convey what a color sounds like, or what noise the astral plane would make. Washington's jazz odyssey is something that feels like it was written in a space / time vacuum and brings tidings from the future. Dense arrangements come in and out of wonderful chaos, landing into thick, funky grooves. Some jazz critics are already calling it the greatest jazz recording in 30 yeares. It's THAT good. Rumor has it that Co-Founder, Ryan Wines has this album as his alarm clock. Oh, and he may or may not sleep in sunglasses.

Listen to The Epic by Kamasi Washington on Spotify.


9. Cool It // Sam Cohen

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If you were to look at Sam Cohen's music as a series of watermarks, you'd trace the amazing history he's had in bands like Apollo Sunshine and Yellowbirds, all the way to the high tide that would be his more recent solo efforts. Cool It is a culmination of Cohen's entire catalog of influences spanning from psych-pop bliss to lo-fi prog-rock synth goodness. This album will leave the goofiest smile on your face -- just ask Producer, Tim Shrout and Music Supervisor, Emilee Booher. There's a bright array of sound that comes out of each track, acting as a great, cohesive introduction to Cohen's matured and promising songwriting. There may not be a cooler record on the list. Seriously.

Listen to Cool It by Sam Cohen on Spotify.


10. T R A P S O U L // Bryson Tiller

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Every Friday afternoon is "Hip Hop Friday" at Marmoset HQ. This means that Digital Team Lead, Shane Geiger fills the studio with some of the most innovative hip hop coming out these days. Bryson Tiller's T R A P S O U L always had a way of turning heads. Equal parts raw trap beats and smooth R&B vocals, there's something hypnotic that happens when the two meet. Tiller's album is nothing short of genius and blurs the line between common binaries of genre.

Listen to T R A P S O U L by Bryson Tiller on Spotify.


11. Goon // Tobias Jesso Jr. 

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To listen to Goon is to read direct passages from the diary of Tobias Jesso Jr. Heartfelt and straight to the point, these classic-sounding, piano-based ballads of love and love lost toe the line between Paul McCartney's bounce and Randy Newman's whimsy. Licensing Coordinator, David Katz and Project Coordinator, Jessica Cassady went to see Tobias live this year and came back changed. There's a charm to this album where you don't have to dig too deep to hear someone's vulnerable experience. Honest and free-from lyrical pretentiousness, Jesso Jr.'s debut is a remarkable one and embraces a good cliché every now and then.

Listen to Goon by Tobias Jesso Jr. on Spotify.


12. Many Moons // Martin Courtney

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All 10 tracks in this debut offering from Real Estate's frontman, Martin Courtney, feel like an easy stroll down a windswept boardwalk, or like drifting off to sleep in your favorite comfy chair. There's a ton of space to sink into with every melody and texture, washing in and out of focus and lulling the listener into a meditative state. Maybe it's the secret ingredient in what makes our Community Ambassador, Bob Werner so calm and chill. One dose of Many Moons a day keeps the mental traffic away.

Listen to Many Moons by Martin Courtney on Spotify.


13. Volume 1 // Magic Sword

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If you haven't seen a live performance from the mysterious duo Magic Sword, make it the next one you see -- whether or not you're a fan of sci-fi fantasy, you'll be a firm believer after the first song. Their debut offering Volume 1 is a force, where intergalactic tales of epic wars meets the Drive soundtrack. The two band members -- who choose to remain anonymous-- are creating some of the most engaging synth-pop on our roster, combining keytars, hard hitting drum machines, glowing light up swords and some sweet saxophone solos to craft their own brand of dark electro-pop. We're all huge fans over here and during their legendary performance at our recent Hott Summer Nights party, Co-Founder, Ryan Wines and Senior Project Manager, Victoria Semarjian could be seen right in front, swinging their own blue glowing Swords of Power.

Listen to Volume 1 by Magic Sword on Spotify.


14. Sound & Color // Alabama Shakes

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It's exciting to be able to follow one of your favorite bands and watch them grow and experiment in new and different territories. Alabama Shakes' Sound & Color has gone in an imaginative direction and we couldn't be more blown away. Treading away from their roots in blues-rock and picking up pysch-rock and garage punk in the process, they have emerged with an exploratory record that sheds any attempt to pigeon-hole them into a specific sound. Change can be unexpected and sometimes challenging, but for devout fans like Financial Affairs Nerd, Matthew Lemine, and Studio Manager, Katie Seaton, the change is good and welcomed. 

Listen to Sound & Color by Alabama Shakes on Spotify.


15. Another One // Mac Demarco

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Much akin to his general, casual demeanor, Another One is a fitting title to Mac Demarco's newest release this year. However, there is little casual about Demarco's music -- there's a lot of intention behind the unique and warbly tones and textures behind his own brand of indie-pop. A little Jimmy Buffet influence makes its way onto this album, giving a easy breezy beach feel to each song, immediately bringing visions of drinking Cuba Libres on a sun-bleached coast to mind. Demarco's melodies are catchy as ever and his music is approachable and literally draws you in -- like on the album when Demarco himself shares his address and an invitation to coffee. We're thinking that Director of Music Supervision, Eric Nordby and Community Ambassador, Andrea Feehan might be the first to take him up on his offer.

Listen to Another One by Mac Demarco on Spotify.


16. B'lieve I'm Goin Down // Kurt Vile

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Kurt Vile's long, illustrious career and impressive catalogue of releases show time and time again what solid albums he's able to come up with. As a followup to one of our favorite albums from 2013, Wakin' on A Pretty Daze, he came out with another collection of confident indie-pop in 2015. Drawing from influences like Dylan, Petty and Henley, B'lieve I'm Goin Down offers another strong series of songs that effortlessly stop you in your tracks and keep you coming back for more. The only thing we're waiting on is Marmoset Producer, Tim Shrout's cover of Vile's track "Pretty Pimpin'" -- the music video for it below.

Listen to B'lieve I'm Goin Down by Kurt Vile on Spotify.


17. Dark Place // Jessie Baylin

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There's a little of everything in Baylin's newest record, Dark Place. Each song pulls from its influence to create a larger, eclectic album that still manages to feel cohesive at the same time. There's a little '90's synth-pop, a little straight up rock and even some '70's country that makes an appearance. Music Supervisor, Nicole Wilson shared this album with us and we can't stop listening to it. 

Listen to Dark Place by Jessie Baylin on Spotify.


18. Portraits // Maribou State

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Electronic duo Maribou State manage to make digital music that feels like a hike in the woods, with the city nowhere in sight. Portraits is a dance record full of piano, strings samples, and a slew of soulful guest vocals. There's a very human feel within all of the drum machine beats, providing a warm, earthy tone that we can't get enough of. The only downside to seeing them live is the slight possibility of witnessing the awkward dance moves from Community Ambassador, Stirling Myles at the show.

Listen to Rituals by Maribou State on Spotify.


19. Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper // Panda Bear

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Avant-garde freak psych-folk group Panda Bear just released a beautiful, brightly decorative album of psychedelic bliss. Artist Relations Intern, Quinn Kennelly and Community Ambassador, Bob Werner have been repping this album hard around the studio all year. This is a powerful ode to passing on, yet it brings in a revelatory element, with tons of joyful pop hooks. Densely layered sonic textures sneak their way in there too, drawing up images of the Beach Boys playing in outer space. Float on.

Listen to Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper by Panda Bear on Spotify.


20. The Beyond/Where The Giants Roam // Thundercat

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It's not enough that bass virtuoso, Stephen Bruner (aka Thundercat) gets to work on genre-bending albums with artists like The Weeknd, Kendrick Lamar, and Kamasi Washington -- he has to go and create one of the most insane R&B albums to date, too.  But to call it just R&B would be a huge disservice -- there's something different, something more with this piece of work. Rising to a prominent place in Co-Founder, Ryan Wines' list, this album stands completely apart from everything you've ever heard. Bringing in friends Kamasi Washington and Flying Lotus, The Beyond... moves beyond any genre as we know it, more like intergalactic journeys into the unknown. It's one of the few releases of 2015 that actually makes Marmoset Producer, Rob Dennler do the Cabbage Patch.

Listen to The Beyond / Where The Giants Roam by Thundercat on Spotify.


21. Coming Home // Leon Bridges

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At only 25 years old, Leon Bridges has become a household name -- and he's got the golden voice to back it all up. His monumental soul and doo-wop influenced debut, Coming Home draws inspiration from the likes of Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding and most notably Sam Cooke. This album serves to show that love ballads and a good doo-wop brass section will always give us shivers of excitement, no matter what era we live in. Music Supervisor, Nicole Wilson hasn't changed this vinyl on her turntable since first spin.

Listen to Coming Home by Leon Bridges on Spotify.


22. Ratchet // Shamir

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This album was introduced to the Marmoset gang during our weekly Listening Hour session by Original Music Producer, Katy Davidson. And oh man -- get ready for the most light-hearted, mind bending, beat-driven collection of songs in 2015. Business Affairs Coordinator, Beth Martin will attest to this. Borrowing from the likes of Michael Jackson and and the self-aware disco beats of Saturday Night Fever, it's impossible not to be lifted into a better mood while listening to Shamir's debut, Ratchet. This album shines with a bright optimism that is infectious and incredibly dancey. Try not to move your feet.

Listen to Ratchet by Shamir on Spotify.


23. Gone by the Dawn // Shannon and the Clams

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Much in the spirit of the west, Shannon and the Clams have forged their own path with their most recent album. Gone By The Dawn embodies the free spirit of the west, creating open and expansive landscapes with sweeping, dynamic peaks and valleys. Diving deep into introspection, the band emerges with honest and raw lyrics over their cavalier AM radio lo-fi goodness. Pairing perfectly with the spirit of the road, you might find this as the perfect soundtrack to Music Supervisor, Ron Lewis' epic cycling trips.

Listen to Gone By The Dawn by Shannon and The Clams on Spotify.


24. In Colour // Jamie xx

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This debut album by British producer Jamie xx is fittingly named -- spanning an entire spectrum of vibrant moods in just under an hour, led by quirky samples and bright, infectious hooks. In Colour moves like a collage of memories that weave in and out of focus, managing to rise to great anthemic heights and remain intimate all at the same time. Marmoset Executive Assistant, Kaitie Todd knows it from front to back. This is a great, dance-y electronic album through and through, bringing music with a pulse that transcends pressures of "cool".

Listen to In Colour by Jamie xx on Spotify.


25. Gentle Warnings // Jack & Eliza

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There's a lot of sound coming from just these two people. You wouldn't think that catchy pop music could be written without drums, but the lo-fi grittiness of the guitar in Jack & Eliza's music -- not to mention the duo's truly moving melodies -- lends a space for the harmonized vocals to have more room to play. Each song on Gentle Warnings is tightly orchestrated and bears a matured pop sensibility that runs a consistent course through the album. Sometimes you can hear Financial Affairs Coordinator, Matthew Lemine hitting some pretty sweet falsetto notes with his headphones on.

Listen to Gentle Warnings by Jack & Eliza on Spotify.

 

Honorable Mentions (in no particular order)

Click on titles for easy access listening on Spotify

Ego Death by The Internet

Self Titled by Natalie Prass

Teaspoon to the Ocean by Jib Kidder

Have You In My Wilderness by Julia Holter

PC Music Vol 1. by Various Artists

Goes Missing by The Cairo Gang

Who Me? by Juan Wauters

Before the World Was Big by Girlpool

Synesthesiac by Jack Garratt

Abandoned by Defeater

Froot by Marina and the Diamonds

Unbreakable by Janet Jackson

Self Titled by The Domestics

I Love You, Honeybear by Father John Misty

If I've Only One Time Askin' by Daniel Romano

Black Diamond Pearl by 1939 Ensemble

Austin (EP) by Matthew Logan Vasquez

My Dreams Dictate My Reality by Soko

7 Reasons Why Festivals Like Pickathon Are Important For Music

We're beyond excited to be sponsoring this year's Pickathon Music Festival for many reasons; mainly as a chance to get out of the city and become transplanted to a magical space of music, camping and connection. We're going to be there for the whole festival and will be hosting a live stream and posting interviews with performers while we're there. More details to come.

For those of you who haven't heard of Pickathon yet, let's get you acquainted...

What is Pickathon?

Pickathon is an annual outdoor music festival we hold very near and dear to us. Each year, the festival takes place in the beautiful setting of Pendarvis Farms and consistently hosts some of the most incredible and exciting lineups of up and coming acts alongside legendary performers.

Started by Zale Schoenborn, he hand selects and finely curates every band in the lineup, bringing in a balance of innovative and diverse music to make for an amazing experience. Need proof? Check out our Spotify playlist, featuring our favorite songs from each performer playing this year.

Music festivals like Pickathon are special and currently shifting the way we experience live music. Here are eight reasons why...


Photo by Jason Redmond

Photo by Jason Redmond

1. Sustainability

There's something amazing about a lot of people coming together to enjoy music and the outdoors, however this can also mean a lot of excessive waste. Pickathon has answered this issue by being the only outdoor music festival in the United States to minimize all single-use cups and dish ware, being a completely plastic-free experience. You can buy a really cool Klean Kanteen stainless steel cups there and water is free (as it should be).

Not only is there a strong emphasis on recycling, composting and renewable energy, the festival is completely solar-powered itself.

2. Focus On The Music

Pickathon puts music front and center at every turn, providing unique settings for people to take in the live music setting. Each artist performs two sets (not including secret performances), to make sure there's no stress in having to choose which band you want to see.

Each stage, whether it's made out of wood in the forest or in a literal barn by a pasture of grazing horses, each setting presents an opportunity to engage with the music in an intimate environment -- something that sticks with the audience when the show is over.

3. Everything Is Local

Each of the food and drink vendors at Pickathon are locally-sourced out of the Pacific Northwest. By keeping everything local, it supports the local economy and provides an opportunity for small businesses to engage with their community. Amazing food carts include the likes of Bunk Sandwiches, Portland Curry, Robo Taco and Fifty Licks Ice Cream to name a few.

4. Keeping Things Small

Part of what makes Pickathon so special is the intimate environment that it presents. The audience becomes a part of the performance adding into the unique experience. A festival goer can really connect with the music and not have to feel like cattle from one set to the next -- there's room to breathe. 

5. Camping

Festivals like Pickathon can be incredibly immersive experiences with the element of camping. Not only do you get to watch a performance in the middle of the woods, you only have to walk a couple paces to get to your campsite and continue being out in nature. Whether you are staying the whole weekend or just one night, you will get the chance to fall asleep and wake up to the beautiful sounds of music.

6. Artist Support

Artist advocacy is at the core of what we do and it's always important to know where your music is coming from and support the working musicians that create the music that we love so much. Festivals like Pickathon treats every band in the lineup with respect and support. This shows through in every performance they curate, providing a relaxing vibe that only creates a positive atmosphere for everyone.

7. "Good Music Wins"

Over the course of it's existence, Pickathon has become more known and has gained notoriety in the national landscape, and that's because they consistently remain focused on providing good music and supportive environment, creating a special experience for everyone involved. In the words of Pickathon Founder,  Zale Shoenborn, "good music wins" and we couldn't agree more.

 

Pickathon's 2015 Lineup Announced Today

Photo courtesy of John Keel

Photo courtesy of John Keel

This is huge.

Pickathon just announced this year's initial lineup and it looks so damn good. The festival is happening on July 31 through August 2nd. And to make things even more amazing, tickets are now on sale.

Get your tickets here.

Every year in the summer, one of the most magical (we don't use this term lightly) musical experiences happens in the beautiful setting of Pendarvis Farm just outside of Portland. Pickathon Festival brings in some of the most engaging and exciting national bands into one intimate and rustic farm setting. Your mind will most definitely be blown by a chance to see your favorite band play in a small barn by a stable of magestic horses, or under the cover of twigs and branches in a remote setting basked in the light of the moon. As always, Pickathon is sustainable, family friendly and camping is encouraged. 

2015 is bringing an incredible lineup including the likes of Langhorn Slim, Ty Segall, tUnE-yArDs and Viet Cong. And we couldn't be more honored to help sponsor one of our favorite festivals and will be hosting a live stream on our website. Stay tuned for more announcements and updates, and in the meanwhile, start airing out your tent.

Marmoset's Top 20 Albums of 2014

Wow. Just wow.

Somehow 2014 has already come and gone, bringing the world a treasure of incredible music -- all time stamped and sealed over the past 12 months that were 2014. This year revealed impressive debuts from several new up and comers, while some returning stalwarts pushed themselves once again to impart the world with magical collections of sounds and inspirations.

For us, reflecting on another year of music meant another visit to the Marmoset Deliberation Chamber, where our team banded together to assemble our annual list of albums. A list of records that kicked our ass in one way or another. Of course, there was the usual crying, arguing and hours upon hours of deliberations... which led to more crying and eventually led to hugging, which means we've all had too much whiskey. Yet, in the end, we're proud to come out the other end only a little whiskey-drunk -- and with our favorites in tow. 

To make listening easy, we've assembled our Top 20 Records of 2014 (plus 15 Honorable Mentions) all into one easy to use Spotify playlist for those of you who enjoy streaming music and stuff like that. 364 songs and more than 25 hours of 2014 slam jammin' bliss to get lost in. Get it here.

And without further ado (or superfluous and  non-sensical made up stories), our favorite albums of 2014...


1. Lost In The Dream // The War On Drugs

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Soaring to the top of our list is this tour-de-awesomeness. Hands down, no other record had as much wide spread love and appreciation throughout our lil' Marmoset team than this one. Likewise, no other record blasted out through our speakers more throughout the year. 

Racing out of the gates with sonic waves of lush guitars textures, songwriter Adam Granduciel and Co. have created another release full of fantastic psychedelic infused Americana (aka unapologetic "dad rock"). Lost In The Dream was a poetic muse for our Music Licensing Coordinator, David Katz. He reflected that Mr. Granduciel is "very aware of how time works with the human condition" and that each song was filled with "crisis and monumental mileposts of loss and heartbreak intertwined." Damn. We've been geeking out to this album all year and our lil' Marmoset crew were equally mesmerized by their incredible barn performance at Pickathon last Summer. 

Listen on Spotify here: Lost In The Dream by The War On Drugs

 

2. Sun Structures // Temples

There's throwback music...and there's Temples. After a widespread double take when learning that this was released in 2014, this music blasted us into the era of big hair and psychedelic rock. Sun Structures is a completely absorbing album that is the best psychedelic pop around right now. No one is a bigger fan in our gang than Music Supervisor, Ron Lewis. This album takes him "to a meticulously-rendered heavy psych zone. It feels like a gesture of respectful homage to the era of Marc Bolan, Slade and Barrett-era Floyd. In a nutshell, it's the record the 'Dukes of Stratosphear' forgot to make."  Temples have invented such a strong aesthetic with their sound that it's undeniably something uniquely their own. 

Temples visited Portland on April 10, 2014 and oh man, what a night. Nearly the entire Marmoset crew converged on The Star Theater in Old Town and thankfully the band did not disappoint. Make sure to catch Temples when they next tour through your neck of the woods. 

Listen on Spotify here: Sun Structures by Temples

 

3. St. Vincent // St. Vincent

Resident avant-garde visionary St. Vincent came out with her jaw-dropping self-titled album on the heels of her recent collaboration with fellow weirdo David Byrne. Coming out with guitar sounds that no one thought would be possible to create, each track is layered with intricate, haunting and playful melodies combining sophisticated taste and talent. "I love her approach to pop music." boasts Marmoset Producer, Tim Shrout. "She takes simple grooves and melodies and presents them in really inventive ways.  And of course she’s a killer guitar player and vocalist." Her music video for Digital Witness gets bizarre in the best way possible.

Listen on Spotify here: St. Vincent by St. Vincent

 

4. Burn Your Fire For No Witness // Angel Olsen

Wading in an ocean of heavily-produced albums floats the recent offering from Angel Olsen as a beacon of lo-fi greatness. To say that Olsen's vocals are unique is an understatement. Her half-warbled, half-crooned delivery creates a solemn and satisfying atmosphere. Keeping things sparse and poetic, her lyrics are straightforward, leaving bruises on the heart of any listener. Burn Your Fire... left an impression on Business Affairs Coordinator, Beth Martin, "I love the sound of her voice and the rawness of the whole album." Raw is a fitting word and it we'll add intense into the mix, much like the prolonged eye contact she has during live shows. Get hypnotized with her captivating video for Hi-Five.

Listen on Spotify here: Burn Your Fire For No Witness by Angel Olsen

 

5. Ryan Adams // Ryan Adams

Just when you think you have Ryan Adams pegged, he turns everything on its head. Consistently being one of the most prolific artists to date, Adams released five albums this year, all varying in musical direction. His self-titled, full length shines brightly as a  beacon of well-crafted pop. As an artist with an ever shifting persona, he nailed it on the head with this one. Wait, is that Elvira in his new music video?

Listen on Spotify here: Ryan Adams by Ryan Adams

 

6. Salad Days // Mac DeMarco

Marmoset's Artist Relations and New Music Scout, Brandon Day summed up this album perfectly, "Everyone's favorite gap-toothed goofball made one of the most endearing albums of 2014. Full of heart and cheap liquor. No smoke and mirrors - just Viceroys." Mac DeMarco is taking slacker-rock straight to the astral plane with Salad Days. The Marmoset crew caught DeMarco's set at Pickathon last Summer and we got full caught-up in the vibes, especially as he crowd surfed from the front, all the way to the back, and then back to the front again. All the while his band re-imagined their own, "jizz jazz" version of Coldplay's "Yellow." You had to be there.

Equal parts creative filmmaker and talented guitarist, DeMarco has been known to craft his own brand of immersive multimedia experiences of unadulterated debauchery. His video for Passing Out Pieces goes back to the days of VHS tracking.

Listen on Spotify here: Salad Days by Mac DeMarco

 

7. Alix // Generationals

There's an eternal summer locked inside the music of Generationals. Each finely-crafted electro-pop track is an invitation to put on your best daisy dukes (or daisy dudes) and head out to the nearest body of water. Bright and glimmering with youthful joy, Alix is the perfect soundtrack for a  mystical cruise ship sailing toward the endless horizon. This record ranked tops for Marmoset fearless leader, Ryan Wines, who explained, "It's undeniably infectious, feel good, pop. Listen to the opening two songs on the record and tell me it doesn't make you smile, move and want to get up and go do something good."

Listen on Spotify here: Alix by Generationals

 

8. A Sea Of Split Peas // Courtney Barnett

Dear Australia,

You have outdone yourself when you produced the likes of Courtney Barnett.

Sincerely,

Marmoset

With equal parts gritty grunge and polished pop sensibilities, Barnett takes the baton from the likes of Kurt Cobain and hits the ground running with her stunning double EP. There is a lasting brilliance with her songs that speak truth to anyone in earshot. Marmoset's Artist Relations and New Music Scout (and mega-mega-fan of Ms. Barnett), Brandon Day believes that "fans of gardening will especially be into this." Take that as you will.

Listen on Spotify here: A Sea Of Split Peas by Courtney Barnett

 

9. Awake // Tycho

The music of Tycho is a direct extension of graphic designer, Scott Hansen. His music is like his visual art: sleek, minimal and meticulous. Awake lies in the middle of post-rock and ambient instrumental music. On any given day this year, it's guaranteed this album was a looping soundtrack in our studio. This was definitely one of the most immersive releases this year,  moving in fluidity as one cohesive song and dream, snapping you back into reality when it's over. Chances are, our Creative Project Manager + Community Ambassador, Bob Werner is repping this album hard in his headphones right now. And truth be told, few records played more at Marmoset HQ in 2014 than this one. If you're looking for a soundtrack to do creative work to, this is it. 

Listen on Spotify here: Awake by Tycho

 

10. Wild Onion // Twin Peaks

If Tom Wolfe's  Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test was written as an album, this would be it. The ramshackle ensemble from Chicago writes with wild abandon, creating the rules as they go. "Wild Onion is like an old friend you've gone too many years without seeing" says Music Licensing Coordinator, David Katz. He continues by stating, "It's unabashedly fun and a wicked display of four early 20-somethings letting loose with their take of garage-indie-pop and completely pulling it off." Give into the madness with their video for I Found A New Way.

Listen on Spotify here: Wild Onion by Twin Peaks

 

11. You're Dead! // Flying Lotus

From first note to last, You're Dead! is an densely woven sonic tapestry.  This album floored Music Licensing Coordinator, Katy Davidson and Community Ambassador Stirling Myles. Davidson eloquently reflects that "this record sounds like a half-decade in music history blasted in a blender without the lid on. It's futuristic free smooth jazz prog fusion, equal parts earnest and sarcastic, moody as fuck, frantic, virtuosic, trippy, dissonant, urgent, and deep, i.e., it sounds exactly like it feels to live on this planet right now." His collaboration with Kendrick Lamar resulted in one of the most powerful music videos this year. If you only have time for one video, please watch this one. Marmoset Creative Director Brian Hall describes it this way: "Flying Lotus is some weird shit, man."

Listen on Spotify here: You're Dead! by Flying Lotus

 

12. Morning Phase // Beck

Beck has always had the ability to jump in and out of genres while keeping his own unique voice intact no matter what he's playing. Morning Phase is chill and expansive. Each track weaves together strings, guitar, Beck's signature-sounding voice, all washed over with a blanket of reverb. Music Supervisor, Nicole Wilson has been spinning this record all year. "What I enjoy most about Morning Phase is the ambiance and general mood the record always put me in. It reminds me of a hazy, warm afternoon in California. Beck is unapologetically himself and he created a record that isn't overdone, but is thoughtful and welcoming. I've always enjoyed his music, but this album is hands down one of my favorites - if not my favorite - that he's ever made." Enough said. 

Listen on Spotify here: Morning Phase by Beck

 

13. 1989 // Taylor Swift

Yes, Taylor Swift made the list this year. Why? Here's a couple reasons...First, 1989 was the only platinum-selling album this year and you have to give her props for that. Second, Swift was able to effortlessly "shake off" the "coy girl" image and elevated her impeccably-produced candy-pop to a matured state with this new album. Third, this record showcased her ability to make fun of herself, which is something rare. And besides, you know you've been singing her songs in the shower. Now, here's Swift looking absolutely insane in her video for Blank Space. Marmoset Co-Founders, Brian Hall and Ryan Wines, will be the first to tell you -- very unapologetically -- this record is absolute pop brilliance. It's true, the "haters gonna hate hate hate hate hate..." but this record is pop gold.

 

14.  Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son // Damien Jurado

Over and over, Damien Jurado proves that all you need are four chords to convey powerful messages. Known best for his bare-boned approach to folk, he went a bit off the rails with this one. Brothers and Sisters... ventures into a haze of psychedelic bliss. His strong lyricism remains the same, just with welcomed experimentation this go round. We're huge fans of Jurado over here at Marmoset -- especially our Developer, Ryan Rebo who says he cannot help but keep coming back to this record, time and time again. The Marmoset gang caught Damien live at Timber! Summer Music Fest last August in Washington State, where he laid down a chilling soundtrack to the stars and moonlight and campfires, as 100-foot evergreens circled, and even leaned into the enchanting live performance. Man, that was one to remember. 

A couple of incredible moments in live music happened this year. And one of them was Future Islands' electrifying performance on Letterman. It's considered now as the most viewed musical segment on the show. Their own brand of 80's synth-pop and dance moves stunned the audience. The same goes for their inspiring new album Singles. Maybe it's the husky vocal delivery of frontman Samuel T. Herring or the flawless combination of thumping bass grooves and space-age synthesizers, whatever the reason, this album always draws you back to it. Our Financial Affairs Manager, Jon Haas has even developed a high concept dance routine to each song.

Listen on Spotify here: Singles by Future Islands

 

16. A-Z // Rio Grands

Showing some Portland love, our local friends and Marmoset Artists Rio Grands have written one of the most charming and eclectic concept albums of 2014. Going through the alphabet, this Tropicália infused album explores all the different types of NW relationships, using one woman's name as the hook in each track. A-Z was two years in the making. Three cheers to this amazingly tongue-in-cheek offering into the world. Check out Quinn, a song about ill-fated hippy love.

Listen to the record here on Bandcamp:  A-Z

 

17. Are We There // Sharon Van Etten

This year's release from veteran bad ass Sharon Van Etten might be her best yet. Her own brand of folk rock runs the gamut of emotions all with a overarching umbrella of vulnerability. Each track draws you in and spits you out with heartache and joy. Studio Manager, Jessica Cassady is a huge fan, especially of the track Taking Chances and how it "make[s] you feel confident." Are We There is "full of internal conflict and intimacy which makes it extremely personable. " Get those beers and tears ready.

Listen on Spotify here: Are We There by Sharon Van Etten

 

18. Fantasize // Kye Kye

Kye Kye has been a sheer force this year and it might have something to do with their incredibly epic and cinematic new album Fantasize. This band of relatives (and Marmoset Artists) are also local to the area, but you would never know since they've been kicking ass on the road and spreading their infectious and haunting electro-pop to the masses. We've been fans for a while now, and it's always amazing to see a band grow. Kye Kye not only gets better with time, they burn brighter and brighter with songwriting maturity that expands well beyond their collective years. Marmoset Leader Ryan Wines shared, "It's been exciting watching Kye Kye grow and evolve over the years. This record is dreamy at times, hypnotizing at times, yet maintains their undeniable pop accessibility that's helped make them consistently one of the top licensing artists on Marmoset's roster."

Listen on Spotify here: Fantasize by Kye Kye

 

19. Emmaar // Tinariwen

The story of Tinariwen is an intense and interesting one of turmoil and artistic freedom. Get caught up here. This Algerian based ensemble has been at it since 1979 and have blown the lid off in the states with Emmaar. Mixing together world beats and 70's psychedelia, they're sound is completely their own.  "This album takes me to another place" says Developer, Ryan ReboEmmaar reminds us that we live in a big, diverse world full of beauty amidst tragedy.

Listen on Spotify here: Emmaar by Tinariwen

 

20. Goddess // Banks

This debut from Jillian Banks (aka Banks) is a powerful force. At once confident and complex, Banks' hypnotic and vocals move in and out of a blanket of lush trip-hop beats and lush synthetic textures. There is a drama and beauty within every song that presents a captivating alternate reality leaving the the listener in an atmospheric state of bliss. This album has a special impact on our Community Manager, Stirling Myles. He once confessed "I like to to slow dance alone while hugging myself to this music." Creepy.

Listen on Spotify here: Goddess by Banks

 

Honorable Mentions (in no particular order)

Click on titles for easily listening access on Spotify

Clark by Clark

They Want My Soul by Spoon

Hew Time by Hew Time

High Life by Brian Eno and Karl Hyde

Ten Rivers by The Tree Ring

Lateness of Dancers by Hiss Golden Messenger

Bahamas is Afie by Bahamas

LP1 by FKA Twigs

Manipulator by Ty Segall

Visions of a Healed Kingdom by Purse Candy

With Light and With Love by Woods

Atlas by Real Estate

To Be Kind by Swans

EDJ by EDJ


Want to listen to these albums on our list? Check out our Top Records of 2014 Spotify Playlist.

 

3 Portland Bands to check out at Timber Fest

The lineup for this this year's Timber! Outdoor Music Fest is turning out to be their best yet. This means that over the course of three days in July (24, 25 and 26) this will be a celebration and outpouring of some of the best music to come out the Pacific NW. 

Amidst this incredible bill of amazing artists, we want to introduce you to 3 Portland bands that will be repping the sweet Oregon vibes this year. With that said, we're offering a pair of tickets to this amazing festival. Share your favorite live experience from one of these Portland bands in the comment section below. We'll choose the winners on Thursday, May 29.

1. Horse Feathers

We've been fans of this band for a while. They've built themselves up as one of the most prominent orchestral-folk outfits out there today. 

Blending together complex string arrangements with dynamic acoustic guitar and percussion, each composition is held in place with literary and weighted lyricism.

This is beautiful and sweeping music that cuts to the core with bare emotions and leaves you in an empowered state of reflection with inspiration to continue moving forward with a filled heart.


This duo produces some of the most exciting music in Portland right now. We love these dudes and are stoked to have them in the Marmoset family. 

There's a lot of sound coming from just two people. This music is equal parts jazz-noise freak out and boomy rock grooves. These gents lay it down with each instrumental they play, making it hard for the listener to stand still. 

We couldn't be happier to see this band on the bill, and they are almost guaranteed to leave a lasting impression. Check out this recent session they had on OPB.


3. Denver

This group of ramblers wear their influences on their sleeves. Denver plays music for the rebel in all of us. Folk ballads to cry in your beer to.

Combining an onslaught of acoustic instruments with devastating vocal harmonies, you can't help but to sing along.

To see this band live is to fully take in the experience they present, making each performance unique and different. We're excited to see what they do at Timber Fest! Dig the video below of their session at Pickathon Music Festival.