“Take it all off,” I said, making a lazy motion to the top of my head. This was my third time with Cait. We were starting to get to know each other. She knew what I liked, but this time I wanted something different.
“So, the clippers?” she asked, brandishing them like a samurai sword.
Cait has curly hair and considers herself to be an anarchist. She lives in the Tenderloin, the bleeding heart of San Francisco, and one day she wants to open her own therapy practice.
Cait started with the buzzer at four, just in case I changed my mind. We started chatting about her recent breakup – an engineer who made a lot of money and never talked about his feelings. They’d done couples therapy for a year and then one day he just proclaimed it was over. Shit is fucked, I said.
“Amy is going through the same thing,” she said, pointing the buzzer in the direction of a woman standing above the other chair. Amy is tatted and wears Red Wings. Her hair is long and braided, and hangs beneath a fisherman’s beanie perched on top of her head.
“She came in this morning and wanted to shave her head.” Amy nodded. I pictured two braids being swept off the floor.
Cait told me that hair had energy. She told me she was glad she got the apartment. She might have to find a roommate. Her mom was threatening to visit for Thanksgiving. And then she told me she was going to use scissors for the top, and if I woke up in the morning and really wanted it all gone, she’d do it for free.
This year I showed up to Outside Lands with a healthy dose of expectations. Last year’s eclectic lineup was next level stuff and Golden Gate Park’s laid back, isolated atmosphere lent itself to the prized staples of any successful and debauchery-filled festival – beer, dancing and people urinating as far as the eye can see.
“Kendrick better play Money Trees” (he opened with it). “ODESZA better light up GG Park” (they were electric). Luckily for me, the majority of my expectations were fulfilled at Outside Lands 2015. But anyone who has forked over a hefty lump sum for a festival, knows that this isn’t always the case…
But the true, genuine joy of going to a festival, is stumbling on the diamonds in the rough. And no one exemplified this more than Caribou – a group led by 36 year old Canadian mathematician/composer/drummer/producer who has a knack for creating cerebral brain candy. Showcasing a developing and purposefully ambiguous genre that the British media has labeled, “shoe-gazing”, Caribou took the crowd to another level.
I like taking mental ideas apart and playing around with them. That’s what appeals to me about what I’ve spent my life doing.”
Musical Proof: If Caribou’s “Can’t Do Without You” is a headfirst dive into a surge of romantic intensity, then Jack Garratt’s “The Love You’re Given” is the keening before a divorce. While its subject matter is something wretched, the intensity of the song is on par with Dan Snaith’s.
Remember Jack Garratt? The wünderkind is back with a scary good follow-up to his previous ballads. Bending a wailing vocal over what, in another lifetime, could have been the crux of a Kanye/Raekwon track, Garratt traces a dark arc here. A spooky twist comes about two-thirds of the way in, where what sounds like a downtempo Destiny’s Child belts something emphatic.
“The Love You’re Given” maps a faith counter to head-over-heels optimism. It leaves a chilly impression; like watching your Facebook News Feed at the moment you find you’re deepest relationship is terminal – the divorce that reels you back, spins you around and around, lest it feels like the stars are falling – until it’s settled in a crashing wave of pounding noise.
Or, does such an intensity prevent any separation, physical or mental? That a wail is only grief in its briefest of forms? A fading five minute looping sample?
New albums out by Jungle, Caribou, Glass Animals & TOPS. Time to crack into Indian Summer.