Sometimes it’s hard to be objective and unbiased when writing about a festival that is such a big part of your life. Except for two (very) unremarkable lineups that made me stay home, since I was old enough to go to college all my summers involved a trip to Paredes de Coura (and a painful trip back, too). When you’re a kid, they say you’ll eventually get older and boring, in a process they call “becoming an adult”. This usually comes with amazing perks such as ceasing to listen to any new music whatsoever, stopping seeing your (also ageing) friends, having great conversations about changing diapers with your remaining friends (yes, the other couple with kids you always go vacationing with to some shitty beach full of other couples with kids and the odd mother-in-law). Obviously, a multi-day, non-kid friendly, rural music festival such as Festival Paredes de Coura seems like one of those things that are amongst the first to drop from your newfound “adult life”. Except you don’t have to be that person; and is there anything better to remind you of that than going there and finding all your friends in the same place, same month, year after year, all over again? (Well, other than imagining the smell of those diapers.)
Vodafone Paredes de Coura 2018. Photo by Hugo Lima.
Another summer, another missed opportunity to have a vacation somewhere because there’s nowhere else we’d rather be other than at our little paradise of Paredes de Coura, in northwestern Portugal. The festival runs from the 14th to the 17th of August, but, like always, the fun begins way earlier than that, with four fun-packed, free entrance days with concerts and DJ sets right in the center of the small Minho village.
We’ve been championing Stella Donnelly for so long now that we didn’t even remember Beware of the Dogs is her first proper LP. A great record from yet another Australian songwriting treasure – check it out if you’re also into Courtney Barnett or Julia Jacklin. Plus: brand new tracks from Meat Puppets, The Hold Steady, Durand Jones & The Indications, Richard Hawley, Nick Waterhouse, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, Tropical Fuck Storm, Stef Chura, Snapped Ankles, The Comet is Coming, Protomartyr, Earth, Mathilda, Lomelda, Billie Eilish, Bedouine, Alice Phoebe Lou, Patty Griffin, The Felice Brothers, Adam Ostrar, and Tyler Ramsey.
After featuring Julia Jacklin’s Crushing as our record of the week in the same day she was announced in our beloved Festival Vodafone Paredes de Coura, we wanted the same thing to happen to The Cactus Blossoms… we hope they’re listening. Their second album, “Easy Way”, is just as catchy as their debut, which landed them a spot in the last Twin Peaks season. But there’s so much more than cult TV show appearances to the coolest band coming out of the US in the last couple of years. If you haven’t found it all by yourself yet, feel free to start here.
Plus: one and a half hour of new songs by the Mountain Goats, Hand Habits, Anna Burch, Big Thief, Kevin Morby, Sam Cohen, Sebadoh, Jess Ribeiro, Alex Lahey, Royal Trux, Jackie Cohen, Stella Donnelly, Solange, Sensible Soccers, Cavalheiro, Living Hour, Jacob Faurholt, Robert Forster, Matthew Logan Vasquez, Hiss Golden Messenger, Quaker City Night Hawks, Murray A. Lightburn, and The Tallest Man On Earth.
Blank Range’s second album, “In Unison”, is our record of the week. If you’re into rocky americana with plenty of pop hooks a la Blitzen Trapper or Deer Tick, they’re your new guys. Plus: new tracks by Beirut, Avey Tare, Eriksson Delcroix, Ozuna, Jards Macalé & Tim Bernardes, Nilüfer Yanya, Harlem, Guided By Voices, FIDLAR, Robert Forster, Craig Finn, Josh Ritter, Motel Mirrors, Hayes Carll, Nils Frahm, Cass McCombs, Orville Peck, Andrew Bird, Soccer Mommy, and Stella Donnelly.