mp3: "Shadow" - Goldmines

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The last we heard of Goldmines' upcoming tape rerelease with Dadstache Records was a thunderous call to live fast and die young. Their second special edition single, "Shadow" is a fuzzy, swirling moment of darkness. The foreboding instrumentals, harsh reverb and vocal cries all back a message of importance, empowering their cries. As band member Mandy Look explained,

"Shadow is about the violence that marginalized people have to deal with on a daily basis, its about those that want to hurt what is different from them because of fear and ignorance. It is about a person that is just trying to keep their head held high and live their life and they feel the world just beating them down."

The limited tape release is available for order now!

mp3: "Radiator Face" - Luxury Death

"Radiator Face" is romantic in a most unbelievable way. The debut single from Luxury Death begins with visuals of licking sweat off the collarbone of the one you love. The sharp-edged and fuzzy pop comes together with an unexpected amount of sugar-coated sweetness, declaring what you want in a relationship, feeling comfortable lying next to the one you love and waking up the next morning intertwined in their arms.  Look for their EP to drop this winter on Punk Slime Recordings.

mp3: "I've Been So Lost For So Long" - American Football

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words: Jordan Gorsuch

Seventeen years. It has been seventeen years since American Football’s transcendent debut album that pioneered emo into the next decade. Yesterday, American Football unveiled a brand new single featured off of their upcoming self-titled album that is set for release October 21 on Polyvinyl Records.

“I’ve Been Lost for So Long” at first sounds like an admission from the band, addressing their lack of activity for almost two decades. However, the craftsmanship of the track is undeniable; American Football hasn’t lost a step since their long hiatus. If anything, they have come back with a more focused, introspective sound.

Mike Kinsella has been consistently releasing music under his solo-project Owen since American Football’s hiatus. Just this year, Kinsella released the subtly fantastic The King of Whys an album that saw him stepping out of his comfort zone and recors with outside help from S. Carey (from Bon Iver) and a backing set of musicians. The instrumentals were brassier and fuller, but the lyrical content was introspective and assured. Kinsella sang clearly about the troubles and joys of his marriage and the incredible self-doubt that plagues him. It is easy to hear how Kinsella’s experience with The King of Whys has bled into the newest single from American Football.

Gone are the jazzy drums and triumphant trumpets that were a signature of their landmark 1999 album. Here, we hear crystal clear guitars that serpentine and bounce off each other brightly with a rather simple drum backing. The sonic layering and confidence along with the less is more approach is another carry-over from Kinsella’s output as Owen. As a result, the track is able to breathe and does not feel overstuffed or anxious. It is exactly in their wheelhouse, but it does enough to differentiate itself from their exalted past.

The choruses give the track an intentionally disjointed feel as Kinsella asks if we can remind him “why I should wake up tomorrow?” The song is littered with references between the thin line (in the narrator’s head) between dream and reality.

American Football is back. Go ahead, pinch me. I’m not dreaming.

mp3: "Accessory" - Roses

The news of a debut album from Roses is the dreamiest announcement to come along this summer. We previously fell in love with their cool pop on Dreamlover, an EP that remains in heavy rotation, and the trio returns Camera Trouble out 10/28 on Group Tightener. Stereogum premiered the first single, "Accessory," and a synth-laden shimmer colors the atmosphere on this one. Lamenting over a bad love, Roses makes their comeback just in time to soundtrack your summer fling and poolside crushing. 

podcast: The Grey Estates Podcast #11: Hallie Bulleit (Hiccup & The Unlovables & The Chris Gethard Show)

We dubbed this episode our renaissance episode. We're hitting our podcast stride and episode 11 is a doozy! We welcome Hallie Bulleit, who is the most talented female you'll ever hear talk on a podcast. In this episode we talk about her many projects musical and otherwise, and how she found her way into each of them. 

As always, subscribe to us on iTunes or Google Play and leave us reviews!

p.s. Special thanks to everyone who called in and helped us create a new intro. You can call The Grey Estates hotline and leave us a message at 724-484-3763 aka 724-4-TGEPOD.

mp3: "Wherever You Are" - Winter

The music of Winter has always been romantic and fantastical, transporting you to magical soundscapes and a land of daydreams. This proves especially true on "Wherever You Are," which received an accompanying interactive video from Vinyl Williams. It's a promise to follow, and Samira Winter's soprano sounds as saccharine and angelic as ever. It's a fairy-tale and we're lucky enough to be invited along.

Toon Tunes: Bill Dauterive

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curated by Jamie of Audio Antihero

With our physical and emotional similarities, I feel a kinship with William Fontaine dela Tour Dauterive, though I don’t come from old Louisiana money, speak Cajun French, play accordion, like football (by UK or US definition) or serve (as a barber) in the US military. He still speaks to me.

It’s no secret that Bill cries himself to sleep when the blinds are drawn, but I like to think that more goes on in his private time. I think Bill’s record collection goes a little further than local heroes like Chuck Mangione and ZZ Top, I think Bill buys mail-order records from Austin, I think Bill empowers himself through Bjork, I think Bill acts like an entitled jerk to Grinderman, I think Bill isn’t afraid of Hip-Hop, I think Bill heard the song “Hurt” long before Johnny Cash covered it, I think Bill quietly believes in Democratic Socialism while still voting Republican, I think Bill plays “(She’s in a) Bad Mood” by Sonic Youth through Bose headphones because Bill’s God is a woman - and she hates him.

Bill has his outdoor music (“Takin’ Care of Business!”), he has indoor music and his world is pain. When listening to this mix, I want you to envision that Bill closes the curtains after “Glory Days” (probably the most apt song here) and the mix of sadness, nostalgia and defiance that follows comes from his private stash. We’re with you Bill, life is long and life is sad.

On the Road with Leggy, Day 4 & 5: Morgantown, WV & Baltimore, MD

words & photos: Amanda Siberling

With a group of friends who have known each other for over a decade, sometimes, the Leggy van can get brutal – any time Kerstin does, well, anything, she’s met with a chorus of, “Ugh, classic Stanley…” (Stanley is a nickname derived from her first and middle name, Kerstin Lee). But when someone wants to use their “tour wish” – choosing the one specific thing they want to do before returning home – any activity is fair game.

Sometimes the tour wish is simple – Chris just wants to smoke weed, and Troy is completely content any time we stop at a vegan restaurant on the road. But for Kerstin, a self-proclaimed “public transportation nerd” with a degree in urban planning, it was clear what her tour wish would be as soon as we drove into Morgantown, West Virginia.

“Look at that monorail!” Kerstin shouted from the middle seat of the van. I may have been mocked for getting excited about mountains, but even though I’ve only spent about a week getting to know Kerstin, there’s no doubt in my mind that shouting about public transit is just, ugh, claaaassic Stanley. But when a badass bassist with a passion for city planning declares her tour wish, it must be granted, even if everyone else thinks it’s silly.  

With Veronique’s slight bit of peer pressure, my tour wish is to get my nose pierced with Troy. I don’t know if that will happen yet, but if it does, I hope my parents don’t disown me. 

Morgantown is a textbook college town – basically the only people who live there are University of West Virginia students – but in order to travel across their mountainous campus (their mascot is the Mountaineers?), they take a monorail throughout the small town. It’s a driverless eight-seated vehicle that looks like a Smart Car gliding across a metal track, and they don’t even charge money for it – you just push a button declaring where you’d like to go (football stadium, dorms, downtown, etc). In theory, you’re supposed to show a WVU student ID, but no one at the station checks. I guess most tourists in Morgantown don’t have a classic Stanley in their squad who just really wants to ride the monorail, no matter what it takes.

On Thursday night, Leggy and Alice Bag play at 123 Pleasant Street, a historic, nineteenth century rowhouse in Morgantown. When we walk inside, I notice a mural of Harriet Tubman and signs that say “Underground Railroad.” Classic Stanley might be a public transit nerd, but after growing up in South Florida, a region built mostly after 1930, I’m totally cool with calling myself a historic building nerd.

Between sets, I ask Candy, the woman working door, about the history of the venue. Did it have any relation to the Underground Railroad? She tells me that it wasn’t actually a stop on the Underground Railroad, but there was artwork dedicated to the route early in the venue’s existence, so the venue owners have always sought to keep the history alive. Candy tells me that above the bar, there’s a sculpture from a local artist that says, “Follow the drinking gourd,” which was a secret code that former slaves used to communicate to each other which direction was north (the drinking gourd is the big dipper). 

As we’re loading out our gear after the show, Candace, Alice Bag’s drummer, mentions that her partner told her that she should check out the monorail in West Virginia.

“Kerstin wanted to do that too,” Troy says. We make plans to get the two bands together in the morning to ride the monorail, but everyone is drunk, so nothing gets set in stone. 

As we’re driving out of Morgantown to Baltimore, we all make jokes about how we were supposed to meet Alice Bag and her band at the monorail, but they probably aren’t going to text us anyway, right? 

“I actually think it’d be so fun!” I say. “I totally want to ride a monorail with Alice Bag.” It may be Kerstin’s tour wish, but I’m really into the idea as well.

As we walk into a Qdoba to stop for food, Veronique gets a text from Alice. 

Do you still want to ride the monorail?

We all look at each other, look at the inflated burrito prices, and collectively run back into the van to meet up with Alice and the band. Not many things are better than burritos, but riding a monorail with Alice Bag is one of them.

With a band called “Alice Bag Band,” it might seem like Alice is the star, and she definitely is a star – but it would be a crime to understate just how cool the entire band is.

Fiona is one of the best guitar players I’ve ever seen – she goes wild on stage, dropping to her knees and shredding, or jumping up and down around her bandmates while plucking extremely difficult guitar riffs. She wears these head-to-toe white suits, and she doesn’t even seem to sweat in them, which makes me think that she might be an alien. But when she’s not on tour with Alice, she’s actually a professor of Asian American Studies and Gender Studies at the University of Illinois. Alice calls Fiona “the evil Dr. Ngo” on stage, but the doctor part isn’t a joke – Fiona has her Ph.D. When I first overheard Fiona telling Veronique about being a professor after the Pittsburgh gig, I googled her and was blown away. She’s written a book about jazz, race, and sex? 

Then there’s Candace, who does it all – her drums propel the Alice Bag band, and every night before and after the show, she runs Alice’s merch table and chats with fans. Candace writes for magazines I admire like Tom Tom, a publication dedicated to women drummers, and she also works with Girls Rock Camp, an organization I admire – basically, what I’m trying to say is, I admire Candace.

I unfortunately haven’t talked to David, the bassist, in enough depth to tell you how cool he is, but he’s a great musician and a particularly friendly, welcoming person – so that’s always cool.

When we arrive at the monorail stop and meet up with Alice and the band, Kerstin is noticeably excited. Veronique, Troy, and Chris are still making fun of her, but once we get on the monorail, everyone is equally hyped up about granting Kerstin’s tour wish. 

“Oh my god, this feels like we’re on a Disney ride,” Veronique says. As we head down a small hill on the monorail track, David and Troy throw their hands up and shout. As we zoom around the perimeter of Morgantown, I can’t tear my eyes away from the beauty of Appalachia. 

There’s a WVU student with us in our little car, and she’s amused at how excited we are. For her, this is a daily exercise. Alice asks her questions about how the monorail work, and they chat about her studies at WVU. I wonder if she knows she’s talking to a legend, but I also feel like Alice wouldn’t want me to think that – even though swarms of fans greet her each night and tell her how inspiring she is, Alice still sees herself as an ordinary woman, which baffles me. 

We part ways with the Alice Bag Band and get on the road to Baltimore, Maryland. We may have granted Kerstin’s wish, but she was about to grant all of ours – Kerstin’s mom travels for work frequently, and she collects hotel bonus points that allow you to upgrade your stay. Every tour, Kerstin’s mom books Leggy a luxury hotel using her reward points, and Baltimore was the night where Kerstin’s mom granted my tour wish: a warm shower with clean towels and a comfy bed to sleep in.

The hotel is far too nice for five sweaty twenty-somethings on a punk tour to waltz in with their smelly duffels, but that’s exactly what we did, and it was a blast. We sped through the lobby, decorated with marble flooring, chandeliers, vintage rugs, and immaculate staircases to get to the upstairs lounge. It was 5:30, and happy hour ended at 6. But at this luxury hotel, happy hour doesn’t mean discounts – happy hour means that you check in, get your room key, and get as many free mimosas as you want. 

The hotel room has two queen mattresses, a marble bathroom, and a smaller room with two bunk beds, an x-box, and a dog mural. When I decided to go on tour, I expected to sleep on stranger’s floors, and we did do that – but I had no idea that we would spend a night in a hotel designed for lavish businesspeople. 

The show in Baltimore is at a place called Sidebar, which a sixteen-year-old named Joey who I met at a poetry festival described as “a place where you don’t want to put your hands on anything.” When Joey told me that, I figured it was just because he’s sixteen and hasn’t gone to many punk shows, but the venue did indeed smell like cat pee. But cats are cool, so I dealt with it. 

Before Alice Bag’s set, I sit on a staircase to the right of the stage. It’s elevated and provides a wider view of the venue, so I perch up there to vary my camera angles.

“Can I tell you something?” Alice says to me, whiskey in hand.

“What?” I say.

“I never really get nervous anymore…. But for some reason, I just feel nervous right now,” she says. 

“It’ll be fine!” I tell her, as a knee-jerk reaction. Then I realize that fine is an understatement. “Every night you’re amazing!” I tell her. “Everyone loves you! We love you!” 

Despite my declaration of love for Alice, she still seems a bit shooken up. 

“Hey, Candace, can we cut ‘Sorry’ off of the setlist?” Alice asks her drummer. ‘He’s So Sorry’ is a slower, jazzy song from Alice’s LP, but at a dark divebar like Sidebar, covered in stickers from punk bands and graffiti from its visitors over the years, Alice wants to tailor her set towards the head-bangers. 

The Alice Bag Band is amazing every night, but this Baltimore show was absolutely outstanding. Alice gave a speech about saving punk and standing up against people like Donald Trump and Monsanto, and she jumped into the crowd and had fans sing along with her, which she hadn’t done at any previous shows. Part of me wanted to get every stunning moment on film for my documentary, but on the other hand, I felt like this performance was something that I shouldn’t watch through my camera.

This morning, I woke up in our luxury hotel – thanks, Mrs. Bladh – went to the lobby, and chugged two cups of cold brew coffee (typical for me). I can’t believe I’m headed home.

When I arrived in Detroit for the first night of tour, I was terrified. I felt completely alone, barely knowing Leggy, and the idea of eating Burger King on the highway in a vehicle without AC disgusted me. I was worried that I would be counting down the days until we got back to Philly, but now that today is the last day of tour, I don’t want it to end.

It tells you a lot about Leggy and Alice Bag that I’ve enjoyed seeing them perform the same set five times in a row, but when it comes down to the pure experience of tour, I don’t care how good the music is. What I care about is that someone like Fiona, whose talent absolutely baffles me, is humble and friendly enough to want to hang out with a twenty-year-old who won’t let go of her DSLR. (Maybe friendly isn’t the right word – last night, carrying Veronique’s guitar out of the venue, I accidentally nudged Fiona with the case, and she shouted, “God fucking dammit, Amanda, I swear to god, if you do that one more time!” But it’s friendly coming from Fiona. She could’ve said, “Hey, Amanda, you’re cool,” and it wouldn’t have been as nice as the “God fucking dammit!” thing).

Tonight, Leggy and Alice Bag are playing at Treat Y’rself Fest, a benefit to support the March to End Rape Culture. In the morning, I will wake up in my own bed, and Leggy will travel to Washington, D.C. with one less person in that sweaty, malfunctioning Honda Odyssey. 

I would be lying if I said that I didn’t look up Megabus tickets from D.C. to Philly on Monday, just to see if it would be feasible for me to stay on tour an extra day. But Treat Y’rself Fest seems like a natural conclusion to one of the most interesting weeks of my life.

When Alice Bag spoke about saving punk on stage last night, she emphasized that punk is about creating places where everyone is welcome as long as they respect the people around them. She emphasized community.

It sucks that today is the last day of tour, and it sucks that by next week, I’ll be starting the school year again. I wish I could stay on tour forever (although my body probably doesn’t). But as Alice reminds me, punk is about community. And though I won’t be on the road anymore after today, community doesn’t evaporate easily. Memories don’t evaporate easily. 

On the Road with Leggy, Days 2 & 3: From Cincinnati to Pittsburgh

words & photos: Amanda Siberling

“Welcome to Columbus, here’s a whif of poop,” Kerstin says. “Literal feces around your nostrils.” 

We’re in our red Honda Odyssey on the road from Cincinnati – Leggy’s hometown – to Pittsburgh. We have no air conditioning and the windows are down, but once the smell of manure hits, we instantly roll all of the windows up.  We begin to sweat. 

In typical tour spirit, feces are no problem. Troy, Leggy’s friend from Cincinnati, is joining us for the rest of tour, and he likes yell “Marriot!” ironically while he’s driving, reminding us that we’re glamorous enough for manure, but not luxury hotels. Veronique teases Kerstin, her long-time roommate and best friend (“Kerstin is the George Costanza of the band,” Veronique tells me as an aside), and Chris and Troy discuss their plans for a Belle & Sebastian tribute album (the catch is that they don’t actually know any of the words to the record). Things are good.

I’m not really thrilled about the whole no air conditioning thing, and it’s also not great that the electric doors on the van don’t work, so we have to climb in through the driver’s door each time we enter or exit the van. But part of tour is about just going with the flow, which is doable, but sometimes easier said than done. Chris introduced me to a drink called “Mellow Mood” though, which is some sort of Bob Marley branded tea that deserted gas stations have. It’s what you’d expect it to be like. 

“Where are we playing in West Virginia?” Troy asks from the front seat.

“Morgantown,” Kerstin answers.

“Oh, good. Apparently in Huntington, West Virginia, 27 people overdosed on heroin in the last 24 hours.”

Reassuring. 

Yesterday, Leggy and Alice Bag played at the Woodward Theatre in historic Cincinnati to celebrate the release of the first issue of Women in Music, a magazine edited by members of Birdie Hearse, the band that opened the show. I interviewed Izzi (a Women in Music editor) for my documentary in front of a gorgeous vintage chandelier on the balcony of the theatre – Cincinnati pleasantly surprised me with how beautiful its nineteenth century buildings are. Before the show, while Kerstin and I re-parked the van after load-in, she told me about how a lot of movies set in the early twentieth century are filmed in Cincinnati, as well as a reality show about performing arts high school students.

Compared to Detroit, Cincinnati’s show definitely had a hometown feel – I met Veronique’s dad, who played air guitar in the audience along with his daughter on stage. After the show, we hung out at some of Leggy’s favorite local spots, like Comet, a bar just steps away from Kerstin and Veronique’s home – Veronique says they’ve played there over a dozen times. Since Chris, Kerstin, and I forgot to eat dinner, we ordered a massively large pizza back to the house, a rectangular deep dish with pineapple and pepperoni. Chris was disappointed, since it wasn’t a “bearcat,” a famous Cincinnati pizza that’s probably big enough to feed a band the size of Arcade Fire for two meals, but there was definitely enough pizza to go around. Even Spooky, the dog, got a bite, to Kerstin’s dismay. 

I’m the youngest person on this tour by about five years, but I’m probably the biggest grandma of the group, so I turned in earlier than the rest of them. After a good night of sleep and a shower, we went back to the Woodward to get the band’s gear. Desperate for coffee, Veronique directed me down Main Street to Iris, which she had only described as a “coffee place,” forgetting that I’m not accustomed to the quaint charm of historic Cincinnati. When I opened the door to the small, pastel yellow store front, I found my own personal heaven – books and local photographers’ art lined the walls from top to bottom, and I had to resist the urge to scan the used book and record sections. 

Besides Philadelphia, where I live, I haven’t been to any of Leggy’s tour stops – Detroit, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Morgantown, and Baltimore. As we left Cincinnati, I pointed out a mountain with homes stacked on terraces up towards the top of the hill.

“Whoa, that’s so beautiful!” I said. 

“What, that? That’s normal,” Kerstin told me. 

I’m realizing how much of the country I haven’t seen – I grew up in South Florida, and I moved to Philadelphia for college a few years ago. I never see mountains, and though it may seem trivial, I can’t wait to see towns like Pittsburgh and Morgantown, which Veronique described as “straight up Appalachia.” 

The more tour goes on, the more I confirm my initial suspicion that I’m in for more than I could have imagined. Just as I’m starting to fall asleep on the way to Pittsburgh – a five-hour drive, the longest of the tour – Chris decided to hook up the Bluetooth and put on a station called “CVS bangers.” They play songs like “I Will Always Love You” and “Sweet Child Of Mine” that you’d hear in a CVS, except that there’s a dramatic DJ voice layered over the track (“You do good to him, Whitney,” the announcer says, and then blasts an airhorn. 

Maybe I’m overtired and overwhelmed, or maybe it’s the Bob Marley tea, but I can’t stop laughing. I think CVS bangers is really the key to staying calm on tour, for me. 

“Do you know Perks of Being a Wallflower?” Kerstin asks me as we get closer to Pittsburgh.

There’s a scene in the movie where three teenagers are driving through the tunnel to Pittsburgh, and Emma Watson’s character sticks her head out the sky roof and shouts a Walt Whitman-like yawp as her brother speeds out of the tunnel and into Pittsburgh. When you emerge from the tunnel, you can see the Pittsburgh skyline lit up among a backdrop of green mountains and bridges across the river. It’s breathtaking. I try to film it, but I can’t rip my eyes away.

The Pittsburgh show was the most fun night of tour so far – sometimes, as stage banter, the frontperson will say, “Every band is so good tonight, right?” and some people clap and shout. But at the Pittsburgh show, every single band dominated the stage. I’m seeing Leggy and Alice Bag six nights in a row, but I could easily do seven, eight, or nine nights. The Lopez (Pittsburgh) and Big Eyes (Brooklyn/labelmates on Don Giovanni with Alice Bag) also played, and each band killed it. Plus, Alice told me she liked my outfit, so all was well. 

Allegra, a Pittsburgh-based musician, let us crash with her, and we stayed up until the wee hours of the morning talking about our favorite local bands. Allegra grew up in Philly, and it turned out that we knew a ton of the same people. That’s something I love about touring so far – you’ll cross paths with great people who you have plenty in common with. It turned out that the last time Leggy was supposed to play in Pittsburgh (they ended up cancelling due to a blizzard), they were slated to play with Allegra’s band, a math rock group called Yes Yes A Thousand Times Yes. It seemed appropriate that we all finally got to get to know each other. 

Veronique and I shared a mattress pad on the floor to sleep that night, so I didn’t get much sleep, but as soon as we went to Artisan, a tattoo-shop/coffeehouse, in the morning, I was good to go.  Allegra then took us to Spak Bros., a hole-in-the-wall restaurant with plenty of vegan options on Pittsburgh’s main avenue, and then we hit the road to Morgantown, West Virginia, possibly the most “wild-card” day of the tour – what can you expect from a small college town in the mountains with maybe one or two DIY spaces?

Veronique is passed out beside me, and I’m ready to pass out myself – tour is exhausting – so I’m going to wrap this diary up in the most eloquent way I can imagine, putting my English-degree-in-progress to shame… 

What will happen in West Virginia? Will Chris and Troy listen to more CVS Bangers? Will Kerstin get to ride a monorail? Will we find any more Mellow Mood at the gas station? Tune in next time to find out. 

mp3: "Mezzanine" - Casper & the Cookies & "Don't Stop Believe in Music" - Elekibass

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Future Oak Record Co. celebrated the return of Athens Popfest with two (!!) new single releases from Casper & the Cookies and Elekibass. We're streaming the A-side from each of the releases below, giving you a small sampling of why you need to purchase the limited edition releases for yourself. 

"Mezzanine" from Casper & the Cookies is sweeping and sunny, its exuberance urging you to soak in three-minutes of pure bliss under a cloudless sky. Despite lyrics that talk of ceased wonders and a hope spring run dry, the bubbly spirit of "Mezzanine" leaves you with an undeniable hopefulness, an itch to pass through towns and begin a journey of your own.

Its Popfest release counterpart, "Don't Stop Believe in Music" is equally as sweet. Combining lyrics in Japanese and English, Elekibass' whimsical nature carries you straight to the fantastical land depicted in the single artwork. The message of the track is endearing and true, as wherever we find ourselves in the world the idea of giving your heart wholly to the artists you love and believing in their work is something we're all familiar with. After a listen to both below, you'll find it impossible not to believe in the music of these artists. Pick up your copy and pretend that you got to soak in the Athens sun of Popfest.