Photo: Rick Kern/WireImage
Las Robertas On Representing Costa Rica At Coachella, Their Love Of Tame Impala & More
The psychedelic rock outfit discuss their influence, creativity outside of music and how it feels to be first band from Costa Rica to play the iconic desert fest
The group, consisting of Mercedes Oller, Sonya Carmona and Fabrizio Durán, aren't strangers to making waves globally--they were also the first Costa Rican act to play Mexico's Nrmal Festival and Barcelona's Primaver Sound back in 2011--and they're not going to stop anytime soon. Their latest release, dropped earlier this month, is an EP titled Outrageously Together and, as they explain, is politically charged yet remains positive and hopeful. After Coachella, the group will return home to Costa Rica to record their as-yet-untitled fourth album. We tracked down Oller and Durán after their set to hear more about their international travels, creative inspiration and new music
Congrats on making your Coachella debut, and becoming the first group from Costa Rica to ever play at the festival. How does it feel?
Oller: It feels like, amazing. Wow! We're so, so grateful but it also feels like a huge responsibility, because we're the first band [to do it], and also it's like being an ambassador for our country. It's a huge responsibility but at the same time, we feel super happy and blessed.
Durán: Yeah, grateful, and we know that eyes are on us right now, and at the same time [it] involves our country, so maybe people would be more interested in things that that happened there.
Have you had a chance to check out any other acts here at Coachella, or is there anyone that you're particularly excited to see?
Oller: Yesterday I really love Khruangbin so I went to their show, and then I checked out Calypso Rose, and I love her. She was so amazing. And today for me it's White Fence & Ty Segall, I just saw them. And then Tame Impala, I really like them. Tomorrow UMO, Unknown Mortal Orchestra. They're amazing. I've seen them. They're amazing amazing amazing.
Durán: I really like Charlotte Gainsbourg yesterday. It was really good. Also, I really want to see Shame, that is playing right now, but I'm gonna see them in a week. Their album was one of the albums I listened the most last year. I want to see Apex Twin today.
Who are some of your biggest musical influences?
Oller: For me, I don't know I have a lot of influences, but I've always loved the Velvet Underground. I love '60s bands, like garage '60s bands. I love also Latino garage from the '60's and new psychedelic and Greek pop. So it's a lot of Brian Jonestown Massacre, the Velvet Underground, and old school garage bands. Lush, stuff like that, I love it.
Durán: Yeah, it's like the history of rock and roll. There's always certain things that are in line, and I think it's from '60s until like ...
Oller: The '90s
Durán: Yeah or even the 2000's. There is a lot of sounds that we kind of are influenced, but not necessarily we are [limited] strictly to one of them.
Are there any artists that you have your eye on to work with or tour with in the near future?
Oller: Yeah, we were talking about it actually. It would be amazing to go on tour with or open for a really big band like the Black Angels or something like that. We think that when it comes to sound, it goes pretty well together and we really admire them.
What else is going on in music right now in Costa Rica? Is your scene present in Costa Rica or what's kind of the pulse?
Durán: It's strange because it's not usually a scene defined by sound. It's more like independent bands that are different genres or whatever. It's a very small country. So, it's like this is the truest band right now, this is the garage band, this is ... yeah and we all play together. So it's a lot of mixture. Lots of different people come to the shows. It's not strictly one [style].
What does being a Latin American musician mean to you? How do you feel that the sort of intersections of who you are as individuals play into your sound and you identity as a group together?
Durán: Yeah, I've been thinking about it and I think it's like the perfect example of being multicultural, especially when you are on the outskirts of society. Being Latino, you get a lot of influences from the U.S. or Europe and that shape you when you're a teenager and eventually, you end up liking a lot of things that are not necessarily from your country. At the same time, a lot of the rhythms that we use and a lot of the vibe is more Costa Rican. We're very chill. We're positive.
Oller: Yeah, sometimes people are like, "Oh you guys are like so chill." There's something different. I don't know people feel it. Probably it's a cultural thing, but a lot of people are like "pura vida" it's like what they say and it's like, "You guys are like the definition of "pura vida."
So you're perfect representatives to have at Coachella Then! What's sort of the biggest message that you want to share with your music, specifically with your most recent project Together Outrageously?
Oller: It's definitely political. Our country was going through this election process, two presidents, one extremely conservative and narrow minded, and the other on extremely liberal. One of the candidates wanted to shut down the women's institution of the government, a lot of things, and against LGBTQ community and essentials. In my case, as a person I was really, really, really disagreeing about it, and I was really scared about that period, it was really uncertain, and those songs were made around that time. It's like a little expressing that feeling that I was feeling when we were going through because it was an overall thing. Young people like us and a lot of people were really nervous because the other guy, the bad guy, was winning.
Durán: And I think the message is against adversity, you can [find] unity and sticking together with other people and going out of the places that certain things can make you feel. Instead of having a long face, try to get over it.
Oller: And to be smart, emotionally smart.
I love that. I see on your Instagram you're really into fashion. You have a fashion line, correct?
Oller: Yeah, I make beaded bags by myself. So, I design them and I make them, then I sell them through Instagram. I'm participating in different fairs, fashion week back home, and I started to ship internationally. So I have customers in Spain and France.
That's so cool. Is fashion kind of always been a side passion for you?
Oller: Oh yeah, definitely. I love clothes, and people always ask me to collaborate with pictures and model for them. Yeah, I love it. I think since I was a kid my favorite thing was to play dress up.
What about you [To Durán]? What do you do when you're not making music?
Durán: I paint. I'm an artist. I'm currently finishing my art history degree. So, there's a lot of creativity beyond music in our band. Since the beginning, Mercedes and me, we used to, and we still make most of the artwork of the band t-shirts, the cover of the records.
Oller: Yeah, I feel pretty happy that I'm doing the things that I like, like fashion. We're doing a lot of things, designers and stuff. And also the music, it's something that blends, and they go together as well.
Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com
Pearl Jam Named Record Store Day 2019 Ambassadors
Pearl Jam's Mike McCready says "if you love music," record stores are the place to find it
Record Store Day 2019 will arrive on April 13 and this year's RSD Ambassadors are Pearl Jam. Past ambassadors include Dave Grohl, Metallica, Run The Jewels (Killer Mike and El-P), and 61st GRAMMY Awards winner for Best Rock Song St. Vincent.
McCready was also the 2018 recipient of MusiCares' Stevie Ray Vaughan Award.
The band was formed in 1990 by McCready, Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, and Eddie Vedder, and they have played with drummer Matt Cameron since 2002. They have had five albums reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and four albums reach No. 2.
"Pearl Jam is honored to be Record Store Day's Ambassador for 2019. Independent record stores are hugely important to me," Pearl Jam's Mike McCready said in a statement publicizing the peak-vinyl event. "Support every independent record store that you can. They're really a good part of society. Know if you love music, this is the place to find it."
With a dozen GRAMMY nominations to date, Pearl Jam's sole win so far was at the 38th GRAMMY Awards for "Spin The Black Circle" for Best Hard Rock Performance.
Pearl Jam will be performing on March 3 in Tempe, Ariz. at the Innings festival, on June 15 in Florence, Italy at the Firenze Rocks Festival and at another festival in Barolo, Italy on June 17. On July 6 Pearl Jam will headline London's Wembley Stadium.
Find Out Who's Nominated For Best Rap Album | 2020 GRAMMY Awards
Dreamville, Meek Mill, 21 Savage, Tyler, The Creator, and YBN Cordae all earn nominations in the category
The 2020 GRAMMYs are just around the corner, and now the nominations are in for the coveted honor of Best Rap Album. While we'll have to wait until the 62nd GRAMMY Awards air on CBS on Jan. 26 to find out who will win, let's take a look at which albums have been nominated for Best Rap Album.
Revenge of the Dreamers III – Dreamville
Dreamers III, the third installment in the label’s Revenge of the Dreamers compilation series, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and achieved gold status this past July. In addition to a Best Rap Album nod, Dreamers III is also nominated for Best Rap Performance next year for album track “Down Bad,” featuring J.I.D, Bas, J. Cole, EARTHGANG, and Young Nudy.
Championships – Meek Mill
In many ways, Championships represents a literal and metaphorical homecoming for Meek Mill. Released in November 2018, Championships is the Philadelphia rapper’s first artist album following a two-year prison sentence he served after violating his parole in 2017. Championships, naturally, sees Meek tackling social justice issues stemming from his prison experience, including criminal justice reform. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, his second chart-topper following 2015’s Dreams Worth More Than Money, and reached platinum status in June 2019. Meek Mill's 2020 Best Rap Album nod marks his first-ever GRAMMY nomination.
i am > i was – 21 Savage
Breakout rapper and four-time GRAMMY nominee 21 Savage dropped i am > i was, his second solo artist album, at the end of 2018. The guest-heavy album, which features contributions from Post Malone, Childish Gambino, J. Cole, and many others, has since charted around the world, topped the Billboard 200 – a first for the artist – in the beginning of 2019, and achieved gold status in the U.S. As well, nine songs out of the album’s 15 original tracks landed on the Hot 100 chart, including multi-platinum lead single “A Lot,” which is also nominated for Best Rap Song next year. 21 Savage’s 2020 Best Rap Album nomination, which follows Record of the Year and Best Rap/Sung Performance nods for his 2017 Post Malone collaboration, "Rockstar,” marks his first solo recognition in the top rap category.
IGOR – Tyler, The Creator
The eccentric Tyler, The Creator kicked off a massive 2019 with his mid-year album, IGOR. Released this past May, IGOR, Tyler’s fifth solo artist album, is his most commercially successful project to date. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, marking his first time topping the coveted chart, while its lead single, "Earfquake,” peaked at No. 13, his highest entry on the Hot 100. Produced in full by Tyler and featuring guest spots from fellow rap and R&B stars Kanye West, Lil Uzi Vert, Solange, and Playboi Carti, among many others, IGOR follows the rapper’s 2017 album, Flower Boy, which received the Best Rap Album nod that same year.
The Lost Boy – YBN Cordae
Emerging rapper YBN Cordae, a member of the breakout YBN rap collective, released his debut album, The Lost Boy, to widespread critical acclaim this past July. The 15-track release is stacked with major collaborations with hip-hop heavyweights, including Anderson .Paak, Pusha T, Meek Mill, and others, plus production work from J. Cole and vocals from Quincy Jones. After peaking at No. 13 on the Billboard 200, The Lost Boy now notches two 2020 GRAMMY nominations: Best Rap Album and Best Rap Song for album track “Bad Idea,” featuring Chance the Rapper.
Photo: Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images
Rosalía Announces First Solo North American Tour
El Mal Querer Tour, named after the Spanish pop star's latest album, will come to Los Angeles on April 17 in between her Coachella performances
Rosalía is set to perform at some of the most popular music festivals around the globe, including Primavera Sound in Spain, Lollapalooza (Argentina and Chile) and Coachella, but the Spanish pop star isn't stopping there when she gets to the States. Now, she has announced her first solo North American Tour with a string of dates that will bring her to select cities in the U.S. and Canada.
El Mal Querer Tour, named after her latest album, will come to Los Angeles on April 17 in between her Coachella performances. Then she'll play San Francisco on April 22, New York on April 30 and close out in Toronto on May 2.
"I’m so happy to announce my first solo North American tour dates," the singer tweeted.
Rosalía won Best Alternative Song and Best Fusion/ Urban Interpretation at the 19th Latin GRAMMY Awards in November and has been praised for bringing flamenco to the limelight with her hip-hop and pop beats. During her acceptance speech she gave a special shout-out to female artists who came before her, including Lauryn Hill and Bjork.
Rosalía has been getting some love herself lately, most notably from Alicia Keys, who gave the Spanish star a shout-out during an acceptance speech, and Madonna, who featured her on her Spotify International Women's Day Playlist.
Tickets for the tour go on sale March 22. For more tour dates, visit Rosalía's website.
Photo: David Crotty/Getty Images
Mariah Carey Tells Fans Fire Music Is Coming With New Album 'Caution'
The sultry R&B/pop superstar has announced she will release her 15th studio album next month – what will she bring us this time around?
Never one to do things quietly, the GRAMMY-winning R&B/pop diva with the angelic voice Mariah Carey came boldly onto the scene in 1990 with her GRAMMY-nominated debut self-titled album. At the 33rd GRAMMY Awards she took home her first two wins: Best New Artist and for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female for "Vision Of Love," which she performed on the GRAMMY stage. The song was the album's first single and Carey's first No. 1 song. Since taking center stage at the beginning of the '90s the star hasn't looked back, releasing 13 studio albums and plenty of hits over the years. Four years after the release of her last album, she has announced that her next one is a month away. What will she serve up on her 15th LP?
The star recently shared on Twitter that her latest album is called Caution and will be released on Nov. 16, 2018. We first got a hint of a new album on Sept. 13 when she announced an album was in the works and released the lead single, "GTFO." The album's second single, "With You," followed on Oct. 4.
On "GTFO" she confidently asks a soon-to-be-ex lover "How 'bout you get the f* out?" in breathy vocals over a slow, melodic beat by GRAMMY-winning producer Nineteen85. "With You" feels like a classic Carey R&B love song with her angelic vocals backed by snapping and a melodic slow jam groove produced by hip-hop beat maker DJ Mustard, who lets her voice shine on an uncharacteristically mellow track for him. These songs hint that her latest release will give us songs that not only showcase her incredible vocal range and versatility, but also give us both nostalgia-inducing tracks as well as radio-ready hits.
"GTFO" gives us a taste of some of the new flavor that she is bringing to her new album, singing the song's coy lyrics completely in more-understated breathy vocals without belting any big high notes, not even during the chorus. It's a catchy, playful breakup song, as she confidently sings "get the f* out/how 'bout you take your tings and be on your merry way?/Fly off with the wind, bye bye baby/How 'bout you scusami, Mimi'll call you a valet."
The song was co-written and co-produced by Jeff Jefferies aka Nineteen85, who is half of OVO R&B duo dvsn and is responsible for producing some of Drake's biggest hits, including the GRAMMY-winning mega-hit "Hotline Bling." On the Drake's song "Emotionless" from his latest album, Scorpion, he samples Carey's lyrics from remixed classic hit "Emotions." Hopefully Jefferies has some catchy hits up his sleeve for Carey, and maybe even brings in some OVO artist surprises.
Carey has released some great collabs over the years, a majority with R&B and hip-hop artists, including Boyz II Men on heartfelt slow jam "One Sweet Day" from 1995's Daydream and Jay-Z on the upbeat classic belter "Heartbreaker" from 1999's Rainbow. We can only hope that the new album will offer some new, soon-to-be-classic hits with some of our other favorite artists.
Her most recent album, Me. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse, released in 2014, had more collab tracks than usual for her, which could perhaps point towards some hot features on Caution. The deluxe edition of the 2014 album had six songs with other artists, including rappers Nas, Fabolous, Wale and R. Kelly as well as R&B singers Miguel and Mary J. Blige. The album's lead single, "Beautiful," has Miguel and Carey singing a soulful, feel-good duet, while "Dedicated" features a bounce-y, electronic-infused hip-hop beat with a verse from Nas. Seeing that she worked with big-time hip-hop producers on the new album's lead singles, we can only hope that they not only offered their production genus to more of the tracks, but perhaps brought some of their friends into the studio as well.
Fans only have to wait a month for the full dose of new music from Carey, but until then we will send our prayers to the music gods that the album will feature all of our dream collabs, perhaps some old and new friends, and offer up some new favorite songs, with some to slow dance to and others to belt out in the shower.