San Diego Radio Sucks Quite A Bit

Monday, April 18, 2016

Coachella 2016 Review (Weekend 1)

I say this every year and I write this every year:  I can't believe it's over.  Again.

Like sand falling through the hourglass, Coachella has expired for another year.

No, it's not like that.  It's more like sand blowing at you from every direction, constantly, for three days... slowly but surely filling up every orifice, scar, pock mark and divot in your formerly-clean body.

In reality, it's only disappeared until next weekend, where festivalgoers will be treated to a moderately soiled polo field, and of course some great entertainment.

So overall, Friday was the strongest day, Saturday was decent, and Sunday turned out to be way above expectations.

In the interest of actually posting something this year (I haven't made the time to do a thorough review in years), I thought I'd go back to a format I did once before.

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Coachella 2016 Awards!

Biggest Disappointment (No Show): Lush
Lush are one of the best, most overlooked and underrated bands from the shoegaze era.  I had the luck / pleasure to see them once as the first band on the bill for Lollapalooza 2 in Chicago at The World theater.  Few people seemed to care that they were on, but I was mesmerized by the jangly Rickenbacker guitars and Miki and Emma's amazing harmonies had me hooked from the start.  If they'd shown, this would probably a love letter to the band rather than starting of with a sincere "How could you???"  They're playing weekend 2, so I hope you lucky bastards make it to check them out.

Biggest Disappointment (Did Show): Guns N' Roses
I had high hopes for G&R's reunion, but I was wary at the same time.  I decided not to get pinned in trying to get a good place to see them, so I just sort of cruised by every half hour or so.  I got to see Sweet Child O' Mine, Paradise City and the AC/DC cover of Let There Be Rock with Angus Young, so I feel like I made a decent choice.  In a word, they just didn't have the intensity that they did when they were literally starving heroin addicts in LA (Axl is no longer starving, he's actually very well-fed).

One of the worst pictures of one of the best bands - Parov Stelar

The "I Knew They Were Going To Fucking Rock That Set!" Award: Parov Stelar
Parov Stelar was booked a few years back, and was scheduled to perform during the great dust bowl of Sunday night that year.  They actually had to cancel at the last minute due to illness.  Probably just as well - Coachella looked like a ghost town, hardly anyone was left to check them out.  So it's doubly amazing that they got a decent time slot, showed up, and blew minds for a respectably-sized crowd.  Think of a fantastic jazz combo performing swing tunes with a sexy, old soul kind of singer, with drums and electronic kick in the background.  You can't even think about standing still when this band is ripping it up.

Most Heartbreaking Choice:  M83 vs. St. Germain vs. Underworld
This was the closest thing to a tragedy schedule-wise, and it's a wonder it was only this.  Friday had so many amazing acts I was certain I'd be crying tears of sand and mud over missing more bands.  We ended up doing St. Germain, and from the beginning it was clear that we were there until the bitter end.  I can't say enough good things about St. Germain, but I'll say a few other things about them later.  We actually only missed maybe five minutes of Underworld because I think they started late, so it all worked out.  It was just really sad that we had to miss M83, one of my all-time favorite bands.

Reunion That Most Lived Up To the Hype:  LCD Soundsystem
While the LA Times wrote that Jack U "won," a reference to the ridiculousness of the crowd and the large attendance), LCD Soundsystem came out and did exactly what everyone expected them to do.  A fantastic set, with songs spanning all three albums, opening with the so-appropriate "Us V Them" (The time has come / The time has come / The time has come today), and closing with the festival-defining "moment" - All My Friends.  They even did true fan test song Yeah (Pretentious Version) and other deep cuts including Someone Great, also from Sound of Silver.  They played pretty much right up until just before they would have cut the power, so it was a pretty epic set.

Biggest Pleasant Surprise: Miami Horror (Friday), Cloves (Saturday), Meg Myers (Sunday)
Three bands I found on Spotify literally hours before we hit the road, and all very different.  Miami Horror is a dance band that smacks of Cut Copy, and had the crowd into it the whole time.  The singer actually climbed up the scaffolding in the Mojave tent and danced on one of the speakers.  Then he dangled, legs free, from the scaffolding on the way down for a few breathtaking seconds.  He made it back down, safe and sound, and they kept blowing us away with disco-inspired beats and hooks that could catch any dance-loving listeners within earshot of the tent.

Cloves at Coachella 2016

Cloves probably also got the Least Attended award, but undeservingly.  She's got an absolutely angelic voice, a fantastic register and is absolutely gorgeous.  If you haven't heard of her, you probably will soon, so go out and buy some of her stuff.  If you like the sound of female vocalists who can make you swoon, you'll love Cloves.

Meg Myers was one, I'll admit, that I wanted to see even before I heard her music.  Another gorgeous female vocalist, but with a much different approach.  While Cloves is more subdued and sad, Meg Myers is just batshit crazy.  She can go from a sultry whisper to a melodic scream without taking a breath, and she has the most emotive face of any other singer I saw this weekend.  Pick up something from her while you're at it, chick needs therapy and it ain't cheap.  Amazon Prime members take note: Her album Sorry is available to stream on Prime Music right now.

Band That Stuck With Me Even Though I Wish They Hadn't: The Front Bottoms
The Front Bottoms sound like a cross between Violent Femmes and a stool softener.  In a good way, if that's possible.  They didn't make me go, they just made it easier to go.  I figured from the name they might be kind of a joke band, and I think I'd have to say I was right to think that.  Still, if you're not doing anything else, check them out.  They might be just quirky enough to love.

Moment Where I thought I Actually Might Lose My Fucking Mind:  Grimes
I got to Grimes early enough to get about 15 rows back, and it was pretty chill until the music started, when she decided to try to destroy her fans' bodies with the loudest, thickest kick drums and the shrillest screeches of entire weekend when she performed SCREAM (yes, that's the title, all caps) with Aristophanes.  The two of them together let out this shriek that would have made a ghost shit its pants.  They say she's a cross between EDM and punk music, but she's better than that comparison.  Despite the poppiness of her new album, her caffeinated performance proved he to be capable of running at 150% for the full 45-minute set.  I didn't even take pictures I was so stunned.

Best Old Punk Reunion: The Damned
In other years, they might have been the only punk band reunited for the festival, but I didn't see Rancid so The Damned get this one by default.  Great energy and I liked the music, probably wouldn't buy anything though.

Most Pitch-Perfect Vocalist: Bat For Lashes
We'd gone out to the car to have a few beers and grab our night wear (hoodies) and from the length of the line, I thought I might have to miss her set in favor of Courtney Barnett (who was also excellent, from what I saw, and a highlight for some others in the crew), I made it in just enough time to get about ten rows from the stage.  I always forget how much I absolutely ADORE this band until I hear or see them.  Her haunting voice had me at the edge of tears for the entire set.  Although the reaction from others in the group wasn't as positive.  Rick's interpretation was, "Can you imagine how many times someone's played that song just before shooting their lover between the eyes while they're sleeping?"

Best Old-School DJ: John Digweed
Dude's still got it.  But then again, was he spinning records?  Does anyone anymore?  Whatever he was doing, he was projecting some deep, thumpy progressive house, and had the crowd moving.  Mostly an older crowd, but some musically enlightened millennials in there as well.  They've also nearly doubled the size of the Yuma tent, and have added a chill room and giant chill mattresses along some of the walls.

Best Show By Something Other Than the Artist: Sia
I don't know what I was expecting with Sia, I hadn't seen her since I saw her (two nights in a row, once at Coachella and then the next night at the now-defunct 'Cane's in San Diego), and I hadn't really followed her music much.  I liked her, but just never took the time.  She never moved during the entire set, and her bisected bangs (one half black, the other bleach blonde) hid her eyes for the entire performance.  She had several different dancers on stage with her, doing contemporary dances while Sia belted it out.  Her voice was narrowly edged out for the next award though...

Best Music For the Sunshine: Kamasi Washington
As I didn't see any of the reggae offerings (there were at least three by my count), Kamasi Washington had the music that best seemed to fit the sunshine.  He and his band recorded eight other albums while they were recording his three-CD epic, The Epic, one of which comes out soon.  Acoustic Bassist Miles Mosley led the group singing Abraham from this one, which really got the crowd stirred up.

Most Guest Stars: Disclosure
I didn't know it was Lorde who came out to sing with them, and I didn't know Lion Babe.  I didn't stick around for Kwebs (who I don't know either) or Sam Smith (who I do), but Lorde did a great job with her song, and Disclosure was solid.  I couldn't get too close, but where I was it was a nonstop party the entire time, including a circle people cleared so one guy could do ballet moves to the music.

No More Awards To Give But Wanted to Mention:  Autolux, Bob Moses, CHVRCHES, Dubfire, HÆLOS, Silversun Pickups, Wolf Alice
Autolux are sort of a cross between shoegaze and noise, and they're good.  I liked their set, didn't love it but wasn't disappointed.  Bob Moses is someone I want to check out more, they sound a lot like Trent Reznor singing over a house / progressive house kick drum.  I only caught three songs from CHVRCHES, two from the new album and the closer, The Mother We Share.  The two from the new album were really good.  I wasn't immediately struck with their latest album, Every Open Eye, but I'm going to listen with new ears and an open mind.  I only saw bits and pieces of Dubfire (Live), but I think it's got potential.  Super, super minimal techno, but it had a warmth to it somehow.   HÆLOS could have won the First Big Nice Surprise award, as they were the second full act we saw Friday, and rocked. Silversun Pickups were pretty good, they didn't do a lot I knew but I liked most of their songs.  Wolf Alice sounded great, especially their first song (which reminded me of Star Sail from the first Verve album, you know, the one when they were fucking phenomenal) and their last song, Moaning Lisa Smile, kicked ass more than most bands' entire sets.  Listening to them now on Spotify makes me like them even more.

So that's pretty much it for this year.  I finally got another review up, hooray!  I think I've earned myself a cookie.  Did I miss anything?  Oh yeah, Mbongwa Star.  They're really good as well, go check them out.

Now go get ready, presale for Coachella 2017 should be in about a month.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

So Professional -

Welcome to a new series where I point out how awfully stupid people are on the Innernets.

I found this on, June 16, 2014.


Monday, January 4, 2016

Coachella 2016 Poster - v 1.0

Here 'tis.  A few thoughts:


  • LCD Soundsystem.  Wow, wow, wow.
  • Underworld.  Saw them once and they were amazing until the last track, which sucked.  I'd love to see them again.
  • Sufjan Stevens.  Awesome, never seen 'em.
  • M83.  Always amazing, though last time they weren't loud enough.
  • St. Germain.  Haven't seen them since my first Coachella in 2000.  Looking forward to it.
  • Parov Stelar.  Really bummed he didn't make it a few years back, so great to see he's booked.
  • Nora En Pure.  Oh man, love me some Nora En Pure, at least the production work.


  • Guns 'n Roses.  I'd see 'em.
  • Grimes.  Fuck yeah Grimes.
  • CHVRCHES.  I kinda burned out on them, but I'll see if I can burn back in.
  • Lush.  LUSH. OH MY GOD.  LUSH.  WOW. L-U-S-H.
  • Bat For Lashes.  My highlight of the day she played a few years back, possibly my highlight of the festival.
  • The Damned.  I'd see 'em.


  • John Digweed.  After Nick Warren, probably my favorite DJ of all time.
  • TOKiMONSTA.  Loved her before, anything on Brainfeeder.
  • Nosaj Thing.  I've heard good things.

Fuck yeah, Coachella.  Overall, nice work.  A little light on Sunday and I'm sure I'll be transformed into a stream of profanity Friday, but yeah.

It's Coachella season again.  The happiest time of the year.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Coachella 2015 Review (Weekend 2)

This year went faster than ever before. I'm never sure how we let it slip away so quickly, but somehow making it through Coachella number 15 without the usual nightly cramps and other assorted sore muscles made the time speed by even more quickly.  It's almost anticlimactic, usually I feel like I left it all out there, but this year I'm not so sure.  I've decided to put my public service announcement warning about the evils of Holiday Motel Indio in another post to keep this review relatively positive (for this site at least), but please, DO NOT BOOK THE HOLIDAY MOTEL IN INDIO!  You'll thank me later.


On the bright side, Friday and Saturday were chock full of fantastic music.  We stuck pretty much to the original plan on day one, Checking out The Ghost of a Sabre Tooth Tiger on the Outdoor Theatre first thing. This is Sean Lennon's band, and man does the kid look like dad.  Turns out they almost didn't make their set time and started the set pretty jittery, explaining that they had a hard time convincing the security guard that they actually were legit.  They drew a good sized crowd for as early as they were on, and sounded sort of like an early 60's psychedelic throwback band.

Haerts were up next in Mojave, and that's the way they spell their name.  A decent poppy band led by a female singer with a decent voice.  Not sure what else to say about them but I figured we were pretty much two for two so far at that point.

Stayed in Mojave for The Reverend Horton Heat, where we witnessed the first of the earmarked of this year's festival, the mosh pit.  Yes kids, it's back. Get all that sexual frustration. You feel out by shoving and knocking around a gaggle of your fellow repressed knuckleheads.  Rev even commented, "you know, sometimes I feel like the ritual of the mosh pit is a bit passé... That is, until I see a crowd like you."  The Rev hasn't lost a thing, and between his rockabilly prowess and his snarky wit, put on a hell of a good show.

We walked around for a bit after that and found ourselves in the unfortunate position of being between Action Bronson and Allah-Las.  By that I mean we could hear them both, and there were no winners.  "Let's get the hell away from this," Mike suggested, and we found somewhere to be where we weren't forced to ear-smell this musical sewage.

Yuma Tent in the Afternoon

Well, sort of. We actually ended up sitting before Ab-Soul, a hip hop act. So when he started up, we bailed, preferring to sit in the hot sun and wait for Charles Bradley and his Extraordinaires.  Bradley might have been the second oldest performer of the weekend (other than Micharl Gira from Swans), but if I look and move as well as he does when I'm 67, sign me up.  This guy brought the house down with his gospely, anmes Brownesque voice and commanding stage presence.  His band, The Extrordinaires, were killing it as well. A two piece horn section that sounds like four is enough to sell these guys, and speaks to the talent of the ensemble overall.

Charles Bradley and his Extraordinaires

Headed over to Gobi next and caught the last couple of songs by Kimbra of Gotye / Somebody I Used To Know fame.  A great performer and the music didn't offend.  Ride was our destination though, and as predicted, there were virtually no hangers-out from her show to Ride.  While this wasn't one of the better-attended performances of the weekend, it was definitely one of those core choices of lineup that keep people like me coming back every year.  Ride were a seminal shoegaze band back in the early 1990's, and one of those bands I never thought I'd see live.  It's been a great six years or so of the revival of the genre, with My Bloody Valentine's reunion, album MBV and tour, and finally their Coachella debut kicking off the whole thing.  Since then we've seen Swervedriver come out of hiding and even Slowdive do a reunion tour last fall.  Ride sounds pretty much exactly like they did back when they recorded tracks like Vapour Trail and Leave Them All Behind (both played in their Friday set as well), so if you get the chance, for god's sake check them out.


We managed to catch the tail end of The War On Drugs on the Coachella stage, which was great since we weren't going to miss Ride for anything.  As I learned last weekend watching the stream, TWOD is a fantastic live rock band, just don't try to listen to them at the gym.  Alabama Shakes on the Outdoor Theatre was what we were heading to, another find from the weekend 1 stream.  This lady is one of the greatest gospelesque voices to come out of popular music in the last ten years, so pay attention.  Songs like Don't Wanna Fight remind one of the greats of soul (think Aretha), and Be Mine reaches a state of almost Baptist church revival-like intensity.  Awesome backup singers as well, not to mention the musicians.

The last part of Friday for me was a little schizophrenic.  Headed to Gorgon City, yet another find from the YouTube stream from seven days prior.  Lesson learned for next year:  Keep doing the research!  These guys are billed as UK Garage (rhymes with "carriage") but it's still house music to me.  One male and one female singer for the most part, and each did their part to create an irresistible atmosphere for dancing.  Although they didn't bring out Jennifer Hudson for the closer, Keep On Dancin', the female singer did come out in a pretty revealing get up and melted the hearts and ears of the crowd, so that was pretty cool too.  I cannot stress this enough.  If you're into live dance music with a serious hit of soul, this is your new favorite band.

 After Gorgon City I headed over to catch what was left of Caribou.  Dan Snaith's electronic dancey project has changed a lot since I saw them at The Casbah on The Milk Of Human Kindness tour back in 2005/'06, and I have to say I love what he's done with the place.  Apparently, so did the crowd.  It was a huge, pulsating one (that's what she said) that moved in time with the music like it was its shadow.

Next up was Flying Lotus (or as we call him FlyLo), but as soon as I realized this set was going to give a serious nod to the rap genre, I knew it was time to look for another tent.  I really wish I'd checked him out on Until the Quiet Comes, but this isn't the tour (or possibly the album) for me to get more into him.  So I headed over to see Todd Terje and the Olsens, who were doing a pretty phenomenal job in Gobi.  Not a huge crowd, but great music, and the dedicated fans and lucky curious folk like me were treated to a pretty original experience.  I also caught a little bit of Porter Robinson from the very very back of the Sahara tent, but they're reconfigured Sahara so there are no speakers in the back anymore, which really sucked.  However, I think the reason they did that was because they moved The Do Lab over by Sahara, which I think was high time they did.  Why the fuck would you put The Do Lab smack-dab in the middle of everything for so many years?  It's cool to look at, the music is usually good, and it's an institution, admittedly, but it should never be in danger of drowning out one of the other stages.  Anyway, as a result of this, I couldn't hear Porter Robinson and that was too bad.

For my final planned show of the night, I checked out Squarepusher, who seemed to dare people to stick around to listen to him.  Coming out in something that looked like a beekeeper's outfit (if there were bees on other planets) and working a mixer and two laptops, the techno legend treated us to a bevvy of what I can only describe as drum and bass and tech.  Maybe a little backwash from the dubstep era was in there, but I'd say he influenced that genre, definitely not the other way around.

After about 30 minutes of Squarepusher I felt like my insides had been rearranged, so I stepped out of the tent to try to squish them back into place.  Texting Mike revealed what I'd figured / feared, he and Dave were packed in at AC/DC and were loving it.  They got lucky enough to get pairs of the flashing, glowing horns they'd passed out at the start of the show and were wearing them proudly when I finally caught up with them around 12:30 AM.  While they were thoroughly impressed by the whole thing, I would have preferred leaving my experiences with the band back in 1989 when I saw them.  Angus was great, but Brian Jones' voice sounds like shaggy ass singing through static.  Not in a good way.  Points for trying, but between the vocals and the flaccid cannon fires during For Those About To Rock, I gotta say their best days are long behind them.  Sorry, true fans, but you know it's the truth.  Bon Scott era is greater than Brian Jones Era, and early BJ is greater than late BJ.  It's simple math.


I felt a lot more human waking up for day 2 of the festy, and after the usual breakfast at Denny's with the unusually long wait, we were back on the polo field by 12:30.  The funny thing about Denny's is that the manager that's always there is so zen about everything.  He and our waitress did their best to keep our coffee cups filled while we waited 30 minutes for our food (after waiting almost 20 to order), and when we mentioned it seemed to be taking a really long time for the food to come out, he only replied, "Yeah, well..." and walked away.

I checked out Bixel Boys long enough to realize that they probably should have been murdered at birth.  Acapella sample from Don't Look Back In Anger by Oaisis?  Guy yelling, "Yeah!  Yeah!" up on stage to pump up the crowd?  Annoying EDM quirky repetative samples?  Check all three boxes.  The perfect shitstorm in Sahara.

I checked out Tourist as well, caught the tail end of their set and thought they had promise, but once again, the lack of real singers left something to be desired.  Still, they're good, so check 'em out if you like the dancey-dancey.

Mike's first pick of the day was Parquet Courts.  He said they sounded nothing like their album, but these guys were one of the most creative, original bands I heard/saw all weekend.  The best way to describe them is to say they sound like Talking Heads, if Talking Heads had been dropped as a baby.  On its head.  They also had this great range, everything from spoken word to New York City pit-inspiring punk.  I'd see them live again but I'm scared to listen to their album.

After this, we had the amazingly good fortune to hear another live house music act ripping it up on the main stage, but we didn't head over just yet.  I'd previously said I wanted to see Lights because the singer was hot.  I will now make the first retraction ever on San Diego Radio Sucks : The chick from Lights is not hot.  About two minutes into the first song, I turned to Mike and said, "OK, so this music's kinda crap.  Let's go somewhere else."  Dave asked Mike, "Where are we going?"  To which Mike replied, "Anywhere but here."  Well said, Mike.

It was because of this excellent choice in a weekend of excellently poor choices that led us to Clean Bandit, yet another live house music band.  This one's a bit twisted though.  In addition to live musicians and singers, they've got live strings.  At one point, they broke into something fit for a French king's dinner service, and Mike's jaw dropped.  "That's HAYDN."  Pretty impressive, to say the least, and the singers hold their end of the bargain as well.  I hope one of these days we get a stage with nothing but bands like Clean Bandit and Gorgon City.

I caught enough of Cashmere Cat to wish I was deaf before heading over to Carl Craig.  The legendary Detroit techno icon opened his set with Fly Like An Eagle by Steve Miller Band, which sounds weird.  However, if you listen to that song in this type of context, you realize just how soulful that song is.  After that, it was a relentless four by four booty shakin' good time.  While I was bummed to have to miss Jungle, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to see one of the guys who started an entire genre of music, and from my hometown, no less.

Carl Craig

I saw enough of Belle and Sebastian to confirm my belief that they haven't put out anything good since Fold Your Hands Child... and headed over to alt-J on the main stage.  Sadly, I couldn't get very close, and I was around enough assholes who just wanted to talk loudly over the music that I split after half the set was over.  This was just after Father John Misty took the stage at Outdoor, and I was pleasantly surprised to be a part of that crowd.

The next act we had to see was FKA Twigs in Gobi, and I got a text from Mike that he was already there.  "Help," it read, "I'm being violated by The Gaslamp Killer."  What I saw of this dude was actually pretty inspiring and original.  When I first got there, he was introducing the band and ranting in the most energizing way I've ever heard.  "Every single one of you motherfuckers was born for a reason!  Don't ever let any other person define your destiny!  When I was in school, my teachers told me that I was a waste.  They told me I'd never amount to anything.  Well look at me now, motherfuckers!"  The 15-piece band played one more quick song, sounding a lot like something out of a John Zorn project with TGK scribbling at the turntables the whole time and looking like an escaped mental patient.  The Gaslamp Killer Experience delivered what it promised, I'll say.  An experience.
FKA Twigs

I have to say FKA Twigs is about the best new music I've heard in as long as I can remember, and she didn't disappoint live.  My expectations were about as unrealistically high for her as they were for Portishead, and they were exceeded in a similar manner.  An apt comparison, as their music isn't so different in many ways, but the performance was night and day.  She contorts herself in the sexiest way while she's hitting Every.  Single.  Note.  Perfectly.  Her voice is an instrument, and to compare her to Beth Gibbons or Bjork isn't out of the question.  It was literally so good I had tears streaming down my face.  If you haven't checked out the new empress of trip-hop, please do yourself a favor and buy everything she's ever done.  Go ahead.  I'll wait.

FKA Twigs
FKA Twigs (photo by Mike)

FKA Twigs (photo by Mike)

FKA Twigs (photo by Mike)

FKA Twigs (photo by Mike)

FKA Twigs (photo by Mike)

Mike stayed for Drive Like Jehu, who he said were one of his favorites on the day, while I bopped over to Mojave to see SBTRKT.  I wasn't sure what to expect, but it was more of this semi-live dance music that's permeated the festival this year in the most wonderful way.  SBTRKT was really, really good, great even, but the one thing I'd like to see from him would be live singers.  You add live singers to that act, and SBTRKT is going to be a real contender for the highlight of the day in the future.

Drive Like Jehu (photo by Mike)

Drive Like Jehu (photo by Mike)

After that, headed back to Gobi for Swans.  Michael Gira is like 70 years old, and most of the people in Swans look like they're gnarled up like a beef jerky dog toy, but these guys are not your father's or grandfather's 70.  If you like drone music, these guys pretty much invented it.  Or at least they're the oldest still-performing pioneers of the genre.  Although they seemed to mostly play a single chord the entire performance, I can't make the joke that the show was a little "one-note." ;)

Swans (photo by Mike)

Swans (photo by Mike)

Swans (photo by Mike)

Swans (photo by Mike)

Swans (photo by Mike)

Swans (photo by Mike)


Sadly, all good things must end, and this year I felt that the greatest things ended on Saturday.  Sorry, Sunday lovers, there just wasn't much for me.  tINI was throwing down some great minimal house vinyl in Yuma, and that was pretty much exactly what I expected in the best possible way.  M∅ was really, really good, possibly even great.  I didn't see that being the highlight until the day was over though, and I'd seen the second half of Panda Bear (which was actually really cool and trippy), and parts of Built To Spill (not my style) Marina and the Diamonds (really good but not quite great), Madeon (who actually was amazing but I couldn't get out of the entryway to Sahara, and it was a big pain in the ass to have people passing by me the whole time), Philip Selway (drummer for Radiohead, who played very quiet music while very loud music spewed in from every direction) Florence and the Machine (a predictably subdued set given her broken foot and scant 30-minute time slot, even though it ended with a duet with Father John Misty) and ODESZA (sounded great but couldn't get close enough to even get into the back of the tent).


Panda Bear
Philip Selway

The only act I'm conflicted about from Sunday is St. Vincent.  There were  a couple of songs I really, really liked, and when I heard her back at the motel, I liked what I heard, but overall her show just didn't click with me.  I watched the whole thing, so there's something there for sure, but I'll have to return to that at another time.  She's a great performer, but not being familiar with her music I've been told is to not really get it.  She's a grower, not a shower, as an artist.

And that's pretty much everything.  We got back to the motel in record time, and were even allowed to turn up streets we couldn't on Friday and Saturday because the traffic was so light.  Sunday's crowd seemed like about half the size of Friday and Saturday, so that was too bad as well.  However, it sort of confirms my statement that the great acts were spread very thinly, if at all, on Sunday this year.

Holiday Motel in Indio, CA - The Biggest Shithole In the Desert

Coachella is designed to be a weekend of choices, many of them first world problems that have no wrong or bad answer.  Choosing a motel, however, is not like that.

Undoubtedly, the worst choice we made over weekend 2 for Coachella 2015 was booking Holiday Motel in Indio, where we were charged more money than The Paris Hilton to stay in a dangerous, run down shithole conveniently located in the middle of what must be Indio's D-list hooker street. Not just that, but when we got back Sunday night tarred and feathered with sunscreen and polo field dirt, we found that the room hadn't even been cleaned. No fresh towels, nothing.

Also, they use real keys instead of the standard plastic cards that most civilized places have these days.  This would be fine if the keys they gave you actually performed the function of locking the door, which as far as I'm concerned is the only thing keys really need to do.

Seriously, we're lucky we weren't killed, kidnapped, or worse staying at that nightmare.

Thanks for nothing you soulless fucks.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

One Day 'til Coachella - Answer Key 2015

I haven't been blogging much this year, mostly because I'm busier than a penicillin shot in a whorehouse after the navy's docked and there was a Viagra festival at the same time, but also because we've got weekend two tickets, and I couldn't be arsed to pick how many days it was until Coachella.  Well, now tis the night before day one of weekend two, so there's officially only three more days of the festy left this year, and I figured I should contribute something other than my sunburned wasted ass to the event.

I got inspired by a simple post I wrote back in 2009, I liked that I could imitate the format and I wouldn't have to think too hard to do it.  So here goes.



Los Rakas is about the only thing on early I've heard anything of, and that was just a snippet so it could be good or not.  I promised a friend I'd check out Ghost of A Saber Tooth Tiger.  It's John Lennon's kid's band, and man, does Sean look like dad these days.  Not sure what they sound like but we'll find out. I'm probably going to skip Action Bronson, he's on Vice Records, which is cool, but just doesn't seem like he's going to be anything more special than a blood fart.


Sylvan Esso did a pretty cool set we watched on the stream for weekend one, so that's a possibility, and even though Kimbra got mixed reviews from my friends, I thought she would be worth checking out in Gobi.  Charles Bradley and his Extraordinaires is  the first act I'm really stoked to see.  This guy's voice could melt edible panties, or real ones.  We actually bought tickets to FYF Fest just to see him, but didn't end up going through with the plan.  Ride is a band I've been waiting to see since the early 1990's, and from what I've seen and heard online, they haven't lost a thing over the years.  It's going to be heartbreaking to miss Lykke Li, but I'm going to have to miss most of it in favor of Alabama Shakes.  Damn, that chick can SANG!  But they're up against Jon Hopkins, which I'll likely miss most of in Yuma.


Gorgon City was a find from watching weekend one on the stream, supposedly UK Garage but it's all house music as far as I'm concerned.  I could easily stay right there in the Gobi tent for the rest of the nights - Todd Terje and the Olsens might be a surprise, and I'm definitely going to catch Squarepusher, but I'm probably going to miss Todd T for Flying Lotus (as we call him, FlyLo).  Also, I've heard Porter Robinson absolutely killed it in Sahara, and it really looks and sounds like Sahara is turning a corner this year and actually putting on a significant amount of not dogshit acts.

Then I'll go find my drunken fucking friends at AC/DC and finish it out with a dustbowl parking lot Tecate and the slow crawl back to the roach motel.



Bixel Boys in Sahara, just to represent for Detroit. Parquet Courts because my man Mike likes 'em and his taste in music is above average.  Bad Religion is the first act of the day I'm totally stoked on.  Their first time at the 17 year-old desert ass-fest, and they destroyed on the stream weekend one.   Cashmere Cat sounded good from what I heard, but I didn't hear much.  Chet Faker was another find from the stream, he's got a popular song but I won't hold that against him.


Jungle was another live house music act I didn't know before last weekend, so I'll likely check some of them out and totally catch some Carl Craig.  It's a Detroit kinda day.  Glass Animals are cool, but up against a lot of quality acts, including Alt-J and Father John Misty 


FKA Twigs is really the one act I absolutely can't miss.  Her two records, LP1 and EP2 are absolutely fantastic.  SBTRKT might be a good late night starter before hitting  Swans, my close-second must-see act of 2015.  They don't even take the stage until 12:05 AM, so that sucks, but we'll be fine.  We've survived every other time.



We'll wake up with that "what the fuck happened?" feeling, wondering how we could have possibly let 2/3 of the party go by without anything more than a hangover, tinnitus and sore-ass muscles.  Something tells me we're going to miss Sloan at 11:55, because we never get there early enough to catch the one good act they put on way too early on Sunday.  I always make a point to check out Alf Alpha.  I'm not sure if he's this dude I met in a Wal-Mart parking lot a few years ago, but I kinda think he might be.  Anyway, when I tweet to him, he tweets back, and that's pretty cool.  tINI in Yuma should be good minimal housey stuff, and M∅ sounded like she could be an awesome answer to the 95-degree heat they're predicting for Sunday.  I might have to miss part of Panda Bear to do it, so I hope she's really good and it's worth it or she sucks and I can catch PB's full set.


I promised a friend I'd check out his buds in Circa Survive, though I don't know much about them.  Built to Spill seems like a reasonable choice for the next act, and then I'll likely eat food for the first time that weekend and catch some of Jason Bentley or Marina and the Diamonds.  I like Oh No! from Just Dance, so maybe the latter.


Madeon's one I've been wanting to see for quite some time, he can play a Novation Launchpad like an instrument so that should be cool, Philip Selway was recommended to me not as the drummer from Radiohead, but as good mellow music as a palate cleanser.  Mike likes St. Vincent, as do many other people, so I'll almost definitely give her a shot.  Next, ODESZA probably makes sense, and finally, Florence + the Machine + her broke-ass foot.  Thanks for giving the show of your life last weekend, Flo.  I'd love to think we'll be up to stay to the bitter end for Kygo, but I know us and I know that's just not going to happen, so I'll settle for several beers and one more nap before it's all over.

Sorry this post kind of turned into just a bunch of names, but that's what happens when you don't blog for like a fucking year and then get all amped up about the best music festival in the universe.

Be good to each other, people, and if you can't be good, at least don't get caught.  And know when to shut the fuck up.  People are trying to experience euphoria, and that doesn't come with a side of you talking in their ear while they're trying to hear the music.

See you on the other side.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Antony and the Johnsons - I Am A Bird Now

I've got a shitload of music, and this album has never been too far from my turntables.  I pulled it out the other night to listen to track one, Hope There's Someone, and decided to listen to the whole thing in its entirety tonight for no other reason than it's fucking awesome and I love it.

With collaborators like Rufus Wainwright, Boy George, and for fuck's sake Lou Reed, it could be heralded as a fantastic effort in its own right.  However, what really makes this is Antony's raw openness, his willingness to bare all, stand naked in front of the audience and take whatever comes.

What it stands for is as powerful as the emotions it evokes.  And Antony is the only artist I've ever, ever compared to Bjork as far as vocal control.  And that's saying something.