San Diego Radio Sucks Quite A Bit

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Coachella 2013 Review - Saturday

Coachella 2013 did not disappoint.  Coachella is like pizza or sex though, you can never get enough of it, and even when it's not great, it's still better than a sharp stick in the eye.  This year, I was so busy with that little annoyance called "life" (everything that happens between Coachellas) that I didn't have time to really anticipate the festival.  That's why Saturday came as such an amazing surprise.

I was hoping we'd get in early enough to hear some of Abjo on the Outdoor Theatre, but alas, we only made it in time to check out Mona in Mojave.  Mona has one song I really love called Shooting the Moon. It sounds like cock rock or Billy Squier or some shit, but I love Billy Squier, and that song reminds me of him.  The rest of their performance sounded ok but nothing I'd go out of my way for.

Next up, we checked out Wild Nothing, who were actually really, really good.  Less chill than I'd remembered them from listening to their album Nocturne, but well-placed in the Mojave tent in the early afternoon.

The four of us then decided to head out to the car for a few beers.  The day was hot, but not the Coachella-sweat-your-balls-off hot we sometimes get. It was more like hot-we're-in-the-desert-and-doesn't-a-beer-sound-great-right-now kind of hot.  As not giving into our urges this weekend was a non-starter and we didn't want to pay $9 USD for a cup of beer, we opted for the half mile round trip to the car.

I usually don't drink at the festy, but those two Tecates with lime juice hit the spot.  I'm not sure if it was worth the line we had to stand in getting back into the festival, though.  Note to self:  most douchebags start trying to enter the polo field around 3:30 in the afternoon.

It took about 40 minutes for us to get through the line, with too many morons yelling, "2 Chainz!" for us to even consider heading over to see them.  I guess they're the group that does that song Popped A Molly (I'm Sweatin').  Noted.

We heard a little bit of Dropkick Murphys, who surprised us all by proclaiming that "If it weren't for a band called The Pogues there wouldn't be a band called Dropkick Murphys!"  No shit?  Anyway, they brought out the guitarist from The Pogues for a song but we didn't see it.  Pogues minus herion equals Dropkick Murphys?  Well...

We headed over to Mojave for Bat For Lashes.  I reviewed them for this site a while back, as they were the first act confirmed for Coachella 2013.  I picked up their latest album The Haunted Man, and while it's not the type of thing I normally listen to, I couldn't stop spinning this one.  I wasn't sure how it was going to translate to a festival atmosphere, because I kind of put Natasha Khan's voice in the same category as Sarah McLachlan - beautiful, but a little precious.

 Bat For Lashes (photo by Mike)

I was floored to hear how powerful this woman could sing.  In person, she reminded me more of Bjork, with all her controlled force and a literally note-perfect performance.   And despite having the entire crowd fawning over her, she exhibited the kind of grace and humility that is rare and refreshing to find in a musician as accomplished as she is.

 Bat For Lashes

When she sang Lilies, the lead-off track from her latest album, and belted out the lyric, "Thank God I'm alive," she sang it with such conviction and strength that she could have been reading it from a tome of religious material.  She engaged the crowd, made great use of the stage, and did some of her own percussion.  Surprisingly, Bat For Lashes was the number one highlight of the weekend for me because my fairly high hopes were obliterated, exceeded, transcended.

Our next trek was over to the main stage to watch Violent Femmes.  Mike sarcastically mentioned, "I hope they play some hits," to which I replied, "They don't have anything but hits!"  And sure enough, they proceeded to play their entire first album, in its entirety, entirely.  Front to back.  They even quipped that they'd never done that before.  I'm not 100% sure if that was the truth or if they were messing with us but in the end I didn't care.  That debut album is one that will live on forever in the minds and hearts (and livers) of all of us who were in junior high, high school or college.  And there were plenty of younger people there as well.

 Violent Femmes

The thing that sucked about it was that they slowed down every song significantly.  It didn't have the energy of the original band.  I saw (well, heard) the Femmes back in the mid 90's in the Gaslamp Quarter here in San Diego.  They were part of the superbowl festivities back when we hosted the big game.  When they started, the sound was fucked, and they only got it fixed after four songs in.  They decided they were going to start the entire set over, delighting the crowd.

But at Coachella this year, it was great, but not as fantastic as I was hoping.  Some acts haven't lost a step (see: Dinosaur Jr.) but these guys admittedly have.  "We haven't played a show together in six years," Gordon Gano quipped, "every six years or so they let us out." They performed the songs well, it just sounded like you had half a finger dragging on the record the whole time.

We really tried to make it over to check out part of Portugal, The Man for a bit, but we really only got to hear one song on our way to check out Grizzly Bear, who were my must-see of Saturday.  These guys are just phenomenal, and I remember vividly fighting my way through the crowd to catch a glimpse of their set a few years back when they'd just released their third album, Veckatimest.  While they were wonderful this year, I suspect they idle at wonderful.  It wasn't the literally awesome, earth-shaking, faith-questioning show I caught half of three years ago, but it was still pretty great.  This was to be a theme this year, but not the predominant theme (see: Phoenix).

 Grizzly Bear

We had a little time between sets, so we were able to catch a little bit of Spiritualized.  We only caught Electricity and the very beginning of my all-time favorite Spiritualized track, Shine A Light.  

 Coachella 2013 - Nighttime

We wanted to stay 'cuz Jason and crew sounded amazing, but we knew we needed to get into position for The Postal Service.  "This is an imaginary band called The Postal Service," Ben Gibbard proclaimed, and while the band may have only recently materialized in the physical sense, they sounded like a fairly well-practiced group on their virgin tour.  As far as I know, Give Up is their only album, which was released about ten years ago. Listening to them play, I never realized how much I loved them, or how many of their songs were part of the atmosphere I've lived in for the past decade.  I did have to move around a bit to get away from some fuckwits who just decided to talk and hang out because it was cool to be at the main stage.  Note to anyone who thinks this is cool:  STOP READING THIS AND CARVE OUT YOUR VOCAL CORDS AND REPRODUCTIVE ORGANS NOW.  You don't need to breed.  Yuck.  Your children would be like the most annoying people ever.

I wish I'd had time to catch some of Moby's DJ set, because our friends watching online said it was really mindblowing, as did the girls we met before the too-good-to-be-true Parov Stelar set (read:  Parov Stelar band cancelled).  Apparently Moby prepared for this set by remembering his days DJing in New York.  If more than 30 people were dancing, he got paid. If less than 30 people were dancing, he didn't get paid.  "He was spinning actual records!" Our correspondent Bere reported.  It's a little sad that this was such a revelation, but that's the way it is these days, and by all accounts, he destroyed Sahara with a combination of techno, breaks, and probably a lot more than that.  Supposedly, this is his entire DJ set from SoundCloud:

However, getting close enough to be in the best part of the crowd for Two Door Cinema Club was totally worth it.  I discovered this band's debut album, Tourist History, when preparing for Coachella a few years ago.  However, there was a heartbreaking choice to make, and I didn't get to see them.  That album is one of three I can think of in my life that I've been able to play on repeat for weeks.

Their set was a nonstop parade of hits.  Even the songs I wasn't familiar with compelled me to dance like a loon.  Luckily, I wasn't alone.  I couldn't stop moving with the crowd, singing along to all the songs I knew, and listening to the rest of the crowd sing the songs I didn't.  I could tell their follow-up record was worth getting (it's on its way here now) and I regretted not doing even more homework on this excellent band from Northern Ireland before the show.

As they ripped through the songs, the crowd began to take on a family-like atmosphere, exchanging glances while jumping around, smiling, laughing and really feeling what Coachella is supposed to be like.  I knew there was one song they hadn't played before their finale, but I couldn't put my finger on it.  The singer proclaimed, "Coachella, we've been a band since 2007, and we've been looking forward to tonight more than any other show in our lives.  But tonight, you've made this not just the best show of our careers, but a night we'll never forget."

"I can tell it's what you want," he sang over a sparse chord,
"You don't want to be alone, you don't want to be alone," the crowd responded.

"And I can't say it's what you know," he continued,
"But you've known it the whole time, Yeah you've known it the whole time," we answered.

One of the best moments of the festival followed, with everyone dancing as a single entity, singing, trying to hold it together, because we knew the set was about to end.

Even though I'd considered leaving after this set, I was so invigorated,  I demanded we try to squeeze just a little more life out of Saturday night.

Oh, and here's their full set in high quality:


We headed through the dense crowd for Phoenix, as Rick kinda wanted to see them, I'd already seen New Order, and Mike and Dave were outvoted (Mike voted for New Order, Dave for bourbon - the drink, not the band).  The sea of legs, arms and torsos got thick enough that eventually we had to just stop moving and wait.  None of us wanted to stay for their entire set, and it was a good thing we didn't because I would have been epically pissed off if I had.

 The rumor mill had been churning out hints that the reason Phoenix landed the coveted Saturday headliner slot was because they'd bring out Daft Punk.  I guess the old Innernets don't realize that France is a pretty big place, and even though Phoenix had done it recently in New York, I was skeptical that lightening would strike twice.

While I like Phoenix, and had an amazing time experiencing their set a few years back on the Outdoor stage, this time around just never seemed to reach that fever pitch; it didn't even come close.  Part of it must have been that expectations were unrealistically high.  I also think some portion of it had to do with the fact that their new album wasn't slated to release until well after Coachella, which can be a bad omen.  Finally, while their performance in 2010 felt like an intimate, communal experience, this one felt cold, distant, and corporate, with little sense of the crowd coming together.

After an hour or so, we started working our way back through the crowd through the legions of swaying fans, even one numbskull dressed in a Daft Punk suit.  Oh man, this guy must have been disappointed when the big "moment" was not the French electronic duo, but R. Kelly?  And why when you type R Kelly into Google Suggest does it come up with "R Kelly piss" as the SECOND SUGGESTION?!  DOUBLE WTF?!?!

We made it back to the '6 in record time, indulging enough to not only celebrate the two days behind us, but to absolutely destroy any chances of feeling good until well into Sunday.

But hey, it's Coachella, right?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Coachella 2013 Review - Friday

PK-107 Mantis by Poetic Kinetics, Los Angeles

We had our hopes up pretty high for Coachella this year.  Even for someone like me who had been to 11 previous Coachella festivals, this lineup looked like it had the potential to really deliver.  And outside of an unfortunate cancellation and a few growing pains, this was near the very top of my list as best-of Coachellas of all time.

We started off the weekend as we normally do, with a trip to the Indio Denny's and Food 4 Less to replenish the beer supply we'd decimated the night before.  We had a couple of festy virgins with us, and it was our pleasure to indoctrinate them into the family of Coachella.

We gave them the opinion that we were pros at this, that we knew what to expect.  We knew the ins and outs of the festival, having almost 20 years of Coachella experience between us.  We were the kings of Indio.

A lack of parking signs made us look like we had our heads waaaay far up our keesters.

I have no idea what happened that first day, but we asked three different people (a security guard, a parking attendant, and a cop) where we were supposed to go to park.  Every other year we've just driven down Monroe and pulled straight into a parking lot.  This year, the lots were on Avenue 52, and for whatever reason, no one seemed to know where to go.

As we realized we were driving into the next town over, we flipped a bitch, and headed back toward the parking lot.  Finally, the map and a particularly alert (read: NOT FUCKING BRAIN DEAD) parking lot attendant waved us in.  Goldenvoice take note:  You need to up your parking lot sign budget.

Parking lot 14E all three days, baby.  Half a mile's walk and we're in, no lines, no muss, no fuss.

Headed over to Gobi for the annual lie on the grass in the shade and chill fest to the sweet sounds of Santiago Chile's Moustache.  I saw so many people with some sort of Moustache tribute wear, from velvety, felty fake facial hair on the upper lips of young girls, to hats with the iconic shape on them.  It was delicious, melty beats in the Indio desert sun, and I was happily amazed to see so many people paying tribute.  Not just on Friday, but throughout the weekend.  A pretty amazing testament to the first act in Gobi on a Friday.

Between sets, we met this guy who does what I'd call "ethnic-themed humorous rap music."  Seemed like a nice guy, but said he was playing The Casbah in May and I'm not seeing him anywhere on the schedule.  I told him I'd plug him, and the offer still stands if he can send me a link to his upcoming San Diego show, until then, no soup for you.

We stuck around for IO Echo, who were actually pretty good.  I can't tell you exactly what they sounded like, but I liked it.  I guess I wasn't into the paying attention phase of the weekend just yet.

We had some free time, so we headed over to check out the new Yuma stage.  We walked right into the new venue, and the first thing that hit me was the sound.  It was absolutely amazing, like the WHUMP! soundsystem I used to listen to at Insomnia in Los Angeles back in 2001.  Hardwood floors, near total darkness, disco balls and an elevated DJ booth rounded out the amazing potential of this new area.  Sece was doing it up right, spinning great bumping minimal house.  Sadly, this would be the last time we were able to get into Yuma without standing in a very long line (200+ people).

 Beardyman (photo by Mike)

We finally got to check out my first anticipated act of the day, Beardyman.  I really shouldn't judge a book by its cover, because Beardyman is not a fantastic name for an artist.  However, after checking out his Edinburgh show on YouTube when I was in Italy last summer, I knew I needed to see this phenomenon in person.  Beardyman seems to have the ability to both beatbox and make notes at the same time, as if his larynx can split into two dual, but complimentary personalities.

Some in our group of four had had enough of his tomfoolery after only ten minutes, but I enjoyed every bit of it, from his wub-wub-wub of deep bass and DnB music at the beginning, to his politically incorrect rendition of an Elton John song ("Give me a plate of cocaine / And a tube of lube / And I'm gonna buttfuck you") to his finale, where he performed some gabba music, "the worst music in the world."  Not just a beatboxer, not just a comedian, not just a wonder of aural freakiness, but all of the above.  Throw in a drum machine, a keyboard and his ability to create seamless loops, and you've got Beardyman, take him or leave him.

 Stars (photo by Mike)

Next up, Montreal's Stars.  We discovered them at Coachella several years ago, and promptly bought up the two albums they'd made up to that point.  Until recently when we learned they were touring again, we didn't keep up with their output, but a quick listen on Spotify reminded us what a great act they truly were.  They may be a Belle & Sebastien spin-off band, or they may not.  Whatever they are, they're well-balanced, expertly crafted pop music, perfect for a Friday afternoon in the desert.  The first few songs felt a little rough, but that could have been because the material was less familiar to me.  The rest of the set was what I'd expected from them, upbeat, danceable, and genuine


Next was one of the biggest decisions of the weekend for me.  I decided to eschew Johnny Marr, the legendary guitarist for one of my all-time favorite bands The Smiths in order to watch the whole set from Metric.  Mike saw Johnny, so here's one of his pictures.  He said he was excellent, and even ended the set with How Soon Is Now?, a Smiths cover that he himself sang (and fairly well, at that).

Johnny Marr (photo by Mike)

I don't regret missing Johnny, because Metric's latest album Synthetica is truly fantastic.  And I'm a big fan of their older stuff as well.  In fact, they're one of the few bands I've followed with every album since they first came out.  The only gripe I have is that Emily Haines, their lead singer, is so full of herself it makes me want to vomit. 

 Emily Haines of Metric - A talented Beeyotch

 At one point she asked, "Do you want to hear me play some more songs?"  I thought, uh, isn't there a band up there with you?  And it's not like everyone's a rotating cast in that band. She started it with the guy playing bass.  She really lacks the class and grace of some other artists I saw this year, and every other year to be frank.


I reviewed a show I saw in Detroit when Metric opened up for The Stills back when they released their debut album, and I won't get into the details of that here. I'll just say she was a bit of a bitch both on stage and off when my friend and I met her.  I thought she might have grown out of that when I saw them play a few years back, right after M83 blew us all away.  However, she still thinks she's a lot better than she is, and while they sounded great, she wasn't perfect.


I do like the music, though.  And I got some decent shots so go ahead and hate on me if you want, but I calls 'em like I sees 'em.


I had a little time before the next act, Lee Scratch Perry, to scarf down dinner and get right up front for the dub legend who produced such masters as Bob Marley and a bunch of other weedhead geniuses that I'd be familiar with if I was still in college.  Fans of the genre who watched his webcast live on YouTube called his set "serious dub."  I was partial to watching the two hot backup singers he had who were stage right, and wondering how hard it would be to just put some old senile Jamacian dude up in front of us claiming it was ol' Scratch.

Lee "Scratch" Perry

Lee "Scratch" Perry

Stuck around in the Gobi tent to catch another legend, on the other side of the ganja and love spectrum, Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine.  Jello was the singer for such seminal punk bands as Dead Kennedys and Lard.  He's probably had a dozen other ones that I'm not familiar with, but over the years, he hasn't lost a beat.  Still full of piss and vinegar, and overall, conspiracy theories.  

Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine  (photo by Mike)

About halfway through the set, they performed California Uber Alles with a lot of references to Schwarzenegger, which felt a bit dated since he's been out of office for over a year.  Also, he kept referring to Obama as "The Rock Star," so I guess he's just got to be critical of everyone in government.  An equal opportunity critic, he said that as long as the infamous prison was still open, his band would share its name.

Next up was Beach House.  I wasn't sure about them, but I decided to check them out, and I'm glad I did.  Their music is fairly mellow on their records, but as the first real set of Friday after dark, they filled up the area surrounding the Outdoor Theatre with washes of reverbed euphoria.  Looking at the singer, I felt like that Frye meem from Futurama, "Can't tell if... Ugly man, or handsome woman."  I came to the conclusion that she was a fantastic, if androgynous fit for the band.  However, after the set she seemed to leave a little miffed about something.  We were about halfway between the board and the stage, not close enough to figure out what was going on. 

We split up again after that set, Mike to go check out Grinderman, me to get in position for Purity Ring.  However, on the way over, we were forced to endure the musical root canal that is TNGHT.  I reviewed them for this blog, thinking they could be good.  I'm big enough to admit that I was wrong.  While the crowd was VERY large and they seemed to be totally into it, I'm convinced that this is the music they play in hell's waiting room.  And in hell.  All pits.

 Mike said Grinderman was awesome.  Nick Cave's other project playing the festival this weekend (other than The Bad Seeds on Sunday) delivered, with Nick getting into the crowd during several songs in the set.  Here are some of his pictures.

Grinderman (photo by Mike)
Grinderman (photo by Mike)
Grinderman (photo by Mike)

I was tempted to see Blur, but in the end, opted for the album I couldn't get out of my head.  Shrines by Purity Ring has been on frequent rotation on my turntable since the day I bought it back in March.  I'm not saying their live set was the most visually stunning one of the weekend, or that there was really all that much to their set.  It sounded great, and there were some cool effects both musically and visually.  The music was what really brought it home though, and the entire crowd was definitely there to see Purity Ring, cheering ecstatically as each song started and finished.  Megan James' vocals were spot-on, rocking us like babies in a giant crib, while Corin Roddick's digital manipulations rocked us in the other sense of the word, jarring us around as if this cradle were on a rollercoaster in an earthquake.

Purity Ring

For the last show of the night, we managed to get up close and personal with Trent Reznor's latest project How To Destroy Angels.  I've been following this act since it started about three years ago, when they released their debut EP.  Made up of Reznor, producer superstar Flood and Reznor's bride Mariqueen (formerly of West Indian Girl), HTDA sounds like a more devious version of NIN's The Fragile album.  With Mariqueen singing, it almost sounds like it could be another act altogether, were it not for Trent's trademark grindings and buzzings throughout.

We figured that the stage show was going to be something special, and indeed it was.  Simple yet elegant, apparently complex and yet so elegant, the band had a series of six sets of three rows of string hanging from the ceiling in rows and columns.  When they first took the stage, it looked like the band was behind some sort of shower door glass; because the strings were so close together, you could just barely make out the shadows of the band members in the light.

How To Destroy Angels (photo by Mike)

While the stage show was stunning and the music was fantastic, I could tell that they need some polish as a live act.  Mariqueen was flat at times, and over the top at other times.  My sources tell me that these criticisms of her aren't unique or new.  One moment that comes to mind was on the nearly seven-minute track Ice Age from their latest, Welcome Oblivion.  During this performance, we got to hear perfection, pitchiness, and overdone vocals all in one song.  I do think that with more practice as a live band, they're only going to get better and better.

 How To Destroy Angels (photo by Mike)

While her performance wasn't perfect, it had some memorable moments, and was the correct way, we felt, to end our first day at the festival.

How To Destroy Angels (photo by Mike)

Monday, April 15, 2013

Coachella 2013 Review - POSTPONED

Out of respect for the victims of today's incidents in Boston, I will delay my review for now.

God forbid, this could have happened in Indio.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

10 Days 'til Coachella - Grizzly Bear

I remember the realization that we would have to split Grizzly Bear's set back in 2010.  For those of you who have been to the festy, you probably know this drill.  You have at least 2-3 times during a weekend where you have to either completely skip a band you really want to see, or you have to catch half of that act and half of another one.

A lot of times, we're so buried in a crowd we'll just say fuck it and sorrowfully accept that we're making the Sophie's Choice of the night (this invariably happens after the sun goes down).  2010 was an especially bad year for choosing, and actually this day, Friday, was one of the worst ever (see also, we had to choose between Fever Ray vs. Public Image Ltd. vs. Deadmau5).

I made sure to catch Gil Scott-Heron's set, and as it turned out, it was one of his last, god rest his amazing soul.    In order to do that, we had to cut The Specials short.  Next, I wanted to make sure we got to check out Pretty Lights, the first time I could remember true downtempo rocking the Sahara tent (and man, did it).

Finally, we made it to Grizzly Bear, about halfway through.  The tent was packed to the gills, and I remember being completely blown away by the attendance.  I had no idea that a group that is kind of known for doing more mellow stuff could be such a draw in the desert darkness.

And then the perfect four-part harmonies hit.

And then they started trading off strange and wonderful instruments between songs.

And then the roar of the crowd I'd first heard when I entered the tent made more sense.

Seeing these guys live is like, well, let me put it this way.  If you're a religious person, you've probably been told stories about some holy tome.  Let's say, the bible.  Miracles happening and all that.  I'd compare hearing or reading those stories to listening to one of their albums - fulfilling, but not life-altering.

When you watch them live, it's like the sky has opened up and some great force has entered you, destroying all expectations and leaving your psyche vivisected.

We tried to catch them at Belly Up in Solana Beach a few years ago, and we flaked on getting tickets long enough that it sold out.  That should have been a clue that they were such a force to be reckoned with in a live setting.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

19 Days 'til Coachella - Danny Avila

Wasn't this guy in that movie about the naked vampire?

Enjoy your 15 minutes, buddy.  You're the personification of everything that sucks about "EDM."

God, just listen to this musical sewage spewing from the speakers in this clip.  It's like he wants to turn the dancefloor into a waste treatment plant.  I'm pretty sure all the cheering at the end is because he's leaving.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

20 Days 'itl Coachella - The 2 Bears

The first time I heard of The 2 Bears was from NPR's best list for 2012.  I also heard of a ton of other artists from that list that won't be playing Coachella.  It's really too bad that Cody Chestnutt, Andy Stott, and any other really amazing artists with a double consonant thing going on didn't make the lineup, but at least we got the Hot Chip spinoff that are the best at what they do, The 2 Bears.

If you saw John Waters speak at the festy a few years back, you'd know what a "bear" is.

If you didn't, or you don't know what a "bear" is, don't concern yourself with it.

I snagged a copy of this late last year, and while it was already eight months old, it was a shining example of what good dance music should be.

If you don't shake your ass when you hear Be Strong, you probably haven't got one, and don't deserve the right to vote.

No matter what, this act could be the most under-appreciated at Coachella since Infusion.

If this isn't catchy like Hep-C, I don't want to live in this world.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

22 Days 'til Coachella - Purity Ring

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Purity Ring is the first band I've discovered as a result of this Coachella that I truly love.  I picked up their latest, Shrines, when I was at Amoeba a few weeks ago.  We were up in Los Angeles to catch what's surely going to go down in history as The Morrissey Show At Hollywood High School.

I think it was a staff pick, if I remember correctly, and the little 3x5" card taped to the CD mentioned something about the fact that they were pioneers of the "witch house" scene (think The Knife).  I wasn't at all disappointed to find out that this album didn't remind me of that vibe at all.  There's some great production on here, but moreover, great percussion and balance of elements.  The vocals may nod to the Dreijer siblings at times, but Shrines has a sound that's all at once retarded (from - to make slow; delay the development or progress of (an action, process, etc.); hinder or impede.) drum and bass and ethereal all at once.  There's an overall sense of peace when listening to this sometimes frenetic music, and while there's never a real need for panic, there's definitely something bubbling under the surface that keeps you... well, not on the edge of your seat, but attentive.

Oh, fucking great.  I just realized they're on Friday.  Friday is the absolute DO NOT MISS day of the festival.  Hearts will be broken, pants will be shat, and minds will be blown.

That's the problem with a really, really good year.  Choices will be made that will be hard to live with before, during and after.  It's a lot like college.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

30 Days 'til Coachella - Beardyman

I remember a few years ago when I saw Beardyman on the schedule for Coachella.  I said to myself, well, that's a stupid name, and I pretty much wrote him off.

When I was walking through the festival, I overheard someone declare, "Beardyman was AWESOME!"  I didn't pay too much (positive) attention to it, because no matter how bad a band is, there will always be the faithful who love them.  In fact, I have been a member of at least one of those bands.

However, when I was visiting my friends in Italy this past year, I learned that they were YouTube fanatics.  No matter what I tried to show them, they'd already seen it.  IT was a little frustrating, but they were able to show me so much cool stuff, I really didn't care.

One of the things they pulled up was Beardyman's 2009 Edinburgh appearance.  Part stand-up comedy, part beatbox, and all genius, Beardyman is a one-man fucking fireball like a comet hurdling toward your dancin' shoes.  This dude seems to be able to do things out of both sides of his mouth at the same time.  This is apparent in the first few minutes of the video, all of which is available below.

One of the crazy things he does is request genres, themes and yes, even colors from the audience, around which he creates a (very cool) song from scratch.  He does use some looping and drum machines, but he honestly doesn't have to.

Even if you don't appreciate the music, you have to respect the talent of this guy.  Make room for Beardyman if you can.

Monday, March 11, 2013

32 Days 'til Coachella - TNGHT

This track is a little gratuitous on the "baby from Prince / Delirious" sample, but it's still intriguing.

As a responsible festivalgoer, I always try to evaluate the undercard to the greatest extent possible.  It's the foreplay of the festival.  And as any successful lover will tell you, if you can't warm up, you're not going to give (or get) much bang for your buck.

I knew there was something I liked immediately about TNGHT.  It was quirky, almost what I'd refer to as "ambient hip-hop" (see Dragonfly), but there was another element I was drawn to.

When I researched it a little bit more, I found out that these guys were on Warp, the label that has hosted such mindblowing acts as Boards Of Canada, Flying Lotus, Gonjasufi, Bibio, Aphex Twin, Grizzly Bear, and Our Lord And Savior Of Ambient Music, Brian Eno.

I am in no way putting TNGHT on the same level as all or even any of these artists.  These guys have a great thing going, very glitchy, awkward rhythms and melodies that catch the attention of the most jaded (me), and like a good storyteller, make you wonder what's coming next.

In this age of disposable everything, this is an act you might want to pay a little bit of attention to.

Yeah, I ended that sentence with a preposition.  You don't like it?  Suck it.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

40 Days 'til Coachella - Bat For Lashes


I finally got the chance to start checking out some of the bands that will be playing at Coachella 2013 that I'm unfamiliar with. This weekend, I had the pleasure of discovering Bat For Lashes, aka Natasha Khan. Bat For Lashes was the first act we knew of that was "unofficially" booked for the festy, due to a combination of verifiable rumors and the band's own Web site.

While I still haven't familiarized myself with her entire body of work, I can say that what I have heard has haunted my head since I first listened to Laura, the first single from 2012's The Haunted Man. While the comparisons to other artists like Sarah McLachlan and Imogen Heap are inevitable, Bat For Lashes brings something unique to the table. It's hard to put a finger on, but her songs are perfectly-crafted somber vignettes. These songs would sound amazing with standard instrumentation, but between the swelling orchestral movements and the well-placed glitchiness of the rhythms, Khan successfully molds the hopeless with the hopeful.

Also, it never hurts when an artist looks good sans clothing.