Welcome to Week three of our weekly preview of the Coachella Music and Arts Festival. If you’ve missed it, I’ll be providing links at the top of each column for the previous installments.
Click HERE for the introduction and first 9 bands.
Click HERE for the second set of bands, which included three headlining acts; Bright Eyes, Cocteau Twins, and Coldplay.
Before we get into it this week, I have to fix a mistake I made in the previous column. The profile for DJ Diplo is wrong. Not because of any information or opinion or link problems, but simply because I tracked down the wrong Diplo. there are apparently two of them. HERE is the official website for the Diplo that will be at Coachella, and HERE is a message board discussion about how much he rocks their socks.
COACHELLA A-Z, PART 3
DJ Marky appears to be one of those DJ’s who likes to take stylish cues from all over the map and create something that might not be wholly original, but sounds excellent, clean, and ultimately danceable. A few of the tracks I’ve heard are very chill, while others could be club hoppers, and others could be opening hour drinking songs. The one underlying thread in all the music I’ve heard is the usage of very ‘trash can’ type percussion. I totally dig that sort of garage-y dance sound. On his website, he’s quoted as having played 5 hour sets in England, which I can tell you is extremely taxing, so you’ve got to figure that he’ll bring nothing but triple A material to his (maybe) hour long set at Coachella.
You can download one of his pulse pounding hits, Backspin, right HERE.
Here’s a guy I don’t know much about. His website doesn’t provide much information, and there isn’t much ink on the guy. There are going to be some artists that even people like me, who are genuinely interested in scoping out new, unknown talent, will inevitably miss because of a lack of hype. I’ve heard one song, for which you can download yourself and listen to, and it’s well put together R&B, but other than that and the fact that everything about him is very tinged with Japanese culture, the guy is a bit of a mystery. But here, think of this as a test. I’m going to post his tour schedule for the next 2 months. If you are in the area, take it upon yourself to pay the 10 bucks or whatever the club charge is to see some fresh talent who is, simply by being on the Coachella lineup, an up and coming breakthrough artist. He can become ‘your guy’, you know, the one that you knew about before anyone else on your block did.
04/29 : SF Ruby Skye
05/01 : L.A Coachella Festival
06/10 : Seattle / Road to Beijing
06/11 : Nashville / Bonnaroo
It’s a short list, but he did just come off a 15-20 show tour of Asia and Australia. Also, you can download a chill track called With Grace, right HERE.
When I first saw the inside of a college radio booth almost three years ago, the Doves’ ‘The Last Broadcast’ was being played. I was mesmerized by the sound at the time, but sort of forgot about them after a while, and couldn’t quite put a finger on why. I think it was just the amazing influx of knowledge you get when you go from only knowing corporate radio in high school to libraries of amazing lesser known artists in college. Whatever the case, I recently took a spin listening to The Doves’ newest album, Some Cities, and it’s very much more of the same kind of sweeping, British rock that they embody. They are part of a long line of Brit rockers who play a unique form of rock and roll that nobody else in the world can match in timbre. Sharing the best qualities of bands like Travis, Coldplay, and Radiohead, while also having tinges of originality along the way, The Doves are just one of those awesome bands that you can dance, kiss, or cry to, and it’s all great.
You can watch the video for ‘Black and White Town’ right HERE.
Donavon Frankenreiter is a less sexy name than John Mayer or Ben Harper (both pretty sexy names in the scheme of things, you know) but his songs are down the same alley. It’s the same sort of street-sounding guitar and harmonica sound that drives Harper and Mayer (and to a similar extent, Dave Matthews). It’s the same feel good lyrics and dripping layers of layman cool; the regular guy with the regular ideas with a big heart and leather fedora. I want to lay in the grass of the Coachella desert and tell my girlfriend that I love her when this guy plays. A song like ‘Bend in the Road’ would be on my hipster romance soundtrack, most definitely. You can listen to a few of his songs in full on the player that kicks in automatically in his site, as well as check out the video ‘It don’t matter’ in the downloads section.
The first time I heard these guys I thought ‘lisa Loeb’? The three girl, two (skinny) guy band Eisley is up the same alley as Lisa in terms of sound. It’s soft rock too loud for contemporary stations, too soft for rock stations, and with too much artistic credibility to be anywhere in between. Somewhere, this is some girls’ favorite band in the whole world and she’ll rip out your eyes if you disagree with her. They seem forged in the throwes of southern suburbia, mixing their hipster love with a little country in the guitar section, which makes them sound naive, fun, and ultimately young. The girls are beautiful and so are their voices. The boys look like they’re about 75 pounds or so.
You can check out several videos and songs from their official site.
Okay, I’m just going to come out and say it. Fantomas is weird. On first listen, they will freak you out. You will want to back away and spray your computer with holy water. That’s okay. I’m pretty sure they want that effect. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t include “la la la”s of children just before a chrunchingly hard chorus that make you think of early day Metallica. This is the hardest band on the set thus far, and I’m not sure if anyone is going to usurp that title. To tell you the truth, Coachella isn’t mello or anything, but there really aren’t a whole lot of heavy metal acts. Fantomas fills this void. They sound evil and disturbing, as well as determined. Known for having ridiculously long album tracks (one of their albums is actually only one 74 minute track) and you could infer that there are a lot of prog elements as well.
You can download a track and check out a short bio as well as discography right HERE.
My first experience with Four Tet was on an Exclaim Anniversary CD a few years ago. I remember skipping by them to get to the new Broken Social Scene songs, but then taking the time to get into their ‘soft revolution’ type of feel, and falling in love with the exceptionally organic electronic sound. The audible difference between a live band doing electronic and a DJ twisting knobs in a recording studio are miles apart and you can tell with a band like Four Tet. They don’t even sound like they’re playing instruments. It feels like they’re banging on mushrooms, swiping tree leaves, and blowing air through hollow, fallen trees. Don’t get that ‘nature sounds’ crap in your head though. It’s still trip hop-ready early (or really late) club music that makes you bob your head and, for the life of you, think.
You can download the track, No More Mosquitos, right HERE.
Gang of Four
Originally, this band lasted from 1977 to 1984, releasing four albums and going through a bunch of set changes before kicking the bucket. They’re back this year, touring several places and being another one of those big little bands at Coachella this year that only indie snobs knew about before the big press release. Gang of Four is one of those bands you have to go searching for. Their small catalogue and small over all sales figures and one charted song aren’t going to come to you. As for almost all those bands though, the stuff Gang of Four banged out is so amazingly ahead of it’s time you won’t believe it. Stick it next to a strokes record, or a Hives record, or even Nirvana or the Pixies, and you’ll see the direct influences. It’s all there, from the three chord riffs to the playful tune behind the generation X type dissention, to the fact that they have a better name than any other rock band in the history of rock bands (at least, the most sensical, anyway).
Thanks to Ryan97 again for access to these direct downloads:
At Home He’s A Tourist
Not Great Men
Gram Rabbit is from the Coachella Valley in California, so they’re the perrenial hometown heroes of the show. Similarly, their music reflects that of the desert. The percussion sounds like spurs. The guitar sounds like a dusty, extra stringed Mexican getup like Antonio Banderas plays in Once Upon a Time in Mexico. The singers sound like gunslingers. Somehow, they don’t sound southern. Spanish influences are just as abound as cowboy ones. Their latest album is entitled “Music to start a cult to”, but I have to wonder what kind this sort of music would generate. One where people only strutted. One where each hip would have a holster. One where the girls are sexy and the boys ruggedly hot. Sounds like a good cult to me. The lead singers’ voice is a little bit like Bif Naked’s if that’s fair to say. I know it’s a different genre altogether but I hear a lot of similarities. It’s cool but at the same time child-like.
You can download two songs from their official site in the ‘hear us’ section.
That’s it for this week. Check back one Monday from now and you’ll get a chance to listen to music and learn stuff about Hernan Catteneo, Immortal Technique, Jamie Cullum, Jean Grae, Jem, Josh Wink, Junkie XL, Kasabian, and Katie Melua. Thanks for reading everyone. Questions, comments, and criticism is always encouraged.