Coachella A-Z Part 4

I got my first piece of mail last week, and a fan of Four Tet, too.

As for message board discussions, I will do my best to not make pretentiously arty comments this week. Thank you.

ANYWAYS, The Coachella Music and Arts Festival is only 6 weeks away. Do you have your tickets yet? Your tent? Your copious amounts of suntan lotion? Great. If not, enjoy the preview anyways. There’s free music to be had.

Click Here for the first 9 bands, alphabetically.
Click Here for the second set.
Click Here for the third, in case you missed it. It was posted last Wednesday instead of Monday.

Tally that up, and we’ve covered 27 bands so far. I’ve previewed such headliners as Bauhaus, Bright Eyes, and Coldplay, as well as such up and coming stars as Bloc Party, Buck 65, and Gang of Four. There are free, legal mp3’s from many of these artists in the past links, so you’ve got no excuse to not check all these amazing acts out. As for this week, lets waste no more time.

COACHELLA A-Z PART 4

Hernan Cattaneo

Official Website

Inevitably, there are going to be some acts that I have missed, and in the short time that I have to research these acts, I fall a little short. I could not, for the life of me, find any living music by Hernan Cattaneo to offer you or even tell you how I think. It sucks for me because I’m going to be there, and more than likely I’m going to pick an artist I have heard of over an artist I haven’t, and it sucks for you because if you’re there, you’re probably going to do the same and if you’re not there, you have no new music to brag to your friends about. This is the benefit of having at least one song floating around the internet. And maybe it’s somewhere out there, but for the life of me I could not find one. I did however, find a good bit of press on this DJ. I’m going to give you a rather long quote that sums up his career as well as name drops a few ridiculously famous DJ’s that you may have listened to before.

“Growing up in Buenos Aires, Hernan listened to Europop bands like Simply Red and Level 42, music he found sifting through Billboard magazine (the only music journal he could get at the time). But in 1987 a friend visited Vinylmania in New York City and brought back a sweet taste of Chicago house in the form of Traxx and DJ International pressings, which featured artists like Frankie Knuckles, Derrick May and Inner City. “They blew my mind,” exclaims Hernan. “I loved them because they combined the energy of Europe’s electronic music – bands like Depeche Mode and New Order – with the soul of American music. After that, everything changed for me.”

Shortly after, Hernan scored a residency in a small club in Buenos Aires that led to him being invited to play in clubs throughout South America. His talent was fast becoming recognised and in 1996 he secured the hotly contested residency for a new weekly Saturday entitled �Clubland�. Within 2 years the night had developed and was being hailed as Argentina�s best club. Soon all the world�s elite were beating down the door, giving Hernan the chance to share the booth with DJs like Sasha, John Digweed, Danny Tenaglia, Carl Cox, Darren Emerson and, of course, Paul Oakenfold. The night went from strength to strength and, as the Millennium loomed, became widely regarded as the best in the world, with Hernan�s contribution being cited as a major part of its success. On hearing Hernan’s eclectic deep house, tribal and progressive sets, Cream immediately chose him as their South American resident. He then went on to win Best DJ Award in 1996 and 1997. From there its only a matter of time before Hernan would get the chance to played beyond his home continent, que one Paul Oakenfold, who invited Hernan to tour Europe with him. It was from this point on that universities and clubs throughout England and Europe began to hear the sounds of Hernan Cattaneo, which in turn, led to his Perfecto signing for both the seminal �Deep Funk� and �South America, his first original production and mix compilation respectively.

In ’98 and ’99, Hernan also toured the States with Oakenfold, which introduced him to many high profile venues and events such as Nevada’s Burning Man festival and the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Denver. Residencies soon followed at Cream, both in Liverpool and Ibiza; Perfecto in Ibiza and gigs from Iceland to Singapore.

Come the summer of 2001 and Hernan was playing gigs such as Channel 4’s Clapham Common extravaganza to a stunning 70, 000 screaming fans. Other outstanding performances of that year included the Bedrock anniversary, Creamfields and the Cream Birthday at Nation in Liverpool. He headlined Creamfields in Buenos Aires and scored his first Homelands appearance. By the end of the year, with his club hit “Deep Funk” blowing up the charts, Hernan made # 50 on the DJ mag chart and was awarded the honour of becoming one of their cover stars. September 2001 also saw Hernan winning the ‘Best Newcomer DJ’ at the Pacha Ibiza awards.

The momentum did not stop there though, continuing throughout 2002 / 2003 as Hernan firmly cemented his increasing reputation, rising to # 22 in the DJ mag poll and getting re-booked to play all the aforementioned festivals (that included a 2 set appearance infront of a record-breaking attendance at Creamfields, Buenos Aries), whilst his domestic club bookings continued to take him around the world. Things were no different in the studio, where matters went from strength to strength and recently culminated in an amazing remix of Morgan Page for John Digweed’s prestigious Bedrock imprint, plus an original production alongside Subliminal and Yoshitoshi favourite, Dean Coleman. As yet unreleased, the track has more than a few labels getting hot under the collar, keep you eyes and ears peeled in the coming months… ”  – The DJ List

Immortal Technique

Official Website

Born in Peru, but later raised in New York, this foul mouthed MC has that roughly edged image to him that gets attention. Whether it be positive attention or otherwise I’m not sure of, but he’s being noticed. Featured on several soundtracks and with a #1 single on the CMJ charts under his belt, he might just be working on something big. He’s rude, he’s ugly, and he wears army tatters; this guy is built for rap battles. While I’m personally not a fan of the craft in itself, while i watched this guy battle, I couldn’t help but notice that he would seemingly not stop at any level to insult his opponent. He’ll go anywhere and find it’s rhyme in order to provoke. Whether that translates into an interest live set will remain to be seen.

To read up on his almost-there success story, click Here.

To watch some live battle footage, click Here.

Jaime Cullum

Official Website

For some reason, Jamie Cullum, to me, looks like Tom from Tom and Jerry. He looks about 20 or so, and plays a sort of contemporary jazz the likes of Norah Jones-style stuff, light and playful but also with a great set of chops. On his little multimedia site, you can listen to little clips. It cuts off just after a minute and a half or so, but it’s mostly covers. This is almost more helpful to me than if it were original songs, because instead of telling you how 1:30 of his music sounds, I can give you his influences and you can do the math: Jeff Buckley, Jimi Hendrix, and Radiohead. So what, right? Who doesn’t have these three artists in their list of influences? It’s sort of strange, because while he’s proudly showing previews of these covers—as if to say, if you liked them then you’ll LOVE me—he doesn’t sound particularly like any of them. In fact, his cover of Buckley’s ‘lover, you should have come over’ is just weird sounding. Still, the boy is feeling serious success at home in the UK. His album ‘twentysomething’ was Britain’s 2nd highest selling album of last year by a debut artist. It’s double platinum, although he definitely takes it in confident stride. A quote from his bio:

” ‘Someone who is in love with jazz is going to get annoyed when I’m called the greatest British jazz artist alive today, which is fair enough. People question whether I’m jazz at all, and I resolutely say I am, but I’m not pushing the boundaries in the usual way. I’m pushing the limits of the music in terms of how entertaining and accessible it can be without making lift-music. I’m trying to find out whether you can get 16-year-olds who listen to The Strokes and 20-year-olds who listen to house music to think, “Actually, this is cooler than I thought.” I’m lucky enough to have my music pushed by a major label. So I’m able to bring jazz to a new audience.'”

While I’m skeptical as to whether anyone can be called the greatest anything, he’s well on the rise to be pretty good. Personally, I think his music could use a little more ‘lift’, because it reminds me a little too much of the music I hear when I step into a mall, but maybe Pharell Williams can help with that. Apparently he’s in the running to produce Cullum’s next album.

You can listen to a few streamed half versions of Jamie Cullums’ songs right Here.

Jean Grae

Official Website

The first thing I noticed about Jean Grae is that unmistakable New York accent; there’s something about rappers coming out of that area that makes them all sound like they could kick my poor little Torontonian teeth in, but that’s also saying that they all sort of sound the same. Some of her stuff is produced by Jay Z, some of it by 50 Cent, and she has an open invitation to join the Roots anytime she wants. In her songs, you can definitely catch small moments where you could see Jay Z, 50, or the Roots pulling out that trick, whether it be a snark comment about how all other rap sounds the same (while not deviating too far from the proven formula) to using a simple clap-clap-boom rhythm, to incredibly sing-songy choruses to break up intricately deep verses that force you to rewind in order to see just exactly what she said. I’m not sure I’ve done that with any other rap artist other than Talib Kweli (who began his poetry work in the same circles as Jean Grae, just after she graduated from Laguardia).

You can download 2 of her songs right Here.

Jem

Official Website

Jem has some beautiful, beautiful music in her repetoire. Call me biased (since she recorded some acoustic versions of tracks in a lounge presentation at www.woxy.com, my favorite radio station) but I love the girl. Acoustically, the girl is all voice, all romance. Take the best parts of all female singer songwriters and she’s got them beat. In the studio, she adds violins, heavier pianos and faster guitars to more pop oriented, ahem, jems. I hate to sound commodifiable here, but when I hear her stuff, I want to film a love scene between two characters in a weekly drama. It would be the season finale and they’d finally lose their virginities, but because it’s cable it would have to be all perfect and romantic, and this music would work as the perfect backdrop. Acoustically, anyway. The fast stuff could be during the dance scene at the hip nightclub at the beginning of the show. Seriously though, she’s got beauty all about her. She looks it, she sounds like it, she evokes it in the room around you. She’s dark at times but also ethereal. I can’t say enough good about the girl.

You can see a video or two as well as listen to full songs in her media player, as well as listen to three acoustic tracks if you dig around a bit on her website.

Josh Wink

Official Website

Sticking very close to fun rave music, Josh Wink has been going pretty strong for a little over 10 years now. It’s tough to give an accurate description of his sound, because he’s a DJ and thus is theoretically all sounds, but from what I’ve heard he doesn’t get too weird; it’s all about making everything as danceable as possible. That means keeping the beats easy to follow, not changing the tempo too often or too quickly, but at the same time tossing in predictably placed cues for the dancers to respond to as they pick it up. However, what I may lack in the form of an audible review, I more than make up for in actual music sampling, so here you go.

You can stream several tracks off his newest album, as well as book him for shows, right Here.

You can download an entire two hour concert, which is something awesome I have to say, right Here.

Junkie XL

Official Website

To get it out there, yes, this is the guy who did the ‘a little less conversation’ Elvis remix a few years ago. Not that it was critically acclaimed or anything, but it was a damn good summer dance song. Back when I did private parties for corporate events, that song made them crazy more than anything without the last name of ‘Twain’ or ‘Timberlake’. Not that it says anything about the artistic credibility of Junkie XL, but he got through to the middle class workers of America without them even knowing his name. Now that we’re positioned to see an entire set of his work, what else does he do?

First off, he does a lot of covers. Besides remixing Dave Gahan, Robert Smith, Chuck D, and Saffron, he also does remixes of popular club grooves as well. His album ‘Radio JXL’ showed incredible range and the ability to morph just about any genre of music into a catchy dance number. I don’t know if he freestyles on his sets or whether he plays stuff off his albums. I hope he freestyles, that way he’s actually exuding his talent for mashing usually un-danceable tracks to make them dancy right there, instead of putting them together in his studio beforehand. I think it would make for a much more interesting show.

Kasabian

Official Website

“Finding the pop music around them dull and mannered, Kasabian mixed a bit of the Stones, Happy Mondays, and Primal Scream with DJ Shadow-influenced electronics to take the British press by storm. Named after Linda Kasabian, Charles Manson’s getaway driver turned state witness, Leicester’s Kasabian stole a page from Sun Ra and the Band, as the group’s members moved into a remote old farmhouse to brew their music. Communal life and shelf after shelf filled with albums by their favorites (Neu!, the Beatles, DJ Shadow, Primal Scream, Blackalicious) produced a rocking sound that wasn’t afraid of electronics and harked back to days of baggy pants and druggy dancing. With acerbic answers during interviews, swaggering lead singer Tom Meighan quickly became a darling of the press, and the band’s revolutionary logos and sleeve art added to the excitement. Fold-out poster sleeves, 10” versions, and hand-stenciled covers accompanied 2004 singles like “Club Foot,” “L.S.F,” and “Processed Beats.” It all added up to Kasabian’s self-titled debut going Top Five on the U.K’s album chart in October of 2004.” ~ David Jeffries, All Music Guide

So they purposely sound like a mix of the Stones, Happy Mondays, Primal Scream, and DJ Shadow, they bleed British cool, but for some reason, I don’t like them all that much. I hope that changes at the concert. I plan on making sure to see them just so they can prove me wrong, because I want to buy into all this hype surrounding them, I really do. The thing is, I was in the radio booth today, and I was cuing up Kasabian to play them on the show, but I went through the whole record without finding anything that worked. It might have been that it didn’t fit with the tone of the show (which, admittantly, could very well be the reason for my discontent now that I think about it) but Kasabian’s disc just turned me off. It sounded sort of corny, really, and very pretentious art-rock-like, the kind of stuff the definitely belongs in a college radio station and very few places else. I know there’s a lot of support for this band, and I do really want to like them, because they sound cool and I invariably just want to be cool like all the kids who like Kasabian, so I’m hoping that live they blow me away. My fingers are crossed.

Katie Melua

Official Website

She’s very pretty. She lives in the UK, originally from Moscow. She’s just over 18. She’s got a band that look around 40 on average. Her website claims she has a jazzy, bluesy feel to her. I suppose that’s what’s cool lately. From the layout and testimonials, and the way her producer Mike Blatt said ‘he found her’, I’m going to guess she’s not much of an ‘artist’, in the sense that most of the bands on this list are artists. It looks like this band does the music and they auditioned her to sing it. And not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I don’t see how an act like hers fits exactly with the Coachella scheme of things. Her situation seems local—you know, rhubarb pie festival type local—not five record contract local, which is what her website boasts more than the actual music she makes.

Of what it does boast, it’s the same as with Jamie Cullum; little 30 second blurbs of songs that really give me no indication of their quality. She sounds like Diana Krall a little bit, but with a sweeter voice. The music is there but nothing special. I guess I’m just unimpressed since the soulful jazz singer in his or her early twenties seems to be everywhere these days. Perhaps when she gets some actual stage time I’ll be more atuned to liking it. Here’s hoping, anyway.

KEANE

Official Website

Remember Travis? Coldplay? All those British bands with a sweet sounding lead singer, dominant pianos, and lots and lots of swooning? Did you like them? Then say hello to KEANE, the next band in this prestigious line of love sick Brits who make really good ballads about heartbreak. Hate that kind of stuff? Then run away to another stage where an MC is rapping about hos and bitches, because Keane does not particularly do anything in the genre better than Coldplay or Travis, and will not change you over to the side of the Soft Revolution. My favorite song of theirs is ‘somewhere only we know’ which could just as easily be a Travis song. In fact, I’m not particular sure if it isn’t. In fact, I’m not totally sure they aren’t the same band sometimes. I’ll have to research that.

You can listen to a whole bunch of their songs in the media player on their official website.

***

And that’s it for this week, 10 more bands previewed, which brings us to 37 acts in total. Remember, all these bands will play across two days, and you can see which day they are on at www.coachella.com.  We’re almost halfway, and next week we’re going way, way over the edge. K-os, M83, Matmos, Matthew Dear, Mercury Rev, MIA, Miss Kittin, MF Doom, New Order, Nine Inch Nails, Pinback, Prodigy, Radio 4, Razorlight, Rilo Kiley, Roni Size, Roots Manuva, and Sage Francis will be previewed in a special double edition of Coachella A-Z. Don’t miss it.

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