I had a very reflective experience this week while researching this list of artists. As I googled each name, I found that 7 or 8 numbers down, my column would appear alongside fan websites and free mp3 giveaways. I don’t know if it’s just the general popularity of Insidepulse or of this column specifically (or the general unpopular nature of some of these bands) but I felt really good about that.
Anyways, enough bragging. This is the preview for the Coachella Music and Arts Festival, and the third last installment of the series. This is part 7 of a 9 part series. The next two installments will be a little different. They will cover a few less bands, but to make up for it, there will be a preview of the film festival. It’s not HUGE, but it’s there, and it’s important, and dammit you’re gonna be educated if it’s the last thing I do.
Speaking of educated, you have read the first six columns, right?
COACHELLA A-Z PART 7
Tegan & Sara
Tegan & Sara are twin sisters from Calgary, Alberta, and they create the kind of pop music that should be on the top of the charts. You can dance to it, you can sing along, you can fall in and out of love to them. Their distinctively different voices bring this really cool dissonance to their sound that you’ve got to listen to in order to fully appreciate. I can’t compare them to anyone else because they’ve found such a unique way of presenting everything. They’re a hell of a lot of fun.
All of the Coachella acts are touring all over Canada and the States all summer, so it’s a guarantee that you’ll be able to catch Tegan & Sara in your home town at some point. The 30 minutes or so that they’ll get at Coachella will not do them justice. ‘So Jealous’, their newest album, is so together you can’t help but listen to it for weeks.
Several songs are avaliable for streaming and download on their website. You can also stream a few of their hits here.
The only thing I know about Tiga is that he did a remix of Nelly’s ‘Hot In Herre’ that was only really all that funny because of the video. It featured a puppet dancing along to various travelogue backdrops while a lighter version of the song played. It sounded sort of Gorillaz-ish, but lacked any of the ‘ugh’ that the original had. That video can be viewed here.
Other than that, I don’t know too much about him. Whatever else I’ve found about the guy has been sort of vague. He’s a Montreal DJ and has been for about 10 years, but there’s no direct style that he’s known for. He’s apparently quite versatile and able to adapt to anything. I have no idea what to expect from him at Coachella.
You can download a track or two of Tiga’s from right here.
The Arcade Fire
The Arcade Fire was number 1 in Pitchfork’s top 50 albums of 2004. Here is what they wrote; “Funeral could open on a black winter night in any North American city, inside the mind of anyone trapped by youth and desperate for a way out. Its scene is set on the fantasy of escapism– the urgent need we all face in teenhood to break from our parents’ lives, to build our own and never look back– but as the record progresses from its opening “Neighborhood” suite to face the trials and losses that come with adult life, its characters instead long for the security they once so badly wanted to surrender. Ahh, fatalism! How can something so miserable be such an infinite source of pleasure? No one seems to know, but in the few short months since its mid-September release, Funeral has quickly ascended to the status of indie rock’s de facto album of the year, winning perhaps the most concordant praise from the underground since Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Famously recorded under the duress of three consecutive familial deaths, Funeral feels like emotional concentrate: It’s wracked with grief, yet paradoxically uplifts through eventual reconciliation, acceptance, and hope. 2004 may have seen a crop of strong contenders for the first-place crown, but as our calendars prepare to release their final page in The Arcade Fire’s year without light, no other album seems quite as deserving.” –pitchfork.
Not bad, huh? Especially for a debut album. This year is your chance to see a band that’s going to be really huge. Like, Radiohead huge, if they don’t screw it up somehow. This is the first band I’ve ever known that deserves every inch of hype they get. Their music will make you do everything.
You can watch a few of their videos right here.
I don’t get the point with these guys. We’ve already got the Cure, Interpol, the Killers, and the Strokes. We really, really don’t need a band that sounds like the crappier younger brother to any of them. Their sound is generic and tired. Their lead singer can’t sing worth a damn. There really aren’t that many bands at Coachella that I am going to intentionally miss, but this is certainly one of them. There are simply too many innovative and fresh acts at Coachella to waste time on guys cashing in on the garage band trend. The only cool thing about them is that one of their videos has a neat domino thing happening. I watched it twice actually, but the second time I listened to Tegan & Sara instead, and enjoyed it a thousand times more.
The Blood Brothers
I went over their bio at yahoo.com thinking that since they had a bio at yahoo.com they were popular or something. Maybe they are, I don’t know, but they come across in the interview as a rookie garage band trying to make a difference in the world with their horrible rhetoric and bad cliche’s. Their music isn’t much different. I hate to do two bad previews in a row, but these guys don’t cut it with me, either. They sound sort of like what Hot Hot Heat sounded like before they realized they changed lead singers. There’s a tinge of melody, but mostly it’s shouting and crashy drums that scream ‘minor league’. The fact that the only multimedia avaliable on their website is live video footage (and the venue looks like a freaking high school gym at that) doesn’t help. I understand that a lot of bands start out playing dingy little gigs and community centers out in the suburbs. What I don’t understand is that these guys have released three albums and seem to still be hanging out at the same places.
The Chemical Brothers
For the people going that don’t much care for Coldplay need only to walk over to the tent, because they will find two of the most popular DJ’s of all time. The Chemical Brothers have become standard bearers in the world of electronica. Even if you haven’t consciously played a Chemical Brothers album, you’ve heard them. They’re in dozens of commercials. They’re on the OC. They play during those montages inside episodes of Pimp My Ride. You can’t escape them.
So they’re commercial whores. Are they good enough to keep a little cred while still shilling out their tracks to everyone? Absolutely. The reason everyone wants their tunes to spin while pushing product is because their tunes are good enough to make anything look better. They’re so good that those indie people will tell you that they suck, but will dance to them anyways. They’re that good.
They released a greatest hits album last year. Start with that, but listen to the B-side disc first, because their best stuff is the lesser known tracks. The stuff with Oasis and the Flaming Lips are great too, but if you really want to freak out a rave audience, go with disc 2. Then, watch some of the videos from their newest album on their website, because they’re done really well and tell a story the lyricless tracks just can’t. Then, buy the album and spin it at your next party. Everyone there will compliment you on your amazing taste in music. Skip track 7 though. It sort of sucks.
The Dresdon Dolls
How many bands have 3-part documentaries on their own websites? These guys do. Actually, everything about the Dresdon Dolls is sort of off kilter. One guy, one girl. A drummer and a piano player. And they paint their faces white and black. Naturally, the music is going to be interesting. You can’t really dance to it, you can’t really sing along, but it’s enjoyable in it’s own unique way. It’s amusing because it’s weird, but it’s great too. Definitely an aquired taste.
If you’re looking for a band that does things that no other band does, such as write a ballad called ‘coin operated boy’ and run with it, then these guys are very much for you. I have a feeling that since they operate on a gimmick, there’s going to be some interesting stage mechanics. I don’t know what to expect beyond that.
Bands often take their sound from their surrounding environment. Would David Bowie have sounded like David Bowie if he grew up in Russia? Would The White Stripes sound like they do if they got together in Spain? These are unanswerable questions, naturally, but valid ones nonetheless. Each local region often has a ‘sound’ associated with it. Omaha, for instance, has a particular sound. That is not the sound of The Faint. These guys play lipstick dynamite trash pop. I don’t know if that’s any sort of official category, but it’s all the verbs that come to mind with them. They make you want to dance in a dirty bar with dirty people doing dirty things. I love it.
The Fiery Furnaces
Speaking of buzz, The Fiery Furnaces are drowning in it, you’d almsot thing they were about to burst onto the set of TRL. Everything about them seems bursting, though. Their pinnacle album, Blueberry Boat, is 80 minutes long and has a few tracks that go over 7 minutes. Their newest release, called EP, is actually 10 songs; the length of many full length albums. And fan support? Pitchfork, never a website for complete objectivity, went out of even their way in terms of bias for the Fiery Furnaces:
“Okay, I’m done being a nice guy about this: If you don’t like Blueberry Boat, I don’t like you. It’s no longer a matter of taste, other than the fact that I have good taste, whereas you, Fiery Furnaces-hater, do not. Don’t have time to take in the full sweeping grandeur of Blueberry Boat’s 80 minutes? I have no respect for your calendar priorities. To those who find their multiple-movement symphonies and keyboard-fetish arrangements overcooked, I feel only loathing, utter disdain, and approximately one tablespoon of pity! And for the few of you that cannot handle the frenetic uber-medley that is a Fiery Furnaces live set, I want to make provocative documentary films about your inept and offensive taste and take them on the festival circuit.”
The range on this band is amazing as well. They go from better-than-radiohead-swoon to better-than-white-stripes-guitar-driven-smut from track 1 to track 2. I completely agree with the guy I quoted. If you don’t like the Fiery Furnaces, then I want nothing to do with you.
You can download ‘single again’ right here.
That’s it for this week. Check back in exactly one week from now when I review 7 more bands and half of the Coachella film festival.