Yeah, we caught it. The initial lineup for California uber-festival Coachella was announced today with a formidable collection of bands that characteristically walks the tightrope between mainstream and underground. With the festival coming up April 15-17, we’ve had some of our contributors tell us what they’d be most looking forward to from each day of the festival as everyone digs deep into their pockets, picks out the lint and sees if they could possibly afford the gas money to get there.
Steve Church, Music Editor:
Kings of Leon – OK, “Use Somebody” may have been played to death on the radio. And their most recent release, Come Around Sundown may be over-polished, underwhelming and annoyingly mainstream at times. But let’s not forget about Kings of Leon’s first three albums of country-infused, garage rock excellence. These Tennessee boys put on a kickass live show, and with classics like “Knocked Up,” “California Waiting,” “King of the Rodeo” and “Black Thumbnail” it’s easy to see how they became one of the biggest bands in the world – even if it wasn’t for the best.
Bright Eyes – Conor Oberst’s melancholy, Omaha alt-country/indie fusion has drawn praise as lofty as claims that he is our generation’s premier singer-songwriter. Some have even been bold enough to call him Bob Dylan’s successor. And with tearjerkers like “First Day of My Life” and country-stomps like “Four Winds,” Oberst demonstrates that he truly is one of the great talents performing today.
Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy isn’t just one of the highest rated, most critically acclaimed albums of 2010; it’s also one of the most experimental and unusual hip-hop albums ever made. Maybe you didn’t care for 808s and Heartbreak, but without Ye’s leap of faith into the world of auto-tune and drum machines he never could have produced such a brilliant album. West is a natural performer and showman. Even his often passable rapping has improved. Let’s just hope we don’t have a repeat of his 2008 catastrophe at Bonnaroo.
Lucien Flores, Blog Contributor:
Cold War Kids – “Hang Me Up To Dry” is the dirtiest track ever and their back catalogue makes for fun live shows. The quartet’s Mine Is Yours drops this January and I’m curious as to how the new music translates to live performances. Will Matt Maust’s bass be “Louder Than Ever?”
Arcade Fire – The indie rock superstars’ frenzied performances exhibit why they deserve the critical acclaim. Win Butler delivers lines and frantically strums guitar in a trancelike state while William Butler’s antics will be as entertaining as ever. “Power Out” into “Rebellion (Lies)” is the best ten minutes of live music today.
The National – Seeing baritone vocalist Matt Berninger get tipsy off white wine, singing the plight of middle-aged men over the Dessner twins’ intricate backing music and Bryce Devendorf’s elaborate drumming would be the perfect tonic to my melancholia after missing out on seeing these transplanted Ohio rockers last year.
Dan Rys, Muse Editor:
Ozomatli – It’s like Latin funk-hop but with way more people and a more cohesive groove. Seriously, if you don’t come to party with this band, they’ll walk right out into the crowd and make you – I’ve seen it happen. If you haven’t caught this genre-bending group before, you’ll get your chance when they come to Royale on Feb. 4.
Trampled By Turtles – We’ve covered them before – the punk-injected bluegrass thunderbolt from the wilds of northern Minnesota has made the Middle East a bit of a home away from home over the past two years, and the band’s rise through the stratosphere continued last Spring with the release of Palomino.
Angus and Julia Stone – Seriously though, this brother and sister Australian duo will win you over and be the soundtrack to the next month of your life if you ever get a chance to hear their latest Down The Way. Contrasting voices mixed with the heartfelt material makes any of their releases a must, and their live show is reportedly not to be missed.
Leah Roh, Blog Contributor:
Nosaj Thing – A young local Los Angeles dubstep artist, Nosaj thing is definitely a worthy DJ to see performing on Friday. He was on tour with The xx last year and released a full album, in which critics acclaimed him to be the next Flying Lotus. His most popular remixes are The xx’s “Islands” and HEALTH’s “Tabloid Scores.”
The Radio Dept. – This indie-rock band from Sweden is playing Saturday at Coachella. Their album Clinging to a Scheme was featured in Pitchfork’s best albums of 2010. Their music resembles that of bands such as Animal Collective and The Wild Nothing, but is more noise-pop than indie-rock.
HEALTH – HEALTH, who was on tour last year with Of Montreal, is not the typical indie/electronic band. Natives to Los Angeles, HEALTH has soothing ambient vocals over unusual eclectic beats and is very distinctive compared to other electronic artists. If you like Baths and No Age, you will undeniably want to catch HEALTH at the festival.