Aw, I can’t believe this is the last installment of my Coachella lineup review. This has been a lot of fun. I haven’t gotten nearly as many negative comments and e-mails as I thought I would. In fact, it seems like most of you are in agreement. Or at least those who have contacted me are not arguing. Ben likes Dawes. One guy thinks I don’t know shit about music. That’s this gist of the criticism, I guess.
Every year, a bunch of sissies in short-pant velvet suits who like to skip down the streets of (insert recently-gentrified “hip” neighborhood here) touting their ironic mustaches, pasty skin and asymmetrical haircuts wait with baited breath for the announcement of which bands will perform at the annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Truthfully, there are probably a dozen acts I wouldn’t mind seeing. Other than that it seems like a waste of money.
The problem most people had with my review last year was that I didn’t give the bands enough of a chance to impress me. Oh, my being a “prick” and a “douchebag” and a “fuck” and a “hipster” got in the way of objectively critiquing each artist. Certainly it had nothing to do with the fact that most of the bands were not worthy of any praise. Sorry, fans of bad music. At least this year I’m listening to entire songs instead of the first ten seconds. The songs with the most views on YouTube will be heard, and then I’ll determine if they’re any good (hint: most won’t be).
In case you were wondering, during the process of listening to all this music I must have seen the trailer for the Marky Mark movie 30 times. I’m still not interested in seeing it.
Sunday April 15th
Sleeper Agent – This group sounds like what the New Pornographers would sound like if they had any balls at all. I’m still not really a big pop-punk/pop-rock guy.
The Airplane Boys – Oooh, genre-defying music from Music City, Canada…Toronto! Actually it sounds like hip-hop merged with minimalist dance music. Inoffensive but not compelling. I like how one of the comments on this YouTube video says, “Their fashion is on point!!!!!!!!!!” I’d totally forgotten how all modern artists are judged on fashion before talent.
Gardens & Villa – Oh, a Secretly Canadian band. That label has put out some good records through the years. This likely is not one of them. Wait a minute, is THIS where the Shins went? They reformed as an identically-sounding indie pop band with a different name? This song shrugs its shoulders and offers me a lukewarm, “Meh”.
Spector – Considering the popularity of the Strokes and the Killers has taken a nosedive over the course of the last half-decade, I’m amazed that bands are still styling themselves after those bands. This, by the way, is exactly what that sounds like: garage rock “updated” with synth-pop tendencies. In other words: totally bland pop music.
Fanfarlo – I can’t believe it took three days for me to find an indie-pop band with a trumpet player. As if that well hasn’t been mined enough in recent years. These guys sound like what happens when people take Sufjan Stevens seriously as an artist. You get these aural macaroni artists gluing everything they can find to the construction paper of their songs (terrible metaphor, I know, but I’m going to beat the “aural macaroni artist” description drum until I read it in the pages of Mojo Magazine). It’s all so forced. From the useless trumpet to the useless glockenspiel to the useless violin. All style, no substance.
Housse de Racket – Is it possible I’ve been ignoring new music for so long that I missed the decree that forced all bands to sound like The Strokes? This music sounds exactly like “Last Night” stripped of its grit. Too bad, that’s pretty much what made the song palatable.
Wild Beasts – Their singer reminds me of a wimpy Scott Walker. I can’t stand male vocalists stuck in falsetto range. Why don’t you just whistle instead of singing if you’re trying to achieve the most annoying and least interesting vocal register possible? This song sucks.
Metronomy – The first minute of “Bearcan” was really good, but instead of it turning into a proper song they should have let it disintegrate into nothingness like a William Basinski piece. Stretch that shit out for another 35 minutes and you’ve got my attention. That’d be pretty cool to see in the desert on a hot Sunday afternoon. Non-music weirdness that goes nowhere for half-an-hour. That’s punk rock, kids.
Thundercat – Weird fusion of R&B and electro? And I mean weird in an intriguing way. I don’t hate it. It’s just a-musical enough for me to not be immediately turned off by it.
Lissie – This singer looks like a Midwestern version of the actress who was on that TV show The Event. She sounds like Stevie Nicks. Do you think she’s a cokehead? Did I mention how the other day I got in my car to go meet someone for dinner and I commented to myself, “This car smells like cocaine!” and then I got an erection. Crazy, right? Stevie Nicks as interpreted by the girl from The Event. Who, by the way, I saw a few weeks ago at La Poubelle with the main vampire guy from Twilight. That was a fun night. I should’ve told her how much she sucks as an actress. Anyway, that’s what I’m getting from this song.
Oberhofer – When I said bands had gotten lazy with their song titles, I didn’t mean I wanted a band to write a song called “o0Oo0Oo”. That might even be more offensive than calling your shitty song “Lust For Life”. This is another perfect example of how “sloppy” production as a means of disguising terrible songs has gone too far. This song sucks, but it’s oh-so-lo-fi, which I guess means it’s charming? Music critics are so enamored of shit like this. Why? I don’t think I’ll ever understand. I turned it off after the kazoo solo.
First Aid Kit – OH MY GOD, NO! THIS IS YOUR ALL YOUR FAULT JOANNA NEWSOME!
The Gaslamp Killer – What do you call this stuff? I know he used to DJ at Low End Theory but the song I found doesn’t really sound like your typical electronic music. A welcome surprise after a slew of disappointing songs by the last five or six artists I’ve listened to.
Morgan Page – Electronic music. Wait a minute, this guy DJed at the UVM radio station? I probably didn’t listen to his sets while I was there. The blonde chick in the video is cute. Morgan, as a fellow Catamount, I really hope you took that down.
Band Of Skulls – The White Stripes, with an extra musician in tow! Hydrogen Zeppelin! Get it? Because it’s, like, the opposite of lead!?
NOISIA – Untz-untz-untz-untz club music. No thank you.
The Growlers – Annoying voice guy and accordions? I’ll pass.
Greg Ginn and the Royal We – Maybe he and Watt should get together and play some “Minuteflag” tunes. That might make the weekend more enjoyable for a handful of record nerds.
Le Butcherettes – Cute Mexican girl who sounds like she just learned her first guitar lick fronts a noisy pop band. I’d probably watch this if there was nothing else going on simply to admire the girl.
Zedd – Holy shit! Do you think Zedd and Zed’s Dead will join each other on stage, and combine to create the greatest Zed-related musical experience EVER? That’d be so totally Zed!
Real Estate – The reverb-heavy vocals are annoying me. The jangly, crystal-clean guitars disappointing. You guys are supposedly from Jersey, stop being so soft. You’ve got guitars, don’t be afraid of ‘em. Even some light distortion might help. I feel like I should be sipping an appletini if I’m going to listen to this band.
Company Flow – Underground rap legends. This might be cool live.
araabMUZIK – What is this, rap/dance? Nah.
Fitz and the Tantrums – Are you kidding me? Hall and Oates are playing Coachella this year? Wow. This is terrible.
Beats Antique – You know, I was about to write something about how Balkin wedding music and French gypsy jazz were two genres that will be sadly underrepresented at this year’s Coachella festival. Leave it to one group to merge those two into something that manages to totally suck! (See: Tune Yards review — just because you’re musically capable of co-opting different facets of world music doesn’t make your band any good)
Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 – Fuck Tune Yards.
Gotye – A guy who looks and sounds like Sting playing electronic pop music? Seems to me like Sting has a new album out, and will be at Coachella touring in support of it!
Flux Pavilion & Doctor P – Electronic. I’m tired of this.
Santigold – TV commercial music. Schick smooth glide! Tampax! Bouncy car commercial! Probably for a Mini or a Jetta!
Porter Robinson – Bleh.
Dada Life – I feel like someone’s frying eggs in my skull.
Modeselektor – I feel like I’m losing the will to live. And like I’ve heard the song for this “Travel Nevada” commercial several times during the past few days. Pick any heavily-licensed artist from this list and it’s probably their music.
Wild Flag – I never liked Sleater-Kinney, I love Helium (and Mary Timony, my all-time indie girl crush), and I definitely don’t like Wild Flag.
Nero – I could spend a paycheck on a ticket to Coachella and hear this, or I could pay $5 and go to Alvarado house and hear this. I’ll take the latter.
DJ Shadow – Can’t say anything bad about Shadow, he shops at the store.
The Hives – Whoa, what year is this? Do they still wear those ridiculously corny matching outfits? Is the fat guy still fat? So many questions. Most importantly, I suppose, is, have they even released an album since the year 2000? Why on earth could they possibly be playing Coachella?
Calvin Harris – “Let’s combine the video for ‘Loser’ with the McDonalds dance scene from Mac & Me,” somebody probably said before they made tons of money on this video. 15 million views? Are you kidding me?
Girl Talk – This guy gets compared to Christian Marclay?
The Weeknd – I’d take Frank Ocean over this any day.
Beirut – Oh, that little wussy kid from Brooklyn who thinks he’s an Eastern European gypsy? HA! This’ll suck.
La Roux – Whee! Look at me! I’m dancing!
AVICII – I’m bored. Is this over yet?
Florence And The Machine – Is she supposed to be Feist or Kate Bush? I can’t really tell. Either way, I’m not interested.
Justice – Oh, VICE Records? No reason to investigate this any further.
At The Drive-In – I remember when Relationship Of Command came out. I remember listening to the first side of that record. Then I took it off my turntable and put it back in its sleeve. I never listened to it again. That one side was enough for me. This reunion does nothing for me, because their music isn’t any good.
Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg – Yeah, right. Like I’m going to talk shit abut Dre and Snoop? I was 14 once, too…it’d be awesome to see them share the stage together. This will definitely make for the coolest headlining act of the weekend. Enjoy it, those of you who are dumb enough to pay to see the rest of these bands, this is as good as it’s going to get.