In Which I Review The Entire Coachella 2012 Lineup (Part 2)

January 12, 2012

This is what you’re going to be competing with in order to hear Jeff Mangum sing “Oh Comely”
If the prospect of watching him on TV from 300 yards away excites you,
you just might be the perfect fit for Coachella 2012! Buy the ticket, take the ride!

…And we’re back. I hope you slept well last night, because this morning I’m examining the lineup for the second day of this year’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. See yesterday’s post for my thoughts on the bands scheduled to perform on day one (Friday April 13th). As much as I wanted to condense the entire review into one post, I realized after two hours that would be impossible. I’m trying my best to listen to these songs all the way through (for artists I don’t know). I’m also trying to be as fair as possible. Rereading yesterday’s entry I saw that I gave it an honest effort until that band with the all-caps name flipped a switch in my brain that turned me into the asshole critic. I’ll try not to let that happen again today.

Here’s a condensed version of the introduction I penned yesterday in case you’re seeing this for the first time:

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).

Saturday April 14th

Pure Filth Sound – I can’t really find an artist called Pure Filth Sound, but there is an electronic outfit called Pure Filth. “Movements In Sound” reminds me of “Fantasy” by Earth, Wind & Fire. So if that’s your thing…by all means keep listening to this band. I’d rather, you know, go listen to tracks off the new Spiritualized album. Or the new Earth record.

Keep Shelly In Athens – So far I think this is the worst band name I’ve encountered (weird punctuation/capitalization aside, those are obviously all tied for the worst). “Cremona Memories” sounds like a cross between MGMT and one of those Ibizan come-up soundtracks for the morning after a rave. Only there’s someone faux-scratching in the background. This is very bad. Plus, aren’t the kids in MGMT, like, 20 years old? Is their influence really that powerful yet?

Destructo – I guess the theme for Saturday is going to be electronic music. Make sure you and your friends bring enough Mali to keep you rolling through the weekend. Seriously, this might be the least offensive of all the electronic music I’ve heard so far. Not a lot is going on so I can zone out and not pay attention to it. It reminds me of when I used to play the Crystal Method CD as the soundtrack to Quake II in high school.

Mt. Eden – There’s no such thing as Mt. Eden on YouTube, but there is Mt. Eden Dubstep. Repetitive syncopated drums with weird reverb bass? That’s it? This is why people go crazy for dubstep? I’d rather listen to Portishead or Massive Attack.

We Are Augustines – Is it just me or does the song “Headling Into The Abyss” sound like it’s being sung by a 500-pound, wheelchair-bound Tom Waits? This might be the most blatant U2 rip-off I’ve heard in years. If this is what’s in store for the crowd of 75,000 people on Saturday this might be a great chance for you to catch up on some sleep.

Dragonette – I’ve never heard of We Are Augustines before and their video had 33,000 views. Dragonette seems like an even lesser-known act and this video for “I Get Around” has 1,100,000 views. By the way, have musicians simply given up on original song titles? Yesterday a band had a song called “Lust For Life” and now this band has a song called “I Get Around”? These guys are Canadian. They speak English. They should know that “I Get Around” is also the name of one of the greatest American pop songs. Remember those Russian lesbians who had a popular electro-pop song ten years ago? This is just like that.

Borgore – More Dubstep. The delivery of that “Hey kids, it’s Borgore / Do you know what’s hardcore?” couplet made me laugh aloud. You guys…I think Borgore might be retarded.

Gary Clark Jr. – Heavy Texas blues. This song, “Bright Lights” is evidence that the “Loudness War” has definitely not ended.

We Were Promised Jetpacks – Another candidate for worst band name. Wasn’t Interpol already a thing? And hasn’t their star (and their sound) long since burnt out?

Jacques Lu Cont – Maybe it’s just because I watched Super Troopers a couple weeks ago, but doesn’t this remind you of this? I’d never be able to get through this set without making references to the swinging German couple to anyone within earshot.

Grouplove – Lots of times when I write about LA hipster chicks dressing up like Pocahontas people who don’t live in this city ask me what the hell I’m talking about. Watch the video for Grouplove’s “Colours” (haughty spelling alert!). No one is wearing a costume in this video. That’s seriously how people in LA walk around everyday. The production on this song is terrible. Are the guitars supposed to sound so washed out? I feel like whoever directed this video said, “Remember the trailer for Where The WIld Things Are”? Let’s do that at the Antelope Valley Poppy Preserve.

Zeds Dead – Is that a Pulp Fiction reference? Too bad they’re an electronic duo. I like Pulp Fiction references, but I don’t like electronic music!

The Vaccines – Although I appreciate the fact that they wrote a song called “Post Break-Up Sex” I cannot appreciate the music. It took all but two seconds for me to peg these guys as another post-Interpol post-punk band playing prefabricated adult contemporary “indie” rock on a major label. No thanks.

Childish Gambino – The guy from Community has an underground rap project? Decent flow, good beats, I think I like it!

The Big Pink – The fact that this draws comparisons to Spacemen 3 and My Bloody Valentine is baffling. Before any of you write to tell me how I know nothing about music, why don’t you tell the people who make those comparisons how utterly mistaken they are. This sounds like Richard Ashcroft backed by a slightly-more-gauzy British synth pop group.

Black Lips – Stupid band for stupid people. VICE Recordings never puts out anything worthwhile. Except maybe DFA1979 but even they only had two good songs. Am I supposed to be impressed how they make out on stage with each other or pee in one another’s mouths? Write a good song. Then I’ll pay attention.

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals – Plus 1 point for being from Vermont. Minus 5 points for me not being able to distinguish the first ten seconds of the song from the Lexus ad that YouTube made me watch before the video started. Minus 50 points for being an annoying roots rock band. Too bad it’s not Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings. That’d be a show worth seeing.

Tune Yards – I hate your stupid avant-garde spelling and your pretentious hyphen. I will never understand how a person who fetishizes traditional culture and repackages it for the masses can be considered a groundbreaking artist. Here’s looking at you, Animal Collective. Every time a hipster listens to a white chick in face paint who just discovered world music, a small African child dies.

Laura Marling – As much as I want to love anybody who covers — hell, I’ll settle for anyone who even knows — Jackson C. Frank, I don’t really like her music. Thanks for reminding me of how much I love Jackson, and how he’s one of the greatest songwriters ever (and how much Paul Simon ripped him off!), but that’s pretty much all you’ve done for me. By the way, I just got a really cool CD from a Jackson C. Frank collector with tons of unreleased songs on it, so I’m sharing one at the end of this entry.

The Head and the Heart – Listened to a song called “Down In The Valley”. This reminds me of Ryan Adams at his most plaintive (note: that’s not a good thing) or a stripped-down Kings of Leon (definitely not a good thing). These seems tailor-made for the over-40 coffeehouse crowd.

Destroyer – One of the most pernicious forces in indie music. I thought he was annoying when he tried to squeeze 85 extra words into every line of every song, and those words were either self-referential pats on the back, “challenging” messages to critics, or snobbish literary references intended to elicit smiles from his oh-so-erudite listeners. Now there’s un-ironic smooth saxophone on his new record (“Kaputt” sounds like Michael McDonald as seen through the eyes of a Windham Hill-approved New Age clown), and it’s forcing me to draw a line in the sand: you either see this guy for the horribly untalented fraud he is, or your head is so far up your ass you are incapable of recognizing bad music. Seriously, what has happened to independent rock music?

Kaiser Chiefs – It might not be good, but at least they play a form of rock music so at this point I’m just glad someone’s playing it.

SBTRKT – Wow, can it be that after the one-two punch of Tune Yards and Destroyer I’m actually happy to hear electronic music? I’m in shock.

Sub Focus – This sounds like the demo tune that comes pre-recorded into a synthesizer under the “techno” setting.

Martin Solveig – What Prince might sound like if he recorded club/dance music.

St. Vincent – Much respect should be paid for her attempt to cover “Kerosene”. It’s decent, in spite of the goofy effect on her voice. I’ve heard her records a few times but mostly they leave me feeling numb. At least in the video, she seems like a good guitar player and she rocks out. Neither of those traits are present on her albums.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Awesome band, put on one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen, but this is just the wrong setting for them.

fIREHOSE – This would be cool to see — especially if they play a bunch of songs from Ragin’, Full On — but much like Refused, if you’re going to see a great band reunited on stage for the first time why would you want to see it with 75,000 other people? Talk about the opposite of an intimate, exciting reunion show…

Feist – I’ve never understood Feist. I liked the Broken Social Scene records Feel Good Lost and You Forgot It In People, but I have not liked anything she has recorded on her own. My co-worker plays Feist all the time and I’ve never gotten into it. Nor have I gotten why people like it. Am I missing something? This is cliched soft-rock, right? Is there a joke here I’m missing?

Andrew Bird – I was excited to see Andrew Bird at the Intonation Festival in Chicago back in 2005 but I picked the wrong day to go and missed him. Whoops! I like his music. I wouldn’t buy a ticket to Coachella just to see him, but ‘ll listen to and enjoy his records. He’s definitely more talented than most of these other bands.

Sebastian Ingrosso – House music. Whenever I have to sit through one of these videos/songs I start to wonder about how cool it’d be if Roadburn took place in America. It’s happening at almost the same time as Coachella, and if they did it in the states I would most definitely take that festival over this one. Day one features Agalloch, Ancestors, Michael Gira (solo acoustic!), La Otracina, and OM. Day two features Anekdoten, Farflung, Barn Owl, Gnod and Yob. Day three has Bongripper, Jesu, Jucifer, Leaf Hound (playing Growers of Mushroom!?), Pelican, Saviours, and Sleep, and BONG is playing on the final day. Amazing.

Jeff Mangum – Like I said yesterday, do you honestly think that Mangum — alone on stage with his acoustic guitar — is going to deliver that arresting performance you’ve been dreaming about witnessing since you first heard In The Aeroplane Over The sea? Not likely. Not in front of 75,000 people. You probably won’t even be able to hear him over the couple fighting ten feet away from you. If I see him at all (have you ever heard his live shows? He wasn’t exactly the best performer when he was touring) it will be on one of the club/theater dates.

Miike Snow – This electronic music is tooooo faaaaast.

Kaskade – Another DJ. Blah.

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – I’ll be the first to admit that I love Oasis. They were one of my first “favorite bands.” I preferred Noel songs like “Sad Song,” “The Masterplan”, and “Talk Tonight”…not hearing him sing those songs would just irritate me. His new band just sounds like imitation Oasis. In fact, if I were to get a craving for a live Noel Gallagher performance, I’d just listen to the MTV Unplugged performance where he fronted the band. That was great.

David Guetta – Bad club music.

The Shins – What? Are these guys even still a band? Have they released anything since Chutes Too Narrow? Remember when they were the band that would “change your life?” I’m pretty sure they work at Denny’s now.

Bon Iver – Would you believe that this is the first time I’m intentionally listening to a Bon Iver song? If I’ve heard him before, I didn’t know it was him. This song is called “Skinny Love”. I’d be the first guy to get behind a guy with an acoustic guitar singing sad songs, but I don’t like the falsetto and I don’t like the double/triple-tracked vocals. Instead of one lovelorn dude it t sounds like a small army of sad songwriters and that’s just weird. I’ll go listen to Elliott Smith instead.

Radiohead – A safe choice for a Saturday headliner. You could probably get 75,000 people to buy tickets to see Radiohead by themselves on a Saturday night in the middle of the desert. If they can play for 3-hours and they mix in songs from their whole catalog it will be a good show. If they just play their glitchy new stuff so Thom can dance around the stage like a spaz it’ll be awful.

Jackson C. Frank – I’ll Be Around (unreleased) [MP3]


  1. Tyler Kent

    What a shitty lineup. Besides GYBE and maybe Black Angels everything else here makes me want to shoot myself in the temple.

  2. |

    Whenever you want to post some more unreleased Jackson C. Frank, I’ll be here waiting.

  3. |

    I saw St Vincent at Roskilde Festival some years back. I didn’t know her then. She is a great guitarist and the concert was good.
    A review castigated her for not delivering the high value polished production of her recorded albums. I didn’t get that. Her live performance was good. Recorded songs slightly boring.

  4. |

    “Black Lips – Stupid band for stupid people. VICE Recordings never puts out anything worthwhile. Except maybe DFA1979 but even they only had two good songs. Am I supposed to be impressed how they make out on stage with each other or pee in one another’s mouths? Write a good song. Then I’ll pay attention.”

    I think this is a pretty accurate riff on Black Lips about 5 years ago, but they have matured, largely toned down there ninth-rate GG Allin stage antics, and their latest album, Arabia Mountain, is their best.

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