I might as well get this out of the way quickly, because every year some idiot shows up here thinking the views expressed in these posts truly reflect my opinions of the artists I choose to critique. I would hope people don’t take this too seriously, but then again last year I was called a “fag” and told to “kill [myself].” The year before that 48 people wrote in to tell me I’m a cunt, a douche, a hipster (?), a dick, and a “musically ignorant fuck” among other things. I don’t imagine this year will go over and smoother, in spite of my efforts to warn people that I’m going to make fun of bands they like. Just imagine this whole first paragraph is bold and italicized and underlined. All the music you listen to is really great and you should never have to hear somebody you that what you care about sucks. Except for me. Right now.
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 bangs 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 have with reading an evisceration of each year’s lineup is that they are incapable of objective criticism. Everyone thinks they have great taste in music, and that paying $400 and $800 to be directly marketed to by huge corporations for 72-straight hours is a good idea. No one thinks the music they like sucks, and no one wants to think that Playstation, Heineken, Red Bull, H&M and Fruttare are anything less than totally hip, totally chill corporations. Unfortunately, 99% of music still sucks, Heineken still probably thinks they’re marketing beer to “too many Negroes,” and Sony still made comments in opposition to energy efficiency standards in the state of California…where Coachella is held every year. But, hey. It’s your $400. Do whatever the fuck you want with it.
2013 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival – DAY ONE
Sam XL Pure Filth Sound – “Droppin’ beats, movin’ feets & disturbing the peace since 91″ according to Twitter. And yet, this hapless DJ has less Twitter followers than my roommate, and SHE’S not spinning at Coachella. Good luck, guy. Here’s hoping you can use your “party thrower of massif proportions” experience to bring in more than 5 people to see your set.
The Neighbourhood – You know you’ve stumbled onto a cool, honest, no-frills young band when a simple Google search returns a website for said band’s talent agency. HA! I mean, I’m pretty pragmatic about most bands in the sense that I know almost everything about them — from sound to look to attitude — is typically manufactured to appeal to the widest possible audience. But, Jesus Fucking Christ, can’t you at least bury the direct evidence of your bullshit careerist intentions a little deeper? I mean, any rational human being that Googles a band name only to be taken to The Paradigm Talent Agency bio written for that band is going to immediately dismiss them as a bunch of pathetic hacks. So, yeah. The Neighbourhood. Pathetic hacks. ‘Nuff said.
James McCartney – Or “The other McCartney,” as far as most people are concerned. The McCartney no one will ever give a shit about. I know it’s lame to use a stage name, but when your surname is McCartney it might not be a bad idea. Hell…Elliott Smith was a stage name. He turned out alright. He died with his integrity intact, even if he got up on stage every night and ignored his true identity.
Skinny Lister – They have the look of a band who might — totally straight-faced — cite The Arcade Fire as an influence. Frankly, that’s not a band I ever care to hear at any point in my life.
IO Echo – Yeah, no.
Palma Violets – A band from London that gets compared to Arctic Monkeys and The Libertines. Come to think of it, when was the last time a band from London was any good? And why do British bands only ever get compared to other British bands? Where’s Newcastle? That’s where BONG is from, and they’re the only British band I think I like right now.
Lord Huron – Acording to Wikipedia, Lord Huron “is an American indie folk group from Los Angeles. The group’s debut album…was released in 2012…Following the release of the album the group appeared on The Tonight Show.” Wow. With a resume like that, no wonder they’re playing Coachella! Why aren’t they headlining!?
Beardyman – Worst moniker yet. Oh my God, they’re going to let a “beatboxer” on stage? TO PERFORM FOR PEOPLE? AT A MUSIC FESTIVAL!? While you Coachella fans are standing around watching this shit, just keep telling yourself, “Of the $400 I spent on this ticket, I’m sure only a couple cents went towards locking this guy down.” You know, whatever it takes for you to rationalize paying that much to watch a dork make beatboxing sounds into a microphone. In person. Ugh.
C2C – “French DJ group, four-time winners of the DMC World Team DJ Championship.” Well, I don’t see why these guys aren’t headlining instead of Blur. I mean, four-time winners? World Team DJ Championships? Why, that’s gotta be up there with the John Madden Football Video Game Championships…or the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Championship. Why isn’t C2C performing at the Super Bowl? How much money do you think they’re LOSING by performing so early in the day on the first day of Coachella! This is…this is like getting Michael Jordan to join your pickup basketball team. You won’t want to miss this.
Deathfix – Deathfix set a personal record this week for “most Google searches for ‘Deathfix’ in a week” because nobody who saw the Coachella lineup knew who Deathfix was. Oh, it’s Brendan Canty’s new band. I guess that’s cool?
Jaime xx – “Jamie Smith is an English music producer and remix artist, who has gained fame both as a solo act and as a member of the London-based band The xx.” Wait a minute. So in order for ANYONE to know who the hell he is, he had himself billed as “Jaime xx”!? HAHAHAHAHA! That’s, like, the ultimate sign of nobody gives a shit about you, you fucking loser.
DJ Harvey - Alright, +1 for the punny name. It’s on par with Run DMT or Adderall Canyonly. Unfortunately, using a pun for a moniker is where the similarities end. DJ Harvey sucks. Run DMT and Adderall Canyonly are great.
Dam-Funk – I’ve got nothing but respect for anyone related to Stones Throw.
Lee Scratch Perry – Yeah…this isn’t going to work. Lee Scratch Perry is 76 years old. This is going to be sad, not fun.
Youth Lagoon – There’s nothing worse than looking up a band or musician only to be immediately overcome with an intense hatred towards the entity. In the case of “Youth Lagoon” (aka Trevor Powers) his Wikipedia page nearly drove me to throw my laptop at the wall. “The debut album explores themes such as psychological dysphoria and mental distress, and is based around minimalism and hypnotic ambience.” Give me a fucking break. You recorded some music, you didn’t receive a fucking doctorate. Oh, and your upcoming album “was spawned from what he describes as ‘becoming more fascinated with the human psyche and where the spiritual meets the physical world?’” How about you go blow a dog and write a song about that?
Purity Ring – So this is what “indie” music is now, huh? The look and the sound are so finely tuned…this can’t possibly be real. Even if it is real (and I mean that in the sense that it literally exists), there’s absolutely nothing honest about it. Like a fabricated lightbulb hanging from the ceiling of the “dive bar” that opened up last week by billing itself as a dive bar…At what point does this “indie” thing just become a parody of itself? I’m gonna give myself an aneurysm trying to determine whether this is legit or if it’s someone’s idea of a joke.
Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra – What, were the Mighty Mighty Bosstones already booked at some other huge festival?
Sparks – Oh, this is just sad, guys. Sparks has been around for FORTY YEARS, and they’re scheduled to take the stage in between TOKYO SKA PARADISE ORCHESTRA and SETH TROXLER. Do you have any idea how depressing that it is? Seriously, if I was either of the brothers Mael I would look at this schedule — and see how low on the podium I was — and I’d kill myself. The saddest part of not being there to see them perform “This Town Ain’t Big Enough For The Both Of Us” is that pretty much NO ONE will be there to see them perform the song…because they’re playing so early…and because 98% of the kids at the show aren’t old enough to know Sparks exists.
Seth Troxler – They just should just make Coachella a big rave. That way when I say, “Coachella sucks” people will unilaterally agree with me. And by that I mean other people who don’t respect techno and don’t respect people who claim to enjoy techno will unilaterally agree with me.
Polica- Really? An American band with a cedilla in its name? Go to hell. You’re not worth my time. And fuck you, I’m not typing that stupid character just to make sure your band name is spelled right.
Earl Sweatshirt – I’ve got nothing but respect for Earl. Of course, I haven’t heard anything he’s done since EARL. I’m sure it’s fine. His verse on “Oldie” was the best part of the atrocious OF Tape Vol. 2. Hopefully he doesn’t fall into the same trap as Tyler the Creator, where everyone’s waiting for him to grow up a little bit and say something poignant, and it doesn’t happen. For some reason I’ve got faith in this kid.
Jake Bugg – An English songwriter who is influenced by Donovan. Go play Bonaroo, you hippie!
TONIGHT – Fuck you if you think I’m going to spell your band name TNGHT, like how it is listed on the schedule. Your band is called TONIGHT. FUCKING SPELL IT RIGHT.
Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine – Is this going to be a spoken word performance? Because I’m sure that’s just what everybody paying $400 a ticket is going to want to experience in the middle of an otherwise perfect, sunny, April afternoon. Maybe you can talk about politics. Maybe you can talk about how Unilever, the company that owns Coachella sponsor Fruttare, has pledged to decrease its environmental footprint (although with no publicized strategy for doing so) after coming under fire for buying materials from companies damaging forests in Indonesia and the Ivory Coast. That’ll go over well with the crowd. If there’s time left over at the end of your set, you can talk about Coachella sponsor H&M, and how just this week it was reported that they’ve been stealing artists’ work without compensating the artists. I mean…it’s a music and arts festival…that’d be a good place to raise awareness, right?
Alt-J – I like that we’ve gotten to the point where we can anoint bands “The New Radiohead,” as if it’s something to strive for. Radiohead hasn’t recorded anything worthwhile in the last decade. I’d consider it an insult to be compared to them at this point. Kid A came out 12+ years ago and since then it’s been garbage. And since people love to gloss over this fact, it makes it even funnier that there’s a new Radiohead out there, Radiohead-ing it up for all the rabid Radiohead fans. I think I might actually be pissed if I was in a band and I was compared to another band that hasn’t been good for a decade. Like an upcoming film director might be pissed to be compared to George Lucas circa 2012. Wow, what an honor, right?
Aesop Rock – Wake me when Kool Keith gets here.
Four Tet – Rounds was good. Pause was good. Dialogue was good. Everything since then? Eh….not so much. Play Rounds from start to finish and you’ve got my attention. Anything else and I’d probably pass. I saw Kieran at that TRL benefit at the Bowery Ballroom seven or eight or nine years ago and, as much as I like his music, the performance left me nonplussed. Music I’d much rather hear through headphones than live.
Dillon Francis – “…known for being one of the pioneers of moombahton.” Is that the music that plays when girls go to their Moombah classes? I keep seeing a lot of girls on Facebook talking about “going to Moombah.” I guess if you’re going to pioneer a style of music you might choose one named after and the latest exercise fad. Easy money, right?
The Shouting Matches – The guy from Bon Iver is in this band? Why…that makes them the second most boring band in the world! (After Bon Iver, of course)
Thomas Gold- “Thomas Gold was an Austrian-born astrophysicist, a professor of astronomy at Cornell University, a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and a Fellow of the Royal Society.” What the fuck is THIS GUY doing at Coachella!??!!!
Tommy Trash – Too many fucking DJs.
Modestep – Is this the name of the new movement that’s going to replace dubstep? When is KTEL going to release their big dubstep comp?
Nick Romero – So the guy from Everybody Loves Raymond is gonna get up on stage and do thirty minutes of crowd work?
Wolfgang Gartner – House music sucks.
Luciano – Guys, which Luciano is this? Is it the Reggae artist? Are they going to pair him with Lee Scratch Perry? Is it Luciano the Brazilian country singer? Is it Pavarotti!? I can’t make fun of Luciano if I don’t know who Luciano is. Luciano.
Foals – Even Wikipedia refuses to capitalize all the letters in this band name. When did that stupid trend start, anyway? Was it Tune Yards? Was it pre-Tune Yards? And why does it have to be Foals? Why can’t it be THE Foals? You named your band after young horses…it’s not like the “the” thing is tired. I mean…The Beatles did pretty alright without shortening their name to Beatles. The Rolling Stones sold a few records. More than you.
Johnny Marr – I feel bad for Johnny, because I can only imagine how many people are going to be screaming the names of Smiths songs at him. And maybe one or two people will be screaming for The The songs. And one of those people will likely be Matt Johnson. Coachella feels like it was made to be THE place where the Smiths decide to play their first reunion show. Just picture it: a sea of lonely dudes blowing themselves while Morrissey caterwauls them to orgasm.
Stars – My guess is this is the terrible Canadian band that was related to Broken Social Scene. Don’t people know by now not to trust bands from Canada? None of them are any good outside of Godspeed or Do Make Say Think. The Arcade Fire suck. Bryan Adams sucks. Rush pretty much sucks. When a country’s self-proclaimed most popular musical export is the Tragically Hip you know that the lack of talent there is an epidemic.
Divine Fits – If it sounds anything like Spoon it’s awful. That guy singing isn’t going to be able to carry a tune, and the music is going to be some of the least offensive pop-rock you’re likely to hear all weekend. According to Merge Records, it all started way back in 2011, when Britt emailed a demo, and then Dan added vocals in his kitchen? That’s easily the least interesting band genesis story I’ve ever heard in my entire life. Unsurprisingly, the music mirrors that RIVETING, CAPTIVATING story about two guys sending each other tapes in the mail, like this is a lost John Hughes movie with no plot and less excitement.
Japandroids – Saves The Day changed their name? No wonder I haven’t heard anything about them since 1999. Somewhere the members of Husker Du are thinking, “Really? This is what we begot? This is what we lived, and bled, and died for?” And then they’d travel back in time and undo their entire existence just to bless us with never having to hear Japandroids.
Infected Mushroom – Is it weird that I’m undecided as to whether or not I’d rather be forced to listen to this shit for an hour, or be forced into the middle of a human centipede for the rest of my life?
Of Monsters And Men – When the first instrument you hear in a song is an accordion you can rest assured what follows is going to be horrible. It sounds like the sequel to that play Duncan Sheik wrote the music for, and they only cast Irish actors who have super-generic, bland voices. Also they can’t disguise their really thick accents. How come when people decide to start a band, and the boy and the girl both agree to share singing duties, one of them doesn’t say, “Maybe only I should sing.” Seriously…in the history of recorded music how many bands with male and female vocalists sharing frontperson duties has it worked to great success? Not many. Fleetwood Mac? Depeche Mode (rimshot!)? I don’t count Sonic Youth because Kim is pretty much a dude. Or at least she sounds and looks like one. My point is, this band has no future and should give up making music.
Local Natives – Why the fuck does every band in LA sound exactly the same? It’s as if some consortium of shitty wannabe melodic indie poppers met in secret and decided “the LA sound is basically going to be…reverb as the fifth band member” and “the singer has to sound strained without actually straining.” Then everyone shook hands and pricked their fingers and swore on a blood oath to perpetuate this unremarkable new sound that already sounds like every album released between the years 2002-2006. The rite was performed to a chorus of “whoa-oh”s sung in perfect harmony. Fuck this city and its abhorrent, imitation-posing-as-unique music scene.
Metric – Is that that band that Scott skewered on Pretty Goes With Pretty for sounding like a shitty modern Michael McDonald? If so, this should be a hoot to see in a live setting.
Beach House – I liked this band better the first time around WHEN THEY WERE CALLED STEREOLAB.
Band Of Horses – The only reference to this band I can find in my archives is from a blog entry dated 2007. It says, “Admittedly, I’ve never heard this Band Of Horses. Frankly, their name sucks. Can we issue an immediate moratorium on band names with animals in them? According to part-time rock critic, full time rock purist Ilya, this group sounds ‘like every plaintive Built To Spill ballad,’ and I have no reason to think he’s being dishonest.” Six years later, I still have no desire to listen to this group.
Tegan And Sara – Insert Lilth Fair joke here.
Passion Pit – Wasn’t MGMT, like, soooooo 2010? I feel like I’m listening to a car commercial. Which is perfect, because Coachella sponsor JBL’s parent company is Harman. Aside from having a totally punk rock annual revenue of over 3 billion dollars, Harman is very well known for their audio products, which are commonly found in automotive systems. What better way to listen to Passion Pit than through a new set of Infinity loudspeakers in a brand new Hyundai!
How To Destroy Angels – Answer: play shitty new Trent Reznor music.
Dog Blood – Thank God, I was nervous there wouldn’t be any Skrillex this year. All the annoying valley girls who watch “Girls” on Sunday nights will have something safe to dance to.
Bassnectar – As usual, there’s way too much electronic music for my taste.
Grinderman – Awesome. Would see. Not in this setting — not in a million years — but in almost any other settings, an emphatic YES.
Jurassic 5 – It must be pretty embarrassing to launch a huge comeback and yet you’re buried on the Day 1 schedule between Grinderman and Lou Reed. Who the fuck is going to care enough to see these guys? And…at the end of the day, it’s Jurassic 5. It’s not like A Tribe Called Quest or Wu-Tang Clan…I understood people getting excited about those reunions when they happened, but…Jurassic 5? Nah.
Lou Reed – Really? What, is he going to be joined by Metallica on stage? And they’re going to play a 45-minute rendition of “Junior Dad”? No thanks. That sounds like the worst thing ever. Does anyone buying a ticket for Coachella think that 70-year-old Lou Reed is going to “bring it” when he’s on stage in the desert? You’ll be lucky if he’s standing at the end of his set. Best case scenario: you get to hear the worst renditions of “Heroin”, “I’m Waiting For The Man” and “White Light/White Heat” you’ve ever heard. Worst case scenario: your last glimpse of Lou Reed is him being carted off the stage wearing an oxygen tank.
Modest Mouse – Bring earplugs. That guy REALLY doesn’t know how to sing.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Would this band even matter if Karen O. wasn’t every indie fanboy’s wet dream?
The Stone Roses – Never got the Stone Roses. Still don’t get it. Not sure I need to get it, or even care to get it. I’ll pass.
Blur – Well, yes, obviously. It’s Blur. I saw them for the first time in 1997 at the tender age of 14 and it’s still one of my favorite live music experiences. It’s a memory I’ll always cherish, from my mom buying me the ticket to getting to hear all my favorite songs live. Granted, that was at the Roseland Ballroom in NYC, not at stupid fucking Coachella with a bunch of stupid hipster dufuses. Still, I can’t fault you for going just to see Blur. Not everyone was as cool as I was when I was 14 and this might be your only chance to ever say, “Yeah, I saw Blur live.” Is your cred really worth all the other insufferable shit music you’ll have to endure?
…I’ll be back to review Day 2 tomorrow.
Staple Singers – The Day Is Passed And Gone [MP3]