Guide to 15 ‘Must-Hear Artists’ at the Coachella Music Festival
– By Stephanie Magallanes
To hear or not to hear, that is the question.
With Coachella only a few days away, the time to finalize all the details is now! So your hotel suite is booked, food and refreshments purchased and confirmations to attend the deserts hottest pool parties are all squared away. Seems like the only thing missing on your agenda is figuring out what musical acts will be worthy of your precious time. With 180 bands/dj’s to choose from it’s no wonder most of us procrastinate this tedious decision-making process and scramble around the day of the festival. Well my fellow music junkies, you’re in luck because I spent the last month researching and putting a list together of, in my opinion, what seems to be a well rounded selection of ‘Must-Hear Artists’.
With five Grammis (Swedish Grammys) under her belt from 2011 alone this electro-pop diva will kick-off the festival as one of Friday nights headliners. Primarily known for her 90’s dance hit ‘Show Me Love’ Robyn has a highly respected and successful career of chart topping dance hits. With one of her latest singles ‘Dancing on My Own’ Robyn has continued to rise as a solo artist in the electronic music scene. Make sure to put her up high on your list because you will definitely find yourself connecting to her high-energy performance and thank me later.
The Black Keys
This dynamic duo from Akron, Ohio has risen above just being another independent band. Now at the top of their game, Dan Auerbach (guitar and lead vocals) and Patrick Carney (drummer) snagged two Grammys this season and have a mass appeal to almost any music lover looking for a raw contemporary twist to American blues-rock. With their music featured in hit TV shows like ‘Hung’ to ‘True Blood’ and ‘The Twilight Saga: Eclipse’ this is only the beginning to their highly renound success. When you hear Dan Auerbach live you can almost feel every emotion and catch yourself tapping your feet to Patrick Carneys simple yet catchy drum beats. You’ll be ‘Howlin’ for more by the time this stellar performance is through.
This Los Angeles native kicked-off his career as the front man for the band From First to Last. Starting from a young age he has received recognition for his eclectic skills from the likes of the Alternative Press. He was even featured in the Alternative Press’ 100 Bands You Need to Know issue in 2007. Since his departure from the band he has turned to producing and remixing tracks in the highly popular form of music dub-step. If you’re a fan of Deadmau5 then it’s a given in you’ll become obsessed with this 23 year olds mash-up style of electronic synths and glitchy beats. Check out ‘Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites’ to get a taste of what to expect from his Friday performance.
Cee Lo Green
Being a triple threat isn’t easy; Cee-Lo has proven to master the arts of being a singer-songwriter, rapper, and record producer. Best known for his work with the R&B/hip-hop duo Gnarls Barkley, Cee-Lo took a two year break and by late last year released the single ‘F*ck You’ or as the radio edit goes ‘Forget You’, landing him a spot in the US Billboard Top 100. His latest album ‘The Lady Killer’ has done just that, making all of us dance hungry ladies swoon over his neo soul and hip-hop hybrid jams. Put on your dancing shoes and check out this quirky whole lotto man Friday night!
Pronounced ‘No-Saj-Thing’, a modernized version of no such thing (add a little attitude in the name and you’ll pronounce it just right), is an electronic and hip-hop dj based in Los Angeles. I first came across his music while searching for his sounds on YouTube. I came across a live set on KEXP (Seattle based radio station) and was blown away by his live mixing done on a sound mixing board and DJ program on his computer. His creation of sound is so crisp it’s hard to believe he’s mixing all these intricate sounds and songs live. To think it all began by him installing bootleg production software into his dads’ computer. It’s great to see his progress and flawless skill now shared with the world.
Speaking of highly noted and award winning artists, this eight-piece band took the world by surprise when they won the award for ‘Album of the Year’ at the 2011 Grammys. Known for their mind-blowing live performances you definitely get your moneys worth and more when experiencing the sounds of this Canadian super group. Besides the standard instruments which make up a band (guitar, drums, and bass guitar), Arcade Fire also incorporates the piano, violin, viola cello, double bass, xylophone, glockenspiel, keyboard, French horn, accordion, harp, mandolin and hurdy-gurdy. Most of these instruments join them on tour and the band switches duties throughout their show. With so many instruments being played you must see to believe why this band can pull off such a diverse collaboration of sounds to achieve melodic gold.
One Day as a Lion
What do you get when you combine Zack de la Rocha (lead singer of Rage Against the Machine) and Jon Theodore (former drummer for The Mars Volta); you receive a dignified combination of rock, rap, and punk. Since the release of their debut EP in early 2008 the band has spent the last few years touring the world with the likes of Queens of the Stone Age and Iron Maiden. Be sure to check out these music geniuses on Saturday’s ticket.
While DJ’ing he wears a mask hiding his identity from the world, SBTRKT has let his music speak for itself. When he started his producing and DJ career he started off by sampling and mixing other musicians tracks. This has then led him to produce his own music and remix number one acclaimed records. 10 years into the game he was discovered by some of electronic music’s biggest names like Annie Mac, Skream, and Zinc.
If one of your primary musical influences is Buddy Holly, I would automatically become intrigued to know how you’ll portray this into your own sound. Best known for his work with Tony! Toni! Tone’! Rafael Saadiq has put the Rhythm in Blues back into R&B. As a solo artist he has the biggest names in music on his resume for production, songwriting, and collaborations. In 2008 alone he received three Grammy nominations and was voted Best Album on iTunes. Saadiq has since then released two albums including his fourth studio album Stone Rollin’ which came out April 4th of this year. Last year I was fortunate enough to experience a live secret show by him and was left speechless by his wide-ranged take on today’s R&B/Neo Soul music.
I think I can speak on the behalf of many beloved fans of Erykah Badu when I say I’d love to take a ‘Window Seat’ next to her and pick her brain on how she has a highly respected and successful career. I’ve included some neo soul artists in my list and we can all thank this dynamic songstress for the rise of what once was a more independent sound. Erykah Badu released her fifth studio album New Amerykah Part Two in March of last year and since then has graced us with her presence by headlining music festivals around the world. By the end of her Saturday night performance you’ll understand why she has so often been compared to the jazz queen herself Billie Holiday, she will captivate you lyrically and musically.
Considered to be one of the most notable bands of the 21st century, The Strokes keep climbing up the ladder of success by providing listeners with magnetic and alluring melodies. With five studio albums, this group of fab five New Yorkers have topped the charts with hit singles such as ‘Last Night’, ‘Reptilia’, and ‘Juicebox. After five years since their last album, The Strokes released Angles in March of this year. The short but sweet album consists of only ten tracks. When approached by SPIN Magazine and asked what the world should expect, Julian Casablanca’s (lead singer/ songwriter) described the songs as ‘1970s rock and music of the future’.
This is the duo responsible for making Barbra Streisand cool again. Duck Sauce consists of American-Canadian DJ’s Armand Van Helden and A-Trak. Having received individual world renounced success these two New York based DJ’s have combined forces to produce disco house tracks aimed to attract club dj’s. Their funky productions have become the piece de resistance to any successful dance party.
She Wants Revenge
When asked to describe their sound it’s always hard to label such a diverse and talented band. Some categorize them as darkwave, post-punk rival, and alternative rock. When asked to describe their musical style lead singer Justin Warfield has said “…Dark wave to me is darker than what we do, I mean honestly I just consider it dancy rock n roll: not like rock n roll like early Stones dancy rock n roll, but certainly rock n roll like dance. Sure we’ve said before it’s like dark dance because that’s an easy way for people to wrap their hands around it. If you want to get more specific, yeah it’s dark.” With a new album coming out at the end of May for their third album release the band has taken a slightly different approach and broadened their sounding not as dark. Check out a preview of what’s to come from their new material while they close out the Golbi stage.
It’s not easy being one of the 80’s leading bands and coming back as a full band almost 20 years later (with some new members) and still is on top of the new wave genre, but Duran Duran has done just that. They stayed true to their roots and in November of last year released their 13th studio album All You Need is Now under the indie label S-curve Records. If you have yet to have the opportunity to see this epic band live consider it an honor to catch them on the Coachella main stage early evening.
He started off his career by making mix tapes, which then led him to be signed by Warner Brothers Records in 2007. Since then he has released two albums and a couple mix-tapes. He parted ways and signed to Atlantic Records. He released his chart topping single ‘Black and Yellow’, which is featured on Rolling Papers, his debut album from the label, which was released on March 29th, 2011. This catchy hip-hop tune has sky rocketed his career leading him to be one of the elite choices of hip-hop artists to be featured at this years festival. Make sure to check Khalifa that is derived from the Arabic word meaning ‘successor’ on Sunday the last day of the festival. Chances are he will have you yelling ‘Black and Yellow’ the whole two hour drive back into Los Angels.