baroque pop music

Coachella Band Preview: Lana Del Rey

Of course I’m starting off my band previews with the artist I’m most excited to see perform at Coachella. Ever since Lana played Coachella in 2014 amidst a stacked lineup of some of my favorite bands and artists, I’ve been waiting for the day I would get to see her play the southern California music festival. She’s been one of my favorite artists for about 8 years now. Finally the day has come where I can say here’s what you need to know about Lana Del Rey.

Lana Del Rey came onto the music scene in 2012 with her debut album Born to Die, but she wasn’t really new to the music scene at the time. She had been singing under the name Lizzy Grant (her real name is Elizabeth Grant). Since 2012, she’s released 5 albums, 1 EP, and has also released music for movie soundtracks like “Young and Beautiful” for 2013’s Great Gatsby, “Once Upon A Dream” for 2014’s Maleficent, and most recently her Ariana Grande and Miley Cyrus collaboration “Don’t Call Me Angel” for the latest Charlie’s Angels remake. I’ve written about Lana Del Rey on this blog before. I’ve written about her and reviewed her last 3 albums, HoneymoonLust For Life, and most recently Norman Fucking Rockewell!. Normally if I’ve written about a Coachella artist before, I combine those I write about into one big post closer to the festival. This year, since there’s only a few artists like that and an even smaller selection to preview than in years past (what can I say the music I’m into is just not being played at Coachella this year!), I figured I’m gonna preview everyone individually even those I’ve written about before.

Lana Del Rey has only ever played one other Coachella. In the 6 years that it has been since the last one, she’s put out 4 more albums. Her haunting vocals and baroque/dream pop style of music is a huge mood for the festival though. It fits the Coachella atmosphere so well. She’s already told us she’ll be playing Sunday evening right before headliner Frank Ocean, which means she’s got that early evening main stage spot locked. This means we probably won’t get that ideal sunset set for her west coast jams. Her now somewhat large discography means she’ll have a large selection of tunes to play this spring. I’m hoping I finally get to hear her Coachella-inspired song “Coachella – Woodstock On My Mind” at the festival that brought it to life. I’m also hoping she mixes in some of her older hits as well since her first album was one of my favorites of the last decade. She also claimed she’s bringing all of her friends, meaning there will be plenty of special guests. The Weeknd, Stevie Nicks, A$AP Rocky, and Sean Lennon have all made appearances on her records. Any one of them could be a likely guest of Lana.

We have 3 months to wait and see what her Coachella set will be like, but just know it’ll probably be packed and worth the 6 year wait. She could have easily headlined this festival so expect almost a secondary headlining performance from the artistic queen. Sunday evening will surely bring the heat this year. I’m sure I’ll be “feeling like I’m fucking crazy” by the time she performs, but I can’t wait for “ride” Lana Del Rey will take us on.

Here are just a handful of songs you should know:

  1. National Anthem
  2. Ride
  3. Mariners Apartment Complex
  4. Summertime Sadness
  5. Coachella – Woodstock On My Mind
  6. Lust For Life
  7. West Coast
  8. Born to Die
  9. Young and Beautiful
  10. Video Games
  11. Love
  12. Blue Jeans
  13. Doin’ Time
  14. hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have – but I have it
  15. Beautiful People Beautiful Problems

 

 

First the Window, Then It’s to the Wall

Last week I worked my third Lollapalooza in the box office/ticketing department, but for the first time, I managed my own ticket help. Lolla was where I started working in ticketing 2 years ago so it felt like a full circle moment being able to work Lolla in a higher position. Another full circle moment happened on Saturday night when I was able to see Vampire Weekend. I found out about the band in 2008 way before I was even into the indie rock scene. A friend of mine in my Music 101 class in college told me about them. He was also the first person to tell me about Lollapalooza so being able to say the first time I saw Vampire Weekend was at Lollapalooza is super cool and special to me. All that aside, much like Arctic Monkeys, Vampire Weekend is back from their 5 year hiatus and will be releasing a new album soon!

Vampire Weekend was formed when founding members Ezra Koenig (vocals, guitar), Chris Tomson (drums), Chris Baio (bass, backing vocals), and Rostam Batmanglij (keyboard) were in college at Columbia University. Their name comes from a summer project of Koenig’s inspired by the 1980 film The Lost Boys. With the project, he decided to create basically the Northeastern version of the film. The project also inspired the song “Walcott” as well even though he abandoned it after working on the short film for only a few days. The band started playing shows around 2006 by performing at battle of the bands around Columbia. Then in 2007 they opened for The Shins on their UK tour. They self-produced their self-titled debut album while simultaneously working full time jobs. The album was released on January 29, 2008. It peaked at number 17 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums Chart and number 15 on the UK Albums Chart.

Vampire Weekend’s second album Contra was released just short of 2 years later. It debuted at number 1 on the Billboard 200. The band also began a large festival circuit in 2010 making stops at Coachella, Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits, and Glastonbury. They had played their first Lollapalooza the previous summer. They also toured in support of the album in 2010. Contra was nominated for a Grammy for Best Alternative Album, but did not win.

Their most recent album to date Modern Vampires of the City was released in May 2013 after much talk of its release in 2011 and 2012. Like Contra, it debuted at number 1 on Billboard’s Top 200 Albums Chart making them the first indie rock band to accomplish this feat with two consecutive albums. The album won Vampire Weekend a Grammy for Best Alternative Album in 2014.

In 2016, Rostam Batmanglij announced his leave from Vampire Weekend via Twitter, but also noted that he would still continue to collaborate with Ezra Koenig. Koenig confirmed this by saying the band was working on a new album with help from Batmanglij. At Lollapalooza last week, the band announced that the 4th album was complete after playing a set list of all old hits including the song “A-Punk” three times in a row to open the set (…and I missed it!).

Vampire Weekend is a pretty standard indie rock band. Their sound is a mixture of indie rock, indie pop, baroque pop, afro-pop, and art pop. Most of their hits have an upbeat, joyfulness to their sound. You can’t help but want to dance to their tracks like “A-Punk”, “Unbelievers”, or “Diane Young”.

As I said, I found out about Vampire Weekend 10 years ago. I kept up with them by periodically adding songs to my iTunes as new releases would come out. I never saw them live though, until last week. They were on my “must-see” list for a while. Since seeing them last week, I haven’t been able to stop listening to them. It was like Lollapalooza revitalized Vampire Weekend for me. It did the same thing for me last year with The Killers. I guess that’s another reason why I like Lollapalooza so much.

If you haven’t been listening to Vampire Weekend for the last 10 years or started somewhere in between there, here’s my call for you to listen to them asap. An album release date for their fourth full length has yet to be announced, but it’s coming soon! I’m sure I’ll probably review it once it’s out, but until then there’s tons of jams to help you wait it out. I swear. Like Lil Jon, I always tell the truth.