california

Coachella Band Preview: Wallows

Coachella is next Friday. I repeat. Coachella is NEXT. FRIDAY. Every week that goes by as it gets closer and closer I swear I just can’t believe it. It’s not like I never thought it would happen again. I just got used to waiting and waiting. Finally though we’re almost there. The big news of the week is that Kanye West (Ye) has officially dropped from the lineup. He was supposed to headline Sunday night. After reports of him potentially dropping for weeks, no one is shocked. To be honest, once I saw him on the lineup I thought there’s a chance he’d drop. There always is. He’s Kanye. There’s other bands and artists that will be there though that you can bet on seeing in Indio. One of those is the band Wallows.

Wallows formed in 2011 and went by other band names until 2017 when they solidified the name Wallows. The band is composed of Dylan Minnette, Braeden Lemasters, and Cole Preston. They dropped their first single “Pleaser” 5 years ago. The song ended up in the number two spot on the Spotify Global Viral 50 Chart. They released their second single “Sun Tan” a month later and two other singles that year with “Uncomfortable” and “Pulling Leaves Off Trees.” In early 2018 they signed to Atlantic Records and released their first major label EP Spring. Their debut album Nothing Happens dropped in March 2019. Shortly after, the band played their first Coachella. Now, 3 years later, the band released their second full length album Tell Me That It’s Over and will be playing Coachella once again.

Wallows’ music is mainly that of the alternative/indie rock genre. They would definitely be considered one of the indie bands at the festival this year. I remember trying to get into them in 2019, but it didn’t happen in time for Coachella given all the other music I wanted to see as well. This year they’re billed higher on the lineup and in my heart. I’ve been listening to them for the last few weeks, including trying to get into their new album. I’m definitely enjoying it more this time around. Wallows plays Saturday at Coachella. My guess is that you’ll catch the band on the Outdoor Stage between 3-6 in the afternoon. It just feels like the right time and the right place for them. In 2019, they played Mojave around 1 p.m. so I could see that being their upgrade for Saturday afternoon. If you’re trying to see Wallows again or catch them for the first time like me, here’s some songs you’ll want to listen to first:

  1. Scrawny
  2. Pleaser
  3. Are You Bored Yet?
  4. OK
  5. These Days
  6. Remember When
  7. I Don’t Want to Talk
  8. Marvelous
  9. Especially You
  10. Uncomfortable

Coachella Band Preview: FINNEAS

From the day after the last Coachella ended in April 2019 until now, I’ve been waiting to go back. Obviously March 2020 put a huge damper on the yearly spring tradition, and since then it’s just been a waiting game. I spent so many times thinking about Coachella, looking at pictures, and wondering what the day would be like when I finally get to go back and hoping by then it would be a normal Coachella. Now here we are, I leave for Coachella in just under a month and the festival begins in 5 weeks tomorrow. 1,090 days since the last Coachella once Day 1 Weekend 1 2022 hits. It’s unreal. I still keep holding my breath as I prep by listening to acts playing the festival this year, watching the Coachella Documentary from 2020, booking my travel, and planning out what I want to wear. With plenty of festivals now happening and three years since the last installment, Coachella seems imminent. I truly can’t believe we’ve made it this far. With the amount of time left, it’s really time to intensify the prep so this week I’m previewing an artist I’ve known about for a few years who, in my opinion, doesn’t get enough credit.

Finneas Baird O’Connell really has his claim to fame through his sister, Billie Eilish. He writes and produces a ton of her music along with other artists. He also writes and records his own music under the name FINNEAS. Before taking on his own project, he was the lead singer in the band, The Slightlys and took on some acting projects in the early 2010’s, including having a few appearances on the musical based TV show Glee. Since 2016, he has been recording and releasing his own music though. He released his first EP Blood Harmony in 2019 and his first studio album Optimist just last year. His music style is considered pop/alternative. After listening to FINNEAS for the first time in 2019, I would definitely consider him a pop artist. Also, despite the fact that he writes Billie’s music, I really do prefer his stuff over his sister’s. I knew once I discovered this that I wanted to listen to him more, but never really made the effort to do so. I guess there’s no better time than the present and no better festival to do it for than Coachella.

Billie Eilish is Saturday night’s headliner and usually a Billie festival appearance equates a FINNEAS festival appearance (sans Coachella 2019 when Billie made her first Polo Fields appearance). He plays a Sunday set. I’d expect a Sunday afternoon appearance from the older O’Connell sibling. I would also expect a Gobi or Mojave set from him. His set will likely be far less crowded than the set he’ll be a part of on Saturday night, but nonetheless, will be just as good. Here’s what you should be listening to in preparation for FINNEAS:

  1. Let’s Fall in Love for the Night
  2. Break My Heart Again
  3. I Lost A Friend
  4. Till Forever Falls Apart
  5. What They’ll Say About Us
  6. Angel
  7. A Concert Six Months From Now
  8. I Don’t Miss You At All
  9. Claudia
  10. New Girl

Coachella Band Preview: Jamie xx

Two things: it’s almost March and I’m almost home from my winter in Mexico! This means one thing: Coachella is a little over a month away after almost 1,100 days. Simple math. It makes my Coachella motto all that morning meaningful. I’ve always said to live every Coachella like your first Coachella. This time live every Coachella like your first Coachella and your last Coachella. Live it up hard. You never know. It just might be a while before your next one. Safe to say it’s been that way for this week’s preview artist. He last performed solo at the event in 2015 and performed with his band The xx in 2017. He goes by the name Jamie xx.

James Thomas Smith, or Jamie xx, is an English DJ/record producer. As I mentioned, he’s a member of indie pop band The xx, but it was shortly after the band’s formation that he began remixing tracks leading to his solo work. Along with remixing tracks by The xx, he began remixing music of several artists such as Florence + the Machine, Adele, and Glasser. His first album, We’re New Here, was entirely remixes. It came out in February 2011. His second and first original album, In Colour, was released in May 2015. He hasn’t really released much new music since then, aside from a single in 2020. The xx, however, last put out an album in 2017.

It’s definitely been a while since the last polo fields visit for the electronic artist who specializes in a style that incorporates future garage, post-dubstep, and house. He takes to the stage on Sunday in the desert. I’d imagine he would play the Sahara tent, but I could very well be wrong. He may be on the Coachella main stage or behind the booth at Outdoor. I would love a Jamie xx sunset set, and I feel like I’m not alone in this so I’ll be crossing my fingers that it happens. I’m also hoping that there may even be an appearance from Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim, the other two members of The xx. It would be so sick to get the band back together for their first appearance in several years. To get ready for whatever the Jamie xx set brings, I’ll be listening to:

  1. Loud Places
  2. I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)
  3. Gosh
  4. See Saw
  5. Idontknow
  6. Obvs
  7. Girl
  8. On hold (Jamie xx remix)
  9. You’ve Got the Love (Jamie xx remix)
  10. Stranger in a Room

Coachella Band Preview: Phoebe Bridgers

As we near the end of February we’re another week closer to desert sunsets, festival fashion, chill vibes, and incredible music. I’m closing in on the end of my 2022 Mexico run and what a time it’s been this year. It’s always such a unique experience living and working in another country. With this year came plenty of other new challenges too, but I’m thankful for my team and friends who were there through all of it. Mexico is just the Coachella pre-party anyway right? I’ve spent some time listening to several 2022 performers, while working south of the border, including a woman who has gained significant popularity over the past few years, Phoebe Bridgers.

Phoebe Bridgers started her solo career in 2015 after leaving her first band Sloppy Jane. She released her first EP, Killer, around that time. The record was produced by then boyfriend, Ryan Adams, and released under his label PAX AM. Phoebe released her debut album Stranger in the Alps in 2017 shortly after signing with independent label Dead Oceans. The album was an independent success. Bridgers then joined up with fellow independent artists Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus to form the indie rock super group Boygenius. They only dropped one EP and embarked on a U.S. tour in the fall of 2018 before again continuing on with their solo projects. However, Bridgers also joined another side project with Bright Eyes front man Conor Oberst in 2018 when the two formed Better Oblivion Community Center and released their debut album in January 2019. The two embarked on a sell out tour that spring as well.

In 2020, Bridgers was supposed to tour with the 1975 in support of the release of her second solo album Punisher. Of course we know what happened there and the tour was ultimately cancelled. Punisher went on to major success though receiving tons of publication accolades and three Grammy nominations, one for Best Alternative Music Album and two for Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song for the single “Kyoto.” Bridgers, herself, also received a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist, even though the “new” felt pretty relative as she’s been making music for several years.

Phoebe Bridgers music style is substantially indie folk, but can also be considered indie pop or indie rock. Nevertheless, she’ll fill that indie music spot for Coachella this spring and will likely attract a huge audience due to her 2020 success. 2022 will mark Bridgers first time performing the iconic southern California music festival. I’m hoping to be able to see one of her performances over the two weekends. I first heard about her in 2018 when a coworker of mine thought I would like her music and gave me a song to listen to. Again I can’t say I fell into the hype over her during the past few years, but I’d still love to see her. I suspect she’ll be playing Friday night on the main stage before Harry Styles. I plan on doing all the prepping I can for her set, because I feel like I should like her more than I do. Here’s what I’ve been listening to and what you should too:

  1. Funeral
  2. Kyoto
  3. Motion Sickness
  4. Garden Song
  5. Scott Street
  6. I Know the End
  7. Smoke Signals
  8. Graceland Too
  9. ICU
  10. Georgia

(Bonus: Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America (the 1975 song but feature Phoebe Bridgers because I just love it))

Nochella 2020

It’s been several days since the news finally broke about the year’s biggest party in the Indio desert being cancelled. 3 months ago I would have been absolutely devastated to hear about Coachella being cancelled. In fact I spent a weekend crying about it. Over the first few weeks after Coachella got postponed and live music every where ceased to exist, it became evident that Coachella in October was probably not going to be a thing. I stopped thinking about it. I hosted my own Couchella during the Coachella weekends. I watched the new documentary and decorated a room in my house like the polo fields. I even watched former live Coachella sets. I tried to celebrate Coachella as it should be celebrated in the best way I could.

Even though I expected this to happen, I’m still bummed about the news. This year has really become the year without live music and it’s absolutely heartbreaking. Times are so strange right now. Life feels so weird and everything is upside down. I actually prefer being home these days since at least it’s comfortable. Home is the world I’ve always known, but I still miss the rest of the world as I knew it too. I miss the days when two weeks in the southern California desert listening to music with thousands of people on fields at a polo club would cure any similar heart break.

Time felt like it moved so slowly in March. Then it started to speed up. Now, 3 months later, it feels like we’re 3 months closer to be able to live, breathe, exist, and listen as we’ve done for our entire lives. Coachella 2021 dates have already been set, but even next April is in question right now. The uncertainty of it all feels like someone has taken a bat to my stomach and knocked all the air out of me. The only thing we know is that live music will be back the way we knew it at some point, we just don’t know how long it will take and I really hate thinking about it. I’m just trying to focus on right now and enjoy what I have in the present.

However, until it’s back, I’ll also still be here yearning for the days spent admiring flower crowns, sweating in the afternoon sun at the Outdoor Theatre, capturing pictures of art installations and that iconic ferris wheel, losing myself to the electronic beats of the Sahara tent, relaxing in the air conditioned Arctic Dome, drinking yerba mate and living my best life with my co-workers, indulging at catering, appreciating the palm trees and snow peaked mountains, eating In-N-Out Burger, catching one of my favorite bands at sunset, spying celebrities, witnessing ground-breaking headlining performances at the main stage, and getting lost in the good vibes and good tunes that only Coachella has to offer. We’ll be back there some day and I can’t wait for that moment. Can’t wait to see you again Coachella. You know I’ll be prepped and ready and I hope you will be too.

Coachella 2020 Postponed

I know. I know. This is coming about 2 days late. It’s old news at this point, but I still needed to post something because as you may have guessed my Band Previews are also postponed. We were about a month away when Goldenvoice released the official announcement postponing the festival to October so now we’re about 7 months away. As a result, I’m gonna get back into posting about Coachella in spurts around August/September. There’s still a few more bands/artists I’d like to preview and also with this change who knows how things are going to go. Will there be artists who can’t play both weekends? Will there be new acts added? Will the festival itself add anything or make changes to the original plan? There’s a lot of unknowns out there, but here’s some positives to take away from the move.

First, Coachella is in October for the second time ever. The first time was in 1999. It was the first Coachella! Oddly enough, Rage Against the Machine played that one too! October is way different than April. It’s Fall vs. Spring. I guarantee you’ll see different kinds of Coachella fashion. There might even be different kinds of food and drink offered that are in theme with the season. The weather is likely to be hotter for weekend one than it usually is. The average temperature in the Coachella Valley in October is about 3 degrees hotter than it is in April, but overall not much different. Another interesting factor is that the sun will set sooner by about 1 hour! This means different kinds of sets for different artists. Obviously certain kinds of production look better at different times of the day based on daylight or darkness. This also plays a factor into the sunset sets. Do the set times change? Who knows, but it’ll be fun to see what happens.

With Coachella in October, that also means that it’s close to Halloween. Instead of Coacheaster, Coachellaween/Spookchella is now a thing! There might be costumes. There might be pumpkins. Maybe a Haunted Heineken House?! There will for sure be Danny Elfman playing music from the Nightmare Before Christmas and what could be a bigger mood than hearing the performance of “This is Halloween” in October at Coachella?! Exactly. It’s gonna be incredibly unique and a special version of Coachella that we may not see again!

Do you want to know the best part about all of this though? Coachella wasn’t cancelled! Not only that but, Coachella 2020 in October means that Coachella 2021 will be in just under 6 months!!!! Yes, 2 Coachellas within 6 months. This is 100% the best news of all! Sure we’re waiting 1.5 years from one Coachella to another but having 2 within 6 months will be well worth the wait.

Will I be sad next month when I’m not experiencing Coachella in Indio? Absolutely. Am I worried and anxious over my career in general given the current situation and especially in the wake of all the latest news? You bet I am. But as the saying goes, “Things will get better with time.” (That honestly sounds more positive than I’m feeling right now.) Hopefully sooner rather than later and who knows maybe I’ll still take that trip to Cali next month anyway. Until then though, I’m going to get back to posting normal blogs. I surely have enough time on my hands to do so. So I’ll be back with more soon. In the meantime, keep listening to those Coachella bands/artists because we just gained way more prep time. We’re gonna know all the songs by October and the fall Coachella vibes will be in full swing! I can’t wait til then.

Coachella Band Preview: Big Wild

We are officially a month and a half away from Coachella 2020! The anticipation is building for me as it so often does. I’ve been doing my best to listen to the Coachella playlist I made and since the lineup dropped on January 2nd I’ve made an early discovery when I realized there was an artist on the lineup I had been listening to for months. Sure months is a stretch because it was like 3 months and there was only one song, but since then I realized his other stuff is great too! That artist is Big Wild and here’s what you need to know about him going into the festival.

Jackson Stell, better known to the music world as Big Wild, has been producing music as an electronic artist since 2012. He came from a music-oriented family and really got his break with the single “Aftergold” featuring Tove Styrke in 2016. The year prior he toured with Odesza and collaborated with the duo on a remix of their song “Say My Name.” He released his debut EP Invincible EP in 2017 and just released his debut album Superdream last year.

His indie pop style of electronic music incorporates instrumentation into his live sets. He is known for using synth, keyboards, drum pads, and live vocals in his performances. He also sings on a few of his tracks which is often rare for an electronic artist.

I got into Big Wild when I heard his song “6’s to 9’s” in a video posted by someone I follow on instagram. I added the song to my workout playlist once I listened. It then became a staple in my music listening regimen towards the end of the year.

Big Wild plays Sunday at his first Coachella. I would expect him to play in Sahara earlier in the day or at Gobi or Mojave. His music really falls into the Coachella vibe so I expect that his set will be a lot of fun. If you’re into the indie electronic stuff, you’re gonna want to check him out. I recently got into more of his stuff and have been listening to him quite frequently so here’s what I think you’ll need to now:

  1. 6’s to 9’s
  2. When I Get There
  3. Aftergold
  4. City of Sound
  5. Maker
  6. Show Me
  7. Invincible
  8. Empty Room
  9. Venice Venture
  10. Joypunks

 

Coachella Band Preview: Rex Orange County

This is my last week in Mexico and I have to say it’s been a great run. It’s always an exciting time to start the year, but I think all of us here are aware of the unofficial name of the Mexico runs…the Coachella pregame. Now that we’re halfway through February, Coachella is officially on the horizon. I’ve realized one thing while preparing for Coachella down in Mexico. It’s that there’s no better artist to prep for Coachella with down here than Rex Orange County.

At just 21 years old, Alexander O’Connor, aka Rex Orange County, is an indie pop artist from Grayshott, England. He got his moniker from a nickname he received growing up, “the OC”, based on his last name “O’Connor”. While growing up he was in the school choir and also learned to play drums. Because of his drumming talents, he attended the BRIT school, whose alumni include Adele, Amy Winehouse, and King Krule. Beyond the drums and singing, he’s also a self-taught pianist and guitarist.

In 2016, Rex Orange County self-released his first album bcos u will never b free on SoundCloud. The album release brought him some attention from Tyler the Creator. Rex eventually worked on a few of Tyler’s tracks (“Boredom” and “Foreword”) on Flower Boy. He released his second album Apricot Princess in 2017. That year he also released one of his most popular songs to date “Loving Is Easy” in collaboration with Benny Sings. His most recent album Pony was just released in October and Rex Orange County is currently touring in support of the album.

Rex Orange County’s music comprises a lot of different genres, combining hip-hop, R&B, pop, and indie music. His tracks range from feeling very vibey and Cali-influenced to hip-hop tracks and soulful R&B sounding vocals. He definitely defines post-genre indie music.

This year will be Rex Orange County’s first Coachella. He plays Friday. He’s high on the bill of artists and very well known amongst youth so I’d expect to see him on the Main or Outdoor Stages. Expect a huge draw for this young Brit’s first Coachella. Also expect some pure Coachella vibes from some of his songs. Here are a few you should know:

  1. Loving Is Easy
  2. Best Friend
  3. Sunflower
  4. UNO
  5. 10/10
  6. Corduroy Dreams
  7. Television/So Far So Good
  8. Pluto Projector
  9. Happiness
  10. Untitled

Coachella Band Preview: Jai Wolf

Greetings again from Mexico! I’m back for the second leg of the events I’m a part of here. However just because I’m here doesn’t mean the Coachella preparations have ceased. April is quickly approaching and it’s time to check out another artist playing the festival this year. This week it’s electronic artist Jai Wolf.

Jai Wolf, or Sajeeb Saha, is an electronic artist from Long Island, New York. He first started making tracks in 2011, but adopted the name Jai Wolf in 2014 to create a new sound from what he had been creating. The result earned him opportunities to remix artists such as Odesza and Alesso. He also created a remix of Skrillex’s “Ease My Mind”. Jai Wolf released his debut single “Indian Summer” in 2015. He released a follow-up single “Drive” in May of 2016, shortly before his debut EP Kindred Spirits was released in November. He finally released his debut album The Cure to Loneliness last year after years of touring and dropping singles.

Jai Wolf’s style of electronic music has a very dreamy sound. It combines electronica, pop, dance and indie music. His sound draws a lot of comparison to Odesza. It makes sense that the artists have toured together. I first found out about Jai Wolf in the summer of 2017 when a girl I had a crush on introduced me to him. I’ve been a casual listener ever since. I also have seen him perform once. It was part of his Made in America set in 2018.

This won’t be Jai Wolf’s first time at Coachella. He played the festival in 2017. That was clearly before I knew of him since I definitely haven’t previewed him before. In 2017, he played the Gobi Tent in the early evening. I’d expect a similar time this year, but in a bigger location. Maybe he plays Mojave or Sahara instead. This time around I plan on catching him. He plays on Saturday. Here are some Jai Wolf jams to help you prep for Indio:

  1. Indian Summer
  2. Starlight
  3. Moon Rider
  4. Lose My Mind
  5. Like It’s Over
  6. Lost
  7. Feels (Remix)
  8. Drive
  9. Telepathy
  10. Better Apart

Coachella Band Preview: Lost Kings

Greetings from Mexico! I’m back down south of the border working for the next two weeks, but don’t worry this is just the Coachella pre-game. We’re one week closer to the most wonderful time of year and this week I’m previewing the electronic duo Lost Kings.

Lost Kings are comprised of Robert Abisi and Nick Shanholtz. The duo, both LA transplants originally from Boston (Abisi) and Baltimore (Shanholtz), formed in 2014. Their name comes from feeling lost after moving to Los Angeles and how they had goals they wanted to accomplish. They gained popularity through their remixes of music from artists such as Imagine Dragons, Halsey, Vance Joy, Echosmith and Disclosure to name a few. Their remix of Disclosure’s “Latch” featuring Sam Smith gained them the most attention when it replaced the original on Sirius XM’s BPM, a Dance/Electronic channel. Once they dropped their first EP The Bad in late 2015, it also gained popularity pretty quickly. A few months later in March 2016, they dropped their second EP The Good. They were signed to Disrupter/RCA Records in the fall of 2016. They credit their success to streaming sites like SoundCloud and Spotify as well as the music aggregator Hype Machine.

Their style of music fits under the progressive house style of electronic music. The duo has stated that they don’t want to be classified inside a specific box when it comes to music style. This is why you might be able to group them into other styles of house music such as melodic or bass house. Their collaborations make their tracks seem like they’re part of that electronic/pop crossover spectrum though.

Lost Kings play Friday at Coachella. I’d expect them to be at Sahara. There aren’t a ton of bigger name electronic artists playing Friday so who knows when their set time will be. I personally am hoping for a late time or I won’t be able to catch their set. I have this feeling like they’ll end up in a late afternoon-early evening slot. You have plenty of time to listen to their music prior to Day 1 of Coachella so here’s the list of what you should check out:

  1. You (ft. Katelyn Tarver)
  2. Phone Down (ft. Emily Warren)
  3. First Love (ft. Sabrina Carpenter)
  4. LA & The Parties (ft. Sevyn Streeter)
  5. Quit You (ft. Tinashe)
  6. Something Good
  7. When We Were Young (ft. Norma Jean Martine)
  8. Marathon (ft. Cosmos and Creatures)
  9. Bad (ft. Jessame)
  10. Ain’t The Same (ft. CXLOE)