coachella band preview

Coachella Band Preview: Maggie Rogers

We’re almost at the 1 month countdown until Coachella 2019 Weekend One. As per the usual, the hype for me is real! Over the last month or so, I periodically secured my travel plans to the point that I’m almost ready to go. I hope everyone else has done the same. Mostly I just hope you all have been focusing on the music. Today I’m previewing an artist I didn’t initially plan to write about when figuring out my previews. About a month ago, I watched this artist cover a Whitney Houston song on Youtube and I was shook.

Maggie Rogers, from Easton, Maryland, got involved in music from a young age. She played the harp, piano, and guitar while growing up in Easton. While in high school, she attended a Berklee College of Music summer program and won the program’s songwriting contest. She recorded her first album as a senior in high school at the ripe age of 18. She self-recorded her it, The Echo, in a broom closet. She released it in digital format back in 2012. Rogers released a second self-recorded digital album Blood Ballet in 2014 as a student at NYU. Her big “claim to fame” happened in 2016 though when she recorded the song “Alaska” for a master class with producer and artist Pharrell Williams. A video of Williams listening to the song went viral in June of 2016.

Rogers released her first EP Now That The Light Is Fading in February 2017. She began her touring career shortly before that and played the Jimmy Fallon Show in anticipation of her EP release. She also played several festivals in the summer of 2017 including stops at Firefly, Glastonbury, Lollapalooza, and Outside Lands. She continued touring and playing festivals into 2018 playing at Boston Calling, Governor’s Ball, Reading and Leeds. She also joined Mumford & Sons as the opening act on their Delta Tour in late 2018.

She recently released her debut studio album Heard It In a Past Life on January 18th, shortly after she was announced as part of the 2019 Coachella lineup. The album features her hit “Alaska” along with other singles “Light On”, “Fallingwater”, and “Give a Little”. I know it’s early but I’d expect Rogers to get a few Grammy nods in the coming year. She’s that good and her style is unique.

Speaking of that, Maggie Rogers style of music combines dance music, folk, R&B and pop. It’s more art pop than anything. She had a background in folk music, but got inspired by dance music during her college days. Her latest studio album definitely adds a more pop sound to her music though, yet it somehow still stays true to her musical roots. Her vocals aren’t overly powerful like you might hear from pop artists like Adele, Florence Welch, or Banks, but yet it’s still so beautiful. Her vocals are trance-like and dreamy similar to that of Lana Del Ray.

I first heard of Maggie Rogers when I saw that she was opening for Mumford & Sons. I worked one of their shows in December and they brought Maggie out to join them in their song “Awake My Soul”. From that performance I knew she had a killer sound but I didn’t really give her music a shot until hearing her cover Whitney Houston’s “I Want To Dance With Somebody”, which she truly made her own. I started listening to her the next day on Spotify and then purchased her studio debut on vinyl right before I left for my second trip to Mexico.

Maggie Rogers plays Saturday at Coachella on her first visit to the 20 year festival. For the second year in a row, Saturday’s lineup seems stacked. After selling out her headlining tour this spring, I’d expect her set to be late-day to evening on the Main or Outdoor Stage. Even as a Coachella debut artist, I expect her set to be packed. Regardless of the time or place, I’d get there early for a good spot. I need to listen to more Maggie Rogers just as much as you might at this point, so here’s what I’ve been listening to on repeat:

  1. Alaska
  2. On + Off
  3. Dog Years
  4. Light On
  5. Give A Little
  6. Fallingwater
  7. Overnight
  8. Burning
  9. The Knife
  10. Retrograde

(Honestly just listen to all of Heard It In a Past Life!)

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Coachella Band Preview: Bob Moses

We’ve made it through another month! One more to go before April arrives and everyone ventures out to the Coachella Valley for the 20th Coachella Valley Arts & Music Festival. I can hardly wait! I hope you’re as hyped as me. Since the lineup dropped, I’ve been purposefully holding off on previewing this band because they’re one of the top acts I’d like to see this year and I wanted to save some of those acts for the coming weeks.

Bob Moses is comprised of Canadian duo Tim Howie and Jimmy Valance. The band formed in 2012 in New York City though. Both band members are from the same area of Vancouver, BC. They went to the same middle school and high school, but never really hung out much during that time. They were both into similar styles of music too. It took a fortuitous random meet up while both lived in NYC to bring together what is now known as Bob Moses. The band was named after Robert Moses, who was a prominent figure in NYC history involved in the building of Shea Stadium and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.

The duo released their debut EP Hand to Hold in 2012 when their group was still playing warehouse shows in NYC. They signed to Domino Records in 2014 and released their debut album Days Gone By the following year. Their song “Tearing Me Up” gave the band some notable status earning the group a Grammy nomination for Best Dance Recording, while the remixed version of the song by RAC won the Grammy for Best Remixed Record, Non-Classical. The song also reached number 16 on Billboard’s Alternative Songs chart. The group was hand-picked to play on the Ellen Degeneres Show in 2016 and also played the music festival circuit that year which included appearances at SXSW, Ultra, Coachella, Gov Ball, Bonnaroo, Glastonbury, Lollapalooza, and Austin City Limits among many others. After touring and playing festivals through 2018, the group released their second album Battle Lines in September 2018.

Their music style combines electronic and indie/alternative music. That style seems to be a theme with a lot of Coachella acts I’m previewing/interested in this year. Although the electronic/dance sound in their music is  certainly evident, I feel like the rock beats are very heavy in their songs. Their music blends both genres so well that it, much like Mansionair’s sound, creates a sensual, low-key style of club music.

I started to pay attention to Bob Moses when my friend Noah mentioned his interest in them after they were announced as an artist at a music festival run by a company we both work for. I heard their song “Back Down” and liked it in the fall without knowing it was their song. When I realized it was a Bob Moses track, I decided to download the song and add it to my fall work out playlist. Since they were announced as a Coachella artist, I’ve been listening to them much more. I even considered buying their latest album, but have not yet made that purchase.

2019 will be the group’s second Coachella performance. They played a late afternoon set at the Gobi Stage in 2016 and a surprise Do Lab set during Weekend 1. I expect they’ll play a similar size stage this year but at a later set time or a similar set time on the Main or Outdoor stage. I’m not sure how crowded their set will be, but I’m sure the draw will be bigger than their last time at Coachella.  If you’re into electronic indie style music or even just electronic or indie music, you should check them out. Here’s some songs you should listen to before heading to their set:

  1. Tearing Me Up
  2. Back Down
  3. Nothing But You
  4. Too Much Is Never Enough
  5. All I Want
  6. Heaven Only Knows
  7. Enough to Believe
  8. Before I Fall
  9. Selling Me Sympathy
  10. Talk

Coachella Band Preview: Janelle Monáe

Another week in Mexico and another week wishing I was in Southern California instead. Don’t get me wrong I love being in a warm climate in the winter, I just wish there was less humidity here. California has that kind of weather and they have it year round. We’re a little under 2 months away from Coachella now. The clock keeps ticking. The weeks become less. The planning intensifies and the time to listen to this year’s performers decreases. This week I’m previewing a female powerhouse who will be playing her second Coachella.

Janelle Monáe Robinson better known to the world as just Janelle Monáe hails from Atlanta, Georgia. She was discovered in Atlanta when she was 18 by rapper, songwriter, and producer Big Boi of Outkast fame. Monáe was born and raised in Kansas City, Kansas though. Upon connecting with Big Boi, she was signed to Bad Boy records in 2006 after Big Boi’s friend and fellow artist and producer Sean Combs (Puff Daddy, P. Diddy, Diddy) decided to take a chance on her. She initially released her first EP prior to her signing with Bad Boy, but her debut was then re-released with a slightly different title Metropolis: The Chase Suite (Special Edition). The record included two bonus tracks as well. It was received so well that Monáe earned a Grammy nomination for Best Urban/Alternative Performance for her single “Many Moons”.

Janelle Monáe’s debut album The ArchAndroid was released on May 18, 2010. Since her initial idea with Metropolis was to create a concept album that was to be released in 4 parts, The ArchAndroid contains parts 2 and 3 from the concept. The album debuted at number 17 on the Billboard 200 and earned Monáe another Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary R&B Album.

She released her sophomore album The Electric Lady in September 2013. The album continued with the same sci-fi theme as its predecessors. The album debuted at number 5 on the Billboard Top 200. It was just prior to her album released that Monáe played at her first Coachella in 2013.

In 2015, Janelle Monáe created her own independent label Wondaland Arts Society (now known as Wondaland Records) in conjunction with Epic Records. Along with 4 other artists signed to her new label, the EP The Eephus was created. Monáe contributed to the EP with the song “Yoga”. She also collaborated with Nile Rodgers & Chic that year on the song “Pressure Off”. 2016 brought Monáe a new type of entertainment exposure when she appeared in Academy Award nominated films Moonlight and Hidden Figures. Prior to her film debuts, she voiced the character Dr. Monae in Rio 2.

Janelle Monáe released her third studio album Dirty Computer on April 27, 2018. It included the release of what was referred to as an “emotion picture”, which was a visual representation of the songs and story of the album. It debuted at number 6 on the Billboard Top 200 and has since received 2 Grammy nominations for Album of the Year and for Best Music Video for the song “Pynk”. Over the last year Janelle Monáe has toured and played the festival circuit in promotion of her latest release, which makes sense of her slated Coachella 2019 performance.

I would define her music as experimental. It’s experimental in the sense that it combines a variety of genres. It obviously infuses R&B, hip-hop, and pop, but also incorporates elements of soul, funk, and new wave. It’s musically advanced and brilliant, especially the concepts behind her music.

Honestly, I knew about Janelle Monáe as an actress before I knew about her as a music artist. Once I started seeing her name on festival lineups in 2018, I realized her talents went beyond film. I was introduced to her music this past fall, when a friend of mine told me to watch the Dirty Computer video. I did. I was impressed and I enjoyed several of the songs. There was also a lot of hype surrounding her from several of my co-worker friends who caught her performing at festivals or in concert last summer. Despite my exposure to her music, I can’t even say I’m a huge fan yet. I like her music, but I haven’t been listening to her constantly. I’ve just heard great things about her live performances, which is why I think her performance at Coachella this year is one that can’t be missed.

Janelle Monáe plays Friday. She’s billed as a top performer. To me, there’s no reason why she wouldn’t be playing the Main Stage right before Childish Gambino or overlapping his set and headlining the Outdoor Stage. Even though this will be her second Coachella performance as a solo artist, it’s not her second appearance. She joined Outkast on stage during their headlining set in 2014 and Grimes in 2016. I think she’s grown in popularity over the last year as well, which means her set will most likely be crowded. I’ll say it again…you don’t want to miss this set. Here’s a few songs you’ll probably hear during it:

  1. Make Me Feel
  2. Pynk
  3. Tightrope
  4. I Like That
  5. Django Jane
  6. Q.U.E.E.N.
  7. Yoga
  8. I Got the Juice
  9. Electric Lady
  10. Dirty Computer

Coachella Band Preview: Mac DeMarco

We’ve hit February. One month down, two to go until Coachella 2019. I hope you’ve been jamming to all the Coachella bands and prepping your flower crowns for the annual two weekend party in the Indio desert. This week I’m previewing another indie rock act set to make his third Coachella appearance this year.

Canadian artist Mac DeMarco came onto the music scene as a backing musician around 2008 shortly after he graduated high school in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He relocated to Vancouver but failed to reach success as a musician there. He then moved to Montreal in 2011 to work on a solo project. It was from there that DeMarco signed with Captured Tracks and released his first EP Rock and Roll Night Club. The EP lead the way to DeMarco’s first full-length album 2. The album received a nod from indie music outlet Pitchfork being labeled as “Best New Music”.

Mac DeMarco’s second album Salad Days was released two years later and again it received the same praise from Pitchfork. He released another mini-album/EP Another One in 2015. He also released an instrumental album that same year entitled Some Other Ones. Mac’s latest album This Old Dog was released on May 5, 2017.

Mac DeMarco has described his style of music as “jizz jazz”. I think it fits the indie music category perfectly. It’s something you’d hear at Urban Outfitters circa 2011. It’s super chill and vibey. Some might call it indie rock or psychedelic rock. It does have elements of both genres, but in my opinion it’s way less rock from what you’d consider indie rock to be and way more pure indie, if that’s a thing?

I found out about Mac DeMarco from a friend in 2016. He was playing a music festival that I had hopes of volunteering at that spring as well. I ended up volunteering at the festival but not seeing Mac DeMarco since he performed while I was on my shift. I did see one of his live sets in 2017 though. I was working Lollapalooza and I was supposed to finish at 10 p.m. that night but I was cut early. I realized I had some time so I decided to catch Mac DeMarco’s set since he was closing out the night at one of the smaller Lolla stages and I didn’t care for the headliners. The set was so fun. Seeing him live is nothing like listening to his music. He jams, gets drunk, plays crazy Vanessa Carlton covers and plays his tunes in the midst of all that. It’s a great live music experience.

Mac DeMarco plays on Saturday. I’m guessing he has a late afternoon, early evening time slot, but as for what stage I don’t have a great guess. It may even be possible that he headlines a smaller stage just as he did at Lolla in 2017. His music fits the chill Coachella atmosphere perfectly. Unless you’re a huge fan who wants to be front and center, this is a perfect set to catch while laying out in the field, sitting under some shade (if he plays in the afternoon!), or just relaxing while soaking up all those Coachella vibes. I highly recommend catching his set though because like I said his live performances are fun and highly crowd-oriented. You never know what you’re gonna get from Mac DeMarco. Here’s a few tunes you should know:

  1. Salad Days
  2. Chamber of Reflection
  3. Freaking Out the Neighborhood
  4. Still Beating
  5. Ode to Viceroy
  6. This Old Dog
  7. Honey Moon
  8. On the Level
  9. Let Her Go
  10. Another One

(and also Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles” just in case that cover happens again!)

Coachella Band Preview: Portugal. The Man

It’s been over a week since Coachella released their 2018 lineup. Tickets went on sale last Friday and sold out in just over 3 1/2 hours. Preparations have officially begun. So if you’re headed to the desert this April, I hope you’ve been listening to one of Coachella’s Spotify playlists or curating your own. I’ve checked out Coachella’s (which are so good by the way!) and already found 1 or 2 new bands to listen to. They might even get previewed leading up to the festival.

First thing’s first though, it’s time to get into the first band preview of the year. I bought this group’s latest album while in NYC a few weeks ago. I decided to buy it at random too, only knowing two songs from the album. It was a great decision and understandably so as it’s already been nominated for a Grammy. Although this blog post is a few weeks overdue, let me tell you a little something about Portugal. The Man.

Portugal. The Man has been around for quite a while before their latest album, Woodstock, and hit single “Feel It Still” invaded music charts over the last year. Hailing from Wasilla, Alaska, they formed in 2004 as a side project band of lead singer John Gourley and bassist Zach Carothers. The band has gone through several lineup changes but Gourley and Carothers have been the true mainstays. Currently they’re joined by Kyle O’Quin on keyboards/synth, Jason Sechrist on drums, and Eric Howk on guitar. I would try to explain their band name, but it’s a bit complicated so I’ll let this 2009 interview description by John Gourley do it, “It’s hard to explain, but it made perfect sense at the time. Over the 5 years that we’ve had the band name it’s just kind of gotten lost, but the idea was that we wanted to back somebody up. I guess in choosing Portugal, it was just kind of a random choice. We really wanted a country to be the name of our person because a country is a group of people. The man just states that Portugal is a person. So really Portugal is the band’s name and the man is just stating that he is the man.” They released demos in the summer of 2004 and embarked on a U.S. tour that fall. They released their debut album Waiter: “You Vultures!” on January 24, 2006.

In June 2007, they released their sophomore album Church Mouth and toured for the following year both in the U.S. and Europe in support of it. In 2008, the band released yet another record, Censored Colors, their third full length album. 2009 brought the band festival spots at Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza as well as a fourth album, The Satanic Satanist, and  The Majestic Majesty, an acoustic album of The Satanic Satanist. The band released another new album, American Ghetto, in 2010 marking the band’s fifth album in five years. 2010 also marked Portugal. The Man’s first Coachella appearance. Following suit of the previous years, their sixth album came out in July of 2011 after the band signed with record label, Atlantic Records in April 2010 (they had previously been a part of Fearless Records as well as a partnership with Equal Vision Records). The album, In the Mountain in the Cloud, brought the band another two years of touring and two more stops at Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza.

In 2012, Portugal. The Man did not release a new album, but in 2013, they did. They released their seventh full length album, Evil Friends. The album featured backing vocals by Danielle and Este Haim of fellow Coachella 2018 act, Haim. They announced an eighth album in 2016, but said album “failed to complete” and was scrapped after 3 years of work. After the lead single “Feel It Still” was released in March, the band dropped, Woodstock on June 16, 2017. With the success of “Feel It Still”, which has topped music charts nationwide, Woodstock has become the band’s most successful album to date after 13 years and seven previous albums.

Portugal. The Man plays an alternative rock style of music with a somewhat psychedelic/jam band flavor as well. At times their music even sounds a bit experimental. Their sound has definitely progressed and changed throughout the years and through each album. Gourley’s vocals have been a defining factor in their sound though.

I found out about Portugal. The Man while working as a radio DJ during college on my school’s radio station. Our station specialized in alternative, rap, and metal, and I had a weekly alternative radio show in which I would play a mix of my own songs combined with the music on our system. One of the songs I used to play during my show was the Portugal. The Man song “People Say”. I remember when the alternative director and her boyfriend introduced me to the band one time while we were in the studio together.  There may have been one or two other Portugal. The Man songs available on our rotation but I routinely played and enjoyed “People Say”.

I partially kept up with Portugal. The Man after I graduated and ended my radio show. I was into and downloaded the songs “Purple, Yellow, Red, and Blue” and “Modern Jesus” after Evil Friends came out. However, I was never fully into Portugal. The Man. The first time I heard “Feel It Still” was this past summer in August (I know I was so late) on a fellow Coachella coworker’s Snapchat story. I was into it immediately upon first listen. I didn’t know whose song it was either and I thought it might be by the band Electric Guest. The song sounded similar to their song “This Head I Hold”. All I knew was I was hooked no matter what. I was surprised to find out it was Portugal. The Man because it just didn’t fit the sound I was used to from them. It was and still is an absolute banger though.

Like I’ve said in my last two blogs, as well as earlier in this one, I purchased Woodstock a few weeks ago just because of my interest in “Feel It Still” and “Live in the Moment” (another great track from that record). I don’t own any other Portugal. The Man records either, despite knowing about them and having a slight interest in their music for several years now. Within the first few days of owning the record, I had it spinning on repeat. It’s great. I even put it on my list of favorite albums from 2017 after owning it for only two weeks prior to writing that blog.

Portugal. The Man plays Sunday night this year at Coachella. My guess is they play the main stage prior to Eminem. This is Portugal. The Man’s third Coachella. They played in 2010, as I mentioned, and 2013. If I was attending this year, I’d definitely have them on my must see list. My only concern is that they have such a large discography that I’m not sure what they’d play or what I’d know. Hence listening prep is key here. I wouldn’t spend hours listening to all 8 albums they’ve released. I would just get a few of their older hits and focus on the last 2-3 albums. Their most recent stuff is what’s given them the spotlight anyway, making it the obvious choice for set list selection. At least at this point you have plenty of time regardless. 3 months is so far, yet so so close that you can taste that sunshine and those good vibes.

Edit: I’m sorry everyone! Totally messed this up and forgot to put song recommendations to listen to so here they are (better late than never!):

1. Feel It Still

2. Live in the Moment

3. Purple, Yellow, Red and Blue

4. People Say

5. Modern Jesus

6. So Young

7. Noise Pollution

8. Rich Friends

9. Easy Tiger

10. So American

I Love Music

So this week, I’m gonna take a little break from previewing Coachella bands and artists. I honestly figured I would write another preview, but I just wasn’t feeling it this week. Instead, I’m gonna write about myself, which I usually incorporate into each post, but only in limited capacity. This started because I got distracted from writing by wanting to play music. So I played music for an hour. The whole time I kept thinking that I should just write about my love for music instead of doing a Coachella Band Preview that I didn’t feel like writing. Well, I decided to go for it so if you’re expecting this to be about something in particular, stop reading now and if you wanna know more about me, here it goes.

Music has always been a big part of my life. It has made me feel a range of emotions. It has been there in good times, in bad times, in sad times, in mad times (look at that rhyme skill). It has inspired me. It has pissed me off. It has made me laugh. It has made me cry. Most importantly, it has always been there for me through everything. It’s like a friend, who up until this moment I never realized was actually like a friend.

My mom likes to credit my love for music from when I was in her tummy. She used to take aerobics classes when she was pregnant and at the classes they did the aerobics to modern music. I guess I was into it. When I was young, my mom would play the piano for me when we visited my grandparent’s house because the apartment we lived in was too small to hold the piano. I used to enjoy trying to play too and singing along to whatever songs she played. She would also play records for me. I distinctly remember being a fan of two songs from the Footloose soundtrack, the title track “Footloose” and “Let’s Hear It For The Boy”. I also liked the song “Ghostbusters”, the theme from the Ghostbusters movie.

In Kindergarten, besides being into the Power Rangers, I loved A Goofy Movie, especially for the music in it. I had the soundtrack on cassette. One time at a friend’s house, we put the cassette on and decided to jump around on his bed and all over his room while listening to the song “Stand Out”.

In 1st through 8th grade, I mostly listened to the radio and I liked pop music. I didn’t have any one super cool in my life to play me anything different. The first CD I owned was the Men in Black soundtrack, followed by OMC’s How Bizarre, Smash Mouth’s Fush Yu Mang, and Chumbawumba’s Thubthumper. After that, I forget who came next because a lot did.

In 5th grade on the bus to our yearly middle school camping trip, my whole class sang along to “All-Star” by Smash Mouth as we pulled into the camp. I remember having so much fun in that moment. I also had a brief interest in good music in 5th grade thanks to the video game Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. Well, at least I was exposed to some good music because I was only hooked on 1 song from the game, “Superman” by Goldfinger. I also saw my first concert between 5th and 6th grade. It was Britney Spears. I went with my best friend Michael, his mom, and my mom. I only knew a handful of songs, but we stood on our chairs in the very last row of the amphitheater and sang along anyway.

I started writing my own Weird Al parodies to songs in 6th grade and it became a hit in my class. In 7th and 8th grade, I got really into basketball and started listening to more rap music than just “The Real Slim Shady”. Although, most of the rap music was on the radio anyway. 9th grade is when my whole music life changed. I wrote about it once so you can check it out here. That’s when I really got into good music though, high school, and from there music became one of my things. It was the same in college and right before I graduated I started listening to music that was part of a different scene than what I was listening to for the previous 8 years. I wrote about that too. Again check it out here, if you want to know more. I’ve been listening to that type of music ever since and even branching out further into the electronic spectrum recently.

So what’s the point in me giving you a life synopsis of my music life? Well, it’s to prove my love for music. I have a pretty good memory. I remember a lot of shit people might normally forget. Sometimes I even pretend to not know things because it might seem strange to remember so much. I have a great memory of time and place because I can visualize memories, but even so, after all these years I even forget a lot that’s happened to me from when I was younger. The point is that we remember things that are important to us. Going through and thinking about all the music in my life and remembering things about it reminds me that I have memories of music from when I was little because music has always been important to me. I also have a lot of memories involving music from high school and beyond, because that was the point that it started to rule my life in a way. In general I guess a lot of my favorite memories and life moments involve music. Being in a band, going to shows, playing and listening to music with my friends are all part of my collection of favorite moments.

I started this blog as a means to write for fun about my favorite things, which are music, sports, movies, and television shows. Let’s be real though, if you’ve read my blog continually since I started it, you’d know music has always been my number one. Honestly sports are probably number two, but I’ll get into that another time. It’s about music today. When I was trying to figure out what I wanted to study in college, I basically settled for something that I found interesting. After I graduated and took a few grad school classes, I realized that wasn’t what I wanted. Sure I found that subject interesting, but it wasn’t what I wanted to spend my life doing. Thanks to an amazing group of inspirational women I decided I should go after what I’m most passionate about, but initially I couldn’t figure out what that was. It took going to Coachella to make everything click. It was music. It was always music. If I had enough confidence and motivation to go after it sooner, I probably would have. It’s never too late to chase your dreams though. So I decided to pursue the music industry as a career and I know that no matter what I do as long as I’m passionate about it or as long as it involves music, I’ll love what I do. That’s part of the reason why I keep up with this blog. I do enjoy writing, but it’s much more fun to write about something I love.

So thanks for reading this specific topic-less blog post. I needed it as a reminder today. Then again, I think wanting to play music instead of write in the first place was a reminder in itself. And just FYI, if you ever want to talk music/play music/write music with anyone, I’m your girl because I love music. Duh.

Coachella Band Preview: Kungs

Another week down, 11 more to go. It doesn’t feel like it at the end of January, but Coachella will be here before you know it. That’s why it’s time to preview another band performing in Indio this year. Like last week though, this week’s preview doesn’t feature a band (maybe I should change the name on these previews). It’s an electronic artist named Kungs.

Kungs is a French DJ whose real name is Valentin Brunel. He’s also only 20 years old (and freshly 20 might I add because his birthday was in December)! He grew up interested and involved in music with influences from his parents especially his dad who introduced him to rock n’ roll as well as other genres. By the age of 17, he began writing his own material and posting it to the internet. His remixes of Bob Marley’s “Jammin'” and Lost Frequencies’ “Are You With Me” as well as his Lana Del Rey “West Coast” cover ft. Molly have several million views on SoundCloud and Youtube. What turned into his breakthrough hit was released almost a year ago. It’s called “This Girl”, which he remixed. It was originally a 2009 song by Australian funk band Cookin’ On 3 Burners. It turned into a massive hit worldwide and paved the way for Kungs and his debut album Layers. The album was just released on November 4th.

Kungs electronic style is mostly house music. His particular style blends different genres of music together, which is what he aimed for on his debut album. I listened to the album a few weeks ago right before the Coachella lineup dropped and each song brings a different vibe. Besides “This Girl”, two of my favorites are “Don’t You Know” ft. Jamie N Commons and “Melody” ft. Luke Pritchard of The Kooks. I feel like both of those songs blend house with rock and indie rock, which might be why I like them so much. The album is so good that I actually took a little break while writing this to buy it online. So worth it. It’s that good.

I first heard Kungs via Instagram. A girl I follow posted a video with “This Girl” playing in the background. I didn’t take an interest in the song and it was kind of just “background music” for me. A few weeks later I found myself stuck with part of the song in my head and I couldn’t figure out where I knew the song from. It took me about a day before I realized it was the song from that Instagram video. Then about 2 weeks after that I stopped to visit my cousins before heading to the NWSL Semifinal. At dinner on the night I visited, my cousin started telling me about a song he was currently addicted to. It was, of course, “This Girl”. I didn’t recognize the song title or artist when he told me the name (cause I actually didn’t know who the artist was or what the song was called from that Instagram video), but once he played it I realized what I was listening to. The following week I added the song to my workout playlist and to my iTunes too. I was hooked on it ever since. Like I said I listened to Kungs’ debut album a few weeks ago and loved what I heard. I can’t wait to have the album in my grasp. Until then, I plan on doing some serious listening on Spotify.

Along with Coachella, Kungs is booked to play Europe’s biggest electronic music festival, Tomorrowland. I highly recommend seeing him play Coachella this year more than any other artist or band I preview. He’s already blowing up and there’s no doubt if he continues making solid music he’ll just get bigger. He’s not a highly billed artist at Coachella this year either and in my opinion there’s something special about seeing a band or artist before they reach headlining status. That’s not to say he won’t be given a spot later in the day. The kid has already opened for David Guetta on tour so I wouldn’t put it past him. He plays Friday. Here’s what you should know if you plan on seeing him (and you should!):

  1. This Girl ( vs. Cookin’ On 3 Burners)
  2. Melody (ft. Luke Pritchard)
  3. Don’t You Know (ft. Jamie N Commons)
  4. Crazy Enough (ft. Richard Judge)
  5. Are You With Me (Kungs Remix)
  6. I Feel So Bad (ft. Ephemerals)

Honestly, just listen to Layers and you should be good.

Coachella Band Preview: The xx

Hey guess what…Coachella Band Previews are back! It was only a matter of time since the lineup release last week. Coachella is a little over 3 months away so if you’re headed out to Indio, your prep needs to begin asap. Like yesterday asap. The timing of my first preview works out perfectly because this band’s third album, I See You, comes out tomorrow! They hail from the UK and they’re called The xx.

In 2005, while still in school, Oliver Sim and Romy Madley Croft formed the band. Guitarist Baria Qureshi joined once the band started performing and Jamie Smith joined the year after. The group released their debut album, xx, in 2009 under the British indie label Young Turks. It received praise from critics in both the UK and America. It made Rolling Stone’s list of Best Albums of 2009 finishing 9th. Songs from the album have been featured on countless television and film productions as well as for sporting event promotions. The band also headlined its own tour in promotion of the album and earned spots at several major North American music festivals in 2010, including Coachella, Sasquatch, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits. In late 2009 though, band member Baria Qureshi left the band turning The xx into a trio.

In 2012 the band once again played the festival circuit in anticipation of their second album, Coexist, which was released on September 5, 2012. Coexist combines The xx’s signature sound and integrates it with a club music feel. Jamie Smith spoke before its release about the club influence on it. It’s definitely noticeable especially on songs like “Sunset” and “Swept Away”. The second album didn’t generate as much success as their debut, but was still highly anticipated.

As I said, their third album comes out tomorrow and once again the band will embark on a touring/festival circuit route for the year. They begin touring in Europe in February, head to South America for their Lollapalooza dates, and then it’s Southern California for Coachella followed by their North American tour with more festivals mixed in along the way. As for the album itself, I’ve only heard the singles that were released early, but I recently read a review from Pitchfork claiming that the album combines classic xx and the growth of each members’ talents. Obviously the challenge for any band or artist with a largely successful album is trying to replicate that success with still being able to grow as musicians and make and play the music that the band or artist wants to create. While there will never be another xx, it’s safe to say that this upcoming album sounds tremendous so far. It even caught my ear early for someone who has listened to The xx here and there throughout the last 5-6 years. Maybe it’s a long shot or maybe it’s not, but I’m predicting some good things for the new album and the band this year.

The xx plays an indie electronic style of music. It can even induce that hypnotic dream pop sound. The xx honestly combines the best of both of my worlds at this point. While searching for upbeat electronic songs to listen to while I work out, I’m constantly wondering if there are any DJ’s out there who have a more indie sound to combine with their electronic music. The xx answers that question for me. They combine guitar with digital/electronic beats and sounds. Though not necessarily the type of music I’d listen to while working out, their music is just what I’ve been looking for.

As I said, I’ve listened to The xx here and there throughout the last 5 years. I first heard them in 2011. I’m pretty sure I heard the song “Intro” while listening to the Foster the People channel on Pandora. Eventually I discovered the song “Islands” and casually enjoyed the song for the past few years. 2 months ago, before I heard about the new album, I added the song “Heart Skipped a Beat” to my newest music on iTunes. Right before I added that song, a friend of mine told me one of her top 5 favorite albums of all time was xx. I forget the other albums she said, but the mentioning of The xx interested me since I knew about them for years without really getting into them. Between the new album and the promotion from my friend of their debut, I’ve developed a recent interest in the group and I was excited to learn that they’re expected to play Coachella this year.

The xx plays Coachella on Friday and by Friday, I totally mean Friday night. There’s no doubt in my mind that they’ll either take the Main Stage before Radiohead or play a late set on the Outdoor Stage. In fact, The xx playing as the sun sets over the mountains of the Indio desert is probably the most ideal setting imaginable. No matter what setting they play in though, their set will undoubtedly be a great one and one I would surely be at. To prep for it, pick up a copy of I See You tomorrow or listen to some of these songs:

  1. Islands
  2. Intro
  3. Angels
  4. Heart Skipped A Beat
  5. Sunset
  6. Crystalised
  7. VCR

 

Coachella Band Preview: BØRNS

I’m not sure if you knew or not but, COACHELLA BEGINS ON FRIDAY! For those of you camping, it begins Thursday night, but the festival officially begins on Friday. Since Friday is only a mere 3 days from now, this will be the final band preview for Coachella 2016 (I do have an extra special Coachella post for tomorrow planned though). Over the past 3 months, I’ve previewed all of my favorite acts performing this year and now it’s getting down to the wire. There was a handful of bands to choose from that I wanted to write about for this final preview so I figured I’d choose one whose music style is more so my cup of tea, meaning not another EDM artist.

Garrett Borns, better known to the world as BØRNS, is a indie pop/alternative rock artist from Grand Haven, Michigan. His debut single, “10,000 Emerald Pools”, was released a little more than a year ago on November 10, 2014. His EP Candy was also released the same day. After the EP release, BØRNS played multiple TV appearances and festivals to promote his EP. He joined the likes of MisterWives last spring and Charli XCX and Bleachers last summer on tour. BØRNS debut album, Dopamine, was released on October 16, 2015. The album peaked at the 24th spot on the Billboard Top 200 in the U.S.

BØRNS plays an indie pop/alternative rock style of music. His music also has elements of synth and can be considered synthpop. There’s even a hippie-like sound to a few of his songs too. His high pitched vocals are smooth. At times they even remind me of Justin Timberlake’s sound, except better because his music has a much more indie sound.

I first heard of BØRNS over the summer at some point. I’m not exactly sure if I heard him first on the local alternative radio station or on my friends Spotify playlist. The song “Electric Love” was the first song I heard though. Since the summer, I’ve heard the song many more times as well as several other BØRNS songs that I like just as much and have recently been getting into.

BØRNS 2016 Coachella appearance will be his first. He did play other major festivals like Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits last year, but Coachella goes beyond other festivals in my opinion. He’ll be kicking off the festival with a Friday set. As I’m writing this post, I’m listening to BØRNS and I can picture hearing this song while a cool breeze blows and the palm trees and bohemian hipsters are swaying. It should be a great set to attend to start off the weekend. With the limited amount of time, here’s some songs you need to have on repeat over the next three days:

  1. 10,000 Emerald Pools
  2. Electric Love
  3. American Money
  4. Seeing Stars
  5. Past Lives
  6. The Emotion
  7. Fool

Coachella Band Preview: Matoma

We are officially 10 days away from Coachella 2016! Get hype! With the festival beginning next weekend, there’s only so much time to preview artists for this year’s event. I seriously hope you’ve been listening to your favorite Coachella 2016 acts for the last several weeks or more because it’s so much better when you know all of the songs during a set instead of a couple. I have more tunes for your Coachella prep this week and an in depth preview of an EDM DJ that I briefly spoke about in my Coachella 2016 lineup release post.

Matoma a.k.a. Tom Stræte Lagergren is an EDM DJ and producer from Filsa, Norway. He was involved in music from a young age as a classical pianist, but eventually wanted to get into some different aspects of music. After buying a computer and software for basic music production, he started producing his own music. He came on to the club scene in 2014 with a few remixes, but his biggest hit so far has been his remix of The Notorious B.I.G.’s “Old Thing Back”. The remix was a charted single in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and New Zealand. Since then, Matoma released his debut album, Hakuna Matoma, in November 2015 and has created plenty more remixed songs.

Matoma’s music fits into a particular category on the EDM spectrum, tropical house. Tropical house music is a subgenre of deep house and ultimately house music. The music uses synth and a 4/4 beat which is standard for house music. What sets it apart is the more uplifting, relaxing, airy type of sound. The instruments used have that island vibe hence the “tropical” aspect of it. It’s also a bit slower than deep house and doesn’t have the pumping beat associated with house music.

As I said in my earlier blog post, I first heard of Matoma because of his “Old Thing Back” remix. It was one of the first EDM style song in addition to RAC’s music that I actually enjoyed. I don’t listen to Matoma’s other stuff at all, but if I were heading out to Coachella this year, I would definitely want to catch his set strictly because his music fits the Coachella vibe perfectly. In fact, the tropical house style is the genre that captures the essence of Coachella best.

Matoma plays Coachella on Saturday. The set times and stages haven’t been announced yet, but my perfect version of a Matoma set would be as the sun is setting on an outdoor stage. With the palm trees, desert breeze, and the ambiance of the entire festival, I feel like that would be the perfect setting for his music. He’ll probably just end up in the Sahara tent though. Either way, I have a feeling his set will be fun, chill, and filled with dancing. To get you ready for the Matoma set, here’s a few tunes you should know:

  1. Old Thing Back (Matoma remix)
  2. Find Love (feat. Dboy)
  3. Running Out
  4. Knives
  5. The Wave (feat. Madcon)
  6. 2 AM (Matoma remix)
  7. Stick Around (with Akon)
  8. Feeling Right (Everything Is Nice) (feat. Wale and Popcaan)