indie band

Coachella Band Preview: boygenius

Another week of winter down means another weak closer to the desert days that lie ahead. By now I hope your Coachella preparations are coming along accordingly and you’re as head first into the music as I am. Last year we were preparing for Phoebe Bridgers to play a big set on Friday night of the festival and this year we’re preparing to watch her play again. This time though it’s on Saturday night and it’s with two other talented ladies by the names of Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus. Together they are boygenius.

The indie rock supergroup formed in 2018 after being in each other’s friend circles for a while and wanting to create an epic band together. Once deciding to come together, they created their self-titled debut EP in a matter of days. It was released in October 2018 and the band toured in support of it across the US. Their highly acclaimed EP was even named the 12th best album of 2018 by NPR Music and reached the number 3 spot on the Billboard Top Heatseekers chart. Through the next 5 years the group collaborated on other projects, but recently announced their debut album will drop in March, just in time for their Coachella debut.

While Coachella has been lacking rock artists in recent years, boygenius truly checks off the boxes for indie rock. Their style mixes indie rock and indie folk. They recently released 3 new songs from their debut album that I hope everyone has been listening to in preparation for their Saturday night set. Coachella will mark the group’s first festival appearance ever. I expect they’ll be playing the main stage before BLACKPINK comes on. It’ll either be that or a headliner overlap at Outdoor Theatre. I’m sure you’ll want to binge listen to the entire boygenius album once it drops in March, but in the mean time, here’s the songs you need to know:

  1. Emily I’m Sorry
  2. Souvenir
  3. Me & My Dog
  4. Bite the Hand
  5. $20
  6. True Blue
  7. Salt in the Wound
  8. Ketchum ID
  9. Stay Down
  10. I Know the End (Phoebe Bridgers song that Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus are both featured on)

Coachella Band Preview: MUNA

As we roll into February, we’re a little over two months away from the first weekend of Coachella 2023. If you haven’t already, you should probably book your flights, hotels, airbnbs, rental cars, and whatever else you might need for a weekend in the Coachella Valley. I’ve been thinking about what to wear this year and I’m also trying to listen to some of the bands and artists playing this year’s installment of the festival. One band who I really hope I’m able to catch is indie pop trio, MUNA.

MUNA formed in 2013 while all three members, Katie Gavin, Josette Maskin, and Naomi McPherson were in school together at USC. In 2014, they released their debut EP More Perfect on Bandcamp and SoundCloud. Their success from the EP lead to a record deal with RCA records (US) and Columbia Records (UK). Their first EP under RCA, Loudspeaker, came out in 2016 with their debut album About U following in 2017. It included hits “I Know A Place” and “Winterbreak.” Their early years after signing to a major label brought tours with Grouplove and Harry Styles as well as festival appearances.

Their second album, Saves the World, was released in September 2019 and included a tour in support of the album. In 2021, MUNA signed with Phoebe Bridgers’ record label Saddest Factory. Under their new label they released the single “Silk Chiffron” in collaboration with Phoebe Bridgers and their third full length album MUNA. In addition to Coachella this year, the band is playing spring tour dates around the country.

I tried to get into MUNA several years ago, when there was huge hype over the song “I Know A Place.” It wasn’t hitting for me then but as I’ve been listening to the band the past several days, I’m finally getting more into them. I did fall in love with their Knocks collaboration song “Bodies” in late 2020. It was one of my favorites during that sad, miserable year. Their style is a mix of electro, indie, and synth pop. I feel like I should have been listening to them for years, but I have known about them for quite some time. I’ve attempted to listen to them it just hasn’t worked out. Better late than never!

Now they’re headed to Indio this spring and I’m crossing my fingers I’ll be able to catch their set. Friday sets are always hit or miss for me with my current job at the festival. I can usually only catch sets that happen after 8:30-9 p.m. I have this feeling like MUNA might be on deck for a sunset set though on either Mojave, Gobi, or Outdoor. This will be their first time playing Coachella. I suspect Phoebe Bridgers might make an appearance, given boygenius slated to perform Saturday. Here’s a few songs you need to prep for their Coachella set:

  1. I Know A Place
  2. Bodies
  3. Silk Chiffron
  4. Number One Fan
  5. Anything But Me
  6. Winterbreak
  7. Loudspeaker
  8. What I Want
  9. Stayaway
  10. So Special

Coachella Band Preview: Wet Leg

Greetings from Mexico again! The dust has settled after the Coachella lineup released last week so it’s finally time to start the prep work! That means booking flights and hotels, outfit planning, strategizing, and of course listening to the bands playing the festival. This week begins my weekly preview series that ends when Weekend 1 begins. We’re kicking off the 2023 Coachella previews with a band that blew up over the past few years, Wet Leg.

Wet Leg is a British indie rock band formed in 2019 by Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers. Both knew each other for 10 years before forming the group, but since their formation they’ve really made a name for themselves in a short amount of time. Their debut single “Chaise Longue” was release in June of 2021 followed by “Wet Dream” later that year. Their self-titled debut album came out last April and since then they have been nominated for awards throughout Europe and the U.S. including 3 Grammy nominations for Best New Artist, Best Alternative Music Performance, and Best Alternative Music Album.

I only know of Wet Leg because of the song “Wet Dream.” I started listening to it shortly after its release in 2021 so I’m excited to listen to this band more before I head out to Indio. As you know, I feel like Coachella has been skimping on indie rock music in recent years compared to 7-10 years ago. Wet Leg is one of the few bands that falls into that category so I’m fully preparing myself to get more into them in the next few months. They play Friday, which is unfortunate for my schedule but I’m hoping they have a late night Friday set that I’ll be able to see. If you’re trying to catch some indie rock at Coachella like I am, here’s a few Wet Leg songs you may want to listen to:

  1. Wet Dream
  2. Chaise Longue
  3. Too Late Now
  4. Angelica
  5. Ur Mum
  6. Being In Love
  7. Oh No
  8. I Don’t Wanna Go Out
  9. Loving You
  10. Piece of Shit

Crybaby: Album Review

My blog has solely become album reviews and Coachella previews, but I’m kind of okay with it. Even though I might not keep up with this as much as I used to, I’m still writing posts 8 years later. I like writing occasionally, so its nice. This album review is very overdue though as Tegan and Sara’s tenth studio album, Crybaby, was released almost 2 months ago. I’ve been meaning to write it sooner, but life, friends, fun, and the rare work day have taken over and that’s not to mention other album releases that needed to be reviewed too. Several singles from this new album were released throughout 2022 culminating in the October 21st album release.

Tegan and Sara have been around for almost the last 25 years and in that time their indie pop sound has carried through the decades. They’ve had huge successes with albums like The Con and Heartthrob, but their latest is definitely on a similar level musically to The Con. I have a feeling this new album won’t reach the hype it deserves so I’ll just have to hype it up as much as I can. One of my favorite songs from the album is “Yellow”. The melody is ultimately so catchy. There’s several other indie pop bops as well like “Fucking Up What Matters,” “I Can’t Grow Up,” and “Smoking Weed Alone.” There’s also a few ballads on the album like “Faded Like a Feeling,” “Sometimes I See Stars,” and “Whatever That Was.”

The twin sister duo has also said they weren’t even sure if they would be releasing another album, which makes Crybaby special in its own right. I think this isn’t an album that hits as a whole right away. It’s one you have to keep listening to for it to stick, but once it does you realize just how good it is. Tegan and Sara embarked on a fall tour in support of the album and I was lucky enough to be able to catch the first show. It was great to see them perform again. They’re such fun live performers. If you’re looking for a new album to get into this winter, I would definitely recommend Crybaby. It’s a quality record from this well established Canadian indie pop twin sister group.

Coachella Band Preview: girl in red

Now that it’s February, we’re closing in on the two month mark until Weekend 1! It feels so weird writing this anticipating Coachella like it’s any other year. It’s not though. We haven’t been thriving on the polo fields since 2019. So much has happened and changed since then, but at the same time, having Coachella back will feel like another part of normal life has returned. I keep writing these blogs like I have for years, but god knows I’m so much more excited and emotional about getting back to Coachella this year than I ever was. That being said, this week I’m stoked to preview an artist I didn’t know much about when the 2020 lineup came out. She was on it but I had no idea at the time. Thankfully over the last two years I got to know and love girl in red.

When girl in red was booked for Coachella 2020, she was up and coming. She was an undercard. But thanks to tik tok and lesbians everywhere, girl in red has since exploded. Last spring girl in red, aka Marie Ulven Ringheim, released her debut album, if i could make it go quiet. The album reached top 10 spots on music charts worldwide. I was able to catch a few songs of her ACL set during Weekend 2. She played the main stage early in the day. She wasn’t drawing a huge crowd at the time, but I guarantee she will at Coachella. This time her name has moved up on the lineup poster and I suspect she’ll be playing a late afternoon or early evening set on the main stage or at Outdoor.

Since I first wrote about girl in red, as I already mentioned, she has gotten a lot bigger. Over the last year, she’s stuck to the festival circuit, in support of her debut album. Her name has been rising higher on every festival lineup though. She has a completely sold out spring North American tour lined up that includes her stops in Indio, before she heads back overseas for the European leg of the tour. The European leg is completely sold out too.

girl in red is an act that you won’t want to miss in April. She fills the indie rock card that now seems a lot more rare at Coachella. However, she’s part of that new wave of Gen Z indie rock, so you’d expect a lot more younger fans at her set. She’s definitely going to crush her first Coachella appearance though. Here’s a few tracks that you’ll need to know before you catch her:

  1. we fell in love in october
  2. Serotonin
  3. i wanna be your girlfriend
  4. bad idea!
  5. midnight love
  6. girls
  7. I’ll Call You Mine
  8. summer depression
  9. Rue
  10. You Stupid Bitch

Sad Philly Boy Music/Coachella Band Preview?

It’s been a while since I last blogged. It almost feels like I actually did go to Coachella since this is what usually happens. I write Coachella blogs until I leave for Coachella then stop until I return from being out in the desert for a few weeks. At this point I should have no excuse for not writing. I’m home. The problem was I couldn’t figure out what to write about. There’s a few upcoming albums I plan to review, but until then I haven’t really discovered anything new I like, until Saturday.

I’ve been talking to my friend Kelsey for most of quarantine. We’re quarantine buddies for sure and we’ve agreed that it feels a lot like being in high school since we’re both with our families. Kick in the nostalgia. We often talk about bands we grew up listening to like Brand New and Taking Back Sunday. We were both emo/punk/alternative kids. Lately though, quarantine has brought in some deep cut local bands and musicians that were a part of our teen scenes. I started talking about Title Fight and how my friends and I watched them play small venues in our area as they grew bigger in their scene. She sent me a picture of her and her prom date Alex and then told me how he’s now in a band that sells out large venues. That’s when I first heard of (Sandy) Alex G.

According to Kelsey, (Sandy) Alex G, aka her high school friend Alex Giannascoli, really started when he was in high school. He was in a pop punk band called The Skin Cells with several of their other friends. Kelsey even sent me one of their songs Saturday night. It was great. She said Alex was super dedicated to music and would record his own stuff in his room, put it on CD, and personally decorate the CD. She said it felt like he did this at least once a month. He was good too. She always thought he would be famous one day and she wasn’t lying. He’s now an indie recording artist.

He began self-releasing music on Bandcamp between 2010-2012. His music spread by word of mouth and music blogs and eventually lead to his signing with Orchid Tapes who he released his debut album DSU under in 2014. At that time he was just Alex G. In 2015 he signed with Domino Recording Company and began releasing records under that label. He released three albums with Domino in 2015, Rules, Trick, and Beach Music.

In 2017, Alex G announced that he would be changing his name from Alex G to (Sandy) Alex G shortly before the release of his album Rocket. The album ranked on many indie publications’ lists as being in the Top 50 of the year. In September, Alex released his latest album House of Sugar, which again received similar accolades

(Sandy) Alex G is a typical indie artist. His music also bridges into that post-punk/pop-punk/alternative scene that bands like Turnover and Tigers Jaw are a part of. He’s also from suburban Philly. Based on his style, he probably attracts a large following of “sad Philly boy” fans, which is a term I’ve heard referring to the new indie scene of young urban outfitter wearing 20-somethings that originated in Philly. Regardless of what your style is, if you’re an indie music fan, you’d dig what (Sandy) Alex G has been putting out.

Normally, at this point of the year Coachella would already have passed and we would be looking forward to next year. Unfortunately at this point, 2020 hasn’t happened and no one’s really sure if it will. That being said who knows what happens to the 2020 lineup? If it happens this year, will the same artists be playing? If it doesn’t, do they play next year? I’m sure Goldenvoice has already started booking a 2021 lineup that looks much different than this year, but I bet if Coachella 2020 doesn’t happen in the fall there may be some smaller acts booked for the following spring. The reason I’m even talking about this is because (Sandy) Alex G was supposed to be on the lineup this year! He was slated to play Sunday. Even though everything is very TBD right now, I’m hoping he still plays in October and if not, I’m hoping he’s on the 2021 lineup. I’d love to see him out on the polo fields and I now have plenty of time to listen to his music. So big shoutout to Kelsey for the introduction and big shoutout to Alex for putting out this great music since high school.

 

 

 

You’ve Never Danced Like This Before

I’m defining this quarantine/isolation by the number of days we have without concerts or festivals. Currently we’re on Day whatever. In the meantime, I’m going to be posting weekly and I’ll be using this time to catch up on a few artists I’ve wanted to write about. Back in the fall Milky Chance released their third album Mind the Moon. I’ve never been a huge Milky Chance fan, but there were several tracks on the new album that I absolutely loved. I wanted to write about them at the time, but there were rumors they would be at Coachella. I decided to hold off because I anticipated writing about them in my Coachella previews. Needless to say, they weren’t on the lineup and I needed to focus on writing about the acts that were. Now, since we have some time, let me tell you a bit about this German folk band.

Milky Chance was founded around 2012 when members, Clemens Rehbein (bass) and Philipp Dausch (guitar) played in a jazz group together. When the group broke up, the two still kept up their musical connection and began writing and recording their own music. They began posting it to YouTube. The band recorded their first album Sadnecessary in 2013 after only playing two live shows. It was the song “Stolen Dance” that really became their claim to fame. The song became a viral hit on YouTube and earned them top spots across music charts in Germany and many other countries in Europe as well as reaching number one on the Billboard Alternative chart. From 2014-2016 the band toured extensively in support of their debut album, playing shows and festivals throughout Europe, North America, South Africa, and Oceania. They played their first Coachella in 2015.

In 2017, they released their sophomore album Blossom. They toured worldwide through 2018, but their second album did not have as much commercial success as their debut. Their latest record Mind the Moon was released on November 15, 2019. Again it still hasn’t reached the level of success as Sadnecessary but I will say it’s a pretty good record.

Milky Chance is primarily an alternative folk band but they also incorporate elements of reggae, jazz, and electronic beats into their music. In this way a lot of their songs sound different from one another. Two of my favorite songs on the latest record show that. “The Game” has a reggae/electronic feel while “Oh Mama” has this hip-hop/middle eastern/folk sound. One thing has remained persistent over the three records though and that is Rehbein’s deep and hypnotic vocals.

I can only imagine Milky Chance will be back on the touring and festival circuit soon once live music also resumes in support of their latest record. They’re a pretty unique indie alternative band because their music is so varied. I’ve seen them perform once, back at Coachella in 2015 when I attended. I remember not being impressed by their live performance, but I know I only saw part of their set. I’d be willing to give them another chance. They’re definitely worthy of a listen if you’re a fan of indie, folk, or reggae and given the time we all have now, it’s always worth it to discover something new.

Generationals

In 2011, as you might know, I got into the indie music scene. Foster the People was the first band to really transition me away from emo, punk, and pop punk. Another band I got into around that time was Generationals. I discovered the song “Trust” through the television show Pretty Little Liars. At the time the show was in its first season and used plenty of indie music as background. To this day I still listen to Generationals from time to time and I figured it was about time I wrote about this low-key indie duo.

Generationals are an indie pop/new wave group from New Orleans, Louisiana. The group consists of Ted Joyner and Grant Widmer. The duo formed Generationals when their former band The Eames Era, famed for having a song on the Grey’s Anatomy soundtrack, broke up. Joyner and Widmer named the group Generationals after the issues in the 2008 presidential election being referred to as a “generational issues” by CNN, which they frequently watched while recording.

The group released their debut album Con Law in 2009 to mostly favorable reviews. Their first EP Trust was released over a year later in November 2010 followed by their second album Actor-Caster in March 2011. The group toured in support of bands like Broken Social Scene and Two Door Cinema Club during that time. Their music was also featured in many forms of entertainment like commercials, movies, and television shows.

Since their early days Generationals have routinely released music with the albums Heza (2013), Alix (2014), State Dogs: Singles 2017-18 (2018), and most recently Reader as Detective which was released this past July.  I’ve followed the group with songs here and there over the years. Most recently though I’ve fallen in love with the song “Gatekeeper” from their latest record and it has made me want to listen to them more like I used to back in my early days of discovering indie music.

Their sound hasn’t strayed much over the last 10 years. They’ve consistently released music that fits perfectly in the indie pop genre. They have a similar sound to bands like The Kooks or Peter, Bjorn, and John. Although they might not have as much indie scene cred as those two acts, they definitely fit their genre just as well.

If you’re into that late 2000’s-early 2010’s indie scene, Generationals are a great group to listen to. In fact, they’re just a great group to listen to regardless. They’ve been in my music rotation for long enough and there was a point I listed them as one of my top 5 favorite bands. So just listen to them. They’re timeless and pretty great. They’re generational(s)!

 

 

Coachella Band Preview: Vance Joy

Coachella 2018 Weekend 1 is just over six weeks away and I can finally say I’ll be back out there for my third Coachella! I just received an offer to work the festival again at the end of last week. My hype level was at a high for sure. After working last year and soaking up every minute, I always felt like I would be the luckiest person ever to return the following year to do the same thing. Now it’s actually happening! So cool. So so cool. Another cool thing about Coachella this year is that Vance Joy is performing.

Vance Joy, a.k.a. James Gabriel Wanderson Keogh, is a musician from Melbourne, Australia. He came on to the music scene in 2013 with his smash hit “Riptide” and hasn’t gone back since. He just released his second studio album, Nation of Two on Friday.

Vance Joy, whose name comes from the Peter Carey book Bliss, released his debut EP God Loves You When You’re Dancing in March 2013. In the time between the EP release and his debut album in 2014, “Riptide” peaked at the number 6 spot on the ARIA Singles Chart. It was also used in a U.S. GoPro commerical and reached spot 30 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 1 on the Alternative and Rock Airplay charts.

His debut album Dream Your Life Away was released in September 2014. He toured worldwide in support of the album, then joined Taylor Swift on her 1989 World Tour as an opening act. Besides opening for Taylor Swift in 2015, Vance Joy played Coachella, Governor’s Ball, and Austin City Limits among others. He also won an ARIA Award for Best Male Artist and was nominated for awards in six other categories for Dream Your Life Away. In 2014, he made festival appearances at Bonnaroo, Firefly, Glastonbury, and Lollapalooza. Tour life continued into 2016 with the Fire and the Flood Tour. The extensive touring ceased in 2017, but Vance Joy still played a few shows and festivals last year.

Vance Joy’s music is part of the indie music spectrum. It falls into the indie pop and indie folk categories. His music really does sound like a fitting combination of the two genres. One of Vance Joy’s signature elements is the use of a ukulele in several of his songs, “Riptide” being part of that group.

I first heard of Vance Joy because of the song “Riptide” (of course!). When I downloaded the song in the spring of 2014, it was before his first album was released. Since then, I’ve gotten into several Vance Joy songs. I even heard his performance at Coachella in 2015. He played at either the Gobi or Mojave Tent and it was too crowded to actually see his set. My cousin and I sat outside and listened instead. I also saw him perform at Panorama last summer. I caught some of his set since I was working the entire day. I definitely enjoyed it. He puts on a great live show.

I’m guessing that since the last time he played Coachella and his set was over-crowded that he’ll probably perform at either the Coachella Stage or the Outdoor Stage. He plays Sunday. He’s not listed as one of the top acts that day but I’m sure he’ll be performing in the late afternoon hours on one of the larger stages. It wouldn’t make sense to for him to have another time slot at a different stage. If I were just attending, his set would definitely be one I would try to catch. From a working perspective though, I would only catch it if I was off work at the time he performed. He’s a great musician and I love his music, but I have seen him before. Plus there are a couple others on Sunday that I would pick first if it came down to that. Regardless, if you’re attending, go to his set! I guarantee you’ll know something (even if it’s just “Riptide”) and you’ll be entranced by what you don’t know. Here’s a few songs you might want to check out to get you ready though:

  1. Riptide
  2. Georgia
  3. Like Gold
  4. Fire and the Flood
  5. Mess is Mine
  6. Lay It On Me
  7. Saturday Sun

 

Coachella Band Preview: Sir Sly

I don’t know about you, but winter is really getting to me. I’m sick of the snow, the ice, and the freezing cold. April needs to get here stat. Thankfully we’ve reached the 2 month Coachella countdown this week. That means it’s time to crank up the jams on another band playing the festival this year, Sir Sly.

Los Angeles based indie pop band Sir Sly formed in 2012. At one point no one knew anything about them when they reached number one on Hype Machine, a website music database that ranks the latest and greatest tunes from music blogs. They came out of nowhere with their debut single, “Ghost.” Shortly after, they revealed themselves. The group is comprised of Landon Jacobs, Jason Suwito, and Hayden Coplen. Their first album, You Haunt Me, was released in September 2014. A few songs from the album were featured in video games and ads, giving their music some exposure.

After the release and touring from their debut ceased, life happened for guitarist and vocalist, Landon Jacobs. He went through a divorce and his mother passed away from brain cancer. It inspired Sir Sly’s second album, Don’t You Worry, Honey, which was released on June 30, 2017. The music on the album doesn’t sound devastating though. The album is about being able to experience joy through pain. The lyrics focus on some serious stuff while the fun-sounding music makes it bearable. One of the most successful songs from the album, “High”, was featured on the soundtrack to Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why.

Sir Sly is described as an indie pop/rock band, but their music also has influence from other genres like electronic and psychedelic music. They kind of sound like Tame Impala meets Local Natives meets The Neighbourhood. Their music isn’t extremely upbeat, but very vibe-y and super chill.

I first heard of Sir Sly over the summer. My friend got into them and told me about the group because she liked their name. She thought it was a pun on the word “seriously”. The group actually came up with the name because it sounded cool and they didn’t want to take themselves too seriously. Kind of ironic eh? I listened to whatever song she sent me at the time and thought they sounded pretty good. I then realized that they were on the 13 Reasons Why soundtrack, which I had watched in June. I definitely liked the song “High.” Since then I feel like I’ve seen this band pop up more and more. They were booked for a summer concert around where I live that never ended up happening and their music constantly appears on Spotify playlists. Since my introduction to them, I’ve been slowly getting into their music because of this. Every once in a while I’ll get into a new Sir Sly song, but not several songs at once. It’s a slow process. Sometimes listening to music happens that way, but before you know it you realize you know almost all of a band or artist’s songs.

Sir Sly plays on Saturday at Coachella. They’re not billed very highly so I’d expect them to play in the early to late afternoon hours. They’re definitely a group to check out if you’re at the festival then and don’t have any one else you need to see. I would most certainly check them out if I was going and available, even though at this point I know about 3 or 4 of their songs. It’s bands like Sir Sly that will be the ones that impress you the most at Coachella though. You go in only knowing a song or two and come out wanting to listen to more. Here’s a couple songs just to give you a taste of this band:

  1. High
  2. Astronaut
  3. &Run
  4. Ghost
  5. Gold