indie bands

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

Coachella 2023 Lineup Review

10 days into January and the Coachella lineup has dropped. After balloons in the sky showed up in LA and NY and Coachella billboards popped up in cities worldwide last week, we knew the drop was coming at any moment. Shortly after 3 PM EST/12 PM PST yesterday, the 2023 Coachella lineup dropped. At the moment of the release, I was about to start a team meeting and I dropped to my knee with joy exclaiming, “The Coachella lineup just dropped!” I can’t say I remember much from our meeting as I was distracted the entire time. I also can’t say I’m surprised or impressed with this year’s mix of artists.

I feel like every year since I’ve started this blog has been an ongoing trend of the lineup getting worse and worse. This year feels like it takes the trash cake for me. For the first time since I started being interested in Coachella, there’s no standout act for me. There’s no top artist. It’s just a handful of artists I barely listen to. I could go on about it generally or talk about it in depth so here it is, the Coachella 2023 Lineup:

The Headliners: Bad Bunny, BLACKPINK, Frank Ocean, Calvin Harris

The true headliners based on the poster are Bad Bunny, BLACKPINK, and Frank Ocean. I included Calvin Harris based on his solo poster spot because we all know he’s going to be a headliner. Frank Ocean was scheduled to play in 2020 and of course the covo ruined it all. In the months that followed the inevitable 2020 cancellation, news of Frank skipping 2022 and playing 2023 circulated. Frank Ocean last played Coachella in 2012 so his highly anticipated return is very overdue. Calvin Harris was also scheduled to play 2020 as the first name under Friday night headliner Rage Against the Machine. His last time playing the festival was 2016. Meanwhile both Bad Bunny and BLACKPINK played in 2019 as highly billed acts with BLACKPINK playing an 8:00 p.m. set at Sahara on Friday night and Bad Bunny playing the main stage at sunset Sunday. These headlining performances for both acts will mark Coachella firsts as BLACKPINK will be the first K-pop group to headline the festival and Bad Bunny will be the first Latin artist to headline.

Am I excited? Not really. If I see anyone, it’ll be Calvin Harris. I don’t know a single song by any of the other artists. I’m not into Latin music. I may or may not enjoy some K-pop because I had a friend obsessed with BTS a few years ago and Frank Ocean just hasn’t ever hit for me. However, I might give him a second chance because he doesn’t often perform. Generally though, I’m disappointed with this selection, but it seems to be what’s in right now and Coachella has always set the bar with that.

The Other Highly Billed Performers: Despacio, Gorillaz, Burna Boy, the Chemical Brothers, Kaytranada, Blondie, Becky G, Metro Boomin, FKJ, Pusha T, Tobe Nwigwe, Wet Leg, SG Lewis, Yves Tumor, the Garden, TESTPILOT, Angèle, MUNA, Maceo Plex, ROSALÍA, Eric Pyrdz presents HOLO, boygenius, $uicideboy$, the Kid LAROI, Charli XCX, Labrinth, Underworld, Diljit Dosanjh, Eladio Carrión, SOFI TUKKER, Remi Wolf, Chromeo, Tale Of Us, Yung Lean, Mura Masa, Yaeji, 070 Shake, Björk, Kali Uchis, Porter Robinson, Fisher + Chris Lake, A Boogie, Dominic Fike, Jai Paul, Jackson Wang, Latto, the Blaze, Willow, GloRilla, Jai Wolf, Boris Brejcha, 2manydjs, Christine and the Queens, Rae Sremmurd

This mix of big names is where you’ll find all the legacy acts with names like the Chemical Brothers, who last played in 1999, the first year of the festival, Blondie, and Björk, who was the first female artist to headline Coachella. There’s a few names in this list that I listen to occasionally who I plan to check out at the festival. I can’t help but be excited about this small group of legendary artists, but I can’t hype myself too much because Blondie and the Chemical Brothers both play Friday night and I work until 8 p.m. From this list, I’m most excited that LCD Soundsystem frontman, James Murphy, will be playing with his side project Despacio all weekend according to the poster. Another notable from this mix for me is indie rock supergroup, boygenius, composed of Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker, and Lucy Dacus. They don’t often perform together so this should be a special one in Indio. Alternative rock band Gorillaz, who last played the festival when they headlined in 2010, will be fun to check out as well. I’ll also probably want to check out Wet Leg, MUNA, Chromeo, Remi Wolf, Porter Robinson, and Jai Wolf if I get the chance too. I’m sure I’ll discover other indie/alternative rock or electronic artists to listen to in this mix but for now, these are the names that stick out.

The Undercards: Two Friends, YUNGBLUD, Jamie Jones, Ashnikko, Malaa, TV Girl, Whyte Fang, Doechii, BENEE, Idris Elba, Magdalena Bay, Vintage Culture, Domi & JD Beck, Dombresky, DannyLux, Nora En Pure, Overmono, Uncle Waffles, ¿Téo?, Mochakk, Gabriels, Saba, Dennis Cruz + PAWSA, Soul Glo, Lava La Rue, Sleaford Mods, the Comet is Coming, Oliver Koletzki, Kyle Watson, the Murder Capital, Chris Stussy, Jupiter & Okwess, Lewis OfMan, Juliet Mendoza, Desert Cahuilla Bird Singers, Marc Rebillet, Hiatus Kaiyote, Dinner Party, Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, Elderbrook, Kenny Beats, Flo Milli, Keinemusik, Snail Mail, Rebelution, Hot Since 82, EARTHGANG, UMI, Shenseea, the Breeders, Monolink, Ethel Cain, Bakar, Donavan’s Yard, the Linda Lindas, Sunset Rollercoaster, NIA ARCHIVES, Jan Blomqvist, DRAMA, WhoMadeWho, Destroy Boys, Elyanna, DJ Tennis, Carlita, AG Club, Mathame, BRATTY, Horsegirl, Colyn, Chloé Caillet, Scowl, Francis Mercier, Weyes Blood, Alex G, DPR LIVE + DPR IAN, Stick Figure, Adam Beyer, Big Wild, MK, Cannons, Romy, Gordo, Fousheé, Noname, Sasha & John Digweed, Sudan Archives, Knocked Loose, Camelphat, IDK, Sasha Alex Sloan, Mareux, 1999.ODDS, Pi’erre Bourne, Cassian, Joy Crookes, TSHA, El Michels Affair, Paris Texas, LP Giobbi, Momma, Ali Sethi, Minus the Light, Los Bitchos, Conexión Divina, Airrica

The undercards this year have a handful of names I’d like to see, such as YUNGBLUD, who was scheduled to play in 2020. I missed him at ACL this past fall and I like a few of his songs so I would love to check out his Coachella set. I’ve listened to electronic artists, Two Friends, here and there as well and hope I can catch their performance. However, it’s another Friday set and everything Friday will be TBD for me until the set times get released. I think out of all the artists playing this year I actually listen to Elderbrook the most. I’ll likely want to check out Alex G too. I started getting in to him in anticipation of his 2020 appearance, but that was short lived. Big Wild, MK, and Sasha Alex Sloan are a few other artists I’d like to catch as well.

Coachella has always been ahead of the game when it comes to new music and pushing a multitude of genres. Unfortunately for me, the kind of music I listen to isn’t what’s hot these days. Like I’ve mentioned in years past, Coachella has become a place of music discovery for me. I wish I could hear a ton of bands I already love and listen to, but this does help me stay fresh. I usually have a few acts that I love. This year though Paul missed the mark for me. I’m still incredibly excited. Even when the lineup isn’t great, it’s still great. It’s Coachella. It can’t be bad. The vibes are always immaculate. There will be surprises, guest appearances, and celebs for days. I think the fashion faded away from flower crowns, but we’ll certainly see the finest in festival fashion come April. I can’t wait to be out there. Until then, look forward to weekly blog posts previewing all these bands I just mentioned. Happy Coachella season everyone! Let’s get back to the desert!

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.

 

 

 

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

 

A R I Z O N A the band, not the state

It’s been two weeks since I last posted, but to be fair I had a show to work and I was sidelined with a sprained ankle (a “sprankle” if you will). I was also out of ideas for new topics. I want to be excited about everything I write here so I didn’t want to just pick something and give you a lackluster effort. The end of last week finally gave me a topic though. I saw that a band I’ve been following for the last year or so released their debut album on May 19th.

A R I Z O N A is an alternative electro-pop band from Glen Rock, New Jersey (no, not Arizona). The band is comprised of members Zach Hannah (vocals), Nathan Esquite (guitar), and David Labuguen (keyboard). The trio all attended college in Boston and initially went their separate ways before reuniting in their home state to form A R I Z O N A. The band’s name stems from a hat Dave was wearing during a random Facetime call with his bandmates.

A R I Z O N A started releasing music on streaming platforms in 2015. They’ve periodically released singles from then on. Their major breakthrough came when German electronic DJ Robin Schulz released a remix of their song “I Was Wrong” last summer. Originally the group thought of releasing an EP first, but then they realized they had enough songs to put out a full length album. Their debut album, Gallery, was released a few days ago. It contains all the music they’ve released so far plus a few new jams. The group is also playing the festival circuit this summer and embarking on their first headlining tour.

Back in November, on the night I saw Tegan and Sara, my friend and I bought tickets to the Hayley Kiyoko show that was happening in another room at the same venue. A R I Z O N A was the opener that night. I didn’t even realize they were the opener until I recognized the second song they played. It was a spontaneously awesome moment of the evening. I first started listening to them the previous winter when I heard the song “Where I Wanna Be” off a twitter recommendation and since that time I followed up with the group any time they released new music.

A R I Z O N A’s music style combines indie/alternative music with electronic music. When I first heard them I was slowly getting into electronic music. I liked an occasional song here and there (Let’s be honest, I still do). “Where I Wanna Be” was one of those songs. During the time I listened to that song frequently, I figured A R I Z O N A was probably the name of some DJ. I don’t think I even fully realized that the group was a band until I saw them perform live. It was good to know that a band like A R I Z O N A existed because most of the time electronic music to me was DJ’s. A R I Z O N A is a band. They have a lead singer (Zach). They have a guitarist (Nate), but they also have someone who plays the keyboard/synth elements of their songs (Dave) that gives their music its electronic feel.

I highly recommend checking these guys out if you’re into indie music, electronic music, or both. Even if you’re not, check this band out anyway because they have a pop element to their music as well. As I mentioned before, you can also catch them this summer. They’re playing a few big festivals (Gov Ball, Firefly, and Lollapalooza) and of course they’re touring all over too. Here’s a few songs that will make you fall for this band as much as I have:

  1. Where I Wanna Be
  2. I Was Wrong
  3. Electric Touch
  4. Cross My Mind
  5. Oceans Away

 

Local Natives

It’s crazy to think, but it’s been almost a month since my last blog post and yet it honestly doesn’t feel like it was that long ago. I guess that’s what happens when you spend the fastest two weeks in the Coachella Valley working at your favorite and one of the most well-known music festivals in the world.

So yeah, I did it. I worked Coachella. It was amazing, special, wild, epic, unreal, and all sorts of other positive adjectives that you can think of. It was mostly indescribable though. I knew what to expect, but at the same time I didn’t at all. I can say though that experiencing Coachella in an entirely different way made me appreciate it so much more because it’s a first class, well-run music festival. I’m not gonna go into deep detail about my trip here. I will say that out of the bands I previewed I was able to see Kungs, Grouplove, Lorde, and Lady Gaga. If you wanna know more about my experience though, just ask.

Another thing I will mention is that I had a realization while at the festival during Saturday of Weekend 1. I definitely should have previewed Local Natives in the build-up to Coachella 2017. I was able to catch part of their set that Saturday before my shift started and I knew about 4 of the 5 songs I heard. I didn’t realize how many Local Natives songs I knew, but apparently I know a lot. I know enough that I feel like I need to go to one of their shows sometime. So I figured it was better late than never to write about them, so here goes…

Local Natives is an indie rock band from Los Angeles, CA. Members Kelcey Ayer, Ryan Hahn, and Taylor Rice all met while in high school together in neighboring Orange County, but it was after graduating college from UCLA that the group really started to focus on music. Along with Matt Frazier and former member Andy Hamm (replaced by Nik Ewing in 2012), the group moved into a house together in the Silver Lake section of Los Angeles and began working on their first record, Gorilla Manor. The album was released in November 2009 in the UK and then in the U.S. in February 2010.

The band began generating some hype before the album’s release though. They played SXSW in 2009 which garnered attention from music critics. They received comparisons to well known indie bands, Arcade Fire, Fleet Foxes, and Vampire Weekend, making them a new notable act on the indie scene.

On January 29, 2013 the band released their second album, Hummingbird. The album was produced by guitarist Aaron Dessner of The National and featured a darker lyrical turn due to life events, such as the departure of Andy Hamm and the death of Kelcey Ayer’s mother, that had influenced the band’s writing process. The album also received generally positive reviews.

Last year the band released their third and most recent album, Sunlit Youth, in September. The first single for the album, “Past Lives”, was released a few months before the album drop. The album, like it’s predecessor, received similarly favorable reviews.

Local Natives is your standard indie rock band. There’s no other genre that their music fits into. I can see why they were initially compared to the likes of those other well-known indie bands. Out of the three I mentioned above, their music sounds most similar to a combination of Arcade Fire and Fleet Foxes. I think Vampire Weekend has more of an indie pop feel to their songs that isn’t heard as much with Local Natives. Another reassuring fact about Local Natives’ music is that the sound hasn’t changed much through three albums. Maybe the lyrical content has developed and changed, but you’re still getting that familiar Gorilla Manor sound on Sunlit Youth.

I first heard of Local Natives in the prime of my indie/hipster music transition phase in the spring of 2011. From then on, every so often I would add a new Local Natives song to my iTunes and playlist rotation. While on my first trip to California in 2013, I made it a point to go to Amoeba Music. Amoeba is the world’s largest independent record store. They have three locations in California, one in Berkeley (the original), one in San Francisco, and one in Hollywood, which is the one I went to. I, of course, wanted to get something at Amoeba, but traveling by plane made it difficult to purchase any vinyl so I opted for a CD. The CD I purchased was Hummingbird. Despite all this evidence, it never occurred to me that Local Natives should be a must-see for me at Coachella this year and a must among the list of bands I previewed. I didn’t even realize it after catching the end of their set at Lollapalooza last summer and realizing I knew every song I heard them play. I do now though and I won’t disregard them anymore. I plan on going to one of their shows next time they tour near me. They crushed it at Coachella and I don’t want to miss out anymore.

If you’re a big indie music follower and you don’t know of Local Natives, it’s time you do. They’re a great band to listen to if you’re just relaxing on quiet evening or if you’re driving on a road trip. It’s time to make these guys known or recognized whatever the case may be. Here’s a few songs you should check out.

  1. Airplanes
  2. Who Knows Who Cares
  3. Ceilings
  4. Heavy Feet
  5. Mt. Washington
  6. Past Lives
  7. Wide Eyes
  8. Dark Days
  9. We Come Back
  10. Sun Hands

Coachella Band Preview: Oh Wonder

Coachella begins in 2 weeks! I hope you’ve been doing some serious music listening. If you haven’t, I’m disappointed in you. Even if you’re one of those people who doesn’t like to listen to the music before they attend the show, I’m still disappointed in you because, I mean, come on. How can you not prep even just a little?! This is one of the biggest music festivals out there. For those of you who have been prepping, here’s another band you should be listening to.

Oh Wonder is a band who began creating music together in September 2014. The band is from London and comprised of keyboardist/vocalist Josephine Vander Gucht and guitarist/vocalist Anthony West. Oh Wonder’s claim to fame comes from the release of their DIY debut album. Beginning in September 2014, the alt-pop duo began releasing one song per month via SoundCloud for one year. The year culminated in the release of their debut album which also included two unreleased songs.

The band’s song release process attracted the attention of music fans, blogs, and record labels. They eventually signed with Republic Records. Upon the release of their self-titled debut album in September 2015, the band scheduled shows in London, Paris, New York, and Los Angeles, all of which were sold out. The band has toured internationally since that time and also played a handful of North American music festivals last summer. They made stops at Bonnaroo, Firefly, WayHome (Canada), Lollapalooza, and Live Out (Mexico).

Their music is an alternative/indie pop style, but softer and more mellow than other music I would classify as indie pop. Vander Gucht and West also harmonize magnificently on every track. Their vocals create such soothing melodies that are often times catchy as well. Once you get one of their songs in your head, it’s difficult to get it out.

I heard of Oh Wonder from a music recommendation tumblr post last fall. I checked them out a few days after and decided to download one of their songs. It seemed like after listening to them for the first time, more of their music would pop up on random Spotify playlists I would listen to. I also routinely listened to the song I downloaded. It only took a few times of listening before I would sing-a-long with the music. Their music isn’t the kind of indie pop you’d want to hear to get you hyped up for something. It’s the kind that you’d put on during a sunny afternoon drive or road trip.

That being said, don’t expect a fun, upbeat indie pop style set from them at Coachella. They’re not Grouplove or Matt & Kim. Their music is more relaxed and their set will be too. They play Friday and my guess is that their set will be earlier in the day. They’re a perfect band to see at the festival because I doubt their set time will overlap with other must-see acts. Here’s a few songs you should listen to before their Coachella performance:

  1. Drive
  2. Technicolor Beat
  3. Lose It
  4. All We Do
  5. Without You
  6. Livewire

(But truly, if you just check out their debut self-titled album, you should be fine.)