Coachella 2014 Breakdown: FRIDAY (Pt. 1)

coachella-sunset

Coachella, a festival known for booking cutting edge live acts, wasn’t always as popular as it is now.  In fact, it went into such a financial drought after its inaugural year that the festival had the close its doors in 2000 and regroup.  Today, the festival sells over a hundred thousand tickets in less than 3 hours.  But how did Coachella get to where they are today? They stuck to their guns. They were persistent on maintaining their innovative ethos. They prided themselves in being the taste makers, not just another festival booking “what the kids like”.  But as the festival grew in popularity, so did the kind of music you would find on its bill.  Headliners like Tool and Bjork were replaced by The Killers & Jack Johnson.  And while the avant-garde headliners seem to fade into the desert sun, the underbelly of the festival, the bands you see in small print, held enough ground to hold up Coachella’s pioneering image.

And since about 2008 (the year Coachella die-hards claim the festival took its turn for the worst), when the festival gets announced you can go on the message boards and find an entire community disappointed with the face of their beloved festival. As a mission to myself and my Coachella comrades, I took it upon myself to dilute this distaste by shining a bright light on the wonderful music found at the bottom of the bill.  It has always been the intimate shows at Coachella that left me with the best memories (Gayngs, How To Destroy Angels, Leftfield, Phosphorescent.) It was the shows I would unknowingly stumble into that gave me some of the best musical discoveries of my life (New Pants, Mogwai, Talvin Singh, Lucero).

So when the line up got released last week, I automatically gave Goldenvoice the benefit of the doubt.   There’s always something worth fighting for when it comes to Coachella’s lineup.  On the top, there’s some really incredible music on the bill – Friday is easily one of the stronger days in recent memory – but the more I looked it over, the more I felt like the line up fell short than in years past.  There was a couple of reasons I had this sentiment:

  1. More so than in years past, there was a clear green light given toward radio friendly pop music – Capital Cities, Naked & Famous, Kid Cudi, Ellie Goulding, Foster The People.
  2. There were a ton of bands that I thought were definitely going to be on the line up – Nine Inch Nails, Television, Boards Of Canada, Pixies, Sleater-Kinney, The National, Deafheaven, Jon Hopkins, White Denim, Swans…just to name a few.
  3. There is a sincere lack of big name progressive electronic music on the bill, making it feel like the Sahara Tent is now a Glamorous Vegas Club rather than the Underground Techno Party it felt like in years past. Granted, the Yuma Stage (if you can get in) will have some of the most innovative and interesting DJ’s from around the world spinning in there.

This really has been the first year I didn’t feel confident that the music on the bill was going to be as impressionable as its innovative past.  Then again, I’m not an encyclopedia and I haven’t heard of everything on the bill. To draw such a rash conclusion is irresponsible. So here I am, kinda disappointed that my favorite festival feels like it’s moving on with out me, yet also excited by the challenge to find the forward thinking heart of the line up I hope still exists.

 Join me, as I run down Coachella’s line up act-for-act, give my recommendations and search for what makes this festival unrivaled.

FRIDAY FRIDAY FRIDAY

Outkast

MUST SEE ACT

From: Atlanta, GA
Genre: Southern-Fried-Psychedelic-Hip-Hop
For Fans Of: Tribe Called Quest, Sly & The Family Stone, Goodie Mob, Parliament
Noteworthy Album: Aquemini

The Knife

MUST SEE ACT

From: Stockholm, Sweeden
Genre: Experimental-Haunting-Ambient-Synthtronica
For Fans Of: Fever Ray, Portishead, Lykke Li, Bjork
Noteworthy Album: Shaking The Habitual 

The Replacements

MUST SEE ACT

From: Minneapolis, MN
Genre: Gristly-Garage-Post-Rock
For Fans Of: Big Star, Husker Du, Pavement, The Lemonheads
Noteworthy Album: Let It Be

Broken Bells

From: Los Angeles, CA
Genre: Neodisco-Indie-Infused-Spacerock
For Fans Of: The Shins, The Postal Service, Alt-J, Junip
Noteworthy Album: Broken Bells 

Zedd 

From: Kaiserslautern, Germany
Genre: Tech-Trance-Electro-House 
For Fans Of: Hardwell, Porter Robinson, Lady Gaga, Foxes
Noteworthy Album: Clarity

Girl Talk

From: Pittsburgh, PA
Genre:  Glitch-Hop-Fun-Pop-Mash-Up
For Fans Of: The Hood Internet, RAC, Goldroom, Phantogram
Noteworthy Album: Night Ripper

Ellie Goulding 

From: Lyonshall, England
Genre: Glamorous-Indie-Folktonica
For Fans Of: Alex Clare, Calvin Harris, Neon Trees, Lissie
Noteworthy Album: Halcyon Days

 Chromeo

From: Montreal, Canada
Genre: Sexy-Baby-Making-Party-Jams
For Fans Of: Zapp & Roger, Ghostland Observatory, Cherub, Bobby Brown
Noteworthy Album: She’s In Control 

HAIM

From: Los Angeles, CA
Genre: Classic-Esque-Soul-Pop-Rock
For Fans Of: Fleetwood Mac, Sky Ferreira, CHVRCHES, Shania Twain
Noteworthy Album: Days Are Gone

Neko Case 

MUST SEE ACT

From: Alexandria, VA
Genre: Offshoot-Americana-Alt-Country
For Fans Of: Cat Power, Loretta Lynn, Broken Social Scene, Sera Cahoone
Noteworthy Album: The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You

AFI

From: Ukiah, California
Genre: Arena-Ready-Goth-Punk-Rock
For Fans Of: Everescence, Tiger Army, Fall Out Boy, H.I.M.
Noteworthy Album: DECEMBERUNDERGROUND

Martin Garrix

From: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Genre: Brotastic-Deep-Dutch-House
For Fans Of: Bauer, Christina Aguilera, Hardwell, Alesso
Noteworthy Single: Animals

 Bonobo

MUST SEE ACT

From: Brighton, England
Genre: Lazy-Sunday-Downtempo-Trip-Hop
For Fans Of: Massive Attack, Four Tet, Tycho, Thievery Corporation
Noteworthy Album: The North Borders

Bryan Ferry

MUST SEE ACT

From: Washington, England
Genre: Sophisticated-Glamorous-Art-Rock
For Fans Of: Roxy Music, The Kinks, Talking Heads, 10cc
Noteworthy Album: Boys And Girls

The Glitch Mob

From: Los Angeles, CA
Genre:
Sequenced-Industrial-Glitch-Hop
For Fans Of: Bassnectar, Kraddy, Pretty Lights, An-Ten-Nae
Noteworthy AlbumDrink The Sea

The Afghan Whigs

MUST SEE ACT – Seriously…see this show. Like, for real. 

From: Cincinnati, Ohio
Genre: Completely-Bad-Ass-Rock-And-Fucking-Roll
For Fans Of: Music
Noteworthy Album: 1965

The Cult

From: Bradford, England
Genre: Heavy-Gothic-Post-Rock
For Fans Of: Van Halen, Danzig, Blue Oyster Cult, Faith No More
Noteworthy Album: Sonic Temple

Bastille

From: London, England
Genre: Anthemic-Indie-Melodies
For Fans Of:
The 1975, The Neighbourhood, Neon Trees, Atlas Genius
Noteworthy Album
: Bad Blood

Flume

From: Sydney, Australia
Genre: Feel-Good-Electronic-Swing
For Fans Of: Chet Faker, Poolside, London Grammar, Polica
Noteworthy AlbumFlume

Aloe Blacc

From: Los Angeles, California
Genre: Neo-Soul
For Fans Of: Lee Fields, Sam Cooke, Charles Bradley, Mayer Hawthorne
Noteworthy AlbumGood Things

Jagwar Ma

From: Sydney, Australia
Genre: Experimental-Electro-Psych-Rock
For Fans Of: Foals, Tame Impala, Pond, Foxygen
Noteworthy AlbumHowlin

A$AP Ferg

From: Harlem, New York
Genre: Quick-Tongued-Trap-Hop
For Fans Of: Bone Thugs N’ Harmony, A$AP Rocky, Danny Brown, Odd Future
Noteworthy AlbumTrap Lord

Grouplove

From: Los Angeles, California
Genre: Fun-Energetic-Alternative-Indietonica
For Fans Of: Edward Sharpe, The Naked & The Famous, Walk The Moon, The Killers
Noteworthy AlbumSpreading Rumours

Woodkid

MUST SEE ACT

From: Lyon, France
Genre: Experimental-Baroque-Pop
For Fans Of: Little Dragon, Bon Iver, Django Django, Vampire Weekend
Noteworthy AlbumThe Golden Age

Carnage

From: Los Angeles, California
Genre: Overhyped-Crunked-Trap-House
For Fans Of: Re3hab, Diplo, RL Grime, Feed Me
Noteworthy AlbumIncredible

Shlohmo

MUST SEE ACT

From: Los Angeles, California
Genre: Transformative-Delicate-Electronic-Sketches
For Fans Of: Flying Lotus, Cashmere Cat, Balam Acab, Holy Other, Nicolas Jaar
Noteworthy AlbumBad Vibes

Gareth Emery

From: Southampton, Hampshire
Genre: Dance-All-Night-Trancey-Goodness
For Fans Of: Tiesto, Madona, Paul Okenfold, Cruise Ships, Above & Beyond
Noteworthy Album: Northern Lights

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