February 20, 2011

Coachella Track of the Day: Joseph Arthur - "Speed of Light"

Joseph Arthur is one-third of Fistful of Mercy, who plays Sunday at Coachella. Just a quick post, this is my favorite version of my favorite Joseph Arthur song of all-time. From his gig at The Red Room in Vancouver on October 11, 2006. The full show can be downloaded here. I paid $10 for it, and I normally don't purchase music save for an actual ticket to see someone play.

And here is the rest of it. Read more!

February 15, 2011

Coachella Track of the Day: The Strokes - "Reptilia"

Got a little behind on this due to a busy weekend and missing my laptop for a few days, but I am getting back on track. Today's Coachella Track of the Day comes from Sunday's lead act The Strokes, who will be putting out a new album. This is a double whammy Track of the Day as also featured is the new single they are putting out called "Under Cover of Darkness".

But first, "Reptilia". The Strokes may be one of the best modern rock bands today and their reformation following Julian Casablanca's solo effort "Phrazes For the Young" [2009] which was an excellent EP in its own right. "Reptilia" is the track that I may have enjoyed playing more than any other in Rock Band when I played it on my roommates' PS3. Just a catchy as hell track with some great guitar and vocals.

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February 9, 2011

Classic Coachella: Rage Against the Machine - "Guerrilla Radio" [1999]

This Coachella Classic track comes from the inaugural festival held in 1999. Rage Against the Machine was one of the bigger acts to partake in the event back when it was a two-day venture. Rage headlined the second day along with Tool. Longing for some old Rage style music? Don't be alarmed. Frontman Zack De La Rocha will be bringing his little used side project One Day As A Lion to this year's festival and will be performing Saturday. Read more!

February 8, 2011

Coachella Names You Didn't Know You Knew

If you take a closer look at this year's list of Coachella acts, you may realize you know far more of the music being played than you were first aware of.

Familiar with The Killers? Bloc Party? Ben Harper? Their names may not be printed on the bill, but aspects of each are partaking in the weekend's festivities, you just may not have known.

For instance, Brandon Flowers of The Killers plays a solo set Friday. I for one am not always aware of the names of lead singers of even some of my favorite bands. I couldn't tell you who the head guy of The Strokes was until Julian Casablancas released his debut solo effort last year. Kele Okereke of Bloc Party will be doing a Friday solo set as well.

Ben Harper has achieved commercial success over the years despite his natural line of music being outside the normal acceptable mainstream radio stuff. Well, minus "Steal My Kisses". He is part of the three guitar supergroup Fistful of Mercy, which includes Joseph Arthur (a personal favorite of mine) as well as Dhani Harrison, son of George of The Beatles. They play further down the bill on Sunday night, but are a must see for me personally. Note that when they rolled through San Francisco late last year I saw the average price to see them was about $150, which makes them a bargain as part of a three day festival. I wouldn't be totally surprised if Eddie Vedder didn't drop by unexpectedly as he had on the band's tour. Also note that Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello performed with the band on Conan as well.

Lauryn Hill should be recognizable due to her Grammy slaying debut album, but for those not remembering she was part of The Fugees and a reunion would be the perfect way to beef up her set Friday.

Rilo Kiley frontwoman Jenny Lewis will be bringing her collaboration with beau Johnathan Rice to Coachella Saturday. The two released an album this past year as Jenny and Johnny, and between the two of them they have enough high profile friends [think Death Cab's Ben Gibbard and his girl Zooey Deschanel] to possibly make an already interesting set more interesting.

Big Audio Dynamite, Mick Jones' first post-Clash project, is reuniting for the festival. Other acts from the post-pop punk scene of the '80s Duran Duran and Wire will be partaking as well.

Rarely seen Rage Against the Machine frontman Zack De La Rocha's side project One Day As A Lion plays Saturday. Jimmy Eat World is being forgotten by most despite them being one of the early '00s most successful rock bands. They have always been known to put on a killer show as well.

So take a closer look at the lineup, there are tons of hidden gems out there waiting to be discovered. Gems you did not realize you were already familiar with.
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Coachella Track of the Day: The Black Keys - "Girl Is On My Mind"

The Black Keys are a band that had been recommended to me a number of times by various people whose musical tastes are similar to mine, but for whatever reason it wasn't until they were announced as part of this year's Coachella that I really began to dig deep and I figured out that they may be one of the better mainstream sounding rock bands out there today.

What makes them stand out is that it is a two-man band...guitarist/singer Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney, who also produces. Auerbach has a pretty damn good stage presence as evidenced in this video. "Girl Is On My Mind" was the first of The Black Key's tracks to really stick with me, gotta love that old school guitar sound.

The Black Keys will be performing on the Friday of Coachella and will likely be pretty high up the bill. Expect them to go on later in the evening.

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February 7, 2011

What Would You Do for a Coachella Ticket? A Threesome?

Miss out on some Coachella tickets this year? Are you a female [18+] that has always been a female? Have a friend [18+] that has also always been a female? No incurable STDs? There's a great deal on the table for you!

From KiJiJi:

Date Listed 02-Feb-11
Price Swap / Trade
Address Calgary, AB T2J 0L8, Canada
View map
I have a pair of tickets for the 2011 festival.
I'm unable to attend now, and am putting them up for grabs.

All I'm asking for is a threesome.
To be considered for the tickets you must meet the following criteria

A) Be two girls (18+)
B) Both must be better than 6's
C) No un-cureable STD's
D) Must have always been female

Please email me if interested, and we can arrange an exchange of photos and work out stipulations.

I'm very serious about this.
(I'm not a virgin)


Wow! Gotta love the internet. Read more!

The Pop Buzz: Coachella Music Videos

Head over to this link on The Pop Buzz where they have a bunch of YouTube links posted to some music videos by various bands performing at this year's Coachella.

Acts included: Arcade Fire, Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears, The Chemical Brothers, Cut Copy, Delorean, The Drums, Duran Duran, Empire of the Sun, Erykah Badu, Fedde Le Grand, Kanye West, Marina and the Diamonds, Monarchy, Morning Benders, PJ Harvey, Sleigh Bells, The Strokes, Suede, Warpaint, Yelle, !!!

Gotta love the all girl group Warpaint as well as Erykah Badu.

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Coachella Track of the Day: The Swell Season - "When Your Mind's Made Up"

I first heard of Glen Hansard and Marketa Irkglova after renting the musically inspired film, "Once", which starred the two playing struggling musicians who have a chance meeting where friendship and possibly more is kindled. Even more interesting is real love was brought together between the two.

Originally, writer/director John Carney was to cast actors who could somewhat play music [Cillian Murphy was in mind for Hansard's role] but later thought it would be more authentic to include real musicians who could somewhat act. It was a choice that I along with many others are glad he made.

Their Grammy Award winning song "Falling Slowly" was a huge success and garnered the soundtrack a lot of publicity. But it's this track from the two that left the biggest imprint on me when I finished the film.

The Swell Season will be playing the Saturday of Coachella and should top your list as an act to see if you are into a lighter more folky sound. Recommendations as far as tracks aside from their Grammy winner and this one include "Lies", "Leave", and "Fallen From the Sky". They haven't released an album since 2009's "Strict Joy" which featured lovely track "In These Arms".

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February 3, 2011

Classic Coachella: John Frusciante - "Songbird" [2007]

At the 2007 Coachella music festival, the iconic Red Hot Chili Peppers headlined the Saturday gig. In between their set, legendary former Chili Pepper guitarist John Frusciante played a solo cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Songbird", it really showed how incredible his vocals are, not just as a backup vocalist but on lead. Frusciante even changed the line "But most of all I wish it from myself" to "But most of all I wish it on myself". Take a listen if you have the time. The Chili Peppers won't be the same without Frusciante. I mean does anyone remember how bad they were with Dave Navarro manning the lead guitar?

As far as John Frusciante's solo career goes, it's worth a look. His most recent album "The Empyrean [2009]" has a bunch of more than solid tracks, and I also recommend "Shadows Collide With People [2004]" and "Curtains [2005]".

The track "Before the Beginning" is maybe the best instrumental track I have ever had the pleasure of hearing. It belongs in a movie. Check it out for yourself here.

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Coachella Track of the Day: PJ Harvey - "Hook"

Props to an old school chum of mine Andrew for turning me onto PJ Harvey quite a number of years ago. I remember him sending this track to me via AIM File Sender [remember those days?] and being blown away by her vocals.

She is someone who longtime followers of the Coachella festival have been clamoring for, and finally they will get their wish as PJ Harvey will play Sunday, April 17th.

She is set to release a new album February 15th entitled "Let England Shake", which explores the political terrain of her homeland for the first time in her career. She has setup a tour surrounding Coachella and will be playing in San Francisco on February 14th at The Warfield.

Source: PJ Harvey "It's important to address the issues of our lives" [Examiner.com]
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February 2, 2011

Daytrotter: Live Performances by Coachella '11 Acts

For those who are unaware, Daytrotter is a pretty sweet site that has quite a bit of content related to Coachella 2011. In fact, they have over 35 in-studio performances of 28 different Coachella acts this year available for FREE download and live stream. You can download each session into their Daytrotter program [small in size] and then load them into your iTunes and to your mp3 players. The downloads take mere seconds and the program that you must install is of no risk. Acts with performances include The National, Cold War Kids, Gayngs, Cage the Elephant, The Swell Season, Fun., and Phantogram. Not some of the festival's bigger acts but a good sample of some of the lower-billed bands that will be making appearances. Full list of performances included after the jump, separated by the day in which they are performing. As far as recommendations, can't go wrong with GAYNGS' cover of Sade track "By Your Side".

Full list of Daytrotter performances by Coachella acts:

Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears
Cold War Kids / 2
The Drums
The Morning Benders / 2
The Rural Alberta Advantage
Tame Impala
Titus Andronicus

Cage the Elephant
Delta Spirit / 2 / 3
The Felice Brothers
Foals / 2
Freelance Whales / 2
The Henry Clay People
Here We Go Magic
The Love Language / 2
Raphael Saadiq
The Swell Season
The Tallest Man on Earth
Thao With the Get Down Stay Down / 2
Trampled by Turtles

The National
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Coachella Track of the Day: Jenny & Johnny - "Scissor Runner"

Jenny &  Johnny is Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley fame and Johnathan Rice, her beau. I saw Rice open up for Lewis on a solo gig she did at The Fillmore in San Francisco a few years back. When they were on stage together, I remember thinking that I could listen to a whole album of their collaborations. Last year, "I'm Having Fun Now" was released and its got a definite acid rock feel to most of the tracks. Their vocals match up really well although I wish more of the songs featured Jenny in a featured role rather than harmonizing with Rice. Her two previous solo albums, "Rabbit Fur Coat" [which featured The Watson Twins] and "Acid Tongue" branched her out from her role as lead singer of Rilo Kiley, a band she fronted for almost a decade alongside former Salute Your Shorts actor Blake Sennett [who played Ronald Pinksi].

Lewis was a child actress herself, co-starring in The Wizard with Fred Savage as well as Troop Beverly Hills. A lot of her material reflects her not having much of a childhood due to supporting her parents who seemingly were hard on her growing up. The collaboration with Rice reflects the title of the album as a lot of the songs featured are less lyrically driven and more fun acid pop rock songs.

The duo will be performing at Coachella on Saturday, April 16th. Make sure to check them out.
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February 1, 2011

What Would You Do for a Coachella Ticket?

Some people are willing to do crazy things for passes to Coachella. Craigslist has lead me to many laughs over the past few weeks. Every once in awhile I'll post links to the unforgettable ones.

Here's a winner:

Trade one Arctic Snow Owl for Coachella tickets - $1 (Tundra)

Date: 2011-01-30, 3:47PM PST
Reply to: sale-6tmyk-2188856428@craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?]

Hi, I need a Coachella ticket ASAP. I have this extra Snow Owl hanging around the house and I'd be willing to throw her your way for a 3 day pass to Coachella. If you're a Harry Potter fan, she doubles well as Hedwig if ever you attend a Harry Potter themed party. I'll even throw in the first season of "Laguna Beach" beach on DVD. It's missing a few discs, but if you want to email me, I'll gladly fill you in on what you've missed. Let me know.

Trade an Arctic Snow Owl for Coachella tickets [Los Angeles] Read more!

25 Tips on Making An Enjoyable Festival Experience

Are you a music festival newbie? Not quite sure how to fully prepare yourself? Enclosed below are some helpful hints, taking from both myself as well as others. I trekked the Austin City Limits festival in Austin in '06 so these tips aren't exclusive to Coachella, but they translate pretty well considering TX in mid-September is just as hot to bear as SoCal in mid-April. A lot of this information was gathered around the net from Coachella heads.

1. Comfy shoes - Should go without saying, but don't wear anything on your feet that are going to have you hating life in a few hours or more. Note to all hipsters...leave your Chucks at home. Your feet will be on fire before you even get to the second band's set on Friday. Ladies...be smart, it's not a fashion show.

2. Cash - Nearly everything you are going to want to purchase inside is going to require the green stuff. Merch tables, concessions stands, most don't take ATM so be prepared to bring some cash with you.

3. Know that you won't see everyone you wanted to see - At ACL I missed Iron&Wine because I chose Kings of Leon, G-Love & Special Sauce instead of Muse, and Ray LaMontagne instead of Sparklehorse. You are not going to be able to see all the acts you wish to, hopefully you aren't unlucky enough that your two favorites are going head-to-head at the same time. Nobody gets through three days seeing every act they wished, just got to live with it.

4. Protection - Both of the UV kind and the baby-preventing kind. It's going to be hot as fuck out there, it is the desert, so be aware. Also, you might have an opportunity to get down, but even if its not you, make sure you carry something in case your unprepared friend is looking to score. Once you're stuck inside you're going to have a hard time finding any.

5. This may be the most important one...Never text "Where are you" - If you've ever been to a high volume sporting event like a college football game or something similar, you would know that your cell service hardly works in a timely manner and that often your shit doesn't go through. Texting "Where are you" or something along those lines will just lead to confusion as they may be answering you at a time different than when you are asking. Make sure when you are trying to meet up you set strict times. Don't say something without a time stamp like "Meet in 20 minutes" because its unlikely they will receive the text when you intend them to. Say things like "Meet at Sahara Tent at 8:30", that way there is little room for confusion.

6. Water - Goes without saying, you are in a desert. Should never run unnecessarily low on this.

7. Buy the merchandise you want early on - The later in the night things get the more stuff disappears. I'll always kick myself for not picking up this cool ACL-themed Ben Harper shirt I saw early in the day Sunday that was all gone when I tried picking it up after grabbing a bite to eat.

8. Expect lots of traffic to and from the festival grounds. Patience is a virtue.

9. Keep track of your digital camera - If you're not lucky enough to be one of those peeps with a phone that has more megapixels than most people's cameras, you're probably going to hafta roll a little more old school. Here's a good way to hopefully get it back to you if you lose it.

10. If you bring a backpack, lock it up - You don't want someone picking through your stuff, grab a simple small lock for your bag to keep it somewhat safe.

11. Leave yourself enough time to get from one side of festival to the other - Its a big fucking field.

12. Carry a schedule on you at all times - Don't rely on finding one once you're stranded, although they should be around somewhere. Put one in your pocket and forget about it until you need it.

13. Pre-plan an idea of what acts you want to see - Once the schedule is release, figure out a sort-of schedule you'd like to see. If you're rolling with friends, figure out if you are going to split up or if you are going to try and stick together through the whole time. If splitting up, figure out who wants to see the same stuff and pair up. If sticking together, majority rules. Ultimately, its about you and having a good time with friends. The having a good time with friends doesn't necessarily have to exist simultaneously with catching all your favorite acts as you will have plenty of time before and after to get hammered with your buddies.

14. Plan your tent signings - I'm not a big proprietor of waiting in a long line to get something signed by one of my favorite musicians, most especially while live music is in the process of occurring. But if its just someone you can't miss and you want them to sign your "oh so special vinyl unreleased LP of theirs", make sure you plan on getting there early. Also don't be disappointed as some get cancelled and musicians tend to disappear from there rather quickly.

15. Save the large amount of drinking until after - If you can help it, don't get hammered at noon becuase the sun will kill you and drain you. You don't want to be falling apart when the main acts are making it up there. You can binge drink all you want at night because most of your favorite acts won't be going on at noon the next day.

16. Choose the right clothing - light colored stuff during the day, long sleeved at night.

17. Move around and experience as much as you can - There will be lulls in the action. At certain times of each day at ACL there were stretches where there was no one I was interested in. I either picked one at random based on proximity or coolest sounding name. It also gives you an opportunity to walk around and check out some of the other cool things going down.

18. Stay away from the beer gardens - Extremely over-priced, boring, you'll miss some good tunes. Come prepared. Just don't bring bottles, bring plastics, cans.

19. Sleep! - Don't rely on just a few hours to get you through the whole day. Being in large crowds is painfully tiring.

20. Hats / sunglasses - Burned scalps are no fun and neither is the glare of the sun blocking you from seeing anything.

21. Wear something interesting - Its a good conversation point if youre not traveling with a large group of people to wear something interesting. The weather probably makes it not a good idea for an It's Always Sunny Green Man full body nylon, but it would get you a lot of props.

22. Eat a big breakfast - It's important you don't get hungry because who wants to grab a bite to eat when you don't have a lot of time to make it to your next destination. Might have to drop a deuce but it beats the alternative of waiting in line for a bite.

23. Experiment and check some stuff out you normally wouldn't - This is the opportunity to expand your musical vernacular. If you're big on indie rock, check out at least one or two acts from a different genre just to say you got the full experience. Plus, different acts bring different crowds and this way you won't be meeting the same type of people all the time.

24. Give bands a chance but move on if they're just not doing it for you - I was recommended a couple bands before I got to ACL and I ended up sitting through a whole set or two of complete rubbish. I felt like I was missing something. You know what I was missing? A better act on another stage.

25. Arrive in a good mood - This is going to be a great weekend but you gotta make sure you arrive with a positive attitude. If you're making a long drive, play some Coachella-centric tunes on the way there. Get in the spirit of things, its something you won't forget for the rest of your life.

Hope this helps all of you looking for some good tips. April cannot come soon enough.
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Coachella Track of the Day: Fistful of Mercy - "Father's Son"

Fistful of Mercy is a supergroup that features two of my three favorite musicians ever. The project started out as a Joseph Arthur solo album with Ben Harper's additional collaboration, but once Dhani Harrison [son of Beatle George] joined the fold it became a full length album. The album released in October of last year features a wide range of songs with each musician's flavor mixed in. Their three vocals harmonize well on nearly each track. This one is my favorite cut from the album and the most rock 'n' roll. This is taken from their coming out party on KEXP. Check them out at Coachella, they will be performing Sunday.

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January 27, 2011

A Closer Look: Cage the Elephant

For having only found out about this group a few days ago, Cage the Elephant [FacebookTwitter] has really taken control over a lot of my music time. The band, from the rock 'n roll hot bed of...Bowling Green, Kentucky, formed in mid-2006 and are well known for their high energy live performances, which is good news for Coachella attendees as the band will be performing this year. The band did the 2009 festival, performing a 45-minute afternoon set on the first day of the festival. Their role will likely be similar to their debut appearance, but they will be pumping up a new album that they just released a few weeks ago, "Thank You, Happy Birthday" which was released on the 11th of January. The band actually will be doing Jimmy Kimmel tonight to help spread awareness on their new material.

I'm not quite sure what it is about the band that has gotten my attention. Maybe its the fact that it makes me reminisce to growing up, their sound reminds me of Eve 6 with a Cracker twist. They sound like they would have fit in well with '90s rock. 

The first song of theirs that I heard was on the Coachella-themed radio stationed I mentioned in a previous post. The song "Back Against the Wall" brings me back to Eve 6's hit "Inside Out", but Cage the Elephant has a little more of an edge to them and I enjoy the way they buildup to the chorus.

The song is from their first album "Cage the Elephant" [2008], and after skimming through it the tracks that left a memory were the one above, "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked" [which reminds me of another 90s act, Everlast], and "James Brown" [which sounds a lot like early White Stripes].

Off the album which they are now promoting, the lead single seems to be "Shake Me Down", which is a bit lighter track with some heavy guitar riffs halfway through. Lead singer Matthew Shultz is memorable and carries a rhythm pretty damn well.

As far as how high of a priority this band is on my "Must See List" in April, they rate rather high. Unless they are going up against one of the acts I am familiar with their whole catalog, they stand a good chance of getting my time. I'm crossing my fingers that they play mid-afternoon on Saturday and they don't run against Jenny Lewis & Jonathan Rice, Bright Eyes, or The Swell Season because otherwise I am not sure there is an act slated for Saturday I would choose over them. I'm predicting a 4PM playtime.

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Coachella Songza Radio Station

Here's a helpful link if you're going to be at your computer for extended periods of time in the leadup to Coachella in April. Its a "radio station" [some dude's playlist] comprised solely of acts that will be performing at the festival. Along with known commodities Kings of Leon, The Black Keys, it has a ton of lesser known acts that I personally have made sure to keep my ear out for when I get down there in April.

Here's a helpful link if you're going to be at your computer for extended periods of time in the leadup to Coachella in April. Its a "radio station" [some dude's playlist] comprised solely of acts that will be performing at the festival. Along with known commodities Kings of Leon, The Black Keys, it has a ton of lesser known acts that I personally have made sure to keep my ear out for when I get down there in April. Note that the station is more heavily indie rock than anything. If that's your preference, this is a good mix.

Mark's recommendations: Cage the Elephant - "Back Against the Wall", Kings of Leon - "Ragoo", Warpaint - "Billie Holiday", The National - "Mistaken for Strangers". Read more!

Coachella Confidential - what this is

What exactly is Coachella Confidential? If you're interested in finding out about some musical acts you may not be familiar with upon taking the trek to Indio, California for three days of music, keep your eye on this blog. Hey, you shelled out $300+ for your tickets, didn't ya? Don't you wanna know about more than just The Strokes and Kanye when you get there?

If you're checking this blog out, you obviously have some interest in the music festival known as Coachella, which takes place the weekend of April 15th to April 17th in Indio, California. Hopefully, you already grabbed tickets because the entire festival is sold out. General admission, camping passes, everything.

To some people, Coachella is "a three day concert in which you stand in overwhelming heat to see bands you have never heard of". To 80,000 ticket buyers as well as countless of hundreds of thousands kicking themselves for missing the boat, its perhaps the greatest gathering of music all year. This year's lineup features a wide range of acts, from the reuniting of The Strokes to Kanye West to Eryka Badu and everything in between.

Until that weekend in mid-April I will be blogging about various musical acts that will be performing at this year's festival as well as helpful links to lead you in the direction of some of their material in case you want to become more familiar. I myself am only supremely familiar with a dozen acts or so this year, so it will be an ultimate challenge to me to find some new stuff I may have not heard before.

As far as my Coachella experience? I have none. I have only attended one music festival, Austin City Limits in 2006, and it will be hard for any festival to top that one. Coachella's 2011 lineup is certainly testing it already. At ACL I saw Ben Harper, Tom Petty, Kings of Leon, The Raconteurs, Nada Surf, G Love and Special Sauce, Phoenix, Cat Power, really an amazing variety of music. Coachella has the variety factor matched, featuring a wide range of hip hop and rap acts alongside some of todays best indie rock.

Until that weekend in mid-April I will be blogging about various musical acts that will be performing at this year's festival as well as helpful links to lead you in the direction of some of their material in case you want to become more familiar. I myself am only supremely familiar with a dozen acts or so this year, so it will be an ultimate challenge to me to find some new stuff I may have not heard before.

As far as my Coachella experience? I have none. I have only attended one music festival, Austin City Limits in 2006, and it will be hard for any festival to top that one. Coachella's 2011 lineup is certainly testing it already. At ACL I saw Ben Harper, Tom Petty, Kings of Leon, The Raconteurs, Nada Surf, G Love and Special Sauce, Phoenix, Cat Power, really an amazing variety of music. Coachella has the variety factor matched, featuring a wide range of hip hop and rap acts alongside some of todays best indie rock.
Read more!