This post has been updated. See below for details.
Few souls are more in demand than geeks armed with superfluous knowledge about the undercard, right? Hopefully, but regardless of whether you're out on the Empire Polo Club in Indio or tucked on your couch looking for diversion, the music booked for the annual festival sets a conversation for the year to come.
The big acts get all the ink, and that will likely be the case again this year, considering Outkast,
As a way to ease us into sounds of 2014 and predict 2015's breakouts, what follows are a dozen artists worthy of early introduction.
Those who know history know to pay close attention to Japan when it comes to mesmerizing rock. The country that brought us the Boredoms, Yellow Magic Orchestra and Amon Duul knows something about building mantras and getting lost in them. New evidence comes from Bo Ningen, a four-piece Japanese (by way of London) quartet as serious about their mission as they are about their matching haircuts (long black hair a la
Los Angeles-based minimal R&B singer Banks earned a recent slot opening for the Weeknd, which makes total sense. Her new single, the simmering, candlelit “Brain,” features the vocalist’s smoky tone, crawling phrasing and sinister, Massive Attack-suggestive production from established beatmaker Shlohmo. She’s also worked with hot producers
One of the best make-out records of 2013 was by English singer and producer Dev Hynes, who over the last decade has built an impressive discography as Lightspeed Champion and with the group Test Icicles. Called “Cupid Deluxe,” the album was released under Hynes’ most recent pseudonym, Blood Orange, and it didn’t hide its intentions. This was music built for between the sheets, but not gratuitously so. Rather, through 11 songs that exuded sensuality rather than bragging about it, Hynes offers lush songs of longing, heartbreak and desire that recall quality ballads and midtempo groovers from Prince, Lauryn Hill and
As one of the newest signings to No I.D.’s Artium imprint under Def Jam, Jhene Aiko’s got a soulful, immediately recognizable voice. Breathier and more relaxed than many of today’s overblown singers, Aiko’s work is best heard on the 2013 EP “Sail Out.” Featuring tracks with rappers Childish Gambino, Vince Staples,
A young trio of New York rappers whose creepy, hissy underground tracks over the last few years have drawn raves from the city’s hipper corners, the group releases its very above-ground debut through the taste-making XL Recordings imprint on April 6. It’s not a sound that’ll be landing on KIIS-FM anytime soon, but that’s for the best. The act has been touring with kindred spirits Earl Sweatshirt (
Those looking for scream-along rock, minus posturing and over-production, probably already know about Ty Segall, the electrifying San Francisco/Los Angeles-based guitarist and bandleader. Taking up where the late, lamented garage-rock genius Jay Reatard left off, Segall's work over the last half-decade reveals a musician in touch with the raw history of underground, nonterrible guitar rock, and an adventurous spirit devoted to exploration.
Amid the thumping and distortion, the strobes and ecstatic musings typical of Coachella, British singer Tom Odell uses real piano tambourines, percussion and acoustic guitar to craft love songs that are mostly noncheesy. Yes, he’s another Brit hellbent on shouting a la
Young & Sick
Better known in the biz for his visual art, singer/producer Nick Van Hofwegen is apparently as versatile with audio software as with layout programs. Designer and illustrator of album covers by, among others, Foster the People, Maroon 5 and Robin Thicke, the artist known as Young & Sick has landed his artistic creations atop the charts a number of times. His music is just as precise and curious: a mix of spacial R&B, dubby electronic tones and weird synthetic squiggles, combined with his high-pitched wail.
A duo of two already established musicians, the inventive electronic producer
You perhaps saw Future Islands’ transformative performance on “The Late Show with
Last week I swung by a Hollywood recording studio to check in with Guy Gerber as he was working tracks from a forthcoming project. The Tel Aviv-born musician was wearing a pink polo shirt, had a feather tucked behind his ear and looked more like a flower child than one of the world's most inventive house/techno producers.
That new project features rapper/businessman/actor Diddy, and it's going to mess with a lot of heads. The tracks I heard were sublime, featuring Gerber's trademark way with wobbled-beats and stuttering melodies -- and Diddy's voice tracked in mysterious ways. The new sounds seemed crafted for a festival, but that stands to reason. Gerber told me he and Diddy collaborated on a few tracks while together at Burning Man.
Updated, 4:35 p.m.: An earlier version of this post mistakenly identified Jhene Aiko as having signed to Top Dawg Entertainment.