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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Coachella or bust

    I’m a political science major, but the most important document I read during the first week of school was the Coachella lineup. Not to mention the least convoluted (if you’re talking about sentence structure).

    When the annual popularity nominations debuted Monday, they were met with both a disenchanted sulk and an open-armed congratulation from the surrounding community. The former mostly had to do with lame-ass Jack Johnson headlining. The latter perhaps was due to the fact that the lineup calmed many out-of-step hipsters’ fears that Ed Banger wasn’t cool anymore.

    The truth is, the Coachella selection doesn’t really look that much different from last year’s, especially with the unneeded and cumbersome addition of the third day. Yeah, yeah, it attracts more bands and makes the festival more prominent, but to me and countless other Tucsonans who have to make the six-hour trek down to Indio, Calif., sleep in their cars and poop in a canteen for three days, it sucks.

    It’s obviously harder to afford, less intimate and scattered with riff-raff, and the previous year’s has-beens are stuck in there as filler so they can have enough acts to propel the whole weekend. Take Animal Collective for example: by all means a good band, but how many times have they toured this area of the U.S. in the last couple years since they played their first Coachella show in 2006? I’ve seen them like three times, and I don’t even go to shows.

    And while we’re on the subject, we have to mention Justice, Sebastian, Kavinsky, Simian Mobile Disco, Uffie and the myriad of other tagalong acts that were popularized last year.

    In 2007 they were cool and new. I boycotted that year, but I heard the dance tents like Sahara were bustling with bandanas and vintage Camel packs. But let’s not forget, Daft Punk played their seminal show two years ago, while Franz Ferdinand was still popular no less. Isn’t it almost time to let it rest?

    But there’s still a cornucopia of burgeoning electro and indie-rock groups this year at Death Valley 2008 and many of them are even playing in Tucson first if you’re too cheap. Here are some of my recommendations.

    Holy Fuck – If you’re into hip nerds and improvised electronics like Dan Deacon, you’ll probably get into this Toronto duo. What’s cool about these guys is that they perform all of their songs without laptops, a refreshing thought for anyone who has seen the ceremony of musicianship go by the wayside as of late. Holy Fuck uses a mixture of instruments and strange gadgets like toy keyboards, toy phaser guns and a 35 mm film sequencer. Plus, they’re opening up for the Super Furry Animals at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., Feb. 5.

    Modeselektor – These Berlin remix masters played in Phoenix last semester and I couldn’t stop raving about them. Their music is terrifying and cold; robotic and beautiful. Many of their songs are a flurry of deafening bass and pronounced computer flourishes, but others can be re-worked rap songs and even Thom Yorke collaborations. If you’ve heard Waters of Nazareth too many times to let it affect you anymore, listen to this instead.

    Sia – I saw one music video from this pop songstress, and I’m not sure if it was supposed to be terrifying, but it was. The song was lighthearted and upbeat, but paired with relentless close-ups of the star suffocating underneath a panty hose leg. In some shots, her eyebrows were unnaturally arched up like an alien and she’s doing a smarmy grin that makes me think of Shrek on uppers. Horrifying! (Sia will be playing Club Congress with Har Mar Superstar on Feb. 16.)

    Battles – This indie-prog group has earned many accolades from Pitchfork, and to me they sound like a mix between The Mars Volta and Frank Zappa. But while some of their songs cross the eight minute mark, others are short but bizarre: monster sounds and high-pitched baby wailing crossed with syncopated drums and noodling guitars. Many of their tracks don’t have a clear melody, giving rise to claims that they’re one of the most creative acts out there today.

    Professor Murder – This funky quartet from New York has more punk in them than the festival’s “”real”” punk band, Flogging Molly. Plus, they’re nowhere near as lame, even if they try to be. Professor Murder has a nonchalant attitude about their music that lets them make goofy sounds like “”Braaa!”” without feeling dumb about it. As proof they don’t take themselves too seriously, their name comes from a “”Mr. Show”” skit about a ventriloquist rapper. This band will definitely make the hundred degree weather and soiled canteens a little more fun.

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