Friday, April 10, 2009

Weekly Fliers (4/17/09)

Being a resident of the Coachella Valley, I've witnessed the growth of the Coachella Valley Music Festival. Admittedly I did have an inkling of a desire to go this year. Especially on Sunday because most of the bands that I wanted to see were playing that night, mainly My Bloody Valentine.

I was there the first year. That first year, I watched the collapse and the eventual breaking up soon after of Pavement, and witnessed the insanity of a Rage Against the Machine show who, also after playing that year, broke up mere months later. I also saw some really great music and met some wonderful artists thanks in part to getting a part time gig handing out fliers for Goldenvoice. Those days are over and I now stand before you jaded and bitter. Coachella was supposed to be a progressive event where many lesser known acts would be able to showcase their talents on a large scale. That isn't the case anymore. You get the occasional act like No Age, Vivian Girls, Haunted Graffiti, and Themselves but it seems it's about quantity and not quality. They seem to bring back the same acts year after year. Do we really need to see Perry Farrell, Thievery Corporation, Peanut Butter Wolf, Atmosphere, or The Chemical Brothers for the umpteenth time? This is also coupled by the fact that Coachella was sold to a promotion company that does nothing but do these huge festivals all around the country makes me sick. Not to mention the people who think that Coachella is the apex of musical taste.

I say FUCK Coachella!!! I say fuck this annual hipster convention!!! You don't need to spend over $200 per day!!! (Believe me, you will when you consider the cost of tickets plus food, drink and other things like merch) Go see some good bands for not much at all. Yeah, you may have to drive out of town and spend money on gas. But consider the other option, standing next to some sweaty, smelly, tweaked out, dude in the heat, while drinking a tiny $2 bottle of water knowing full well that you'll probably end up buying at least 5-10 more of those at the same price, watching a band that you could see at a fraction of the price elsewhere for a longer amount of time. I'll spend the $20 in gas, watch a good show for at most $10, in a well ventilated room, sipping on a big drink that I probably will spend less on than that $2 bottle of Coachella poison swill, and afterwards hitting up Alberto's or that kick ass taco truck parked near the Echo spending a measely $5 for a huge ass burrito all the while feeling contentment at the fact that you watched a fucking awesome show that a few years down the road people will pay $100 to see at Coachella when they become the hip artist to listen to. Yes, Wavves, sorry, but I'm talking about you.

Yes, you can go see Wavves now before they become hipster fodder at the Casbah on Friday the 17th along with some other really good bands like Christmas Island, The Dabbers, and Bi Polar Bear. So what, you're missing Paul McCartney. I'm sure your presence there won't be missed especially as he goes home to roll around in all the cash he raked in from Coachella, all Demi Moore style a'la Indecent Proposal.

This weekend is filled with lots of good shows so go check them out. I do feel that people should go to Coachella once if they've never been before and would like to know the feeling of being fucked by a huge promotion juggernaut. But if you're one to learn from example rather than experience take my advice; go to these shows instead. The bands will thank you for it.

As always check with the venue for any schedule changes or cancellations.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Artist of the week: Daniel McCoy, but you can call him mammal

I met Daniel McCoy almost nine years ago at a show that I played with my old band. He had seen us play previously at another show and came to see us at this show we played at this coffee house in Palm Desert. After we had played his friend and him approached me as I was putting my gear away and told me how much he liked our music. Surprisingly he and his friend Nick played that same show doing a three song set. It was just the two of them on their electric guitars and sharing the same mic. Daniel's raspy voice paired with Nick's nasally croon and the dueling yet minimal guitars really caught my attention. You don't see that kind of sincerity and humility in music very often. I'm drawn to this kind of open, heart pouring, kind of songwriting that he's done in the past. He's never released any of his music to the public and I think mostly because what he's done is so personal that for the kind of person that he is, you'd really need to be someone he feel comfortable giving it to.

I was fortunate enough to have played with him in a couple bands and I can tell you first hand how amazing a musician he is. Once, he gave me a copy of some of the music he had been recording around the time his girlfriend had moved to Japan. He'd been saving up to go visit her for a month. The CD simply read "21 Songs by Dan McCoy".

Upon listening to this CD, I saw what he'd been going through in his head and how much he missed her. This kind of songwriting is rare. It's so personal. To open one's self for the world to examine can be an excruciatingly difficult. Some are to afraid to do this so they only open up partially and only let the world see what they want them to see. They say it cryptically so as to make you work just to understand the story.

Dan wrote cryptically but in an obvious manner. The only other person I can compare him to is Daniel Johnston. There was one song on that CD that really brought tears to my eyes. It was so heartbreaking you'd have to be a heartless bastard to not get at least a little choked up hearing it. The opening lyrics went "Here I am standing/on bended knee/please, don't leave me here". Honestly, that was my favorite CD to listen to for a few months. Going back to it now, once again, I've yet to put it down and is on heavy rotation on my iPod.

Fast forward to recently. I haven't seen Dan in a while, mostly because we live on opposite sides of town. So, I get this message on myspace from this person called mammal regarding a show that the group Themselves was playing locally. He was asking when this would be and at the bottom he tells me that it's Dan McCoy. He also tells me to check out his new music. Now I've always know that Dan was into hip hop. But actually making hip hop was something that I never thought he would attempt. Yet I checked it out and it was amazing. I shouldn't have put it past him. He's always been so good with music that if he put his mind to it he definitely would excel in it. It's just a little baffling how he got to this point. Then again it's not so far fetched knowing how talented Daniel is, or should I call him mammal now.

Go check out his music at

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Weekly Fliers (4/7/09)

Welcome back. I hope all is well. Life always has a way of making things interesting. We never know what the next card will be. For example The Fauxchella Festival. Last week I told you guys about this show especially because I was stoked on Abe Vigoda performing. Unfortunately, the show was canceled because the spot where they were going to have it, the roof of Crazy Gideon's, Gideon himself, after having fire marshalls inspect the place, decided the the show might be too big and get to crazy. Now Abe Vigoda dropped out. They're in the process of trying to find an alternate venue. Good luck to them. Fortunately all of you who were wanting to go see Abe Vigoda that day can see them the next day in San Diego at The Loft at UCSD along with No Age. No flier for that show but should be good anyway.

Gotta keep this one short. Have a good week kiddies. As always check with the venue for any last minute cancelations or schedule changes.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Review: Alien Soundtrack/Sunken Landscapes split CD

Those of you who know me personally, know that my musical tastes range from the easily accessible to the downright questionable and everything in between. I have never been one to shy away from challenging myself to listening to something that casual listeners would find "just noise". I don't always "get" what the band is trying to achieve but I understand that they have a point of view that they are trying to put across. Whether they achieve it is another subject entirely. Many times artists just have to cut the chord.

The realm of psychedelia in music is one such area that I have never fully understood. I've never tried anything harder good ole' THC and to an extent have never partaken in its complimentary attributes while experiencing some form of psychedelia. One friend told me he never understood The Doors until he smoked pot while listening to them. So, in that perspective, you can understand where I'm coming from when I say that I wished I was high when I was listening to this split CD.

Not that the music is bad or anything I just think I would "get" what they are going for much easier while high. While sober you try to make sense of things and put things in order. You try to catalog all the things you experience into neat little groupings in order for you to make the proper decision of whether or not you like something.

So in order to make sense of the music in my sober state, I tried to think of the closest thing that would be similar to what I had to critique; a noise band. From a completely noise perspective it is definitely something that makes the grade. Yet there comes a point when you're listening to stuff like this where you start to feel drained. Once again, not because it's bad, but because you're concentrated on what is actually being played so intently that you feel tired. (Or maybe that's just the introvert in me) You also get to a point where halfway through a CD by bands like Alien Soundtracks and Sunken Landscapes you start to question if what you're listening to has broken down into random music fuck arounds. At times, it's difficult to say.

I will say this; at the risk of sounding like a total pretentious, noise band music elitist, asshole, I see what they're going for. Notice that I didn't say "I get it" because I don't. I was able to witness a live set of Alien Soundtracks as they played the final song on this split, Scattered Wreckage. So there is obviously structure to what seems like madness since I was able to distinguish the song that they played that night amongst the songs on this CD. Maybe one day I'll take that leap and try to understand it, if you catch my drift. It's definitely a great effort on both bands part. But once again, it's not you, it's me.

Alien Soundtracks/Sunken Landscapes - Split CD
Available through Nihil Underground