[Coachella 2009] Everything New Is Old Again--and Vice Versa

Worth the Wait
Everything new is old again—and vice versa—at Coachella

Is Coachella repeating itself? This year’s lineup, though predictably impressive, is full of bands who have played the festival before—the Cure, Morrissey, TV on the Radio, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the Black Keys. M.I.A. is performing for the second year in a row, her third appearance overall. Amy Winehouse, who had to pull out due to (shocker!) legal issues, did the event two years ago (though she certainly looks like a different person now, so maybe that wouldn’t have counted). Sure, two of the three headliners are new to Coachella, but Paul McCartney and the Killers aren’t exactly fresh, exciting new talent.

Whatever this says about popular music, though, the appeal of seeing all these artists in one weekend is undeniable. The lead singer of the Smiths, 8-bit-powered dance music, LA hip-hop and the guy who wrote “Yesterday” all in 12 hours? And that’s the first day? It’s enough to suffer through the crowds and the two-hour-long queue just to get in—and more queues to get into the porta-potties. It’s enough to deal with the inevitable heat rash and future melanoma. It’s even enough to justify spending $269 on one weekend of entertainment, which, in this economic climate, would make an AIG exec pause.

And there are still plenty of bands to be discovered at Coachella. (Check coachella.com for set times.)

Blurbs by Vickie Chang, Albert Ching, Erin DeWitt, Spencer Kornhaber and Amanda Parsons

     

* FRIDAY, APRIL 17 *

Airborne Toxic Event
Their popular single “Sometime Around Midnight” has invaded your radio speakers—and rightfully so. The Los Feliz quintet’s song describing a first encounter with a now-ex-lover is truly inspired. Unfortunately, this local band’s sound hasn’t transcended enough to move them past one-hit-wonderdom. Verdict: Stay for “Sometime,” then bounce. (AP)

A Place to Bury Strangers
Seemingly every few months since the dawn of Sonic Youth, a new buzz band emerge using messy, puke-brown guitar squall to wow critics and annoy everyone else. A Place to Bury Strangers are not one of those bands. They’re noisy, but their squall is sculpted, obsidian and wrapped around seductively sad vocals. Excluding My Bloody Valentine, these Brookynites’ set promises the weekend’s coolest opportunity for hearing loss. (SK)

Beirut
Blending singer/songwriter Zach Condon’s unmistakable voice with mandolin, accordion, ukulele and other delightfully quirky instruments, Beirut land somewhere between Old World gypsy folk and modern whimsical indie. There’s something familiar yet innovative about the relatively new band’s richly textured sound and structure—plus, “Postcards From Italy” could just be one of the most beautiful songs ever written. (ED)

The Black Keys
Ohio natives Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney bring an old-timey feel to the Black Keys’ blues-rock ballads, thanks to Auerbach’s melancholy vocal swagger and his uncanny ability to make guitars weep (mostly attributed to his insane slide skills). Add Patrick’s vibrant, lock-step percussion, and it becomes difficult to believe that a two-man band can produce such audible perfection. (AP)

Leonard Cohen
He may be 75 and Coachella might be full of kids wearing fucking face paint, neon leggings and headbands, but Leonard Cohen’s gentle baritone voice knows no bounds. His dark folk has carried on throughout generations, thanks in part to being one of the most covered artists of all time, with everyone from Rufus Wainwright to Johnny Cash offering up their own renditions of such favorites as “Suzanne” and “Hallelujah.” (VC)

Crystal Castles
Nintendo, sex and violence all rolled into one sweaty dance party overseen by leather-loving she-demon Alice Glass. A Crystal Castles show is like a wet nightmare for the average Star Fox-playing geek. (SK)

Franz Ferdinand
These guys used to claim they only got into the biz to “make music for girls to dance to.” Clearly an oversimplification, given the range and depth the band have shown across their three full-lengths, but the point still stands: They are, indeed, really good at making music for girls to dance to, and there’ll surely be plenty of girls (and guys!) boogying to tracks such as “No You Girls” and the once-ubiquitous “Take Me Out.” (AC)

Girl Talk
Do you like when parts of songs you recognize are pieced together to make new songs? Well, this is the set for you! Technical whiz Gregg Gillis brings his copyright-flouting concoctions to what is sure to be a dancetastic desert party. (AC)

The Hold Steady
If you’re worried the fest will be packed with too-cool-for-school types, take some solace in the Hold Steady. Their front man, Craig Finn, is nerdy, balding and approaching middle age. All of which contributes to his awesomeness. The fact that his band produce joyfully verbose rock ballads that (constantly) attract favorable comparisons to the Boss doesn’t hurt, either. (AC)

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