Friendly Fires
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Fucked Up
There’ll be no shortage of shirtless, overweight dudes with tattoos and shaved heads at Coachella, but Fucked Up front man Damian Abraham (a.k.a. “Pink Eye”) will be the only one to really own that look. After all, a man of his stature has only two legit career choices: drive a truck, or bellow savagely over epic, pop-poisoned hardcore. We’re glad he opted for the latter—it’s terrifyingly entertaining stuff. (SK)

The Kills
The Kills sure have changed. On 2003’s Keep On Your Mean Side, singer Alison Mosshart snarled her way into our hearts with her chain-smoking, sensual, perfectly raspy vocals, while guitar player Jamie Hince tore through blues riffs on tracks such as “Cat Claw” or the Velvet Underground-rich “Kissy Kissy.” And now? Now they sound like hipster dance music. But they’re also as popular as ever, so guess the joke’s on us. (VC)

K’naan
You wouldn’t figure any city in Canada to have a sizable population of Somalian refugees, but the Toronto neighborhood of Rexdale is home to rapper K’naan and his family. The surprises don’t stop there—his latest, Troubador, features guest appearances from Kirk Hammett, Mos Def, Damian Marley and Adam Levine, among the motliest of musical crews (the ones that don’t requite an umlaut, at least). (AC)

The Knux
Last year’s Remind Me in 3 Days brought a whole heap of buzz to this LA-by-the-way-of-New Orleans duo, attracting attention and generally becoming the latest hip-hop act mostly white music critics could gush over after Kanye West became too unlikable. But don’t hold that against the Knux, who are legitimately funky. (AC)

Lykke Li
As is the case with most Scandinavian waifs, you might worry that Lykke Li could faint in the desert sun. But bear in mind that her pop ditties are somehow unpretentious, thoughtful and capable of inciting entire mobs to dance. She’s used to the heat. (SK)

Mexican Institute of Sound
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My Bloody Valentine
With concerns over noise pollution, we can’t help but wonder if Kevin Shields and friends are going to be able to pull off in a festival setting their trademark live feature: volume. Their last round of live shows in the area enveloped audiences in a terrifying din, which reportedly went as high as 130 dB—that’s jet-engine loud. Despite the noise restrictions, My Bloody Valentine will still be able to remind you why a Smashing Pumpkins reunion was totally not necessary. (VC)

Night Marchers
We’ve never seen fans as devoted as John Reis’ fans. From his days in Drive By Jehu—the Californian Fugazi, if you will—to Rocket From the Crypt and Hot Snakes, Reis (better known as Speedo by his devotees) describes his present-day project, the Night Marchers, as an amalgamation of every band he’s been in. We just like to think of it as the talent of his greatest hits rolled into brand-new material. (VC)

No Age
Some fans will try to tell you that No Age’s strength lies in catchy tunes hidden beneath guitar fuzz and vocals that sound like they’re shouted out of car windows. We’d argue that these LA punks exist for moments and the feelings they produce, from the delirium of a noisy breakdown to the joy of cartwheeling off an amp. (SK)

Okkervil River
Austin, Texas, boasts that it is “The Live Music Capital of the World,” so it better be producing some good bands. Okkervil River’s most recent releases (The Stage Names and The Stand Ins) help lend credibility to that moniker: The quasi-double album (strongly linked thematically, but they were released a year apart) ponders celebrity culture. (AC)

Peter Bjorn and John
These Swedish rockers broke onto the scene with that one song in which they all whistle. “Young Folks” was even sampled by Kanye West on his Can’t Tell Me Nothing mixtape. Now these Stockholm natives have grown up and produced a whole new album, Living Thing (Almost Gold), which features absolutely no whistling whatsoever. But Rolling Stone gave it four stars, so they’ve got that going for them. (AP)

Paul Weller
It’s a shame that Paul Weller’s single name can sell out amphitheaters and fill fields with sweaty, gross festivalgoers, while the combination of Bruce Foxton’s and Rick Buckler’s couldn’t even sell out the Glass House. Sad face. (VC)

Public Enemy
It’s a sad, sad day when Public Enemy’s name is in even smaller point size than Peter Bjorn and John’s on a festival lineup. Sure, it’s also sad that a founding member of a rap group that once got away with lyrics that referred to Independence Day as “Hitler Day” has been whoring himself as the town jackass all over VH1, but just know that it’s all a distraction so Chuck D could subliminally fill your mind with his knowledge. All KRS-One ever needed, after all, was a Flavor Flaaaaaaaav. (VC)

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