The third annual installment of Desert Daze returns to Southern California this weekend, with more spaced-out desert rock than ever before. With a one-day schedule, presented by Moon Block Party, packed to the teeth with fresh tunes from here and abroad all for the sum of fifty bucks, it's no wonder that Desert Daze's popularity has increased tremendously since its 2012 inception. At least part of the reason is that Desert Daze–going down April 26 at Sunset Ranch in Mecca again this year–offers an affordable alternative to bloated Coachella ticket prices. But the surge in interest in the festival is primarily a direct result of the awesomeness of their bookers.
Desert Daze is packed with the cream of the crop of upcoming (and already-come-up) bands and artists that it would otherwise take a month of international club-hopping to see. With headliners Blonde Redhead, The Raveonettes, and Unknown Mortal Orchestra, things are moving fast for Desert Daze. If you end up going–and let's be real; for fifty bucks you will–here are four acts you definitely want to check out.
Church of Sun
Long Beach natives Church of Sun deal in mesmerizing, fuzzed-out guitar riffs and LSD-soaked group vocals with more reverb than even the '60s could handle (they have a song simply named "Drugs"). Paired with their impeccable sense for melding melody and poppy hooks underneath layers of psychedelic sound, the seven-piece orchestra's sinister cultish ambiance leaves a lasting impression. Church of Sun just released their sophomore album, High Moon, on Mapled Records.
L.A.'s Froth claim '60s garage and barbeque as influences, which makes perfect sense once you hear their debut, Patterns, released last fall. With hazy vocals, blasting organs, and reverberating guitar leads, this is the perfect soundtrack for a lazy afternoon in the backyard. Think the Doors, but innocent (or at least the illusion thereof).
Haim's not the only all-female trio to come out of L.A. recently. Sade Sanchez, Irita Pai, and Ellie English, a.k.a. L.A. Witch, just released their debut EP (featuring the raddest cover art known to man) and completed a very successful month-long residency at the Silverlake Lounge last year. It's not surprising that their sound, which one writer dubbed "Joan Jett-influenced grindhouse rock," has taken a firm hold. There's something liberating about L.A. Witch's playful mashup of genres–think Wanda Jackson in full KISS regalia.
Japanese travellers on the astral plane Kikagaku Moyo (which roughly translates to "Geometric Patterns") are one of the coolest additions to the Desert Daze program this year. Founded in Tokyo in 2012, the quintet's improvisational nature sees them incorporating a multitude of genres from folk to psych in a krautrock-like freeflow jam that rarely stays the same from concert to concert. Not dissimilar from fellow Japanese psych collective Acid Mothers Temple, and if Kikagaku Moyo won't expand your mind, nothing will.