You know that Andy William’s Christmas song about the “most wonderful time of the year“? Well, it’s not Christmas, but it’s definitely that time.
That wonderful FYF Fest time, when Downtown LA’s State Historic Park becomes a tiny Coachella; a Coachellina. However, this year, la pequena Coachellina’s all growed up, with TWO chock-a-block days of indie/rock/dance/punk/comedy goodness. (Not to mention the parties.)
The FYF crew have done an increasingly amazing job from year to year with this festival, and the line-up this year is as exciting as ever. Earlier this week, KCRW DJ Chuck P highlighted a number of this year’s FYF “Reunions” at FYF…Today, KCRW DJs Marion Hodges, Travis Holcombe, and I have come up with a couple of artists worth investigating.
Overall…fact is, you can’t go wrong with whoever you go see this weekend, but here’s some suggestions nonetheless.
Have a rad weekend! and Stay hydrated!
Outside of the internet music blog / KCRW-spere, Chromatics‘ “Kill For Love” is probably the most slept on album of the year. With Johnny Jewel’s icy, metallic soundscapes and Ruth Radelet’s tender vocals, Chromatics perfected the noir pop aesthetic they first established nearly 5 years ago. Anyone who’s attended either of the Chromatics’ concerts in LA this year can attest to the power of their live show. — Travis
A psychedelic disco wizard, a party Gandalf, DJ Harvey is an LA underground stalwart, and it’s a happy accident that we have him. He was a resident DJ at London’s Ministry of Sound during its heyday, and through a series of mysterious events this world-class DJ ended up unable to leave the United States and go back to the UK, Spain, and Japan, where he is truly heralded as a dance music prophet. However, their loss has been our gain as for years now, he’s been the DJ for LA’s epic super-secret Sarcastic Disco parties that are 9 hour marathons of undisclosed warehouse pleasure, not for the faint of heart.
I assure you that his slightly less than an hour set will whet your appetite and you will soon find yourself desperately trying to find out in what dark corner of the fabric district the next Sarcastic Disco party is. — Mario
This band made my favorite record of all of the 2000’s so far. Wild Nothing was able to shine a light on a different corner of indiepop history; a dreamier, prettier side that while made under the same little to no budget/technical skill principles as Vaselines singles, strove to break your heart with it’s beauty. Wild Nothing’s debut “Gemini” was almost able to make you forget the influences that it wore proudly on it’s sleeve, because the songs were such clearly realized visions of their creator Jack Tatum. Gemini sounds exactly like what you would hope the work of every 20 year old making music alone in his or her dorm room would sound like. The fact that most of the rest of them don’t, is what makes Wild Nothing arguably the best thing to have come out of this new generation of laptop/bedroom musicians thus far. — Marion
Closing out Saturday night’s affair, will be LA’s own undisputed Prince of Funk, Dam-Funk. Aside from being a great guy, this righteous dude is totally legit and is the torchbearer for a modern West Coast funk era. He currently stands alone as the rightful heir to the funk throne inhabited by Rick James, Prince, Slave, Fatback Back, Breakwater, etc.
He’s one of LA’s finest, and although you can regularly catch him spinning funk 45s at Funkmosphere in Culver City, watching him perform his original work on stage is next level. — Mario
The Vaselines met in Glasgow in the mid eighties where they would attend all of the same shows and clubs, and watch each others bands perform. When Francis and Eugene (who were the entirety of the Vaselines in the beginning) started doing it, it only made sense for them to be in a band together so that they could write a bunch of songs about how much they liked doing it with each other, and how much other people liked doing it with other people.
Their frank, teenager style explorations of human sexuality offered a refreshing course shift to the pervading ignorance of sex that was beginning to further and further bog down the indiepop climate of the moment. Even the name the Vaselines was designed to get your mind into a sleazier place before you even put the record on, or before they even picked up their instruments on stage.
Live, they blaze through songs old and new like the champs that they are peppering every moment in between with their notably highly evolved witticisms, which is no small feat considering how notable Scottish wit is in general. — Marion
THE PAINS OF BEING PURE AT HEART
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart didn’t so much revolutionize indiepop per say, but they did manage to help change the conversation about indie music in general for a spell, and for that I’m forever grateful to them. If you remember, when the Pains burst onto the scene back in 2007, they steadily worked their way into greater public consciousness by selling out limited press 7″s on small boutique labels, championing other fuzzy guitar-ed bands both old and new, and writing really good songs.
Their self titled 2009 debut full length stands up as one of the best releases of that decade, and all of the subsequent EPs, singles, and even their second album “Belong“ have revealed a band smartly evolving their sound because they are in it for the long haul. They also tour a lot, so seeing them live is a master class in what can happen when you put real time and effort into creating, and maintaining something great. — Marion
The first time I heard Sleigh Bells’ first single, “A/B Machines” I was hooked. Then confused. How can two people make so much noise? And, how come no one thought to combine these disparate elements before? Sleigh Bells‘ music exists somewhere at the nexus of My Bloody Valentine, M.I.A. and Toni Basil’s “Hey Mickey“. It’s maximal experimental dance music parading as pop. Or maybe it’s the other way around…either way, it doesn’t matter — it’s good music that will leave your ears ringing until next Wednesday. — Travis
One of the most talented performers I’ve ever seen, I have been known to hyperbolically refer to Atlas Sound’s Bradford Cox as a “force of nature.” And I mean it. Although he is gaunt, his voice seems to emanate from a place beyond himself, and his lyrics are devastatingly good. He must work incessantly, as he also fronts and writes most of the songs for his other excellent music project, Deerhunter.
Last year he released, “Parallax“, which was the follow-up to one of the best records of the last 10 years, “Logos“. — Mario
This philosophy graduate student and sometime keyboardist for Panda Bear and Ariel Pink caused a bit of a stir last year when in an interview with Pitchfork he claimed to hate record stores. It rubbed a lot of people the wrong way and virtually scuttled the publicity for a really solid, and ironically titled record “We Must Become The Pitiless Censors of Ourselves“. It’s a real shame because his brand of baroque lo-fi pop is really well produced, unique and deserves more attention.
His live show is a cathartic freak-out that feels like a performance art nervous breakdown. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it is unlike anything else you’ve seen. He performs Saturday afternoon. — Mario