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Music News and Features

22 Apr 2017
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Radiohead’s Weekend 1 Coachella performance was, by all accounts, a disaster. That was on everybody’s mind as the Friday headliner prepared to take the stage for Weekend 2. I wasn’t at Coachella last weekend, but I certainly heard about the sound issues, intense audio feedback and other problems that forced the band off stage twice during the set. Also … the band played “Creep” last weekend—a song the group almost never plays. Was it planned for the set list, or was it added as a consolation for fans who braved the technical difficulties? I may never get the answer to that last question, but all of my other queries and concerns were washed away: Radiohead’s Weekend 2 performance was fantastic. Ambient and atmospheric sounds emanated from giant poles, with speakers positioned throughout the Main Stage crowd area, before the band took the stage; it reminded me of Roger Waters’ Desert…
22 Apr 2017
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You’ve probably never heard of Klangstof. If that’s indeed the case … you really need to change that. From Amsterdam, the group has been performing together since 2015, and is now signed with Warner Bros. This year, Klangstof became the first Dutch group to ever play at Coachella. Front man Koen van de Wardt stopped by the media tent on Friday, April 21, and chatted with me about his Coachella experience. “It’s been amazing,” van de Wardt said, beaming with a smile. “It’s been everything I expected and a little bit more. It’s our first United States festival date, and it’s a very cool one as a first experience. Everything has been so overwhelming. All these people are walking around. Obviously, the heat is horrible, but you try to deal with it.” Van de Wardt said the band has played at festivals in Europe—but the experience here is rather different.…
14 Apr 2017
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Radio personality Brad Mercer is known for his long-running Bands ’N’ Fans radio show on local country-music station KXCM. However, his showbiz talents extend well beyond radio. Mercer’s show can be heard every Saturday from 4 to 6 p.m. on KXCM FM 96.3/92.1, and streaming at www.bradmercersbnf.com. During a recent phone interview, Mercer talked about his true passions. “I’ve done so much in my life that it boils down to helping other artists get to where they want to go,” Mercer said. “I’ve done so much in my life that I’ve wanted to pass it on to the younger artists who are trying to get somewhere in the business. The only way I know how to do that is to help promote them in some way.” His showbiz career started rather inauspiciously. “It started when I got my first guitar, which was back in 1955. I cut my teeth on…
21 Mar 2017
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Local DJ Alex Harrington has made a name for himself as one of the Coachella Valley’s most in-demand DJs—but he’s also been spending a lot of time on the production side, creating his own house music. It appears that hard work is starting to pay off. He recently released a new EP, and has yet more new tracks in the works. During a recent interview in Palm Springs, Harrington—a former Independent contributor—discussed his recent goings-on. “I’ve been trying to focus on my production work, doing remixes, putting out EPs of originals, and also keeping up a presence with live gigs,” Harrington said. “As before, there was exploration involved. Now, I know the ropes and what I can do with them.” After doing some work with nu-disco and tropical styles, Harrington said he’s currently focusing on house music. Harrington added that stepping up his production game has helped him grow as…
02 Mar 2017
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters)—Lady Gaga will step in for Beyonce at this year’s Coachella music festival after the R&B singer, who is pregnant with twins, dropped out of her headlining slot due to doctor’s orders. Gaga, 30, made the announcement late Tuesday, Feb. 28, on her social media pages with an image of the three-day lineup at the festival and her name at the top of the second day’s schedule, accompanied by the caption, “Let’s party in the desert!” Beyonce, 35, was due to headline the annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio on April 15 and April 22. She pulled out last week, saying in a statement that she was “following the advice of her doctors to keep a less rigorous schedule in the coming months.” Gaga’s Coachella headlining slot follows her performance at February’s Super Bowl, where she sang, danced and soared over the stage suspended on…
21 Feb 2017
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In 2001, stoner-rock group Unida recorded an album for Rick Rubin’s American Recordings. That album, now called For the Working Man, has become legendary: It was never formally released, due to various legal issues. It’s been said that the band sold CD-R copies at some shows, and that a rough-cut version was sent out on accident by the band’s management. I recently saw a posting in a Facebook group by someone selling a version of the album on eBay. I alerted guitarist Arthur Seay—who hastily responded to the post, which was soon taken down. Unida consists of John Garcia (formerly of Kyuss), Arthur Seay (House of Broken Promises and ApeShit), Miguel Cancino and Owen Seay. During a recent interview with Arthur Seay in Palm Desert, he told me the story about the album. “Do you want the long version, or the short-as-possible version?” Seay asked me with a laugh. “What…
04 Jan 2017
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This morning’s announcement of the Coachella 2017 lineup was, per usual, met with a wide variety of reactions. While I was not wildly impressed by the lineup (which you can see below), the online reviews have been largely positive. Esquire even went so far as to call the slate of performers—featuring headliners Radiohead, Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar—“the festival’s best lineup in years.” And … Hans Zimmer? The legendary film composer? He’s performing. Wow. However, one band has received a lot of criticism—Radiohead. And that, frankly, is just not right. When this band from Abingdon, Oxfordshire, England released its first album, Pablo Honey, in 1993, success in England came quickly, followed by popularity in the rest of the world, including America. The song “Creep” became an international hit, while “Stop Whispering” made the charts in the United States. Radiohead’s modest, “alternative” sound came at the perfect time in terms of rock-music…
28 Dec 2016
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Drop Mob is an East Valley band that’s bringing metal to hip-hop. The sound is kind of similar to ’90s nu-metal—but it’s not quite the same. Drop Mob has a very heavy sound, with lead guitarist David Burk playing complex guitar solos on an eight-string guitar. Bassist Steve Zepeda has a style that rises above nu-metal grooves, and drummer John Camacho hammers out complex rhythms to back Gabe Perez’s genuine, straight-to-the-point hip-hop lyrics. I recently attended a Drop Mob practice in Indio—and it was definitely the loudest local-band practice to which I have been invited. Even with ear plugs, I could clearly hear every instrument and every lyric. (The only thing missing from the practice was guitarist Curtis Hendrix, who was away dealing with a family matter.) Burk said that when he joined Drop Mob, the band had a different concept. “It was a cover band—and I’m not a cover-band…