As we type this, the gates are about to open in Indio, California for the thirteenth incarnation of the Coachella Festival, and for the lucky few (hundred thousand) with wristbands (and the jealous/curious rest of us), the festival has posted set times for this weekend’s insanely strong lineup. There’s at least one performer worth seeing at any given time, so if you’re going, definitely try to check out at least one band you haven’t heard before. (If you’re like us and are sitting hundreds or thousands of miles away from the Empire Polo Club, YouTube will be livestreaming much of this year’s fest.)
As anyone who has ever attended a music festival will attest, the most difficult part of the weekend is choosing between one or more of your favorite acts who are scheduled to play at overlapping times. With that in mind, we’re here to help! Here are this weekend’s five most crowded time slots, along with our recommendations about who you should see at Coachella this weekend.
FRIDAY EVENING: Pulp vs. Frank Ocean
FRIDAY NIGHT: The Black Keys vs. Explosions In The Sky vs. M83
SATURDAY AFTERNOON: Childish Gambino vs. Azealia Banks
SATURDAY EVENING: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds vs. Martin Solveig
SUNDAY NIGHT: Florence + The Machine vs. DJ Shadow vs. AVICII
[Photos: Getty Images]
With this year’s highly anticipated Coachella Festival just three days away, rival festival Lollapalooza just stole a bit of their thunder tonight by announcing the lineup for their 2012 festival, which will be held in Chicago’s Grant Park from August 3-5. This year’s festival will be headlined by a powerful array of rock royalty (Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Black Keys, Jack White), a historic reunion (the only scheduled North American tour date for Black Sabbath) and, for the first time ever, big-draw DJ acts (Avicii, Justice).
VH1 was able to exclusively ask Lollapalooza founder Perry Farrell (Jane’s Addiction) what kind of traits he looks for in his headlining acts, and he answered in typically awesome Farrell fashion:
We’ve got the complete Lollapalooza press release, which just hit the wires, for you below!
The Black Keys aren’t your boring, middle-of-the-road rock stars, not by a long stretch. Their new album, El Camino, debuted at #1 on the Billboard charts when it was released in December, making them arguably THE biggest rock band in the United States after 10 years of toiling in indie semi-obscurity and earning themselves a headlining spot at the 2012 Coachella Music Festival. They’ve also proven to be unafraid of courting controversy, whether by blaming Nickleback for the demise of rock music or by being the most vocal detractor of the game-changing music streaming service, Spotify. Regarding the latter, Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney recently lit into Spotify board member Sean Parker for making his fortune on the backs of hard-working musicians during an online rant.
“Because [Spotify board member and Napster co-founder Sean Parker is] an asshole. That guy has $2 billion that he made from figuring out ways to steal royalties from artists, and that’s the bottom line. You can’t really trust anybody like that. The idea of a streaming service, like Netflix for music, I’m totally not against it. It’s just we won’t put all of our music on it until there are enough subscribers for it to make sense.”
During a panel discussion at SXSW, Sean Parker —whose exploits will be profiled in the upcoming VH1 Rock Doc Downloaded— caused some waves when he told audience members that “There’s definitely some sort of dissent brewing between record labels, publishing companies and artists [about the compensation they get from streaming services] … Spotify is returning a HUGE amount of money [to the record labels]. If we continue growing at our current rate in terms of subscriptions and downloads, we’ll overtake iTunes in terms of contributions to the recorded music business in under two years.”
So, who to believe? Are you on #TEAMKEYS because you feel that you should always purchase the music of bands that you support? Or are you on #TEAMPARKER because you feel that non-pirated music should be more easily accessible to everyone? To find out the opinions that bands like Train, The Shins, Fun. and more have on Spotify, watch the video we just shot of them answering this very question down at the 2012 SXSW Music Festival earlier this month!
Move over Florence — Grace Potter has one upped you, and it looks like there’s a new husky voiced diva with soul penetrating vocals in town. Grace Potter and the Nocturnals have premiered their new track “Never Go Back” exclusively with Rolling Stone, and it’s quite inspiring — more than a hit, it’s a great, honest pop song with undertones of retro soul and rock riffs. The track was co-written by The Black Keys‘ Dan Auerbach, who also co-wrote two other songs and produced one song on Potter’s forthcoming album The Lion the Beast the Beat, due to be released on June 12th.
The track is bluesy but at the same time has a spectacularly stadium ready sound, which could possibly be attributed to the Auerbach influence, given The Keys’ recent progression into the sound of epic. Of working with Auerbach, Potter says, “Dan’s studio is a sex shop for gear pervs… I found a tiny old Casio that reminded me of my first-ever keyboard and started playing. He jumped on and started f**king around with the rhythm track, and we wrote ‘Never Go Back’ within the first hour of being in his place… We weren’t thinking, ‘Let’s write a big hit single.’ It was more like, ‘Let’s geek out with some weird gear and see what happens.’ I’m very glad we did.” And so are we! The track is catchy while at the same time retaining a musical honesty that is rare in grand pop anthems.
Listen to Grace Potter and the Nocturnals’ “Never Go Back” here.
Exclusive Premiere: Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, ‘Never Go Back’ [Rolling Stone]
[Photo: Getty Images]
It’s a week of diss-repealing; after Katy Perry vehemently denied dissing Beyonce and Shakira, The Black Keys have jumped on the bandwagon to sort-of-but-not-really apologize to Nickelback for dissing them earlier this year. Keys drummer Patrick Carney controversially, and now famously, said of Nickelback, “Rock & roll is dying because people became OK with Nickelback being the biggest band in the world,” but now he’s a little bit sorry about his harsh words, but not really. Carney has now said he, “Didn’t mean to single [Nickelback] out. It just came out,” but added a disclaimer, “There’s much worse bands than Nickelback, maybe.” Worst. Apology. Ever. Come on Keys — time to cure that foot-in-mouth disease, we think!
The Black Keys Are Sorry But Not Really Sorry for That Nickelback Dis [Vulture]
[Photos: Getty Images]
The Black Keys have a lot of opinions — from feeling sorry for Lana Del Rey to accusing Nickelback of killing rock and roll, the duo don’t mind courting controversy with their comments. And it hasn’t seemed to hurt them in any way, as their El Camino tour boasts two sell out shows at Madison Square garden this week. In their most recent bout of foot-in-mouth, drummer Patrick Carney said, “Perfect music is boring music — that’s the kind of stuff they play in an elevator. I think people are losing an ear for [raw music]. I think everybody has it but you’ve got to exercise it… When you turn on the radio it’s all kind of perfectly sequenced, perfectly written, perfectly performed by machines. It’s hard not to listen to The Who and really understand these are wild men going crazy or Led Zeppelin — these are human beings that play that, it’s all hard to kind of put that in perspective. We just try to make music what we love to make and have fun.” While everyone is entitled to their opinion, we think the Keys are forgetting that their “raw” sound has literally taken the world by storm in the past year. Moreover, it seems the Keys have a fairly blinkered vision of what “real music” is, and we’d love to teach the boys to appreciate some seriously upbeat dance-pop with us because we think there’s room enough for all styles and genres! Can anyone say, Lady Gaga?
The Black Keys’ Patrick Carney: ‘Perfect music is boring’ [NME]
[Photo: Getty Images]
The Black Keys have gone from dishing out downright insults (see their recent bashing of Nickelback in Rolling Stone) to offering some slightly backhanded compliments. Recently, the two Ohio natives were asked their opinion on Lana Del Rey‘s overnight success and her controversial Saturday Night Live performance, drummer Patrick Carney told MTV that “It’s different for everybody. It took us a really long time to get on Saturday Night Live, and it took her a shorter amount of time. But I honestly feel bad for a lot of bands that are starting out with the way things are… The trends kind of flip over so fast — something’s cool and not cool and it all happens within two to three months.” For those of you scoring at home, that’s a bit of sweet (“I honestly feel bad”) mixed with a taste of sour (essentially saying LDR’s career will be over in “two to three months”).
Frontman Dan Auerbach had a similar comment to make on the matter; “On some level, we’ve seen that Lana Del Rey thing since we first started, like, all of a sudden this new band would be headlining festivals, and we’re like, ‘Wait, how did they get that?’ We’ve been here for two, three, four, five years and we’re still working our way up. But then they’re gone. Just as quickly as they get up there, they disappear.” Obviously, The Black Keys are veterans in the game, and have had to work very hard for a long time to find mainstream fame (which only came very recently with the release of El Camino in 2011) and we wholeheartedly commend them for their resilience and determination.
But while we’ve come to expect controversial commentary from The Keys, we’re starting to really feel their bitterness over the success of acts they’ve deemed lesser than themselves, and it’s not a good look. Are they really the arbiters of what kind of fame is legitimate? Does it matter if Lana’s stock drops in a few months? Isn’t her moment in the spotlight just as important as theirs, regardless of how lengthy or brief it might be?
The Black Keys say they ‘feel bad’ for artists like Lana Del Rey [NME]
[Photo: Getty Images]
The Black Keys gave us a peek at their video for “Gold On The Ceiling” last week, and now we’ve got the whole shebang available for your viewing pleasure. The second single from their breakthrough album, El Camino, “Gold On The Ceiling” is an honest, organic rock song that is as faithful to the roots of the genre as any modern band can be. The video features footage from New York, with lines of people waiting to get into their shows at the Bowery Ballroom and Webster Hall for their album launch tour, as well as some dates in Los Angeles and overseas. There’s also footage of the guys recording in the studio, and an adorable trying on clothing montage in which they giggle over a bedazzled jacket. Mixed in are also some serious, “the road is a grind” moments with the band traveling in cars and airports, but overall, the vibe of the video is a fun one, and gives a sense of the adventure The Black Keys have partaken in during their meteoric rise over the last few months.
After The Black Keys‘ break out year in 2011 and their amazing viral video for “Lonely Boy,” we’re going to forgive you if you squeal like a school girl over this sneak peek of the video for their second single off El Camino, “Gold On The Ceiling.” The video features footage of The Black Keys playing live on stage to a jumping audience, but is cinematic all the same, so chances are you’re going to find yourself with your hands in the air, moshing to the beat. The full video will premiere online at MTV.com on Monday the 6th of February, and will be followed up with a Top 20 premiere on Saturday the 11th of February.
Madonna Disses Lady Gaga On Good Morning America
Beef alert! Watch in awe as Madonna coyly calls Lady Gaga “reductive.” This is why you don’t mess with the Queen Of Pop. [Idolator]
Spin Will Review This Year’s Music In 140 Characters Or Less
Spin is doing something new and unorthodox, taking to Twitter to give album reviews in 140 characters or less for 2012. This will be an interesting experiment indeed — will they succeed in communicating their thoughts on complex albums in such short form? [NPR Music]