This Week in Live Music, Fauxchella Edition
Fauxchella. Nochella. Norchella. Shrapnella. Call it whatever. The point is, we benefit.
Our yearly gift basket from Coachella's westward pull has arrived. Enjoy responsibly:
Mystery is only part of the intrigue for Swedish art-pop duo The Knife. Karin Dreijer Andersson’s daring, high-concept project is now 15 years in the making, yet we’re still not certain what lies behind the eerie onstage persona and various side projects (Andersson’s opera remains a work of staggering genius; Fever Ray needs to return ASAP). All we know is The Knife’s songs take us to the darkest parts of the imagination and psyche, where it turns out there’s a dance party happening. After years away from the stage, The Knife’s return to the Bay Area can be safely marked as one of the most anticipated reunions this year, no hyperbole.
Need to get someone in the mood? Dev Hynes has you. The one-man act made major waves late last year with Cupid Deluxe, a collection of unfiltered R&B songs straight from the diary of a tortured, hyper-aware heart. Also, this video for “Time Will Tell” is a must:
Weirdo-pop icons Empire of the Sun always seem to be channeling some far-off era or planet, past or present. Last year, it was the 31st century, on the album Ice on the Dunes. This year it’s the ‘70s, according to this Rolling Stone interview with bandmember Luke Steele. Also of note in that interview: Steele says the band’s new album is on “God’s timetable,” so uhhhhh yeah.
All hail Queens of the Stone Age. The universally respected and revered veteran rock band somehow keeps reinventing itself and maintaining its collective edge. The band’s 2013 album earned critical kudos across the board, but the Austin Chronicle said it best: “Like Clockwork: great for rock & roll, great for culture, great for the world.”
There is nothing to say about Snoop that has not already been said, so I will instead place this Nardwuar interview with Snoop Dogg at last year’s SXSW, unequivocally the greatest interview ever conducted between reporter and rap star.
(Mumbles something incoherently, in awe of the inescapable appeal of 2014’s femme fatale of choice.)
Those of you lucky enough to have seen Disclosure at Treasure Island Music Festival last year know what’s up. The British electronic duo’s live sets are somehow engaging and immediate, despite the inorganic nature of the operation. The way they transpose “Help Me Lose My Mind” to the stage is staggering, beautiful, and just really cool. Also, lead singer Sam Smith also plays Rickshaw Stop on Thursday.
The Shins lead singer James Mercer + Danger Mouse = Broken Bells. It’s a simple, counterintuitive, riveting math equation that has thus far spawned two brilliant albums. The latest, After the Disco, charts life for the alleged grown-ups among us who hold nostalgia close to the heart, but kept their wits intact enough to recall everything. That’s a credit to Mercer’s master narrative ability, and an inspiration to the rest of us who have forgotten 90 percent of our after-hours meanderings. Also, get there early for Au Revoire Simone, trust.
The Week That Was
Jenny Hval/Mark McGuire at The Chapel
Hailing from “the Bible Belt” of Norway (her words), Jenny Hval began her career in a choir, so hearing her sing in a place called The Chapel seemed appropriate...and chilling. Hval, like most quirky Scandanavian female artists, draws comparisons to Bjork thanks to surreal vocal charms and songs that bounce back and forth between the supernatural and natural worlds. Opener Mark McGuire — not to be confused with the steroid-guzzling Bay Area baseball legend — was just as magnetic. The one-man band somehow stirred up thoughts of Explosions in the Sky, looping instrumental riffs of guitar shred and shrapnel. Keep an eye on these two.
Future Islands at The Chapel
If you’re going to Coachella weekend 2, please be advised that Future Islands will steal the show. That’s just what they do. There wasn’t a non-convert in the house of Future Islands worship Thursday night, many of whom came pre-converted, either after listening to (and developing an addiction for) their stunning new album Singles, or after bearing witness to the band’s We Have Arrived performance on the Letterman Show earlier this week. Lead singer Samuel T. Herring is a fearless performer, and even braved the Chapel bar before the show, mingling with the minions. By the end of the night, Herring was a pool of sweat, the crowd was a pool of sweat, and live music cynics were nowhere to be found.
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