30 Songs To Listen To Before Coachella

Originally posted on Refinery29

It’s about that time. Music lovers and connoisseurs alike, not to mention fashion gurus and good vibe appreciators, are packing and counting down the hours until the three-day annual party that’s held over two consecutive weekends in the desert and filled with dancing, drinks, and dust. Lots and lots of dust.

Coachella is heading into its 15th year at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California. After a decade and a half of bringing millions of people together through music and art, the festival gets bigger and better (depending on your musical tastes) each year. Tickets to the epic event sold out in less than 40 minutes this year, and the thrilling lineup explains why. Rockers AC/DC and Jack White, and rapper Drake, are headlining the fest. Florence + The Machine, whose new music has been long awaited — along with Interpol, Alabama Shakes, alt-J, and Ryan Adams — will also take the stage. The Weeknd will make an appearance for R&B fans, while Kaskade and David Guetta will get EDM lovers moving. Newcomer Hozier will also continue to make his mark at the festival known for exposing up-and-coming artists.

So many artists, so little time. But, don’t worry we’ve got you covered — except when it comes to figuring out how you’re going to see all your favorites each day. To help you prepare, we’ve gathered the best songs from this year’s artists. Take a listen and get ready for the big weekends. And, by get ready, we mean rest… You’ll need it.

Martin Garrix Drops Ed Sheeran Collabo At Ultra Music Festival

The Ultra Music Festival in Miami took place last weekend. During the festival, Ed Sheeran‘s new collaboration with Martin Garrix dropped.

The track, “Rewind, Repeat It,” which the two recorded it back in September, made its debut on Saturday night.

“Stay for the night / Call it what you want / And I’ll compromise to have you in my arms / Is this what you needed / Cause I’ll find the faith in anything/ Don’t fight the feeling … rewind repeat it,” sings Ed. “If the world ends tonight, you’ll be in my arms / Frozen in time underneath the stars / My love’s screaming, this heart is beating / I love this feeling … so, rewind repeat it.”

15 Essential Acts to Catch at SXSW 2015

Here it goes again.

Depending on how long and how deeply you’ve been mired in music culture, SXSW can feel like the party of the year or a week of boot camp in hell. Ideally, it’s a little bit of both. Yeah, you have to walk around a hot city catching sets by every band you’ve ever heard of, but on the other hand, you get to walk around a hot city seeing every band you’ve ever heard of. It’s exhausting and ridiculous, and if you do it right, it’ll make you feel alive in ways you rarely get to feel.

Like every year in Austin around this time, there’ll be way, way too many bands vying for attention along Sixth Street and Red River. You’re probably already set with the headliners and legacy acts, so we’d like to brush you up on the up-and-comers — the bands about to break through to those headlining tours around the rest of the country. Hopefully, this will help you narrow down that impossible schedule you’re staring at on your phone, or at least give you a few names to watch out for while you’re trawling the streets of Austin for something good.

It’s chaos in there, but amid the noise and branding and promos, sometimes you catch a glimpse of why we all trek down to Texas in the first place. Here’s the acts we wouldn’t dare miss this SXSW.

–Sasha Geffen
Associate Editor


Wand Promo 5

Of the countless garage bands playing SXSW, power trio Wand is the weirdest and heaviest. It’s like Sabbath on speed, more metal than Thee Oh Sees, and more psych than obvious comparisons Fuzz and Meatbodies, vocalist/guitarist Cory Hanson’s former band. Wand’s new record, Golem (out March 17th via In the Red), is a bombastic trip that will appeal to fans of the aforementioned bands as well as anyone who digs old-school heavy psych and stoner rock (hence why RidingEasy Records, cultish purveyors of all things Sabbath-esque, is handling a syndicated tape release of Golem).

Wand isn’t another face in the diluted garage rock crowd. That they’ve traversed scenes is proof of their innovation. Also, they put on a crazy (loud) live show. Catch them at the official showcase on Friday night at Hotel Vegas or Saturday afternoon at Waterloo Records’ free day party. –Jon Hadusek



Sometimes the best music comes from the sudden confluence of disparate sources, and that’s exactly the case with San Francisco’s Cathedrals. Brodie Jenkins was the product of California wine country, raised on Americana and soul sounds; Johnny Hwin is the son of Vietnamese refugees who learned piano by ear and started out producing hip-hop beats. Together, they form a sort of electro R&B that dips its toe into a pool of trap, pop, and trip-hop. Though they only recently put out their first EP, they’ve been crafting their sound for over two years, and their careful work has turned many a head in the months since their debut. They’re sure to attract even more attention at their official showcases at Clive Bar on kick-off Tuesday and Empire Control Room on wind-down Saturday. – Ben Kaye


girlpool 15 Essential Acts to Catch at SXSW 2015

Photo by Alice Baxley

At the end of last year, a two-piece from LA called Girlpool released a seven-song, self-titled EP that oozed with wit and wisdom through its charming lo-fi scuzz. Harmony Tividad and Cleo Tucker both live in Philadelphia now, and the young guitar/bass duo is gearing up to release its full-length debut, Before the World Was Big, on June 2nd.

The women in Girlpool write smart pop songs with a political edge, but what makes their singles click is just how well they’re able to sync with each other. Any rock band with just two people has a lot of space to fill, and that space multiplies when neither musician plays drums. But Girlpool rhythmically locks in to the point where you’ll hardly notice there’s no percussion to bone up the songs. These two tackle stuff like misogyny, anxiety, and growing up in their lean guitar numbers, but mostly it’s a pleasure just to hear them talk to each other through the frets. See Girlpool Wednesday night at House of Vans or at the Portals day party on Friday. –Sasha Geffen


elder 15 Essential Acts to Catch at SXSW 2015

Photo by Ryan Boyd

Boston’s Elder are the metal band with the most breakout potential at SXSW. They just dropped their excellent sophomore LP, Lore — an early metal album-of-the-year candidate — and will ride that momentum into a full week of performances. They’re playing more sets than most any band in any genre, with one practically every night starting with American Icon’s Heavy Metal Cage Match show on Monday night at Beerland. You’ll have no excuse for missing Elder, and I intend to catch them a few times, because repeat listening is the only way to fully comprehend their stoner prog epics — 10-plus-minute songs that move through melodies and riffs with literary adroitness. The guitar interplay recalls Television’s Richard Lloyd and Tom Verlaine if they were clad in denim and stoned on the good shit, and while that might sound like a far-reaching comparison, it’s the truth. I can’t recommend this band enough. –Jon Hadusek


mitski 15 Essential Acts to Catch at SXSW 2015

Photo by Daniel Dorsa

New York’s Mitski might best be qualified as a singer-songwriter simply because her music stretches everywhere. Her first two records were full of orchestral, lush pop. OnBury Me at Makeout Creek, she’s taken a turn into the indie rock world, but brings along just about any noise she can muster. Although there are outbursts of distorted guitars and strained screams, she gets there through subtle pianos and country twangs. Lyrics crafted with wit and intelligence span an equally large gap on either side of love; “I want a love that falls as fast as a body from the balcony/ I want a kiss like my heart is hitting the ground,” she sings on “Townie”, while on “I Don’t Smoke” she promises, “If your hands need to break more than trinkets in your room/ You can lean on my arm as you break my heart.” You’ll want to see this folk-hearted talent at a solid early-evening showcase, like her set at The Liberty on Saturday. –Ben Kaye

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This Day in Music History — August 12

1958 : On “compassionate leave” from the Army, Elvis Presley travels to Memphis’ Baptist Memorial hospital to be by the side of his mother, Gladys, who is quickly deteriorating from acute hepatitis.

1966 : The Beatles begin the US leg of their last tour, playing a date at the International Amphitheater in Chicago, IL.

1967 : Fleetwood Mac make their stage debut at the National Jazz and Blues Festival in Windsor, England, alongside such acts as Donovan, Cream, The Small Faces, and Chicken Shack, featuring a young Christine Perfect (later known as Christine McVie).

: At Harvard, Janis Joplin performs what would be her final concert, ending with a version of Gershwin’s Summertime.

1994 : Woodstock 2 – officially “Woodstock ’94,” begins in Saugerties, New York with Sheryl Crow, Todd Rundgren and The Violent Femmes performing. The festival is a success, drawing a crowd of about 350,000.

2008 : The man who shot and killed John Lennon, Mark David Chapman, is denied parole for the 5th time.

This Day in Music History — August 8

1970 : Christine McVie plays her first gig with Fleetwood Mac at a show in New Orleans. The band’s first female member, she played on some of their albums before she was asked to join full-time.

1970 : At Philadelphia’s Mount Lawn Cemetery, Janis Joplin purchases a headstone for her idol, Bessie Smith, the famous African-American Blues singer who died from injuries suffered in a 1937 car crash – after being refused at a whites-only hospital. (Bessie’s widower refused to purchase a stone for her.)

1986 : David Crosby (The Byrds, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young) is released from prison after serving only eight months of his original five-year sentence for cocaine and firearms possession.

: The first gathering of the Juggalos takes place in Novi, Michigan at the Expo Center. This becomes an annual event for cult fans of the Horror-Rap group Insane Clown Posse. While the first event only lasted two days and was basically an extended concert, the event has transformed over the years into a full-on festival with concerts by many bands and artists, contests, games, wrestling, and other attractions – sort of a Lollapalooza for the Underground/Indie Rap/Hip-Hop genre. The annual tradition has now settled on Cave-In-Rock, Illinois, as their permanent location, and attracts as many as 20,000 attendees every year.

2011 : While on tour with Maroon 5 and Train, Gavin DeGraw is attacked by a group of men on a New York City street. He suffers a broken nose and is taken to Bellevue Hospital for treatment.


This Day in Music History — July 25

1965 : Dylan plugs in! At the Newport Folk Festival, Bob Dylan plays an electric set for the first time, horrifying folkies everywhere.

1969 : Neil Young appeared with Crosby, Stills and Nash for the first time when played at The Fillmore East in New York. Young was initially asked to help out with live material only, but ended up joining the group on and off for the next 30 years.

1989 : Steve Rubell, one of the owners of Studio 54, dies of AIDS-related causes at age 45.

1995 : Bone Thugs-N-Harmony release their breakthrough album E. 1999 Eternal, which has gone platinum six times and features one of their biggest hits of all time “Tha Crossroads,” which went platinum twice and won a 1996 Grammy for Best Rap Performance By a Duo or Group.

1999 : On the third day of the Woodstock ’99 festival on Griffiss Air Force Base, overpriced water, overflowing toilets and a Limp Bizkit performance of “Break Stuff” leads to riots, groping and injuries. Conditions deteriorated as the festival raged on, and by the final day, MTV was covering the event with the tagline “Apocalypse Woodstock.”

Lily Allen’s new video ‘As Long As I Got You’

Lily Allen has debuted the video for new single ‘As Long As I Got You’ – filmed at this year’s Glastonbury Festival. Check it out below. 

The video starts with Allen talking about her first visits to Glasto  and how her last appearance was where she met her husband now.  Listening to the lyrics, the song is about her husband Sam and their new life.  The lyrics, in Lily Allen fashion, very touching.

I had that awful feeling, that I needed help
My life had lost this feeling, but you saved me from myself
As long as I’ve got you and we can be
together and forever just you and me, well that’s swell

Lily said: “Glastonbury has always been a huge part of my life, and I wanted to make this video there to celebrate the spirit of the festival and also to show how my life has changed since the last time I played there. From being there as a child with my Dad, to my wilder days in the 2000s, to this year when I was back on the Pyramid stage, and taking my husband and own daughters along!”