This year’s Coachella lineup was underwhelming from the start, so much so that I didn’t plan on going until a pass fell in my lap about a week before the festival. It wasn’t necessarily the bands in the lineup that I thought was weak, it was the lack of originality and dynamics that I’ve come to expect from a Coachella. No Rolling Stones or David Bowie. No Replacments. Hardly any hip-hop, punk or imaginative electronic music. Too many wimpy “punch-me-in-the-face” bands like Phoenix, The xx, Postal Service… Basically, i feared Coachella had lost its edge. As much as the environment and experience was always more than fulfilling to me, I wasn’t ready to shell out $500 in support of a lineup that seemed staged for taking a big nap on the Polo Grounds.
In the end I had a blast — Coachella is one of those great experiences that triggers dopamine bursts just at the thought. The first heat of late spring under the desert sun, 100,000 people all out for good times, good music and big smiles. 6 stages (with this year’s introduction of the Yuma Tent) and all kinds of inebriating distractions.
The lights went out last time Calexico visited Los Angeles. Fans at the Fonda Theatre waited for hours in darkness, but a Hollywood Boulevard power outage literally stole the show. “My parents were there, my sister and the whole label and we’re all sitting in the dark,” said Joey Burns, singer and guitarist for the band. “I loved every moment and we probably could’ve played acoustically, but there were safety concerns.”
Calexico’s seventh long-player, Algiers, had recently dropped, marking the band’s first opportunity to play live for its new label, Anti. But after a short acoustic song, Burns bid the remaining crowd good night with a promise to return in January. And tonight, Calexico makes good on its promise at the El Rey.
I’ve been extremely fortunate to have access to Spotify for a couple years now and for the past several months have been paying for the premium service. Now… I can FINALLY stop biting my tongue (or making friends jealous): Spotify opened for business in the U.S. last week! Hit me up with an email if you’d like an invite for the free, ad-supported version. Or go ahead and sign up here if you’re ready to dive in (can’t go wrong trying it out for a month) at $4.99 or $9.99/month for the fully featured desktop streaming or fully-featured mobile syncing respectively.
Read more below — a republishing of the article I wrote for LAist on July 13, the eve of Spotify’s U.S. launch — or read any of my previous posts on the service.
Strong sales of new releases from the top ladies in song and multiple reissues of classic albums made the first half of 2011 the best 6 months for album sales since 2004, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
The one percent increase in sales is little more than a tiny bright spot for an industry which has gone into a tailspin over the past decade. The major labels failed to capitalize on emerging digital distribution models early on and do not look to be in a position to recover any time soon.