Over the past week, we’ve showcased the best new bands to check out at Coachella. Like last week, we’ve dedicated our Artist of the Week feature will again take a look at some of our favorite new bands to play at the festival that we didn’t have a chance to cover last week. Without rambling anymore, here are some more highlights from our Coachella series.
Neon Indian: Much has been said about Alan Palomo. Since rising from obscurity to bandblog sensation, his group, Neon Indian has become one of the de facto emissaries/new bands for a movement popularly known as “chillwave”—I’m guessing you’re familiar. To be sure, there are plenty of bands out there that draw parallels to Neon Indian, with woozy electronic sounds that melt through vintage synthesizers and echoing vocals taking the form of aural acid hits. What sets Neon Indian apart, however, isn’t the perpetuation of stereotypes, but the quality of their music. Their brand of electro-synth music combined with murky guitar fuzz, is sure to keep the bodies moving on Frida – Zach Klassen
Gary Clark Jr.: Gary Clark Jr. hates the term bluesman. Judging from his brand of music, you would expect this new artist to embrace the label, but being a nasty guitar player is only the tip of the iceberg to this man’s talents. Sort of like a latter day John Mayer, Clark can play many different types of guitar: jazz, blues to straight up balls-to-the wall rock, making it all sound delightfully good in the process. Though he has one of the earliest timeslots on his Friday performance, he may not get the crowds that he deserves. However, the one thing that is certain is that whoever catches this up-and-comer, won’t be disappoint with the music they hear emanating from the stage and who knows, this could be one of those “I remember where I was when” or “I saw Gary Clark Jr. when he was the first act at Coachella” moments that could go down in music folklore. –Daniel Kohn
Grouplove: As our official Best New Band Of 2011, Grouplove are one of the most promising voices to emerge in indie pop. Grouplove produces poppy, twangy, indie rock, which is nothing new in the world of music. What really makes the quintet stand out in a plethora of similar acts is its sincerity. Blaming the band’s chance meeting on fate, each member plays from the heart, creating large, swelling tracks that hit its listeners directly in the soul.
This passion and devotion translates into the five-piece’s live show. Every band member drips with enthusiasm and genuine love for what he or she is playing. This warm energy floats into the crowd, making a Grouplove show feel like a party hosted by familiar friends. It’s amazing how bands can be playing to crowds of 100 people (if they’re lucky) one day and massive theaters the next. This is the exact case with Grouplove. I remember writing a show preview back in January for the band’s free, month-long residency at Bootleg Theater. I had never even heard the music, so I listened to the self-titled EP, and it was pretty good, but I never got the chance to see the indie troupe during that residency…and I am kicking myself for that right now. - Katrina Nattress
The Vaccines: West London’s The Vaccines are one of the hardest new bands to peg at times. On first listen, they’ve totally got one of those late ‘50s, early ‘60s pop revivalist things going, except with a little more reverb and maybe a pinch more aggression. But if you listen a bit more closely, the lines begin to blur. They’re clearly on their way to becoming (or maybe they’ve already become) something far more interesting than just another pop band. The Vaccines music has all the makings of great pop music; simple, catchy, easy to clap along with, but there’s a little something more that’s enough to send a shrill shiver down your spine. It’s 21st century guitar pop for the kids who like to stay out late and wake up to a few bad decisions. –Chris Castro
Sleeper Agent: You might've heard of Sleeper Agent from their recent hits, "Get It Daddy" and "Get Burned." "Get It Daddy," an upbeat, dance-around-in-your-room kind of track, was an iTunes free single of the week and was #14 on Rolling Stone's 50 Best Singles of 2011. Furthermore, they were featured on Rolling Stone last summer as a Band to Watch. The band hails from Bowling Green, Kentucky and made their way up through the rankings by playing loud, noticeable sets at SXSW. They eventually caught the attention of Matt & Brad Shultz of Cage The Elephant and ended up touring the US with the band (not to mention making some hilarious videos). So, with that kind of publicity, it's safe to say that these Kentucky-bred kids are on their way to rock stardom. And the next stop on that road? Playing Coachella, obviously. Lead singer Alex "Kidd" Kandel is a monster on stage, and her vocals fit the music's youthful grunge perfectly. The album as a whole and the band's presence are so much fun, and I can just imagine how incredible it al will be beneath the daze of the Coachella sun, dancing your ass off before some seriously talented kids. – Claire Gallagher