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14 Songs To Prepare You For Coachella 2012
Music lovers rejoice: it's officially under one month until the Coachella music festival. The Forum asked our resident music guru Ashraf El Gamal '13 to prepare a warm-up playlist.
It bodes well for all Coachella-goers that the most difficult part of writing this article for me was choosing only 14 songs/artists from this year’s lineup to talk about. You can access the songs by either clicking on the titles or streaming from the 14-song playlist at the bottom of this article. Anyways, have fun and be safe this year everyone!
I am pretty certain the majority of people going to Coachella are at least somewhat familiar with southern California’s own Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, but I had to share one of my all-time favorite tracks by the headlining duo. Ideally you guys will see Dre performing much of the legendary album The Chronic and its sequel 2001, while Snoop will likely be performing a combination of old and new hits. The hip-hop community has been waiting on Dre’s next album, Detox, for a little over a decade and it is possible--but unlikely--that he’ll debut some new music. Regardless, any fan of classic hip-hop won’t want to miss this show.
The Compton-bred Kendrick Lamar, who has actually received a cosign from Dr. Dre, cemented his place as one of the most exciting up and coming hip-hop artists of his generation. His ability to flow seamlessly over tracks while delivering relevant politically and socially conscious lyrics, is matched by few hip-hop artists either old or new. If you follow the west coast hip-hop scene, from Dre and Snoop to Bone Thugs N Harmony, you are sure to appreciate Kendrick Lamar as we can hear the clear influence in his post-Gfunk, post-N.W.A. sound. Also, look for Kendrick Lamar to bring out his Black Hippy crew, which consists of four other promising Los Angeles-based artists in Schoolboy Q, Jay Rock and Ab-Soul.
In the last year and a half we’ve seen the extremely talented rapper/actor/comedian/writer Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino develop into one of the most talked about and debated acts in independent hip-hop. With an unmistakably recognizable voice, uniquely conscious content, and some absolutely ridiculous punchlines, Glover explores growing up as a minority in this country who doesn’t quite fit the stereotypes. Childish Gambino’s music is far from all jokes and he does an amazing job packing raw, intense, and powerful emotion into his music. I was lucky enough to see Childish Gambino perform live and it was easily one of the best hip-hop performances I have seen. His set includes an amazing live band along with flawless delivery of both song and rap in which an audience member can experience firsthand the passion he puts into his work.
Talented Harlem native A$AP has had an extraordinarily quick ascent into stardom, being signed before even releasing his first official mixtape. He is the next in line in a similar subcategory of hip-hop as Wiz Khalifa was when he released his popular mixtape “Kush & OJ.” I wouldn’t necessarily compare Wiz and A$AP’s style of rap, but rather the lifestyle aspect and general swag that they bring with them. Rocky embodies the intangibles of a hip-hop star with his unique style that he always manages to pull off. Catch Rocky and his A$AP crew now because there is little doubt in my mind he will be an international superstar in the near future.
Fresh off the release of their second album, Miike Snow have solidified their place as giants in the electronic music scene. Although this group has been classified in the electronic genre, they are clearly influenced by the great pop of the past and incorporate this to create a new age of pop music with a dark twist. Even if you’re not a huge fan of electro/rave type music, you should be able to appreciate Miike Snow.
If you like Miike Snow make sure to check out Martin Solveig(below), Calvin Harris (below), Neon Indian, Metronomyand M83.
The French duo Justice ranks right up there with Daft Punk when it comes to classic electronic music. They recently released an album that feels something like a mix of electronic music with 80s-rock. I would expect them to play some of their classic tracks, but potentially bring out some live instruments to perform their new material. Either way, this is a headliner you are definitely going to want to see.
If You Like Justice make sure to check out SebastiAn (be patient with that song though)
This track features three artists that will be performing at the festival. The Swedish duo (pictured on the right), Dada Life, are unmatched when it comes to creating a tension and anticipation packed build-up to an intense electrosynth-injected drop. If you’re searching for a high-energy show with quality electronic music, look no further than Dada Life. The vocals you hear are from Dragonette, who has recently been featured on tracks by some very notable electro producers. I'm not a huge fan so I'm not sure I'd be at her show, but if you like what you hear you should check it out. Martin Solveig is the original producer of this song and he has probably the most pop sound of the electro artists featured in the lineup. If you like groups like Empire of the Sun, you should definitely look into Martin Solveig's music.
This track showcases the best of R3hab and Calvin Harris, who will both be performing. Calvin Harris(pictured on the left) has birthed a number of infectious and fun international hits in electro and electro-pop that combine very high quality production with both his own vocals and a number of notable features. R3hab may be a lesser known artist, but he has been steadily gaining recognition for his epic progressive house tracks. He is another artist who will likely be in the headlines of festivals within the next couple of years.
There are quite a few notable dubstep producers who will be in attendance at this year’s festival (check out some more below). Feed Me, a member of Skrillex’s label, is one of the most unique and innovative dubstep artists in the lineup. He has clearly been influenced by Skrillex’s style, however he takes it a step further and pushes the borders of dubstep music.
Radiohead, anchored by musical mastermind Thom Yorke, has long been one of the most innovative and unique groups out there. It is hard to really encapsulate their style in words because it has fluctuated so much over the years and combines many genres. If you really want to understand what makes Radiohead legendary, you just have to listen to a whole album.
This Swedish folk duo has been heavy in my rotation since The Tallest Man On Earth piqued my interest in the new age folk scene. Their voices mixed with calm acoustics are soothing with a distinguishable twang that gives them a sort of vintage sound. The sisters are sure to put on a relaxing and more laid back show to recharge for the rest of the day.
Outstanding singer/songwriter, Cat Power, is one of my personal favorite alternative rock folk artists. Her voice and lyrics perfectly complement the soft minimalist guitar and piano, and hers is some of the most laid back music you’ll hear at this year’s festival. Her performances have been few and far apart in recent years, so make time in your day to drop by her set.
You might recognize this song if you were a fan of the high school football film Friday Night Lights. This Texas-based group births epic and dramatic instrumental compositions utilizing guitar and drums that take you on an emotional journey with out a single word. Their sound lies somewhere between trippy rock classics and symphonic masterpieces. I can only imagine how awesome their live show would be if you allow yourself to get lost in the music.
Hailing from Toronto, The Weeknd has released three projects in the last year that have all received overwhelmingly positive responses among music critics everywhere. The Weeknd embodies what I would describe as post-Drake music. His slow, ethereal, and backwards sounding instrumentals and phenomenal vocals take Drake’s R&B influence to another level. Weeknd is creating some next level music that is very difficult to classify. His lyrics, although sung, often sound more hip-hop influenced and his production is top notch incorporating hip-hop, electro, alternative and R&B genres. I think it will be very interesting to see how his music translates to live performance.
If you like The Weeknd and even if it's maybe too experimental for you, you might want to check out Frank Ocean
P.S. I know for a fact I am still missing some amazing artists so go to some random shows and maybe you’ll discover someone awesome. I think my only complaint with the lineup would be the shortage of hip-hop artists, but the ones there are of such a high quality that that isn't even too big of a problem. Here are three more artists I haven't mentioned that are worth a listen: Santigold, The Black Keys and tUnE-yArDs