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Coachella: How To Discover New Bands

How to Discover New Music at Coachella 2007


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Most Coachella first-timers are drawn to the festival by a big-name, headlining act that they're familiar with. But for many Coachella veterans, the real draw is a chance to check out new artists that they're not familiar with, often finding new favorite bands in the process. Coachella has built a reputation for booking many acts that may not be household names yet, but are heralded by critics and music geeks for their ability to wow audiences in a live setting. It's almost guaranteed that you'll come away from the weekend having been blown away by a band that you didn't really know much about before the festival. If you don't, you're not doing Coachella right!

The real magic of Coachella is in those small epiphanies, when you're watching a band and it hits you... "wow... these guys are really f@%*&^n' GOOD!" Sometimes, those moments happen by accident. But you can increase the likelihood of those magic moments if you follow these steps.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer
  • Internet access
  • iTunes software
  • An open mind

Instructions

  • STEP 1: STUDY THE LINEUP. Unless you're a real music geek, there's probably several names on the lineup that you're unfamiliar with. Scour the lineup (available at http://www.coachella.com) and make a list of all the bands you've never heard of, and the ones you don't know much about. There may be some acts that you think you probably won't like, but have never actually listened to. Put their names on the list too (because you might be totally off) and move on to step two.
  • STEP 2: GET RECOMMENDATIONS. Find some of the aforementioned "music geeks" and see who they're excited about seeing at Coachella. You'll find several of them posting on the message boards at http://www.coachella.com/forum/ Also, as the festival draws near, websites such as pitchforkmedia.com and pastemagazine.com, even newspapers like latimes.com will typically publish a "Coachella Preview" and offer suggestions on new bands to check out.
  • STEP 3: DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Now take your list of unfamiliar acts and go find some of their songs to listen to. If you have iTunes (and who doesn't?) you can find most of the artists right there in the iTunes store and preview all their songs to get an idea of what they sound like. Same with Amazon.com. And most bands have 3-4 songs available on their MySpace.com page. Another great site to search for new music is The Hype Machine at http://hype.non-standard.net/

    If you hear something interesting, consider downloading some of that band's more popular songs to a CD or your iPod, and get familiar with them before Coachella. That way you'll be able to compare their "live" sound to their "studio" sound.
  • STEP 4: CHECK EM OUT LIVE. Sometimes you have to see an artist's live performance before you recognize their greatness. When you're at Coachella, make an effort to see acts you've never seen before. Don't be afraid to get up close to the stage, where it's easier to make a connection with the musicians and really hear their creations. If, after 3 songs or so, you're still not "feelin' it" - move on to a different stage. There's almost always 3 or 4 bands playing at any given moment during Coachella, and chances are, one of them will rock your world if you give 'em a chance. Go find 'em!