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Music News and Features

03 Jan 2017
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This morning’s announcement of the Coachella 2017 lineup was, per usual, met with a wide variety of reactions. While I was not wildly impressed by the lineup (which you can see below), the online reviews have been largely positive. Esquire even went so far as to call the slate of performers—featuring headliners Radiohead, Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar—“the festival’s best lineup in years.” And … Hans Zimmer? The legendary film composer? He’s performing. Wow. However, one band has received a lot of criticism—Radiohead. And that, frankly, is just not right. When this band from Abingdon, Oxfordshire, England released its first album, Pablo Honey, in 1993, success in England came quickly, followed by popularity in the rest of the world, including America. The song “Creep” became an international hit, while “Stop Whispering” made the charts in the United States. Radiohead’s modest, “alternative” sound came at the perfect time in terms of rock-music…
27 Dec 2016
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Drop Mob is an East Valley band that’s bringing metal to hip-hop. The sound is kind of similar to ’90s nu-metal—but it’s not quite the same. Drop Mob has a very heavy sound, with lead guitarist David Burk playing complex guitar solos on an eight-string guitar. Bassist Steve Zepeda has a style that rises above nu-metal grooves, and drummer John Camacho hammers out complex rhythms to back Gabe Perez’s genuine, straight-to-the-point hip-hop lyrics. I recently attended a Drop Mob practice in Indio—and it was definitely the loudest local-band practice to which I have been invited. Even with ear plugs, I could clearly hear every instrument and every lyric. (The only thing missing from the practice was guitarist Curtis Hendrix, who was away dealing with a family matter.) Burk said that when he joined Drop Mob, the band had a different concept. “It was a cover band—and I’m not a cover-band…
06 Dec 2016
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Former Black Flag and Circle Jerks frontman Keith Morris has always had a lot of fascinating and often dark stories to tell—and now those stories have been put to paper, thanks to his new book, My Damage: The Story of a Punk Rock Survivor. Morris and his current band, OFF!, will be returning to the area for a long-sold-out New Year’s Eve show with Redd Kross and The Melvins at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace. During a recent phone interview, Morris said that writing the book with Jim Ruland was not easy. “The difficult thing for me was just getting over the initial situation of having to work with an assigned writer,” Morris said. “We did 70 hours of interviews, and he had to transcribe all of it, sit and listen to everything, and take notes. When you read the book, there’s a certain flow to it, and it’s like…
05 Dec 2016
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Local music fans have been waiting for years for Tribesmen to release some recordings. Back in October, that finally happened—albeit in limited fashion. The band’s new EP has just two songs: “Oceans Ocean” and “Ethos.” The instrumental band from Coachella offers hints of psychedelia, ambient and rock in its sound. The band played at the first Tachevah Block Party in 2013 in downtown Palm Springs, and has developed a loyal following that shows up whenever and wherever the band plays. During a recent interview at Tribesmen’s practice space in Coachella, drummer Freddy Jimenez said “Ethos” was the second or third song the band wrote—about three years ago. “We wanted to save the rest, just in case we get hit up by a label or something. We’ve spent so much time writing and recording,” Jimenez said. “It takes forever to do all of that for us, because we have shit going…
10 Oct 2016
Goldenvoice's first-ever Desert Trip, from Friday, Oct. 7, through Sunday, Oct. 9, drew tens of thousands of fans from around the world to see Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Neil Young, Sir Paul McCartney, The Who and Roger Waters—and they're doing it all over again this coming weekend. Independent assistant editor Brian Blueskye and photography contributor Guillermo Prieto ( were fortunate enough to take in the inaugural Desert Trip—also known by some snarkier folks as Oldchella and Agecoach—from the grandstands. For a recap of day one, click here. For a recap of day two, click here. For a recap of the final day, click here. Here are some images from the grandstands and from around the festival grounds, all by Prieto.
22 Sep 2016
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April is considered the big month for desert-area music festivals, thanks to the many tens of thousands of people who head to Coachella and Stagecoach. Well, October is now giving April a run for its money, as the month is bringing three large music festivals to the area: Desert Daze, the second yearly installment of the Joshua Tree Music Festival, and the two-weekend Desert Trip fest. When Goldenvoice announced Desert Trip for Oct. 7-9 and 14-16 back in May, locals in the know wondered whether Goldenvoice had forgotten that the first Coachella festival, in 1999, was actually held in October—when 100-plus-degree temps greeted cranky festival-goers. However, the stunning lineup of Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, The Who and Roger Waters was enough to make people quickly forget about weather concerns, and open their wallets to get passes that start at $399. The crowd for Desert Trip…
30 Aug 2016
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It’s been a remarkable year for The Flusters. The band has taken the stage at both Coachella and Echo Park Rising, after being voted the “Best Local Band” by Independent readers. Now the band is releasing its first EP. On Friday, Sept. 30, the Flusters will celebrate the release at The Hood Bar and Pizza with The Yip-Yops, Brightener and a special performance by Cakes and Brains. During a recent interview in their new practice space in Palm Desert, guitarist/vocalist Doug Van Sant, guitarist Danny White, bassist Mario Estrada and drummer Daniel Perry all talked about the new EP. “It took three days to record—two days in North Hollywood, and one day in Palm Desert,” Van Sant said. Added White: “There were also about two months of pre-production in getting the songs right.” Much of the recording was done at ReadyMix studios, with Paul Horabin in North Hollywood, while the…
08 Aug 2016
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Desert Hot Springs’ BrosQuitos is going places: Thanks to an indie-rock sound that is as melodic as it is catchy, the band has signed a record deal and will soon be putting out a new record. During a recent interview at his home in Desert Hot Springs, frontman James Johnson took me into the space where he practices with Max Powell (bass), John Clark (lead guitar) and Hugo Chavez (drummer). It’s a nice spot—but it does not have air conditioning. “It’s brutal during the summer,” Johnson said. On the walls are old records by people such as Gordon Lightfoot and Eddie Rabbitt. There’s even a copy of Handel’s Messiah. “I have Beatles records I will not put up, because they’re from the 1960s, and they’re in really good condition,” Johnson said. “These are some of the records I thought were scratched and couldn’t play anymore. There are some soundtracks for…