Coachella is just days away, and the big name acts on the festival’s lineup flier have fans dancing in anticipation. A GRAMMY winner (Arcade Fire), rock and roll royalty (Kings of Leon), arguably hip hop’s most talked about act of the year (Kanye West) and a reunited fan favorite (The Strokes) will certainly make for a stellar headline, but don’t forget to check out the fine print for smaller acts that are sure to pack just as much punch.
Trampled by Turtles
Can’t seem to shake your love of Mumford & Sons? Trampled by Turtles adds bass, guitar and mandolin to banjo and fiddle for a rounded-out, bluegrass sound. Vocals don’t quite match Marcus Mumford’s euphoric twang but we forgive them.
If you find yourself tapping your foot to that new Starbucks commercial, don’t miss Freelance Whales. Starbucks borrowed their track “Generator ^ First Floor” for the inspirational albeit slightly corny plug.
Speed things up with the defiant New Jersey punk band. Just don’t confuse them with The Gaslight Anthem.
Phantogram samples hip hop influences with frothy electronic rock for a totally fresh sound just in time for summer.
The Joy Formidable
Perhaps one of the most anticipated acts on the indie scene, they serve up uncompromising, unapologizing rock.
City and Colour
Gearing up for a third studio album, the Canadian singer/songwriter crafts soul-sweeping songs that are delicate and deep.
The name doesn’t lie. Formerly of Format, Nate Ruess serves pop-synth songs with a theatrical element, think Queen of the future.
Marina and the Diamonds
Another indie darling, Marina and the Diamonds has paired with hip hop acts like Hoodie Allen”check out “Your Are Not A Robot”” and could be compared to female voices from Britney Spears to Florence + the Machine. Not to mention she’s smokin’.
Two Door Cinema Club
Don’t hate us for saying we were listening to this Irish rock band way back when. Influenced by everything from electronica, afro-beats, pop and rock, you’ll be dancing the whole set.
Here We Go Magic
Songs with self described melodies that can turn from “gorgeous to challenging to a little scary and back again.” Learn more right on their OurStage profile.
Here We Go Magic is a talented troupe of musical alchemists weaving a delightful web of sounds that please the ear and challenge the mind. To grasp the real magic behind the music, you must first understand their sorcerer, Luke Temple. As Jon Pareles of the New York Times puts it, “Mr. Temple isn’t part of any particular school”not even that all-purpose new songwriters’ catchall, freak-folk”and his private world is fascinating.”
Luke’s humble beginnings of pulling swords from stones began in 2004 as he plucked his guitar in small clubs around New York City. You may recognize his track “Saturday People” from Fall 2007 when it was a strong contender on OurStage. Back then, we were able to catch up with Luke at the CMJ Music Marathon and he wowed us with his captivating sleight of hand:
"What helps with inspiration is being uncomfortable and working with different mediums that your not as comfortable or familiar with," Luke said in the above interview. "I can get really familiar on the guitar and I could write a million sad country ballads. That's my comfort spot; I like to go back there every now and then, but I try to keep myself on my toes."
Luke must have been on his very tippy toes while working on his latest project because he takes us far, far away from his comfort zones. Listening to the tracks from the self-titled debut from Here We Go Magic, you will be hard pressed to find a single thread from a country ballad. Instead as Daytrotter puts it, “It has a feel of the cremated ashes of an old body strewn about the breezes already, dancing over grass blades and ramming into trees, disintegrating into lakes along the way, but generally still traveling as long as there’s room to travel”a contrast to what the words are actually asking, pleading for.”