the 50 acts I’m most excited about for Coachella 2014

I suppose I’m a little late to the Coachella blog posts. Hell, the festival sold out while I was working on this post, but you know, full time jobs and 9 month olds. This year’s Coachella lineup is stacked the way I like a festival, the headliners are solid, but the middle tier is just ridiculously stacked. I would totally go to a small scale festival whose lineup was just the acts from Saturday. I originally was going to go with 100 acts, but there were too many acts in the bottom half of that list that I didn’t know enough about to speak to. So I decided to go with my top 50 acts that I would be excited about if I actually got to go to Coachella. I usually do a pretty good job of building schedules for the festivals, so once the Coachella schedule comes out, I’ll try to get a post up of a suggested schedule. Anyways, without further ado, here’s the list, because people love lists.

50 Skrillex – Behold! The one who murdered EDM. “OH MY GOD!!!”

49 Bombino – I don’t know that I’ve ever been disappointed with an African artist at a festival, and Bombino had an excellent record in 2013 with Nomad.

48 J Roddy Walston and the Business – Walston plays a drunken blues rock set and has a high energy live show. Really enjoyable.

47 Aluna George – AlunaGeorge emerged on the scene in 2013 with the track “Attracting Flies” burning up the blogosphere, and Aluna’s vocals also appeared in Disclosure’s hit “White Noise”. I wouldn’t be surprised if she joins them on stage for that one.

46 Neko Case – The New Pornographers’ vocalist released an excellent new solo record in 2013.

45 Frank Turner – Turner makes folk rock with the heart of a punk rocker.

44 Grouplove – Grouplove craft hooks that remind me a lot of Matt & Kim, and if they’re close to having the showmanship of those two, they should be a good set to catch.

43 Bombay Bicycle Club – Bombay Bicycle Club are an enjoyable indie-folk band. I missed out on them at ACL a couple years ago, due to scheduling, but they should be an entertaining set.

42 Bastille – Bastille started to pop up in 2013 with their singles “Pompeii” and “Bad Blood”, although the Brits have been around since 2010.

41 Bear Hands – Wesleyan classmates of the MGMT boys, Bear Hands got their break as their opening act, and I think they kind of sound now like a lot of people would have liked MGMT’s career direction to head.

40 Capital Cities – Another emerging indie-pop act from last year, they popped on the scene with the extremely catchy single “Safe and Sound”

39 the 1975 – One of my favorite emerging pop groups of 2013. Hopefully, infectious singles, “Chocolate” and “the City” play up well in a live setting.

38 Dum Dum Girls – Another all-female group from LA, the Dum Dum Girls have one of the most anticipated albums of 2014, dropping later this month.

37 Lana Del Rey – Lana Del Rey popped up out of nowhere in 2011 to great success. Worth checking out, maybe.

36 Warpaint –  This all-female psych-rock band from Los Angeles was one of the highlights of my ACL a few years ago.

35 Naked and Famous – This Australian group is one of the best synth-pop outfits going.

34 Beck – Mr. Hanson, I presume. He put on a solid performance when I saw him a few years back. There was some shirtless dude stoned out of his mind and dancing his ass off behind us, and if he were going to be there, Beck might rank a little higher.

33 the Head and the Heart – I was a bit disappointed with their sophomore effort and a little bored when I saw them live off the first album, but there’s a lot of potential in their indie-folk-pop sound. I’m hoping they can

32 Muse – They would be higher up on the list for me, if I hadn’t seen them a half a dozen times. They put on an excellent show, but I can’t help but figure most festival goers have been there, done that.

31 Motorhead – Because, Fuck Yeah.

30 Blood Orange – Dev Hynes released a critical success with his sophomore effort under the Blood Orange moniker with Cupid Deluxe.

29 DARKSIDE – Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington released one of my favorite records of the year in the imaginative post-EDM record Psychic.

28 Cage the Elephant – Can’t go wrong with dirty blues rock.

27 Nas – One of my favorite rappers, Nasir is a true poet.

26 Washed Out – Ernest Greene put out a lovely dream pop record with 2013’s Paracosm.

25 A$AP Ferg – Ferg seems poised to be the next big breakout star from the A$AP Mob.

24 Bonobo – The downtempo producer released the beautiful the North Borders in 2013.

23 Pharrell WilliamsEven though he didn’t even put out a record, Pharrell was one of the most successful artists of 2013, being featured in 3 of the year’s biggest hits (Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” and “Lose Yourself to Dance” and Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines”), as well as producing the first 24 hour music video for his song “Happy”.

22 Waxahatchee – Former PS Eliot singer, Katie Crutchfield, released an excellent sophomore album with 2013’s Cerulean Salt

21 Chance the Rapper – 2013’s biggest hip-hop breakout star.

20 Broken Bells – Danger Mouse and James Mercer were a bit boring when I saw them previously, but they write some killer songs together.

19 Pet Shop Boys – One of the top British acts of the 80’s the Electro-pop duo had a nice comeback record with Electric in 2013.

18 Big Gigantic – Known for their high-energy live performances, this Colorado group makes for a nice festival experience.

17 Foster the People – With their infectious hits and Mark Foster’s odd dancing styles, they’re one to see, even if you’re tired of “Pumped Up Kicks” by now.

16 Jagwar Ma – One of my favorite debuts of 2013, the Australian psych rockers pop out some catchy hits.

15 Empire of the Sun – The psych-dance band from down under puts on quite the live show, complete with costumes and dancers.

14 Lorde – Another of 2013’s biggest newcomers, go to see the awkwardness.

13 Girl Talk – One of the biggest parties you’ll find in a live performance. A festival is the perfect setting for him.

12 Sleigh Bells – Bring your earplugs. It’s gonna be loud.

11 Disclosure – One of the biggest emerging acts of 2013.

10 Arcade Fire – The modern indie icons may be getting a bit too quirky lately, but they still put on a pretty good show.

9 QotSA – Josh Homme and his rock powerhouse are one I haven’t seen, although I’ve seen him twice (with Eagles of Death Metal and Them Crooked Vultures)

8 CHVRCHES – Lauren Mayberry’s quirky and sweet demeanor are as infectious as their slick synth-pop hits.

7 MGMT – Their recent output may have distanced from their debut record’s sound, but they still play all the big ones live.

6 Neutral Milk Hotel – Yet another big reunion to top the list, Jeff Mangum and the boys can knock one off the bucket list.

5 Foxygen – They’re not listed high in the lineup poster, but they’re highly regarded for their live shows, and I love the retro rock of their debut album.

4 the Knife – A rare get, the Knife should be a spectacle worth seeing. A live tour is planned as well.

3 Haim – While they’re new to the spotlight, the Haim sisters grew up playing live music, so they’ve kind of got it down.

2 the Replacements – If Outkast is the big reunion of the year, the Replacements is the most surprising reunion of the year. If only I could actually go and see these indie rock legends while I have the chance.

1 Outkast – The reunion of the year, seeing Big Boi was pretty cool, but adding Andre makes it something special. Also, dance party for “Hey Ya”. I’m going with the Peanuts dancing version.
So there you are. Hope you enjoy. Let me know what you think. I’ll be back soon with my first record reviews of the new year, and I think the Governer’s Ball lineup comes out soon, so I’ll probably share some thoughts on that too. I’ll try and throw a playlist onto this one later, too.

Monthly Record Picks for 2013

To get a feel for how I want to do these posts, and for readers to get a feel for the records that will be profiled here, here’s a list of my record picks for each month of Asa’s life so far. Some explanations, the first two bits of info are answers to questions my wife, Christina, likes to ask me about bands I want to see, those being “Now how do I know them again?” And the next one is how I would go about explaining that act if I didn’t think she would have heard of them, so here goes nothing.

James Blake – Overgrown

Critic Scores: Metascore 82, AMG 90, Billboard 84, Pitchfork 80, CoS 80, Rolling Stone 70, Spin 70, Paste 64
How You Know Him: James Blake had a well received self-titled debut a few years ago, featuring the indie hit “Wilhelm Scream”.
How to explain it to Christina: dub step meets R&B meets pretty indie pop.
My thoughts: This record is a more cohesive album than the previous record. It’s one of the few records to get repeat listens in this project. James is one of the few male artists that I would give that “hauntingly beautiful” label. One of my favorite new artists of the last few years.

Purchase: Insound ($24.98)

Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City

Critic Scores: Metascore 84, Pitchfork 93, CoS 90, Rolling Stone 90, Billboard 88, Paste 87, AMG 80, Spin 80
How You Know Them: Vampire Weekend had a hugely successful selftitled debut back in ’08, highlighted by the songs “A-Punk” and “Oxford Comma”. Formed at NYC’s Columbia University, Vampire Weekend is known for clever indie pop with notable Afro-pop influences.
How to explain it to Christina: the new Vampire Weekend album.
My thoughts: a beautiful album filled with introspective looks into life, death, religion, money, and power, Vampire Weekend has made a masterpiece with the final album of their career-opening trilogy.

Purchase: Insound ($18.98)

Deafheaven – Sunbather

Critic Scores: Metascore 92, AMG 90, CoS 90, Pitchfork 89, Spin 80, Rolling Stone 60
How You Know Them: This is a band I hadn’t heard of until this one, although I went to an event they played at, ha. I tend to stay away from metal of any kind (not my cup of tea), and that’s the genre they get tagged with, although many metal heads hate them. They already had a strong debut EP with 2011’s Road to Judah, when they started to redefine black metal.
How to Explain It to Christina: Black Metal meets Sigur Ros.
My Thoughts: This is a beauty. An immersive, engaging, and enthralling record that you can really dive into. A game changer for the genre, if it’s not its own genre.

Purchase: Insound ($21.98)

Speedy Ortiz – Major Arcana

Critic Scores: Metascore 81, Pitchfork 84, CoS 80, AMG 70, Rolling Stone 60
How you know them: Unless you were familiar with the Brooklyn band, Quilty, Sadie Dupuis’s previous band, you probably were, like me, unfamiliar with this group, but “Major Arcana” proved a stellar debut album.
How to Explain It to Christina: a retro-throwback to grungy 90’s indie rock.
My Thoughts: This is a cool throwback record that takes you back a couple decades. Fuzzy, chunky and distorted guitars play off Dupuis’s sweet, tender vocals and sharp, witty lyrics.

Purchase: Insound ($14.98)

Jagwar Ma – Howlin

Critic Scores: Metascore 79, CoS 70, AMG 80, Pitchfork 77
How You Know Them: This is yet another debut record, but Jagwar Ma is an Australian psych rock band similar to Tame Impala, but a little more pop-oriented.
How to Explain It to Christina: a poppier Tame Impala, but I think I just said that.
My Thoughts: Swirly, echoing, and textured synth rock, “Howlin” is a very enjoyable record. Helplessly catchy, you’ll find yourself unwittingly singing along. The album may not be as cohesive as it could be, but it is a debut, so hopefully they’ll have a more collected record next time around.

Purchase: Insound ($28.99)

CHVRCHES – the Bones of What You Believe

Critic Scores: Metascore 80, CoS 90, Pitchfork 85, Spin 80, Rolling Stone 80, AMG 80
How You Know Them: One of the biggest breakout artists of 2013, Lauren Mayberry and the Glaswegian CHVRCHES were named outstanding new international act at SXSW in March, ahead of their smash debut record and hits “Recover”, “Mother We Share”, and “Lies”.
How to Explain It to Christina: You know “Cha-Vurches”.
My Thoughts: One of the most accessible records of the year, Lauren Mayberry’s soft, sweet vocals and humble, friendly demeanor made her an indie sweetheart in 2013. Her vocals lay perfectly over synth-laden pop soundscapes.

Purchase: Insound ($16.98)

Arcade Fire – Reflektor

Critic Scores: Metascore 80, Pitchfork 92, CoS 90, Rolling Stone 90, Billboard 87, Spin 80, Paste 72, AMG 70
How You Know Them: 2004’s “Funeral” was considered a cornerstone of indie music from the 00’s, and 2010’s “Suburbs” won a bunch of Grammys. This one is produced by James Murphy, another name you probably know.
How to Explain It to Christina: that group we saw at ACL that wore the giant paper mâché heads on Colbert.
My Thoughts: Being produced by Murphy, it does kind of have a LCD Soundsystem meets Arcade Fire feel at times, and not being a big LCD fan, it’s not as appealing to me as their previous efforts, but they still put out a solid, enjoyable record.

Purchase: Insound ($24.98)

Blood Orange – Cupid Deluxe

Critic Scores: Metascore 76, Pitchfork 85, Spin 80, CoS 70, AMG 70, Rolling Stone 70
How You Know Him: Blood Orange’s Dev Hynes was formerly in the group Test Icicles, and has previously recorded under the name Lightspeed Champion. This is his second album under the Blood Orange moniker. In recent news, Hynes recently lost his belongings and his puppy, Cupid to an apartment fire. You can donate to help him out here.
How to Explain It to Christina: the British Frank Ocean
My Thoughts: Hynes does a good job lining up collaborators on this record, and produces a slow, smooth, melancholic jam record. A genuinely fun listen.

Purchase: Insound ($21.98)

Mutual Benefit – Love’s Crushing Diamond

Critic Scores: Metascore 84, CoS 90, Paste 89, Pitchfork 85, Rolling Stone 70
How You Know Him: Mutual Benefit is the project of singer/songwriter Jordan Lee and a rotating cast of band members. This album was the first BandCamp release to be named Best New Music by Pitchfork.
How to Explain It to Christina: I don’t know if I’m close to base on this or not, but I kinda wanna say a cross of Balmorhea, Patrick Watson and Freelance Whales.
My Thoughts: At its core, Love’s Crushing Diamond is a jangly, layered, and lovely pop record. Very laid back and mellow, a pleasant chamber pop record.

Purchase: Insound ($15.98)

Top 5 Shows Coming to Town 1/3-1/9

 So, since I said I would discuss the DFW music scene, I figured Friday would be a good day to schedule a “Shows coming to town” weekly blog. So here are my top 5 shows coming to DFW for the week of Jan 3, 2014-Jan 9, 2014

5 Lower Class Brats, Youth Brigade, Pinata Protest @ Three Links 1/3/14
A punk rock party. Those are usually fun.

4 Murder City Devils, Dead Flowers @ Trees 1/4/14
Seattle garage punk band has had a long career and has played alongside such acts as At the Drive-in, Pearl Jam and Built to Spill.

3 Nelo @ Granada 1/7/14
Austin alt-rock band does the Austin alt-rock thing

2 Cate Le Bon, Kevin Morby, Bryce Gilbertson @ Three Links 1/7/14
Apparently, for this round, bluesy indie rock trumps “hauntingly beautiful female vocals” (a phrase that will probably become a cliche to this blog, because I love them), this Welsh singer/songwriter is trying to climb out of cult status and into a stronger place in the indieverse w/ her latest album “Mug Museum”

1 Royal Bangs w/ Bad Suns @ Club DaDa 1/9/14
An indie-rock band from Knoxville, TN, their most recent album “Brass” got mixed reviews, but was produced by Patrick Carney of the Black Keys, so they’ve got fans in the right places.




Welcome to my new Asa’s Record Collection blog. My name is Matt, and I just became a new father in April 2013. I collect classic vinyl records myself, and thought it might be cool to collect a current vinyl record for my son, Asa, one for each month of his life. I try to go with a combination of personal preference, critical response, and perceived sustainability. But in doing so, I’ve come to listen to a lot of music to try and whittle down the best selection each month. I managed to build a top 20 list for every month I was listening this year, and a few of my friends enjoyed some of my recommendations I could offer as a benefit. So, I thought maybe, with starting the new year, I might start blogging about my musical discoveries, and sharing the thoughts behind my selections. I’ll also try to post my thoughts on music festivals (another love of mine) and goings on in the DFW live music scene. Thanks for visiting and I hope I can inspire some folks out there to check out something new.