Phoenix! It's our top five must-see shows this week.
With Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, Phoenix's breakthrough into the public eye (don't you dare say mainstream, hipster), Paris' favorite quartet lampooned lady-swooning Liszt and classical rock star Mozart. The synth-pop heroes are set to return with Bankrupt!, an album that promises to be more experimental.
It helps that Phoenix has been working with creative hurricanes, including director Sofia Coppola on Somewhere in 2010. Needless to say, this is an exciting development. Judging from the first single, "Entertainment," it's clear that someone fell in love with Psy. The video resembles a dominantly Korean version of Cloud Atlas, complete with Grimes-like Asian strings. Then it isn't long before the Phoenix you remember loving kicks back in. There still are those cheerful smatterings and optimistic lifts carried over from Amadeus' "1901" and "Countdown." If you wanna hear the rest of Bankrupt!, you'd better see Phoenix when it comes to town this week or you'll have to wait for the April 22 album release. These Coachella headliners are making a massive stop in Tempe, and if you close your eyes real hard, maybe you can picture yourself in Indio, California, only with a lot less PDA, MDMA, and B.O.
If you're feeling truly adventurous, you can see how long you can camp outside of Marquee before you're arrested. -- Troy Farah
A weeknight hip-hop party is an anomaly. Partygoers might expect to see a Biggie-obsessed DJ spining records to a couple of friends while everyone else is preoccupied with their cells, but The Rewind is nothing of the sort.
"It's a Saturday night disguised as a Tuesday," says host Pablo Sapien. The resident DJs mix buzz-worthy up-and-coming hip-hoppers such as Childish Gambino, The Weeknd, and A$AP Rocky with acts like Phantogram and Lana Del Rey. "We play a lot of new music," Sapien says. "We're a younger crew for that younger crowd."-- Melissa Fossum
Singer/songwriter Angel Olsen skipped out on SXSW 2013. Though she's hardly indignant about it, the industry showcase just doesn't speak to the sensibilities displayed on Olsen's gorgeous noir-folk Half Way Home, released by Bathetic Records in 2012. Those songs, like the wounded but sensual "Lonely Universe" and the earthy "Tiniest Seed," with Olsen's voice sailing carefully over a country lilt of snare drum, bass, and guitar, demand more than a "Sponsored by Doritos" banner or a "Powered by Red Bull" advertisement.
Luckily, Olsen says that word of mouth has done its part. It helps that Olsen lists time backing Bonnie Prince Billy on her résumé, and that her records sink deep hooks in listeners. Her debut, Strange Cacti, ensnares; Half Way Home plants itself deep in the creepiest corners of your brain, where Karen Dalton and Roy Orbison play cards and trade drinks. It's an easy record to recommend to a friend, at least the right kind of friend.
"It's cool when things happen that way, instead of it being this thing were someone's like, 'Oh yeah, I heard that song on three sitcoms and a car commercial,'" Olsen says of natural "got it from a friend" marketing. -- Jason P. Woodbury
You know when you find that perfect record? The moment you hear the first song, you know that album is going on instant repeat. You think you'll never ever get tired of it. Weeks later, you're so sick of it that you chalk it up to the band selling out and the radio playing it to death.
Unlike you, measly music fan, DJ Organic and his crew live in a perpetual state of record bliss and they're always hunting for their next fix in thrift store bargain bins and dusty estate sales. Sure, it's a tough trade. But that passion for records feeds Organic's weekly shindig, Rumble, at Rips Ales & Cocktails. Every Wednesday he and a congregation of local disc jockeys live in a perpetual state of spun euphoria, mixing deep crate finds with more mainstream selections. -- Christina Caldwell
If you've seen the recent documentary Re:Generation, you're probably aware of the current trend of reconfiguring rock, pop, and other music forms by spicing 'em up with various electronica elements. But as any chef will tell you, sometimes the whole doesn't wind up tastier than the sum of its ingredients.
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Take the popular practice of dubstep artists' remixing the bombastic bass-infused EDM genre into every song imaginable, whether it's '80s cartoon theme songs (Inspector Gadget, Transformers) or pop and rock standards of the past. YouTube and SoundCloud are littered with hundreds of tracks that blend subharmonic wub-wub into Frank Sinatra's "I Won't Dance" or The Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby," often with mixed results. When producer Christian Bauhofer (also known by his stage name Minnesota) remixed The Mamas and the Papas single "California Dreamin'", however, what resulted was a superior track. Unlike, say, Cragga's bass-y remix of the Marvelettes' 1961 hit "Please Mr. Postman," Bauhofer's dubstep tweakings mesh with the languid moodiness of the source material.
It's just one way in which the Santa Cruz-based artist's work ranks above his more brostep-inclined brethren, as Bauhofer's more interested in ambiently indolent dubscapes filled with subtlety, more in line with the EDM genre's roots than creating the sort of adrenaline-soaked groans, grinds, and killer drops heard in the works of 12th Planet and his ilk. -- Benjamin Leatherman