Full disclosure: I probably should have known about a couple of these melody makers long before this weekend. But hey, it was just the other day that I was chatting with a buddy of mine who fancies himself a fan of fine art, and he had no idea who Basquiat was. There's holes in everyone's mental enyclo(wiki?)pedias, right?
So in preparation for appearances by a slew of artists slated to pass through the Fuse House in Coachella Valley, I expected to learn a thing or two about the current state of sonic storytelling in 2015. What I got was, thankfully, even more impactful than a minor update on the state of the industry.
Big Beat Records has been priming the world's ears for this UK siren via quietly released remixes and singles over the past year, roughly. Somewhere along the way, the machine connected her with the production wiz kids, Clean Bandit, but no one could've anticipated the sessions yielding such an absolute smash.
I'd caught "Rather Be" floating out of retailer's speakers around NYC, but it wasn't until this weekend that I really discovered Jess. "Hold My Hand" might be a little bit more power pop-leaning than what I typically go for, but it also serves as a perfect exhibition of Glynne's soaring vocal ability.
Paul Epworth is an accomplished and well-rounded producer. This is indisputable.
Unfortunately, the music he's known best for tends to feel sanitary: U2's "Songs Of Innocence," Bruno Mars's "Natalie," Adele's "21..." I guess you could say those he shot for the moon and landed amongst the stars.
But then there's Glass Animals. Far and away his most interesting mission since Lana Del Rey's "Black Beauty," or Lorde's standout "Yellow Flicker." "Black Mambo," above, is merely a taste of the four-piece's sexy, trippy, surrealist production style. A style that drips with strange sounds (literally- check out the track "Gooey" to find a sleepy, leaky faucet hidden in the track), and continues to reveal resonant, new layers listen after listen.
Glee fans will hate me for this, but the truth is I saw Alex Newell's name on our schedule for the Fuse House in Coachella Valley, and unabashedly (and a bit too loudly) asked "Hey, yo, who the Hell is Alex Newell?"
"He's the guy from Glee!" the crowd shot back.
Alex was recently allowed out of a suffocating recording contract based on a technicality unsurfaced by his clever legal team, and now he's taking the entertainment sector by storm as an indie. A path that previously would have landed Newell in the same club as Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken on a long enough timeline, just jumped the track and afforded us this perfect collaboration with The Knocks.
Gorgon City are most interesting because I didn't only discover a new artist, the duo educated me on an entirely new genre while we chatted in the yard of the Fuse House.
In the US "garage," as a genre, typically indicates "garage rock" and evokes noisy, loud, distorted jams played by dude(tte)s in torn denim and Cons. But in the UK, garage has taken on an entirely new meaning. Young producers have grown a movement where they throw dance parties in their garages, mixing elements of two step and house to create a relaxed EDM alternative to London's aggressive grime scene.
Don't miss Wristbanded: Coachella Valley presented by Doritos premiering this Saturday, April 18, at 5/4c and encoring Sunday, April 19, at 5/4c. Find Fuse in your area with our channel finder.