But they forgot the sound.
Four Takeaways from Coachella 2013
1. Generation X is over: The tepid response to The Stone Roses and the rapturous welcome given to The Postal Service cut a pretty clear narrative across Coachella 2013. The baton has been passed. There was plenty of other evidence throughout the weekend but the message was clear. It’s a new generation of music fans and festivalgoers and they don’t care about your music or mine. (Related: The most jaw-dropping thing I saw all weekend wasn’t a band, it was the original tweet here.)
2. EDM is here to stay: At Coachella, EDM got its own prominent stage and for a sizable number of festivalgoers that felt like all they needed, despite frankly not having a lot of big-name artists booked. For Gen Y, this is simply increasingly their default music for a number of reasons I discussed last year. (Reminder too that the U.S.’s biggest fest, Ultra, is basically the inverse of Coachella: A huge place where stuff like Hot Chip occupy one weird corner of the world.)
One thing I failed to realize then was how incentivized artists are to operate in this vein: EDM artists not only don’t need to deal with record label contracts, they don’t have to deal with records. All those people telling artists to just monetize themselves on the road via touring as a way to make up for not actually selling records? Well, EDM artists have evolved beyond that. They live in the reality of today instead of romancing the past, spending time working on productions and edits and honing their skills as DJs and then rolling in festival and nightclub cash.
And: The combination of this and the post-Gen X dawn will be the undoing of Lollapalooza, hampered by its central urban location from giving up large real estate to an airplane hangar’s worth of dance fans.
3. Daft Punk: Are going to sell a shocking number of albums in their first week. 400k? 500k? It could be a very gaudy number. The marketing is exquisite, the timing is right, and the first taste of it sounds amazing. It feels from the tracklisting that it will split between songs and tracks and therefore be their most big-tent record to date, and a whole new generation of kids are ready to receive them as long-lost gods and for the first time experience them first hand, just as they finally did with The Postal Service last weekend.
4. All the Rock Stars were women: Anyone I saw who exuded real starpower was female: Janelle Monae and Karen O most obviously, but even Natasha Khan of Bat for Lashes, Grimes’ Claire Boucher, and Savages’ Jehnny Beth feel like charismatic lightning rods while even stylish and accomplished male-fronted bands such as Vampire Weekend, Phoenix, Hot Chip, and Blur – let alone your James Blakes or Ben Gibbards – simply didn’t. It was only the women who projected those qualities.
Light in the Attic is releasing Pubilc Image Limited’s First Issue in the U.S., 30+ years after the group was too odd for record stores but not for Dick Clark.
RIP songwriter Deke Richards