Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Coachella Music and Arts Festival

I was sitting in my office/recording studio this past weekend, ruminating over my age (birthday was Saturday) and how I so often feel isolated and marginalized living in Palm Springs - a community where golf, real estate and who’s died recently rein supreme among conversations held by retirees guzzling vodka around the clubhouse bar during cocktail hour (which, so far as I can surmise, begins about noon and lasts until bedtime - which can be as early as 7pm for the eldest of the elderly statesmen and women).  I moved here three years ago for the weather - which is glorious, by the way - neglecting to realize that I’d be the youngest non-golfer, non-drinker, non-retired writer/musician in town.  Hey, at least I’m surrounded by celebrities, even if most of them haven’t worked in several decades.
While sitting at my desk in this lamentable, self-pitying state, I stumbled across Reverb Nation, one of many great websites set up for social and professional musician networking, and opened an account.  After doing so I found I ranked number 10 on the Palm Springs area Reverb Nation charts.  I’ve since gone up to No. 5.  Still a little unclear about the rating system, but I’m climbing the charts, so who cares, right?
So what has Palm Springs angst, Reverb Nation and my local chart standings got to do with the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival?  Well, Coachella is not only the title of the festival, it’s also the name for the valley Palm Springs shares with the City of Indio, where the Empire Polo Club hosts the festival each April.  Since moving here the festival has been my bright, shining star from within a dark, dismal nighttime world of loneliness, despair and social pariah-hood.  The festival has represented that one time each year I’ve been able to surround myself with music forged after 1950 and people whose parents are likely decades younger than my nearest neighbors.  The Coachella Festival has been my only reprieve, my one chance to break free of those bonds of banal social tyranny. 
That was until my fateful stumble across Reverb Nation’s website a few days back and the discovery that other musicians lived nearby - writing, recording and performing on a fairly regular basis.  I went to some of their respective sites, listened to their songs and, in a few cases, was blown away by the talent.  There were other, less enchanting encounters, but let’s focus on the positive for the moment.  I found, for the first time in several years, that I was not alone, that I didn’t have to bite my nails and count the days until mid-April and the salvation promised by the likes of Jay-Z, Muse and Gorillaz.  That I could, at long last, reach out to my town-folk and find among them like minds and common musical tastes. 
In the spirit of my recent epiphany, I plan to take several days out of the next couple weeks to share some of the local talent I recently discovered on Reverb Nation with you, my faithful, though somewhat limited readership.  Yes, I realize I’ve drawn you into my grim web of deceit here by invoking the name of the Coachella Festival, precisely two months prior to its commencement, and then redirected your attention toward a group of unknown unsigneds and thus, by proxy, to my own musical endeavors.  But I firmly believe, in the long run, you’ll thank me for introducing you to some of the Coachella Valley’s finest music - music you won’t hear at the festival, but probably should.  And, I promise, the next time I mention Coachella in one of my blog’s title headings, I will actually focus on the festival.
So here’s the lineup, in no particular order:
  1. Sean Burford (aka Hymnself)
  2. Gram Rabbit
  3. Owen Willingham
  4. Cognitive Dissidents
  5. Cinematic Chaos
  6. Sean Brown (aka Sa!nt)
  7. Zinema
  8. Van Richter Records
  9. SP Smyth
Probably won’t get to all of these immediately, but you can click on the band’s links above in the meantime.

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