Friday, January 30, 2009

Coachella 2009 Lineup: The Cure! The Killers! McCartney! Crazy! (But so are the prices)

Even though I won't be attending unless I win the lottery or find a wealthy benefactor (read: old-school sugar daddy), Coachella marks the beginning of festival season, which means summer and that makes me happy. The lineup is also phenomenal, and, I think serious this time, because The Cure announced it in a bulletin on myspace. Thank god Ryan Seacrest was "completely wrong," as Coachella officials said, with his premature announcement that Katy Perry was headlining. Here are a few of the highlights:

Friday 17 April
Headlining: Paul McCartney
Supporting acts: Morrisey, Leonard Cohen, Beirut, Black Keys, Girl Talk, Silversun Pickups, Hold Steady, Peanut Butter Wolf, Genghis Tron, White Lies, and Los Campesinos!

Saturday 18 April
Headlining: The Killers
Supporting acts: TV on the Radio, Band of Horses, Fleet Foxes, Henry Rollins, Calexico, Liars, Gang Gang Dance, Bob Mould Band, Cloud Cult

Sunday 19 April
Headlining: The Cure
Supporting acts:
My Bloody Valentine, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Lupe Fiasco, Public Enemy, Jenny Lewis, Lykke Li, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Fucked Up, Themselves, the Kills

Full Lineup here.

3-day passes: $269 + charity donation + service fees
1 day pass: $99 + charity donation + service fees
Round-trip airplane ticket from O'Hare to Palm Springs that weekend: $312
Camping tickets are also $55/person, and are good for the whole weekend.
For a grand total of... $636

Yikes, I'll be looking forward to the Pitchfork Music Festival lineup, thank you.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

John Updike on the Arduous and Beautiful Process of Learning Music

Photo via

Excerpt from "The Music School," published in 1966-

From all directions sounds-of pianos, oboes, clarinets- arrive like hints of another world, a world where angels fumble, pause, and begin again. Listening, I remember what learning music is like, how impossibly difficult and complex seem the first fingerings, the first deciphering of that unique language which freights each note with a double meaning of position and duration, a language as finicking as Latin, as laconic as Hebrew, as surprising to the eye as Persian or Chinese. How mysterious appears that calligraphy of parallel spaces, swirling clefs, superscribed ties, subscribed decrescendos, dots and sharps and flats! How great looms the gap between the first gropings of vision and the first stammerings of percussion! Vision, timidly, because percussion, percussion becomes music, music becomes emotion, emotion becomes-vision. Few of us have the heart to follow this circle to its end.
R.I.P., John Updike, and thank you for following your writerly circle - with a tempo and cadence all its own- through to its end .

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Indie-rock Word of the Week: Oubliette

Part of speech: noun

What it means:
A secret dungeon with an opening only in the ceiling, as in certain old castles (

How Will Sheff of Okkervil River uses it in song:
"The Latest Toughs"

@ 2:25- "We have lost/ and if you’re crying to be tossed/ they’ll toss you down the oubliette/ with all the old things that you let yourself forget/ because you’d like to love a star/ who’d throw you down/ below the ground he thinks you are."
Why I like it:
  • In this anti-war song (are there any pro-war songs?) Sheff so casually uses this stellar word. In the same stanza, he also references one of his own songs, "Song About a Star."
  • It is a fun word to say.
  • With our vocabularies shrinking, perhaps for favoring speed over eloquence, it is good to see older words last. It also reminds me of another old-timey word - defenestrate.
  • In example: I either want to defenestrate that girl for wearing tights as pants, or, lock her up in the oubliette and make her listen to the new Handsome Furs until she realizes the error of her ways. Yes, the new Furs is that bad- it sounds as if they were locked in a dank old room with only a synthesizer and Billy Idol records.