The Music Tastes Good festival in Long Beach is one of this region’s annual highlights. Awesome music and top chefs combine their talents to offer fantastic entertainment and eats over a majestic Saturday and Sunday. This year, we’ve spoken to local dark pop star Baum and English reggae singer Hollie Cook about their appearances, and here are 10 more artists performing who are well worth catching...
1. New Order
Yeah, Peter Hook hasn’t been with New Order since 2007, but original members Bernard Sumner, Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert are still there, and 2015’s Music Complete album, the first minus Hook, does nothing at all to cheapen the incredible legacy of the Manchester electro-pop veterans. We know we’ll get “Blue Monday” in Long Beach, “Ceremony,” “Temptation,” “True Faith,” perhaps even a Joy Division classic. By all accounts, the band still deliver live, too, and this headlining set promises to be something special.
2. Joey Bada$$
The thing with calling yourself “Bada$$” is that you’ve got to be prepared to perform at a consistently high level, night after night, record after record. A limp performance from somebody named Bada$$ is cause for mass hilarity. The “$$” stylization also requires some speedy financial success. You don’t want dollar signs in your name if you’re driving a Kia (one of many reasons this writer doesn’t have dollar signs in his name). Fortunately for Joey, he is indeed a badass, and he’s found success fairly early on. Last year’s All-Amerikkkan Badass, his second full-lengther, is a forceful slab of contemporary hip-hop. Check out his set.
3. Broken Social Scene
Many-membered Canadian indie rock band Broken Social Scene took a break in 2011 after touring their beloved Forgiveness Rock Record album hard, but they returned last year with Hug of Thunder, their fifth studio album. It’s a wonderful return, too — stunning baroque pop with a title that suggests the band are embracing the chaos that surrounds them. The music world is a far better place with them in it, and Music Tastes Good can benefit.
4. James Blake
English singer-songwriter James Blake has released three albums, and he’s already received a Mercury Award and a Grammy nomination. 2016’s The Colour in Anything is the most recent, and it tells you everything you need to know about Blake: heartfelt, honest lyrics, a sound that soaks in many influences, and a believable voice. At 29, he’s really just getting started, too.
5. Janelle Monáe
Monáe is one of those sickeningly talented artists who can do pretty much anything she puts her mind to, and excel at it. She was wonderful in the 2016 movies Hidden Figures and Moonlight, and her heartbreaking yet inspiring “Hell You Talmbout” track raised enough awareness that David Byrne has been covering it. She’s a force of nature, and this year’s Dirty Computer album, her third, has been universally acclaimed.
6. The Black Angels
Austin psychedelic rockers The Black Angels are named after the Velvet Underground song “The Black Angel’s Death Song,” which offers a hint of where these guys are coming from. Dark, poetic and experimental, 2017’s Death Song (spot the theme?), the band’s fifth studio album, is one of their best. Just don’t expect any cheerful ditties under the Long Beach sun.
7. The Church
Like The Black Angels, The Church peddle psychedelic rock, although this Australian band have been doing it for a lot longer, and they’re arguably more likely to smile onstage. The dream-pop new-wavers have been going at it since 1980, releasing a string of much-loved albums and singles. “Under the Milky Way,” from the 1988 album Starfish, is their most successful single in the U.S. based on chart position, but this is a band with a loyal cult following. At least some of them are sure to show up this weekend.
8. Princess Nokia
Though she was tucked away on one of the smaller stages, New York rapper Princess Nokia still managed to dazzle at Coachella this year, and we’re expecting similar fireworks in Long Beach. Last year’s 1992 Deluxe remains her sole full-length studio album, though new mixtape A Girl Cried Red is further evidence that we have a special talent on our hands.
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9. Cherry Glazerr
Like Princess Nokia, Cherry Glazerr also saw their stock rise at Coachella. Since forming in 2013, the L.A. indie rockers have put out two full-length albums and two EPs, and the personnel has varied dramatically with each one. Only self-proclaimed band leader Clementine Creevy has remained constant through the excellent Haxel Princess and Apocalipstick albums. She seems to enjoy that fluidity and flexibility and, hey, it’s worked out so far. However Creevy is doing it, Cherry Glazerr are an exciting live band, and they’ll be one of the highlights here.
East L.A. band Feels (or FEELS, if you wanna shout it) describe themselves as “psych punk grunge future rock & roll post whatever,” which is a phenomenal way of saying, “We sound like what we sound like and care little for descriptions.” In truth, this is melodic, harmonic garage punk with elements of Sonic Youth, The Pixies, The Coathangers, and many more. Most importantly, this is a thrilling band that needs to be seen live.