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Friday, April 10
Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival
EMPIRE POLO CLUB
This little festival set on the sprawling, dusty polo fields of Indio is a crossroads of competing and sometimes overlapping desires and agendas. On Friday, classic-rock fans can go highbrow with the eloquently delivered, sardonic observations of Steely Dan or they can go very lowbrow with the once-mighty AC/DC, who sound somewhat gutted on their new album, Rock or Bust, without mainstay guitarist Malcolm Young and legally embattled drummer Phil Rudd. Fellow Australians Tame Impala represent a modern brand of guitar-fueled power, but the overall lineup is more stylistically random than thematically interconnected. Friday’s headliners range from retro postpunk (Interpol) and glossy EDM pop (Alesso) to shoegaze (Ride), bluesy roots (Alabama Shakes) and fiery hip-hop (Raekwon and Ghostface), while many of the usual festival suspects step up on Saturday (Jack White, The Weeknd, Ratatat) and Sunday (Drake, Kaskade, Ryan Adams). Apart from Florence and the Machine and the artily stellar St. Vincent, this year’s Coachella is largely another boys’ club.
Also Saturday and Sunday, April 11-12. With AC/DC, Tame Impala, Steely Dan, Alesso, Alabama Shakes, Ride, Nero, Azealia Banks, Flying Lotus, Raekwon & Ghostface Killah, Lykke Li, DJ Snake, Porter Robinson, Caribou, Angus & Julia Stone, Reverend Horton Heat, Kimbra, Cloud Nothings, Kele, Allah-Las, Ryan Hemsworth, Brant Bjork, The Ghost of Saber Tooth Tiger, Los Rakas and others. — Falling James
White Fence, Cherry Glazerr
NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM
Tim Presley’s White Fence started as a bedroom 4-track project, but now he’s turned it into an absolutely staggering live monster. As ably documented on Castle Face’s Live in San Francisco series, Presley and his very heavy friends match ’80s punk dexterity to ’60s artistic inspiration (and annihilation) on lightning-strike songs that come off like Joe Meek producing for Stiff Records circa 1977. If you fully appreciate those references, then start eBaying for the White Fence “Harness” 45. And be ready for L.A.’s Cherry Glazerr, too, a set of recent Burger Records graduates (and probably recent high school graduates) who take a new-gen next-step-forward in the grand L.A. tradition of deadpan rock & roll idiosyncrasy à la That Dog or the much-missed Sharp Ease. — Chris Ziegler
The mainstream seems to be catching up to Buddy Guy. Earlier this year, the blues guitarist added to his previous Grammy wins with a lifetime achievement award, and fittingly he also was named chairman of the artist board for the new blues museum in his longtime base of Chicago. Once an artist is honored by the pop world, it’s usually a sign that he’s no longer relevant creatively, but Guy continues to make thrilling music. Whereas so many modern blues revivalists play a meekly sentimental, watered-down approximation of classic innovators, Guy is the real deal, having backed such folks as Muddy Waters, Koko Taylor and Howlin’ Wolf in the late 1950s and early ’60s. Guy still cranks it out as loud and fiery as Gary Clark Jr., who trades palpably funky and acidic licks with the master on Guy’s most recent album, Rhythm & Blues. — Falling James
Saturday, April 11
Mötley Crüe may be retiring (allegedly) at the end of the year, but bassist Nikki Sixx has shored up a heck of a backup plan these last few years with his side project, Sixx:A.M. The “party all night on the Sunset Strip” atmosphere of Crüe is nowhere to be found. Instead, Sixx gets more introspective and the music aims for anthemic arena rock on albums such as 2014’s Modern Vintage. Vocalist James Michael’s bombastic presence makes the group’s work sound effortlessly massive, lifting them above the generic radio-rock clones in modern music. The project’s masterpiece is their 2007 debut, The Heroin Diaries, but two albums later, Sixx:A.M. still reigns triumphant in the hard-rock kingdom after working through the trials and tribulations that fueled that first record. — Jason Roche
Leading the new wave of French electro, DJ and producer Brodinski carries the torch passed to him and his Bromance Records brethren from Ed Banger legends Busy P and Justice. Celebrating his recent release, Brava, Brodinski brings his Kanye-approved dark electro to Exchange L.A. Brodinski adds a mature French touch and Southern hip-hop influences to the bass-heavy trap dominating American playlists. Expect to dance to a vocals-heavy mix of hip-hop and house, featuring predominantly Atlanta-based artists that sound just as much at home at nightclubs as they would in strip clubs. — Lina Abascal
Sunday, April 12
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Simon Scott, Upsilon Acrux, L.A. Takedown
Simon Scott spent much of last year on the reunion circuit, playing drums with his old Slowdive bandmates. Tonight, the British musician heads to Part Time Punks at the Echo solo. On his own, Scott creates the mature, ambient pieces one might expect from a musician who played on the seminal shoegaze album Souvlaki. Over the years, his textured, occasionally noisy gems have turned up on releases from discerning record labels such as Kompakt. Recently, U.K. label Touch re-released Scott’s 2012 album, Below Sea Level, accompanied by a previously out-of-print booklet that documents the artist’s explorations of a desolate part of the U.K. called the Fens. Upsilon Acrux, who have a new album out this month, bring a not-so-conventional rock sound to the bill, while L.A. Takedown channel ’80s film scores with their synth sound. — Liz Ohanesian