Cochella starts today. Here’s part two of my “mini band profiles” series, focusing on bands I’d never heard of.

Friday, April 17

People Under The Stairs (Gobi Tent, 3:05-3:55 pm)

Hip Hop – Los Angeles, California  MySpace | official site

This hip-hop duo features Thes One (Chris Portugal) and Double K (Michael Turner Jr.) Their first self-recorded release was The Next Step (1998), and they’ve since released five more albums (the most recent in 2008, “Fun DMC”). “Acid Raindrops” – pretty decent song, and apparently they’re known for their fun shows and audience interaction (but yes, I realize that I’m writing this for people who can’t be at Coachella , so sorry about that. Maybe next time).

Cage the Elephant (Mohave Tent, 3:15-4:05 pm)

Rock / Punk / Funk – Bowling Green, Kentucky | MySpace | official site

In the midst of a big U.S., Canadian and UK tour, Cage the Elephant’s music is full-on and even just listening (and not seeing), you can tell these guys are loaded with pent-up energy. Three of the five band members grew up on an “alternative religious commune” with parents who started out as hippies, found god while they were tripping, then turned into hardcore Christians. If that doesn’t make you want to start a rock band, I don’t know what will. “Driven by religion, Running backwards down a one way road. A course collision, split decision, Tryin’ to save your soul. Manifest Destiny is just a fancy word for murder. I’ve got this feeling, It’s gonna stop.” (from “Lotus”). They recorded their debut album in just 10 days, and have been compared to The Vines and Beck.

Steve Aoki (Saraha Tent, 3:30-4:30 pm)

Electro / Indie / Pop – Hollywood, California  MySpace  official site

A.k.a. DJ Steve Aoki Kid Millionaire, club DJ, record producer and the founder of Dim Mak Records. He’s in the midst of a big tour that includes the U.S., Canada, Japan, and Europe.

Los Campesinos! (Gobi Tent, 4:20-5:10 pm)

Pop / Indie / Punk (Cardiff, United Kingdom) | MySpace | official site

Cool stuff, wonderfully off-kilter. They cite influences such as “Pavement, Deerhoof, Grandaddy, Built to Spill, eating/not eating, moaning about girls and thinking a lot about how I will die”. Nice vocals. “By the light of the LED display of a VCR recorder; You kiss my neck, I whisper in your ear, ‘this is my downfall’. As you squint and you grimace, we both know your heart’s not in it. By the glow of a thousand fireflies in a travelodge en-suite: They think the future’s bright as halogen, we know it’s pretty bleak…” (“We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed”). After Coachella, they’re headed off to South America. Of course.

Felix da Housecat (Sahara Tent, 4:30-5:30 pm)

Electro / Electronica / Indie (Chicago, Illinois; Atlanta, Georgia) | MySpace

House DJ, producer. “Kick Drum” isn’t bad, actually – a slow groove with female vocals. Yes, I know, but remember, this is coming from someone who’s not really a house music/DJ fan. It’s not that I don’t like to dance… I love to dance. It just has to be the right music for me, ya know? Ok, so I’m listening to “Ready2Wear” now, and I like this also. There’s a retro 80’s sort of feel in this one. For me anyway (qualifying this, as I rarely know what the hell I’m talking about; I just go by gut feelings).

Buraka Som Sistema (Gobi Tent, 5:35-6:20 pm)

Breakbeat / Club / Ghettotech (Lisboa/Luanda, Portugal) | MySpace | official site

Buraka Som Sistema was founded in 2006 by João Barbosa (Li’l John), Rui Pité (DJ Riot), Andro Carvalho (Conductor) and Kalaf Ângelo. They specialize in an Angolan form of music called Kuduro, and they were awarded an MTV Europe Music Award.

The Bug featuring Warrior Queen (Gobi Tent, 6:35-7:25 pm)

(London, United Kingdom) | MySpace

They give their style on MySpace as “Other” – and it really is. (from The Hive Collective – UK: “Kevin Martin’s work as The Bug has seen industrial noise blend with Jamaican influenced rhythm and bass to staggering effect. For this event The Bug is teamed with the incredibly exciting Jamaican MC Warrior Queen.” Another description from FasterLouder.com.au: “dark dubby beats, dancehall vibes and reggae from hell.” The sound is interesting and pretty unique – check it out.

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