Just a week away from the holy music pilgrimage to the desert that is the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. It's this writer's 14th year attending (Jesus. That's a lot of sun-drenched rockin'), and the excitement is just as palpable as it was when I first attended at age 16. This year's lineup is so ridiculously good I almost popped a vein trying to decide which five acts to include in my essentials this year.
5. How To Destroy Angels I blew my previous Coachella opportunities to see Trent Reznor do his thing with Nine Inch Nails, so this is a really good consolation prize. (And I'm too broke to justify seeing the revitalized NIN at Lollapalooza.) I can imagine Mariqueen Mandaag's lush singing echoing off the craggy surrounding mountains as night envelopes the valley. Just gorgeous.
I risked my health for you, dear readers! Now please enjoy the top five artists I'm salivating to see out on the polo fields:
4. Modest Mouse Modest Mouse's misanthropic rock has been missing for far too long. They're slated to end the six-year hiatus with an album later this year. With sometimes-guitarist Johnny Marr also on the bill, expect the Smith to sit in with Isaac Brock's band again.
3. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds Speaking of legendary grumps, Nick Cave is pulling double duty this Coachella with his Bad Seeds and his perverse endeavor Grinderman. But it's the dark artistry of the Seeds that has me quivering with anticipation. They'll likely perform after the sun goes down, just as my black eyeliner has melted to appropriate gothic proportions.
2. The Postal Service The Postal Service's rabid fans had just about "given up" on a reunion of this beloved one-off project from Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard and DNTL's Jimmy Tamborello. But hell froze over in 2013, and the emo-dance duo are marking the 10th anniversary of their classic album with a string of concert dates. Um, I'm not crying; I just have sand in my eye.
1. Dropkick Murphys Can you smell the Guinness a-brewing?! (Well, no, you can't; Heineken has a monopoly on Coachella's beer offerings.) These Boston boys are a guaranteed fun time, so kick up yer kilt and jump in the pit. Their 2013 release, Signed and Sealed in Blood, is one of my favorites of the year.