I know what you’re thinking. The Pomona Events Committee (PEC) failed you. I mean, how
couldn’t they? After a year featuring future bass gurus Nguzunguzu,
downtempo pop whizzes Blue Hawaii, the perennial hipster favorite Mac DeMarco,
and the incredible, inimitable Pitzer College alum EMA, No-Chella was already stepping
on the real thing’s toes.
So when you looked at the lineup for this year’s show,
something in the neighborhood of “eh” must have crossed your mind. But while
these artists might not have “Best New Music” (BNM) status from Pitchfork (which isn’t even
strictly true), PEC has packed the lineup with some incredible, primarily local
acts that are going to melt your faces off anyway.
I’ll go through all of them here so that, come tomorrow,
you’ll be ready to rock out.
My personal pick of the lot is Matthewdavid, Los Angeles beat master
and boss of Leaving Records. His music has evolved over the years, drawing on everything
from lush, ambient new age to the psychedelic post-Dilla rhythms that were
synonymous with the LA scene for a while. If you’re a fan of heady electronic
artists, like Flying Lotus, Teebs, Sun Araw, or even Mount Kimbie, Matthewdavid’s
got something for you. His highly respected label has dropped releases from
Knxwledge, the Cyclist, and Ras G (who, coincidentally, played a set at Table
Manners last semester). Basically, the guy’s a total don.
Then there’s Dean Spunt, whom you likely know as the drummer
and vocalist for LA punk duo No Age (who definitely have BNMs, so there). I
don’t actually know the nature of Spunt’s set, but considering he hasn’t
released any solo material before, we should be in for a serious treat,
whatever it turns out to be.
You might remember Summer Twins as the lovely dream pop duo
that slew the Motley Coffehouse at last November’s KSPC Blowout. Hailing from Riverside, Calif., they’re signed to Burger Records, a
killer label based in Fullerton, Calif., that specializes in all things garage-y, poppy, and
fuzzy. If you like Bleached or Best Coast, you’ll
love Summer Twins.
Girlpool exist on the same spectrum
of female-duo-writing-pop-songs, but with a very different angle. Their lo-fi,
simple arrangements put their feminism up front, and frankly, they kick total
ass. I saw one blog describe their sound as “if Cat Power and Courtney Love
came together to wear jean jackets and write angsty campfire songs,” which is
both a hilarious image and an accurate one to these ears. These two will burn
the house down if you let them.
So Many Wizards will be bringing their own brand of
psychedelic, upbeat pop. A staple of the LA scene for almost five years now, you
might have come across them on lineups with the Abigails or the Lovely Bad Things
in the past year. I’ve heard great things about their live show, so put your
dancing shoes on for this one.
No-Chella’s even got some actual rap this year. From Culver
City comes VerBS, a talented MC who you might recognize from his features on
Kool A.D.’s 63 or Hellfyre Club’s
joint album from last year, Dorner vs.
Tookie. Los Rakas, a duo from Oakland, Calif., rap in Spanish over beats inspired
by dancehall and reggae. In their own words, they make “New World music.
American music. Panamanian Jamaican Californian music.”
Los Cambalache, a Chicano-Jarocho group from East LA, will
be playing traditional Son Jarocho, a folk style from Veracruz, Mexico. Although I just learned about this type of music from Wikipedia, the clips on their
website are full of catchy rhythms and intricate melodies. Count me in.
Last, but certainly not least, Quetzal, a Chicano rock band that
totally won a Grammy last year, mixes activism and complex songwriting into a
compelling whole. Their most recent album, Imaginaries,
has a pronounced R&B influence, and it’s rad.
In case you were having doubts about not buying
tickets to the crappiest Coachella lineup in the past five years (seriously,
Saturday is a wasteland), the only thing you should be doing on Saturday
between 3 p.m. and 1 a.m. is eating free tacos and listening to great music in front
of the Smith Campus Center.
Gage Taylor PO ’16 is majoring in media studies and philosophy. He is the electronic music director for the 5C radio station KSPC.