California festival Coachella revealed its lineup for its two weekends, April 16 and April 23, early this morning (January 5). Although the biggest talking points are the reunited headliners – LCD Soundsystem and, almost impossibly, the original Guns N’ Roses team – there are plenty more hidden clues about festival season in the line-up. Here they are.
1. There’s lots of exciting new music on the way
At least, there should be – there are plenty of artists who haven’t released an album in the last few years. These include ’90s shoegazers Lush, who’ve announced an EP for this year, Melody’s Echo Chamber, the Paris psych project started by Melody Prochet alongside Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker, and mysterious synthpop artist Rhye, aka Mike Milosh.
Then there’s Death Grips, who wrote in July 2014 that they had finished making music with ‘The Powers That B’ but then toured the album, and M83, who’s been soundtracking films ever since 2011’s panavision double disc-er, ‘Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming’.
We already know The Last Shadow Puppets are releasing new material in 2016, but what about Bat For Lashes, aka Natasha Khan? She appears to be performing without Toy, with whom she released world music album ‘Sexwitch’ in September 2015 – and around that time she revealed that she’d written most of her fourth Bat for Lashes album, so it looks like that could be on the way very soon indeed.
2. But not all of 2016’s new music will be premiered at Coachella
There are lots of people releasing new music this year that aren’t on the Coachella lineup, and given that Coachella is one of the first stops on the festival circuit, they may be opting for SXSW (in March) instead. Two Door Cinema Club have played Coachella before, and after announcing ‘new music, new shows, new everything’ for 2016 earlier this week, it’s a surprise they’re not featured. Likewise Californian sister trio Haim, who last played the festival in 2014, are an odd omission considering they said in October that their album is close to completion.
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Lots of people will be disappointed that Frank Ocean won’t be there, especially after all the rumours circulating around his second album. St Vincent has released an album every one or two years since 2007 and it’s now been two years since her self-titled fifth. It’s been two and a half years since Vampire Weekend’s most recent effort, ‘Modern Vampires Of The City’ and Lorde’s debut, ‘Pure Heroine’. Those albums are all likely to appear this year, and if they won’t get their festival premieres at Coachella, they probably will elsewhere.
3. Like it or not, EDM is in rude health
Yep, we have Zhu. We have Zedd. Calvin Harris is headlining. Tensnake is here. 2manydjs? Present and correct. Where’s Jack Ü now? On the lineup. Major Lazer too.
EDM isn’t going anywhere (fast).
4. And if Coachella is becoming more poppy, other festivals will follow suit
There’s lots more chart material on the lineup too. Take Ellie Goulding, for example – once folky winner of the Critics Choice Brit Award, now purveyor of polished pop. Precocious electropop star Halsey; Australian ‘Titanium’ singer Sia; soulful and behatted James Bay; Years & Years, they of the killer hit ‘King’. Some people might be frustrated that Sheer Mag and Sia are sharing a billing, but there are lots of different stages, guys. Everyone can be friends.
5. Both Guns N’ Roses and LCD Soundsystem could be playing a British festival or two. Ahem.
Given that it’s the most profitable festival in the world (last year it grossed nearly $85,000,000 selling 198,000 tickets) Coachella was probably the most likely contender to bring Axl and Slash back together. But now we think they’re probably willing to perform together (it hasn’t officially been confirmed), why wouldn’t GN’R take on UK festival stages? We’re talking Reading & Leeds, BST, maybe even Glasto. Perhaps they’ll have a huge falling out and that won’t happen, but there’s no reason LCD couldn’t make it over here.
6. BBC Sound Of… alumni are everywhere
You might look at the Sound Of 2016 longlist and wonder how many of the acts you’ll remember in 5 years’ time. Turns out 2010’s Daisy Dares You had the bad luck of being dropped by her label and is now in a band called Pink Lizards. Not everyone gets to be Sam Smith.
Still, many of the nominees from past years have gone on to great success, and a third of 2015’s cohort are on the billing for Coachella 2016 – James Bay, Lapsley, Shamir, Wolf Alice and Years & Years. Then there’s a couple from this year’s list – Alessia Cara and Frances – and from further back, there’s Chvrches, AlunaGeorge, Savages, A$AP Rocky and Ellie Goulding. So you can expect to see even more of them at UK festivals this year.