Atoms for Peace

COACHELLA OR BUST: I’m not going to lie: The only thing that might be better than this year’s stellar lineup at the annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is the host county’s stellar-looking five-day forecast. As of this past Monday, my besties over at AccuWeather are quoting mid to high 80s throughout the weekend, meaning more bands and less heat exhaustion for those of us trying to catch it all.

Sunstroke issues aside, this weekend promises to be the hands-down musical highlight of the year (thus far) for us Left Coasters. For three full days, pop’s best and brightest will converge in Palm Desert for the 11th time in as many years, and the roster is easily the best we’ve seen in the past three. In addition to solid headliners like rock supergroup Them Crooked Vultures and hip-hop’s reigning king, Jay-Z, Friday’s ticket holders will have the opportunity to catch early-bird specials like Sweden electro-popsters Little Dragon and Portland New Wavers Hockey. Come midday, dance rock reigns with acts like Yeasayer and La Roux, and alt-folk gets some mighty representation by way of She & Him and the Avett Brothers (who make an S.B. stop at the Arlington on Wednesday, April 28).

On Saturday, Coachella hosts not-to-be-missed early sets from the Temper Trap, Frightened Rabbit, and the dreamy Beach House (see “Previews”). Midday is filled to the brim with indie pop (Camera Obscura, Dirty Projectors) and some seriously rockin’ females (Gossip’s Beth Ditto, The Raveonettes’ Sharin Foo). And late night? Oh, there you’ll find icons like Devo and Faith No More sandwiched between recently risen electropop stars like MGMT and Hot Chip.

If the scope and strength of the fest still has you hungry for more, then Sunday’s eclectic offerings will surely satiate. Things start off solidly with guaranteed-to-be-great shows from L.A. up-and-comers Local Natives and Paparazzi. The afternoon heat brings out worldly wizards like Iceland’s Jónsi (of Sigur Rós fame), Australian rock collective The Middle East, and French composer Yann Tiersen, as well as alt-rock icons Yo La Tengo (see “Previews”) and Sunny Day Real Estate. The weekend also goes out with a bang, thanks to Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke and his new pet project-cum-supergroup, Atoms for Peace, who (lucky for us) play a pre-Coachella show at our very own Santa Barbara Bowl this Saturday, April 17, at 7 p.m. Whether or not you missed out on 2008’s awe-inspiring Radiohead show at the Bowl, this is a serious must-see. Call 962-7411 or visit for details and info.

And if you’re planning on trekking it down to the desert at some point this weekend, be sure to tune in to for up to the minute updates on set times, lineup changes, and weather conditions.

CLOSE TO HOME: If you’re sticking around town this weekend, don’t fret, as there will be no shortage of live music that won’t take you four-plus hours to get to. On Saturday, April 17, Muddy Waters Café (508 E. Haley St.) hosts an all-star cast of indie rock talent featuring Beehouse Records labelmates The Spires and Seth Pettersen & the Undertow and former Coral Sea-er Rey Villalobos, starting at 8 p.m. Visit for info.

On Sunday, April 18, the longtime Santa Barbarans of the Mark Roberts Band bring their rollicking take on good ole-fashioned rock ’n’ roll to the patio of the Paradise Store (1 Paradise Rd.) for a midday set. With warm temps and Eagles-style chords, I’m betting it’ll be a mighty fine way to usher in spring and close out the weekend. Call 967-3254 or visit for details.

And on Monday, April 19, SBDIY dishes up another killer lineup at Isla Vista’s Biko Co-Op Garage (6612 Sueno Rd.) with Brooklyn-born, Michigan-bred duo City Center at 7:30 p.m. The K Recordings artists employ a heavy-handed mix of electronica and distortion, but the effects are less rowdy, more dream-like, and embrace a whole lot lo-fi. For show details and openers, visit


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