Coming off a week of music as intense as this one has been (Delorean, A.A. Bondy, Ray LaMontagne, Smashing Pumpkins), it’s hard to even justify schlepping to an L.A. concert. That is, until you see the lineup for this year’s F*ck Yeah Fest (now going by the more PC—and redundant—“FYF Fest”). In its seventh year, this day-long ode to all things indie is boasting its strongest talent to date, not to mention a mish mosh of acts that are as forward thinking as they are musically diverse. Below, you’ll find our top four reasons to check out tomorrow’s festivities, but trust us when we say that there’s way more fun in store than we can list. For tickets, set times, and information, visit fyffest.com.
The Headliners: OK, so they didn’t get Radiohead. But the booking powers for this year’s FYF did score one hell of a coup in Panda Bear. The side project of Animal Collective frontman Noah Lennox, Panda Bear boasts the same yelping deliveries, swirling samples, and vibey experimentalism that so many have come to know (and love) from AC. Still, Lennox’s attention to arrangement details, subtle sonic tricks, and overall preciousness make this outfit much less of an aural assault. Expect to be dazzled, then entranced. Also sharing headlining space for tomorrow night’s festivities are New York dance rockers The Rapture, who might be the biggest mystery on the bill. While their 2003 breakthrough, Echoes, still remains a deejay favorite, and 2006’s Pieces of the People We Love was a solid enough second effort, little has been heard of them since. And with a new record in the works (and rumored to be near completion), there’s no telling what their Saturday set may bring.
The Up-and-Comers: Like past FYF’s, this year is boasting some serious underground and up-and-coming talent. Case in point: L.A.’s own Local Natives, who blew up big earlier this year with their über catchy debut, Gorilla Manor. The band’s Fleet Foxes-meet-The Format sound is chock full of brimming harmonies, fancy drum work, and sing-a-long-ready choruses. In other words, their mid-evening set is destined to be one of the more packed of the day. Also note, early risers, Cults and Magic Kids, both of whom have released some seriously attractive tunes in recent months. Where Cults goes the xylophone and lo-fi production route, Magic Kids embrace a slightly more whacked out version of ’60s Cali pop. Either route you go, though, your destined to get a song stuck in your head for the remainder.
The Oddballs: In between it all, Saturday’s offering up a recipe for all sorts of onstage antics. First, you’ve got the always-volatile Wavves, whose frontman, Nathan Williams, is known as much for his buoyant punk pop as he is for his foul mouth. And earlier in the day, you can catch Williams’ lady friend (and fellow distortion lover) Bethany Cosentino, who hits the Oak Stage with Best Coast at 3:35 p.m. While the tunes will no doubt offer all the sunny-ness they do on record, you can expect Cosentino to banter with the best of them. And as far as potential train wrecks go, we’ve got our eyes on Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti. The Hollywood chill wave maestro might just have one of the best records of the year in his recently released, undeniably out-there Before Today. But he’s also got one of the most notorious stage presences in indie rock. He plays the Oak Stage at 6:15 p.m.
The Price: In a world where music festivals can get away with charging hundreds of bucks for admission, the folks at FYF are choosing to keep it cost-efficient. A pass to this year’s festivities is a measly $30 (you can go the VIP route for $60), and ticket holders get access to a whole slew of super cheap one-off events before and after the fest. (Panda Bear plays Pomona’s Glass House on Sunday night for a mere $10 a head!?) If they keep this up, I may never return to Coachella again …