Desert Daze will descend upon the enchanted Joshua Tree National Forest again in just two days, where thousands of kindred spirits shrouded in denim and paisley will gather to celebrate the desert’s mystic properties via music, art and all sorts of other weird, trippy shit (like black metal yoga, and modular sound baths…whatever the fuck that is).
The festival makes its return to The Institute of Mental Physics for the second year in a row, boasting what many believe to be its strongest line-up yet. From rock n roll icons like Iggy Pop and John Cale to beloved contemporary acts the likes of Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile, Panda Bear, and Spiritualized, there’s no wonder it’s being heralded as Southern California’s best new rock fest.
While there’s plenty to see as far as heavy hitters go, Desert Daze’s esoteric line-up is candy-coated by its fantastic undercard, which brings together some of the best up-and-coming psych rock and indie bands from LA, Orange County, SF and beyond. In other words, if you’re thinking about hanging poolside at your Air BnB sippin’ PBRs till the big names hit the stage, you’re doing this festival soooooo wrong. There’s much to explore within this three-day desert takeover, so gobble up some mushrooms and check out these badass fucking bands that you really don’t want to miss:
Khruangbin’s slithering guitar leads whip back and forth to the motion of its smooth and steady percussive foundation like a snake moving through the fine-grained sands of a dune. Each intricate arrangement is exhaled with effortless tranquility. The kind of shit you’d hear a 70s-era pimp queue up before taking off this bathrobe and sliding into a jacuzzi tub. It’s funk, its soul, it’s surf, it’s psych… it’s dope.
Playing — The Wright Tent, Sun. @ 7:20pm
Emily Haines is best known for the dancey, indie pop grooves of her wildly successful band, Metric. However, as a solo artist, she reveals a softer side, digging deep into the closet to reveal the skeletons that dwell there in torment. Haines creates a weightless atmosphere with her airy vocal harmonies and delicate piano arrangements, but also reserves the right to deliver a swift kick to the sack with affected guitars and heavy bass lines when necessary.
Playing — Noble Hall, Sat. @ 8:15pm
It wouldn’t be a proper Desert Daze without its abundance of far-out, psychedelic rock outfits like Triptides. These dudes keep it simple and sweet with their polished take on Flower Power era rock n’ roll, relying on infectious vocal melodies and hip-shakin’ grooves to send you through the wormhole.
Playing — Block Stage, Fri. @ 2:15pm
Michael Collins, who has operated under other wonderfully bad aliases such as Salvia Plath and Run DMT, has returned with yet another drug-induced record — this time as the supplier. Collin’s dishes out more his signature psychoactive ear candies; the kind sprinkled with ingredients sourced from 60’s and 70’s pop, funk, and soul. But as Drugdealer they are presented with a glossy new finish to entice potential buyers. Help from weirdo heartthrobs Ariel Pink and Weyes Blood has helped push him into new territory as a singer/songwriter, making his debut album The End Of Comedy, one that is well worth a spin.
Playing — Block Stage, Sun. @ 1:00pm
Prepared to get fucked by the fuzz monster y’all. Dahga Bloom will be out in Joshua Tree wailing out shit that can even fry the face off of a cactus. The 3-bassist, 4-piece psych-rock outfit hail from Orange County, a scene characterized by its aggressive, in-your-face garage rock the likes of Ty Segall and Thee Oh Sees …and boy, do they fit the bill. Dahga Bloom’s sinister sound is one to leave your pupils dilated and your head spinning. An effect stemming as a result of its reverberating screams as they pan around a spectrum of big, disorienting fuzz.
Playing — Wright Tent, Sat. @ 4:00pm