The Morning Benders

Coachella 2011: The Lineup

The lineup for this year’s Coachella dropped early this morning and it’s no joke. Goldenvoice put together a well-rounded bill that starts with headliners Arcade Fire, Kings of Leon, The Strokes and Kanye West and includes HT faves The Felice Brothers, Tame Impala and Trampled By Turtles.

Here’s a look at the lineup in poster form…

Coachella 2011 takes place at Empire Polo Club in Indio, CA on April 15 – 17. Tickets go on sale this Friday at 10 AM PST.

READ ON for an A to Z (or ! to Z) rundown of the bill…

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Friday Mix Tape: HT’s Top 25 Albums

Since we’ve spent the entire week recounting our favorite albums of 2010, and quite frankly you’re probably tired of reading about them, seemed like a no-brainer to end the week

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HT 25 Best Albums of 2010: Numbers 6-10

For the second consecutive year at Hidden Track, we concocted our innovative little experiment for the year-end Best Albums list. Instead of picking the old fashioned way – subjectively – we opted for something a little different: a collaborative, collective list that incorporates the opinions of everybody here at HT.

To begin, we devised an all-encompassing list of well over 100 nominees, whereby most everything our contributors recommended made the list. Then we invited our crew of writers to independently and blindly vote on the whole list on a scale of 1 to 20 (20 = five stars). We ended up with varying degrees of familiarity with the nominees as some folks voted on just about everything, while some just a few. From there, we deployed our egghead algorithm for rating albums: (two times the average rating) + (the total number of votes). At that point, we took the top 25 highest scores and presto: the Hidden Track 25 Best Albums of 2010. No bullshit, no big opinions; just the results.

We’ve got just ten albums to go on our week long countdown, let’s check out albums number 6-10…

10) Beach HouseTeen Dream

Key Tracks: Zebra, 10 Mile Stereo and Norway

Sounds Like: The music a female version of Neil Young would make while fighting the effects of Ambien

The Skinny: Beach House’s Sub-Pop debut, the band’s third full-length album, showed a major progression in the band’s sound as the duo of Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally put together an album of dreamy originals that draws you in during the first few seconds of opening track Zebra and doesn’t let you go until the final notes of the closing Take Care. In between, Legrand and Scally take us on a tour of diverse soundscapes with layer upon layer of goodness that you’d never expect from a two-some. Whether using organs, slide guitar, or lush harmonies – Beach House put together a masterpiece of atmospheric rock.

READ ON for the next four albums in our countdown…

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At The Barbecue: 2010’s Break Out Acts

With the year rapidly coming to a close, and the holiday season fully upon us, we wanted to get the HT Crew together for one last hang to talk music before we throw the cover on BBQ for the winter. Since ’tis the season to reflect back on what went down over the last 12 months, we thought we’d invite the gang over to HT Headquarters to warm up by the fireplace, throw some large hunks of meat on the grill and crack open a few Anderson Valley Winter Solsticeses for another rousing edition of At The Barbecue.


This time around, we thought we’d continue our year-end housecleaning by discussing our Break Out Acts of the year, which ranged from new discoveries to some acts that just hit it out of the park with a monster 2010.

Andy KahnThe Morning Benders

Without a doubt The Morning Benders stood up and demanded to be noticed this year. Particularly on the heels of their sophomore album Big Echo & their relentless touring, the band has proven to be a force in the studio & on the road. The quartet from Berkeley, CA is led by multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Christopher Chu, whose impressive songwriting is filled with dreamy lyrics and catchy pop sensibilities. Whether on stage or in the studio the band creates a lush but airy sound tucked into a cool, laid-back vibe.

Excuses, their captivating single off Big Echo, was my song of the year after the first listen and has made it “big” being featured on a television commercial. The band is on a seemingly never ending tour, crisscrossing the States and beyond several times this year alone, opening for acts like Broken Bells, hitting festivals and headlining bills as well. Keep an eye out for these guys there’s a good chance they’re playing your town soon.

READ ON for more of our picks of the Break Out Acts of 2010…

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At The Barbecue: Constructive Summer – The HT Staff’s Favorite Shows of the Season

Wow, I can’t believe we’ve made almost three-quarters of the way through the year and we’ve haven’t had the time to get the HT Crew together for a solid hang to talk music, while chowing down on a tasty spread of burgers, dogs, kebabs and whatnot. With summer officially coming to an end yesterday, we thought we’d invite the gang over to HT Headquarters to enjoy the quickly disappearing last warm days of the year, throw some large hunks of meat on the grill and crack open a few Long Trail Harvest Ales for another rousing edition of At The Barbecue.


This time around we’re having everyone share with the class what they did on their summer vacation by discussing their favorite show of the summer – which we’ve roughly defined as anything seen between Labor Day and Memorial Day weekends. So with that in mind let’s get to it…

Scott Bernstein – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers / MMJ – August 24 – Izod Center – East Rutherford, NJ

Picking my favorite concert of the summer wasn’t easy as there were about five concerts that all could’ve easily been my choice. While Phish’s second Camden show was fairly epic, God Street Wine’s reunion shows were a blast and catching Squeeze in the middle of Bryant Park was sublime, I’ve decided that the My Morning Jacket/Tom Petty show I saw at the Izod Center on August 24th was my favorite concert of the season. MMJ tore through all of their classics and didn’t hold anything back in tackling their best material, while Petty did a great job of presenting a mini-set of songs from his latest album smack dab in the middle of a flawless greatest hits set.

Not only was the music great but I was very surprised by the enthusiasm displayed by the concertgoers in my section. I expected a crowd of folks who were content to sit all night and instead most stood and danced with joy and excitement. I took great pleasure in watching MMJ win over Petty fans and I do believe The Heartbreakers are extremely underrated as musicians, especially keyboardist Benmont Tench. I tend to focus on the details and watching Tench come up with innovative fills on a variety of vintage keyboards was a revelation. I would’ve never guessed going into the show that MMJ/Petty would be my favorite gig of the summer, but perhaps the lack of expectations and a full, rocking arena led this night to a special place in my heart. Plus, I’m just a sucker for arena rock.

READ ON for more of the HT Staff’s favorite shows of the summer…

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Tour Dates: Down On The Corner

Cornershop sure don’t like to be rushed when it comes to recording albums, taking nearly eight years in between releases and putting out only three records in the last 13

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Bloggy Goodness: Dead On Wax

There has been a long adage that jambands can’t make great studio albums, well don’t believe the hype as between 1967 and 1970 the Grateful Dead made some of the

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Friday Mix Tape: The Best Of Q1

You know what really grinds my gears? People that obnoxiously state that there is “no good music these days”. I say to these people, you’re doing it wrong and you’re

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Tour Dates: Going For Broke

After a handful of high profile warm up shows, which included a number of SXSW appearances, James Mercer (The Shins) and Brian Burton (aka Danger Mouse) will take their new

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Announcing: Lollapalooza 2010 Lineup

Throughout the 1990s Perry Farrell’s traveling Lollapalooza festival was a staple of the summer concert season bringing together an eclectic mix of acts from the worlds of alt.rock, metal, hip

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