Three Imaginary Girls say “Coachella Smoachella”

This is the weekend that thousands and thousands of music fans descend upon Indio, CA, for the annual Coachella festival. The lineup is especially impressive, landing appearances by Paul McCartney, Leonard Cohen, Morrissey, Franz Ferdinand, Crystal Castles and Girl Talk — and that’s just Friday.

Even given the choice of going to Southern California for Coachella or staying in Seattle for the weekend, I think I would still opt for Seattle (besides, I was in Southern California two weeks ago), mostly because of the two events I’m recommending this week.

EMP Pop Conference at Experience Music Project, Thursday, April 16 through Sunday, April 19

As an admitted music nerd who spends an inordinate amount of time reading about pop music, this is my nirvana. I had just gotten back from the opening reception (and skipped Nona Hendryx’s keynote speech to write this column) and have already had a fantastic time. Probably 90% of the music writers I read regularly and who have influenced how I listen to and write about music are here. This year’s theme “Dance Music Sex Romance: Pop and the Body Politic” and has countless panels exploring that theme.

There is an especially impressive group of critics and writers here, like Carl Wilson (a recent guest on “The Colbert Report” and author of the best book in the 33 1/3 series, on Celine Dion’s Let’s Talk About Love), Eric Weisbard (whose review of a Junior Senior album for Slate — along with Wilson’s book — were instrumental in my becoming a poptimist), Greil Marcus (whose writing in The New York Times and Esquire led me to discovering my absolute favorite band, Sleater-Kinney), and Robert Christgau (who is so important and legendary that Sonic Youth released a song called “I Killed Christgau with my Big Dick”).

If you enjoy conversations with really, really smart people about which band was more influential, Jesus and Mary Chain or My Bloody Valentine, there really isn’t a better time to be had.

Record Store Day, Various Locations, Saturday, April 18

Last week, England’ most influential music magazine, NME fired a shot across the bow, coming out against Record Store Day, calling it a sense of “false nostalgia” for an industry dying. That may or may not be true, but I still enjoy buying music in record stores and want them to thrive. I even think it is a beneficial thing if corporate record stores succeed. Last year on the KEXP blog, dozens of people (myself included) offered their favorite record store stories, and they were all wonderful, touching stories about buying music that you can’t repeat buying music online.

I’m very lucky in the sense that my Belltown apartment is within walking distance to two great, independent record stores: Silver Platters and Easy Street Records but with Borders Books and Music removing the “and Music” from their floor space and record shops shutting down left and right due to the economic climate, it is difficult not to feel a little nostalgic. Record Store Day isn’t a lame attempt to prop up record stores a little longer but a thank you to previous customers and a reminder that record stores still exist and need the support of people who like to frequent them. Sonic Boom and Easy Street are having in-store performances and many more are also offering sales and limited edition items. Be sure to check out more info.

Growing up all wrong,

Chris Burlingame
Three Imaginary Girls

High iPod rotation:
The Roots
Cage the Elephant
The Ting Tings

(Three Imaginary Girls is a Seattle-based website that showcases the great music of the Northwest and beyond to music lovers worldwide. We post a Seattle live show calendar to help you fill your day-planner with loads of great shows, as well as record reviews, live show reviews, and an imagi-blog to entertain you throughout the day.)

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