The Best of Coachella 2012 Weekend One: M83, Jeff Mangum, Hologram Tupac, Refused, A$AP Rocky, At the Drive-In, Death Grips, Azealia Banks and more…

It was Aural Standards’ ninth Coachella (and tenth, counting Weekend Two), but it may have been our most memorable yet. While Sacramento’s Death Grips left a deep, seeping impression in our minds (boot-shaped) and Hologram Tupac enjoys a second life as a lasting meme, it was the reunions that did us in. Neutral Milk Hotel’s In the Aeroplane Over the Sea and Refused’s The Shape of Punk to Come are two of our favorite albums of all time (At the Drive-In’s Relationship of Command flies high on that list as well), but never did we imagine we’d witness those songs performed live by the folks who actually made ’em (NMH auteur Jeff Mangum was billed as a solo act). Cheers to the folks at Goldenvoice for throwing scads of money at the problem until it resolved itself. Here are our five faves from each of the first three days. Below is a list of what we covered with excerpted bits. Click on the DAY to read full reviews at SPIN.

FRIDAY
1. Refused: thick, primal slabs of punk that seemed to rattle the scaffolding…
2. Death Grips: Run DMC meets Aerosmith, cranked on incredibly foul PCP…
3. M83: doors opening infinitely to bigger and bigger doors, a galactic gasp…
4. Frank Ocean: for the line about Coachella, the screams were deafening…
5. The Rapture: rogue groups of get-down circles spilling from the sides…

SATURDAY
1. Jeff Mangum: he opened his mouth and for 50 minutes, we were his…
2. Flying Lotus:  a wild genre-crushing journey, heady but head-knocking…
3. Black Lips:  Cole dropped trou and executed a searing solo with, well…
4. Azealia Banks: fast-rapping and boasting over minimal sub-bass rumble…
5. A$AP Rocky:  a perfect storm of N.W.A., Public Enemy and Bone Thugs…

SUNDAY
1. Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg: who rose from below the stage but Tupac himself…
2. At the Drive-In: a high-octane inferno of post-hardcore mania…
3. AraabMUZIK: conducting a symphony of melody, effects and percussion…
4. Le Butcherettes: she ran out into the field, arms out like an airplane…
5. Gotye: the massive human traffic jam stretched 50 yards in every direction…

Tomorrow, we get caught up with Weekend Two.

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Using the Beatles as a Weapon

In which the A.V. Clubhouse was asked which music we’d use to punish an enemy (a la the army and Metallica). Read em all here. My entry below:

Reading Kenny’s response makes me wonder at the long-term psychological effects on those fortunate (?) enough to have attended the Watch The Throne tour. Twenty years from now, our society will feature a sizable segment who flinches at the mere mention of words like CRAY-on and CRAY-fish (or Kreayshawn, but that might be for different reasons). I’ve used hardcore music, from Brotha Lynch Hung to Refused, to spite parents, roommates, and neighbors when occasion called for it, but as I get a little older, a little smarter, and a lot meaner, I think less about blunt-force trauma and more about the kind of psychic brutality that could drive people to question their very existence. Like “Revolution 9” by The Beatles, played not loud, but at a just audible level through a small speaker spackled into the wall between my apartment and the one next door, on some sort of standalone device hotwired to the building’s grid so it never runs out of power. Or a quietly nagging Skrillex loop somehow rigged to trigger every time the platinum-Jeep-driving douchebag down the street uses a kitchen appliance. “Honey, is the blender broken?” “No, it’s fine.” “Then why does it sound like an engine that won’t turn over?” I mean, really, people. We’re adults now. It’s time we start thinking like the terrorists.