Like many people, I spent a good part of my weekend at Coachella. By “at Coachella,” I mean watching some of the sets that were streaming online. There were plenty of enjoyable moments thanks to artists like Chvrches, Ty Segall, Lorde, Future Islands and Arcade Fire, but I want to take a quick second to talk about what many might say was THE set of the entire weekend. Naturally, I’m referring to Outkast. It was their first show back in action, and like many groups reuniting after a breakup or extended hiatus, absence seems to make the heart grow fonder. When Big Boi and Andre 3000 both went their separate ways back in 2006, I was sick and tired of Outkast. As a fervent supporter of their records Aquemini and Stankonia from 1998 and 2000 respectively, I felt there was a significant dip in quality after that, and hearing “Hey Ya” on the radio ten million times only enraged me further. So the last seven-ish years have been kind of a nice break, actually. But when it was announced that they would be returning in 2014 to help celebrate their 20th anniversary, I was moderately happy with the news thanks to a bout of nostalgia. That was quickly in effect during the first quarter of Outkast’s Coachella set, as they powered through some of their best tracks like no time had passed at all. It was fun and exhilarating, and they had a decent stage setup with a band to help supplement some of the melodies. Here was a reunion that appeared to be working great. Then came the middle section of the show. Andre 3000 disappeared for about 20 minutes, and Big Boi did a couple of track solo before bringing out Janelle Monae to perform her hit “Tightrope.” When Andre did return, Big Boi stepped out for a 20 minute break. It was during Andre’s solo portion that I noticed how much he was half-assing it. Thanks to performing with a backing vocal track, he was only actually singing or spouting off lyrics about 75% of the time. When Big Boi returned, they brought out hip hop up-and-comer Future and let him do three tracks plus promoted his forthcoming album. I’m still wondering what the point of that was. Things got quite a bit better the last 20-30 minutes of the show though, as Outkast blew through some of their greatest hits (“Ms. Jackson,” “So Fresh, So Clean,” and “The Way You Move,” among others). Of course when it came time for the big finale with “The Whole World” and a guest spot from Killer Mike, the guys got their microphones cut off due to a steadfast curfew before they could even get started. So we missed out. Overall I’d classify Outkast’s set as a little shaky, a little awkward, and a little great. They definitely could have done better, but the good news is they have at least 40 more shows to finally get it right. Okay then, let’s get into today’s Pick Your Poison. There’s some good tracks today from Baby Baby, DWNTWN, Killer Mike (speak of the devil!), Ought, Two Harbors, Vire and Your Wildest Dreams. In the Soundcloud section after the jump, stream cuts from Alex Metric & Oliver, Alpines, Dasher, Disclosure & Friend Within, and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart.
Your Wildest Dreams – Folds of Splendor
Alex Metric & Oliver – Galaxy
Alpines – No Other Lover
Dasher – Time Flies
Disclosure & Friend Within – The Mechanism
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – Eurydice
Sam Smith – Stay With Me (Shy FX Remix)