This past weekend, my wife and her company went up to Yosemite for a team building trip, leaving me with a weekend to sit around messing up our apartment, or find something better to do with my time. I’ve been needing an escape into nature for a while now, but all searches for campsites told me they were either booked or sounded like anything but peaceful “It’s right next to a high school and you can hear the games all weekend.” “There were multiple boom boxes playing mariachi music all night.” Eh, I’ll just stay home and re-watch Twin Peaks so I’m prepared when that comeback finally happens.
But then, the gods of weekend activities smiled down upon me and a new music app called Lyynks Music invited me out to the Yucca Valley to attend the Desert Stars Festival and get to know the Lyynks service. Upon noticing some of my favorite bands in the lineup, I immediately accepted the invitation and headed out to the desert for my first solo camping trip.
When I arrived, I met Brandon from Lyynks who ran me through all the features of the app. For artists, Lyynks combines the ability to upload and sell (or give away) your music, manage email lists, post show announcements and sell merchandise all from one place. It’s been more than a few years since my playing in a band days, but I went ahead and uploaded my old music just to try it out. Lyynks is still in beta, so there are still some bugs being worked out, but uploading songs and artwork was quick and easy. It sounds like they’re targeting independent Los Angeles-area artists first, so if you’re an LA musician, it could be worth your while to get over there n0wish as the pool of bands is still pretty small and you’ll have a good chance of being noticed by people looking to discover new music. There are a few price tiers available for artists, though you can get in there and start using it to manage up to 500 email contacts for free. Other tiers allow you to increase the size of your email list, track your sales and play with advanced analytics. Hey, cool.
For those looking to discover new music, Lyynks offers an app store experience similar to Apple’s in that you can sort music by new, hot, local or free. You can also check out upcoming performance dates, merchandise and videos. If you enjoy music, staying local, and seeing shows at venues smaller than the Greek, this could be the music discovery app for you.
Back to the festival, this place was a scene. A good scene, but a scene nonetheless. There must have been some peyote going around because none of what was happening would make any sense without it. The Desert Stars Festival was held at Pappy & Harriet’s out in the old Hollywood western set of Pioneertown. Bands played inside and outside and no matter where you were standing, you were surrounded by so many 60’s haircuts I thought I’d need a TARDIS to find my way back to LA. But, the music was amazing. If you’re into the droney/poppy/fuzzy/psychedelic music of The Dandy Warhols and The Brian Jonestown Massacre, this was the place to be. I’ve seen the Dandy Warhols probably around 20 times, in all sorts and sizes of venues, but seeing them out in the desert with flashing lights and their own live image projected back onto themselves while inhaling whatever happened to be wafting through the air at any given moment, was as good as it gets. I may skip my next haircut appointment and let my burns grow out. Why not.
I got to know some bands that scratched that garage-rock and roll itch that never stops itching. Bands like Slow White, The Richmond Sluts, No Silver Bird, Magic Castles and Ringo Deathstarr put on such intense performances in the desert heat that there should have been a post-set hose-down for everyone on and off stage. Joel Gion of the Primary Colours and formerly (or sometimes still with) the Brian Jonestown Massacre was there checking out all the bands and I resisted the urge to ask him to take a selfie with me. (Though I did snap this photo of him leaning against the speakers watching The Richmond Sluts.)
Later in the night, I started making friends with random attendees. I met up with Brandon from Lyynks and he introduced me to Lyynks’ founder Chris who talked rock and roll history with me. Chris’ wife was great and told me that I look like Colm Meaney from Star Trek (I’ve heard worse.) She even had me convinced for a few minutes that I should surprise my wife with a kitten. What? I don’t want to live with a cat. I’m glad whatever was in the air wore off on the ride home. I mean sure, if she wants a cat that badly we can totally get one. At one point Chris and I got into a conversation about the new Jimi Hendrix movie starring Andrew 3000 and when I voiced my disappointment that Mr. 3000 didn’t hold his fretting fingers in a believable way, a man in a 60s bowl cut entered the conversation saying that it didn’t matter how his hands looked because the movie was amazing and he should know because he’s a writer. Well, alright.
Anyway, thanks again to Lyynks for having me out for the weekend, this was a much better way to spend the weekend than sweating on my couch and deciding what to order on GrubHub (does Hooters delivery make sense?) When you’re done reading this, I recommend you click on the A.C., head over to Lyynks.com and check out some music from local LA artists. They are killing themselves wearing leather and denim in the desert and you could make their lives a lot easier by just grabbing a few downloads.