Trying to digest the sheer amount of amazing artists performing at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, Calif. (April 16-18) can be a daunting task. So I’ve simplified the massive lineup into a short but sweet guide based on what Vince, Drew and myself—i.e., the local electro-punk trio Afghan Raiders—would want to watch. Our guide is broken down into roughly 10-15 acts per day (which is a doable number of bands for the average person to see) and categorized the acts based on whether you want to rage with the masses, play it safe by watching a good band, dance your heart out, rock out with a heavier band or discover some new music. See you there!
Friday, April 16
LCD Soundsystem. The live incarnation of James Murphy, dance-punk pioneer and co-founder of DFA records.
Yeasayer. Experimental psych-pop outfit from Brooklyn. Their 2010 effort, Odd Blood, is fun, catchy and interesting.
Grizzly Bear. Think young Radiohead: heavenly harmonies and a beautiful wall of psych-pop sound.
Ra Ra Riot. Solid indie pop in the vein of The Shins, Arcade Fire and Vampire Weekend.
Fever Ray. Swedish electronic music goddess Karin Andersson’s (of The Knife) new solo project and terrifying mask.
Deadmau5. Giant mouse head costume + mind-altering electro-house dance music = Sahara Tent madness.
Erol Alkan. World-renowned DJ, masher, remixer, producer.
Wolfgang Gartner. DJ, remixer and producer plays his dance-heavy tech house/electro set.
The Dillinger Escape Plan. This tech-heavy, face-melting, hard-core rock outfit who once opened for NIN will shake the bones out of your body.
Sleigh Bells. With only a handful of demos, this Brooklyn-based duo is stripped-down noise pop that’s danceable, in-your-face and incredibly hooky.
Little Dragon. Swedish electro band with a lovely Swedish-Japanese vocalist. Soulful, R&B-laced vocals over electronic-pop synths and ’80s noise.
Saturday, April 17
MGMT. Psych-pop music for the masses. “Time to Pretend” should get everyone pumped up.
Hot Chip. A quirky, fun, live electronic band hailing from London with an immense catalog of catchy tunes.
Beach House. Space out to the Baltimore duo’s dreamy, drifty, hypnotic indie music.
Devo. The New Wave pioneers fuel you up with their infamous energy domes and finish you off with “Whip It.”
The Dirty Projectors. If you want to feel like the smartest, most avant garde Coachella fan ever, then you need to see these experimental Brooklyn rockers.
The xx. Sans energetic stage presence, this dreamy English indie-rock band still wows with moody tones, a dark look and illuminating X’s.
2 Many DJ’s. A phenomenal DJ set from David and Stephen Dewaele of Soulwax. An eclectic selection of songs and a crowd that wants to redefine the meaning of dance.
Major Lazer. Expect guest vocal appearances and hard electro-laced reggae dancehall bangers with the talented DJs/producers Diplo and Switch (of M.I.A. fame).
Bassnectar. Up-and-coming S.F.-based electro music producer who will bring heavy, dubby, bassy, nectary musical goodness mixed with interesting visuals.
Faith No More. A vastly influential late-’80s/early-’90s rock band that recently reunited.
White Rabbits. Six-piece indie rock band from Brooklyn.
Girls. The San Francisco buzz band cuts their Children of God cult ties with lovable, psych-pop rock in the vein of Beach Boys and Elvis Costello.
Flying Lotus. A beat junkie, next-level music producer, avant garde genre-bender and Alice Coltrane’s great nephew.
The Almighty Defenders. Dirty, lo-fi “gospel” supergroup feat. members of Black Lips and King Khan & BBQ.
Sunday, April 18
Thom Yorke. Radiohead frontman’s undeniable solo effort.
Pavement. A long-awaited reunion for one of the biggest cult bands ever.
Sly Stone. Sly & the Family Stone helped pioneer 1970s funk.
Gorillaz. Iconic cartoon characters mashed with Blur frontman Damon Albarn.
Julian Casablancas. The Strokes frontman sings his debut solo record.
Mayer Hawthorne & The County. A goofy, Detroit-based white guy with deep, soulful Motown music a la Al Green.
Miike Snow. One name, three producers Swedish electro pop band with remix work and notable hits on their debut record.
Orbital. British electro music duo drops techno-acid house-rave bombs into the masses.
Spoon. Frontman Britt Daniel brings his upbeat, fun and smart indie rock from Austin, Texas.
The Soft Pack. Good ol’ full-flavored indie rock with hints of that memorable San Diego punk-rock scene.
Deerhunter. Smart, ambient, noise-punk, straight from Atlanta.
Charlotte Gainsbourg. A famous French actress and singer-songwriter with a great new record produced by Beck.
Local Natives. Young, talented indie rockers from Silver Lake, Calif. Slick, cool harmonies and percussions a la Arcade Fire and Fleet Foxes.