So you’re going to Coachella this year, eh? Or maybe you haven’t quite pulled the trigger yet and are trying to decide whether it’s worth your time to convince some random facebook friend to sell you their extra ticket or even better, to deal with the joys of craigslist ticket trafficking?
Well, in any case this post is to serve to share what bands/artists/DJs I personally am most excited to be seeing in the desert this year and hopefully it enables you to discover some new music in the process as well. So let’s get on to it already.
For simplicity’s sake, I am going to go through the lineup in order and list off around ten or so artists from each day that you should not miss. And of course, I’ll share a video link for each and a shortlist of the bands/artists best known albums (for all you spotify folks) so you can really get a taste of who they are and what exactly they sound like. Enjoy and happy Coachella’ing.
Notable Albums: Stankonia, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below
Hopefully this act is self explanatory. Unfortunately the hilarious whoisoutkast tumblr has now been taken down but I’d like to think that you are at least a step above those featured on that tumblr who at best knew Outkast as “aren’t they the people with the salt shaker song?” or the “do they have any good songs besides ‘Hey Ya’?”.
Notable Albums: Silent Shout, Deep Cuts
Let’s just say that this is not going to be your average concert show. Read on here for the full details of what to expect in their current live “show”. For a taste of the weirdness to expect, check out the video medly below from a recent European tour date.
Notable Albums: Broken Bells, After The Disco
Broken Bells is the duo of the Shins’s Jamer Mercer and producer Danger Mouse (best known for Gnarls Barkley, producing Gorillaz’ Demon Days, and his Beatles/Jay-Z mashup album The Grey Album). Expect a crisp and on point show from these two very talented musicians.
Notable Albums: Fancy Footwork, Business Casual
The electro funk will be brought to the desert courtesy of the duo Dave 1 and P-Thugg. You best believe that. Be sure to bring your dancing shoes for this act, you’ll need them.
Notable Albums: The North Borders, Black Sands, Days to Come
This guy is seriously amazing live. If you like downtempo jazzy breaks style music, you will love this. His band is always spectacular and he often brings out a few guest singers to perform vocals live which really elevates the Bonobo concert experience to the next level.
Notable Albums: Flume (self titled)
Flume is a young and very talented australian electronic producer that broke out onto the electronic scene with his stellar debut album. It’s a bit difficult to pinpoint the exact genre he lives in but it’s a very nice combination of deep, future, garage, house, downtempo, and grime style sounds. The crowd is sure to go wild when he drops his massive hit “Sleepless”.
If you’re into big room EDM style festival music, then Carnage might just float your boat. He does a good job of mixing together dutch trancey house and trap style festival bangers together. He will definitely be in the Sahara tent where there will be fist pumps a plenty.
Notable Releases: Laid Out EP, Vacation EP
Continuing down the path of hazy glitchy ambient electronic downtempo future tunes, this founding member of the WeDidIt crew is known to put together a sonically interesting set while still throwing a few curveballs and deftly mashing on fx all the while. If you’re only familiar with his recorded music, expect a more upbeat and dance friendly performance from him live.
Notable Albums: Nina Kraviz
This attractive russian female DJ that could easily pass as a model but is in fact more well known for her knowledge and dexterity of wielding the house and techno underground to her delight. The “cover” might draw you into this “book”, but as the saying goes, don’t judge it by that.
Notable Mix: Dixon BBC1 Essential Mix
Might not be your household DJ name, but don’t let that fool you. Dixon supremely throws down. If you like sounds in the area of tech house, deep house, and techno you’ll want to check him out. Could easily be the “sleeper” DJ of Coachella 2014.
Queens of the Stone Age
Notable Albums: Songs for the Deaf, …Like Clockwork, Queens of the Stone Age
Josh Homme and his band have been pumping out heavy stoner rockin’ jams for years now and they’re not losing any steam as indicated by their solid 2013 album release (…Like Clockwork). Maybe you’ve only heard of their hit song “No One Knows” and if that’s the case, that’s ok. In fact, it’s probably a good thing (assuming you liked that song) because you now get the luxury of diving into the large QOTSA catalog of quality albums that is bound to get you pumped to see them live.
Empire of the Sun
Notable Albums: Walking on a Dream
Get ready for a theatrical show of space disco sounding tunes and over the top costumes. An overall very fun and unique concert experience, plus the songs are pretty catchy too.
Notable Albums: Treats, Reign of Terror
This popular indie noise rock duo does a great job of delivering a live show that appeals to most by amping up the danceability of the show while leaving just enough guitar fuzz to keep the purists happy. In all honesty, I’m not a big fan of their music but I saw them at Treasure Island last year and enjoyed their performance overall.
Notable Albums: The Bones of What You Believe
With some of the freshest sounding indie synth pop to come up in recent years, expect an appropriately large crowd for this “Churches with a V” band for their first Coachella appearance. This trio will impress with their ability to reproduce their songs well live while also adding a unique live feeling sound as well.
Notable Albums: Come On Die Young, Happy Songs for Happy People, Mr. Beast
Are you a fan of brooding instrumental post-rock? If so, this is the band for you. Masters of interweaving quiet beauty with forceful distortion makes a Mogwai live show something your body (and not just your ears) must full experience to appreciate.
Notable Releases: Within & Without, Paracosm, Life of Leisure EP
Smooth, chill-wave, indie rock, or whatever you want to call it. Washed Out delivers on all those fronts for a soothing yet surprisingly upbeat indie experience that will leave you wondering why you hadn’t heard more about them before.
Notable Albums: Psychic
The duo of Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington combine for a live psychedelic dance experience in the best meaning of the words. Get ready for their massive mirror-laser moment that is sure to provide a resounding “ooooooooh” when it’s first unvelied in the desert.
Notable Releases: Fall Over EP, London EP
Sexy and dark sounding R&B tunes with electronic backdrops is where Banks likes to live (and it doesn’t hurt that she looks the part either). Expect good things from this young, up and coming artist in the future.
Do you like Drum & Bass but on the less aggressive side of things? Well then, Netsky may just become your new favorite artist as he already (at such a young age) has proved himself to be one of the kings of the “liquid” drum & bass scene and is sure to gain more popularity among the EDM crowd (do to him sharing some trance friendly sounds) as time goes on.
Notable Albums: Netsky, 2
Notable Mix: RL Grime on BBC1 Diplo & Friends
One of the first producer/DJs to catapult the new electronic Trap scene, RL Grime (also known as the electro producer Clockwork) continues to push the electronic Trap movement forward as exemplified by his array of popular remixes/songs and live DJ sets of trap, rap, crunk, and related future genres.
Notable Albums: We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic
Foxygen will remind you that music is supposed to be fun and light hearted and will sweep you away with their blend of 60’s sounding indie psych rock tunes. Lead singer Sam France is also known for his maniacal stage presence which as you might expect, generally leads to an entertaining performance.
Notable Albums: Funeral, The Suburbs
Always known to put on a great live show, this group of talented Canadian musicians centered around husband/wife combo Win Butler and Regine Chassagne have their indie rock craft down and will be sure to close out Coachella is an appropriately exuberant fashion, what with all the people they’ll have on stage and the infectious level of fun they will be having all the while.
Neutral Milk Hotel
Notable Albums: In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, On Avery Island
After coming back for a string of solo shows in recent years, Jeff Mangum has officially brought his indie cult favorite band back for a reunion tour. Expect to hear a pleasurable amount of ruckus in the form of primarily guitar, horns, drums and (of course) singing saw to go along with these classic indie folk songs. Enjoy it while it lasts as it just might be the last time Neutral Milk Hotel ever tours again.
Notable Albums: Settle
Disclosure brings it with their brand of deep house, garage, tech house or whatever you want to call it and does it in a compelling live fashion. Expect a few guest cameos from them on the Coachella stage and get ready to dance with the thousands of others who will surely be doing the same all around you.
Notable Albums: Quack
The talented and renowned DJ duo of A-Trak and Armand Van Helden combine old school funky sounding samples and heavy hitting house beats to create a brand of dance music that appeals to pretty much anyone that can get down to some soulful tunes in the vein of modern day EDM. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that they bring a huge rubber duck on stage with them.
Notable Albums: Machine Dreams, Ritual Union
I really can’t say enough about Little Dragon, they are truly excellent. Smooth sensual singing with an amazingly versatile band that can go from funky, to rocking, to electronic and everything in between makes for a consistently stellar performance. Some bands can simply play their songs well; Little Dragon can really play their music well (if you get what I mean).
Notable Releases: X☢ /X☮/X☯, Jubiliation 2.0, B⚠NNED Mixes
Combining the best of Trap, Hardstyle, Juke, and Bass in general make this duo a sure to be crowd favorite who will get the entire Sahara tent bouncing up and down (ok, some will be twerking to be fair) and newcomers to Flosstradamus wondering “damn son, where’d you find this?”.
Chance the Rapper
Notable Albums: Acid Rap (Mixtape)
One of 2013’s breakout artists, Chance delivers classic sounding lyric centric hip-hop that is deep, fun, real, and emotional at times. Combine that with a solid live band to back him and hopefully some Coachella guest appearances (from well known rappers also featured on his mixtape) and this may just become one of the surprise highlights of the festival.
Notable Albums: Body Music
An electronic R&B style duo fusing a variety of current electronic genres with a soulful leading lady to carry the show. Expect to dance and vibe out, all at the same time.
Notable Albums: If You Leave
An excellent new/young indie UK band that is sure to have the ladies swooning over their soothingly catchy brand of alternative indie rock. Don’t worry guys, it’s fine for you to enjoy this wonderful band too but expect to be fighting a lot of ladies while vying for a great spot.
Notable Albums: Hanging Gardens
A feel good blend of electro, disco, and house makes Classixx a great fit for some fun in the sun. Now playing as a live show rather than a DJ set, expect a more well rounded and unique sound from them that still maintains a high level of danceability.
Notable Albums: Personality, Triangulation
The founder of Hotflush recordings has proven that he has a good ear for sound in the stellar label that he’s created and that’s indicative of his live DJ sets and the pleasant blend of house, techno, bass, and dubstep he’s been known to provide.
The Do Lab
And then there’s the Do Lab lineup which you might not have noticed. Or did you?
Well now that you have, you better hope you’re going to Weekend 1 because the Do Lab lineup is far superior that weekend (in my opinion), but seriously just look at the names.
As for people I’d recommend most out of the Do Lab lineup, I would go with the following below. Look them up, they’re all good.