As it does every year, the Coachella Music Festival is about to descend upon Indio, Calif.. From April 16-18, the one-horse town will be transformed into an indie music mecca, with hipsters converging from far and wide to soak up the tunes and 115-degree heat.
Coachella can be a terrific time but also a taxing one, so you'll want to get your mandatory three-day ticket's worth. To help ensure that you don't risk all that dehydration and sunstroke for nothing, your friendly neighborhood SoundDiego has compiled a list of this year's must-see bands.
Friday, April 16:
- Them Crooked Vultures: Forget fellow Friday headliners Jay Z and LCD Soundsystem; this hard rock supergroup will be the one to give the opening night a swift kick in the pants
- The Avett Brothers: The Avetts' country-fried ballads pull off the rare feat of getting your toes tapping by yanking on your heartstrings
- Yeasayer: The Brooklyn band's Odd Blood is one of this year's weirdest and most wonderful releases. Don't miss this chance to get your groove on with a bunch of sweaty strangers.
Dishonorable Mention: Vampire Weekend -- the NYC band just released their second album, Contra. Unfortunately, it sounded a lot like Vampire Weekend.
Saturday, April 17:
- Faith No More: The first of the festival's two high-profile reunions finds the always reliable Mike Patton reuniting with his most famous band.
- Dirty Projectors: Bitte Orca was one of last year's best releases, and it's every bit as good live. Give yourself over to the finest, most intricate harmonies in rock & roll.
- John Waters: I'm not even sure if the cult director will be playing music but -- whatever he does -- it ought to be memorable.
- Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros: As Edward Sharpe, the gangly Alex Ebert presides over his band like a benevolent Charlie Manson. Don't miss the inevitable performance of the charming "Home."
- Camera Obscura: The Scottish band craft emotionally sweeping ballads with a dreamy, '60s-pop center.
- Frightened Rabbit: Speaking of Scotland, don't miss this emotional, cathartic band. They're living proof that all you need to do to make emo badass is to sing it with a brogue.
Sunday, April 18:
- Pavement: The festival's second high-profile reunion should be one for the books. Indie rock's founding fathers dust off their old classics for what may well be the performance of the year.
- Thom Yorke: The Radiohead frontman performs some solo material alongside his new band, Atoms for Peace. For some reason, Flea plays bass.
- Phoenix: The French band's rollicking, exuberant shows have a reputation for getting out of hand.
- Spoon: Their urge to be experimental has grown with each album, but so has their popularity. Impress your friends by playing air trombone to "The Underdog."
- Local Natives: This generation's answer to Talking Heads are one of indie's fastest rising bands.
- Matt & Kim: The married couple's energetic pop-punk should provide a welcome shot in the arm to the festival's final day. Plus, if it's hot enough, the duo might take their clothes off like they did in their "Lessons Learned" video.