When the 2018 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival was announced in January, it was all about Beyonce! The Weeknd! Eminem! But if you look a little more closely at the fine print on those infamous festival posters, there are more than just a few acts poised to break out in a big way. Here's a SoundDiego guide to some of the artists that might be flying under your radar. If you're going, try to check 'em out.
Carpenter Brut: If French EDM is your thing (Justice, anyone?), look no further than Carpenter Brut, who mixes sounds from horror films and heavy metal with head-slamming electronic beats. This set will be a particularly good chance to throw up some devil horns during a festival that sadly almost omits the metal genre entirely.
Benjamin Clementine: This acclaimed poet/pianist/songwriter -- who won the UK's prestigious Mercury Prize in 2015, earned a Damon Albarn co-sign (along with a guest spot on Gorillaz's last record), and landed a coveted opening slot on a leg of David Byrne's North American tour -- is a must-see. His unique, free-for-all style; daring fashion sense; and enigmatic stage presence (shades of David Bowie) demand your attention.
Elohim: Performing under a moniker that doubles as the sacred Hebrew name for "God" could be a daunting prospect for most -- but Elohim owns it. The mysterious LA-based musician delivers deliciously off-kilter vocals over huge hooks and (Bjork-ish) upbeat electro jams which, you know, basically all but guarantee a killer time out in the desert. By the way, if you're skipping Coachella this year, she's performing at the Observatory North Park with the Glitch Mob on May 26.
Fazerdaze: Dream-pop from New Zealand? Yes, please. Don't miss Fazerdaze, the project of one Amelia Murray, who's piqued our attention since she released her self-titled EP in 2014. Her low-key, lo-fi, bedroom melodies should kick off whatever day she ends up playing quite nicely.
Greta Van Fleet: Let's be honest -- this throwback-styled Michigan foursome is the closest we're ever going to get to a Led Zeppelin reunion out in Indio. Sorry, folks. They've been tearing up the charts recently so while GVF ain't exactly indie underdogs at this point, their stomping blues-rock should translate well in the sweltering Indio heat.
Knox Fortune: Knox Fortune won a Grammy for his production and vocal work on Chance the Rapper's "Coloring Book" and now you have the chance to catch this inventive, genre-bending, "weirdo-pop" act on his own and in person. Hey, if anything, maybe Chance will show up. Weirder things have happened.
Priests: Hailing from Washington D.C., this band slings an unholy marriage of angular guitar licks, post-punk beats and riotous attitude -- we love 'em and can confidently predict that you will, too. Heads up: They're also playing with Angel Olsen at Music Box on April 12.
Senor Kino: Fans of FIDLAR, the Frights or Blenders -- heed our advice: Do not miss this Sonora, Mexico-based surf punk group who've lit the blogosphere ablaze over the last couple years.
Snail Mail: Lindsey Jordan started Snail Mail when she was 15 and does slightly-out-of-tune indie slacker-pop better than most. Recommended if you dig Pavement, Sebadoh, Mitski or Palehound. She's also performing at the Irenic with Japanese Breakfast (another standout at Coachella this year) on April 20.
Tank and the Bangas: Perhaps the most buzzed-about act on Coachella's lineup, Tank and the Bangas bring a New Orleans-style gumbo of fun hip-shaking soul, R&B, funk, hip-hop and spoken word to the festival. Whatever stage they play, get there early to be upfront. Also: If you can't make it out to Indio this year, they're at the Belly Up on April 17.
Kamasi Washington: Reinvigorating jazz, hip-hop, soul and funk at the same time, there's a reason his 2015 album, "The Epic," was so highly lauded -- Washington and his huge band are performing entirely on another level (fun fact: he also helped craft the music behind the Kendrick Lamar masterpiece "To Pimp a Butterfly"). It'll be incredible, if only to see the tripping trust-fund kids trying to wrap their flower-crowned heads around this insane, improvisational set.