Coachella: 12 Undercards to Know

Everyone knows Coachella's big headliners -- but there are plenty of other acts that deserve the spotlight

When the 2019 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival lineup was announced back in January, the headliners (Childish Gambino, Tame Impala, Ariana Grande) understandably garnered the most attention. But if you look a little more closely at the festival poster, there are more than just a few acts in finer print that deserve a little extra hype. While there aren't many acts that don't have some level of popularity (it's Coachella after all), here's a guide to 12 artists that may be flying under your radar (in alphabetical order).

070 Shake (Sunday, April 14 and 21): Hailed as Kanye West's "shape-shifting secret weapon" by Pitchfork, you've heard the blazing, angst-fueled poet/rapper/vocalist on records by Ye, Pusha T, Kids See Ghosts and Nas in just the last year alone (and watched her command the "Saturday Night Live" stage during her September guest appearance). Simply put, Shake's one of the most intriguing voices in music right now. And while we don't entirely know what to expect during her Coachella set, it definitely has the potential to be a festival highlight.

CHON (Saturday, April 13 and 20): Historically, San Diego's music scene doesn't typically get a ton of love from the annual Indio festival, so we were pleasantly surprised when this local math-rock quartet landed on this year's lineup (along with the Frights). With a new self-titled album due out on June 7, and a subsequent nationwide tour lined up, roll out and get lost in their captivating, complex prog-rock.

dvsn (Friday, April 12 and 19): Signed by fellow Canadian Drake to his OVO Sound label, this R&B/pop duo channel a bit of the Weeknd's slow-burning, sensual, early-era edge -- most notably on their excellent 2017 "Morning After" album. Lookin' for love in the desert? You might just find it during this set. 

The Frights (Friday, April 12 and 19): As mentioned earlier, the Frights hail from right here in San Diego and are one of the most badass surf-punk bands in the world. From their unassuming beginnings as underage kids playing house parties around town (and one of our own SoundDiego LIVE parties), to signing with Epitaph Records last year and headlining their own national sold-out tours, these lads continue to make us proud. Knock 'em dead, boys.

Gucci Gang (Sunday, April 14 and 21): When Coachella announced its 2019 lineup, there was some confusion as to who or what Gucci Gang was exactly? Originally, the fest's website displayed a lone photo of Atlanta trap icon Gucci Mane and fans everywhere cried foul at what they assumed was a huge poster gaffe. Well, now we know better: Gucci Gang is a triple-threat supergroup consisting of Gucci Mane, Lil Pump and Smokepurpp -- and their Sunday set should be nothing short of phenomenal.

Kero Kero Bonito (Friday, April 12 and 19): The musically adventurous should be front and center when this unique London trio, fronted by the incomparable Sarah Midori Perry, take the stage to dish out an eclectic set of alternating Sonic Youth-esque fuzz guitar rock, lounge pop, videogame-inspired electro and more. Do not miss.

Ella Mai (Friday, April 12 and 19): After turning in one of the biggest sleeper hits of 2018 with "Boo'd Up" (apparently even Stevie Wonder called her up to confess his fandom), this London-raised R&B singer is mere minutes away from being a household name. Take advantage of her undercard status while you still can.

Men I Trust (Sunday, April 14 and 21): Smooth pop grooves, shimmering guitars and hushed vocals -- what's not to love? Sleep in through Kanye's Sunday Service (or not), this enigmatic Canadian trio might just deliver the religious experience you're craving.

Mon Laferte (Friday, April 12 and 19): In no way is Mon Laferte an actual "undercard" -- she's the biggest Chilean artist in the world (and received five Latin Grammy nominations in 2017 alone) -- but to the Coachella masses that may not stay up to speed on that kind of stuff, the singer/songwriter is more than deserving of your undivided attention. Her latest studio album, "Norma" (which she cut in just one day at LA's Capitol Studios in 2018), jumps between cumbia, son, danzón, salsa, bolero and bachata without skipping a beat. So when you get bored with the festival's revolving door of laptop DJs, head to Laferte's stage and move your body to some real rhythms.

Rico Nasty (Sunday, April 14 and 21): It wouldn't be surprising if Rico Nasty, the "sugar trap" queen, delivers the most memorable set of the entire weekend. Swerving between nearly every rap genre and flow imaginable on her acclaimed 2018 album "Nasty," the Maryland emcee's wide-ranging, high-energy hip-hop is the perfect companion for her larger-than-life personality -- which honestly deserves a primetime evening slot on the Coachella main stage.

Rosalía (Friday, April 12 and 19): Arguably the best thing about James Blake's latest album "Assume Form," Rosalía's guest appearance on "Barefoot in the Park" has thrust the Barcelona singer/songwriter even further into the limelight. Hopefully, that's translated to even more folks tuning into her own incredible 2018 album "El Mal Querer," which transforms electro, neo-flamenco and R&B into something entirely new. Can. Not. Wait.

Sales (Saturday, April 13 and 20): This Orlando, Florida-based duo, comprised of Lauren Morgan and Jordan Shih, offers up dream-pop sorcery with sparse, soulful hooks over a bed of calculated guitar plucks and minimal beats. If you're a fan of the xx, Rhye or Beach House, be there for 'em.

Dustin Lothspeich is a San Diego Music Award-winning musician, an associate editor at NBC SoundDiego since 2013, talent buyer at The Merrow, and founder of the music equipment-worshipping blog Gear and Loathing in San Diego. Follow his updates on Twitter or contact him directly.

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