Get ready, festivalgoers, Coachella 2012 is a mere four days away (11, if you're going next weekend). With a line-up headlined by Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Radiohead and The Black Keys, this year's festival will surely be another memorable gathering of great music, beautiful art installations and all those people in sunglasses, shorts and sandals.
But Snoop Dogg and company aren't the only big artists to catch at the annual desert gathering.
Recent Grammy king Justin Vernon and Bon Iver will take the stage on the Saturday portion of each weekend, while newcomer the Weeknd will take Sunday duties. There's also the return of Explosions in the Sky on the Friday shows (think Friday Night Lights soundtrack, TV and film), as well as the much-anticipated reunion shows of At the Drive-In and Refused.
One suggestion for Coachella attendees this year -- loosely plan on who you're going to watch. Chances are, two (or even three) of your favorite artists will be playing at the same time. At the 2011 festival, Robyn and Kings of Leon played at the same time, on stages within running distance of each other. As a result, fans of both missed a chunk of each show, or watched Robyn while missing KoL (or vice versa). (Update: Coachella has released the official set times for weekend one. Click here for the full schedule).
With four days to go, some folks are scrambling to compile last minute playlists for the long drive to Indio, Calif., or executing quick Google searches on the names that appear in the finer, smaller print of the Coachella lineup poster.
Who's Laura Marling, for example? And is the Weeknd missing an e from his name? How do you pronounce SBTRKT?
Here's a quick look at 10 artists to watch at Coachella 2012. (Note: The lyrics in the music videos below may be offensive to some listeners).
Don't miss the three Canucks of Dragonette, an electronic music band that originated in Toronto, Canada. Martina, Dan and Joel recently dropped a new single, Let It Go, which has been getting a lot of play on music blogs and even Perez Hilton. Expect plenty of new material from the group, who released their second studio album, Fixin to Thrill, back in 2009.
Singer-songwriter Laura Marling is a breath of fresh air. At 22, the Brit has already released three albums, including the latest, A Creature I Don't Know, in September 2011.
One way to describe the music of tUnE-yArDs is colorful. There is always something going on, yet it's never too overwhelming. Thanks to the genius of Merril Garbus, tUnE-yArDs has been slowly making its way to mainstream music land (Gangsta has appeared on Weeds and The Good Wife), but it's still in the cool phase.
Aaron Jerome, otherwise known as SBTRKT (pronounced subtract), has been mixing and spinning for a very long time. But it wasn't until last June that the British DJ released his self-titled debut album, which earned him Album of the Year with DJ Magazine. His Twitter page is not bad either.
Thanks to Drake, 22-year-old Abel Tesfaye of Toronto, Canada (see? lots of Canadians) has made a name for himself in the last nine months. Not familiar with the Weeknd's smooth hooks? Try his mixtapes, or one of several tracks on Drake's newest album, Take Care.
Just picture the California sun, the handsome men of Dawes and the smooth sound of good ol' American rock. The group is currently in the middle of a US Tour, which will last through August.
First Aid Kit
Meet Johanna and Klara, a folk duo (and real-life sisters) from Sweden. The Lions Roar, the duo's second studio album, was released earlier this year, and has been receiving rave reviews. If you absolutely adore Bright Eyes, Laura Marling (see above) and the boys of Mumford and Sons, you'll fall in love with First Aid Kit.
Neon Indian is all sorts of chillwave good, if that's your kind of scene. Era Extrana, the band's second studio album, was described by Pitchfork last year as romantic and lovesick. Nice job, Alan Palomo, nice job.
If you haven't heard of Azealia Banks before, you will after her stint at Coachella. The 20-year-old Harlem native has been making plenty of noise in the music world ever since her debut single, 212. Banks is currently gearing up for a new EP, 1991, which will be followed by her debut album, Broke With Expensive Taste, in the fall.
It's hard to believe that an award-winning musician who's been around the Australian music scene for more than a decade crossed the water to America only this past February, when Gotye made his US television debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live. For Gotye, whose real name is Wally De Backer, the phrase better late than never has never sounded more sweet.