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Coachella 2013: Top 10 Can't-Miss Acts To Catch In Indio

Lilian Min |
April 9, 2013 | 10:53 p.m. PDT

Music Editor

Which live act reigns supreme? (Tip of the hat to "Iron Chef.") (via ShowScoop)
Which live act reigns supreme? (Tip of the hat to "Iron Chef.") (via ShowScoop)
In case you haven't noticed, Coachella 2013 Weekend 1 is only a few days away. We at NT have already broken down the headliners and hidden gems of the festival's lineup, but now that the set times for the first weekend are out, how do you pick between acts? 

Our friends over at ShowScoop, a site that aggregates live show reviews, have created a cool infographic that breaks down the highest-rated artists playing Coachella. Acts like Sigur Ros, The Faint, and Grizzly Bear top the list; check out the entire thing here.

For our part, we've taken a look at the most egregious set time conflicts (really, Hot Chip/Grizzly Bear) and picked the act we're going to see. NOTE: No headliners, and no bands we've already covered (e.g. The Neighbourhood, Four Tet).

Let the games begin.

Metric - Friday @ 4:45 p.m.

vs. Divine Fits, Japandroids, Alt-J

Divine Fits boasts Spoon frontman Britt Daniel and Wolf Parade drummer Dan Boeckner among its members, Japandroids took over the playlist of many a serious garage rock fan last year with their fabulous album "Celebration Rock," and Alt-J may have charmed both critics and listeners alike with debut album "An Awesome Wave," but none of that matters in the face of Emily Haines and her band of rocking Canadians.

From classics like the cascading "Hustle Rose" and the melancholy-tinged "Poster of a Girl" to new tunes like the haunting "Artificial Nocturne," Haines and co. are literally too cool for this world—Metric served as the inspiration for the band The Clash at Demonhead in the Scott Pilgrim comics and movie.

Modest Mouse - Friday @ 7:25 p.m.

vs. Local Natives (half)

Local Natives are a well-loved band in these parts—hell, we here at NT have reviewed both their new album "Hummingbird" and their El Rey show, but they're small fish compared to Modest Mouse. This band's been around for a decade, and it's been years since they've released a proper EP, let alone a full-length album. 

While their most well-known song is still probably "Float On," let's not forget about the stuff off of all of their releases, gems like "Dashboard" and "King Rat" and the entirety of "The Moon & Antarctica."

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Friday @ 8:40 p.m.

vs. Infected Mushroom, Wolfgang Gartner, TNGHT

If you're looking for an electronic fix, whether in the form of hazy psychedelic tunes or more mainstream twinkling EDM beats or deafening thunder (only a slight exaggeration), then skip the YYYs and get your dance on at the Mojave or Sahara or Gobi tents. But if you want to shake your body and soul down to the marrow of your bones, make room for this legendary indie rock trio.

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs have veered in musical style from album to album, but from what they've released from upcoming album "Mosquito," it seems they're peeling back some of the electronic sheen of "It's Blitz!" in favor for the rawer rock sounds they originated on "Fever To Tell" and perfected on "Show Your Bones." Here's to hoping Karen O doesn't spit on the audience (she's done so before...) and instead focuses on taking her signature howling vocals to the brink.

How to Destroy Angels - Friday @ 12:00 a.m.

vs. The Stone Roses, Tegan and Sara, Earl Sweatshirt, Bassnectar

Here's the deal: it's Friday at midnight, you've been out in the sun and dust all day, and you're winding down even as you're preparing for what's going to be a looong weekend. You could mellow out at Earl Sweatshirt, pound your fist at Bassnectar, shriek like a tween at the newly popped-up Tegan and Sara, or do whatever the hell it is old folks do at The Stone Roses... or you could tune in to How to Destroy Angels.

This writer has to admit, she's biased in her pick; one of her roommates is obsessed with Trent Reznor. But the newly-formed band, which includes Reznor, Reznor's wife Mariqueen Maandig, Atticus Ross, and Nine Inch Nails designer Rob Sheridan, has a gothic-lite, bass heavy steez thing going on, and it's sure to kill in the relative hush of the desert at midnight.

Bat For Lashes - Saturday @ 5:10 p.m.

vs. Puscifer

Maynard James Keener fans are gonna show up for Puscifer no matter what, but since 5 p.m. is a little early for his brand of experimental, soundscape rock, head to Natasha Khan's set instead and soak up this Brit's spooky tunes. She won't be on stage long enough for the sun to have set by her set's end, but given Khan's taste for the intricate, both in costumes and musical layering, she's sure to put on a show that lives up to her critical darling status.

While she first made her big break with the haunting "What's A Girl To Do?", she's since polished up her sound, and the tunes she's churned out since debut album "Fur & Gold" have all been trippy and lush—perfect for Coachella.

Hot Chip - Saturday @ 7:35 p.m.

vs. Yeasayer, Grizzly Bear

Ohhh, this one's tough. Yeasayer has such a fluid pop style, and "Ambling Alp" is a personal fave for this writer; and then, Grizzly Bear is such a genre-defining and musically insane act—this writer was blown away by their show at the Greek Theatre last year. But when it comes to desert dance acts, HOT CHIP. 

No, really. Their back catalog is crazy strong (listen to "Over and Over" and try not to boogy when the breakdown hits), but latest album "In Our Heads" was one of the highlights of last year. Here's to hoping they play the entire thing through, from "Motion Sickness" to "Look At Where We Are" to "Flutes" to "Always Been Your Love."

Franz Ferdinand - Saturday @ 10:15 p.m.

vs. The xx, Two Door Cinema Club

Ohhh, another tough one. The xx are known for putting on a mean live show (and by "mean" we mean seductive, mellow, rapturous, etc.), and Two Door Cinema Club have a solid catalog of cute indie rock tunes like "Something Good Can Work" and "Sun," but neither of those bands is Franz Ferdinand.

The boys are gearing up for their first release in four years (side note: Alex Kapranos is as cute as ever), but in case you forgot what FF is all about: "Take Me Out." "The Dark of the Matinee." "40 Ft." "Do You Want To." "Outsiders." "Ulysses." "No You Girls." That's right, embrace the feelings you've been cultivating since middle school. 

Grimes - Sunday @ 4:15 p.m.

vs. The Lumineers, Jessie Ware

Okay, this writer sees Grimes as like, a kitten, but Claire Boucher is anything but demure. The Lumineers still seems a little too low unpolished as an act (yes, this is despite the success of "Ho Hey"), and Jessie Ware's star is beginning to rise, but if you want to watch an artist at the top of her game, it's all about Grimes.

Boucher's set seems a little too early in the afternoon; her sound, and especially her aesthetic, would be better served by the night, but regardless, she's still a stage presence all unto her own. And hey, maybe she'll bring her giant yellow python along with her.

James Blake - Sunday @ 6:00 p.m.

vs. Tame Impala, Rodriguez

Tame Impala put out a superstar record last year with "Lonerism." Rodriguez is getting the kind of comeback success, thanks to documentary "Searching for Sugar Man," that most artists only dream of. Both acts pale in comparison with Brit wonderkid James Blake.

Sure, Wikipedia may still automatically refer the "James Blake" search to the American tennis player, but British Blake's been putting out some stellar stuff like "The Wilhelm Scream" and "A Case For You," and with his new album "Overgrown," he's shown a musical maturity and innovation that belies his age. When "Retrograde" swoops into the chorus, it'll carry the listener with it. Now, imagine hearing the bass kick in as the sun dips below the horizon.

Vampire Weekend - Sunday @ 7:20 p.m.

vs. Pretty Lights, La Roux

Disclaimer: this writer never understood the fuss over Pretty Lights. Perhaps it's because she saw him in the music documentary "Re:Generation" and thought he came off as the most frustrating of the "new generation" musicians, or perhaps it's because the true Pretty Lights experience can only truly come through in a live, well, experience. If you're really intrigued, check them out. If you're more pop inclined, or you really miss 2011, head to La Roux.

But since everybody's going to head back to the Coachella tent later in the evening for the Red Hot Chili Peppers (sorry, everybody else), you might as well stake your claim earlier in the evening. Take in Vampire Weekend's shimmery new tunes (perhaps they'll debut some of the songs off upcoming album "Modern Vampires of the City" here?), and then settle in for Nick Cave and then RHCP. 


Feel free to disagree with these choices, as long as you leave what you would've picked differently in the comments. And to all of you making the trek to Indio either this weekend or next—happy Hunger Games Coachella!

Reach Music Editor Lilian Min here; follow her on Twitter here and on Google+ here.



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