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Coachella 2014: 14 Must-See Acts

Lilian Min |
April 8, 2014 | 5:37 p.m. PDT

Music Editor

The sun (and the sweat) will be out all weekend, as Coachella kicks off the summer music festival season. (Lilian Min/Neon Tommy)
The sun (and the sweat) will be out all weekend, as Coachella kicks off the summer music festival season. (Lilian Min/Neon Tommy)
Ah, Coachella. Whether you love it or hate it, you're going to be seeing and hearing a lot of stuff from the Indio festival this coming weekend.

For those of us headed into the desert for the first of two weekends of music, art and blazing sunshine, there are a lot of names and faces listed under the lineup.

In an effort to make the festival-going experience a little less chaotic, here are 14 non-headliner acts to consider checking out. 

ALSO READ: 7 Non-Headliners You Can’t Miss On Coachella Weekend


The Knife

This Swedish sibling duo makes some really weird stuff, but it all translates into an audiovisual show that probably even gives Bjork the heebie jeebies. Their "Shaking the Habitual" stop at the festival should be nothing short of spectacular.


"Days Gone By" cemented their status as musicians to watch, but sisters Danielle, Este and Alana have a reputation for being adorable and dance-happy performers. With any luck, they'll also show off their strong covers game over the weekend.


It's gonna get hot out there, so take some time to cool off with Harley Streten's chill tunes. Fingers crossed for a Chet Faker guest appearance.


The man behind Drake's sonic landscape and an established remixer and producer in his own right, Shlohmo is another master of the smooth jam. And fingers super super crossed for a Jeremih appearance - if they whip out "No More" during the set, a lot of babies are gonna be born nine months from now.


Lizzy Plapinger is one of the most charismatic frontwomen (?) in indie music. It's worth checking them out just to see what color her hair is now, but also to dance along to the poppy tunes off of their at-times haunting, at-times jubilant "Secondhand Rapture."

ALSO READ: MS MR At The Troubadour: Review


Queens of the Stone Age

"...Like Clockwork" was one of the best rock releases last year, and Josh Homme's voice has aged like a fine wine into a gritty, smoky snarl. Also, for those of us still salty about their cut-off Grammys performance, this is a chance for redemption and the dirtiest dance party this side of the desert.

Pharrell Williams

Don't expect an Oscars-level production from the ageless chameleon's set. That said, Pharrell's a veteran, savvy showman -- he'll definitely bring "G I R L" to life, and all while topped with what's sure to be some show-topping headwear.

ALSO READ: Pharrell Williams: 'G I R L' Album Review


"Lorde?" one might say, "She's just a teenage one hit wonder, a blip in the pop music radar." Whatever, she's 17 and playing Coachella and making pop music with a higher artistic value than the rest of the top Billboard chart put together -- she's worth a look-see at the very least. 

Future Islands

You might not know much about this synth band now except how much of a pain it is to search for their new album (which is helpfully titled "Singles"), but they've been at this "music" thing for a while now and they're finally poised to break into the weird pop mainstream.


LUV HUH. The L.A. native has a gorgeous voice, and paired with some killer production, tracks like "Waiting Game" and "Brain" rise above the breathy female lo-fi electronica pack.

Blood Orange

Ooh, was that Solange/Blood Orange same-day scheduling an honest mistake or a not-so-secret attempt to reconciliate the two artists? Whatever the case, while Bey's lil sis is sure to put on a show, Devonté Hynes was a major contributor to the secret sauce elements of "True," so why not head straight to that source? 


Neutral Milk Hotel

The recently-revived NMH might not have the same draw as they did in, say, '98, but that isn't to say that their songs are any less iconic or important. "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea" is a goddamn masterpiece and if you have the chance to see Jeff Mangum do anything, take it.

Chance the Rapper

Is Chance the next "big thing" in crossover rap? Judging by the critical response to his "Acid Rap" mixtape, perhaps -- and his (public, at least) personality is certainly amiable to the cause. 

ALSO READ: Chance The Rapper At The El Rey: Show Review


"Attracting Flies" is such a clutch track (with an equally clutch video), and there's plenty more where that came from off of the British duo's debut album "Body Music." 


This list is capped at 14 because it's 2014 (creative, right?), but some more under the radar acts to also consider: Dum Dum Girls, Austra, Holy Ghost!, White Lies, Laura Mvula, Flight Facilities, Daughter, Poolside, Jhene Aiko.

Also, this almost goes without saying, but the headliners this year are clutch. Muse puts on one of the most consistently ridiculous productions in live music, Arcade Fire is going to try and one-up their performance at Coachella three years ago with the new addition of their "Reflektor" repertoire, and, in a minor Coachella miracle, OutKast is back together for the first time in infinite years.

If you've got suggestions for bands you think deserve a spotlight, make your case in the comments. (If you need some inspiration for what to wear, look here for some celeb inspiration.)

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



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