With the announcement of Coachella's lineup late last night, we thought we'd dive into the nitty-gritty of this year's offerings. Part of being a big megafestival (and Coachella is officially one of the big three American festivals alongside Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo) is finding a way to distinguish your lineup from everything else out there. Bonnaroo leans more towards roots rock and jam bands and big classic rock acts. Lolla finds room for heavier rock acts. And Coachella is the place for the young and eternally hip. It's no secret that Coachella has become as much of a fashion experience as a traditional music festival these last couple years. That said, this year's lineup should satisfy music fans of all stripes, and we've put together a list of the ten most exciting additions to the lineup that aren't LCD Soundsystem and Guns N' Roses (though we're all super stoked for them as well).
10. Chris Stapleton
This might seem like sort of a left field choice for us considering we do not cover country music, but Chris Stapleton wound up one of the buzziest performers of last year and took the country music world by storm. If we really want to know as much about music as we can, it's probably for the best if we figure out what the deal is with this upcoming star.
9. Bat For Lashes
This is, admittedly, more or less a personal choice for me. Bat For Lashes' The Haunted Man
is an easy pick for one of the most beautiful and emotionally stirring records of the 2010s. But despite that, I've never had the pleasure of seeing Natasha Khan live, and a trip down to Indio would be the perfect opportunity to rectify that problem.
8. Cold War Kids
I've got a soft spot in my heart for contemporary rock bands that wear their Bruce Springsteen influences shamelessly on their sleeves, and few bands of the last ten years have done that better than Cold War Kids. Their last record came out in 2014 so it's maybe been a bit since you've been able to see the Long Beach alt rock stalwarts live, and we'll be rectifying that in the desert.
7. Moon Taxi
It's nice to see at least one traditional festival band on Coachella's lineup this year. Moon Taxi might seem more at home with the jam band hedonism of Bonnaroo, but I suspect there will be a massive crowd for the psych-rock they'll be peddling at Coachella this year. And if you know "Mercury," there's a good chance you'll be bellowing it out at the top of your lungs.
6. Robert DeLong
Robert DeLong's In the Cards
was one of the great EDM pleasures of last year. And considering Coachella's increasing focus on dance acts, it's nice to see an artist as innovating and boundary pushing as Robert DeLong get the chance to peddle his dance-pop to an even larger audience. There are big things on the horizon for Robert DeLong. Maybe this festival season will be his moment to explode.
5. Years & Years
Here's a heads up. Get to this show early. We promise the crowd is going to be huge. These British house-pop rising stars are going to be the talk of the town as soon as America catches up with how HUGE they are in England. And for anybody that's heard "King" at all in the last year, you probably still have it stuck in your head.
4. A$AP Rocky
After years of wondering when A$AP Rocky was going to finally live up to his obvious talent, he finally made all of our faith worthwhile with last year's excellent and aptly titled AT.LONG.LAST.A$AP
. The record was one of the weirdest and most experimental in hip-hop last year, and we're hoping he can bring those vibes to Coachella.
Grimes' Art Angels
was one of the most critically acclaimed records of last year, and although Claire Boucher has been doing plenty of touring in support of the record, it's not much of a stretch to say that she's going to bring a special energy to major Coachella performance.
I'm not even going to pretend here. This is another super personal choice for me. Despite the number of times that I've bumped Hurry Up, We're Dreaming
over the years, I've never had the pleasure of seeing M83 live. And now all I can think about is dancing my ass off to the sax outro of "Midnight City" as the sun starts to set over the California desert.
1. Courtney Barnett
Courtney Barnett officially arrived in 2015. We named her our Breakthrough Artist of the Year, and there's a decent chance that she's going to walk away from the upcoming Grammys with Best New Artist honors. And if any moment will cement her in the mind of the alt-rock loving public, it will be a titanic portion of guitar shreddage at Coachella.