By Adam Lovinus
By Lilledeshan Bose
By Gabriel San Roman
By Rachel Mattice
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Daniel Kohn
By Nate Jackson
By Mike Seeley
So let's get this straight. CocoRosie: two American half-Cherokee sisters (Sierra and Bianca Casady), playing "psych folk" ("freak folk"? God no) with the harp and tinkering electronic children's toys and (sometimes) beatboxing? And an album recorded entirely inside a Parisian apartment bathroom? And one of them is from Brooklyn? Even if you don't like CocoRosie's oddly appealing, oddly whimsical, oddly catchy, lovably offbeat sounds, you've gotta admit that's some freaking good marketing. (VC) 7:30 p.m.
ROKY ERICKSON & THE EXPLOSIVES
A potentially awesome flashback for those who weren't even born during Roky's acid reign with Thirteenth Floor Elevators . . . or perhaps a disastrous tarnishing of his gleaming back catalog. Whatever the case, heads won't want to miss this garage-psych legend attempting to make the comeback of the decade. Pray for "Earthquake." (DS) 3:50 p.m.
Greg "Girl Talk" Gillis will satisfy your ADD-afflicted need to hear radio hits from all eras, new mainstream rap, '90s club staples, yacht rock and alt-rock chestnuts commingled with uncanny synchronicity into a party-igniting mega-mix. It's like the best-edited Casey Kasem Top 40 rundown ever. (DS) 8:45 p.m.
A review described the Parisian Gotan Project as "electronica meets tango." I hate that. But then I realized it's a dead-on description, no matter how unhip that choice of words may be. Gotan Project takes the time-honored genre of tango and mixes in breakbeats and unique sampling. (VC) 9:55 p.m.
Here's a hipster band that's actually better than the hype would lead you to believe. LCD's new album, Sound of Silver, is a perfect synthesis of old-school tanz muzik and twitchy, New York-centric post-punk. Imagine a dream jam session among Kraftwerk, Talking Heads, Cluster, Steve Reich and the Fall, with a sentimental Lou Reedish ballad to send you to the exits. (DS) 9:30 p.m.
With a tiny handful of artists this year representing hip-hop, Pharoahe Monch—along with Busdriver and the Coup—is among the few hip-hop artists at Indio that I . . . well, like. Monch's confrontational lyrics (e.g., "Rape," which sorta disturbingly likens his verbal and musical deftness to physical rape) and complex, seemingly tongue-twisting delivery—yeah, you know what? Just go to this summer's Rock the Bells concert for all your hip-hop needs. (VC) 1:30 p.m.
It's hard to fathom why this Canadian project, consisting of members culled from many other groups, isn't the most popular band in America now. Nearly every song they've recorded has been an expertly produced pop-rock gem, and while they probably haven't changed any lives with their music, they've been consistently solid on record. One of the rare instances where a supergroup equals more than the sum of its parts. (TC) 5:05 p.m.
Mark Linkous is still representing Appalachia's knack for indie rock that was sparked in the early '90s by bands like Superchunk and Archers of Loaf. When Linkous isn't delivering his brand of pop hooks buried behind his haunting vocals, he can be found dodging death and collaborating with everyone from Thom Yorke to Tom Waits or covering Daniel Johnston with the Flaming Lips. (VC) 9:35 p.m.
Along with Fiona Apple, Spektor has stepped in to fill the void left in the hearts of piano-pop fans confused by Tori Amos' flight into Elysium. Spektor's vocal technique has been called precious, but her lyrics are refreshingly direct, and her live performance (complete with occasional beatboxing) is tremendous. (TC) 3:50 p.m.
OTHER MUST-SEE ACTS: BLONDE REDHEAD/CORNELIUS/JUSTICE/POP LEVI/ MSTRKRFT/OZOMATLI/THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE QUEEN/HOT CHIP
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SUNDAY, APRIL 29
Air's new Pocket Symphony is a bland meringue of an album, but with its rich backlog of songs, the French duo has the goods to refresh your overheated noggin with a cool breeze of mellow melodies and sumptuous guitar/keyboard/koto textures. Do try to control yourselves during "Sexy Boy," eh? (DS) 8:35 p.m.
These Brazilian cuties play sparky, sparkly electronic pop that should appeal to Diplo followers and Deerhoof fanatics. They sing about many important issues of the day, including making love while listening to Death from Above and meeting Paris Hilton. And they're Brazilians, the hottest people on Earth. You can't lose with CSS. (DS) 5:55 p.m.
KCRW darling José González is seemingly better known for his acoustic covers—the Knife's "Heartbeats," Massive Attack's "Teardrop," Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart"—than his own original works. Which is funny; González's soft classic guitar and smooooth and placating vocals will make for an excellent low-key set to relax to in between crowded tent sessions and hipster-dodging in the desert sun. (VC) 7:20 p.m.
Surely the biggest WTF? booking of the fest, Happy Mondays by all rights oughta be confined to aging hipsters' hazy reminiscences about the baggy old daze of Madchester and Ecstatic raves in the English countryside. Still, it'll be fascinating to see if Shaun Ryder can remember his goofball lyrics and if the band can recapture its slack funkadelicness. (DS) 9:40 p.m.
For nearly two decades, Hawtin has been one of techno's foremost innovators. While he can geek out over state-of-the-art gear with the best of 'em, this Berlin-based DJ/producer also knows how to move the masses' asses for hours. He makes the minimal maximal, one great bleep at a time. (DS) 6:05 p.m.