Hotter Than the Temperature at Coachella? Black Lips, Animal Collective, Duffy and 43 More

46 Acts That May Be Hotter Than the Temperature

By Vickie Chang, Tom Child, Erin DeWitt, Nathan Jackson, Rich Kane, Amanda Parsons and Dave Segal


Battles: super-smart and catchy as hell
Battles: super-smart and catchy as hell
Spank Rock: the zenith of neon party rap
Spank Rock: the zenith of neon party rap

AESOP ROCK Step right up for a dose of spit from this Long Island-bred lord of the long-winded lyric. Definitive Jux rapper Aesop Rock’s acrobatic use of vocabulary and storytelling are deeper than the gutter bass vocals that have backpack-rap crowds eating out of the palm of his hand. (NJ)

ARCHITECTURE IN HELSINKI Everything’s bigger in Australia, including this band’s instrument collection. Five members contribute to the fractured-pop output from Down Under (not Finland, as their name would suggest). AIH draw from dance music and indie pop that favors a love for bizarre noises, similar to the recent work of Of Montreal, who contributed a jingle to the Australian-themed Outback Steakhouse chain. And the circle of life continues. (TC)

BATTLES Brooklyn’s Battles have concocted a thrilling hybrid of math rock and abstract electronica that’s super-smart, catchy, otherworldly yet visceral. If George Lucas’ THX 1138 had had a club scene, Battles would’ve been the perfect band to wow those denizens of the stark, scarily efficient future. (DS)

BLACK LIPS Notorious as one of the wildest bands to come out of Georgia, Black Lips play swaggering rock that could very well cause some rioting in Indio’s three-digit temperatures. Their explosive combination of brash rebellion and garage-quality blues/punk will surely result in a raucous eruption of pure rawk. So stand back. Or not. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. (ED)

BUSY P Busy P (Pedro Winter) is Daft Punk’s manager, a producer and a DJ of some repute. The aptly named Frenchman also runs Ed Banger Records, which has been dominating hipster dance nights since you bought your first pair of skinny jeans. Monsieur P. truly has his digit on the pulse of au courant jams. Paris is burning, and it’s largely his fault. (DS)

DATAROCK Campy and boisterous, this energetic duo comes to the desert all the way from Norway. You know that “Computer Camp” song that gets stuck in your head? Yeah, that’s Datarock. With the power of two that seems like 20, these guys craft tunes that are both ridiculously original and catchy as hell. (ED)

DIPLO M.I.A.’s former DJ and occasional producer can rock parties in many idioms. The taste-making selector scours the globe for the hottest dance cuts (what haters call “cultural pillaging”), then cleverly blends them with finesse. Diplo possesses an unerring ear for what stokes crowds and finds the perfect balance between fresh nostalgia and futuristic hybrids. Booties everywhere win. (DS)

GOLDFRAPP Bathed in all things glamorous, Alison Goldfrapp brings the gorgeous to dusty ol’ Indio. Mixing disco with futuristic synth and charm, she and synthesist Will Gregory create a sound that’s as ethereal as it is hedonistically sharp. We can’t imagine how this enchantress will weather the heat and the muck, but we bet it will include heavy air-conditioning. (ED)

THE JOHN BUTLER TRIO This Australian jam band—whose acoustic-folk-fused-with-bluegrass tendencies made them Down Under sensations—had a long journey to the Coachella Valley. Led by dreadlocks-wearing guitarist/vocalist John Butler, the band began playing on the streets of Perth in the mid-’90s and were such a success they’re now sittin’ hippie pretty and playing pot-smoking music with the bong-friendly likes of Dave Matthews Band and John Mayer all over the world. (AP)

JACK FUCKING JOHNSON! Snoot snoot, hipsters. What’s Jack Johnson doing at Coachella, you ask? He doesn’t fit in with the rest of the bill, you say? Yet Johnson’s completely harmless, morally defensible soft rock can easily sell out Sunday. And if you could put up with the Red Hot Chili Peppers invading your ear and desert space in 2003 and 2007, then you can put up with this. (VC)

SHARON JONES & THE DAP-KINGS Sharon Jones is Coachella’s oldest female performer this year, but she suffers no energy crisis. Rather, the engaging diva’s a dynamo onstage, channeling her inner James Brown (seriously) for wicked dance moves and righteous soul belting over the Dap-Kings’ vintage funk resuscitations. Their eternally golden 1970 tops nearly anyone else’s sparkling 2008. (DS)

LES SAVY FAV Les Savy Fav’s rad live shows have become legendary among indie-rock connoisseurs. In a flurry of thrashing, gyrating groove, these East Coasters have been making sweet music together for more than a decade, and they’re one of the rare groups that improve with age. (ED)

THE RACONTEURS Getting a regular dose of super-sexy Jack White, this year, Coachella features that other band he’s in, with melody virtuosos Brendan Benson, Patrick Keeler and Jack Lawrence. The Raconteurs, who formed in 2005, are as fresh as the modern folk/rock/blues they’ll be blasting through the festival’s massive sound system. (ED)

REDD KROSS After a hiatus lasting more than a decade, Redd Kross have somehow made themselves relevant again. Though the Hawthorne band’s lineup has been a revolving door since their inception by brothers Jeff and Steve McDonald in 1980, Redd Kross’ punk/power pop spurts from their debut full-length include nods to everyone from Linda Blair to Tatum O’Neal. And instead of straying from that sound, the band have embraced it, even playing Born Innocent in its entirety with Sonic Youth last summer. (VC)

Next Page »