No, it’s not the much-requested Smiths reunion (move on, saddoes), it’s St. Moz’s second Coachella appearance—the first was at the original in 1999. Things have changed for the guy since then, with three straight critically acclaimed records that have equaled “career comeback,” including February’s Years of Refusal. As he notes in his current single, “Something Is Squeezing My Skull,” he’s doing very well. (AC)

Conor Oberst
There’s no stopping a precociously prolific songwriter like Conor Oberst. The singer/songwriter, best-known for his work with Bright Eyes and for inspiring Tobey Maguire’s haircut in Spider-Man 3, released a self-titled record last August and is following it up with one in May from his latest project—the one he’s bringing to Indio—Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band. (AC)

Silversun Pickups
The eagerly awaited follow-up to their 2006 triumph, Carnavas, has unfortunately been leaked online just two weeks before its April 14 release. Fans (and hackers) who have already snatched up Swoon may have the new songs before anyone else, but nothing recorded onto a digital format can compete with the band’s electrifying live performances. Sure, others may have the raspy-vocaled, poetic, stirring song files before you do, but at Coachella, you’ve got the real thing. (ED)

Saturday: Band of Horses
David Belisle
Saturday: Band of Horses
Sunday: The Kills
Sunday: The Kills

The Ting Tings
The lead singer of the Ting Tings is named Katie White—not “Stacey,” “Jane,” “Mary,” “Jo” or “Lisa.” (Apparently, she gets those a lot.) The British dance-rock duo aren’t “freaking” or “faking this,” either, despite the decidedly mixed reviews they got for their debut, We Started Nothing. (AC)

M. Ward
The twangy, soulful sound of this brooding blues artist, full of wailing lamentations for lost loves, just might make the festival crowd imagine they’re listening to scratchy sounds of an old Tommy Johnson album spinning on the Victrola. (AP)

We Are Scientists
When it gets hot and heavy under the desert sun, Keith Murray and Chris Cain of We Are Scientists will surely lighten things up: The two are known for cracking jokes between songs and generally being upbeat gentlemen. They describe their sound as “rock music of the thoughtful, sometimes epic, often loud, vaguely danceable, implicitly humanist variety.” We describe it as impressive. (AP)



Indie hip-hop duo Atmosphere will, unfortunately, be one of the very few hip-hop acts to grace the desert this year. Though Atmosphere have chosen to stay independent, the duo still remain bold with lyrical content and sound, with songs addressing death, touring and depression unlike, say, any of the autotune-loving artists on the charts today. (VC)

Band of Horses
These South Carolinians make spacious, anthemic indie rock that even your grandmother could love. Catch ’em now: If they land a few more car-commercial deals, Band of Horses could be headlining the joint next year. (SK)

Blitzen Trapper
Depending on which song you judge them by, Blitzen Trapper could either be the most authentic Neil Young revivalists alive or the most impious. They merely claim to be white-trash guys playing good tunes, deconstructing classic rock with Casio keyboards, and then reconstructing it with perfect, yearning melodies. (SK)

At this point, either you’re hip to Calexico—Joey Burns and John Convertino, whose diverse stylings range from alt-country to indie pop and whom you can find performing with a mariachi band or Neko Case, sometimes at the same time—or you’re not. If the latter, well, sucks for you. Much bigger in Europe than they are in their native country (this one), here’s as good an opportunity as any to get to know them. (AC)

Fleet Foxes
The 2008 self-titled debut of this Seattle group received massive critical acclaim, thanks to their “baroque harmonic pop jams” (as the band call it), whose almost-church-like sound lifts the spirit and transports listeners to a peaceful place. Escape the overcrowding and intense heat by visiting the band, closing your eyes and being entranced by their musically induced nirvana. (AP)

Gang Gang Dance
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Glass Candy
Electronica-pop duo Ida No and Johnny Jewel bring the dance to the desert. Embodying all things that go twinkle, sparkle and flash, Glass Candy pair concrete dance beats with offbeat, silvery vocals. So sweet, so cool, Glass Candy’s version of fresh, contemporary disco will send an icy blast through the dusty Indio air. (ED)

Junior Boys
It’s unclear why this duo, whose bummed-out whispering and sterile electro beats provide the perfect soundtrack to an icy winter, are returning to the desert after Coachella 2007. Just be glad it’s happening: With a live drummer and muscled-up guitars, these Canadians’ carefully crafted synth symphonies (synthphonies?) translate into a surprisingly slick rock show. (SK)

The Killers
After storming onto the music scene with their 2004 debut, Hot Fuss, they’ve continued their nouveau-wave success with a mixture of electronica and synthesized vocals reminiscent of hits from the ’80s. The Las Vegas crew take the old and make it sound new again—a philosophy that has proved to be the band’s jackpot. (AP)

Jenny Lewis
Along with M.I.A., Lewis is making a back-to-back Coachella appearance. Except, last year, it was with her band Rilo Kiley, and this time, it’s her solo act, which is a little more soulful and country, but just as apt to attract fawning indie-geek fans, of whose obsession she is the object. Must be flattering(ly creepy). (AC)

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