Think of these New York rockers as gifted horror-film directors, embracing the formula for popular thrills but also spooking with atmosphere and jolts. Like any good Hitchcock wannabe, they avoid parody by delivering only a few moments of gory pay-off per performance. The song “Broken Witch” provides a good example: It’s the one in which the band starts chanting, “BLOOD! BLOOD! BLOOD!” (SK)

So we’ve gotten over the novelty of seeing M.I.A. perform while about to give birth at any moment (as she did at the Grammys in February), so now we’ll have to settle for M.I.A., the mother of a two-month-old, performing at her third Coachella and doing “Paper Planes” for all those who have swagger like us (and aren’t totally sick of that song yet). (AC)

Henry Rollins
Tired of live music? Venture over to former Black Flag front man turned comedian/author/activist Henry Rollins to listen to some live rants. While Indie 103.1 as we knew it may be gone, it’s nice to know its death hasn’t quelled the fire within this multitalented punk-rock icon. He’ll be up there bitchin’ about all the things we love him for hating: the government, women, and the trials and tribulations of being awesome. (AP)

Sunday: Antony and the Johnsons
Secretly Canadian/Rough Trade
Sunday: Antony and the Johnsons
Sunday: Peter Bjorn and John
Johan Bergmark
Sunday: Peter Bjorn and John

TV On the Radio
Tunde Adebimpe has to be one of the coolest dudes ever. Not only is he the lead singer of one of the most lauded bands around, but he’s also an actor (he was in last year’s Rachel Getting Married, even though he didn’t have much to do) and an animator (he directed the video for “Pin” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs). Seeking out this performance is worth it for the chance to soak in his cultural capital alone. (AC)



Antony and the Johnsons
With a soulful wail, singer Antony Hegarty boasts tracks that are equal parts heartfelt and horrifically depressing. His unique voice has been compared to the deep jazz vocals of Nina Simone, but we’d say it’s a little more complicated than that. It’s jazzy, yes, but it’s also incredibly theatrical, operatic and can even switch from femme to masculine within a few notes. To be honest, we’re not sure how well this stuff is going to hold up in a 103-degree atmosphere in a tent that smells like armpit, but hey, maybe it’ll be really beautiful nonetheless. (VC)

Devendra Banhart
The freak-folk sage and Naturalismo pioneer spreads his eccentric bohemian sound over Indio, perfectly countering the festival’s abundance of electronic, digital and all-things-wired music. With his earthy melodies, hippie locks and starlet-attracting dishevelment, Banhart takes festivals back to the time of their peace-and-love heyday but adds just enough avant-garde weirdness to keep things current. (ED)

Brian Jonestown Massacre
For those who’ve seen the 2004 documentary DIG!—spotlighting the rivalry between Brian Jonestown Massacre guitarist/singer and Newport Beach local Anton Newcombe and Courtney Taylor-Taylor of the Dandy Warhols—Brian Jonestown Massacre didn’t seem like they would be long for this world. But here they are, five years after the film’s release, playing the biggest and best music festival in the U.S. The Dandy Warhols, on the other hand, are not. In your face! (AP)

The Cure
Headlining the last day, just like they did in 2004, Robert Smith (who’s still rockin’ his signature look, for better or worse) and company will surely play songs off their latest album, 4:13 Dream, even if the crowd is more in the mood for, say, “10:15 Saturday Night.” (AC)

Shepard Fairey
Fresh from his newfound mainstream (to clarify, we’re talking “mainstream” mainstream) success from the now-iconic Obama campaign (and victory) poster, OBEY Giant artist Shepard Fairey is showcasing his other talent this Coachella weekend—as a DJ. With quite possibly the cutest DJ handles ever (he goes by both DJ Diabetic and Emcee Insulin), he has gained notoriety from opening for acts such as Love and Rockets and MSTRKRFT, and he has even made a few appearances at the Crosby in Santa Ana. (VC)

Friendly Fires
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Fucked Up
There’ll be no shortage of shirtless, overweight dudes with tattoos and shaved heads at Coachella, but Fucked Up front man Damian Abraham (a.k.a. “Pink Eye”) will be the only one to really own that look. After all, a man of his stature has only two legit career choices: drive a truck, or bellow savagely over epic, pop-poisoned hardcore. We’re glad he opted for the latter—it’s terrifyingly entertaining stuff. (SK)

The Kills
The Kills sure have changed. On 2003’s Keep On Your Mean Side, singer Alison Mosshart snarled her way into our hearts with her chain-smoking, sensual, perfectly raspy vocals, while guitar player Jamie Hince tore through blues riffs on tracks such as “Cat Claw” or the Velvet Underground-rich “Kissy Kissy.” And now? Now they sound like hipster dance music. But they’re also as popular as ever, so guess the joke’s on us. (VC)

You wouldn’t figure any city in Canada to have a sizable population of Somalian refugees, but the Toronto neighborhood of Rexdale is home to rapper K’naan and his family. The surprises don’t stop there—his latest, Troubador, features guest appearances from Kirk Hammett, Mos Def, Damian Marley and Adam Levine, among the motliest of musical crews (the ones that don’t requite an umlaut, at least). (AC)

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