From impressive headliners—The Black Keys, Radiohead, Dr. Dre and Snoop—to a top-notch group of alternative stars—Bon Iver, Jeff Mangum, Santigold, Feist, St. Vincent, Beirut, Florence + the Machine—and an unprecedented range of dance music—DJs Swedish House Mafia, Avicii, and David Guetta, this year’s Coachella lineup is bursting with so much talent it’s guaranteed to live up to the hype. On the eve of the (first) weekend’s kickoff, we’re weighing in on a few sleeper hits and choice performances that deserve a spot on your radar.
Cited as the next big act to bridge classic R&B with smart, edgy hip-hop (a la Drake and Kanye West), the singer/songwriter is the one to watch on Friday night. After joining hip-hop collective Odd Future (led by rapper/producer Tyler, the Creator) and releasing his mixtape Nostalgia, Ultra through Tumblr in early 2011, the Louisiana native was tapped to collaborate on Beyoncé’s 4 as well as Kanye West and Jay Z’s Watch the Throne. Go for Ocean’s signature mix of smooth, savvy lyrics and samples from the likes of MGMT and the Eagles; stay for a preview of new material from his first major-label album, set to drop any day now.
Known for classic tracks like “Sittin’ in Limbo,” “You Can Get It If You Really Want,” and “Many Rivers to Cross,” as well as the soundtrack for iconic 1972 film The Harder They Come, reggae legend Jimmy Cliff is filling Coachella’s celebrated veteran’s spot this year. Pre-dating Bob Marley popularization of reggae, Cliff is fresh off his induction into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame and going strong as a staple on the outdoor concert circuit this year. This weekend, he’ll showcase new music from his upcoming collaboration with Rancid’s Tim Armstrong (LP out in June).
Fitz and the Tantrums
Sure, we’ll champion the merits of a good fist-pumping techno set or a quality electronica groove session, but when it comes to really getting down on the dance floor, nothing beats Motown. For a change of pace come Sunday afternoon, look to Fitz and the Tantrums, the six-piece Los Angeles band that’s earned plenty of buzz for their modern, New Wave-inspired take on classic ’60s soul and funk sounds. Powerhouse vocals from Noelle Scaggs and frontman Michael Fitzpatrick will have you moving like Marvin Gaye in no time.
If there’s one thing Coachella never fails to deliver, it’s an array of awesome reunion performances, and this year is no exception: whatever your persuasion—from the hazy, dazzling Mazzy Star, postpunk fIREHOSE, ’90s British pop royalty Pulp and the enigmatically orchestral Godspeed You! Black Emperor to hardcore proto-punk legends At The Drive In and Refused—there’s bound to be someone you’ve been waiting for.
For more information on the full lineup, set times, and more, click here.
And to get your festival fashion fix, be sure to check out our upcoming Street Chic report for the best looks from both weekends of Coachella.