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10 Must-See Bands at Coachella 2012

Don't head to the desert without a plan! Set your schedule for prime awesome with this list of must-see acts at Coachella.

Johnny Firecloudby Johnny Firecloud

It all seems like a blur – rumors of At The Drive-In and Refused reunions became hard fact moments before the full Coachella 2012 lineup was announced – with Radiohead headlining, in addition to a slew of reunions and surprises. Then, barely the blink of an eye later, both weekends were sold out. Gone. Needless to say, anticipation for this year's fest on the Empire Polo Fields in Indio is at an all-time high, and you can bet your sweet, sweating ass that CraveOnline will be on hand for the experience.

To coincide with the hysteria, we've compiled a list of ten acts that you do not want to miss if you're making the journey to the desert for Coachella this year, for two consecutive weekend between April 13 – 15 and 20 – 22.


1. Fitz and The Tantrums

With a repertoire fortified with the elements that built Motown’s greatest hits work, a live show that lifts their recorded material to delicious heights of retro-soul and a rapidly-increasing awareness level in the music world, there’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn't be carving our a space in your 'Chella schedule for Fitz and The Tantrums. It's pure soul-groove goodness with dancing shoes on.

Check out the video for "Don’t Gotta Work It Out" below:


2. Le Butcherettes:

Sargent House's spaz-blast rock outfit Le Butcherettes have had us by the musical throat for over a year, and we're chomping at the bit to see them in the blazing desert. Led by fireball vocalist/guitarist/pianist Teri Gender Bender, Le Butcherettes’ songs & untethered energy evoke early-era Yeah Yeah Yeahs, with the seductive energy of The Kills in an explosive minimalist package. To see them live is to be equally inspired, adrenalized and disturbed. Find us in the pit.

Check out a video for "New York":


3. Refused

Nobody thought they would ever even consider reuniting, they insisted it would never happen, but somehow these Swedish hardcore punk blasters have decided to do just that – and the anticipation is giving us panic attacks. A message from the band boils down to this: "A reunion has just seemed irrelevant to us. Too much other shit to do. We never did “The Shape Of Punk To Come” justice back when it came out, too tangled up in petty internal bickering to really focus on the job. And suddenly there’s this possibility to do it like it was intended. We wanna do it over, do it right. For the people who’ve kept the music alive through the years, but also for our own sakes. We feel that you deserve it and we hope the feeling is mutual. See you in the pit."

Check out the video for "New Noise":


4. At The Drive-In

Beloved Mars Volta / Sparta precursor At The Drive-In tweeted a cryptic message on the morning of January 9th, prior to the unveiling of the 2012 Coachella lineup: “¡ATTENTION! To whom it may concern: AT THE DRIVE-IN will be breaking their 11 year silence THIS STATION IS …NOW…OPERATIONAL.” The alt-rock world damn near exploded at the news, and it's since been confirmed that At The Drive-In will in fact be reuniting at Coachella 2012, with all Relationship Of Command-era members, including super famous martians Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Omar Rodríguez-López.

Check out the video for "One Armed Scissor":


5. Cat Power

The inimitably gorgeous, breathy Chan Marshall aka Cat Power is prepping the release of her next album, which we'll likely see a teaser of when she takes the stage in Indio this April. She's had a rough run in the past half decade, with personal troubles slowing down her creative output. But her live show has sharpened strongly in the past few years, and we can't wait to see what's in store this time around.

Check out a gorgeous version of "Crying, Waiting, Hoping" and try not to fall in love:



Mike Watt’s other other band is finally reuniting for a string of West Coast dates, which will see the band holing up in a series of clubs and ballrooms before the big desert fest. The art-punk trio split in 1994, shortly after the release of their fifth full-length – 1993’s Mister Machinery Operator. We'll likely see the old favorites, along with a few peppered MMO jams the band didn't get to play much before disbanding.

Check out "Down With The Bass":


7. Radiohead

There's a reason why tickets sell out instantly whenever Radiohead is involved: they're maniacally passionate about what they do, and the authenticity of delivery, matched with sheer instrumental genius, lifts them head and shoulders beyond the lion’s share of big-name bands out there. Over the span over eight albums and two millennia, they’ve become an airtight, utterly telepathic band, seamlessly tearing through a setlist spanning their entire careers, without having to resort to masturbatory, dated hits unreflective of their current sound (that means you, "Creep"). They’re atmospheric pioneers in a purgatorial electronic landscape, where the running theme is delicate despair with bursts of angelic optimism.

Check out "Bangers N' Mash" off their From The Basement sessions:



Regardless of whether you know the music, the live show from the hugely accelerating project of frontman Andrew Bruno is an infectious dancefest that's not to be missed. Let nobody tell you that these guys are dismissable – AWOLNATION's brand of electro-industrial riffage and passionate intensity drew an incredible response from the crowd at festivals last year, who couldn't seem to get enough of what these musical alchemists were cooking. Set your schedule for an unpredictable, nearly undefinable style that mixes rock, electronica, ambient and more for a pastiche of sonic weirdness with shades of brilliance.

Check out the video for "Sail":


9. Frank Ocean

Odd Future's golden voice has already made a major impact in the industry, with his most recent guesting/production turn on Watch The Throne cementing his place as a force to be reckoned with. He's been cooking up a new album for some time now, with a specific focus of bringing out the best live show he can.

"The record is written, we're just trying to tie up all the production. Get everything sonically pleasing to me," Ocean told BBC's Zane Lowe of his album. "When I started writing this record that was one of the things I said. I wanted to be able to perform well, for it to transition to stage well… It feels good, they work out well." We're in store for some goodness. Be there.

Check out the video for "Novacane":


10. Girl Talk

There’s quite a bit of electronica to check out this year, and the masses will be flocking to all the major names. But if you want to talk about epic musical throwdowns, look no further than Girl Talk. With a seamless flow that transcends the simple two-track mash-up, Girl Talk (aka Greg Gillis) weaves instrument or vocal tracks from several sources at once, but never stays on one idea long enough to get used to – or tired of – it. He mixes Jay-Z with Radiohead, Busta Rhymes with the Police, Outkast and The Jackson 5, Mary J. Blige with The Guess Who. And that covers about a minute and a half of one song.

Girl Talk shows aren’t your standard audience-stands-here, performer-stands-here arrangement. Gillis wants the party around him – half the audience usually ends up onstage with him once the party kicks into gear. It’s a sweaty, pulsing dancefest that translates well outside the realm of glowsticks and vapo-rub facemasks. Girl Talk’s now-legendary set at Lollapalooza 2008 ended with Gillis riding a raft through the 60,000-strong crowd, a fitting end to a wildly received show.

Check out "Every Day":