A weekend at Coachella

If you’ve already picked up a case of water bottles and thrown that gallon tube of sunscreen in your backpack, chances are you’ve also done your listening homework for this year’s Coachella music festival.

Or have you?

This year’s lineup comes stacked with indie acts, many from outside the United States, and a few mainstream names. While the thought of Devo’s digital-whip slashes, the piano chords of Grizzly Bear’s “Two Weeks” or the live rendition of Phoenix’s “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix” may have you salivating, here are five acts with smaller American fan bases, but the thunder of a thousand Thom Yorkes.

Miike Snow

Even if you’ve heard the opening chords of “Animal” enough times to fill an echo chamber, the Stockholm-based trio is currently poised for one of Sunday’s most compelling sets.

Fronted by American songwriter and guitarist Andrew Wyatt and provided with heartfelt, icy textures by Swedish producers Bloodshy and Avant, Miike Snow’s enchanting, undeniably catchy material wields the power of any Neil Young ballad.

“Silvia,” “Black and Blue,” and the Adam Lambert-approved “Plastic Jungle” are wonderful examples and will hopefully make the band’s set list.

The festival weather has been known to soar into the 100s, but with these guys on hand, many shivers will be felt.


After several long years of rest and occasional producing gigs, the cherub-voiced Sigur Ros front man will return to the desert with a new solo album and a rabid fan base.

Sung mostly in English (a considerable break from Jónsi’s self-invented “Hopelandic” tongue) and chirping with raw, unfiltered strings, acoustic guitars and woodwinds, his songs feel like the lost soundtrack to a post-1945 Scandinavian folklore epic.

“Boy Lilikoi” and “Go Do,” the latter featuring a suitcase among other percussion instruments, will most surely get childhood memories flowing, hearts soaring and tear ducts raging.

Jónsi’s Coachella stop is among the first on a summer tour for the artist, so unless you’re planning a trip to Copenhagen, catch him now.

Fever Ray

Sweden’s Karin Dreijer Andersson, one half of The Knife and arguably the creepiest indie vocalist since Genesis P-Orridge, will be performing songs from her rapturous new solo album, made under the alias “Fever Ray,” on Friday.

Lush with throbbing, cinematic soundscapes of synths, strings, tribal percussion and even water glasses, Andersson’s haunting sounds are terrifying, blissful, unquestionably hypnotic and perfectly suited to the blackest of desert nights.

“If I Had a Heart” and “Dry and Dust” are both fine places to begin one’s pre-listening journey. Just don’t show up to the festival expecting to hear “Heartbeats.”


Ever wonder what a rave in a boiler room might be like? If so, be sure to check out Proxy’s set in the Sahara Tent (and fill those water bottles beforehand).

Though the young Russian producer has been remixing tracks by artists like Digitalism and Peaches for the last few years, his more recent solo work has endowed him with a reputation for fuzz-filled, ear-shattering, sweat-soaked dance parties.

“Dance in Dark” and “Destroy” have been the staples of world famous D.J.s since their releases. In the hands of their creator, they will likely bring down the house.

If his Berlin basement show I caught in October is any measure to go by, Proxy will eat Deadmau5 alive come Friday night.


If Sly Stone doesn’t show up, then Plastikman may go down as the most impressive addition to this year’s electronic-rich Coachella lineup. Well before Daft Punk or The Chemical Brothers started playing with samplers, the Detroit-raised Hawtin was well into creating some of the finest minimalist techno to ever blow out club PA systems. Dark, heavy on the bass and featuring anything from the battering of helicopter blades to the clicking of pens, Plastikman’s music might seem more challenging than an Andrei Tarkovsky picture, but amplified at deafening levels and complimented with surrealist imagery and light shows, it’s a purely alien experience. For a more visceral taste of his Sunday set, secure the loudest speakers your landlord will allow, rev up “Headcase” or “Spastik,” and turn off all the lights.