Coachella holds more than just the major opening acts on the bill

If you’re willing to spend $300 for a ticket to Coachella, you should at least attempt to get the most bang for your buck. For those headed to Coachella, listening to at least two songs per unknown band is always a good idea. 

Some Coachella-goers skip the headliners, allowing themselves more dancing space and a look at the underground talent few Americans know about. If Kanye, Arcade Fire, The Strokes and Kings of Leon don’t rub you the right way, consider these five indie acts:

The Black Keys

The duo of Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney should not be missed. The two first appeared as The Black Keys at Coachella just two years ago, with a mind-blowing, rock-a-licious set. The same should be expected Friday.

Since they first formed in 2001, the Keys have released six albums, and each one is worth listening to a million times over. Auerbach and Carney embrace the traditions of the American blues-rock music duo, and their latest Brothers album released last year will likely go down in history as being one of the finest of 2010. When they play “Howlin’ For You” on Friday, the crowd will no doubt be howlin’ along.

Nosaj Thing

Three words: The Sahara Tent.

For those looking to head-bob, jump and dougie, the Sahara Tent will be filled with other audio A-listers, including the Bloody Beetroots, Fedde Le Grand, Boys Noize and Afrojack. But there’s something special about Nosaj Thing (birth name Jason Chung.)

He released his first full album, Drift, in 2009, and though his preferred genre tends to be grouped into the electronic category, Nosaj Thing aims to defy expectations, mixing operatic synth sounds with heavy, grit-soaked beats in “Lords.”

Even if the slower, more intricate Chung doesn’t quite melt minds like the Chemical Brothers do, his tunes yield a transcendent music experience.


The Scissor Sisters

The Scissor Sisters are immensely enjoyable. The alternative band started off in New York City with their 2004 album, Scissor Sisters, winning them the best album of that year. Bono recently called them his favorite pop group in the world.

Their most popular song “I Don’t Feel Like Dancing” from their Ta-Dah album released in September 2006. The Scissor Sisters’ music resembles Ska, but is not as annoying as Ska can be. They’re a trippy bunch comprised of five members, and will absolutely bring an ’80s mix feel to the Coachella family.

Erykah Badu

Similar to Lauyrn Hill or Billie Holiday, Badu accompanies her rasta-like highly wanted afro mane with a smooth and sexy voice. Not only is she an American recording artist, but she is also a record producer and actress who has appeared on the sitcom Girlfriends.

Her sensual sounds have won her the title of “First Lady of Neo-Soul” or the “Queen of Neo-Soul.” When she sings, you will feel chills. Badu is one of those talented artists who doesn’t produce synthetic-sounding pieces. She is a vessel of authenticity, and her music truly amplifies her sexy vibes.

Omar Rodriguez Lopez

Someone you might call an interesting dude, Lopez is the arguable master of the progressive rock-psychedelic, rock-experimental-electronic-freaky genre.

He is best known as the guitarist, producer and composer for The Mars Volta, but Lopez and his guitar kick ass alone.

Though there might be no Hendrix of this generation, inevitable jaw drops come when listening to Lopez.

His first solo album came in 2005 titled Omar Rodriguez Lopez Quintet, but at the end of 2009, Lopez released three more albums titled Los Sueños de un Hígado, Xenophanes and Solar Gambling.


This dance-punk indie band — it’s pronounced “chk chk chk” — knows how to have fun, and how to keep it casual. The group has rotated and changed members many times, but it has stayed consistent with its pure sounds. Vocalist Nic Offer sometimes  sharpens his voice with “All my Heroes are Weirdos,” and then later sexify them in “Myth Takes.”

Their most recent album, Strange Weather, Isn’t It?, released in August 2009, isn’t as good as their Myth Takes album, but they’re still a funky bunch. You’ll want more, and you’ll groove your way through their beats.