The initial jolt of the Coachella lineup reveal each year typically belongs to the headliners — and 2014 is no different, with Outkast officially back together and confirmed to be taking the stage on Friday night of the two-weekend festival. Muse and Arcade Fire will also deliver blockbuster shows, and most music fans can expect crowded sets for Ellie Goulding, Broken Bells, Lorde, Foster The People, Calvin Harris and Lana Del Rey, among other top-line artists.
Now, it’s time to explore the fine print of the Coachella lineup — the artists who might not be as immediately eye-popping on the festival bill, but should be considered must-sees nonetheless. Check out these 10 non-headliners to look out for at Coachella, and brush up on their discographies over the next three months to be fully prepared:
The Swedish electro-pop duo’s last album, “Shaking The Habitual,” was a deeply polarizing piece of art, and their recent live shows have reflected a shift away from the buoyant pop of their early years. But, still: it’s the Knife, a pair of mesmerizing musicians who rarely tour the U.S., and who could very possibly perform “Heartbeats” during their set. Shake your normal Coachella habits and see what they have up their sleeves.
Aloe Blacc – Best known for his Avicii collaboration “Wake Me Up!,” Blacc will draw his share of curious fans on the first day of Coachella, anxious to dance to Blacc’s rendition of the Top 10 EDM hit. But that single is only one of the soulful highlights in Blacc’s catalog, which will soon expand with the spring releases of his album, “Lift Your Spirit.” Plus: how many moments over the entire weekend will be as fun as singing along to “I Need a Dollar” in a crowd of thousands?
Two years after A$AP Rocky rocked Indio, his fellow Mob member will take the stage on Friday to toss out cuts from his underrated debut LP, “Trap Lord.” “Shabba” and “Hood Pope” will soar in front of a sure-to-be-unhinged crowd, but here’s hoping that A$AP Ferg also tears through his recent freestyle, “DTM Award 14.”
Neko Case – Case’s name on this year’s Coachella lineup is surrounded by flashy new talent, like HAIM, Martin Garrix, Ellie Goulding and Bastille. Don’t sleep on the alt-country siren putting on one of the best shows of the weekend, though: Case is coming off of the blisteringly personal album “The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You,” and her booming voice will be a must-hear as the sun sets over the desert.
Pharrell Williams – Pharrell is all the rage right now thanks to summer smashes “Get Lucky” and “Blurred Lines,” but kick the rust off of some of his other classics before heading to Indio. Once you realize that the rapper/producer can fill his set with the hooks to Jay Z’s “I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me)” and Snoop Dogg’s “Beautiful,” spit lines from “Frontin'” and “Can I Have It Like That,” and delve into his gorgeous new solo cut “Happy,” you’ll quickly circle Pharrell’s Saturday set as a can’t-miss.
Pet Shop Boys – Hard to believe that 2014 will mark the U.K. synth-pop duo’s first trip to Coachella, but expect splendid things upon their inaugural trip. Chris Lowe and Neil Tennant are fresh off of another acclaimed house album, “Electric,” and will surely show the new class of electronica stars how it’s done.
These dynamic Baltimore indie-rockers just signed to 4AD and will release a new album, “Singles,” two weeks before taking the Coachella stage. For those who have never seen Future Islands live, frontman Samuel T. Herring’s onstage antics — constant chest-thumping, eyes gleefully bugging out, arms gesticulating every which way — always make for a thrilling set.
Fishbone – The cult alt-rockers will have the ska diehards out in full force on the final day of Coachella, having recently toured around the world playing shows to please their cult following. At a festival full of under-appreciated new artists, slot some time for these perennial underdogs, who have been trucking since 1979.
Motörhead – One of the first bands confirmed for Coachella was Lemmy Kilmister’s merry band of misfits, which are back in action after having to postpone their European tour last year. Thankfully, the U.K. metal mainstays have their frontman healthy after Kilmister was suffering from an irregular heartbeat, and will be able to play cuts from new album “Aftershock” as well as classics like “Ace of Spades” at this year’s fest.
After the R&B singer-songwriter popped up on Drake’s “Nothing Was The Same” highlight “From Time,” she made a surprising Top 10 debut on the Billboard 200 chart with her first EP, “Sail Out,” in November. Although she’s been relegated to the last line of Sunday’s lineup, Aiko could very well be one of the most intriguing artists to take the stage on Coachella’s final day.