Colleen Viana downloads us on five acts you need to see at Coachella 2014
Coachella’s in the air. I can feel it, I can smell it. (Yes, there’s a distinct scent that I can’t quite describe, but it’s similar to how you can smell the sugar-coated air in Disneyland). Even if we are over 2,000 miles away from Indio, everyone’s caught festival fever, myself included. The overall atmosphere is shifting here in Manhattan; with the weather slowly reaching the perfect spring (ideally April 25th) temperature and the sun shining brighter than usual, everyone is noticeably happier. It’s that preeminent shift from winter to spring that sends me and so many other New Yorkers into a constant daydream of being outside—frolicking the festival grounds, being surrounded by our best friends and favorite bands. There is nothing more exciting to wait for (other than Christmas).
In high anticipation of those first weeks of April to finally hit, I’ve been prepping myself for the past month on the festival’s entire line-up. Coachella is a great opportunity to discover musical artists you would never think to see otherwise and, of course, a chance to see your current obsessions perform in front of the perfect desert backdrop. Narrowing down your top picks for the weekend is a grueling process; after perusing my overly-extensive Coachella playlist, the process has become even more stressful than necessary—especially knowing that I most likely will not make it to half of the acts I’d love to see.
So this year I’m trying something different… Here are five of my favorite up-and-coming-non-top-40 artists (hey, I work in radio, I hear enough of that) that I simply cannot miss, with a fun Single Diaries spin. The result is my shortlist of Superbly Single female artists whom you MUST see at Coachella… no question about it (unless they’re scheduled at the same time, in which case we’ll just have to flip a coin).
5. MS MR
Friday, April 11/18
I discovered MS MR when I was interning at SpinMedia last year, where they were named “artist to watch.” They certainly still are and cannot be missed at Coachella, which I believe will be their breakout performance. Lizzy Plapinger’s (lead singer and, dare I say, today’s reincarnation of ‘90s Gwen Stefani) soothing, yet utterly powerful voice complemented by Max Hershenow’s very chill synth/indie instrumentals will make for a very chill Coachella afternoon delight.
See MS MR if your must-see acts include: Arcade Fire, Lana del Rey, Lorde, or The Knife
Sunday, April 13/20
If you’re no stranger to electronic dance music, there’s no question that you’ve heard of Krewella and how badass this trio is. Sisters Jahan and Yasmine Yousaf make up ⅔ of this increasingly popular dubstep/progressive house group that provide LIVE vocals during their sets. Last year, I watched the Ultra Music Festival live stream and was blown away by these chicks. It’s not often that we see women at the forefront of EDM, so I can’t wait to finally see them live and dance my ass off.
Check out Krewella if you’re camping out at the Sahara tent for: Calvin Harris, Skrillex, Zedd, or Girl Talk
Saturday, April 12/19
Let’s put it this way: if I were Beyonce’s sister, I’d most likely pull a Jan Brady and lament “Marcia Marcia Marcia!” for the rest of my life. Solange is the opposite. She’s built an incredible name for herself—doing everything from DJing to modeling, and creating a sweet sneaker line with Puma somewhere in between. While it’s hard to talk about Solange without directly making the Knowles connection, you must know that once she’s on stage performing, it simply becomes irrelevant and ends up being more of a coincidence. Her voice is insane, and her dance moves make me want to be her BFF. There’s no way I’d miss her at Coachella.
Watch Solange if your jam is: Outkast, Pharrell Williams, Chromeo, or Kid Cudi
2. Little Dragon
Sunday, April 13/20
The first time I saw Little Dragon live was something of a religious experience. Yukimi Nagano is quite possibly my favorite female vocalist in the indie pop/rock scene EVER (sorry, Jenny Lewis, you’re a close second). The moment she begins singing and the band releases those ethereal, down tempo beats, I’m transported to another world. “Dreamy, rhythmical, shifting, moody rainbow sounds” is their description on Facebook verbatim, and it can’t be more accurate. Though Yukimi is but one-fourth of Little Dragon, she is a boss personifying this Shakespearean line: “Though she be but little, she is fierce.” 100%.
You need to see Little Dragon if your cup of tea includes: Beck, Disclosure, MGMT, or Empire of the Sun
Friday, April 11/18
Possibly one of the best albums released in the past year came from this incredibly talented badass sister trio known collectively by their last name, Haim. I anticipated their debut album after discovering them last year on SPIN.com; I was completely sold once I read their inspiration was ‘90s girl groups. If you know me, you know how much I love the girl power, viva forever, I don’t want no scrub mentality. Of course, Haim is not your traditional chick band (partly because their drummer is a dude). Their sound is completely unique; they’ve produced the kind of music that makes you want to roll down the windows of your car and cruise down PCH. Their California vibe is so quintessential to the Coachella experience that it would be ludicrous to miss their set. Plus, if you’ve never seen three ladies drumming at the same time, now is your chance.
Make it a point to see Haim if you love: Muse, Ellie Goulding, Foster the People, or The Replacements
- Sleigh Bells: Totally changed the way I listen to musical “noise”
- AlunaGeorge: A fusion of Disclosure and All Saints (Random, I know, but when you start listening you’ll know what I mean.)
- Banks: Like a millennial version of Fiona Apple
- CHVRCHES: Giving us another reason to have dance parties in our undies
- Jhene Aiko: She’s bringing back old school R&B sounds… need I say more?
Happy Coachella! Don’t forget to check out The Single Diaries Guide to Coachella Prep. What bands are you dying to see?
Colleen Viana holds a Master’s Degree in Media Studies from the New School and works in radio advertising. Check out her Spotify playlist for more Coachella tunes.