From Knocked Loose to The Comet Is Coming, there’s plenty to love on those bottom three lines
Every year when lineup season hits, we at Impose don’t immediately look to the top lines of those festival posters. It’s not in our nature. As a blog that is most concerned with covering up-and-coming and/or DIY acts, our eyes go straight to the bottom lines to see which of our rising faves have managed to graduate to the next step.
Coachella has slowly shifted away from being an indie or alternative-leaning festival throughout the years. The biggest takeaways each year seem to be what each headliner act pulls off – from special guests to new songs to whatever lighting show is on display, etc. But it’s easy to forget that Coachella can also be a star-making weekend for a lot of those lower-billed acts. As the years go on, pop, EDM and hip hop continue to reign supreme, but towards the bottom is where you’ll find the most out-there or eclectic music ripe for discovery.
With that in mind, you can check out our guide below for some of our favorite under-the-radar groups looking to break through and define another glorious weekend in the desert. And who knows? One day, one of these acts could end up headlining. Remember, it worked for The Killers, who were the second-to-last billed act on their day in 2004. You never know!
DOMi & JD Beck
Who Are They? Jazz prodigy duo of French keyboardist Domi and American drummer JD Beck, who have collaborated with the likes of Thundercat, Anderson Paak, Herbie Hancock, Bruno Mars and more. Their debut album Too Tight was met with widespread critical acclaim and notched two Grammy nominations.
For Fans Of: Thundercat, Robert Glasper, Makaya McCraven, Oscar Jerome
Who Is He? A young Mexican American singer-songwriter and guitar virtuoso. Born and raised in nearby Palm Springs, his music blends traditional Mexican folk with classic rock and indie – topped with mind-blowing solos that’ll surely have the Sonora Tent packed and swooning.
For Fans Of: Natanael Cano, Los Aptos, Dariell Cano, Jimmy Durante
Who Are They? London-based electronic duo who specialize in progressive, bass-tinged IDM that recalls the glory days of ’90s UK rave. Bleary, ominous, and full of heady breakbeats, their music also straddles 2-step, ambient techno and future garage. With their debut album on the way, expect a suspenseful set that revels in the shadows.
For Fans Of: Two Shell, Bicep, Joy Orbison, Ben UFO
Who Is She? A Swazi-born DJ and producer based in South Africa who is known for her work in amapiano – a subgenre of house music steeped in jazz and lounge music. Her sets are funky, off-kilter, and full of tribal textures like percussive basslines and African house rhythms. Her set will be a glorious sun-drenched dance party to lead off the Saturday festivities.
For Fans Of: Major Leage DJz, Felo Lo Tee, Musa Keys, Dj Karri
Who Are They? A ferocious up-and-coming hardcore band from Philadelphia who conjure an angry, socially conscious, anarcho-punk infused style that gets the mosh pits moving. Their 2022 album Diaspora Problems is heavy, defiant and full of incendiary sonic energy that never lets up. They’re sure to blow the roof off the Sonora on Friday.
For Fans Of: Drug Church, Chat Pile, Zulu, Petrol Girls
Who Are They? A sardonic post-punk duo from Nottingham, England whose minimal beats and dry, socially critical poetic ramblings render a wide range of emotions: anger, boredom, fury, complacency, and a dash of “fuck-it-let’s-party” energy. This verbose energy could yield some truly calculated chaos in the Sonora Tent.
For Fans Of: Fontaines DC, Kae Tempest, The Fall, Gilla Band
The Comet Is Coming
Who Are They? A heady psychedelic jazz trio from England who fuse cosmic saxophones, acid-washed synths and frantic percussion to maximum hypnotic effect. One of the best groups in the sphere currently nailing the middle point between nu jazz and space rock, their live show is one that’ll send you to the cosmos and back.
For Fans Of: Sons of Kemet, Binker and Moses, Ezra Collective, Thundercat
Who Are They? Hailing from Atlanta, the rap duo EARTHGANG blaze the psychedelic trail in the Dreamville hip hop scene. Trippy, disorienting beats and rapid-fire tag-team verses create a truly hypnotizing, smoke-filled atmosphere, as evidenced by their magnificent albums Mirrorland and Ghetto Gods.
For Fans Of: J.I.D, Smino, Saba, Spillage Village
Who Are They? It’s kinda ridiculous that The Breeders are billed as low as they are, seeing as how they’re one of the foundational groups of the ’90s alternative rock movement. Nonetheless, if you’re looking for fuzzed-out garage alternative with killer licks and propulsive jams, look no further than the legendary Deal sisters and their anthemic sprawl of reverb-drenched rock n’ roll.
For Fans Of: Veruca Salt, Hole, Pixies, Throwing Muses
Who Is She? An artist from the Florida panhandle who delves into the harrowing realms of dream pop and Gothic Americana. Armed with a devastating, smoky singing voice, her highly confessional music explores her tumultuous upbringing – tackling themes of religion, poverty, substance abuse and generational trauma with an eye on the light at the end of the tunnel. Dark, messy, but truly inspiring and galvanizing stuff.
For Fans Of: Lana Del Rey, Weyes Blood, Lingua Ignota, Soccer Mommy
Who Are They? Taiwanese lounge-pop and yacht rock act whose breezy melodies, languid rhythms, and understated percussion will lull you into a dazed sun-baked fervor in the heat of Saturday afternoon. Music that you can smoke up to, nurse your tired hangover, and re-charge your batteries.
For Fans Of: Men I Trust, Mac Demarco, boy pablo, Los Retros
Who Is She? English electronic producer and all-around musician who experiments in the realm of pop infused with 90s rave textures. Breakbeat, drum and bass, garage, and 2-step all come whirring through behind a soothing vocal performance. There’s a warehouse explosiveness to her sound, as well as an intimate singer-songwriter charm.
For Fans Of: PinkPantheress, Charlotte Plank, Vitesse X, Neggy Gemmy
Who Are They? A prodigious trio of young female musicians from the midwest who recall the fuzzy, rollicking impulses of Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr. and other fuzzed-out alt rock acts from the ’80s and ’90s. Reverb-soaked guitars and confident songwriting have these musicians playing at a level well beyond their years.
For Fans Of: Wednesday, Porridge Radio, Momma, Sonic Youth
Who Are They? One of the most hyped acts from the current crop of young, rising hardcore bands, Santa Cruz’s Scowl infuse their brand with explosive grunge rock layers, and they do it with a glamorous visual style to boot. Frontwoman Kat Moss is one of the most electrifying vocalists and performers on the entire bill, and they seem primed for a big breakthrough following their latest EP release Psychic Dance Routine.
For Fans Of: GEL, Hole, Speed, Veruca Salt
Who Is She? An alternative R&B singer, songwriter, producer and violinist from Cincinatti who weaves in elements of hip hop, folk, and electronica, along with sterling West African fiddling textures. Her voice is also smooth as butter. Her latest album Natural Brown Prom Queen was one of the very best albums of last year.
For Fans Of: Tirzah, Nilüfer Yanya, Sault, Moses Sumney
Who Are They? A punishingly intense metalcore band hailing from Kentucky with impeccable chugging breakdowns and a singer possessing one of the most unique screaming styles in the sphere. They will absolutely be the heaviest band on the lineup, so come prepared to stage dive, throw some elbows, and dodge any potential crowdkillers.
For Fans Of: Code Orange, Incendiary, Kublai Khan TX, Jesus Piece
El Michels Affair
Who Are They? A veteran musical ensemble led by frontman Leon Michels, who perform a range of styles including jazz, funk, soul, R&B and everything in between. The band has collaborated with everyone from Sharon Jones to Antibalas while serving as the session band for the likes of Lana Del Rey and Dr. John. At Coachella, they’ll conjure their own dazzlingly eclectic musical showcase.
For Fans Of: The Roots, The Budos Band, BADBADNOTGOOD, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings
Who Are They? A spirited up-and-coming Los Angeles duo that wrangles laid-back psych, rock, indie and alternative textures as beats for their inventive, wide-eyed hip hop musings. In addition to their awesome rhymes, they’re both wonderful singers and musicians who bring the guitar sound fully into the rap sphere.
For Fans Of: Jean Dawson, Brockhampton, Injury Reserve, AG Club
Who Are They? A Los Angeles-based trio who infuse their slithery brand of indie rock with plenty of grungy, gazy downcast layers in the vein of Liz Phair and Pavement. Their 2022 album Household Name has catapulted them to next-big-thing status in the indieshere, and they’ll look to capitalize on that momentum with a revved-up set at Coachella.
For Fans Of: Babes in Toyland, Skating Polly, Slow Pulp, Wednesday
Who Are They? A laid-back but propulsive sun-swept British band with rollicking psychedelic jams for days. As their bandcamp states, they’re “four gals from the undergorund realms of London, tripping out on Tequila and Cumbia.” Eclectic rhythms and nifty solos round out this exciting quartet who will revel in the Coachella afternoon sun.
For Fans Of: Altin Gün, Khruangbin, Kikaguku Moyo, Goat Girl