With dozens of acts spread over three days (and very late nights), the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio is never just about its headliners — even when one of them is the most important pop star in the world. Here are some of the lower-profile acts to catch at this year’s event, which is held over two weekends: April 13-15 and April 20-22.
Best known to American audiences for her featured vocal turns on two huge hits by Diplo’s Major Lazer project — “Cold Water,” with Justin Bieber, and the slinky “Lean On” — this Danish singer recently released a pulsing solo single called “Nostalgia” in which she combs through the details of “the first time I was in love … all the way back in 1997.” She may be looking backward for inspiration, but the sleek club beat is stylishly up to date.
At age 19, this singer and producer from Hawthorne is among the youngest artists set to perform at Coachella. He might also be the festival’s biggest charmer: In love-drunk synth-pop ballads like “Sunnyside” and “Lo Que Siento,” Cuco sings about fresh romance (in a casual mix of Spanish and English) with a tenderness and an optimism that couldn’t feel more welcome in this age of toxic masculinity.
Coachella veterans may remember when Disclosure brought out this New York duo’s Jillian Hervey to perform their collaborative soul-funk jam “Hourglass” in 2016. Now, Hervey — whose mother is singer and actor Vanessa Williams — is scheduled for her own set alongside her producer partner Astro Raw. As Lion Babe, they make tuneful, coolly sensual R&B laced with dusty vintage-vinyl samples.
Named — and why not? — after a radio host at Santa Monica’s KCRW-FM (89.9), this local garage-pop combo polished up its once-grungy sound for last year’s “Apocalipstick” album. But Cherry Glazerr, led by singer Clementine Creevy (who formed the band when she was 15), has hardly gone soft: “Time to knock out Peter Pan,” Creevy sings in “Lucid Dreams,” while “Sip o’ Poison” appears to ponder the danger of date rape.
Seen recently as part of Sufjan Stevens’ backing band at the Academy Awards ceremony, Sumney makes soul music as intricately detailed and richly emotional as that Oscar nominee’s folky meditations. The twist? “Aromanticism,” from 2017, lays out Sumney’s misgivings about romantic love — whether we should spend so much of our time chasing it, for one, and whether the real thing is even possible in a culture built on inequality.
Chloe x Halle
This teenage sister duo just released its debut album in March, but it’s not hard to see how the two scored a gig at Coachella: Chloe x Halle are signed to Parkwood Entertainment, the label owned by Saturday’s all-powerful headliner, Beyoncé. Even so, the sisters’ smart and funny R&B tunes — including “Grown,” which serves as the theme song for the new sitcom “grown-ish” — suggest they’ll hold their own amid the more experienced performers on the bill.