Coachella 2017 is right around the corner! I’ll be attending the festival both weekends, as I have the last two years. One of the reasons I love going both weekends is there is just so many awesome bands that it allows me to see a couple different people each weekend that conflict with each other.
Each year, I do a load of research into some of the lower-billed acts and I’ve come up with a list of 10 Coachella 2017 undercard acts you should definitely check out. You can view the whole Coachella 2017 lineup here.
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard (4:10-5:00 PM, Outdoor Theatre)
This Aussie psych rock band is highly prolific. They’ve put out nine albums since 2010 and have a tenth planned for later this year. Their latest dropped last month and is oddly called Flying Microtonal Banana — it is widely considered their best work to date. I was made aware of this band by two Aussie girls who rode in an Uber pool that I was in last year. They’re a seven-piece band that features harmonica, flutes to go with your usual instrumentation. They are definitely going to deliver one of Coachella’s best jam sessions.
Klangstof (1:25-2:05 PM, Gobi)
Norway’s Klangstof have quickly made waves with their brand of indie pop, which relies heavily on the atmosphere they create. There’s an almost Explosions to the Sky feel to their sound. Frontman Koen Van De Wardt has a bit of Thom Yorke in his voice. Their sound fully envelops you as the listener with their Sigur Ros like soundscapes. Their songs don’t feature that much singing in them, but they don’t really need too much.
The Paranoyds (2:50-3:30 PM, Sonora)
Los Angeles garage rockers The Paranoyds are one of the more unexpected acts to be included on this year’s Coachella bill. I first became aware of this four-piece from sometimes Pass The Aux contributor Frank Mojica’s feature on them at Noisey in February. They’ve quickly become favorites among the local scene with their ’60s punk sound. You can catch them opening for fellow Coachella act Slow Hollows at The Echo on Tuesday night.
Thundercat (5:30-6:20 PM, Mojave)
I am honestly fucking SHOCKED that Thundercat’s name is so low on the poster. His new record Drunk that came out earlier this year is fantastic, it’s got so many throwback-sounding jams on it and a bunch of killer collaborations. I didn’t know much about Thundercat before seeing him at FYF Fest a few years back and it was a perfect mid-afternoon groovy set.
Autograf (2:40-3:30 PM, Sahara)
Autograf is one of many acts to graduate to the main Coachella lineup, having played the DoLaB stage just last year. The Chicago electropop trio are great at crafting a fun and upbeat set and should be a great place to boost your energy in the middle of Coachella’s second day. Watching them at The Novo perform a live rendition of Flume’s “Say It” sent me home hoping to find it on Soundcloud (I didn’t), but hopeful to see them do it on the Polo Grounds.
Bishop Briggs (7:20-8:05 PM, Gobi)
You don’t get asked to open for Coldplay before releasing your debut album unless you’re really talented. This rising British alt-pop star is based in LA and has quickly become a radio favorite in the area and is known for delivering killer live performances. Her single “River” is a smash hit. Her debut EP will drop April 14th, the Friday of Coachella weekend one. Briggs’ Coachella sideshow at the El Rey is sold out — hopefully you got tickets.
Whitney (3:45-4:30 PM, Outdoor)
Chicago indie rockers Whitney haven’t been at it long having formed in 2015, but they’ve quickly made waves. You may remember Smith Westerns — Max Kakacek and Julien Ehrlich’s roots were that band before forming Whitney. Ehrlich was also the drummer for Unknown Mortal Orchestra but takes lead vocals duties for Whitney. He has a very unique voice — it’s not quite a falsetto but it sits close. It sounds a bit like Justin Vernon aka Bon Iver, but with a folk band behind him. I also love their use of horns. The song “Golden Days” is what endeared me to them (listen below). They should be a fun, casual set to help you get your wits about you after a long weekend of partying.
Hinds (3:05-3:50 PM, Sonora)
Spanish garage rockers Hinds are one of those bands that always seem to be having more fun on stage than anyone. This all-female four-piece play sloppy but fun shows that always have the crowd dancing along to their jams. Their song “Bamboo” caught my attention when it was just Carlotta and Ana, before they added the other two bandmates. Their debut album features much of the same fun and simple garage jams. I caught them at Bonnaroo and Treasure Island last year, they’re a really fun early-day festival band. Hinds will be playing the new Sonora Stage.
Grace Mitchell (1:30-2:10 PM, Gobi)
Grace Mitchell might not be old enough to drink yet but she’s got a far firmer grip on how to write catchy pop songs than most people twice her age. The 19-year-old Portland-bred singer first caught my attention with the memorable hook it features. She’s also so multi-talented she can take a song like Post Malone’s “White Iverson” and make it something completely her own. She can even rock out, as evidenced by “Kids (Ain’t Alright)”. Expect to see her in a tent slot early in the day.
Caveman (2:00-2:40 PM, Sonora)
I first came across Caveman while binge-watching season two of the Judd Apatow-produced Netflix series LOVE. The song “Never Going Back” is a perfect little indie rock song with a really catchy hook. It is very eerily similar to The War on Drugs. Matthew Iwanusa’s vocals sit somewhere near Dawes lead singer’s Taylor Goldsmith’s, but the band has a much less folksy sound. The synths also bring an edge to the band’s sound. Their second album, 2016’s Otero War, is pretty solid through and through and their Coachella debut on the new Sonora Stage should be a fun start to the festival’s last day.
There’s a ton of good stuff on this year’s lineup — so much so that I’m probably seeing a Coachella sideshow nearly every day in between the two. You really can’t miss, but I hope you’ll get in the gates earlier than you otherwise might have to check some of these acts out.
Top photo from Coachella 2016 courtesy of Goldenvoice