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Coachella 2014: 20 Must-See Acts

The headliners and emerging artists that will define your weekend, and maybe your year


For the 15th time, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is planning to light up the desert. Here are 20 acts that are worth springing for some sunscreen.

By Richard Gehr, Keith Harris, Maura Johnston, Nick Murray and Jessica Suarez

disclosure guy lawrence

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Who: The brothers Lawrence, who caught the ear of dance music fans with 2012 tracks "Latch" and "Tenderly/Flow," parlayed that success into 2013's breakthrough album Settle. The open arrangements and stuttering rhythms on the U.K. chart-topper pushed the LP to Number Two on Rolling Stone's list of the year's best dance albums.

Why You Can't Miss Them: This February, right when it seemed like duo couldn't get any more mileage from their LP, Mary J. Blige contributed verses and vocals to "F for You," adding some early-Nineties New York garage-soul to their early-Aughts U.K. garage bounce. As Blige reminded us, playing the record remains the easiest way to get a group of young people moving in place. For example, the duo's closing set at last year's festival was so energetic that fans attempted to jump the barricades separating the audience from the stage. This year expect extra security.

lana del ray

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Lana Del Rey

Who: The smoky, mysterious, nostalgia-addled pop artist that critics in 2011 called a flash in the pan. Welcome to three years, two Grammy nominations and a platinum album later.

Why You Can't Miss Her: Del Rey's "Young and Beautiful" and the Cedric Gervais-remixed "Summertime Sadness" kept her buzz going in 2013 while she wrote material for the follow-up to her breakthrough Born to Die. On Sunday she'll likely debut new material from that album, Ultraviolence, which is produced by the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach.

chance the rapper

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Chance the Rapper

Who: Twenty-year-old Chicagoan Chance the Rapper recorded his first mixtape, 10 Day, when he was on suspension from school; his second, Acid Rap, earned him features on records by everyone from Lil Wayne to Justin Bieber to Skrillex to James Blake.

Why You Can't Miss Him: If Outkast's Friday night headlining set is a reminder of where hip-hop was willing to go 15 years ago, Chance's Sunday performance will demonstrate where it's willing to go today. And while the younger artist might not have the on-stage experience of his forbears, he puts on a good enough show that, as he recently told Rolling Stone, he "might not ever drop a for-sale project" and "just make my money touring."

omara bombino

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Who: Hailing from Agadez, Niger, singer-guitarist Omara "Bombino" Moctar is a youngish master of the Tuareg desert blues known as assouf.

Why You Can't Miss Him: Bombino is a guitar-slinging standout among the growing coterie of Tuareg acts like Tinariwen and Tamikrest. Last year's Dan Auerbach-produced Nomad offered a relatively restrained taste of Bombino's onstage magic, but anyone who's heard the 13-minute live version of "Tigrawahi Tikma" ("Bring Us Together"), or seen him on a stage, knows just how deeply Bombino plunges into assouf's hypnotic embrace.

Win Butler Arcade Fire

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Arcade Fire

Who: The 2010 winners of the Album of the Year Grammy back for more critical acclaim. Arcade Fire have picked up James Murphy to produce last year's Reflektor, a record that augments the group's sound with dance-influenced elements like thicker bass lines and Salsoul-esque congas.

Why You Can't Miss Them: They promoted Reflektor with a series of smaller gigs – "The idea was to play these like they were our first shows ever," Win Butler told Rolling Stone. But Coachella marks their return to U.S. festivals. Arcade Fire have been traveling Latin America playing fests like Vive Latino and Lollapalooza, so their live set should, once again, be Coachella-ready. Expect the rhythms of new tracks like "Reflektor" and "You Already Know" to provide the perfect counterbalance to the more serious anthems that they've been playing since day one.

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