As the holiday season comes to a close it’s time to start gearing up for another (alas, one that hurts your wallet just as much): festival season. The release of the Coachella Music and Arts Festival lineup marks the beginning of another year full of dancing in some of the nation’s largest cities filled with plenty of music discovery. Let’s not forget that the desert festival tends to set the stage for lineups to follow.
This year’s lineup might be Coachella’s most diverse yet, with sounds seeping from every corner of the music industry. From Japanese electronic to Russian pop, the festival is even lending a spot to film scores with the presence of composer Danny Elfman.
While the days of alternative and rock dominating the lineup are far gone, there’s still plenty of great veteran and up-and-coming groups within rock, punk, and alternative to look out for.
Here are all of the Ernie Ball artists set to play the Coachella Music and Arts Festival…
Rage Against the Machine
For the first time since 2011, Rage Against The Machine is back. The head-banging, electrified punks have plans to return to the stage with as much fury as when they formed in 1991. In true Rage Against The Machine fashion, the band dropped a not-so-subtle hint that they would be headling the desert festival with a viral Instagram post.
The Los Angeles-based psychedelic soul band, Chicano Batman, are smooth listening. Their sound is distinct; between their lead singer’s unique voice, their unmistakable organs, and their brass section, they deliver a full band experience. Their tunes are great for mellow listening with an upbeat timbre and a dash of Chicano pride.
Chicano Batman gets down with Ernie Ball Regular Slinkys.
The British Invasion isn’t over. IDLES is here to remind you. Coming hot and fast out of Bristol, the sound that the punk rockers deliver is extremely raw. With lyrics that aren’t afraid to hit a nerve, blistering bass, guitar riffs, and growling vocals coming from extra-charismatic frontman Joe Talbot, it is hard to take your eyes off of the band that hits harder than a train. That is, of course, if you can keep your eyes on them while getting pushed around in one of their mosh pits.
IDLES get rowdy with Ernie Ball Not Even Slinkys.
Mikayla Simpson is only 19, and she has already exploded onto the reggae scene under her pseudonym, Koffee. Coming out of Spanish Town, Jamaica, her career was kick-started when her first single, “Legend” was acknowledged by Usain Bolt, whom the song was dedicated to, and whom she later performed the song for. Though she only has one EP and a slew of singles out, Koffee is, without a doubt, a rising star to keep an eye on. Her music has landed her collaborations with high profile artists like Govana, Mura Masa, and Justin Bieber.
Deeply attuned to the power of their own physicality, Mannequin Pussy channels complex emotion in blistering riffs, thrashing rhythms, and vocals that feel as immediate and untamed as a gut reaction. Riding off the release of their 2019 album, Patience, the shoegaze-meets-punk energy of the album is sure to have crowds in a flurry.
Code Orange is an American hardcore band hailing from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They started out playing “really straightforward punk,” but eventually took their sound into a heavier realm with the addition of their former bassist. The band describes their sound as “doomy, abrasive” hardcore punk similar to Black Flag, Converge, and Integrity. Since their 2012 release Love Is Love/Return to Dust, Code Orange has continued to build their reputation within the hardcore niche and proves to be an impressive contributor to the genre.
The Canadian rock group, PUP, is one to watch in the realm of pop-punk. Their 2019 album, Morbid Stuff, was well-received in the community, featuring 11-straight songs of pure, jovial angst. The band is just as independent as their music would imply; even going to the lengths of starting their own record label, Little Dipper, in order to keep complete creative freedom over their sound.
Girl in Red
Marie Ulven Ringheim, known professionally as Girl in Red, is a Norwegian indie-pop singer-songwriter who writes, records and produces all of her music out of her bedroom. Breaking into the scene just under two years ago, her single “I Wanna Be Your Girlfriend” has gained over 40 million streams on Spotify and was listed at No. 9 on The New York Times list of “The 68 Best Songs of 2018”.
The lax surf rock group of Skegss makes not caring look cool, nailing that laid-back irony that defines the genre. Maybe it is their distinct Australian attitude — and accents — but Skegss has a certain style that is a perfect fit for surf rock.
Combining both dreamy tones with interruptive jangle rock, Snail Mail is infectiously catchy. Still riding high from their 2018 release Lush, singer Lindsey Jordan’s songwriting contains a level of emotional depth that has captured audiences. Maybe new music is on the horizon? Fingers crossed.
Emerging from the gritty north of England, YUNGBLUD brings an explosion of raw energy and thought-provoking lyrics. He has created his own blend of alternative rock, poetry, and guitar-hooks with a fierce determination to make a dent in pop-culture. Loud, unapologetic, and here to make a statement — YUNGBLUD has been one to look out for. Only now is the world beginning to grapple his influence.
YUNGBLUD relies on Not Even Slinky.
(Sandy) Alex G
(Sandy) Alex G is the stage alias of Alex Giannascoli, a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who built his reputation with intimate lo-fi pop that combines strong melodic sensibilities with a ragged, impulsive-sounding performance style. He is also known for diversions into recording experiments and noise. After releasing a dozen combined albums and EPs on his own or on smaller labels, his Domino Records debut, 2015’s Beach Music, landed on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart and led to guitar spots for Frank Ocean.
Omar Velasco, who is known formally on stage as Omar Apollo, is a self-taught singer and guitar player from Indiana. In 2017, he released “Ugotme,” which got playlisted on Spotify and blew up overnight. But he’s continued to ride high since the almost chance encounter — garnering millions of Spotify streams and an impressive fan base. His modern R&B-meets-funk sound, mixed with his eloquently smooth vocals and emotional lyrics has a way of captivating even the most skeptical of listeners.