Coachella’s 2012 Lineup: One Day Later


coachella 2012 Coachellas 2012 Lineup: One Day Later

Coachella’s 2012 lineup is officially one day old and that means it’s time for some post-reveal analysis. In the pages that follow, we run through the biggest highlights and surprises appearing on this year’s bill, in addition to the most glaring omissions. We also highlight five names worth knowing as you prepare for April’s big weekend(s).


At the Drive-In

at the drive in Coachellas 2012 Lineup: One Day Later

Best known as the duo behind prog-psych wunderkinds The Mars Volta, Omar Rodríguez-López and Cedrix Bixler-Zavala got their start as At The Drive-In, easily the best relic of the late ’90s’ post-hardcore wave. Since they disbanded way back in 2001, the band has been a regular fixture on fake Coachella lineup posters and “heavily rumored” blog lists nearly every year since. Despite the persistent rumors, the band remained officially broken up until yesterday afternoon, just hours before Coachella’s lineup dropped. As of now, ATDI’s Sunday night slot at the Polo Fields is currently their only scheduled date. Let’s make it count! –Möhammad Choudhery

Jeff Mangum

jeff mangum2 Coachellas 2012 Lineup: One Day Later

Notorious recluse and indie icon Jeff Mangum is unexpectedly, inexplicably back. It’s only been in the last year-ish that Mangum has started playing Neutral Milk Hotel tracks after over a decade of silence, so any chance to see him play is noteworthy. Given that his highly intimate gigs for 2012 have all sold out, his addition is more or less a bargain. For two weekends? It’s certainly the best anyone’s ever had, at least for him. –Ben Kaye


pulp Coachellas 2012 Lineup: One Day Later

Photo by Colin Athens

The absence of Pulp at Coachella and other American festivals last year was a noticeable one. Resolution finally came shortly before the lineup’s revelation, when Pulp’s official site was updated with a new series of cryptic questions before revealing their Coachella appearances: “You think you get off that lightly? You think this is over? There are so many questions left unanswered: Can this feeling travel across the Atlantic? Can we make the desert bloom? Can we conquer our phobias? And – most fundamentally: Why me? Why you? Why here? Why now? 2012: The year we get some answers?” If their long-awaited return to American shores is half as explosive as their singalong-stuffed Primavera comeback, then yes, the desert will, in fact, bloom as Pulp finally bring their sardonic wit and inimitable brand of showmanship to Coachella for what just might be both the first and last time. –Frank Mojica


radiohead 24 Coachellas 2012 Lineup: One Day Later

Photo by Nate Slevin

Back in 2004, Radiohead headlined Coachella. Since then, the Coachella Message Board has been flooded with requests, all screaming for Thom Yorke & Co’s to return. What a year to book them. With minimal presence on stage in 2011 – save for a surprise set at Glastonbury, Saturday Night Live, and a couple nights in New York City – Radiohead plans to attack 2012 in full force, already set for a nationwide tour that promises an intense arena show. Admittedly, the UK sensation’s latest LP, The King of Limbs, isn’t exactly desert-primed, but you can’t deny the toe-numbing excitement of seeing Yorke lose his shit to “Lotus Flower” in the desert. Buy me a bottle of water for that. Pretty please. -Michael Roffman

The Weeknd

the weeknd Coachellas 2012 Lineup: One Day Later

Three acclaimed mixtapes. Little to no live work. Mystery loves company, and for Abel Tesfaye, he’s hardly alone. Why? Blame it on the voice. That could explain the thousands of intrigued fans come April 15th. But, will he deliver? Too early to tell, and it’s unfair to judge based on the scant performances from 2011. Besides, he hasn’t even assembled his full band yet. In fact, he’s holding auditions currently. So, if you think you could lend him a hand (and you want to perform at Coachella), send him an e-mail now. Just don’t screw up that scintillating cover of Jacko’s “Dirty Diana”. That could ruin our own – wait for it – weekend. Ha. Ha. Ha. –Michael Roffman


The Black Keys

blackkeys 3 Coachellas 2012 Lineup: One Day Later

Photo by Debi Del Grande

Perhaps the most flagrant festival whores on this list, The Black Keys – who’ve played three of the last four Coachellas – were widely considered a long shot to headline in 2012, if only for Goldenvoice’s penchant against booking repeat performers. Lo and behold, they’re sitting pretty atop Friday’s lineup and, as good as El Camino was, few could complain. –Möhammad Choudhery

Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg

dre snoop Coachellas 2012 Lineup: One Day Later

Aside from Refused appearing out of thin air, this may be the most shocking addition to the bill. Nowhere in the oft-hostile Coachella rumor boards were either of these names mentioned. And why should they have been? Dre’s Detox has yet to come to fruition after years of rumors (his headlining will no doubt add to those endless rumors of its completion), and Snoop Dogg hardly has the star power to headline a bill at Coachella by himself. But together as two of the most rugged pioneers of West Coast hip-hop? That’s a set worth seeing. -Winston Robbins

Godspeed You! Black Emperor

godspeed you Coachellas 2012 Lineup: One Day Later

Nothing short of seeing Godspeed You! Black Emperor on an official line-up poster would’ve made me believe this one. Infamous for their staunch anti-establishment bent, Godspeed’s Saturday night at Coachella is their first major festival appearance to date (aside from a couple of appearances at ATP over the years). Though it’s been nearly a decade since they last released new material, the band’s 2010 tour saw them premiere a handful of new pieces, namely the riveting “Hope Drone”. The jury’s still out on how the group’s understated dramatics will stand up to the Sahara Tent’s insufferable, non-stop rumble and the notoriously raucous Coachella crowd. –Möhammad Choudhery

Jeff Mangum

jeff mangum2 Coachellas 2012 Lineup: One Day Later

On paper, a name like Jeff Mangum works wonders for posters and festivalgoers’ wishlists. But, realistically, did anyone ever think that would happen? It’s one thing to slot Magnum at a venue-centric festival like ATP, but to hear the ol’ bard belt out “Holland, 1945” in 100+ degree weather, potentially to half of the cast from CW’s Gossip Girl, well…you get the idea. But it’s a reality. Sigh, the world was bound to find its eighth wonder one day or another. April 14th and April 21st of 2012, to be exact. –Michael Roffman


refused Coachellas 2012 Lineup: One Day Later

This reunion definitely comes out of nowhere, but there are a lot of hardcore punk fans more than thrilled the Swedish anarchists are coming together. The band’s official statement said they “never did The Shape of Punk to Come justice back when it came out” and now they want to “do it over, do it right.” Playing the songs in front of tens of thousands of fans at the polo grounds is one way to do it right. Even if they may lose a few anti-establishment points for it. –Nick Freed



bjork moon vid Coachellas 2012 Lineup: One Day Later

This one’s easy. Not only did Björk release a critically-acclaimed LP last year (Biophilia), but she also just announced a residency in New York City. So, clearly she’s gigging. Yes, she did appear at Coachella in 2007, though that frame of thinking didn’t stop Goldenvoice from booking The Black Keys (again, again, and again). Oh well. If anything, her omission just makes it easy for trollers on the Coachella Message Board to keep scoffing. You’d think with Radiohead… -Michael Roffman

Fucked Up

FU thumb 1024x1024 Coachellas 2012 Lineup: One Day Later

Photo by Jeremy D. Larson

They didn’t find an invitation in the mail last year, they didn’t in 2012, either. Quite a shame, too. With last year’s aggressively sweet David Comes to Life still spinning on our *ahem* Spotify account, it would have benefit Goldenvoice to tap Damian Abraham’s eccentric band of punksters. Guess they thought Refused and At The Drive-In was aplenty. Maybe we’ll get another LA punk show out of it? The question is: Who will be there this time? Shame. –Michael Roffman


kraftwerk Coachellas 2012 Lineup: One Day Later

After they announced a sub-headlining spot at Ultra Music Fest this March, many considered Kraftwerk a lock to reprise their stellar 2008 Coachella performance this year. Their striking omission from the fest’s 2012 lineup hits especially hard for West coast fans of Kraftwerk, who haven’t seen the German electro-pioneers since. Time to pull out the ol’ discography, instead. –Möhammad Choudhery

Lana Del Rey

lana del rey Coachellas 2012 Lineup: One Day Later

Even though Lana del Rey would fit in amongst the fashionable crowd at the festival, her new stardom and low, mellow croon, apparently, did not. The pouty-lipped internet star has exploded everywhere in the past few months, and her place in the lineup would make complete sense. She’ll have to sit this one out, and then play every other festival around the world instead. –Nick Freed

New Order

new order Coachellas 2012 Lineup: One Day Later

Two years ago, Bernard Sumner’s side project Bad Lieutenant was scheduled to play. (You know, the group featuring everyone from New Order except Peter Hook?) Then there was that pesky volcano. So, yeah, that didn’t happen. With New Order back (well, everyone except Peter Hook), and already headlining both incarnations of Ultra, it was easy to peg ’em as shoe-in’s for Indio, CA’s big shebang less than a month later. Not the case. Instead, you Anglophiles will have to settle for Pulp…and Madness? –Michael Roffman

Who to Know

Company Flow

company flow at tobacco warehouse 1 jm Coachellas 2012 Lineup: One Day Later

Photo by Nate Slevin

With Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg headlining this year’s festivities, all ears will be on West coast rap. But further down the lineup, and from a diametrically opposing location, comes Brooklyn’s Company Flow. The alternative rap trio, founded by current alt-hip-hop guru/Defintive Jux head El-P, first formed in 1993. After signing to Rawkus in the mid-’90s, they released their 1997 debut full-length, Funcrusher Plus, to heaps of critical acclaim. After the departure of member Big Jus in 1999, the duo of El-P and Mr. Len released one last instrumental LP entitled Little Johnny From the Hospitul before dissolving amicably. The group originally reunited for shows in October 2007 and July 2011, including supporting Portishead at ATP UK’s “I’ll Be Your Mirror” festival. A favorite of the most studied hip-hop head, Company Flow’s reunion is equal parts nostalgia and a subtle reminder of the spread and impact the rap game’s had on Coachella’s booking. -Chris Coplan

The Dear Hunter

dear hunter Coachellas 2012 Lineup: One Day Later

Prog-rock experimentalist outfit The Dear Hunter (note: not Deerhunter) began as a side project Casey Crescenzo launched while part of the now-defunct The Receiving End of Siren. The band works almost exclusively in concepts; the Act Series, a planned six-part epic (three have yet been released), follows an early 20th century protagonist known as, get this, The Dear Hunter from birth to his love affair with a prostitute named Ms. Leading to his eventual death. Last year, they released The Color Spectrum, a collection of nine four-track EPs each themed around a color of the spectrum. With epic instrumentation, jaw-dropping vocals, and The Color Spectrum guest Manchester Orchestra also in attendance, they’re definitely worth checking out. –Ben Kaye

Kendrick Lamar

kendrick lamar Coachellas 2012 Lineup: One Day Later

Kendrick Lamar has yet to hit it extremely big, but he’s on the brink. With his 2010 mixtape O(verly) D(edicated), he started to make waves that only became stronger upon the release of his 2011 effort, Section.80. And did you hear his part on Drake’s “Marvin’s Room/Buried Alive” (Interlude)? The man apparently doesn’t need to breathe in between verses. Take all that and the fact that festival headliners Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre proclaimed him “New Prince of the West Coast” in August of 2011, and you’ve got a full-fledged hype hurricane. Here’s to hoping he sticks around to guest with Dre and Snoop. –Winston Robbins

Sleeper Agent

sleeper agent Coachellas 2012 Lineup: One Day Later

Sleeper Agent’s 2011 debut LP, Celabrasion, was a great exercise in clean, poppy alternative. Nothing edgy, per se, but ultimately catchy stuff. Vocalist Alex Kandel’s vocals act as an adhesive, especially to the quasi-modern rock vibes below it. Over the past year, this Bowling Green, KY sextet has attracted a number of eyes, including Rolling Stone, who named them “a band to watch.” Given that they’ve toured with the likes of fellow Kentucky pals Cage the Elephant, one would be wise in expecting a raucous display of all things rock. Nothing more, nothing less. -Michael Roffman


thundercat Coachellas 2012 Lineup: One Day Later

When Stephen Bruner isn’t providing bass for Flying Lotus, he’s recording as Thundercat. He’s also making jazz ultimately cool again. There’s a reason we named The Golden Age of Apocalypse one of the best albums of 2011: it’s an incredibly warranted yet highly unpretentious jazz record. Sort of an oxymoron in retrospect, but Bruner has found a way to make it a reality. As Möhammad Choudhery wrote, “Someone this good could only play sideman for so long, though.” Let’s see how he holds up on his own…at one of America’s biggest festivals. –Michael Roffman