Coachella is coming — are you ready? If step one is securing entry (and lodging) and step two is buying boho-chic gear to last through two weekends, then step three is making a killer pregame playlist. We’ve compiled 15 must-hear songs from this year’s top acts to get you ready for your Longcut, stopping at 76® to pump gas (and score snacks) and cruising the highway straight to Indio, California. Get ready to get pumped for this year’s music extravaganza!
Azealia Banks “Chasing Time”
The controversy-courting musician — and recent Playboy cover star — has not at all gotten enough publicity for her excellent recent release, Broke With Expensive Taste. You’d be well-advised to just listen to all of Azealia‘s new album, but the single “Chasing Time” is the perfect 90s throwback without being too nostalgic.
Caribou “Can’t Do Without You”
Caribou’s Dan Snaith has quietly, diligently been churning out some of the best chill, electro songs/albums/everything for nearly a decade. The Canadian’s latest release is Our Love, which was met with as much acclaim as previous albums Swim and Andorra. For our Road to Coachella mix, we’ve chosen the fun track “Can’t Do Without You.” The mush-mouth vocals are weirdly addictive, as is the utter repetition. This is a dance-floor filler for the indie set.
Drake “Know Yourself”
Basically any playlist for any occasion nowadays should already have plenty of Drake on the roster. Everyone’s favorite sensitive rapper/Degrassi alum has been topping charts and celebrity crush lists for a few years now, and he just keeps getting better, doesn’t he? For your drive to Coachella, we recommend “Know Yourself,” a meditative track from his latest, the surprise album If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late.
Duke Dumont “I Got U”
So what if this song came out last year? It’s got that beautiful decade-blurring sound — joining the 90s, 2000s and today seamlessly — while providing the uplifting beat that will move you to dance in your seat. Inspired by and with vocals that sound scarily like Whitney Houston, “I Got U” is an instant classic to us.
Erol Alkan’s Extended Rework of Connan Mockasin’s “Forever Dolphin Love”
Not every track on your Coachella playlist needs to be a total banger, or brand-spanking new. We’re still obsessed with DJ Erol Alkan’s rework of “Forever Dolphin Love,” a track originally by Connan Mockasin. It’s a slinky, sexy, broody track that is perfect for traversing highways at night.
Father John Misty “Bored In The USA”
You already know and love his smash indie hit “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings,” or at least the video starring Aubrey Plaza, so it’s time to get to know this crooner’s latest release. I Love You, Honeybear has been garnering rave reviews, and for good reason. “Bored In The USA” is the perfect self-aware, slow-moving track to listen to while on a good old American road trip.
FKA twigs “tw-ache”
OK, so we think basically everything the enigmatic English musician does (and wears, of course) is perfect, but her track “tw-ache” is particularly good for a road trip pump up. Blippy and utterly sexy, it will make every passing landscape just that much more romantic. Already with this killer right out of the gate, we cannot wait to see what FKA twigs comes up with next.
Interpol “Obstacle 1”
Hopefully, we’re not alone in forever listing Interpol as one of our top 10 modern-era bands — Turn On the Bright Lights is such a classic, right?! Right, it was, and we’re including “Obstacle 1” on our Road to Coachella playlist because songs this good always sound perfect, particularly with highway signs zooming by at 60 mph.
Jamie xx “Girl”
Another track to file under “romantic scenery enhancing,” this song will make even the most dingy strip malls seem pleasant. Jamie xx — of The xx fame, natch — is no stranger to making dreamy soundscapes. “Girl” being just one of many killer tracks to choose from.
Kasabian “Club Foot”
A bit of an older track from English rock band Kasabian, but the appeal of “Club Foot” is absolutely undeniable — it’s been featured in video games, TV shows, movies and even as entrance music for football/soccer games. Kasabian has been steadily churning out killer tracks for over a decade now (and the band’s been around for nearly two), but we can’t get over this early jam.
Lykke Li “Gunshot”
As you already know, this Swedish musician is a total fashion darling (in addition to crafting perfect indie tracks). Lately, she even collaborated with the H&M-owned & Other Stories, and has had a song (in addition to her likeness!) featured in a Gucci Spring 2015 video. But back to the tunes. Her latest, I Never Learn, came out last year and went in the singer’s familiar, wonderful musical direction. The track “Gunshot” will sound real nice on your Coachella playlist.
Marina and the Diamonds “I’m a Ruin”
How can you not love the theatricality of Welsh songstress Marina Diamandis? The answer is “you can’t.” We’re obsessed with the stylish video for “Primadonna Girl,” but for your Coachella road trip playlist, we recommend the soaring, triumphant track off her latest album Froot, “I’m a Ruin.” If this were a just world, Marina would be as big a radio hit in the USA as Katy Perry and Rihanna.
St. Vincent “Digital Witness”
St. Vincent — née Annie Clark — has been an indie darling pretty much since her solo debut, Actor, came out in 2009. Before striking out on her own, St. Vincent was part of the fun/weird band The Polyphonic Spree, and also played in Sufjan Stevens’ touring band. St. Vincent’s latest release (self-titled) came out in 2014 and won the Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album. “Digital Witness,” the album’s second single, is the perfect, peppy addition to your Coachella playlist.
Sylvan Esso “Hey Mami”
Ever thought a song about being catcalled could be so beautiful? Nah, us neither. But here it is, “Hey Mami” from Sylvan Esso, a trippy, slow, electro little treat of a track. Sylvan Esso burst onto the scene last year; the North Carolina duo fell into collaboration after singer Amelia Meath requested a mix of a track of hers from producer Nick Sanborn. A connection was felt, a collaboration was born and our ears are super thankful.
Yelle “Complètement fou”
Gosh, we missed Yelle — the soundtrack to so many basement dance parties back in the late aughts. Namesake/vocalist Yelle, GrandMarnier and Tepr are back, and we couldn’t be happier. They released Complètement Fou last fall, and the title track is actually our idea of a perfect summer banger. Rife with bouncy electronic beats and Yelle’s attitude-heavy, über-French vocals, it’s a true return to form for the band (and we’re rejoicing hardcore). Oh, and make sure to pay close attention to the Vogue-heavy video, which is like the video fashion lookbook of our collective dreams.
Ready to take all with you? Grab our complete Road to Coachella playlist:
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