Getting billed at Coachella (April 15 to 17) is the rock-band equivalent of Harvard early acceptance. Here, the can’t-miss sets from this year’s lineup.

Kanye West: Every edition of Coachella needs a pop culture–defining rapper—and when Jay-Z filled this slot last year, Beyoncé made a surprise appearance. While we don’t expect West to cede the spotlight to anybody, it’s probably safe to plan on a spectacle.

Warpaint: This all-female quartet may be Coachella 2011’s breakthrough discovery. Shannyn Sossamon, the band’s original drummer, departed three years ago to focus on her acting, and guitarist Josh Klinghoffer split to join the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Still, The Fool, the debut of the current incarnation—which includes Sossamon’s sister Jenny Lee Lindberg—is intimate, spooky, and erotically thrilling.

Joy Orbison: The festival offers a perfect setting to explore electronica artists, from big-stage acts like the Chemical Brothers to more obscure ones in the dance tents, such as London’s Joy Orbison and his kaleidoscopic, adventurous grooves.


Joy Orbison

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The Strokes: Coachella has fostered some legendary reunions (Jane’s Addiction, Iggy and the Stooges, the Pixies); this year it’s the Strokes. New York’s iconic It band recently regrouped after a five-year hiatus, yet its members keep bickering publicly. This friction may be a good thing: Their comeback album, Angles, is a return to form.