After weeks of endless speculation (The Rolling Stones? Daft Punk? A hologram ODB—wait, that one is still possible), the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival put the rumors to rest and finally released the line-up for its 14th annual three-day event. And while some of the big names that were floating around in the last few days failed to materialized, Coachella has given fans plenty to salivate over, with Red Hot Chili Peppers making their dynamic return to the Empire Polo Field (their first time back since 2003), the reunion of British rockers Blur, and the surprise inclusion of Wu-Tang Clan (see, that ODB hologram isn’t sounding so far fetched now, is it?)

The line-up features plenty of surprise omissions, however. Fiona Apple, who had without a doubt one of 2012’s best albums, is nowhere to be found; Lana Del Rey continues to perhaps feel the repercussions of online backlash, as she is missing in action for the second year in a row; hip-hop wunderkind Kendrick Lamar seemed locked-up for a slot, but he too is curiously absent. But in their place are some acts that have been hinted at for weeks prior: Phoenix and and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs have been mentioned in the same breath as Coachella since early December, and sure enough, they found their way in the line-up. And the minute The Postal Service announced that 2013 would see their reunion (if only on stage; no plans for new music), it was all but guaranteed that they too would feature prominently.

Most Notable Inclusion goes to Nick Cave and Jamie xx, as both are slated to pop-up twice in one weekend, with the former playing with his side-project, Grinderman, on Friday before showing up to close out the festival with the Bad Seeds, and Jamie xx doing a solo DJ set on Friday as well, before uniting with his two bandmates as the XX on Saturday. The Odd Future takeover continues as 2013 marks the third year in a row that the rap collective has either shown up as a unit, or had a single member be billed solo. In 2012, it was R&B-crooner and future multi-Grammy nominee, Frank Ocean; this year, it’s whiplash wordsmith Earl Sweatshirt, who makes his triumphant stage appearance on Friday after more than two years off the scene. And anybody who isn’t excited to hear Lou Reed croon as only Lou Reed can will surely know better than to actually say so out loud.

As was introduced in 2012, when the festival was taken over by promoting company Goldenvoice, this year’s Coachella will be split into two weekends, both with identical line-ups. Music fans went into a tizzy when this substantial change was announced prior to the line-up’s release last year, citing a natural shift in Coachella’s “can’t-miss” energy. Yet crowds nevertheless showed up, with tickets selling out in less than two hours. While pre-sale tickets for 2013 have already been off the market since May, the second-batch of tickets are slated to go on sale at 10:00am PST on Tuesday January 29th. Fans should be ready for an all-out online bloodbath to get their hands on a pair, because this year’s tickets are sure to be much like the Indio desert itself: hot.

– Rod Bastanmehr for The Untitled Magazine

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