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12 acts we’re excited to see at Lollapalooza 2018 (which is streaming)

Lollapalooza 2017 - Sunday
Lollapalooza 2017 (more by James Richards IV)

Festival Season is rolling right along, and this week Lollapalooza in Chicago’s Grant Park from Thursday (8/2) through Sunday (8/5). If you’re not going, you can stream it live. If you are going, check out set times and the aftershow lineup.

Across Lollapalooza’s four days, there’s a lot of great stuff to see, and if you’re trying to narrow it down, we’ve picked 12 artists we’re excited to see at Lollapalooza. Whether you’ll be in Grant Park this weekend or you’re watching the livestream from home, read on for our picks, in no particular order…

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ARCTIC MONKEYS

Arctic Monkeys headline the first night, and they were already a perfect festival headliner after releasing 2013’s AM, which is one of the best modern-day arena rock albums around, but the anticipation to see them is even higher now that they have a great new album, Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino. The new songs are loungier and calmer than what Arctic Monkeys usually do, but as we recently witnessed in NYC, they sound great next to the older material in a live setting, and Arctic Monkeys look and sound like rock stars no matter what song they’re playing.

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VAMPIRE WEEKEND

Indie stars Vampire Weekend are apparently very close to finishing a new album, and this year they’ve been playing their first shows in four years. They’re also their first since Rostam left, and in his place are four new live members. Certain shows have also included guest appearances, like Danielle Haim recently joining at Fugi Rock Festival to cover Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys are Back In Town” with the band (watch above). Doesn’t look like they’ve debuted any new songs yet, but they’ve been doing other cool covers, playing a few songs from various side projects, and breaking out some deeper VW cuts that hadn’t been played in a while. It doesn’t seem unlikely that Lolla will have some special treats thrown in too.

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ST. VINCENT

St. Vincent has been touring like crazy since releasing her excellent 2017 album MASSEDUCTION, and she’s played a few different types of shows: her high concept pop-art solo show, her stripped down piano sets, and her full-band rock show. She’ll probably do the latter at Lollapalooza, given the type of festival that this is, and as we’ve witnessed more than once this year, her full-band rock show really rocks. St. Vincent is a guitar god and a mesmerizing frontwoman, and her talent is matched by the grand spectacle of her stage show.

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THE NATIONAL

The National are still touring behind last year’s great Sleep Well Beast, but even if you’ve seen this tour already, there’s a good chance The National will surprise you at Lollapalooza — recent sets have included brand new songs, exciting guest appearances, and more. The National always bring it as a live band, and the Sleep Well Beast tour has been no different. The new songs sound great, and career-long staples like “Mr. November” haven’t aged one bit.

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BROCKHAMPTON

Incredibly fast rising rap group Brockhampton (who are no longer with Ameer Vann, following sexual misconduct allegations) released not one but three of our favorite albums of 2017, and they’re set to release a new one this year. While details are still TBA, but they’ve been rapidly dropping new songs lately, including “1998 TRUMAN,” “1999 WILDIFRE,” “Tonya,” and “1997 DIANA” (video above). The new songs show that Brockhampton are just getting better and better, finding new sounds to experiment with, and not losing steam one bit. Their crazy live shows — which include matching outfits, coordinated dance moves, and totally uninhibited fervor — are at least as good as their albums, and whether you’re already a fan or not, it’ll be very easy to be won over by them at Lollapalooza.

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LYKKE LI

Not only has it been a while since Swedish indie pop singer Lykke Li has played the US, but she’s got a very cool, very different new album — her first in four years — out now. The new album sees her going into atmospheric, downtempo hip hop territory, which is new for Lykke Li, and she has no trouble pulling it off. She’ll also surely come equipped with some old favorites to play too, and her live show is never anything short of entertaining.

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BUDDY

Buddy hails from the ever-thriving hip hop breeding ground of Compton, and after years of releasing promising singles and mixtapes, he finally put out his proper debut album, Harlan & Alondra, just a few weeks ago. The album’s got parts that remind you of Kendrick (who Buddy has collaborated with), aggressive songs, radio-friendly trap-ish songs, funk songs, R&B songs, and more, and guests include A$AP Ferg, Ty Dolla $ign, Snoop Dogg, and more. It’s really enjoyable stuff, and if you’re looking for a non-huge rapper at Lollapalooza who might be much bigger next time he plays the fest, Buddy is a must-see.

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TYLER CHILDERS

There isn’t too much in the way of country music on Lollapalooza 2018, but if it’s country you seek, you can’t go wrong with Tyler Childers. His music channels the country rock of the ’60s and ’70s, and it’s perfect outdoors music. We caught him outdoors when he played our SXSW show earlier this year, and it felt like being transported back to Woodstock or something. His vibe just goes perfectly with the hot sun, so here’s to hoping we get good weather this weekend!

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PARQUET COURTS

For traditional-style indie rock at Lollapalooza, Parquet Courts are one of your best bets. Early on, they channelled anyone from The Modern Lovers to The Fall to Pavement, but over time, they’ve spread their wings to include other sounds like Sonic Youth-y jams or danceable, Talking Heads-y stuff like the title track off their new album Wide Awake (video above). They’ve always been a rock-sold live band, and now that they’ve written their most fun-sounding music yet, we predict good things for their Lolla set.

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ALEX LAHEY

For even more traditional-style indie rock, catch Australia’s Alex Lahey. She’s got slightly more of a punk side than Parquet Courts (she’s someone who makes just as much sense opening for Jimmy Eat World as she does opening for Tegan & Sara), and across her debut album and debut EP, she has 15 songs that already feel like hits. She’s also got funny stage banter that’s just as much of a sell as her actual songs.

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GOLDLINK

Lolla has big mainstream hip hop like The Weeknd and Travis Scott, but if indie-rap is more your style, don’t miss GoldLink. The DC rapper followed a couple promising mixtapes with his 2017 debut album At What Cost, which features contributions from fellow “indie” acts like Kaytranada, members of The Internet, and more. He’s also featured on the great new album by fellow indie rapper Denzel Curry. He’s got a calming but technically proficient delivery that isn’t like too much else out there today, and he’s probably only going to get bigger. See him now so you can say you did.

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VALEE

Chicago is the birthplace of so much of today’s great hip hop, so if you’ll be there for Lollapalooza, you gotta see at least one of the city’s rising stars, like Valee. Valee is on Kanye’s G.O.O.D. Music label, and he put out his first EP for the label earlier this year (including a song featuring Pusha T, who made the best G.O.O.D. Music album of the year and who is touring with Valee). Later on, he released a collab with another Chicago staple, R&B crooner Jeremih (listen above). We caught Valee at SXSW earlier this year, and he was awesome and had the crowd going pretty nuts. Surely he’ll have no trouble doing the same in his hometown.

At least five of our twelve picks can be watched live on your screen of choice. Artists confirmed to livestream so far include Arctic Monkeys, Bomba Esteréo, BROCKHAMPTON, Chvrches, Daniel Caesar, G Herbo, GoldLink, Gucci Mane, Jack White, LL Cool J, Logic, Lykke Li, Manchester Orchestra, ODESZA, Rusko, The Weeknd, Tycho, Tyler, The Creator, and Vampire Weekend.

Other artists playing Lollapalooza 2018 include Portugal the Man, Manchester Orchestra, Lizzo, Kali Uchis, Franz Ferdinand, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, Stars, Basement, Curtis Harding, and more. Full lineup, tickets, and more info at Lollapalooza’s website.

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