1.Welcome to Chicago!

1/27

The Windy City's Grant Park is home to Perry Farrell's annual Lolla extravaganza from August 6-8. This year's fest features many notable sets, including a reunion of Seattle grunge pioneers Soundgarden and New York City guitar rockers the Strokes. Of course, a little pop star named Lady Gaga will be there, too, just to keep things interesting.

SPIN's editors studied the line-up and picked 25 acts you don't want to miss. And we added some songs and videos to this story, so even if you're not heading to Chicago, you can still enjoy the music. -- Written by Steve Kandell and Peter Gaston

See Our Picks Now

2.Welcome to Chicago!

2/27

The Windy City's Grant Park is home to Perry Farrell's annual Lolla extravaganza from August 6-8. This year's fest features many notable sets, including a reunion of Seattle grunge pioneers Soundgarden and New York City guitar rockers the Strokes. Of course, a little pop star named Lady Gaga will be there, too, just to keep things interesting.

SPIN's editors studied the line-up and picked 25 acts you don't want to miss. And we added some songs and videos to this story, so even if you're not heading to Chicago, you can still enjoy the music. -- Written by Steve Kandell and Peter Gaston

See Our Picks Now

3.THE ARCADE FIRE

3/27

Hometown: Montreal
Why They Matter: Here's how Win Butler's first week of August looks: Tuesday, his band releases their third and most droolingly anticipated album, The Suburbs, which they'll celebrate with two shows headlining a little shed called Madison Square Garden. Then they'll close out the Grant Park festivities Sunday night by airing out the new tunes in front of 70,000 people. And how's your week looking?
You should know: The Suburbs track "Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)" is a reference to the Tracy Kidder book about Haiti that Butler gifted to Bruce Springsteen during their joint SPIN cover interview in 2007.LISTEN: Arcade Fire, "No Cars Go"

4.ERYKAH BADU

4/27

Hometown: Dallas
Why She Matters: One of R&B's most captivating and controversial artists, Badu's output hasn't been prolific -- just five albums in the past 15 years -- but she delivers every time. With a career filled with hits like "On & On," "Bag Lady," and "You Got Me" (her collaboration with the Roots), Badu is perennially inventive and provocative.
You Should Know: Badu recently butted heads with authorities in her hometown after taking off all of her clothes while filming a video for "Window Seat" in Dallas' Dealey Plaza, the site of JFK's assassination.

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WATCH: Erykah Badu, "Window Seat"

5.SOUNDGARDEN

5/27

Hometown: Seattle
Why They Matter: Of all the head-to-head set-time conflicts Lolla weekend, none will be more compelling than Sunday night's climactic Arcade Fire vs. Soundgarden main event: Reigning indie kings riding release-week hype vs. 13-years-dormant grunge icons reconvening at the festival that helped cement their legend.
You should know: No new music is planned as of yet for Soundgarden beyond Lollapalooza.WATCH: Soundgarden, "Superunknown"

6.CHIDDY BANG

6/27

Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
Why They Matter: On their breakout single, "Opposite of Adults," this budding rap duo had the gall to sample one of hipsterdom's most ubiquitous hits -- MGMT's "Kids" -- and the chops to knock it out of the park. Amazingly, they scored with the same formula on the follow-up track, "Truth," grafting the hook off Passion Pit's "Better Things."
You Should Know: Chiddy Bang collaborated with 30 Rock and Community writer Donald Glover to write the between-song skits on their debut album, The Swelly Life (out this fall).

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WATCH: Chiddy Bang, "Truth"

7.THE BIG PINK

7/27

Hometown: London
Why They Matter: Their 2009 album, A Brief History of Love, was one of the year's most fawned over debuts (No. 25 on our Best of '09 list), with its confident balance of heady shoegazey noise and arena-filling pomp, best embodied in the cocksure single, "Dominos."
You Should Know: This year's North American ad campaign for Jaguar's XJ sedan features "Dominos," albeit a version that's stripped of all vocals.

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WATCH: The Big Pink, "Dominos"

8.SOCIAL DISTORTION

8/27

Hometown: Fullerton, CA
Why They Matter: Still going strong after 32 (!) years, one of punk rock's flag bearers will return in October with their first studio album since 2004. Mike Ness and co. should be dishing out new tunes alongside fist-pumping anthems like "Ball & Chain," "Prison Bound," and their supercharged cover of Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire."
You Should Know: If you want to see what punk rock was really like during the Reagan era, and think Warped Tour bands are a bunch of wussies, get a copy of Another State of Mind, the 1984 documentary of Social D's tour with Youth Brigade.

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WATCH:Social Distorition, "Story of My Life"

9.LADY GAGA

9/27

Hometown: New York
Why They Matter: Her mere inclusion on the bill got many rock-purists' knickers in a twist, which is a Lollapalooza rite of passage. (Remember when Metallica's headlining slot in '96 caused an uproar? No? Fair enough. Take our word.) But the fact is, Gaga will be the weekend's most transgressive and theatrical spectacle. Sorry, Switchfoot.
You should know: Due to the inevitable hot, muggy weather, Lady Gaga will perform her entire set wearing a cotton halter top and cut-offs. Ah, just foolin'—her current tour has about a dozen costume changes, each more absurd than the last.WATCH:Lady Gaga, "Alejandro"

10.CUT COPY

10/27

Hometown: Melbourne, Australia
Why They Matter: Their 2008 sophomore effort In Ghost Colours was a global smash, fusing the heady electronica of the Chemical Brothers with the pop sensibility of the Pet Shop Boys and Erasure. The follow-up is just about finished, and is set for a January 2011 release.
You Should Know: The band turned down a chance to support Lady Gaga on tour. "We were simultaneously repulsed but also tantalized by the idea of touring with her for a whole year," frontman Dan Whitford told Pitchfork. "If I were in a 'Choose Your Own Adventure' novel it would've been interesting to go on tour with Lady Gaga and see how that affected my career and life."

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WATCH: Cut Copy, "Lights & Music"

11.JIMMY CLIFF

11/27

Hometown: Kingston, Jamaica
Why He Matters: Recent Rock Hall of Fame inductee and reggae icon Cliff, 62, just finished his 20th album, Existence, due this fall, and is spending his summer giving festivalgoers yet another excuse to get super-high all afternoon.
You Should Know: Cliff, who starred in the landmark reggae film The Harder They Come in 1972, is co-writing a screenplay that he plans to put into production later this year.WATCH:Jimmy Cliff, "The Harder They Come"

12.EMPIRE OF THE SUN

12/27

Hometown: Perth and Sydney, Australia
Why They Matter: Their debut album, Walking on a Dream, came out in 2008, and won all sorts of awards in Australia, but it wasn't until their single "We Are the People" appeared in American ads for Vizio HDTVs that the duo found an audience in the U.S. Their Lollapalooza appearance will be their first-ever show in the States.
You Should Know: The group's frontman, Luke Steele, first made waves in the folksy Australian band the Sleepy Jackson.

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WATCH:Empire of the Sun, "Half Mast (Slight Return)"

13.CYPRESS HILL

13/27

Hometown: Los Angeles
Why They Matter: Rise Up, the ninth album from these west-coast rap mainstays, came out on 4/20 for some reason, on Snoop Dogg's Priority Records. While it's been nearly 20 years since their "How I Could Just Kill a Man"/ "Insane in the Brain" heyday, they've built a steady and musically diverse catalogue that's a lot more than just weed jokes. But also: weed jokes.
You should know: Cypress Hill played Lollapalooza in 1994 and, perhaps more memorably, Homerpalooza in 1996: "Did somebody order the London Symphony Orchestra, possibly while high? Cypress Hill, I'm looking in your general direction."

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LISTEN:Cypress Hill, "Rise Up" (Feat. Tom Morello)

14.DEER TICK

14/27

Hometown: Providence, RI
Why They Matter: Led by raspy-voiced frontman John McCauley, this quintet joins the annals of non-Southerners -- John Fogerty, Bob Dylan, the Band, Will Ferrell in Talladega Nights -- who nail the ethos of the American heartland. Among their notable fans: NBC's Brian Williams, who made them the debut act profiled on his popular website "BriTunes."
You Should Know: McCauley is working on a side project with Dawes main man Taylor Goldsmith and Delta Spirit frontman Matt Vasquez called MG&V. An album is expected later this year.

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LISTEN:Deer Tick, "Easy"

15.DIRTY PROJECTORS

15/27

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

Why They Matter: Though this indie chamber-pop outfit still has plenty of momentum from 2009's acclaimed Bitte Orca, they're hardly coasting. Their new EP Mount Wittenberg Orca is a reworking of a one-off collaboration they did with Bjork last year and feels, not surprisingly, less fussed-over than its intricate predecessor.
You should know: Bjork doesn't seem to have anything on her itinerary Lolla weekend. Just sayin'.

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WATCH:Dirty Projectors, "Stillness Is the Move"

16.GREEN DAY

16/27

Hometown: Berkeley, CA
Why They Matter: They brought honest-to-goodness punk rock into the mainstream in the '90s, morphed it into arena rock in the '00s, and then brought it to Broadway this year with the American Idiot musical. They're punk rock the whole family can enjoy!
You Should Know: The photograph used for Green Day's first SPIN cover in 1994 was taken backstage at that summer's touring version of Lollapalooza, when the then-upstarts were an opening act.WATCH:Green Day, "21 Guns"

17.NNEKA

17/27

Hometown: Warri, Nigeria
Why She Matters: The 28-year-old is a true international star: Born in Nigeria, Nneka Egbuna began as a singer in Germany, mixing both English and her native tongue Igbo into her emotive, hip-hop tinged R&B. SPIN included her on our 10 to Watch in 2010 list.
You Should Know: The Roots have been huge supporters of Nneka, serving as her backing band at one of her first-ever U.S. shows, last November, and inviting her to play at the Roots annual picnic in Philadelphia in June.

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WATCH:Nneka, "Heartbeat"

18.HOT CHIP

18/27

Hometown: London
Why They Matter: If the hosts of Mythbusters made electronic music, they'd sound like Hot Chip. This quintet ooze geek chic, and shift deftly between dancefloor stormers ("Over and Over"), globally-influenced pop ("One Pure Thought"), and emotive electronica ("Brothers").
You Should Know: The band dates back to the schoolboy days of Alexis Taylor and Joe Goddard, who came up with the name "Hot Chip" on the spot, after a gig at age 15. "We liked it because it was kind of pathetic," Goddard tells SPIN. "It's essentially a stupid image: French fries, which are called chips in England."WATCH:Hot Chip, "I Feel Better"

19.WAVVES

19/27

Hometown: San Diego
Why They Matter: Last summer's festival circuit wasn't kind to Nathan Williams, but he's rebounded from his Primavera Sound meltdown and then some thanks to a stellar, backlash-hushing new album, King of the Beach, and Jay Reatard's former backing band, who know from volatile head cases.
You should know: Dude goes on at the obscenely, unfairly early time of 12:15 on the first day (which is still later than chart-topping B.o.B.), so pack an alarm clock.

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LISTEN:Wavves, "Post Acid"

20.THE TEMPER TRAP

20/27

Hometown: Melbourne, Australia
Why They Matter: Don't be surprised to encounter massive crowds at these guys' Sunday evening set (this was certainly the case at Coachella). Slowly and quietly, thanks to steady touring and even steadier TV, video game, and commercial placements, Coldplayful (we just made up a word!) songs like "Science of Fear" and "Sweet Disposition" from their debut album Conditions are quickly becoming opportunities for mass sing-alongs.
You should know: "Sweet Disposition" won the APRA, the Australasian equivalent of the Grammy, for Best Song. Related: Australasia has an equivalent of the Grammys.

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LISTEN:Temper Trap, "Sweet Disposition"

21.MAVIS STAPLES

21/27

Hometown: Chicago
Why They Matter: Just as Jack White shepherded Loretta Lynn to the indie masses, or Rick Rubin led Johnny Cash a decade prior, Jeff Tweedy is doing his part to bring this gospel legend and Staple Singers scion a high-profile curtain call. The Wilco major domo produced and has written songs for the 70-year-old's You Are Not Alone, due in September, and the hometown crowd should be primed.
You should know: Staples claims that Bob Dylan asked her to marry him, but, even with Pops Staples' blessing, she turned him down.LISTEN:Mavis Staples, "Eyes On the Prize"

22.MGMT

22/27

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Why They Matter: If Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser were secretly hoping that sophomore album Congratulations would be thought of as so weird and dissonant that they'd be allowed to return to their pre-"Kids" obscurity, well, we've got some bad news. They're still packing festival grounds, even while often refusing to play their signature anthem, and their goofy psych-pop wigouts actually grow catchier with each listen. Better luck next time?
You should know: VanWyngarden's long-discussed collaboration with Of Montreal's Kevin Barnes, Blikk Fang, seems to be in limbo.WATCH:MGMT, "Sweet"

23.SPOON

23/27

Hometown: Portland, OR and Austin, TX
Why They Matter: Britt Daniel & Co. have quietly been having another milestone year, putting the lie to the idea that indie bands can no longer craft long, steady careers: Their seventh album, Transference, debuted at No. 4, their festival slots have been slated later and later in the day, they headlined Radio City Music Hall, and landed a plum gig opening for their labelmates Arcade Fire.
You should know: Daniel used to perform under the name Drake Tungsten. He has since thought better of it.

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WATCH:Spoon, "Written in Reverse"

24.DEVO

24/27

Hometown: Akron, Ohio
Why They Matter: At this point Devo are recognized more for their off-kilter, dystopian electro-pop's vast influence than for the novelty success of "Whip It," which is as it should be. The yellow jumpsuits and red flower-pot hats have gotten an upgrade, but the acerbic man-we're-getting-dumber-by-the-minute motif is present and more relevant than ever.
You should know: One version of Something for Everyone, the first Devo album in 20 years, features a tracklisting voted on fans via a marketing survey.WATCH:Devo, "What We Do" (Jimmy Kimmel Live)

25.JAMIE LIDELL

25/27

Hometown: New York (via Huntingdon, England)
Why He Matters: Once known for his experimental, self-produced glitch pop, Lidell slipped into something a little smoother on 2008's Jim, with its sexy, explorative R&B. And on the just-released Compass, Lidell opens up the party to guest contributors like Beck and Grizzly Bear's Chris Taylor.
You Should Know: One of Lidell's idols growing up was Prince, and just recently, he got to open for the Purple One at a festival in Belgium. Watch Jamie's heartfelt video blog about it here

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LISTEN:Jamie Lidell, "Enough's Enough"

26.RAPHAEL SAADIQ

26/27

Hometown: Oakland, CA
Why He Matters: Originally part of the successful early-'90s R&B group Tony! Toni! Toné! -- remember "Feels Good"? -- Saadiq has become a ladykilling, showstopping solo performer, and hit a career apex on last year's Grammy-nominated The Way I See It, with its Grammy-winning single "Love of My Life (Ode to Hip-Hop)."
You Should Know: Saadiq also spent time in R&B supergroup Lucy Pearl, alongside En Vogue's Dawn Robinson and A Tribe Called Quest's Ali Shaheed Muhammad.WATCH:Raphael Saadiq, "Staying In Love"

27.THE STROKES

27/27

Hometown: New York
Why They Matter: "Last Nite." "Someday." "Juicebox." "Reptilia." "Under Control." The Strokes helped write the soundtrack to the '00s, at least through 2006, when they took a prolonged break. Their first U.S. gig in four years will be one of just three Stateside shows until their long-awaited, oft-delayed fourth album arrives in 2011.
You Should Know: While playing festivals in Europe in June, the Strokes have yet to play any new material.WATCH:The Strokes, "Reptilia"