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25 Must-See Artists at Lollapalooza

From metal upstarts to pop mainstays, Fuse picked the best of the best to see in Chicago's Grant Park this August

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Lolla Allstars

this will be a split (Getty Images, 3)

Long-running summer music staple Lollapalooza returns to Chicago's Grant Park August 2-4, and yet again, the lineup is massive. Over 100 artists—from upstarts like Swedish metal band Ghost B.C. to charting electro-pop singers like Ellie Goulding, to veteran headliners like the Cure—will play across eight different stages spanning the massive park. It's a lot to choose from when planning your daily itinerary. Luckily, Fuse is here to help.

We've compiled the 25 must-see artists playing Lolla this year, and our picks cover the field—there's a little bit of everything for the music omnivore we know you are. So check it out—and we'll see you in Grant Park this August.

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Ellie Goulding

While the British songbird’s stage will be packed with festivalgoers waiting to sing-along to No. 1 Pop single "Lights," you can prepare for an eclectic show.  You'll chill out with gorgeous ballads like "The Writer" and rock out to tracks like "Starry Eyed" and Goulding’s new single "Burn" (above).  Plus, with her new Halcyon Days EP dropping the same month as Lollapalooza, you might even hear some new tracks!

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Atlas Genius

Did watching Ben Gibbard perform in the Postal Service make you miss Death Cab for Cutie? Look to this Australian rock outfit for the best of both of Gibbard's musical endeavors. Top 10 Alternative hits "Trojans" (above)  and "If So" recall Death Cab while new wave-y, synth-pop tracks like "Electric" and "All These Girls" have hints of Postal Service productions, all centered around the band's harmony-driven croons.

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Robert DeLong

At the EDM phenom's set, it's equal parts important to dance and watch. The Washington State native's live show incorporates drums, video game controllers and vocals. Watch the magic happen while getting down to genre-bending dance tracks like "Happy" and "Global Concepts."

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Lianne La Havas

Not many artists have received a personal phone call from Prince telling them he loves their record. But English singer-songwriter Lianne La Havas can! Check out the velvet-voiced siren's Lollapalooza set—where she'll likely showcase her guitar skills—to better understand why the Purple One's so enamored with the up-and-coming musician. 

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Disclosure—who dropped one of our favorite albums of 2013 so far—are poised to become the next big thing in dance music. Much like Basement Jaxx before them, this British duo combine house, funk, synth-pop and Top 40 sounds to create an immediately accessible, yet entirely rewarding, dance album. Catch them at Lolla and get ready to shake your ass. 

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The Cure

Brokenhearted? Deeply in love? Need musical comfort or inspiration for either? Well, reunited British vets the Cure basically invented mope rock and supplied plenty of heart-gushing tracks for the romantic love that precedes it. Their catalogue is full of beautiful downers and peppy-poppy love anthems, like "Friday I'm in Love," "Just Like Heaven" and "Lovesong" (above). Apply some eyeliner and/or messy red lipstick in honor of frontman Robert Smith, then grab your boo and sing along.

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HAIM are razor-sharp live performers who specialize in an indie-pop take on Fleetwood Mac and Kate Bush. They often end their shows with all three sisters banging away on any and everything around them in a cataclysmic, percussive finale. Definitely a band to catch before they explode into the stratosphere. 

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Deap Vally

L.A.'s Deap Vally are one of those bands that make you ask, "How the holy hell are two people making so much noise?" Their fuzzy Zeppelin-meets-Hole attack is a sheer thrill. Even if you don't know their album Sistrionix ahead of time, their material will grip you in concert.

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Dog Blood

Dog BloodSkrillex's side project with Boys Noize, provides a great opportunity to see the dubstep all-star and the German DJ without throngs mobbing the stage. Not to say it won't be a party when they play Lolla, but you'll have a little more breathing room. 

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Cat Power

Cat Power's music, including her acclaimed 2012 collection Sun, is as big as her personality—and that's big. Skittish and occasionally downright loony, the Southern singer-songwriter born Chan Marshall is capable of both total emotional-mental collapse and utter soul-stirring greatness onstage. Both are wildly entertaining. From newbies, like the epic David Bowie tribute "Nothin But Time" ft. Iggy Pop, to tender and confessional piano ballads, like The Greatest gem "Lived in Bars," to her many, many covers, Cat Power's Lolla set will certainly be an emotional outpouring.

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Death Grips

If Kanye West's aggressive version of hip hop on Yeezus intrigued you, then do yourself a favor and check out Death Grips in concert. Combining rap with punk and Stooges-esque stage antics, this trio is great on record, but they're even better when seen and heard. 

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First off, it's pronounced "Miss Mister." The alt/art It rockers' songs have been featured on TV shows like Pretty Little Liars, Grey's Anatomy and Game of Thrones, and their debut single, "Hurricane," reached No. 27 on Billboard's Alternative Songs chart. The video's pretty rad, too—best use of blue body paint we've seen.

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Nine Inch Nails

Some four years after mastermind Trent Reznor retired his main gig to focus on movie soundtracks, married life and his side-project How to Destroy Angles, Nine Inch Nails are back with a new lineup—and Reznor already has a new album in the bag, too (Hesitation Marks drops September 3). With the EDM scene evolving and driving ahead at full force, NIN's brand of grinding, powerful industrial rock with a high BPM may find an all-new audience 25 years into the band's career. Expect Reznor and Co. to debut new tracks. As aggressive and striking as their sound, NIN's live shows are an aural and visual assault—DO NOT MISS IT.

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Jake Bugg

Like Bob Dylan? Then check out Jake Bugg, a 19-year-old English troubadour whose acoustic singer-songwriter style nods to the '60s legend. He has a way with words, winding quick-tongued verses around his skiffle and folk-pop acoustic riffs. It's working, too: Bugg was nominated for British Breakthrough Act at the 2013 BRIT Awards. Check out his track "Two Fingers" above.

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Father John Misty

Father John Misty's debut album Fear Fun was one of the best of 2012, but it's really all about his live performance—dude is a damn entertainer. He wriggles and croons like the Doors' Jim Morrison turned lounge singer. He cracks hilarious jokes (read about his best from Coachella) and, best of all, pours himself into alt-Americana Fear Fun tracks like "Nancy From Now On." See his Letterman performance above for solid proof. 

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Chance the Rapper

Chicago rap is having a bonafide moment, and hometown hero Chance the Rapper is leading the league of newcomers. After releasing his debut mixtape #10Day, XXL mag was so impressed they put Chance in their 2013 Freshman Nominees. Check out his track "Juice" for a 101.

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It's metal for the masses. Savannah, Georgia quartet Baroness bring the sword-piercing riffs and bone-crushing drums, yes, but their sound is so much more. With their latest release, 2012's Yellow & Green, the band package their heavy sound in snappy'n'slick pop song structures with hooky choruses, all while guitars blast off into psychedelic deep space. If you like metal, then you'll love Baroness. And if you dislike metal, then you'll love Baroness. Their sound is a whole different breedthis is metal for fans of... music.

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Frightened Rabbit

Scottish indie-folk quintet Frightened Rabbit have been around for nearly a decade, but their full-length Pedestrian Verse, released in February, is putting them on the map in a whole new way. It's full of more mature gusto, transforming their former sound—acoustic plucks, downcast tunes of love lost—into more aggressive, anthemic tunes with harder edge. The band say the difference with this record, their fourth, was that the songs were written and practiced on tour rather than conceived in the studio. It worked. 

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If you feel like getting run over by a sonic bus, then see O'Brother at Lolla. The Atlanta rock quintet bring the muscle, and hard, pummeling their instruments through a wall of feedback and noise reminiscent of classic '90s rock acts like Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins and more. Their sets are beyond intense. The band will release their latest LP, Disillusion, on August 20, so expect to hear new tracks live in Grant Park.

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Smith Westerns

Like the boogie-woogie rock of T. Rex? How about the hip-swiveling riffs of Ziggy Stardust-era David Bowie? Chicago's own Smith Westerns got you covered. The young quartet package the best of early-'70s rock in contemporary indie stylings and deliver the goods live, too. They broke out with their excellent second album, 2010's Dye It Blonde and its super-catchy singles like "Weekend," and their latest album, Soft Will, only deepens the formula, lending more emotional depth to similar hookiness. Listen to its lead single above.

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Emeli Sande

Few singers have had a bigger breakout year than Scottish soul-pop singer Emeli Sande. Our Version of Events, her debut LP, was the UK's biggest-selling album of last year and picked up a Critic's Choice Award at the BRIT Awards, thanks to the inescapable catchiness of third single "Next to Me." Kendrick Lamar, who Sande collaborated with on "Bitch Don't Kill My Vibe" and "Next to Me" remixes, is also at the festival, so don't be surprised if the rapper pops up during Sande's set.

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Charles Bradley

For the past decade, "Daptone Records" has become de facto shorthand for soul and funk music created, in part, to ensure no one sits during one of their shows. Sharon Jones may have become the label's linchpin, but 64-year-old singer Charles Bradley has quickly become another soul music savior. The former James Brown impersonator retains his idol's grunts, commands and moves on stage, but injects enough of his own affable personality and personal tales of love and heartache to avoid mimicry.

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Ghost B.C.

Watch any video of Swedish metal band Ghost B.C. performing live and you'll realize that you don't need us convincing you to go see them. The group, composed of frontman Papa Emeritus II and "Nameless Ghouls," don hooded robes, masks and prosthetic faces to conceal their identities, which would be pointless if their music, a blend of crunching metal and pop melodies, wasn't undeniable.

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Flux Pavilion

The awesomely named Joshua Steele, heretofore known as UK dubstep producer/DJ Flux Pavilion, has been kicking around the dubstep scene a few years before it dominated the U.S. music world. But thank Kanye and Jay-Z, who lifted the musician's "I Can't Stop" for Watch the Throne's "Who Gon Stop Me," for helping Flux Pavilion blow up stateside. As Lolla has gotten more bro-centric in recent years, expect this crowd to be overflowing.

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Local Natives

Los Angeles indie outfit Local Natives released one of the prettiest albums of 2013 with Hummingbird, a gorgeous and moody collection produced by the National's Aaron Dessner. It's all twinkling guitar riffs intertwining with shimmering percussion and vocal harmonies that'd have both the Beach Boys and Fleet Foxes blushing. This is Pacific Coast Highway music. But like L.A. itself, their sound is beautiful on the outside and troubled within, a stormy sea of emotion painted over with musical beauty. Live at Coachella, Local Natives absolutely killed it—they should bring their A game to Grant Park. Watch the band perform Hummingbird gem "Ceilings" live in Brooklyn above.

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