Ten best acts at Ultra Music Fest 2012

From legendary Germans to French superstars, we're stoked about this year's fest.

After Deadmau5's viral YouTube meltdown about Ultra Music Fest booking too many big-name headliners, we're guessing the masked producer is none too pleased with the eye-popping haul booked for this year's edition. We couldn't disagree more. In fact, we haven't been this excited about an Ultra lineup in a long time.

Here are the ten acts we can't wait to see blow up Bayfront Park.

10. Katy B. Bear with us here. We know she's a bit too electropop for a lot of EDM fans' taste, but Ultra has a good record of pop-accessible acts gracing its stage. (Well, Black Eyed Peas aside. Let's never forget that catastrophe.) Little Boots blew us away at Ultra 2010, for example, and we expect Katy B to do the same this year. Her single "Katy on a Mission" is the perfect balance of pop-meets-dance.

9. The Knocks. This duo's bio claims they "are taking a stand and reclaiming good music for all." Though that might be an overreaching mission statement, the Knocks hark back to a time when wobbling was something you did while walking around drunk. Their 2010 breakthrough, "Make It Better," was Peter Bjorn and John meet New York City nu-disco. In other words, their sound is clean, crisp, and sexy, which seems to be the most punk-rock thing a dance act can do these days.

8. Justice. We were no fans of Justice's sophomore clunker, October's Audio, Video, Disco. The whole album is a prog-rock experiment gone terribly wrong. That said, we are curious to see how Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Rosnay incorporate the sound into a live show. Really, how much worse can "Civilization" get? And it's worth remembering how much people hated Daft Punk's "Human After All" when it first came out. But when they busted out with the pyramid at live shows, everyone was like, ZOMG! Best. Album. Ever.

7. Gui Boratto. The Brazilian DJ-producer really won us over when he remixed Massive Attack's 2009 single "Paradise Circus" into a minimal techno anthem. The lush and quiet track trickles out slowly to reveal itself as audible beauty. His latest album for Kompakt, III, is a dark and moody offering that complements his whole body of work. Here's hoping Boratto brings his extensive catalogue, offering a needed respite from the bass attack we are sure to suffer at the festival.

6. Metronomy. Speaking of your ears needing a break from the constant pounding, Metronomy will also be there to rescue you. This British band is pure New Wave, meaning you'd better bring those dancing shoes. And we aren't talking about seizuring back and forth. Slow it down, dude, and grab a lady friend.

5. M83. Unfortunately, M83 is perhaps better known these days as that band whose song is in that Victoria's Secret commercial. If that's your only exposure to the group, quickly pick up 2011's breakthrough album, Hurry Up, We're Dreaming. On a scale from one to ten of how excited we are to see them live, it's probably a 30. If you're smart, you'll give the tents a break and check out M83.

4. 2manydjs. Soulwax, 2manydjs, whatever they call themselves — we saw them live at the MOCA LA Beach Bash, and they blew us away. We can't wait to see what they do with a bigger stage.

3. SBTRKT. If dubstep ever needs a savior, it will be up to SBTRKT. Labeled postdubstep, Aaron Jerome's sound is really a return to form for the UK-birthed genre. There will be plenty of dubstep, uh, brostep at Ultra. But if you really want to understand how vastly inferior the American version is compared to its British counterpart, just check out SBTRKT. You'll never spin another Skrillex record again.

2. New Order. Three reasons we're excited about New Order: First, this iconic postpunk band is one of those acts you always sort of hope you'll get to see live but never expect to. Second, EDM, New Wave, and pop music owe everything to the sound that New Order crafted in the '80s. And finally, your mom will be so happy when you take her to Ultra to see Bernie, Peter, and Steve play "Bizarre Love Triangle."

1. Kraftwerk. Watch Kraftwerk live before we die? Check! Whine all you want that Daft Punk isn't on the bill this year. Kraftwerk is so much better.

 
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