At the annual Lollapalooza cattle call over the weekend, 140 acts will perform on eight stages in Chicago's beautiful Grant Park. As always, it's a lot to choose from. Here are some notes for SATURDAY -- some surprises, some best bets and the run-down on each night's headliners ...
Ximena Sarinana, 25, started out a child actress in Mexican telenovelas, but she wasted no time forming her own band. Her self-titled, second album, out this week, is also her first English-language outing, and it's really cool, airy, sophisticated pop. Nice to know the actress-to-musician journey can travel the Zooey Deschanel route as easily as the Miley Cyrus.
12 p.m. @ BMI stage
'80s, not '70s
Get your fix of indie music's '80s trends today, but pay no attention to the band names. Death From Above 1979 (4 p.m. Bud Light stage), an acclaimed and freshly reunited Canadian duo, resurrects rhythmic drive from early-'80s punk and salts it with cheeky synths. Another deceptively named act, the Chain Gang of 1974 (3:45 p.m. @ BMI stage), features one-man band Kamtin Mohager croaking over churning snyths as if the Psychedelic Furs and OMD were playing simultaneously. Linger nearby for the Drums (4:45 p.m. @ Google+ stage), whose best features actually are their New Order guitars and snaky vocal harmonies, or head south for -- wha?? -- the return of musically diverse 1980s Clash offshoot Big Audio Dynamite (4:30 p.m. @ Music Unlimited stage).
Side stage find
If you don't recognize the name Skylar Grey, you've likely heard her work. Grey, a k a Holly Brook Hafermann, 25, co-wrote "Love the Way You Lie" (the blazing hit for Eminem, Saturday's Lollapalooza headliner, and Rihanna), among others, and she's the haunting female voice singing on Lupe Fiasco's anthemic "Words I Never Said." On her own, Madison, Wis.-native Grey still attracts talent; Marilyn Manson collaborates on her forthcoming debut album. See why big stars love this up-and-comer.
2:30 p.m. @ BMI stage
Fall Out Boy No. 2
FOB singer Patrick Stump returns home with his solo act, which mixes up alt-rock with a wide array of influences but heavy on the R&B style that influenced his FOB vocals for years. When we caught up with him in March, Stump was still tinkering with his debut album, "Soul Punk," and it's finally scheduled for an Oct. 17 release. (Pete Wentz's Black Cards plays Friday afternoon.)
5 p.m. @ BMI stage
Back this year with a sophomore album, "Wounded Rhymes," a definite livening up after a stoic debut, Lykke Li colors the sunny pop of her native Sweden with a dark edge and a smoky voice like Marianne Faithfull. Fans are alarmingly devoted to Li already, so let's see what the fuss is about before she returns for a theater gig in November.
7:15 p.m. @ Google+ stage
Headliners: Eminem and who?
Tonight's finales can be boiled down to Eminem and everybody else. Detroit's embodiment of mook rage brings his furiously rapped anger and violence -- he's no Odd Future, but nor is he exactly milquetoast -- and his resurgent cred to the fest's biggest stage for what's could be a landmark performance (8:30 p.m. @ Music Unlimited stage).
At the other end of things, literally and figuratively, is My Morning Jacket, Kentucky's earthy, neo-classic rock heroes supporting their laid-back return to form, "Circuital" (8 p.m. @ Bud Light stage). Gentler souls have the no doubt roomier options of Pretty Lights' breezy electronic music (8:30 p.m. @ Perry's) or the stylistic mash-up, from folk to dance, of Beirut (8:45 p.m. @ Google+ stage).