It’s time for that annual rite of Spring and the official kick off of the festival season, otherwise known as Coachella. More than 200,000 people are expected to make a pilgrimage to the desert in Palm Springs to see such acts as Kings of Leon, Black Keys, Arcade Fire, Mumford & Sons, Kanye West, Duran Duran and the Strokes.

While concert tours may be struggling, festivals are strong and Coachella is no exception: tickets sold out within days of going on sale.

1. Coachella (not ranked last week):
Desert rats prepare for three days of hot, hot fun in the sun as security tries to keep gatecrashers at bay after around 20,000 interlopers snuck in for free each day in 2010. This year’s fest sold out in days. No recession here.

2. Record Store Day (not ranked):
It’s that one day of the year where we pay tribute to those treasured-yet-vanishing relics known as independent record stores. And yet we leave them to languish the other 364 days of the year.

3. Lady Gaga (not ranked):
“Judas,” her second single from “Born This Way” “leaks” out and is an immediate contender to hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, blocking Rihanna’s “S&M” out of the top spot. Maybe if Rihanna had done the Gaga remix instead of the Britney remix...

4. Foo Fighters (not ranked, but should be ranked every week for how cool they are):  After 16 years and several albums, the Foos are about to score their first No. 1 album. And to their credit, they have been working like show ponies, playing every nick and cranny, including people’s garages, to get the word out. Furthermore, they look like they’ve had a blast doing it.

5. Prince (No. 7): The Purple One kicks off his three-week stint in Los Angeles with a three-hour show at the Forum. Simply one of the greatest there ever was, is and will be.

6. David Byrne (not ranked): He does what virtually no one else is able to do in America: he gets a politician to apologize. Florida’s ex-governor has to pay up and issue a public apology, via YouTube, for unauthorized use of Talking Heads’ tune “Road to Nowhere.”  We hope his apology is meant to be “a factual statement.”

[More after the jump...]


7. Jennifer Lopez (not ranked):
We’re hard pressed to come up with someone who has had such an incredible career resurgence, when, quite frankly, it all could have gone pear-shaped. She’s got a hit on the charts again, millions of people love her for the humanity she’s shown on “American Idol,” and now she’s the World’s Most Beautiful Woman according to People. All of this at an age (41) when most women are being told they are totally washed up.  We are now officially on team J-Lo.

8. Glassnote Records (not ranked):
Home to Mumford & Sons and Phoenix is named best indie label by Rolling Stone. Sigh no more, Glassnote, you’ve made it.

9. Superchunk (not ranked):
Great, revered indie band puts out a new video for “Crosswire,” which includes real and fake  footage from an alleged cat-cam. In case you ever wondered what mischief Fluffy was getting up to during the day, it’s worse--and more hilarious--than you think. 

10. Stupidity (not ranked): A study conducted by the Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln among students, and published in Psychology, Crime and Law, reveals that college kids believe shoplifting music, i.e.: a physical CD, is much worse than illegal downloading. We cry foul: We’d like to find college students who actually knew you could buy music in a physical form.

What do you think of this week's rankings?  Share your thoughts below.