Block Party

Capitol Hill Block Party 2012

What We Think of Every Single Band Playing This Year's Festival

Capitol Hill Block Party 2012
214

(Sat, 11:30 pm, Neumos Stage) Seattle's 214 (aka Chris Roman) has been making hard-hitting, brainy electro productions for several years, placing tracks on high-quality labels like Touchin' Bass, Fortified Audio, and the local Car Crash Set and Knightriders Recordings. He's one of the rare contemporary electro artists who's neither in thrall to Herbie Hancock's "Rockit" or Kraftwerk's "Numbers" nor so abstracted that you can't get down to his music. 214 adorns his oddly angled and funky rhythms with brooding yet beguiling melodies, thrusting electro out of nostalgia mode. It's about time you recognized an international star in your midst. DAVE SEGAL

ABSOLUTE MONARCHS

(Sat, 2:15 pm, Main Stage) The debut album from Absolute Monarchs, 1, is one of the best local records of 2012. They harbor the same sassy attitude that I love (and miss) about Mclusky, while wrapping it up in a storm of rock and roll. Live, they're even more thunderous than on record. It might take some effort to shake off any lingering hangover from Friday night, but Absolute Monarchs are absolutely worth arriving early for. MEGAN SELING

AESOP ROCK

(Sat, 9 pm, Main Stage) In 2000, Aesop Rock released Float, an LP that played a major role in creating one of the four main entrances (this one in NYC) to hiphop's underground (the other three are in Minneapolis, the Bay Area, and LA). His next LP, Labor Days, secured him a permanent space in the 33-year-old canon of hiphop. Rap has been good to Aesop Rock, and Aesop Rock has been good to rap. CHARLES MUDEDE

ALICIA AMIRI

(Fri, 5:45 pm, Cha Cha Stage) When she's not singing for the electro-goth outfit Nightmare Fortress (or Lovesick Empire—how many bands is this lady in?!), Alicia Amiri takes the stage alone, performing softer ballads where her simple acoustic guitar strums take a backseat to her gorgeous, deep voice. MS

ALLEN STONE

(Fri, 9:15 pm, Main Stage) How can a kid from Chewelah, Washington, who looks like a cross between John Roderick and Garth from Wayne's World, and who plays acoustic R&B songs reminiscent of Jack Johnson and John Mayer, be the next thing to blow up the Northwest music scene? Because dude can fucking sing. While his original material isn't so much my thing (I'm not a Mayer fan, either), Stone's voice has been undeniable during performances with the Seattle Rock Orchestra, where he's tackled Queen and Stevie Wonder. Look up Stone's version of "You and I" on YouTube—if you don't get goose bumps when he hits the crescendo, then you don't have a pulse. MS

ASTRONOMAR

(Sat, 12:30 am, Neumos Stage) Championed by Diplo (which certainly accelerates one's ascent in electronic-music circles), Astronomar makes barrel-chested, marauding dance cuts that draw from hiphop and the more extroverted end of bass music. It's not the most subtle sound around, but after midnight on a July weekend, subtlety's probably not high on your priority list. Astronomar maximizes excitement with an array of unhinged tones and mucho banging beats. Guaranteed, there's going to be a sea of waving hands and an ocean of sweat in Neumos. D. SEGAL

AVA LUNA

(Sat, 10 pm, Barboza Stage) "This album is ridiculous," wrote a commenter on the YouTube video for Ava Luna's song "Wrenning Day." "It sounds like indie-math-RnB." Ridiculous in a smart way. The Brooklyn-based Ava Luna's influences include soul, noise, punk, choir class, and the '70s. Ava Luna consist of three men and three women, and their music is pretty freaking groovy. JEN GRAVES

BATTLEME

(Sun, 7:30 pm, Barboza Stage) The first Battle- Me song you'll hear on Spotify right now is a cover of Neil Young's "Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)," possibly due to its inclusion on the soundtrack for Sons of Anarchy, FX's television drama about a fictional biker gang in Northern California—or maybe it's due to the fact that it's actually a rather stunning take on the number, with spare piano and Matt Drenik's delicate falsetto combining for good service of the original. Whatever the case, while the singer-songwriter genre is as overrun with wan and mediocre acts as any, Drenik brings something fresh to the template, if simply by virtue of his sideways compositional approach and crisp production techniques. GRANT BRISSEY

BEAT CONNECTION

(Sat, 4:45 pm, Main Stage) No band is better suited for a late afternoon outdoor performance than Seattle's own Beat Connection, who shun their hometown's suicide-friendly weather patterns to create weightless and warm pop songs out of loops and synthesizers. The song "Think/Feel" specifically takes you away to the middle of the bright-blue Caribbean Sea. Free of thought, just floating. Being. Feeling. And, okay, maybe a little stoned. MS

BLACK BREATH

(Fri, 6:30 pm, Neumos Stage) Seattle heavies Black Breath released their latest LP, Sentenced to Life, on Southern Lord Records, which is known for its sometimes unclassifiable "experimental" styles of metal. Everyone's quick these days to demand some sort of subgenre label for metal bands. Black Breath do a killer job of remaining the best parts of everything—a little death, a little trash, and a whole lotta headbang. Sentenced to Life is the only metal record you really need in 2012. KELLY O

BLOOD RED DANCERS

(Fri, 8:45 pm, Cha Cha Stage) These three gentlemen—on bass, keys, and drums—sound like they were weaned on the Murder City Devils. Their vocals have that scratchy-yowling quality, and they play sustained minor chords on a keyboard that sound like a church organ falling from grace. On some tunes, such as "The Lamb," lead vocalist Aaron Poppick has the epic, doomed croon of Jim Morrison as he sings lines like "Come and take my hand as we burn down the land." The subterranean Cha Cha is a fitting venue for these guys—the flicker of candles on bricks and a boozy miasma hanging in the air. BRENDAN KILEY

BLOUSE

(Sun, 4:15 pm, Neumos Stage) This Portland trio makes the kind of chillwave that could end heatstroke—and then, a few songs later, give it right back to you by inspiring the urgent need to get out and dance under the hot sun. Think of a sound system simultaneously taking inputs from a woman in Ray-Bans, old cassette tapes, records playing a little above and below their proper speed, and warbly soundtracks from old videotapes—the name of one of Blouse's best songs is "Videotapes"—and you're there. ELI SANDERS

BLUE SKY BLACK DEATH

(Fri, 10:45 pm, Vera Stage) Have you found yourself smirking at the lyrical wit of Seattle's Nacho Picasso? If so, your head was nodding to a Blue Sky Black Death beat. The production duo of Kingston and Young God boasts an impressive roster of collaborations, from Nacho to Jean Grae, as well as critically acclaimed instrumental albums such as 2011's Noir. One listen to BSBD's outstanding production provides new insight into their name—tracks that swoop and soar, leaving you with a post-skydive adrenaline rush. EVAN RODD

BRENT AMAKER AND THE RODEO

(Sat, 4 pm, Neumos Stage) Seattle's men in black have spent years touring the world to arrive at their sound. This is a country band that is more heavily influenced by kraut-rock and new wave than by gospel and bluegrass, and that sounds more spaghetti western than country and western. Brent Amaker's baritone is as heavy as a locomotive, but the chug and trot of the Rodeo's guitars and drums keep this music as weightless as space. Their legendary live shows have resulted in a rabid cult fan base, their touring exploits have become the subject of comic books, and their music has been featured on soundtracks for Weeds and Californication. SEAN JEWELL

CASPAR BABYPANTS

(Sun, 10:30 am, Neumos Stage) Is your child bored with the traditional offerings of CHBP? Would he rather shit himself than see Diplo live, again? Then look no further! Presidents of the United States of America frontman Chris Ballew returns with acoustic sing-alongs inspired by nursery rhymes and folk songs that babies love more than boobs of milk. CIENNA MADRID

THE COATHANGERS

(Sun, 2:15 pm, Neumos Stage) Yes, the name of this all-female punk band is an abortion reference. They're a high-energy group and not afraid to throw a sick bass solo into their songs. Although the vocals aren't the most inspiring (it kind of sounds like a drunk Barbie doll screaming at Ken), these women can get a crowd all hot and bothered. MIKE GORE

CLOUD NOTHINGS

(Sun, 3:30 pm, Main Stage) Cloud Nothings singer Dylan Baldi deserves all those Kurt Cobain comparisons he's been receiving from just about every music critic who's ever typed more than a sentence about the band. He spits out his frustration via self-deprecating and hopeless lyrics like "I thought I would be more than this!" But unlike Nirvana, Cloud Nothings present their relatable disappointment in a slightly more approachable way. They're not as hopelessly angry. Nirvana scared me when I was 13 years old. They had a song called "Rape Me." Had Cloud Nothings been around then, they'd have been the suitable compromise to fuel my adolescent rage while still being blastable with my parents in the next room. MS

COLONIES

(Fri, 7:30 pm, Barboza Stage) Save for a Christmas cover of the Beach Boys' "Little Saint Nick," Tacoma's Colonies haven't released new material since 2009's Thirty Thousand. That's three years! But the indie-rock band hopes to change that soon by finally finishing an album that's been years in the making. While no release date has been set, you can be sure today's performance will be your best chance to get a peek at something fresh. MS

CONSTANT LOVERS

(Fri, 9:45 pm, Cha Cha Stage) Have you heard Constant Lovers' latest album, True Romance? What the hell are you waiting for? It's been out for more than a year, and it is an awesome cacophony of percussion and yelling, and a maze of bass and guitar. It hasn't lost its punch even after dozens of listens, and their live show is a spazzed-out sight to behold. MS

CRIMEWAVE

(Sun, 3:45 pm, Cha Cha Stage) Crimewave have been throwing around their austere post-punk in this town for a year or two now, and so far it's yet to really land a punch. Will it ever? The Magic 8 Ball reads "Outlook not so good," but if there's ever a time to prove fate wrong, it's at a gig like Capitol Hill Block Party. GB

CRYPTS

(Fri, 7:45 pm, Cha Cha Stage) Not even two years old, synth-noise pugilists Crypts have become one of Seattle's most hated bands, so they must be doing something right. Haters' bile (among other things) fuels them to create electronic music that alternately swells into grotesque malevolence or grandiose, bruised beauty. Despite being dubbed by some as "witch house," Crypts—with help from producer Erik Blood—have cut a self-titled debut album that tilts toward industrial, noise, and goth in a much more aggressive manner than heard in witch-house records. The trio's unconventional electronic approach—using modified Roland and Casio keyboards and Omnichord—results in liberating and catalytic music. D. SEGAL

CRYSTAL STILTS

(Fri, 5:15 pm, Neumos Stage) Brooklyn's Crystal Stilts started out worshipping at the Jesus and Mary Chain's altar of studied cool. Their heavy-lidded, morose-voiced, black-denimed rock evokes the Reid brothers' sooty, reverberant wall of sound, but with only a fraction of the noise of their Scottish elders. No matter; Crystal Stilts have mastered that rare ability to write melodies that make nonchalance sound poignant. Their 2011 album on Slumberland, In Love with Oblivion, finds them still peddling a lean, louche brand of rock, but with less indebtedness to the Mary Chain template. Understatement and Brad Hargett's foghorn vocals still reign, but Crystal Stilts have brightened the mood and tonal palette; the guitars even jangle occasionally. This sort of oblivion suits them well. D. SEGAL

DÂM-FUNK

(Sun, 2:15 pm, Main Stage) LA producer/vocalist/keytar hero Dâm-Funk (Damon Riddick) has become the preeminent reviver of early-'80s boogie funk. Backed by the powerhouse Stones Throw label, Dâm dropped the epic Toeachizown in 2009, which put glides in the strides of suave funkateers worldwide. From up-tempo dance jams to slow-burn, red-glow sex-enhancers, this music is so fly, it could make Jheri curls spring from bald white guys' heads. D. SEGAL

DEADKILL

(Fri, 4:15 pm, Neumos Stage) If you haven't watched the new Deadkill video for the song "Oh God Help You," stop whatever you're doing and make it happen. They're unapologetically intense—relentlessly blasting through rifftastic songs while screaming lines like "Oh God help you! Fucking with the wrong dick!" And it's all wrapped up with a great sense of humor. MS

DIPLO

(Sat, 1:30 am, Neumos Stage) When I spoke to M.I.A. over the phone about seven years ago (she was in her mother's London home), I could hear in the background Diplo—a then-emerging Philadelphia DJ who produced some of the tracks on her album Arular—playing records. When M.I.A. finally ran out of things to say, she abruptly handed the phone to Diplo, who, without skipping a beat, proceeded to describe all of the things he was working on: a new EP, new broken/hiphop/dubstep beats, new remixes, shows here, shows there. The man was unbelievably busy. The man is still unbelievably busy and also pretty famous. C. MUDEDE

DON'T TALK TO THE COPS!

(Sun, 12:25 am, Neumos Stage) In the past, I have written that the music generated by the super-smart headz (DJ BlesOne, El Mizell, and Emecks) behind Don't Talk to the Cops! (part of the local Mash Hall family) reference arcane bits and pieces of hiphop history. That, however, is a very limited view and opinion of their art. Don't Talk to the Cops! reference, process, repurpose almost everything on the surface of American popular/junk culture. If it's bad in the right way, if it's good in the wrong way, it will be recognized and processed by their powerful beat machine. C. MUDEDE

DOOMTREE

(Fri, 5:15 pm, Main Stage) Doomtree has long been a name trusted by the same kind of kids who wear only black hoodies and at a time tended to be fanatic regarding Rhymesayers releases. But outside of RSE artist/Doomtree anchor P.O.S.—one of the illest dudes out there—I wasn't completely sold on the massive hype, even if I appreciated their smart, sensitive (or just, you know, awake) punk-kid take on the rap crew. Dessa's A Badly Broken Code from last year changed my tune, as her confessional, almost-rap-Ani-DiFranco writing won me over with real emotional content. Sims's Bad Time Zoo has me open; while his voice and cadence sound damned similar to P.O.S., this album is no retread. Actually, it's easily one of Doomtree's best efforts yet. Smartly poetic, human, and blessedly relevant, it's a testament to the possibilities of Minneapolis's sharpest crew. LARRY MIZELL JR.

DUDE YORK

(Sun, 8:20 pm, Vera Stage) DO NOT MISS DUDE YORK! Because your summer music festival experience would not be complete without a good dose of messy and reckless pop songs that are less than two minutes long and named things like "Fuck City." MS

EIGHTEEN INDIVIDUAL EYES

(Fri, 9:30 pm, Barboza Stage) If you're jonesing for a few dreamy ladies playing moody rock, don't miss Eighteen Individual Eyes. The Seattle band's debut album is a hip-swaying delight, and vocalist Irene Barber's crystalline-clear crooning will make you appreciate the art of singing well. C. MADRID

EL TEN ELEVEN

(Sun, 7:45 pm, Neumos Stage) LA duo El Ten Eleven (Kristian Dunn and Tim Fogarty, the SoftLightes' rhythm section) became inspired by the rambunctious electro-rock of acts like Justice, Boys Noize, and Soulwax, and decided to create their own brand of it with, as Dunn says, "real instruments and looping pedals." The result is ironically slicker than the sound made by the aforementioned computer-centric groups. El Ten Eleven come off as a less distinctive Trans Am—a post-rock/electronic collision that's by no means bad, but neither is it terribly exciting (nice cover of "Paranoid Android," though). D. SEGAL

FATHER JOHN MISTY

(Fri, 4 pm, Main Stage) The nom de folk of singer/songwriter/former Fleet Foxes drummer J. Tillman, Father John Misty makes music that hews closely to Fleet Foxes' burnished, earnest folk pop but features more hand claps. Guaranteed: You will love FJM if you love Fleet Foxes, and vice versa if you hate 'em. D. SEGAL

FEET

(Sun, 3 pm, Vera Stage) Fun fact: When Seattle's own experimental pop band Feet performed as part of this year's Sound Off! competition, the drummer interrupted the band's set to read an excerpt from Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina. Entertaining and educational! MS

FITZ AND THE TANTRUMS

(Fri, 10:45 pm, Main Stage) Los Angeles–based Fitz and the Tantrums sprang to mild notoriety in the late '00s based largely on the quality of their lead-off single "Don't Gotta Work It Out," which is a damn fine revival of the soul pop from which it descended. It's their best work, but almost anything from their catalog will get my lazy ass moving. GB

FLY MOON ROYALTY

(Fri, 7 pm, Vera Stage) You probably know Fly Moon Royalty, the smart, fierce, and beloved local electro-soul duo that is Adra Boo ("vocalist/fast talker") and Action Jackson ("DJ/producer/emcee"). We love them, too! Which is why we may never quite recover from misspelling their name (in one-million-point font) in a recent photo feature. GO! GO! GO see them, or your well of regret will run as deep as ours. AM

FREIGHMS

(Sun, 2 pm, Vera Stage) A newish local band, Freighms write sincere, full-throated rock songs that are in the general family of capable but unchallenging bands like Grand Archives—but Freighms sound younger, more exuberant, and urgent. Their "Intro" song is a crowd-whipper-upper with Elvis Costello–like guitar licks and tension: minor chords on the keys and drum lines that build from straight-ahead rock drumming to syncopation to a bombastic, cymbal-walloping frenzy. BK

FRESH ESPRESSO

(Fri, 10:15 pm, Neumos Stage) Fresh Espresso has always been producer/rapper P Smoov's more straight-ahead hiphop chamber, and vocally, it's all about the balance between his hungry, super-cocky destiny manifestation flow and the supremely slick stylings of his partner, the indefatigably fly Rik Rude—straight up, one of this town's purest MCs—and on both fronts, they're more dialed in than ever. LM

GOLD LEAVES

(Sun, 6 pm, Vera Stage) Gold Leaves—solo project of Arthur & Yu's Grant Olsen—has the same initials as Gordon Lightfoot, who I was reminded of while listening to a pair of Gold Leaves songs ("Cruel/Kind" and "The Ornament") on YouTube. Beneath the video, commenters weighed in. "So poignant and Oregonian, like the rain drizzling down on Hawthorn and all the coffee houses are closed and that girl in the red sweater and the pageboy haircut is three blocks away, fading into gathering mist, and the copy of Siddhartha under your arm is curling like lips that have been stung once too often...," wrote one. "Reminds me of that Verve song where the drugs stop working," wrote another. They're both right. DAVID SCHMADER

GRAND ARCHIVES

(Sun, 8:30 pm, Barboza Stage) You've heard Grand Archives—they're the adult-contemporary version of Seattle rock 'n' roll and will eventually be on heavy rotation at The Mountain 103.7 FM when today's nightclub kids are living in the suburbs with 2.5 children and a dog. (That's not an insult, by the way. It's just a fact.) Led by Mat Brooke (Band of Horses, Carissa's Wierd), Grand Archives combine gentle harmonies, slight folky influences, and the occasional shimmering guitar effect. The result is a big, soft, sweet sound—the teddy bears of rock. Pitchfork says their latest record "fits the bill for the pace of a hungover Sunday." BK

GRIMES

(Sat, 7:30 pm, Main Stage) It is said somewhere that Grimes's second album, Halfaxa (2010), is the first witch-house record in the history of dance music. I can neither agree nor disagree with this assessment. But what I can confirm is that "Symphonia IX (My Wait Is U)," which is on Grimes's new and enchanting album, Visions, cast a spell on me that took almost two weeks to snap out of. C. MUDEDE

HAUNTED HORSES

(Sun, 5:45 pm, Cha Cha Stage) Seattle duo Haunted Horses create rock that skews darker than most in this city. While many who embrace malignant sonic tropes come off sounding hokey, Haunted Horses (guitarist/vocalist Colin Dawson and drummer/vocalist Mike Pelly) seem as if they've actually tussled with some of life's gnarlier demons and emerged with beneficial inspiration. Their gripping songs—marked by distant, anguished vocals and carcinogenic bass tones—churn with a scathing tenebrous intensity that recall Liars or SST-era Sonic Youth. D. SEGAL

HELMS ALEE

(Sat, 9:45 pm, Cha Cha Stage) Helms Alee is one of the best bands in Seattle. They're in the top 10. No, wait! They're in the top five. Their latest album, Weatherhead, is a brutal and beautiful storm of sound that I've listened to at least once a week for the past year, and the fact that they're shoved down in the cramped Cha Cha on a Saturday night, when they should be on the main stage blowing unsuspecting minds, proves life is still full of injustices. MS

HOT BODIES IN MOTION

(Sat, 5 pm, Vera Stage) If you're going to name yourself Hot Bodies in Motion, you gotta be ready to deliver just that. Praise the lord (and pass the, y'know), HBIM seem determined to fog up your glasses and get your hairdo all sweaty. The Seattle band plays loud and layered bluesy rock and reportedly have the power to leave the audience looking pretty open-mouthed and afterglowy by the time they're done playing. ANNA MINARD

IMAGINARY CITIES

(Fri, 10:30 pm, Barboza Stage) Led by the Amy Winehouse–like voice of Marti Sarbit, this Winnipeg duo ranges from poppy anthems to soulful sojourns, and has a backstory that will make you believe in fate. They met randomly at a club called the Cavern, between sets for some show, and it's been world domination (Canada-style) ever since. ES

JAILL

(Sun, 5:15 pm, Neumos Stage) Hailing from Milwaukee and signed to Sub Pop, Jaill is a rock band with power-pop trappings and doomy lyrics. Watching the video for "The Stroller"—from the group's 2010 Sub Pop release That's How We Burn—I first found myself wondering if it weren't too soon for a revival of Weezer/Fountains of Wayne–style pop-rock. Then I started enjoying myself. D. SCHMADER

JANKA NABAY AND THE BUBU GANG

(Fri, 8:15 pm, Vera Stage) To say the Block Party could use a bit more diversity is an understatement. That's where Janka Nabay and the Bubu Gang come in. Sierra Leone–born frontman Nabay is considered the reigning champ of bubu, a hectically tempoed form of dance music steeped in that country's ancient origins. Complex male/female call-and-response vocals flit over simple yet memorable keyboard motifs and rapid, undulating beats. Fans of Ghanaian highlife, Afrobeat, and loose-limbed, joyous dance music should sweat in approval to Nabay and his band, which includes members of Gang Gang Dance, Skeletons, and Starring. D. SEGAL

JOHN MAUS

(Sat, 11 pm, Vera Stage) John Maus's music will likely remind you of his former collaborator Ariel Pink's, with its casual, hazily pretty melodies and quasi-tongue-in-cheek, melodramatic tone. His third album—We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves—sounds as if it's coated in slick gauze. Maus seems to be wearing his heart on his sleeve, waxing romantic in a deep croon, but, as a former philosophy professor, he may be putting us all on with a simulacrum of a throwback heartthrob retooled for our current hypnagogic-pop moment. He creates the illusion that he's singing in a mausoleum, with slicked-back hair, using a chintzy drum machine, third-hand synths, and a four-track. But Maus's tunes quickly insinuate themselves into your memory, even as you wonder if dude's taking the piss. D. SEGAL

JOHN TEJADA

(Fri, 1:30 am, Neumos Stage) Los Angeles's John Tejada is a producer's producer, a versatile creator of electronic music, a prolific studio rat who maintains unfeasibly high quality-control standards, and a phenomenal techno, house, and hip­hop DJ. No matter the genre explored, though, the quality of Tejada's productions is loftier than most. Many of his compositions bear a jazz-fusion sheen, an upscale aura that speaks of studied chops, but everything is crucially dusted and warped with an underground head's instinct to avoid cheesy obviousness. It's highest uncommon denominator dance music, y'all. D. SEGAL

KEYBOARD KID

(Fri, 9:30 pm, Vera Stage) While millions of internet users were becoming mesmerized by the phenomenon known as "based" music last year, few were aware that the sound rapper Lil B was defining had been largely crafted by 25-year-old Federal Way producer Keyboard Kid. His surreal, spacey beats, often punctuated with pounding bass, flourish under Lil B's prophetic dumbassery, but their sweeping synths and bad-acid-trip samples do magic on their own, too—they're the weed minus the alcohol. And, if his opening set for Lil B at Neumos in April was any indication, Keyboard Kid's bangers make the transition to the live stage flawlessly. JOSEPH STATEN

KING TUFF

(Sun, 6:30 pm, Neumos Stage) Kyle Thomas has collaborated with notable musicians on numerous endeavors, from hazy pop-rock outfit Happy Birthday to Witch—J Mascis and Dave Sweetapple's "real" rock band—to understated folk revivalists (no, I will not use the term freak folk) Feathers. But King Tuff is most certainly very much his, and goddamn this man was born to lead. Tuff is like glam rock with an ego check, or garage with uncharacteristic finesse. Add a second helping of early rock-and-roll/pop information, and basically you get fun-time guitar jams that make you want to move your ass in carefree ways. Check the hypnotizing slow-burn rhythmic frisk of cuts like "Anthem," "Bad Thing," and "Stupid Superstar," and look no further for your late-summer afternoon soundtrack. GB

KITHKIN

(Sun, 4 pm, Vera Stage) Kithkin are weird, fun, and theatrical. In fact, they're a little over the top with their modern-caveman vibe (they sent me an envelope filled with rocks, sticks, and leaves as a press release), but their rhythmic jams are infectiously joyful. With a variety of percussion—bongos, shakers, hand claps, cowbells, and more—Kithkin sound like Wild Orchid Children and Of Montreal starting a drum circle around a bonfire in the woods with Justin War­field of She Wants Revenge on vocals. It wasn't until hearing Kithkin that I discovered I would actually like such a thing. MS

KRIS ORLOWSKI

(Sun, 5 pm, Vera Stage) Folky local Kris Orlowksi and his backing band can inspire that weird sense of déjà vu that, like a familiar scent, triggers some memory deep in your brain but won't pull it all the way to the surface, so you can't figure out what it reminds you of. Let your lizard brain respond to the good songwriting and just ride the feeling, and you'll be glad you did. (Also, this is small but important: Their "Band Interests" on Facebook are "shenanigans, chips and salsa." I'm sold.) AM

KUNG FOO GRIP

(Fri, 5 pm, Vera Stage) The MC duo of Eff Is H and Greg Cypher—aka Kung Foo Grip—traffic in a nouveau conscious hiphop that recalls the great Black Star, right down to the elegant piano lines laced throughout the smart rhymes. Even better, Kung Foo Grip bring it live, as their performances at the 2011 Sound Off! and last year's Block Party prove. D. SCHMADER

LEMOLO

(Sat, 8:30 pm, Vera Stage) Lemolo are two gals from Poulsbo, Meagan Grandall and Kendra Cox, who became friends when they were kayak instructors (cute!). Their album-release show just sold out in a day, so you guys already love them, right? They're sweet and dream-poppy and the perfect show to go to so you can lean against your posse or your sweetie and sway and feel like you're in exactly the right place and time. AM

LESBIAN

(Sat, 8:45 pm, Cha Cha Stage) Unsurprisingly for an act with releases on the Holy Mountain and Important labels, Lesbian's punishing brand of doom metal is expansive enough to let in invigorating elements of psych and prog rock. The low end generated by bassist Dorando Hodous and drummer Benjamin Thomas-Kennedy is painfully enveloping, crushing you with ocean-bottom pressure. Up top, guitarists Arran McInnis and Daniel La Rochelle can dazzle you with baroque, filigreed beauty or blitzkrieg slashes of the heaviest metal American musicians can deliver. And Hodous's anguished vocals can scar your cochlea with nightmarish intensity. D. SEGAL

LIGHT ASYLUM

(Fri, 7:45 pm, Neumos Stage) Frontwoman Shannon Funchess may look like a modern-day, gap-toothed Grace Jones, but she sings with an emotional range that's more like Mia Zapata from the Gits or Selene Vigil from 7 Year Bitch. This is no coincidence, as the Brooklyn singer lived in Seattle in the 1990s. Now with a synth-maestro named Bruno Coviello, Funchess is burning up the otherwise brutally cool new cold-wave scene. The electronic two-piece aims to put you into a strange trance of duality—a dream state that's made up of equal parts bright neon and dark opera. KO

THE LUMINEERS

(Sun, 4:50 pm, Main Stage) Denver's the Lumineers are all suspenders and blurry black-and-white photos and old hats and clapping. They call their sound "stomp-and-clap acoustic rock, classic pop, and front-porch folk." If you can get past your eyes' knee-jerk Oh, hi there, beards and plaid and let 'em into your ears, you'll notice that they're playing something simple and sweet and lovely, and live, they seem to bring everyone in the room inside their bubble of honest melancholy and campfire good times. People are seriously falling in love. AM

MAJOR LAZER

(Sat, 10:30 pm, Main Stage) Globetrotting DJ and Mad Decent label boss Diplo apparently didn't have enough on his (dub)plate, so he started Major Lazer a few years ago with British producer Switch. The latter exited the Jamaica-centric project late last year, so now Major Lazer is strictly Diplo's thing, an outlet for his Caribbean-music proclivities. It's mostly an excuse for him to flex his dancehall muscles with exaggerated flamboyancy and an army of guest vocalists. Major Lazer comes with a fictional backstory, but all that fades away live, where the imperative is simply to make people bounce and swerve with abandon. D. SEGAL

MAMA UTAH

(Sun, 2:45 pm, Cha Cha Stage) CONFLICT OF INTEREST: For a short time, I played keyboards with two-thirds of Mama Utah in a band called Hair Vest. By "played" I mean that I put electrical tape on the keys I was supposed to press and would hunt and peck at them when the song parts changed, and by "band" I mean three people slashing and bashing away at their instruments while frontman Nathaniel "Thanny" Bradford, a Kingdome-bellied, balding, hirsute behemoth, stripped down to leather-daddy S&M skivvies, shrieked into a microphone, and shot flames and confetti from some contraptions attached to his wrists. It's safe to assume something similar from Mama Utah. When I asked a former Hair Vest bandmate about MU, she wrote: "Expect beats, boners, bears (the gay kind), breasts, and buttfucking. Caution: If you don't like buttfucking, wear two pairs of panties, because someone will try to buttfuck you at this show." Also: Thomas Hunter (Wild Orchid Children, White China Gold) is, bafflingly, also listed as a member, so I guess you should expect some wicked guitar playing, too. GB

MASS GAMES

(Sun, 4:45 pm, Cha Cha Stage) Electronic-music producer Joseph Weber's EP I Like Classical Music Too came to him by way of living in northern Thailand and teaching English. The Brooklyn-based producer samples his English lesson cassette tapes to complete his less-than-EDM-but-greater-than-chillwave-per-minute beats. Named after the ridiculously huge practice of mass gymnastics in North Korea, Mass Games and his out-of-context samples are ridiculously entertaining. SJ

THE MIRACLES CLUB

(Fri, 12:30 am, Neumos Stage) "Performance art" and "house music" almost never intersect, but Portland's the Miracles Club have been garnering raves by combining those seemingly incompatible disciplines. The Miracles Club's brand of house is spacious and bursting with loving vibes as they channel late-'80s acid-house euphoria and create soaring synth motifs that slap a perma-grin on your mug (their blog is called "Ecstasy," for fook's sake). Expect flamboyant costumes, vogueing, and choons that'll take you higher... and higher. D. SEGAL

MURMURS

(Sun, 6:45 pm, Cha Cha Stage) A poppy, passionate punk group by way of both Denver and Seattle, Murmurs feature artists from several bands in both cities who are working to establish their brand of pop punk and a more melodic hardcore. Their sound is gritty and rhythmic, angry and artistic, rowdy and loud. SJ

NACHO PICASSO

(Fri, 10:45 pm, Vera Stage) A great name doesn't guarantee great music, but Nacho Picasso—a hauntingly charismatic Seattle rapper who has released three solid albums in the last year, two of them for free—makes good on the promise offered by his typically hilarious alias. Rapping mirthfully over the dark, ominous beats of production team Blue Sky Black Death, Nacho inflects his take on the traditional themes of gangster rap with a swirling mixture of '80s-baby pop-culture detritus, resulting in a truly fun blend of weird and familiar that makes Nacho one of the freshest faces in a local rap scene blooming with new talent. JS

NEKO CASE

(Sun, 7:45 pm, Main Stage) We don't know tons about Neko Case's personal life—she seems to like it that way—but her records and live performances sound like a heroic exercise in transfiguring damage into beauty. Her lyrics (and her Texas-sized voice that can slide from torch-song croon to country twang to mournful howl, often in the same song) have a wounded knowingness that feels thoroughly earned. What we do know: Case was born in Virginia to teenage Ukrainian American parents, grew up mostly in Tacoma, and left home at 15. She started as a drummer for pop-punk "cuddle-core" bands, but hit the big time with her country noir records that combine the lusty raucousness of Chicago's Bloodshot Records crowd with the gloomy, haunted, sometimes menacing mood of the Northwest. She also sings with Canadian power-pop band the New Pornographers and other outfits. In short: Neko Case is straight-up awesome. BK

NIGHT BEATS

(Sat, 7:15 pm, Vera Stage) When you're in Seattle and you crave that nocturnal-knockout, garage-sike sound that evokes Roky Erickson's voice box or Sterling Morrison's fretboard or Count Five's adrenaline, you gotta go with Night Beats. Night Beats' music romps over oft-trod sonic paths, but it cuts to the grittiest of the nitties. Their music is stripped down so far, it's digging into the marrow of its inspirations. But rather than coming off as rote copyists, Night Beats reinvigorate the psychedelia, blues, and garage rock they adore and make them animatedly writhe anew. D. SEGAL

NIGHTMARE FORTRESS

(Sat, 2 pm, Neumos Stage) With so many bands playing and only so many hours in the day, the Block Party is sure to have a weird scheduling conflict or two, and enjoying Nightmare Fortress's ominous electro-goth jams in the middle of a Saturday afternoon is one of those "What the hell?" moments. Brooding, dramatic vocals laid over an onslaught of industrial noises are made extra intense thanks to a light show. Let's hope the sunshine doesn't get in the way. MS

NORDIC SOUL

(Fri, 11:30 pm, Neumos Stage) Nobody has done more to boost Seattle's reputation as an electronic-music mecca than Nordic Soul (aka Sean Horton). The founder and main curator behind Decibel Festival, Horton's been shaping the city's sonic landscape since 2003, with eight Decibel fests and dozens more excellent bookings of internationally renowned producers and DJs. Nordic Soul's own DJ sets reflect Horton's eclectic, epicurean tastes, always skimming the cream of the crop from the past and present's most interesting electronic genres. D. SEGAL

NOUELA

(Fri, 8:30 pm, Barboza Stage) Nouela Johnston has been a staple of the local music scene since she emerged as the kick-ass frontwoman for the vampire-loving Mon Frere (this was pre-Twilight, BTW). A few years later, she released a piano-laced solo album under the name People Eating People, showcasing a more vulnerable and personal side. Her latest, Chants (released under, simply, Nouela—third name's a charm), carries a newfound sense of poise and confidence. Perhaps that comes from the fact that not only did she play almost all the instruments on the record, but she also coproduced it. Chants is the purest form of Nouela's talents yet. MS

NUDE

(Sat, 3 pm, Vera Stage) All the smart people will have Nude on their "must see" Block Party list. The young Spokane band is the winner of this year's Sound Off! competition, and for good reason—they put on a hell of a show. Nude's drummer plays an electronic drum kit, making for especially sharp beats, and the guitar, while filled with bouncy staccato notes that flirt with math rock, is balanced out by fluid, dreamy vocals. MS

NÜ SENSAE

(Fri, 4 pm, Vera Stage) If you need a starting place for Vancouver, BC's ripping punks Nü Sensae, "Sonic Youth minus the weird tunings and languid song structures" isn't a bad place to start. But that's only the tip on the tab here, busboy. (Also, why are you touching the tips? Get back to work!) Frontlady Andrea Lukic's bass often commandeers songs (see also: Blood on the Wall), and the result is urgent and sinister, like the aural equivalent of swatting a beehive at midnight—but then her voice makes swatting a beehive at midnight sound alternately enticing and scary as hell. Get conflicted! GB

ONUINU

(Sat, 5:15 pm, Neumos Stage) Portland multi-instrumentalist/producer Onuinu (Dorian Duvall) calls his music "disco-hop," but that's kind of reductionist, if not totally inaccurate. Influenced by an odd jumble of musicians—Yellow Magic Orchestra, Jan Hammer, Madlib, Brian Eno, David Bowie, Michael Jackson, etc.—Onuinu creates dance music that sounds at once banging in the club and dreamy in the headphones. It's a very now sound, like if chillwave/R&B phenom Toro Y Moi recorded for Ghostly International. D. SEGAL

PHANTOGRAM

(Sun, 6:10 pm, Main Stage) What happens when a band takes as many genres as possible and turns them into pop songs? It doesn't always work, but Saratoga Springs natives Phantogram effortlessly succeed with their self-described "street beat, psych pop." Vocalist/keyboardist Sarah Barthel and guitarist/sometimes vocalist Josh Carter like hiphop just as much as they like Cocteau Twins, and the combination works. On "Don't Move," a standout track from the duo's 2011 EP, Nightlife, Barthel coos, "Keep your body still" over bombastic beats and samples. I'm sure this request is near impossible during Phantogram's live shows. ER

POLLENS

(Sat, 3 pm, Neumos Stage) Pollens songs are high-wire balancing acts between hypnotic repetition and surprising dynamics. Moroccan and Congolese trance music somehow smoothly integrates with song structures that combine elements of folk, prog, minimalist composition, and those world-class choral maneuvers. This ain't your typical bunch of indie-rock sad sacks flailing at the Elliott Smith songbook. On Pollens' 2011 album, Brighten & Break, their modal, polyrhythmic music makes most of their local peers sound like underachievers. The essential paradox of Pollens is how this rigorous refinement, which could come off as academic and arid, translates into ebullient, exciting recordings and live performances. D. SEGAL

PONY TIME

(Sat, 6:45 pm, Cha Cha Stage) Pony Time make a helluva racket for only a two-piece band composed of one jangly bass and one powerful drum. They strip away all the bullshit and sing songs about behaving badly and how you should behave badly at the beach when all your ex-girlfriends show up. Sounding great and behaving badly doesn't need to be complicated. Sometimes you just wanna sit on a rocking horse and ride. KO

PORCELAIN RAFT

(Sun, 9 pm, Neumos Stage) Can you stand yet another lo-fi, dream-pop bedroom auteur in your busy life? Do you have room on your hard drive for more delicate, Vaseline-lensed songcraft by an understated, romantic crooner? Then you may swoon to the lulling aural beauty of Italian-born singer-songwriter Mauro Remiddi, aka Porcelain Raft. The man's experience scoring films informs his solo project, with its blurry, evocative atmospheres and subtle, dramatic melodic cues. D. SEGAL

THE PSYCHIC PARAMOUNT

(Sat, 7:45 pm, Neumos Stage) Prediction: The Psychic Paramount's performance will be the Block Party's peak. I'm making this bold claim based on the Brooklyn trio's two devastating albums: 2005's Gamelan into the Mink Supernatural and 2011's II. The former's instrumental rock music possesses the fissional power to reduce mountains into molehills; its noise-rock pyrotechnics both split open and expand your mind. II is somewhat less bombastic than Gamelan, but it retains the group's massive, metallic, heroic thrust and world-crisis intensity. There's a kind of Rhys Chatham–like spectral clangor to a lot of these songs that's breathtaking. Don't be a chump and miss this supernova. D. SEGAL

RA SCION

(Sun, 9:45 pm, Barboza Stage) If you loved RA Scion's work in Common Market, you'll sure as shit dig his ongoing solo work. In 2010, he came out with Victor Shade, a 12-track record celebrating the alleged "alter ego of Marvel Comics' West Coast Avenger, The Vision." This year, he's back to being RA Scion, releasing the Occupy-inspired hiphop triptych BEGxBORROWx STEAL. Watch him bring all the parts together onstage, where he remains that rare thing: a charming didact. D. SCHMADER

REIGNWOLF

(Sat, 6:30 pm, Neumos Stage) Even though we think you know rock music, sometimes we all need to be reminded of what "shredding" and/or "to shred" really mean. I don't want to copy and paste a nerdy dictionary definition, but I do want you to think about really fast, erratic lead guitar solos that use a whole lotta whammy bar. Then I want you to go see Reignwolf, the one-man band and undisputed local King of Shred, and see what you think. KO

SANDRIDER

(Sat, 7:30 pm, Barboza Stage) Seeing as how I am 100 percent sober, I don't feel confident describing anything as stoner rock because, well, duh. Thankfully, despite their Bandcamp page's insistence that Sandrider are stoner rock, no substances are required to fully appreciate the Seattle band's skull-crushing riffs. The trio features Jon Weisnewski and Nat Damm of Akimbo and Jesse Roberts of the Ruby Doe, making for decades' worth of rock 'n' roll experience. Dudes know exactly how to write a booming, bone-shaking jam. Plus, who doesn't love a song that starts out with the singer bellowing, "Breaking bread with the dragon!" MS

SILLY GOOSE

(Sat, 3:45 pm, Cha Cha Stage) You're either in for a couple of French dudes with voices like silver bells who earnestly sing boppy rock tunes about having a bad day (spoiler: A bad day in France is a day without Brie), a couple of dudes from Minnesota who sing fox-trotty tunes about lakes, or a pair of honking geese anger-shitting on steel drums. Whatever the case, bring popcorn. All geese love popcorn. C. MADRID

SKARP

(Sun, 7:45 pm, Cha Cha Stage) "Skarp" sounds like a fish you'd pull out of the bottom of a lake and then throw back in the water, because, hey, everybody knows only poor people eat skarp! But now that I've placed this wrongful image in your brain, I want you to quickly remove it. Replace it with the idea of a local band who've toured with the Melvins and have invented their own kind of metal that's equal parts hardcore, crust, metal, and grindcore. They call it "blackout grind." Try it! You don't have to throw it back! KO

SLOW DANCE

(Sat, 5:45 pm, Cha Cha Stage) I am an idiot. In last year's Block Party guide, I wrote up the wrong Slow Dance. D'oh! This year, I will not make the same mistake! Seattle's Slow Dance are a hiphop duo that Larry Mizell Jr. describes as "grimy, sleazy, slizzard fun." This Slow Dance—featuring Murder Dice and Rudy Willingham—once outfitted the Fremont Troll with a giant pair of neon pink sunglasses and a Slow Dance chain. Seattle's Slow Dance are way better than the New York band of the same name, who are trying (once again) to bring back new wave. MS

SPAC3MAN

(Fri, 6 pm, Vera Stage) Spac3man, a local rapper who has a deep history with Sportn' Life Records and has released a number of mixtapes (one of which, Greetings Earthlings, is outstanding), is a very energetic and often very funny entertainer. If the world of rap were normal, he would have been recognized by the masses years ago. But the rap world is anything but normal. C. MUDEDE

SPACEGHOSTPURRP

(Sun, 11:15 pm, Neumos Stage) SpaceGhostPurrp is from Miami, but he bears little resemblance to what rap listeners typically associate with South Beach. SGP first garnered attention through his notable production and cameos on Harlem rapper A$AP Rocky's debut mixtape, and though the similarities in their sounds and lyrical content are unmistakable, SGP is darker, weirder, and, oddly, more spiritual. He sounds exactly how you'd expect a rapper/producer equally obsessed with Three 6 Mafia and Mortal Kombat (which he frequently samples) to sound, with some spaced-out mysticism thrown in for good measure. It makes for a very potent combination. JS

SPACENEEDLES

(Sat, 7:45 pm, Cha Cha Stage) The word "grunge" gets thrown around a lot in reference to fledgling Seattle four-piece Spaceneedles. But really, what the fuck did that word ever mean, anyway? Basically, it meant stern-faced hard rock/rock-leaning punk made by a certain number of bands in a certain place at a certain time in history. Also, flannel shirts! I don't know if all of these guys wear flannel (except frontman Thomas Wright, who typically wears THREE at one time), but they definitely fit the hard rock/rock-leaning punk criterion of the grunge classification. Also, Wright is a hilarious person, and if he doesn't say something hilarious in between every single song, the crowd should riot. GB

SPOEK MATHAMBO

(Sat, 3:30 pm, Main Stage) Spoek Mathambo is a young musical genius from the city of gold, Johannesburg, South Africa, who is developing a type of music he calls "township tech." Mathambo's first album, Mshini Wam ("bring me my machine"), contains a cover of Joy Division's "She's Lost Control," the video of which introduced me to his surreal world. His new album, Father Creeper, was released in March by Sub Pop, a label that's making a surprisingly big investment in the Afrofuturist branch of hiphop music (Shabazz Palaces, THEESatisfaction). My favorite line in a Mathambo jam: "Put some red on it, put some red on it..." C. MUDEDE

STEPHANIE

(Sat, 2 pm, Vera Stage) Sometimes surf, sometimes psychedelic, sometimes pop, and always entertaining, hometown heroes Stephanie aren't just a band—they are an epic performance experience for all your senses. Featuring the rich, operatic vocals of Wm. Young, this dynamic quintet will make you move in ways you never dreamed possible. Who is Stephanie, and why did such an awesome band use her name? Just a warning: You may be inspired to take drum lessons after the rhythm takes hold of your very essence. ER

ST. LUCIA

(Sat, 9:45 pm, Vera Stage) St. Lucia is the one-man band of Jean-Philip Grobler, a South African–born musician now making dreamy, gauzy electro-pop in Brooklyn. The blogosphere loves him, and if you're a fan of M83ish synth dramatics, you will, too. D. SCHMADER

THEE OH SEES

(Fri, 7:45 pm, Main Stage) Straight up, Thee Oh Sees are among the five greatest live rock bands working now. At last year's Bumbershoot, the San Francisco quintet (now with the Intelligence's Lars Finberg on drums and guitar) unleashed a feral, raw set that bested all of their competitors. Almost every song in the nearly hour-long performance reminded me of Can or the Fall played at triple-time speed, or, in the case of "Block of Ice," Red Krayola's "Hurricane Fighter Plane." These are the kinds of influences from which super-smart bands draw, yet Thee Oh Sees made them sound vital rather than derivative. D. SEGAL

TOM EDDY

(Sat, 6 pm, Vera Stage) He will put you in mind of summer, Andrew Bird, and Paul Simon (circa Rhythm of the Saints). He's from Seattle. He enjoys wearing a light-blue hoodie and matching low-top Converse. Also, Tom Eddy sings about lightning storms and making bread (when he's not singing about welfare and Sunday markets). Any questions? ES

TRASH FIRE

(Sat, 4:45 pm, Cha Cha Stage) Almost everyone has seen trash that's been set on fire. The burning of waste is commonplace, both in big cities and around small fires in tiny campgrounds tucked away in Nowheresville. Trash Fire, the band, however, are mysterious and shrouded in mystery. Not many people have seen them. This is your obligatory Block Party Wild Card. I can tell you that Trash Fire share drummer Curtis Hall with the band Grand Archives. KO

TRASH TALK

(Sun, 10:15 pm, Neumos Stage) The last time I saw Trash Talk, at now-closed Satyricon in Portland, someone in the audience started a trash fire. Then the band started hurling bottles and cans and mic stands around the room. It was like being at some sorta angry politico riot, except there wasn't a state to smash—just Trash Talk's hardcore thrash punk, making a gaggle of normally calm twentyhipsters lose their collective minds. Expect crowd-surfing and a bruise or two. KO

TROPICAL PUNK

(Sat, 4 pm, Vera Stage) As their name states, these Nashville-based punk rockers bring sunshine to the genre. With songs about parties, road trips, parties, romance, parties, and parties, Tropical Punk make it impossible to not have fun listening to them. Tropical Punk's wheels never slow, whether they're punching out surf-rock vibrato, melodica-enhanced melodies, or roots rock. SJ

TRUST

(Fri, 9 pm, Neumos Stage) Toronto duo Robert Alfons and Maya Postepski make witchy house tracks that flirt with goth camp and then seduce the damn thing right in the middle of the dance floor. Shameless, really. Their debut album, TRST (srsly), is a raven-haired beauty with a nice swivel in its hips. Imagine Zola Jesus's melodic bombast with more up-tempo rhythmic ballast and a slight testosterone boost, and you have Trust. D. SEGAL

TWIN SHADOW

(Sat, 6 pm, Main Stage) The music of Twin Shadow (George Lewis Jr.) resembles Junior Boys' sensitive-guy bedroomtronica, which has roots in Depeche Mode, New Order, and Soft Cell's most introspective material. He's also something of a romantic crooner in the vein of Bryan Ferry and Morrissey, but without those icons' more sweeping dramatic range. With Twin Shadow's 2010 album, Forget, we're in the familiar territory of semi-danceable '80s-synth-pop revivalism, but done with heartfelt sincerity instead of neon-Ray-Ban'd irony. Lewis is obviously a scrupulous songwriter, hyperaware of the sonic signifiers that trigger nostalgic pangs in synthesizer fetishists with a weakness for fey-male-centric tunesmithery and understatedly glittery production techniques. D. SEGAL

VOX MOD

(Fri, 6:45 pm, Cha Cha Stage) Vox Mod is a local and talented producer of electronic music. What he profoundly understands, and what other producers of this kind of music often fail to remember, is that futurist electro (Mod is much more electro than electronica) must sound like it's from another world or create the sense of being in another world. His future looks bright. C. MUDEDE

WESTERN HAUNTS

(Sat, 9 pm, Barboza Stage) Western Haunts remind me a bit of Fleet Foxes, with their lazy road-trip vocals and patient longing for something they hardly expect to happen anyway. I'm told they're also a bit shoegaze. Personally, I'd suggest gazing at the sky while listening to these guys. Or the ocean. Though they're very interested in their Midwestern roots, so don't tell them I said that thing about the ocean. ES

WHITE ARROWS

(Sat, 10:15 pm, Neumos Stage) Mickey Church, vocalist for Los Angeles rock group White Arrows, earned a degree in shamanistic ritual at NYU (wonder what homework was like...). It's hard to hear anything shamanistic about White Arrows' Dry Land Is Not a Myth, though. The "ethnic" elements are fairly understated, while the production is 21st-century slick in that big-indie-label way that means well, even as it drains soulfulness from the mix. White Arrows' most distinctive element is Church's vocals, which sound like a chilled-out Sky Saxon. D. SEGAL

YAWN

(Sun, 3:15 pm, Neumos Stage) Chicago quartet Yawn create mutedly euphoric, harmony-heavy, dubby pop in the vein of post–Strawberry Jam Animal Collective and their ilk. It's a youthful, optimistic-against-all-odds sound that syncs well with that exuberantly carefree feeling that summer often induces. Yawn's debut full-length is due out during this hot season, and you're sure to get an earful of it at Block Party. D. SEGAL

YOUTH LAGOON

(Fri, 6:30 pm, Main Stage) Youth Lagoon is the self-produced dreamy, lo-fi pop of Trevor Powers. It's amazing what one guy can do with a guitar, a drum machine, and some imagination. Powers's debut, The Year of Hibernation, gained him internet buzz and a deal with Fat Possum Records. I'm excited to see what new elements the summer thaw will bring to Youth Lagoon's chilly set. ER

YUKON BLONDE

(Sun, 7:10 pm, Vera Stage) This Vancouver, Canada–based quartet is ideal for Woody Guthrie lovers who adore high-pitched men strumming on gee-tars, singing about hippie shit like the beauty of rivers and how man is "setting fire to the ocean." It is sublime modern this-land-is-your-land jam rock. BYOTambourine. C. MADRID

YUNA

(Sat, 9 pm, Neumos Stage) It's not easy making pop personal, but welcome to Yuna, a chic, chill, Muslim singer-songwriter from Kuala Lumpur, touring on her recent self-titled record (her second US release). She started playing guitar and writing songs when she was in law school at age 19, and now in addition to playing music, she's a boutique owner, world traveler, diva with heart. Maybe she'll play her achy cover of Nirvana's "Come as You Are." JG

 

Comments (14) RSS

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MacCrocodile 1
Well I'm hopelessly out of touch. The only act I've even heard of is the one whose CDs are on sale at the place where I get doughnuts. Does that mean they sold out?
Posted by MacCrocodile http://maccrocodile.com/ on July 18, 2012 at 10:28 AM · Report this
w/u/s 2
yes, you are out of touch.
Posted by w/u/s http://dadsnotdudes.com on July 18, 2012 at 1:50 PM · Report this
3
i too am out of touch.
Posted by dudedudedude on July 18, 2012 at 2:48 PM · Report this
knobtheunicorn 4
Things Slog has learned me about myself today 1. I'm infact of the Generation of X. Thought it was just all my brother's hand me downs and my learning about pedophiles when the Maytag repairman tried to bone Dudley messing with my sence of nostalgia.
2.I'm so not with it that the one name I recognize I've been saying "meh" to since KCMU first started sucking her dick. That's right, KCMU.
This must be what a celeocanth feels like.
Posted by knobtheunicorn on July 18, 2012 at 5:47 PM · Report this
5
I used to be with it, but then they changed what *it* was. Now what I'm with isn't *it*, and what's *it* seems weird and scary to me. It'll happen to you...
Posted by Bhamjason on July 18, 2012 at 10:22 PM · Report this
knobtheunicorn 6
@5 "I'm Homer Simpson and I approve this thread."
Posted by knobtheunicorn on July 19, 2012 at 1:19 AM · Report this
knobtheunicorn 7
DOH! ment Grandpa.
Posted by knobtheunicorn on July 19, 2012 at 1:25 AM · Report this
Ron Bennington 8
Only 4 bands away from having a full alphabet. Can't this be remedied?
Posted by Ron Bennington on July 19, 2012 at 8:56 AM · Report this
Elvis 9
I want to know more about Silly Goose!
Posted by Elvis on July 19, 2012 at 9:51 AM · Report this
tainte 10
phantogram=boobs
Posted by tainte on July 19, 2012 at 12:04 PM · Report this
11
Yetch.

Yet another public display of debauchery.

This will be another rainbow colored homosexual bacchanalia designed to attact teen boys into the homo-cult.
Posted by Arthur Zifferelli on July 19, 2012 at 9:51 PM · Report this
12
Dear Music Writers,
When you refer to women in bands as "gals" and "dreamy ladies" or "Barbie Screaming at Ken" it sounds condescending as shit and creeps a lot of us the fuck out. Please stop.
Posted by Feel Like I'm in a Guitar Center Here on July 20, 2012 at 6:02 PM · Report this
mAlissa 13
Cloud Nothings drummer is ri-goddamn-diculous. if you get a chance to check them out.
Posted by mAlissa on July 20, 2012 at 6:23 PM · Report this
14
FUCK THE BLOCK PARTY. Upon entry, I felt as though I was passing through airport security. However, airports let you board with mini's of liquor. My rights were taken away at the gate. I am 30 years old and should be able to carry a few mini's with me no matter where I decide to go. This is my neighborhood and these motherfuckers just kicked me out of it and degraded me in the process. Nowhere did I read that my bag and person would be searched and condemned for having personal items. They called security over like I was a terrorist and made me throw away my booze. I told them that I was turning around and not coming back (which I did) and my possessions were confiscated. I sold my ticket to a scalper for 20$. This block party (or at least, its security) is a humiliation.
Posted by neonboxkite on July 21, 2012 at 5:49 PM · Report this

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