Max Clotfelter

Today, experimental-music festival Debacle announced the lineup for its 10th annual event, which happens May 6 at Columbia City Theater and the Royal Room. (There's an opening ceremony May 5 at an undisclosed location as well, featuring three acts, guest DJs, and an art exhibit reflecting Debacle Fest and Records' history.) Organized by founder Sam Melancon and director Rachel LeBlanc, Debacle will feature 24 performances by artists from Seattle, Vashon Island, Olympia, Anacortes, Portland, Oakland, and New York. It is traditionally one of the most interesting displays of adventurous music in the region—all the more impressive for being executed with a tiny budget and volunteer staff.

On the event's website, LeBlanc explained the motivation behind this landmark occasion: "I established this year’s lineup first and foremost on a gathering together of friends who are our ride-or-dies; these are artists we’ll likely champion until they can no longer pick up their instruments. Many have supported us since the earliest days of the label (which is on its 12th year). As well, I invited folks we’ve had crushes on for awhile but haven’t yet been able to showcase on the Fest stage. And rounding out the bill, as always, are newcomers who’ve caught our ears in the past couple years and whom we’d love to share our platform with."

This year's lineup, as with most years', includes several purveyors of rarefied, sublime drones, such as Ashley Bellouin, L.A. Lungs, Karnak Temples, and A Story of Rats. Also getting substantial representation are musicians fusing electronic and folk music, including Tiny Vipers, Medina/Walsh, Elkhorn, and Mood Tattooed. Two horn-powered psychedelic rock bands from Portland make their Debacle debut, as well: Galaxy Research and Volcanic Pinnacles. Radical guitar mavericks of the industrial and noise persuasions—Nordra and Pink Void—return to Debacle fold, as both continue their artistic ascent. Alex Barnett&Faith Coloccia (the latter plays keyboards and sings in Mamiffer) and Cruel Diagonals* create existential, cinematic soundscapes and unsettling ambience. And Raica (Chloe Harris) is simply one of the country's most versatile and inventive electronic musicians working today.

Once again, Debacle's organizers have curated a stellar bill of sonic explorers operating well below most people's radars. That they've maintained such lofty quality control for a decade is cause for serious celebration.

Debacle Fest tickets are available here.

Ashley Bellouin (Oakland)
A Story of Rats (Seattle)
Barnett+Coloccia (Vashon Island)
Cruel Diagonals (Seattle)
Dolphin Midwives (Portland)
Elkhorn (Seattle)
Galaxy Research (Portland)
Greg Kelley (Seattle)
Karnak Temples (Seattle)
knifecream (Seattle)
LA Lungs (Olympia)
Medina/Walsh (Seattle) .
Mood Tattooed (New York)
Nordra (Seattle)
Pink Void (Anacortes)
Raica (Seattle)
rEEk (Seattle)
Slow Drips (Seattle)
The Late Unpleasantness
Tiny Vipers (Seattle)
Volcanic Pinnacles (Portland)
Walrus Machine (Seattle)

*Full disclosure: Cruel Diagonals (aka Megan Mitchell) is my partner.