It made all kinds of sense for TERMINATor to play the Cha Cha. Its queasy red lighting and Mexican dive-bar paraphernalia were the ideal backdrop for the Seattle trio's woozy, wonky rock. Their ramshackle songs served as the perfect soundtrack to a day-drunk stagger in 86-degree heat. Albie's guitar emitted metallic radiation as the band coaxed a singular strain of dubby rock that sounds like its batteries are running low.
One song—perhaps the best song—began with Veronica Dye's flute solo of delicate solemnity getting looped until it coalesced into phantasmagorical trills. The dirge-y march crescendoed to a chaotic climax before returning to the initial calm.
Nobody is really doing this sort of thing in Seattle. It's a damn shame that Dye is moving to New York at the end of the month, and the rest of the band may follow her in the near future. Groups like TERMINATor are rare, indeed. DAVE SEGAL
An American musician based in Italy, Yves Tumor has morphed from experimental electronic-music producer for Germany's renowned PAN label to a potential glam-soul superstar who fuses traits of Prince and David Bowie into one svelte, stealthily moving song-and-dance dynamo. It's an odd career arc, which kind of reminds me of Scritti Politti's transformation from weird, dubby post-punk to gleaming electro-soul.
Wearing diamond-studded boots and black leather pants, Tumor (real name: Sean Bowie) pranced melodramatically around the stage to pre-recorded tracks, singing his ass off while at various points climbing the scaffolding, lying on his back, and draping a handkerchief over his face. His androgynous charisma made me think that he should star in a sequel to Spinal Tap—except instead of rock, it would focus on pansexual glam soul made with little black boxes and computers.
While his music surprisingly has veered into a more commercial direction, Yves Tumor is still too much of an outlier to launch into the pop stratosphere. He seems way too interesting and full of contradictions to blow up like Frank Ocean, but you never know. The intensity of lust and euphoria Tumor induced at Block Party was impressive. DAVE SEGAL
This 21-year-old musician from Hawthorne, CA is about to be the Next Big Thing. Since he started playing in 2016, his brand of psychedelic dream pop has raked in almost 300 million streams, according to Nielsen Music. He also just signed a seven-figure deal with Interscope, with his major-label album debut Para Mí dropping this Friday.
The audience last night was treated to a bunch of new music that’s equal parts dreamy and trippy. Cuco reminds me of Toro y Moi, making music that’s intimate, poppy, and chill, and his blending of both English and Spanish is refreshing to hear. Though Cuco is the solo act of Omar Banos, he and his crew gave off boy band vibes. There was a softness and awkwardness to their demeanor: his bandmates wore shirts reading “I Pay Taxes Just So Cops Can Arrest My Friends” which is almost correct; Cuco sang “You broke my heart/But I’m also so obsessed with you.” Silly but endearing. A young woman beside me swooned at the singer’s floppy-hairedness, saying that she wanted Cuco “inside of her.” Ma’am, it’s a Sunday! JASMYNE KEIMIG