[Editor's note: After Anand, AKA MusicNerd, paid for spense Sasquatch tickets to file his now-classic Sasquatch coverage , we decided he was a brilliant music critic, and we had to get him official press passes for evermore. Watch for MusicNerd's official Capitol Hill Block Party coverage over the weekend. It starts right now:]
I'm not a hater. Sonic Youth and The Jesus Lizard are awesome and all, but don't let that self deprecating Gen-X fame eclipse the real story: Young weird Seattle is set to shine at this year's Capitol Hill Block Party. You've got hungry rappers, folk pop vagabonds and a Vera stage worth of art-rock taste makers. Here's my (ideal) stroll through the weekend.
The Dutchess and The Duke/ photo by Andrew Waits
The Dutchess and The Duke | Main Stage 4:30
This Seattle duo (if you're wondering, she's the Dutchess and he's the Duke) is often called timeless—which means that they sound like folk from the 60s. There's some Dylan in there and some Rolling Stones and, most importantly, some gorgeous boy-girl harmonies.
Flexions | Vera Stage 5:00
Cool breeze math rock
Bow + Arrow | Vera Stage 6:00
Sweaty math rock.
Micachu and the Shapes | Vera Stage 7:00
It's all there: Post-grime rapping in the most British accent, catchy kitchin-sink hooks courtesy of found sound producer Herbert, and frantic songs that don't settle down because you should never settle down. Mica is the androgynous art-diva of your dreams.
Deerhunter | Main Stage 7:45
Deerhunter gets visceral reactions. They can nauseate with noisy dry heaves or, like on their gorgeous new Rainwater Cassette Exchange, hypnotize with psychedelic bliss outs.
Starfucker | Vera Stage 9:00
These PDX electro-poppers use Montreal synths and boom-clap drums to stir up a sugary dance fever.
Built to Spill | Main Stage 9:15
The grumpy indie legends are playing a fan chosen set list which hopefully means no 10-minute reggae jams. Expect 6-string heroics that get kids interested in guitar solos again.
They Live! | Nuemos Stage 10:30
Named after John Carpenter's cult classic (“I'm here to kick ass and chew bubble gum, and I'm all out of bubble gum.”) They Live! weave intense fables that condemn drugs and celebrate drugs. Single "Meth Heads" is as infectious as it is horrifying.
The Jesus Lizard | Main Stage 10:45
Wild stage antics and Steve Albini crunch made the Jesus Lizard '90s legends, but today the boozy kids who made them famous are adults stuck in office jobs. And yet, there's something to the band's desperate howls and depraved guitar lines that makes me think it'll resonate even deeper with its middle aged fan base.
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart | Main Stage 4:30
It's weird that this band is so divisive. Sure they have a cute name, but the songs are cute (this is a compliment). They tackle love with enough youthful enthusiasm and jangly guitars to send flutters through indie-rock's ever palpitating heart.
The Maldives | Nuemos Stage 6:30
Americana is a loose word, but I think it works for this Seattle nine-piece's laid back vibe. There are some slide guitars, some beards, and some mountain shack harmonies.
The Thermals | Main Stage 7:15
The Northwest's best punk band
The Lonely Forest | Vera Stage 7:30
The Lonely Forest are going to be fun to watch grow up. That's not a knock on them now, these Seattle younguns have a knack for killer pop, but when they marry it with their weirder, sprawling tendencies, like on standout track "Tomato Soup," everyone in the audience gets goosebumps, looks at each other eagerly and thinks, “Oh shit, this is something !”
Sportn' Life Showcase| Nuemos Stage 10:15
Local hip hop label Sportn' Life shows off their stars with D. Black and Fatal Lucciauno, but here's hoping that wild-flowed Spaceman is there as more then just a hypeman. Spaceman's ragged delivery recalls the crazy voice rap of old skool legend Rommellzee mixed with some gruff crunk barks.
Sonic Youth | Main Stage 10:30
Sonic Youth occasionally enjoy sandwiches .
Japandroids | Vera Stage 11:00
Japandroids are perfect for a rapidly cooling drunk evening. They strip rock down to an essential duo, just a heavily distorted guitar and enegetic drums. They scream along to their own anthemic choruses like they were covering themselves. “I don't wanna worry about dying,” they call triumphantly, “I just wanna worry about sunshine and girls.”