Here is Part 3 and the final in our 3 part series of New Raleigh and Friends Recommendations for Hopscotch 2012. Hope these have been helpful. Have fun, be safe and see you on the other side of the weekend.
No Bunny - photo Jeremy Lange
Jedidiah Gant - Editor in Chief, New Raleigh
I'm not sure what I can say that everyone else in our Three Part series of Recommendations hasn't already said, or is about to say below. The Independent Weekly, the force behind Hopscotch, asked me for my 2012 recommendations, so I wrote some over there about bringing kids to day parties, biking as much as possible and which shows are sure to be completely outrageous. I stand by all of those recommendations and will try to fill a few gaps that I think are not to be missed at Hopscotch 2012.
Edward McKay Cultural Series - Sad to say, I have never made one single talk session at the Ed McKay Cultural Series. I've either been tied up with my son Oliver or decided upon going to a day party instead. This year, I will not make that mistake again. The lineup each day looks fantastic and talking about music is second to none for me than listening to it.
Killer Mike - As dissapointed as I was that Death Grips had to cancel their CAM show, I was as equally as excited that rapper Killer Mike was added to the Hopscotch lineup. Mike put out one of my favorite albums of the year and in a year full of nasty politics, Mike gives some real life advice about how both sides are full of it. Growing up during the heyday of rap's early years, I learned to love N.W.A., Wu-Tang and Run DMC. Mike gets back to that era of deep pocket rap, pulling rhymes and beats out that dig hard. Raekwon's show at the first Hopscotch fest saw his crew smoking blunts and having about 15 people on stage at all times. While I can't promise anything similar, I can promise that Killer Mike and his El-P beats will blow up Lincoln Theatre.
No Bunny - This show could end up being the most outrageous one of the weekend. Dude in a bunny mask singing garage punk with Danny Brown and Flosstradomus on deck? Wow.
Wood Ear - Somehow no one has mentioned Wood Ear in their recommendations and I'm kinda baffled. I knew nothing about the band either before the lineup came out but have been hijacked by the Heartbreaker era Ryan Adams sound of his album Steeple Vultures. In my opinion, this is the best way to start off your Hopscotch weekend, despite the fact that Psychic Paramount and Phil Cook and playing at the same time. Oh and then catch Toon and the Real Laww next door at The Pour House. I just grabbed Toon for the Cooke Street Carnival so Raleigh will become very familiar with his name very soon.
Matthew E. White: One Incantation Under God - Everyone is in high anticipation for this 30 musician show and for good reason. Phenomenal album that is sure to be even more epic live. Also, MEW is doing a six man version at Longview this weekend. Find that too.
Carlos Giffoni - Not much out there about Giffoni but his show, followed by Doldrums at Five Star should be one not to miss for the experimental electronic crowd. I'm just sad that it's at the same time as Danny Brown...luckily CAM is close to Five Star.
Sunn 0))) - I have no clue how to describe this in words but am sure no one will afterwards either.
Every Garage Punk Act - from The Spits to Cheater Slicks, Joint D# and more...there's enough garage punk to bring you back to your teenage years. A bunch of these bands are being over looked....don't miss them.
Zola Jesus - photo Boudist
Sara Howell - Director of Cirque de Vol
Hopscotch is chalk full of of carnival ride like anticipation, the blinding lights, community, awe and sweat. I'll never forget roaming the streets with David Mueller of Heads on Sticks last year, venue to venue, wavelength to wavelength, experiencing endless experiments in sounds and colors and lights. I was rocked, dazzled and awed. And by far, awe is THE best drug. There are so many ways to be and Hopscotch does well in giving us an all encompassing taste- this year I'm stoked to be rove performing at CAM for The Love Language Show.
My top local picks this year include Birds of Avalon, A Mad Affair, old time favorite - Midtown Dickens and Heads on Sticks. We all know Birds of Avalon run a tight ship and I'm constantly blown away by the effortless magic created between these musicians- the skill, the sound, the synchronicity. I'm also swooning for beautiful women and honey whiskey when it comes to A Mad Affair. Heads on Sticks is electric genius, heart and soul- channeling eccentricity that you can actually move to.
Over the last several years I've gotten an intimate view into the evolution of Heads on Sticks- the beeps, the bloops, or the perfect placement of that ting-tang witcha witchao. Track after track and layer after layer, David Mueller consistently left me inspired and impressed. It has always been an honor to watch the evolution of these tracks and how they were finely and painstakingly married with the vocals and lyrics. I'll never forget this one time when I got a sneak peek into Mueller's world - we played all night in his studio, recording sound samples and beats, writing lyrics and and singing into the microphone together. I am no musician, but as a visual and performing artist, I felt my brain expanding in a way it never had before. Needless to say, I'm psyched to see what Heads on Sticks has in store for us next week.
Non- locally, I'll be damned if I miss Zola Jesus or Yo La Tengo. Last year, Hopscotch left the whole city teeming with brilliance and buzzing with cross pollination. I personally was left spinning sweetly with my face completed melted. Hopscotch never fails to leave Raleigh scintillating and I'm stoked for this years annual dose of awe.
Jon Yu - Designer | DJ
If you have a Hopscotch VIP pass, come to the opening reception at CAM on Thursday starting at 5:30 where I'll be DJing Hopscotch artists past and present as well as throwing in my own brand of flavor. If you need a dance break from Hopscotch, come down to Neptunes Parlour on Friday night for our monthly First Friday dance party, Night Moves.
In no particular order:
Yo La Tengo - Besides the go to jams "Here to Fall" and "Autumn Sweater", their cover of "Be Thankful for What You Got", "False Alarm" is my favorite track by this trio. James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem should have shouted these guys out in "Losing My Edge."
Flosstradamus / Danny Brown
Pretty sure the current kings of Trap music and every hipsters' favorite rapper are going to destroy CAM, or at least knock a few bolts loose with the bass. Hold on to your dear lives.
Class Actress - Sounds and is named like a John Hughes movie.
Balam Acab - A young production wizard who conjures beautiful bass lullabies. His album is definitely one of my favorites for 2012.
Colin Stetson - I refused to believe this guy is making these sounds with just his horn and voice. Definitely some otherworldly kind of talent and sound. http://youtu.be/lK90kN871p8
Gross Ghost - Pretty much any band Mike Dillon is in, is it.
Heads on Sticks - Dave Mueller is always pushing his sound from Olympus Mons, to Strange, to the great BOA and HOS. His newest release AEGYPT is a great example of why I'm always try to pick his brain- you can find bits of Massive Attack and chopped and screwed The Field in there.
Chris Anderson, Raleighing Founder | Red Hatter | Music Addict
Finally, my favorite week of the year is here! Quite obviously, I hope, I love this city and am continually excited by the evolution of our culture and identity. Our momentum is constantly building and, I believe, generally moving us in the right direction. So many things contribute to that opinion, but none more than Hopscotch. 175 bands over 3 nights in my beloved city? Really? If you had told me 16 years ago when I arrived in Raleigh that this was in our future, I would have thought you were completely insane.
But, it is a reality (thanks to the big thinking and superhuman efforts of Grayson Currin and Greg Lowenhagen) so now we get the luxury of sifting through all these fantastic bands and venues to come up with an “ideal” path. And while I do have specific suggestions, my strongest recommendation is to go to Hopscotch with an open mind. The two previous years have introduced me to bands I’d never heard of but continue to enjoy today. Challenge yourself. Trust the curators. They know what they are doing. This is a very unique, very eclectic, very diverse, and wonderfully weird music festival. Just wandering and going with the flow isn’t a bad approach at all.
That said, here are some of my specific recommendations:
Thursday is a night full of fantastic choices, even with the cancelation of Baroness (get better guys!) and Exitmusic (better be a good acting gig, Aleksa!). Among big hitters that night are Deerhoof, Liars, Thee Oh Sees but I’m particularly excited by:
Altos, Lincoln Theatre, 10:30pm. Should be a great venue for this 12-member band who calls themselves a “surly high school orchestra.” Their self-titled, 3-track 2011 album is mesmerizing and highly recommended.
Hume, Kings Barcade, 11:30pm. Very interested to hear and see this band pull off their experimental but listenable sound live and Kings should be the perfect setting.
Pictureplane, Kings Barcade, 1am. Not sure I’ll be able to resist this opportunity to dance the night to a close. Thankfully, I’ve taken Friday off so I should have plenty of time to recover before the day parties begin.
Another big night, I don’t have my final selections decided as of yet and expect I’ll call some last minute audibles. After the City Plaza shows, I’ve got my eyes on:
The Bronzed Chorus, Five Star, 9:30pm. Greensboro band with enveloping instrumentals. Makes me think of Explosions in the Sky with a broader canvas, mixing in electronica elements.
Wowser Bowser, CAM Raleigh, 10:30pm. Irresistible synth-pop. Will be lots of bouncing going on (or at least head bobbing, depending on the size and hipster quotient of the crowd).
Hundred Waters, CAM Raleigh, 11:30pm. Complex, etherial, electronic, but really would go to hear lead singer Nicole Miglis’ voice live.
Should be a fun night in City Plaza with the disco beats of Escort followed by the legendary sounds of The Roots. After that, I’m thinking:
Jacaszek, Long View Center, 10pm. Electro-classical composer/performer I’ve been dying to see. High expectations to be blown away here.
Silver Swans, The Hive @ Busy Bee, 11pm. Angelic voice floating over electronic beats. Lots of swaying with eyes closed at this one.
Class Actress, The Hive @ Busy Bee, 12am. Hrmmm… apparently I’m having an electronic year. Another angelic voice, but more danceable. Might be tempted to cut this one short to head over to:
Wye Oak, Lincoln Theatre, 12:30am. So, so, so good live. Definitely check them out if you haven’t already.
But again, you generally can’t go wrong. Have a blast, Raleigh! And be sure to give Grayson and/or Greg a hug or a high five or something when you see them. Raleigh’s beyond lucky to have them and their weird music festival!
Delicate Steve - photo Dirty Impound
Heather LaGarde - Owner of Haw River Ballroom and Saxapahaw Rivermill Music Series
Unlike my more realistic and organized compatriots I have not tried to organize this list of recommendations by performance date, or in any linear format whatsoever, I think it’s my way of dealing with the fact that I am not yet ready to admit I can’t see all of these people play even when driving in to Raleigh day after day and back in the wee hours each night past wayward deer and cows to the faraway land of Saxapahaw. (Really Raleigh people, we do this drive all the time, it’s not that bad.)
I've known some of these musicians since the days I rode with them on the school bus and it's great to see the resurgence and staying power of bands like The dBs, Shark Quest, Corrosion of Conformity, Mac McCaughan and the entire cast of STAG, and Pipe, with Ron Liberti dancing on stage, his hands slightly dyed from the myriad of high-art posters he has created that capture in a single image the entire musical inventory of a band.
There are the local greats The Mountain Goats, Megafaun, Midtown Dickens, Shirlette and the Dynamite Brothers, the beautiful music of Matt White, Hiss Golden Messenger, Sinful Savage Tigers, Field Report, Phil Cook and his Feat and Naked Gods, the Blue Velvet crooning of Nests, the Occupy dance politics of Beat Report, Baroness' pretty southern metal folk, Calico Hearts distorted country folk, and Zack Mexico's cocktail surf, among a host of other favorites who have played Saxapahaw's HayWagon stage and The Haw River Ballroom.
From father afield you've got Delicate Steve's happy polyrhythmic soundtrack, synth pretty Class Actress, Balam Acab's underwater space Cocteau Twinsiness, Charlie Parr's vintage step back time machine, and I love the whole 'improviser in residence' role Chris Corsano will play at this year's festival.
Of course there's The Roots, Built to Spill and The Jesus and Mary Chain but because I think we are supposed to narrow it down, here are the top 5 that I haven't yet seen live and won't miss at Hopscotch, somehow defying concurrent set times… (how far IS Fletcher Opera Theater From Lincoln Theater on foot by the way?)
Samantha Crain has been one of my favorites for a long time. I love her particular combination of roots-folk-soul music and that beautiful voice.
Wye Oak has an understated intensity, streamlined stab-you-in-the-heart lyrics, beautiful harmonies, and the mysterious enchantingness of singer Jenn Wasner (also playing a solo set as Flock of Dimes) one of my favorite bands this year.
Altos is made up of 12 people and I am a sucker for big giant bands. There is something that I always find moving about a large group of people singing and playing together well, and this group, from the musical muse state of Wisconsin, really pulls it off with a tight authentic sound.
How have I not heard Baobab before? They sound like a handmade present; one-of-a-kind, beautiful and intentional, in the form of smart cybernetic folk, and they are based right here in the triangle.
Lambchop through all the years keep making great songs and I'm looking forward to closing out the whole Hopscotch 2012 with their unique existential brand of hopeful moodiness.
In the meantime we’d be grateful if you CityCamp Raleigh and Ignite Raleigh folks could get cracking on that light rail to Saxapahaw so that next year’s Haw-pscotch addendum dayparty can run as smoothly as possible.
Scott Rooker - Musician, Artitst and Cartoonist at NewRaleigh.com