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Day-by-day picks from the local-global indie-corporate megafest.
The best album of 2017 so far is by Chicano Batman. The LA quartet’s Freedom Is Free swirls Latin soul, punchy funk and sunbaked lounge into a sexy-smart dance party. Their just-released third album, Sincerely, catapulted Dude York from Seattle’s DIY-rock scene into All-American status, and with a zillion recent gigs under their belt, their live show will be over-the-top energized. It’s hard not to be charmed by Seattle singer J GRGRY’s pristine, lovelorn dream-pop. Portland’s Moon Duo makes stupendously loud, propulsive psychedelic rock that you may dance to. Possessing a shimmering voice and a knack for buoyant, electronic-tinged jams, teenaged Ravyn Lenae is a product of Chicago’s fresh, fertile R&B underground. Die Antwoord is South African Marilyn Manson-inspired shock-core set to aggressive, intentionally annoying EDM—and a visual spectacle worth seeing.
With her second album, Melodrama, Lorde proved she’s no fluke. On its strength, the New Zealand-bred pop prodigy with the prematurely husky voice continues her ascent to world domination. Weezer is merely aight in my book but the power-pop stalwarts’ 2010 Bumbershoot set was super fun. On the other hand, you’ll find me wherever and whenever the Roots play their razor-sharp brand of live-band hip-hop. Tacocat and the Maldives represent Capitol Hill pop-punk and Ballard country-rock respectively; both hometown faves should turn in star performances at their hometown fest. Aminé is the among the new crop of agile, insightful Portland-based MCs; Joseph is a Portland sister trio who make gorgeous, harmonized folk-pop. I’m not a Conor Oberst superfan—which are legion—but I’ve never been disappointed with anything the hyper-articulate Midwestern crooner has released. Count colorful, orchestral singer-songwriter Júníus Meyvant among the Icelandic artists I’ve been turned onto via KEXP.
Solange: No further words necessary. Atlanta MC Lil Yachty makes raunchy, Skittles-colored trap anthems for the arrested-development set; his antithesis is Vince Staples, an intense, nails-tough spitter from Southern California. Father to them both in flamboyance and lyricism is Gucci Mane, reborn and ascendant after his most recent stint in prison. More goodness from Portland courtesy Red Fang, whose heavy-duty, high-octane rock is soaked in PBR and bongwater. With their effortless guitar-centric pop-rock, LA-based Haim represents the second coming of Fleetwood Mac—with the chops to match. Seattle duo Crater play electrifying, minimalist industrial-dance pop, shadowy and sinister. They’ve been working on a new album, which we’ll likely hear a lot of today. You can’t fake the kind of Southern-fried rock ’n’ soul of Nashville’s the New Respects. Though their soft-focus, summer-night EDM is built less for dancing than selfie-ing, Odesza is easily the biggest band to emerge from the Northwest since Macklemore.
Visit bumbershoot.com for the complete Bumbershoot schedule.