Smile Politely

Pygmalion additions: there’s more

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – For the first time, Pygmalion will have a Sunday headliner. While their latest album finds them drawing more influence from 90s groups such as My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive, their sound retains the irresistible dream-pop underpinnings that rocketed them to popularity in the first place. With two critically-acclaimed albums and a rock solid live show, Pains will close out the festival on Sunday night in grand style.

MiM0SA – Fulfilling this year’s womping quota is the Los Angeles based producer, who falls on the grimier side of the spectrum, similar to last year’s headliner Plastician. However, he’s also crossed over into the jamtronica scene, playing shows with Glitch Mob and Lotus this summer. Even if dubstep isn’t your thing, I can’t recommend getting out to this show enough, as we’ve seen the electronic headliners (Skream and Plastician) absolutely crushing it in recent years.

Gang Gang Dance – These Pitchfork favorites make the same kind of tripped-out, percussion and sequencer heavy rave music as Holy Fuck, but take things even farther out with layered female vocals swathed in reverb and echo (think Bjork crossed with rave music). Having honed their impressive live chops with performances across the US and Europe, including Primavera Sound and Lollapalooza, this is one show not to be missed.

Joan of Arc – Despite their ties to Champaign, JoA seem to hardly ever make it down here (last time was back in February at Cowboy Monkey). Check ’em out at the Polyvinyl Party along with Owen for a double-dose of Kinsella. They’ve recently been touring with the lineup that recorded the Owls record, so pray that we get to hear “What Whorse You Wrote Id On“. However, it wouldn’t be too surprising if they stick to material from their most recent full-length Life Like, or even newer songs, given their ever so occasional obtuseness as a band.

Marty Party – South Africa via San Francisco producer is probably better known as half of the glitch/dubstep project PANTyRAID (along with Glitch Mob member Ooah), his solo material finds him leaning more towards hip-hop and experimental stylings, although he hasn’t totally abandoned the insane live shows that PANTyRAID are infamous for.

The Luyas – Tour support for the Dodos, the Montreal indie pop group adds French Horn to standard rock instrumentation. It should be interesting to see how they’re received, given Champaign’s rich history of indie pop groups such as Sarge and Headlights.

NewVillager – All I can say is that these guys have possibly the best bio I’ve ever read, and the video for “Lighthouse” is truly something to behold. We can already tell they’re going to be one of the best finds from this year.

Youth Lagoon – Another one from the chillwave well, Trevor Powers adds baroque influences to the standard day-glo wash, for a feeling that one commenter describes as “20 summers zcondensed into just under 5 minutes”.

Midnight Magic – Do I need to say anything more than nine-piece space disco? These guys channel Larry Levan and DFA into a serious groove.

Bear Hands – The Brooklyn post-punk group has been quietly garnering accolades for last year’s Burning Bush Supper Club, and had their material remixed by Cale Parks (of Polyvinyl/Joan of Arc related group Aloha). Their abstractions and manipulation of the now-standard Brooklynisms work to especially great effect on “What a Drag

Bass Drum of Death – Japandroids tour support is yet another of the huge wave of garage punk groups coming out of the south (Oxford, Mississippi in this case). They’ll also put in dates with Crystal Antlers and Blonde Redhead this summer, and perform at Hopscotch and Pop Montreal.

Gardens & Villa – Unique to the chillwave and dance groups this year, Gardens & Villa incorporate shoegaze textures and drum machines into their music for a sound that recalls Broken Bells and Delorean.

Jill Andrews – Formerly of the Everybodyfields, Jill Andrews plays a plaintive brand of alt-country which puts her stunning voice front and center.

Grown Ups – One of the main forces in the current midwestern emo revival, Grown Ups play unreasonably catchy punk with a noodly, mathy bent. Check out the video for “Surprise Party” below.

Frank Maloney and the Dolt City Ramblers – Of all genres, a honky tonk group pops up on the lineup. It’s difficult for me to not at least give someone who lists Townes Van Zandt in their influences a fighting chance.

Only Children – A Chicago DJ collective, these guys specialize in the brand of electro that’s swept the midwest in recent years, and have shared bills with the Hood Internet among others.

The Capstan Shafts – Beginning as a solo bedroom project (not unlike Urbana’s own Easter), the Vermont project has expanded to a quartet and released a studio album — Revelation Skirts — this past August.

The Duke of Uke and His Novelty Orchestra – One of the consistently best live acts in town, this show is guaranteed to be a good time.

Emily Otnes – An upcoming singer/songwriter who also plays in Endless Pages, Emily Otnes is part of the great crop of local high school bands. Check out some music over at her Bandcamp.

Crayon Mines – It’s truly fantastic to see some original music coming out of Decatur, especially something on the more acoustic side of things. Look for them to most likely be on a show with Emily Otnes.

These Old Ghosts – A folk-punk band from Missouri with a member solely playing “whistles and handclaps”, These Old Ghosts just released an album entitled “Growing”.

Tigorilla – The Chicago dance group are yet to make an appearance in town, which is odd given the cross-pollination that goes on between the two scenes. Expect them to show up as part of a probably stacked DJ night.

Easter – The upstart bedroom pop project from Kyle Lang has been making major waves in the local scene this spring/summer, thanks in no small part to the ridiculously good Demonstration EP, streamable here. In particular, “All the People That I Love the Most” is a strong contender for the best song to come out of Champaign-Urbana this year.

Chalice Dubs crew: Positive Vibr8ions / Flowa Child / White Rabbit / Miss Thang / ISM – After throwing down one of the best dance parties in recent memory inbetween the Holy Fuck and Cut Chemist sets at last year’s festival, we cannot wait to see what the 217 crew have in their pocket for this one. Rounding out the electronic lineup are Canopy regulars Mickey Karbal and Space Police.

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