KXUA Abroad: Prepping for Capitol Hill Block Party

Capitol Hill Block Party seems to be a true indie music festival. Maybe like a smaller Pitchfork Music Festival (maybe not so silently self-contented?). Basically CHBP seeks to generate a small congregation, or concentration, of the Seattle vibe—progress and community. Running annually since 1997—a fundamental period in Seattle’s music scene—the CHBP has bolstered its foundation in the Capitol Hill neighborhood.

Our ethics and esthetic are liberal and DIY. CHBP is the only independently owned festival of its size, and we strive to break out, propel and inspire new talent. We are a community-conscious organization and also run a non-profit called Sound Culture. (capitolhillblockparty.com)

CHBP’s 2014 line-up appears to be pretty on the level. There are the generally underground local artists; some dope small (but emerging) artists; and the indie-ish headliners (not a derogatory distinction). Of course there are then the dozens of artists who comprise the “more than 100 local and national artists” lineup.

Headliners include household names such as Spoon, A$AP Rocky, Chromeo, Matt and Kim; cool lesser-known acts like Angel Olsen, War On Drugs, RAC, Dum Dum Girls, and A$AP Ferg.

For the weekend of July 25, 26, and 27, I plan on taking off the from West Lake Union, taking a walk around the water, and climbing the hill to the 6-block area of the CHBP Festival. Over the course of the festival I’m going to want to see a long list of acts.

My short list:

Angel Olsen

Angel Olsen at NPR
Angel Olsen at NPR

Sunday 2:45 | Main Stage

Indie/Folk/ Pop singer from St. Missouri, MO, Angel Olsen is a ghostly, transient voice. Before signing to Jagjaguwar Records, Olsen backed up artists like Bonnie “Prince” Billy, and Wilco’s Leroy Bach on guitar. On her first full-length album with Jagjaguwar, Olsen’s lyrics divulge some trace of folky, plainspoken sentimentality; meanwhile her pacing, droning, and soft wailing guitar riffs exceed humaneness. Olsen sings of love and loss of love with a beachy angst and bleakness. The singer belongs to a small number of female acts whose attitude and temperament seem entirely apart of every sung word.

The War On Drugs

Lost In The Dream album cover art
Lost In The Dream album cover art

Sunday 6:30, Main Stage

The War on Drugs is an American indie rock band from Philadelphia, PA. The band puts out cuts with smooth, slowly rounded drums, guitar and piano riffs like they were Journey or Genesis. Not in a bad or cheesy way (maybe sometimes cheesy, but good-cheesy). Lost in the Dream (released December 2013 from Secretly Canadian) is the bands second studio album since Kurt Vile left the band. The band definitely has a sound that reflects Vile’s influence, or at least is comparable to Vile’s blunt, often brash nature. Lost in the Dream is a nearly perfect end-of-summer album—nostalgic and hypnotizing with its echoing, tinged descriptions of moon-lit nights.


Chromeo kicking it with youredm.com
Chromeo kicking it with youredm.com

Saturday 11:00, Main Stage

Electronic-funk outfit Chromeo are a keyboard-heavy, Montreal-based pair comprised by David Macklovitch and Patrick Gemayel. Macklovitch, who is the soulful singer of the two, is Jewish and Gemayel is Arab—a fact that both members joke about, remarking that they are “the first successful Arab/Jewish partnership since the dawn of human culture.” Active since 2002, Chromeo is a fairly common name in indie music fests and electro-funk line-ups. The group’s hardcore treatment of bass and synth lends itself to Daft Punk-type dance tunes. However, the humor of Chromeo is hard to miss—lines about girls’ small breasts, sexualized female legs for keyboard stands. Chromeo is like a friendly middle finger to ballads and lonely singer-songwriter music, poking you to jump and dance. Get down.

-Drew Tully | Contributing Blogger

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