Alvvays brings its dreamy Canadian indie pop to the Capitol Hill Block Party Main Stage. Photo by Arden Wray

Alvvays brings its dreamy Canadian indie pop to the Capitol Hill Block Party Main Stage. Photo by Arden Wray

Capitol Hill Block Party 2018 Picks

Who to see at this year’s edition of Seattle’s urban music fest.

Friday, July 20

Dude York (Main Stage at 4)

Dude York (aka America’s Band™) has been hard at work crafting the follow-up to 2017’s Sincerely, and new music is slowly starting to arrive. The melodic trio recently released a couple catchy new rock ditties in the form of “Moon” and “What Would You Do If You Had Some Money Now?,” and look to put the new songs (and potentially other fresh, unheard gems) into action when they open up the Main Stage on Friday.

Alvvays (Main Stage at 7:45)

In 2017’s Antisocalites, Alvvays created a hi-fi twee masterpiece with carefully scattered textural tonal treats. Rarely has music felt so dreamy without delving into the psychedelic realm. Molly Rankin’s weightless, swaying vocals make even stories of doomed relationships feel like an ethereal fantasy. Alvvays’ live performances flawlessly capture the magic of the band’s studio sound, making this Block Party set a can’t-miss affair.

Saturday, July 21

Hibou (Neumos at 5:15)

With its sunny and often breezy indie pop feel, Hibou’s Something Familiar is both one of the best local albums of the year and the type of music that fits the Block Party vibe. Take a break from the sun and duck into Neumos to let the shade and Hibou’s tunes chill out your soul a bit.

Parisalexa (Vera Stage at 6:15)

Capitol Hill Block Party boasts four of the five acts we covered in our look at “The 5 Must-See Local Acts of the Summer,” starting with Parisalexa. “[Parisalexa’s] voice hits that modern R&B sweet spot where the tone and delivery create genuine moments of both alluring sexuality and wronged anger. Its deep resonance conveys a strength that provides authoritative heft to her flowing words as they glide over hypnotic beats. … Parisalexa is trying to make 2018 her year. In January, she released her debut EP, Bloom, a collection of dreamy, velvety R&B tracks with a sensual ease. But she’s not resting. In June, she dropped Flexa, a new four-song mixtape which further underscores her ability to evolve and experiment. … While Parisalexa might not be Seattle’s R&B queen yet, you can hear her coming for the crown.”

Spesh (Cha Cha 8:45)

“[Spesh’s] tunes blend New Wave lushness, post-punk drive, and a sense of psychedelic oddity that never feels like it’s trying too hard to be weird. Michael McKinney sings with a smooth Britpop swagger (minus the accent), and Sergio Mirazo’s guitar lines attack with a precise purpose. … Get in on the ground floor of the Spesh sonic journey before the August release of its debut album, Famous World.” – “The 5 Must-See Local Acts of the Summer”

Great Grandpa (Vera Stage at 10)

“[Great Grandpa’s] 2017 LP Plastic Cough—one of the best Seattle releases of the past few years—shows off the electricity that makes the group so enticing. A song like ‘Teen Challenge’ can transition from a plodding pulse of a verse to a chorus with sharp cracking-but-still-catchy dynamic vocal shifts that are equal parts sweet and raw. Great Grandpa makes the angular math-punk number ‘No’ feel just as natural as a harmony-heavy acoustic emotional ballad like ‘All Things Must Behave.’ There’s a comfort with the material here that belies a young group that has been active only since 2014.” – “The 5 Must-See Local Acts of the Summer”

Brockhampton (Main Stage at 10:30)

It’s super easy to be skeptical of Brockhampton based on the groups condensed origin story: It’s a hip-hop boy band that initially formed online via a random post on a Kanye West message board. That. Sounds. Terrible. But the reality of the situation is Brockhampton’s team of six singers and three producers make complexly layered and interesting pop-rap that can stylistically turn on a dime mid-song. There’s a never-still energy that swirls about each Brockhampton track, and it should lead to an absolutely wild set on Saturday night.

Sunday, July 22

Bully (Main State at 3:45)

There are no frills to Bully, and it’s what makes the band so great. Led by Alicia Bognanno’s howling voice and shredding guitar, the Nashville quartet turns out one unrelenting grungy musical punch-to-the-face after another. The chances of a big circle pit breaking out during Bully’s set is somewhere between 100 and 100 percent.

Chong the Nomad (Vera Stage at 4)

“While the top of the EDM world still distressingly feels like a white-dude-only clubhouse, all is not hopeless. You just need to get into tiny local scenes. In Seattle’s case, few up-and-comers radiate the potential of Alda Agustiano, the 22-year-old DJ and producer known as Chong the Nomad. … February saw the release of a debut EP, Love Memo. The six-song collection highlights her avant-garde atmospheric approach to melodicism, leaning heavily on clanging layers and start-and-stop beats. … Chong the Nomad creates summer-friendly EDM that carves out a space safely distant from the packs of shirtless electro-bros.” – “The 5 Must-See Local Acts of the Summer”

PSA (Cha Cha at 5:45)

The bowels of the Cha Cha typically acts as a home Block Party’s the dirtiest, noisiest local rock and punk sounds, which makes PSA (Pop Star Ariel) trip to the red-tinted underworld that much more exciting. While she’s not put a ton of music out into the world, the youthful creator has shown a knack for making a bombastic dance pop tune, and seeing Cha Cha briefly transform into a dance club should be fun.

Father John Misty (Main Stage at 9:30)

After years of being trapped in the buzzy think-piece spotlight, things have thankfully settled down a bit in the world of Josh Tillman (aka Father John Misty). Not having to deal with a constant onslaught of people who don’t understand satire must be somewhat freeing. On his new Sub Pop LP, God’s Favorite Customer, Tillman seems slightly more at ease then he did on 2017’s Pure Comedy. The acerbic lyricism and rock bravado still shine through, making his festival-closing set worth sticking around for on a late Sunday night.

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