Photo: Andrew Jorgensen
From the ‘60s nostalgia courtesy of The Who to more recent bouts of early 2000s nostalgia courtesy of the Gorillaz, this weekend’s Outside Lands festival is set to be one of the most memorable festivals of the year. While well-known acts like A Tribe Called Quest and Lorde are sure to impress those who make the journey to Golden Gate Park, those who journey deeper into the lineup will find rising acts from an expanse of musical tastes and genres. In honor of Outside Land’s 10th anniversary, here are our top ten undercard acts to catch at this year’s Outside Lands in San Francisco.
Time & Place: Sunday at 1:15pm, Sutro
It pains me to admit this, but I once spent months messing around on guitar to master “Wonderwall” for a gag. Jacob Banks, on the other hand, mastered the acoustic guitar in a mere six months to serve as the perfect compliment to his rich and soulful voice. The London based singer-songwriter has a voice as powerful as it is timeless, blending together soul, r&b, and hip-hop with impeccable ease. Not only the master of a transfixing and transcendent voice, Banks’ songwriting is highly intimate as well, making it the perfect match for a voice that is so innately evocative. If there is one word to describe Jacob Banks’ music, it is “stunning.” If there are three words to describe his set, it is “not to miss.”
Time & Place: Saturday at 3:10pm, Lands End
The all-female band from Los Angles crafts atmospheric indie psych rock that is as transfixing as it is haunting. Under a haze of spell-binding vocals and lush guitar riffs, those lucky enough to make it to Warpaint’s set are assured to be transported to an otherworldly place entirely. The makes them all the more perfect fit for a festival like Outside Lands, which, under the guise of San Francisco’s rolling fog, lends itself more so to a fairytale than a music festival.
Time & Place: Friday at 12:45pm, Lands End
It may at first come as a surprise that Hundred Waters is signed to Skrillex’s record label, OWSLA, a label more infamous for putting out explosive electronic music rather than experimental indie. And, if Hundred Waters has taught me anything from this little surprise, it is that Skrillex has a clear ear for music regardless of genre. The trio create uniquely atmospheric sounds that actively take form based on the world around them – from utilizing the sirens of passing police cars to recording piano sections over Skype. It is little to no surprise then that Hundred Waters have gone on to earn comparisons to Björk and Stereolab, and we for one are eager to see what manner of surprise they deliver during their live performance.
Time & Place: Friday at 12:00pm, Panhandle
For most, college is a time of Red Bull-tinged cram sessions, frantically figuring out what you want to do with the rest of your life, and maybe one too many drinks followed by ill-advised fast food runs. For David Wilson, who goes by the stage name dwilly, college is playing numerous music festivals across the country. Part of the Berklee’s Popular Music Institute, which ensures that its students are ready for the ever-changing music landscape, the young producer is set to make his name known across Golden Park and beyond. Collaborating with artists across the country, dwilly’s own sound is just that-collaborative, as it blends together elements of electronic, hip-hop, R&B, and future-funk.
Time & Place: Friday at 1:50pm, Sutro
Hamilton Leithauser may be one of this list’s misgivings–not because he is not worth checking out, but due to the sprawling amount of eclectic projects he has mastered in his musical career. The singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist is indie rock notoriety, serving as the lead vocalist for The Walkmen and The Recoys before venturing off on his own solo career. His debut solo project, Black Hours, would be a Frank Sinatra inspired album, and feature the talents of members from Vampire Weekend, Fleet Foxes, Dirty Projectors, and the Shins. If all this wasn’t enough, he would go on to work alongside Vampire Weekend’s Rostam for the critically acclaimed collaborative project, Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam.
Photo: Shervin Lainez
Time & Place: Sunday at 3:30pm, Twin Peaks
Jungle pop. Or rather jungle house? Maybe jungle pop inspired house? Whatever you may call it, we love it. From the throbbing bass line, references to Brazilian instrumentation, and the at times Portuguese-sung vocals, Sofi Tukker sets themselves apart from their fellow musical cohorts. Providing paramount evidence that language does indeed transcend boundaries, Sofi Tukker’s set is sure to be just that-a dance party where words really are not necessary.
Photo: David Cabrera
Time & Place: Sunday at 2:00pm, Twin Peaks
“Aw shit, it’s Kamaiyah.” We thought it only suitable to let the Oakland native rapper introduce herself, seeing as this is essentially her home turf. The “newest rap queen,” inspired by ‘90s greats like Missy Elliott, Aaliyah, and TLC, blends the nostalgic sounds of R&B with her own heavy-hitting rap style that feels evocative of the Bay itself. Not once to mince the reality of her surroundings, her critically-acclaimed debut mixtape A Good Night in the Ghetto was a testament to the best of what makes rap so infectious, from its harsh at times direct confrontations with inner-city life to its rag to riches dreams. Expect Kamaiyah to bring some of Oakland to Golden Gate Park.
The Lemon Twigs
Time & Place: Saturday at 3:00pm, Panhandle
Taking a single glance at this year’s lineup, regardless of age, one is likely to find at least one act that brings forth a sentiment of nostalgia. The Lemon Twigs’ sound is no stranger to this evocative effect, but chances are this effect is not due to a memory error that affected the area of the brain responsible for channeling ‘60s baroque pop bands. No, The Lemon Twigs are indeed very much a band of this time, even if their sound is anything but. Listing references such as the Beatles, the Zombies, the Beach Boys, Big Star, Harry Nilsson, and countless more (really the list goes on and on), The Lemon Twigs’ sound is clearly one that has taken these decade-spanning influences and transformed them into one cohesive sound. If you feel like visiting the ‘60s, ‘70s, or anywhere in between the here and now, make sure to catch The Lemon Twigs.
Time & Place: Saturday at 12:40pm, Twin Peaks
The term dark electro-pop itself may seem like a misnomer, but MUNA is living proof as to why the phrase exists. Existing between the realm of shimmering electro-pop and the darker elements of ‘80s new wave, MUNA is a band that makes the most of its influences to put forth a sound that belongs wholly in this timeframe. The Los Angeles based band quotes influences as seemingly disparate as Cyndi Lauper, The Cure, Fleetwood Mac, and Cocteau Twins, but herein lies MUNA’s strength. Finding and reconciling the common elements of such ‘80s fawned over cult icons and transforming this commonality into an entrancing sound matched with indelible hooks.
Photo: Molly DeCoudreaux
Time & Place: Sunday at 12:00pm, Panhandle
Outside Lands is a festival that has always stayed true to its roots in San Francisco, from highlighting the best local eateries, local craft beers, to local talent. The She’s are no exception to this tradition. Born and raised in San Francisco, the all-female lo-fi garage style rock band’s sun-drenched harmonies and upbeat raucous reverberant guitar leads lends themselves more to the likes of the Los Angeles-based ‘60s surf rock tradition. If you’re looking for a sun-soaked performance to cut through some of that San Francisco fog, jostling around in the pit for The She’s is the only proper place to be.