Smile Politely

2012 Pygmalion Music Festival initial lineup

We’re proud to unveil the initial lineup for the Pygmalion Music Festival 2012, which takes place September 2729, 2012 all around C-U. There will be more to come, but this is a great way kick things off. Hope you’re as excited as we are. Without further adieu…

Grizzly Bear :: It was six years ago that Brooklyn-based, psych-folk rockers Grizzly Bear burst on the scene with their sophomore album Yellow House, and it’s been nearly three since they followed that up with 2009’s even bigger hit Veckatimest. Since then, they have, without a doubt, been one of the biggest names in indie rock. Their intricate yet dissonant take on pop has been heard on sitcoms, Super Bowl ads, late-night talk shows, and has been remixed by just about everyone who is anyone in the remix/mashup scene. These guys had been pretty much non-existent since they stopped touring in 2010. Without a doubt, this will be a unique chance to hear one of the most engaging bands out there debut some long-awaited new material. Listen: “Two Weeks”

Dinosaur Jr. :: Dinosaur Jr. is the alt-rock juggarnaut at this year’s fest, and by alt-rock, we mean the good shit like Built to Spill and Pavement from the late 80s–early-to-mid-90s. That kind of alt-rock. These guys are legends in their own right, and J Mascis is one of the better songwriters of our generation. Almost every one of their albums is worth listening to, and no matter where you start you’re probably going to find something that you like, or at least something that will rip you to shreds. Their last album Farm was lauded by critics and people who were just now beginning to listen to these guys, but the die-hards will tell you that they’re way late to the party. Listen: “Feel the Pain”

Tennis :: Tennis are a charming couple from the great Rocky Mountain west, but their music sounds like they should be surfing and sailing in the Pacific Ocean. The husband-wife duo began that way and expanded into something that you can’t help but smile at. The music they make is almost as adorable as their lead singer and their output in the last two years has made some waves. They have a pretty solid amount of output thus far in their young career, with two records in the last two years, both of which are as solid as the last. Listen: “Origins”

Willis Earl Beal :: You should be excited about this act. Willis Earl Beal is doing something with soul influences never really heard before. His artistic energy is sure to be an alluring counter to the dancier moments of the festival. This guy is sometimes soul, sometimes blues, sometimes sad acoustic, but always a fully invested wordsmith. This show is guaranteed to have you debating with yourself. “Is this guy awesome? I can’t tell if he’s awesome. He’s awesome.” Listen: “Evening Kiss”

Frankie Rose :: Frankie Rose made a name for herself banging the drums and drawing all the attention as a sometimes member of Vivian Girls, Crystal Stilts, and the Dum Dum Girls — three very well known Brooklyn grungy pop outfits. She released her first purely solo album this February and has turned some heads while shedding the punk and adding the 80s synth in what has been repeatedly compared to The Cure. I’d say that is both a very fair assessment and a compliment. Oh, and she has some amazing pipes to go along with the wide-open synth swells and guitar, too. Listen: “Night Swim”

Big Freedia :: This act might create the most bizarre and insane show of the entire festival, or even the history of the festival. Big Freedia’s bounce music is exactly what it sounds like. This New Orleans native brings the fucking party, and don’t expect that to change with Pygmalion. You think you’ve seen some crazy shit at shows, but you haven’t seen anything yet. If you have to ask, you might not play this video around your boss or family. Let’s just say there’s a lot of azz. Listen: “Azz Everywhere”

Lord Huron :: “Of all the strangers, you’re the strangest that I’ve seen.” That is both a song lyric and one of the few things actually written on the website of Ben Schneider aka Lord Huron. Hot damn we love a good mystery and this dude is as mysterious as they come. We wish we could say more about this band, but nothing has really come from Ben since two really well-done self-released EPs back in 2010. That’s literally all we have. Did I mention the music is really good? Listen: “The Stranger”

Julia Holter :: Pass the ambience, please. Now pass it again. Julia Holter is hard to describe clearly because her music is a whirl of composition and sound. Her voice is the focus of everything she does, and it should be, but the accompaniment is spaced, strange, and beautiful. We are both extremely excited to see this set and completely intrigued to discover who the hell she gets paired with and in what venue. Listen: “Moni Mon Amie”

Lotus Plaza :: Lockett Pundt (center) might be one of the most overshadowed geniuses in indie music today, as he shares the stage with the often-unorthodox Bradford Cox in this other band you might have heard of, Deerhunter. It comes as no surprise that he has some gems up his sleeve in the realm of songwriting, as he’s crafted some of the best songs that band has ever made (I don’t know if we have to go much further back than “Desire Lines”). He played all the instruments on his new release Spooky Action at a Distance, which is definitely one of the best straightforward indie rock albums to come out this year. Listen: “Strangers”

Cloud Nothings :: These skuzz-rockers have been gaining some serious momentum following their release this year, Attack on Memory, which was produced by Steve Albini (produced the likes of PJ Harvey, Nirvana, Godspeed You! Black Emperor) and recorded over the course of last year. The influences run wild in this band, but there are certain things that they do better than most that set them apart. There have been some pretty great garage/lo-fi bands to emerge from Ohio (Guided By Voices, The Black Keys, Times New Viking), so it’s nice to see these guys following suit with a bit of noise themselves. The new LP is a bit more refined than their previous records, but it looks to me like it was the right effort: finding the shine under all the dirt. Listen: “Stay Useless”

Craft Spells :: Justin Vallesteros started writing the lonely synth-pop tunes of Craft Spells back in Stockton, CA, and, if you have ever been there, you will know exactly why he had so much time to dedicate to music (America’s Most Miserable City). By the time Pygmalion rolls around, this group should have released their second album and, based on the new track from their upcoming EP, it should be more of the same machine gun synth drums and 80s dream pop. Should be a great set. Listen: “From the Morning Heat”

Owen :: Duh. Did you ever doubt it? Listen: “Too Many Moons”

Hospitality :: It must be pretty great to go from not being on Merge Records to being on Merge Records. Just a hunch. This trio signed to the NC-based label earlier this year to release their newest self-titled effort. They recorded it and took some time to shop it around, and for good reason. Not only do they make pretty great music, but any band that recruits characters from Arrested Development and puts them into their music video gets our vote right off the bat (their video for “Friends of Friends” featured Alia Shawkat (aka Maeby) for your AD buffs out there). Listen: “Friends of Friends”

Oh No Oh My :: It’s a great feeling to discover a new favorite through the announcement of the Pygmalion lineup and my guess is this just might be the one this year. Oh No Oh My hail from Austin and their newest track, “Take It Back,” the first they have released in several years, is an almost perfect slow simmering groove of an indie rock track. Check it out. Play it twice. Listen: “Take It Back”

Zeus : There are some points when you just understand how a band fits on a record label. In this case, we have this Toronto quartet and Arts & Crafts Records, where this pairing just seems to fit pretty darn well. Home to bands like Broken Social Scene, Feist, Los Campesinos, and others, this has turned out to be one of the better labels of the Great White North. These guys have some interesting stuff happening here, claiming to have classic rock vibes with a little bit of everything else indie has to offer mixed in. They are touring to support their new record, Busting Visions, released in March. Listen: “Are You Gonna Waste My Time?”

My Jerusalem :: This crew is a split between being citizens of some of the biggest states in the Union, California and Texas, but they sound like they could be from anywhere. It’s been a few years now since their self-released debut, Gone For Good, dropped, but don’t expect them to slow down anytime soon. Hell, you must be doing something right to be able to enlist Spoon’s Jim Eno to help produce your next record. That’s more than fine by our standards. Listen: “Sleepwalking”

Locals (listed alphabetically): 

An Evening with Your Mother :: Is this band even old enough to get into a bar yet? Either way, it doesn’t really matter. This group offers some of the best local baroque pop that isn’t readily available elsewhere in town.

Anna Karenina/Anna Karina :: A newer local project is releasing their new record this weekend as a part of our Smile Politely Show Series (shameless plug, we’re losing count). Side project of Take Care and Midstress looks to make some noise.

Common Loon :: These guys have earned some pretty great gigs during the last few Pygmalions, opening last year for Explosions in the Sky and Built to Spill the year before. Will their dream-pop be paired up with the dreaminess of Grizzly Bear? I guess we’ll have to see.

The Curses :: This band puts on one hell of a live show, and if you like some awesome jazz infused rock, this is the ticket.

DeathTram :: The raucous noise of DeathTram is back at it this year with their new self-titled release, which dropped on RSD.

The Dirty Feathers :: It will be interesting to see what kind of placement within the schedule The Dirty Feathers get this year after absolutely terrorizing Mike ‘N Molly’s beer garden last year and upstaging Bass Drum of Death for the most part. Consider yourself warned.

Elsinore :: Elsinore have been chugging through recording their new album and have about eleven new songs “demo’d and ready to go,” so we can expect something soon from these guys. They shared the stage with The Pains of Being Pure at Heart last year at the festival’s finale, so we’ll have to see where they end up and if they can match that this time around.

Evil Tents :: They released Night Air on the Midway digitally last year and they’re giving it a proper release later this month with some of the local acts listed above. Exciting things happening out of this camp.

Grandkids :: These charmers join the bill again this year after getting to show their stuff last year before The Dodos and The Luyas at the Channing-Murray. Definitely one of the more memorable parts of the festival.

Jared Bartman :: Bartman has been touring recently with his 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Quartet (which is something to pay attention to) and is no stranger to the festival. He released a few EPs last year, which are definitely worth getting your hands on.

Megan Johns :: This singer-songwriter released her new record earlier this year, Hey, Lonely. We had some nice words to say about it

Midstress :: A C-U punk staple at this point, Midstress really don’t have much to prove, but they insist on doing it anyways. We’re not complaining.

My Werewolf Diary :: Side project of the band we’re going to talk about next, this is Elzie Sexton’s solo project. He’s been working on a few EPs and looks to record a full-length sometime this year.

New Ruins :: Supporting perhaps their best effort to date, This Life Is Not Ours To Keep, New Ruins are back on the lineup this year. For those of you who haven’t heard this thing yet, do it. Do it now.

Pamela Machala :: Another singer-songwriter in the mix here, you might have seen Machala around town doing some of the C-U Singer/Songwriter Showcases.

Psychic Twin :: The addition to Psychic Twin in the mix of Pygmalion was a no-brainer, but it feels great finally seeing it on paper as a local act on the bill from the very beginning (two years ago they were added later). It sounds like these two are set to have a pretty awesome year, so it’s nice to see them on the bill.

Santah :: After taking a break from the festival last year, these dudes and gal are back at it. They’ve been traveling quite a bit after the re-release of their debut, White Noise Bed, last year. A pleasant surprise to have these guys back on the bill.

Take Care :: Take Care just released a really awesome cassette for Record Store Day back in late April and have done some recording here and there. They were part of the madness of Saturday at Mike ‘N Molly’s last year, so we’re expecting more of the same from Take Care. Bring the noise.

That’s No Moon :: After releasing their debut self-titled record during last year’s festival, That’s No Moon returns to the bill again this year. Not many local acts sound like these guys, meshing some pretty poppy indie tunes with some Minus The Bear-esque synths. Prepare for liftoff.

Withershins :: Just on the heels of their excellent sophomore release, Silver Cities, this is a band you need to watch out for. Their live set will kick you in the mouth if you’re not ready, then pick you up and give you a hug afterwards.

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