Preview: The Capitol Hill Block Party - Friday

What better way to celebrate the summer weather than with a three-day festival that gathers more than fifty bands in one of Seattle’s most distinctive neighborhoods? Once again, Capitol Hill Block Party presents some of the best artists in indie, rock, alternative, hip-hop and electronica to perform during this fun-filled weekend. Among this year’s incredible lineup, beginning Friday, are Yeasayer, Holy Fuck, Head Like A Kite, Bear In Heaven, Macklemore, Unnatural Helpers, Champagne Champagne, Jaguar Love, Fences, Mahjongg, Helladope, The Physics, and headliner MGMT.

Photo by Hilary Harris

After the success of 2007′s Oracular Spectacular, the Brooklyn based band MGMT turned frenetic with an experimental, psychedelic and New Wave style greatly differing from their earlier sound. Congratulations was released last April, and whether fans were hoping to find a similarity with the now memorable “Kids”, “Time to Pretend” and “Electric Feel”, they found themselves part of a completely new narrative that turned the seemingly glamorous rockstar lifestyle into a dissolution -- fortunately, MGMT makes this sound horribly right. The band definitely knows how to deliver shifty and exuberant synth-pop, suddenly varying from alternative rock to indie pop and capable of energizing any audience. Another New York-based psychedelic band is Bear In Heaven, a four-piece that formed in 2003. With the release of Best Rest Forth Mouth, they have climbed from the gaps of indie rock and experimented with Krautrock and electronic sounds.

MGMT - Flash Delirium (MP3)

Photo by Gregory A. Perez

In 2006 indie band Yeasayer emerged, proving they weren’t like any other act at the same year’s South by Southwest Music Conference. Predominantly synth-pop, they incorporate elements of Worldbeat and psychedelic pop-rock into a cohesive whole they describe as “Middle Eastern-psych-snap-gospel.” Their debut album, All Hour Cymbals, quickly became one of the favorites of last decade, receiving favorable reviews from NME, Entertainment Weekly and Pitchfork. Their second record, Odd Blood, is sure to top critics’ year-end lists with its more accessible and dance-friendly songs.

Yeasayer - Ambling Alp (MP3)

Holy Fuck

Striving for a unique style of modern electronic music, Holy Fuck prove that any sound can be utilized. The result: a neo-psychedelic variation of rock that’s progressive, experimental and flavored with alt-rock all at once. Formed in Ontario in 2004, the four-piece has played many noteworthy gigs including festival slots at Coachella, Lollapalooza, Glastonbury Festival and SXSW. Holy Fuck’s self-titled debut, released in 2005, gained enough recognition to earn invitations to festivals all around the world. Their sophomore full-length, entitled LP, put them in the spotlight, often considered one of the best alternative albums of 2007. This spring, the band released their third record, Latin, bringing their variation of improvisational, psychedelic and experimental rock to the Billboard Dance charts.

Photo by Matthew Thompson

Head Like a Kite is the kind of band that can be eccentric, groovy and epic at the same time; the bombastic duo from Seattle can stir up some indie rock over an electro-pop beat and later transform it into nu jazz and even hip-hop. Their self-released album, Dreams Suspend Night, sounds like a party yet it showcases skilled and improvisational musical moments. Also from Seattle is an eccentric four-piece Unnatural Helpers. Although their lineup has changed multiple times that won’t stop them from breaking the rock and roll standards and adding elements of big beat and punk rock. Their most recent release Cracked Love & Other Drugs is testament to that.

Head Like a Kite – Let’s Start It All Again (MP3)

Unnatural Helpers ‒ Vox Humana (MP3)

Local hip-hop and self-proclaimed “bo-ho gangsters”, Shabazz Palaces, create an atmosphere often uniquely described as avant-rap. Their self-titled and Of Light albums are filled with melodies and dense rhythms, intending to spread the word of ongoing political corruption and everyday life issues. That’s not all! The Seattle scene comes packed with more hip-hop beats from underground artist Helladope straight off their debut record, Return to Planet Rock. Even more from The Physics who combines the warm sound of soul and rap. Finally, Macklemore will slay with his always on point lyrical prowess.

Shabazz Palaces ‒ 32 leaves dipped in blackness making clouds forming altered carbon (MP3)

Helladope ‒ Just So You Know (MP3)

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