San Francisco’s Outside Lands Festival is right around the corner and with 80+ artists taking their respective stages at Golden Gate Park from August 5-7, it’s hard to wrap your head around ‘em all. So we’ve taken the liberty of laying out our “Fine Print Picks.” You know, the ones on the bottom half of the lineup, where the typesetting is a bit smaller? These are tried-and-true solid under the radar picks. Trust.
A neo-soul group out of Australia, these cats bring indigenous dance vibes with a palatable sonic wall of electronic accessibility. Last year’s Choose Your Weapon is filled with expansive jazzy tempos and singer Naomi Saalfield presence is memorable to say the least. If you find yourself at the Panhandle Stage on Friday night at 7:50pm, you’ll be stoked.
Discovery Track: “Laputa” (Bonus points for bumping the Taylor McFerrin remix with Anderson .Paak)
You might’ve peeped these French-Cuban twins when they were part of this little underground project called Lemonade by Beyoncé. On the real though, aside from a high-profile cosign, Naomi and Lisa-Kaindé Diaz put out a stellar debut self-titled album on XL Recordings, where they sing in English, Spanish and their native Yoruba language. The album was produced by iconic XL Recordings label head Richard Russell and it’s a fine display of tastefully presenting native music alongside modern production. Sutro Stage at 2:35pm on Saturday is where it’s at.
Discovery Track: “River” (and go watch the video online too, cause HOLY SHIT!)
LA-based producer Tokimonsta doesn’t get enough credit for being a trailblazer in the bustling electronic beat scene. Toki was one of the early artists on Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder label and there’s an epic feel to tracks she’s produced alongside singer Gavin Turek. She flipped the dubstep trend on it’s head with a more liquid approach and her music shines in both a turnt up dance party as it does in a lounge. Here’s hoping Anderson .Paak pops in during her set to perform the excellent collab track, “Put It Down.” 4:30 pm on the Panhandle Stage is a no brainer and a similar time slot to Giraffage’s kick-ass set on the same stage last year.
Discovery Track: “Darkest/Dim (ft. Gavin Turek)”
20-year old Julien Baker is a singer songwriter from Memphis, Tennessee and the songs off her gut-wrenchingly beautiful debut, Sprained Ankle, will tear you to bits. She quickly became one of 2015’s blog darlings and with good reason. The young artist’s songs show an existential pain that make it seem as if Baker is always in shambles, but you can feel her catharsis through these songs at the same time. Your jaw will drop at noon on the Sutro Stage on Saturday.
Discovery Track: “Something”
Sensing a theme here? Go ahead and file this as the #1 set not to miss at OSL. Anderson .Paak is a revelation. He started his come up as one of the primary vocalists on Dr. Dre’s Compton album and in January dropped the insta-classic Malibu, with production from 9th Wonder, Madlib, himself and more. If you haven’t had the pleasure of listening to this singer, rapper, producer, drummer yet… you’re welcome. A Panhandle Stage set at 7:55pm on Saturday is the kind of intimate setting you’ll wanna tell your friends you were at when Paak has taken over the world at this point next year.
Discovery Track: “The Waters (feat BJ The Chicago Kid)”
Max Kakacek and Julian Ehrlich were both part of the band Smith Westerns and Ehrlich also played drums for Unknown Mortal Orchestra before the pair formed Whitney. Their melancholy debut LP, Light Upon The Lake, is quite possibly the best morning album of 2016 and they’ll kick-off the whole festival at noon on Friday at Sutro Stage (which might as well be morning for us late sleepers.) This is the same time slot that Natalie Prass occupied last year and trust when I tell you, that this is the band you want to kick the entire festival off with.
Discovery Track: “No Woman” (It’s in that Best Songs of the Year conversation)
Noon on a Sunday for modern jazz master Kamasi Washington and his incredible ensemble?! If there was ever a reason to arrive right when OSL starts, this is it. Kamasi was the highlight of Noise Pop Festival earlier this year and the acclaimed saxophonist will grace the Lands End Stage with material from his titanic triple album, The Epic.