Dave’s intern dives head-first into the Hopscotch line-up: Who to see according to me

Jasmine Bamlet, age 22, direction: nowhere in sight.

Jasmine Bamlet, age 22, direction: still working on it.

Being an intern for a company so intricately ingrained in music culture has its perks. One of those being that you get to write blog posts about local music festivals and all the great talent that people should get out to see. Full disclosure: I am not going to Hopscotch Music Festival regrettably, but if I had the opportunity, the following are the top 10 acts that I’d be front and center for (in no particular order).

1. Toon & The Real Laww — The epitome of all things Durm, Toon & The Real Laww are the kings of hip hop in this region. The duo are actually two different acts, but when they perform together, they feed off each other in a way that presents itself in one of the best performances you’ll have the opportunity to see. They have a painfully loyal following and promise to be a great addition to the Hopscotch line-up.

2. Blanko Basnet — I first heard Blanko Basnet at the Crank Arm Brewery’s One Year Anniversary Party. The hauntingly beautiful melodies stuck with me after the show and I can’t imagine a better time to revisit them than Hopscotch. Brain-child of Joe Hall from the band, Hammer No More the Fingers, Blanko Basnet combines ethereal vocals and powerful instrumental accompaniment to create a unique sound and stir interesting feelings in those who are lucky enough to be listening.

3. Mutual Benefit — Beautiful and melodic without any presumptions, Mutual Benefit draws an intersection between life and music — and how we should interact with both. A collaborative project that preaches positivity of aim and openness with others, the songs put forth from Mutual Benefit seem to showcase the talents of all involved while lending prominence to the vocals of the project’s only permanent member, Jordon Lee.

4. New Madrid — Like Goldilocks, New Madrid found a style that was just right. There’s no other way to describe the engaging vocals, perfectly timed drumbeats, and strong instrumental variants. Building on a local audience, New Madrid has cultivated a loyal following and I have no doubt that they will be a hit during Hopscotch.

5. Young Cardinals — Gritty and grungy, this trio knows how to tap into that south rock vibe with skill and attitude. Lead singer, James Forgey, started out as an acoustic performer, playing bars across the South, but eventually the solo act became a trio with Sam Bransetter and Marcus Matile rounding out the ensemble, bringing the bass and drums into the mix. Their particular strand of rock will be sure to get your limbs moving.

6. St. Vincent — A combination of pop, indie, and rocking jazz, St. Vincent bundles amazing instrumentals and catchy lyrics to create songs that get your head bobbin’ and toes tappin’. Her resume includes work with The Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Stevens, but the style St. Vincent exhibits is all her own. Her music has obviously connected with a lot of people per her co-headlining show in City Plaza Friday night of Hopscotch.

7. The War on Drugs — Hailed as a serious throwback to such predecessors as Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen, The War on Drugs is the perfect combination of indie rock and americana that speaks directly to the hearts of its listeners. Moving from giving the first EP out for free to selling out Brisbane AND Brussels in less than a decade, The War on Drugs demonstrates all you ever wanted in your music: time, talent, and dedication. The music is evidence of the beauty that lives in the brain of frontman Adam Granduciel; the fans are proof of its powerful draw. Listen and understand why they are on my top ten list.

8. Ghostt Bllonde — Local gem and well-played band Ghostt Bllonde is sure to be a crowd favorite. Specializing in what they call “trash-can pop,” this foursome has a healthy following in the local scene and is well-equipped to set a crowd moving in time to their fun and dance-y tunes. I have a feeling that Hopscotch is just a stepping stone for these fellas; their music is too great for them not to be a national or even international act.

9. Spoon — Spoon has history and such an interesting sound. I really don’t know what else to say other than there is a reason they are co-headlining on Friday night.

10. White Laces — Partly because White Laces is from Richmond, VA, which holds a special place in my heart, but mostly because they just rock, White Laces rounds out my top ten for Hopscotch. I’m not entirely versed in the genre labelled dream punk, but whatever it is, whatever genre White Laces fits into, it’s a great one. These guys are releasing a new album this year and I expect only great things from them in the coming years.

So that’s who to see according to me. Who’s on your list?

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