I've been to a festival or two in my day, and while all have been enjoyable, not many come close to capturing the magic of Hopscotch. Around since 2010, this warm and welcoming festival in the warm and welcoming city of Raleigh, NC, keeps getting better and better. The lineup always features big names, buzzy names, names you probably haven't heard yet, and names you soon won't be able to get out of your head. I'm absolutely crushed not to be going this year, but have many suggestions about who to see if you're lucky enough to be heading down 9/8-10. And even if you're not going either, give these folks a listen.
If you're not yet familiar with the snarling, brash Austin rock and rollers A Giant Dog, you soon will be. The new Merge signees are fixing to steamroll their way into your ears, and it's going to be hard to resist such a juggernaut. Their latest long player Pile is a thunderous, abrasive yet incredibly tuneful record, spilling over with good old-fashioned swagger and the breezy, middle finger shit-eating-grin non-plussedness of not giving a fuck. This is a band that's well worth getting to know.