Another year of our favorites in Top Album Cover Artwork, and once again, we interview musicians and artists on the often-underappreciated work that goes into creating a product that not only tickles your ears, but speaks to your eyes and hearts. Album artwork, though often...

All photography by Suzi Pratt except Porcelain Raft, The Lumineers by Jim Bennett
When the 2012 Capitol Hill Block Party website became public, many speculated that this would be the LAST Capitol Hill Block Party ever. A cryptic and mysterious message led followers and fans to believe that the end of was near. It’s no secret that the event has caused some trouble in the neighborhood with businesses claiming to be hurt by the music festival in sales and typical noise complaints, but there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that this year's Block Party wasn’t a success. This event has brought the community even closer together and over the years, has kept a well-balanced lineup of mainstream, up-and-coming, and local artists on their roster. Whether this was the last Capitol Hill Block Party or not, the organizers have done well. The bands and artists put their best performances forward and the attendees relished under the summer heat in the heart of Capitol Hill. We really couldn’t ask for more.

 

Beat Connection

What I have come to realize in my past four years of attending Capitol Hill Block Party is that the daytime acts often get the shaft. It is difficult to capture an audience’s attention between the hours of noon and 4:30pm because let’s be real -- everyone just wants to day drink -- but if you missed out on Beat Connection’s set on the Saturday of Block Party, you missed out big time. For Beat Connection, this was their shining moment. Having performed on the Vera Stage just one year before, being a main stage act was more than just a big deal. Not only did they have an upgrade in stage space, but they were performing to the masses! With their new album, The Palace Garden, receiving rave reviews lately, they are on top of the world. Beat Connection performed the ideal soundtrack for Saturday of Capitol Hill Block Party by unleashing a daytime dance party in the midst of their set. Is there anything better than listening to their hot new track “The Palace Garden, 4am” with the sweltering sun beating over your head and a nice cold PBR in your hand? I don’t think so. Beat Connection have undergone quite a transformation in the last year, adding more members to their group and a slew of instruments and electronic additions that have taken their music to the next level. With their undergraduate college careers almost over, I expect that we’ll be seeing a whole lot more of Beat Connection very soon.

 

Seattle's Capitol Hill Block Party is upon us again for 2012, bringing some major acts from beyond and local Pacific Northwest acts into the same sweaty and crowded outdoors spaces! See below for the full daily run-down of what you ought to look out for.

 

WRITE-UPS BY KATIE NGUYEN UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED
FRIDAY, JULY 20

 

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Youth Lagoon

6:30 PM • MAIN STAGE He is a pioneer of dream pop -- and come this Friday, Trevor Powers will have the entire Capitol Hill Block Party crowd in a mesmerized daze. His 2011 debut album The Year of Hibernation was named one of the best albums of the year from various outlets, leaving me with no doubt in my mind that his performance won't blow all of us away. Youth Lagoon is sure to be one of the most anticipated performances at this year's event. SEE ALSO: YOUTH LAGOON - "MONTANA" MUSIC VIDEO

 

SATURDAY, JULY 21

 

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Beat Connection

4:45 PM • MAIN STAGE It looks like the organizers of CHBP were impressed with Beat Connection last year on the Vera Stage, because this year's festival has them graduating onto the main stage. With their hit single "The Palace Garden, 4am" and the release of their latest LP, Beat Connection are making all of the right moves in building a successful musical career for themselves. This year's main stage performance will surely bring the electronic dance party. SEE ALSO: BEAT CONNECTION @ REDEFINE MAGAZINE'S UNOFFICIAL 2012 HOUSE PARTY + BEAT CONNECTION - "THINK/FEEL MP3" DOWNLOAD

 

SUNDAY, JULY 22

 

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Phantogram

6:10 PM • MAIN STAGE It would not be a music festival season if Phantogram were not included on a bill or two or three. To watch the band’s musical career over the last few years has been incredible. Their 2009 debut album Eyelid Movies received rave reviews and that was no different for their follow-up LP Nightlife, which was released earlier this year. Both Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter mesh so well together that their performances always turn out seamless. They are definitely a band worth checking out this year; I promise you, you won’t be disappointed.

 

SPECTRAL HYPNOSIS A recurring series, featuring mesmerizing songs for one to lose sense of time and space, mind and body.

Nguzunguzu

On July 3rd, Los Angeles electronic duo Nguzunguzu released their debut record on Hippos In Tanks Records, their Warm Pulse EP. Below, you can choose to stream the first track "Smoke Alarm", or you can do yourself a bigger favor and listen to it in its tiny 5-track entirety via Red Bull Music Academy! No regrets and no waste of your time here. I might note that lovers of sci-fi might find small homages; "Drop Cage" is quite reminiscent of the X-Files theme song. NGUZUNGUZU - WARM PULSE EP TRACKLISTING 1. Warm Pulse 2. Delirium 3. Smoke Alarm 4. Drop Cage 5. No Longer NGUZUNGUZU SHOW DATES July 14th @ The Complex in Glendale, CA w/ oOoOO, ∆Aimon

 

Stream NGUZUNGUZU - Warm Pulse EP via Red Bull Music Academy

 

"Pop music shouldn't always get a bad rap," says Top Pops!, a recurring selection of pop music highlights across a selection of styles.

 

Gardens & Villa

We've covered these Santa Barbara groovesters quite a bit, but their trajectory this year is upwards-bound at an intense and exponentially-terrifying rate! If you haven't seen them yet, now is the time; constant touring and being on the road have catapulted them to new heights of live performance expertise, just in time for showing off to Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre at Coachella. We've just posted a series of live tour videos on YouTube, with more to come. Scope out unreleased track "Avalanche" below, from their show last year at Holocene in Portland. They will be returning again to Holocene after Sasquatch, on May 30th -- to play with another band we support: Swahili. Stream a demo of a new Swahili track, below.

 

Read our interview with Gardens & Villa Watch "Spacetime" Music Video Stream more Gardens & Villa Live Videos On REDEFINE'S YouTube Channel GARDENS & VILLA TOUR DATES 4/26 - Oakland, CA - The New Parish 5/11 - Monterey, CA - Cal State/Black Box Cabaret 5/24 - Davis, CA - Sofia Thai Kitchen 5/25 - Eugene, OR - Sam Bonds Garage 5/25 - George, WA - Sasquatch Festival 5/30 - Portland, OR - Holocene 6/1 - Santa Barbara, CA - Santa Barbara Bowl ^ 6/23 - St. Paul, MN - River's Edge Music Festival 7/7 - Quincy, CA - High Sierra Music Fest 7/8 - Quincy, CA - High Sierra Music Fest

Swahili

Playing with Gardens & Villa in Portland on May 30th, for a MusicfestNW kick-off party, as mentioned above. Here is a rough demo of Swahili's latest track, "Mokomokai."

 

"The only thing you need to know to understand the deepest metaphysical secrets -- is this: that for every outside there is an inside and for every inside there is an outside, and although they are different, they go together." -- Alan Watts Facebook Event: http://www.facebook.com/events/317699598279306/ Download...

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