Bumbershoot still remains one of the more diversely curated festivals in the nation. That is probably why they referred to it completely as Seattle’s Music & Arts Festival. In its 42nd year, the 2012 edition was not lacking in diversity, as the main headliners over the course of Labor Day Weekend varied from Jane’s Addiction to Mac Miller and Skrillex. With six musical stages, and a wealth of other stages hosting comedy acts, readings and various panels, it is impossible to catch everything over the weekend. So here are the highlights instead, not in any particular order of awesomeness.

 

M83

M83 acquired quite a bit of hype this past year. In fact, 2011 may have been THEIR year. With their hit single "Midnight City," it seemed like nearly everyone was jumping on the M83 band wagon. The funny thing about that is the band has actually been around for years; they released their first record in 2001. Securing a spot on the main stage for Bumbershoot 2012, M83 played to an audience packed with fans and those simply curious about the band. After witnessing this performance, I can tell you that I've truly never seen anything like it. The intro was a spectacle all on its own with lasers and complex flashing lights that even I have a hard time describing. Both lead singer Anthony Gonzalez and keyboardist/back-up singer Morgan Kibby were extraordinarily entertaining. Their vocals were nearly spot-on with their record, but not in a lip-syching kind of way like we're used to at the award shows. The instrumental drum solos were riveting and exciting. The performance was everything that I hoped it would be, but I'm afraid to say that it is unfortunate that all many are remembering is the crowd of kids rushing to the floor and causing mayhem break loose. You can read all about that mess here. - KATIE NGUYEN

 

 

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings

This funk/soul band has been around since the mid-'90s, but if you didn’t know any better you would assume they formed in the early ‘70s. Carried on the shoulder by the spectacular voice of Sharon Jones and then brought to the forefront by the impeccable revivalist sound of the Dap-Kings, this big band lives up to all they hype their live show comes with. Despite playing on the main stage of the Key Arena, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings were able to generate energy in the crowd that transported you straight back to a seedy bar in Motown Detroit. Their music is approachable by individuals of all ages, as are their tributes to the various dances of the '60s and '70s, which are like an instructional video led by Sharon Jones herself. Her spirit is infectious, even if you weren’t alive to experience the origins of the music the band aims to bring back to a new century. Sharon Jones’ energy, charisma, and stage performance are liable to make her and the Dap-Kings the best set of any festival they attend, and Bumbershoot was no different.

 

Los Angeles' FYF Fest is a growing festival. No more are the days when it would let you tuck it in at night and read it a bed time story. No, you can no longer guide and keep under your protection. After many successful years, the creators of FYF Fest have decided that one day is no longer enough. The festival will now be taking up both Saturday and Sunday of Labor Day weekend so we hope that you have Monday off from work because you'll surely need it to recover. - KARLA HERNÁNDEZ
 

Refused

Saturday, September 1, 10:55pm @ Main St. Stage What can we say about Refused that hasn't already been said? Refused is one of those bands that no matter what genre of music you're into, you just know that these hardcore punk rockers deserve some respect. For me Refused was the band that almost made me want to go to Coachella this year. But I held out because I knew FYF Fest would work their magic and present them in a more bearable setting. If you dare to go into the pit, stay safe and play nice.   See all Previews & Picks For SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 1

Beirut

Sunday, September 2, 10:55pm @ Main St. Stage Do you know that part in the "Little Mermaid" where Ursula takes Ariel's voice and carries it in a shell around her neck? That is exactly what I want to do with Zach Condon's voice. Of course I won't deprive the world of such beauty, but Beirut's music is nothing short of awe-inspiring with a mix of instrumentation that includes a ukulele, a horn section, strings and much more. Beirut's style is smart, romantic and worldly, what more could you ask for?   See all Previews & Picks For SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 2
Seattle's discipline-defying Bumbershoot Festival is annually packed with everything an art-minded individual could want, from comedy and dance to art installations and music. Our festival preview for 2012 pulls from all areas, but has a minor focus on dance, as we will presenting our Motion & Movement in Music Video discussion panel this year. Read on for details and our top picks!

 


The Miracles Club

Friday, September 1 - 11:00pm @ Exhibition Hall The Exhibition Hall will be the perfect place for The Miracles Club to churn out their indie house beats and get the crowd pumping with the moves of resident dancer Ryan Boyle. And, did we mention? They'll be premiering their new music video, "The Wheel", at our Motion & Movement in Music Video panel at Bumbershoot, on Monday, September 3rd. - VIVIAN HUA

 

See all Previews & Picks For FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 1

Mudhoney

Saturday, September 2 - 6:45pm @ Fountain Lawn Mudhoney is a Seattle institution. Blam. You can’t really talk about Seattle music accurately without giving Mudhoney its own chapter. If you’re the kind of person who loudly expresses their desire to “support local music” and you’ve never gone to see Mudhoney, then you’re a hypocrite, plain and simple. - RYAN PANGILINAN [... and another recommendation.] Mudhoney are often coined one of the godfather’s of grunge, and its fair to say that after still kicking for close to 25 years, the band is just as good and dirty live as it was in its heyday. - PETER WOODBURN

 

See all Previews & Picks For SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 2

REDEFINE magazine presents Motion & Movement in Music Videos

Monday, September 3 - 3:30pm @ Leo K Theatre This panel will explore how dance and movement intersect with modern music videos. Select music videos will be screened, followed by an open community dialogue with associated dancers, directors, and musicians. Topics covered may include differences in dance styles among different musical genres, trends of modern dance in contemporary music video, and spontaneity versus choreography in the creative process. A related brochure, featuring Q&A with directors and musicians, will be distributed with further information about the participants and videos screened. SEE ALSO: MOTION & MOVEMENT IN MUSIC VIDEOS EVENT ANNOUNCEMENT

 

See all Previews & Picks For MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 3 Director ELY (Eugene Lee Yang) and producer Cathleen Cher of Polica's "Wandering Star" (below) will be present and visiting Seattle from Los Angeles.

 

Through the years, long-time collaborators and friends Lazerbeak and Minneapolis video artist Matt Scharenbroich have worked together to match their passions with one another's. In this feature below, we look back at their projects together, and Scharenbroich comments on his latest video for "Life Every Voice", which is a rippling animated delight that falls downwards through glitter and varying levels of psychedelic intensity.

 

INTERVIEW WITH MATT SCHARENBROICH CONTINUED BELOW
"The falling in the video could be paralleled with that of Alice falling down into the rabbit hole or the sensation of one's body falling into a dreamy hypnotic state. There is a certain freedom and release associated with this transformational and transcendent state. That release from the boredom and restraints of life can be incredibly uplifting." -- Matt Scharenbroich

 

Drawing from antiquated influences and software, directors Dawid Krepski and Jason Chiu translate the hazy pop sounds of New York musician Beca into a narrative about the understanding and acceptance of the self, whatever that may look like. Below, both directors and Beca answer a brief Q&A about the creative process and underlying message of the "Fall Into Light".

 

"The title 'Fall Into Light' is a bit of a paradox since I associate light with upward movement, and the concept of falling makes me think of darkness. So it's this juxtaposition of light and dark which can be taken literally or figuratively, and I like that it's left open for interpretation. Maybe it means opening opening up yourself enough to see your true self." - Beca

 

Our third-annual album cover art feature uses interviews with artists and musicians to highlight the philosophical, thematic, and conceptual significance of great album cover artwork. THE BREAKDOWN    12 Collage + 14 Digital Illustration, Drawing, Design + 19 Illustration, Painting, Drawing + 8 Black And White Photography + 22 Color Photography + 6 Deluxe Packaging + 10 Fashion,...

This in-depth feature highlights how well-executed album artwork can go beyond genre lines to expand into territories of philosophical, thematic, and conceptual significance. Perhaps now more than ever, album cover artwork plays a vital role in music....

A staff-compiled list of some of our favorite songs from the year 2011, in no particular order or with allegiance to any particular style....