The Culture Collide festival is an annual staple in Los Angeles, living up to its name by bringing dozens of musical acts from all over the world to the hipster enclave of Echo Park. This year, the festival expands to San Francisco's Mission District, bringing headliners Cloud Nothings and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, while also offering its trademark global discovery: 36 bands from a whopping 15 different countries, many of whom have never played a note on American soil before.
Seem overwhelming? It can be, we admit. That's why we've scoured the entire lineup for you, and picked the top five international acts that you won't want to miss in the Mission this week.
Nominated for a 2104 ARIA Award in her native country, Helen Croome proves there's more to the ladies of Australia than the hip-hop Xerox paper-jam Iggy Azalea. With her band Gossling, Croome this year released a shimmering new album Harvest of Gold, whose title track is one of those perfectly imperfect pop songs, gliding over unconventional structure with a rigid eighth-note monotone that blossoms into a melody that won't leave your head for days. Another Gossling song to hope for at Culture Collide is “Never Expire,” with unexpected blasts of white noise in the verse which propel the minor-key, four-on-the-floor boiler to its empowering chorus. Playing Wednesday at the Chapel; 8:30pm.
Alphabetics (Costa Rica)
Hailing from the other San Jose, Alphabetics are everything you wanted the Strokes to morph into after Is This It: high-powered and energized with new ideas, instead of sluggishly strumming a Stratocaster and recovering from the night before. With the Costa Rican quartet, you get dance beats, math-rock riffs, ominous backup vocals, massive drum breaks, pitch-perfect harmonies, processed effects, South American percussion, synthesizer melodies and handclaps—and that's just in the course of one song! Led by Alejandro Pacheco, the dance-punk band is known to give it their all live and on stage. Playing Tuesday at the Elbo Room; 10pm.