The venerable Noise Pop Festival is a 26-year San Francisco tradition — and a few years ago, we noticed a slight, welcome shift in their booking. Jazz acts like Kamasi Washington, rap artists like Vince Staples and even bonafide pop stars like Carly Rae Jepsen crept into the traditionally indie-rock dominated schedule, signaling that Noise Pop might be growing beyond the intrinsic boundaries of its name.
So that's why this year, we'd watched as the first and second waves of lineup announcements came with reliable, mostly guitar-based bands like Built to Spill, tUnE-yArDs, Superchunk, Waxahatchee, Real Estate, Jay Som, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, No Age, Parquet Courts and more. And we wondered: hmmmm?
Today we wonder no more — the festival's announced that it's booked blunted beatwizard Madlib in a DJ set; chill SoCal R&B master and KMEL fave Ty Dolla Sign; inscrutable but often-genius rapper Jay Electronica; and, with former members of '90s jazz-hip-hop icons Digable Planets, experimental rap duo Shabazz Palaces.
But what does this mean, really? Without getting into the banal "are guitars dead?" debate that's been going around, it's notable that there are hardly any rock bands in the Coachella lineup this year. Or on the Billboard charts. Or on Spotify's most-streamed playlists. Noise Pop is just bending along with prevailing trends, and that's a good thing for everyone (the Kamasi Washington show being the most fulfilling, exhilarating Noise Pop show I think I've ever been to).
Anyway, tix on sale over here. Built to Spill is playing Keep It Like a Secret in its entirety. How can you lose?