Hopscotch Handbook

Handbook 5 punk metal-01

It’s no secret that Hopscotch, a festival hailed as “wildly diverse” by The New York Times, offers fans an abundance of experiences. The four day event brings together artists who create almost every type of music, in a variety of hues. The Hopscotch Handbooks are one way of dividing the 2017 lineup to help make your scheduling choices more fun and manageable. Each chapter is essentially a small festival in itself, and many Hopscotch performers fall under more than one. Whether you’re discovering an act for the first time, or reconfirming them as one of your favorites already, we look forward to hosting you this Sept. 7-10 in downtown Raleigh.

Chapter 6: Punk/Metal

METZ — CAM, Thursday, September 7

Since releasing their self-titled debut record in 2012, which The New Yorker called, “One of the year’s best albums…a punishing, noisy, exhilarating thing,” the Toronto-based 3-piece METZ have garnered international acclaim as one of the most electrifying and forceful live acts, touring widely and extensively, playing hundreds of shows each year around the world. On September 22nd, METZ will release their highly-anticipated third full-length album Strange Peace, an emphatic but artful hammer swing to the status quo.

Cloud Nothings — Red Hat Amphitheater, Sunday, September 10

Cloud Nothings was founded in a Cleveland basement, the one-man recording project of Dylan Baldi. Prolific from the start, Baldi’s early work was rough but immediate: crudely recorded, spring-loaded spasms of Buzzcocks-informed pop that quickly found an online following among the lo-fi-inclined.

Protomartyr — CAM, Friday, September 8

“Protomartyr creates potent, self-contained atmospheres that leave you feeling a sense of enlightened loss” – Consequence of Sound. Since forming in 2010 and quickly gaining attention in the Detroit music scene, this post-punk heavyweight has released four acclaimed studio albums including their latest, Relatives in Descent (2017). This band is near perfect combination of talent, honesty, and style, and frontman Joe Casey is as unique as they come.

Torche — CAM, Thursday, September 7

Over the past thirteen years, Miami’s Torche have firmly established themselves as one of the best contemporary metal bands in America. Beginning with 2005’s self-titled debut, the band has perfected a blend of expansive stoner metal with the soaring pop melodies of vocalist and guitarist Steve Lloyd. Their last record, 2015’s Restarter, was perhaps their heaviest and most experimental effort to date, and Exclaim! hailed it as “remarkably composed and perfectly balanced.”

Pallbearer — CAM, Thursday, September 7

Formed in 2008 after spending time playing in various bands around the Little Rock underground metal scene, Pallbearer pays homage to doom metal of old while still looking wholly forward. The band built upon the underground success of their initial demo offering in 2010 and their debut full length, Sorrow and Extinction, was released in February, 2012 to virtually universal critical acclaim. With this year’s Heartless, the band slowly marches onward to deliver its progressively-tinged beautiful gloom on a global scale.

Whores — Pour House, Friday, September 8

Formed in 2010, Atlanta, Ga. noise merchants, WHORES., have quickly become infamous, thanks to their crushing live shows and no-holds-barred punk rock attitude. The band has garnered much attention as one of the best new acts in the noise rock scene. Spin Magazine voted WHORES. as one of the “must-see” bands at the 2014 SXSW and named 2013’s CLEAN. in the top 10 of their 20 Best Metal Albums of the year.

Thou — Pour House, Friday, September 8

Born out of the swampy humidity of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, stoner/sludge metal band Thou are as massive as they are prolific. Formed in 2005 by guitarists Andy Gibbs and Matthew Thudium, bassist Mitch Wells, and drummer Josh Nee, the band’s sound blends the shuddering heaviness of doom with the oppressive atmospherics of black metal, giving the band a monolithic sound that feels, at times, inescapable.

King Woman — Pour House, Friday, September 8

Led by the hypnotic and breathy vocal dramatics of Kristina Esfandiari, KING WOMAN harness the elastic textures and temporality of drone and metallic shoegaze alongside the transcendental, melancholic power of doom. The seven compositions on their latest release, Created In The Image of Suffering, evoke rich gloomy imagery with crumbling washes of blurred, billowing distortion densely layered atop hazy, psychedelic atmospheres that call to mind a surrealistic Black Sabbath fronted by Mazzy Star.

Cherry Glazerr — Pour House, Saturday, September 9

The off-kilter noise pop sound of L.A. quartet Cherry Glazerr was born in 2012 when high school student and singer/songwriter Clementine Creevy began recording songs in her bedroom under the name Clembutt. Angular guitars, solid drums, and Creevy’s energetic, honest voice over the band’s well crafted songs make this a can’t miss set of 2017.

Mannequin Pussy — Slim’s, Saturday, September 9

Mannequin Pussy’s debut album, GP, mixed stormy angst with blissed-out shoegaze pop, tied together by singer Marisa Dabice’s powerful voice. Now, on Romantic, the band’s double-sided pop-punk approach has a touch more finesse. As a quartet, Mannequin Pussy’s harsh edges are even sharper, its pop hooks more playful. But somehow, the result feels less two-faced and more synthesized, with disparate impulses coalescing instead of fighting for attention.

Cayetana — Slim’s, Thursday, September 7

Six years ago, Philadelphia’s Cayetana formed in a basement out friendship and a desire to learn new instruments. But almost immediately, the band generated excitement, standing out in the best punk scene in the country. After heavy touring with acts like Waxahatchee and the Menzingers, the band released its debut album, Nervous Like Me, in 2014. The band released its follow-up, New Kind of Normal, which Consequence of Sound called “raw, pure, assured, and exasperated,” this past May.

Richard Lloyd — Pour House, Saturday, September 9

Richard Lloyd’s career has spanned five decades, from the legendary Television to his work in cult proto-punk act Rocket From the Tombs. Lloyd released his first solo record, Alchemy, in 1979. His most recent album, a tribute to friend and mentor Jimi Hendrix called The Jamie Neverts Story, was released in 2009.

MOURN — CAM, Friday, September 8

MOURN’s self-titled 2014 debut LP gave the world an interesting idea: Catalonian teenage wunderkinds making authentically great guitar-based music in an era where it’s considered almost unfashionable. Since that period, the band has faced some very real issues, both personally and professionally, things that 17-to-20 year olds normally don’t have to worry about. When dealing with such a youthful band, you worry about how they will live up to the early attention as it begins to dissipate. Upon hearing Ha, He, He! for the first time, it turns out, we never needed to look forward to MOURN growing into a great band; they already are one.

Kayo Dot — CAM, Thursday, September 7

Kayo Dot has never made the same record twice. From chamber music to progressive black metal, from goth to jazz and avant-garde classical, Kayo Dot is undeniably experimental and utterly unclassifiable. Since its inception in 2003, the band has released seven full-length albums, including their debut Choirs of the Eye (2003), the conceptual double-album Hubardo (2013) and most recently Plastic House on Base of Sky (2016).

Museum Mouth — Lincoln Theatre, Friday, September 8

Even in a state with such a rich history of indie rock, Wilmington’s Museum Mouth has quickly established themselves as one of the most intriguing bands in North Carolina. After their 2010 debut Tears In My Beer, drummer Karl Keuhn took over vocal duties for 2012’s self-released Sexy But Not Happy, followed in 2014 by Alex I am Nothing. The band’s latest record, 2016’s Popcorn Fish Guinea Pig, is a collection of inward-looking indie rock that’s capped off by the dreamy closer “The Big Stairs.”

The Coke Dares — Pour House, Saturday, September 9

Two thirds of The Coke Dares have relocated to North Carolina over the past few years and the citizens of the Old North State have only begun to reap the benefits of having the Bloomington, IN power-blues-punk legends in their backyard. The Coke Dares are mostly a rock band, only one that cuts out all the boring “Styx”-like parts and delivers you complete songs (mostly) in under a minute.

Melkbelly — Slim’s, Friday, September 8

Melkbelly, formed by vets of Chicago’s experimental and DIY scene champions, organized noise and thoughtful freneticism on its debut full-length, Nothing Valley, fusing dreamy vocal lines and cantankerous guitar racket. Its songs clang and bang in stripped-down production that highlights the band’s sharp edges; multi-faceted slabs of sound serve harmonious, immediate songs.

Bask — CAM, Thursday, September 7

With a seamless combination of bluesy heft, strong melodic vocals, and psychedelic synth textures, Bask puts a new spin on throwback metal with accessible songs that both demand and retain attention.

Naked Naps — Lincoln Theatre, Saturday, September 9

Naked Naps is an upbeat indie rock duo from Raleigh NC. Their maturation into a local staple hasn’t sacrificed the qualities in their songwriting that retain the urgency of needing to start a band. While clearly interfacing with the current DIY network, they pull decidedly from Ted Leo, The Thermals, and Mission of Burma, they at times hint at highlights from the playbook of American Football, leaving you wondering why emo ever became a bad word. Naked Naps prove you can put your heart on your sleeve without losing your cool, and give lo-fi a higher mission than easy street cred.

The Tills — Pour House, Thursday, September 7

THE TILLS are a rock band from (Thr)Asheville, North Carolina, unofficial resting place of the psychedelic spirits from some other party. The Tills are four men, four musicians, who with amplified instruments and a kit of drums perform absolutely killer rock songs. They have a lot of extremely stellar rock songs, some of which are criminally unknown, and some of which found their way beyond their zen state mountain haven onto a mixtape earlier this year. Some real bangers, songs to really get stoked to.

Konvoi — CAM, Friday, September 8

On their debut release Konvoi delivered a psyched-out attack of agile post-punk guitars and stomping rhythms. With a personnel change and shift towards dark-wave synths the band is stronger than ever. Konvoi continue to grow and are one of the most exciting new bands in NC.

Natural Velvet — Slim’s, Saturday, September 9

The post-punk quartet is known in their native Baltimore for a distinct sound that is both aggressive and catchy. Framed by washing guitars, vocals that alternately howl and harmonize, and throbbing drum sounds, Natural Velvet creates music that moves between gazey indie pop and guttural, “wall of sound” noise rock. Aggressive bass lines throughout tie together a dark and foreboding framework, ultimately leaving the listener with haunting melody and hypnotic rhythm. At times confrontational, at times seductive, Ostermann’s vocals guide the listener through dark rolling narratives of identity, existence, rage, and femininity.

Jock Gang — Deep South, Friday, September 8

Jock Gang plays harsh art rock, forming abstract sonic paintings with a broad palette of sound. Songs follow intuitive structures, noise grafted onto noise, with subtle pop melodies rising from the din.

Essex Muro — Slim’s, Friday, September 8

Essex Muro’s 2016 demo depict a hardcore band that has already advanced several steps past others in the genre. Now, with their debut full-length Numb Life, they’ve come into their own with something tighter, faster, and more aggressive. Reminiscent of more unique aggressive acts like Ceremony and Fucked Up, Essex Muro is definitely a band to watch at Hopscotch 2017.

Mourning Cloak — Pour House, Friday, September 8

Kris Hilbert, the driving force behind Greensboro’s Mourning Cloak, has made a name for himself as the go to engineer and producer for bands in the Piedmont area with his studio Legitimate Business. With Mourning Cloak Hilbert walks the line between ambient, black metal chord structures and ceaseless, grandious phrases.

Faye — Neptunes, Saturday, September 9

Faye are a brand new indie punk rock trio yet, on their self-titled debut EP, they sound incredibly polished for a band their age. Imagine the playful fuzz of The Breeders colliding with the indie rock attitude of Ex Hex and that might be a good reference point for where Faye is starting out. That is until you hear the EP closer, “Ancient Bones,” where the band slows things down and Plante’s vocals take center stage as she brings to mind the soulfulness of Neko Case.

Late Bloomer — Slim’s, Thursday, September 7

Things Change, Late Bloomer’s 2014 LP, is a record that fits perfectly with the North Carolina indie rock tradition, drawing on bands like Superchunk and Archers of Loaf as well as later-era Saves the Day. Since then, the band has shared the stage with the likes of Descendents and The Bronx; their follow-up is due to be released next year on California punk mainstay 6131 Records.

Pie Face Girls — Pour House, Saturday, September 9

Since forming in 2014, Pie Face Girls have become a staple of the Triangle punk scene, with a brand of abrasive punk that’s as reminiscent of The Riffs as it is Bikini Kill. They released their debut full-length, Formative Years, this past March; the Raleigh Agenda said “Washed Up,” the first track on the record their first track, was “galvanizing in its balance of pointed criticism and earworm pop.”

Mineral Girls — Slim’s, Saturday, September 9

2015’s Cozy Body saw Mineral Girls come into their own with a sound that bounces seamlessly with dreamy indie pop (think The Shins) and heart-on-your-strings emo reminiscent of Algernon Cadwallader. With their latest release, the aptly titled two-song Seven Inches of Release, the band is at once more polished and more emotionally raw than it has ever been.

Totally Slow — Pour House, Thursday, September 7

With members of 90s seminal North Carolina DIY bands like Eagle Bravo and Rights Reserved, it’s not hard to see why Totally Slow has won rave reviews from publications like Punknews and Razorcake since forming in 2012. Razorcake called their latest record, 2016’s Bleed Out, was “powerful, pedal to the metal pop with a surprisingly mature bent.”

MyBrother MySister — Slim’s, Thursday, September 7

Let’s be honest: It’s not often that high school bands are good. But on their first record, the 2014 EP Go Back Home, the band – none of whom were older than 16 at the time – blended indie pop and Seattle grunge like it was nothing. On their last effort, the two-song EP Haze / Thursday, showcased the band’s maturation, with the band’s sound stretching into lush shoegaze.