You’ve been waiting with baited breath, obsessively refreshing the ACB for the slightest hint of a name or lineup. You’ve heard the rumors and the drama, the epic highs and crushing lows, drop outs and the last-minute pick-ups. And now, it’s here.
This week, the Social Committee announced the finalized lineup for the annual end-of-classes concert/festival/bacchanalia at the foot of Foss, and it’s a doozy.
Headlining is the heir to the throne of the dirty south, Big K.R.I.T., a Missippi-bred rapper and producer known for blowing smoke and blowing up on the internet—whether it’s big pimpin’ or deep thoughts, K.R.I.T. (“King Remembered in Time,” for the uninitiated) has risen above the jostling crowd of his backpack-rapping peers on the back of warm spacious beats and heady rhymes. Connecticut hasn’t seen this much southern swagger since Big Boi stopped by in 2010.
Supporting K.R.I.T. will be not one, not two, but three acts, as well as Battle of the Bands champs Peace Museum, who will open the whole shebang. Eighties-pop-nostalgics Chairlift, dubstep-minded beathead MiMOSA, and squiggly electronic-producer-cum-Brown-comparative-literature-student Nicolas Jaar will round out the afternoon. The lineup has diverged from the formulaic scrappy-punk-upstart/bookish-brooklyn-rocker/rap-superstar formula of recent years, ditching the algorithm to make the most of a smaller budget.
What the lineup makes up for in diversity and talent, it lacks in name-recognition, paling to household (depending on the household) names like Ghost and Rae or Big Boi. Wesleying and the ACB have been atwitter with student reactions, ranging from “Is this a joke?” to “Am I the only one who thinks that sounds like an awesome lineup?” to “NICOLAS JAAR TOOK MY SPOT AT BROWN.”
Bitter? Pumped? Still confused? Well, don’t let the lack of big names get you down just yet. That may all change very soon—each of the acts has had quite the 2012.
K.R.I.T. is poised to release his studio debut, Live From the Underground, on Def Jam in June, and if the reception of his mixtapes is any indicator, it’s going to be big. Take 2010’s K.R.I.T Was Here and its standout track, “Country Shit,” featuring none other than the dirtiest the dirty south has to offer, Ludacris and Bun B. It’s a frenetic whir of 808s and sputtering R&B samples, with K.R.I.T getting conversational about the home range on the hook: “Let me tell you bout super fly dirty dirty/Third coast muddy water,” he spits, a man with the brain of an indie rapper and the spirit of dusty southern swagger.
Now, enter MiMOSA, the DJ moniker of Tigran Mkhitaryan, an LA-based beatsmith weaving together EDM beats and those wobbly dubstep bass lines you all know and love. A seamless blend of hip-hop and electro, MiMOSA is at once zeitgeisty and joyously original, cherry-picking elements from all that is electronic music circa-2012. His MySpace recounts this quixotic quest: “Blissfully unconcerned with a world obsessed with categorization as a means of definition, Tigran aka MiM0SA crafts music for its own sake, defying expectations with genre bending soundscapes.” Sure. That being said, the man’s been busy, tearing up the festival circuit, hitting Burning Man and Red Rocks last summer and prepping for a slot at Bonnaroo in June.
Chairlift, on the opposite end of the sonic spectrum, borrows equally from the brightest and darkest parts of 80’s pop, showcased masterfully on the duo’s critically acclaimed sophomore album Something, which was released in January. Powered by the sprightly charm that carried their 2008 breakout hit “Bruises,” Something handles homicidal maniacs and drippy love songs with equal aplomb, crafting songs suited for sunny afternoons and midnight drives. Singer Caroline Polachek’s dynamic voice races from sultry deadpan to arena-sized wail to breathy croon and back again, often all in one song. She and multi-instrumentalist Patrick Wimberly will be joined by a full touring band to flesh out their bounce-happy nostalgic tunes live on Foss.
And finally, the Brown senior that’s been on everyone’s lips—the mysterious minimalist producer who for all intents and purposes could have sat next to you in your English class, if only he were deferred from Brown class of ’12. I’m referring, of course, to Nicolas Jaar, the college kid strait outta Santiago, Chile now making waves with his stark grooves and esoteric samples, a spacey collage of trip-hop and minimalist techno described by the musician himself as “blue-wave.” It’s slow-burning and nebulous, navigating the enigmatic waters between the danceable and the ambient. His debut album, Space is Only Noise, dropped in January of 2011, earning a coveted BNM from Pitchfork and rave reviews across the board, rubbing shoulders with indie elites in top ten end-of-the-year lists all over the internet. To boot, he’ll be accentuating his hypnotic sounds with a backing band, adding live instrumentation to all the laptop blips and boops. With a diploma in hand, expect big things from Mr. Jaar in the coming years, if you can swallow your pride, you bitter Wes student, you.
The artist formerly known as Apache Kid, now Peace Museum, fresh off a Battle of the Bands win, will kick off the afternoon with their scuzzy hooks and sunshiny jams.
So why are we only finding out about all this just now? In 2010, Spring Fling Committee made the lineup public in late February, and in 2011, the last days of March—what gives? Stay tuned for further Argus coverage and a follow-up with the Committee next week.