If you like Beyoncé, Sam Smith, Odesza, The xx or Kendrick Lamar, you might like these similarly themed musicians.
If you’ve already acquired a ticket to this year’s Capitol Hill Block Party (July 21-23), chances are you’ve got your schedule for the three-day music festival mapped out. You’re a Seattle music scene veteran. You know when your favorite bands are playing — the 2017 lineup includes headliners Diplo and Run the Jewels — and on what stages to catch them.
But maybe, this year, you’re looking to try something different. You want to hear something you haven’t heard before.
Or maybe you’re not a veteran or meticulous festival planner. Rather, you’re a casual listener who can recognize a stacked ticket when she sees one.
Capitol Hill Block Party
Friday-Sunday, July 21-23; between Broadway and 12th Avenue and East Pine Street and East Union Street, Seattle; single-day tickets $60; passes $99-$300 (ticketfly.com)
Either way, it might benefit you to check out our guide to the annual festivities. Providing recommendations for lesser-known acts based on the names you’ve probably heard, the following is designed to help you figure out what’s what, or more aptly, who’s who before you hit the streets this weekend.
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If you like … Beyoncé, try Lizzo
Lizzo is best known for her Nicki Minaj-lite self-love anthem “Good as Hell” (which was featured on the “Barbershop: The Next Cut” soundtrack), but the 29-year-old rising star has so much more to offer than radio-ready pop songs. Her “Phone” is a hilarious millennial must-download, while her ego-trip “Scuse Me” earns the Beyoncé comparison. “I don’t need a crown to know that I’m a queen,” Lizzo sings, and it’s hard not to agree.
Lizzo, 7:30-8:30 p.m. Saturday, July 22, Main Stage.
If you like … Grouplove, try Kyle Craft
It may seem an odd pairing — Kyle Craft’s rock is as Southern as it comes, while Grouplove’s rock has always felt distinctly urban — but there’s a primal anguish to Craft’s voice that matches that of Grouplove’s Christian Zucconi. No matter how effervescent the beat may feel, Craft’s voice reveals the hurt behind his art. Before heading over to the Vera Stage on Friday to hear his set, check out “Lady of the Ark.” It’s the musical equivalent of screaming into a pillow when your parents aren’t around: a thunderous collision of repression and expression.
Kyle Kraft, 6-6:30 p.m. Friday, July 21, Vera Stage.
If you like … Odesza, try Jai Wolf
It’s Odesza but more cinematic. Wolf blends the eccentric beats of artists like Odesza (and Flume) with the explosiveness of more traditional EDM talents like David Guetta and Calvin Harris.
Jai Wolf, 9-10 p.m. Saturday, July 22, Main Stage.
If you like … Sufjan Stevens, try Perfume Genius
Sure, the records of Perfume Genius are generally more upbeat than those of Sufjan Stevens. In fact, the latest pearl from Seattle-born singer-songwriter Michael Hadreas, “Slip Away” wouldn’t be out of place on a Passion Pit album. Yet, if you watch Hadreas’ tiny-desk concert (an NPR series that denies artists their usual bells and whistles), the intimacy of his voice is staggering. Like Stevens, Perfume Genius also has a rabid LGBTQ following. In an industry with so few LGBTQ icons (at least in this post-PWR BTTM age), it’s refreshing to hear a talented musician sing of his thriving eight-year relationship with another man.
Perfume Genius, 9-10 p.m., Sunday, July 23, Vera Stage.
If you like … The xx, try Theoretics.
The Seattle-based Theoretics don’t exactly have a consistent feel like The xx does. The band’s latest EP, “Medusozoa Earth,” boasts everything from cosmic elevator music (“Zero G Thievery”) to foot-stomping slow-burns like “Afterglow Patterns” (in the style of M83). In their privileging of atmosphere over linearity though, the Theoretics reveal echoes of The xx’s earlier work. When the five-piece “livetronica” band pairs with more subdued vocalists like Whitney Lyman (“Nightwalker”), the comparison only becomes more apparent, even irresistible.
Theoretics, 7-7:45 p.m. Friday, July 21, Neumos.
If you like … St. Vincent, try Katie Kate
Like St. Vincent, Katie Kate has a pop star’s voice and a garage DJ’s knack for the experimental. As a result, her output is delightful and, sometimes, just plain weird. “No Company,” the lead track on her five-track “Flood,” sounds like the underscoring of a Nintendo boss battle made danceable. And her brooding “Meme Queen” is as surreal as its name suggests (Think: St Vincent’s “Digital Witness”).
Katie Kate, 9:30-10:15 p.m. Friday, July 21, Neumos.
If you like … The National (or Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds), try HellerGrave
HellerGrave approximates Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds trying to perform a set of The National songs. It’s a fabulous marriage of sounds, and if even an ounce of you likes Cave or The National, you ought to swing by the Cha-cha stage to feel the unmediated gravity of the band’s working-class, after-hours spirit.
HellerGrave, 3:45-4:15 p.m. Sunday, July 23, Cha-cha
If you like … Sam Smith, try Saint Claire
R&B soul? Check. Impressive falsetto? Check. Broken heart? Check.
Saint Claire, 6-6:45 p.m. Saturday, July 22, Vera Stage.
If you like … Kendrick Lamar, try Noname
Some know Noname from her collaboration with Chance the Rapper (“Lost”), but it’s Kendrick Lamar with whom the Chicago rapper shares real artistic blood. Of course, Noname’s voice couldn’t be more opposite to Lamar’s. His is harsh, enunciated. Hers is downy, whispered (even on gut-punching tracks like “Casket Pretty”). Noname’s rap, however, has the same improvisational aesthetic as Lamar’s. Jazzy and poetic, each of her songs feels like it’s being crafted before your eyes, forged before the microphone in some remote underground bar. Watch Noname’s Friday night performance.
Noname, 5:15-6 p.m. Friday, July 21, Main Stage
If you don’t like … living in a tech bubble, try The Gods Themselves
Tech companies are everywhere in Seattle, and when you’re not a part of that trade, watching their summer interns clog the transit system can prove exhausting. So, if you’re looking for an outlet for that pent-up frustration, check out “The Gods Themselves” or just watch the band’s curious and critical “Tech Boys” music video. Here’s a sample lyric: “With your mustache / And your paycheck / And your blue badge / and your little …” You get the idea.
The Gods Themselves, 6:30-7 p.m. Friday, July 21, Barboza
Other acts to check out:
Country crooners Charlie and The Rays (4:45-5:15 p.m. Saturday, July 22, Barboza); Kendrick Lamar go-to Thundercat (6:30-7:15 p.m. Friday, July 21, Main Stage); the fun and funky Cuff Lynx (9:30-10 p.m. Friday, July 21, Barboza); Carolina import Tyler Edwards (6:30-7:15 p.m. Saturday, July 22, Neumos); and the inimitable Angel Olsen (8-9 p.m. Sunday, July 23, Main Stage).