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Treasure Island Music Festival: 10 best-looking sets

Looking at the artist lineup for the sixth annual Treasure Island Music Festival, a couple things are obvious right away. Saturday’s lineup resembles the Sahara Tent with DJs dominating the bill, and the first day lacks a true headliner. And Sunday’s lineup looks slightly more upbeat and dancey than in past years with the inclusion of M83 and Gossip, but Best Coast and The xx will help keep a mellow tone to Sunday.

As usual, TIMF will offer 26 sets of music over two days and stages, with no music overlapping. And as TIMF begins to adapt to changing live music & festival trends – namely that beats sell out shows and rock generally doesn’t anymore — let’s examine the 10 best-looking sets from artists that perform with instruments, computers and both.

10 best looking sets

The xx

The xx recently released their second album “Coexist,” and it’s been listend to a lot. The new album provides many songs that should have an interesting live interpretation (Reunion, Swept Away), and this is the first time the bay area gets a chance to see The xx support their sophomore album. One could argue M83 should be the Sunday headliner, but The xx are certainly deserving of the top spot after releasing two albums of stellar material.

The Presets

The Presets released their new album “Pacifica” in mid September, and it’s compulsively listenable. It’s catchy, diverse from track to track, and loaded with Aussie desperation and charming apocalyptic undertones. The Presets kick off their tour at home down under, headlining a handfull of shows at the Parklife tour. Then it’s off to TIMF. But before sub-headlining in the bay, the electronic duo of Julian Hamilton & Kim Moyes will play the 450-pax capacity The Independent in SF the night before TI. That should be a loud, intimate affair.

M83

M83 has been on tour supporting “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming” for over a year, and they must be close to wrapping it up. Only Bon Iver has toured longer on a recent album. M83 will be visiting the bay area for the 3rd time on this tour, but the good news is they’ve been getting better live as the tour goes on. They are playing different setlists from show to show, utilizing slick transitions, and extending songs into drawn out dance jams.

Matthew Dear

Matthew Dear is a DJ, dance-music producer, & live musician. He’s produced microhouse & electronic music for a decade, and he leads a band when performing live. As his bio states, “He maintains four aliases (Audion, False, Jabberjaw, and Matthew Dear), each with its own style and distinct visual identity.” So is Matthew Dear a character or the man himself? One certain thing is Matthew Dear’s new album, “Beams.” Most of the tracks are electro-house pop gems, built on repetition but get more addictive with each listen (See “Her Fantasy,” “Headcage,” & “Up & Out”). It’s all weird in a very good way.

Grimes

Claire Boucher, or Grimes, has had a busy year. News of her Tom Sawyer-like adventure established her as a free spirit, and as someone unafraid to be different. Her synthed-out beats have a weird syncopation, and the vocal delays make Claire’s voice seem angelic. It’s all oddly pretty and pretty innovative. In her music video for “Oblivian,” it’s hard to take eyes off of her, even with all the distractions in the video. Grimes recently toured on a train through Canada with Skrillix & Diplo, and Diplo tweeted a photo claiming to show Claire on MDMA. When the year began, it looked like Lana Del Rey would be the breakout female star of 2012. It’s now looking like a toss-up between Grimes & Azealia Banks. Matthew Dear should come out & perform with Grimes to see how weird Saturday can get.

Divine Fits

They’re not a supergroup, but Divine Fits is a new band that consists of Britt Daniel from Spoon, Dan Boeckner from Wolf Parade/Handsome Furs, Sam Brown of New Bomb Turks, and keyboardist Alex Fischel from Papa. They sound like a super-charged Spoon, and that’s fine because Spoon was sounding pretty stale on their last tour. Their album “A Thing Called Divine Fits” provides a strong listen the first time, as the songs are well crafted and ooze with personality.

araabMUZIK

Ladies and gentlemen, araabMUZIK is the hardest working DJ in show business. He spins for AS$P Rocky and over-uses the “this is araabMUZIC” sexy audio stamp. And while he’s technically a button pusher, look at him push those buttons! This man is the current king of MIDI. Abraham Orellana, aka araabMUZIK, exhibits serious skill and utilizes crafty editing of his video feed in a live festival setting. At Coachella this year, the video feed cut to different cameras shots exactly when he taps a new button. This creates a dizzying and overwhelming feeling which enhances the beats and overall experience.

Toro Y Moi

Chazwick Bundick is Toro Y Moi, and he gained success in 2010 with his chillwave sensibilities. But since last year, Chazwick has beefed up his band, and their live sound today is much closer to progressive rock. Treasure Islands will be an ideal setting for this psychedelic and spacey set.

Gossip

Gossip will surely pick up the tempo Sunday. Singer Beth Ditto once proclaimed, “Our mission is to make you dance, and if you’re not gonna dance, just stay at home and listen to the oldies station.” We’ll see if Gossip can get the Sunday indie crowd dancing. This would be an impressive feat following a Best Coast set.

Sbtrkt

SBTRKT (subtract) is the stage name for Aaron Jerome, a musician and producer from London. When performing live, he brings frequent collaborator Sampha along to belt out live vocals, play keyboards, & trigger vocal loops. Jerome plays drums while triggering samples and mixing elements live.

5 More not to miss:
-Public Enemy
-Los Campesinos!
-Tycho
-Best Coast
-The Coup

NIGHT SHOWS
Thursday October 12th
•Shigeto ~ California Academy of Sciences
•Willie Nelson ~ The Fillmore
•Anders Osborne ~ The Independent

Friday October 13th
•The Presets / K. Flay ~ The Independent
•The Raveonettes ~ Bimbo’s 365 Club
•Das Racist ~ DNA Lounge
•The Oh Sees ~ Great American Music Hall
*Housse de Racket ~ Rickshaw Stop

Saturday October 14th
•Araabmuzik / Five Knives ~ The Independent
•SBTRKT (DJ Set) ~ Mezzanine
*Elite Gymnastics ~ Monarch
•Juno What?! ~ Boom Boom Room

Sunday October 15h
•Jamie xx / John Talabot ~ Public Works

Subscribe to the Treasure Island Music Festival Spotify playlist.

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