Levitation Picks & Sleepers

Blurbing the under and overcard

Shabazz Palaces

Fri., 7:05pm, Levitiation Tent
Avant-garde Seattleites, Palaceer Lazaro (formerly Butterfly of Digable Planets) and producer/instrumentalist Tendai Maraire (son of mbira legend Dumisani Maraire) are at once the past and future of hip-hop. Debuting in 2011 with the critically acclaimed Black Up, the duo presented progressiveness and structural madness in tight packaging. 2014's Lese Majesty lays psych-rap lyrics out over space-dub suites. – Kahron Spearman

Dungen

Fri., 9:15pm, Elevation Amphitheater
These Swedish rock heroes set the indie world aflame at the turn of the millennium with the unabashed acid rawk of Ta Det Lugnt. Gustav Ejstes has since polished the Stockholm combo into the Flaming-Lips-meets-Bevis-Frond psychedelic pop of 2015's Allas Sak, the band's first album in five years. – Michael Toland

The Arcs

Fri., 9:55pm, Reverberation stage
Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach struts seductively on the debut LP from his psych-soul outfit, flirting, "I was born a lover/ Everybody knows/ Just the way it is/ Just the way it goes" on "Cold Companion." Later, the Arcs attempt a full-on porno soundtrack with moaning R&B tryst "Come & Go." Instrumentally, they're well-endowed, crafting grooves that summit classic Stax with the garage soul of the Keys' 2014 disc Turn Blue. – Kevin Curtin

Nicolas Jaar

Fri., 10:05pm, Levitation Tent
New Yorker of Chilean decent, producer Nicholas Jaar has a short attention span. Installation celebrant with audiovisual composer Tarik Barri, soundtrack curator for 2015 French thriller Dheepan, duo coupler in Just Friends and Darkside, and Other People label owner hasn't taken a breath in five years. – Alejandra Ramirez

Flying Lotus

Fri., 11:45pm, Levitation Tent
Electronic genius Steve Ellison has more than lived up to his family's (Alice Coltrane) musical legacy. After producing for the Adult Swim network, space beats electronica disc 1983 established him as a future great. The L.A. native followed with standard-bearers Los Angeles and Cosmogramma. 2014's haunting and cathartic You're Dead! ranks as one of the great experimental jazz albums. – Kahron Spearman

The Asteroid #4

Sat., 2:30pm, Elevation Amphitheater
Formed in Philadelphia and based in Northern California, Austin Psych Fest vets Asteroid #4 have orbited the Brian Jonestown Massacre scene since the late Nineties. Eight albums in, the quintet has moved through the driving psych of Spacemen 3 to Laurel Canyon country rock. 2014's self-titled and most recent LP leans most heavily on their rocking psych side. – Michael Toland

David J & the Gentlemen Thieves

Sat., 5:25pm, Levitation Tent
Best known for co-founding goth pioneers Bauhaus (for whom he wrote greatest hit "Bela Lugosi's Dead") and college rock stars Love & Rockets, David J's solo career goes back to the mid-Eighties. After writing plays and his memoir Who Killed Mister Moonlight?, the singer/multi-instrumentalist made a comeback with 2014's Americana-flavored An Eclipse of Ships. New single "Gentrification Blues" hits this month. – Michael Toland

Thurston Moore Band

Sat., 6:55pm, Levitation Tent
Sonic Youth bandleader for 30 years, the longtime New Yorker now resides in London. After that band's 2011 split, the seminal guitarist dropped accessible noise-rocker The Best Day. Follow-up, Rock 'n' Roll Consciousness, arrives this year. Fleshing out his experimental-skewed band are My Bloody Valentine bassist Deb Googe, guitarist James Sedwards, and erstwhile SY drummer Steve Shelley. – Neph Basedow

Sleep

Sat., 11:45pm, Levitation Tent
Stateside doom titans Sleep ruled stoner metal in the Nineties with seminal texts Holy Mountain and Dopesmoker, the latter its mind- and bong-blowing hour-plus masterpiece. Record company rejection of the latter led to a split into High On Fire and Om, but the trio reunited in 2009 and has been freshening up its tours with new songs ever since. Front grunt Matt Pike was in top form on last month's Decibel tour stopover at Emo's. – Michael Toland

King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard

Sun., 4:30pm, Reverberation stage
Psychedelic jam Aussies King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard managed two entirely different albums last year. Quarters! ventured into headier, sinuous psych jams à la King Crimson, while Paper Mâché Dream Balloon channeled a pastoral warmth of jangle. Now prepare for Nonagon Infinity. In the Wizard's quieter moments, think the lovechild of Syd Barrett and Grace Slick. – Alejandra Ramirez

Quraishi

Sun., 5pm, Elevation Amphitheater
A virtuoso of traditional instrument the rubab, Quraishi evolves the classical music of Afghanistan into the 21st century, connecting native indigenous sounds with Chinese, Greek, and even Celtic strains. Introduced to the rubab by his father, Quraishi also brings an improvisational jazz flair to the songs on 2014's Mountain Melodies. – Michael Toland

Royal Trux

Sun., 6:40pm, Levitation Tent
In his time with garage-punk noiseniks Pussy Galore, Neil Hagerty – Royal Trux's guitar/vocals half, alongside glamour-puss vocalist Jennifer Herrema – was behind their legendarily full-length cover of the Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street. After all, didn't RT amount to a more smacked-out '72 Stones drunk on dub, acid, Hawkwind, and Can, thinking maybe Their Satanic Majesties wasn't a misstep? – Tim Stegall

Super Furry Animals

Sun., 8:10pm, Levitation Tent
Forming in Cardiff, Wales, in 1993, Super Furry Animals broke a six-year silence last year to celebrate its 20th anniversary via gigs, a reissue of Welsh language LP Mwng, and biography Rise of the Super Furry Animals. 2009's Dark Days/Light Years remains its most recent album, but the band's radio-friendly psych-tronica roils and rages as ever. – Michael Toland

Caribou

Sun., 9:40pm, Levitation Tent
Dan Snaith's career – first as Manitoba, and currently as Caribou – has taken electronic music to dizzying new heights. After gaining significant traction with his first EPs, People Eating Fruit and Paul's Birthday, he moved to London for 2003's shortlisted Up in Flames. 2007's psych-heavy Andorra won him Canada's Polaris Music Prize and the white-hot Sun got him onto the dance floor in 2011. He doubled down on 2014's sample-heavy Our Love. – Kahron Spearman

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Levitation Fest 2016, Levitation 2016

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