Music

10 Acts to Watch at Sziget Festival

With another grandiose edition of the legendary Sziget festival about to begin, we draw your attention to the acts you shouldn't miss this year, here or anywhere else globally.

When it comes to prominent music events, the axiom is that with great power comes great diversity. Sziget Festival is celebrated worldwide for its astounding amalgamation of acts, entertainment and educational disciplines and the breadth of artistic expression. From 8 August until 14 August, dozens of stages will host more than 500 acts from all walks of art; music-wise, here are some you should definitely see:

Gorillaz

Certainly one doesn't need to be convinced to go playfully berserk with Goldtooth aka Damon Albarn's live-action antics against a backdrop of intense illustrated, psychedelic visuals, holograms, and apparitions of any one of the countless collaborators and guest performers that make up the legend that is Gorillaz. However, after the meditative, conspicuously down-tempo (still, brilliant) Humanz, with The Now Now, Albarn, Hewlett and their steady stream of tune helpers (re)turn to a more jovial, party-ready sound, ideal for lazy singalongs in the summer heat. If for any reason you missed out on their performances in the past five years or so, this tour you have to see them live.

Where: Main Stage

When: 9 August

Kendrick Lamar

The Pulitzer Prize and Grammy winner, and only the second rapper in history (after Eminem) to spend 300 weeks on the Billboard charts is more potent and relevant than ever. The undisputed voice of a generation of young black people growing up in Trump's America has proved time and time again that he's beyond acute trends and fame in the 21st century Hollywood definition of the word. With the flow and song arrangements more reminiscent of 1990s rap than the Auto-Tune pop-rap popular nowadays, Lamar appeals to a wide audience of music lovers seeking deeper meaning and representation of their ideals. Rumor has it he will even headline Glastonbury next year; allegedly, festival boss Emily Eavis was "blown away" by his recent performance in London. Lamar's visceral energy and blood-pumping rhythms make him an unmissable act.

Where: Main Stage

When: 8 August

Stormzy

Speaking of great rap - time to turn to grime. Michael Ebenazer Kwadjo Omari Owuo Jr., better known by his stage name Stormzy, is the English rap sensation the world will hear about in the years to come. Stormzy's debut album, Gang Signs & Prayer, was arguably the first grime album to top the UK charts (if you don't count the Streets as grime, anyway), and for a good reason - his blend of thoughtful rapping and heavy beats makes for a fascinating concert experience.

Where: Main Stage

When: 8 August

Parov Stelar

Marcus Füreder aka Parov Stelar is a long-term darling of the wider European music scene, though he's still, unfairly, relatively unknown in the States. Stelar's beautiful tunes merge pop, jazz, funk, swing, and electro overtones, inviting you to a seductive, joyous dance party. As one of the pioneers of the so-called "electro swing", Stelar is a coveted festival performer and a guarantee of a great time.

Where: Main Stage

When: 10 August

Bonobo

Simon Green's electronica is deep, passionate, and often sublime. Among the most prominent names in the contemporary electro-cum-orchestral scene, Bonobo is still often overlooked when performing live at major events simply because he's not a hitmaker in the traditional sense. Don't make the mistake of missing out; his performances are the backdrop of dreams.

Where: Main Stage

When: 9 August

To describe the Danish singer-producer as an "electropop sensation" would be an impermissible understatement: her live shows are an extravaganza of guitar and synth rock, embellished tremendously by her evocative, almost jazzy vocals. Discover her before she becomes everyone else's darling.

Where: Main Stage

When: 13 August

Fever Ray

The Knife's Karin Dreijer is among the most lauded European singers of the past two decades and her side project, Fever Ray, demands your undivided attention. After the debut, eponymous album, received universal critical acclaim in 2009, her second release, Plunge, brings a slew of experimental electropop tunes, often dissonant and aggressive but never anything less than original and amazing. Make sure to line up at the A38 tent and enjoy the strobes and her shrill delivery.

Where: A38 Stage

When: 14 August

Anima Sound System

The famed Hungarian electronic band celebrates its quarter-century anniversary this year, and this is the ideal opportunity to see them in their home country. Among the first acts to mix Eastern-European folk music with synth and disco rhythms, their appealing mix of world music and pop makes for a unique listening experience.

Where: World Music Stage

When: 9 August

Tiga

Probably the most famous DJ and electronic music producer ever to come from Canada, Tiga often hosts explosive late-nite parties at Sziget's largest electro music venue. This year will be no exception, so make sure to head straight there once the Main Stage program ends.

Where: Colosseum

When: 8 August

Everything Everything

The English alternative rock quartet are one of the most eclectic and aurally challenging bands in the industry today. Their mission to avoid clichés is a complex, yet fruitful one and their combination of compound layers of electronica and glitch rhythms over a fundament of guitars is mesmerizing live. Add Jonathan Higgs' relentless falsetto to the mix, and you've got yourself a genuinely idiosyncratic concert experience.

Where: A38 Stage

When: 11 August

The 10 Best Debut Albums of 2009

Continuing our celebration of PopMatters' 20th anniversary, we revisit our 10 picks for the best debut albums of 2009. It turns out our selections were prescient as many of these artists have gone on to storied careers. Travel back to 2009 and see them again for the first time.

Music

The 60 Best Albums of 2009

PopMatters turns 20 years old this October and we're beginning to celebrate our history by taking you back in time a decade ago. Obama was in the White House and the musical times were very good indeed. Revisit 2009 through its best albums.

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