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  • A.Tambunan / atambunan@sacbee.com

    Krystyna Taylor of Exquisite Corps plays the cello during a performance at Luigi's Pizza in 2011.

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    Seattle-based quintet Minus the Bear

  • Shaun Slaughter spins dance tracks for the crowd at the Townhouse.

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    Wes Frey, left, Kris Adams, center, and Tony Caldron of Life in 24 Frames.

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    The Bell Boys are, from left Erik, Elijah and Jacob Bell.

  • A. Tambunan / Bee file photo

    Exquisite Corps, shown performing in 2011, is part of the Launch lineup this year: 1:45 p.m. Saturday at Cesar Chavez Plaza.

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Launch festival has a loaded music lineup

Published: Sunday, Sep. 1, 2013 - 12:00 am
Last Modified: Tuesday, Sep. 3, 2013 - 3:37 pm

The local boys of Tera Melos don’t play Sacramento often.

They’re a little picky about what venues suit their nearly uncategorizable music — progressive, experimental rock-pop with frenetic math-rock elements … sort of.

But the outdoor music festival Launch — with Tera Melos alongside 30 other acts including headliners Imagine Dragons, Girl Talk, Rocket from the Crypt and Minus the Bear — could work.

“Even if it’s weird, that’s part of the fun,” said Nick Reinhart, guitarist and vocalist of Tera Melos. “Weirding people out.”

Tera Melos is bound to be one of the most off-kilter sets in the stacked lineup. The three-piece band — and stuffed-hotdog-man mascot — is due to take the stage at 3:55 p.m. Saturday.

Their second full-length record, “X’ed Out,” was released in April and made the band’s at times deliberately overly complex music more accessible to the casual listener.

It even earned an endorsement from the Internet music publication Pitchfork, who called it “a super-collider of genres, riffs and mad rhythms that is often thrilling, occasionally exhausting, and, unlike most chops-based music, never dull.”

When they were younger, Tera Melos’ musicians aimed to push every limit — notably the physical limits of their hands. They were fueled by the math-rock ethos, with its unusual rhythmic structures and quickly alternating time signatures.

“That idea of crazy math rock was really fresh at the time,” Reinhart said. “But it kinda got co-opted by not-freak-weirdos.”

That would be not-freak-weirdos such as Minus the Bear, pioneers of the genre for a wider audience in the early 2000s, who have produced more mainstream, indie rock in recent years. They play Sunday at 7:45 p.m. on the Tower and are bringing Tera Melos on tour after Launch. Reinhart said the match-up fits — and he wouldn’t say that about most bands.

The Launch lineup has grown dramatically in size from last year’s 18 acts, which had Chromeo and DJ Shadow at the helm. This time around, the festival partnered with ground(ctrl) and Ace of Spades to amp up programming and reach out to emerging acts such as Imagine Dragons before they became radio favorites.

Here are some highlights:

Saturday

Grieves (6:30 p.m.): Influenced by jazz, blues and punk rock, rapper Benjamin Laub takes on hip-hop as an art form. His deeply personal rhymes got him signed to Rhymesayers Records, which is run by Sean Daley from Atmosphere.

Van She (7:15 p.m.): Who knows when this funky, synth-heavy electro-pop act from Australia will be back? Launch is one of two stops on its North American trip.

Rocket from the Crypt (8:25 p.m.): San Diego’s rock ’n’ roll stars from 1989 to 2005 are resurrected —briefly. Apart from their three other scheduled concert dates, this could be the last chance to see them live.

Girl Talk (9:45 p.m. ): For more than 10 years, DJ Gregg Gillis has created sweaty dance parties. He pulls pop samples from everywhere — Michael Jackson, Daft Punk, Kanye West, the Rolling Stones — and mashes them into electric, dance-ready mixes.

Sunday

Cults (5:05 p.m.): With only a handful of songs, the young indie-pop duo became the first band to sign with Lily Allen’s label under Columbia Records. The sound is retro yet polished, and the hotly-anticipated second album, Static, comes out in October.

Blonde Redhead (6:35 p.m.): The trio met in New York — a Kyoto, Japan-born frontwoman and twins from Milan, Italy — more than a decade ago and foraged through the underground scene for years. Shoegaze, artsy noise-rock by gaze-worthy, artsy people.

Washed Out (5:50 p.m. ): From notoriously cool Sub Pop Records, electronic artist Ernest Greene crafts dreamy chill-wave with trip-hop flair.

Imagine Dragons (8:50 p.m.): The Las Vegas rockers have exploded since their fall debut album “Night Visions.” Evidence: Billboard Magazine named them the “The Breakthrough Band of 2013” and Rolling Stone called their single “Radioactive” the “biggest rock hit of the year.”


Call The Bee’s Janelle Bitker, (916) 321-1027. On Twitter @JanelleBitker.

Read more articles by Janelle Bitker



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