! = recommended
* = all-ages
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"Let's get on 95 / and feel the fire."
Charles Bradley isn't just a performer, he's a force. He's an experience. He's a feeling in your guts that all will be right with the world if we just love each other and try hard enough, that we can simultaneously transcend our heartbreak and embrace those sharp corners of our hearts that shape us. And his latest single, "Strictly Reserved For You," manages to embody his one-of-a-kind essence in the most beautiful and complete of ways -- it's a fully legit track, whether for your next mixtape or your next party playlist, and leads me to believe that the new album (Victim of Love, out last month on Daptone) is going to do some serious damage on this year's best-of lists.
With that said, we've got to take a minute to talk about this gem of a video. It seriously creates a near-indescribable level of joy that translates the heartburst-y bliss of Charles as we know and love him, presented with a hip, beautiful, clean-but-not-sterile vision that almost feels like we're following him through a week of his life. We see the streets he walks every day, we see his coffeeshop moments, his dance moves and work days and park days: Charles In His Van, Charles On His Street, Charles In His Jacket, Charles On A Soundstage, Charles In The Grass. (And ugh, can someone please make a .gif out of Charles Being Birthed By A Hydrangea Bush?? SO GOOD.)
It is sheer madness that there are so many great live performers appearing at Bumbershoot 2010 this year. This is my personal schedule to see a cross-section of irascible indie-ness (be it indie pop-friendly Pac NW hip-hop, indie rock, Brooklyn funk, etc.) but mostly focusing on those TIG-sparking artists who either put out a great record recently (and may or may not have gotten the deserved acclaim) or have one coming right up.
So let's begin the plan, and bear in mind if you haven't heard the music that may already be available from these performers, we would recommend checking the releases hyped below out before you attend Bumbershoot 2010. This is not because you would be in any way disappointed with what you will see and hear when you hit the full-genre full-on phenomenon that is the festival this year; just the opposite, we want you to already have some of these songs down to sing/chant/rap along when they pop during the sets. All are recommended and approved.