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Outside Lands Cheat Sheet: 9 Bands You Don’t Know, But Should

And now you can say you've heard of them.

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Outside Lands is coming, and a cavalcade of bands big and small will soon descend upon the city. You know Kendrick and Elton—but what about those scores of other mysterious names listed tantalizingly below them? Here are nine of the smaller, more obscure acts that'll make going early in the day worth it.

Amon Tobin
Friday, August 7, 8:40 p.m.
Though Brazilian beatmaker Amon Tobin's compositions might confound some of Outside Lands' more pop-minded attendees, his live shows are invariably mind melting. His ISAM (Invented Sounds Applied to Music) show, now in its fourth year and second incarnation, involves a massive, perpetually shifting cube structure to rival Daft Punk's famous pyramids.

Devon Baldwin
Saturday, August 8, 1:25 p.m.
Though her discography is slim, this Bay Area native's handful of singles showcases idiosyncratic, glacially paced R&B that evokes the Weeknd without that singer's characteristic sliminess. If you're looking for someone to see as you light your first doobie of the day on Saturday, you could do worse than Baldwin.

unknown mortal orchestra

 Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Photo via WBEZ/Robert Loerzel. 

James Bay
Sunday, August 9, 2:05 p.m.
Put aside your preconceptions about British singers with the first name James and the last initial B. James Bay is no soft-voiced balladeer; rather, the 24-year-old heartthrob-to-be plays gritty power pop as informed by American blues and folk and the tight songcraft of his homeland's '60s Invasion of the U.S. There should be plenty for both rock and pop fans to enjoy during his set.

Saturday, August 8, 7:55 p.m.
Though they hail from LA, Classixx's sound is more informed by the clubs of New York, where disco mutated into house and new jack swing throughout the '80s and '90s. They're as funky as any of their forebears, enough that even the most staunch rockists might want to take a torch to their Zeppelin records after this Outside Lands set.

Dan Deacon
Sunday, August 9, 5:55 p.m.
Dan Deacon is a bit of a blabbermouth live, but once he kicks his equipment into overdrive it shouldn't matter. The bearded Baltimore auteur plays the strangest, most raucous party music imaginable, defined by distorted drums and bubblegum pop hooks. Whether he's playing a small birthday party (as he's done) or a thousands-strong festival, a Deacon show is always a fiesta.

DJ Mustard
Sunday, August 9, 3:30 p.m.
If you've flipped on hip-hop radio in the past half-decade, you've probably heard a Mustard production. The 25-year-old hitmaker behind Tyga's "Rack City" and 2 Chainz' "I'm Different" is one of the few representatives of a genre Outside Lands has always notoriously skimped on. Expect the hits, plus songs from his excellent 2014 solo release 10 Summers.

Saturday, August 8, 6:05 p.m.
One of the Bay Area's most intriguing young electronic musicians, Giraffage mastermind Charlie Yin deals in strikingly beautiful hip-hop beats inflected with elements of EDM and sultry '90s R&B. Though his music's often abstract, it's danceable, much like Amon Tobin's; he might even throw in a few dubstep drops.

Sunday, August 9, 5:05 p.m.
This Seattle duo makes low-key dance music that's equally suited for partying or simply sitting on a hill gazing at the flashing lights. Stop by whether you want to give your bones a break or work them out even more.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Saturday, August 8, 2:05 p.m.
This Portland quartet emphasizes the performance aspect of a rock show—virtuosic solos, giant singalongs, and effortlessly catchy psychedelic-soul songs. Expect to hear plenty from their disco-inflected new album Multi-Love alongside crunchier cuts from their riff-heavy breakout album II.

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