Sonic Booty

Six sets worth plundering at this year's Treasure Island Music Festival.

Maus Haus (Noon Saturday, Bridge stage)
Lots of bands claim it, but San Francisco's Maus Haus really does straddle genres and skirt categorization. The sextet's debut record, Lark Marvels, shows it can combine loads of electronics with live instrumentation to deliver a sound that's part Krautrock, part surf, part noise, part pop, part dance, and part (insert whatever you like here). But if the band's music can't easily be pinned down, one simple word sums up its live show: breathtaking. The members of Maus Haus execute instrumental gymnastics in a way that won't soon leave your memory. Patric Fallon

Holy Fuck (1:30 p.m. Saturday, Bridge stage)
Those rock traditionalists who think electronica requires no skill should catch Holy Fuck. This Canadian collective of button mashers and knob turners integrates live instrumentation into its swirling grooves while abstaining from shortcuts like looping and programming. Obsessed with tight rhythms, found sounds, noise, explosive drums, and harsh dancefloor basslines, Holy Fuck's kinetic energy and onstage intensity has earned the group acclaim from Thom Yorke and Lou Reed. Yeah, the name is profane, but those two words are pretty much all you'll be able to mutter after witnessing the band's superheated jams. Aron Fischer

Die Antwoord (3 p.m. Saturday, Bridge stage)
We're still waiting for the confirmation wink from South African techno-hop group Die Antwoord that it's up to something out of the Flight of the Conchords/Spinal Tap mock music 101 book. But if the trio isn't putting us on, there's at least some substance behind its abrasive, compelling, the Streets-meets-District 9 mystique. That Die Antwoord ("the answer" in Afrikaans) claims allegiance to the Zef culture of South African mixed-race ghettos further sharpens the absurdly profane, underclass edge of head MC Ninja's rhymes. And the eerie melodies of diminutive singer Yolandi underscore the unsettling mystery at the heart of this YouTube phenomenon. Chris Trenchard

Four Tet (5:25 p.m. Saturday, Tunnel stage)
Earlier this year, U.K. musician Kieran Hebden released what is arguably his best work yet under the name Four Tet, the gorgeous There Is Love in You, which furthers his tender approach to making thumping music for the dancefloor. Instead of force-feeding bombastic rhythms and overwrought electronics like so many club producers, Four Tet slowly builds shifting textures and into pulsing, organic grooves, making his live show as subtly beautiful as it is engaging. Patric Fallon

Phosphorescent (Noon Sunday, Bridge stage)
Phosphorescent leader Matthew Houck has an enviable talent: He can make any song sound like a confession ripped from the roots of his soul. On "Reasons to Quit," the opening track of 2009's To Willie, Houck repurposed a boozed-up, down-and-out dirge by Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson into a reflection on how he ruined his life. Last May's Here's to Taking It Easy contains effortlessly sincere originals by the solo project turned band, with Houck daydreaming about returning home from the road and repairing a wrecked marriage. Supporting Easy's weighty heartache is folky Americana that's as rich as raw honey, but nothing overshadows Houck's voice. The guitarist's frail, breathy tone exists in a permanently wounded state, even when the man's taking charge or cracking a smile. Reyan Ali

Superchunk (2:30 p.m. Sunday, Bridge stage)
You would be forgiven for mistaking Super-chunk's ninth album, Majesty Shredding, for a debut, such is its bright-eyed exuberance, its joy to be making noise. Maturity looks good on the Chapel Hill quartet: its members started out scrappy in 1989, and they've stayed scrappy ever since, even as they toyed with quieter and prettier impulses. The nine-year interval since their last full-length saw them mostly shoring up their B-sides and rarities, like a band preparing to retire comfortably, but the new record is a marvel: pure heat from seasoned pros, masters of the giddy pop hook who've never loved the game more. Daniel Becker

Treasure Island Music Festival

San Francisco Love Story: Before founding Belle and Sebastian, Stuart Murdoch came here to get healthy. He left with songs, skills, and a promise to return with a band.

Saturday Night Fever Indie Division: How the hipster set learned to shake their skinny jeans.

 
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