Primavera Sound 2012 Preview

<p> <a href="features/features/primavera_sound_2012_preview/"><img src="" alt="Primavera Sound 2012 Preview" /></a> </p> <p> Historic Barcelona has played host to everything and everyone from George Orwell to the Olympics to a Whit...
Primavera Sound 2012 Preview

Primavera Sound 2012 Preview

Historic Barcelona has played host to everything and everyone from George Orwell to the Olympics to a Whit Stillman movie, but at the end of May it holds one of the best music festivals in the world, Primavera Sound.

From May 29th to June 3rd a massively wide range of musicians come to Barcelona:




Apolo  (Memphis Industries showcase)

Hooray For Earth, 10:00 PM 

Hooray for QRO favorites (QRO spotlight on) Hooray For Earth!  The Boston/New York art-rock outfit (QRO live review) headed by Noel Heroux (QRO interview) has been at it for a while, but full-length True Loves (QRO review) finally got the complex-but-also-fun group some of the attention they deserve (QRO live review) – and now they come to Primavera (QRO photos at a festival)!

Hooray For Earth
Elephant, 9:00 PM

London synth-popsters Elephant (QRO photos in London) come to Barcelona.

Dutch Uncles, 8:00 PM

Manchester’s Dutch Uncles (QRO photos) are best known for using atypical time signatures with a pop context (QRO photos).

Dutch Uncles
La [2]  (Famèlic showcase)

L’Hereu Escampa, 10:15 PM

Mates Mates, 9:15 PM

Ohios, 8:30 PM

L’Hereu Escampa




Arc de Triomf

Black Lips, 10:40 PM

A band better known for their live show than their records, that’s not just because of the relatively unimpressive recorded material like 2010’s 200 Million Thousand (QRO review) or last year’s Arabia Mountain (QRO review), but also due to their crazy mishmash of genres and styles on stage (QRO live review).  Atlanta’s The Black Lips’ wild live show includes everything from nudity to fireworks – and live animals (QRO photos at a festival).   Barcelona should hopefully let the boys let ‘er rip (QRO photos outdoors), but be rest assured their rabidly loyal fan base will still be crying out for more (QRO photos outdoors at a festival).

Also playing Apolo on Sunday at 12:15 AM

Black Lips
The Walkmen, 9:20 PM

A ‘Brooklyn veteran’ by now, The Walkmen (QRO live review) have grown from their more soused early days (QRO photos – which included a front-to-back cover of John Lennon & Harry Nilsson’s drunken weekend Pussy CatsQRO review) to a sadder, but more accomplished band (QRO photos at a festival) by 2008’s You & Me (QRO review).  Their live show (QRO live review) has similarly evolved (QRO photos at a festival), if losing some of that early fun, but certainly gotten classier (QRO live review).  But, even at festivals (QRO photos at a festival) or outdoors (QRO photos outdoors), they range nicely from barstool rockers like oldies “The Rat” (QRO video) and “Thinking of a Dream I Had” (QRO video) plus the new “The Blue Route” (QRO video) to sadder pint glass-raisers like older “Another One Goes By” (QRO video) and “Louisiana” (QRO video) plus the new “On the Water” (QRO video) from 2010’s classy Lisbon (QRO review), made on site in Portugal (QRO live review in Europe).  And they return to Primavera for a second year in a row (QRO photos at Primavera ‘11) behind the new Heaven and single “We Can’t Be Beat” (QRO review).

The Walkmen
The Wedding Present plays Seamonsters, 8:00 PM

An Anglo-punk band (QRO photos at a festival) that’s never quite got its due, The Wedding Present (QRO live review) recently released Valentina (QRO review), but come to Primavera playing 1991’s Seamonsters, after having played it & prior album Bizarro (QRO live review) around the world (QRO live review).



Jeremy Jay, 7:00 PM

No More Lies, 6:00 PM

The Wedding Present




Kindness, 2:15 AM

The comfortable new dance of Adam Bainbridge – a.k.a. Kindness – comes to Primavera.

Also playing Pitchfork Stage on Thursday at 11:15 PM

Beach Fossils, 1:15 AM 

Relax for the relaxed indie-rock of New York’s Beach Fossils (QRO photos outdoors).

Beach Fossils
Chairlift, 12:15 AM

Though born in Boulder, Chairlift (QRO photos outdoors) came of age in – where else? – Brooklyn.  They (QRO photos at a festival) broke through with the sweet “Bruises”, though since the departure of singer/guitarist Aaron Pfenning for his own Rewards (QRO photos), the now-duo (QRO photos at a festival) has gone for a spookier sound on Something (QRO review) earlier this year.

La [2]  (Canadian Music Week spotlight)

Void Ov Voices, 1:00 AM

Santiago Latorre, 12:00 AM

Cadence Weapon, 8:30 PM

Foam Lake, 7:30 PM

Reignwolf, 6:30 PM

Cadence Weapon




Parc del Fórum

Franz Ferdinand, 1:45 AM

Headlining the Parc del Fórum Tonight: Franz Ferdinand (QRO review).  The Scottish band broke out of their native Glasgow in 2005 with Franz Ferdinand and killer single “Take Me Out”, and even if their studio output since then hasn’t matched up, they’re still a great band live (QRO live review), and come to Primavera while working on their fourth full-length.

Franz Ferdinand
Wilco, 11:00 PM

For alt-country, there’s pretty much Wilco (QRO live review outdoors), and then there’s everybody else.  The Chicago stars, led by singer/songwriter Jeff Tweedy, but also featuring bassist John Stirratt, multi-instrumentalist Pat Sansone (the two of whom also form The Autumn Defense – QRO spotlight on), guitarist Nels Cline (QRO photos), drummer Glenn Kotche, pianist Mikael Jorgensen, and more (like “Jesus, Etc.” – QRO video), have played everywhere from Conan at home to “Far, Far Away” (QRO video).  They’ve also been excellent for so long (QRO live review outdoors) that their set lists are mammoth and still can’t cover everything (QRO live review) from the late greats like “I’m the Man Who Loves You” (QRO video) to more recent material off of Sky Blue Sky (QRO review),Wilco (The Album) (QRO review), and The Whole Love (QRO review) like “Hate It Here” (QRO video).  And the quintessential American band (QRO live review) returns to Primavera for a second year.

The Afghan Whigs, 10:40 PM

Greg Dulli’s soul-influenced rock group rocketed out of Cincinnati in the nineties, but broke up the same year Americans learned Afghans weren’t just blankets (with Dulli going on with his Twilight Singers – QRO photos at a festival).  But in 2011 not only did the group announce their reunion, but also that they would be curating All Tomorrows Parties in London (just last weekend – QRO photos) and America!

The Afghan Whigs

Baxter Dury, 6:20 PM QRO live review

Baxter Dury
Mini Stage

Spiritualized, 2:15 AM

After the demise of the space-rock Spaceman 3, Jason Pierce stayed in the stratosphere (thanks to an inanimate carbon rod) as Spiritualized (QRO live review).  He had been performing 1997’s Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space (NME‘s Album of the Year) in full, but Spiritualized (QRO photos) comes to Primavera (QRO photos at a festival) behind the new Sweet Heart Sweet Light.

The xx, 12:45 AM

Almost overnight, south London’s The xx (QRO photos) went from little known to massive acclaim.  Even before debut record xx (QRO review) actually came out, the dark, post-punk revival act was garnering lots of attention (QRO photos at a festival).  They quickly jumped from opening (QRO live review) to headlining, as they were overshadowing the headliners.  They also saw Baria Qureshi depart (QRO photos with her), leaving them a three piece (QRO photos at a festival).  Certainly subdued, they are much better suited for nighttime (QRO photos at a festival) than at chattering rock clubs (QRO video), but have found a way to make it work outdoors (QRO live review outdoors) and at festivals (QRO photos at a festival), like Primavera two years ago.

The xx
Beirut, 11:15 PM

While Zach Condon began his instrumental outfit Beirut (QRO photos at a festival) as a solo project, he’s since developed it into a full band (QRO photos at a festival), featuring just about every instrument you’ve ever heard of (QRO photos at a festival), most recently on last year’s The Rip Tide (QRO review).

Death Cab For Cutie, 9:45 PM

When Pacific Northwest alternative favorite Death Cab for Cutie (QRO photos at a festival) left long-time indie imprint Barsuk for major Label Atlantic in 2005 with Plans, fans thought the sky might be falling.  But instead, Death Cab (QRO photos) has released not one, but two of their best records to-date, following up Plans in 2010 with the excellent Narrow Stairs (QRO review) – and their latest, Codes and Keys (QRO review), out last year.

Singer/guitarist Ben Gibbard may have gone from dork to looking like a Cascadian beefcake – he was married to Zooey Deschanel of She & Him (QRO live review)/The New Girl (meanwhile, his side project, The Postal Service, may never release a follow-up to the much beloved Give Up), but guitarist Chris Walla is still an indie producer extraordinaire (and kept his alt-cred with his own solo record last year on Barsuk, Field ManualQRO review).  And with over a decade’s worth of strong material, their well is deep for a wide performance (QRO photos at a festival).

Death Cab for Cutie

Sr. Chinarro, 8:15 PM

Friends, 7:00 PM – QRO photos

Linda Martini, 6:00 PM



Ray-Ban Stage

Erol Alkan, 4:15 AM

Erol Alkan began as a club promoter with his famed Trash club in London, moved on to DJ and up to producer for the likes of Mystery Jets (QRO live review) & Late of the Pier (QRO album review), but still knows how to spin the beats (like back at Primavera 2003).

Erol Aikan
John Talabot (Live), 3:10 AM

Spanish DJ John Talabot plays live at Primavera.

John Talabot
Refused, 12:30 AM

Before Sweden was known for indie-pop and haunting harmonies, it and the rest of Scandinavia trafficked in the harder fare, from black metal to the hardcore punk or Refused (QRO photos at a festival in Europe).

Mazzy Star, 9:50 PM

Mazzy Star returns!  A significant force in the nineties shoegaze scene thanks to hit single “Fade Into You”, Mazzy Star broke up in the late nineties after shy singer Hope Sandoval begged to get out of their major label contract, and a reformation in 2000 was aborted when she left again to go solo, most recently with 2009’s well-received Through the Devil Softly (QRO review) and an appearance at Primavera 2010.  However, more recently the Star has returned with their first new material in fifteen years, last fall’s double-single “Common Burn”/”Lay Myself Down”, and a new album expected later this year.

Mazzy Star
Archers of Loaf, 7:30 PM

Amidst all of the alt-reunions, how are Archers of Loaf (QRO photos at a festival) only reuniting now (QRO photos at a festival)?  The Chapel Hill act were as important to the nineties alternative music scene as Pavement (QRO live review), and deserve as great a reunion tour (QRO photos at a festival).



La Estrella De David, 5:10 PM

Archers of Loaf


ATP Stage

Wolves In The Throne Room, 2:30 AM

The ATP Stage is black metal-heavy, including brothers Aaron & Nathan Weaver, who form Wolves In the Throne Room (QRO photos at a festival) – go team Stark!

Wolves In the Throne Room
Sleep, 1:00 AM

During the nineties, San Jose death metal outfit Sleep was the definition of stoner rock.  Label issues forced their break-up by the end of the decade/century/millennium, but in 2009 Sleep came back, and have kept on going (QRO photos at a festival).

Thee Oh Sees, 11:30 PM

Hailing from The O.C. (the name was original ‘Orange County Sound’, then ‘OCS’, then – well, you get the idea…), John Dwyer formed Thee Oh Sees (QRO photos at a festival) to put out his experimental, instrumental home recordings, but over seven records has morphed into a full band and a wild live show (QRO photos at a festival).  Thee Oh Sees return to Primavera (QRO photos at a festival) behind last year’s Carrion Crawler/The Dream (QRO review).

Thee Oh Sees
Mudhoney, 10:00 PM

Both a forerunner to and a member of the Pacific Northwest grunge breakout of the early nineties, Seattle’s Mudhoney (QRO photos at a festival) perhaps embodied the dirty, high-distortion sound even more than Nirvana.  More importantly, Mudhoney never stopped, becoming a veteran many times over.

Lee Ranaldo, 8:45 PM

Widely regarded as one of, if not the greatest guitarist in indie-rock, Lee Ranaldo has been perhaps the greatest member of one of, if not the great bands in indie-rock, Sonic Youth (QRO live review).  From the group’s start in New York’s no-wave sub-culture in the early eighties, late eighties acclaim on Daydream Nation (QRO live review), through grunge-era breakthrough a decade later, from their wildly experimental outings, like last year’s soundtrack to the film Simon Werner a Disparu (QRO soundtrack review), to 2009’s last studio record, The Eternal (QRO review), Ranaldo has been maestro of Sonic Youth.

Last year, Youth singer/guitarist Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon announced they were divorcing after twenty-seven years of marriage, and Sonic Youth’s future remains uncertain, with no new material or concerts planned – but Ranaldo hasn’t stayed still, releasing his latest solo record, Between the Times and Tides, earlier this year.

Lee Ranaldo
El-P, 7:30 PM

Brooklyn’s Jaime Meline, a.k.a. El-P, has been an important factor in the alternative hip-hop scene, bringing together the two otherwise divergent scenes.  So he’s a perfect fit to bring the rhymes to Primavera once again, behind his recently released Cancer For Cure (QRO live review of release party).


A Storm of Light, 6:15 PM QRO photos at a festival

A Storm of Light


Pitchfork Stage

Rustie, 4:30 AM

Russell Whyte brings some electronic dance music down from his native Glasgow as Rustie.

The Field, 3:00 AM

Sweden’s Axel Wilner expands electronica to the Arctic Circle as The Field, returning to Primavera for a second time.

The Field
A$AP Rocky, 1:45 AM

These days, every indie music festival has to have some hip-hop from the other side of the tracks, and even the European Primavera isn’t immune.  Last year the festival had the wild antics of Odd Future (QRO album review), and now it’s A$AP Rocky (QRO photos at a festival) – so expect shouts for schwag and probably a fight to break out.

A$AP Rocky
Danny Brown, 12:30 AM

Detroit rapper Danny Brown earned serious critical acclaim last year with XXX, SPIN‘s hip-hop album of the year – so who knows what 2012 will bring for the man described by MTV as “one of rap’s most unique figures in recent memory.”

Danny Brown
Kindness, 11:15 PM

The comfortable new dance of Adam Bainbridge – a.k.a. Kindness – comes to Primavera.

Also playing Apolo on Wednesday at 2:15 AM

White Denim, 9:45 PM

Out of the Austin psychedelic rock scene comes White Denim (QRO live review at home in Austin), but they’re more accessible than most psych-rock (QRO photos), if also correspondingly less inspired (QRO photos at a festival).

White Denim
Grimes, 8:30 PM

Scandinavian singer/songstresses have been getting very hot in recent times, from Lykke Li (QRO album review) openers of hers like Oh Land (QRO album review) and now Grimes (QRO photos opening for Lykke Li) – though Grimes, a.k.a. Claire Boucher (QRO photos at a festival), is actually from Vancouver.  Still, her ethereal indie-pop on Visions (QRO review) certainly hews to the Scando-sound (QRO live review), and she’s just as pretty and charming as any Nordic (QRO photos at a festival).

Iceage, 7:30 PM

Copenhagen’s punk rock outfit Iceage deliver on record (QRO mp3 review), but struggle a little live (QRO live review).

Purity Ring, 6:15 PM

From the other side of the border, the other side of North America, and other side of the Channel (linguistically), Montreal’s Purity Ring (QRO photos) bring some of the new indie-electronic (QRO photos).



Pegasvs, 7:00 PM

Purity Ring


VICE Stage

Japandroids, 2:45 AM

Vancouver garage-rock guitar-and-drums (QRO photos at a festival) outfit Japandroids have moved from festivals up north to those in America (QRO photos at a festival) & Europe (including Primavera 2010), and are one of the best guitar & drums duos out there (QRO photos at a festival).  They come back to Primavera behind their new Celebration Rock.

Bombino, 1:30 AM

From the vast Sahara comes guitarist Bombino, who had to flee his native Niger more than once following rebellions by his Tuareg compatriots.  At one point, the government banned guitars among the Tuareg, as it was a symbol or rebellion.  But peace has more recently come to Niger (though not neighboring Mali, where the Tuareg have seized half the country and declared independence), which included a massive concert by Bombino.

Dominant Legs, 12:15 AM

Former Girls (see below) member Ryan Lynch recently started his own indie-pop outfit, Dominant Legs (QRO photos at a festival).

Dominant Legs
Kleenex Girl Wonder, 11:00 PM

Downers Grove, Illinois-by-way-of-The Big Apple indie-rock outfit Kleenex Girl Wonder is fronted by Graham Smith, the only consistent member since it’s mid-nineties start.

Kleenex Girl Wonder
Bleached, 9:45 PM

Out of the riot grrl lawlessness of Mika Miko comes the more harmonious Bleached (QRO photos at a festival).

Field Music, 8:30 PM

Primavera Sound welcomes a number of experimental musicians, as well simple & enjoyable ones, but in Field Music (QRO photos), they’ve found a band that’s failed at both.  The 2005 self-titled debut from Sunderland brothers David and Peter Brewis (QRO photos) was nice, but follow-up Tones of Town (QRO review) saw them get too simple in their ditties.  The pair took a break from the band & each other to pursue solo projects (David’s School of Language and Peter’s The Week That Was), before reuniting in 2010 for (Measure) (QRO review), a record that saw them experiment in the psychedelic, jam, and more for an almost unlistenable release – and this year’s Plumb (QRO review) wasn’t much better.  Yet somehow they were invited back after playing Primavera last year (QRO photos).

Field Music

Peter Wolf Crier, 7:15 PM

Unicornibot, 6:00 PM

Doble Pletina, 5:00 PM

Peter Wolf Crier


Adidas Originals Stage

Rats on Rafts, 11:15 PM

Check out some Dutch indie-rock in Rats on Rafts (QRO photos).

Rats On Rafts
Hot Panda, 8:45 PM

Adidas Originals Stage gets an original in Edmonton’s Hot Panda (QRO photos at a festival), who come to Primavera behind Go Outside, their follow-up to 2010’s odd-but-interesting indie-rock How Come I’m Dead? (QRO review).



Absynthe Minded, 6:15 PM

GinGa, 5:00 PM

Hot Panda


San Miguel Stage

The Rapture, 2:00 AM

There was a time when New York’s The Rapture (QRO live review) was an essential in the post-punk dance scene – and that time has come back.  After their acclaimed Pieces of the People We Love in 2006, the group (QRO photos) broke-up/took a hiatus, but returned in glory last year with In the Grace of Your Love (QRO review) and their biggest stages to date (QRO photos at a festival).

The Rapture
The Cure, 10:10 PM

If you’re going to Primavera, do you seriously need to be told who The Cure are?!?  Fronted by the iconic Robert Smith, The Cure were on the leading edge of New Wave in the eighties, basically inventing goth as a form of music – and releasing some of the decade’s most catchy singles as well.

You know ‘em, you love ‘em, you came to Primavera for The Cure.

The Cure
Rufus Wainwright, 7:50 PM

From the acclaimed musical family of Wainwrights, Rufus Wainwright (QRO photos) makes beautiful pop music that includes his flair for the operatic (QRO photos, singing his opera).  He comes to Primavera behind the just-out Out of the Game (QRO review) his first since 2010’s All Days Are Nights: Songs For Lulu (QRO review).

Refus Wainwright
Other Lives, 5:55 PM

Stillwater, Oklahoma’s TV soundtrack staple Other Lives (QRO photos at a festival) come to Primavera on the back of their new Tamer Animals – and a tour opening for Radiohead (QRO photos from the tour).

Other Lives


Mini Stage

Death In Vegas, 2:15 AM

Late night at the Mini Stage is the psychedelic mix of dub, rock, and techno that is Death In Vegas.

Death In Vegas
M83, 12:45 AM

How is it that France does such great atmospherics?  M83 (QRO live review) actually exceeded countrymen Air (QRO album review) with 2008’s Saturdays = Youth (QRO review), their most accessible electronica album to-date, and come to Primavera behind Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming (QRO review), which has led the band to bigger shows (QRO live review) and bigger stages (QRO photos at a festival).

Wavves, 11:15 PM

Redemption?  After WAVVES singer/guitarist Nathan Williams (QRO photos at a festival) had a very public breakdown, on stage Primavera in 2009 (later blaming technical problems, and ‘alcohol addiction’ – isn’t that what disgraced Rep./To Catch a Predator favorite Mark Foley said?…), the San Diego act cancelled their whole European tour.  However, since then Williams got back on the road (QRO photos at a festival), recruited the backing band of the late Jay Reatard (QRO photos), put on the much-praised King of the Beach (QRO review).  And now he returns to Primavera (QRO photos at a festival) – plus he seems to have cut out imitating Pauly Shore…

Christina Rosenvinge, 9:45 PM

Amidst the Americans comes Spain’s own singer Christina Rosenvinge.

Christina Rosenvinge
Girls, 8:15 PM

The band (QRO photos at a festival) with maybe the least creative titling ever (their debut is ‘Album’ – QRO review – at least there’s no actual females in the band…) got notice largely because singer/frontman Christopher Owens was raised in the actually scarily crazy Children of God cult.  But the neo-pop sounds of Girls (QRO photos at a festival) have kept on finding fans (QRO live review), with latest Father, Son, Holy Ghost (QRO review) and their live show (QRO live review).

Chavez, 7:00 PM

A reunion for Primavera, nineties alt-rock outfit Chavez reunited last year for ATP in U.S.A., and are just off playing ATP in London the prior weekend (QRO photos).



Bigott, 6:00 PM



Ray-Ban Stage

Aeroplane, 4:15 AM

Belgian musical outfit Aeroplane combines French house music and a Balearic beat, something sure to fit in Catalonia.

Benga (Live), 3:10 AM

English dubstep producer Benga is one-third of Magnetic Man (QRO live review), and one half (with MM partner) of Skream + Benga (QRO photos at a festival), but comes to Primavera solo & live.

The Drums, 12:50 AM

The indie-pop of Brooklyn’s The Drums (QRO photos) mixes new wave, girl-group, Sweden, electro, and, above all, reverb, for something unique (QRO photos at a festival).  The group (QRO photos at a festival) returns to Primavera behind last year’s Portamento (QRO review) and a killer live show (QRO live review).

The Drums

Afrocubism, 9:00 PM

The Chameleons, 6:50 PM

Cuchillo, 5:00 PM



ATP Stage

Barry Hogan DJ (ATP), 3:00 AM

The founder of All Tomorrow’s Parties (QRO photos from ATP the prior weekend), Barry Hogan, spins to close out the ATP Stage.

Barry Hogan (ATP)
Main, 2:15 AM

Robert Hampson formed the ambient outfit Main with fellow ex-Loop guitarist Scott Dowson in the nineties, but eventually they split for solo work – however, Hampson has recently reformed the Main with German composer Stephen Mathieu.

Codeine, 12:45 AM

New York slowcore outfit Codeine (QRO photos at a festival) only released two albums in the early nineties, Frigid Stars and The White Birch, before breaking up – but those were two influential albums. There’s no better place for a short-lived influential band to reunite than Primavera, and Codeine are (for one of their first performances in eighteen years).

Dirty Three, 11:15 PM

From the other side of the globe comes the instrumental post-rock of Melbourne’s Dirty Three (QRO photos at a festival), who recently released Toward the Low Sun (QRO review).

Dirty Three
Melvins, 9:45 PM

The Melvins’ sludgy rock came to the fore during the grunge heyday of their native Pacific Northwest in the early nineties, but they’ve been rocking since the early eighties all the way through to today (QRO photos at a festival), with last year’s live record Sugar Daddy (QRO review) and recent EP The Bulls and The Bees (QRO review).

I Break Horses, 10:30 PM

Swedish duo Maria Linden & Fredrik Balck have found quick success in English-speaking lands (QRO photos from first U.K. tour), thanks to debut Hearts (QRO review) and their recent tour (QRO live review) with similar-sounding French electro-wave hit M83 (see above).

I Break Horses

Siskiyou, 7:15 PM



Pitchfork Stage

Matías Aguayo/Rebolledo, 4:00 AM

Long-lived Chilean techno artist Matías Aguayo puts down beats in the wee hours.

Matías Aguayo
AraabMUZIK, 2:45 AM

From Providence, Rhode Island of all places, producer AraabMUZIK (QRO photos) is getting known for his live beats over MPC drum machines.


London DJ/producer Aaron Jerome, a.k.a. SBTRKT, has been impressing with his post-dubstep work, which he brings live to Primavera.

Trash Talk, 12:15 AM

One of the most praised bands in today’s revival of hardcore is Sacramento’s Trash Talk.  Judge for yourself what all the Talk is about – just don’t get caught in the pit if you want to survive!

Trash Talk
Sleigh Bells, 11:00 PM

Somewhere between noise and pop lies Brooklyn’s Sleigh Bells (QRO photos at a festival).  The duo of Derek E. Miller & Alexis Krauss (QRO photos) all of a sudden became the hottest thing out there with debut Treats, including touring with M.I.A. (QRO photos) & playing Primavera 2010 – and they’ve kept up the heat this year with Reign of Terror (QRO review) and their bigger-and-bigger headline dates (QRO live review).

Sleigh Bells
The War On Drugs, 9:45 PM

On the more psych end of the indie-rock spectrum is The War On Drugs (QRO live review).

The War On Drugs

Lower Dens, 8:30 PM QRO photos at a festival

Dirty Beaches, 7:15 PMQRO photos outdoors

Milk Music, 6:00 PM  (also playing Parc de la Ciutadella (Stage 2) on Sunday at 3:45 PM)

Beach Beach, 5:00 PM

Lower Dens


VICE Stage

Obits, 3:00 AM

You don’t need to stay up late at the VICE Stage for the overrated Obits, who were anything but inspiring on records Standard and Poor and I Blame You (QRO review).

The Men, 1:45 AM

Harder-hitting pop-rock outfit The Men (QRO photos at a festival) cross boundaries from pop to metal to experimental (QRO photos at a festival).

The Men
Mayhem, 12:15 AM

From the other side of Europe comes Mayhem, one of the pioneers of Norway’s legendary black metal scene, who have had one of the most controversial and bloody careers in music, including the 1991 suicide of singer Per Yngve Ohlin and the murder two years later of guitarist Øystein Aarseth by former member Varg Vikernes (not to mention Vikernes’ involvement in a string of Norwegian church burnings).  They disbanded after Aarseth’s death, just before the release of seminal debut De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, but reformed and have since gone on to expand their sound in experimental ways, and their last record, 2007’s Ordo Ad Chao, won Norway’s prestigious Spellemannprisen award for Best Metal Album.

Napalm Death, 11:00 PM

Another major influence on European metal, Birmingham’s Napalm Death bring in hardcore punk and deep, guttural vocals to the sound.

Napalm Death
Liturgy, 9:45 PM

There’s even a place for American black metal at Primavera, thanks to Brooklyn’s Liturgy (QRO photos), who take the sound farther in last year’s Aesthethica (QRO review).

Harvey Milk, 8:30 PM

From Athens, Georgia, Harvey Milk draw comparisons to acts like the Melvins (see above), but draw inspiration from everyone from Leonard Cohen to Hank Williams (they did a live show of only Williams covers) and their hometown’s R.E.M. – the group once played the seminal Reckoning (QRO deluxe edition review) front-to-back at home, with Michael Stipe in attendance, on April Fool’s.



Orthodox, 7:15 PM

Fasenuova, 6:00 PM

Picore, 5:00 PM

Harvey Milk


Auditori RockDelux

Big Star’s Third, 9:45 PM

One of the iconic rock groups of the sixties and seventies, Big Star may have invented power-pop but never quite got their due.  That was changing more recently as countless acts cited the group & frontman Alex Chilton (though the best name-check is still “Alex Chilton” by The Replacements…), and the group was scheduled to reunite at South-by-Southwest 2010 (QRO recap) when Chilton suddenly and tragically died on the first day of the festival.

What had been planned to be a reunion quickly turned into a tribute – and has kept on going.  Artists from Peter Buck & Mike Mills of R.E.M. (QRO album review) to M. Ward (QRO album review) to Pat Sansone (of Wilco – see above) to Replacements’ own Tommy Stinson (QRO album review) have joined the tribute ensemble around Big Star drummer/only living member Jody Stephens, who have toured everywhere from SXSW 2012 (QRO photos at SXSW 2012) to London’s Barbican to now Primavera.

Big Star's 'Third'
Marianne Faithfull, 8:00 PM

No music festival is complete without a singer/songwriter of a previous era being introduced to a whole new generation of music fans, and while Primavera can’t have Alex Chilton (see just above), it does have the great Marianne Faithfull.  This English songstress with Austro-Hungarian aristocratic roots (her great-great-uncle, Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, wrote the erotic Venus In Furs, which spawned the word ‘masochism’) came up in the ‘Swinging London’ rock music scene of the sixties.  This included a struggle with drugs, as well as dating Mick Jagger – she co-wrote The Stones’ “Sister Morphine”, and The Beatles’ “And Your Bird Can Sing” is about her.

It all saw her end up homeless on the streets of London for much of the seventies, and could have ended there, but instead Faithfull came back in full force in 1979 with the massively acclaimed Broken English, which tapped into the punk scene that was exploding at the time.  Faithfull’s struggles & career continued to have ups & downs (a bad appearance on Saturday Night Live, performing the in Roger Waters’ inaugural performance of The WallQRO more recent photos), including work in jazz and opera, but she has sobered up and kept up, with her eighteenth studio album, Horses and High Heels, out last year.

Marianna Faithfull
Jeff Mangum, 6:30 PM

Hipsters around the world were overjoyed last year when it was announced that Jeff Mangum would return to performing.  The frontman/songwriter of the seminal Neutral Milk Hotel (and key founder of the Elephant Six collective), their 1998 In the Aeroplane Over the Sea has become a touchstone for alternative music lovers from Mary Lynn Rajskub to Parks & Recreation‘s April Ludgate.  His reunion tour (QRO live review) has been a decidedly subdued affair, without even camera-phones allowed, so just relax and revel in Mangum.

Also playing Saturday on Auditori RockDelux at 7:00 PM

Jeff Mangum
Laura Marling, 5:15 PM

Laura Marling (QRO live review) didn’t attend King’s College or St. Paul’s School like Noah & The Whale (QRO live review) and Mumford & Sons (QRO live review), as the two London institutions are both boys’ schools (though St. Paul’s has recently begun admitting girls).  But she’s (QRO photos in native U.K.) performed with both, as well made an impressive career (QRO photos) all her own (QRO photos at a festival).



Nick Garrie plays The Nightmare of J.B. Stanislas, 4:00 PM

Laura Marling
Adidas Originals Stage

Ed Wood, 1:45 AM

Kristen, 12:30 AM

The Gangjas, 11:15 PM

Bernard Fleischmann, 10:00 PM

Napszyklat, 7:30 PM

Boxeur the Coeur, 6:15 PM

Boxeur the Coeur


San Miguel Stage

Justice, 1:45 AM

One of the biggest breakouts in the recent dance-rock craze has been France’s Justice (QRO photos at a festival), who followed up smash 2007 debut with last fall’s Audio, Video, Disco, as well as expanding their live show (QRO photos), including at festivals.

Saint Etienne, 11:00 PM

Former music journalists Bob Stanly and Paul Wiggs teamed up with singer Sarah Cracknell to be a major force in London’s indie-dance scene in the early nineties, and have stayed a force for over two decades now.

Saint Etienne
Kings of Convenience, 8:30 PM

From Bergen in Norway, Erlend Øye and Eirik Glambek Bøe form the delicate and subtle Kings of Convenience, whose intricate and affectionate music has won fans around the world.

Also playing La [2] on Sunday at 9:00 PM

Kings of Convenience
Sharon Van Etten, 6:10 PM

While there’s a ton of stripped songstresses out there, one of the nicer ones is Sharon Van Etten (QRO photos at a festival), who evoked the sad strains of Appalachia on her debut, Because I Was In Love (QRO review), while last year’s Epic (QRO review) made her the Brooklyn ‘it girl’ (QRO photos at a festival), and this year’s Tramp (QRO review) has gotten her get even more acclaim – and attention (QRO photos).

Sharon Van Etten


Mini Stage

LFO, 2:30 AM

Mark Bell helped pioneer IDM and acid house as LFO.

Yo La Tengo, 12:45 AM

There are precious few alt-rock bands with as wide a discography to choose from for fans that Hoboken, New Jersey’s Yo La Tengo (QRO photos outdoors), like their umpteenth new release in 2009, Popular Songs (QRO review).   The trio (QRO photos at a festival) of singer/guitarist Ira Kaplan, drummer (and wife) Georgia Hubley, and bassist James McNew (QRO photos outdoors) has been making critically acclaimed music for song long now that it’s hard to think of a time when they weren’t (QRO photos at a festival).  Their live show (QRO live review) has always featured some audience requests, from a very knowledgeable crowd.

And you know with a name like theirs (taken from an anecdote about the 1962 Mets), they’re big in Spain, coming to Primavera for a third time.

Yo La Tengo
Hanni El Khatib, 11:15 PM

Cali skateboarder Hanni El Khatib has found new life on the guitar, with his upcoming sophomore record to be produced by Dan Auerbach (QRO album review) of The Black Keys (QRO album review).

Hanni El Khatib
Beach House, 9:45 PM

The guitar-and-keys pair of Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally (QRO photos at a festival) may hail from Baltimore, but there’s a Francophile expanse to Beach House (QRO photos).  2008’s Devotion (QRO review) earned them many fans that felt that way (QRO live review), and 2010’s Teen Dream (QRO review) was shortlisted for ‘albums of the year’.  Now they’ve got Bloom, out right before Primavera, and they also they’re working the festivals (QRO photos at a festival).  And the sweet sounds work in the bright sunlight (QRO photos outdoors) or the dark of the evening.

Beach House

Grupo de Expertos Solynieve, 8:15 PM

Veronica Falls, 7:00 PM  (also playing Parc de la Ciutadella (Stage 2) on Sunday at 5:15 PM)QRO album review

The Right Ons, 6:00 PM

Veronica Falls
Ray-Ban Stage

Scuba, 4:15 AM

Britain-by-way-of-Berlin dubstep DJ Scuba spins in the wee hours at the Ray-Ban Stage.

Neon Indian, 3:10 AM

Alan Palomo worked solo as VEGA (QRO photos at a festival) and recruited a live band as Neon Indian (QRO photos at the same festival), where he’s far stronger (QRO photos with his band), especially outdoors (QRO photos outdoors with band) & at a festival (QRO photos at a festival with band).  He comes to Primavera (QRO photos) behind his latest, Era Extraña, and after touring colleges (QRO live review), museums (QRO photos), Down Under (QRO live review), and more (QRO photos).

Neon Indian
Wild Beasts, 12:30 AM

From the Lake District is the dream-pop Wild Beasts (QRO live review), who are neither wild nor beastly (QRO photos at a festival).

WIld Beasts

Dominique A, 9:45 PM

Lisabö, 7:20 PM

Refree, 5:00 PM  (also playing Parc de la Ciutadella on Sunday at 1:00 PM)

ATP Stage

DJ Coco, 3:15 AM

The Pop Group, 2:00 AM

Godflesh, 12:30 AM

Shellac, 11:00 PM – QRO photos at Primavera 2011

Demdike Stare, 9:45 PM

Forest Swords, 8:30 PM

Sleepy Sun, 7:15 PMQRO photos at a festival

Tall Firs, 6:00 PMQRO photos at a festival

Sleepy Sun
Tall Firs


Pitchfork Stage

Jackmaster, Oneman, Deadboy, Spencer, Redinho (Numbers showcase), 3:00 AM

Electronic label Numbers has a showcase late night at Pitchfork Stage.

Washed Out, 2:00 AM

Slowly percolating up has been the new ‘chillwave’ movement, whose sound is about as defined as that term, but one of those artists is Ernest Greene (QRO interview) who moved his work out of the bedroom (where he recorded Life of Leisure EPQRO review) and onto the live stage (QRO live review) as Washed Out (QRO spotlight on), as well as recruiting a full band (QRO photos at a festival) for his latest, last year’s Within and Without (QRO review).

Washed Out
The Weeknd, 12:30 AM

Check out the latest highly hyped alt-hip-hop star, Toronto’s The Weeknd.

The Weeknd
James Ferraro, 7:30 PM

Check out the interesting and compelling experimental music of James Ferraro (QRO photos at a festival).

James Ferraro
Chromatics, 11:15 PM

Johnny Jewel of the electronic Glass Candy comes to Primavera in solo side-project, the noisier & more chaotic Chromatics.

Real Estate, 10:00 PM

Pitchfork has long loved Ridgewood, New Jersey’s Real Estate (QRO live review), including last year’s sophomore release Days (QRO review), so see for yourself if they’re right as the band returns to Primavera (QRO photos at a festival).

Real Estate
Atlas Sound, 8:45 PM

Bradford Cox of Deerhunter (QRO live review) was one of the busiest people in indie-rock in 2008, putting out not only two Deerhunter records, Microcastle (QRO review) & Weird Era Cont. (QRO review), but also his first solo record as Atlas Sound (QRO live review), Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel (QRO review), with tracks like “River Card” (QRO video) & “Winter Vacation” (QRO video). While Deerhunter eased up a bit the following year, Atlas Sound kept going with Logos (QRO review) and now Parallax (QRO review), as well as touring (QRO photos from 2009), including festivals (QRO photos at a festival), where the expansive ambient rock of “Logos” (QRO video) can “take it to the fields” (QRO live review).



Sandro Perri, 6:15 PM

Anímic, 5:00 PM

Atlas Sound


VICE Stage

Pional (Live), 4:15 AM

Spanish DJ Pional performs live to close out the VICE Stage.

Jamie xx, 2:15 AM

One-third of The xx (see above), Jamie xx has also been making his own (first) name in DJing & production circles.

Jamie xx
Mujeres, 1:15 AM

Local Barcelona band Mujeres plays Primavera for a second time.

Hype Williams, 12:00 AM

Award-winning film & music video director Hype Williams has worked with the likes of Busta Rhymes (“Woo Hah”), TLC (“No Scrubs”), and even Kanye West (“Gold Digger”), but comes to Primavera on his own.

Hype Williams
OFF!, 10:55 PM

Los Angeles’ own Keith Morris worked in seminal punk outfits Circle Jerks (QRO live review) & Black Flag and now he’s got a new outfit in OFF! (QRO photos – with members of Redd Kross, Rocket From the Crypts & more), but don’t worry – he plays the old classics, too.

The Olivia Tremor Control, 9:45 PM

Out of the Elephant Six collective that also gave the world Apples in Stereo (QRO live review), of Montreal (QRO live review), and Neutral Milk Hotel came The Olivia Tremor Control.  They broke up back in 2000, but reunited for All Tomorrow’s Parties in the U.K. (the U.S. version brought back ex-Olivia/Neutral songwriter Jeff Mangum – see above & below), and are currently working on new material.

The Olivia Tremor Control

Girls Names, 8:30 PM  (also playing Parc de la Ciutadella (Stage 1) on Sunday at 4:30 PM)

Milagres, 7:15 PMQRO photos outdoors

Atleta, 6:00 PM

Senior i El Cor Brutal, 5:00 PM

Adidas Originals Stage

Mutiny On the Bounty, 11:15 PM

Inborn!, 8:45 PM

King of the Opera, 7:30 PM

Astro, 5:00 PM

Mutiny On the Bounty



Auditori RockDelux

Josh T. Pearson, 10:00 PM

Though he started as part of the short-lived, well-loved Lift to Experience, alt-country artist Josh T. Pearson has since forged his own path.

Josh T. Pearson
Buffy Sainte-Marie, 8:30 PM

A national treasure in Canada, Buffy Sainte-Marie brought her native Cree culture into sixties folk scene, while treading from pop to country and touching on everything from war to love.  Her influence has continued long since the sixties and seventies, from penning the Academy Award-winning love song “Up Where We Belong”, appearing numerous times on Sesame Street (even breast-feeding her son in one episode), was one of the earliest to adopt computer recording (on Apple IIs…) and internet transmission (via early modems from her home in Hawaii in her 1992 return to recording, Coincidence and Likely Stories), and championing numerous Native American & First Nations causes.

Buffy Sainte-Marie
Jeff Mangum, 7:00 PM

Hipsters around the world were overjoyed last year when it was announced that Jeff Mangum would return to performing.  The frontman/songwriter of the seminal Neutral Milk Hotel (and key founder of the Elephant Six collective), their 1998 In the Aeroplane Over the Sea has become a touchstone for alternative music lovers from Mary Lynn Rajskub to Parks & Recreation‘s April Ludgate.  His reunion tour (QRO live review) has been a decidedly subdued affair, without even camera-phones allowed, so just relax and revel in Mangum.

Also playing Friday on Auditori Rockdelux at 6:30 PM

Jeff Mangum
Michael Gira, 5:30 PM

Michael Gira was the main force behind seminal post-punk outfit Swans (QRO live review), who reformed last year and played Primavera 2011 – and now he comes back to Barcelona for a solo performance.



Father John Misty, 4:00 PM

Michael Gira





Black Lips, 12:15 AM

A band better known for their live show than their records, that’s not just because of the relatively unimpressive recorded material like 2010’s 200 Million Thousand (QRO review) or last year’s Arabia Mountain (QRO review), but also due to their crazy mishmash of genres and styles on stage (QRO live review).  Atlanta’s The Black Lips’ wild live show includes everything from nudity to fireworks – and live animals (QRO photos at a festival).   Barcelona should hopefully let the boys let ‘er rip (QRO photos outdoors), but be rest assured their rabidly loyal fan base will still be crying out for more (QRO photos outdoors at a festival).

Also playing Arc de Triomf on Wednesday at 10:40 PM

Black Lips
La [2]

Kings of Convenience, 9:00 PM

From Bergen in Norway, Erlend Øye and Eirik Glambek Bøe form the delicate and subtle Kings of Convenience, whose intricate and affectionate music has won fans around the world.

Also playing Saturday on San Miguel Stage at 8:30 PM

Kings of Convenience
Arc de Triomf

Richard Hawley, 10:30 PM

Yann Tiersen, 9:10 PM

Nacho Vegas, 8:00 PM

Joe Crepúsculo, 7:00 PM

Lorena Álvarez Y Su Banda Municipal, 6:00 PM  (also playing Minimúsica (Parc de la Ciutadella) at 1:00 PM)

Yann Tiersen
Minimusica (Parc de la Ciutadella)

Fred i Son, 1:00 PM

Internet2, 1:00 PM

Lorena Álvarez Y Su Banda Municipal, 1:00 PM  (also on Arc de Triomf at 6:00 PM)

Refree, 1:00 PM  (also playing Saturday on the Ray-Ban Stage at 5:00 PM)

Parc de la Ciutadella (Stage 1)

Girls Names, 4:30 PM  (also playing VICE Stage on Saturday at 8:30 PM)

Cosmen Adelaide, 3:00 PM

Ocellot, 2:00 PM

Parc de la Ciutadella (Stage 2)

Veronica Falls, 5:15 PM  (also playing Mini Stage on Saturday at 7:00 PM)QRO album review

Milk Music, 3:45 PM  (also playing Pitchfork Stage on Friday at 6:00 PM)

Boreals, 2:30 PM

Veronica Falls



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