Backyard finds:locals to rediscover Though it draws big names from around the world, Hopscotch has always been an excellent showcase of homegrown talent, too. This year is no different, from alt-country heroes American Aquarium on the main stage to Clang Quartet's blend of harsh noise and religious performance art. Pay special attention to these five locals.
PHIL COOK'S SOUTHLAND MISSION: Whether as a co-founder of Megafaun, a sideman for Hiss Golden Messenger or a reliable soloist, Phil Cook's distillations of country, blues, folk, rock and experimental music have been consistently compelling. His latest album, the terrific Southland Mission, swings from sturdy blues-rock to gospel uplift. At Hopscotch, he'll play through the album on its release date in grand fashion, with a stable of all-stars at his back. (THURSDAY, 11 P.M., FLETCHER OPERA THEATER)
CARLITTA DURAND: Much like her frequent collaborators in The Foreign Exchange, Carlitta Durand favors a laid-back R&B vibe. But her left-field detours make her most exciting. "Find a Way" cuts a path between Solange and the Dirty Projectors. "100 Nudges of Love" couples a hyperactive beat with down-tempo soul. Familiar and adventurous, Durand captures the Hopscotch spirit as well as anyone you'll see this weekend. (FRIDAY, 6:10 P.M., CITY PLAZA)
JAKE XERXES FUSSELL: Godspeed You! Black Emperor may still be playing when Jake Xerxes Fussell takes the stage, but Fussell's worth an early exit. His William Tyler-produced debut is a reverent and invigorated resurrection of old blues tunes, built around a slightly gruff croon. (THURSDAY, 9 P.M., FLETCHER OPERA THEATER)
BANDAGES: Built from the ruins of contemporary hardcore heroes Double Negative and Pollution, Bandages are as likely to leave a (black and blue) mark on all who hear them. The band's scathing hardcore thrives on repetition and pummeling low-end. (SATURDAY, 9:30 P.M., SLIM'S)
PATOIS COUNSELORS: The new Charlotte band Patois Counselors boasts a cadre of seasoned vets, all making brusque, literate post-punk. Stacked against a trifecta of boundary-bursting loud bands—Mamiffer, Fórn, Sannhet—Patois Counselors' anxious energy is a tie-breaker for adventurous ears. (THURSDAY, 11:30 P.M., SLIM'S) —Bryan C. Reed