Basilica Hudson’s annual Soundscape festival is known for its expansive, experimental line-ups. Past headliners have included electronic composer Tim Hecker, Bard College’s The Orchestra Now, and noise-rock legends Swans, and the shows always result in a gloriously unpredictable concert-going experience. Although it’s still coming together, 2019’s roster is already proving to be no exception. From punk to ambient to a one-of-a-kind take on Egyptian folk music, here’s your guide to the best acts announced so far.
FFO: Black Flag
These lo-fi punks write Party Bangers with tongue only partly in cheek. Sub-two-minute blasts of guitar-and-drums meet with Kali-Ann Butala’s sneering snarl for the most fun you’ll have in the pit all weekend.
Genre: Extreme Metal
The most adventurous and consistently-interesting band in modern metal, The Body has recorded a sludge metal record with a women’s choir, covered Fleetwood Mac, and recording an album entirely with its own samples. The duo can also tear up a stage with the heaviest music imaginable, so it’s anyone’s guess what version of the band will show up in Hudson.
FFO: Pig Destroyer
Loud, fast, and out of patience: this sums up the worldview of these take-no-prisoners Michigan punks, who frequently cram enough riffs, solos, and breakdowns for an entire LP into one of their super-short songs. They’ll get the pit started, but they can’t promise anyone will enjoy it.
Genre: Experimental Folk
Truly one of the most interesting musical adventures today, Jerusalem mix Arabic folk music with an experimental sensibility, merging traditional instruments like the riq and santur with electronic production, found sounds, and ambitious live visuals. This is sure to be one of the festival’s most memorable performances.
FFO: John Cale
A longtime member of Montreal’s avant-garde music scene, Moss’s solo work samples her voice and violin to create emotionally expansive compositions that touch on everything from the birth of a child to the entirety of the cosmos. Her performance at Basilica last fall was one of the most powerful musical experiences in recent memory.
Genre: Industrial Goth
FFO: Zola Jesus
Building songs around her operatic voice, LI’s Kristin Hayter creates harrowing soundscapes out of synths, drum machines, and heavily-processed piano. In her work, staggering beauty frequently meets punishing noise.
FFO: Low – a genre in-and-of themselves
Credited with inventing the (admittedly tenuous) genre of slowcore, Low have remained some of the most adventurous souls in all of underground music, rarely making two similar albums in a row. 2018’s Long Division was a career highlight, sampling and distorting Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker’s harmonies until nothing but pure noise remains. It’s as beautifully alienating experience as any you’re likely to have with a record.
Genre: Indie Rock
Katie Crutchfield has been circling around the fuzzy energy of 90s indie rock since her teenage days making DIY pop punk as PS Eliot, but she embraced it on 2017’s Out in the Storm, all huge, screaming guitars and snarling kiss-offs. Crutchfield is forever riding a line between the tender and the tenacious, imbuing both acoustic ballads and synth-driven anthems with equal pathos. Brush up so you can sing along.