by Kelly Fahey

1. Thurston Moore

At last year’s Hopscotch Music Festival in Raleigh, I walked into Kings Barcade thinking that I missed Thurston Moore’s set. To my surprise, he was on the stage hacking away at his guitar with a screwdriver as part of an improvisational noise set with Japanese experimental artist Merzbow. It was incredible. This year, the former Sonic Youth front man returns to Hopscotch with a new all-star band, featuring My Bloody Valentine bass player Debbie Googe, Chrome Hoof guitarist James Sedwards and former Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley.

2. The War on Drugs

The War on Drugs’ new album Lost in the Dream is one of my favorite releases of 2014 so far. It’s somewhere in between a new-wave Bruce Springsteen and if U2 kicked Bono out of the band and replaced him with Bob Dylan. Alas, the band’s show is at the same time as Thurston Moore’s. Decisions, decisions.

3. Potty Mouth

Potty Mouth has all of the fun catchiness of the Dum Dum Girls without the insurmountable layer of cheese. The Massachusetts band has been making some major waves lately, and for good reason. It produces an indie-pop sound with serious backbone.

4. Black Santa

I’m glad that the Triad is getting some love at this year’s Hopscotch Greensboro-based Black Santa is just one of the bands from the area playing the festival this year. They representing WUAG at the College Radio Showcase, and will undoubtedly be giving us a good name. Its music takes dashes of ethereal dream pop and interrupts them with fast-paced punk. It results in the whole being entirely different from the parts, something new all together.

5. Prince Rama

Sisters Taraka and Nimai Larson brought their dance-inducing intensity to the Blind Tiger in 2012 for a WUAG Presents show, which I missed. I’m looking forward to getting the chance to redeem myself. On their surface, Prince Rama’s songs are rhythmic dance jams. Underlying themes of mortality and doom are injected and mixed with Sanskrit chants, making for a truly fresh approach to music.

6. Ed Schrader’s Music Beat

Yes, I just covered their show for our Aug. 27 issue. Regardless, I can’t get enough of Ed Schrader’s Music Beat. The Baltimore-based punk duo brings a jolt of energy into any show they play, and they’re some of the nicest people I’ve met as well.

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