If you’re still scrambling for Memorial Day Weekend plans, don’t fret, because this Sunday, May 29 and Monday, May 30, UCLA is hosting the mother of all music fests, and it’s guaranteed to fill your entire four-day work week with positive vibrations. In its 25th year, the annual JazzReggae Festival is yet again delivering the goods (i.e., lots o’ jazz and lots o’ reggae). But they’re also bringing in a heavy-handed helping of fringe. Think buzzable hip-hop artists, hot indie rockers, and verifiable genre fusers. Below we run down three acts we think are more than worth the price of admission. For the full lineup, visit jazzreggaefest.com.
Little Dragon: If you’ve caught them locally before, you know what we’re talking about here. If you haven’t, all the more reason to head south this Sunday. In the past year, this Swedish four-piece has gone from buzzworthy to a true hot commodity, thanks to some seriously seductive synthpop sounds and a handful of well-placed guest spots alongside Damon Albarn’s Gorillaz. Add to that Japanese-Swedish frontwoman Yukimi Nagano’s otherworldly turns at the mike, and you’ve got the makings of one of the best live music dance parties around. And if you’re not convinced, we advise you check out “Runabout.” Don’t say we didn’t warn ya’. Visit little-dragon.se
Quadron: Forget Adele, Mayer Hawthorne, and that Jamie Liddell kid. In the land of throwback soul, Quadron’s twinkling, quirky shtick will always take the cake. Why? Because frontwoman Coco Maja Hastrup Karshøj’s voice is a smoky, sultry force to be reckoned with. And laid against a downtempo beat, or a cascade of keys, or a sexy sax solo, it’s a downright magical listening experience. Still, Karshøj is only one-half of the equation here, and bandmate Robin Hannibal does no small part in making Quadron what it is. In recorded form, the Danish duo is best described as “ambient, electro soul,” the Motown version of Beach House, if you will. In concert, we can only imagine the hip shaking and closed-eye grooving that will result.
Los Rakas: If genre ambiguousness is what you’re after, look no further than Panama-cum-Cali’s Los Rakas. Since forming four years back, this duo has been blurring the lines between hip-hop and dancehall. The result is a furious mix of beats, Spanish-English lyric spitting, and just enough production tricks to call out to that other worldly rhyme slayer, M.I.A. Pooling from their hometown’s more prevalent sonic treats—salsa, merengue, and reggae—Los Rakas’ Rico and Dun feel like E-40 backed by bigger, better, and more twisted percussion. Recorded, these two remind us that the need to get down knows no language, location, or color lines. Live, it’s sure to be a party. Visit losrakas.bandcamp.com.