10 Acts to See Primavera Sound’s Inaugural Los Angeles Festival

In less than two weeks, Primavera Sound is making its debut in the US with its festival in Los Angeles. Originating in Barcelona, Spain, Primavera Sound is one of the largest and most-attended music festivals in Europe, featuring performances from artist like Arcade Fire, The National, Kendrick Lamar, James Blake, Bon Iver, and more over the years since its start in 2001.

At the beginning of 2022, Primavera announced four new additions taking place in Los Angeles, Santiago de Chile, Buenos Aires, and São Paolo. 

Primavera Sound Los Angeles hits the State Historic Park from September 16 through September 18, featuring headlining performances from Lorde, Arctic Monkeys, Nine Inch Nails, and more. Some other lineup highlights include Mitski, James Blake, Giveon, Khruangbin, and Girl In Red.

If you’ve taken a look at our festival coverage before, you probably know that we love to highlight some of the smaller artists we’re looking forward to seeing: which is exactly what’s to come below. Additionally, Primavera is hosting a handful of after shows at a variety of Los Angeles venues. Check out the full list of offerings here.

Shygirl: 4:15-5pm – Primavera Stage
Genre: Experimental Pop
RIYL: Sophie, Arca, Azealia Banks

London electronic artist Shygirl has quickly made a name for herself as the heiress-apparent of glitchy hyperpop, collaborating with artists like Arca, Mura Masa, PinkPantheress and slowthai. After a few years of singles and the excellent EP ALIAS, Shygirl’s debut album Nymph is finally set to arrive in September, which she’s sure to preview during her set. Check out the singles “Firefly” and “Come For Me,” solid left-of-center pop tunes that set the tone for her upcoming debut. 

Shygirl’s hypnotic combination of clubby textures, braggadocious bars, and a light vocal touch is guaranteed to get the crowd moving early. Don’t miss her first US festival appearance of the summer. – Andy

Pinkpantheress: 5-5:45pm – Tecate Alta Stage
Genre: Bedroom pop
Charli XCX, Clairo

21-year-old Vicky Walker, better known for her stage name PinkPantheress, has been making waves ever since her singles “Just For Me” and “Pain” did that thing on TikTok and garnered her over 300 million streams on Spotify between the two tracks.

PinkPantheress, whose music frequently samples other tracks from the 90s and 2000s, are usually under two minutes long: her debut album To Hell With It features ten tracks and clocks in at just under 19 minutes. With an allotted performance slot that allows her over double the time she uses on her debut album, I’ll be curious to see what she can do on the stage. – Kristin

Clairo: 5:45-6:30pm – Primavera Stage
Genre: Indie Pop
RIYL: Phoebe Bridgers

Despite being the second booked (right behind Lorde) on Friday’s lineup, Clairo’s performing much earlier than I would have anticipated. You may be wondering why I’m including Clairo, an artist we’ve covered extensively and is pretty well known already, in this round-up: but I have my reasons. I find this is an important time in Clairo’s career in terms of where she decides to take her sound: her debut album Immunity was in our best of ’19 list at #13: Sling barely cracked the top half at #23 in 2021.

Still, I’m certainly planning on giving her the benefit of the doubt: I last saw her perform in 2019 at The Metro, and though Immunity wasn’t necessarily full of uptempo bangers by any means, I’m curious to see how she brings the slower melodies from Sling to life onstage. – Kristin

Wunderhorse: 1-1:30pm – Tecate Alta Stage
Genre: Rock
Sam Fender, Wild Nothing

While the team at Staged Haze was admittedly looking forward to checking out Amaarae’s set at Primavera this year, the fest announced she would no longer be playing just a couple weeks out. Luckily for us, this means we got familiar with the replacement performer: Wunderhorse, who’s currently touring in the states with Fontaines DC (also on the lineup, more below).

Led by Jacob Slater, Wunderhorse has been quietly making their way through the UK alternative rock scene, reminding me of artists like Sam Fender, Arctic Monkeys, and Foals. With only a handful of singles and one EP out, Wunderhorse is set to release their debut full-length project, Cub, on September 16: a perfect time for the band to celebrate during their early Saturday afternoon set. – Kristin

Georgia: 3-3:50pm, Tecate Alta Stage
Genre: Pop
RIYL: Robyn, Self Esteem

Though British musician Georgia was quite the soccer star when she was a kid, she always seemed destined for a career in music. Her father, Neil Barnes, was the cofounder of the electronic music project called Leftfield, a group that was once named “the single most influential production team working in British dance music.”

Georgia initially started her career as a drummer working with artists like Kwes and Kae Tempest, but released her debut project as a singer and record producer in 2015, titled Georgia. Her sophomore album, Seeking Thrills, was released in 2020, and was later shortlisted for the Mercury Prize the same year.

Georgia’s pop reminds me of another one of Europe’s biggest pop stars, Robyn: both musicians feature a lot of electronic elements in their work.

Since the release of Seeking Thrills, Georgia has been fairly quiet. We’re curious to see what she has in store for her set in LA next week. – Kristin

Fontaines DC: 6-7pm – Tecate Alta Stage
Genre: Post Punk
RIYL: IDLES, Parquet Court

2022 seems to be the year Fontaines DC evolved from an exciting up-and-comer to a festival mainstay, a big-tent act to catch right in their prime. Their April album Skinty Fia was their first to go to number one in the United Kingdom and in their home country, Ireland. Beyond their rapid chart success, Skinty Fia is quite comfortably their best record yet. Singles like “Jackie Down the Line” and “I Love You” balance the unnerving tension of UK post-punk with an arena-ready rhythm section. The songs are a bit intellectual, pulsating, and gothic, but they’re also bangers.  Fontaines DC have been touring Skinty Fia for months, earning massive acclaim along the way.

In particular, their set at Primavera Barcelona seemed to solidify their status as a festival highlight for attendees and music circles alike. Without a doubt, they’ll do just the same at Primavera LA. – Andy

Surf Curse: 8-9pm, Tecate Alta Stage
Genre: Beach Rock 
RIYL: Mac DeMarco, TV Girl

Surf Curse have quietly become one of the reining alt-rock kings of Gen-Z. Their single “Freaks” went viral on Tik Tok, and the song propelled the Nevada quartet into the spotlight. It’s easy to hear the viral appeal of “Freaks:” it’s a danceable and catchy track, dissonant and tense enough to still feel cutting edge and alternative.

The rest of Surf Curse’s could be summed up with the band’s namesake. They make music for grey and cloudy days on the beach, surf rock tracks tinged with an air of spookiness and mystery.  Their fourth album Magic Hour, and first via Atlantic Records, comes out September 16th, just a day before their Primavera set on the 17th. Don’t miss their very first live performance after the release of Magic Hour. They’re sure to kick off their North American tour with a moody show worthy of their name. – Andy

Faye Webster: 3:45-4:30pm – Primavera Stage
Genre: Indie Folk/Rock
RIYL: Courtney Barnett, Wet Leg

Faye Webster has spent 2022 touring her album I Know I’m Funny haha, which came outlast June. In my mind, it’s a summer album through and through. I Know I’m Funny haha and her 2019 release Atlanta Millionaires Club coalesce county, folk, and indie pop into a sunny, golden, and nostalgic sound. Faye’s folk-rock is breezy and light, although it never strays too far into lightness as to be insubstantial.

I Know I’m Funny haha is the soundtrack to an afternoon journaling outside: contemplative, considerate, and warm. Faye Webster will be the perfect choice for an afternoon end-of-the-summer festival. – Andy

Dry Cleaning: 4:30-5:15pm – Barcelona Stage
Genre: Post Punk 
RIYL: Wet Leg, Yard Act 

I’ll admit, I was a Dry Cleaning skeptic for a bit. The band’s sound, while undeniably unique, initially read as a bit too brainy for me. At first, their combination of spoken word vocals and Joy Division-influenced instrumentals intrigued me, but it didn’t hold my attention. After catching their set at Pitchfork Festival last month, I see the error of my ways. They won me over. 

One of the first things that’s apparent about Dry Cleaning live is how active the guitar is in the mix. Guitarist Tom Dowse seemed to spend his entire time on stage propelling the band with spinning, steely guitar lines, reined in by Florence Shaw’s observational and lethargic vocals. The entire rhythm section was loud, heavy, and cathartic in ways that escaped me on the record. Each of Shaw’s spoken-word inflections took her sense of humor and ironic disposition to new dimensions. Since the show, I’ve revisited their debut New Long Leg. It’s a grown on me tremendously, and I have that set to thank. – Andy

Amyl & The Sniffers: 4:30-5:15pm – Tecate Alta Stage
Genre: Punk rock
RIYL: Wolf Alice, Viagra Boys

There comes an artist every now and then whose sound defies my taste in genre: I’m not usually one to like rap music, but I have a strange fascination with Brockhampton. Generally indifferent towards electronic, but Disclosure and Odesza both intrigue me. This is how I feel about Amyl & The Sniffers, a band whose name I saw floating around virtually EVERYWHERE online earlier this year, so I knew I had to take a listen.

Formed in Melbourne, Austrlia, Amyl & The Sniffers wrote, recorded, and released their first EP, Giddy Up, in a span of 12 hours. In a previous interview with BBC, lead singer Amy Taylor explained the name of the band: “In Australia we call poppers Amyl. So you sniff it, it lasts for 30 seconds and then you have a headache – and that’s what we’re like!” TLDR: If you like chaotic pop punk music reminiscent of the 1970s, I suggest you check out Amyl & The Sniffers. – Kristin

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