Alert your friends and family! Start calling the folks in your phone tree! Send out smoke signals! Tweet! Facebook! The word is out on the street now—the initial lineup for this year's MusicfestNW is here!!!!

Please accept our excitement as genuine because, even though we have a bit of an inside track on this event—WW puts the thing on every year—the lineup that organizer Trevor Solomon and his crew put together never ceases to thrill us. And this, the 12th MusicfestNW, is no exception. Just a few highlights: Silversun Pickups, Girl Talk, and Beirut are all doing shows at Pioneer Courthouse Square! The Old 97s will be performing Too Far To Care in its entirety! The Red Bull Common Thread series featuring sets by Dinosaur Jr., Sebadoh, and J. Mascis!  

If you want to hurry to the lineup, scroll on down from this introduction here, but first some pertinent details: 

This year's MFNW is going down from the 5th to the 9th of September. Wristbands and tickets for shows at Pioneer Courthouse Square, Crystal Ballroom, Roseland Theater, and the Aladdin Theater will be going on sale this Friday, June 1st via Cascade Tickets (click here to find out just which shows are happening where). The prices are $125 for a wristband that gets you into everything - including the three shows at Pioneer Courthouse Square; or you can pay $75 for a ticket to one of the outdoor shows and the rest of the fest. 

Now, we could go on and on about each of the local and international acts playing at the festival this year, but instead, we just wanted to take a moment to highlight those bands that we wouldn't dare miss at MFNW 2012. We hope this helps you work out your own plan of attack for what is sure to be a busy, busy five days. 

Robert Ham's Picks: 

Swans - Michael Gira has made it clear that this is no reunion, this is a resurrection. And you can hear it in the sound of the previous Swans album My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky, and the band's upcoming two disc release The Seer. Gira and his band sound fiery, spiritual, intense, and a little frightening. Presented in a live setting, their soulful scratching rock only burns hotter and provides more spine-chilling moments. 

Mirroring - Liz Harris aka Grouper and Jesy Fortino aka Tiny Vipers join forces on this project, and the result of their intuitive and brilliant collaboration, the recently released LP Foreign Body, is one of those albums you don't recover from easily. The two combine the already perfect crystalline sounds of ethereal dream pop (Harris) and space folk (Fortino) and create a kaleidoscopic vision that will leave you reeling as you float gently downstream.

Omar Souleyman - This singer's music has been described by no less than Bjork as being "Syrian techno." It's a fair shorthand for what Souleyman's sound (traditionally known as dabke) is all about, but in place of the 4/4 pulse is a loping, stomping almost glam-like Middle Eastern beat. Souleyman has become an international sensation via a series of compilations released on Sublime Frequencies which cherry pick from the singer's 500+ releases, and his live performances inspire the kind of wild dance parties rarely seen outside of The Matrix Reloaded.

John Maus - The last album We Must Become Pitiless Censors of Ourselves by this 32-year-old former sideman for Animal Collective was one of the most talked about albums of 2011. For good reason too as Maus took the dreamy hypnogogic swirl of his former employers and applied it to the glitterbomb joy of modern techno and IDM. His is the kind of music that never really resolves, choosing instead to melt away into the distance and leaving you scrambling after it. 

Redd Kross - The last we heard from this long-running glam-garage outfit was way back in 1997 with the release of Show World. The band - led by brothers Steve and Jeff McDonald - never really disappeared though, hitting the road for short tours including stops at Yo La Tengo's Hanukkah shows and playing through Australia at the behest of Hoodoo Gurus. The quartet has finally hit the studio again for a new album Researching The Blues, a disc that finds the Kross in fine fettle with a raging joy that belies their advanced collective age. 

Casey Jarman's Picks:

Girl Talk - Okay, he truth is I'm not all that big of a Girl Talk fan. But where spectacle is concerned, I can't imagine anything cooler than watching him play Portland's Living Room. When I mentioned this to someone the other day, they said "yeah, but what if it rains?" If it rains, things will get immeasurably more epic.

Hazel/Gossamer Wings reunions - A few months back I watched Hazel's low-key reunion show at Al's Den in the basement of the Crystal Hotel. It was revelatory for me: I had seen the legendary Portland group's reunion show in 2005, but the members seemed at odds with each other and somewhat distracted. Here they looked at home and genuinely stoked to be playing together, and it sounded amazing.That Hazel founder Pete Krebs is gathering up his old Gossamer Wings buddies for another run is also fantastic, unexpected news.

The Tallest Man on Earth - That voice—a little bit early Dylan, a little bit Jeff Mangum—is pretty addictive. The questions have always revolved around Kristian Matsson's staying power. There's a new record on the way, and new single "1904" is pretty good, so I've got high hopes. Matsson played MFNW when he was just a babe, but he's returning a lion. 

A-Trak - He's the first name on the list, so it may seem like I'm cheating, but perhaps nobody on this list—save Big Freedia—can get asses shaking like A-Trak can.

Menomena/Typhoon - Both acts have new albums coming out; both have huge expectations on them; I have absolutely no idea what either record is going to sound like. Menomena's new lineup should mean something different and Typhoon has been working in leisurely fashion on its new record out at Pendarvis Farm. We're sure to hear a lot of new material at these giant Portland gigs, and that's cause for celebration.

Initial MFNW 2012 Lineup: 



Alialujah Choir

And And And

Arrington De Dionyso


Big Business

Big Freedia

Black Mountain


Bobby Bare Jr.


Brown Bird

Casey Neil & The Norway Rats


Cheap Girls

Chelsea Wolfe


Craft Spells

Crystal Antlers

Danny Brown

Dante vs. Zombies

Daughn Gibson


Dinosaur Jr.


DJ Beyondadoubt

DJ Cooky Parker

DJ Mr. Jonathan Toubin

Erik Koskinen

Evian Christ

Fort Lean

Fucked Up

Future Islands

Gardens & Villa

Girl Talk


Guantanamo Baywatch



Hey Marseilles

Holcombe Waller


Hot Snakes

Hungry Ghost

I Break Horses

J. Mascis

Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit

Joe Pug

John Maus

Joyce Manor

Julia Holter

Kendl Winter

King Khan & the Shrines



Lightning Bolt


Mac Demarco

Mean Jeans


Milo Greene



Mrs. Magician


Nite Jewel

Old 97's

Old Light

Omar Souleyman



Passion Pit

Pete Krebs and the Gossamer Wings

Pokey LaFarge & the South City Three

Pure Bathing Culture

Purity Ring

Quest For Fire

Radiation City

Red Fang

Redd Kross

Sad Baby Wolf



Silversun Pickups


Snow Bud & The Flower People


Stay Calm

Sun Angle




Tender Forever

The Builders and The Butchers

The Curious Mystery

The Dangerous Boys Club

The Dimes

The Drowning Men

The Growlers

The Helio Sequence

The Men

The Needful Longings

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart

The People's Temple

The Soft Moon

The Suicide Notes

The Tallest Man On Earth

These United States

Touche Amore

Trampled By Turtles


Tyler Lyle


Vice Device

White Fang

White Lung

Xiu Xiu