This article comes to us courtesy of SF Weekly's All Shook Down.
And even though this great, boutique festival boasts no conflicts between the main two stages, we'd like to offer a little guidance. Aside from the headliners like Girl Talk and the xx -- which you'd only miss if you're tired, crazy, or stupid -- here are 10 artists to make sure you see at Treasure Island 2012.
<strong>Sounds like</strong>: If the Avalanches soundtracked Blade Runner. <strong>Why</strong>: Saturday is flush with dancey acts, but Matthew Dear seems among the most likely of the early performers to inspire genuine hip gyration. His rakish, grayscale tech-house walks a line between vocal pop -- he sing-talks in a low, often processed tone -- and straight club music. Long considered a minimalist, many of the tracks on Dear's latest album, Beams, are lush with odd samples and sound effects atop their thick backbones of rhythm. But be sure to pay some attention to his words while you get down. <strong>When</strong>: 3 p.m. Saturday, Bridge stage
<strong>Sound like</strong>: Some of the most uncompromising and inventive hip-hop ever made. <strong>Why</strong>: Because rap pioneers Chuck D., Flava Flav, Professor Griff, and DJ Lord will be there, and what are you, a fool? <strong>When</strong>: 4:35 p.m. Saturday, Bridge stage
<strong>Sounds like</strong>: The component parts of a postmillienial hip-hop beat blown out into their own fascinating microuniverse. <strong>Why</strong>: Abraham Orellana, known as AraabMuzik, might be the Jimi Hendrix of the MPC, a digital sampler and processor used to cut up songs into the bouncy pieces of a rap beat. Although he started producing for MCs, the inventiveness of Orellana's tracks and his fancy fingerwork on the MPC's pads mean his productions are way too interesting to just be heard in the background. For last year's lauded Electronic Dream, Orellana dissected an album of cheesy trance and rebuilt the songs as a neon-lit, head-nod-inducing nightscape. You'll want to see him do it live. <strong>When</strong>: 5:25 p.m. Saturday, Tunnel stage
<strong>Sounds like</strong>: The minimalist future of electronic pop. <strong>Why</strong>: Space, space, all around, space! Like fellow Brits James Blake and Treasure Island headliners the xx, the songs made by producer Aaron Jerome as SBTRKT leave lots of blank areas around their throbbing bass and yearning vocals. And as with the best of this minimalist electro-pop-N-B that seems to be one sound du jour in 2012, SBTRKT's works are richer for their vast silences. Jerome's collaborator in the project is Sampha, a British vocalist with a high, sweet voice, and his melodies flow like streams of water down the bleak rockscapes of Jerome's beats. It'll be dark out at Treasure Island by the time these guys go on, and that's a good thing. <strong>When</strong>: 8:40 p.m. Saturday, Tunnel stage
<strong>Sounds like</strong>: The sun coming up over the desert while you're coming down off of hella drugs. <strong>Why</strong>: Tycho's Scott Hansen is also a graphic designer, and his current visual of choice for his music project is a glowing, sun-like orb suspended over a barren landscape. It's a perfect pairing: Tycho's melodies float with glacial patience over tectonic slabs of bass, drums, and guitar. There's a rare feeling of naturalness to his works, a calming, sublime beauty that should suit the twilight hour at Treasure Island quite well. <strong>When</strong>: 7 p.m. Saturday, Tunnel stage
The War On Drugs
<strong>Sounds like</strong>: You've heard of cloud-rap? This is cloud-Springsteen. <strong>Why</strong>: Adding layer upon layer of tape sounds and other effects to their folky tunes, the War on Drugs conceal some fantastic songwriting underneath a layer of sonic gauze. The atmosphere works: Those rhythms underneath never stop, making the band's rootsy rock sort of like a big, panoramic view on a hazy day. <strong>When</strong>: 1:25 p.m. Sunday, Bridge stage
<strong>Sounds like</strong>: A lonely young man singing his diary over a mountain of drum machines and synthesizers. <strong>Why</strong>: Trevor Powers' yearning bedroom pop sounds tinny and small -- until his songs unfurl into their full shape. Bolstered by instruments and a beat, these intimate personal reminiscences suddenly become huge, and even his distant moan of a voice takes center stage in a way scarcely imaginable only a few seconds earlier. You're entitled to your skepticism, but having seen Powers win over a live crowd before, we can't wait to watch him do it again. <strong>When</strong>: 2:50 p.m. Sunday, Bridge stage
<strong>Sounds like</strong>: Fire-breathing S.F. rock 'n' roll with a short attention span and subtly great songwriting. <strong>Why</strong>: If you combined the fury of Iggy Pop, the tunefulness of John Lennon, and the playfulness of T. Rex, you'd end up with someone like S.F. garage-psych boy wonder Ty Segall. He hasn't quite ascended to that Olympus of rock 'n' roll deities yet, but he takes inspiration from all the best places. He's also relentless: Segall has released three albums this year, all of them excellent, from the maze-filled psych of Hair (with White Fence) to the bruising bluster of Slaughterhouse, and, out this week, the warmly familiar grit-rock of Twins. Only a couple of years ago this guy was a Bay Area secret, and now he's a national phenomenon. Don't miss his victory lap. <strong>When</strong>: 3:35 p.m. Sunday, Tunnel stage
<strong>Sounds like</strong>: A crazy woman with a harp; a squeaky voice and a flurry of strings; a counterargument to all those claims about how no one is really original. <strong>Why</strong>: Joanna Newsom doesn't play live all that often, much less at large festivals, so seeing the Nor-Cal native trot out her towering harp is a must-see treat. If you don't get distracted by her virtuosic fingerwork, Newsom's songs tell some pretty detailed and crazy stories. <strong>When</strong>: 4:25 p.m. Sunday, Tunnel stage
<strong>Sounds like</strong>: The keyboard-obsessed version of Spoon. <strong>Why</strong>: Handsome Furs are no more, but Wolf Parade's Dan Boeckner has a new project with Britt Daniels, singer of Spoon, and Sam Brown of Ohio punk outfit the New Bomb Turks. Together, they're Divine Fits, and the trio deals in a stripped-down, synth-driven rock that reprises some of the groove-heavy repetition of Daniels' main band, but with a bit of that minimalism so in vogue. This will be the group's first-ever big festival show, and based on the strength of their debut record, we can't wait to see it. <strong>When</strong>: 6:45 p.m. Sunday, Bridge stage
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