Why Berserktown II Requires a Playlist (and a NGAF Attitude)

Thee Oh Sees, who headline day one (Friday) of Berserktown II
Thee Oh Sees, who headline day one (Friday) of Berserktown II
Photo by TImothy Norris

Now in its second year, Berserktown is a festival for the fucked-up mutants who hate everything about radio-friendly EDM, longhairs who dress like Donovan and vapid KCRW playlists. L.A.'s hardest underground festival is in the O.C. this year, at the Observatory, where it's expanded from its 2014 launch at Los Globos.

Unlike the increasingly Coachella-like FYF, the Berserktown festival experience is still about discovery. More than 100 bands are set to play, including space-punks Destruction Unit, sets by reunited legends Royal Trux and No Hope for the Kids, a chance to see Milk Music before they hibernate again, and what might be the last time DIY pioneers Dead Moon play California. It's also a rare gig by Melbourne nihilistic post-punks Total Control, along with a host of underground buzz acts like Screaming Females, Priests, Vexx and Canadian hardcore punks White Lung. There's even a dance tent without Jason Bentley spinning shitty house music.

But of the 100 or so acts, about half are completely unknown unless you're a member of some DIY "collective." Some of these bands don't even have proper Bandcamp accounts. So in an attempt to ride the "curated playlist" trend, and to prepare your brain for what could be a dizzying discovery-fest, we created a playlist (below) to showcase Berserktown's maddeningly diverse lineup and give you a sonic roadmap for the festival. 

Sure, there's some glaring omissions in our playlist, such as Royal Trux, but that's how you know Berserktown is raw: You can stump Spotify with its headliner. 

Berserktown II takes place at the Observatory in Santa Ana on Aug. 14, 15 and 16. Tickets can be purchased here. You can view the entire up-to-date lineup below or here

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