This year’s Troika Music Festival begins in about 30 minutes, which you might’ve heard if you pay attention to the piece of Triangle media that covers local music. Need evidence of how well publicized this year’s festival has been?

WKNC’s interviewed one of the festival’s organizers, Kyle Miller.

WUNC interviewed Megafaun and asked about Bon Iver (very original).

UNC’s Diversions talked to Miller, too. Jordan Lawrence picked his Top 10 acts.

Duke’s The Chronicle talked to The Future Kings of Nowhere, Birds of Avalon, Megafaun, The Love Language and a few other Troika participants.

Ross Grady talked Troika on WXDU.

Karen Mann plugged it.

Here’s a nifty video guide.

And we went through the lineup band-by-band, including a description and downloadable MP3 for each.

After the jump, four of the Independent‘s writersmyself, Spencer Griffith and Chris Toenesshare our must-see lists for the year’s festival.

Grayson Currin

1. Tea & Tempests: What a voice.

2: Caltrop: Didn’t know amplifiers could give you sunburn.

3: Pipe: Pipe!

4: Megafaun: The usual disclosures, but some of the dudes I know the best never fail to inspire.

5: Lonnie Walker: This band seems like it’d be a tangled mess live, but the refined execution makes these songs stick.

Spencer Griffith

1. D-Town Brass: Adding some diversity to the Troika line-up, this adventurous jazz crew should be a refreshing start for a packed night of various rock ‘n’ roll flavors.

2. The Love Language: Poised to break out in a big way, and for good reason: Stu McLamb has another batch of timeless, lovelorn gems in his back pocket and a band behind him that transforms those tunes into a celebration.

3. Maple Stave: Ferocious instrumentalists, including Evan Rowe, one of the best (and hardest) drummers in the Triangle.

4. Megafaun: Gather, Form & Fly is a strong contender for the year’s best local release, blending rustic beauty with innovative experimentation. Genius as the record may be, its simply a starting point for the tunes contained within, which flourish when given room for improvisation in the live setting.

5. Red Collar: Jay Kutchma embodies the working-for-the-weekend attitude of Red Collar’s ardent followers, who come to shout along with his rallying cries. Musically, the quartet is unstoppable, ratcheting tension via taut guitar riffs and muscular basslines. Their Troika set is even more tempting due to rumors of a guest shot by the aforementioned Rowe and a reprise of their “Don’t Stop Believin’” cover.

Bryan Reed

1. Megafaun: Because to live without ever seeing Megafaun would be like dying a virgin.

2. Red Collar: Because they’re the gateway drug of Triangle music.

3. Whatever Brains: Because they’re the type of band whose phone number might be scratched into a bathroom stall.

4. Caltrop: Because I sometimes wonder what the formation of the Earth sounded like, and then listen to Caltrop.

5. Dex Romweber Duo: Because Dexter Romweber is rock ‘n’ roll.

Chris Toenes

1. Dynamite Brothers

2. D-Town Brass

3. The Beast and Megafaun

4. Pipe

5. The Moaners