The Bottom Line: High Sierra Music Festival

Hey guys, we are back with our Festival drafts! The ideal for this is for us (and by extension you) to find some artists near the bottom of the lineups (along with 1 or 2 we already know and love from the top) that are must sees at various music festivals. This installment focuses on the High Sierra Music Festival.

High Sierra is a music festival held in Quincy, CA from July 5-8, 2018. It features an eclectic lineup that is sure to hit on several of your favorite genres. Something that is really cool to me is they hold a contest each year where they pick 5 bands to play at the festival. (One of my picks Wordsauce is one of the 5 this year) They also have a huge lineup of food vendors, and even a section that focuses on “body, mind and spirit”, which includes daily yoga, meditation, hoopdancing, etc. All and All if you are anywhere near the Quincy area, it is a can’t miss festival.

Now, let’s get to the draft. Our only rule were you can’t pick more than 2 bands you have previously heard of.

Round 1

Caleb: Pigeons Playing Ping Pong

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This is the only band on my list that I’ve seen in person thus far, though I want to see them all very soon. When they walk out on stage in pajama pants or kimonos, or whatever zany outfit they choose to wear in California, I guarantee you’ll fall in love with their energy after the first riff. Don’t believe me? Check out this song first:

I wouldn’t even call “F.U.” my favorite song by them, that title probably belongs to “Julia” but Pigeons are the definition of what I look for in live music. They bring a raw energy and excitement that makes sure everyone in the crowd feels like they got invited to the world’s biggest party. It’s perfect for a festival atmosphere.

Seth: The Family Crest

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You guys don’t understand just how excited I got when I saw that they were going to be at the festival. I’m drafting a lineup of artists to see at a festival clear across the country that I have no hopes of attending, and I lit up when I saw their name. I was first exposed to The Family Crest when I heard Love Don’t Go on a playlist that I followed, and when those trombones came in to start the track, I immediately became enamored. With tight harmonies and lead vocals from a guy with a range you can only dream about, The Family Crest is the perfect festival band. Their performances are complex, structurally tight, and a lot of fun. These guys use every inch of the stage during performances, so there’s not a bad seat (or standing area) in the whole festival grounds.

Round 2

Caleb: Hippo Campus

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Maybe you’ve heard of this band before. They have millions of plays on Spotify, but I would feel remiss if I left them off the list because of how much I want to see them live myself. My favorite song from them is probably “South”, which you should check out for sure, but I’m going to post one a little more upbeat here because I think it would be more appropriate for a festival setting with a lot of energy (even though the song is about suicide).

If that bass line doesn’t make you want to sway and dance in a festival crowd, what the hell are you doing at a festival in the first place? Get there early, get into the meat of the crowd, and dance ironically.

Seth: Mt Joy

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Wow. I just went through a couple of their music videos, and you need to check them both out. They are the most important music videos you will watch this week. If they can convey half of the emotion in a live performance that they can in their recorded tracks, they would have me an absolute mess during their set. Astrovan makes almost every single playlist I make these days, but I honestly didn’t know too much about them past that song. This band has so many layers that a full set from them is bound to be one of the best rollercoasters the festival has to offer.

Round 3

Caleb: Wordsauce

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Alright, let’s start to dig a little deeper. That’s what you’re really here for? To be able to impress your friends with some deep cuts that go on at noon? Wordsauce is a live funk/hip-hop band. Basically it’s a hip hop show where you aren’t just focused on the one guy dancing around with a backing track playing (not hating, I love those shows). But here there is a full band playing the backing beats and melodies while socially/emotionally conscious hip hop is spoken with a raw energy that dares you to ignore it. Don’t believe me? Check out this video:

That video is kind of a deep cut. It is from 2014 and had 3 views, but I thought it orchestrate what live show might be like. Seems like a can’t miss show to me. I want to hear some reports back from you guys.

Seth: Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio

This is the point in the lineup where I find bands that I didn’t know I had actually heard before. The Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio, or Dlo3, is a band that I have never seen perform a set, but I have seen them warmup before. If their sets are anything like their warmups, they’re going to be an absolute blast. I also love that this band came on the fringes of many projects that fell apart, and Delvon’s wife and manager, Amy Novo, is the one who put the band together. That kind of support in a marriage is incredibly rare. The talent that you’ll find in this band is incredibly rare too. Usually in a band, you can target the leads and then you can see a person or two who is there to blend and make the others look good. That’s not the case at all with this band. They are the definition of a cohesive unit, and they all carry their own weight.

Round 4

Caleb: Magic in the Other

Magic in the Other are a 3 piece avant- garde group that I immediately fell in love with. Usually when I read avant-garde, I assume it’s going to be so experimental it is unlistenable, but that is definitely not the case with this group. It was somewhat difficult to find many videos of Magic in the Other, and one that was really indicative of their sound was on Vimeo, which doesn’t love to embed here. So instead, follow this link to see that one: https://vimeo.com/229170418.

And in the meantime, I have a treat for you Beatles fans (which is basically everyone right?):

You absolutely can’t miss Magic in the Other this year.

Seth: Billy Strings

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I think a lot of people make the mistake of trying to qualify a younger generation that makes bluegrass music in the newgrass category, but that’s not really the root of what defines bluegrass and newgrass at all. Billy Strings is very much a bluegrass artist at his core, and he and his band are absolutely masters of their craft. This is the type of music that will have you sweating out all the booze from last night as you dance through a new case throughout their set. Stick around for the solo(s) that basically take up the back half of this live recording. There were multiple times where I swear I saw smoke coming from their strings.

Round 5

Caleb: Jupiter & Okwess

This will be a truly unique experience for most of you. Mixing elements of funk and jazz with traditional African chanting and percussion, Jupiter & Okwess are like nothing else I’ve ever heard. The two songs I would start with are “Bapasi” and “Magerita” to get a sense of the breadth of their sound. Don’t want to look those up? Good thing I already did for you.

Seth: John Craigie

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I’ll be honest, what drew me to John Craigie was the description of the video below: “John Craigie performs ‘I Am California’ live at Mississippi Studios in Portland, OR.” Is there a description on all of YouTube that uses more states in as few words as this one? Then, once I got to listening to the actual song, I was blown away by the vulnerability of John’s voice. An oft attempted but rarely successful timbre to his voice, John drips the words of his song from his pores, and wears his passion on his sleeve. This is the perfect artist to check out as you roll into your day of music. He also has the absolute best song about the current political status of our country. Watch the second video if you’re interested in that.

(I couldn’t help myself. This video was too good.)

Hey, while you’re here, if you’re a music fan you should stay a while. We have daily posts from every genre imaginable, and we also run a music podcast. We also have a monthly Spotify playlist.Don’t forget to follow us on social media (there are links on the right side) to keep up with the best music you’ve never heard before.

The Bottom Line: Rhythm N Blooms Music Festival

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We are back with our summer festival drafts! Let me quickly run down the rules again:

  1. The draft is a snake draft (last person of a given is the first person of the next round.)
  2. We could only pick 2 bands each that we had heard of before.

 

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Rhythm N Blooms festival is set in the beautiful East Tennessee mountains in Knoxville. It set in the city proper, but has a beautiful natural backdrop all around. It’s really the best of both worlds. There will be lots of a great beers from local breweries, and local food trucks will be providing the food. Please see the map below:


If you’re wondering more about us, feel free to check out our podcast. As has been the case with every draft so far, we have found some of our favorite new music through this process. Read below for our picks, so you don’t miss any of the great artists this festival features.

**Note there are some affiliate links in this post. Don’t feel obligated to support the artists through them, they are just an easy way to link their albums. It’s also a way to support us with no extra investment on your part. Support the artists through Spotify, iTunes, Bandcamp, GooglePlay, wherever.**

 

Round 1

Caleb: DK The Drummer

This is going to be a really cool show. If any of you have ever seen Mutemath, you should know who DK the Drummer is. He is the absolute madman who duct tapes his headphones to his head because he drums so passionately that they are liable to fly off. Now that he has left Mutemath to pursue other projects (one of which, Sucre is also playing this festival), Darren has started to perform some solo sets that seem amazing. Basically he has mixed and matched his own creations, with popular hits, and then drums live over the whole thing. I’ve attached a video sample below. This set is a must see for anyone who loves beats and drums.

DK The Drummer Live Set:

Seth: Early James and the Latest

These folks are front porch sittin’ at it’s finest. Slide guitar, gritty vocals, and blues that you feel in your soul make them a perfect festival band. Dig to China will keep your feet tapping long after the song finishes. You’ll have two opportunities to check them out on Saturday, either at Cripple Creek or the Pilot Light. Make sure you’re there for one of them.

Debut EP:

Nathan: The Mowgli’s
I love their album Where’d Your Weekend Go?. I’ve listened to it several times since it came out, and each time I find myself caught on a different song. The first time I listened to it, I had “Automatic” on repeat, then “Alone Sometimes” the second time I listened through. Now I’ve got “So What” on my Spring playlist. Their music is very infectious, with upbeat, catchy melodies.

Most recent album:

Round 2

Nathan: Ancient Cities
I really like this band’s vocal work. The way they layer the backup vocals and harmonies is super pleasing to listen to. They kind of a psychedelic folk rock band, or at least that’s the best way I can describe them. I recommend their song “Station”.

Most recent album:

Seth: Penny and Sparrow

The first thing that really drew me into Penny and Sparrow’s orbit is their lyrics. They’re storytellers, and they are masters of the sad story. With light and tight vocals/harmonies, minimal musical accompaniment, and masterful lyrics, Andy Baxter and Kyle Jahnke have a feel similar to Bon Iver meets The Civil Wars, but they definitely have a story that’s all their own. They also won’t drag the mood down just because their music is sometimes (almost all the time) sad; they are both really funny guys and keep the mood light between songs.

Most recent album:

Caleb: Deer Tick

I can’t live in Providence and not rep Deer Tick. I’ve been listening to them since way back in their “Divine Providence” album days. You should definitely listen to “Main Street” off of that album. But I kind of fell off the pulse of them for a while after that. For this post I listened to their two most recent albums, and I have to say they blew me away. They mix elements of Bob Dylan/Americana, with some full band bangers with a twang. I doubt I’m telling you anything you don’t know, but Deer Tick has to be at the top of any one’s list for this festival. Listen to: “Sea of Clouds” and “Card House” off the new albums.

Most recent album (actually a 2 parter):

Round 3

Caleb: Possessed by Paul James

Go to this show if you want to be possessed….by Paul James. Yeah that was corny. Anyway, this set will be full of great Blues/Bluegrass elements. It would be too simple to say that’s all this is. They really push the genre into interesting places. Sometimes I would call it Folk/Punk-ish, especially the newest album. Check out: “Hurricane” off 2013’s There Will Be Nights When I’m Lonely and “Color of my Bloody Nose” off his most recent self-titled album.

Most recent album:

Seth: Sweet Years

Sweet Years calls Knoxville home, so expect these guys to be fresh and ready to yell at you (in the most amazing way possible). Zach Gilleran, Dakota Smith, and Travis Bigwood are the trio that make up this band that reminds me of about 4 different bands, but has a really cool sound that is all their own. The fact that they have a music video where they are on a mission to get the perfect choreographed dance on a baseball diamond tells you all that you need to know about these incredibly talented guys, but don’t take my word for it. Watch below:

Most recent album:

Nathan: Brother Sundance

This dude has some really cool album covers, which I’m always a sucker for. Dark colors + pink/blue neon and I’m already hooked. Musically he’s got an alt/pop electronic vibe, with bright female vocals backing up his hypnotic, rhythmic stanzas. His song “The Hurt” is the one that got me interested in him, but all of his work is solid.

Debut EP:

Round 4

Nathan: LUTHI

I like big bands (and I cannot lie (I’m sorry)). LUTHI is comprised of nine members, and classify themselves as “Cumberland Funk”. Their tracks are so groovy, I’ve found myself dancing to it (again, something I try not to do in public) pretty frequently. “Every Body” is one of my new favorite tracks ever (like somewhere in the top 15 prolly), so maybe go listen to that one.

I’m really sorry about that joke at the beginning of this round. I considered not telling it, but… I couldn’t help it.

Live EP:

Seth: Dori Freeman

Dori Freeman once again proves that I don’t hate certain country music. With honest lyrics and a unique timbre, Dori has something really unique. She reminds me of family that we have in coal mining country, Norton VA, and there’s a great reason for that; she’s from a similar town about two hours from Norton. Dori is a stripped down storyteller who writes with her heart on her sleeve, and I am always a fan of that.

Most recent album:

Caleb: Blond Bones

Now we are getting into “impress your friends with my music knowledge” territory. Take them to this set. They only have one EP out at the moment, so you’re really getting in on the ground floor. Check out “Sierra” and “Young Hearts” before you go. There are elements of early Wilco here, with some really interesting harmonies and grungy indie riffs.

Debut EP:

Round 5

Caleb: Thrift Store Cowboys

Thrift Store Cowboys have been around for quite some time, and actually haven’t released a full album since 2010. Some of you guys probably couldn’t drive then. Hell, I couldn’t drink then, and I don’t even get IDed most places anymore. The song you should listen to first off that album is “Bright Fire”, but their best song overall is “Beneath the Shoes” off their 2006 album. Buddy Magazine describes their sound better than I could ever hope to when they say: “Thrift Store Cowboys’ feel is more, for a lack of better description, gypsy desert music – the free sound of spacey, heat-induced delirium…a sure, confident sound backed by thoughtful vision.” Here’s to hoping this appearance is a signal that Thrift Store Cowboys are still making music that we will get to hear in the near future.

Most recent album:

Seth: Daniel Donato

Daniel Donato is an absolute animal. There’s really no other way to describe him. He does things with a guitar that only 1% of guitar players can do. It would just be an honor to actually see it happen live, so I had to swoop in and get the steal in the last round. I have followed this guy for years, and the opportunity to actually check it out in person would be an absolute blast.

 

Nathan: The Young Fables

I don’t listen to a lot of country music. Other than what I’m forced to listen to at work, I can count the country bands I’ve listened to it intentionally on one hand. One of those three fingers belongs to The Young Fables, so that’s why I decided to include them in my draft. Laurel Wright, one of the vocalists, won American Idol three times, which I think is kinda crazy since I didn’t know you could win it more than once. Also I really like the slide guitar they use.
Like I said, I don’t listen to a lot of country.

Most recent album:

 

 

Want to hear more from the B-Side Guys? Check out our most recent podcast: Episode 11: Secrets (Part 2/2)

Want to submit music? Submissions

The Bottom Line: Our Must-Sees at the In Bloom Music Festival

On March 24th and 25th, Eleanor Tinsley Park will be taken over by the In Bloom Festival. For reasons unbeknownst to me, the FPSF has rebranded itself as the In Bloom Music Festival, moving from summer to early spring. If I had to venture a guess, I would say they changed everything up to avoid Houston in June. They may also want to take advantage of people already in the state of Texas for SXSW. Either way, we have a new spring music festival, and we’re pretty pumped about it.

Edit: We’ve been informed that the reason it changed names is more than likely due to the fact that the last three years of FPSF haven’t gone so well. 2015 was apparently in a hot parking lot…in June…in Houston. Then, 2016 was in the same parking lot with exact opposite results (rained out both days). 2017 moved to Eleanor Tinsley Park, and once again was rained out and evacuated both days. Also in that timespan, they “sold out” to a company called Peg Star. I’m not familiar with Peg Star, so that’s why sold out is in quotations. We are still on board with this festival. New name, new face, and a great lineup, we are willing to wipe the slate clean and start fresh. Let’s pray for perfect weather and for Houston to be a city of second third fourth chances because the lineup they’ve provided is absolutely going to bring it. (Our information came from multiple sources on Reddit, but /u/3rdCoastTexasToast gave us the rundown by year)

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From what I could find, there aren’t really any crazy events outside of music happening since they’re cramming over 50 artists into two days on only 4 stages, but familiarize yourself with the map so you know where places like the Beatbox Lounge and the Bud Light Dilly Dilly Lounge are. That way you know where to head when you need a short break between acts. Also, there will be Chipotle being served between the Flora and Fauna stages, but unless you have an unwavering affinity for Chipotle, we recommend going to the Houston Eats food truck areas and trying out The Waffle Bus for chicken and waffle sandwiches, Moku Bar for marinated poke flown in fresh from Hawaii daily, or Breaking Bao for fusion steamed buns.

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First off, let me start by saying that this draft was a little difficult for us. We draft a majority of artists that we don’t know (finding undiscovered music is the whole point of what we do on our podcast), but it’s fairly hard when the lineup is so “A-list” that we’ve heard of almost all of the bands/artists. We kept the same rules as always though, and were only allowed to draft two artists we previously listened to. I’m glad we did keep the same rules because we both found some really incredible music that we hadn’t come across before. Without further ado, here’s our draft of must-see artists at the In Bloom Music Festival.

**Note there are some affiliate links in this post. Don’t feel obligated to support the artists through them, they are just an easy way to link their albums. It’s also a way to support us with no extra investment on your part. Support the artists through Spotify, iTunes, Bandcamp, GooglePlay, wherever.**

Spotify Playlist of our Draft:

Spotify

Round 1

Seth: Lil Dicky

When a festival has so many great rappers, you have to make a decision early, get the one you’re most excited about, and lock it down. Since hearing Lil Dicky’s “Professional Rapper” in 2015, I have really been into this guy. A rapper who isn’t afraid to tackle difficult subjects, finds humor in the harm, and is self-deprecating the whole way is a dude I can relate to. I would also be interested to see him perform “Pillow Talking” to see what kind of inflection and timbre he’d have in his voice when quickly alternating between multiple characters.

Check out Professional Rapper:

Caleb: Broken Social Scene

Broken Social Scene are a huge collective that vary from show to show and album to album on how many members they have. Most of their members are in other projects including:  Metric, Feist, Stars, Apostle of Hustle, Do Make Say Think, KC Accidental, Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton, Amy Millan, and Jason Collett. Broken Social Scene came out of hiatus in 2017 with their album Hug of Thunder, which featured many of the former members, and 18 total credited artists. I personally think it’s their second best album behind their self-titled from 2005. Their show should be awesome to see, with eclectic sounds spanning from across nearly 2 decades.

Most recent album:

Round 2

Caleb: Sylvan Esso

This show is a must see if you love female vocals. There is this perfect dissonance between soul crushing lyrics and groovy synths and beats that is just infectious. Check out “Play it Right” from their debut album for a perfect example of what I mean. And nearly everyone has heard “Die Young” from their newest album. It’s like if Daughter had teamed up with the Stranger Things soundtrack.

Most recent album:

Seth: Say Girl Say

Brigette Yawn and Suzan Zaghmouth form Say Girl Say, a super smooth duo that hails from the festival’s backyard, Houston, Texas. What is so beautiful about these guys is their absolutely flawless harmonies. I mean, I just watched them perform “Buried Alive” three times, and I was blown away each time. They are a perfect example that less can be more when it comes to instrumentation, laying down a basic drum beat before picking up a guitar and bass and using them to compliment each of their strong, passionate voices.

Check them out:

say girl say

Round 3

Seth: Son Little

Son Little is pure magic. Aaron Livingston has created R&B that is so amorphous that you aren’t even sure it’s the same artist from song to song. Drawing on so many different genres of music to get what he calls “New Magic,” he is an artist who most people will enjoy, whether it’s for the hypnotizing instrumentation, the soulful voice of Aaron, or just the way his music makes you close your eyes and forget the world around you.

Caleb: Ugly God

The second I saw Ugly God wearing Ash Ketchum’s pokemon hat, I knew I had to at least listen. I think Ugly God will be a really fun show if you just want to dance and feel like a badass for a little bit. If you are a big fan of hip-hop and “trap” music, I think you’ll enjoy this set. Notable songs to check out: “Water”, “Imma Dog” (this is my favorite), and “Like a Maverick”.

Most recent album:

Round 4

Caleb: Neil Frances

This is about getting in on the ground floor ground floor. This artist only has 4 singles out, not even a full length yet. Start with “Music Sounds Better With You”. It’s a nice throwback, incorporating Funk and R&B elements over a smooth bass line. This is one of those bands where I imagine you just start groovin’ in song one and it lasts for the whole set. Take your friends to this set that no one has ever heard of, and enjoy the looks of admiration from them.

Most recent album:

Seth: Mikky Ekko

In 2012, Mikky Ekko released one of my favorite songs of all time, Pull Me Down. He soon branched off from what I felt made him incredibly special, but millions of people around the world felt that he hit his stride with “Stay,” a quadruple platinum song that he performed with Rihanna. Either way, whether it’s old Mikky or newer Mikky, one thing remains the same; the man has one of the smoothest higher registers of anyone making music right now. If you are looking for smooth R&B beats overshadowed by one of the best voices in the industry today, get to this man’s stage.

Figure out why I fell in love with Pull Me Down:

Round 5

Seth: Matt Maeson

I had never heard of Matt Maeson prior to this draft, and after listening to Cringe, I learned exactly what I was missing out on. He is the optimal festival artist. He has a great range, catchy hooks that are easy to yell at the top of your lungs while dancing with your friends, a very unique timbre and cadence, and every song he writes is an anthem. The man has a point to prove and he punches his points home in every song. Expect lots of foot stomping, gang vocals, and a lot of Maeson zealots yelling every word to him. If I had to guess, I would say that this guy’s fans put on as great of a show as he does every time he steps on the stage.

Caleb: Anchor North

Anchor North describes themselves better than I can hope to when they say they are: “a fusion of huge drums, soaring guitar tones, and ambient soulful background noises”. You can tell there are many genres of music that came together with this group, including R&B and soulful indie rock. Check out “Somebody Else” for a contemplative jealous jam, and “Wrong” from their newest EP for indie vibes. This show will be full of variance and feeling.

Most recent album:

Want to hear more from The B-Side Guys?

Check out our most recent podcast here: Episode 11: Secrets (Part 1/2)

Festival Preview: Treefort Music Fest

Treefort Music Fest is about to take over Boise, Idaho from March 21-25, and we want to help you digest this huge festival.

There are multiple “forts” that Treefort tries to tackle, and they’ve done an excellent job at diversifying who they reach. Each fort has a different focus that ranges from Alefort and Comedyfort to Filmfort and Foodfort. While those are all really exciting pieces to what makes this festival so amazing, we want to focus more on the music. That alone is going to have your head spinning. With over 460 bands across 30+ stages all across downtown Boise, there’s going to be plenty of music to keep you busy for five days. If you do get tired though, you can always go center yourself in the Yogafort.

Since we are a music blog (and podcast) though, let’s stick with what we know. Let’s get to the draft.

This festival has an absurdly long list of excellent bands. We had to draft some help in the form of Katherine Barner from KUGR  in Pullman, Washington so we could give you guys a better feel for this festival. We figured there was no better guest for this one since a lot of these bands reside in her backyard. The 4 of us, Seth, Caleb, Nathan, and Kat drafted a six band team of who we want to see at Treefort. The rules to the draft are simple: We each get six bands, the draft goes in a serpentine fashion (last person of the first round is first in the second round), and you can only have two bands that you’ve listened to prior to the draft. Without further ado, here we go!

*note there are affiliate links on the albums, feel free to spend money on their bandcamp, itunes, or just by giving them plays on spotify, we don’t really care, we just hope you find something good to listen to and support the artists*

Round 1

Kat:  Mother Yeti

Mother Yeti is based out of Pullman, Washington. They have this really cool rock reggae mix. They started as a three piece but have grown to double the size in the past three years. Their best song is “Ambush.” It’s a rock song that could almost be in a modern western movie. It could totally be used in the HBO show West World during a gun show down.

Most recent album:

Nathan: Typhoon

I really like Typhoon. That’s honestly the best opener I can come up with for this band, because I just really like them. Every time they release a single or an album I pretty much just drop what I’m doing, put on noise-cancelling headphones, and listen to it. I stole this band from Caleb in the first round because, even though he turned me on to them, I’m evil and wanted to gush about them publicly. Their album, White Lighteris my favorite album of all time, and was the first vinyl I ever bought (I’m very young).
I forgot I’m supposed to write about their music. Oops
The band hails from Portland, OR, and my favorite way to describe them is as an orchestral rock band. Their music has the staple instruments of most rock groups, but also prominently feature more orchestral pieces such as strings and horns. The lead vocalist and songwriter, Kyle Morton, often breaks his sentences up over several stanzas, and he has very lilting, haunting vocals. His solo album is also a great work, and (without giving anything away) is kind of a surreal experience.
Go listen to them.
I’m serious.

Most recent album:

Caleb: Mimicking Birds

I’ve been a huge fan of Mimicking Birds since their self-titled album back in 2014. The first song (and still one of their best) I heard was “Burning Stars”, and I was immediately hooked. Their sound has evolved a bit since then to add some synthy elements that I think will translate really well to a live setting, and Nate Lacy’s voice would sound great over the sound of a backing up truck, lucky for you, their instrumentals are much better than that. Check out the song: “Sunlight Daze” off their newest album, and try not to get emotional.

Most recent album:

Seth: Epic Beard Men 

I have listened to Sage Francis forever. A Healthy Distrust was the second album that got me into the idea of viewing hip-hop outside of the broad paintbrush of “screw girls, get money,” the first being Busdriver’s “Temporary Forever.” I know there have been men and women making this kind of rap for much longer, but they’re the guys who introduced me to that world. Anyways, Sage Francis teams up with B. Dolan to form Epic Beard Men. I never listened to B. Dolan prior to Epic Beard Men, but I am so happy to have found this. If you enjoy fast hitting, thought provoking rap that is bound to make you move, find these guys.

Most recent album:

Round 2:

Seth: Swatkins and the Positive Agenda

I had never heard of Steveland Swatkins before this festival draft, but I’m stoked I came across him. The description of him on the Treefort site told me all that I needed to know, but I wanted to learn more about this “joyful prophet of positivity.” I have said openly and plainly time and time again that I am not the biggest fan of autotune, vocoders, talkboxes, etc., but there’s something really fun about what is going on with this. After listening to how much fun Swatkins has on the tracks, I can only imagine how much fun their live show would be.

Most recent work:

swatkins

Caleb: Built to Spill

I don’t want to be a “gatekeeper”, but if you call yourself a fan of “emo music”, like real emo music, and you don’t know these guys, please please do yourself a favor and listen to their 1999 album Keep It Like a Secret right now and thank me for changing your entire worldview. As far as songs off their newest release go, check out “Never Be The Same”. Their sound has developed into a little more polished/upbeat vibe, and I wouldn’t miss this show for the end of the world. You never know how many more times you’ll ever have a chance to catch them given their tendency to go quiet for years at a time.

Most recent album:

Nathan: Escondido

Escondido has a very unique sound that I’m just now discovering that I’m fond of. The Nashville-based band has a Western feel to their music. Comprised of Jessica Maros and Tyler James, both sing, the duo often features intertwining over steel-string guitar and poppy drums. Their music conjures visions in my head reminiscent of Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid, and also Back to the Future III, for some reason. It’s given my commute the past few days very energetic and wistful.

Most recent album:

Kat:  Skinny The Kid

Skinny the Kid is based in Moscow, Idaho which is a 15 minute drive from Pullman. They are a four piece band and the same couple that owns their record label also owns the best gig spot in my area called Humble Burger. They sound like a mixture of The Strokes and The Arctic Monkey’s Favourite Worst Nightmare album. Their music is led by upbeat high pitched guitar licks which is why they remind me of The Strokes. One of their best songs is “Shaking” because it is a story based song that reminds me of “A Boy Named Sue” by Johnny Cash. Another great one is “Samaritan”. It’s fast paced and exciting, which gets the crowd into them, and then it breaks down into a two beat feel.

Most recent album:

Round 3

Kat: Toy Zoo

Toy Zoo is from Boise, Idaho. They have a cool electronic, kind of psychedelic, rock sound. The singer has a voice kind of like Geddy Lee from Rush.

Most recent album:

Nathan: The Dip

The Dip is a very soulful group that, again, has brass/sax in it. Sensing a pattern with me yet? The seven-piece combines R&B with pop, and un-surprisingly they’ve created a very funky sound. I can’t help but groove a little bit when listening to their music even while in public, which is kind of a problem since I try not to dance in public. Oh, and the bassist plays a Rickenbacker, which is what I play, so I naturally just love these guys.

Most recent album:

Caleb: Up is the Down is the

So far, picking bands purely off the weirdness of their names has been a good strategy for me. Check out their song “Radiate” of their debut album, it’s sexy af. This band will be amazing for you to catch without having to push too hard to get near the front. You’ll look like you know what you are talking about after you drag your friends to these smooth bass lines and beautiful female vocals. You’re welcome.

Most recent album:

Seth: Stelth Ulvang

One really cool thing about this festival is that it has introduced me to acts built off of other things that I enjoy. Stelth Ulvang is the pianist of The Lumineers. As soon as they finish a tour, he leaves for yet another tour to promote his solo project. This is something that doesn’t get nearly the accolades as The Lumineers, of course, but I think I enjoy this even more. With a more “rough around the edges” approach to the music while still feeling very clean and polished, this multi-instrumentalist tries his hand at lead vocals, and excels.

Round 4

Seth: Kweku Collins

This has to be my favorite steal of the draft! Kweku is the only artist that I picked that I had listened to prior to this draft, and if you want to know just how much I listened to him, Holla If Ya Hear Me was my fifth most played song of 2017 on Spotify. Smooth rap from a young guy who is doing all of the right things. If you like Daughter, but have never heard of Kweku, start with Lonely Lullabies. He takes the guitar part from Youth, and changes it into something you’ve never heard before.

Caleb: Hobosexual

Stop what you are doing and go listen to “Boogieshuttle.” I doubt you’ll have to listen to much more to convince you that you have to check out this band. They have strong “southern rock” vibes. They somewhat remind me of a mix between classic ZZ Top and a band like Maylene and the Sons of Disaster. Either way, I know this band will be making a lot of people move their bodies at Treefort.

Most recent album:

Nathan: The Regrettes

I get a lot of shit from my snobby music friends because of how much I like pop music, but fortunately that hasn’t made me stop listening to it. The Regrettes have a very bright, poppy sound, and Lydia Night, the lead vocalist, has a very attitude-filled voice. It reminds me of my/everybody’s rebellious teenage phase, and I like it. It makes me feel younger, or maybe just nostalgic.
Probably just nostalgic.

Most recent album:

Kat: Mt. Eddy

Mt. Eddy is from Oakland, California. They are obviously good because one of Billie Joe Armstrong’s kid is in it. They definitely aren’t as grunge or hardcore like Green Day was in the Dookie ages, but you can hear the influence Billie had on them. They also have upbeat high pitched guitar lead music which reminds me of The Strokes. One of their best songs is “I Luv Robert Smith” WHICH almost has the same guitar line as “Samaritan” by Skinny The Kid.

Most recent album:

Round 5

Kat: Twin Peaks

Twin Peaks is from Chicago, Illinois. They are one of those bands that has shown up on most people’s social media pages. Finn Wolfhart’s band Calpurnia recently covered their song “Wanted You” which has helped them reach a larger audience.

Most recent album:

Nathan: Magic Sword

Magic Sword is pretty cool. The members dress in cool hoods with light up masks, which I’m a big fan of, and their catchy electronic tracks all have cool fantasy names like Sword of Truth and Legend of the Keeper. The few videos I could find of their live performances looked like total bangers, which is pretty cool.
I know I’m repeating myself but I don’t think that coming up with synonyms for cool accurately express how cool I think these guys are, and thats coming from the dude that uses the name “coolguy” in his internet handle.
Anyways, their music is electronic but manages to give off a fantasy vibe, and that’s not just from the track titles or the cool artworks of swords they have. I could jam to this stuff while exploring a forest or something, especially if I was on an adventure.

Most recent album:

Caleb: Kulululu

This definitely ended up being my most avant-garde pick. I don’t really know that I can sum them up with words. You just need to listen to them. Here is their most recent album on bandcamp. They have some old school punk elements to them, they have jazz elements, and the upbeat surfy vibes that they bring will be really fun to dance to. This is one you need to take a chance on. Their energy is absolutely insane.

Most recent album:

Seth: Western Daughter

I picked this band before listening to their music, and it’s not because of the name or the fact that there are six people in this band (according to the picture on the Treefort site), but it was because of their biography. I want to get a real feel for Treefort, and these are the folks to give it to me. They were basically born in the bowels of Treefort, playing their first official show at the festival in 2015. That’s what led me to them, and their emotional vocals, stellar lyrics, and a very Front Bottoms vibe all around are the things that made me stick around. Don’t miss these folks.

western.jpg

Round 6

Seth: Dark Rooms

Man, what a way for me to closeout my draft. These guys have something to them where even after you hear it once and leave it sitting on the shelf for a couple of hours, you can still hear the haunting vocals in your head. If you’ve seen A Ghost Story, then you know Dark Rooms. I Get Overwhelmed is a large reason that A Ghost Story is such a beautiful and poignant film with Daniel Hart’s hushed falsetto guiding Casey Affleck through the movie. If you need something to make you cry and center your mind while at the festival, check out these guys at Neurolox at 10 pm on Thursday.

Caleb: Clarke and the Himselfs

This is my most pleasant surprise of the whole draft. They’ve quickly become one of my favorite bands of the moment. The best song I’ve heard so far is “Asteroid”, whose lyrics focus on Satan and God coming out of the universe. “Satan came down from outer space, they didn’t know that the people rejoiced cause they knew his face, God came down from the universe, he didn’t know that the people rejoiced cause they knew his works (words?)” This band is a must listen to anyone who like Neutral Milk Hotel, Wolf Parade, or Yuck. Lo-fi vibes, emotive, strained vocals, wonderfully quirky lyrics.

Most recent album:

Nathan: Prism Bitch

Prism Bitch is probably one of the most punk names for a group I’ve ever heard. Also, in their bio on Spotify, they list themselves as being a “group that started as a four piece and asexually reproduced a fifth member”, which I think is absolutely hilarious. They’re very soulful, and remind me a lot of The Pixies. Their stuff is very melodic with occasional walls of sound that just blow me away. They also really like to perform, with their live shows being very energetic and fun. Their track Treehouse begins with one of the vocalists just screaming, “everybody shut the fuck up”, which puts me into stitches pretty much every time I hear it.

Most recent album:

Kat: Hallowed Oak

Hallowed Oak is also from Moscow, Idaho. They are a five piece, two guitars, drums, bass, and a violin, which makes them really interesting because you’d assume they are more folk, but actually they are more rock. They have a cool YouTube series called the 909 Session. Their best song is “Dancing” which is featured on their 909 Sessions. You can find it here: YouTube The singer in the song has really smooth vocals, and I just love smooth sounding vocals.

Most recent album:

Alright guys, so that does it for our preview of the Treefort Music Fest. With so many phenomenal talents, we could’ve gone another ten rounds. This festival is really something incredible. How did we do? Did we hit on some of your top choices for the festival? Who did we miss? Let us know so we can check them out.

 

Want to hear more undiscovered music? Check out our most recent podcast here:

Episode 11: Secrets (Part 1/2)

Festival Preview: Savannah Stopover

If you are in the southeast United States, the Savannah Stopover is a great festival to catch. It starts on March 8th, and the party doesn’t wind down until March 10th. With bands like of Montreal, Wild Child, and Nikki Lane headlining this southeast secret, this festival has something for everyone. With genres ranging from lo-fi and shoegaze to hip-hop and the Nashville sound, everyone is bound to catch a band they already love, and find a few more to fall in love with. One really cool part about the Savannah Stopover is that they are overflowing with so much talent, that they have secret shows spread throughout the weekend. They post the artist to their Twitter an hour before the show starts, so make sure you follow them here and have your running shoes on.

savannah stopover

secret show.jpeg

Also, if you can, get there a night early. They are going to have “The Night Before Stopover”, and with hosts like Graveface Records, Green Truck Pub, and Lagunitas, it’s bound to be a fun night that gets you in the right mindset for the weekend to come.

graveface

Our favorite part about this festival? It’s a treasure trove of phenomenal undiscovered talent! The three of us dove into the lineup list, and drafted a five band team of who we want to see at the Savannah Stopover. The rules to the draft are simple: We each get five bands, the draft goes in a serpentine fashion (last person of the first round is first in the second round), and you can only have two bands that you’ve listened to prior to the draft. Without further ado, here we go!

round 1 fight2

Seth: The Cave Singers

With great power, comes great responsibility. I landed the first pick of the draft, and with so much talent, I had to play it smart. I decided I needed a band that I wanted to party with until early in the morning, but would put me to bed softly at the end. The Cave Singers are that band. With songs like “Black Leaf” and “Christmas Night,” they are a band that will have you sweating and shaking into the stuffy Savannah night. Then, after an hour of dancing, they’ll bring it down to a quiet lullaby with “Distant Sures” and give you time to get the names of all your new dance partners.

Buy their newest album: Banshee

Nathan: Stoop Kids

Topping in at Number One for me is Stoop Kids, a funky five piece from New Orleans. Their music is hard to define, but it falls somewhere in the spectrum between psychedelic jazz and New Orleans hip hop (and yes, I know that the scope of that spectrum is pretty vague). If you haven’t heard their track “Stoop Life” from their debut album What a World, do yourself the favor of playing it on your morning commute. It’s a sleepy, rhythmic piece that I find myself grooving to more often than not on most mornings. These guys tour around the continental United States pretty frequently, so if you ever find yourself in the vicinity of one of their shows, make sure to get tickets.

Buy their most recent album: Queue: The Mixtape

Caleb: of Montreal

The song I know by of Montreal the best, and probably most people know the best is “Wraith Pinned to the Mist and Other Games” from way back in 2005. The infectious “Let’s pretend we don’t exist/ let’s pretend we’re in Antartica” made me fall in love with them with their Beatles (after they found drugs) sort of vibe. But they actually just put out a new single this year that I had no idea about. Their sound has….changed, and it’s pretty weird and amazing. From the opening line that repeats “fucked in your driveway” to the trippy synths, the newer of Montreal sets have to be perfect for a festival setting. Find your beer or substance of choice and buckle up for an amazing set at the end of a beautiful lineup full of wonderful acts.

Buy their most recent album: Innocence Reaches

round 2

Caleb: Public Access TV

The song I would start out is “Metrotech” off their most recent album. It’s got this super smooth bass line rolling throughout it along with some really cool vocals. At their best this band has some elements of funk, disco, alt. rock, and tons of other iterations thereof. I imagine their set will be one of the most energetic of the entire festival. This band is a must see.

Buy their most recent album: Street Safari [Explicit]

Nathan: pronoun

My second pick was pronoun, the one-woman show that is Alyse Vellturo. I’d never heard her before this draft but her Her 2016 EP, There’s no one new around you., isn’t something I could find myself listening to when I’m not fully focused on the sounds coming out of my headphones. While through it I can’t help but close my eyes and just get carried away by the sweet synth-pop melodies. It only being four tracks helps however, since I don’t have to zone out for long. Her newest single, Run, came out this year.

Buy her most recent EP: There’s no one new around you

Seth: The War & Treaty

Admittedly, my only exposure to The War & Treaty prior to researching who we wanted to draft was their song Hi Ho, but after very minimal research on the harmoniously married powerhouse of Michael and Tanya Trotter, they easily secured my second draft pick. With vocals that very few on this planet can match singularly, the two of them together form an incomparable duet. The key to them stealing the number 2 spot on my draft board is their electric live performances. I watched their entire performance at The Kennedy Center, and found myself multiple times per song burying my face in my hands in disbelief of what they’re willing to try and crush in their live performance. A lot of artists play it safe during live performances, and let their ad libbing shine more on their albums. That’s not the case with The War & Treaty. They build on their soulful album and add even more soul in the live performance. I’ll be seeing them live at Rhythm and Blooms in Knoxville, but I desperately want to make the 4 1/2 hour trip to Savannah to see them next weekend. Bonus Fact: Michael learned to play piano on a piano in one of Saddam Hussein’s palaces.

Buy their newest album: Down to the River

round 3.jpg

Seth: Mo Lowda and the Humble

Keeping a theme of growly strong vocals, Mo Lowda and the Humble take my third pick. With songs like “The Way Home” where the guitar and the smooth vocals hang in the air long after the song ends alongside the growl and cacophonous guitar in “Lazy Minds,” they are festival fodder that everyone needs to see.

Buy their album here: Curse the Weather

Nathan: SLEEPWALKERS

Number three was SLEEPWALKERS. Their song “Cocaine” evokes such a warm, Summer-y feeling from me with its bright guitar and high vocals. It makes me ready for warmer days, days where all this damn pollen is gone already. The Virginian quartet’s melodies have gotten stuck in my head several times now after first listening to them, and although they only have one album out at the moment, I’m eagerly awaiting the next.

Buy their most recent album: Greenwood Shade

Caleb: Okey Dokey

You should start with the song “Wavy Gravy” for sure. It has this excellent throwback vibe that mixes elements of a band like The Black Keys with some crooning of the 50s. It sounds like a song that would fit in the old Disney movie “Susie Q” (side note: I really hope that reference is still relevant in 2018). This is the band you should go see when you need a laid back break from dancing to see some people with some excellent vocals.

Buy their most recent album: Love You, Mean It

round 4

Caleb: Sarah Shook and the Disarmers

You know what? I’m going to be honest with you, I picked this band because their name stood out to me. I’m a window shopper. Then I went to their Spotify and listened to the song “Fuck Up” off their full length album, and I fell in love. Female vocals with a country twang along with elements of grunge. Think a modern iteration of Janis Joplin with a mix of Julien Baker and a slide guitar, specific enough? You have to look up this song! If it doesn’t go on your playlist, I suspect you’re a lot happier than I am. “God never makes mistakes, he just makes fuck ups”.

Buy their most recent album: Sidelong

Nathan: White Violet

I, like Caleb, also picked this band purely by name. But as soon as I heard their lead singer’s soft, smooth vocals I was immediately entranced. The trippy backbeat to their song “Waves” is the perfect mood music for a long drive at night or one of those evenings where you find yourself sitting around with nothing to do. In fact, most of their songs that I’ve listened to so far are great chill-out-and-do-nothing tunes, ones I’ll probably listen to when unwinding in a long bath or as background music for a rainy day where I catch up on some reading.

Buy their most recent album: Ages

Seth: The Pauses

Keeping in theme with judging off of names, the name of the Pauses actually had me hesitant… or made me… take pause? Bands with the name setup, “The (insert one vague word here)” are very hit and miss. The Shins? Yeah. The Verve? Nah. The Accidentals? Sure, I’m in. The Script? Keep ’em. See what I mean? Then, when I saw that they are from “Mickeytown USA” instead of Orlando, there was even more hesitation. What a pleasant surprise! Tierney Tough, the lead vocalist, has a very bright voice that pairs very well with the glitchy synth sounds that accompany her. With their most recent album being from 2011, I’m excited to see the direction that they have taken on their second full length album that will be released later this spring.

Buy their first album here: A Cautionary Tale

Round5

Seth: Sun Parade

This is my steal of the draft. These guys embody what the Savannah Stopover is. The founder, Kayne Lanahan, has her finger on the pulse of indie music, and knows who is going to be next year’s headliners. The whole lineup is stacked, and Sun Parade is no different. From the opening whistles of “Braindrain” to the perfect pitch falsetto in “Hearts Out,” Sun Parade has a groove that is unmistakable. With instrumentals ranging from Motown and funk to barking headstrong indie rock, Sun Parade is as versatile as the festival itself.

Buy their most recent album: Shuggy Mtn Breakdown

Nathan: Vita and the Woolf

I really love female vocals, especially soulful ones like Vita and the Woolf’s lead singer, Jennifer Pague. Her voice is just so… ugh, I can’t even put the emotions it makes me feel to words. Combined with the energetic and dynamic drumming on each track and the beautiful, swelling chords in the background, I found myself getting a little teary at certain points of their album Tunnels. I’m probably going to be shouting the lyrics to “Mary” on my drives very frequently over the next several weeks, trying not to tear up at the drop where the soft keys play behind Pague’s vocals.

Buy their most recent album: Tunnels

Caleb: The Vegabonds

If you are going to this festival I assume you’re from the south, or you have interests in the south. Now, even though I grew up in the south not really loving country music, elements of country got stuck in my bones. I love blue grass. I love twangy vocals. The Vegabonds take the elements of country that I actually like and embrace them perfectly. Song to listen to first? “Oh My Lord” off their most recent album. The harmonies are beautiful. There are elements here that almost remind me of Rob Thomas, before he got too poppy. This band is a must see, and then you can tell all your friends that you are there with about them beforehand and look like a badass.

Buy their most recent album: What We’re Made Of

Who drafted the best lineup? Let us know in the comments below.

Wrap up:

Kicking off festival season, the Savannah Stopover is your place to catch a lot of your favorite artists as they’re going to SXSW, but the beauty of the Stopover is that you are guaranteed to find a lot of new favorites. Kayne and her team have put together incredible lineups for the past seven years that have consistently hit on artists right before their breakout. The Savannah Stopover is the festival for you if you’re wanting to see the best of tomorrow while still having a solid mix of people in the middle of their break like of Montreal and Wild Child. Having the city of Savannah, objectively one of the best cities in the country, as a backdrop is just a huge bonus.