Even though we focus on undiscovered artists, we still love listening to bands who have already figured it out. We are going to publish one of these a week just so you can continue to get a feel for our individual tastes in music. If you want to do the A-Side Playlist with us one week, shoot us a message.
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)
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
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”.
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.
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:
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.
Want to hear more from The B-Side Guys?
Check out our most recent podcast here: Episode 11: Secrets (Part 1/2)
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*
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:
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.
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:
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Nathan: The Regrettes
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.
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.
Nathan: Magic Sword
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.
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.
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.
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:
Alright, so here at the B-Side Guys, we pride ourselves on telling people about artists who are flying under the radar. We are not above admitting when we missed someone, though. Witt Lowry is that dude. His voice drips with passion as he cracks across the lyrics, voice popping with perfect imperfections. The thing that pulls you in is that he hits his words with such power, confident in those cracks in his voice. He has found his style, and he is defining who he is as a rapper. Writing a song that deals so openly and honestly with death is a real feat, and Witt Lowry approaches it with delicacy and strength.