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)

Track of the Day: Last Letter

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.

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.