First City Festival Fringe: Top 5 undercard acts for the fest’s first year

First-City-FestivalWritten by Molly Kish //

First City Festival //
Monterey County Fairgrounds – Monterey, CA
August 23rd-24th, 2014 //

In less than one month, Monterey County’s fairground & event center will play host to the flagship year of the First City Festival. Boasting a roster packed to the brim with indie rock elite, FCF’s lineup is one of summer’s strongest on the west coast. Beyond familiar top-of-the-lineup acts Modest Mouse, Passion Pit, MGMT, Beach House, Toro Y Moi, Washed Out & Deerhunter, FCF’s second billings offer an impressive mix of underrated and up and coming buzz bands from the past few years.

We encourage you to take ample time over the course of the 2-day festival to explore the 30+ bands and attractions, along with a variety of food and local craft beer vendors. There’s a comedy/vaudeville variety stage, and the “Monterey Carnival” comes complete with rides and games. If you’ll be heading down to Monterrey early on August 24 & 25, we’ve got 5 artist recommendations to get acquainted to.

Purity Ring

The Canadian duo of Corin Roddick and Megan James mashes together glitchy hip-hop oriented beats with ethereal pop melodies and crystalline vocal tracks. Relative newbies to the indie scene, Roddick and James convey the song writing skills of seasoned veterans, attacking each track with finite detailing and production expertise.

The duo specializes in creating lush soundscapes filled with dreamlike dance tracks, and their unique stage show incorporates spontaneous lighting elements produced by a handcrafted audio visual synthesizer. Triggered by the group’s improvisational percussion, the machine is something Corin created himself, and it allows each set the band performs to be a truly individual spectacle to behold. Purity Ring will be one of the most all-encompassing and entertaining acts on the bill at FCF.

For Fans of: Grimes, The Naked and Famous, TNGHT

Avey Tare’s Slasher Flick’s

A side project of Animal Collective founding member Avey Tare, Slasher Flick’s brings an experimental element to the First City Festival line up. Formed with ex-Dirty Projector member Angel Deradoorian and Ponytail drummer Jeremy Hyman, Slasher Flick’s is self-described as a “group of three hippies on a road trip through the backwaters of 2013’s rural music scene, (who) fall prey to a murderous cannibalistic band making.”

The trio has made sparse appearances in New York and the UK since their conception this past April, further amplifying the buzz surrounding their Sunday set at FCF, which will mark the band’s first ever West Coast performance as a group. Anticipating live interpretations of the material off of Avey’s 2010 solo debut Down There, this show promises a unique exploration of vivid soundscapes, abstract musical production, songwriting showmanship and fantastical visual imagery. Having just returned from a coveted spot on the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival bill and just before Tare hits the road again with Animal Collective through the Fall, you’ll want to catch this rare opportunity to check out this eclectic super-group, while you still have the chance.

For Fans of: Animal Collective, Dan Deacon and MGMT

The Black Angels:

Ramping up Saturday’s scheduled line up, The Black Angels bring their aggressively modern take on psychedelic rock to the First City Festival stage. As a newly reconfigured quartet, the Black Angels have been touring in support their fourth studio album Indigo Meadow since April. They are making their last appearance statewide on this tour Saturday at FCF before a string of European dates, leading up to their scheduled sets at the Austin City Limits festival in October. Enlisting the support of acclaimed producer John Congleton (David Byrne & Saint Vincent, Clinic, Explosions in the Sky) on their latest full length, the band continues to push the boundaries of modern rock with their seductive drone vocals, resonating reverb, and audacious song structure.

At the forefront of a post-millennial acid rock resurgence, the Black Angels are facilitators to nearly all the fresh new faces emerging in this genre. The group curates the Austin Psych Fest, so the Black Angel’s can be held personally responsible for the progressive nature of the present day psych-rock scene. Ushering in a brand new era of boisterous psych rock, the Black Angels will be a difficult act to pass on at this year’s FCF.

For Fans of: The Velvet Underground, Primus and Tame Impala.


Celebrating their 2013 release Heza, and recent shift over to Polyvinyl Records, Generationals bring their melancholic catalogue of analog recordings to the Sunday line up of First City Festival. NOLA natives Ted Joyner and Grant Widmer formed the Generationals in 2007 after the dissolution of a previous project to start writing songs as a duo.

Embedded in the archetypes of mid-century pop, the Generationals draw upon minimalist retro formulas while incorporating underlying trends in post punk and new wave production. The band has been charming crowds throughout Europe with their infectiously upbeat stage show over the course of the past few months, returning for their first show back in the states the Sunday afternoon of FCF. A prefect addition to a bill ripe with indie talent, this set will be a highlight of the festival and one not worth missing out on.

For Fans of: Vampire Weekend, Born Ruffians, Foster the People


Conceived with intention of producing content for an upcoming Cults album, guitarist Richie Follin, singer/songwriter Kaylie Church and drummer Loren Humphrey indirectly crafted Guards’ critically acclaimed debut album In Guards We Trust. As much of a happy surprise to both band members as it was to the online press, the album gained immediate traction and resulted in the quick formation of a group to fulfill requests for concert bookings and festival dates.

Extracting elements from three decades-worth of influence, Guards sound incorporates a strong appreciation for 50’s doo-wop, 60’s soul and Motown and echoes of choral pop decadence from the 70’s. Creating a comprehensive album that’s both distinctive and nostalgic, Guards aim to celebrate their influences while still remaining stylistically contemporary. Finishing up a string of festival dates before jumping on tour in support of Queens of the Stone Age, this FCF set is a quintessential example of a band worth latching onto early. Be sure to check them out on Saturday.

For Fans of: Cults, Real Estate and The Drums

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