Treefort Music Fest 2022: Here’s (almost) everything you need to know as Boise’s best festival turns 10

Treefort Music Festival 2022 - crowdPhotos by Matthew Wordell, Amanda Morgan & Christina Birkinbine // Written by Kevin Quandt //

Treefort Music Fest //
Downtown Boise – Boise, ID
March 23rd-27th, 2022 //

2022 is looking to be a “return to normality” in many sectors of life compared to the last two lengthy years, and as we notice more shows and festivals returning to their previous capacity and success, it’s no surprise that Idaho’s premier indie music event is poised to be an overwhelming standout early in the season. This year’s lineup is truly a cornucopia of up-and-coming artists coupled with some of the best established alternative acts spread across Boise’s charming and extremely navigable downtown area.

There’s a lot to dig into for this five-day event, and while many know Treefort as the Northwest’s iteration of South by Southwest, it has begun to grow out of that singular reputation in its 10th year of existence. We’ll do our best to touch on as many areas, or Forts, below.


The Forts

Treefort Music Festival 2022 - beer

Alefort: Beer has increasingly become a sizable part of the Boise community in the past few years with the town home to nearly 20 breweries. Toss in a few distilleries, and you have a recipe for beverage success. While Alefort will offer a plethora of local beers and cocktails, the introduction of Future Pub will see Boise’s favorite foods reimagined as plant-based and sustainable eats.

This Fort will offer around 70 different selections from the area. Here’s a sneak peek of a few offerings:

• Lumberbeard – Cody’s Red Couch (West Coast IPA collaboration with Treasure Valley Beer Buyers)
• Odell – Barreled Treasure (Barrel-Aged Imperial Horchata Stout)
• Barbarian – Cry of the Blackbirds (Blackberry and Boysenberry Barrel-Aged Sour)
• OEC – Coolship Lager (a Lager with a character all its own)
• Von Ebert – Volatile Substance (2021 GABF gold medal winner for American IPA)
• Rodenbach – Red Tripel (celebrating a 200-year anniversary from a classic Belgian brewery)
• Fremont – Coconut Cacao BBADS (Barrel-Aged Imperial Oatmeal Stout with coconut and cocoa)

Getting thirsty yet? If so, we highly recommend you consider the Alefort Buzz Pass, as it’s essentially an affordable “Beer VIP” add-on to your festival pass that comes with eight beer tokens, front-of-line privileges and assorted swag. Cheers!

Artfort: Expect to see various artistic selections throughout the streets of downtown Boise as local muralists, performers and visual artists pepper the site with their creative output. Longtime musical puppetry ensemble The Fungineers will be on hand to showcase their bizarro skills, playing a late-night set at The Egyptian Theatre on Friday, March 24 from 12-1:30 a.m.

Comedyfort: Looking for a little break from the music and more importantly, some serious laughs? (Is that an oxymoron?) Comedyfort, held on Friday and Saturday at the Owyhee and FireFusion Studio, is your destination for both passholders and the general public. This two-day showcase features nearly two dozen comics from across the country and will be anchored by co-headliners Chanel Ali and Chris Garcia.

Dragfort: Treefort thrives as an all-inclusive event, and Dragfort showcases this in FABULOUS form. Dragfort is a shining celebration of all things LGBTQ+, building community through performance and dialogue. Various troupes will be performing across the event, such as the Corevette Collective, a group of queer fae performers. Start your Sunday in grand style at “It’s Brunch Bitch”, which will be held at Alefort on Sunday from 12-2 p.m.

Filmfort: This cinema-centric Fort will present an array of independent film screenings coupled with DIY panels and Q&A sessions with many of the featured filmmakers. Zambia’s Zamrock heroes WITCH (We Intend To Cause Havoc) are in the U.S. this spring, and we should be thrilled they are hitting Treefort on this tour. They’ll be performing both Saturday and Sunday, as well as having a screening of their seminal documentary. Another standout film event will be anchored by 90’s alternative-rock stalwarts Mercury Rev as they present a rare performance of their Clear Light Ensemble. This iteration of live film soundtracking will take place on Friday at 12:30 a.m. (late Thursday night) at The Egyptian Theatre. The 1962 cult-horror film “Carnival of Souls” will be live scored by Mercury Rev alongside John Dwyer (Osees), Mimi Goese (Hugo Largo), Ryley Walker, Brett Netson (Caustic Resin, Built to Spill, Earth, Scram Signal), Luke Wyland (AU, Methods Body), Andrew Dixon, Michael Mitchell (Jeff Crosby, Floating Witch’s Head).

Foodfort: Should be one of the more self-explanatory spaces at the event. The list of gastronomic superstars is impressive as Foodfort serves up our chef du fest Hugh Acheson, Food & Wine’s 2021 Best New Chef Carlo Lamagna and James Beard Award-winning podcast “Copper & Heat”. While Foodfort Tastes are ticketed events, all Foodfort Talks are open to pass holders.

Hackfort: For those attendees who live for the next tech innovation, there is indeed a Fort for you. Workshops will touch upon such popular topics as AI, gaming, 3D printing, animation and music tech to name a few. Admission to Hackfort is included with Treefort passes, yet a singular pass for this Fort is also offered.

Kidfort: Hey, Treefort is for all ages, so naturally some fun offerings for the lil’ festival-goers had to be present. Even better is the fact that kids 12 and under get a totally free wristband for the entire festival. These focused events for the kiddos include art projects, puppetry, workshops, family dance parties, sing-a-longs and even a youth variety showcase.

Skatefort: This single-day exhibition of all things skateboarding, roller skating, music and the intersecting communities. All are welcome to skate the park on this Saturday offering, advocating youth and at-risk youth to enjoy this growing sport.

Storyfort: Not being the type of all-inclusive arts event to leave out the written word and the process of telling a compelling story, this fort focuses on authors, poets, journalists, spoken word artists, refugee storytellers, podcasters and much more.

Yogafort: After three days and nights of various shows and programming, some attendees may need a little healthy stretching and movement. Well, Treefort has got you covered on Saturday, March 26th with their holistic Yogafort program at the Adelmann Building, which will offer a radiant heart flow, queer-guided meditations, dancing, musical yoga pairings and a bunch more. Much like Hackfort, a Yogafort-specific pass can be purchased.


Treefort Music

Treefort Music Festival 2022

As you can clearly see, Treefort offers attendees no shortage of auxiliary offerings, but the majority of pass holders will surely be focused on the music programming that is extensive, inclusive and very deep. We’d be here all day if we highlighted even half of the hundreds of acts that are present on the lineup. Much like South By, Treefort’s curation leans heavily on breaking the next banner acts as they jump onto the radar of industry and fans alike. There are plenty of accolades to be showered on headliners such as former Sonic Youth founder Kim Gordon, psych demigods Osees and buzzworthy upstarts Men I Trust. We’ll focus on more mid-tier, up-and-coming and rare acts as they make a visit to the edges of the Northwest.

Artist: Nubya Garcia
Set date/time: Thursday, March 24th 9:10 p.m.
Location: El Korah Shrine

London-based Nubya Garcia has been making serious waves in the past couple years, and it’s a treat to have her make a visit to Treefort after a handful of support dates with Khruangbin out east. The critical acclaim has been raining down on the saxophonist/composer quickly after her debut Concord Jazz release, and has become a key figure in the rising UK jazz scene alongside Kamaal Williams, Ezra Collective and Kokoroko. Garcia’s sultry groove is not to be missed for fans of free-flowing jazz.

Artist: Vanishing Twin
Set date/time: Friday, March 25th 7:30 p.m.
Location: El Korah Shrine

Thankfully the Treefort booking team was able to re-secure this UK psych-pop consortium after 2020’s event was punted. The group is made up of members from the HAHA Sounds Collective, an assembly of London vocalists and instrumentalists who all generally share the same vision on creating jazzy, atmospheric tunes that occasionally sound better suited as a soundtrack for an obscure French film.

Artist: Magdalena Bay
Set date/time: Friday, March 25th 10:20 p.m.
Location: Egyptian Theatre

This duo serves up a heaping slice of futuristic indie-pop that will surely stick with you as they deliver shining electronic tunes coupled with eye-grabbing visuals. Their knack for delivering content via multiple online formats has created a unique commentary of the state of tech and the shifting music industry, which is soundtracked by some seriously catchy electropop. Fans of acts such as Spelling, Dorian Electra and the late SOPHIE should prioritize this evening performance.

Artist: Dummy
Set date/time: Saturday, March 26th 7:10 p.m.
Location: Sonic Temple Blue

An emphasis on minimal UK noise rock coupled with haunting, melodic vocals has never sounded so refreshing as this LA group expertly displayed on their Trouble in Mind Records debut Mandatory Enjoyment. This aptly named release found its way onto a handful of “Best of 2021” album lists for good reason, as their organ-heavy sound paired with female vocals heralds comparisons to Stereolab.

Artist: Deradoorian
Set date/time: Saturday, March 26th 9:00 p.m.
Location: KIN

Many tuned-in indie music fans are most likely to recognize Angel Deradoorian from her tenure with Dirty Projectors. However, it’s under her solo moniker that the art-pop goddess shines brightest. Equal parts spooky indie pop coupled with krautrock-leaning flourishes has yielded some truly impressive releases. 2020’s Find the Sun is worth a spin before making the pilgrimage to Boise in the coming week.

Artist: Ducks Ltd.
Set dates/times: Saturday, March 26th 10:10 p.m. & Sunday, March 27th 5:20 p.m.
Locations: Linen Building (March 26th) & Radioland (March 27th)

Tom McGreevy and Evan Lewis are vetted pros at serving up gleeful pop rock, which somehow equally sounds both nostalgic and newfangled. The Toronto-based jangle-pop duo’s 2021 Carpark release Modern Fiction is one to throw on before heading to Boise in the coming week for fans of Luna, Real Estate and Chime School.

Artist: PAINT
Set date/time: Saturday, March 26th 10:30 p.m.
Location: The District

While not a new side project for LA band Allah-Las songwriter/guitarist Pedrum Siadatian, PAINT can fly under the radar of Allah fans. Luckily, their surf-inspired jangle rock is rather akin to Siadatian’s main project, full of piercing guitar leads coupled with washed-out vocals. While PAINT’s overall vibe may be supremely suited for a sunny beach day, it’ll win over those in attendance for their Saturday showcase. Fans of this sound and act should also heavily consider catching fellow LA act The Spyrals.

Artist: Geese
Set date/time: Sunday, March 27th 10:50 p.m.
Location: Sonic Temple Blue

These uber-buzzy NYC teenagers might be on your radar as they’ve garnered a slew of critical acclaim since the release of their sensational debut single “Disco”. While they have only recently begun to tour, they have already taken the U.S. and globe by force with relentless touring and press. Post-punk bands have become pretty plentiful with a renewed emphasis on the genre, but these young lads have stood out with their guttural vocals, impressive guitar interplay and introspective-beyond-their-age lyrics.


As you can likely surmise, Treefort offers a ton of options to every demographic and tough decisions will need to be made as you zig zag through Boise’s city center for five days. You should currently be trying to put your game plan together assuming you already have a pass in hand. If not, you still have plenty of time to book travel to this highly accessible and very financially reasonable locale. There’s little doubt that every attendee won’t walk away with a handful of new artists to dig into this spring as we ramp back up to live shows and festivals. Why not get the ball rolling in late March at Treefort?

Tickets to Treefort Music Fest 2022 are available here.

Treefort Music Festival 2022 - lineup

10 California music festivals you won’t want to miss in 2022

2022 California music festivalsWritten by Josh Herwitt //

With live music returning to stages across the U.S. during the second half of last year and spring now right around the corner, 2022 is shaping up to be a monumental year for the industry and a big reason for that is the comeback of the music festival. California has certainly played a major part in its revival coming out of a global pandemic, with a number of single-day and multi-day events already scheduled to take place up and down the Golden State over the next six-plus months. So, who’s ready for festival season to begin?

If you’re itching to hit a music festival, here are 10 in California you should save your cash for this year.


CRSSD Festival - Spring 2022 lineup

CRSSD Festival
Location: Waterfront Park – San Diego
Dates: March 5th-6th
Tickets: Buy them here!

One North American concert promoter who wasn’t deterred by the news surrounding the coronavirus’ omicron variant a few months ago happens to be FNGRS CRSSD, the San Diego-based brand that debuted CRSSD Festival back in 2015 and has been going strong ever since with a spring and fall edition of the event each year. Unleashing another electronic-leaning roster for its first installment in 2022 with Glass Animals and SOFI TUKKER as headliners, CRSSD has managed to hold tight with its plans. Four Tet, Get Real (Claude VonStroke and Green Velvet), Gorgon City, 070 Shake, Blu DeTiger, Cautious Clay, Chet Faker, Parcels, Franc Moody, Lastlings, SG Lewis and more stack the undercard.

READ MORE HERE


Smokin Groves Fest - 2022 lineup

Smokin Grooves Fest
Location: LA State Historic Park – Los Angeles
Dates: March 19th
Tickets: Buy them here!

Smookin Grooves’ lineup has easily matched what it offered fans in 2018 (read our review here) and 2019 (read our review here) after putting on excellent showings both years sheerly by landing Erykah Badu, Nas, The Roots, Miguel and Jhené Aiko to lead the charge. But adding The Internet, Flying Lotus, Kamasi Washington, Thundercat, Smino, Toro y Moi, SiR, Little Dragon, Hiatus Kaiyote and more to the roster makes this another must-see production. The one-day fest is also getting a change of scenery as it relocates north to the 32-acre LA State Historic Park in the Chinatown neighborhood of downtown LA that once hosted FYF Fest and several HARD events.

READ MORE HERE


Coachella - 2022 lineup

Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival
Location: Empire Polo Club – Indio, CA
Dates: April 15th-17th & April 22nd-24th
Tickets: Buy them here!

The three-day, two-weekend event is finally ready to give it another go in April after becoming one of the first large-scale music festivals in the U.S. to postpone its plans when the COVID-19 pandemic took the world by storm almost two years ago. Harry Styles and Billie Eilish will spearhead the 2022 lineup, with Swedish House Mafia back at Coachella for the first time in a decade since the electronic supergroup’s closing set on the main stage in 2012 and The Weeknd added late to help replace Ye (fka Kanye West). The famed California fest has had a penchant for booking more international acts — from BLACKPINK to Bad Bunny — in recent years, and 2022 will be no different.

READ MORE HERE


BeachLife Festival - 2022 lineup

BeachLife Festival
Location: Seaside Lagoon – Redondo Beach, CA
Dates: May 13th-15th
Tickets: Buy them here!

The three-day event moved to September in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s back to its normal month of May this year with plenty to get excited about. Leading the fest’s third installment will be Weezer and 311 as co-headliners on Friday while The Smashing Pumpkins and Steve Miller Band will have their own days — Saturday and Sunday, respectively — to shine even after the sun dips into the Pacific Ocean. Black Pumas, Vance Joy, Sheryl Crow, Stone Temple Pilots and Lord Huron, in the meantime, anchor an impressive undercard for what’s sure to be a party down by the shore.

READ MORE HERE


Just Like Heaven - 2022 lineup

Just Like Heaven
Location: Brookside at the Rose Bowl – Pasadena, CA
Dates: May 21st
Tickets: Buy them here!

The one-day music festival put on by Goldenvoice, which debuted in 2019 and was an instant success, has dropped a 2022 roster that should be a dream come true for any indie music fan. And after a two-year absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the show is ready to go on again — although this time it’s migrating north from the Queen Mary Park in Long Beach to take over the Brookside Golf Course at the Rose Bowl — and we still can’t remember the last time heaven ever looked this good. NYC indie rockers Interpol will have the honor of headlining this time around, but sets by Modest Mouse, The Shins, M.I.A., Bloc Party, Franz Ferdinand, Chromeo, Santigold, Cut Copy, The Hives, Wolf Parade, Peaches, !!!, The Raveonettes and more are likely to leave a lasting impression.

READ MORE HERE


Lightning in a Bottle - 2022 lineup

Lightning in a Bottle
Location: Buena Vista Aquatic Recreation Area – Bakersfield, CA
Dates: May 25th-30th
Tickets: Buy them here!

After being forced to cancel its 15th edition more than 18 months ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the “transformational festival” is returning to Kern County over Memorial Day weekend and The Do LaB has retained a handful of acts on the 2020 roster from headliners like Kaytranada and GRiZ to several undercard standouts such as Purity Ring, Big Wild, Four Tet, Empress Of and Jon Hopkins. But LIB in 2022 will also feature some new blood, starting right at the top of the poster with Glass Animals as well as a pair of Brits in SG Lewis and Little Simz — who are newcomers to the event — on the bill. Other notable names include Chet Faker, Black Coffee, CloZee, Seth Troxler, Monolink, G Jones B2B Eprom, Maya Jane Coles, Goldlink, OPIUO, Chika, Mr. Carmack, Big Freedia, Dirtwire and more, including a Desert Hearts launch party with Lee Reynolds.

READ MORE HERE


BottleRock - 2022 lineup

BottleRock Napa Valley
Location: Napa Valley Expo – Napa, CA
Dates: May 27th-29th
Tickets: Buy them here!

Despite announcing its lineup at the beginning of this year when COVID-19 cases were skyrocketing across the U.S. due to the omicron variant, the three-day event is marching ahead toward its normal timing of Memorial Day weekend after canceling in 2020 and sliding the festivities back to Labor Day weekend in 2021. And much like BottleRock’s previous rosters, 2022’s follows very much in the same vein (i.e. lots of rock ‘n’ roll) with Metallica, P!NK, Twenty One Pilots and Luke Combs topping the bill. The Napa fest’s ninth edition should serve as a special performance for Metallica no less, considering that the legendary heavy-metal band has called the Bay Area home for almost three decades.

READ MORE HERE


Outside Lands - 2022 lineup

Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival
Location: Golden Gate Park – San Francisco
Dates: August 5-7th
Tickets: Buy them here!

After being forced in 2021 to push back its 13th year (read our review here) to Halloween weekend due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the three-day music festival is finally returning to its usual timing in August and spring is when we normally anticipate the lineup dropping every year. But the latest installment of SF’s signature event has a slightly different feel than in years past as Green Day, Post Malone and SZA assume headlining duties with Jack Harlow, Weezer, Phoebe Bridgers, Illenium, Lil Uzi Vert, Kali Uchis, Disclosure, Mitski, Polo & Pan and Anitta leading the undercard. And though all three headliners will be topping the poster at OSL for the first time, Green Day’s performance should carry a little extra weight given that the legacy act is originally from the East Bay.

READ MORE HERE


This Ain't No Picnic Festival 2022

This Ain’t No Picnic
Brookside at the Rose Bowl – Pasadena, CA
Dates: August 27th-28th
Tickets: Buy them here!

Concert promoter Goldenvoice is bringing back This Ain’t No Picnic to SoCal for the first time since 2002 and taking over the Brookside Golf Course at the Rose Bowl for two days in late August (warning: it will be hot) with a killer two-day roster that screams “Pitchfork Fest!” The event has a history of exposing the raw energy of punk-leaning, indie darlings such as Sonic Youth, Sleater-Kinney and Guided by Voices in 1999 before taking another step toward the mainstream by booking Beck, Yo La Tengo, Built to Spill, At the Drive-In and Modest Mouse for its 2000 edition. A couple of NYC products in The Strokes and LCD Soundsystem will serve as headliners in 2022 while the fest’s undercard offers its own set of highlights starting with the reunion of Le Tigre, another NYC product who last reunited in 2016 to give us “I’m with Her” as their latest single.

READ MORE HERE


Primavera Sound Los Angeles - 2022 lineup

Primavera Sound Los Angeles
LA State Historic Park – Los Angeles
Dates: September 16-18th
Tickets: Buy them here!

Primavera Sound has been a staple across the music festival circuit since launching back in 2001 with its Spanish roots firmly planted in Barcelona. But we would be lying if we didn’t admit here that we have eagerly been anticipating the release of Primavera Sound LA’s inaugural lineup, which was originally set to make its U.S. debut in 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic put a hold on things, and that news has finally become a reality with Arctic Monkeys, Lorde and Nine Inch Nails set to headline. That said, Arca, Bicep (Live), Buscabulla, Cigarettes After Sex, Clairo, DARKSIDE, Faye Webster, James Blake, Jehnny Beth, Khruangbin, Kim Gordon, King Krule, Low, Mitski, Stereolab and Tierra Whack have all signed on as well to mark what’s looking like a banner year for live music in the City of Angels.

READ MORE HERE


Which of these music festivals are you going to? Which are you looking forward to the most?

Lightning in a Bottle 2016

Noise Pop 2018: A Bay Area indie culture celebration

Noise Pop 2018Written by Jacqueline Moore //

Noise Pop //
Bay Area venues – San Francisco & Oakland
February 19th-25th, 2018 //

While it seems as if the rest of the world slept soundly over the holidays, putting their work aside to relax and unwind, the people at Noise Pop stayed wide awake, producing the most eclectic and unique celebration of Bay Area independent culture.

Starting next week, the 26th edition of Noise Pop invades all corners of the Bay (including the addition of shows in surrounding cities like San Jose, Santa Cruz and Sacramento this year) to honor everything we love about SF, Oakland and the greater Northern California region.

As a festival, Noise Pop is one in which you can jump from show to show while seeing plenty of big-name acts — tUnE-yArDs, Ty Dolla $ign and Built to Spill to name a few this year — on one night, then catch some of today’s most emerging artists, whether it’s Japanese Breakfast, Sudan Archives, Mount Eerie or another.

Throughout the week, make sure to explore everything that Noise Pop has to offer. Between film screenings, art galleries, happy hours and concerts happening all over SF and the East Bay, you’ll find that Noise Pop knows how to transform the area into your own playground.

Last year for its 25th anniversary, Noise Pop saw its largest attendance numbers, with nearly every show reaching capacity. In fact, more than 28,000 people came together for a week of events to commemorate what makes the Bay Area so damn special.

Names on the 2018 lineup are strong and not to be slept on. Between local shining star Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, well-known acts such as Bahamas and Geographer, besties Jay Som and Japanese Breakfast, and former Vampire Weekend keyboardist Rostam, the Noise Pop bill (which was announced in three phases) is stacked to the brim, making it tough to choose who to see each night.

However, there are only two ways to get in on the action: buy a badge and gain access to every show, or individually buy tickets to the ones that you’d like to attend.

The choice is yours, friend.


Download the Noise Pop mobile app to get special updates, including details on Noise Pop After Hours performances, and create your own customized schedule here. Super Fan Badges are still available for purchase here.

Noise Pop 2018 - Phase 3 lineup

SF Show of the Week // GO4FREE to Penguin Prison at Mezzanine 2/10 (WED)

Penguin PrisonWritten by Nik Crossman //

Penguin Prison with Manics //
Mezzanine – San Francisco
February 10th, 2016 //

Growing up in New York City’s Upper East Side, Chris Glover (aka Penguin Prison) embarked on his musical journey early in life. From joining his school’s gospel choir at the age of 10 to fronting a punk band in high school and forming a boy band in college, Glover has never been shy of the spotlight. In 2009, he made a name for himself under the moniker Penguin Prison with his Animal Animal/A Funny Thing EP.

Released in 2015, Penguin Prison’s latest album Lost in New York refers to “a journey that someone is going on who’s trying to find his way, trying to just grow up, become an adult,” and borrows the title from the 1992 comedy film “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York”. The last time Penguin Prison came to SF, the one-man pop machine was accompanied by a full band and took a sold-out Independent by storm, proving why he deserves to be in the spotlight.

This Wednesday, Penguin Prison returns to SF to headline Mezzanine after Bay Area nu-disco act Manic opens the show. Tickets are available for $20, or you could win a pair of tickets by submitting your full name and email below.

Contest ends this Wednesday at 3 p.m.


Follow Showbams on Twitter for more contest giveaways throughout the week. Be the first to respond to our contest tweets to GO4FREE to these shows:

Built to Spill: Feb 9th (TUE) at Slim’s
Jukebox the Ghost: Feb 10th (WED) at Great American Music Hall
Kiefer Sutherland: Feb 11th (THUR) at Great American Music Hall
Waters: Feb 12th (FRI) at Slim’s
Con Brio: Feb 12th (FRI) at The Independent
The Donkeys: Feb 12th (FRI) at The Chapel
Hepcat: Feb 13th (SAT) at Slim’s
Sophie B. Hawkins: Feb 14th (SUN) at The Chapel


Win-2-Tickets

Enter your name (First and Last) along with your email below. If you win a contest, you’ll be notified on the day the contest ends (details above).

Like Showbams on Facebook, follow Showbams on Twitter and follow Showbams on Instagram. Subscribe to our social channels for a better chance to win!

CONTEST CLOSED.

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The 25 best live music acts of 2015

Best Live Acts of 2015

Around this time last year, we shared our 25 favorite live performers of 2014 after spending the past 12 months covering many excellent bands, musicians and DJs. So, with 2015 almost in the books, we thought we would give the same exercise another try, except this year, we made the call to exclude any artists we named in 2014. What fun would it really be to list them two years in a row anyway?

In the end, it wasn’t an easy task whittling down our list to 25, but some tough decisions had to be made. Those who didn’t make the cut but still deserve to be mentioned here include the following artists and bands (in alphabetical order) who we either covered at their own show and/or at a music festival this year:

AlunaGeorge, Ariel Pink, BADBADNOTGOOD, Bad Religion, Battles, Beirut, Belle and Sebastian, Big Grams, Billy Idol, Black Lips, The Black Keys, Blonde Redhead, BØRNS, BROODS, Built to Spill, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Chet Faker, Chromeo, City and Colour, Classixx, Cold War Kids, Dâm-Funk, Damien Rice, Death Cab for Cutie, Dengue Fever, Django Django, Dr. Dog, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Failure, The Flaming Lips, Flight Facilities, Goldroom, Glen Hansard, The Glitch Mob, Gorgon City, Holly Herndon, Interpol, Israel Nash, James Bay, Jeff Tweedy, Jenny Lewis, The Jesus and Mary Chain, JMSN, Jose Gonzalez, Jurassic 5, Kanye West, Kindness, King Tuff, Marina and the Diamonds, Miami Horror, Milky Chance, Modest Mouse, Morrissey, MS MR, Les Sins, Lotus, Natalie Prass, Neon Indian, ODESZA, Of Montreal, Oneohtrix Point Never, Panda Bear, Penguin Prison, Phantogram, Portugal. The Man, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Purity Ring, Ratatat, Royal Blood, San Fermin, Shlohmo, Slow Magic, SOHN, St. Paul and The Broken Bones, STRFKR, Surfer Blood, Talib Kweli, Tame Impala, Tennis, Toro y Moi, Tycho, Umphrey’s McGee, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Vintage Trouble, Vulfpeck, Widespread Panic, YACHT.

Now, without further ado, The Bam Team presents our 25 favorite live performers of 2015.

The Bam Team’s 5 Favorite Shows, Albums & Songs of 2015

Listen to The Bam Team’s favorite songs of 2015:


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #25 - Lord Huron

25. Lord Huron

The audience reacted with just as much enthusiasm during classic Lord Huron tunes as they did in hearing brand-new material, especially during fan favorites like “She Lit a Fire” and back-to-back rockabilly-tinged jams “The World Ender” and “Fool for Love”. At this point, the crowd had not only warmed up to Lord Huron’s infectious stage presence, but also gave into their buoyant vibes as mini dance parties broke out throughout the venue. -Molly Kish, photo by Steve Carlson


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #24 - Puscifer

24. Puscifer

Maynard James Keenan and friends have established themselves as not just a group of musicians who play songs on stage, but rather an assemblage of entertainers that provide their viewers and fans with something they may not have ever seen before — a true experience. Paying homage to the likes of Alice Cooper, Pink Floyd and the glory days of the rock opera, Puscifer have a very special way of combining their music with a stage show that offers so much more than just music. -Scotland Miller, photo by Mike Rosati


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #23 - Viet Cong

23. Viet Cong

Once the appetizer had been digested, Viet Cong were taking the stage and beginning a theme of quirky banter that eased the crowd into the blistering set as opposed to bombardment. Within the first few chords, it was evident that continued time on the road found the band at the peak of perfection. -Kevin Quandt, photo by Diana Cordero


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #22 - Kate Tempest

22. Kate Tempest

This decade will likely be known for the death of “genre,” the end of how groups have been contained into categories like R&B or rap since the birth of record labels. And with dance music on the rise, digitized conventions are creeping into pop, rap and indie music on the regular. With music more accessible than ever and for free, listeners are willing to experiment with their auditory material — and amalgamation is the natural result. Tempest represents this change as much or more than anyone as we enter the smack-dab middle of this decade. And that includes Kanye West, Sylvan Esso or Run the Jewels. -Mike Frash, photo by James Nagel


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #21 - Deerhunter

21. Deerhunter

Deerhunter’s Bradford Cox talked about how he decided on the way over to the island that he wouldn’t play many songs, how he took ayahuasca on Saturday night in LA and he was surprised at how reserved the TIMF audience was. He said we were “polite like the Japanese.” Bradford, that’s what we call “respect” — and you’ve earned it. -Mike Frash, photo by Marc Fong


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #20 - Faith No More

20. Faith No More

It can be hard to know what to expect from a crew like Faith No More and their eccentric, yet prolific members. The entire stage was dressed in white, from the curtains to the amplifiers to the mic stands. Lining the entire length of the stage and any flat surface that would support them were thousands of dollars worth of beautiful, fresh flowers. The abundance of purples and pinks, reds and yellows created a very comfortable and soothing, yet incredibly eerie feeling as to what was about to happen next. Once the setup was complete and the lights dropped, the crowd was let in to the stark contrast that is the weird world of Faith No More. -Scotland Miller, photo by Greg Ramar


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #19 - Sufjan Stevens

19. Sufjan Stevens

Stevens spoke of the need for community in the throes of grief, and the audience ably did their part to help him through this very public grieving process. At the end of the main set, a young woman crashed the stage to offer a bemused Sufjan something (a hug? words of love and encouragement?), and it seemed wholly appropriate, as if the audience needed in some small way to collectively reach out to the man after he bared his soul so openly. -Steve Carlson, photo by Steve Carlson


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #18 - Allen Stone

18. Allen Stone

In many ways, Stone’s ideological stance on technology shapes not only his set as a performer but also his fan base. Watching an Allen Stone show, one can feel certain that all pretenses will be left at the door and those surrounding you will be committing their full attention to the music. Midway through Stone’s set, the venue was completely under his charismatic spell. The audience actively followed the Seattle-born frontman’s lead as he prompted a group participation “2-step” and rolled through crowd favorites from his self-titled LP and latest album Radius. -Molly Kish, photo by Tom Dellinger


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #17 - The Kills

17. The Kills

Mosshart, tall and slender, strutted her way through just about all of it, displaying a bravado that exudes both sex and confidence, while Hince handled his axe like a bona fide rock star, eventually playing some slide guitar during the gritty, blues-infused track “Pots and Pans” that got the crowd roaring after it was over. After all, it’s that blues/garage-rock overlap, along with the chemistry exhibited between Mosshart and Hince onstage, that makes The Kills such a captivating rock ‘n’ roll act to see live these days. -Josh Herwitt, photo by Josh Herwitt


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #16 - The Chemical Brothers

16. The Chemical Brothers

Directly following their dramatic entrance to a recording of Junior Parker’s epic “Tomorrow Never Knows”, the duo kicked off their career-spanning set with crowd favorite “Hey Boy, Hey Girl” from 1999’s Surrender. They launched into a full-blown frenzy from that moment on, and the UK dance legends went hard (no pun intended) throughout the rest of their two-hour performance, debuting live remixes of new material from their 2015 release Born in the Echoes while interspersing nostalgia-inducing EDM classics off their seven previous albums. -Molly Kish, photo by Justin Yee


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #15 - Eagles of Death Metal

15. Eagles of Death Metal

EODM have the perfect style as a rock band, one that takes itself just seriously enough. As a whole, they are a hard, fast and tightly-wound production, with their silly lyrics and even sillier frontman bringing a perfect balance to what you want to see at a rock show. Closing with “Speaking in Tongues”, EODM walked off the stage at the Great American Music Hall knowing that they had accomplished what they came to do — to prove that rock ain’t dead. -Brett Ruffenach, photo by Mike Rosati


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #14 - Florence + the Machine

14. Florence + the Machine

Welch lapped around the inside ring of the bowl, stopping briefly at the sound stage. What a cool moment. -James Nagel, photo by James Nagel


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #13 - Sturgill Simpson

13. Sturgill Simpson

Simpson has stage presence, that is without a doubt. The conviction of his voice bolsters his words as he describes a life of highs and lows, trials and tribulations. This was evident on renditions of songs like “Turtles All the Way Down”. If there is a song to capture your attention and convince you of Simpson’s talents as a songwriter, this is one of them. Just like that of his predecessors, he writes music that goes against the grain of popular country music. It may be defined as “outlaw country,” but I personally feel it is music that resonates with a wider audience than that of its counterparts. -Kory Thibeault, photo by Kory Thibeault


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #12 - alt-j

12. alt-J

The 2012 Mercury Prize winners echoed a semblance to that of Sigur Rós or Volcano Choir, leaving audience members entranced in a near-altered state while observing the foursome. The biggest fan responses erupted during the band’s singalong favorites “Breezeblocks”, “Fitzpleasure” and their token cover of Bill Withers’ “Lovely Day”. -Molly Kish, photo by Mike Rosati


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #11 - Hot Chip

11. Hot Chip

In recent years, only ever getting the chance to see the outfit in stripped-down DJ sets or as part of side projects/collaborations, the afternoon crowd full of die-hard, nu-disco fans were not disappointed as the UK dance veterans set the polo fields ablaze. Refraining from any slow builders, Hot Chip performed an hour-long set of career-spanning bangers, keeping the crowd moving with hit after hit, that seamlessly blended into one another. The set procured one of the most viral dance party moments of the festival, with the audience spiraling into a collective bliss as it came to a close. -Molly Kish, photo by Josh Herwitt


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #10 - Dan Deacon

10. Dan Deacon

One of the toughest things to do in the world of electronic music is to sound organic, to imbue a sense of heart into the digitized nature of ones and zeroes. The Baltimore native accomplishes this through his hilarious and improvisational free-form, stand-up comedy, which thrives on wandering non sequiturs. And he mirrors this by adapting his insane-train of sound to meet and exceed the energy in the room. The “America” suite finished off the show with an extended doom metal quality that gave a sense that no aesthetic boundaries can contain Deacon’s sense of musical exploration. -Mike Frash, photo by Pedro Paredes


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #9 - FKA twigs

9. FKA twigs

British singer-songwriter Tahliah Debrett Barnett, better known as FKA twigs, has been all the rage lately after performing at Coachella in April, and she closed out FYF in style, donning an elaborate burgundy- and gold-colored robe for her Sunday night set. Just the week before, the 27-year-old fiancée of actor/musician Robert Pattinson released her brand-new EP M3LL155X, and with it receiving high marks from a number of music outlets, there were quite a few fans who stuck around after 11:30 p.m. on a “school night” to watch her perform some of them, including the opening track “Figure 8”, “In Time” and “Glass & Patron”. FKA twigs might be one of the most compelling live acts out there right now, and after scheduling Purity Ring to close out The Lawn the night before, FYF seemed to make a point of letting women rule that stage in the late-night hours this year. -Josh Herwitt, photo by Josh Herwitt


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #8 - Empire of the Sun

8. Empire of the Sun

As Steele belted out “Alive”, the hit single off the band’s sophomore studio album Ice on the Dune, to close things out, he brought the audience to a transcendent place of exhilaration. Crowd members embraced and danced amongst a like-minded family of people lost in the moment, even if it involved intergalactic creatures dancing in colored smoke and a crowned Emperor playing without his bandmate on stage. EOTS shows are a special kind of magic that regardless of the material’s absurd nature, translate into an experience unlike anything else. -Molly Kish, photo by Steve Carlson


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #7 - My Morning Jacket

7. My Morning Jacket

Though it was more than understandable to see the band play a large majority of The Waterfall for its first performance at the Santa Barbara Bowl in almost four years, there were plenty of other deep cuts mixed in over the next two hours, from “Bermuda Highway” to “Mahgeetah” to “Touch Me I’m Going to Scream Pt. 2”. After all, it’s no secret that My Morning Jacket have always been good to their most loyal and dedicated fans, and in once again taking song requests as part of their “Spontaneous Curation Series,” they made sure to dig up many of the classics from their seminal album Z, including “Wordless Chorus” and “Off the Record” one after the other in the middle of a loaded, four-song encore. -Josh Herwitt, photo by Josh Herwitt


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #6 - Jamie xx

6. Jamie xx

Throughout his tour, Smith has refused to compromise his individual style for the sake of appeasing either extreme of his now commercially hybrid audience. Whereas those familiar with his early XL Records mixtapes were satiated by his intermingling of Gil Scott-Heron and Idris Muhammad samples between hits, his newfound post-In Colour fans experienced equally breathtaking moments with the crowd hitting peak energy levels during the encore chorus of “Loud Places” amidst the glow of a warped-speed, neon-green strobe light. Other notable moments included the near-religious choral drop of “Gosh” that escalated the packed house to spiritual levels of enthusiasm, bathed in the glowing sparkle of Smith’s staggeringly iridescent ceiling to floor disco ball and stage lights. -Molly Kish, photo by James Nagel


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #5 - Elton John

5. Elton John

The star-spangled legend sat at his majestic piano as the sun went down on Sunday and moved the crowd with his brilliant playing. The adoring audience hung on every word and joined in singing his most popular hits. Walking off stage quickly after his last song, the audience demanded more and Elton happily obliged. With rumors of Lion King songs being played at past performances, some doting fans wanted a second encore to the tune of “Circle of Life”. While he didn’t indulge the Lion King fans, his stellar performance was a perfect ending to an amazing weekend at Outside Lands, leaving everyone’s festival tank full of love. -Nik Crossman, photo by James Nagel


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #4 - Father John Misty

4. Father John Misty

Father John (Sassypants) Misty has his festival game on point, and he has progressed his I Love You, Honeybear songs into epic plateaus since premiering them in the Santa Cruz mountains last February. He spewed banter like an Stephen Colbert-esque contrarian, saying, “Look at these suckers with their hair blowing all over the place.” And as he approached the mic for more improv-snark later on, Tillman paused to say, “Sorry, I have nothing to say. Ha.” FJM was speechless for once, but granted, it might have been set up for “Bored in the USA”, a song that should be considered an American classic at this point. -Mike Frash, photo by Pedro Paredes


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #3 - Kendrick Lamar

3. Kendrick Lamar

As Kendrick Lamar’s incredible performance began to wrap up with his newest single “Alright”, a group of fans in the crowd proceeded to lift someone up in a wheelchair, who, if I recall correctly, was the same guy who had his photo famously taken at Outside Lands in 2013. Kendrick took notice and called him out — his sense of sincere appreciation for a place like the Bay Area was written all over his face. -Brett Ruffenach, photo by Marc Fong


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #2 - Caribou

2. Caribou

Described by fellow musician Dan Deacon as “one of the most brilliant acts touring right now” just before their set, Caribou lived up to the hype. Starting with “Our Love”, the four-piece band led by Dan Snaith perfectly set the stage for the next hour — a series of tightly wound compositions that, as the song progresses, expand in rhythmic complexity before reaching a climax that will get even the most tired Sunday afternoon crowd moving. Heavily augmenting its live performances from its studio recordings, the band’s live rendition of “Jamelia” in particular was a highlight of the set. Caribou is a band not to be missed. -Brett Ruffenach, photo by Justin Yee


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 - D'Angelo & The Vanguard #1

1. D’Angelo & The Vanguard

One of the most anticipated sets of the entire weekend was none other than D’Angelo’s — and for good reason. The R&B/neo-soul singer-songwriter hadn’t put out an album in 14 years until he suddenly dropped his 2014 masterpiece Black Messiah last December, so you knew that getting the rare opportunity to see Michael Eugene Archer work a crowd at FYF would be something special. Sounding more like a youthful James Brown than a wannabe Prince (we still don’t totally understand where those comparisons are coming from), D’Angelo and his eight-piece backing band The Vanguard took the audience for a ride as they doled out new and old hits. -Josh Herwitt, photo by Josh Herwitt

Outside Lands 2015 - Dan Deacon

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Are Built to Spill indie rock’s most important band?

Built to SpillBy Josh Herwitt //

Built to Spill //
Troubadour – West Hollywood, CA
July 15th, 2015 //

Long before the word “indie” became a trendy term for casual music fans to throw around here and there, an independent music scene was on the rise in the U.S. At the time, record companies still maintained a tight grip on the industry, making it all the more difficult for lesser-known bands to climb the ranks without the backing of a major label.

But those days have come and gone since the DIY age, with record labels no longer holding the overwhelming power they once had due to the accessibility and convenience that the Internet has come to offer up-and-coming artists. That doesn’t mean the word “indie” has reached near-extinction levels yet, though. With the talent across today’s music business spanning far and wide, it’s being used even more now, except as a descriptor for a band’s sound rather than strictly for its label status. These days, there are a number of artists on independent record labels who have gained all sorts of commercial success while others who are signed to much larger labels have soared thanks to their “indie” sound. In many ways, the lines have become increasingly blurred, and attempting to define what “indie” actually means when describing a band has become an arduous feat.

Built to Spill

Yet, if there is one “indie” band that revolutionized the gritty, lo-fi sound before most even had a chance, it’s Built to Spill. For more than 20 years, the Boise-based outfit has served as one of the most important indie-rock acts to this day. With no Grammys or gold hardware to flaunt, lead singer/guitarist Doug Martsch and company have flown largely under the radar despite serving as a major influence for indie heavyweights like Modest Mouse, Death Cab for Cutie and The Strokes — all bands that have gone on to garner a lot more commercial success than the Pacific Northwest five-piece. That’s not to say that Built to Spill never got the respect they deserved, but you won’t find them selling out arenas or headlining 1,000-person venues. Rather, despite signing with Warner Bros. Records more than 15 years ago, they’ve continued to maintain a relatively small, yet loyal following, understanding their audience and where they stand in the marketplace. So, it was no shock to see them book three straight nights last week at the diminutive Troubadour — a place that they’ve become quite familiar with over the years — while touring North America this summer in support of their eighth and latest full-length record Untethered Moon.

Selling out their third and final show in LA, Built to Spill still know how to keep their fans guessing. Their carefully crafted setlist showcased the breath and depth of a catalog that has stood the test of time, as they kicked things off with “The Wait”, the final track off their seminal 2006 album You in Reverse, before turning to their newest single “Living Zoo”. In a matter of 90 minutes, Built to Spill performed cuts from almost every one of their studio albums, from 1997’s Perfect from Now On to 1999’s Keep It Like a Secret to 2001’s Ancient Melodies of the Future to 2009’s There Is No Enemy to 2015’s Untethered Moon, of course. They even closed out their set with the title track from their 1999 EP Carry the Zero. But the biggest surprise just might have been seeing them honor some of LA’s musical past with a cover of The Byrds’ “Eight Miles High”, a song that was written nearly 50 years ago.

For their two-song encore, Built to Spill went way back in time to tap into another album of theirs, reminding us of their 1994 LP There’s Nothing Wrong with Love with “Stab” — a piece of music that’s more than two decades old at this point. And in watching Built to Spill play recently, including this past spring at Coachella, it’s become more and more apparent that Martsch, for all intents and purposes, is the brains behind the band. In fact, when he first formed Built to Spill in 1992, his plan was to change the group’s lineup for every album, using a rotating cast of musicians to record and tour while keeping himself as its only permanent member. Some fresh faces have entered the fold in more recent times, with bassist Jason Albertini and drummer Steve Gere replacing Brett Nelson and Scott Plouf, respectively, but even after Martsch signed the band to Warner Bros. Records back in 1995, the deal he inked allowed Built to Spill to maintain much of their creative control. At the time, many could have seen that development as the end of Built to Spill’s “indie” days. Instead, it’s only proved to be of no consequence for one of indie rock’s pioneering bands.

Setlist:
The Wait
Living Zoo
The Plan
Planting Seeds
Never Be the Same
Wherever You Go
Liar
The Weather
Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss
So
Eight Miles High (The Byrds cover)
Stop the Show
On the Way
Carry the Zero

Encore:
Stab
Randy Described Eternity

Which 2015 Coachella artists will premiere new music on the polo fields?

CoachellaPhotos by Marc Fong // Written by Josh Herwitt //

Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival //
Empire Polo Club – Indio, CA
April 10th-12th & April 17th-19th //

The 2015 festival season gets kicked into high gear this Friday when the first weekend of Coachella takes over the Empire Polo Club. With a lineup featuring headliners AC/DC, Jack White and Drake among a myriad of other high-profile acts, there is so much good music that one can’t possibly see it all over three days in the desert. If you’ve already seen alt-J perform songs from This Is All Yours live, you might not see a need to catch their Saturday early-evening set, for example.

So, that got us thinking: who will likely be premiering new material this weekend in Indio?

We dug through the lineup and looked at which artists have recently released new tracks or albums prior to their set at Coachella, as well as artists planning to release new material later this year. Happy Coachella!

*All set times below are in PT.


ALABAMA SHAKES

New album: Sound & Color
Release date: April 21
Playing Coachella: Friday, 7 p.m. (Outdoor Theatre)

The Shakes will be making their Coachella debut in a big way this year with their sophomore LP Sound & Color slated to be released two days after the festival’s second weekend. The four-piece performed new singles “Don’t Wanna Fight” and “Gimme All Your Love” on SNL last month and should give fans a strong preview of the album before it officially drops.


ALESSO

New album: Forever
Release date: May 26
Playing Coachella: Friday, 11:35 p.m. (Sahara Tent)

Swedish DJ/producer Alesso (formerly Alessandro Lindblad) has come a long way in a few years and will finally drop his first studio album Forever toward the end of May. In February, he premiered a new track featuring Roy English entitled “Cool”, which reached as high as No. 21 on Billboard’s U.S. Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart.


BUILT TO SPILL

New album: Untethered Moon
Release date: April 21
Playing Coachella: Sunday, 4:15 p.m. (Outdoor Theatre)

Indie-rock stalwarts Built to Spill will celebrate the release of their first full-length album in more than five years with their first-ever appearance at Coachella. So far, the band has released “Living Zoo” and “Never Be The Same”, but fans can expect to hear a lot more from Untethered Moon during their Sunday slot.


CLOUD NOTHINGS

New album: No Life For Me with Wavves
Release date: TBA
Playing Coachella: Friday, 1:55 p.m. (Gobi Tent)

After turning the corner last year with Here and Nowhere Else, Cleveland’s Cloud Nothings have already jumped back into the studio, but this time it’s to make a collaborative record with San Diego’s Wavves. With no release date pinpointed yet, it’s possible Cloud Nothings singer/guitarist Dylan Baldi could bring out Nathan Williams during their set and give fans a taste of what’s to come on No Life For Me.


DESAPARECIDOS

New album: Payola
Release date: June 23
Playing Coachella: Sunday, 4:35 p.m. (Gobi Tent)

Bright Eyes frontman Conor Oberst said in an interview last summer that his emo-garage side project plans to release its second full-length album this year, marking the band’s first in 13 years (check out new song “City on the Hill” above). Though the Nebraska band has disbanded and reunited a number of times, its current stretch together marks the longest since forming in 2001.


DRAKE

New album: Views from the 6
Release date: 2015
Playing Coachella: Sunday, 10:15 p.m. (Coachella Stage)

With plans to release his fourth studio album this year, Canadian rapper Drake takes his first swing at Coachella with a headlining slot on the festival’s final day. In the meantime, he’s kept his fans on their toes by dropping a fourth mixtape If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, which debuted at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200, in mid-February.


DUKE DUMONT

New album: TBA
Release date: 2015
Playing Coachella: Saturday, 8:20 p.m. (Sahara Tent)

UK deep house producer Adam George Dyment, who performs under the stage name Duke Dumont, put out a new EP and a couple of singles, including one featuring fellow Brit Jax Jones, last year. This year he’s already dropped a new single entitled “The Giver (Reprise)”, and there’s a strong possibility that we will hear more new tracks from the Blasé Boys Club record label owner on Sunday.


FKA TWIGS

New album: EP3 EP
Release date: TBA
Playing Coachella: Saturday, 9:35 p.m. (Gobi Tent)

Tahliah Debrett Barnett, aka FKA twigs, made a big splash when her debut album LP1 peaked at No. 16 on the UK Albums Chart and No. 30 on the U.S. Billboard 200 last year. The British singer-songwriter, who recently became engaged to actor Robert Pattinson, announced in November that she had begun work on a third EP, and just last month she released the first song “Glass & Patron” from it.


FLORENCE & THE MACHINE

New album: How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
Release date: May 29
Playing Coachella: Sunday, 8:50 p.m. (Coachella Stage)

It’s only been three years since Florence Welch last played Coachella, but this time it will be with a new album’s worth of material to perform. The band’s third studio album will release in late May, and a couple of singles have already been shared over the past two months, including “What Kind of Man” and “St Jude”.


FLYING LOTUS

New album: TBA (as Captain Murphy)
Release date: TBA
Playing Coachella: Friday, 10 p.m. (Mojave Tent)

Steven Ellison took his game to a whole another level last year with You’re Dead! as he continues to work and collaborate with some of today’s brightest and most talented artists in hip-hop, jazz and electronic music. Ready to take his rap persona Captain Murphy into the studio for a new album this year, FlyLo just might drop some rhymes as well as beats for his fans who show up to his Friday set.


GHOSTFACE KILLAH

New albums: Twelve Reasons to Die II & Supreme Clientele Presents… Blue & Cream: The Wally Era
Release dates: 2015
Playing Coachella: Friday, 5:45 p.m. (Outdoor Theatre)

After coming out with his 11th studio album 36 Seasons last year, Ghostface Killah is expected to release two more albums in 2015, Twelve Reasons to Die II and Supreme Clientele Presents… Blue & Cream: The Wally Era. Scheduled to perform with his Wu-Tang colleague Raekwon, who also has a new album on the horizon, the duo’s set should feature plenty of new material from both of their upcoming albums.


JAMIE XX

New album: In Colour
Release date: June 1
Playing Coachella: Sunday, 8:20 p.m. (Gobi Tent)

Jamie Smith of The xx jumped into the electronic world with his 2011 remix album We’re New Here, and now more than four years later, the English producer will unveil his first proper LP in June. So far, he’s released singles “Loud Places” (featuring The xx’s Romy Madley Croft) and “Gosh”, but Smith could give fans a more in depth preview of In Colour when he performs Sunday.


KASKADE

New track: “Never Sleep Alone”
Release date: April 6
Playing Coachella: Sunday, 7:25 p.m. (Coachella Stage)

Superstar DJ and record producer Ryan Raddon, aka Kaskade, has dropped a brand-new track just in time for his huge Sunday night performance at Coachella. While it’s unclear right now if “Never Sleep Alone” will make it on to Kaskade’s new album (no title or release date announced yet), it’s a safe bet that he’ll be unleashing this one when he takes the stage.


KYGO

New tracks: “Stole the Show” feat. Parson James & “ID – Ultra Music Festival Anthem”
Release date: March 15
Playing Coachella: Sunday, 11 p.m. (Mojave Tent)

Kyrre Gørvell-Dahll, who goes by his stage name Kygo, has been one of EDM’s fastest-rising stars in the last year. After remix collaborations with Chris Martin and Avicii propelled his career to the next level, the 23-year-old producer from Norway dropped his second single “Stole the Show” last month and will hit the polo fields for the first time ever this spring.


LIL B

New album: TBA
Release date: 2015
Playing Coachella: Friday, 3:10 p.m. (Outdoor Theatre)

Brandon McCartney, professionally known as Lil B, has been called many things, from rapper to author to motivational speaker. The 25-year-old from Berkeley hasn’t put out any new music since 2011, but with his sophomore LP scheduled to come out at some point this year, he’s sure to perform some new tracks during his Sunday set at Coachella.


MAC DEMARCO

New album: TBA
Release date: TBA
Playing Coachella: Sunday, 3:05 p.m. (Outdoor Theatre)

Canadian singer-songwriter Mac DeMarco earned critical acclaim for his full-length album Salad Days last year, and fans of the “blue wave” rocker got some promising news over the weekend when he shared a compilation video that includes pieces of five new songs that are currently being mastered in the studio. Knowing his tendency for the unpredictable, fans could very likely hear some of those tracks live for the very first time this weekend.


MARTIN SOLVEIG

New track: “Intoxicated” (with GTA)
Release date: January 19
Playing Coachella: Sunday, 4:50 p.m. (Sahara Tent)

It’s been a while since Martin Laurent Picandet, aka Martin Solveig, has released a proper studio album. However, the French electro/nu disco producer dropped a new single with Laidback Luke last year, and he’s started this year off working with GTA on a brand-new track entitled “Intoxicated”.


NERO

New album: TBA
Release date: TBA
Playing Coachella: Friday, 9:35 p.m. (Outdoor Theatre)

NERO took home a Grammy in 2013 for their remix of “Promises” with Skrillex, and the British electronic music trio has remained relatively quiet since then. That’s supposed to change this year with the group planning to drop its follow-up to 2011’s Welcome Reality, but there’s been no official announcement regarding the album or a tour, making its Coachella performance that much more special.


R3HAB

New track: “Phoenix” (with Sander van Doorn)
Release date: March 9
Playing Coachella: Friday, 7:10 p.m. (Sahara Tent)

Fadil El Ghoul drops singles, not albums, and he’s been doing it consistently since 2009. The Dutch DJ is signed to Afrojack’s Wall Recordings imprint, and he collaborated with fellow countryman Sander van Doorn on his latest single “Phoenix”, which just came out last month.


RAEKWON

New album: Fly International Luxurious Art
Release date: April 28
Playing Coachella: Friday, 5:45 p.m. (Outdoor Theatre)

It’s taken Raekwon almost two additional years to drop his sixth studio album, but the Wu-Tang Clan member will finally do just that later this month after two weekends at Coachella. In fact, the record’s first two singles — “All About You” and “Soundboy Kill It” — were released toward the second half of 2013, while the third and most recent one, “Wall to Wall”, came out less than two months ago.


RATATAT

New album: TBA
Release date: TBA
Playing Coachella: Saturday, 11:15 p.m. (Sahara Tent)

It’s been almost five years since Ratatat put out an album, and it’s safe to assume one of the reasons the New York City duo is playing Coachella this year is due to the fact that it has a new album in the works. While not much is known about the record right now (although some fans believe it will be titled LP5 to follow appropriately after 2008’s LP3 and 2010’s LP4), this is one set that should showcase plenty of new music from Mike Stroud and Evan Mast.


SQUAREPUSHER

New album: Damogen Furies
Release date: April 20
Playing Coachella: Friday, 10:50 p.m. (Gobi Tent)

It’s been quite a while since Tom Jenkinson last played Coachella, but the UK native is primed to play the festival again this year with his 14th studio album on the horizon. Squarepusher has released three tracks, including “Stor Eiglass” (listen above), from his upcoming Damogen Furies at this point, so fans should surely hear plenty of new material from the IDM pioneer.


TAME IMPALA

New album: Currents
Release date: TBA
Playing Coachella: Friday, 9:15 p.m. (Coachella Stage)

Making their third Coachella appearance in the last five years, Australian psych rockers Tame Impala continue to soar under frontman Kevin Parker’s direction. While both SF and LA fans got to hear the band experiment in between songs during its fall mini-tour (read our reviews of the SF show and LA show), Tame Impala should have some more focused new material to share from their upcoming LP Currents, which the band only officially announced two days ago along with new single “‘Cause I’m a Man.”


TODD TERJE AND THE OLSENS

New album: N/A
Release date: N/A
Playing Coachella: Friday, 9:20 p.m. (Gobi Tent)

Norwegian DJ, songwriter and record producer Terje Olsen, better known as Todd Terje, made a big first impression last year with his debut LP It’s Album Time, and while he may not necessarily be debuting brand-new material at Coachella, he’ll be performing with a live band called The Olsens (from his label Olsen Records), much like he did at the 2014 edition of Oya Festival. So, although festivalgoers may not hear new songs from Terje per say, they’ll definitely be in for a real treat when he joins the party on Friday.


TORO Y MOI

New album: What For? (read our review here)
Release date: April 7
Playing Coachella: Saturday, 4:20 p.m. (Mojave Tent)

Chaz Bundick has stayed busy over the past year between his electronic side project Les Sins and writing Toro y Moi’s fourth studio album What For?, which drops just days before the band plays Coachella. And as we learned from the band’s recent show in SF, Bundick has incorporated more of a 70’s psych-disco-funk sound into the Toro y Moi repertoire.


TOUCHÉ AMORÉ

New album: Self Love (split with Self Defense Family)
Release date: 2015
Playing Coachella: Sunday, 1 p.m. (Mojave Tent)

Touché Amoré have long been known for splitting EPs with other post-hardcore bands, and that’s what they plan to do on Self Love with New York’s Self Defense Family this year. What it could mean is some new songs being debuted at Coachella, which is one of just four shows that the LA group has planned right now.


TOURIST

New track: “Holding On”
Release date: May 25
Playing Coachella: Saturday, 12:20 p.m. (Mojave Tent)

London-based artist William Phillips has slowly been climbing the ranks, but he’s already done some big things in 2015 after winning a Grammy for helping Sam Smith co-write his hit single “Stay With Me”. Since then, he’s released a new track entitled “Holding On” that features Australian artist Josef Salvat and American singer/pianist Niia before he plays at Coachella for the first time.


VIC MENSA

New album: Street Lights EP
Release date: 2015
Playing Coachella: Friday, 1:20 p.m. (Coachella Stage)

U.S. hip-hop recording artist Vic Mensa is a former member of Kids These Days and a founder of the hip-hop collective SAVEMONEY with Chance the Rapper. The Chicago native, who serves as a featured artist on Kanye West’s new track “Wolves”, plans to follow up his 2010 EP Straight Up this year with another EP by the name of Street Lights and should have some surprises in store at Coachella.


YELLOW CLAW

New album: Blood For Mercy
Release date: 2015
Playing Coachella: Saturday, 4:45 p.m. (Sahara Tent)

Amsterdam DJ trio Yellow Claw started winning over fans back in 2010 by mixing trap, hip-hop, dubstep, hardstyle and moombahton into their sets. With a number of EPs already out, they’re getting ready to release Blood For Mercy but have yet to officially release any tracks from the album.


Here’s a day-by-day breakdown of Coachella artists who will likely perform new material:

FRIDAY
Alabama Shakes
Alesso
Cloud Nothings
Flying Lotus
Ghostface Killah
NERO
R3hab
Raekwon
Squarepusher
Tame Impala
Todd Terje and the Olsens
Vic Mensa

SATURDAY
Deorro
FKA twigs
Ratatat
Toro Y Moi
Tourist
Yellow Claw

SUNDAY
Built to Spill
Desaparecidos
Drake
Duke Dumont
Florence & the Machine
Jamie xx
Kygo
Lil B
Mac DeMarco
Martin Solveig
Touché Amoré

Coachella

Death Cab for Cutie are still my guilty pleasure after all these years

Death Cab for CutiePhotos courtesy of Kathryna Hancock & Kevin Winter // Written by Josh Herwitt //

Death Cab for Cutie //
iHeartRadio Theater Los Angeles – Burbank, CA
April 2nd, 2015 //

Everyone has a guilty pleasure band. You know, that band you’ve listened to so many times that you’ve memorized most, if not all, of its lyrics, yet would never openly admit such to your friends?

Well, maybe you don’t. But I do — and that band happens to be Death Cab for Cutie.

Believe it or not, Death Cab are only a couple years away from their 20-year anniversary at this point. Much like their other indie-rock contemporaries from the Pacific Northwest (i.e. Built to Spill, Modest Mouse), they strayed far away from the now-famous Seattle grunge movement that was slowly on the decline by the late 90’s.

Death Cab for Cutie

Eighteen years later, and the Bellingham, Wash., group now boasts an impressive catalog that runs eight albums deep after the release of Kintsugi on Tuesday. It’s another full-length effort that most Death Cab fans should come to enjoy, even if the songwriting follows much of the same formula that the band has employed on its previous seven studio albums.

Yet, that doesn’t mean nothing has changed for frontman Ben Gibbard and his bandmates. Founding guitarist and producer Chris Walla has moved on, officially leaving the band last summer, and while he still manages to leave his imprint on Kintsugi, the band’s producing duties have been turned over to an outside force, otherwise known as the highly regarded Rich Costey (Muse, Sigur Rós, Foster the People, Chvrches, Phantogram, Young the Giant).

Gibbard has always been known for making “pretty” music whether it’s with Death Cab or his electronic-leaning side project The Postal Service, and that’s certainly still the case on Kintsugi despite the record receiving some rather ho-hum reviews this week. Because even with Gibbard being divorced from actress-singer Zooey Deschanel for a couple years now, it’s hard to not think of Deschanel when he sings lyrics like “I guess it’s not a failure we could help / And we’ll both go on to get lonely with someone else.”

Death Cab for Cutie

But if creating a mood is what music is supposed to be about, then Gibbard is still doing a fine job in that regard. Sure, it may not be the happiest mood that’s being fashioned — and seemingly it’s always been that way for Death Cab — but it’s still one fans can relate to, as evidenced by the long line that stood outside the iHeartRadio Theater for the band’s special invite-only show last night in LA.

Performing material from Kintsugi in front of a live audience for just the second time after Wednesday’s appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” Gibbard and company reminded us that they’re not just a bunch of sappy chaps. Instead, they breathed new life into staples like “The New Year” and “Soul Meets Body,” providing a newfound energy that absorbed much of the somberness you get when you listen to these songs on 2003’s Transatlanticism or 2005’s Plans.

Then there was “Black Sun,” the first single off Kintsugi, a slow burn that reached its apex with a gritty guitar solo from touring member Dave Depper. It quickly sent me back in time to 2011 when I watched Death Cab headline Treasure Island Music Festival in San Francisco and became thoroughly impressed with how lively and almost upbeat their show actually was. Once again, these were sad songs that didn’t feel nearly as melancholy as they had at one time or another.

And even if they did, Death Cab would still be my guilty pleasure band.

Setlist:

The New Year
The Ghosts of Beverly Drive
You Are a Tourist
Black Sun
Soul Meets Body
No Room in Frame
Little Wanderer
Photobooth
Crooked Teeth
Transatlanticism

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2014: Three hot days of treating SF

HSB-October-03,-2014-5Photos by Pedro Paredes, Tom Dellinger & Benjamin Wallen // Written by Mike Frash //

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2014 //
Golden Gate Park – San Francisco
October 3rd-5th, 2014 //

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass is the best free music festival in the world. There are no security checkpoints, yet a quarter million people get along like old friends each day. You get to choose from seven different stages (a new one was added this year). And you can count on the sun to shine brightly come early October just about every year in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. It’s just one of those SF laissez-faire weekends that works.

Warren Hellman’s event and ongoing gift is a real-life Choose Your Own Adventure for music heads while also setting the scene for a weekend-long picnic in the park.

The hottest day of the year in SF was on HSB Friday, so finding shade and a spot in close proximity to a stage was like getting a half-decent apartment rental price in this City — it was basically impossible.

Headliner choices to end the first day were a toss-up, and you really can’t go wrong when choosing between Ryan Adams, Conor Oberst, Yo La Tengo and Lucinda Williams.

Ryan Adams headlining The Banjo Stage on Friday

Ryan Adams headlining The Banjo Stage on Friday.

The Banjo Stage was packed, yet restrained for Ryan Adams, who impressed with a set full of cuts from his remarkable self-titled album from this year. The over-heated audience finally let loose when the sun went down, and Adams, plus his band, delivered a goofy-fun, impromptu song (watch it here) that was made up on the spot. Hellman Hallow erupted in celebration of three (“No, it’s not three. It’s four fucking balloons.”) in the back of the park.

Conor Oberst once again curated the Rooster Stage for Friday, with Waxahatchee and Jonathan Wilson both showing early on why they keep growing more popular. Wilson offered one of the most eye-opening sets of the weekend — the segmented sections of energy connected like a mystery train heading toward infinity.

RELATED: View photos from Conor Oberst’s show at The Fillmore after Hardly Strictly.

If you like music, then you'll probably like Jonathan Wilson

If you like music, then you’ll probably like Jonathan Wilson. Marx Meadow perfectly matched the feel of his show.

Sharon Van Etten suffered from some early technical issues, and the sound output was less than half as strong as other shows in Marx Meadow throughout the weekend. But with every slow-building crescendo, the crowd would stop talking and take heed of one of the most powerful performers around.

The heat effected Van Etten's sound output and between-song banter, but there were still plenty of affecting moments

The staggering heat may have affected Van Etten’s between-song banter, but she still affected us.

Dawes has become that festival set I usually walk by on the way to another, but I’m completely in favor of making “When My Time Comes” the new National Anthem for the United States.

Mini-Boss Taylor Goldsmith from Dawes carries on the energy of Bruce Springsteen.

Mini-Boss Taylor Goldsmith from Dawes carries on the energy of Bruce Springsteen.

The Towers of Gold Stage on Saturday was a classic example of the “Hardly Strictly” side of this bluegrass-based fest. Red Baraat had us dancing, Deltron 3030 with the 3030 Orchestra (and Dan The Automator orchestrating) had us rhyming along, Built to Spill got collective head-bopping going and Social Distortion drew out the punk rock rage in many.

Then, capping the day by seeing Robert Earl Keen hold down Saturday evening duties at the Rooster Stage once again just felt right.

Year after year, the energy at Robert Earl Keen to end Saturday is undeniable.

Year after year, the energy at Robert Earl Keen’s set to end Saturday is undeniable.

SF-based singer-songwriter Mark Kozelek has had quite the year, creating one of the best albums of 2014 while making waves as of late. He bullies his audiences, and he’s directed his ire at The War on Drugs the past few weeks since WOD, one of the best live acts of 2014, overpowered Kozelek’s Sun Kil Moon set during the Ottawa Folk Festival.

There was no sound-bleed during Kozelek’s Sun Kil Moon set on Sunday, and he had a four-piece supporting him to rework some of his recent work. Songs were slowed down and vocals were turned up with extra echo, placing greater significance on words and phrasing. “Michelene” seemed more tragic, and “Gustavo” lingered in the air.

Kozelek seemed gracious and positive throughout, professing his love for San Francisco by saying “I’m gonna live here and die here”, and based on his 2014 record Benji, I believe him.

Chuck Prophet delivered a full sound with a supporting orchestra on Sunday.

Chuck Prophet during his part on Saturday at the “Holler Down the Hollow” set at the Banjo Stage.

Chuck Prophet & The Mission Express put on a delightful set with orchestral backing, Tweedy played a handful of Wilco songs solo acoustic (including “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart”) and Joe Russo’s Almost Dead finished off the Arrow Stage on Sunday in usual jammy fashion, performing classic Grateful Dead tunes much better than anyone out there today, including Furthur.

What were your favorite sets of the weekend?

Steve Earle, Peter Rowan...

Steve Earle, Peter Rowan…

David Rawlings

David Rawlings

It was fucking hot (for SF)

It was fucking hot (for SF)

John Paul Jones

John Paul Jones

A park legend

A park legend

The Lone Bellow

The Lone Bellow

Thao & The Get Down Stay Down

Thao & The Get Down Stay Down

Timeless couple

Timeless couple

HSB fills in nicely.

HSB fills in nicely.

The Mastersons

The Mastersons

Paul Janeway

Paul Janeway

Good times.

Good times.

Beer.

Beer.

Until next year...

Until next year…

WIN TICKETS: Built to Spill at Slim’s 8/17 (SUN)

Built_to_SpillWritten by Kevin Quandt //

Built to Spill with Slam Dunk and The Warm Hair //
Slim’s – San Francisco
August 17, 2014 //

Built to Spill love the West Coast. The Boise natives have always treated SF to a handful of shows practically every year for as long as I can remember, and their annual pilgrimage to Slim’s is rapidly approaching. Doug Martsch and associates will be spending three nights in the SOMA playing tracks off the bevy of impressive releases they have amassed over two decades.

This late-summer jaunt will feature the relatively new rhythm section consisting of drummer Steve Gere and bassist Jason Albertini. Having not released an LP in almost five years, attendees can expect the grand possibility of new tracks featured in this intimate club. Fans of guitar-driven rock have flocked to BTS shows over the years, as the combination of rawness and melody have placed them at the forefront independent alternative rock for quite some time. Slam Dunk and the Warm Hair will set the table for the evening before the main dish is served. Saturday’s show is sold out, and the remaining nights’ ticket allotment is moving quickly, so don’t sleep on this opportunity.

Buy tickets if you know you want to go!


Win-2-Tickets

Enter to win if you can attend this show Sunday, August 17th at Slim’s in SF.

Submit your full name and email address below.
Contest ends Friday, August 15th at 3 p.m. Winners will be picked at random & notified by email. Your email will be kept private — we will share your email with no one.

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