Ten Breakout Artists of CMJ 2015 [Photos]

4 weeks ago by Hannah Angst

Another year, another CMJ in the books. By now, you’ve hopefully recovered from your post-festival colds and sore feet and have all the memories of all the amazing bands to comfort you. It was a nice chill year for CMJ this year – it seemed like there was a little less of a crush on the city, with shows more spread out and fewer bands doing the 5-a-day sprint. It meant we could take in more shows and see more acts that completely blew us away. So many acts lived up to the hype this year that we were hard pressed to narrow it down to just ten – but we prevailed. Check out our ten favorite artists from CMJ as well as the pics from the plethora of amazing shows we witnessed.

Miya Folick


To say we were excited for Miya Folick is probably an understatement and she certainly didn’t let us down. The Los Angeles singer songwriter dove deeply into the emotional vulnerability effervescing from her dark but hopeful melodies on stage. Balancing the heaviness of her powerful storytelling with a lighthearted, personal charisma, Miya was more than captivating from start to finish of her set at The Flat on Wednesday night. Her set seamlessly weaved in old songs and new with varying genres, all connected by her remarkable ability to feel every moment of a song while playing it.  She has that undeniable star quality that allows her to form lasting connections with an audience through song and we simply can’t wait to see her again. – Shana Hartzel



Mothers are striking. On first listen of “No Crying in Baseball,” it’s easy to hear there is something special about the intricate way the band pieces together their uncertain and driven brand of indie rock. But, their live show is even better. Formerly the solo project of singer and guitarist Kristine Leschper, the now 4-piece from Athens, Georgia move amongst all manners of dynamics, tempos, and lyrical deliveries to put on a cohesively engaging performance. Leschper’s endearing warble artfully compliments the shifting layers of guitar as both a scream and a melodious whisper. Mothers have debut album set to be released next year that is not to be missed. – Shana Hartzel

Cosmo Sheldrake


You can certainly expect the unexpected from young vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, and producer Cosmo Sheldrake. But, you can also expect it to be packaged in perfectly timed aural smorgasbord that is both engaging and oddly addictive. His clever manipulation of unorthodox sounds made by one of the over 30 instruments he plays, an anthropologically or scientifically natural occurrence, and his own voice transcends novelty into a sonic symphony. Both a life long learner and a sampling savant, Sheldrake took time before each song to explain the intricacies of the samples he chose to use, including anything from the sun to the tearing of meat. While his lyrics are largely scientific or nonsense, his music is fresh, unique, and modern in both intricate composition and mesmerizing live performance. – Shana Hartzel 

Methyl Ethel


An unassuming trio from the far shores of Perth, Methyl Ethel have already been deemed by many as the next Tame Impala. While the similarities are undeniable, the group exude an effortlessly shimmering delicacy all their own. Their psychedelic pop blends nicely with some hints of progressive rock into a casually cool amalgamation they deliver so smoothly on stage. They put together a solid set of driving tunes that are relatable, accessible, and fully transportive even if you’ve never heard the band before. Touted audibly by their fellow Aussies during the Aussie BBQ and by anyone that saw one (or more) of their impressive ten performances during the week, their allure was undeniable even in a set-capping, 3-minute outro of the same whirling chord progression at Rough Trade on night one. – Shana Hartzel 

Satellite Stories

satellite storeis

Satellite Stories played an incredible show at Brooklyn Bowl as part of the Communion Showcase on Saturday. This Finnish band is surely going places –  with a sound is reminiscent of Two Door Cinema Club, soft and upbeat. They had the entire crowd dancing with them start to finish. – Makena Cummings

Broken Hands

broken hands

The UK band played a rocking set as part of the Communion Showcase. They have all the makings of an edgy British indie rock band with influences from Arctic Monkeys and Catfish & the Bottlemen. Their set was loud and full of head-banging – with energy pouring from them the whole time. Broken Hands proved that guitar rock is back and the most exciting it’s been in years. – Makena Cummings

Frankie Cosmos


Frankie Cosmos rocked every one of the showcases they played – including The Beehive. Frontwoman Greta Kline is always a delight to see, with her refreshing quirkiness and the band’s honest and clean sound. The band was on the top of everyone’s list going into the festival and is sure to be on the top of most “rising star” lists coming out. At the show Kline revealed a new LP in the works, and if the shows are any indication – it’s going to be one for the ages. – Makena Cummings


Pretty much the only reason we didn’t include Elohim on our recent “Femme-Pop” feature is we couldn’t decide which of the two tracks she’s released so far we liked better: the immediate, catchy “She Talks Too Much” or the hazy, drugged-out “Xanax”. Make no mistake though,  Thursday night’s performance at The Marlin Room at Webster Hall (part of Neon Gold’s New Shapes bonanza) proved Elohim is every bit on the vanguard of the form. Rather than witnessing another would-be diva belting over 90% prerecorded track and 10% live instrumentation, we were treated to an immersive, immaculately-conceived high-concept multimedia experience. Lights and projected visuals danced in time with the music, while the mystery woman at the center of it gradually shed her fashionable layers, sunglasses, and robo-voice interludes to reveal, of all things, a knowing smile. This was the abstract transforming into something altogether human, and we couldn’t keep our eyes (or ears) off of it. – Matthew Solarski



Invariably the name Björk will be invoked when discussing Mammút, and it’s a fair comparison given frontwoman Kata Mogensen’s commanding voice, impassioned delivery, and Icelandic heritage (not to mention the band’s ties to the Smekkleysa label). But the Reykjavík five-piece has much more to offer, particularly to folks who like their music heavy. At Wednesday’s Iceland Airwaves showcase at Black Bear Bar, drummer Andri Bjartur Jakobsson was a behemoth behind the kit, stomping out massive beats that helped the band more than earn its moniker. With Mogensen and her cathartic bellows front and center, the mighty Mammút served up music that was urgent and full of zeal, even if we often couldn’t understand just what exactly they were singing about. – Matthew Solarski



In fairness, a band like Vaults isn’t really built for a festival like this. The London trio hails from a lineage of highly refined art-pop auteurs that stretches from Kate Bush to Bat For Lashes and beyond, and one imagines a great deal of thought goes into their creative choices.  Rather than simply relying on a sample — something we saw more than a few bands do at CMJ — bandmember Barney Freeman carts along and plays an aluphone (a rare, doubtless cumbersome percussion instrument) to produce the eerie, gamelan-like tones heard on tracks like “Cry No More”. Needless to say this doesn’t lend itself to the scrappy, 25- and 30-minute sets that make up the bedrock of CMJ. Both times we saw them, Vaults struggled through set-up and sound problems, and yet twice they emerged victorious, winning over the crowd with good humor, a little interpretive dance, and the sheer majesty of their music. Once this band has paid its dues, there will be no stopping them. – Matthew Solarski


Acid Dad

– Makena Cummings

Briana Marela

– Matthew Solarski

Broken Hands

– Makena Cummings

Buffalo Rodeo

– Makena Cummings

Catfish and the Bottlemen

– Makena Cummings

Cloud Castle Lake

– Matthew Solarski

Dent May

– Makena Cummings


– Matthew Solarski

Emilie Nicolas

– Matthew Solarski

Empress Of

– Makena Cummings

Frankie Cosmos

– Makena Cummings

Fraser A Gorman

– Makena Cummings

Glass Animals

– Makena Cummings

Grace Mitchell

– Matthew Solarski

Holly Miranda

– Matthew Solarski

Idgy Dean

– Matthew Solarski

Jamie N Commons

– Makena Cummings


– Makena Cummings

Lena Fayre

– Matthew Solarski


– Matthew Solarski

Methyl Ethel

– Matthew Solarski

Miya Folick

– Matthew Solarski

Morgan Erina

– Matthew Solarski


– Matthew Solarski


– Matthew Solarski

Panda Bear

– Makena Cummings

Phony PPL

– Makena Cummings


-Makena Cummings


– Makena Cummings


– Matthew Solarski

Sam Cohen

– Makena Cummings

Satellite Stories

– Makena Cummings

Stone Cold Fox

– Makena Cummings

Sye Elaine Spence

– Matthew Solarski

The Brittanys

– Makena Cummings


– Matthew Solarski

October 27, 2015 Hannah Angst FESTIVALS 0

10 Artists to Watch CMJ 2015

1 month ago by Hannah Angst

Every fall thousands (literally) of bands come into NYC for CMJ, a five day festival that in it’s own way has started to rival SXSW for some incredible musical discoveries. With so many bands, it’s easy to not know exactly where to look, and while stumbling on something randomly is the best way to find your new favorite band, it’s always nice to have a little guidance. That’s why we’ve combed through all the bands coming into [READ ON]

October 12, 2015 Hannah Angst FESTIVALS 0

Top 20 Official Parties CMJ 2015

1 month ago by Hannah Angst

Graphics by Olivia Angst

So you have a CMJ badge — yay you! The entirety of NYC is your concert oyster. You don’t have to pay for any (CMJ related) shows, you get priority access (but not necessarily entry) to every show and you get to wear a sick badge that makes everyone know that you are the coolest person in town. Which you are! To make your life easier, we gathered some of the best official CMJ shows this year. But it’s not just for the badge holders — it’s for EVERYONE! These 20 shows all are ticketed for those who [READ ON]

October 12, 2015 Hannah Angst FESTIVALS 0

Top 20 Free Parties CMJ 2015

1 month ago by Hannah Angst

Graphics by Olivia Angst

CMJ brings some of the most interesting emerging bands into NYC, and unlike most other weeks in the city, a ton of the shows are free! There are so many free shows that it’s very, very easy to get overwhelmed and even shut down. But don’t worry, we’re here for you. We chose the 20 best free shows happening all around the city this CMJ, and boy there are some doozys. Check out our picks below and have an amazing [READ ON]

October 12, 2015 Hannah Angst FESTIVALS 0

Hopscotch Festival 2015 Recap

2 months ago by Makena Cummings

This past weekend the annual Hopscotch Music Festival took place city-wide in Raleigh, North Carolina. Since it’s inception in 2010, this festival has continued to grow exponentially. The organizers lean towards a horizontal approach, striving to reach a larger area of the city with more music, rather than big-ticket artists and larger venues–though they’ve hosted some very strong headliners such as Spoon, St. Vincent, The War on Drugs, and Thee Oh Sees in past years. Because of this unique set-up, fans are able to move about the city freely, take part in dozens of free day parties, and continue on into the night listening to artists at their local bars and music halls. This year, 140 bands played in 12 venues across the heart of the southern city and fans came from across the state and southeast to take part in the excitement.


Day 1 began with some strong day parties. Deep South hosted artists like JKutchma and She Returns from War who played emotional and moving acoustic sets. Scheduled headliner Deerhunter unfortunately canceled their performance a few weeks before the festival, so Ought kicked off the night with a fun and upbeat show at City Plaza. They were followed by the fantastical sounds of main headliner, Godspeed You! Black Emperor. The best show of the night, though, was Bully’s performance at Slim’s. Despite the small venue and stage, the sound was incredible and Alicia Bognanno’s screams sent the best kind of chills down everyone’s spine. It was perhaps one of the most thrilling shows I saw all weekend and I hope next time they get a bigger stage to really showcase their energy.



Day 2 began again with some excellent day party lineups. Tír na nÓg in particular showcased some strong talent with performances by Echo Courts and Breathers. Tycho then kicked off the night with their smooth sounds and despite some frustrating technical difficulties, they maintained a positive attitude. TV on the Radio then gave an incredible set, showcasing songs largely from their new album Seeds, in addition to old favorites. Later in the night, Leapling gave an awesome performance at Tír na nÓg.


Day 3 perhaps had one of the strongest schedules all around. Day parties showcased excellent performances by Tuskha and Made of Oak at Pour House. Headliners took a bit of a country turn with captivating performances by American Aquarium, X, and Dwight Yoakum. And then it was back to the bars. Oulipo played some of their first songs at Neptune’s under their new name, Hotline. The performance was complete with a cover of Adele’s of “To Make You Feel My Love”. Following that show, it was time for one of my most favorite folk performers of the weekend, River Whyless at Tír na nÓg. To top it all off, three incredible rock performers closed out the night at Pour House. Birds of Avalon blew me away with their incredible female vocalists. Zack Mexico smashed guitars and left us all feeling like we survived something spectacularly crazy. And finally, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard played with some of the most incredible energy and charisma I’ve ever seen. I can’t get enough of their live performances. The drums are still beating in my head.

Hopscotch is really unlike any other festival taking place right now, and that’s one of the things that makes it special. It’s an experience in itself, and an opportunity to hear an incredible array of talented artists. It’s really exciting to see it grow in its unique way.


American Aquarium

Birds of Avalon



King Gizzard and the Wizard Lizard

Laney Jones and the Spirits


Mac McCaughan

Made of Oak


Must Be a Holy Ghost



Oulipo (Hotline)

Patois Counselors

River Whyless

She Returns from War

Some Army

The Antique Hearts


TV on the Radio



Zack Mexico


September 18, 2015 Makena Cummings FESTIVALS 0

Bumbershoot 2015 Recap

3 months ago by Eric Tra

Photos by Eric Tra, Graphics by Brandt Imhoff

Held every year on Labor Day weekend, Bumbershoot has long been a celebration for Seattle’s diverse art and music scene. This past weekend marked Seattle’s 44th Bumbershoot festival to date and despite a poorly timed rainstorm on the first day, festival still managed to be a success. While it may not be as hip as the infamous Capitol Hill Block Party, Bumbershoot still offers an array of fantastic music –  from Brand New to Bassnectar this festival had something for everyone.


Saturday kicked of the weekend’s events with a great lineup of artists including such acts as  Elle King, Cake, and the highly anticipated R&B star The Weeknd. However, to say it went without a hitch would have definitely been an understatement. While the music was great the weather was not. In true Seattle fashion, the weather turned what was going to be light showers to a full on deluge complete with thunder and lightning. Fans at the main stage at Memorial Stadium were stuck in the pit as escape proved to be almost impossible. Organizers put a halt to the music and advised people who could to seek shelter until the rain let up.

Despite the setback from the weather Jhene Aiko was still able to bring a little musical relief to fans at the mainstage who had been stuck in the downpour. Although the rain had not stopped, conditions were decent enough to continue with the festival. The evening was capped off by The Weeknd and Chance The Rapper. Judging from the response from the fans as The Weeknd took the stage, it was clear that despite all of the weather complications the crowd’s spirit had not been broken. He went on and put on an outstanding performance. 


Despite forecasts, Sunday proved to be much drier, making for an actually pleasant day for the outdoor shows. Sunday’s music performances featured a variety of different genres from hip-hop to folk-rock. Nikki Lane, and The Cave Singers gave some of the most incredible performances of the day. Nikki Lane in particular gave a great show bringing the warmth of the South with country-esque songs off her latest album, All or Nothin’

Sunday’s mainstage acts featured heavy hitting lineup of throwback bands such as The Melvins, Social Distortion, and Faith No More. While there seemed to be an obvious generational gap amongst the crowd, there was still something for everyone reminisce about. One of the most notable included New York alt-rockers, Brand New. While they have since moved away from their former emo roots, it is safe to say that the nostalgia was very much palpable. The night closed out with a mix bag of performers including Faith No More on the main stage and ZEDD and Neko Case on the Key Arena and Never Tamed stages — a genre mash-up indeed. 


The final day of the festival definitely delivered in terms of both weather and performances. The day was filled with great acts such as Robert Delong, local band The Grizzled Mighty and some of the weekend’s biggest stars, Hozier and Ellie Goulding. Aside from the main acts, there were also a handful of fantastic performances from bands like Minus the Bear and Devotchka that, due to scheduling conflicts, made it difficult to see each band separately.

The finale performances on the mainstage consisted of back-to-back sets from two of the UK’s finest, Hozier and Ellie Goulding. As expected, Ellie put on a fantastic show. After speaking to a few first-time viewers it was evident the level of showmanship of her performance was much more dynamic than anticipated. Between her skills on the drums, singing, and overall stage presence it is no question why she has garnered so many fans worldwide. Sure she might be a top 40 kind of artist, but there’s definitely something magical about her show.




Brand New

Ellie Goulding

Faith No More


Fitz and the Tantrums


Jhene Aiko


Nikki Lane

Robert Delong

Social Distortion

The Cave Singers

The Weeknd

September 10, 2015 Eric Tra FESTIVALS 0

FYF Fest 2015 Preview

3 months ago by Christine Cook

Graphics by Olivia Angst

If you’re looking for the festival deal of the year, you will most certainly find it in FYF — the Los Angeles mega-monster of music events. This lineup is the best of it’s kind with heavy hitting headliners as well as the best mid-level acts and rising stars. LA has really outdone itself this time, luring New Yorkers, Midwesterners and [READ ON]

August 20, 2015 Christine Cook FESTIVALS 0

Newport Folk Festival 2015 Recap

4 months ago by Lauren McKinney

Photos Connor Reid | Graphics Allegra Rosenberg

Another Newport Folk has come and gone, beginning the long and treacherous wait for what next year will bring. 2015, like those before, left music fans with almost nothing left to be desired. From lobster rolls and panoramic sailboat views to some of the best acts around, this festival manages to create a bond between artist, fan and event like no other. Performers always seem to express gratitude to fans and organizers at a festival, but there’s no comparison to the gushing of appreciation that Newport artists give. Everyone in attendance, whether it’s their first or fortieth time, has the sense that they’re taking part in something important — something that matters. This sensation was particularly relevant given that 2015 was the 50th anniversary of Bob Dylan plugging in. The whole weekend was amazing, but below are some of the highlights. Till next year Newport!


The day began with a strong and decidedly indie-leaning folk set from Bahamas, who brought some very excited yet chill vibes to the crowd. Leon Bridges was up next — if Newport didn’t already feel like stepping through time, catching his set on Friday certainly sealed the deal. With a suave, smooth demeanor worthy of the greats he’s emulating, this was the perfect way to truly begin the weekend.

Following an always memorable set from The Lone Bellow was The Tallest Man on Earth. His performance from a few years back was simplistic and beautiful, filled primarily with his stripped down sound and emotional delivery. This year’s performance, though, saw him fully re-envigorated, backed by a full band that delivered amazing renditions of songs from his newest album. Despite the increase in his roster, though, he still took time to perform solo, giving fans his earlier hits the way they know them best.

Soon after came the reveal of the worst kept secret at Newport (though this didn’t diminish anyone’s excitement), as My Morning Jacket took the stage, performing an hour long set leading up to Roger Waters’ headlining performance. While he ran through Pink Floyd favorites, solo tracks and a few covers, the crowd’s excitement was never diminished, even as chilly rain continued to drizzle down for the majority of the set. If anything, the weather added a certain well-deserved gravity to the situation.


Leon Bridges

The Lone Bellow

My Morning Jacket

Roger Waters


On Day 2, Spirit Family Reunion gave fans the perfect wake up call, bursting through their set with an immense amount of energy and charisma and each member playing off the other to liven up the crowd. The Barr Brothers, who followed shortly after, did much the same. There’s something impressive about expertly combining a harp, folk and rock n roll into one well-wrapped package. Langhorne Slim, though, I was particularly excited to see, having only caught the end of his previous Newport set (which seemed like quite the ride) — 2015 was no different, and I didn’t repeat my mistakes.

It was clear, after speaking with a few of the older crowd, that “getting” Courtney Barnett isn’t for everyone. She put on a hell of a rock show, though, giving the audience mundane stories in her songwriting that, upon further reflection and deeper thought, carry a ton of weight. It’s a bit like Seinfeld if Larry David had wanted to send viewers a broader message.

The following couple of acts, though, were really deliberate in their message. Surprise act James Taylor finally finished a set he began in 1969 (the original was cut short to announce the moon landing) and Sufjan Stevens, following what seemed like unending technical problems, took the stage in his usual trucker hat to give eager fans songs old and new. While the topics discussed (death, death and/or death) were heavy to say the least, his carpe diem, “there’s so much life here,” banter in between not only lightened the mood, but made everyone feel a bit more connected. Brandi Carlile’s set after was easily one of my favorite’s of the weekend. A natural storyteller, she weaves personal tales in between beautifully spun acoustic songs. Traveling with only she and the twins, their intimate set was captivating from beginning to end.


Courtney Barnett


With cinematic songwriting and a slightly vintage take on their sound, seeing Lord Huron perform always feels transportive, and Newport was no different. Their early afternoon set on Sunday captured the adventure on both their albums, and the feeling of possibility that the last day of Newport brings. The First Aid Kit set that directly followed was memorable, but possibly not for the right reasons. Instead of two vocals rising up in perfect harmony, there was only one — Johanna Soderberg had completely lost her voice, leaving her sister Klara to sing the set solo.

Following those two were Blake Mills and Laura Marling, both immense talents. Their songs are winding and beautiful, and technically speaking, they’re both excellent guitar players. Their overlapping schedule was a little upsetting, but seeing one after the other left me absolutely in awe.

The crowd surrounding the stage for Hozier was the largest I’ve seen at the festival. The walkways leading towards the stage were packed with hopeful attendees, all trying to get a closer glimpse of the rising star. The set itself was incredible, as expected. His timid demeanor and bold vocals make for the perfect stage presence, and you can’t deny the mass appeal of the music. Directly after on the main stage was the ’65 revisited set. The lineup was stellar, no doubt about that, but given the gravity of the occasion, I was anticipating a few more metaphorical fireworks. All the same, though, it was a beautiful, relaxing way to close out a beautiful, relaxing festival.

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats

Blake Mills

’65 Revisited

August 4, 2015 Lauren McKinney BUZZING, FESTIVALS 0

Capitol Hill Block Party 2015 Recap

4 months ago by Eric Tra


This past weekend The Capitol Hill Block Party took over the streets of Seattle’s always-hip Capitol Hill neighborhood. Despite the weather some minor technical stage issues, the three day festival was nothing short of awesome. As with any respectable festival, this weekend’s lineup featured a wide array of sounds from hip-hop, punk, and good ol’ rock and roll. And although there was some initial some of the criticism that this year’s festival lineup was slightly lackluster, the overall performance quality from all the bands definitely exceeded the expectations.


Friday’s mainstage lineup was tough to beat. Up first, Seattle’s own Flavr Blue and Sub Pop signed hip-hop group, Shabazz Palaces took the stage and got the crowd pumped with some of the Emerald city’s finest beats. The evening lineup did not disappoint either. Kicking off the night, the main stage crowd was filled in anticipation from back-to-back performances from Broods, Jamie xx, Built to Spill and headliner, TV On The Radio. Despite the fact that Jamie xx and Built to Spill hail from completely different ends of the music (and age) spectrum, the crowd showed great support none the less.

During the final performance of the night, TV On The Radio began their set with a little-known classic, “Young Liars” off of one of their first EPs also titled Young Liars—a much appreciated surprise for any long time fans. The band night ended on a high note as they shook things up with a handful the band’s more well known jams such as “Wolf Like Me” and “Happy Idiot”.


Saturday featured a fun blend of music that included a healthy turn out from the indie rock and electronica communities. Indie bands such as Toro Y Moi, Wye Oak, Ivan and Alyosha seamlessly played alongside an eclectic mix of electronica artists such as Kodak to Graph, Giraffage and Com Truise to amazing effect..

The favorite performances, however, showcased some of the festival’s best rock performances from headliners, The Kills, and a great underdog performance by the three piece all girl rock outfit, The Coathangers. With equal parts energy and attitude both of these bands took a strong command of both the main and Vera stages respectively. Armed with aggressive reverb-laden guitar riffs and booming drums, both acts definitely made their mark with two outstanding and memorable performances.


If there’s one thing that Seattle is known for its rain, and Sunday proved to be one of the wettest days of the summer so far with heavy rain for several hours during the middle of the day. Fortunately, all of the bands were still able to perform with only a handful of minor set-backs. Despite the weather, bands such as DIIV, Flatbush Zombies, Father John Misty, and headliners, Ratatat made all of the previous hours in the rain worth every minute.

Possibly the most talked about performance of the day was Flatbush Zombies. Famous for their high-energy antics, this New York hip-hop trio took the stage by storm (pun intended) and had the everyone in the pit on their feet jumping and screaming lyrics along to the beat. Meechy Darko, one of the group’s main rappers went crazy working the pit—at one point even jumping directly into the middle of the crowd.

The festival wrapped up with a killer performance from Ratatat who put on amazing light show complete with lasers, smoke and a two panel visuals display flanking the left and right sides of the stage. If you haven’t seen them before try to catch them soon because they are sure to put on one hell of a show.


Big Wild


Built to Spill

Com Truise


Father John Misty

Flatbush Zombies


Ivan and Alyosha

Jamie xx

Kodak to Graph

Lower Dens


So Pitted

The Coathangers

The Wooden Sky

Toro Y Moi

TV on the Radio


Wye Oak

July 31, 2015 Eric Tra FESTIVALS 0

Capitol Hill Block Party 2015 Preview

4 months ago by Eric Tra

Graphic by Allegra Rosenberg

In a city where just about every neighborhood has it’s own micro music festival, the Capitol Hill Block Party is at the forefront of music events in Seattle. As far as most are concerned, this is one of the only true music festivals (next to Bumbershoot) and is known by locals simply as, “Block Party”. Held every year since it’s opening in 1997 the festival has grown from a one day event to a three day celebration of Seattle’s art and music. While not as well known as some other city centered festivals in the country, Capitol Hill Block Party’s appeal comes from the always-solid collection of emerging, local talent.

This year, bands such as TV On The Radio, Ratatat and Jamie xx are among some of the most anticipated with smaller bands such as Chastity Belt and Lower Dens and filling in for some of the must-see underdog performances. The lineup features an assortment of genres from punk to electronica all of which whom are sure to get the crowds moving. While not the biggest or the best in the country, Seattle’s Capitol Hill Block Party is sure to be one hell of a time.



These guys are proof that shoegaze is not dead. Their dreamy vocals and soaring guitar riffs will send your ears to the warmth of yesteryear. This band is best served with a sepia Instagram filter with a side of sunset. Catch them on the mainstage on Sunday at 3:30.


Say what you want about screamo bands, Deafheaven is a completely different animal with a sound all their own. The best part of this band comes from their ability to seamlessly weave Explosions In The Sky-like guitar melodies with heavy metal vocals. Check them out for yourself at the Vera Stage at 10:45 on Friday. Bring earplugs.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra

Nothing but good vibes here, folks. Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s psych-rock style makes for the best afternoon soundtrack to get outside enjoy the sunshine. You can find these guys on the mainstage at 3:30 on Saturday.


This three piece Brooklyn band is one among many talented female led groups in this year’s lineup. If their live set is anything like their self titled debut album, you’re in for a treat. Look out for their latest single “Deadwater.” Wet takes the main stage on Sunday at 2:15.

Wye Oak

Wye Oak’s synth based pop style blends the best parts of indie rock with subtle, throwback melodies from the 80’s and 90’s. Check them out this Saturday on the main stage at 7:30.



4:30: Murder Vibes – Neumos Stage
6:30: Broods –  Main Stage
7:00 – Slow Bird – Neumos Stage
7:45 – Jamie xx –  Main Stage
8:30 – Black Whales – Barboza Stage
10:45 – TV On The Radio – Main Stage


3:30: Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Main Stage
4:45: Ivan & Alyosha –  Main Stage
7:15:  Meatbodies  – Vera Stage
8:30: Kodak to Graph   Vera Stage
10:30: The Kills – Main Stage
11:00: Com Truise – Main Stage


2:15: Wet – Main Stage
3:30: DIIV – Main Stage
5:00: Lower Dens – Vera Stage
7:15: Father John Misty – Main Stage
7:45: Nyves  -Barboza Stage
8:45: Ratatat – Main Stage


July 24, 2015 Eric Tra FESTIVALS 0

4knots 2015 Recap

4 months ago by Makena Cummings

Photos by Makena Cummings


This past weekend, New Yorkers eagerly headed to Pier 44 for the Village Voice’s annual 4Knots festival. It was the perfect day to spend gazing over the Hudson River and jamming to some of the best indie rock bands of the moment. Though we were in broad daylight, easily heard by passing boaters and park goers, it felt like we were all part of some secret club. We were unified in some way by our common love of raw indie sounds..

The lineup was excellent, but some scheduling confusion resulted in a small turnout for the beginning bands Surfbort and Heaven, though they played with no less enthusiasm. Happyness mesmerized the crowd with their chill and heavy rock sound. They were followed by Screaming Females who jolted everyone to attention when lead singer Marissa Paternoster soundchecked by doing her signature scream into the microphone. After their high-energy set was over, I felt truly influenced by a punk rock band that means serious business.

I have to say, Twin Peaks put on my favorite show of the day. These baby-faced guys know how to rock out, even to the point that frontman Cadien Lake James fell on top of his amp and knocked over his microphone. He continued to play as if it was simply a part of the performance and made a triumphant rush to bandmate Jack Dolan’s mike to keep the music going.

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks drew a fairly large crowd and after the thrill of Screaming Females and Twin Peaks, their set was a much-needed breather of chill 70s guitar licks. It was Super Furry Animals, though, who closed out the day with the most unique and memorable set. This was the band’s first performance in the states since 2009 and they made sure to showcase their quirky, neon vibes. They took the stage in white jumpsuits and ended it in full-on furry animal costumes. The set included cue cards for the audience, bok choy, and an alien helmet accompanied by heavy, methodical beats that I felt for days following.


Overall I give this festival a 9998  . Every band played well, it was a beautiful day from start to finish, and a great way to spend a summer Saturday.






Mikal Cronin

Screaming Females

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks

Super Furry Animals

Twin Peaks


July 17, 2015 Makena Cummings FESTIVALS 0

Newport Folk Festival 2015 Preview

5 months ago by Lauren McKinney

Graphics by Allegra Rosenberg

Each year, the chatter surrounding Newport Folk Festival seems to grow exponentially, and 2015 is no different. With more traditional folk acts now sandwiched between an ever expanding number of artists from near-folk genres, the event now seems to have something for (almost) everyone. This festival prides itself on selecting talent based on real curation rather than album cycles, and while that may not have held quite as true this year, there’s no denying that every act on this lineup is worth watching. I would highly suggest hopping around to different stages as much as possible, but the acts below, in particular, might be worth checking out in their entirety.


The Tallest Man on Earth

The last set I saw from Kristian Matsson at Newport was simple and mesmerizing — an intimate, solo performance that perfectly captured just how emotive his music can be. For this year, though, I think I’m looking forward to a bit of a change. Since he’ll inevitably be performing music from his new album, Dark Bird is Home, the fuller, more complex songs will need a little more help on stage.

Brandi Carlile

Brandi Carlile will win you over instantly. Between her beautiful vocals and storyteller appeal, it’s almost impossible not to be drawn into her world. She always seems to have an element of unneeded humility that makes her seem more human and her music seem more genuine.

Coutrney Barnett

Courtney Barnett may be slightly too irreverent for Newport Folk, but I think that’s why I’m particularly excited to see her perform. With a delivery that somehow combines deadpan and rocking hard, she’s a force to be reckoned with, and I’m hoping the crowd in Rhode Island feels the same.

Roger Waters

You should see Roger Waters because he’s Roger Waters…not sure what else to say here.

Sufjan Stevens

I love the many faces of Sufjan Stevens, but if we’re being completely honest, I’ve always had a soft spot for his earlier folk-drenched tracks — like those from the Seven Swans days of yore. I’m equally excited to see him perform tracks from his masterpiece of a new album, but my fingers are crossed for a few older numbers I haven’t heard live before.


Hozier’s Newport performance in 2014 included a full gospel choir for “Work Song”. If he can pull off something even half that powerful, this set will be well worth attending.


Friday July 24

12:25 PM — Bahamas — Quad Stage
1:10 PM — Angel Olsen — Harbor Stage
1:35 PM — Leon Bridges — Quad Stage
2:30 PM — The Lone Bellow — Fort Stage
3:45 PM — Strand of Oaks — Harbor Stage
4:00 PM — The Tallest Man on Earth — Fort Stage
5:05 PM — Heartless Bastards — Harbor Stage
5:30 PM — Unannounced/Roger Waters — Fort Stage

Saturday July 25

11:10 AM — Spirit Family Reunion — Quad Stage
12:10 PM — The Barr Brothers — Fort Stage
1:40 PM — Langhorne Slim — Quad Stage
2:35 PM — Jason Isbell — Fort Stage
2:55 PM — Courtney Barnett — Quad Stage
3:50 PM — Unannounced — Fort Stage
4:45 PM — Sufjan Stevens — Fort Stage
5:00 PM — Jose Gonzalez — Harbor Stage
5:40 PM — Brandi Carlile — Quad Stage
6:15 PM — The Decemberists — Fort Stage

Sunday July 26

11:00 AM — Christopher Paul Stelling — Harbor Stage
12:40 PM — Jon Batiste & Stay Human — Fort Stage
1:25 PM — Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats — Quad Stage
1:55 PM — Lord Huron — Fort Stage
2:45 PM — The Felice Brothers — Quad Stage
3:20 PM — First Aid Kit — Fort Stage
3:45 PM — Blake Mills — Harbor Stage
4:05 PM — Laura Marling — Quad Stage
4:45 PM — Hozier — Fort Stage
5:30 PM — Shakey Graves — Quad Stage
6:15 PM — ’65 Revisited — Fort Stage

July 2, 2015 Lauren McKinney BUZZING, FESTIVALS 0