One of the first true music festivals of the year also happens to be one of the best. I'm talking about Treefort. Boise's annual music and arts festival has been expanding at a mind blowing pace each year and with a lineup this year boasting over 320 acts there's going to be some tough decisions. That's where we come in. We know your infinitely familiar with TV On The Radio, Trampled by Turtles, Boise heroes Built to Spill, Of Montreal, and Moscow native Josh Ritter. But are you familiar with the electric melodies of Logan Hyde? How about the subliminal neon doom disco of Psychic Rites? Can you navigate the bearded discography and expansive sound of Hobosexual? Now we're not pretending we've got all the answers to your pressing Treefort lineup questions but here's some artists on the undercard that are worthy of your weekend consideration.
Holy balls. Last year based on band name alone I decided to check these guys out on a whim and it's one of the better decisions I've ever made in my life. Based out of Seattle, Hobosexual is a hard rock and metal duo with some serious chops. Powered by Ben Harwood (guitar, vocals, beard) and Jeff Silva (drums, beard), Hobosexual is an eleven on the volume knob. The two gents are absolutely primed for a blow up following excellent showings at last year's Treefort festival followed by a well deserved slot and powerhouse performance at Sasquatch Festival's Narwhal stage. Grab a beer, grab two beers, and do not miss Hobosexual. Mark it.
Returning Treefort alumni Rubblebucket aren't exactly what I'd call under the radar at this point in their career but that doesn't make them any less charming. One of the better indie bands out of Brooklyn of recent memory, Rubblebucket's latest album Survival Sounds is entirely danceable in it's smooth delivery, ensuring another stellar set from the seven piece (when touring) that blends drums, saxophone, bass, synth, trumpet, guitar, and trombone into a myriad of good time feels.
Rubblebucket's lead vocalist Annakalmia Traver singing at Treefort in 2014.
Think of an adolescent Buddy Holly leading a post-punk band and you've got Native America. Their latest album Grown Up Wrong (AH review), is a fantastic album full of joyously lonely garage rock with a mixture of a little forlorn love and teenage angst, but who isn't susceptible to that message every once in a while? Songs like "What's on Your Mind" are lollipop playful with a pitter-pat snare drum and "Naturally Lazy" is a collection of giddily subdued harmonics that haven't a care in the world. This newest release is the most fleshed out record Native America have amalgamated yet and sets the foundation for a strong showing for a amiable group of dudes who are making the trip all the way over from New Orleans. Not to be missed.
Magic Sword lays out new age Dungeons and Dragons anthems (D&D is in now right?) of epic proportions. This is medieval electronic at it's best. Take note of the photo below, who wouldn't want to check that show out? Nothing but critical hits with 20 sided dice. Stream Magic Sword's first full length, Volume One , on Soundcloud now.
San Diego based The Donkeys released Ride the Black Wave last year and the album is a meritorious affair that is sure to serve catalyst to an already busy downtown landscape. Boasting Doors-esque organ solos ("The Manx"), and eastern influence that would surely get a high five from George Harrison himself ("Imperial Beach"), The Donkeys are a top notch sunshine indie band who are just hitting their stride. Check them out before your friend with the coffee drinking scarf in Los Angeles beats you to the punch. You can read our full review of Ride the Black Wave here.
Think Tron on acid and you've got Psychic Rites. Self labeled as "neondoomdisco" their newest album, Singularity, is just that. Featuring sweeping foreboding electronic arrangements that induce fits of adrenaline, if electronic is your thing then Psychic Rites needs to be your go to.
Hailing from Oakland, Unconditonal Arms features dilatant instrumental composition in the form of lengthy post-rock gems. Think Explosions in the Sky and you're heading in the right direction. Below you will find their latest tune, "Haunt" and you can check out a bevy of quality music at their Bandcamp page.
With a smooth electrical guitar sound that takes you to dreamy places, Logan Hyde reminds AudioHammock staffers of early John Frusciante melodies. Below is "My Only Friend" off of one of Logan's releases Innocence . Far down on the artist list this year, trust us when we say he won't be in subsequent years.
Hollow Wood won me over last year with their amiable vocals and charming indie folk tunes. Hollow Wood are hometown favorites and one can't help but wishing they were from your hometown when watching them perform. Lead-singer Adam Stip brings has a comforting persona to him that is both intimate and inviting and the same can be said for the majority of their tunes. Their two latest offerings are Wallflower and Seasons both of which are available on iTunes, Amazon, and the band's own website. Below is "Spirits" from the aforementioned Seasons .
Friends of the podcast Polecat return to Tom Grainey's again this year for an hour and a half set that is sure to amaze. For the uninitiated, Polecat is an amalgamation of bluegrass, folk, rock, and traces of reggae in what results in a damn good time. Featuring set lists that are high in energy and crow interaction, Polecat is a guarantee for late night good times with beverages in hand.
Polecat playing "Domino" from their 2013 album Fathoms .
Special shoutout to Elliot Baker aka Crystal Ghost who was kind enough to do an interview with us a few month's back. Armed with kisses of electro disco pop, Crystal Ghost latest EP aptly titled Crystal Ghost is an aurally pleasing album of quick whit hits, organ, and articulating back beats. Download this one now via Bandcamp for free! That's like, super affordable. 10/10.
What is a Sama Dams? For those of you that don’t know, Sama Dams is an avant-garde experimental rock trio from Portland. Sam Adams, Lisa Adams and Drummer Chris Hermsen are three extremely talented musicians who won’t settle for the generic or predictable. Their album, Comfort for Doubt was just released and we have a review and interview coming soon. In the meantime enjoy "My Ears Are Ringing", track one off of Comfort in Doubt .
In the spotlight recently for their Ghostface Killah collaborations (review), BadBadNotGood has been stellar long before Pitchfork mentioned them. An experimental trio from Toronto, Matthew Tavares, Chester Hansen, and Alexander Sowinski craft some seriously articulate instrumental hip hop, jazz, and improvisational tracks. With an extra late night slot at the El Korah Shrine there's no doubt BBNG fans will be out in full force resulting in an organic set full of creative madness.
Another stellar band from north of the border, Viet Cong along with Native America are the finest offerings of post-punk at Treefort this year. Our review for Viet Cong is here and it's safe to say that although the year is still in its relative infancy, this one will be in discussion at the end of the year. While not varied, the songwriting is strong because rarely do the songs sit still. The album's genius is couched between wintry sounds and thick noise with a slight stroke towards the opulent.
Viet Cong's self titled album is already in contention for AH album of the year.
I spend more time talking about their band name than their music unfortunately but just listen to their track "Slyd" from 2013's Thr!!!er and you'll see why the Main Stage will be a dance party for a solid hour and a half Saturday night. If you've never thought of dance-punk as a genre well, get ready. Expect !!! to achieve world domination by late 2016.
Treefort Music Fest is March 25th through the 29th in historic downtown Boise, Idaho. For in an depth discussion on the majority of these bands and more on Treefort check out AudioHammock Podcast #32. You can stream it via our website, find us on iTunes, Stitcher, or any indexing podcast device. Take AudioHammock on the go!