The fourth installment of Beantown’s biggest music festival is right around the corner, and Atwood Magazine’s writing staff is excited to present our festival preview, chock full of artist information so you can be on your Boston Calling A-game this weekend!
This September’s lineup weighs heavily on indie pop/rock music, with a scattering of headliners from various corners of the galaxy. Neutral Milk Hotel and the National will be serving up only the indie-est of indie rock on Friday evening; electro-pop star Lorde and hip-hop/nerd-rap/Troy Barnes lookalike Childish Gambino will grace audiences on Saturday evening; and alt rockers Spoon, The Replacements and the seemingly too good to be true collaboration between rapper Nas and hip-hop band The Roots will end the weekend-long festival on Sunday evening.
Further notable acts to catch are Fun lead guitarist Jack Antonoff’s new project, Bleachers, Bon Iver frontman Justin Vernon’s other awesome band, Volcano Choir, young British chart-toppers The 1975, and Boston indie jazz/soul band Lake Street Dive. See below for more information on these and many more of this must-see weekend’s talented musical lineup!
BOSTON CALLING MUSIC FESTIVAL
What better way to start a music festival than with some nice, airy synthpop? Future Islands recently signed to Bon Iver/Atlas Sound label 4AD and released their new album, Singles, earlier this spring.
Listen: “Seasons (Waiting On You)” – Future Islands
Learn more about Future Islands at future-islands.com
Neutral Milk Hotel
The indie act best known for 1998’s In The Aeroplane Over The Sea reunited last year after a nearly 15-year hiatus. They are playing a smattering of festivals and shows this September, but whether they’ll be providing old fans with new music has yet to be seen.
Watch: “In The Aeroplane Over The Sea” – Neutral Milk Hotel
Learn more about Neutral Milk Hotel at www.walkingwallofwords.com
The National is gloomy, emotional, and yet strangely enough, listening to them helps mitigate a bad mood instead of exacerbating it. Theirs will definitely be an interesting set closer for Night 1.
Listen: “About Today” – The National
Learn more about The National at americanmary.com
Indie pop outfit St. Nothing (formerly Hall of Mirrors) is the moniker for Boston local Marco Lawrence. He released a beautifully haunting EP, begin, last year. Labeled ‘noctural bedroom pop’ on the artist’s social media pages, St. Nothing’s music is airy, ethereal, and hypnotic. Give it a listen and be prepared for a dreamy Saturday morning daze with this opening act!
Listen: “Keep” – St. Nothing
Learn more about St. Nothing at st-nothing.tumblr.com
Clifflight are Boston-based synth-pop at its finest: Dance your heart out to Saturday’s second musical act, and be prepared to have Clifflight’s songs stuck in your head for the next few days.
Listen: “Do What You Want To Me” – Clifflight
Learn more about Clifflight at www.clifflight.com
Sean Carey is best known as the drummer and supporting vocalist for indie folk band Bon Iver, but it turns out he’s pretty great as a standalone artist as well. His music, which is similar to that of his other band, uses nature and human imagery in full while developing a fully textured sound.
Listen: “Crown The Pines” – S Carey
Learn more about S Carey at scarey.org
Sky Ferreira is an electro-indie queen, and that is all we need to say. Her persona is dark and mysterious, yet charming and full of confidence. Her new album, Night Time, My Time, is a must-have. Don’t miss her performance; you will regret it.
Listen: “Everything is Embarrassing” – Sky Ferreira
Learn more about Sky Ferreira at skyferreira.com
Jack Antonoff, (lead guitarist of fun. and former frontman of Steel Train) has a new indie rock project. Bleachers sounds vaguely similar to fun., but the band has definitely carved out its own indie fuzz-pop sound. The music is youthful, exciting, and definitely worthy of your attendance.
Listen: “I Wanna Get Better” – Bleachers
Learn more about Bleachers at www.bleachersmusic.com
The Hold Steady
If you scream, “GIVE ME ROCK,” The Hold Steady are the kind of band that will deliver through and through. They’ve been making lyrical rock music for ten years and counting, and we can’t wait to hear their set!
Listen: “I Hope This Whole Thing Didn’t Frighten You” – The Hold Steady
Learn more about The Hold Steady at theholdsteady.net
Give this band a listen, and you will instantly recognize Volcano Choir’s vocalist, Justin Vernon. The Grammy Award-winning Bon Iver frontman comes to Boston with the lesser-known band he claims to currently be his highest priority. Fun fact: ‘Volcano Choir’ gets its band name from a vaporizer named Volcano.
Listen: “Byegone” – Volcano Choir
Learn more about Volcano Choir at volcanochoir.com
Gregg Gillis (aka Girl Talk) has been mashing up songs for over ten years now. In that time, his stage moniker has come to represent a standard to which other mashups are judged. This set promises to be energetic, fun, and bumping.
Listen: “All Day” – Girl Talk
Learn more about Girl Talk at illegal-art.net/girltalk
Lorde is much more than a one-hit sensation, as evidenced by last year’s full-length debut album, Pure Heroine. As hard as it is to believe that Lorde is only seventeen years old, it is just as difficult to come to terms with her album being out for a full year this month. Make sure to see her now, because there’s no telling where this teenager will go next!
Listen: “Team” – Lorde
Learn more about Lorde at lorde.co.nz
A lot can be said about rapper Childish Gambino. Aside from being young, hip and forward-thinking, he is also extraordinarily talented. Just listen to his latest album, Because The Internet, and enjoy the beautiful mix of high-quality lyricism and production. We can’t wait for Donald Glover to blow our minds.
Listen: “3005” – Childish Gambino
Learn more about Childish Gambino at childishgambino.com
Local Bostonians Gentlemen Hall are not new kids on the block, but their sweet indie pop sound sure sounds new. The band has been active since 2008 and were named “Best New Local Act” and “Boston’s Best Act” by Boston Phoenix. Talk about good press!
Listen: “Sail Into The Sun” – Gentlemen Hall
Learn more about Gentlemen Hall at gentlemenhall.com
Brooklyn band San Fermin brings an eclectic baroque influence to their indie sound. The result is catchy and beautiful – we can’t wait to hear more!
Listen: “Sonsick” – San Fermin
Learn more about San Fermin at www.sanferminband.com
A classic hard rock sound in the modern age: White Denim is infectious, and it looks great on you.
Listen: “At Night In Dreams” – White Denim
Learn more about White Denim at www.whitedenimmusic.com
The War On Drugs
These Philadelphia indie rockers either have a great tongue-in-cheek sense of humor, or they feel very strongly against substance use. We’re pretty sure we know the answer to this one: The catchy, reverb-swathed single off their recent album, Lost In The Dream, is a pretty little number named “Red Eyes.”
Listen: “Red Eyes” – The War On Drugs
Learn more about The War On Drugs at www.thewarondrugs.net
Lake Street Dive
Lake Street Dive are a lovable and talented Boston-based band. The jazz/soul foursome met while attending New England Conservatory of Music 10 years ago, and have been making amazing, high-quality music ever since. Their live show is a powerfully intimate experience, and we’re hoping they bring that same enthusiasm onto the festival stage!
Listen: “Hello? Goodbye!” – Lake Street Dive
Listen: “I Want You Back” – Lake Street Dive
Learn more about Lake Street Dive at www.lakestreetdive.com
Twenty One Pilots
Twenty One Pilots are in a league all to themselves with their curious genre-defyng indie rap/rock music. Each song is new and different, and yet their music flows together. You’ll have to see it to believe it.
Listen: “Car Radio” – Twenty One Pilots
Learn more about Twenty One Pilots at www.twentyonepilots.com
In the two years since their formation, British indie rockers The 1975 have released four EPs and one full-length album, topped their home country’s charts, enjoyed an enviable degree of success across Europe, and embarked on a worldwide tour that, lucky for us Americans, includes a few dates in the States. Who knows what they’ll do in the next two years?
Listen: “Chocolate” – The 1975
Learn more about The 1975 at the1975.com
They have been in the indie rock business for nearly twenty years, and never once have Spoon stopped developing their sound. They sound better than ever their eighth record, They Want My Soul. Maybe if we’re lucky, they’ll throw a few old favorites into their set!
Listen: “Do You” – Spoon
Learn more about Spoon at www.spoontheband.com
The Replacements reformed 2012 and they sound as alternative and rocking as ever. If you haven’t heard of them, don’t worry you’re not alone. The band helped to shape a generation of music without receiving much in the way of “commercial success.” This might be one to acquaint yourself with before the show.
Listen: “Here Comes A Regular” – The Replacements
Learn more about The Replacements at thereplacementsofficial.com
Nas X The Roots
Hip-hop collaborations like this usually only happen in dreams. Both Nas and The Roots have been big names in the business for over twenty years. Each artist could individually sell out an arena, but the good folks behind Boston Calling decided they would rather treat their audiences to something very special. You may typically spend your Sunday evenings in bed, but don’t you dare miss these legends as they close out the weekend!
Listen: “Accident Murderers feat. Rick Ross” – Nas
Learn more about Nas at www.nasirjones.com
Listen: “When The People Cheer” – The Roots
Learn more about The Roots at www.theroots.com
For More Boston Calling Information, go to: fall.bostoncalling.com