What a difference a year makes. Last year in the press lounge at the Sun Valley Film Festival I remember being clueless when the media kids were talking about the musical acts they were going to catch the following week at Treefort Music Festival. I had bought one ticket to see Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, because she was the only act I knew! A few of the kids were kind enough to offer some recommendations. This year, I'm asking everybody!! Alphabetically no less! Framed within Treefort: The Skyship Tour, created by Zach Voss and his team.
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J. Reuben Appelman—Give Chase, an LGBT indie rock band from the BOI is definitely top on my list. After them, I'm looking forward to Clarke and the Himselfs, Storie Grubb & The Holy Wars, SubRosa, and hopefully Pat Benolkin is doing something again. That kid kills it. There are a ton of others but honesty my favorites are still from Boise. My overall favorite band last year was Sun Blood Stories. They killed it and were better than acts that have enormous followings. They were singlehandedly my favorite show last year and I saw, like, 50 bands.
Frankie Barnhill—I'm pretty damn stoked for Boise to experience Poliça. I've been lucky enough to see the lead singer (Channy Leanaugh) evolve since her previous Minneapolis-based projects. Her prowess as a lead singer and performer have only grown since Poliça's formation in 2011, and her vocals are a force to be reckoned with. The rest of my picks are acts I've never seen before (thanks for the discoveries, Treefort!): I'm into seeing EDM duo Odesza perform, their live show seems pretty awesome. Bay Area rapper IAMSU! looks like fun, as does femme rockers Chastity Belt and DIY-enthusiasts Saintseneca.
Joel W. Bartron—The Joy Formidable. I can't think of another band whose name and sound have such a skin-tight fit. It's louder and prouder than bands twice the size of their little trinity. This show would be worth it if they only played "Whirring" and "Abacus" and then left the stage. Cody ChesnuTT. I only got turned on to this fella after hearing the hubbub around his last album, "Landing on a Hundred," his first in, like, ten years. If I claim his stuff buzzes with a ton of wit (which it does) don't go thinking it lacks a ton of soul (which it does not). James Dean Kindle & the Eastern Oregon Playboys. Hailing from a town mostly known for its wool and whiskey, this foursome is never not worth seeing. (And I'd say that even if I weren't also from Pendleton). Bonus points if they play "Small Town Cops" and / or bust out the accordion. Hollow Wood; my local pick. It's really annoying how young and talented these not-quite-fully-grown humans are. Go see them before they start opening for Mumford & Sons in Prague or something. Mimicking Birds. I came under Nate Lacy's spell at a MusicFest Northwest show five or six years ago. He deserves a quiet room and a handful of supplicants. Just really flawless, thoughtful, sad bastard music. Honorable Mentions: Dan Deacon. Magic Sword.
Ian Clark—Dan Deacon. Dude is sharp, tapped into something next level. I had the opportunity to shoot a documentary while he recorded "Bromst", which was completely mind-blowing. Also, I still haven't listened to "America" in its entirety, so I'm anxious to hear what he's been making. Grandma Kelsey. Her music is just beautiful, poetic, and has a really elegant simplicity to it. Plus, she's just so charming to be around. The Dirty Moogs. These guys rule. So much energy and dancing happens during their sets. The first and only time I've seen them was really entertaining and hilarious. Gregory Rawlins. I love Greg's music. Oftentimes, within individual songs, he'll move through various tempos in interesting ways. Experimental acoustic rock? I'm terrible at describing or identifying genres. It's stark in a way that I really respond to, and he's one of the kindest, most honest human beings around. As for a fifth artist, man ... BOISE IDAHO! There's so much music coming out of this city that I haven't heard. Every show I wandered into last year was intriguing, so I'd love to expose myself to more of the city's artists. Can't wait!
Ben Hamill—Hey. Sad to say, but I don't know if I'm the best one to ask. I don't know hardly any of the bands coming, apart from some of the local acts. I've always enjoyed Jeff Crosby, especially from his time with Equaleyes, Grandma Kelsey, and Voice of Reason. I dig The Joy Formidable, but I really have no idea about anyone else that is coming. It will all be new to me.
Yurek Hansen—Oh man! I haven't had the time to pay attention! I am trying to develop some street performances for the Treefort. So far that's all I've thought about. Sun Blood Stories is my favoritist of all. Why? Because they bare their souls completely and give love to the end of ends.
Brett Nicholas Hawkins—hmmmm. ok. in no specific order... 1. naomi punk. they rip. the music is real. and heavy. and makes you float. i've listened to their record a million times. 2. atomic mama. 2 sexy boys playing modern music. fur shore will be one of the defining bands of this era in Boise. if Boise know's wut's gud. 3. wooden indian burial ground. acid flashback stage diving covered in sweat lose your shit where am i? 4. King Brat. Boise DIY Punx who know how to shred while writing the CATCHIEST 1-2 minute songs possible. hometown heroes. 5. mount eerie. i am still trying to prepare myself for the massive force that is mount eerie.
Alex Hecht—Dark Swallows. They're a great band and they don't play very often so when I get a chance to see them I take it. Memory Smoker is a bunch of guys with synthesizers, one of them a huge home-made modular analog unit. They improvise everything and it turns my brain into mush. Phantahex they do something different every time and no matter what they always seem to deliver a great set. Also, they make up everything on the spot. Bonefish Sam and his Orchestra. Great dub influenced electronics. Live bass and guitar. It's mesmerizing. Fifth spot goes to TEENS. Rumor has it it's their final show and it should be a blast. Always a great time. Honorable mentions to Blvrred Vision, The Nunnery, Bad 90s, Uzala, Black Cloud, and Junior Rocket Scientist. Also on my MUST SEE list on the film side of things is 12 O'Clock Boys.
Ryan Ryan Hondo Hondo—There's so many bands to grace us with their performances this year! It's really hard to narrow it down to 5 but I'll sure try. Yvette is a band that hails from Brooklyn, but one of the duo is originally from Boise. Yvette is much more than Experimental Industrial Rock. Their sound is rhythmically driven and plays with powerful synth and guitar motifs. Their musical journey is exciting and I, for one, will be going with them. Budos Band is a group that I am really excited for. I wish their music was the sound track for my life. They are an instrumental band who experiment with Soul, R&B, Hip-Hop, and Rock. There's not a time that I listen to them without moving. Mr. Gnome is a group that I am very excited to see. I saw them during the first Treefort Music Fest and I was blown away. Swinging seamlessly from hypnotizing psychedelic beauty into gritty, punchy, and powerful rock songs. I was so immensely impressed by their live performance and I can't wait to see them this year. This Will Destroy You is a group that will make a huge presence at Treefort. An instrumental post-rock band from Texas that is not for the faint of heart. If you're within hearing distance of their set you'll be drawn in by their enchanting epic movements. They will draw you in with a note and make you scream as they explode into an epic climax. When I listen to their music I am amazed at how subtle they can be and transition into a thousand layers of sound that make the hair stand up on the back of your neck. I will also be catching DJ Verstál at Treefort. There's a difference between a dance party and an awesome dance party and that's the music. Verstál has an eclectic mix of EDM music. There will be sounds you haven't heard, and wish that you had, because you're going to move!
T.J. Hughes—Wooden Indian Burial Ground, Max Pain and the Groovies, Built to Spill, Marshall Poole, Dark Seas, and Shades. I have been to all of these shows at one point or another and they are all epic live. Some shows are boring to watch but these six here are all amazing to be a part of. True feeling for a music festival.
Ben Kirby—1) Pontiak. I'm having an affair with feedback at the moment and this band operates in some competely unique, ultra heavy feedback fantasy. 2) Wooden Indian Burial Ground. Last Treefort, this was by far the most amazing show I experienced. An hour of pounding ferocious catchy noise. Could've been the people hanging off the stage and the ceiling pipes or maybe the acid I took, but it was probably just some fuckin' wild musicians nailin' it. 3) Eternal Tapestry. Apparently, this band and I share a smallish obsession with Sonny Sharrock. 'Nuff said. 4) Cy Dune. The rawness of the "No Recognize" EP is heart-wrenching. The beat is so real you can hardly find it with your head. I can't wait to see it live. 5) Mt Eerie. To be honest, don't know much of his music as Mt Eerie, but a previous thing he did called The Microphones was killer. I'm excited to walk into it completely blind.
Nik Kososik—Pontiak: Their sound is undeniably unique and visceral. They are masters at creating soundscapes that entrance the listeners. Seriously rad in every way, no joke, see these guys, major toner boner. Uzala: Local Doom Metal done right. These guys crush your ears with the heavies, but leave you feeling weird in the most beautiful way possible. Subrosa: Sort of in the same category as Uzala, these sludge rockers make me feel dirty when even I listen to them. They are only better live and you’ll probably need a shower after you see them in order to feel clean again. Obscured By the Sun: These local rockers make music babies. Every song is a wonderful movement ranging from ambient to head banging sex rock. Every time I catch their set it just gets better and better as they evolve into better and better musicians. Hobosexual: These blues rockers have riffs that have riffs. I'm a riff guy so it will be ever so lovely to have their dirt sounds thrown at my face. I recently discovered these guys through the Treefort website and I'm counting down the days until I can see their raw energy for myself.
Jess Krichelle—Fever the Ghost. This is one band that folks in the Boise area need to be on their toes for. As a loyal fan of MGMT, Tame Impala, and Jack White, these beautiful creatures mesh a sound so perfectly blended of the three that make them impossible to fall in love with. And trust me, you will see me and my friends grooving to this come Treefort. Apple Horse is a Boise band that I am looking forward to finally seeing. I have nothing but good things to say about the guys of Apple Horse and all I can say is that this will be one hell of a reunion. I simply can't wait to experience this live for the very first time. Jesus Sons is another LA-based band that is venturing to Boise. If you are into a classic '60's vibe, I would definitely recommend checking their show out. I'm pretty sure they were born into the wrong era. Hollow Wood is another on my viewing list. It's ridiculous how talented these young musicians are. I cannot put it into words how taken back I am at their live performances. I never know what to expect, but I always expect to leave mesmerized and it never fails. And finally Magic Sword will be on my list to go and see as well. I have love affairs with all of these music acts and I'm more than thrilled to be experiencing this Treefort with some friends from LA that have never been to Boise. I'm sure they won't be disappointed.
Bronwyn Leslie—Hi! I would say my top 5 must-see locals are Sun Blood Stories, Woodwind, Bad90s, Grandma Kelsey, Atomic Mama, & of course I'd also recommend Ancient Psychic Tandem War Elephant, a side project I'm involved with.
Marissa Lyons—Warm Soda. I like to rock n roll. La Luz. Best band to dance to. Naomi Punk. Cool hair cuts, cool music. Psychic Rites. Dark no wave '80s cool sound also good for dancin'. Zebroids. They have a skull beer bong which is really cool even though I don't drink beer and also one of the most fun shows I've ever been to. They know how to have fun!
Willow Moon—Unfortunately I haven't yet had time to select which bands I plan to see. I know for sure I'm going to catch the Atomic Mama reunion. It should be great!
Daniel Francis Ojeda—Brothertiger. Sun Blood Stories. RJD2. Joy Formidable. Magic Sword. Brothertiger was a band I stumbled upon on Spotify that sounds like good music to hear live. Sun Blood Stories is probably my favorite local band and I really dig their shift from playing rock songs, to putting on a show that's very progressive and complete. RJD2 is just awesome. The Joy Formidable is fantastic because they're really loud for just three people and I love when a woman REALLY plays a guitar like it should be played and subsequently puts some dudes to shame. Magic sword sounds like music I'd play on my pilgrimage to another planet.
Amber Pollard—Since the spirit of Treefort is fueled by discovery, most of my "must-sees" are bands I've never heard of before but discovered via the festival announcements and I'm really excited to explore new sounds. I was going to say that my list is in no particular order, but that's a lie; they're arranged in order of festival appearance. 1) Lures. I discovered Lures while diligently doing my Treefort homework. There's something about surf music that makes my whole body start to twitch and spasm: some people call that dancing, I call it too much happy. 2) Like A Villain. At Treefort 2013, AU (one of my "must-sees" for that year) was accompanied by Holland Andrews; girl crush ensued when I realized that: a) she's a super babe, and b) to say "she can sing" would / is an understatement of ridiculousness; she's got balls! Like A Villain is her solo project; it's creepy, beautiful, and will make you believe in ghosts. 3) BAND DIALOGUE II (Saturday at Rhodes Skate Park, 4:30PM ||FREE|| open to the public): Sun Blood Stories was asked to be a part of a crazy idea that Seth Olinsky, Cy Dune, came up with where 10 bands perform simultaneously. Even if I wasn't a part of this piece, it would still be a part of my "must-sees." 10 bands fusing together to form SuperBand—pure magic. 4) Wooden Indian Burial Ground. Even though I've seen Wooden Indian on several occasions, it's still about discovery for me. I've discovered that I [expletive deleted] love Wooden Indian Burial Ground! Their sexy-horror-surf-melt music makes me splash blood all over myself and jump in the middle of the friendliest mosh pit of all time. I'm not gonna not see Wooden Indian. 5) Naomi Punk. I've been second hand listening to Naomi Punk since their 2013 Treefort set which I didn't catch. Listening to "The Feeling" is like a release—I don't know what from—but a release none the less. I will not miss their set this year. Nope. Not me. Not now. Not ever (again).
Andy Rayborn—Hm, that's hard. I don't really like listening to music. I like playing music and watching other people play music. Last year I listened to most of the bands playing beforehand and made an itinerary. I ended up leaving some sets as soon as they started because the band wasn't interesting live. By the end of the festival, I was just going to see all the bands it seemed like other people were excited to see, and that was more fun than the beginning where I was watching bands I'd thought I'd like based on their recordings. That being said, I'd be really excited to see Arrington de Dionyso's Malaikat dan Singa if I wasn't playing with another band during their set, and I'm really looking forward to Like a Villain because her music is beautiful and moving and incorporates a lot of quirky elements I'm always happy to find.
Jose Angel Sáënz—Hollow Wood, Avtale, Magic Sword, Atomic Mama (reunion), Grandma Kelsey.
Jason Sievers—Oh man, that's a tough one because I get so excited about seeing local friends, but here's my early ideas before diving too far in. There are two returning bands that I'm really excited to see. I happened on both at previous Treeforts by accident and fell in love with them. Portland's The Parson Red Heads play sweet country-tinged pop and glad they are returning (saw them year one). Sister Crayon from Sacramento were here last year and were amazing. The female vocalist has really ethereal, haunting vocals. Very cool band. Locals: really excited for Built to Spill's set of new material. I think they've been on a roll since mixing up their line-up a bit. Also their former bassist Brett Nelson is in another favorite band The Sleepy Seeds who will be debuting new material, too. Very excited for the Wednesday History of Boise Rock Showcase especially the Caustic Resin reunion (a local favorite of all time). I think that's five! Also really want to catch Dan Deacon and Mr. Gnome who I missed in the past. I have a friend coming from back east—I'm sure he'll also influence some of our choices, but I still have a bit of homework to do!
Andrew Steele—Boy oh boy, what to see?! Well, Dan Deacon is a given. I'm pretty excited to see Poliça, Rubblebucket, RJD2 and Run the Jewels too (as far as the mainstage acts go). I've heard great things about Vikesh Kapoor. Gift of Gab is great fun if you want some '90s East Bay hip-hop. So much more ... goodness, it will be impossible to see even a fraction of it. Pontiak, Mr. Gnome, Odesza, Eternal Tapestry, AU, and Wooden Indian Burial Ground are also on my list. Interestingly, though, I am going to be playing with Gregory Rawlins on Sunday. We've recently struck up a musical friendship, and I'll be accompanying him on drums for his 40-minute set. Should be fun!
Zach Voss—For local TF picks, I'd say Atomic Mama (a killer reunion show), Bad 90s (key members from other bands with a fresh sound).
Jason Andrew Willford—I'll have to think about that after looking over the roster again. But The Budos Band is my number one. Then, RJD2.
Matthew Wordell—I'm looking forward to seeing Ditch Tiger, Shades, Grandma Kelsey, Sun Blood Stories, Virgil, and Grand Falconer because I like the people that play music in those bands. I'm also really excited to see The Budos Band.
Jaffe Zinn—1. Mount Eerie. 2. Thee Satisfaction. 3. Toy Zoo. 4. Pork Chopper. 5. Worst Foster Parents.