MPMF.15 Schedule: Saturday, Sept. 26

Read about the artists taking the stage on Saturday, Sept. 26.

Sep 9, 2015 at 1:10 pm
click to enlarge Forest and the Evergreens
Forest and the Evergreens

Check out Friday's schedule here, and see Sunday's schedule here. Artist schedule subject to change.

12:15 a.m. Forest and the Evergreens (Columbus, Ohio)

Young Funk

Formed in Ohio’s capitol city in late 2011, Forest and the Evergreens have been honing a smooth, spirited sound that melds Soul, Funk, R&B, Rock, Reggae and Blues into an at-times swaying and other-times punching end result they’ve dubbed “Young Funk.” The quintet launched its first release, Young Funk EP, in June of 2014. The release showcases two distinct sides of the group, with songs like “PFUNK” and “Spaceghost” exhibiting its up-tempo Funk roots, while other songs like “Lady” and “Mad at You” show off Forest and the Evergreens’ knack for soft Blues serenades. The Evergreens continue to tour and sharpen their already crisp sound, while also pushing hard toward their upcoming debut studio album. You’ll Dig It If You Dig: The Black Keys jamming with a relaxed John Mayer and Chicago’s funky horn section. (Charlie Harmon)

11 p.m. DAAP Girls (Newport, Ky.)

Indie Rock/Garage Funk

Originally (or so the legends goes), Greater Cincinnati’s DAAP Girls was a five-man group drawing its name from the experience of initially meeting each other when all the members were dating the same girl — a student at the University of Cincinnati’s art and design school, DAAP. Since the Girls’ inception, they’ve been building a following and acclaim through energetic live shows, playing music they call “Gutter Funk and Rock n’ Soul” (the band eventually picked up an extra two members to further enliven the party). Admitting an obsession with warm, vintage recording techniques, the band has been riding on its 2013 debut album, Tape Songs, which was recorded analog-style on an old 8-track machine. Spending the last two years focusing on their “combination Soul-revue and basement party” live shows, DAAP Girls have been road-testing songs from their sophomore full-length, reportedly titled Look Inside Your Love and due for release soon.

YDIIYD: Mick Jagger hopping into a superjam with Dr. Dog, a rocked-out Modest Mouse and The Black Crowes. (CH)

9:45 p.m. Miracles of Modern Science (Brooklyn, N.Y.)

Indie/Chamber Pop

What happens when you move the string section from the back of the stage to the front, and the rest of the band off the stage entirely? Miracles of Modern Science can show you the spectacular result of such forward thinking, with luminous and melodically powerful Pop songs that are driven by double bass, violin, cello, mandolin and drums. After its first two acclaimed releases — 2011’s Dig Year and 2013’s MEEMS EP — MOMS recently unleashed its anthemic masterwork, the soaring, angst-riddled and perfectly engaging Mean Dreams. Pay no attention to the Classical nature of the strings you see onstage; MOMS is Pop for rockers. YDIIYD: The Lumineers as a string quintet, co-conducted by Ben Folds and Todd Rundgren. (Brian Baker)

8:30 p.m. Mothers (Athens, Ga.)

Indie Folk

Kristine Leschper began Mothers as a solo project away from her duties with Padre, but it quickly evolved into a full band, and rightfully so. Take a listen to Mothers’ exquisitely understated yet quietly intense “No Crying in Baseball,” a teaser track from the band’s debut album slated for release next year — Stereogum named it one of the five best songs of the week when it surfaced this summer. It’s idiosyncratic Indie Rock with a stuttering time signature and Jazz and Folk undercurrents and, like the best music, leaves you wanting more. There are plenty of live videos of Mothers on YouTube; if you’re looking to get your hair raised, check out the inexorable “Mother and Wife.” YDIIYD: Angel Olsen on a Björk drip. (BB)
Sylvan Esso


10:45 p.m. Sylvan Esso (Durham, N.C.)

Electronic Art Pop

Take equal parts atmospheric vocals, sampled beats, plaintive lyrics and alert self-awareness, shake vigorously and pour into your speakers. This recipe yields Sylvan Esso, a genre-busting duo headquartered in Durham, North Carolina. The eclectic project of Amelia Meath (of the Indie Folk trio Mountain Man) and producer Nick Sanborn (who played bass with experimental Folk crew Megafaun) came together just a couple of years ago, after the pair met while playing the same bill; Meath asked Sanborn to remix a song she’d written for Mountain Man, and Sylvan Esso was born. The duo’s eponymous debut album came out on Partisan Records in 2014, with Sylvan Esso’s measured, contemplative and unavoidably addictive twist on Electro Pop creating an instant buzz among fans and critics. Take a big gulp. YDIIYD: Fellow 2015 MPMFers Purity Ring, Phantogram, Feist, Chvrches. (Leyla Shokoohe)

9:30 p.m. Aero Flynn (Chicago)

Indie/Art Pop

There’s probably a decent independent movie script in Josh Scott’s story. I’s too circuitous for this forum, but it deals with Scott’s band, Amateur Love, and Justin Vernon’s DeYarmond Edison, and how Scott fled from imminent success, relocating in Chicago. Megafaun, Field Report and Bon Iver are all in there, as is Vernon’s reissue of the Amateur Love album, Scott’s serious health issues and a second retreat from a musical sure-thing. Finally, Scott created a new recording persona, Aero Flynn, and made a fantastic album with Vernon at the board and all-stars in the studio, and then vanished again. But the eponymous album was released earlier this year and Scott is now on tour. There are no ends. YDIIYD: A-ha having an “a-ha!” moment in the Electro Pop 21st century. And Brian Eno. (BB)

8:15 p.m. Us, Today (Cincinnati)

Psych Rock/Post Rock

To put it simply, Us, Today is like no other band you’ve probably ever heard. With a mix of drums, guitar and vibraphone, the trio explores instrumental soundscapes that are sometimes heavily improv-driven and other times impressively composed and arranged. The sound flirts with Post Rock and Jazz, but it can also veer into minimalistic, drone-heavy Electro Rock. With the release of its third album, TENENEMIES, in March of this year, the band continues to move in a more intentionally composed direction, while still holding tight to its deeply experimental roots. YDIIYD: Avant Garde, guitar-wielding Miles Davis toying on modern music technology alongside a vibraphone-heavy Papadosio and BadBadNotGood. (CH)


12:30 a.m. Sphynx (Austin, Texas)

Dance Pop

With dance-floor rhythms, ear-magnet hooks and a remarkably fun live show, Texas trio Sphynx should be on your MPMF “to do” list if you find yourself down and dragging toward the end of the night. Like sex or funny pet videos, it’s hard to be mad or sad when experiencing the Electronic-infused Glam Pop group live (or in recorded form, for that matter). Sphynx, which has been spreading its awesomeness across the country with consistent touring, is still working on its anticipated debut album, Golden Garden, but this year the band did release the live EP Live From Earth, which contains versions of some of the newer material. And, as if to prove the threesome’s supernatural ability to force that frown upside down, the release also includes Sphynx’s versions of two of the worst Pop hits of the past 30 years — The Outfield’s “Your Love” and Cher’s “Believe” — which are somehow rendered not just palpable, but wildly entertaining. YDIIYD: Stepdad, Chromeo, early MGMT’s dance remixes. (MB)

11:15 p.m. Automagik (Cincinnati)

Indie Rock

With Foxy Shazam splintered into unfixable pieces, the field is open for Automagik to take up the gauntlet of theatrical, Darkness-driven Indie Prog/Pop. And just in time for that opportunity, Automagik follows up their first two albums — 2010’s Automagik and 2013’s Black Sundae — with the exquisite sugar scorch of “Pop Kiss” and the unplayable reaction to its lack of (deserved) mega-success, the middle-finger-to-radio anti-hit “Fucked Up.” All this is the advance force for what one can only imagine to be a spectacularly abrasive and predictably cheeky new EP titled

Beach Fuzz

. Hold onto your wigs and keys, kids; like The Empire, Automagik strikes back. YDIIYD: The Darkness covers old unreleased Sparks demos, then go trick-or-treating as Queen. (BB)

10 p.m. Grandchildren (Philadelphia, Pa.)

Indie Pop/Rock

Talk about getting away from your original idea. Alex Martray intended for Grandchildren to be a solo recording project featuring sparse Folk tunes dressed up with sampled beats. 2010’s Everlasting started off that way but quickly blossomed into a much grander concept, ultimately growing into an expansive but elegantly (and eccentrically) simple Indie Rock orchestra with a lot of intricately moving parts, all headed in generally the same interesting direction. 2013’s Golden Age built on its predecessor’s successes, and with the just-released Zuni, Grandchildren brings a dash of darkly beautiful Pop melancholy to its intimately epic soundtrack for a non-existent movie. YDIIYD: The Polyphonic Spree sings Animal Collective and My Morning Jacket songs as they hitchhike en masse across country. (BB)

8:45 p.m. JSPH (Cincinnati)


Listen to a single song by R&B/Soul/Pop vocalist Joseph Nevels, aka JSPH, and you’ll understand why he chose a musical path rather than the legal options available with his law degree. JSPH understands and respects foundational R&B giants like Sam Cooke and next-generation Pop reinventors like Boys II Men, and he’s found his own contemporary niche in that long, brilliant tradition. So far, JSPH has released the first two EPs of a proposed trilogy; Rest and Rule were released earlier this year, and he’s in process on the third, Abide. If you’re curious about the future of R&B in the new millennium, JSPH has both the blueprint and the soundtrack, and he’s ready to present it all. YDIIYD: The capsule history of R&B, Gospel, Soul and Pop. (BB)


10 p.m. Cathedrals (San Francisco)

Electro Pop/Soul

Tracing the ingredients that comprise the Cathedrals’ sound is like deciphering an incredibly complex recipe that somehow results in a simple and indescribably delicious dish. Vocalist Brodie Jenkins was a part of her family’s Folk group, while multi-instrumentalist Johnny Hwin’s childhood was immersed in Classical music (he ultimately scored a touring gig with Electro Pop outfit Blackbird, Blackbird). When they met through the San Francisco arts community, they bonded over common Rock interests. Together as Cathedrals, Jenkins and Hwin create an amazingly organic and powerful Electronic sound that blends Jenkins’ soulful and emotive voice and Hwin’s broad musical arsenal, including a sinewy guitar presence that resembles The Edge with Ambient undertones. YDIIYD: A musical depiction of visual art at the crossroads of Electronic software, Rock hardware and Soul emotion. (BB)

8:45 p.m. Multimagic (Cincinnati)

Indie Pop

Multimagic is a stacked deck of local talent, starting with guitarist/vocalist Coran Stetter, who morphed Come on Caboose into this new form along with keyboardist Brian Davis. The band’s ranks were quickly filled by bassist/vocalist Mia Carruthers (ex-Curtains and a solo artist in her own right), guitarist/vocalist Ben Hines (ex-Young Colt) and drummer Sebastien Schultz (ex-Bad Veins), and MULTIMAGIC was well on its way. The newly formed MULTIMAGIC posted a pair of songs on Bandcamp, the quietly powerful and aptly-titled “First Song” and the propulsive “Let Go.” Since reconfiguring to its current quintet, Multimagic has done a live session at WNKU and leaked a few promising demos while working on its first real release. The waiting is killing us already. YDIIYD: Mazzy Star as raised on Rock and Pop in the heartland. (BB)

7:30 p.m. Little Racer (Brooklyn, N.Y.)

Indie Rock

Little Racer brings a contemporary vigor and charm to the Pop of the ’60s and the New Wave of the ’70s and ’80s that rewired generations of influences. The New York trio exudes a Surf Rock vibe fused to a modern Chillwave aesthetic, which can morph into a jangly Pop reverie and then meander into a squall of dissonance or a burst of Rock classicism. The group’s new Foreign Tongues EP is a fabulous evocation of restraint, reverence, influence and innovation, proof that Little Racer understands the importance of respecting the past in order to alter the future. YDIIYD: The essence of Brian Wilson, The Cure, XTC and New Order condensed into a 21st-century energy drink. (BB)

6:15 p.m. Culture Queer (Cincinnati)

Indie Rock/Art Pop

The wheels of Culture Queer grind exceedingly slow; the band’s last Facebook entry was in late July and their latest Tumblr posting was a year ago. It’s safe to imagine then that CQ’s set will be packed with material from their most recent triumph, 2012’s Nightmare Band, and points past in its catalog. But even CQ’s slow grind can be wildly unexpected; after three years, the Indie Glam/Art Pop slam quartet might just have a slush pile of new songs and an insatiable desire to dress them up and take them out (Tigerlilies guitarist Brendan Bogosian did post a cell phone video of a new song from a late July show). Whichever way it goes, it’s indisputable that Culture Queer will present a stellar show that you’ve never seen before, and it will hit you in the solar plexus like a rocket-propelled grenade launcher at 10 paces. They don’t know any other way. YDIIYD: Synth Pop jitter, Glam Rock glitter, Art Pop bitter, Punk spitter. (BB)

5 p.m. Prim (Cincinnati)

Indie Pop/Ethereal Wave

The seeds for Electronic-tinged Dream Pop quartet Prim were planted in 2013 when accomplished Cincinnati musicians Ian Gullett (who also does production work) and Molly Sullivan discovered they’d both been asked to contribute original music to a local dance troupe project. Recognizing similar musical sensibilities, the pair began writing together, adding drummer Jake Langknecht and bassist Alessandro Corona to flesh out Prim’s ranks. The band began growing a local following with shows and the release of a handful of hauntingly captivating songs online, helping Prim earn a Best New Artist nomination at the 2014 Cincinnati Entertainment Awards. The group doesn’t play locally much anymore, with the members busy with other projects (Sullivan’s solo career continues to draw more and more attention), so consider its MidPoint appearance a rare, can’t-miss treat. YDIIYD: Braids, Porcelain Raft, 4AD bands past and present. (MB)


12 a.m. Diet Cig (New Paltz, N.Y.)


Guitarist/vocalist Alex Luciano and drummer Noah Bowman became acquainted one evening when Bowman’s other band, Earl Boykins, was in mid-set and Luciano stopped the show in search of a lighter. In their hands, the guitar/drum duo concept hews toward the lo-fi Pop/Punk end of the spectrum, stripping everything down to its essence. Luciano’s lyrics are ruminations on new adulthood and its numerous challenges (particularly for musicians); she has a writer’s eye for observational detail and a penchant for graphic wordplay (from “Scene Sick”: “Fuck all your romance/I just wanna dance”), and her guitar strokes are thick yet uncomplicated (she never played electric guitar before Diet Cig), while Bowman has a manic drum style that he can corral or unleash. Diet Cig’s debut EP, Over Easy, dropped earlier this year and a double A-side 7-inch single, “Sleep Talk”/”Dinner Date,” is available on Bandcamp. Altogether, it’s about 15 minutes of music, but we’re confident there’s a full and glorious set waiting in the wings. YDIIYD: Tiger Trap time-travels ahead 20 years to warn us about global warming and crappy relationships. (BB)

10:45 p.m. The Ghost Wolves (Austin, Texas)

Blues/Garage Punk

The White Stripes may have raised the profile of guitar/drum duos, but The Ghost Wolves have found the dark, visceral heart of the format while layering elements of Delta Blues, foundational Garage Rock and blistering Punk into a hot electric pastiche that burns like the business end of a soldering iron. Guitarist/vocalist Carly Wolf (her family actually raised hybrid wolves) and drummer/vocalist Jonny Wolf (the pair are vowed and married; no fake brother/sister crap for them) raise a Rock ruckus the way a voodoo priest raises the living dead — with a flair for the show and a belief that all impossible things are possible. The Ghost Wolves’ two releases to date — 2011’s In Ya Neck EP and 2014’s Man, Woman, Beast album — are excellent representations of the twosome’s aesthetic, but you have to see them live for the gale force/Richter scale/tent-revival experience. YDIIYD: A buzzsaw that plays the Blues, a shotgun blast of Punk, a bourbon-soaked barrel of 90-proof Rock. (BB)

9:30 p.m. GGOOLLDD (Milwaukee)

Electronic Dance Pop

The construction of this impressive six-member Electronic Pop machine began in 2013 when guitarist/keyboardist Tony Hunt met singer Margaret Butler at the Milwaukee club where her boyfriend (and eventual band bassist) Nick Ziemann was bartending. Butler talked about wanting to join a band, so later that night Hunt sent her a track he’d been working on; the singer added lyrics and the song, “Gold,” was finished by the end of the week. (The band originally wanted to call the group Gold, but went with the more Google-able GGOOLLDD instead, which should make you love them even more.) “Gold” is included on the 2014 EP $Tandard$, a great introduction to the band’s approach, which is guided by sonic beds of driving electronic burbles, colorful synth riffs, pulsating rhythms and Butler’s alluring vocals. GGOOLLDD has been attracting some industry attention; one listen to its latest radiant, hyper-catchy single, “Boyz,” and you’ll understand why. YDIIYD: Chvrches, Ladytron, Haerts, M83. (MB)

8:15 p.m. Holiday Mountain (Austin, Texas)

Indie Dance Pop

Frontwoman Laura Patiño started Holiday Mountain in 2011 with keyboardist/bassist Bradley Will and drummer Zander Kagle when all three were students at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, coalescing around common influences and quirks. Holiday Mountain slams with a club-friendly combination of contemporary Dance Pop, eccentric Art Pop and Indie Rock-tinged Hip Hop. The trio’s latest EP, You Be You, Part 1, and its predecessors, 2012’s Become Who You Are and 2011’s Happy People, are jammed with female empowerment anthems and wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling dance-tronic brilliance. And, seriously, check out Holiday Mountain’s ass-wrecking spin through Techtronic’s “Pump Up the Jam.” YDIIYD: Lene Lovich, Iggy Azalea and Deee-Lite team up for a Hip Hop Gypsy Jazz side project based on the life of The B52’s. (BB)


12:15 a.m. Tristen (Nashville, Tenn.)

Indie Pop

A native of Chicago now based in Nashville, Tenn., Tristen’s brand of earnest Indie Pop initially pointed to both her Midwestern Pop sensibility and twangier Southern influences. Her 2011 single “Baby Drugs,” from her first non-self-released recording, Charlatans

at the Garden Gate, nudged Tristen into the spotlight, garnering positive reviews from Rolling Stone, Spin and many other big-time outlets. Tristen has been evolving as an artist ever since. The 2013 album Caves found Tristen returning to her DIY roots (she Kickstarted and self-released the record), but not necessarily her musical ones, as she shifted her impeccable Pop chops into an Electronic-based direction. Tristen’s voice is her most powerful tool — she’s equal parts siren and ingénue, weary and valiant, with her lyrics shooting through with precision and depth and her flexible musicality cheekily filled with bits of Dance Pop, Rockabilly and ’80s Synth Pop. She’s spent time in 2015 touring as a backup musician and vocalist with revered Indie darling Jenny Lewis, further cementing her status in the delicate-but-tough-as-nails camp. YDIIYD: Jenny Lewis, Jessica Lea Mayfield, Mount Moriah, Caitlin Rose. (LS)

11 p.m. The Moth & The Flame (Los Angeles)


Hailing from Utah and now stationed in Los Angeles, The Moth & The Flame fills a void in today’s omni-pleasing, moody and clever Alternative Rock category. The quartet can be rousingly anthemic (namely on “Young & Unafraid,” the lead single from the band’s album release for Elektra Records which boasts unabashedly ’80s synth riffs and stick-it-to-the-man lyrics) but also calculatedly math-like and Prog-y. The group is perhaps best categorized as “Chameleon Rock,” as it is capable of fluidly reflecting avowed influences as varied as Radiohead, Neil Young and Sparklehorse. The Moth & The Flame is multifaceted and piquant enough to suit a wide range of diverse musical taste. YDIIYD: Interpol, Coldplay, Radiohead, U2, Muse. (LS)

9:45 p.m. EZTV (Brooklyn, N.Y.)

Indie Pop/Rock

Vocalist/guitarist Ezra Tenenbaum conceived EZTV as a homemade solo project until the opportunity arose to work with bassist Shane O’Connell and former Widowspeak drummer Michael Stasiak. Tenenbaum’s songs are like time capsules of brilliant ’60s/’70s Power Pop gems, and in that fine tradition, he can sing about life’s most soul-bruising moments and attach it to a soundtrack of indescribably beautiful melancholy, thereby making it as uplifting as a clear blue summer’s day. Just like its name, EZTV is short, sweet, simple and memorable. YDIIYD: The Posies take a souped-up DeLorean to 1972 and teach Big Star graduate-level classes in Pop. (BB)

8:30 p.m. NO/NO (Milwaukee)

Synth Pop Rock

NO/NO came together when on-the-rise Indie Pop/Rock band The Delphines unceremoniously ended after its singer split to focus on her family. The abrupt break-up came just as the band was at the height of its powers and seemingly on the cusp of bigger things. The remaining members — drummer Jeremy Ault, bassist Lucas Riddle and singer/guitarist Harrison Colby — were itching to continue, but instead of simply replacing the old singer and carrying on with the same name, the band opted to reinvent itself, adding electronic beats and synths, as well as vocalist Cat Ries (who sings alongside Colby), and changing its name to NO/NO. Retaining a lot of the Rock & Roll energy (unlike in some Electronic bands with guitars, Colby’s insistent, distorted guitar work is up front in the mix and a main focal point), though it may sound different, NO/NO seems to be picking up right where the members’ former band left off. YDIIYD: A 21st-century Midwestern version of New Order in its early transitional stage from Joy Division. (MB)
The Almighty Get Down

12 a.m. The Almighty Get Down



Neo-Funk has been making a comeback recently, with groups popping up here and there that keep the tradition going in a variety of ways. The Almighty Get Down, however, stands out among that crowd, like a big smiling elephant in a party of monkeys. It’s plain to hear — this is feel-good music, old-school Funk raised in the modern era and played impeccably. The Get Down’s classic, driving sound is obviously influenced by the pioneers of the genre, but it is injected with new energy and doesn’t come off as a regurgitation of the past. While largely known for its great live presence, The Almighty Get Down has been burning its seven-member-fueled sound into permanence, releasing its impressive debut album People, This is…

The Almighty Get Down last year. YDIIYD: Sly & The Family Stone, James Brown, Snarky Puppy, Al Green. (CH)

10:45 p.m. Charles Walker Band (Milwaukee)


Musically gifted from childhood, Charles Walker studied Jazz at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, then redirected his education to serve his new muse in the Charles Walker Blues Band. When the single genre proved limiting, Walker dropped the Blues designation and embraced the full range of R&B, Funk and Soul, with just a dash of Pop. The last piece of the Charles Walker Band puzzle arrived in the form of Soul alchemist Porsche Carmon, who can croon you into a false sense of security and then blow you out of your shoes. After a string of fabulous albums, 2012’s Relentless won CWB the prestigious WAMI award after three straight nominations. But they’ll tell you awards aren’t the important thing. Charles and Porsche just want to Funk you up. YDIIYD: Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings in a street corner church choir with Stevie Wonder at the organ and George Clinton at the lectern. (BB)

9:30 p.m. Alanna Royale (Nashville, Tenn.)


Alanna Quinn-Broadus and her hyper-talented Neo-Soul band Alanna Royale have more weapons than a paramilitary junta, and they are all over their last album, 2014’s Achilles. Guitars that slink and storm, a rhythm section that will kiss your neck and kick your ass and a horn section on loan from God’s band, all baptized in the healing Soul/R&B waters of Detroit, Memphis and Chicago; that would be the limit for most bands. But the bourbon-and-spice icing on this Soul cake is Quinn-Broadus’ stratospheric voice, as soft as a caress, as bitingly mellow as a double shot of bourbon and as tough as a downtown bouncer. Get yourself up front for Alanna Royale and get ready to get sweaty. YDIIYD: Joan Osborne channels the spirit of Janis Joplin in front of the big-city chicken wire roadhouse Soul band of the ’60s. (BB)

8:15 p.m. Kinky Love (Chicago)

Synth Pop Rock

MidPoint die-hards may remember singer/songwriter Xoe Wise from her appearance at last year’s festival (she’s also doing a fill-in solo set again this year). Though she does incorporate light electronic additives into her solo tracks, that element is much more vital to the sound of her other project, Kinky Love, which she fronts alongside keyboardist and programmer Dan Zima and keyboardist Alan Shinkunas. The music of Kinky Love fits perfectly with the band’s moniker, swaggering with a sensual elegance and swaying and shaking its hips to a smooth ’80s Pop/R&B vibe. Kinky Love released its debut EP,


, last year, while this year’s digital single, featuring the tracks “Sugar” and “Counting on Distance,” has helped raise the trio’s profile on a larger scale, earning nods of approval from NME and The Line of Best Fit. YDIIYD: The chilled, sexy grooves of Everything But the Girl and Sade, Xoe Wise. (MB)


12:15 a.m.  Zola Jesus

Electronic Art Pop

Zola Jesus (given name: Nika Rosa Danilova) is not unlike an experimental one-woman symphony, with her lush, opera-influenced vocals soaring through perceptive lyrical meditations and seamlessly woven into a colorful aural tapestry. The Wisconsin native’s latest release, last year’s well-received


(her first for Mute Records), is an 11-song package that is equal parts Pop influence and avant-garde Electronic exploration. Jesus’s unique sound has matured since the last time she was in Cincinnati (in 2012), with her creating hypnotic soundscapes that run the gamut from the booming brass and hints of Classical music in “Hollow” to powerful Pop balladry of “Dangerous Days.” Belonging to the current musical undergrad class of elegant, vocally-gifted artists with something deep to say (like Perfume Genius, Warpaint and Austra), Jesus will leave your ears ringing and your mind a little more open. YDIIYD: Florence and the Machine, Kate Bush, Grimes, Perfume Genius. (LS)

11 p.m. Young Empires (Toronto, Ontario)

Indie Synth Pop

Young Empires can’t be accused of moving too quickly. The band coalesced first with bassist Jacob Palahnuk and guitarist Robert Aaron Ellingson, followed quickly by keyboardist Matthew Vlahovich, officially launching in late 2009. For the next two years, Young Empires played every conceivable opening slot and festival gig they could find. In 2011, drummer Taylor Hill joined Young Empires; the following year, they released their debut EP, Wake All My Youth, featuring the hit “White Doves,” which made the Top 10 of Sirius XM’s annual Top 50 songs. In 2013, Ellingson departed, leaving the band to record the just-released debut album The Gates as a keyboard-fronted trio. Based on the advance video for “So Cruel,” things are about to go faster for Young Empires. YDIIYD: Tears for Fears with visions of Muse grandeur. (BB)

9:45 p.m. Fine Animal (Columbus, Ohio)


The seeds of Fine Animal were planted a few years ago when singer/guitarist Kelan Gilbert met with singer/keyboardist Lucy Oaks with the intention of forming a Rock band. The project they ended up with is quite a different (ahem) animal. As heard on its 2015 release, Before the Glow, Fine Animal makes bewitching ambient music with airy, layered vocals and entrancing digital textures. But there is much more going on than the dreamy aural haze — each track is laced with imaginative beats, rhythms, guitars and other sonic quirks. Never distracting from the hypnotic ambiance and misty melodies, these creative idiosyncrasies help set Fine Animal apart from the rest of the increasingly crowded Electronic Pop field. YDIIYD: M83, St. Vincent, Múm, Telefon Tel Aviv. (MB)


6:30 p.m. Ride (Oxford, U.K.)


Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear — you know, the ’90s — when men of valor stared at their footwear and sent sheets of psychedelic buzz-fuckery washing over the faithful with a casual precision and undeniable purpose. Bands like The Jesus and Mary Chain, Curve and Swervedriver defined the period, but chief among those sonic architects was Ride, a trio of 19-year-olds and an old man of 21 who distinguished themselves in a crowded field of innovators with an almost feral intensity. Ride’s early EPs and first two albums — 1990’s monumental Nowhere and 1992’s Going Blank Again — are avowed classics of the genre. Internal conflicts and style tweaking unraveled the band, but over the past dozen years, the OX4 box set, the


BBC sessions album and sporadic live appearances featuring various combinations of Andy Bell, Mark Gardener, Laurence Colbert and Steve Queralt have fanned the embers of hope. Late last year, the foursome announced its official reunion, with North American dates revealed earlier this year, including two sets at Coachella. Let it be shouted from the city’s highest vantage point, at a volume nearly equal to the band’s: Your Ride is here. YDIIYD: A psychedelic tsunami, a rhythmic earthquake, a melodic hurricane. (BB)

5:15 p.m. Caspian (Beverly, Mass.)

Indie Rock/Post Rock

Instrumental music is a tricky proposition in a Rock context. In the absence of a focal frontman and any kind of lyrical narrative, an instrumental band has to hold an audience’s attention with atmosphere, texture, dynamism and sheer power. Caspian does all that and more, creating a compelling and intriguing sound that has no need for words to hammer home its point. The quintet will occasionally use its voices as an additional sonic element, but it typically lets its tools do the talking. And what a tale they tell — Prog bands from the genre’s heyday would be jaw-dropped and humbled by Caspian’s epic magnificence and nuanced delicacy. Dust and Disquiet, the band’s much-anticipated follow-up to the acclaimed 2013 triumph, Waking Season, will be released the day before the band’s MidPoint appearance. YDIIYD: King Crimson on steroids with everyone’s mics packed away in the bus. (BB)

4 p.m. The Besnard Lakes (Montreal, Canada)

Psychedelic Indie Prog Pop

Nothing is lost in translation for the progressive group The Besnard Lakes, which brings its expansive, shimmering sound to us from up the fertile Indie music scene in Montreal. If anything, The Besnard Lakes gain an added layer of mystique by virtue of its traveler status. Over the course of 12 years and multiple albums, the band has evolved into the intelligent, dreamy and delicately Pop-influenced delight it is today. The Besnard Lakes’ latest release, Until in Excess, Imperceptible UFO, is representative of the band’s entire oeuvre — while the tracks are often shadowy, atmospheric and marked by windingly unpredictable structuring, the songwriting is still magnificently melodic and memorable, leaving the listener with a pleasant, mesmerized sensation and the desire to experience it over and over again. YDIIYD: Stars, Wolf Parade, Islands, Broken Social Scene. (LS)

3 p.m. The Harlequins (Cincinnati)

Psych/Garage Rock

Sweet Mary in rags, has it really been nine years since The Harlequins blew out the garage walls and showed us all the 21st-century way to tune in, turn on and lean into the pitch? Apparently so. Since 2006, The Harlequins — guitarist/vocalist Michael Oliva, bassist Alex Stenard and drummer Rob Stamler — have been pummeling audiences at home and points everywhere with a sound that inspires comparisons to The Doors, The Cramps, Guided By Voices, Syd Barrett and Pavement. After six stellar releases of varying size but consistently brilliant quality, including 2013’s unhinged Sex Change, The Harlequins are getting ready to drop a new full-length. YDIIYD: Syd Barrett and Bryan Gregory hybridize early Pink Floyd and The Cramps in whatever heaven/hell construct they’re in. (BB)
Patrick Watson


12:15 a.m. Patrick Watson (Montreal, Quebec)

Indie Rock/Chamber Folk

There aren’t many artists who can successfully walk the line between traditionalism and experimentalism, but Patrick Watson’s lineage gives him a leg up. He was born in Lancaster, Calif. — the birthplace of Captain Beefheart and the childhood home of Frank Zappa — and he was raised in Montreal, where life and art intersect constantly. After starting solo, Watson assembled a band to translate his songs; in 2007, they were nominated for a Best New Artist Juno Award, and both 2007’s Close to Paradise and 2009’s Wooden Arms were shortlisted for the Polaris Music Prize. His latest, the buzzy and atmospheric Love Songs for Robots, is likely to find a spot on a healthy number of year-end lists this year. YDIIYD: Jeff Buckley produced by John Cale and Brian Eno and their circle of insanity, with Radiohead monitoring the sessions to make sure no musicians are injured. (BB)

11 p.m. Strand Of Oaks (Philadelphia)

Indie Folk/Americana

Strand of Oaks’ newest and best album,


, is proof that great pain inspires great art. When SOA spark plug Tim Showalter had a crisis of self after an unsatisfactory album and a desultory two-year tour, he came back to his almost-broken home and wrote 30 deeply personal and cathartic songs in less than a month. As a result, HEAL reflects Showalter’s seminal love of ’70s-’90s Rock and Pop and taps into the core of his long simmering personal and professional issues while moving away from the bare-bones Americana that typified early Strand of Oaks albums. HEAL became even more viscerally focused when Showalter and his wife were nearly killed in a car accident on the eve of mixing the album. High points include the blistering “Goshen ’97,” featuring a scorching guitar solo from J Mascis, and the soaring epic “JM,” a heartfelt tribute to the late Jason Molina and his magnificent music. YDIIYD: The sound of loving music for the first time/the pain of coming up short/the redemption of never surrendering. (BB)

9:45 p.m. Ryley Walker (Chicago)

Avant Folk

Ryley Walker has taken the proclamation that he is the “reincarnation of the true American guitar player” very seriously. His magnetic and nimble fingerstyle approach to guitar (Walker’s bio says he lacquered his fingers in cheap salons to achieve his distinctive sound) and improvisational and compositional abilities are impressive on their own. But on Walker’s latest album, Primrose Green, his vocals get equal billing, showcasing his’60s British Folk influences more vividly, with Van Morrison and Nick Drake echoing gently in the reverb and a band loaded with Chicago Jazz and Post Rock all-stars filling out the sound beautifully. The smooth melodies blended seamlessly with the eclectic instrumental style (which is infused with a Jazz-like mentality and sometimes wanders down a fascinatingly experimental route) should make Walker’s set a singular MPMF treat. YDIIYD: Tim Buckley, Van Morrison, Nick Drake and John Martyn moonlighting as a progressive Jazz quartet. (LS)

8:30 p.m. Kaleidico (Louisville, Ky.)

Electro Pop

One of the biggest challenges for Electronic bands is to access the ghost in the machine and not lose the humanity of the music in a contextual presentation that is largely synthetic. Kaleidico manages that rare feat by starting with compositions that exude warmth and emotion rather than isolation and detachment. First with its 2013 debut, Free Falling Waltz, and then with its recently released sophomore album, Zoetic, Kaleidico crafts lovely Pop songs that offer Beatlesque melodicism and Paul Simon’s creative intelligence while retaining a level of intimacy and playfulness even when the soundtrack swells to cinematic proportions. By avoiding the pitfall of keeping the listener at arm’s length, Kaleidico makes engaging and compelling Synth Pop that satisfies on a variety of levels. YDIIYD: Air and Tame Impala compose music by dancing blindfolded on the giant floor keyboard from Big while being directed by 10CC. (BB)