Treefort Music Fest 2013 Day 2

It’s day two of Treefort, and by now our faces have been melted off and gelatinized, then shredded and melted again. It’s a crisp day at the Main Stage and there are a few squalls of snow as the first act Deep Sea Diver begins.

This bubbly Seattle four-piece hits all the spots for the modern rock aficionado. Somewhere between a re-energized Beach House and a re-imagined Bright Eyes, Deep Sea Diver really embodies the great history and the mysterious future of rock and roll.

Delicate Steve plays after, to a much larger, more bundled up crowd than their performance at El Korah Shrine yesterday. Always a spectacular show, they warm things up with tracks off last year’s Positive Force and deliver all the classics off Wondervisions in dramatic style. On the streets of Boise there are rumors that Delicate Steve has a third album of material just awaiting release.

Burnt Ones is next at Boise’s unique multi-purpose venue Linen Building. Their powered up live set is already underway, and the heavy, dry, smooth sound of Burnt Ones fills up the long cavernous building. I make sure to grab a cassette of You’ll Never Walk Alone on the way out to Neurolux to see Tartufi.

Last year we saw Tartufi for the first time with their new bassist blowing up an early spot on the Main Stage. A cult favorite, they have a special place in Portland/Boise’s heart as SF’s heavyweight champions of DIY music and touring. We’re watching them perform songs from their new album These Factory Days, and let me just say that it sounds very good.

It’s across the street to Boise’s Backspace-esque coffee shop/bar/venue The Crux to see local post-rock gods Red Hands Black Feet. Their set contains a mesmerizing cascade of soft delicate movements and soaring epic sounds. Their style of instrumental progressive music is particularly well crafted for anyone who is ready for the next new thing in rock and roll.

We were so enveloped in Red Hands Black Feet, we missed the illustrious, highly-anticipated Slow Magic set at the China Blue dance club, but were stoked to catch Portland favorites Sun Angle killing it at the Crux. The music of Sun Angle is relentless and worldly, ending the night for us in an awesome party of super jazzed Treefort goodness.

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Treefort Music Fest 2013 Day 1

It’s finally Treefort Music Fest 2013. One river gorge, one mountain range, and a time-zone later, the Killing Sasquatch crew arrives in Boise just in time to get our wristbands and pile into this year’s hot new venue El Korah Shrine to see Finn Riggins.

Frontman Eric Gilbert is the festival organizer and mastermind behind this manifestation of the thriving music scene in Idaho, so it’s only appropriate that they open up the festival. El Korah Shrine is a great classic all-wood dance-hall style venue which is brimming with all types of folks waiting for Finn Riggins to rock. Noticeably excited, and understandably so, they begin with the heavyweight track ‘Arrow’ off their new Benchwarmers EP. The crowd loosens up when the favorite ‘Dali’ comes up. They deliver a new track and some flourishing classics, and the dance party of Treefort seems to begin.
We bomb down to Red Room to see Caldwell/Boise act Lakefriend. Sharing members with one of our favorites last year, Fountains, Lakefriend plays some down-home and technically demanding indie rock. In a world where effects pedals rule, Lakefriend is mankind’s only hope. Their set is richly toned, despite the noticeable lack of pedals of any type, and they achieve a sound with a variety of influences from Built to Spill to American new wave, with a focus on high-powered rhythmic motives. Stay tuned, we will be keeping a very close eye out for all Lakefriend-related activity. Check their song on soundcloud here.

We stay at Red Room, sipping delicious Payette brews, in order to catch a glimpse of Seattle band; Neighbors. These guys also dish out a big helping of awesome indie rock. Their ancestry appears to be of mixed ska-punk and classic alt-rock heritage, such as the likes of Velvet Underground and Modern Lovers.
In pursuit of more great music, we went to the Neurolux to see the doom metal up-and-comers Uzala. Their brand of swirling bubbling sludge is just plain heavy. The female vocalist soars over the desolate fuzzscape as the audience head bangs in submission to their presence. Check out their awesome music below.

Red Room is definitely one of our favorite crusty alternative venues here in Boise, and we end up back there just in time for Pony Time. Their sound is very much in line with the punked out indie rock we’ve seen in Lakefriend and Neighbors, but with a precise, crunched out bass and drums two-piece setup. This lends an even heavier, droning atmosphere and makes Pony Time a very enjoyable listen. With the super loud music and bouncing fans, these guys are amazing live.

After Pony Time we strolled over to the Crux to see one of our favorite Olympia bands Lake. LAKE, and all their other side projects including Baby Island and Memory Boys, originate from the forests of Puget Sound’s Whidbey Island, where their music resonates with the reclusive rural Cascadian existence. LAKE emanates pure pop goodness, with subdued rock elements and intriguing imagery which is only achievable by such visionaries as LAKE’s Ashley Eriksson and Eli Moore.

We catch wind of an impromptu Delicate Steve show back at El Korah Shrine where the night began, and mob down there to see a devoted crowd who stayed after the at-capacity Unknown Mortal Orhestra show. Moving up front, we watch Steve and the crew shred up their songs like a block of cheddar cheese. Their usually delicate music is transformed into a wave of cacophonous righteousness, washing over the crowd in warm blankets of sound. People move their feet and wave their arms to the virtuosic music which the performers so obviously delight in making. If Treefort was only a one-night event, Delicate Steve could have ended it for us in the perfect fashion.

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Shlohmo + The Bear and The Sea

The latest EP from Shlohmo is an electronic masterpiece of chill, glitchy goodness. With this new Laid Out EP, I would say that Shlohmo is the top artist to push the electronic scene into the next era. Every aspiring electro artist should take a page from Shlohmo in what they create. Definitely my favorite EPs so far this year with the freshest tracks from “Later” to “Out Of Hand” to “Without,” Laid Out is future music that needs more recognition.

Next is another great electronic artist, The Bear and The Sea. Being a local Portlander means that he knows knows what the people want when it comes to great electro music. TB&TS’s newest full length is called Trees Like You and offers some real chill beats. I really enjoy “The Girl’s Got Angel Wings,” Human Loop,” and “Astronaut Sun.” Most importantly is that you can name your own price for this 12 track album on the bandcamp page here. So through The Bear And The Sea a couple of bones for some ill beats.

Youth Lagoon

This week sees one of Idaho’s brightest stars release his second full length album, titled Wondrous Bughouse. I’m talking about Youth Lagoon of course. With the follow-up to The Year Of Hibernation, Trevor Powers’ music sounds more experimental and more psychedelic than ever, almost taking on a sort of Animal Collective sound. Wondrous Bughouse is another beautiful, brilliant intimate album that may be a little less dancey, but makes up in wonderful sounds that come at you from all angles. Definitely one of my favorite albums this year already, you must check it out above. My favorite tracks are the two opening tracks “Through Mind and Back,” “Mute,” and “Dropla.”

Another fresh release this week was Chrome Sparks’ latest EP title Sparks EP. This EP has the hit track “Marijuana” as the second song, but that is not the only song that really hits home. “Send The Pain On” is a bouncy chill track that gives everyone what they want. Sparks EP is full of good beats and chill music. Chrome Sparks lays out great new music and is definitely an artist that’s pushing electronic music in the right direction. You can download for name your own price on bandcamp.

Live at Holocene: Boats

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Last night Holocene hosted Winnipeg powerhouse Boats, with the fresh sounds of Portland folks WL and Great Wilderness. The Holocene is responsible for some awesome shows with fun, intimate atmospheres on random nights of the week, like Sundays, when everyone else is at home watching Walking Dead.

First up, Great Wilderness sounds like Joanna Newsom’s voice on Sam Beam’s fingers, hauntingly beautiful and with a deep empathy for nature. The growing and cascading harmonies of two female vocals are accompanied by organic folky guitars and rhythmn. Their debut, Rest EP was just released in 2011, which makes it seem less ridiculous that Great Wilderness isn’t gigantic, yet. Check out a track from their new album The Enemy, out soon.

Next up on the bill was Houndstooth, one of Portland’s extremely talented songcrafters, but there was a last minute change to feature their side project WL (pronounced “Well well”) instead. The guys rock super hard too. Live, they sound like a female-led Joy Division, and on record like a My Bloody Valentine clone. These elements of overstated fuzzy droning new wave compositions and classic 3-piece rock and roll dynamism make WL a great listen.

Killing Sasquatch recently caught wind of what Boats is accomplishing with their new album, a Fairway Full of Miners, and we like it immensely. From the snowswept Northern plains of Manitoba, which has produced such other deeply sincere and well-written acts such as The Weakerthans, Boats represents the absurdist’s solution to realistic crises. Their music is dense with abstraction and whimsy, but strangely compassionate and focused too. Suggested on long introspective walks through your inner sub-conscious, and at dance parties between the capacity of 4 and 40, Boats is chicken chili for the modern soul.