While everyone has Sharon Van Etten, Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaries, and the War On Drugs on their list of acts to see at this year’s Northside Festival, there are plenty up-and-coming bands that should not be missed. Check out these ten.
Penicillin Baby // Nashville, TN
Sunday, 6/15 – *Frenchkiss Label Group Showcase* at Muchmore’s
Take a dose of Penicillin to treat a wide range of infections and take a dose of Penicillin Baby to cure the blues, if you’re like me and get depressed at the lack of bands that make you want to shake your ass. By mixing their own batch of grungy, lo-fi psychedelic jam, Penicillin Baby stays true to their individualistic vision and as a result, have already landed 35/100 alt rock radio stations with their latest project Not Getting Any Younger. There’s no country for new Nashville and Penicillin Baby exemplify that to a T.
Albert Hammond, Jr. // New York, NY
Friday, 6/13 at Music Hall of Williamsburg
These days, we have no idea what’s going on with The Strokes, but we’d be fine with them breaking up if that meant that we got to hear more from Albert Hammond, Jr. The guitarist’s solo work eschews the icy cool of his band for a more charming, direct approach to guitar pop reminiscent of Nada Surf and Hammond’s personal heroes Guided By Voices.
Gringo Star // Atlanta, GA
Thursday, 6/12 at Shea Stadium >>Saturday, 6/14 at Mercury Lounge
If you see Gringo Star in between their two NYC dates during Northside, go have a beer with them—they’ll tell you all about those shirtless pictures of Jackie Robinson their grandmother has. For brothers Nick and Pete Furgiuele, strands of blues, rock and soul have long been mingling in their veins thanks to their granddad, a notable promoter who broke social boundaries in black and white music during the 40s and 50s. That sense of community is continued with Gringo Star bridging gaps between psychedelic garage rock, far-out blues and hot-n-heavy R&B.
The Dead Milkmen // Philadelphia, PA
Saturday, 6/14 at Music Hall of Williamsburg
To a certain sort of punk rocker, the Dead Milkmen are legends. Their snotty attitude and sense of humor was nothing short of revolutionary in the 1980s, when their punk contemporaries were in danger of becoming a little too serious for their own good. Since reuniting in 2008, the band seem reinvigorated, and their reunion album The King In Yellow is as good as any of their older classics. At the very least, it’ll be fun to pogo dance to “Punk Rock Girl” again.
Benjamin Booker // New Orleans, LA
Thursday, 6/12 at House of Vans >> Saturday, 6/14 at Music Hall of Williamsburg
Anyone who’s opening for Jack White doesn’t really need a description, but there’s more. Recently signed to ATO, Benjamin Booker rubs together blues, rock, and punk, and sparks his own fire. Tinged with the gravelly false-bass voice of Blind Willie Johnson, Booker’s pipes take pride in southern roots, and have caught the attention of Andrija Tokic (Alabama Shakes), who produced Booker’s self-titled debut. There’s a reason why this one is on the same bill as Charles Bradley.
Craft Spells // Seattle, WA
Friday, 6/15 at The Warsaw
Each new Craft Spells release takes the previous one as a template and builds on it, and Justin Vellesteros’ project-turned-band has only gotten better as a result. Their newest album, Nausea, is an orchestral pop masterpiece, the culmination of years of hard work and honing of one’s craft. It’s fitting, then, that Craft Spells will be back on their label Captured Tracks’ home turf of Brooklyn to celebrate.
Rathborne // New York, NY
Sunday, 6/15 at VENUE TBA
Having recently rocked the crowd at Sasquatch!, Rathborne are no strangers to the festival scene. They stay true to NYC’s sound and play that snot-nosed defiant kind of rock ‘n’ roll, continuing what bands like the Strokes had in mind. In fact, Albert Hammond Jr. lent his production to the band’s 2013 debut, Soft. Ironically, their stage presence is quite the opposite.
Titus Andronicus // Glen Rock, NJ
Thursday, 6/12 at The Warsaw
Fact: Titus Andronicus are one of the best live bands in New York and probably the United States. Over the course of nine years and three great albums, the New Jersey-based rock band skillfully meshes punk’s anger with the anthemic hopefullness of arena rock and the wit of indie pop to create something that is indescribable by any word other than “awesome.” Their shows are whirlwinds of passion, energy, and vitality that must be experienced to be believed. This will be well worth the price of admission.
Dead Waves // Queens, NY
Friday, 6/13 at the Flat
What do you get when a music publicist can’t stand most of the band’s he’s working for? He quits his 9-5 and starts a band. Enter Teddy Panapoulos, frontman of noisy grunge rock trio Dead Waves. Interested in 80s post-punk and not much else, the band delivers a focused urgency that recognizes Queens musicians for what they truly are: a bunch of bad asses. How many other bands have Steve Albini (Nirvana) producing their shit?
Gingerlys // Brooklyn, NY
Thursday, 6/12 at Spike Hill
NYC Popfest may have wrapped up, but some of the great indie pop groups that came out for that are sticking around for Northside, and Gingerlys may be the best of the bunch. The band’s synth-driven pop is as light and delectable as it should be, but they never fall into the trap of getting too twee or precious. They’re the sort of band that sound great on record, but are really meant to be heard in a live setting.