The Hashtags of Northside 


Detractors will complain that this year’s Northside Festival, like every year’s Northside Festival, is just a bunch of boring white people playing lots of boring indie rock. Those people have always been wrong, but this year they’re more wrong than usual. On the following pages, you’ll find a handy guide to the many genres and sub-genres that are represented. For complete listings, visit





Buke and Gase
Convicted enough in their desire for new sounds to custom-invent the instruments that give them their name, the rough-and-tumble Brooklyn band have a spooked pop swagger intended to bruise. Newer songs have neared the intensity of vintage PJ Harvey.
(POP Montreal showcase, 6/15 at Warsaw)

Grass Widow
There are glorious left-turns in the songs of San Francisco trio Grass Widow, places where the overlapping, near-miss harmonies of their vocals cushion the jagged surf rock sounds made by their guitars. Their new album, Internal Logic, finds them moving further into pop sweetness than ever.
(Panache Booking showcase, 6/16 at the Knitting Factory)




Wymond Miles
While his other band The Fresh & Onlys play garage rock with a lot of range, they never get as glamorously gloomy as the guitarist’s terrific solo material, which blissfully broadcasts on an Echo & the Bunnymen wavelength.
(Sacred Bones showcase, 6/17 at Glasslands)

The Black Belles
With gritty guitars and a stripped-down setup that Jack White would approve of (And he does! They’re signed to Third Man Records!), the Nashville trio adds a welcomed helping of garage-rock to their draped-in-black goth.
(Panache Booking showcase, 6/16 at Knitting Factory)

Cold Cave
On their last record, Wes Eisold’s flag-waving goth outfit expanded towards guitar-driven emo anthems. Live, with shrieking noise assistance from Prurient’s Dominick Furnow, they remain the perfectly dour portrait of cold wave disaffection.
(Sacred Bones showcase, 6/17 at Glasslands)

Elias Ronnenfelt, singer for Iceage, pulls the neat trick of making his U.S. debut at Northside for the second year in a row. This time he brings his synth-heavy industrial-pop project VÅR. Members of Copenhagen punk-scene notables like Lower and Sexdrome make up the live band.
(Sacred Bones showcase, 6/17 at Glasslands)




The New York City-born former member of Wu-Tang Clan made a splash all on his own when he released the landmark Liquid Swords album, and he’s on hand to perform it from front to back tonight, backed by Grammy Award winning Latin funk orchestra Grupo Fantasma.
(6/14 at Music Hall of Williamsburg)




This year we’re proud to feature a band that first formed long before most of the others were even born. Tinariwen is a group of musicians from Mali that plays a guitar-heavy style of music called assouf, which boasts similarities to American blues.
(POP Montreal showcase, 6/15 at Warsaw




While “instrumental hip-hop” is as good a try as any, L.A. producer Henry Laufer makes a distorted, disorienting sound that’s tougher to pin down with a tidy term. Using slow, stretched beats and disembodied vocals, he moves past abstract prettiness, closing in on pure emotion.
(Prefix Magazine showcase, 6/16 at 285 Kent Ave)

Bass-devotee Ezra Rubin makes music drawing on hip-hop, house, UK garage, dubstep, and slick R&B—styles bound together by their equal dependence on thudding low-end. His melodically rewarding dance music is packed with immediate hooks and visceral thrill.
(Prefix Magazine showcase, 6/16 at 285 Kent Ave)




Crystal Stilts
A lo-fi pop band who preceded Brooklyn’s DIY rock wave a few years back, they’ve stuck around long enough to become neighborhood elder statesman. Though still specializing in Velvet Underground rumble, their latest material has them sounding warmer by the minute.
(Sacred Bones showcase, 6/17 at Glasslands)

Eternal Summers
When Eternal Summers released their full-length debut as a duo in 2010, they came off as a passable indie-pop band that experimented with dreamy textures. Now ready to release the follow-up, Correct Behavior, as a three-piece, they’ve moved on to a fuller, more polished sound that properly showcases the outstanding melodies at the core of each song.
(Kanine Records & Terrorbird Media Showcase, 6/14 at Knitting Factory)

South of France
Keeping in the grand tradition of indie-pop, melody is the key ingredient to South of France’s debut album, Another Boring Sunrise. Straddling the happy-sad line ever so precisely, with girl-boy vocals volleying over traces of 60s pop, fans enamored with that Cults record will want to take note.
(NYC Popfest showcase, 6/15 at Shea Stadium; 6/16 at Bar Matchless)

Frankie Rose
A trend-setter in Brooklyn’s lo-fi rock scene for years before she went solo, Rose ditched guitar feedback for bright and shining keyboard textures on her latest record, presenting an 80s-hued vision of synth-pop that’s more glam than gloomy, more widescreen than lo-fi.
(BrooklynVegan showcase, 6/15 at Music Hall of Williamsbirg)




Kitty Pryde
Whether this buzzy Florida rapper is actually still a teenager has been kept intentionally unclear, but her songs document the bad choices, hopeless crushes, Internet saturation, and alternating laziness and restlessness of the age with witty authenticity.
(6/15 late night at Knitting Factory)

Kid Sister
She came to prominence on Chicago’s club scene by making hip-hop that’s tailor-made to rock a party. Early successes lead to collaborations with Estelle, Gucci Mane, Cee-Lo Green, and, on her signature hit “Pro Nails,” Mr. Kanye West.
(6/16 at Sugarland)

Zebra Katz
A prominent figure in New York City’s recent, refreshing queer-rap boomlet. Katz’ signature song, the hypnotically minimal “Ima Read,” has made the jump from the blogs to the pages of the New York Times to the fashion runways of Paris.
(6/14 at Sugarland)




Daughn Gibson
With the old soul of a 60s crooner and the sampling software of a modern bedroom recorder, ex-truck driver Daughn Gibson sounds unusually unstuck from time. His songs depict small-town, kitchen sink drama, but his delivery is grander. Scott Walker locked away with a sampler.
(6/14 at Cameo Gallery)

Twin Sister
Andrea Estrella and co. are a weird, but weirdly slick Long Island pop machine with several settings: airy neo-disco party jams, bubbly Stereolab lounge, creepy Cocteau Twins album cuts, or creepy Twin Peaks theme ambient.
(Stereogum & Cameo Gallery showcase, 6/16 at Cameo Gallery)

Wise Blood
Pittsburgh producer Chris Laufman is unusually gifted at taking bits of other people’s music and warping them, refitting them towards fiercely personal ends. He cuts up and recontextualizes samples to create Panda Bear-influenced pop, with mixed-up, braggadocious lyrics given urgent, hip-hop immediacy.
(PopGun showcase, 6/16 at Glasslands)




Of Montreal
Though Kevin Barnes is just as likely to record Freudian sex-funk these days, his band’s stage show is well within an outlandish tradition of psychedelic spectacle, boasting insane costumes, inexplicable visuals, freaky drama, and the occasional live animal.
(6/15 at MCarren Park)

Lead by singer/songwriter Quinn Walker, the veteran Brooklyn band dress up their pretty ballads and anthemic rockers with florid textures and tribal beats. Live, the songs deliver wild, operatic vocal swells with flower-child panache.
(6/17 at Public Assembly)

The Olivia Tremor Control
It may seem strange to refer to a psych-rock band from the 90s as pioneers, but in the case of Olivia Tremor Control, it works. Part of the massively influential Elephant 6 collective, Bill Doss, Will Cullen Hart and the gang are back, presumably with new material in tow.
(6/16 at Music Hall of Williamsburg)




Class Actress
Elizabeth Harper’s pop act (now thankfully anchored by a live rhythm section) does sleek, decadent Depeche Mode noir. The dusk-lit keyboard lines are paired with Harper’s airy sigh, which devastates by communicating a specifically feminine strain of disappointment.
(Kanine Records & Terrorbird Media showcase, 6/14 at Knitting Factory)

We were going to put them under psych-pop, but—holy shit—we just figured out that it is possible for a band to incorporate elements of multiple styles of music at the same time. This Portland band has one of the dumbest names in the business, which is consistently offset by some the most irresistible dance hooks we’ve ever heard.
(6/17 at Warsaw)

Borrowing a few pages from Animal Collective’s playbook, Chicago’s YAWN has perfected neon-colored synth pop, preferring to chase blissful melodies with blinders on, versus detouring into their forebears’ sometimes-less-than appealing experimental meanderings.
(6/17 at Warsaw)

Niki & the Dove
A Swedish duo making futuristic pop music full of human drama, that falls somewhere between The Knife and late 70s album rock, like Kate Bush or Fleetwood Mac. Singer Malin Dahlström has a smoky, emotive voice that provides warm contrast to their occasionally icy sound.
(PopGun showcase, 6/14 at Glasslands)




Ice Choir
Kurt Feldman, formerly of shoegaze outfit The Depreciation Guild and still of indie-pop heroes The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, gets his mid-80s FM radio groove on, smoothly, shamelessly evoking classic Tears for Fears singles.
(A Heart Is a Spade and Punk Photo showcase, 6/15 at Spike Hill)

St. Lucia
South African choir boy Jean-Philip Grobler now makes sweet, shuffling pop music from his adopted Brooklyn home. The first album signing of Brooklyn’s previously singles-only label Neon Gold, St. Lucia’s uses synthetic textures to create a transporting warmth, rather than an alienating chill.
(Neon Gold Records showcas, 6/15 at Cameo Gallery)




The Felice Brothers
One of the hardest working bands in all of alt-country, The Felice Brothers have come a long way from their earliest days performing on the NYC subway. They’ve released five albums full of ragged, worn-in songs about love, sex and murder.
(6/15 at Brooklyn Bowl)

These United States
A Brooklyn band led by singer-guitarist Jesse Elliott, These United States have been touring just about non-stop since 2007, but this year they took some time off to record their self-titled fifth full-length, which comes out the week of Northside. Go see what they’ve been up to.
(6/15 early show at Kniting Factory)




Brooklyn’s own Caveman have climbed the ladder of indie rock success pretty quickly over the past year or two, and they’ve more than earned it, with a hefty dose of unabashed earnestness and a pleasant reliance on vocal harmonies and elaborate arrangements.
(BrooklynVegan showcase, 6/15 at Music Hall of Williamsburg)

Beach Fossils
Beach Fossils frontman Dustin Payseur has in many ways been at the forefront of whatever’s been going on in Brooklyn over the past bunch of years, crafting hummable, nostalgic pop songs and then covering them in a thick, dreamy layer of reverb. It’s as easy as easy-listening gets.
(6/15 at McCarren Park)

Royal Headache
With a sound like a British Invasion band giddy in love with Motown 45s, their debut album feels like the product of hearts long broken, suggests skin pale from shunning the daylight. Loose punk kicks are present too, jumping up from under singer Shogun’s weary crooning.
(Fun Fun Fun Fest + Chaos in Tejas showcase, 6/14 at Warsaw)




Citizens Arrest
Long before there were The Pharmacists, and even before there was the lesser known (though no less awesome) Chisel, there was Citizens Arrest, a relatively short-lived hardcore band fronted by Ted Leo. They’re back now, and you should go see them, if only for the chance to tell them how badly we want them to record new material.
(Fun Fun Fun Fest + Chaos in Tejas showcase, 6/14 at Warsaw)

Now almost five years since they first started out playing loud, aggressive punk-rock at a time when such a thing was far from in vogue, UK band Ceremony is still playing loud, aggressive punk-rock that’s far from in vogue. And we’re all better off for it. One of the best live shows around, too.
(Fun Fun Fun Fest + Chaos in Tejas showcase, 6/14 at Warsaw)

Future of the Left
From the napalm-scorched ashes of McLusky comes Andy Falkous’ forceful second act. He keeps a leadership role as their Scream Master General, their pissed off Zinger-in-chief, and the band he’s built around him (McLusky drummer Jack Egglestone carried over) also sounds surly as fuck.
(6/17 at Europa)




The legitimately pretty post-rock and shoegaze touches used by this San Francisco black metal group make them an ideal gateway band for the interested but uninitiated would-be metal- head. But don’t worry, once the heaviest elements kick in, their rhythms are plenty punishing and their screams fully unholy.
(Pitchfork’s Show No Mercy & Wierd Records showcase, 6/15 at Saint Vitus)

The Atlas Moth
TheThe Chicago band’s ultra-heavy three-guitar sound is a mixture of weed-soaked riffage, deep-sludge blues chords, frayed psych edges, and choice bits of another dozen styles or so. They’re unafraid to travel all the way to free jazz in the service of adventurous heavy metal.
(BrooklynVegan BBG and Brutal Panda showcase, 6/15 at Union Pool)




Keith Fullerton Whitman
Changes in technology have had an unusual amount of influence on the changing shape of electronic music, and Whitman has long sought to reconcile the sonic possibilities within decades’ worth of “state-of-the-art” equipment. Whether reel-to-reel or point-and-click, his compositions sound timelessly odd and surprisingly new.
(The Bunker showcase, 6/15 at Public Assembly)

Black Dice
One of the earliest, most experimental outfits in Brooklyn’s 00s musical renaissance, the band has forever existed within the overlapping portions of a Venn diagram incorporating dance music, ambient drone, shattering industrial rhythms, and abject noise.
(The Neon Marshmallow showcase, 6/16 at Public Assembly)


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