The 14 Bands We’re Crushing On Right Now

    Feelin’ like Mandy Moore circa 2001

    by · March 28, 2017

    Photos by Jay Tovar

    It’s a fabulous time to be a musician. The chances of getting your name out there, though still slim, are higher than they were a decade ago when the internet wasn’t really a thing. Now, one viral video or song can send record labels buzzing your phone. Soon you could even be playing SXSW, where we caught up with a handful of our favorite rising stars and artists we’ve kept in rotation for a minute. That’s what SXSW is all about, after all: checking-in with your friends and making new ones. Who knows, you could very well meet or see the next big thing perform a showcase at Stubb’s Bar-B-Q. All you have to do is say, “Hey.”

    Ahead, see what artists like Kate Nash, Vagabon, Girlpool, and more are getting themselves into this year. We promise it’s going to be a good next eight months. Well... musically, that is.

    Photos by Jay Tovar

    Dream Wife
    Dream Wife offer a soundtrack ripe for a punk Sofia Coppola movie soundtrack. The London trio swirls together hints of nearly every decade of Cool Girl rock into one, modern classic-sounding sound. Their vibrancy is infectious. Expect a proper debut album out this year.

    How would you describe your aesthetic?
    Bella Podpadec:
    Playful, flamboyant, and flipping the script on something that’s seen as feminine and weak and turning it into something that’s empowering and liberating.
    Alice Go: We don’t take it too seriously, either. It’s fun, it’s cheeky, and we play with people’s expectations.

    How did you guys get together as a band?
    Rakel Mjöll:
    We formed the band whilst we were in art school in Brighton. After all that, we moved off to London—where we live now. The U.K. music scene is bursting right now. It’s so exciting to be there. We’re typical art school noodles.

    What project are you most excited about right now?
    RM: Our debut album! We’re in the process of recording everything we’ve written.

    How has the album process been different than how you expected?
    BP:
    One of the biggest challenges we set for ourselves was to capture the energy of our live performances on track. That’s a really hard thing to do.
    RM: The vibe is the hardest thing to get down. By putting that challenge on ourselves, we’re able to make it sound raw and like us.
    BP: It becomes about the moment when you’re recording that song for a full take.
    RM: Live shows are our foundation. We are a live band.
    BP: That’s the truest form of our music, playing it live.

    What is the value of being in a live performance space these days?
    BP: It’s about connection, the happening of it all. It’s about inspiring others to go out and make music.
    AG: A recorded song is just a moment in time. A song performed live becomes alive. Every show we do is different. It’s real.
    RM: We really took our time before going into the studio, played a lot of shows, to make sure we got the live element down pat. There were some songs we were going to scrap, but audiences were singing them back to us without even knowing them, so they stayed. Seeing the songs grow is what live music and venues are all about.

    Who do you look up to in terms of great performers?
    RM:
    We just wrapped a tour with Sleigh Bells. Their show is just insane. Watching them was beautiful.
    BP: You can get bored of the format of traditional shows, but a Sleigh Bells show is immersive and relentless. We definitely aspire for that.
    RM: David Bowie, too, was so into details and seemed to really enjoy it.
    BP: It was a theater production.

    How do you define punk?
    BP: Well, it’s all about what you make of it, isn’t it? It’s doing what you want to do and making your own rules.
    AG: There’s a boldness in that.
    RM: We did a campaign with Vivienne Westwood, the queen of punk. It was before we released our EP. But it was so interesting to have the queen of punk ask us to be in a project. It made us wonder when we were punk. But I think doing things full heartedly is punk, for me. It’s about being unapologetic.

    Where do you hope to be when the year ends?
    RM:
    The album will be out! I’m excited. I don’t want to hope for anything, but I’m exciting for every single step.
    BP: We embrace opportunities as they come, and it snowballs from there.

    Photos by Jay Tovar

    Lo Moon
    After opening for MUNA’s last headline tour, Lo Moon’s going to want to release more music than their current single, “Loveless.” They’re a talented alternative threesome that has magic up their sleeves. Just you wait.

    How would you describe Lo Moon’s aesthetic?
    Matt Lowell: I think it’s beautiful. I think we shoot for beauty and emotion. Aesthetically, it’s just all of our different spirits coming out as one.

    How did you guys all get together as a band?

    ML: I moved to L.A. three years, and I met Crisanta...
    Crisanta Baker: Through friends
    ML: Yeah, through mutual friends. Then I heard about Sam [Stewart], and [we] kind of...
    Sam Stewart: I ended up hanging out with these guys almost exactly two years ago at SX.

    What, right now, are you guys most excited about as a band?
    ML: Releasing more music and playing shows and seeing people react to the songs. We’ve only got one song released, so it’s kind of awesome to go to shows and get to play songs nobody knows.
    SS: We’re just excited to be out here; excited to go to Europe; excited to experience [and] see where the music takes us.

    How has being in the music world and as a band been different from what you expected?
    ML: It’s a lot more fun than I expected it to be. Even when it’s really tough, you look at it and go, “Well, I could be doing something a lot worse than this.” It never gets bad. We get to play music, we’re super grateful; this is our life. Being in a band is like being in a gang. What’s kind of nice about is even when the world around you is kind of crumbling into shit, there’s a lot of solidarity and community within your own little tribe.
    SS: It is. It’s so true because it’s a team. You’re in it together.

    Is there an artist or band that you’d like to emulate in a way?
    ML: Radiohead is kind of the epitome of modern rock bands because they’ve done it on their terms and they’ve had commercial success while maintaining an artistic credibility and everyone still respects them as musicians. That’s a really really hard place to be in—the art and commerce thing. They’ve tapped into that in a really great way.
    SS: They’ve exhibited longevity in a way that I think is really inspiring.

    Do you guys have any phobias?
    CB: What phobia don’t I [have]? I get claustrophobic.
    ML: I have claustrophobia too, yeah. Crowdphobia.

    That’s interesting when you play in a show.

    CB: It’s an alter-ego type thing. I’m fine as long as I have a nice bubble.
    SS: I don’t have any phobias, but my biggest fear I think would be going to prison—not that I have any reason to fear. I’m a law-abiding citizen.

    What would you say is the best driving music?
    ML: The War On Drugs’ Lost In The Dream just drives the car for you.

    What was your first concert?
    ML: Billy Joel, fourth row at Nassau Colosseum. My grandparents took me, and the guy behind us started smoking pot, and my grandfather turned around [and said], “Put that shit out.” [I’ll] never forget that. I didn’t know what the fuck he was doing.

    What was the last show you saw that floored you and made you really feel something?

    ML: The Radiohead show I saw last year was awesome. We had a blast at that show.
    SS: Wilco at The Ace.
    CB: The set design was this whole forest with a sunrise and the lighting would change.
    ML: Wait, Bruce Springsteen. That was the best show I saw last year. That was it.

    Where do you want to be at then end of 2017?
    ML: I hope we’re putting out an album and I hope we’re touring around the album.
    SS: We do have an album. It’s done and it’s ready.
    ML: But we wanted to kind of let “Loveless” do its thing because we felt like it needed the time.

    Photos by Jay Tovar

    Girlpool
    Folk punk is very real, and Girlpool is the one bringing it to ya. Their sophomore album, Powerplant, is out May 12.

    How would you do describe Girlpool’s aesthetic?
    Cleo Tucker: Chaos, city, circus, sunshine.
    Harmony Tividad: Wandering through a bunch of cities with a bunch of sounds.

    How did you guys get together as a band?
    HT: We had a bunch of mutual friends in high school, and we just thought we should play together because we had the same ideology and perspective.
    CT: I think we genuinely felt like soulmates when we first met. We were surprised by how connected [we felt.] We just felt like genuinely deeply connected.
    HT: Like platonic soulmates

    What is that ideology?

    HT: I feel like we both value, above all, honesty and communication. That was really something that drew us together.
    CT: We both also value closeness.

    What would you say is your proudest moment so far as Girlpool?
    CT: We’ve remained completely true to ourselves and to one another. I hold that very dear to my heart.
    HT: I agree. It’s really powerful watching how we’ve both evolved and helped push each other to grow through closeness and separation.

    How would you describe or define punk?
    HT: I think that’s a very fluid term, and I think everyone has a different definition of it. There are so many different aspects to so many different groups in our world that to define each thing completely, in a black and white sort of way, is kind of unnecessary because everything has to exist in a way that’s very subjective to each person.
    CT: It sells it short.

    What project right now are you guys most excited about for you guys?
    CT: We’re putting out our new album Power Plant.

    How do you guys keep the creative flame going?
    HT: By not thinking about it or judging it. The best thing that we can do, in my opinion, is forgive ourselves and reflect and understand and persevere. Regardless of where one is in the creative process, hell has to exist.
    CT: Damn, that’s knowledge right there.

    Do you guys have any phobias?
    CT: I definitely don’t have any type of extreme phobia, but I guess when cats put their claws in me it really scares me a lot. I love cats but with their unpredictable nature... I’m really working on not feeling so terrified.
    HT: It’s really funny because I have the same thing with dogs. I love dogs and I have a dog, but if they growl at me, I have very deep fear and I start to shake.

    What was your first concert?
    HT: Queen with Paul Rodgers as the lead singer. Freddie Mercury had a hologram and stuff. It was at the Hollywood Bowl.
    CT: I saw Hilary Duff.

    What was the first CD you ever purchased?
    CT: You know that song “Funky Cold Medina”? I was obsessed with that rapper, Tone Loc. I had my mom get me the clean version, and I would jump on my trampoline and listen to it.
    HT: Probably Dangerously In Love by Beyoncé. But also the Lizzie McGuire soundtrack. I don’t remember which one came first.

    If you guys could live in any other era, what would it be and why?
    HT: I don’t think I could survive in any other era. Not because I love this era, but because there’s always been so much bad stuff going on in the world, and regardless of when I could choose to exist, there’s always going to be severely bad stuff going on. You know how if everyone put their problems in a pile, you’d always choose your own problems thing? I feel that way about being alive right now. We have so many resources that other people didn’t have in other times, and although other times have had a lot of iconic artists and ideas come out of them, I don’t think I would exist easily in other situations that were going on.

    At the end of the day, how do you guys wind down?

    HT: Stare into the void that is my iPhone.
    CT: I like to take baths.

    Where do you guys hope to be at the end of 2017?
    CT: Strumming my guitar.
    HT: Smoking a pipe, eating grapes. I really want more pets and maybe move out my parents’ house even though I love them so much.

    Photos by Jay Tovar

    Anna Wise
    Anna Wise sounds like nothing you’ve ever heard. She’s shimmery, sultry, jazzy, smooth, and undoubtedly prodigious. It’s no wonder Kendrick Lamar’s a fan. Last year’s The Feminine: Act I was ambitious as it was timely. She returned this year with The Feminine: Act II, available now.

    How would you describe your aesthetic?
    Free, random, accepting, colorful, erratic.

    What is the proudest moment you have so far in your career?

    To make a record with every song being a song that I wrote by myself. I either produced or co-produced every track, too, and I conceptualized all the music videos and directed them and edited them. I’d say my creative work, in general, just over time and how I grow and how I’ve maintained my independence. But in addition to that, I feel really proud when I feel like I’m not just taking, but when I’m giving back in a community service-type of way.

    Do you do try to find local businesses to support at every tour stop you have?
    Yes. I do it on my personal tours. When I’m planning my own tours and I’m rolling with a small crew, I’m able to either stay with a friend or get an Airbnb for a couple days and try and find an organization in every city that is doing the kind of work that I want to be a part of. For example, in Pittsburgh, I went and visited the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild. It was started by this guy, Bill Strickland, and he basically started teaching kids how to do pottery in a random warehouse just in Pittsburgh. They help a lot of homeless adults and a lot of kids who aren’t feeling so great in whatever situation they’re in. That, to date, has been the most inspiring thing.

    What project are you most excited about right now?
    My own. I’m in the middle of working on my new project. I also love performing my songs live, so it’s cool to be on tour.

    How has your musical journey been different from what you expected?
    I think when I was very young, like 10 years old, I definitely believed in the plucked-from-obscurity-get-a-record-deal thing. I didn’t necessarily understand how the business worked, and I didn’t think that I would become a business woman on top of being a musician. I didn’t think that I would like it all so much. For a long time, I was only focused getting a record deal and having the rest will fall into place. I think that’s actually a really dangerous way for musicians to think. There’s a lot of hard work involved; you can let someone else do it or you can do it yourself. I find the latter to be way more rewarding.

    How would you define punk?
    As the ultimate don’t-give-a-fuck. Anything is punk if you are really confident in yourself. It’s like freedom.

    What was your first concert?
    I think it was a Christian group called DC Talk. I’m not religious anymore, but I grew up in a Christian household; so I’m trying to tiptoe around that and not speak badly about people, but I’ve seen religion in general, especially Christianity, do a lot of negative.

    What was your first experience with music that showed you how powerful it can be?
    I think I was two-years-old and I saw The Sound of Music for the first time. That just overtook me. I could sing lyrics before I could say proper spoken words.

    Music has always been your calling.
    Yeah. I’ve always been really passionate about the earth, animals, and human rights, but I definitely knew early on, it was either music or the Peace Corps for me.

    What is the rest of 2017 looking like for you?
    I’m going on a tour. I have a lot of collaborations coming out within the next few months, so that’s going to be really positive. I just want to continue to gather my tribe. I feel like I’m sending out a bat signal with my music, and I want to keep playing shows and meeting cool people who are trying to help the earth and other people in the same way that I want to and really contribute to this revolution of the unconscious and the conscious. I want to see deep social change this year. I hope that I can be a part of that.

    Photos by Jay Tovar

    Vagabon
    We’re not even halfway through the year and Lætitia Tamko, better known as Vagabon, has released one of its best albums. Infinite Worlds is a study in musicianship and showcases mind that, when asked how she does what she does, it wouldn’t be surprising to hear her simply say, “I just do it.” She’s that headstrong.

    How would you describe your aesthetic?
    The way I navigate around these days is just with confidence. I try to keep it real, writing and performing from a sincere place. When I play, I really aim to leave my entire self on it, there. Everything is all or nothing.

    A genuine confidence or confidently genuine.
    Yeah, confident and genuine or genuine and confident. Those two things are important to me and confidence is obviously something that you work on and you build. I am by no means the most confident person, and I think when you do anything that involves emotion or that is creative in any way, there is a semblance of self-doubt. But, on stage, I get to embody a rare form where I’m just like, “This is where I’m meant to be. This is what I’m supposed to be doing, and I’m doing it.” Demanding respect with your energy versus doing so outwardly.

    Where does that power come from?
    I’ve had a lot of things that could have made me stop playing music, could have made me stop trying, could have made me stop... whatever. In the times of self-doubt, I’m like, “Well, look what you were able to do and look what you were able to overcome. Look what toxic things you were able to rid yourself of.” It’s not self-aggrandizing, but it’s about building yourself up. That’s where it should come from, and that’s where it will stay when it comes from inside of you.

    It’s almost like there’s this little voice in the back of your head, even though you could be anxious as hell, that says it’s gonna work out.

    I went to engineering school. Like, that was five years of my life where I was strictly in the books. Those were hard times. Now I’m doing what I love. So even when it’s hard, it’s not as hard as what it is like to do something you don’t love. But also, I have a confidence from that experience. It’s like, “I can kill it at math and physics and science and engineering and then I can kill it at performing and playing music.” The endurance that it takes to do things like that academically when you have other passions or other things you like to do—the endurance that it takes and the talking to yourself is not small. Even when shit gets hard on tour or whatever, I know I’ve passed the most fucked-up physics classes.

    When did you realize the power of music?
    I started writing music three years ago. The EP that I put out in 2014 was a collection of the first songs I ever wrote. They all came after a big move and the reevaluating that comes with that. It really helped me heal from those times when I really needed it. It was really important to talk even when no one was listening, just saying it out loud. There’s strength in being able to heal yourself and being able to heal others. Music has healed me in a lot of ways.

    What would you say is your proudest moment in your career?
    It’s playing every instrument on my album. I’m really proud of that. I learned most of those instruments for the sake of seeing my name all over the credits. A year ago, I couldn’t play drums, and so I’ve come a long way. I’m really proud of that.

    What project are you working on that you’re most excited about?
    I’m going to be on tour for a really long time this year cause the record just came out. I’m writing slowly, but without pressure. I’m producing a lot, so I might give some of my beats to other artists; that’s something that I really like doing.

    How do you stay grounded?
    I don’t have anyone in my life who will allow me to be any other way. I’m also very modest. It would be really difficult for me to not be grounded.

    When are you most relaxed?
    Am I ever relaxed? I feel like I’m very rarely relaxed, but in my house, in my apartment in New York when no one is there.

    What is the last performance you saw that had a very profound effect on you?
    Erykah Badu at Coney Island.

    Whose career do you look up to and almost want to emulate in a way?
    The name that comes off the top of my head is Solange. Not so much on the musicianship or the instrumentation, but because of her whole energy and her whole vibe. I really respect that she took her time with her latest album. I identify very much with patience ’cause it’s going to be out forever, you know? I really respect the route that she took.

    What is something about you that a listener may not be able to pick up from your music?
    That I don’t listen to rock music and I listen to mostly just trap, hip-hop, rap, or West African music and jazz.

    Do you feel like you are on track to meet your resolutions by the end of the year?
    Yes. I don’t have any hard-set lines, but growth the thing. If I grow this year—and I already have done so way more than I anticipated— then I’m good. I’m in this for the long haul.

    Photos by Jay Tovar

    Kate Nash
    Kate Nash needs to introduction. Her debut album, Made of Bricks, turns 10 this year, and in that time Nash has never once lost grip of her cheeky creativity. Catch her this summer when Netflix’s G.L.O.W. premieres June 23.

    How would you describe your aesthetic?
    Oh god. Just those [words]: “oh god.” It’s a mix of a seven-year-old versus granny in a costume box.

    What are you most proud of in your career thus far?
    The entire campaign of Girl Talk, because it was an independent, DIY campaign. It really tested me and my character. It made my team the solid team that it is today because it showed all of the cracks that were there. Anybody that was a bad egg has disappeared now. Going through all of that was a lot of hard work. I feel like because I’ve gone through that as an independent artist, I feel really ready to face anything. It shaped me as an artist and a businesswoman.

    What project are you most excited about right now.
    I’m really excited about G.L.O.W., which I shot last year. It’s about an all-female ’80s wrestling league. It’s Jenji Kohan’s new project that comes out June 23. Alison Brie is in it. We train to be wrestlers. It’s so ’80s and so spandex and glitter and empowering.

    What is your definition of girl gang?

    It’s an extended family, people that have your back through thick and thin.

    What was the first concert that you ever attended?
    It would have been live Irish music ’cause I’m Irish. Sharon Shannon was one of my first concerts I think.

    What is the last performance you saw that reminded you of the power of music?
    Nova Twins. They’re from London. I absolutely love them. I think they’re so badass and so cool and they look amazing. They feel very unique.

    When do you feel most relaxed?
    On stage. I have a hard time relaxing. I have a hard time switching off; sleeping I find to be very troublesome. When I’m trying to relax, I get stressed about not being relaxed. When I’m on stage is when I feel the least judged. I feel like I can really be myself. I walk down the street and worry about my body or how I look and stuff like that, but when I’m on stage, this really funny switch happens where I feel really at home and I don’t judge myself in the same way. I feel empowered.

    Do you have a favorite performance of yours that you look back and you’re like, “Damn, that was good.”?
    I just did a U.K. tour and played the Village Underground. That’s one of my favorite shows ever. My band right now is so tight. I have an all-girl band. I think that being a performer and playing shows is all about pushing yourself and getting to the next level. The most recent thing for me feels like the best. I just want to keep breaking those boundaries down and seeing how far I can push myself as a performer.

    How do you keep that creative fire alive?
    By keeping the sponge wet. That’s what I say. I feel like a lot of what I do and what other artists do, like releasing music or writing and giving on stage, performing or talking to people, you’re sharing all of your personal stuff and you’re putting out ideas. It’s important to keep the sponge wet. It’ll dry up, so dunk it in the bucket by watching movies, reading books, looking for new music, having new experiences, going to museums, doing things that make you a bit uncomfortable. Those keep me inspired. Going into nature, as well, is such an important one. When I’m in nature, I can just look at a flower and be happy.

    Do you have a piece of music that grounds you?

    I always listen to Hole’s Live Through This. It’s my kind of comfort. That, or the Death Proof soundtrack.

    What is the rest of 2017 going to be about for you?
    It’s going to be about the next stage, album four. I’m releasing an EP on April 22 for Record Store Day. I’m going to be touring a bunch of summer festivals and it’s going to be about G.L.O.W.

    Photos by Jay Tovar

    Yoke Lore
    Yoke Lore’s Adrian Galvin speaks with intention. His music is brimming with hope and clever terms of endearment. His sophomore EP drops this year. Don’t sleep on it.

    How would you describe your aesthetic?
    Gentle grit. There’s an element of urgency in the music that I write. The type of grit that I want is not so much a roughness but more of a sincerity, and with that sincerity comes the more obvious intimacy. But I still want to keep this hard-hitting quality.

    What role does music play for you?
    It serves different purposes for me. I think music and art are techniques with which you both explore yourself and the world. I want to use it as a platform to give people words that they can use to talk to one another.

    When was the first time you realized the power of music?
    This is a little silly. My family and I used to take these really long car trips down to South Carolina. I grew up north of New York City with two other siblings and my parents. We weren’t the richest people in the world, so we would drive and all pile in the car. My dad would drive on through the night, so he didn’t have to deal with three screaming crying kids the entire time. On one of these trips, I woke up to The Secret Garden playing and my dad’s driving. My mom was asleep, and we’re all just like, “Dad, can you turn it down a little bit?” He does but five minutes later, he’s singing “Lily’s Eyes” at the top of his lungs, crying. It was one of the first times I think I saw my dad cry. It was a really powerful moment.

    Do you remember what your first concert was?
    The Spice Girls at Jones Beach.

    Do you remember the first CD you bought?
    I didn’t buy it, but I was given Green Day’s Dookie. That fucking rocked my world.

    What was the last performance you saw that floored you?
    Nas. I saw him at a festival last year. I was in a crowd of thousands, and he was able to make such an intimate connection with everyone. It was like watching a master at their craft.

    Is there an artist whose career you would wish to emulate?
    I really respect a slow come-up with people. So, Beck? He’s been around forever and he’s made a ton of different records that have been rock, some have been folk, some have been more bluesy but he still remains Beck throughout it all. His identity hasn’t suffered through any of these big stylistic shifts. I really respect the ability to change and go to different places but maintain your individuality. I want to be able to change. I want to be able to shift.

    What are you most proud of thus far in your career?
    It really continues to amaze me just how important this is to people. Not that it’s not important to me; this is the most important thing in my life. This is what I feed off of, this is my life blood. But it continues to really boggle my mind how much of a necessity music is for people. That’s why I’m doing it. Every day I get another reminder of how essential this is for people and how much they really use it to navigate life. It’s so beautiful, but it’s really scary and it makes me feel very responsible. I feel a deep sense of pressure to make something useful for people. If this is essential and it is something that people use to navigate life, then I want to give them good tools to do that with.

    What is the rest of 2017 going to be about for you?
    I just released the first single off this EP, so 2017 is going to be a burgeoning for me. I want to play more shows than I’ve ever played. I just signed a record deal, and so I want to record more than I’ve ever recorded. I’m always writing. I want to use this year to hone in on everything. I want to focus a little bit more. This is the first year that I’m not going to be working. I’m a yoga teacher, and I have previously been teaching a lot when I go home, but this year I’m not going to be teaching classes anymore. I’ve been giving more workshops and lectures, so I hope to be doing that more and that it will also give me the space to do more music.

    Photos by Jay Tovar

    Ariana and the Rose
    Pop culture craved a technicolored synthpop powerhouse in the making, and Ariana and the Rose dropped in from her special place in the cosmos to quench it. Her debut EP, Retrograde, will make any Robyn fan cry and dance with joy.

    How would you describe your aesthetic?
    It’s a dreamscape with a New York attitude. A dreamy sass in vivid colors.

    How did you land on that?
    It took me a long time to get to that. When you’re starting to make things, especially visually, you discover what feels right in small bits. I’m from New York, so that’s always going to be with me. I’m really obsessed with color, too. I’m really drawn to things that are high contrast, neon, and anything that’s in a primary color scheme. I love nighttime lighting.

    What is something a listener may not be able to pick up about you from your music?
    I really love bands. I grew up loving Death Cab For Cutie and Radiohead and Foals—really band-oriented music. Ben Gibbard from Death Cab is a lyrical genius.

    What environment do you thrive in?
    Aa fast-paced, adventurous environment. You know nights when you go out—New York is perfect for this—where you go and you think you’re doing one thing but then you end up at three different bars later? It’s like, “Oh my god, where did the night take us?” Sometimes you’re with strangers you met and you made friends with them. I thrive in those environments when you’re in that mood to just see where it’s all gonna take you and having fun.

    What projects are you most currently excited about?

    I’m developing a show called Ariana and The Rose Presents Light and Space, which is an immersive theater project-meets-a live show. We did the first one in London last May with Red Bull, and I’m going to bring it to New York in the fall. The event is a cross between a party and a live music concert and has touches of immersive theater in it. I started in theater, and I was a part of a company for a long time. I left to put a band together. I feel like this project is a melding of all of these pieces of me that I love. It’s a futuristic disco; you enter into it, and instead of it being a throwback disco, everything is geared to touching different senses and making you feel like you’re on this other planet. We’re also touring my new EP, Retrograde.

    What, then, are you most proud of in your career thus far?
    Light and Space, definitely. It’s one of those moments where I can’t believe I did it. It felt like I made something that wasn’t just for me. I felt like I made a place for people to go to, to feel safe to be expressive in whatever way they feel. Come dressed as you want, dance how you want, be with who you want. To be able to provide a place like that for people is, I think, something that is exciting to do ’cause it’s just something that’s outside of yourself. It’s giving something to people outside of just your music.

    What is the last performance you’ve seen that really reminded you of the value and power of music?
    MUNA’s “I Know A Place” performance on Jimmy Kimmel. Everything that Christine and The Queens does, too. I think the message of her project is so important; she’s strong and has a sexuality to her, but not in the way that you usually see a female having.

    What was your first concert you ever attended?
    Oh my god, it’s so embarrassing. My first concert was Celine Dion.

    When do you feel most relaxed?

    When I have a whole weekend to veg and binge watch television. I love going to the movies, too.

    What is the rest of 2017 going to be about for you? Have you triumphed over your resolutions or still working on them?
    My resolution was to start taking care of myself and my body. I actually started it before January because I was I didn’t want the pressure of a New Year’s resolution. Plus, there’s going to be all the touring. Be on the lookout for the music video for “How Does That Make You Feel.”

    Photos by Jay Tovar

    Deap Vally
    Deap Vally is a result of a crochet class. They’re an L.A. band that, in their words, “make a lot of noise.” Oh, and they’re also just really freakin’ cool and named their second album Femejism.

    How would you describe your band’s aesthetic, whether sonically or visually?
    Julie Edwards: Hard and shiny.

    How did the band come to be?
    Lindsey Troy: Julie used to work at a crochet and knitting store in Los Angeles. I wanted to learn how to crochet, so I went in there and took a crochet lesson from her, and the rest is history.

    Do you remember a moment in your life where you understood the power of music and felt compelled to make it?
    JE: I think I had a lot of moments like that in my life, but I went to Coachella the year Prince played; that show had a profound effect on me. When I was 17 and saw Nine Inch Nails play; that, too, had a profound effect on me.
    LT: Yeah, I’m the same. I saw Nine Inch Nails when I was still a virgin, and I would say that show was so powerful it essentially defiled me.

    What project are you guys most excited about?
    JE: The Desert Days Caravan Tour that we’re on right now. It’s with us and Temples, Night Beats, Froth, and Juju. Lindsey’s boyfriend has been driving and teching, and my husband is in Juju and put the tour together. My baby’s out with us, so it’s been a real family affair.
    LT: That and making music videos for this tour cycle has been really fun. It’s been a very keeping it in the family, a lot of friends and stuff making videos for us, my boyfriend’s made a bunch of videos, and it’s been a really fun experience.
    JE: Today I made my first foray into the tech world. I’m having an app built.

    How is being a musician been different from what you expected?
    JE: It requires may more disciplines that I wouldn’t have anticipated beyond music.
    LT: It’s a lifelong marathon.

    Is there an artist you would most want to emulate in a way?
    JE: I think in terms of putting out a lot of records and really putting time in and then blowing the fuck up would be The Black Keys. They had a few records out that were super feet-on-the-ground, hitting the pavement, touring a bunch and then they had all this preparation and then they blew up. That’s the ideal scenario. If you’re going to blow up, you wanna be prepared.

    Do you feel prepared?
    JE: Yeah, I think so.

    What is the last performance you’ve seen that made a mark on you?
    LT: Being on this tour with this group of amazing bands has been so inspiring.

    Is there a life mantra that you guys have?
    JE: Live your legend.

    Is there anything about you guys as a band that an audience may not be able to pick up on from seeing you guys?
    JE: We don’t have any tattoos.
    LT: Rare, huh?

    What is the rest of 2017 going to be about for you guys?
    LT: We’re going to be working on our third record, writing and recording that. Then we’re going on tour with Blondie and Garbage in July.

    Photos by Jay Tovar

    SSHH
    There aren’t many bands you could consider truly rock ‘n’ roll today, but SSHH is definitely one of them. Their debut album, Issues, introduced the world to their rock influences. Now, however, the duo is veering away from the song covers and gearing up to release a debut album full of original music this year.

    How would you guys describe your band’s aesthetic?
    Sshh Liguz: Hot
    Zak Starkey: Not retro, but progressive.
    SL: Wild.
    ZS: We try to incorporate the excitement of ’50s rock ‘n’ roll with the glamour of glam rock.
    SL: And dress like that. A little bit all over the place.

    What are you guys most proud of thus far?
    SL: Being able to pull off doing a gig with food poisoning. I was pretty proud of myself doing that.

    What projects right now are you most excited about?
    ZS: We have a new record.
    SL: [Our first album] Issues, was epic to play with all the cover musicians but now we’re looking forward to putting out an original record in a couple of months.
    ZS: There’s a single coming before summer.

    Would you say that rock ‘n’ roll is alive and well today?
    ZS: Hell, yeah.
    SL: Rock ‘n’ roll is a state of mind. It’s not necessarily a type of music. It’s an attitude. I think the uprising that’s happening against the establishment is rock ‘n’ roll.

    Would you say, then, that music is inherently political?
    ZS: No.
    SL: It’s emotional.
    ZS: It comes from suffering.

    What is the value of going out and seeing a band in a performance space today?
    SL: You get the experience.
    ZS: It’s real.
    SL: You get the electricity of the performance if they’re good.
    ZS: You can’t judge a band off a bad show, though. Anyone can have a bad night. Give ’em a chance.
    SL: It’s important to keep live music alive and well because all of these iconic venues around the world, like in London, New York, and Australia are closing down. It’s sad because how is new music supposed to flourish if there’s nowhere to fucking play?

    What is something about you guys that one may not be able to pick up on by listening to your music or seeing you live?
    SL:
    We’re actually quite nice.

    How do you guys hope to grow and push yourselves creatively?
    ZS: Same as we always do. Calling each other [redacted] and writing new music.
    SL: Pretty much.
    ZS: We are artistically—
    SL: [Redacted]
    ZS: Driven.

    Photos by Jay Tovar

    Billie Eilish
    Eilish is the future, literally. At just 15, Eilish already has “it.” She commands the space around her and has a keen way with words. If ever there was an artist to watch, Eilish is the one.

    How would you describe your aesthetic?
    It’s very broad, so it has a lot of little individual pieces. I try to dress like a step above of crazy. I try to dress, so other people will look at me and remember me. I love being judged. It doesn’t matter if I’m wearing something that someone hates or someone loves, I just like to get in people’s heads.

    How would you define punk?
    If you do what other people want you to do but you’re not into it, that’s not punk. Punk is a way to go through a door you normally would, but feel compelled to go through, even if it’s scary.

    Where do you draw the line on sharing on social media?

    I’ve never really had a line. I have always crossed the lines I draw. I like to share things with people, though. It’s nice to see that people can relate to my stuff, so I don’t really have a line that I don’t want to cross.

    What right now are you most excited about?
    I’m super excited for my “Bellyache” music video. I was dying to put that out because it’s exactly my vision and everything I wanted.

    What about yourself are you most proud of?
    I’m good at just being me, and since I like being judged, I’m fearless. I’ve always stayed true to not being afraid to say how I feel or dress how I want or have white hair. I do what I do cause I want to do it.

    What was your first concert?
    The Neighbourhood. I saw them at the Shrine in L.A. a few weeks before Halloween once. It was the best night of my life.

    When did you realize the power of music?
    I think it was when I heard this song called “Runway” by AURORA and I watched the video. That was 2014, I think. I saw the video’s thumbnail and thought it looked cool, so I clicked on it and something in my mind clicked. What’s really special about music, I think, is that I’ll hear songs and feel a certain way about that one song but someone else will feel something different for the same song, which makes for a good conversation.

    Is there any artist or musician out there that you whose career you hope to emulate?
    Rihanna. I’ve never doubted anything she’s done. I feel like everything she does, even if it’s not like really her thing, is still cool. She manages to make everything she does cool.

    What is the last album you purchased that you were really into?
    Tyler, The Creator’s album, Goblin.

    At the end of the day, how do you wind down?

    I have these speakers in my room that shouldn’t go as loud as I make them, but I make them go really loud because they can. I usually light a candle and I turn on XXXTentacion, my favorite rapper, and I blast music in my room. I usually get out my notebook and write down a bunch of stuff, too. I write down clothing ideas that I want to make, the thoughts that I have, my songs, whatever.

    You sort of envision yourself as a 360-degree artist, you’re not just a musician...
    Yeah. I’ve been dancing since I was eight. That, singing, and writing have always been passions of mine.

    What is the rest of 2017 going to be about? Or are you hoping it’s about?
    I want to get stuff out because I have so much of it! I want people to know it. I want to do features with people that I think are amazing. I just want to do more, honestly; take more risks.

    Photos by Jay Tovar

    She-Devils
    They just don’t make bands like She-Devils anymore, bands who are unafraid to fully wear their eccentricities on their sleeves. You know that feeling you got watching The Science of Sleep for the first time? They sheepish, youthful optimism and delight? That’s what She-Devils conveys. Sold yet?

    How would you describe your aesthetic?
    Kyle Jukka
    : It depends.
    Audrey Ann Boucher: It’s like a slutty cartoon.

    How did you guys form the band?
    AAB: We met at a dance space.
    KJ: We lived there.
    AAB: Yeah, we were neighbors. He was already making music, which I thought was cool. We eventually just started hanging out and making music together in grief.

    What project are most excited about?
    KJ:
    Everything we do right now has to do with the band as a whole, just making music and videos.
    AAB: We’re about to work on a second video. I’m working on more drawings for the songs.

    What is your proudest moment as a band so far?
    AAB:
    To have finished an album. We had to do it twice. To me, it always feels like I don’t make what I make. It’s like a current runs through me to communicate something bigger.

    How would you define punk?
    AAB: It doesn’t really mean anything anymore? We need a new term for what punk used to mean.

    What was the first CD you purchased?
    KJ:
    I don’t remember the first CD I bought, but the first CD that I had in my possession was Weezer’s Blue Album that I took from my parents and listened to every night before bed when I was seven.

    What’s the last piece of music that totally floored you?
    AAB: Cry Softly Lonely One by Roy Orbison really clicked with me. It was something about how he was singing. When he sings, it’s not about him making his voice sound the best, it’s about him making the song sound the best. I often find myself doing the former.
    KJ: Heaven or Las Vegas by the Cocteau Twins for me. It’s not really talked about. I don’t like every track, but there’s something about the guitar on a few that are produced in a way that makes it sound like you’re submerged in water.

    When are you most relaxed?
    KJ: When I’m taking a poo. The bathroom, in general, is relaxing.

    If any artist, dead or alive, could cover one of your songs, who would you want it to be?
    AAB:
    The Beatles simply because they were my first band crush. But, early Beatles.

    What is the rest of 2017 looking like for you?
    AAB:h
    The album! We’re touring Europe, too, and going to focus on making more videos.

    Photos by Jay Tovar

    Potty Mouth
    Girl power is alive and well because of Potty Mouth. Their irreverence is encouraging, and that fact that they’re out there putting out EPs and working on their debut LP all on their own, without a proper label, is fucking rad.


    How would you describe your aesthetic?
    Abby Weems: Sonically, we go with pop-influenced rock.
    Victoria Mandanas: It’s so vague to say ”’90s-inspired.” Like, what does that even mean?
    AW: When you say ”’90s rock,” you know that entails things like grunge. Aesthetically, I’d say my style is power-clashing. You can probably say that for all of us since we all have different styles.
    Ally Einbinder: You tweeted something the other day, it was so accurate. It was “Ramones + Sailor Moon = Potty Mouth.” That’s so accurate.

    What Sailor Scout are you?
    AW: I identified with Jupiter; I used to have hair exactly like that in high school, but now I’m all about Sailor Moon.

    What about the Powerpuff Girls?
    AW: That’s easy. I’m Blossom.
    VM: I’m Buttercup,
    AE: And I’m Bubbles, obviously.

    What would you say is the proudest moment of your band so far?
    AE: Lollapalooza was pretty cool. That was unlike we’ve ever done before.
    AW: Also, opening for CHVRCHES was pretty unreal.

    What project are you most excited about right now?
    AW: We’re working on our album. We’ve recorded half of it so far, so hopefully, it will be out in the fall.

    How has being a band been different than how you expected it to be?
    AW: I think there’s a lot of administrative work that you wouldn’t expect going into it—especially since we started our band for fun. In the beginning, it was, “Yeah! Let’s just write some songs and play some house shows.” Then, as more and more opportunities came, we realized we were a business. We never expected it to feel like that.

    What was your first concert?

    AE: I remember my first three concerts; I can’t remember the order but it was the Spice Girls, Hanson, and Weird Al.
    VM: Weird Al?

    Do you remember the first CD you purchased?
    AE: Yes. Sheryl Crow’s Tuesday Night Music Club. Then came No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom.
    AW: I don’t remember my first CD. I just had CDs burned for me by my friends.
    AE: All of Abby’s answers are so #GrowingUpInWestMass.
    AW: I was so punk-y in high school.

    How would you define punk?
    AE: Honestly, I would say it’s just a type of music that emerged in the ’70s that still influences a lot of modern rock music.

    What is one thing audiences may not be able to pick up on you guys from listening to your music?
    AE: I’m sure no one would guess that I’m going to turn 29 in two months.
    VM: We hate music.
    AE: We’re not currently signed to a label, either. A lot of people ask us or they don’t know because we haven’t released anything in a while, but we’re not signed to a label right now. We’re just doing it on our own.

    What was the last performance or song or music video that really floored you?
    AE: For me, it would definitely be Mitski. I think all of her records are really amazing and she’s doing so well right now.

    What would you say is the best morning music?
    VM: It’s nice to wake up in the morning and put on disco. That, or ’90s indie rock.

    By the end of 2017, where do you guys hope to be as a band?
    AW: Touring overseas, definitely. We’ve never gone outside of the U.S. and Canada. I would say releasing an album and touring overseas.

    Photos by Jay Tovar

    GGOOLLDD
    Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s own GGOOLLDD are here to have a good time, and they plan on bringing it to ya with a heavy dose of electropop hooks. Hey, they’re going to have to now that they’re officially writing “musician” under the occupation parts of applications.

    How would you describe GGOOLLDD’s aesthetic?
    Margaret Butler: I think I’m the only one really responsible for the aesthetic, but it changes pretty much weekly. I get bored fast. I like to wear a lot of gold and glitter
    Mark Stewart:
    Unicorns.
    MB: Unicorns.
    MS: I would say that’s our aesthetic.
    MB: Unicorns are our sonic and physical aesthetic. I would also just say gaudy, glam, drag queen aesthetics. As soon as I get better at putting on fake lashes, I can go all the way.

    How did you guys form GGOOLLDD? What’s the story?
    MB:
    It was Halloween, my favorite day, and I didn’t have a good costume, so I and a buddy wrote a song, it’s called “Gold.” We decided to write some more songs and have this one-time band; we’d get our friends to play with us and just play this one show in our attic. We called the band GGOOLLDD because the song was called “Gold.” We didn’t expect to go much further than that, so we didn’t feel like we needed the name to get too creative. It was a fun show. It was a terrible show, though. It was the worst fucking show ever, but it was really fun and people really enjoyed themselves, so people kept asking us to play shows. We started out as an eight-piece or something...
    MS: Yeah, with no drummer.

    What would you say is GGOOLLDD’s proudest moment thus far?
    MB:
    Here, now, with you.
    MS: Probably when we all quit our jobs earlier this year.
    MB: We moved out. We live in a van now. We’re officially full-time musicians for the first time.

    Congratulations.
    MB: The other day I went to the chiropractor and under occupation, I wrote musician. I was so proud of myself, I took a picture and sent it to the band.

    What would you say is the best driving music?

    MB: Early in the morning is good for Tame Impala; later at night is good for some Big Freedia.

    If any artist, dead or alive, could cover one of your songs, who would you be floored by?
    MB: I’m going to go back to Big Freedia on this one.
    MS: I think Madonna would be really cool.

    Where do you guys hope to be at the end of the year?
    MB:
    Right where we are right now except with more songs.

    Tags: music, musicfest
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    Last updated: 2017-03-28T12:58:53-04:00
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