It’s incredibly hard to pick out favorite acts at this year’s Bumbershoot music festival because, well, the lineup is packed with amazing musical acts! So, we compiled a list of artist we would be stoked to see ourselves and know you will be too. If we’re being completely honest, we’d love to every single one of these acts! Our picks are the hidden gems, the sassy and sarcastic, the underminded and underrated artists that we fell in love with since their first EPs. This is a blog to encourage you to broaden your music knowledge beyond Father John Misty and Death Cab for Cutie and inspire you to share the love to all these artist and more! This is a blog dedicated to highlighting the characters on and off the stage, to the artists breaking norms and doing what ever the heck they want and sounding amazing at what they do.
Enjoy our list of top picks we highly recommend for YOU, yes you, the one with the hair and two eyes (unless you’re a pirate, then ahoy!) And by all means, Tweet us @881TheBurgKCWU and let us know who you’re excited to see this year! See the bottom of the page to learn how you can create your own personalized Bumbershoot play list on Spotify! Now, on with the show, shall we…
OUR TOP PICKS:
Run the Jewels
New York City-based, El-P and Atlanta’s Killer Mike, frontmen for Run the Jewels, met around 2011 at which point, Killer Mike was already releasing his own music. After meeting and producing and creating music together, Killer and El-P released their self-titled EP for free download in 2013 and the album was met with wide success. The hip-hop duo released a second album in 2014, Run the Jewels 2, and again met with success and admiration from fans and critics. Rap, hip-hop and making music has been a part of their lives since young ages. When being interviewed for Pitchfork’s In Sight Out podcast, El-P recited a rap he made when he was just ten years old, starting off, “I’m Jam-J, the impossible child/ When I tell all the girls, they all beguiled/ I got style, class and six school lockers/ All my birthday cakes are made by Betty Crocker.” In contrast, but similarly, Mike’s first rhyme “had a lot of curse words”. Safe to say, many years later, El-P and Killer Mike is still busting rhymes and stealing hearts with their no-holds-bars lyrics and engaging stage performances. Like a sucker punch to politics and social injustices in the world, Run the Jewels isn’t shy to rap about any sort of issues with a middle finger in the sky. Not only is their rapping style popular, but their iconic “fist and gun” hand gestures and graphic art has become a national recognition for the group and the fist and gun appears on various covers of Marvel comic books such as Deadpool and Howard the Duck.
TOKiMONSTA is a slick moniker Jennifer Lee (TOKiMONSTA) created for herself, combined with “toki” the Korean word for rabbit and musical nickname, “monsta”. Lee creatives intelligently produced dance tracks that blend hip-hop, soft beats and intelligent and atmospheric dance music production. Lee started her musical career as a classically-trained pianist, and eventually find a new passion in producing dance music. She started off solely as a producer and eventually fell into doing live DJ sets. Lee has admitted in previous interviews she was reluctant when first starting to make music and trying out a stint in live sets as she was extremely shy, but with time, she warmed up to the crowds and their immense love of her music. Since the birth of her first EP, “Cosmic Intoxication” released in 2011, Lee’s music has evolved from staticy synth to hip-hop, pop-influenced production. Since her EP, Lee has collaborated with artist MNDR, Anderson Paak, Jonny Pierce and Gavin Turek; both Lee and Turek made an entire album together, “You’re Invited” released in August of 2015. Lee’s newest album, “FOVERE” is a full collaborative 7-track album with various featured artists.
LA-based songstress combines dark synths, soulful hymns, heartbreaking lyricism. Originally claimed the moniker, BISHOP, but decided to changed to a longer moniker that she goes by now and paying homage to her family’s home town, Bishopbriggs, Scotland. After the London-born singer moved to L.A. and performed in local bars, she met and began collaborating with producers Mark Jackson and Ian Scott, resulting in her viral single, “Wild Horses”. For those who love: Zella Day, Kiiara, Meg Myers.
When the frustration of “fitting in” and being yourself hits a crossroads, it sucks. When you just want to stay up late and each marshmallows with your friends, there’s no better group to express those feelings than the band, Hinds. From the beautiful Madrid, Spain, these women are sweeping the nation and dominated the surfer-rock scene with their heavy, yet smooth guitar riffs and spicey attitudes that are contagious on stage. For those who love: Courtney Barnett, Twin Peaks, Chastity Belt, Frankie Cosmos.
Lead vocalist and sarcastic, but ridiculously talented Julia Sharpiro, groovey drummer, Gretchen Grimm and smooth-swaying bassist Annie Truscott and chill guitarist and vocalists, Lydia Lund (vocalist of track “Lydia”) combine to create the rowdy and hilarious quartet of Chastity Belt. The four friends met while attending college at Eastern Washington University in Walla Walla, WA and there decided to form a band. After releasing their first album, “No Regerts”, they caught the attention of Sub Pop’s sister label, Hardley Art Records and the group signed to the label. Their latest album, “Time To Go Home” embodies the vocal uproar of social dysfunctions in society and poor decision-making with the grungy, smooth rocking vibe so present in the Seattle music scene. Chastity Belt isn’t shy to express the simplest of emotions in catchy, wavy songs, such as “Drone” or “Joke”. The group puts a modern, catchy spin on tracks that expose the ridiculous cycle of being a woman and expectation of “womanly behaviors”. For those who love: Pony Time, Girlpool, Hinds, Frankie Cosmos, La Luz.
The North Carolina-native knew creating dance music was a passion of his at the young age of 13. Heavily influenced by clean-cut dance music and the high energy production of video game soundtracks, Robinson took his passion of gaming and music and started creating music of his own. With that came great success and eventually signing to Skrillex’s OWLSA record label and remixing tracks for Lady Gaga and Avincii. Robinson has gained popularity in electronic music, and his recent album, “Worlds” charted number 18 in the Billboard 200 and number one on Billboard’s Top Electronic Albums. His music is uplifting, hyper-electronic synths and beats that are sure to lift up the Bumbershoot crowds right before the party is over! For those who love: Madeon, Zedd, Tiesto, M83.
Anderson Paak and the Free Nationals
After appearing on Dr. Dre’s album, “Compton” in 2015, Paak found his strength as a standout singer, rapper and producer. Paak blends a sweet concoction of funk, hip-hop, jazz and soul. While working on a marijuana farm in Santa Barbara and performing as a drummer in a church band, Paak continued to write his own music. After losing his job on the farm, he began to work for Shafiq Husayn of Sa-Ra and released his EP, “O.B.E.” under a different moniker, Breezey Lovejoy. Shortly after his EP release, Paak had to put his music on the back burner and went to work as a drummer for American Idol contestant, Haley Reinhart. Finally in 2016, Paak got to release his second album, “Malibu” and continues to work with artists and producers, Dr. Dre and TOKiMONSTA. For those who love: The Internet, Kendrick Lamar, Thelonious Martin.
The Seattle, WA native Meagan Grandall blends progressive dream-pop with innocent harmonies, piano and intriguing production elements. If ever walking on a calm, breezy night along the water at Alki Beach in Seattle, turn on Lemolo because her music perfectly sums up every moment filled with deep-thoughts and a curious mind. Lemolo is the perfect band to listen to when getting ready for bed or reminiscing the sweet years of adolescence. No doubt, Grandall will bring the entire crowd at Bumbershoot to a relaxing state of mind and easy their way into a blissful night in Seattle. For those who love: Lord Huron, Joseph, Fly Moon Royalty.
Explosions In The Sky
As the name infers, Explosions In The Sky creates an explosion of rock instrumentals and swirling contemporary vibes. The Texas-based IDM-rock group has been met with popular film success, appearing on soundtracks for films, “Lone Survivor” starring Mark Wahlberg, “Manglehorn”,“Prince Avalanche” and “Friday Night Lights”. Pitchfork classified their latest album, “Temporary Resistance”, released in early 2016 as “a quietly masterful, emotionally rich work” and their best album since their 2003 album, “The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place”. Explosions In The Sky is a perfect when in deep thought or internally celebrating the next big thing to come on your life. Their music is intrinsic, enticting and delicately crafted to spark musical sastisfaction. For those who love: Lemolo, Tycho, Sigur Rós.
If you have some favored artists or want to get your ears on more Bumbershoot artists, check out their home page. Just click “Discover B-Tunes” in the top right-hand corner of their webpage, login into your Spotify account and it will create a personalized playlist based on the artists you listen to! I already tried it out, and I got to say, it was a pretty spot-on playlist!
Have fun at this year’s Bumbershoot and don’t forget to let us know who YOU are excited to see in this year’s lineup! @881TheBurgKCWU
Featured image: Bumbershoot