Northside Music Festival: 10 Must-See Musicians

by Sid Feddema

Northside Festival will be hitting Brooklyn from June 7-11, and among the embarrassment of cultural riches on offer from the worlds of tech, media, and from the fantastic bands humbly offering their sounds to your discerning ears, a few stand out from the crowd. Of course, we have to throw a shout-out to those performers that have graced the hallowed pages (print and otherwise) of Flaunt Miguel, Lydia Lunch, Kamasi Washington, and William Basinski to name a few. But beyond the Flaunt constellation is a panoply of lovely musicians making noise in beautiful, strange, and quintessentially Brooklyn locations scattered across the 'hood, and because we tend to be experts in this type of thing we thought we'd offer our services to guide you to the best of the best. Without further ado, and in no particular order – the ten acts you shouldn't miss:

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Girlpool

Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad are the duo responsible for the Los Angeles based folk punk band, Girlpool. While the chords in their music may be simple (mostly only two in each song) their lyrics elude an omnipresent attitude giving off the perfect combination of vulnerability and strength. The band’s newest LP Power Plant is out now via ANTI- Records. Until then, download Girlpool’s single American Beauty and play it for your next Netflix and chill date to send your mate some keen un-subliminal messages, then see them live on June 9th at Warsaw. It's all ages, so the kids can come too.

tubafresh

Hailing from Brooklyn, NY Channell Crichlow’s new musical alias, tubafresh, is just as fresh, authentic and funky as she is. Tubafresh’s latest album offers her audience with a sexy new york night, jazzy feel. Catch her set at Northside Festival on June 9th at Baby’s All Right.

THICK

Inspired by Blink 182, the 90’s and the concrete jungle they call home, Shari, Nikki and Kate embody the spirit of Brooklyn in their self proclaimed “Girlwave” punk rock band, THICK.

United by the powers of craigslist and their love of the DIY music scene these three bad ass women have been performing together for only a year and a half and have already graced the stage of the famous SXSW Music festival in Austin, TX this past Spring. If you’re in the mood to hear some lyrics that make you feel sexy, inspired and empowered as fuck check out their show on June 10th at Munchmore's. You can thank us later.

UN BLONDE

Listening to Jean-Sebastien Audet or should I say, Un Blonde, perform his music is somewhat of a spiritual awakening. The montreal based musician creates melodies that are groovy, funky and magically entrancing. Whether you are looking for a tune to enhance your meditation or just feel like listening to a beat that will put your mind and worries at ease, head over to Un Blonde’s set on June 8th at National Sawdust for a chance to hear hits from his latest record Good Will Come To You.  It’ll provide you with all the good vibes you desire and deserve.

William Basinski

Mr William Basinski gives us all the feels here at Flaunt and we’re not complaining. Basinski is a 58-year-old avant garde composer who creates music that can only be described as transcendently hypnotic.  For his most recent digital album Basinski recorded a eulogy melody for David Bowie, titled For David Robert Jones, that left us feeling heartbroken, stimulated and in total awe of Basinki’s talent. If you’re in the mood to groove to some lust filled tunes check out Basinski’s set July 9th at the National Sawdust...we’ll see you there.

Jay Som

Jay Som, aka Melina Duerte, makes the best make out music next to Beach House. With 2016 release Turn Into this meant fairly straight-forward (but excellent) breathy bedroom rock, March-released Everybody Works finds the Oakland-based artist getting a little funkier, with jangly guitars and retro synths bringing the dance party to the hazy reverb-drenched make out fest (it’s no surprise that she was inspired by Carly Rae Jepsen’s magnus opum Emotion). Go make out or dance (or both!) to Duerte’s lush tunes on June 8 at McCarren Park.

Surfbort

You wouldn’t expect a band named after a Beyonce lyric to be super punk, but Surfbort are good at being unconventional. They’re also wonderfully fucked up: one of the band’s shirts reads “Abort Trump” and “Donald Trump is my Sex Slave” and song “Trash” is about embracing the garbage life of NYC and not recycling (what’s more punk than dismissing eco-friendliness??). The NYC quartet recently played a killer set at Coachella, where singer Dani Miller yelled and stomped around the stage in her underwear, and is on tour with fellow bad kids the Black Lips. Go mosh your heart out with Surfbort on June 8 at Alphaville.

Downtown Boys

“Today we must scream at the top of our lungs that we are brown, we are smart, that nothing they do can push it away!” shouts Downtown Boys singer Victoria Ruiz at the beginning of “Monstro,” a fiery anthem from their 2015 album Full Communism. The intro is similar to the kind of pull no punches sermons Ruiz delivers live in between the Providence band’s sax-driven punk rippers. New song “Somos Chulas (No Somos Pendejas)” is as catchy as it is political, with the band explaining that it’s a “declaration of one's ability to decolonize one's mind.” As if you need another reason to see them: the recently Subpop-signed band do a truly great, radical reinvention of Springsteen’s “Dancing In the Dark.” Find them sparking a small revolution at Saint Vitus on June 9.

Big Thief

Big Thief is a band from Brooklyn that is quietly making some truly, classic, quality indie rock. The group’s second album, Capacity, comes out on June 9 via Saddle Creek and latest single, “Shark Smile,” is the song you should blast with the windows down at the start of a spontaneous road trip this summer. You’ll look over knowingly at your co-pilot as singer/guitarist Adrienne Lenker croons, “85 down the road of a dead end gleam.” Catch Big Thief doing the summer festival circuit as well as playing several shows with Conor Oberst after you see them at Rough Trade on June 9.

Tony Molina

Long-time Bay Area musician Tony Molina’s 2014 album Dissed and Dismissed sounds a lot like Weezer’s seminal album Pinkerton with the distortion turned 10 notches up and every song chopped to barely one minute long (read: chunky power chords, super emo lyrics, melodramatic melodies.) Molina’s latest, Confront the Truth, also arrives via Slumberland records and takes a surprising turn into “Strawberry Fields forever”-esque pretty acoustic guitar picking. It’s a move that surprises in the best way. Catch him touring with the Pains of Being Pure at Heart this summer and at Rough Trade on June 10, where he will be covering Dinosaur Jr.'s "You're Living All Over Me" and at McCarren Park on June 11.

Tickets for Northside Festival are on sale now and can be purchased here


Written by Eva Barragan, Kylie Obermeier, and Sid Feddema