Treefort Bands Not to Miss 

BW's Musical Picks


Woodsman, Neurolux 8-8:40 p.m.

Denver-based psych quartet Woodsman has two drummers and two guitarists, all of whom create a sound that would fit perfectly in a late '60s acid trip. The songs usually start from a place of calm meditation and then bubble up into lines of weaving, heady guitar with sturdy tribal drum rhythms that catapult the three-dimensional tapestries forward.

It's often unclear whether the band is following a template or letting the music flow naturally. Occasionally the songs meander, but more commonly they build into trance-inducing psychedelic sections of blipping electronic noises, shamanistic drum beats and spiraling guitars. Think Animal Collective circa 2003-2005 but with more nature and less big city.

Buster Blue, Pengilly's 9-9:40 p.m.

Reno, Nev.'s Buster Blue is something of a speakeasy marching band. And not just because the dapper, vest-clad fivesome weaves sax, accordion, drums and megaphone chants into its raucous live shows. The group also tours tirelessly, marching into towns big and small up and down the West Coast, making friends and winning fans with its feverish, front-porch-stomping folk.

And Buster Blue is no stranger to Boise. The band has busted out the buckets and chains and belted out Gothic-laced lyrics at floor-warping house shows and legit venues across the City of Trees.

Dinosaur Feathers, Red Room 11-11:40 p.m.

Though it features both surfer rock guitar and synth percussion, Brooklyn, N.Y.'s Dinosaur Feathers bears no vestigial instrumental elements. The band's sound evolves from track to track with influences ranging from Paul McCartney to Animal Collective.

The band is informed by a love of classic rock. Its debut album, Fantasy Memorial, is a culmination of online releases and hype the gang garnered playing shows in the New York City area. With an energetic vibe reminiscent of the Bee Gees, the track "Body Parts--Doing Things" is all good times dancin' disco and the funky bass lines and synth beats serve that aim.

Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside, Linen Building11 p.m.-midnight

Sallie Ford is the definition of anachronism. The Portland, Ore.-based singer sports '60s garb while banging out '40s-style tunes on instruments from the '70s making heavy use of '90s cynicism toward modern pop.

Her ode to the failings of commercial radio, "I Swear," asks,"What have these people done to music?" in a nasal whine similar to the yodeling trills that used to dominate country music. It isn't grandiose to call her band The Sound Outside.

And yet, Ford is hardly an outsider. She performed on Late Night with David Letterman and will play a string of dates supporting rockabilly legend Wanda Jackson. Not too shabby.

Mr. Gnome, Red Room, midnight-1 a.m.

Husband-and-wife duo Mr. Gnome has figured out the delicate balance between whisper and wail. Singer and guitarist Nicole Barille lets loose a teeter-totter of ethereal coos and banshee screams, matched by equally mercurial guitar strums and wild shredding. Drummer Sam Meister backs Barille's finely curated chaos with thunderous precision.

The song "Bit of Tongue" off the Cleveland duo's latest full length, Madness in Miniature, is perhaps the best example of this balancing act. The first half of the track is filled with breathy indie pop la-la-las, before squealing feedback signals the beginning of the distortion-filled, drum-crashing end.


WHY?, Main Stage, 8:30-10 p.m.

The Berkeley, Calif., band WHY? is largely driven by the disturbed mind of frontman Jonathan "Yoni" Wolf, a fast-talking singer whose unemotional monotone conveys heavy lyrics involving death, sex and perversion. Other band members use guitars and synthesizers to craft the catchy pop.

2008's Alopecia cemented WHY? as part of a genre-bending scene that blends indie rock and alternative hip-hop. From "Jerking off in an art museum john 'til my dick hurts" on "Good Friday," to "Inhaling crushed bones through a dried up White-Out pen" on "Crushed Bones," Wolf's delightfully morose lyrics are laid atop reverent indie rock to make the songs stick. His delivery resembles the pace of rap, but with digital trickery, his voice can lapse into catchy choruses impossible to forget.

Mozam, Linen Building, 9-9:40 p.m.

Local space funk duo Mozam released an album last year on Barnowl Records called Creme de la Kremlin. It's six songs of chilled-out electro with lots of exotic island flavors. Live, the band mixes it up a bit with faster with heavier beats taking its ambient jams out of the bedroom and transforming them into something more suitable for the club.

Mozam will perform a set at the Deer Lodge Showcase on Friday, March 23 and local VJ king Tyler Bowling will produce the visuals.

"The showcase is going to be a little more on the psychedelic side of music, a little more abstract, a little more avant garde. It's not going to be everybody's cup of tea, but if you like to see some good, loud, fun psych, that's the place to be," said Mozam's Trevor Kamplain.

Matthewdavid, Linen Building, 10-10:40 p.m.

Los Angeles-based artist Matthewdavid (Matthew McQueen) is a young beatmaker who turns out patchwork collages filled with warm sounds, patient beats and lots of soul. His music is recognizably hip-hop-influenced with hints of English dubstep, funk, jungle and glitch. Matthewdavid travels through genres left and right, combining them into one smooth tapestry.

Matthewdavid is sandwiched between Mozam and Sun Araw Band at the Linen Building, so if you enjoy blissing out to warm, ambient electronic beats, be sure to plant yourself front and center for a mind-bending Friday night.

Blitzen Trapper, Neurolux, 10-11:15 p.m.

The rainy urban ecotopia of Portland, Ore., is not the Old West. The state's capital, Salem, is even less so. But you wouldn't know it by listening to Blitzen Trapper. The Portland-by-way-of-Salem band's songs often sound straight from a Louis L'Amour novel, weaving together folk and country song structures with dark lyrics about drifting from gunfight to gunfight and contemplating God along the way. Slide guitars and pianos make the music the sort that would be at home in a saloon.

But what sets Blitzen Trapper apart from other Americana-ish acts is that rather than getting mired in the sounds of decades past, the band sounds wholly modern. Synths take the place of organs. Low-fi fuzz tones take the place of overdrives. Drums are clean and simple but tightly played and recorded. And when the band kicks it up a notch, it could give The Black Keys a run for its money with a grungy, retro sound.

Sun Araw, Linen Building, 11 p.m.-midnight

With lengthy liner notes, music videos and elaborate artwork, Cameron Stallones conceptualizes the entirety of a Sun Araw album from beginning to end. On stage, he is joined by a full band working with guitar and synth to create droning electronica.

Sun Araw drifts between the concrete and the abstract at random, its music occupying the space between the cerebral and the corporeal, almost as though it is performance art. Yet the product is danceable and groovy at times, reverent and soulful at others--particularly with its most recent release, the eight-track Ancient Romans.


Au, Main Stage5:50-6:30 p.m.

Like its name, Au is a stripped down band. The group has only two permanent members, Dana Valatka on percussion and Luke Wyland on a melange of instruments. If it weren't for the rotating cast of Portland, Ore., peers the duo enlists to flesh out its tracks, one might think Au's creations would fall flat. But that is dead wrong.

The tracks featuring only Wyland and Valatka are just as rubbery and colorful as anything including the work of cohorts like Colin Stetson (Bon Iver, Arcade Fire), who provides sax and bass on Au's most recent release, Both Lights. The album is a shimmery, soft heap of sonics, experimental and antique all at once. The qualities that best describe Au also describe the element on the Periodic Table after which it's named, gold: malleable, shiny and lustrous.

Typhoon, Main Stage 7-8 p.m.

Portland, Ore., indie-folk collective Typhoon is no stranger around these parts. The 10-plus member rock-and-roll orchestra has performed shows at Visual Arts Collective and Idaho Botanical Garden, as well as packed into the front of Pie Hole for a surprise late-night acoustic set.

In an August 2011 interview with Boise Weekly, Typhoon multi-instrumentalist Devin Gallagher commented on the band's relationship with Boise, stating: "I grew up thinking Boise was one of the Northwest's places to play at because of Built to Spill."

It is fitting, then, that Typhoon is slated to warm up the main stage for Built to Spill at Treefort.

The latest work from the band is 2011's A New Kind of House, an EP that continues the band's tradition of anthemic choruses, bombastic brass and fat layers of instrumental production. The songs build in intensity before finally bursting into glorious celebrations loaded with strings, horns, big drums and guitars.

Araabmuzik, Linen Building 1-1:50 a.m.

Providence, R.I., beatmaker Araabmuzik (aka Abraham Orellana) is going to throw down one of the must-see sets of Treefort.

Araabmuzik patches together a wide variety of samples, including bits and pieces of trance, house, dubstep, soul and jazz. He mixes them all on an Akai Music Production Center, an electronic music maker and sampler, and occasionally, he'll throw in a keyboard or two. When he's on stage, he actually plays the MPC rapidly, with virtuosic skill, making him a DJ who's entertaining to watch.

In 2011, Araabmuzik released his debut album Electronic Dream. It received rave reviews, including an 8.2 Best New Music from Pitchfork, and made it on many end-of-the-year top album lists.

Araab's music is shadowy and viscous. He doesn't build up to big cliffhangers or drops. Instead he maintains a high level of tension and intensity.

His set starts at 1 a.m. Saturday night (or Sunday morning, rather) at the Linen Building. It's going to be a wild late-night dance party, no doubt.


Lost Lander, Linen Building 5-5:40 p.m.

Loop the beginning of Lost Lander's "Cold Feet" and set up the DIY planetarium kit that comes with the band's new album, DRRT. Then lose yourself in the Sigur Ros-meets-Fleet Foxes sound that washes over you.

Lost Lander is a collaboration between Matt Sheehy and Menomena's Brent Knopf, who helped with production on the band's 11-song album.

Lost Lander's Portland, Ore.-grown sound doesn't rub like a city sound--DRRT is an album for a coastal cruise.

Mwahaha, Main Stage 5:30-6:30 p.m.

The quartet behind Mwahaha has been playing in and around Oakland, Calif., for more than a decade. Brothers Nathan and Cyrus Tilton, along with Ross Peacock and James Murphy, command an army of synths and drums. The result is something like acid-dropping monks bellowing Gregorian chants tinged with a starburst of colors.

Tennis, Main Stage 7-7:40 p.m.

A few years back, husband-and-wife duo Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley set out in a 30-foot sailboat on a journey down the Eastern Seaboard. The trip lasted the better part of a year, and when the couple returned home to Denver, they channeled the experience into an album, 2011's Cape Dory.

Tennis' album is comprised of breezy retro pop that is a throwback to the simple pop songs of the '60s. Moore's bright, sweet voice makes a perfect companion to Riley's jangly, smooth surf-inspired guitar.

Tennis is set to open for Of Montreal on the final day of the Treefort Music Fest. Even though the two bands take entirely different approaches to music, Tennis' charming and agreeable stripped-down pop numbers will provide a nice palate cleanser for Of Montreal's grandiose, over-the-top performance art.

Koko and the Sweetmeats, Linen Building 10-10:40 p.m.

Seattle psychedelic garage-rock band Koko and the Sweetmeats sounds dangerous. The band makes dark and spacious tunes, using grungy blues riffs dotted with sparse percussion and moaning laments to craft richly atmospheric music. If Black Sabbath were an indie band and fronted by a crooner instead of a wailer, it could well sound like Koko and the Sweetmeats. :

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