The Treefort Music Fest in Boise, Idaho is billed as an “emerging artists festival,” which makes it the perfect place to discover new music. Apes on Tape was lucky enough to host a showcase at the Woodland Empire Brewery where we were treated with great beer and intimate performances by some of the best bands at the festival. After a thoroughly enjoyable, sunshine-filled weekend in Boise, here are my five new favorite bands:
Dude York | Seattle, WA
Self-described “America’s Band,” Dude York hands down won the stage presence award at the Apes of Tape Showcase. In between jokes and audience banter, they filled the brewery with their high-energy, melody-driven rock. Dude York’s huge sound feels like much more than a three piece. The guitar riffs were slick, the bass was driving and the drums were tight. What more could you ask for? If you’re in the Seattle area, check them out this weekend at the Penumbra Beer Bash. You’ll be glad you did.
Tangerine | Seattle, WA
The backbones of Tangerine are sisters Marika and Miro. Their vocal harmonies range from sweet to haunting to intense, all while Marika lays down sun-soaked, 60s-inspired guitar riffs and Miro absolutely shreds the drums. Ryan and Toby round out the sound with bass and lead guitar, adding their voices on occasion for full-on four part harmonies. After their set at the Apes on Tape Showcase, I had a hard time getting their melodies out of my head, but then again, did I really want to? I knew I was in trouble when I went back to see them rock the main stage the following day. They’ll be on heavy rotation in my earbuds in the future and I can’t wait to catch another show in Seattle. They’re playing Heartland on April 5th. See you there.
Polecat | Bellingham, WA
I like to dance, and I got my boogie on at many a show during Treefort, but no band made me shake it the way Polecat did. You could call them a folk band, or a roots band, but neither does justice to the genre-bending, earth-thumping, down-home, good-time, put-a-smile-on-your-face-and-a-spring-in-your-step music they make. They somehow seamlessly wove into their set original songs and instrumentals, covers of American folk tunes, classical music and the Imperial March from Star Wars. Try to wrap your head around that one. They played late night at Tom Grainey’s, an Irish Pub and nightclub and the place was packed with young and old getting down hard. On a side note, I think they had the most fun of any band at the festival. I ran into them during their night off and found them in a tight circle, dancing arm in arm and rapping about a hamster. Go figure.
AU | Portland, OR
It’s so hard to describe the music AU makes. The internet calls them “experimental pop.” I don’t even know what that means. All I can say is that their set at the Apes on Tape Showcase was one of the most original and intense musical experiences of my life. In the space of a few minutes the audience was taken on an auditory journey from a single ringing bell to a wall of sound including synthesizers, drums, clarinet, guitar, shouts, and the raw, pure power of Holland Andrews’ voice. I’m not sure I would call it pop music. I wasn’t singing along and doing the twist. I would call it exploring the full range of sound and finding beauty at every stop.
Sister Crayon | Oakland, CA
Sister Crayon’s set at the El Korah Shrine on Sunday night was less of a musical act and more of an immersive emotional experience. Powerful bass and unrelenting electronic beats set the backdrop for vocalist Terra Lopez’s incredible range and dominating presence. Her voice sounded at times like an incantation, at others like an animal wail, and at others like a sweet whisper. Sister Crayon draws you in, gets under your skin and won’t let go until you’ve heard them out. Raw, original, terrifying and wonderful.
Photo: Patrick Sweeney (Top)