Audiotree Music Festival Brings Emerging Indie Rock to Kalamazoo Today, Sunday

Local Natives will headline the Audiotree Music Festival in Kalamazoo today.

Indie music lovers will rejoice today with the start of Kalamazoo’s Audiotree Music Festival.

The two-day music festival kicks off at noon in Arcadia Creek Festival Place and features nearly 30 artists on two stages.

Denver psychedelic pop group Flaural will open the festival on the WIDR Discovery Stage while Los Angeles indie rock quintet Local Natives will perform a headlining set on the Main Stage.

New Jersey indie pop quintet Real Estate and Los Angeles indie folk rocker Father John Misty (aka Josh Tillman) will headline on Sunday.

Founded in 2013 by Kalamazoo natives Michael Johnston and Adam Thurston, the Chicago-based, Michigan-born Audiotree Music Festival celebrates new and emerging artists and is curated by the popular web music series Audiotree Live.

In 2015, Audiotree purchased two Chicago venues, Schubas Tavern and Lincoln Hall, adding a live concert booking, promoting and streaming division to the company. Since 2011, Audiotree’s online following has grown to include more than 350,000 YouTube subscribers. Now, the Audiotree Music Festival is expanding the match the scale of the entire company.

“While this year’s festival is very guitar-driven, we’re really excited about the variety we’ve still been able to cover,” said Patrick Van Wagoner, a talent buyer for the Audiotree Music Festival and Lincoln Hall, in a festival press release. “Attendees will find elements of rock ’n roll, punk, folk, pop, funk and more, while seeing plenty of acts with Audiotree history.”

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Kalamazoo’s Moss Jaw Cultivates First Festival Experience at Audiotree on Saturday

Kayley Kerastas, Russ Wagner, Max Murray and Evan Asher of Moss Jaw

Editor’s Note: This is the third installment in a multi-part series this week previewing the Audiotree Music Festival and profiling artists from the lineup.

Last year, four Kalamazoo pals decided to cultivate their own musical experience.

Together, Kayley Kerastas, Russ Wagner, Evan Asher and Max Murray planted the artistic seeds for Moss Jaw, a dark, dreamy post-rock project, and watched it flourish throughout the DITKalamazoo scene.

A year later, that musical sapling grew into an opening slot at this weekend’s Audiotree Music Festival. The Kalamazoo quartet will take root with a 12:25 p.m. set Saturday on the WIDR-FM Discovery Stage in Arcadia Creek Festival Place.

Moss Jaw will join nearly 30 other artists, including Father John Misty, Local Natives, Khruangbin, Basement and Real Estate.

They’re also one of several West Michigan-based artists featured in the Audiotree Music Festival lineup along with Michigander, Lushh, Jake Simmons & The Little Ghosts and Major Murphy.

Founded in 2013, the Chicago-based, Michigan-born Audiotree Music Festival celebrates new and emerging artists and is curated by the popular web music series Audiotree Live.

This year, Audiotree has joined forces with WIDR (89.1 FM), Western Michigan University’s college radio station, to plant the festival’s new Discovery Stage and feature 12 additional bands throughout the weekend.

WIDR invited Moss Jaw to perform at Audiotree after they won second place in a local Battle of the Bands contest earlier this year.

“Wonderfully enough, they wanted us on behalf of Audiotree, and we are just so stoked,” said Kerastas, Moss Jaw vocalist and guitarist. “We’ve been eyeballing that (Audiotree Live) session for a while, and we’ve been trying to reach that someday, and thankfully enough, we get to play the festival.”

Continue reading “Kalamazoo’s Moss Jaw Cultivates First Festival Experience at Audiotree on Saturday”

Grand Rapids’ Major Murphy to Enlist New Fan Base at Audiotree Music Festival on Sunday

Major Murphy’s Jacki Warren, Jacob Bullard and Brian “Bud” Voortman

Editor’s Note: This is the second installment in a multi-part series this week previewing the Audiotree Music Festival and profiling artists from the lineup.

Major Murphy will enlist a battalion of new recruits at Kalamazoo’s Audiotree Music Festival this weekend.

The Grand Rapids nostalgic rock trio will conquer the crowd Sunday with a 12:50 p.m. set on the main stage at the two-day festival in Arcadia Creek Festival Place. Major Murphy will join nearly 30 other acts, including Father John Misty, Local Natives, Real Estate, Diet Cig and Blitzen Trapper.

They’re one of five West Michigan-based artists featured in the Audiotree Music Festival lineup along with Michigander, Lushh, Jake Simmons & The Little Ghosts and Moss Jaw.

Founded in 2013, the Chicago-based, Michigan-born Audiotree Music Festival celebrates new and emerging artists and is curated by the popular web music series Audiotree Live.

Major Murphy’s Jacob Bullard (vocals, guitar), Jacki Warren (vocals, bass) and Brian “Bud” Voortman (drums) will share their 1970s-inspired radio rock with Audiotree festivalgoers during a much-anticipated set.

They’ll be performing laid-back, catchy songs from their full-length debut album, “No. 1,” which dropped in March on Winspear. Those new to Major Murphy will hear jangly guitars, shimmering riffs, synth-sheened grooves and dreamy, commanding vocals.

“When we perform as a trio, there is a more immediate sound and energy that I think we all enjoy. It boils down and reveals the really important parts of the songs,” Bullard said. “When you’re in a festival setting, there’s generally a big stage with a big PA so you can push the crowd a little bit, and it’s super fun. Live music is powerful, and it’s important to let loose sometimes.”

Continue reading “Grand Rapids’ Major Murphy to Enlist New Fan Base at Audiotree Music Festival on Sunday”

Montréal’s Common Holly Branches Out to Kalamazoo’s Audiotree Music Festival This Weekend

Common Holly, aka Brigitte Naggar, will perform at Kalamazoo’s Audiotree Music Festival on Sunday.

Editor’s Note: This is the first installment in a multi-part series this week previewing the Audiotree Music Festival and profiling artists from the lineup.

Common Holly will grow her West Michigan following with a first-time appearance at Kalamazoo’s Audiotree Music Festival this weekend.

The dark indie folk singer-songwriter will perform a noon Sunday set on the main stage at the two-day festival in Arcadia Creek Festival Place. She will join nearly 30 other acts, including Father John Misty, Local Natives, Real Estate, Khruangbin and Chicano Batman.

Founded in 2013, the Chicago-based, Michigan-born Audiotree Music Festival celebrates new and emerging artists and is curated by the popular web music series Audiotree Live.

Common Holly – otherwise known as Brigitte Naggar – will share her hauntingly intimate songs with Audiotree festivalgoers during a highly-anticipated 50-minute set.

She’ll be playing tracks from her 2017 critically-acclaimed debut album, “Playing House,” on Solitaire Recordings. Naggar also re-recorded six of her tracks for an “Audiotree Live” session last December.

“I’m bringing a band with me this time. And yes, we’re going to do new songs – three or four, I think,” said Naggar, who hails from Montréal. “I like them much better than the old songs. I hope fans will, too.”

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Musical Feast – Pond Jam Festivalgoers Experience First Taste of Mercury Salad Sandwich’s Savory Acoustic Funk over Labor Day Weekend

Mercury Salad Sandwich’s Kyle Kipp, Dan “Ozzie” Andrews, Kurt Bonnell and Brooke Ratliff

 

Rapid City, Mich. – Pond Jam festivalgoers will feast on Mercury Salad Sandwich this Labor Day weekend.

They’ll heavily ingest the tasty “acoustic funk” tunes of the burgeoning folk rock and Americana quartet from Ypsilanti, Mich., during their 4:30 p.m. Sunday set on the Pond Jam Second Stage.

It’s also the first time northern Michiganders will sink their teeth into Mercury Salad Sandwich’s delectable music, said Brooke Ratliff, the band’s vocalist, guitarist and percussionist.

“Some of our fave local bands, like Dragon Wagon and Fangs and Twang, are regulars at Pond Jam. There’s a notorious video from Pond Jam of Fangs and Twang playing their jamming song, ‘Big Foot,’ while people in Yeti costumes dance,” she said. “It just seemed like a great time, so we sent them some music, and they let us in.”

A private event, the fifth annual Pond Jam will boast more than 60 bands on four stages today through Sunday at a family’s Rapid City wilderness getaway located about 20 miles east of Traverse City, Mich.

Pond Jam festivalgoers will see an eclectic set from Ratliff and her three Mercury Salad Sandwich bandmates, Kurt Bonnell (acoustic and electric guitar), Dan “Ozzie” Andrews (acoustic and electric bass) and Kyle Kipp (drums and guitar).

“We are playing our folk rock and acoustic funk tunes and debuting one mellow original called ‘The Road,’” Ratliff said. “We are Mazzy Star fans, and the song is our tribute to them.”

Continue reading “Musical Feast – Pond Jam Festivalgoers Experience First Taste of Mercury Salad Sandwich’s Savory Acoustic Funk over Labor Day Weekend”

Riding High — The Lows Perform Saturday at Inaugural Motor City Muscle Festival

 

The Lows will play Motor City Muscle on Saturday.
The Lows will be riding high this weekend with a coveted slot at the inaugural Motor City Muscle festival.

The Detroit-based hard rock band will join more than 120 artists, including Ace Frehley, The Dead Kennedys, Belinda Carlisle and Sponge, during the free festival, which includes seven stages of music and a muscle car showcase today through Sunday in downtown Detroit.

The Lows will take the stage in Detroit’s Hart Plaza at 3:15 p.m. Saturday for their hour-long, 15-song set. Fans can expect original Lows’ tunes and covers from Detroit music legends, including Alice Cooper and The Stooges, as well as ‘90s grunge classics.

For Angelo Coppola and his Lows bandmates, the festival is an incredible chance to help revive the rock music scene in the Motor City.

“Basically, I think there’s not enough of the straight-up rock sound going on anymore,” said Coppola, frontman for The Lows. “There are some great bands like Greta Van Fleet and some others from Detroit doing it. I think the world needs more of it, and I think tons of people personally want something to change with mainstream music. We’re just trying to hopefully be part of it carrying the torch and bringing it back around.”

The Lows EP
Coppola learned his band would join the all-star rock music festival lineup after he submitted “Road Trippin’,” a track from The Lows’ 2017 self-titled debut EP for a 12-song Motor City Muscle compilation album.

“The criteria for that was the song had to be about cars, and it had to mention Detroit in the song,” he said. “I went back into the studio where I recorded the EP, and I just changed one line of the first verse with producer Chuck (Alkazian) to include a reference to Detroit in there, then I submitted it, and they picked it for the album.”

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‘LIFE Goals’ – Ann Arbor ‘Attic Folkster’ Peter Felsman Drops New ‘-pf’ Album, Hosts Bike-able Listening Party Today

Peter Felsman, far right, performs with “-pf” members Max Lockwood, Julia Knowles and Rebecca Rosen at the Threads All Arts Festival in Ypsilanti, Mich. Photo by David Newton

Starting at noon today, “attic folk” rocker Peter Felsman will take his new “-pf” album to the streets of Ann Arbor, Mich.

He’ll meet up with “-pf” (pronounced “dash” “pf”) friends and fans to listen to “LIFE Goals,” the band’s newest album, which drops today.

It will be a “reverse progressive” listening party of sorts where people can listen with Felsman throughout the day as he bikes along to the folkish rhythms of “LIFE Goals.”

“I’ll be biking around town to listen with whoever wants to join me,” said Felsman, “-pf” frontman. “I’ve created a Facebook event and invited people in the Ann Arbor bike-able area to message me if they’d like to host a listening event where other people can join or if they’d like to join one.”

LIFE Goals cover art

In classic “-pf” style, the release of “LIFE Goals” coincides with another academic milestone for Felsman, who’s pursuing a doctorate in social work and social psychology at the University of Michigan.

The album marks the beginning of Felsman’s two-year fellowship with the International Max Planck Research School on the Life Course (LIFE), which takes an integrative and interdisciplinary approach to understanding human development in a changing world.

Felsman’s research fellowship is conducted internationally in conjunction with the Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, the University of Zurich, the University of Virginia and the University of Michigan.

“LIFE Goals” also highlights the first time “-pf” has recorded an album in a proper recording studio, the Kalamazoo, Mich.-based La Luna Recording & Sound owned by Ian Gorman.

Continue reading “‘LIFE Goals’ – Ann Arbor ‘Attic Folkster’ Peter Felsman Drops New ‘-pf’ Album, Hosts Bike-able Listening Party Today”