It's UMS week and we hope you have nailed your schedules down at this point, if you haven't it's ok as one of the best ways to experience the festival is by randomly hopping from venue to venue during the weekend and discovering for yourself something new. As we do every year we have scoured the list of 300+ bands to pick the 8 bands you must absolutely see (Trust us we want to see every band). These are bands that have been on our radar since the announcement and bands we feel are worth catching live. (In no particular order)
Walker Lukens (Sunday 3:20-4:00 PM Sesh Stage)
Walker Lukens has been called ‘one of the best songwriters in Texas’. The Austin-based, Houston-bred singer, multi-instrumentalist has been called ‘wonderfully inventive’, a ‘non-sexually intimidating version of Prince’, and a ‘veteran balladeer with sudden indie rock ambitions’. Walker thinks it’s important that you realize his name is not Walter.
In 2013, he released his first full length record, Devoted. It received praise from outlets like NPR’s All Songs Considered, American Songwriter, Austin American Statesman, Austin Chronicle, and Billboard and took Lukens and his backing band, The Side Arms, all over the US.
After meeting Spoon drummer Jim Eno in a bar, Walker & The Side Arms started recording new music at with him at his studio, Public Hi-Fi. Their first collaboration, ‘Every Night,’ has been streamed almost a million times now. Their second collaboration, ‘Lifted’ from Never Understood EP spent 8 weeks on the specialty commercial radio charts. Another EP, Ain't Got A Reason, soon followed in April of 2017 and garnered Walker spots at festivals across the country like Bonnaroo, Firefly, Austin City Limits Festival, Free Press Summerfest, Middle of the Map, Underground Music Showcase. His second full length, Tell It To The Judge, will be released on September 22, 2017 on Modern Outsider.
Tyto Alba (Friday 12:00-1:00 AM Irish Rover)
Tyto Alba, based out of Denver, CO, formed in the fall of 2014 and features the talents of singer/songwriter Melanie Steinway, guitarist Matt Rossi, bassist/synth player Daniel DiMarchi and drummer Andrew Bair. The songs are dreamy, spacious and lush. Tyto Alba is the scientific name for barn owls.
Described as four friends making music together. Tyto Alba is fronted by singer/songwriter Melanie Steinway, a tattooist and illustrator by day. Her folk background melds with indie, shoegaze and post-punk influences of her three bandmates for a distinctly lush and dreamy sound. Tyto Alba has self-released two EPs and a handful of singles.
If you recall we premiered their last single "Somnambulist" here on Ultra5280 a few months ago and have been swooning ever since. Their live sound will capture you and make you a fan upon first listen. A must see on Friday night to get your festival in high gear!
Pink Fuzz (Sunday 1:00-2:00 AM Gary Lee's Motor Club)
Pink Fuzz (formerly BANDITS) are a red-hot bowling ball, shot out of a homemade cannon into the side panel of mid 80’s Ford Bronco.
Led by the unmatched chemistry of brother/sister John and LuLu Demitro, Pink Fuzz have “managed to enter a higher society of artistry by discharging a brand unlike any others in the provincial industry.”
Straddling the line between psychedelic and downright explosive, Pink Fuzz find themselves drawing in dazed listeners to a focal point of sound, just before pushing back with enough power and energy to knock the asbestos out of the ceiling of your towns grimy rock club.
Nasty Nachos (Saturday 12:00-1:00 AM Irish Rover)
From the ashes of many musical endeavors, Nasty Nachos comes as a culmination of influences, instruments, and experiences of it's creator, Alex Anderson.
Anderson spends his days at modular synthesizer company called WMD, developing and demoing new pieces of modular gear. His nights are consumed with composing, testing, and putting this gear through it's paces. Nasty Nachos is the result of these tests.
Joined live by fellow modular synthesist and drummer Matt Tanner, Nasty Nachos' live set is always changing and evolving. The energy and vibes are high. The sound is reminiscent of Todd Terje, Daft punk, with a little bit of 70's funk in there.
Nasty Nachos is focused on the moment. Playing new songs and grooves at each show. An album may come from all of this but for now, the live show is where it's at.
Nightlove (Sunday 10:00-11:00 PM Hi-Dive)
Although brand new(ish) on the music scene, artist Nightlove instantly sparked our interest when we first laid ears on him. Taylor MacNicholas is the hairy, tattooed genius behind the emerging 80's synth pop project. With just a sprinkle of emo flare in his vocal belting and breaks, Taylor takes the popular techniques of the sequined jumpsuits, colossal glam hair, and parachute pants era and transforms it into current, mainstream pop. In our recent interview Taylor discusses the conception, inspiration and development behind Nightlove. We feel this is going to been of the most hyped performances of the festival, we hope you have enough energy left Sunday night!
Los Mocochetes (Saturday 1:20-2:00 PM Sesh Stage)
Los Mocochetes are a 7-piece Chicano Funk band from Denver, CO. This colorful cast of characters fuses thoughtfully brazen, socio/politically charged song lyrics, groovilicious melodies and high-energy stage antics to create an immersive experience unlike anything you've ever seen before. Much like a machete, which can be used either as a tool to build or a weapon to kill, they have chosen to use their music to inspire and encourage positive social change, and they have a ton of fun along the way. Every show is different, but it’s always a dance party!
Los Mocochetes were the recipients of Westword Music Showcase award to Best Latin Band of 2017. They also were featured in the Denver Post Underground Music Showcase and have played numerous iconic Denver venues such as the Bluebird Theater, Oriental Theater, Su Teatro Cultural and Performing Arts Center, Larimer Lounge, Syntax Physic Opera, Aztlan Theatre, Lost Lake, Hi Dive, 3 Kings Tavern, Herman’s Hideaway, Lion’s Lair, and recently sold out Ophelia’s Electric Soap Box. The band has a strong connection to New Mexico, and often tours the state, having played as far south as Acapulco, MX.
The current lineup features artists with a wide variety of influences. They are poets, singers, painters, rappers, actors, musicians, dancers, producers, composers, dreamers, doers, thinkers. They are gente who make music together and enjoy all forms of creativity. The Mocochetes are here to ignite a fire in every audience member to enjoy the moment and then go out and make a difference!
Reyna (Saturday 2:20-3:00 PM Imagination Stage)
Milwaukee-by-way-of-Texas sisters Victoriah and Hannah Gabriela take the sweet indy pop they perfected as Vic and Gab and hone it to a razor edge. Immediately engaging and shimmering with infectious melodic sheen, sparking declaration that REYNA has arrived.
Back in 2011 when Victoriah and Hannah recorded a song called “So Long So Tried” on a whim in their basement using Garageband. The song found its way to the music supervisors at MTV and wound up being used in the program Skins. The sisters released their debut EP Bridges and Guns under the name Vic and Gab in 2011 to adulation by both the mainstream press and blogs. Their 2013 follow up LP Love of Mine (which Spin lauded for its “bubblegum janglers with pliable melodies and soft-edged vocals”) They went on the road in support of Love of Mine, opening for the likes of BLEACHERS and Death Cab for Cutie, among others. After showcasing at SXSW they caught the attention of Saiko Management (known for developing Lorde and Parson James), who signed them to a deal.
Ready to write new songs in what felt like a new era, the sisters traveled to L.A. and NYC to collaborate with producers for the first time in their career. This in turn changed their approach to songwriting and gave them a new set of creative tools with which to work. After recording a number of songs the sisters decided to give their new sound a new moniker, REYNA. - Ever Kipp
Mothers (Saturday 5:20-6:00 PM Main Stage)
Mothers began in 2013 as self-taught songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Kristine Leschper’s solo project as she studied printmaking in Athens, Georgia. Leschper's earliest musical influences span a great swath of early aughts rock and folk including Interpol, Sufjan Stevens, Joanna Newsom, The Microphones, and Athens legends Neutral Milk Hotel; she later developed a love for experimental music, math rock, and noise artists as well. Over time, Leschper began collaborating with fellow Athenian Matthew Anderegg and a fully flushed out band soon fell into place. In 2016, Mothers released their debut album “When You Walk A Long Distance You Are Tired” to great critical acclaim. Named a Stereogum ‘Band To Watch’, Pitchfork’s review of the album compared Leschper to Angel Olsen and Sharon Van Etten while Noisey exclaimed that the record “is singer-songwriter prog rock for grown up emo kids.” Now based in Philadelphia, Mothers will spend 2018 working on their sophomore follow-up.