It's FEST season, and with early bird passes going on sale yesterday, we're celebrating this year by collaborating with some incredible bands for a special "Bands You Can't Miss" piece - highlighting some unreal talent on this year's line-up.
Check out some of our must-sees and what we have to say about them!
Boyfriend Material - Gainesville, FL
An effortless mix between garage rock and dream pop, Florida-based Boyfriend Material is fronted by Shauna Healey. Healey’s lyrics toe the line between cheerily self-deprecating and raw with lines like, “I’ve always been a mouse with/uncomfortable opinions” bolstered by dreamy baselines reminiscent of sixties girl groups. Healey only recently started playing with a full band, her first two releases, 2014’s Little Boxes and 2015’s Far From Home feature mostly vocals and ukelele for instrumentation. These tracks are imbued with the same lyrical wit, but Healey’s full prowess as a front woman is truly allowed to shine with a garage rock bass-line to back her up. Boyfriend Material’s latest E.P., S/T will be available as a cassette via Community records. Snag it if your heart’s still aching post Dum Dum Girls breakup.
You’ll Dig It If: Secretly you know Kristin Kontrol will never come close to the magic of “Bedroom Eyes”, you have a soft spot for ukelele’s and compact lyrical narratives about the process of writing and pals.
The Girls! - Columbus, OH
A punk band that knows the power of a good vocal harmony, a festival experience that includes solid bands and minimal misery— both of these experiential anomalies await you at The Fest, thanks to The Girls! Classifying their music as both punk and power pop on their Soundcloud, The Girls! music acts an opus of confessional punk pouting stylistically similar to Liz Phair, which makes it the perfect soundtrack for any summer fling. Their latest single, “Meet Me by the Pool” is the perfect song for sneaking a forty and a glance at yr summer crush. The chorus, crooning “tonight/ tonight” is begging to blasted beneath the window of your beloved with a boom box Say Anything style.
You’ll Dig It If: Your summer goal is to rock a crop top and French a stranger, you need something to dance in your unswear to during balmy summer nights
NO FUN - Nuremberg, Germany
Can you imagine no fun with an inflatable whale and naked man in a wrestling mask? That’s what German punk band, No Fun, has already brought to the table in their debut video. Who knows what will be next! Regardless of shenanigans in the crowd, the trio on stage is a group you won’t want to miss. No Fun brings together garage rock, post punk, and pop in their most recent album, How I spent my Bummer Vacation. Check out “Pull the Trigger” and “Ode an Die Freude” (Ode to Joy) to get ready for this show. No Fun’s sound is similar to Brooklyn based band, Chumped, with more pop, or like Colleen Green with more garage rock.
You’ll Dig it If: If you get down to bands like Bully, appreciate sharing some miseries with a good scream, or want to be able to say you saw No Fun at Fest!
Insignificant Other - Gainesville, FL
Lo-fi, queer acoustic bedroom pop group, Insignificant Other, will pull at those dusty romantic longings in your heart in a way that might renew your hope that true love might actually exist (but so do unrequited feelings). Their newest EP, Cop Kisser, is a step out of their usual ukulele-dominant sound by bringing in distorted guitars, drums and other percussion, a bass guitar, a trombone, and more to accompany their dreamy vocals. Imagine the floating sounds of Adult Mom with ukuleles, and you’re in Insignificant Other’s ballpark. If you’re a fan of the uke, you should check out their soundcloud page, in particular a song titled “there is a hell and it is called orlando florida”, and their album la gente guapa come fruta fea. Other songs to check out pre-show are “kehaar”, “con artist”, and “choke”. Reflecting on their lyrics might make you more self-aware.
You’ll Dig it If: You like bands such as Patron Saint of Bridge Burners and Yvette Young, have some time alone that you want to spend dissecting your feelings, or if you want to walk away from a set feeling like you grew.
Amanda X - Philadelphia, PA
Amanda X is a 90s alternative, pop-punk, wave, all-female trio from Philadelphia that features vocal harmonies and a dreamy, distorted guitar. Their most recent single, “New Year”, treads lightly with an electric guitar through idyllic harmonies, keeping an upbeat vibe. Albums Amnesia and Ruin the Moment show off their forward guitar and cool style. They blend pop and punk well, using distortion nonchalantly and not adding any over the top finishing or background noise so that the resulting tones are grungy but not overbearing; just solid songs. You really don’t want to miss the chance to see this group.
You’ll Dig it If: You are looking to avoid overabundant reliance on feedback noise and just want to listen to good music wrapped around lyrics that strike beautiful images. If you like bands such as Frankie Cosmos or Eskimeaux, Amanda X is for you!
Bad Cop / Bad Cop - Los Angeles, CA
You will wish the four badass women who make up the L.A. based heavy laden pop punk band, Bad Cop/Bad Cop, were your very best friends. Formed in 2011 by singer/songwriter Stacy Dee with lead vocals and lyrics by Dee and Jennie Cotterill, these boss ladies signed with legendary punk label Fat Wreck started by NOFX lead singer Michael Burkett. With the influence of 90s punk bands like The Muffs and Face to Face, Bad Cop/Bad Cop mixes Joan Jett like vocals, in your face instrumentation and Beach Boys-esque three chord harmonies to create their catchy, hard hitting songs. After relentless touring they released their debut full length album, “Not Sorry,” and you won’t be sorry to put this banger on any chance you get. Full of anti-love songs, cheers to friendship, and facing mental illness head on, Bad Cop/Bad Cop does not shy away from diverse topics. The lyric from their not-so-subtle song, “Rip You To Shreds,” truly encapsulates the band’s no-fucks-given mentality: “I may be kind, but I’m not a sucker/I’ve got no time for stupid motherfuckers.” Catch them at The Fest and Riot Fest this summer!
You’ll Dig It If: You need to have a nice long drive with your female identifying friends, grabbing gas station slushies and frayed denim jackets as you blast “Not Sorry” on the car speakers as loud as you can.
War on Women - Baltimore, MD
“I’m not going to dance around the fact that there is a war on women. I’m not implying it. I’m telling you,” lead singer of the Baltimore feminist hardcore band Shawna Potter said. Her co-ed band, War On Women, released their eponymous debut album in 2015 on the contemporary hardcore punk label Bridge Nine Records. War on Women is really fucking punk, differentiating themselves from old school punk and riot grrrl, and aligning themselves with their heavy metal influences such as Metallica. The blistering lyrics, powerful vocals and thrash metal accentuates the commentary of pervasive sexism in modern day America. War on Women makes people listen; and you will love their bluntness, energy and understanding of social issues that plague our daily lives.
You’ll Dig It If: You need to scream your heart out along with Shawna Potter while dismantling the patriarchy and tackling sexist issues in the most creative, kickass way possible.
AJJ - Phoenix, AZ
By Nic Deadman
AJJ has left behind their old name and a portion of their manic-depressive folk roots in favor of a full band that spans from goofy minimalist punk to something more closely resembling a symphony. Even when they dive into upbeat, poppy sounds and themes they're still pouring out the darkest heart of humanity - "I Wanna Rock Out In My Dreams" is a good place to see how easily frontman Sean Bonnette transitions from the fantasy of playing a Gibson Flying V in black leather pants to lamenting how he's finding it harder and harder to even define love and sincerity. Their performances match the music - high energy, good-natured, might make you cry, and always ready to upset expectations for a laugh. (If they cover Slayer as an encore, it wouldn't be the first time.)
You'll Dig It If: You're into Ramshackle Glory, Paul Baribeau, Folk punk goodness.
Kamikaze Girls - London, UK
They liked going to Fest so much they wanted to play too. Though last year was singer/guitarist Lucinda's first time in Gainesville, drummer Conor had two Fests under his belt before taking the stage with Kamikaze Girls at Fest 14. DIY in every way, this London, UK two piece plays fuzzy punk rock with a catchy edge that fares well with the Fest crowd; be prepared for melodic singalongs in a packed venue.
You'll Dig It If: Muncie Girls, Milk Teeth, feedback.
Amygdala - San Antonio, Texas
By Rivka Yeker
Amygdala is brutal. Coming from San Antonio, Texas, the 5-piece's sound is passionate and angry. The drums are fast, the screams are blood-curdling and powerful, the guitar is quick and melodic. The band is aggressively loud and they aren’t afraid to embrace it, nor do they shy from confronting important issues like assault, colorism, misogyny, and the patriarchy. Don’t miss your chance to get down with some of the best Anarcho hardcore punk in the game and make sure you snag their upcoming album Population Control.
You’ll dig It if: you’re into Punch and early Cerce and if you want to feel the room shake.
The Winter Passing - Dublin, Ireland
By Rosie Accola
Ireland-based The Winter Passing provides raucous, soaring, tunes that are perfect for anyone who is still reckoning with the last vestiges of their emo teen phase. The vocals of siblings, Rob and Kate Flynn, coexist to form a comfortable ache, a tension that drives the music and makes it seem all the more earnest. There is something to be said about this urgency, it denotes importance rather than anxiety. With such an innate hunger for life it’s no wonder that The Winter Passing became an integral part of the Dublin DIY scene. Above all, The Winter Passing believes in what they are singing. “The Fever” is what can loosely be described as a killer opening track, with a hammering drumbeat and triumphant guitar riffs that call to mind “Head-on” era Pixies. Their current record, A Different Space of Mind, available for streaming via Spotify. Go ahead and blare it with your windows down while you drive to your dead-end summer job; this record is for anyone toeing the line between reckless and restless.
You’ll Dig it If: You’re curious about the DIY scene across the pond, you stand in solidarity with women in pop punk scenes. You love an aesthetically pleasing music video or two.
Slingshot Dakota - Bethlehem, PA
By Laurens Vancayseele
After thirteen years of being a band and three years of being married, Slingshot Dakota’s combination of catchy keys and pounding drums has become a staple of Topshelf Records’ catalog. This charming duo is returning to Gainesville for the fourth time in support of their newest record “Break”. Singer/keyboardist Carly Comando also bolsters an accomplished solo composing career that netted her an Emmy award in 2008.
You'll Dig It If: You're into Football, Etc. and Lemuria but with keys.
Gouge Away - Fort Lauderdale, FL
By Rivka Yeker
This is the hardcore band you’ve been wanting to listen to. They’re fast, political, and ready to wreck everything around them. Vocalist Christina Stijy stirs unrest with her lyricism about veganism, assault, and reclaiming strength in a world that tries to snatch it. Gouge Away is raw, angry, and ready to tell you about it. You can listen to their new album on their bandcamp by clicking here.
You’ll Dig It if: you’re into aggressive hardcore and woman-fronted power.
Jabber - Oakland, CA
By Rosie Accola
They say never judge an album by its’ cover, but the Josie and the Pussycats-inspired cover for Jabber’s latest release Well... Just Jabber made my heart swell with love. I was even more delighted by the energetic tracks like “anymore” which boldly proclaims, “I don’t wanna be in love with you anymore” beneath an estatic drum beat. It’s the sort of record that oozes femme power, just like the 2003 live action Josie and the Pussycats film. It’s simultaneously snarly and sweet, just like all the best femme punks. Sonically, there are hints of early ‘90s The Donnas and Lindsay Lohan’s garage band in Freaky Friday, as someone who owned a copy of Disney! Girls Rock!circa 2002- - this record is practically a dream come true.
You’ll Dig it If: You know all the words to “Three Small Words”, you’re in need of a post break-up pick me up
The Island of Misfit Toys - Chicago, IL
By Rivka Yeker
This is one of the most exciting bands to see live, as they cover the entirety of the stage with a Slipknot-sized band of nine people. Island knows how to give you a performance, as vocalist Anthony Sanders brings his theatrical charm to the mic, the band works perfectly together, all clearly enamored by their time on stage. Everyone in the band is remarkably talented, and holds something special in what they each individually bring to their unity, and it’s genuinely just a joy to watch, and if you know the music, a blast to sing along to. Listen to their most recent album I Made You Something on bandcamp.
You’ll Dig It if: You’re into Say Anything meets an orchestra meets a musical.
Shellshag - Brooklyn, NY
By Brooke Hawkins
Shellshag is a power duo from Brooklyn, NY comprised of members Shell and Shag. Their most recent album, released on Don Giovanni in 2015 is a ripper, and definitely an album not to miss. Appearances on the album come from members of Screaming Females, Tweens, Vacation, and Black Planet. From their stand up drum kit, to their giant light-up amplifier with antennae speakers for each member, they sure know how to liven a crowd, and start a punk rock party. After you check out their show, watch their Shellshonic Shag O' Vision webseries for more punk-fueled internet fun.
FFO: Screaming Females, Tweens, Aye Nako, and Big Eyes, Don Giovanni Records
City Mouse - Riverside, CA
By Brooke Hawkins
City Mouse delivers jammy pop-punk straight from California. Their sound is melody driven, with strong '90s sounding leading vocals. Check out their upcoming release this fall/winter on It's Alive Records.
FFO: Murderburgers, Spraynard, The Plurals, Costanza
Additional notable mentions on this year’s lineup:
The Flatliners, Lemuria, Tenement, PUP, Rozwell Kid, Jeff Rosenstock, Cheap Girls, United Nations, Antarctigo Vespucci, The Menzingers
For all information regarding passes/hotels/merch for this year's FEST 15 - please visit http://thefestfl.com
Check out the full line-up by clicking HERE.