MFNW Preview: And the Rest!

Eight bands worth getting to the waterfront early for.

Milo Greene

[FOLK POPPED] Whether it was their intention to create a festival-ready powerhouse or not, the four college friends who comprise Milo Greene are most definitely bound for greatness. The way the L.A. group's breezy four-part harmonies and gently shuffling folk ballads coalesced on its self-titled debut record provides a serene listening experience for the throngs of strangers who spend the summer gathering in sun-drenched fields in hopes of finding their next favorite band. For its most recent LP, Control, Milo Greene all but threw the Laurel Canyon-isms out the window in favor of a polished '80s pop sound that's far too groovy to be concerned with when and why the idea of populist, arena-ready folk rock became so passé. With a disco-posi shot in the arm, Milo Greene's live set is now ready to accept a whole new batch of converts to the party. PETE COTTELL. 

6:30 pm Friday, Aug. 21.


[NOW THAT’S WHAT I CALL POP!] MTV has called New York’s MisterWives “the next golden children of pop,” but its music brings to mind many other elements that aren’t on the Periodic Table—rainbows, melted Slurpee juice and unicorn emojis being just a few of them. Infectiously danceable and unrepentantly high in fructose, the band’s debut full-length, Our Own House, plays like a primer for the past decade of mainstream radio, mashing up disco guitars with ska horns and folk-pop melodies. Sure, it sounds like something manufactured in a record executive’s laboratory, but a pleasure this guilty is hard to ignore. Give yourself up to the sugar rush and don’t worry about how you’ll feel in the morning. MATTHEW SINGER. 

7:30 pm Friday, Aug. 21.


[MINIMAL MELANCHOLIA] Everything about Sales is tiny—the Orlando, Fla., duo's mixes are dynamically flat affairs built off little else than gently strummed guitars and dinky drum loops—but nothing about Lauren Morgan and Jordan Shih's bedroom-pop project comes off as precious. It's too early in the game to tell whether they'll stay put in the confines of low-stakes, lo-fi bliss, but their endlessly pleasing six-track EP rarely feels in need of grander gestures by way of heavy-handed, major-label meddling. For now, Sales is just right. PETE COTTELL. 

1:30 pm Saturday, Aug. 22.

Talk in Tongues 

[PSYCH LIFE] While most kids in Middle America grew up being shuttled between sports practices and shopping malls and back again, McCoy Kirgo had a radically different experience. Rather than being reared on pop radio and football, the 22-year-old native of L.A.’s Silver Lake neighborhood spent his youth at alternative schools with the quintessential California heavyweights of the early ’70s providing the soundtrack to his formative years. How else would he have landed on the slinky, swirling sounds that make the retro psych of his group, Talk in Tongues, so readily accessible? The flashes of brilliance that make the band’s debut LP, Alone With a Friend, such a worthy addition to the playlists of anyone with a taste for flower-powered alt-rock are far bigger than current fads—they’re the product of talented kids whose very idea of “alternative” is what us normies consider “everyday life.” PETE COTTELL. 

2:30 pm Saturday, Aug. 22.


[GLOBALIZED GROOVES] Behind every argument about the hard-fought battle for authenticity in the hijacked sounds of African-influenced pop music lies an important absolute: If it sounds good, why split hairs over who's making it? Judging by the confidence with which twin brothers Zach and Ben Yudin distill the grooves and gloss of Graceland through the buttoned-up preppy-pop of Dr. Dog and Bishop Allen on Dancing at the Blue Lagoon, their second album as Cayucas (original name: Oregon Bike Trails), it appears the quest for appeasing the anti-appropriation police is best left to the joyless wallflowers who would rather spend an evening being PC and still than cutting a rug with the rest of us. PETE COTTELL. 

3:30 pm Saturday, Aug. 22.

Title Fight 

[HYPER HARDCORE] There comes a time in every buzzworthy punk band’s career where a deviation from the path of loud and fast is considered a middle finger flown in defiance of its most loyal fans. For this Pennsylvania-based, post-hardcore outfit, the restrained vocals and chorus pedals of its latest record, Hyperview, is that to the umpteenth power. But the outraged early adopters are largely missing the point, considering how melodically dense and nuanced the record actually is. You curse it for pumping the breaks now, but you’ll be nothing but thankful when its notoriously rowdy live set has a moment to breathe while standouts like “Chlorine” and “Rose of Sharon” set the crowd’s agitated seething to a momentary simmer. PETE COTTELL. 

4:30 pm Saturday, Aug. 22.


[TECH-POP] The idea of a math-rock outfit having enough cachet to be considered a “supergroup” may be a tad silly to the uninitiated, but it might be time to finally humor your barista with the one-man looping project and give Battles a listen. Little understanding of this esoteric curio of a subgenre needs to be in place to enjoy its forthcoming record, La Di Da Di, though some explanation of how a humble trio of dudes from bands you might remember from college (namely Helmet and Don Cabellero) makes such a melodically dense racket with so few hands on deck. You may see a laptop tucked away onstage at this year’s MFNW, but don’t expect Ian Williams and Co. to be checking email onstage. PETE COTTELL. 

5:30 pm Saturday, Aug. 22. 

Beat Connection

[SEEING SOUNDS] Though Beat Connection began in earnest as a party-starting DJ duo at the University of Washington, Reed Juenger's dorm-bound project has since blossomed into a four-piece that's all but left the house-party scene behind. It still brings the beats, obviously, but the orchestration of its incandescent, sample-heavy tropicalia has quickly evolved from laptops churning out four-on-the-floor grooves to a rock fan's fantasy of exactly what a live electronic show should be—namely, dudes with instruments sweating it out in real time. It helps that Juenger—who grew up in Vancouver, Wash.—daylights as a graphic designer, a skill that has catapulted Beat Connection's live set from modest collegiate beginnings to a mesmerizing multimedia experience. PETE COTTELL. 

12:30 pm Sunday, Aug. 23.

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