Daytrotter Downs, the second-annual musical extravaganza of new, up-and-coming and old-favorites returns March 3-4 to Davenport, Iowa. Our pals at Daytrotter have curated a line-up featuring no fewer than 47 acts to perform at their HQ, as well as RME’s Redstone Room. Two-day passes are currently available online for $55, as well as single day tickets for $30. As we look ahead to the festival, here are 15 acts to catch at Daytrotter Downs 2017.
These Philly-based fuzz-merchants dish out as much chunky guitar bliss as you can handle (if not more). Ride the wave of riffs to a moody ‘90s rapture, either while gazing at your shoes or in a sweaty heap.
RIYL: My Bloody Valentine, Cheatahs, No Joy
It’s hard to believe, but SSION has been purveying its brand of delicious underground sleaze for 20 years now, and if you’ve never seen them live you owe it to yourself to do so. There will be costumes and/or elaborate props. Expect the unexpected from these one-of-a-kind art stars.
RIYL: Robyn, B52s, Hercules & Love Affair
3. Post Animal
These upstarts burst onto Chicago’s psych rock scene last year with a sparkling debut, and they’ve built up a big head of steam in no time. Dreamy space pop engulfs the melody right where it should be, and the band sounds like a well-worn vinyl copy of a ‘70s masterpiece your dad used to roll joints on. Take a trip, you’ll be glad you did.
RIYL: Tame Impala, The Shins, The Zombies
4. Durand Jones & The Indications
Durand Jones, the fiery feel-good Bayou soul man by way of Indiana, put out his sensational debut in 2016, and “up-and-comer’ doesn’t even begin to say it. “Rising star” is the synonym you’re looking for. See him now so you can say you saw him when.
RIYL: Charles Bradley, Leon Bridges, CeeLo Green
5. Joan of Arc
The Chicago indie rock stalwarts have been at this for a few decades, and 20 years on they’re still exploring and expanding the outer edges of their sound. Jagged guitars and arch lyrics for sure, but so much more. If you’ve never seen these post-rock legends, now’s your chance.
RIYL: The Mountain Goats, last summer’s Tim Kinsella show, experimental fiction
6. Pieta Brown
has shared the stage with plenty of heavyweights and won her share of plaudits, but her buoyant Americana remains ever unaffected. She’s Iowa singer-songwriter royalty with a voice you can dream on.
RIYL: Cowboy Junkies, Neko Case, Grace Potter
These Chicago indie rockers to watch have been turning heads since their self-titled debut a few years back. Touring for their sophomore effort due to drop this month, they’re bringing the energy like they have something to prove. You like sing-songy vocals and swirly guitars for your bedroom dancing? Perfect! Now try it in public!
RIYL: The Fall, Car Seat Headrest, Wire
8. Adam Torres
After releasing the cult classic Nostra Nova in 2006, Adam Torres mostly abstained from recording for a decade as he travelled the world. He and his sublime voice finally returned on last year’s Pearls To Swine, and it was definitely worth the wait—equal parts cowboy crooner and lonesome ghost.
RIYL: Bon Iver, M. Ward, Slim Whitman
9. Gaelynn Lea
The 2016 NPR Tiny Desk Contest Winner, Gaelynn Lea is a classically trained violinist and songwriter from Duluth, Minn. She beat thousands of entrants with the haunting “Someday We’ll Linger In The Sun,” a track Dan Auerbach said had the effect of, “absolutely obliterating your heart.” Don’t miss.
RIYL: Joanna Newsom, The Carter Family, thinking of what might have been
This Atlanta post-hardcore outfit digs a bit deeper than your average emo band. Melodies galore? Check. Angsty reflection? Check. Search for meaning? Yup. See the show then write about it in your diary.
RIYL: Bayside, The Wonder Years (band), The Wonder Years (TV show)
The Kississippi (great name, by the way) official bio says that the Philly-based indie duo “began as a mystery,” while other sources say that they met on Tinder. Their most recent EP We Have No Future, We’re All Doomed (also a great name) splits the difference with songs that are equal parts ethereal dreamscape and sensual immediacy. Perfect soundtrack for staring at your crush from across the room, or snuggling with them after the gig.
RIYL: Beach House, Tegan & Sara, kissing with tongue
12. Middle Western
In a lineup fit for a roots rock fantasy team (if that was a thing), honky tonk heartthrob David Zollo and gravelly-voiced sage William Elliott Whitmore team up with fellow Iowan Brian Cooper and Chicago-ites Stephen “The Kid” Howard and Stevie Doyle to create a slice of Americana heaven. A true Iowa-based supergroup that works even better than you’d hope; we’ll need plenty of sawdust on the floor for this set.
RIYL: ‘70s Rolling Stones, The Civil Wars, house rockin’ and/or boot scootin’
13. ¡ESSO! Afrojam Funkbeat
This Chicago-based Afro-Latin groove outfit won the Chicago Reader’s Best New Band award for 2016 with an undeniably funky mix of Afrobeat, Latin and soul jams. Their one line bio sums them up nicely: “celebrating unity by fusing music styles.” Deep grooves with a deep message; bring your dancing shoes!
RIYL: The Daktaris, Antibalas, getting on the good foot
14. Mountain Swallower
Whoever said, “no one’s a hero in their own hometown” didn’t account for Mountain Swallower, the Quad Cities’ beloved psych-pop insurgents. They’re fresh off of two great releases in the last 12 months, and it feels like they’re just getting started. You know ‘em, you love ‘em; see you up at the front.
RIYL: Mild High Club, Frampton Comes Alive, trail mix
15. The Dawn
The Quad Cities’ jam-lords have been at this for a minute, and their expansive improv never fails to deliver. With sights and sounds to delight your senses, they always move the crowd. Give yourself over.
RIYL: Phish, Allman Brothers, The String Cheese Incident