Now in its eighth year, Treefort Music Fest will take over downtown Boise beginning Wednesday, March 20, through Sunday, March 24. More than 400 bands, both emerging and established artists, will invade Idaho’s capital city for a long weekend full of music, food, talks, art installations and more. Fresh off the plane from Austin, Paste will be heading out into the musical wilderness once again to cover all the action in Boise. Here are 10 artists we’re really excited to see. For the entire lineup, visit the Treefort website.
Dream pop is an abundant commodity in today’s music economy, but happening upon both great songwriting and great instrumentation within the same band is a rare occurrence in the genre. So I was tickled to discover Anemone, a group from Montreal who stirred up a ton of buzz at South By Southwest last week. Led by frontwoman and project mastermind Chloé Soldevila, Anemone make hooky, hazy pop tinged with ’60s girl group vibes. And we hear they’re a real treat to see live.
2. Ava Luna
Ava Luna’s 2018 album Moon 2 is an escape from reality. Band members have described Ava Luna as being “more of a ‘place’ than anything else,” and that place isn’t of this earth—it’s a whole other glitchy, groovy galaxy, one that at times feels like Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space and, at others, a David Bowie deep cut. Rhythm rules on Moon 2, and I’ll be fascinated to see how those sounds translate to a live setting.
3. Be Forest
Be Forest make beautiful, immersive shoegaze that instantly recalls My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive. The Italian trio specializes in massive walls of sound that a clunky pair of noise-cancelling headphones just can’t do justice. They’re already on their third album, Knockturne (out in February), though they’re only just breaking out in the U.S.
4. Caroline Rose
On her 2018 LP LONER, a follow-up to 2014’s I Will Not Be Afraid, Caroline Rose makes the huge leap from country/folk to dark pop satire, which she executes marvelously. LONER is chock-full of humor and absurd characters, like Jeannie (below), but Rose herself might be the most intriguing personality of them all. She’s constantly, and exclusively, clad in red, wooing her 16,000 Instagram followers with consistently hilarious updates from the road. Her music is oodles of fun, and her live show promises to be much the same.
Following the disintegration of her longtime band, Alex Niedzialkowski knew she wasn’t done being a songwriter. From those ashes came her 2018 album Comfort World, a project brought on by some very uncomfortable happenings: a breakup, job loss and family illness among them. So Niedzialkowski rounded up her musician friends and created her own comfort. She sings with an assured air, the result of “a lot of time in my bedroom, writing these songs to get me through it.”
6. Liz Phair
A big part of Treefort is music discovery, but sometimes you just can’t resist a legacy act, especially when that artist is Liz Phair, one of music’s most iconic feminists and a professional badass. Phair is still touring and riding the press train from last year’s reissue of Exile in Guyville for a 25th anniversary box set, Girly-Sound To Guyville, and we can’t say we’re complaining.
7. Mike Krol
Mike Krol knows his way around a power chord, so much so that he named his new album Power Chords. Krol’s Merge release was an early 2019 favorite, packed with good ol’ fashioned shred and thundering electric guitar solos. We’re happily packing our earplugs.
8. Pinky Pinky
Pinky Pink are an L.A. trio who formed high school, then making appropriately youthful garage rock and channeling girl group sounds. Fresh off a SXSW stint, Anastasia, Isabelle and Eva are sliding into Boise to once again show off their groovy style. Anastasia gets extra points for acting as drummer and lead vocalist—handling both the sticks and the mic is tricky business, but marvelous to behold.
9. Sudan Archives
Sudan Archives, a.k.a. L.A. songwriter and self-taught violinist Brittney Parks, made waves last year with her excellent EP, the atmospheric Sink. Inspired by the Sudanese fiddlers for whom she’s named, Sudan Archives weaves luscious folk sounds with synthetic beats to create her own beautiful brand of electro-instrumentation.
Sister trios like Haim and Joseph have captured us with their gracious rock ’n’ roll and sweeping harmonies, but TEEN are doing something else entirely. Teeny, Lizzie, and Katherine Lieberson recently shared their eclectic new album Good Fruit, and it’s a weird and wild traipse into an electronic jungle. Charged at times and more subdued at others, Good Fruit is a sweet listen all the way through.