50 Acts You Won’t Want To Miss At SXSW

It’s that time of year again and South By Southwest (SXSW) is just around the corner! We’ve decided to bring back our “50 Acts You Won’t Want To Miss” feature and spent hours trying to narrow down our favorite acts. Not making it to Texas for the event? We’ve got you covered!! Check out our Spotify SXSW playlist which features one song from each artist on it here or at the very end of the list below!

Andy Frasco & The
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Genre: Americana/Rock
Recent Release: Happy
Song To Check Out: “Tie You Up”

Where to catch Andy Frasco & The U.N.: 3.16 – 12am – New
Fronteir Showcase @ Swan Dive; 3.17 – 3pm @ Shangri La; 3.17 – 6pm @ Doc’s Bar
& Grill; 3.18 – 6:45pm – The Most Definitely & Wind Up Records
Presents: THE YARD

Hometown: Denver, CO
Genre: Heavy Rock
Recent Release: Kill Tonight
Song To Check Out:

“Kill Tonight”

Where to catch BANDITS: 3.16 – 5pm – RedGorilla Showcase @ Thirsty Nickel; 3.17 – 1am – Boomtown Music Showcase @ 512 Bar; 3.17 – 5:20pm – Big Picture Media Showcase @ Thirsty Nickel; 3.17 – 9pm – RedGorilla Showcase @ Blind Pig Rooftop; 3.19 – 5pm – RedGorilla Showcase @ San Jac Saloon

Hometown: Liverpool, UK
Genre: Alternative/Pop
Recent Release: Banners
Song To Check Out

: “Shine A Light”

Where to catch Banners: 3.16 – YouTube Showcase @ Coppertank; 3.16 – British Music Showcase; 3.18 – McDonald’s Loft

Barns Courtney
Hometown: Ipswich, UK
Genre: Americana
Recent Release: “Glitter & Gold”
Song To Check Out

: “Fire”

Where to catch Barns Courtney: 3.16 – 10pm – Americana Music Association @ Lamberts; 3.17 – Floodfest Day Party @ Cedar Street Courtyard; 3.17 – WFUV Day Party @ Hotel Saint Cecilia; 3.18 – 10:40pm – Paradigm Showcase @ Stubbs BBQ; 3.19 – KGSR Live @ W Hotel; 3.19 – 11pm – NME Presents: Official SXSW Showcase @ Latitude 30

Beach Slang
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
Genre: Punk
Recent Release: The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us
Song To Check Out:

“Bad Art &
Weirdo Ideas”

Where to catch Beach Slang: 3.14 – The Onion & AV Club Present Just Another Manic Monday @ Barracuda; 3.16 – 3:30pm – Secret Sounds Presents Falls Festival and Splendour In The Grass At SXSW @ Sidewinder; 3.16 – 10:30pm – Jansport & Noisey Present Bands And A Bonfire Under The Big Sky @ Cheer Up Charlie’s; 3.17 – 12pm – Waterloo Records In-Store @ Waterloo Records; 3.17 – 2:35pm – Pitchfork Party @ Barracuda; 3.17 – 5pm – Biggest Little Day Party @ Frank; 3.18 – 12:30pm – Spin At Stubb’s @ Stubb’s BBQ; 3.18 – 6pm – SXSW Outdoor Stage @ Lady Bird Lake; 3.18 –1am –  Flowerbooking, Topshelf & Polyvinyl Show @ Sidewinder

Hometown: Bergenfield, NJ
Genre: Indie Alternative
Recent Release: Terrible Thrills, Vol. 2
Song To Check Out:


Where to catch Bleachers: 3.18 – 12:05am – Bud Light Music Showcase @ Bud Light Factory

Blue Healer
Hometown: Austin, TX
Genre: Indie Rock
Recent Release: “Luminescent Eyes”
Song To Check Out:

“Luminescent Eyes”

Where to catch Blue Healer: 3.13 – 5:30pm – Side One Track One Showcase @ Volstead Lounge; 3.13 – 9pm – Do512 @ Antone’s; 3.16 – 8pm – New Frontier Touring Showcase @ Swan Dive; 3.17 – 3pm – Mercy Lounge Presents New Americana Party @ Craftsman; 3.18 – 12pm – QSC Showcase @ Austin Convention Center; 3.19 – 5pm – Eye in the Sky Future of Music Showcase @ Shiner Saloon

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Genre: Pop
Recent Release: Moth
Song To Check Out:


Where to catch Chairlift: 3.16 – 12:10am – Stereogum Showcase @ Bud Light Factory; 3.17 – 9pm – YouTube Showcase @ Coppertank Events Center; 3.18 –4:05pm – The Pitchfork Parties @ Barracuda

Daniel Eyes  & The Vibes
Hometown: Austin, TX
Genre: Indie Rock
Recent Release: Sweet Dreaming
Song To Check Out:

“Sleeping With the

Where to catch Daniel Eyes & The Vibes: 3.14 – 7:30pm – Solstice Live Showcase @ Empire Control Room; 3.17 – 1pm – Sound Dessert Showcase @ Stay Gold; 3.17 – 2:55 – Big Picture Media Showcase @ The Handlebar (Rooftop); 3.18 – 2pm – Party In My Pants @ Little Woodrow’s; 3.18 – 1am @ Gigtown Presents 6th Annual Future of Music Showcase @ Shiner Saloon; 3.19 – 9pm – Austin Music Foundation Showcase @ Tiniest Bar In Texas

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Genre: Pop
Recent Release: SWAAY
Song To Check Out

: “Toothbrush”

Where to catch DNCE: 3.16 – 12:55am @ Monster Energy Outbreak House; 3.17 – Music Is Universal Day @ JW Marriott; 3.17 – 3pm – Waterloo Records Day Party @ Waterloo Records; 3.18 – 12:15am @ Scoot Inn; 3.18 – 3pm – West of the Fest @ Key Bar

Fickle Friends
Hometown: Brighton, UK
Genre: Indie Pop
Recent Release: “Say No More”
Song To Check Out:


Where to catch Fickle Friends: 3.16 – 6pm –The Most Definitely and Concord Music Group Present The Yard Day; 3.17 – 1pm – Music For Listeners @ El Sapo; 3.17 – 12am – Pukkelpop x Disco Naivete Showcase @ The Sidewinder (Outside); 3.18 – 4:40pm – The British Music Embassy Day @Latitude 30

Hometown: Hood River, OR
Genre: Pop
Recent Release: Sounds EP
Song To Check Out:


Where to catch flor: 3.16 – 3:45pm @ The Yard; 3.16 – 8pm @ McDonald’s Loft; 3.17 @ Des Moines Embassy; 3.17 – 6pm @ Westin Hotel; 3.19 – 10:15pm @ Sidewinders

Grace Mitchell
Hometown: Portland, OR
Genre: Pop
Recent Release: “White Iverson”
Song To Check Out:

“Breaking Hearts”

Where to catch Grace Mitchell: 3.16 – 5pm – New Shapes Showcase @ Barracuda (Outside); 3.17 – Music Is Universal @ JW Marriott; 3.17 – 11pm – Floodfest @ Cedar Street Courtyard; 3.18 – 9:55pm @ Scoot Inn; 3.19 – Perez Hilton’s One Night In Austin @ Act Live at the Moody Theater; 3.19 – 10:50pm – Austin City Limits Live @ the Moody Theater

Great American Canyon Band
Hometown: Baltimore, MD
Genre: Americana
Recent Release: Crash
Song To Check Out:


Where to catch Great American Canyon Band: 3.17 – 4:30pm – The Midwest Music Foundation and Boulevard Brewing Company Present The 7th Annual Midcoast Takeover @ Shangri La; 3.18 – 10pm – Greenbelt Touring Official Showcase @ Tellers

Great Caesar
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Genre: Rock
Recent Release: Great Caesar on Audiotree Live
Song To Check Out:

“Hey Mama”

Where to catch Great Caesar: 3.13 – 4pm – McDonald’s Showcase @ Textile; 3.17 – 1am – ASCAP Showcase @ Speakeasy; 3.19 – 2pm – Southwest Invasion @ Whole Foods

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Genre: Rock
Recent Release: Waking Up The Giants
Song To Check Out:

“Bob Marley”

Where to catch Grizfolk: 3.16 – 6pm – The Showtime Roadies House @ Clive Bar; 3.16 – 9pm – Culture Collide/Stubhub @ Bangers; 3.17 – 12:45pm – Music Is Universal Party @ JW Marriott; 3.18 – 12:30pm – Windish Party @ Mohawk; 3.18 – 10pm – “Homegrown” Grammy Museum Showcase @ Tap Room; 3.19 – 4pm – Waterloo Records @ Waterloo Records; 3.19 – Pandora @ The Gatsby

Harvest Thieves
Hometown: Austin, TX
Genre: Americana
Recent Release: Rival
Song To Check Out:

“Your Damn Vanity”

Where to catch Harvest Thieves: 3.12 – 9pm – Hotel Van Zandt @ Geraldine’s; 3.13 – 5pm – Austin Town Hall and Side One Track One Showdown @ Volstead Lounge; 3.14 – 3pm – Mother Falcon’s “All The Friends Ball” @ Spiderhouse; 3.14 – 9pm – Antone’s x Capital One; 3.16 – 6th Annual Lucy’s Fried Chicken Revival @ Lucy’s Fried Chicken; 3.16 – 5:20pm – Austin Indie Radio Showcase @ The ABGB; 3.18 – 1:40pm – Lone Star Music/Koke-FM Party @ Threadgill’s; 3.18 – 5.15pm – Future of Music Showcase Presented by Gigtown @ Shiner Saloon; 3.19 – 5:30pm – Friends of East Cameron Showcase @ The White Horse; 3.19 – 11pm – Official SXSW Showcase @ Victorian Room at the Driskill

Hey Marseilles
Hometown: Seattle, WA
Genre: Alternative Rock
Recent Release: Hey Marseilles
Song To Check Out:

“West Coast”

Where to catch Hey Marseilles: 3.16 – 4:30pm – ListenToAir.com Day Party @ AGBG; 3.16 – 10pm – Showtime Roadies Showcase @ Clive Bar; 3.17 – 1pm – Sirius XM Radio @ Omni Hotel; 3.18 – 1:30pm – Baeble Music Day Party @ Empire Control; 3.19 – 4pm – Gingerman Day Party @ Dogfish Head

Icarus The Owl
Hometown: Portland, OR
Genre: Rock / Pop Punk
Recent Release: Pilot Waves
Song To Check Out:

“I Am the

Where to catch Icarus The Owl: 3.16 – 8:15pm – Max Volume @ Spiderhouse Ballroom; 3.17 – 3.45pm – Rocker Stalker/Switch Bitch Records/Behind The Curtain Media Presents Day Party @ Hole In The Wall (Middle Stage)

Jeremy and the Harlequins
Hometown: New York, NY
Genre: Rock
Recent Release: “No One Cares”
Song To Check Out:

“No One Cares”

Where to catch Jeremy and the Harlequins: 3.17 – 9pm – Official SXSW Showcase @ Continental Club; 3.19 – 1pm – 18th Annual Industry of Music Showcase @ Ginger Man; 3.20 – 2pm @ Carousel Lounge

Jocelyn & Chris Arndt
Hometown: Cambridge, MA
Genre: Rock
Recent Release: Edges
Song To Check Out:


Where to catch Jocelyn & Chris Arndt: 3.16 – 9pm – RedGorilla Showcase @ San Jac Saloon; 3.17 – 1:30pm – Big Picture Media Showcase @ The Handlebar; 3.18 – 8pm – RedGorilla Showcase @ The Blind Pig

Judah & The Lion
Hometown: Nashville, TN
Genre: Americana
Recent Release: Folk Hop N’ Roll
Song To Check Out:

“Take It All Back”

Where to catch Judah & The Lion: 3.19 – 10pm – Official SXSW Showcase @ Lamberts

Hometown: Rock Island, IL
Genre: Indie Pop/Rock
Recent Release: My Wild West
Song To Check Out:

“Don’t You Give Up
On Me”

Where to catch Lissie: 3.17 – 8:30am – KGSR Radio @ The W Austin; 3.17 – 4:30pm – NoiseTrade Presents: FRYE SXSW Days @ Swan Dive; 3.17 – 8:30pm – “Homegrown” Grammy Museum Showcase @ Maggie Mae’s Rooftop; 3.17 – 11pm – Thirty Tigers Official Showcase @ The Majestic; 3.18 – 5:40pm @ Willie Nelson’s “Luck Ranch;” 3.19 – 12pm @ Waterloo Records parking lot; 3.19 – 2pm – SPIN @ Bud Light’s Brazos Hall

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Genre: Alternative Rock
Recent Release: Comeback Queen EP
Song To Check Out:

“I Don’t Wanna
Have To Lie”

Where to catch LOLO: 3.19 – 12am – Official SXSW Showcase @ Buffalo Billiards; 3.19 – 2pm – Pandora Discovery Den Showcase @ The Gatsby

Magic Giant
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Genre: Folk
Recent Release: Set On Fire
Song To Check Out:

“Set On Fire”

Where to catch Magic Giant: 3.16 – 3pm – Stubhub! Party @ Bangers; 3.16 – 10pm @ Monster Energy Outbreak House

MC Lars
Hometown: Oakland, CA
Genre: Lit-Hop
Recent Release: The Zombie Dinosaur LP
Song To Check Out:


Where to catch MC Lars: 3.19 – 9:25pm – Official SXSW Showcase @ Karma Lounge

Milk Teeth
Hometown: Stroud, UK
Genre: Punk
Recent Release: Vile Child
Song To Check Out:

“Swear Jar

Where to catch Milk Teeth: 3.17 – 10:30pm  – Artist Group International SXSW Showcase @ Javelina

Hometown: New York, NY
Genre: Pop/Rock
Recent Release: Our Own House
Song To Check Out:

“Not Your Way”

Where to catch Misterwives: 3.18 – Bud Light Music Showcase @ Bud Light Factory

Night Argent
Hometown: Pasco, WA
Genre: Pop/Alternative
Recent Release: “Kamikaze”
Song To Check Out:

“Nothing More

Where to catch Night Argent: 3.16 – 2:50pm – The Best Lil Big Fest @ The Tiniest Bar in Texas; 3.16 – 6:50pm – Catalyst Publicity Group and Third String Productions Showcase @ The Aquarium

Odd Folks
Hometown: College Station, TX
Genre: Rock
Recent Release: Monica
Song To Check Out:


Where to catch Odd Folks: 3.14 – Three Links; 3.15 – Modern Noise Showcase @ Badlands; 3.16 – Catalyst Publicity Group and Third String Productions Showcase @ The Aquarium; 3.17 – 3pm – Party on the Patio Showcase @ Cheers Rooftop Patio Bar

Hometown: San Francisco, CA
Genre: Electronic Pop
Recent Release: “Golden Chains”
Song To Check Out:

“Love You To The

Where to catch OHLAYINDIGO: 3.15 – 4pm – RedGorilla Music Festival @ The Roof Top on 6th; 3.17 – 12:40pm – Big Picture Media Showcase @ The Handlebar (Rooftop)

Hometown: NJ
Genre: Alternative Rock
Recent Release: Every Good Boy
Song To Check Out:

“Flying Man”

Where to catch Owel: 3.17 – 7pm – Party On The Patio @ Cheers; 3.18 – 6pm – 3rd Annual Hand Drawn Records Showcase @ Brass House Austin

Hometown: Manchester, UK
Genre: Rock
Recent Release: Wild Nights
Song To Check Out:

“Dazed by You”

Where to catch PINS: 3.15 – 5:30pm – Babe Fest/Tom Tom Magazine @ Salvage Vanguard; 3.16 – 4pm – She Shreds Showcase @ Hotel Vegas; 3.17 – 3pm – Smear Magazine Party Seneca Falls Co-Op; 3.17 – 8pm – Pias Showcase @ Latitude 30; 3.18 – 2:45pm – Jackalope Party @ Jackalope; 3.19 – 12pm – Music For Listeners Party @ El Sapo; 3.19 – 6:25pm – Street Legal Guitars Party @ Street Legal Guitar Shop; 3.19 – 9pm – Warp Magazine Showcase @ The Blackheart

Hometown: Beaumont, TX
Genre: Punk/Rock
Recent Release: “Bliss”
Song To Check Out:


Where to catch Purple: 3.13 – 12:30am @ Hotel Vegas; 3.13 – 5pm – Peachy Party @ Swan Dive; 3.14 – 5:30pm – Strange Brew 5 @ Hotel Vegas; 3.15 – 5:45pm – Casual Strangers Day Party @ Guero’s Taco Bar; 3.17 – 3pm @ Red Bull Sound Select; 3.17 – 5pm @ Doc’s Motorworks; 3.17 – 8pm @ Lucky Lounge; 3.18 – 1pm – Siren Sound Temple Party @ Stay Gold; 3.18 – 6pm – The North Gate Main Event @ Carousel Lounge; 3.19 – 5pm @ The Firehouse Hostel

Quiet Company
Hometown: Austin, TX
Genre: Indie Rock
Recent Release: Transgressor
Song To Check Out:

“Holland 1945”

Where to catch Quiet Company: 3.17 – 1am – Official SXSW Showcase @ Palm Door on Sabine; 3.18 – 103.1 iHeart Austin 3rd Birthday Bash @ Maggie Mae’s; 3.19 – 12:45pm – Quantum Collective Southwest Invasion @ Whole Foods; 3.19 – 11pm – Official SXSW Showcase @ Scoot Inn

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Genre: Rock/Pop
Recent Release: “My Heart Beats 4 U”
Song To Check Out

: “My Heart Beats 4

Where to catch Rooney: 3.17 – 1am – Official SXSW Showcase @ Soho Lounge

Royal Teeth
Hometown: New Orleans, LA
Genre: Indie/Dance/Pop
Recent Release: Wild
Song To Check Out

: “Wild”

Where to catch Royal Teeth: 3.18 – 11pm – Official SXSW Showcase @ Esther’s Follies

Strangers You Know
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Genre: Indie Folk Pop
Recent Release: Loosen up the Leash
Song To Check Out:

“Tell Me I’m

Where to catch Strangers You Know: 3.18 – 8pm – Official SXSW Showcase @ Tap Room at the Market

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Genre: Rock
Recent Release: Beverly Hells EP
Song To Check Out:


Where to catch SWIMM: 3.16 – 1pm – The Beehive at SXSW @ Swan Dive; 3.17 – Get Buzzed @ The Brew Exchange; 3.18 – “Homegrown” Grammy Museum @ Tap Room at the Market; 3.19 – Double Dutch @ Sidewinder

Hometown: London, UK
Genre: Alternative Pop
Recent Release: “Chances”
Song To Check Out:


Where to catch sykes: 3.19 – 8pm – Official SXSW Showcase @ The Townsend

Teddy Thompson & Kelly Jones
Hometown: New York, NY
Genre: Folk Rock
Recent Release: “Never Knew You Loved Me Too”
Song To Check Out:

“I Thought That We
Said Goodbye”

Where to catch Teddy Thompson & Kelly Jones: 3.17 – 4pm – Rachel Ray Feedback Party; 3.18 – 6:30am – KGSR Live; 3.19 – 12pm – KDRP Live; 3.19 – 8pm @ Central Presbyterian Church

The Ballroom Thieves
Hometown: Boston, MA
Genre: Alternative Rock
Recent Release: “Bury Me Smiling”
Song To Check Out:


Where to catch The Ballroom Thieves: 3.17 – 12am – New Frontier Touring Showcase @ Swan Dive (Inside)

The Christopher Brothers
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Genre: Alternative / Pop Punk
Recent Release: Dog Daze
Song To Check Out:  “The Girl Next Door”

Where to catch The Christopher Brothers: 3.16 – 5pm – RedGorilla Showcase @ The Handlebar; 3.18 – 4:30pm – Texas Rockfest @ Main Stage; 3.19 – 3pm @ San Jac Saloon

The Courtesy Tier
Hometown: New York, NY
Genre: Rock/Pop
Recent Release: When You Were Young
Song To Check Out:

“Little Rock”

Where to catch the Courtesy Tier: 3.14 – 8pm – Priced For Punks Showcase @ Cheer Up Charlies; 3.15 – 10pm – SXSW Showcase Presented by SweetWater Brewing @ Burnside Tavern; 3.17 – 3:15pm – RockerStalker/Bitchswitch Records/Behind The Curtains Media @ Hole In The Wall; 3.18 – 12pm – RockerStalker Presents SXSW Brooklyn BBQ @ Hotel Vegas Annex; 3.18 – 3pm – RockerStalker/Bitchswitch Records/Behind The Curtains Media @ Big Bang Bar

The Gills
Hometown: Nashville, TN
Genre: Alternative Rock
Recent Release: “Gimme Gimme”
Song To Check Out:


Where to catch The Gills: 3.19 – 11pm – Official SXSW Showcase @ Trinity Hall at Old School

The Grahams
Hometown: New York, NY
Genre: Americana
Recent Release: “The Wild One (Big Pink Mix)”
Song To Check Out:

“Glory Bound”

Where to catch The Grahams: 3.15 – 6pm – Sun Radio Broadcast @ El Mercado; 3.15 11:30pm – Official SXSW Showcase @ Saxon Pub; 3.18 – 9m – Official SXSW Showcase @ Hilton Garden Inn (18th Floor); 3.19 – 12:30pm – Jenni Finlay & Conqueroo Present Rebels & Renegades @ Threadgill’s on Riverside; 3.20 – 3pm @ Continental Club

The Head and the Heart
Hometown: Seattle, WA
Genre: Pop
Recent Release: Spotify Session
Song To Check Out:

“Lost In My Mind”

Where to catch The Head and the Heart: 3.19 – 12am – Culture Collide & Showtime Present The Showtime Roadies House @ Clive Bar

The New Regime
Hometown: San Diego, CA
Genre: Alternative
Recent Release: Exhibit B
Song To Check Out:

“We Rise, We Fall”

Where to catch Reckless Serenade: 3.18 – 1am – “Homegrown” Grammy Museum @ Tap Room; 3.19 – 10pm 0 Trinity Hall at Old School

The Routine
Hometown: San Diego, CA
Genre: Funk, Rock
Recent Release: Black Tropics
Song To Check Out:  “Too Rich”

Where to catch The Routine: 3.16 – 12am – RedGorilla Showcase @ The Blind Pig Pub; 3.17 – 2:10pm – Big Picture Media Showcase @ The Handlebar (Rooftop); 3.18 – 1:40pm – Texas Rock Fest; 3.19 – 7pm – RedGorilla Showcase @ The Handlebar (Rooftop)

Hometown: San Diego, CA
Genre: Alternative Indie Rock
Recent Release: The Cosmic Drama
Song To Check Out:

“I’m Ready For You
To Come Back”

Where to catch Weatherbox: 3.15 – Funeral Sounds & Broken World Media Showcase @ Eden House Co-Op

Check out our SXSW Spotify playlist below!



A continuation to last winters release, we are happy to share our newest compilation, Tracks In The Snow, Volume 3! Featuring tracks from friends and bands we’ve featured on the site during 2015, Tracks In The Snow, Volume 3 includes songs from Redlands, Icarus The Owl, The Ballroom Thieves, and seven other amazing artists! Best part? It’s completely free!

Below you can find the full track listing and links to where you can stream and download the compilation!

Track listing:
1. “Peak and Valley Lines” – Icarus the Owl
2. “Alive” – Boroughs
3. “Clover” – Valise
4. “Big Talk” – Redlands
5. “Bullet” – The Ballroom Thieves
6. “Don’t Ever Leave” – Western Daughter
7. “Never Afraid” – MC Lars feat. Watsky
8. “Tuesday” – Intergalactix (So Flawless Remix)
9. “Apartment 1E” – Heartless Breakers
10. “The Best is Yet to Come” – First Year on Earth

You can listen to it on Soundcloud by clicking here,
You can download it on Mediafire by clicking here,
And you can check out our Digital Booklet by clicking here!

Review:: A Wolf In The Doorway | The Ballroom Thieves

Boston has a new best-kept secret, and it’s a three-piece rock band in a folk suit.

While they may just be a trio, The Ballroom Thieves’ sound far outreaches their roster’s size. At its midpoint, “Bullet” grows from a simple dark acoustic number into a racing bluegrass number with Earley and Peters’ vocals bouncing off one another.

“Oars to the Sea” stands out as an early gem, with each member loaning their voice to provide three different vocal styles. Earley rumbles in with a low croon, while Mauch and Peters lend support. It also features the first example of Earley’s guitar ability, ripping a brief, sharp solo to accompany Peters’ cello work and Mauch’s percussion.

Excluding backing roles throughout previous tracks, Peters’ vocals make their first lead appearance in “Bury Me Smiling,” a soft and smooth contribution to contrast Earley’s grit. Where “Lantern” and “Bullet” are on the quicker and louder side of the fence, “The Loneliness Waltz” and “Saint Monica” even the tally of ballads vs. faster tracks. The former gives the instrumentals a moment to show their strengths, while the latter is a heartbroken tribute to an admired woman and unreciprocated feelings. Earley tenderly sings “Her voice for a moment of lenience / her words for the coin in your jar / While she pays her dues as another man’s muse / I still can’t tell my head from my heart.” The
shortest song on the album paces itself wisely, stocking up on emotion and
unloading it quickly before risking growing old or dry.

Choosing individual songs to highlight proved a bit difficult. A Wolf in the Doorway plays more as an extended piece than as a collection of songs. Transitions, like “Archers” slipping into “Lanterns” or the way “Oars to the Sea,” “Bury Me Smiling,” and “The Loneliness Waltz” melt from one into the next brings a heavy sense of unity to the tracks.

When The Ballroom Thieves opened the final day of this May’s Boston Calling, they drew a crowd that grew with each passing song. Whether it was their massive sound, their unusual stage setup, or a combination of those along with a handful of other factors, the end result was the same – an eager, interested swarm of fans flocking over.

Being able to have seen them perform before, what stands out about A Wolf in the Doorway is how The Ballroom Thieves’ personality and individuality translate. In concert, it’s obviously much easier to pick out the traits that give them their uniqueness –
the huge energy, the crowd interaction, Devin Mauch’s unconventional percussion setup (which lacks a kick-petal and has Mauch play his floor tom with a brush or stick). With the album, it still shines through. The three members’ multitalented ability showcases their range, and the sporadic uses of other horns, strings, and keys helps take that even further.

Part of me feels this album could have been a perfect autumn record. Its mid-April release, however, doesn’t do it any harm. With the soaring temperatures we’ve had over these last few months, and with the worstof it yet to come, A Wolf in the Doorway
brings the heat.

Release Date: April 21st, 2015
Runtime: 41:41
Rating: 4/5
Check Out: “Bury Me Smiling,” “Oars to the Sea,” “Bullet”

Track listing:
01. “Archers”
02. “Lantern”
03. “Bullet”
04. “Saint Monica”
05. “Wild Woman”
06. “Oars to the Sea”
07. “Bury Me Smiling”
08. “The Loneliness Waltz”
09. “Here I Stand”
10. “Anchors”
11. “Oak”
12. “Wolf”

The Ballroom Thieves are:
Martin Earley – Guitar/Vocals
Devin Mauch – Percussion/Vocals
Calin Peters – Cello/Vocals

Boston Calling Wrap-Up Report

Boston Calling Music Festival City
Hall Plaza; Boston, MA
May 22nd – May 24th 2015

Pre-show Grade: With only a few standout acts (in comparison to past festivals), this
was more of a grower than a shower. B

Post-show Grade: After a handful of fantastic performances from acts I didn’t know much about, such as MØ, TV On the Radio, and The Lone Bellow, there were surely countless new fans, myself included, gained by plenty of bands. Meanwhile, those who were expected to be dominant – St. Vincent, Marina and the DiamondsHALSEY, and Tenacious D to name a few, lived up to and exceeded expectations. A-

Highlight & lowlights: Boston’s own The Ballroom Thieves opened day three with a bang, drawing an expanding crowd that grew with each song, while hometown heroes PIXIES closed the festival in expert fashion. Not every band could generate the same heightened buzz, however. A few midday acts on Sunday, with focus on Vance
and Jason Isbell, drew the crowds, but didn’t seem to hold their attention throughout the duration of their lengthy set lists. But even without being at full steam, the energy was still better than most. B+

As always, the plaza was immaculate, not showing any signs of wear-and-tear from the 10,000+ weekend attendees. After a few tinkers and tweaks over the last few years, the stage setup has been perfected and cemented, with the dual-stage setup allowing for quick changes to one without distracting from the other stage’s performer, and giving any festival-goer the ability to see and hear from any spot within the grounds. A+

Not like this can be altered or changed by the people in charge, but it helps when it leans to the more favorable side, which it did. A chilly Friday night wasn’t a big issue, thanks to the three-act introductory lineup. The sun shone bright throughout Saturday and Sunday without feeling overbearing or uncomforting. My only issue was some big-time light during a few acts, but really, that’s just me looking for something to say. Good job, Mother Nature. A

Much like the stellar groundskeeping, many other amenities were beyond acceptable. Though I can’t speak for the parking situation since I stayed at a hotel about a block away (which, I’m going to give BC a point for that, as well), public transit allowed attendees to arrive from all over the city. Plus, if people did have trouble parking, that was probably their fault for trying to drive in the city anyway. The portable bathrooms were kept clean and stocked (I mean, as well as a festival’s portable bathrooms can be), and there were designated VIP restrooms to those with higher-level tickets. A handful of vendors and sponsors offered free food or beverage samples, drawing in customers a wide selection of local and widespread options. Shoutout to the Chicken and Rice Guys, Polar Drinks, and Chipotle. I love you all. A

It’s no secret that I love the Boston Calling festival – it’s a killer music weekend in the heart of my favorite city, staffed by some of the nicest, most-accommodating people I’ve had the pleasure of working with. And those are the factors that the general public rarely see, which makes it even more special – they aim for the best in every aspect they can. It sounds biased, but I’d be willing to bet that any random, impartial concertgoer would second at least a few of my opinions. And every piece of the festival that seems impressive is magnified even greater when you consider that this past May was only the fifth time it has been put on, and only the third as a three-day show. Somehow both huge yet centralized, providing all of the key elements with a creative touch, Boston Calling is an up-and-comer if there ever was one. A-

And Go Bruins!

Show Review:: Boston Calling May 2015, Day 3


Written by Kara Kokinos and Eric Riley.
Photos (Halsey, Vance Joy, TV On The Radio) by Kara Kokinos.
Photos (The Ballroom Thieves, ILoveMakonnen, Lucius, Jason Isbell, Tenacious D) by Eric Riley.

On Sunday, the final day of this spring’s Boston Calling, there was a sense of anticipation that hovered over the crowd throughout the day. Following Saturday’s vivacious performers, festival goers had to question if the performances on Sunday, those punctuated by Tenacious D and (Boston’s own) Pixies, could reach the high bar that had
been set over the previous two days.


Starting once more with a local act, Sunday began with The Ballroom Thieves – a simple trio with a sound far larger than their roster would lead you to believe. With the two-stage setup that attributes to a large portion of Boston Calling’s success, fans of that evening’s headliner can arrive early and camp out on a barricade, knowing they’ll have a cushy spot later on. That being said, I witnessed people trek over to the Red Stage during
The Ballroom Thieves, sacrificing a key vantage point for a chance to see what all the fuss was about. The band’s massive sound, along with their (relatively shocking) command and confidence did not disappoint the Blue Stage defectors. Though, those who chose to stay put were equally lucky, with showstopper Halsey following suit. A newcomer to the music scene, having only been active for the last 11 months or so, the blue-haired badass oozed charisma, drawing up comparisons to Day Two performances – Marina’s vocal prowess coupled with Tove Lo’s raw, unabashed sexuality and charm. Her energy was incredible, made even more impressive by her brief history and her low billing. If she makes her way back around to BC in the future, do not expect to see her filling the second slot of the day.


The next pair of performances, those by ILoveMakonnen and The Lone Bellow, were as different as possible. The former was a solo hip-hop artist, while the latter were a soulful folk-rock group. Each drew admirable-sized crowds, though the transition between the two acts was arguably the least cohesive of the weekend. With Chet Faker originally slotted to follow these two, a smoother changeover, which was quite likely planned, would have been felt. A last-minute injury forced Faker to drop off of Sunday’s bill, but
swooping in to fill the open slot were Boston Calling alum Lucius, an equally appropriate fit.


The duo’s return to Boston Calling was kicked off with a breathtaking performance of “Go Home,” and while a somber, heartbroken ballad may not seem like the ideal introductory song, it left the crowd thundering with applause. Lead vocalists Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig entered in signature matching outfits, this time in black dresses, mirrored sunglasses, and vibrant red lipstick rather than the black-and-white getup from their first appearance. Known for their strong vocals paired with a mix of piano and synth, an extended (and wild) drum solo by the vocalists was a standout point in the weekend.


Both Jason Isbell and Vance Joy had strong performances, but the consecutive pairing of the two, as well as the length of their sets, acted more as a disservice than intended, causing the songs to feel lengthy and muddled, leaving some watchers underwhelmed. Had the two performed earlier in the day, or had a buffer artist performed in between the two, each could have had much greater success. The day was not beyond saving, however. TV on the Radio hypnotized for nearly an hour, combining soul, reggae, punk, and a thousand other genres into something strictly theirs.


Back when I wrote the preview for the show, listing the 7 bands to see, I listed Tenacious D at the top of that list. And after watching their set, I didn’t waste that list. Jack Black and Kyle Gass, despite not being the visual poster children for what you’d expect from rock stars, thrive off of this, delivering the unexpected. Brilliant musicians in their own right, their backing band kept up at every step throughout a set full of fan favorites
across their discography, a handful of wardrobe changes, and a freeform jazz
solo. The pinnacle moment  of the set, possibly the evening, and maybe even the weekend came after Gass and Black noticed that their electric guitar player was “looking a little strange,” as Black put it. The band then kicked into “Beezleboss (The Final Showdown),” exorcizing the Devil from their bandmate through an epic metal battle and
sending his sorry ass back to Hell.

Lastly, it was the Pixies’ chance. Festival veterans, music legends, hometown heroes – that’s a pretty lethal résumé. No matter the age, every person there at some point had either A. grown up with their music or B. grew up with a band who had the Pixies to thank for getting them started in one way or another. Closing out the weekend with a 30+ year setlist was a culmination of the festival as a whole – music for fans from all eras, of all ages, and from countless areas, coming together and singing along.

We’ll see you in September.

Seven Bands To See At Boston Calling: #1, Tenacious D

Today’s the day!! It is day one of Boston Calling and you can expect to see tons of coverage from us over the next couple of days! Wrapping up our Seven Bands To See At Boston Calling, we bring you our number one artist you need to be keeping an eye out for!

On our list so far: #7. Sharon Van Etten / Krill / The Ballroom Thieves, #6. Run The Jewels, #5. Halsey, #4. Marina and the Diamonds, #3. Beck, #2. St. Vincent

Today we talk about our #1 pick, Tenacious D.

They be not angels,
they are but men. But, though mere men, they make up TENACIOUS D, The Greatest Metal Band in the World. While they have
their roots planted deep in comedy, it would be impossible to deny the serious
talent Jack Black and Kyle Gass both have.


With a new album (potentially) planned for 2016-2017, and a
trio of rock operas in their arsenal, Sunday night is going to be absolutely
insane in the absolutely best way possible.

For fans of: everything.
For a taste, check out: “Beezleboss (the Final Showdown),” “Tribute,”
Catch them: Sunday, 8:05, Red Stage

Seven Bands To See At Boston Calling: #2, St. Vincent

It’s almost time! It’s only a few days until we’re back at Boston Calling once more. So, to keep with tradition, here is our list of who you need to be keeping an eye out for!

On our list so far: #7. Sharon Van Etten / Krill / The Ballroom Thieves, #6. Run The Jewels, #5. Halsey, #4. Marina and the Diamonds, #3. Beck

Today we talk about our #2 pick, St. Vincent

I first saw ST. VINCENT when she performed on The Colbert Report last February, and
then seeing her a few months later on Saturday
Night Live
had me hooked. It was this strange combination of energetic and
frigid, staged and theatrical, yet free and random.


Her music has been labeled “baroque pop” and “art rock” and
a dozen other things, but I think it’ll be something different to each
different listener. And when it translates to stage, it’ll be even more. (Also,
her self-titled album took home “Best Alternative Album” and made my Top 10
from 2014; maybe that’ll hold some merit?)

For fans of: Scissor Sisters, Tegan & Sara, the Dresden
For a taste, check out: “Prince Johnny,” “Teenage Talk,”  “Digital Witness”
Catch them: Saturday, 6:50, JetBlue

Seven Bands To See At Boston Calling: #3, Beck

It’s almost time! It’s less than one week away until we’re back at Boston Calling once more. So, to keep with tradition, here is our list of who you need to be keeping an eye out for!

On our list so far: #7. Sharon Van Etten / Krill / The Ballroom Thieves, #6. Run The Jewels, #5. Halsey, #4. Marina and the Diamonds

Today we talk about our #3 pick, Beck.

The Boston Calling
folks couldn’t get Beyoncé this year, so they booked Beck instead. (Not really.)


It deserves to be mentioned that Beck’s 12th (12TH!)
album brought home the Grammy for Album of the Year this year, but it also isn’t as big of an achievement as
it sounds, since the man has been winning Grammys almost as long as I’ve been
alive. I sincerely doubt you have better Friday night plans.

For fans of: The Arcade Fire, BASTILLE, Modest Mouse
For a taste, check out: “E-Pro,” “Blue Moon,” “Modern Guilt” (And “Loser,”
Catch them: Friday, 9:15, JetBlue Stage

Seven Bands To See At Boston Calling: #4, Marina and the Diamonds

It’s almost time! It’s less than one week away until we’re back at Boston Calling once more. So, to keep with tradition, here is our list of who you need to be keeping an eye out for!

On our list so far: #7. Sharon Van Etten / Krill / The Ballroom Thieves, #6. Run The Jewels, #5. Halsey

Today we talk about our #4 pick, Marina and the Diamonds.

I’m not entirely sure how to describe her, but all I
can really say about Marina and the
is that I am 145% sure we are going to have a ridiculously great
time watching this performance. She’s part dancefloor, part opera house, but it
all works.


Her crowd will be wild and energetic and ambitious, which
will be a perfect fit. And for those who may be new to Marina and aren’t sure
how to handle it, it’s simple: rule number one is you gotta have fun.

For fans of: The Ting Tings, La Roux, Ke$ha
For a taste, check out: “Homewrecker,” “Primadonna,” “How to Be a Heartbreaker”
Catch them: Saturday, 5:45, Red Stage

Seven Bands To See At Boston Calling: #5, Halsey

It’s almost time! It’s less than one week away until we’re back at Boston Calling once more. So, to keep with tradition, here is our list of who you need to be keeping an eye out for!

On our list so far: #7. Sharon Van Etten / Krill / The Ballroom Thieves, #6. Run The Jewels

Today we talk about our #5 pick, Halsey.

I didn’t get my first
listen of Halsey until early this
year, but from then on, there was no turning back. Her music is purely
addictive, and her huge “Ghost” is anything you could hope for from a pop song
– smooth, soft, sharp and seductive.


One of the serious contenders for Breakout Artist of
late-2014/2015, her early time slot is going to be a serious treat for those
who get there early. But, if she makes her way back for another round sometime
down the road, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see her performing much later.

For fans of: Ellie Goulding, Lorde, Sia
For a taste, check out: “Hurricane,” “Ghost,” “Empty Gold”
Catch them: Sunday, 1:35, JetBlue Stage