We’ll have coverage of some of the best acts of Snowball early next week on our blog, but this month in our print issue we featured some of our favorite performers from this year’s event. Here are the BandWagon staff’s picks for the hidden gems of the 2013 Snowball Music Festival.
The indie-dance band Rubblebucket is performing at this year’s Snowball Music Festival, and if you’re going you should definitely check them out. Based out of Brooklyn, these crazy cats know how to put on a show. They usually go all out on stage with theatrics and fun interactive elements. Lead singer and saxophonist Annakalmia Traver is such a spunky delight, and when she runs through the crowd you can just tell she loves every single person that came out to appreciate their unique brand of music.
The band consists of multiple horns, saxophones and other unconventional instruments along with a talented guitarist, bassist and percussionist. They jam so hard in so many styles, it’s difficult to set a good classification for these guys: afrobeat, funk, dance, awesome. But above all, you can really feel the love with these guys on stage.
Filled with catchy hooks and glaring talent, the large group of musicians propel you through poppy reggae and psychedelic wind-instrumentation that’s guaranteed for a good time. And they’re really cool in person too. They are not skittish around their admirers, sometimes welcoming people to chill with them. I’m sure they’d split a spliff with you if you offered. – James Garcia
Tennis is one of Colorado’s best-kept secrets. The indie pop duo is comprised of married couple Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley, who started Tennis after a sailing trip on the Eastern Atlantic Seaboard. Their first album, Cape Dory, was released in 2011 and was inspired by the couple’s time at sea. The band’s unique lo-fi sound garnered attention and awarded them many touring opportunities after its release.
Tennis’ second album, Young & Old, was released last year and was produced by Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney. Carney’s influence brought Tennis to a new level, getting them attention from Rolling Stone Magazine and National Public Radio. The band’s first hit song off Young & Old was the upbeat pop tune “Orgins.” The band made a music video for the song that featured footage shot during a snowstorm in the Rocky Mountains by a friend of the band. The video has over 1,800 views on YouTube and cemented Tennis as one of Colorado’s greatest underground successes on the verge of breaking out. For now, fans of the band can see them play shows all over Colorado and around the country regularly. – Sean Hunter
Bestfriends is made up of two actual longtime friends from Chicago, Nick Scalise (guitar and lead vocals) and Gregory Shanahan (vocals and keys.) Bestfriends is a newer band that has only been touring for a year, but Scalise and Shanahan are not rookie musicians. Bestfriends write, record, and produce all of their own music, and do it in a manner that make them appear to be music business experts.
After only playing shows for one year, Bestfriends have managed to make an impression on the electro music scene. Their contagious melodies accompanied with Scalise’s smiling face and joyous vocals create a sound that is enjoyable for anyone, without being too generic. Bestfriends played a crowd-moving show in Greeley back in January, and along with playing Snowball, they are also scheduled to play other music festivals this year, including Electric Forest and SXSW.
Bestfriends are skilled musicians that create tracks that are catchy and upbeat, and their performance skills are just as impressive. These talented guys may be well-educated and experienced in their field, but by no means are they rigid. Snowball attendees should expect a show that is full of dancing and good vibes. They may be small now, but they are about to become huge, and definitely an essential stop on any electro fan’s Snowball agenda. – Jordan Wood
Electronic performance combo Grizmatik, comprised of electronic DJs Griz and Gramatik, are known for their incredible dance beats and catchy drops. The newly-formed duo combines their talents to produce “Digital Liberation Is Mad Freedom (DLIMF),” one of the hottest new tracks for electronic dance music today. The song has more than 190,000 plays on SoundCloud and has been grabbing the attention of listeners who are looking for raunchy drops, uplifting melodies, and a chill jam band style all in one show. Gramatik’s stylish funk and dance beat bounce mixes with Griz’s hard drops and captivating electronic melodies to create an unforgettable set for Snowball 2013.
Gramatik has been making music since the late ‘90s but only started making electronic music in 2008. Griz, on the other hand, has created soulful music since he was 13. Both musicians have a strong passion for music and work hard to create the fullest, most artistic beats they can with their years of music production experience.
Although the two have shows all over the U.S. throughout the summer separately, Snowball is currently the only event the unique electronic/soul/dance duo has scheduled. There is no doubt that Grizmatik is one of the most anticipated concerts at this year’s Snowball Music Festival. – John Hann
Veteran producers Parson and Lemiwinks united forces in 2010 to create the Austin, Texas duo Run DMT and have been shaking up the electronic music industry ever since. The DJ team is known for their grimy heavy bass and entrancing psychedelic melodies that create the group’s unique sound and euphoric feel. Although the duo has only been together since 2010, their debut song “Bro 2.0” hit the top of the dubstep charts, as well as their song “Drop Top,” which topped the drum and bass charts. The DJ duo dropped their album Union of Opposites in 2012 and have played at several larger music festivals, such as Camp Bisco and the Electronic Daisy Carnival.
Run DMT will be an excellent show for any fan looking for some filthy bass tracks and euphoric captivating melodies. Even though Run DMT is lower on the Snowball line up, their concert will be a remarkable show full of psychedelic lights and sounds to keep fans pumped. Come see how this newly formed electronic dance duo has made such a strong impression on the electronic music industry over the past few years. – John Hann
Robotic Pirate Monkey
Not only does Robotic Pirate Monkey have a kickass name, they also lay the beats down fresh-like. Consisting of Boulder boys Andrew Hathaway, Matt Berryhill, and Matt Flesher, this trifecta of electronic excellence demands to be danced to. Face-melting breakdowns and hip-hop inspired beats laid over killer bass lines and stellar vocal samplings, make this a very smart electronic trinity.
Robotic Pirate Monkey combines massive electro-elements with samples from music of the past. Sometimes it sounds like old movie scores and other times it’s an orchestra or classical guitar being smashed into the 21st century with dub enthusiasm and killer synths. But the approach is always fresh. Their name really does them justice: they are a creature of both a digital and biological nature that has come to plunder your ear virginities.
There’s plenty of quality electronic music to experience this year, but it would be a shame to spend all your time at Snowball on the big names in electronic when there’s an evil monkey in the closet on the next stage over, doing sonic tricks for bananas. And they’re local musicians, which should always be a point of pride when talking about northern Colorado. – James Garcia
Polica may be the indie band with the most eyes fixated on its prospective career. Made up of Minnesota-based singer Channy Leaneagh and producer/musician Ryan Olson, Polica is a moody pop outfit who utilize synth vocals and R&B music to craft a sound that sets itself apart. After releasing their first album Give You The Ghost in early 2012, the band has been loading on the admiration. Grammy winner and former indie secret Bon Iver told Rolling Stone Magazine “They’re the best band I’ve ever heard.”
Polica is known for the group’s live shows, which feature two drummers and Leaneagh’s distinctive dance moves. Their impressive performances have garnered the attention of many major media outlets that cite Polica as one of the next big things in music. Their songs “Amongster” and “Lay Your Cards Out” have been featured in network television shows. The band describes their sound as “dark pop music” but listening to Polica is a much more rich experience than advertised. Leaneagh notes that the band’s name comes from the Polish word meaning policy, and Polica acts an unwritten code between the band mates to always remain polite. Luckily for their fans, Polica’s music is anything but. – Sean Hunter