Treefort Music Fest is excited to announce the first 123 artists to take the stage at Treefort 2020!
Dive into this first wave of over 120 bands hailing from 14 countries across the globe, plus dozens of artists performing at the forts of Treefort. So you can easily digest it, we’ve made you a few playlists with all the artists on all your favorite music platforms to guide you on your music-discovering journey.
If you want in on all the fun, there is still time to submit your work for an opportunity to be a part of Treefort.
For a full list of artists announced in this first round, check out our lineup page. And we’re just getting started — this is the first of a series of artist announcements so be prepared for more to be announced soon. Buy your Treefort pass before the holidays!
( portland, oregon )
Chromatics – known for Drive Soundtrack & Twin Peaks (Music from the Limited Event Series) – began as a noise-laden, post-punk outfit founded by Adam Miller in Seattle in 2001. They gained an underground following with their 2003 debut Chrome Rats Vs Basement Rutz, which was produced by Johnny Jewel.
After a lineup change, Jewel, one-half of iconoclastic Glass Candy, joined Chromatics and began working closely with Miller on a new, electronic sound. Soon after they added singer Ruth Radelet, as well as Nat Walker on drums and synthesizer, now fully complementing Miller’s deftly minimalist guitars with dreamy vocals and atmospheric electronics. In 2012, Chromatics released the classic album Kill For Love, securing their role as a landscape-defining band and earning a place on many publications’ year-end lists, including Pitchfork’s top ten albums of 2012.
( philadelphia, pennsylvania )
When the album written to memorialize your mother becomes your calling card, where do you turn for your second act? For Japanese Breakfast’s Michelle Zauner, it involved diving deeper into herself to evolve as an artist. With the release of her sophomore album Soft Sounds From Another Planet, Zauner expanded the breadth of the shimmering bedroom pop displayed on her debut Psychopomp. Her voice and vision came clearer into focus as she used the extended metaphor of outer space to observe the pain that defined the first part of her career.
Full of gleaming guitars and haunting electronics, Soft Sounds earned critical acclaim and new fans around the world, quickly making Japanese Breakfast a household name among the indie rock contingent.
( hobart, indiana )
After dropping out of college only 2 weeks in, Omar Apollo, a 20-year old, first generation Mexican-American singer from Indiana, began writing and recording his own mix of jazz, R&B, funk, alternative, soul, and pop music. His parents moved to the US to give their kids a better life and the opportunity to go to college; however, Omar always knew this route wasn’t meant for him. He began playing guitar at 12 years old, but quit soon after because he got bored of only playing in church. At age 18, Omar began listening to new styles of music and fell in love with the guitar again. His biggest influences are Benny Sings, D’Angelo, Los Panchos, John Mayer, Elliott Smith, Cuco Sánchez, Paul Simon, Gary Numan, and João Gilberto.
CHRISTIAN SCOTT ATUNDE ADJUAH
( new orleans, louisiana )
Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah‘s latest album, Ancestral Recall, released this year via the Ropeadope / Stretch Music labels features poet laureate Saul Williams on the album’s title track. Of the song, Highsnobiety proclaims, “The rising jazz-fusion artist can world-build like few others, crafting rhythm-driven zones that are as transcendent as they are grounded in richly organic sonics.” Additional collaborators on the recording include Elena Pinderhughes, Weedie Braimah, Logan Richardson, Mike Larry Draw, Chris Turner, and others.
Heralded by NPR as ushering in “a new era in jazz,” Adjuah continues to forge new ground. JazzTimes cites him as “The architect of a new commercially viable fusion” and “Jazz’s young style God.” Ancestral Recall continues Adjuah’s mission to unify people via their musical and cultural voices by tearing down the sonic and social constructs that separate them.
( nashville, tennessee )
Larkin Poe is comprised of Nashville-based sisters Rebecca and Megan Lovell, who named the band after their great-great-great-grandfather, a distant cousin of writer Edgar Allan Poe.
Steeped in the traditions of Southern roots music, the Atlanta-born sister duo released their fourth album Venom & Faith in 2018. The album showcases their mastery in orchestrating, harmonizing and breathing new life into the musical heritage of their upbringing as the band emerges rattling, stomping, and sliding into a modern-day depiction of what roots rock should sound like. They’re currently working on their next album, due in March 2020.
PETER BJORN AND JOHN
( stockholm, sweden )
It’s hard to survive in the music business, but Peter Bjorn and John have done that and then some. The Swedish indie-pop trio have been triumphing via their pitch-perfect alchemy of varying sounds and styles for two decades now, and their ninth album Endless Dream is but the latest proof of the unique creative chemistry that Peter Morén, Björn Yttling, and John Eriksson have successfully worked with for so long. Every PB&J album sounds like falling in love with music for the first time, and the deceptively light confections contained on Endless Dream is the trio’s latest romance.
“It’s the light to the darkness—the day to the night,” Morén explains, elaborating that PB&J picked up right where they left off from Darker Days. We were in a good place after Darker Days, so we continued in a similar way.”
( denver, colorado )
Tennis are an indie pop duo comprising husband and wife Patrick Riley (guitar, keyboards, production) and Alaina Moore (vocals, keyboards). They met while students in Colorado, and after graduating college they bought a sailboat and spent seven months sailing along the Eastern Seaboard. Post-adventure, they moved back to Colorado, and after getting settled began recording songs that had a modern lo-fi feel but a sweet ’50s pop heart. The songs were inspired by their trip and the discussions they would have about music while on board their boat (the Swift Ranger).
Yours Conditionally was released in early 2017 as the band set out for a long North American tour. They found time to record more songs, too, and released the five-track We Can Die Happy EP.
( new york, new york )
Prefuse 73 is the foremost alias of Guillermo Scott Herren, a producer and musician whose novel approach to hip-hop production helped bridge the ’90s output of the Mo’ Wax label to the following decade’s Los Angeles beat scene. Starting with albums such as Vocal Studies + Uprock Narratives (2001) and One Word Extinguisher (2003), Herren was one of the Warp label’s most noteworthy artists for a decade. Since then, he has recorded for smaller labels (inspired by Warp itself) like Temporary Residence and Lex, highlighted with expansive and colorful sets such as Rivington Não Rio (2015) and Sacrifices (2018). Although Herren has occasionally drifted away from hip-hop with positive results, his elegantly layered way with beats, and heavily treated voices, whether through samples or collaborations with the likes of MF Doom and Broadcast’s Trish Keenan, have remained the least replicable weapon in his arsenal.
( phoenix, arizona )
AJJ frontman Sean Bonnette can summarize the band’s new album, Good Luck Everybody, in a single sentence: “Sonically, it’s our least punk record, and lyrically, it’s our most punk record.”
And indeed, Good Luck Everybody (due out January 17, 2020), the Arizona band’s seventh album, stands out in their already diverse catalog. While still rooted in the folk-punk sound AJJ has become known for, the album is unafraid to delve into new territories that test the limits of what the band is capable of.
“I think it explores some of the weirder sides of AJJ, the more experimental leanings that we’ve had in the past,” says bassist Ben Gallaty. Good Luck Everybody draws from a wealth of sonic inspirations, from Laurel Canyon folk-rock of the 60s and 70s to avant garde artists like Suicide, as well as some orchestral pop.
( brooklyn, new york )
Sinkane is an artist with a real stake in our current cultural and political climate. Born in London to Sudanese parents, raised in Ohio, and now calling New York City home, the former skate punk turned afro funk whiz Ahmed Gallab refines his sound and message to peak form on his seventh studio album, Dépaysé, released on May 31st, 2019 via City Slang.
“Sinkane is an American band comprised of people from all over the world,” says Gallab in his bio letter for Dépaysé. “Our collective experience as children of the diaspora helped bring the music to life in the most honest way possible.” He adds, “Dépaysé is the story of an immigrant’s journey of self-discovery in the Trump era. The music is loud and raw, and it’s bursting with an energy unlike anything I’ve ever done before.”
( boise, idaho )
Magic Sword is an ageless tale of good and evil, told through an ever expanding graphic novel story and accompanying synth-heavy soundtrack albums. With the two mediums intertwined from it’s conception, together they are an epic experience for those bold enough to bear witness and come away with a deeper understanding of the ultimate hero’s journey. Armed with a musical and visual aesthetic that has it’s roots unabashedly buried deep in the golden era of 70s and 80s fantasy and sci-fi, it’s followers are called to another plane of existence where the struggle between light and shadow become all too real. The universe has been kind enough to bring the people of the land together this fall for the birth of the next chapter in the saga, as well as a world tour for the greater good.
( los angeles, california )
Since taking the industry by storm in 2014, the electric New Orleans native, Pell, born Jared Pellerin, has continued to expand his sound and musicality. His stellar Floating While Dreaming mixtape garnered attention and praise from press across the board, including FADER, Billboard, Hypebeast, XXL, Complex, among others.
Pell linked with NGHTMRE for Magic Hour EP, releasing through Mad Decent in June 2018. Co-produced by Pell, “Hear Me,” was featured on Madden 19’s soundtrack. Rounding out 2018, Pell was featured on XXL’s What I Do, where the artist was praised for his skillful freestyle, along with accompanying Doja Cat on her Amala Tour. Gravity (2019) is Pell’s third full length installment completing a trilogy, preceded by his critically acclaimed Floating While Dreaming mixtape (2014) and LIMBO EP (2015).
THE FELICE BROTHERS
( new york, new york )
Cut live to tape with very little overdubbing, Undress was recorded in the late summer of 2018 in Tivoli, New York. The Felice Brothers – Ian Felice, James Felice, Will Lawrence (drums) and Jesske Hume (bass) – teamed up with producer Jeremy Backofen to record their most personal and reflective album to date.
“Many of the songs on the new album are motivated by a shift from private to public concerns,” says songwriter Ian Felice. “It isn’t hard to find worthwhile things to write about these days, there are a lot of storms blooming on the horizon and a lot of chaos that permeates our lives. The hard part is finding simple and direct ways to address them.”
( salt lake city, utah )
Joshua Strauther aka Joshy Soul, is a pianist and soul singer from Long Beach, California. He started playing piano at 18 years old in church and after a few years of playing began playing behind other artists on tour. At 25, along with his six piece band, The Cool, he recorded the first album called, Vintage Dreamin’.
With influences of Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Donny Hathaway, and John legend, Joshy Soul and The Cool delivers smooth yet a big soulful sound that gets you off your feet and want to dance! Since then, they have played with The Roots, Haley Reinhart, Nick Waterhouse, and many other artists.
( abalak, niger )
Mdou Moctar immediately stands out as one of the most innovative artists in contemporary Saharan music. His unconventional interpretations of Tuareg guitar have pushed him to the forefront of a crowded scene.
Back home, he’s celebrated for his original compositions and verbose poetry, an original creator in a genre defined by cover bands. In the exterior, where Saharan rock has become one of the continents biggest musical exports, he’s earned a name for himself with his guitar moves. Mdou shreds with a relentless and frenetic energy that utterly sets him apart.
( boston, massachussetts )
From 2014 to 2017, Vundabar‘s Brandon Hagen cared for a loved one that had fallen into a debilitating state of mental and physical decline. For four years his sickness and the eventual loss that followed became the focal point of Hagen’s life as well as his family’s. It was the bell jar under which they lived. Hagen was fractured into two selves; one, largely insular, racked by grief and loss and the other putting it on, touring relentlessly and hoping to be as affable as possible lest he ruin the opportunities at hand.
These were the fencings and borders he made for himself and for a time he let them stand. Smell Smoke, the band’s 2018 follow up to their breakout 2015 album Gawk, is an attempt at openness and vulnerability. It’s an attempt at unlearning. It’s a document of grief; a child crying into the dark.
( atlanta, georgia )
Even those aware of the ideals of this outspoken 4-piece will find their latest direction traverses unprecedented ground. Coming off two years of nonstop world-touring for their The Underside of Power — including Central and Eastern Europe, the Baltic States and the Balkans, where they have established a rabid following — new album There is No Year solidifies & expands upon the doom-laden soul of their foundation, toward an even more epic, genre-reformatting sound, one somehow suspended in the amber of a different era. From the instant synth-pulse of the album’s opening seconds, it’s clear that Algiers have set out to stake new ground, internally as much as sonically.
( los angeles, california )
Nite Jewel is the alias of Los Angeles musician and multimedia artist Ramona Gonzalez, whose synth-based compositions filter ’80s freestyle, electronic disco and early-’90s R&B through the haze of shoegaze and an experimental approach to recording.
Over the past few years, LA’ s Nite Jewel has honed its pop-funk craft across releases from Italians Do It Better, Mexican Summer and LA’s own Gloriette Records. In that time, Ramona Gonzalez’s airy but often distant voice has found new gravitas and charisma. Meanwhile, the synth lines have gotten more agile and the bass pops tighter and tighter. The stuttered 80s synth R&B melodies unfold into one another here in ways both giddy and deceivingly nonchalant.
( san francisco, california )
Monophonics have risen up again from their California studio Transistor Sound to offer the world a new album via indie label giants Colemine Records. Their new record entitled It’s Only Us, due next year reflects what they see as the current direction in the world, it’s an expression that leans on the theme of humanity, that strives to speak to a wide range of listeners.
It’s a message of unity, strength, resilience and acceptance. Often known as a group that is keen to create a heavier version of classic soul, Monophonics are back with their trademark sound while introducing a healthy dose of new and warm textures that will saturate speakers. It’s easy to hear their years of record digging and being under the influence of rare sides by Brothers of Soul, Rotary Connection or Dee Edwards.