It’s crazy to think about, but August is barely a week away and most of summer is already behind us. It’s been a hell of a ride so far, but there’s still plenty of music festival excitement and over-exposure to the sun to be had. I’ve never been too inclined to visit our nation’s capitol. I’ve heard the traffic is terrible, tourists everywhere, and frankly; politics are boring enough on television, so why would I want to travel to the political capitol of the world for a good time? Landmark Music Festival is the rare exception.
Going into its first year, the two-day festival raises money and awareness to support the Trust’s Landmark Campaign for the National Mall. Over 40 artists will be performing on five stages throughout the weekend. In reality, the National Mall hasn’t seen a party like this since Forrest and Jenny found each other in the pool. Now that was a party. Taking place in West Potomac Park September 26-27, the event should be a pretty big hit, considering the solid lineup and location. As long as the weather behaves, it should be another great festival to help close out the season. See who we think are the artists you can’t miss out on for both days!
Miguel – Riding off the momentum off Wildheart, released late last month, Miguel’s sound is a perfect blend of R&B and neo-soul music with a hip-hop swagger. His eclectic use of lyrics and song style is captured best in songs like “Simple Things,” “gfg,” and “Coffee” off the new album. He’s really doing a phenomenal job of trading in power and intensity that hip-hop carries for a smoother, and sexy swagger back into mainstream pop.
The War On Drugs – Anyone who heard Lost In The Dream, the band’s critically acclaimed album that was on everyone’s best of lists for 2014, knows that Adam Granduciel is on the absolute top of his game when it comes to songwriting. Experiencing the indie rock band as they get into the heart of “An Ocean Between The Waves”, “Eyes To The Wind”, or “Under The Pressure” in a live setting is one of the most incredible live experiences you’ll have during this year’s festival season.
Daughter – One of the many awesome bands from the U.K., Daughter’s style is the Saturday version of Lord Huron with their own unique style of indie-rock/folk-rock. The trio is lead by singer Elena Tonra’s beautiful and hypnotic vocals that pull you in and keep you in the palm of her hand throughout the performance. Stop on by their stage, light up something good, and enjoy.
Ex Hex – Three rocking girls picking up right where The Donnas, The Runaways, Sleater-Kinney left off, what more could you ask for? The D.C. natives find a mixture between their home city’s history of underground punk and new-age shoegazy rock. Their 2014 album Rips is one of the best rock albums to come out last year.
The London Souls – This dirty, bluesy-rock band from Brooklyn has taken roots-guitar rock to the next level. The once three-piece, now two piece, have been road warriors for years and are finally seeing their hard work pay off as they’re doing a string of opening dates for Lenny Kravitz in Europe before finishing off the rest of summer in the states. You could say their sound falls somewhere in between My Morning Jacket and Led Zeppelin, but the true power of the band is just the pure musical chemistry between guitarist Tash Neal and drummer Chris St. Hilaire.
The Strokes – The Strokes don’t tour and play festivals as often they used to, so it’s a special treat when they do. Last spring was just their first U.S. show in three years and they played a few more festival gigs that summer, but really that was it. Their killer performance at Governor’s Ball last summer was my first time seeing them and their post-punk revival style rock was as tight as any rock band on the planet. Everyone in attendance will still get goose bumps as the band begins to tear into the main riff of “Reptilia”.
CHVRCHES – Gearing up for a somewhat surprise album release show in Brooklyn this week, CHVRCHES has gained a strong following in the indie electro-pop scene since their 2011 formation over in the UK. The three-piece has become a staple in the festival circuit as an exciting band to listen and dance to, bringing 80s synth vibes into the 2010’s in a fresh new way to a new generation of true music lovers. Make sure to catch their set and give their new album a listen, as it’ll be released a day prior to the festival.
Chromeo – Arguably, the best band to dance to in music today is Chromeo. The proclaimed funk lordz have bring bringing their elecro-funk and nu-disco styles from their 2002 formation in Canada to festivals and shows across the world. Another great band bringing old styles back to life, Chromeo turns music venues into the days of Studio 54 with their awesome hits like “Night By Night.” Their performance at Central Park SummerStage last fall may have been the best show all season. EVERYBODY DANCE!
Lord Huron – Currently on the road in support of the recent release, Strange Trails; L.A. based indie-folk band Lord Huron bring great vibes and provide a strong chill break between the hard rock and electronic-based artists. It’s practically impossible not to chill and enjoy songs off their 2012 Lonesome Joy album, including “She Lit A Fire,” “Ends Of The Earth,” and “In The Wind.”
The Joy Formidable – European rock bands just do it way better. Few bands have been able to keep rock moving to new boundaries while still keeping that restless and wild style without selling out like The Joy Formidable. Rhiannon Bryan leads the trio through various rock styles like dream pop, indie, and post-punk all into one unique sound. They haven’t released a new album in a few years but they’ve got plenty killer material to keep you rocking all day long.
The Suffers – We gave The Suffers’ 2015 EP Make Some Room a review back in the winter, and with good reason, as they’re once of the premiere soul bands touring across the festival circuit these days. Lead by the incredible Kam Franklin in vocals, the ten-piece band brings back that smooth and electrifying soul sound that was so brilliant back in the 70s.
Article: Tom Shackleford