Festival Preview: FYF Fest

by Oliver Brink on June 22, 2017

2017 seems to be the year of the music festival.  With new festivals like Desert Daze and Burger Boogaloo gaining traction, the stalwarts have upped the ante on their lineups, boasting unique and eclectic selections of damn fine music. FYF Fest has come a long way from its meager Echo Park beginnings and from July 21st to 23rd it will once again take over Exposition Park in Los Angeles this year and damn if they haven’t booked one hell of a lineup.

This will be my first outting to FYF—as the last few years my bank account and my work schedule have constantly been at odds with the calendar—as well as my first outting to an Exposition Park event, so you could say that I’m pretty excited for the experience. Especially with such a mix of seasoned groups and newcomers alike.

Day 01:

Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals – No one makes singing and drumming look more effortless than Anderson .Paak. The man has been incredibly busy, following up 2014s Venice with Malibu last year as well as forming NxWorries and released Yes Lawd! With producer Knxwledge later in the same year, as well as the incredible collaborative live performance with A Tribe Called Quest at the Grammys. His blend of hiphop, soul, and rock and roll is, quite frankly, fantastic and videos of his live performances have always been quite impressive.

Björk – I have been a Björk fan a long time. Her blend of wild expressive art, costumes, and music has been a constant source of inspiration and sanctuary in a mad, mad world. Her 2015 release, Vulnicura, was one of the most beautiful, heart breaking, records of her entire career and is a testament to the power of art to heal the deepest wounds.

Slowdive – When I was in highschool, I sincerely believed that My Bloody Valentine was the end-all-be-all of Shoegaze music. Then I found Slowdive’s Souvlaki and realized how horribly wrong I had been. Their reunion yielded a recently released self-titled LP which is truly revitalizing to the genre proving that they were and still are one of the best around.

Thee Oh Sees – My knowledge is a little lacking, but I am a total sucker for punky garage-psych and if Thee Oh Sees don’t fit the bill in that regard then I don’t know who does. They’re one of those bands that manages to cultivate a dedicated following without too much pervasion from the “professional” music business. Just listening to their 2016 release, A Weird Exits, it is impossible to deny just how much fun they sound like they’re having as a band.

Day 02:

A Tribe Called Quest – Tribe is back in a big way and anyone who isn’t excited about this is crazy. Following the passing of Phife Dog We Got It From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service was released to rave reviews and seems to be the legendary group’s swansong. Their Grammy performance with Anderson .Paak and Busta Rhymes was chilling, so anticipation for their performance at FYF is high.

Frank Ocean – Frank Ocean is one of those artists that has the ability to shatter a listener’s expectations. His production is never quite what one would expect and there is a sensuality to his music that is incredibly inviting. I’ve never been the biggest R&B fan, but as I grow older I’ve been slowly coming around, probably thanks to artists like Ocean.

The Faint – I’ve had a place in my heart for electro punks The Faint ever since first hearing Wet From Birth in its entirety. They’re one of those bands that is a holdout from my college days who has always managed to put out good music without sacrificing their unique sound for a wider audience.

Erykah Badu – Another R&B artist who I’ve admired for some time, Erykah Badu makes challenging work on a social, political, and emotional level that is rarely seen from main stream artists. The spread out New Amerykah are some of my favorite works from the artist and her statement with “Window Seat” in 2010 was unforgettable.

Mitski – I’m pretty new to Mitski’s work, but I’ve find myself listening to Bury Me at Makeout Creek and Puberty 2 quite a bit lately. Her voice is simultaneously soothing and haunting, reminding me of powerful voiced folk singers that I grew up listening to on tapes my dad made for family road trips. She connects to my sensibilities on a deeper emotional level that I was prepared to admit which has me both perplexed and eager to see her perform.

Sleep – Another band that I am a complete newcomer too, but I am total sucker for doomy metal and hard rock. Any band that manages to incorporate the influence of Ozzy era Black Sabbath while remaining independently unique from that influence will generally get my attention. Sleep’s epic hour long “Dopesmoker”—originally released as Jerusalem in 1999 and released again in a more complete and band approved format on Dopesmoker in 2003—deserves every accolade it has received over the years.

Day 03:

Blonde Redhead – NY experimental rockers Blonde Redhead have always been on the fringe of wild popularity, a place they seem most comfortable, and I’ve been semi-obsessed with them since the first time I listened to Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons and 2004s masterpiece Misery Is a Butterfly. 2014 saw them polarizing their fanbase with the subdued and minimalist Barragan in the best way possible.

Iggy Pop – I went almost my entire life without seeing Iggy Pop until Post Pop Depression. While that album and live show was like a grand showcase of his David Bowie collaboration era, his performance at Punk Rock Bowling in May was all about The Stooges and his hard rocking legacy. At 70 years old, the dog will still hunt, and no one can stop him.

Nine Inch Nails – I last saw Trent Reznor and his cohorts at the Forum in Inglewood during the Lights in the Sky tour. It would be an understatement to say that the show wasn’t transcendent for me. I’ve always loved NIN—listening to them for over half of my life—and since Lights in the Sky there have been enormous releases from Trent, the Not The Actual Events EP—recently announced as the first of a trilogy of EP releases—being not only the most recent but perhaps the most eminent of them. I honestly cannot wait to see them at this show!

Little Dragon – I was introduced to Little Dragon right before the release of their second—perhaps their most influential—release, Machine Dreams, at a time when I had finally moved out of my hometown and the whole world was utterly terrifying to me. Machine Dreams and Ritual Union were huge parts of my mid 20s soundtrack and their work has maintained a fantastic consistency over the years.

Ty Segall – Ty Segall has always been in the periphery of my radar. His output is nothing short of prolific, somehow managing to release an album a year (consistently) since 2008 as well as contributing and collaborating in Fuzz, Broken Bat, and GØGGS. Growing up in a small town, I always find myself drawn toward lo-fi and garage rock music, which Segall has certainly made an abundance of.

One of the more exciting aspects of the festival—for me—is the number of relative newcomers. I must confess, that I have not heard of close to 50% of the bands and musicians on the lineup.  As such, I’m curious about and excited for some musical discovery! Some of the groups I’m interested in checking out include Stranger Things synth quartet S U R V I V E, singer-songwriter Angel Olsen, producer/rapper extraordinaire Flying Lotus, instrumental trip hoppers BadBadNotGood, frequent Flying Lotus and Kendrick Lamar collaborator Thundercat, Chicago based poet and hip hop artist Noname, Seattle indiepop multi-instrumentalist Perfume Genius, New York indie rockers Big Thief, Gainsville based electronic indie rockers Hundred Waters, Canadian darkwave duo TR/ST, and ethereal singer-songwriter Moses Sumney.

Even that said, there are so many artists to explore and I relish the opportunity to do so! Tickets are available in single day and multi day passes on their website, www.fyffest.com, or you can take this direct link!

Oliver Brink

Oliver is a lover of film, music, theatre, and art. He writes and works out of Los Angeles.

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