It's hard to talk about Pickathon, the Pacific Northwest's best kept secret because, well, you want it to stay that way. So here's a few bands along the way that lend to the Pendarvis Farm charm.
Pickathon was attended by AudioHammock Creator Russ Bashaw, for additional photo inquiries or comments feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Taking the first world music festival problem of who to see out of the equation, each artist and band at Pickathon performs twice, often times with completely different setlists and arrangements. The result is a chance to see a favorite band twice or increase your chances of discovering a great new one. Case in point on the latter: Hiss Golden Messenger.
Featuring three guitarists (at least on this tour) and a strong resemblance to Kentucky rockers My Morning Jacket (this isn't a bad thing), these boys from North Carolina are about due to explode. Throw in an insanely talented organ player and this is new-wave retro indie at its finest. Stumbling upon them by chance late on Friday night at the Starlight Stage, I was completely captured by vocalist M.C. Taylor's stage presence and when I went back to the Woods Stage for affirmation of those feelings the band again rose to the occasion. The track "Brother, Do You Know the Road?" from the band's 2015 EP Southern Grammar is a great place to start on a lonely night.
Still fresh of a strong performance at this year's Sasquatch Festival , Kyle Thomas and company belted out one of the finest performances of the weekend from Pickathon's iconic Woods Stage. The band is an excellent addition to the Sub Pop label and their latest, 2014's Black Moon Spell is worthy of your wallet.
A personal favorite, Morby's 2014 album Still Life With Rejects from the Land of Misfit Toys was a darkhorse album of the year favorite for us here at AudioHammock. With a campfire like charm, Morby comes across as a nomadic long lost friend reaching out across the smoke and his track "All of My Life" can easily move one to tears. Recommended.
Armed with an acoustic guitar, a smile, and an emboldened soul, Jessica Pratt delivered a keen performance for those looking to escape through mental faculty. Minimal arrangements and an occasional smile lent well to a performance of select tracks from On Your Own Love Again and other deep cuts. Recommended at night.
Led by Merrill Garbus, Tune-Yards once again melted minds. I had already seen them once before but the uncanny drum loops that Merril concocts with eerie charm run rickshaw in your brain in the best way possible. With a myriad of extra percussionists and vocal backups, Tune-Yards have one of the best live performances this side of the sun.
True beauty comes in the form of many languages and Amarante can sing in all of them it would seem. Cavalo is probably the best album you never heard last year and to hear songs from it not once but twice over the course of the weekend was truly pleasing. Watch for the Brazilian singer-songwriter to achieve critical acclaim before the end of this decade. Until then, enjoy him on your own. Reflective smiles guaranteed.
Shabazz Palaces rocked the Starlight Stage Friday night well into the morning. Based out of Seattle, the experimental hip hop group put on a bass enduced show that had even some of those camping out in the forest beyond moving with the beats (myself included). Sub Pop alumni, 2014's Lese Majesty has gained critical acclaim, including a rare "Best New Music" label from Pitchfork.
Obvious Neil Young comparison aside (vocally) you need to be listening to this guy now. Israel sings with a sort of penance, as if weary from travel. An eclectic mix of psychedelic, alternative country, and indie rock, Israel and his band take you to far away places and drop you back down gently afterward with an affable pat on the back. Look for a new album soon but in the meantime pick up Israel Nash's Rain Plans and thank us later.
A band that continues to evolve and get better with every release, Wand are quickly becoming one of the go to bands in the psychedelic garage scene. 2013's Ganglion Reef and this year's Golem are subliminal entries into any rock fan's library and the energy the band exudes in the live environment only hammers home the point that good things will continue to come from this band.
The primary draw for many this year, Ty Segall did not disappoint. Already a rock god to 20-something hipsters, baristas, and dirty hippes around the continental United States, Ty Segall can do everything and excels at it. It just so happened that during Pickathon his instrument of choice turned out to be a guitar (a rather beautiful sunburst Gibson Les Paul I might add). Extending jams from recent record Manipulator and earlier, Segall effectively used friends and bandmates from Wand as his band for the weekend and results were simply astounding. If you're not familiar with Segall than I implore you to familiarize yourself with his discography (check out Fuzz too). It's definitely one of the finer "Shut up and take my money" moments you'll have had in recent memory upon completion of homework. A guitar god among men, Ty Segall is recommended with the volume turned up to eleven.
Pickathon veterans, Heartless Bastards were finally given a Woods Stage time slot and they didn't waste it. Powerful vocals via Erika Wennerstrom are aided by very underrated guitarist Mark Nathan who silently stole the stage in what I thought was one of the best performances of the weekend. Towards the end of the set the band was joined by Sam Cohen and Eric Johnson (Fruit Bats) in what was a truly memorable event Friday night that would kick off a full weekend merry music.
Part rockabilly, part blues, and all badass, JD McPherson was a pleasant surprise who also happen to employ one of the better stand-up bassists I'd seen in recent memory. Admittedly a sceptic before, AudioHammock is now all in on this band full of win. Check out Let The Good Times Roll which is out this year on Rounder records.
Who did you see at Pickathon? Email us and let us know and perhaps we'll read your email on the AudioHammock Podcast!