Over the last decade, the FYF Fest has grown from a scrappy punk-focused event to a sort of mini-version of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.
Yet even as the two-day FYF draws on Coachella-worthy headliners, books an increasing number of electronic acts and continues to increase ticket prices (weekend passes this year start at $99, up $10 from last year), FYF hasn’t completely shed its underground roots.
Beyond solid headliners such as the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and My Bloody Valentine, this year’s bill leaves plenty of room for discovery. Here, Pop & Hiss presents an hour-by-hour look at who to see on Sunday, the second of the festival’s two days. Pop & Hiss earlier offered a look at Saturday.
Jonathan Richman: For more than 35 years Richman has eased the ache of hopeless romantics the world over with acerbic acoustic strummers. Sometimes a little childish, usually observational, Richman still comes across a glorified busker who emphasizes storytelling.
Take a stroll: FYF’s Sunday afternoon schedule runs the risk of being a little slow early on. Worth a look is Brighton, England’s Fear of Men, a sweetly disaffected outfit whose loosely strummed guitars offer plenty of room for a draft to sweep through the notes. Leave time to see some of the Bay Area’s Antwon, whose lo-fi raps balance toughness (street life and sexual conquests) with more thoughtful concerns (the loss of a father, the need to have a hobby).
Guards: The New York band’s 2013 debut displays a commitment to the best principles of guitar rock. Richie Follin writes and performs as if his greatest dream is to have a kid somewhere mimicking his every move with an air guitar, but the push-pull with keyboardist Kaylie Church keeps the songs from losing themselves to the swarms of feedback.
Chelsea Wolfe. In a short career Wolfe’s music has ranged from a Gothic-metal horror show to moody bad dreams to rather pretty acoustic reveries. If a new album, due in early September, manages to coalesce all those threads, watch out.
Poolside: A little Poolside goes a long way, and the duo’s chic, sun-scorched production is awaiting music supervisor placement on shots of West Coast beaches.
How to Dress Well: It’s possible that the music of Tom Krell will be too intimate for these festival stages. Last year’s “Total Loss” is an album that needs near quiet surroundings to be absorbed — its falsetto barely above a whisper, its rhythms sometimes little more than a snapped finger and its piano melodies sometimes dissolving into little more than electronic haze.
Kurt Vile: His guitar is a languid, slippery thing, at times seemingly capable of leading the song into ol’-fashioned bar band rock and at other times taking the songs onto a more folk balladeer detour. Considering that Vile Vile doesn’t sing so much as slur, the whole feel is one of effortlessness rather than laziness — wherever the vibe may take him.
No Age: Angelenos are spoiled when it comes to appearances from Dean Spunt and Randy Randall, but newest album “An Object” continues challenge expectations when it comes to how far drums and guitars can be taken. The new effort, in particular, creates the effect of running in place, with guitars droning and rhythms pushing forward. It better suits lyrics that are increasingly looking to connect.
Glasser: Cameron Mesirow doesn’t usually approach her performances lightly, typically treating each one as a mini-theatrical performance. She’s promised that new music is coming soon, but her current output, in which pastoral pop can swirl into more worldly influences, creates a sense of mystery that hasn’t gotten old.
Yo La Tengo: For 30 or so years, Yo La Tengo has skirted around all various forms of underground rock. The band has been dissonant, pretty, distant and intimate. Latest album “Fade” touches on all four of those qualities and continues to keep the listener guessing. What’s meditative one moment can be erased with a blast of feedback the next.
Flume: The presence of the Australian electronic composer here would be the best argument that FYF should adopt a silent disco, as Flume’s creations are not exactly built for sitting but they are definitely built for headphones. Lost in space effects, enchantingly warped guitars, beats that scratch at the door and surprising dips into soul and R&B all vie for attention space.
Washed Out. This will make for a rather ambient dinner time at FYF. It’s bright, psychedelic and full of textures that don’t always reveal themselves on first listen. Best is when Ernest Greene gradually builds to a more dance-friendly momentum, such as “All I Know.” Just be warned not to turned off by the sound of wind chimes. Also, it may be less enjoyable if you’re not holding hands with someone.
MGMT: Someday, hopefully, MGMT’s “Congratulations” will be viewed as little more than a curiosity, as it captured psychedelic rock at its most uncomfortable rather than at its most trippy. My colleague Randall Roberts says the act’s forthcoming album “splits the difference” between the songs of “Congratulations” and early hits such as “Time to Pretend” and “Electric Feel.” The reason to see the band here is the hope they’ll offer a preview. Otherwise, leave early for the below:
Solange: Unlike her big sister, Solange Knowles isn’t solely preoccupied with commanding the attention of the masses. Her recent EP, “True” is a smaller (read: more relatable), inward-looking collection of dance-pop, at times even vulnerable. Consider it the R&B song as a chill-out, and it’s well suited for Solange’s brisk, casual approach.
My Bloody Valentine: There’s plenty to like in the LCD Soundsysten-inspired dance-pop of Holy Ghost!, the competing Sunday night headliner, but the songs of My Bloody Valentine are able to breathe and wholly encompass a field in a festival setting. Even with a new album, My Bloody Valentine isn’t tinkering with its formula, and those who saw any of the recent reunion shows shouldn’t, sadly, expect anything different tonight. Yet once one adjusts to the din of My Bloody Valentine’s guitars, the various shades and melodic ebbs will gradually become apparent and the sounds will grow ever-so-slightly hypnotic.