Riot Fest is only a few months away and while the entire lineup hasn’t been announced, it’s never too early to start planning which acts to check out. Though there are killer headliners to choose from, there are a bunch of lesser known acts that won’t disappoint. Need help sorting out the good from the bad? Check out these five acts to listen to before the big festival.
Formally known as PK, this California based band is all about mixing alt rock with lush synthpop beats. Taking inspiration from 80s dance music, Travis Hawley (vocals), Nick Fotinakes (guitar), Matt DePauw (guitar), and Mikel van Kranenburg (bass) make music that’s sleek, infectious, and catchy as hell. Their 2015 EP Howl turned heads with irresistible singles like “Contagious,” “Oh My Heart” and “Follow You” making the EP reach number 17 on the Heatseeker’s Chart. Their fusion of electronic, pop, and alt rock makes for music that’s fun, upbeat, and made for dancing. Plus, frontman Travis Hawley’s vocals are haunting and charismatic, reminding some of a young Robert Smith. You won’t regret checking out their Riot Fest set.
Black Foxxes are one of those rock bands that came out of seemingly nowhere. Their debut EP Pines received praise from critics and fans alike making them one of the hottest rising rock bands of the past few years. They don’t just make music with grinding guitars and a good beat; their music is raw, powerful, and unflinching. Songs like “River” and “I’m Not Well” will both surprise and shake you as they’re excellent examples of the bands mix of melodies and noise rock. Frontman Mark Holley’s vocals go from fragile to howling in less than a second leaving listeners unsure what will come next. They’re the underdogs of rock for now, but it won’t be long before they become a force to be reckon with.
Don’t let the name fool you. This isn’t some cute, cuddly band made for kids. Sleepy Kitty are a punk rock/grunge duo that hails from St. Louis, MO. They burst onto the scene with their 2011 debut album Infinity City, but it wasn’t until their 2014 follow up Projection Room that the two started getting attention. The LP received praise from critics with NPR calling it “Good fun!” Songs like “Don’t You Start” and “Mockingbird” are fun, yet intense with Paige Brubeck’s sleepy vocals and raw guitar playing. Continuing the trend of duos that rock, Sleepy Kitty proves you only need a guitar and drum to rock hard.
Take the industrial sounds of Ministry, the disturbing imagery of Skinny Puppy, and the electronic soundscape of Nine Inch Nails and you get 3Teeth. This Los Angeles industrial metal band is a slaughter to your senses. Songs like “Nihil” and “Slavegod” are intense with crunching guitars and growling distorted vocals ala Rammstein. This paired with their visuals, which are often creepy, haunting, and controversial makes their music frightening in the best possible way. If you thought industrial metal was dead, make sure to check out 3Teeth’s set at Riot Fest.
Listening to Bleached takes you back to the days of the Riot Grrl movement. Comprised of sisters Jennifer and Jessica Calvin, Micalya Grace, and Nick Pillot, the band is like the cool kids at high school who always cut class and smoked during lunch. Their brand of punk rock is punchy, raw, and kind of laid back. It doesn’t sound like they’re trying to prove something. They know they’re awesome and let the music do the talking. You’ll be captivated by killer tracks like “Keep On Keepin’ On,” “Wasted on You,” and “Night Melody.” Make sure to check out their set if you want to catch this band on the rise.