Selected Sounds: Boston Calling Spring 2017 Edition Matt McCarthy May 24, 2017 Featured, Selected Sounds For the first time in Boston Calling’s brief but storied history the festival has changed venues, moving to the grassy Harvard Athletic Complex. It’s safe to say City Hall Plaza will be eerily quiet this upcoming Memorial Day weekend. Whether you love or hate the change of scenery, the folks behind Boston Calling are taking full advantage of their new, wide open space by adding even more stages, booths, food trucks, and yes, even a 60-foot tall Ferris wheel! But of course with adding more stages comes the issue of scheduling conflicts and making some tough last-minute decisions about the artists you’d like to catch this weekend. Some of the most talked-about overlapping sets include: The xx and The 1975, Bon Iver and Sigur Ros, Mac Demarco and Solange, along with a few others. And when will you even be able to make time for the stacked lineup at the comedy stage? Like we do every month with our Selected Sounds column, our team at Sound of Boston has picked out a handful of acts we think you should pencil into Boston Calling schedule. From promising up-and-comers like PUP and Car Seat Headrest, to established touring acts like Moses Sumney, Piebald, and Frightened Rabbit, these are some performances to be filed under “can’t-miss”. And last but not least, don’t forget to show up early each day to support your local Boston-area music scene! Exciting bands like Vundabar, Cousin Stizz, The Hotelier, and Piebald will all be making appearances over the weekend. For more information about the Boston Calling schedule, click here! Friday, May 26th, 2017 Whitney, Red Stage, 3:55PM-4:40PM -Selected by Jenna If Friday’s weather doesn’t hold up, at least we’ll have Whitney for some much-needed warmth. After the release of their debut album Light Upon the Lake in 2016, Whitney was one of the most talked about new artists of the year—thanks to their folk-infused indie pop that, quite literally, feels like all of your sweetest memories flooding back to you at once. The duo is made up of drummer/vocalist Julien Ehrlich and guitarist Max Kakacek, both formerly of Smith Westerns, and is sure to charm the crowd with bright guitar licks and soft, delicate vocals on Friday. Car Seat Headrest, Blue Stage, 5:15PM-6:05PM -Selected by Matt E. Just 18 short months ago, Car Seat Headrest was playing Lizard Lounge. Now following one of the most meteoric rises in recent indie rock memory, the band is set to be one of the must-see acts at Boston Calling. Last year’s Teens of Style was one of the best albums of 2016. Despite a run time over an hour there’s barely any time to catch your breath. Monster riffs are paired with addictive melodies and chased by insightful and incisive lyrics. Their sound is malleable and translates from the lounge atmosphere of Lizard Lounge to a huge festival stage. There are not many times you get the chance to see a band that is clearly on an upward trajectory and shows no signs of stopping. See this set and brag to your friends in a year or two when they’re asking if you’ve ever heard of this great new indie band. Saturday, May 27th, 2017 Moses Sumney, Green Stage, 2:40PM-3:25PM -Selected by Knar If you’re one of those fans who will be sprinting from Bon Iver to Sigur Rós, or just wishing Bon Iver’s set never ended, you’ll want to be sure to catch Moses Sumney on Saturday. Sumney’s falsetto and occasional use of vocoder has similar qualities to Bon Iver’s latest release, although Sumney remains more quiet folk than electro-soul on much of his material. Considering he’s already opened for the likes of James Blake and Sufjan Stevens, earning critic’s praise, and the fact that his songs have an airy quality—creating a sound that can only be described as soothing—festival goers would be smart to ease into their Saturday with Sumney’s set. Oh Wonder, Red Stage, 3:30-4:20 -Selected by Tim Oh Wonder came onto the scene two years ago with a DIY debut, releasing a new song on Soundcloud every week for 15 weeks, culminating in their first, self-titled album. Their alt-pop stripped-down songs draw on smooth synths and weighty bass with harmonized vocals. Their second album is set to release in July, with four singles already out. Boston Calling is one of only five US stops on their current tour, so fans of the band should make sure to catch them on the Red Stage from 3:30-4:30 on Saturday. Sunday, May 28th, 2017 PUP, Blue Stage, 2:00PM-2:35PM -Selected by Matt M. PUP’s rise from nerdy Canadian friends in a ska band to viral punk rock cult-hit has been truly inspiring and heartwarming to watch over the past four years. Their debut self-titled album in 2013 had the punk rock community buzzing with its refreshingly original take on the genre by blending catchy indie pop melodies and unconventional drum grooves. Last year, they beat the “curse” of the mediocre sophomore album with The Dream Is Over, a slightly darker, grungier record that still harnesses the raw intensity of their earlier material. Their live shows promise to bring rowdy, angsty scream-a-longs, whirling circle pits, and crowd-surfing concertgoers. Their pre-festival show at Great Scott sold out in a few hours (like most of their shows), so don’t miss your chance to catch PUP! Frightened Rabbit, Blue Stage, 4:30PM-5:20PM -Selected by Meaghan Ten years into their career, the sound of Scotland’s resident sad indie rockers, Frightened Rabbit, has undergone a gradual metamorphosis as front man Scott Hutchison gave more writing duties to the rest of the band and they incorporated more electronic instruments into their sound. The sound of their latest album, 2016’s Painting of a Panic Attack, could not be mistaken for anyone but Frightened Rabbit, but with less emphasis on guitars and the help of producer Aaron Dessner, their guitar-based indie rock has transformed into something more complex. And in spite of the dour outlook on life and love in most of their music (musical evolutions aside, this has never changed), Frightened Rabbit are intense and even joyous performers, especially if Hutchison decides to have a chat with the audience. Come for the sadness and guitar licks, but walk away happy. Piebald, Green Stage, 4:55PM-5:45PM -Selected by Anna Boston’s DIY scene has bred scores of household names, none more dear to crust punks’ hearts than Piebald. At their inception in the late 90s, Piebald’s music embraced the cliches of alternative rock: lamenting, wandering lyrics about how terrible life is; jaunty, repetitive guitar riffs; chunky percussion underscoring it all. Throughout their time as a band, their music grew—introspective lyrics paired with softly played piano, subdued guitar, more calculated instrumentation overall. They’ve released an EP of covers, playing some of their favorite songs from bands which inform their music. Piebald was a staple of the Boston emo scene until their breakup in 2008. The band reunited for a brief tour last year, and this will be their second performance in Boston since 2016. 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