The 10 Best Electronic Acts at Free Press Summer Fest
Photos courtesy of Free Press Summer Fest
Above & Beyond Listen, I get it: most FPSF-loving folks are going to go see Jack White. I understand: real rock, future legend, "Seven Nation Army," etc. etc. And I imagine that nothing I tell you will convince you otherwise. All I'm saying is that I can't think of many things better than being outside on a beautiful Texas night listening to a trio of trance-music masters. And you're going to miss it hear yet another dude regurgitate some blues licks. That's a bummer. CORY GARCIA
Adventure Club I've said it before and I'll say it again: it's not that Adventure Club's remix of Yuna's "Lullabies" is the best remix ever, it's just that it's the perfect remix. Listen to it, make a mental note to add it to all your mixes this year, and then go down the rabbit hole that is the rest of Adventure Club's music.
Speaking as someone who saw them back at Something Wicked, these two know how to get a crowd worked up into a frenzy, if that's something you're into. And if you just need more of them in your life, they're playing the afterparty over at Stereo Live. Two sonic adventures in one day? Nothing wrong with that. CORY GARCIA
Big Gigantic As one of the more popular festival mainstays over the past few years, Big Gigantic always know how to throw down. Mainly because their ability to perform electronic music with more than just a MacBook, they've done what basically no other electronic or EDM artists have by adding live drums, guitars and keyboards to the mix.
While the music is similar to what most DJs are putting out today, there's only so much you can watch one guy fiddle with some buttons and randomly raise his hands before "dropping" the bass. Anything that's a step away from the norm in the world of electronic music is a welcome one, and these guys do it right. JIM BRICKER
I have it on good authority that Colorado -- specifically Denver -- is a hotbed for American electronic dance music. Big Gigantic hails from Boulder, a half-hour away, and it seems some aspects of that town's folk scene have bled into the group's work. Billed as "jamtronica," this fest-tested act is something akin to Widespread Panic losing its guitars for programmable beats. They employ live sax and drums to further the analogy. What part of any of that does not sound amazing? JESSE SENDEJAS JR.
BLSHS I feel like I just wrote a whole bunch on why you should be listening to BLSHS, so I'll keep this simple: this is Houston synth-pop that is full of retro-goodness ran through a battery of 808 drum machines and topped off with a vocalist who sings way better than anything you were listening to in the '80s. And they're from Houston. There's still room to get on board before the rest of the country tries to steal them away. CORY GARCIA
Chrvches If you like your synthesizers with powerful yet emotionally distant female vocals, you're probably already in love with Chrvches. [Pronounced like the wedding venue, even if it's spelled like a Norwegian death-metal group.] If you haven't heard the perfect synth-pop gem that is "The Mother We Share," go listen to that right now. I'll wait.
Back? Excellent. Yeah, the rest of their catalog is real solid too. It'll be interesting to see how it plays on a hot FPSF stage, but not everyone has to sound like sunshine. CORY GARCIA
Classixx After spending a few years remixing plenty of other amazing acts, LA.-based Classixx released their own full-length, Hanging Gardens, in 2013. Their sound is decidedly loungier and more chill than most of FPSF's other EDM acts; while listening to their set, you're more likely to feel like you're walking on clouds than waiting for a thunder of bass to drop. Therefore. the disco-laden duo's 3:10 p.m. slot is a perfect time to chill out while you get your energy back up for headliners like Flosstradamus and Big Gigantic. SELENA DIERINGER
List continues on the next page.
Flosstradamus The Chicago duo is known for its rap collaborations and has the bottomed-out bass that'll have the Heritage Plaza Building windows rattling several blocks away. "Mosh Pit," featuring Casino, is gonna go HAM. Don't be in the crowd if you're not expecting at least a circle pit to form. Flatbush Zombies appear on "Piss Test" and also on the second day of Free Press. Is a special guest appearance imminent? JESSE SENDEJAS JR.
Paper Diamond If your DJ is bespectacled and lives in a cloud of weed smoke, chances are that he is Alex B., aka Paper Diamond. This Colorado kid has hit the festival circuit hard for the last few years, routinely shutting down the house into the early-morning hours long after every other DJ has gone to bed. His style begins chill and ends with jaw-rattling bass, always on the edge of an electronic heart attack. After 2012's Wavesight EP and its catchy track "Can We Go Up?" dazzled and delighted the eardrums, last year's Paragon album included the smooth ("Like a Summer Breeze") and the tough ("They Can't Tell Me Nothing"). The youngsters will be jamming hard to this guy. MARCO TORRES
Poolside Apparently their version of sun-soaked chillwave is described as "daytime disco" by people who have way more time on their hands than me. Whatever you want to call it, it's basically the type of music that summer festivals were built for, provided what you're looking for is to dance in the sun a bit. CORY GARCIA
Zedd Since Zedd's set is going to be bananas, I plan to take in some of it, even though he's up against Vampire Weekend, who I obviously can't miss. My plan is to post someone up at Zedd. Once "Spectrum" starts up, that person will text me and I'll run down Allen Parkway like I'm in the Houston Marathon. If you can help a brother out, let me know and I'll text you my phone number. JESSE SENDEJAS JR.
ROCKS OFF'S GREATEST HITS
The Ask Willie D Archives Houston's Top 10 Hipster Bars, Clubs & Icehouses 2014 Today's 10 Most Promising Young Metal Bands Hip-Hop's Seven Best Breakup Songs Houston's Top 10 Rooftop Bars and Lounges
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.