Almost a year ago, we enjoyed Governors Ball’s joyous return after a 2013 monsoon washout. The sun was hot, the wine was stacked high, and the performances were on point. This year, the mud may be back, but we’re more excited than ever to spend the weekend on Randall’s Island with massive headliners like Bjork, Drake, St Vincent, Ryan Adams, Deadmaus, My Morning Jacket, Lana Del Ray, and Ratatat. And while remainder of the the headliners features less diversity than previous years, we’ve found some outstanding up-and-comers claiming the tents in the evenings and prancing across stages during early day. Here are our five picks for Gov Ball, including The Pop Newcomers, The Breakout DJs, The Rockstar, The Icon, and Hometown Heroes.
The Pop Newcomers: Holychild (SAT 12:15 @ GOVBALLNYC Stage)
Holychild are some of the freshest “brats” on the bill and you should keep your ears open. The DIY duo started out making all their own recordings and videos to the beat of their own drum in DC. Their sound found a home in UK audiences and they were recently signed to Glassnote Records (home to Phoenix and Grouplove), are back in the states and looking to impress at one of their first major festival performances. Their recent LP, The Shape of Brat Pop to Come, is an ADD pop-culture overload, blaring elements of bubblegum pop with tinny club beats, overlaid with feisty lyrics laced in satire (you’ll hear ’em if you listen hard enough). Dance on!
The Breakout DJs: Gorgon City (FRI 2:15 PM @ Gotham Tent)
Remember when Disclosure broke out last year and took Gov Ball (and the rest of the US Festivals) by storm? Gorgon City, UK-based DJ duo, are cruising down the path they burned, having already made headlines at Coachella last month and gathering hype as they make their way to Gov Ball this Friday. Featuring straightforward, progressive house beats and fantastic vocals (cameos from MNEK, Maverick Sabre, Yasmin and more), sexy sax interludes and simply smart songwriting, their 2014 LP Sirens is so damn feel-good it’s almost like music therapy. They’re soon to become a staple in the electronic scene… catch them before it’s too late!
The Hometown Heroes: Streets of Laredo (SUN 12:15 PM @ GOVBALLNYC Stage)
Call it folk, label it “indie,” guess it power pop with a country twang, presume it Americana–it’s actually Kiwi rock being made Bushwick. Streets of Laredo are out hometown heroes! They may have just played at Ethiopian restaurant Bunna Cafe’s grass-roofed-stage a month ago, but now they’ll be rocking out for thousands under one of Gov Ball’s coveted tents. The band’s cheerful, jangly tunes are rich with harmonies and harmonicas, akin to Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeroes as a sweet, inspiring backdrop for the many adventures of life and love.
The Rockstar: Benjamin Booker (FRI 2:15 PM @ Big Apple Stage)
New Orleans’ Benjamin Booker is a true millennial musician- 25 years old and a self-made, classically-trained rockstar, his sound an amalgamation of all the genres our generation was shaped by. His trashy blues rock pulls from the best of the 60s and 70s and chops it up with the punk influences of the oughts, roughing it up with a modern garage finish. His 2014 self-titled LP is one long fury, doing what a blues musician so rarely does- creating room for the moshpit- and at a fest as punk-deprived as Gov Ball, you know it’s going to get wild.
The Icon: Marina & The Diamonds (SAT 3PM @ GOVBALLNYC Stage)
For Marina Diamandis, South Wales-born singer and pop performance artist, Gov Ball will be a new page in her American playbook. She’s a pop anomaly, transparent in her satirical portrayal of personas (Teen Idle, Primadonna, Homewrecker, Housewife) in her music, cutthroat in her opinions on art and feminism, all the ironic while rocking the opening slot for Katy Perry on her California Dreams Tour. That badass (and contradictory) attitude that shaped 2012’s Electra Heart gave way to 2015’s reflective LP FROOT. The lush album spins in 80s influences, crooning classical vocals lend themselves to a variety of beautifully-crafted backdrops, confidence in its rawness. Except her to crank up some of her self-aware ballads with a dance beat, elaborate costumes, and a theatrical performance. Move over Lana Del Ray, you got nothing on this real pop icon.
See you there!