The music at Northside Festival starts later this week and it’s already been a dramatic event so far, with organizers having to dodge Neo nazis and dump a rape apologist. The dust from that should be well settled by time the music gets on Thursday, which is great because Northside is one of our favorite kick-offs to summer. Not only is it a chance to see great music and discover new bands from the 400+ playing the fest, it’s also a great party: Bedford Avenue gets shut down to car traffic on Saturday and Sunday, bars offer drink specials, and it’s one of our first chances to mingle among the beautiful masses of Brooklyn outdoors again.
You already know about the headliners including Wolf Parade, Brian Wilson, Conor Oberst and Grandmaster Flash, but choosing among the rest can be daunting. So the Brokelyn staff picked 15 bands you should check out at the fest so you can walk away with some new acts to add to your summer playlist.
(Note: You can enter each of these shows on a first-come, first-served basis with a badge or check each venue for individual show ticket prices.)
I promise that once the band’s four guitar players start shredding and put on one of the most energetic live shows you’ll ever see, you’ll forgive them for a name you feel kind of weird saying out loud. Their new album, Turn to Gold, is due out Friday on JEFF the Brotherhood’s Infinity Cat label, and if single “Bob Dylan’s Grandma” is any indication, we’re all in for a good time. —Gleni Bartels
Catch them: Thursday, 10:15pm, Brooklyn Bowl
With their fuzzed-out, jangly guitars and songs about pool parties and pot, Brooklyn-based Finks are the perfect band to soundtrack your summer. Guaranteed to make even a show at the Gutter seem more like a day at the beach. —GB
Catch them: Thursday, 8pm, The Gutter
Frankie Cosmos playing Exile in Guyville
I love books just as much as I love live music, so I’d be remiss not to mention at least one set presented by the 33 ⅓ book series. While seeing Deradoorian interpret Black Sabbath is appealing in its own right, it’s the idea of Phair’s lo-fi disciple Frankie Cosmos deadpanning “Fuck and Run” that’s got me excited.-GB
Catch them: Saturday, 11pm, Rough Trade
King Khan and the Shrines
I’d put money on this being possibly the craziest party show of the whole fest. King Khan makes psychedelic garage rock with an intense, sweat-dripped stage show that often involves a brass section, elaborate costumes and capes. –TD
Catch them: Saturday, 10pm, Brooklyn Bowl.
Leslie Hong has the ability to sound vulnerable and completely unfuckwithable simultaneously, an attitude that translates into an explosive and engaging live show. The Brooklyn trio has been voted one of the Hardest-Working Bands in New York, and it’s clear all of that work is paying off. -GB
Catch them: Saturday, 5:15pm, Palisades; Sunday, 9:15pm, Aviv.
You’ve got three chances to see Heliotropes play their seemingly effortless blend of doo-wop pop sensibility and sludgy badass guitars, so don’t be an idiot and miss them. (And if we’re lucky maybe they’ll play one of the fantastic Tom Petty covers they’ve got in their repertoire, because, really, shouldn’t every show include a Tom Petty song?) -GB
Hinds released THE best album of the year so far, especially if you like grungy, beachy surf pop with a Spanish twist (they’re from Madrid), and why wouldn’t you? I’ve had their debut album on repeat all year long dreaming of the summer ahead, and I expect it to keep it playing through bluetooth speakers on many a beach all season long. —Tim Donnelly
Catch them: Sunday, 6:3opm, McCarren Park.
These three dudes from Philadelphia just released Guided Meditation, an album of pretension-free pop rock with earworm melodies that will have you unabashedly bopping and singing along to songs about love and crushes. I’m pretty sure this band has no chill, a refreshing change in 2016. -GB
Catch them: Sunday, 8pm, Rough Trade.
The new project from Noel Heroux is the perfect band to see if you’re not quite sure what you’re in the mood for. From spacey, atmospheric pop (à la Heroux’s previous Hooray for Earth) to disco-synths to upbeat girl-group-inspired sing-alongs, it all just works without feeling forced.-GB
Catch them: Friday, 10pm, Shea Stadium.
One of the bands featured in one of our New Music posts, and they are adorable. Their music is sweet and fun, but with an often heart-wrenchingly honest voice that speaks to dealing with the darkness in the world. They also have an amazing dream pop Misfits cover with “Skulls,” and the world’s premiere love song about a fictional TV detective in pop ballad “Stabler.” -Lilly Vanek
Catch them: Thursday, 11pm, Rough Trade.
If no-frills rock and roll is your thing, seeing Burger Record’s Michael Rault should be a priority. His latest release, Living Daylight, is full of harmony-driven hook-laden jams from start to finish, making you want to dance away your heartbreak and loneliness. -GB
Catch him: Saturday, 9:30pm, Baby’s All Right.
It’s no secret that Team Brokelyn loves puns, so with a name like T-Rextasy and a new album called Jurassic Punk, this band is right up our alley. These self-described “Dashing Dino Dames” play fun, female-empowered rock and roll, with tongue placed firmly in the cheek.-GB
Catch them: Saturday, 7:30pm, Knitting Factory.
LA’s Colleen Green channels the Ramones in her upbeat grungy, punk songs like “I Wanna Be Sedated,” but her range goes well beyond those influences. She’s mixes bratty lyrics with fuzzy guitars and some throwback pop sounds that echo some early 90s bands (but, you know, in a good way). —TD
Another one of our featured New Music Friday bands, their music is equal parts fast-n-loud, catchy and dreamy, joking and serious. They cite two of their non-musical influences as Grand Theft Auto and Three Six Mafia — the album name is a reference to the latter. -LV
Catch them: Thursday, 9:15pm, Brooklyn Bowl.
JEFF the Brotherhood
Sometimes life is hard, you read too many tweets about Donald Trump during the day, and you just want to go see some rock n roll that will tear your bones apart and let your aggression seep out through sweat and thrashing. JEFF the Brotherhood is one of those bands. They’ve been around the scene for awhile, but they’re not one to miss. -TD
Catch them: Friday, 11pm, Music Hall of Williamsburg.