Returning for its third year, Bryant Park Presents' Emerging Music Festival (EMF) features a strong roster of on-the-rise indie rock, pop and folk bands, performing on one of the biggest stages of their career. All artists hail from the greater New York area, making EMF one of the city's largest local-only summer rock festivals. Thousands of music lovers will pack Bryant Park to experience some of the city's most exciting new music including rock, soul, blues, folk, pop, jazz, and everything in between, all for free. Between sets, attendees can purchase beer and wine near the Lawn, eat food from local vendors curated by Hester Street Fair, borrow a free picnic blanket, learn to juggle, and play giant lawn games.
This year's EMF takes place over two days, on August 18 and 19. Artists currently slated to perform on August 18 include Adam Schatz's art pop combo Landlady, indie rockers Mail the Horse, growling balladeer Luke Elliot and psychedelic soul stars 79.5. The August 19 lineup will spotlight dreamy country rock guitarist Breanna Barbara, post-punk rockers RIPS, psych-rock cosmonautsSpace Captain and melodic indie folk band Maybird.
"This city is an incredible hotbed for what's next in music" says series curator Dan Fishman. "We invite audiences to come for the new and electrifying bands and stay for a summer picnic surrounded by a beautiful New York skyline."
Exclusive EMF playlists featuring music from all of the 2017 festival performers can be found on Spotify and YouTube for use on websites or to distribute via social media.
Emerging Music Festival Day 1
Landlady, Mail the Horse, Luke Elliot, and 79.5
Friday, August 18
6pm - 10pm
Blues singer with striking vocal strength and rock that's "undeniably the product of steamy Southern summers" (Consequence of Sound)
There is a particular place you get to without directions. you've been a thousand times but never once stayed past a moment. You pin the map each visit but it's always too dull to stick. You return to where you begin and aren't sure if you ever left. Is this voodoo? A southern occultist juxtaposed in the middle of New York City, Breanna Barbara writes songs that make your soul dance, songs that make you question how many lives you've led, and if you ever lived at all. Barbara's debut album, Mirage Dreams, is now available via No Roads Records.
Singer-songwriter's laid-back yet "confident folk" (The Fader) mixes hushed, mellifluous vocals and wistful instrumentals
New York City-based Cassandra Jenkins, a songwriter who "knows how to leave an impression" with "elegantly celestial climaxes, emerald green-glowing guitar work" (Pitchfork), recently released her much-anticipated debut album, Play Till You Win. Ghosts of All Things Must Pass haunt the record's melodies as a constant stylistic lodestar, with nods woven throughout to Lee Hazelwood's Hollywood-and-Vine country surrealism or Angeles Badalamenti and David Lynch's work for Julie Cruise, resulting in a tapestry that is "tender and trance like" (Interview Magazine). What makes her new collection of songs stand out from fellow acolytes of psychedelic burritos and dusty journeys through gilded palaces of sin, is that her vision and scope of influences are broad, idiosyncratic and ever-changing.
70's NYC rock and shoegaze inspired band "making a name for themselves" (Brooklyn Vegan) with energetic rock
Brooklyn based RIPS have quickly built a reputation amongst NYC showgoers, winning them over with their virtuous melodies and sheer ferocity amidst an endless flurry of shows. Their songs may channel late '70s New York City bands like Television and The Feelies, but Rips propels these references into something new. Their self-titled debut, produced by Austin Brown of Parquet Courts, is eleven tracks of buzzing guitar riffs driven by a charged rhythm section, all set under lyrics that are actually worth a damn. Rips (the record) takes cues from the moonlighting era of rock, while delivering a set of songs distinctly fit for the modern age. Once described as a "hyperreal rock n' roll group", the phrase "borne forward ceaselessly into the future" is more what they're going for here.
Six-piece future soul ensemble "blend[s] the sampleadelic innovations of J Dilla ... with sprawling psychedelic rock" (Wire)
Space Captain is a Brooklyn based psych-soul band with Maralisa Simmons-Cook (vocalist/lyricist), Alex Pyle (bass and production), Gray Hall (guitar and production), Mike Haldeman (guitar), Joey Ziegler (drums), Joy Morales (keyboard) and Lessie Vonner (trumpet). They have appeared with BADBADNOTGOOD, Ghostface Killah, J. Views, Dresses, Kendra Morris and more. Lauren Laverne of BBC Radio 6 Music calls them "really interesting ... a sound of their own." In a period of open-minded experimentation via live shows and studio jams, Space Captain have alighted on a progressive fusion of R&B and psychedelic rock with tentacles spinning out into soul, hip hop, electronica and noise. Their EP In Memory finds singer/lyricist Simmons-Cook exploring darker, more personal subjects with themes of mourning, the life cycle, lightness verses darkness, death and rebirth. In Memory has since seen notable play on Spotify's Fresh Finds Playlist and Bandcamp Weekly, among others.
Expansive and evocative rockers channel "fleeting youth and chasing dreams" (NPR)
Josh Netsky is the singer and principal songwriter of the Brooklyn/Rochester-based band Maybird. Along with Sam Snyder, Kurt Johnson and Josh's brother, Adam, the band self-released their debut album, Down and Under, in 2013. The ambitious, independent record caught the ear of producer Danger Mouse (Gnarls Barkley, Broken Bells) who approached the band to sign to his Columbia Records imprint, 30th Century Records. In 2016 Maybird released Turning Into Water, an EP that fuses expensive psychedelia with evocative roots rock accents. NPR debuted the video for the song "Looking Back" stating, "It's a poignant, profoundly emotional ode to childhood, fleeting youth and chasing dreams." Later last year, the band spent time in Nashville working with Patrick Carney of The Black Keys at his home recording studio. The new set of songs is set to be released this year and the band will spend the rest of the year on the road.
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