Top Five Acts to See Each Day at Shaky Knees 2015

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Shaky Knees has an incredible lineup this year. If you’re overwhelmed by the sheer amount of bands or just want to see one you’ve never heard of before, check out Vinyl’s top five picks for each of the fest’s three days.

Day One

The Strokes

As Friday’s headliners, it seems like an obvious choice to see The Strokes. The New York based rock band hasn’t toured extensively in close to a decade and with Shaky Knees being only one of four announced live shows this year; this is not one to be missed.

James Blake

James Blake is a fantastic musician and producer. Though he borders the line of being an alternative act and doesn’t quite qualify as a rocker, his unique fusion of R&B music and post dubstep electronica is sure to entrance any passersby.

Death from Above 1979

Death from Above’s sophomore record came a decade after its first and the wait ended up being well worth it. Though the band has toured the world and back to promote it, there’s no telling when there’ll be another opportunity to see them. Do it.

The Mountain Goats

The Mountain Goats are one of the most prolific rock bands releasing 15 studio albums in 20 years. Recent single “The Legend of Chavo Guerrero” is a perfect introduction into an album about wrestling and it’ll certainly be interesting to see how this translates live.

Kaiser Chiefs

The Leeds-based band isn’t hugely known in the states.  However, one spin of any of Kaiser Chief’s five studio albums shows extreme replay value. Shaky Knees is one of a handful of 2015 appearances the band will be making, and their live shows do not disappoint.

Day Two

The Avett Brothers

Saturday’s headliners have become somewhat of a music festival mainstay in the last few years. Though the group began in the early 2000s, their 2007 album Emotionalism caught the attention of famous producer Rick Rubin. Its work with Rubin propelled the band to the top of the Billboard album charts where each subsequent release has charted in the top 10. The Avett Brothers continue to push the boundaries of folk music and seeing them would definitely be time well spent.


It’s been awhile since Wilco has released a new studio album (almost five years, but who’s counting?), but the vast back catalogue the band tours with remains unparalleled. One moment the band will take listeners back to “Too Far Apart” off the 20 year old A.M. before slingshotting to a rarity off last year’s compilation. Jeff Tweedy’s strength in leading the band has always pushed them towards new sonic territory and this is not an opportunity to be missed.


As a 90s child, the influence of Interpol on contemporary alternative – and rock — music is undeniable. The group was one of the pioneers of post-punk revival music alongside bands like The Strokes and The National before going in its own direction. The heavy blend of lo-fi sounds; restless guitars and penchant for contrastingly gloomy lyrical content have kept the band in the game setting the bar higher for other alternative bands. 2014’s El Pintor showcased a strong, gloomy stylistic restraint that will be interesting to see live in the context of its more up-tempo cuts.

Neutral Milk Hotel

No, you shouldn’t go see NMH just to see grown men cry to all three parts of “King of the Carrot Flowers.” Upon its release in 1998, In the Aeroplane over the Sea was met with lukewarm reception. It wasn’t until a decade later that the genius of Mangum’s hybridization of psychedelic music with low-fi pop music straight out of the 1960s was realized. By then it was too late as the band had taken an indefinite hiatus until the dust was brushed off in 2013. This is the band’s last leg of the tour before another indefinite hiatus and is quite possibly its last Atlanta show for the time being.


To fully understand what FIDLAR is all about, one must first understand what the acronym stands for – go ahead, Google it. With that mantra firmly in mind listen to its self-titled debut — but don’t take it TOO seriously. The surf punk band sings about everything from getting high to making fun of guys who can’t surf without ever coming across as a joke. Subtle choices in the instrumentation demonstrate a punk band with far more musical knowledge than you’d be led to believe with fleeting moments of acoustic guitar and banjo. Vinyl isn’t liable if you head bang too hard.

Day Three

As Shaky Knees draws to a close, organizers have devised a clever power punch to get crowds staying until the very last minute. A dizzying performance by Tame Impala waits for those as a reward for surviving what looks to be an unbearably hot weekend. A Ryan Adams set waits for those looking to cool down between heavier rock shows and a Best Coast set is there for everyone who’s been impatiently waiting for the new record.

Tame Impala

Australian psychedelic rockers Tame Impala rose to prominence in 2010 following the release and critical acclimation of Innerspeaker. Here in 2015 the band is set to make one of its first few live performances behind its just announced third LP Currents. Its live set revolves around a highly complex light show that always captivates the audience so this is the perfect set to end this year’s Shaky Knees.

Ryan Adams

Ryan Adams has laid the foundation for his career by releasing 14 albums in 14 years with each one being starkly different from the rest. His recent self-titled record seems like a far more organic progression than him starting a punk band with rich vocal intonation and a tight arrangement of drums, electric guitar and acoustic guitar. With a massive back catalog, there’s going to be something for all fans at Ryan Adams’ set.

Old Crow Medicine Show

In the upper echelons of folk music sits Old Crow Medicine Show, a group that has inspired many other contemporary bands throughout its existence. Don’t be fooled by the genre though as the band can match the intensity of other headliners The Strokes and Pixies with its highly energetic set. Expect soaring crowd sing-alongs to the choruses and several covers of seminal country classics.

Panda Bear

As one of the co-founders of the highly acclaimed group Animal Collective, Noah Lennox has made quite a name for himself outside of the band as Panda Bear. His material takes a decidedly different direction with the occasional gurgling synth, nonsensical lyrics and a root in ambient rock. In his shows he frequently recreates each song live using a variety of synths onstage instead of relying on a backing track – oh, and he does it completely solo too.

Best Coast

Best Coast’s big make or break moment will be its first show following the release of its third LP California Nights not even a week earlier. After dividing its fanbase with a noticeably polished sound on its last album, legions of listeners are waiting in the wings to not only hear the new record but to also see vocalist Bethany Cosentino pull off a captivating set. Don’t fret if another band is scheduled to perform at concurrently as Best Coast will also be playing a night set on a different day.

*Enjoy our Shaky Knees 2015 playlist below!

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  1. Pingback: Shaky Knees 2015: Jukebox the Ghost x Vinyl Mag – Vinyl Mag

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