Artists to Watch: Bonnaroo 2019

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It’s that time of year again. The time when Bonnaroovians return to The Farm that many call home for 3 or 4 or even 5 nights of Bonnaroo magic.

Whether you’re split on the arguments that Bonnaroo died and lost all that magic years ago, or it will never be the same, or that the festival has become a giant experiential place to be seen…that’s neither here nor there. One thing we can agree on is that music remains at the heart of Bonnaroo.

While this leads to another bonnargument about recent lineups and the strength of these said lineups, we believe there are still many music discoveries to be made in those hot dusty fields in the middle of Manchester, TN.

Check out a few Bonnaroo 2019 artists that made it on our Watch List this year.

The 24-year-old Australian musician takes her rise up the ranks from music student to ‘an artist with one of the most highly anticipated debut albums of 2017. A founding member of avant poppers Animaux, multi-instrumentalist Lahey has now gone solo and pared down her sound, embracing a simple, home-spun story-telling style that’s often underlined by her second love, the fuzz pedal.

Arlie comes to The Farm from a little town right up the road from Manchester called Nashville. With a combo sound of one of those bedroom pop projects, mixed with retro-fetishist, Beatles-brainwashed, Pet Sounds devotees. Why should you go see Arlie on Thursday night? Because they’re down right good, that’s why.

Grasping smoked-out sensual R&B and widescreen pop sensibilities inside of an eighties-inspired high-fashion fever dream, Michigan-born and Los Angeles-based singer, producer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Bazzi wants to take you on a trip.  His latest hit “Mine,” has quickly solidified him as one of 2018’s breakthrough artists. Over a sultry and simmering beat punctuated by the magical pluck of a heart and video game warbles, he croons intoxicating lines like, “You so fucking precious when you smile.” It’s a hard one to get out of your head.

Broken Social Scene is a baroque indie rock act founded by Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning and includes members of Metric, Do Make Say Think, Stars, as well as Grammy-nominated Feist. They are one of the most enduring and influential alternative rock groups to come out of the early-aughts Torontopia movement. The band’s debut You Forgot It In People largely defined the “indie rock” era and paved the way for Canadian acts like Arcade Fire and Wolf Parade to break out. Their most recent album ‘Hug Of Thunder’ was released in 2017 and features appearances by all original members including Leslie Feist, Emily Haines, Jimmy Shaw, and Amy Millan. Produced by legendary Grammy Award-winner Joe Chiccarelli (White Stripes, Spoon, The Strokes) and mixed by Grammy Award-winner Shawn Everett (Alabama Shakes, Lucius).

L.A.-via-Brooklyn trio DREAMERS, maybe best known for their national radio hit, the electro-sprinkled pop gem “Sweet Disaster,” and their sound of grungy guitar fuzz bombs, snappy synth-pop grooves and irresistible pop hooks. Just in time for summer and their performance at Roo, DREAMERS released the new single “Screws,” a sensually charged track driven by pounding drumbeats and lyrics that perfectly channel the frenzy of the mental and physical unraveling of a relationship. 

A solo moniker for Philadelphia musician Michelle Zauner, Japanese Breakfast began as a month-long, song-a-day writing challenge during a break from her indie rock band Little Big League. The result was 2013’s June, an intimate set of melodic, electric guitar-accompanied lo-fi tunes issued on cassette by Ranch Records. Three years later her album Psychopomp had bigger, synth-boosted sounds that bridged lo-fi and indie pop. The album dealt with the emotional fallout of her mother’s death.

There’s a rare directness to Matt’s music: he sings like the dead singer-songwriters, full of troubled and tensile grace. His sound is spare and rich and restless. Vines of guitar weave around his voice; half-remembered melodies drift overhead like ghosts. This is the Matt Maeson we now have after Matt Maeson was killed. But who killed Matt Maeson? Maybe the devil, who haunted his parents, two reformed teenage outlaws who played in religious heavy-metal bands and wouldn’t let him listen to rock on the radio. Or maybe it was the volatile spirit that brought Matt to prison the first three hundred times. He played shows with his mom and dad, proprietors of a prison ministry since he was young. The family lived on the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia, and worked wherever the faithful wouldn’t feel like they belonged. They drove south to Florida and west to Montana, rumbling through maximum-security lockups with fire and benediction, drums and guitars. Matt spent years on the road to prisons and biker rallies: he played songs about salvation in front of strippers and Hell’s Angels at Sturgis, one of the biggest motorcycle rallies in the world. If this description doesn’t make you the bit curious, then you don’t deserve Matt Maeson.

When step-brothers Bryan Rucker and Ryan Bars became family, they realized they had at least one thing in common – music. Born and raised in South Florida, the duo combine their urban roots of hip-hop, rock, and pop to formulate a sound they like to refer to as “hip-rock.” Drawing comparisons to Twenty One Pilots, Macklemore, and Fall Out Boy, the brothers of The Norm most certainly defy the musical “norm.” The dual frontman band currently resides in Athens, GA, (our favorite) where they won the 2017 Flagpole Music Awards Artist of the Year. The Norm has shared the stage with artists such as 311, Shakey Graves, The Revivalists, Moon Taxi, White Denim, Mayday, Arrested Development, and many more. The band most recently won The Road To Roo competition representing the state of Georgia and will be performing at The Bonnaroo Music Festival this Summer.

Oliver Hazard is an American indie folk band from Waterville, Ohio. Their music is a ramshackle of uprooted-folk stomp from a chain gang choir of three.

We first caught this young, dynamic artist creating waves and generating massive street buzz at Hangout this year. Tash made a name for herself busking on the streets of Melbourne, selling out shows with no promo and having homemade videos go viral online getting tens of millions of views. Since having her hands wrapped around a guitar at the age of three, the self taught artist quickly developed her own unique style that has people lining up to see her perform. Her vocals shine with a magical quality, Tash has a natural gift for melody and her virtuosic playing of over 20 instruments is from another planet.

As Thundercat, bassist/songwriter/vocalist Stephen Bruner takes his jazz roots and works with a mix of artists that suit his wildly experimental sensibilities – ranging from Flying Lotus, Erykah Badu, and Stanley Clarke, as well as more recent collaborations with Wiz Khalifa and Earl Sweatshirt, to name but a few. His music is known to straddles lines and push genres further, blurring the confines of pop, funk, electronica and prog rock, and creating something else entirely.


It all started when a much younger Jackie dove into her parents’ record collection, grabbed that trippy Magical Mystery Tour album, and played “Strawberry Fields” over and over again until it was engrained into her soul. She grew up on the dreams and stories of Simon and Garfunkel, “Bleeker Street” being one of her favorites, the seduction of The Doors, Van Morrison, because “Brown Eyed Girl” is definitely her song, and the likes of Jefferson Airplane, The Who, Jimi Hendrix…you get the picture. It may not show on the outside, but Jackie has a hippie heart, and that reflects in her musical tastes today. While some of her favorites may or may not be jam bands, her taste in music feeds into many genres. From alternative, Brit, and indie rock - OK, maybe all rock - to pop, to rap, to electronic, she loves it all. As a northerner, she thought she would never understand country until she found herself on a Georgia farm in cowboy boots watching Luke Bryan shake it for her- yeah, she got that. She is a chronic wanderluster, she doesn't believe in guilty pleasures, enjoys a great Moscow Mule, and is an absolute music festival fanatic- you’ll find her wherever the music takes her.

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