Five Artists to See at Float Fest

Our first Float Fest recommendation would be to grab a tube, a cold drink, some sunscreen and hit the river to float. Afterwards, check out the following artists.

Girl Talk

What: Sample-Based Dance Music

Where: Water Stage

When: Saturday from 9:05 – 10:05

Why: Gregg Gillis is going to make the crowd dance. As Girl Talk, Gillis masterfully integrates multiple songs from multiple artists from multiple genres into a single track. In fact, his last album, All Day, consists of nearly 400 samples. Because of the diverse, complex nature of Girl Talk’s tracks, everyone in the Float Fest crowd can expect to hear at least one familiar tune during his set, but it will be likely in a way they have never heard it before.

Fun Fact: The City of Pittsburgh, Gillis’s hometown, declared December 7, 2010 “Gregg Gillis Day.”

Passion Pit

What: Dreamy Pop-Electronica

Where: Sun Stage

When: Saturday from 10:10 – 11:25
Why: Passion Pit is a socially conscious band that knows how to have fun. What’s not to love? Earlier this year, Passion Pit released their new album on Twitter in exchange for retweets that supported the #WeNeedScience Campaign, but it will officially be released next week. At the beginning of the month, the band tweeted out that the proceeds from the album will be going to the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research.
Fun Fact: Passion Pit’s first EP, Chunk of Change, was originally created as a Valentine’s Day gift for Michael Angelakos’s girlfriend.



What: Guitar Heavy Rock Trio

Where: Sun Stage

When: Sunday from 3:15 – 4:00

Why: UME’s frontwoman, Lauren Larson, is bringing her incredible stage presence to this year’s Float Fest. Despite her small size, she manages to fill stages with her ferocious guitar playing and strong vocals. When she was younger, Larson taught herself how to play the guitar. Now, she’s teaching other young girls to unleash their inner rocker through Girls Rock Camp in Austin.

Fun Fact: UME appeared on the South By Southwest episode of Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations.



What: Electronic Rock / Psychedelic Pop
Where: Water Stage

When: Sunday from 7:15 – 8:30
Why: MGMT is back! After waiting for over four years, we are finally getting new music from MGMT. Although Andrew Van Wyngarden and Ben Goldwasser have yet to announce a release date, they tweeted that their fourth album is complete. It is highly likely that MGMT will play some new tracks along with previous hits to mellow you out before high-energy artists, Cage the Elephant and Weezer.

Fun Fact: Sir Paul McCartney chose MGMT to open for him back in 2009.



What: Nerdy Rockers

Where: Water Stage

When: Sunday from 9:45-11:00

Why: Weezer is another Float Fest band with an album on the way. The group recently released their first single, “Feels Like Summer,” off of the upcoming Black Album. Weezer’s songs as well as performance are a perfect match to the fun vibe of Float Fest. This will be especially noticeable when the band plays one of their many hits from the past two decades.

Fun Fact: Rivers Cuomo is a Harvard graduate.

‘Kindred’ Review: Passion Pit’s Need for Speed

Is Michael Angelakos in a hurry? That’s the question to ask when listening to his indietronica band Passion Pit’s new release, Kindred. The album clocks in at just under 40 minutes with ten succinct tracks and is packed with reverberated percussion, multi-tracked choruses, and a variety of sentimental hooks and beats, a familiar follow-up to their 2012 effort Gossamer.

The pace seems deliberate and almost every song is an up-tempo cacophony of ultra-saturation. The band has found and fine-tuned their sound over the past three years, and they don’t mind showing off their propensity for triumphant ballads, opening Kindred with the cheerfully excellent “Lifted Up (1985),” an emphatic tribute to self-affirmation.

But Angelakos, who has been open about his battles with bipolar disorder and depression, skillfully layers the album with complexity amid the confident melodies and, at times, electronic chaos. I recommend skipping the final track, “Ten Feet Tall (II),” which deserves a plaque in the Hall of Auto-Tune Infamy (sorry, Game!) but nearly every other sing is constructed with an admirable brevity and buoyancy. The lyrics personify the struggle of breaking through pain and the joy of companionship and several of the songs are influenced by Angelakos’ recent marriage. On “Where The Sky Hangs” he sings, “I step up and take it, but I fall to the side/ I’ve got somebody else just to keep me on my toes again” over a direct, patient bass line that evokes the best of 1980’s synth-pop.

With all their keyboard whooshes and Angelakos’ piercing falsetto, Passion Pit can occasionally wander into the exhausting territory of over-produced pop-melodrama. But Kindred shows that they have found a way to commit to the tension of delivering personal ideas amid universal rhythms. In a year where many artists are wearing their hearts on their sleeves, it’s nice to have a band that doesn’t indulge too deeply and gets right to the point. They know your time is precious.