By Colin Gallant, Jamie McNamara and Liam Prost
CALGARY — With a hippie atmosphere and hipster lineup of music, Pickathon caught BeatRoute’s attention for its strange harmony and immersive nature. We’ll be heading down to the Pendarvis Farm in Happy Valley, OR this month to get you the inside look. Below are just a few highlights you can expect to hear more about soon.
UPDATE: BADBADNOTGOOD’s scheduled Pickathon performance has been cancelled.
BBNG just released their best album to date (June’s IV), have added a full-time saxophonist and have been lauded plenty for their intensity onstage. It’s a no-brainer, really, but if you need more convincing, check out their blend of jazz, hip hop and experimentalism on tracks like “Confessions Pt. II” or “Time Moves Slow.” (CG)
Thee Oh Sees
As proven on the recent album Live in San Francisco, Thee Oh Sees are one of the most energetic live acts around. John Dwyer’s restless explorations of psych, kraut, garage and punk blur into a hyper-speed assault that leaves you gasping for air. Bonus: their sets at Pickathon come just over a week before next studio album, A Weird Exits. (CG)
Open Mike Eagle
Open Mike Eagle is your favourite rapper’s favourite rapper. The Chicago-born, Los Angeles-based rapper doesn’t sound like many of his Chicago contemporaries, but then again, he doesn’t really sound like any other rappers at all. He cites art-rock weirdoes They Might Be Giants as one of his main influences, and his dense lyricism and sonic adventurousness have solidified him as one of the most interesting rappers currently working. As one of the few non-guitar acts at Pickathon this year, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone as talented as OME. (JM)
Ex-Woods bassist Kevin Morby has been enjoying a career year so far in 2016. The Texas-born singer released his third album, the shambling Singing Saw and finally stepped into the spotlight as a solo artist. His dusty, yearning folk songs will only be amplified by Pickathon’s woodsy (pardon the pun) setting. (JM)
It’s interesting to see Jeff Tweedy billed as himself rather than his recent father/son collaboration Tweedy, but with a pedigree such as his, and a recent tease of new Wilco songs, we are buzzing to see what gems the legendary songwriter has to share. (LP)
Part The Staves, part First Aid Kit, all sumptuous harmony. Portland’s family folk triad Joseph have a new, Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes/Monsters of Folk) produced record on the horizon full of seriously heartfelt music. They often perform as a three-piece with one guitar and three part harmonies, but a recent late night television appearance signals that they might be packing a few extra instruments. (LP)
Absolute Loser is this year’s release by Fruit Bats, and it’s wonderful. We’d forgive you for losing track of them after their successful stint on SubPop records, when some of their most lovable and relatable material was spelled out into the musical ether, but Eric D. Johnson and his band are still performing well-humoured indie pop almost 20 years into their career. (LP)
Pickathon takes place August 5-7 at the Pendarvis Farm in Happy Valley, OR – roughly a 12-hour drive from Calgary.AB, Alberta, BADBADNOTGOOD, Fruit Bats, Happy Valley, Jeff Tweedy, Joseph, Kevin Morby, Open Mike Eagle, Oregon, Pickathon, Thee Oh Sees