For all of its maritime aesthetic, Forecastle — a term also used to describe the front end of a sailing ship where sailors slept — is actually anchored right outside of Appalachia. Set for July 18-20 in downtown Louisville, Ky., the only thing arguably aquatic is the Ohio River that runs on the banks of the festival.
But, eh, even though it’s contrary to a preconception, the festival books some easily highlightable acts (just look at the headliners: Jack White, OutKast, Beck). Even in how condensed it seems to be, especially to a region mate like Bonnaroo, Forecastle charges a fair price ($74.50/day or $184.50/weekend, though prices are expected to rise) for the acts it brings. There’s also a nifty bourbon tent that I hear is on par with the festival’s headliners — a felicitous touch for a festival whose hosting city produces 95 percent of the world’s bourbon.
Here are five bands that make me ask, “Why not Forecastle?”
1. Band of Horses (July 19)
Band of Horses might have started out as a Seattle band with not much more than a “Funeral” attached to its name for its miniscule fanbase, but now they’ve received a Grammy nomination and sample-treatment by Kid Cudi. They’re pretty much arena-grade alt-country nowadays, though if they play a set like the one in support of My Morning Jacket back in the summer 2012, it doesn’t seem to deter them from acknowledging their “Everything All the Time” roots.
2. The Black Lips (July 18)
Garage rock revivalists (or whatever you want to call them) Black Lips are taking to Forecastle — a crew of rambunctious Southerners that came to public eye around 2007 with some, um, urinary-infused stage rapport. They’re far tamer now, as their less-unabashed, roots-rocky new record “Underneath the Rainbow” indicates. The wild essence of Black Lips still lives on, and that’s certainly worth checking out.
3. Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks (July 19)
Of Animal Collective fame, the most recent solo project of Avey Tare sees the musician tampering with slightly emptier soundscapes. “Enter the Slasher House,” released just earlier this month, is a pinch less refined and bubbly in comparison to his other band’s music (that is, if we’re talking Animal Collective post-“Merriweather Post Pavilion”). Even so, Avey Tare can still do hooks, and with songs like “Little Fang” among the mix of the new songs, getting into Avey Tare is easier done than said.
4. Waxahatchee (July 18)
The mostly solemn singer-songwriter Katie Crutchfield crafts definitively indie folk music that, I suppose, is great for feeling things. For those that aren’t looking for something so impassioned or emotional, Crutchfield still makes music with melodies from which meaning instantly transpires — for an introduction, see “Peace and Quiet” from 2013’s “Cerulean Salt” record.
5. Chrome Sparks (July 18)
There might have been 25 people, tops, at the last Chrome Sparks show I saw last year at Oberlin College. Which is a shame, because Jeremy Malvin, the man behind the shoegazy outfit, can really fill a room with his music. The synth lines are ever-winding and ever-building, supported with bass tones to keep the ear in check and a sample or two to keep you grounded. Malvin’s got a knack for something here, and to a relatively rare Chrome Sparks set at a festival? I would seriously consider it.