While most people certainly check out the likes of Chance the Rapper and Tool, to complete the Boston Calling experience you need to check out some under-the-radar artists. With that said, here are some of my recommendations:

Moses Sumney

I had been a fan of Sumney's work for a long time, but the first time I got to hear him live was when he opened for the immaculate James Blake. His voice easily executes warm textures, but it also can get nasal whenever it finds purposes for such tone. Sumney's knack for minimalistic instrumentation and unconventional phrasings complete his music.

Xylouris White

Xylouris White is a project of Greek and Australian musicians George Xylouris and Jim White respectively. I was initially introduced to their music by a close friend who had seen them open for Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and I was instantly captivated by the laouto's timbre. Boston Calling's decision to enlist them was a pleasant surprise and I was certainly impressed.

Strand of Oaks

As a Philadelphian, I have always admired Timothy Showalter's musical contribution and loyalty to the city. In addition to crafting lush soundscapes and intensely sincere lyrics for his project Strand of Oaks, Showalter has always looked after the people of Philadelphia (refer to his response to Father John Misty's tirade at XPoNential Music Festival). With that said, Showalter is now back with Hard Love and even stronger live performances, and his set of earnest rock and roll should not be missed at Boston Calling.

Lucy Dacus

Just before her signing with Matador Records, I had the pleasure of seeing Lucy Dacus live when she was in Philadelphia opening for Houndmouth. Her lyrics emanate vivid and poetic imagery, but they also show no sign of pretension. No Burden is an album full of seemingly familiar yet still extremely personal experiences. It is filled with casual and pure witticism that Dacus projects with warmth, and her live performances are further enhanced with sensible orchestration and meticulously controlled dynamics.

Hannibal Buress

Surprise! Hannibal Buress is clearly not a musician (except he briefly drummed for Speedy Ortiz at SXSW once) and needs no introduction whatsoever, but I am mentioning him simply because I had no idea he was going to be at Boston Calling. When I first saw the lineup, I barely bothered to look into the comedy lineup because I was only paying attention to the music segment. This is simply a friendly reminder for anyone else with tragically short attention span that Mr. Buress himself will indeed be at the festival.


Boston Calling takes place May 26-28th, 2017 at Harvard Athletic Complex. For more information, and to buy tickets, head here.