Ready to have some fun — with just part of Fun.? Nate Ruess, the former lead singer of the band behind such high school party heart-stoppers “Some Nights” and “We Are Young” will be your Princeton headliner. Believe it or not, Ruess’ career started long before Fun., as part of the indie rock band The Format from 2001-08, so named because of its goal of bucking the standardized “formats” for making hit singles. Ironically, Ruess’ participation in Fun. led to some really big hit singles, which some might say follow a certain “format” — with “We Are Young” winning the 2013 Grammy for Song of the Year. In 2014, Ruess and his bandmates Jack Antonoff and Andrew Dost parted ways as Fun. went on hiatus. The trio has been productive: Antonoff has worked on his indie rock band “Bleachers,” Dost has worked with his band “Anathello,” and Ruess has pursued a solo career with his new backup band the Romantics, who first performed as a group on May 31, 2015. Moreover, Ruess appeared as a guest adviser on “The Voice” and released in June his debut album “Grand Romantic,” featuring a collaboration with Beck in “What This World Is Coming To.” In the past Ruess has also collaborated with P!nk in “Just Give Me a Reason” and Eminem in “Headlights.” In short: Be prepared for a fun time. We are young. Carry me home. Tonight.
The L.A.-based duo behind HOLYCHILD has at least two things in common with Princeton students: 1. They went to college (at George Washington University) and met when instrumentalist Louie Diller was the accompanist for songwriter and singer Liz Nistico’s dance class. 2. According to their Facebook page, they’re influenced by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Class of 1917 — along with more contemporary artists like Thelonious Monk and St. Vincent.
HOLYCHILD’s beats, which they’ve dubbed “brat pop,” are highly danceable and head-boppable. Just this past June, the group released their first full-length album, “The Shape of Brat Pop to Come,” with Glassnote Records, which is also home to Childish Gambino, Mumford & Sons, and Temper Trap. (Fun fact: Glassnote Records’ founder spoke at Princeton last October.)
Of the band’s new album, Billboard wrote, “The L.A. group is fearlessly ambitious — and has written some of the best pop music you’ll hear all year.” You might recognize their latest single “Running Behind” from USG’s announcement video — and also from the global Apple Watch commercial.
Like rap? How about satirical rap? Dave Burd was just an aspiring comedian hailing from Philadelphia when he launched “So Hard”, his debut rap mixtape in 2013. Adopting the moniker “Lil Dicky,” Burd became one of the first proponents of satirical “anti-rap,” a meta-genre that recognizes the frequent excess and absurdity of hip hop culture. After the video for his song “Ex-Boyfriend” went viral, he went bonkers, releasing a new song every week for 32 weeks. He then ran out of money and launched a Kickstarter campaign that raised $113,000. What is Lil Dicky’s goal? Just refer to his song, “Professional Rapper,” featuring Snoop Dogg: “Well, I wanna to be the dude that came in and made the stand up rap with the random rap and the man like that for the people that was anti-rap.” Do with that what you will. Signed to same record label as Tyga and Chiddy Bang, Lil Dicky is heading places. His debut album, “Professional Rapper,” came out in 2010 and featured the likes of Snoop Dogg, T-Pain, Fetty Wap and Brandon Urie from Panic! at the Disco. See him at Colonial before he gets to the arena-level.
Freshmen may know Charlie Baker ’17 as the funny guy from Tiger’s Roar; those who’ve been around for longer probably know him as 50 percent of Baker & Goods. Goods, also known as Lachlan Kermode, isn’t on campus this year, but just Baker is plenty talented as a singer and songwriter to more than hold his own opening for Young Rising Sons. Baker’s instrument of choice when singing is an acoustic guitar — though you will also catch him wielding his fearsome wit as a member of improv troupe Quipfire! and his showcasing acting chops as a regular actor in Theatre Intime productions.
Young Rising Sons
You know those songs that get stuck in your head because it’s on every other soft drink commercial, car commercial, summer award show commercial and anything-related-to-fun commercial? Meet Young Rising Sons, the band behind the hit “High,” one of the unofficial summer jams of 2014 that has been featured in adverts for Hulu and Pepsi, among many others. It’s the type of song that makes you picture yourself in a swimsuit, tanning on an impeccably kept suburban lawn, with a Ray Ban-clad romantic interest and a spiked lemonade; in other words, it’s the perfect song for Lawnparties. The four-piece indie pop band, which is actually of New Jersey origin, formed in 2010, and has since toured with Weezer, The 1975, The Neighborhood and Bleachers, among numerous others.
Citing influences that range from Queen to Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, Young Rising Sons is definitely rising fast. It will be releasing its first LP with a record label, so be sure to catch the band on the lawn of Tower before it becomes too big for our student budgets to see.
You might be surprised by the diversity of sounds just one trumpeter and one drummer can make. Brasstracks, which describes its sound as “future bass,” proves that combination has a lot of range indeed — the duo has remixed everyone from Drake to TNGHT. Its music may not be heavy on the words, but it’s definitely heavy on the potential for some major eyes-closed hands-in-the-air hip-swaying.
SoundCloud It: “R Kelly – Ignition (Remix)”, “Dreaming At The Function (JNTHN STEIN x Brasstracks)”
Big Sam’s Funky Nation
If you’re going to listen to jazz, you might as well get it straight from its motherland: join Big Sam’s Funky Nation, a jazz/funk/rock group with a big sound and a growing collection of tracks that will charm anyone looking for something groovy. The group was founded by Big Sam, the former trombonist of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, a major influence in the New Orleans music scene responsible for innovating the fusion of funk and bebop into traditional New Orleans jazz. With their high energy and feel-good jams, Big Sam’s Funky Nation has become a favorite at major festivals, including the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Bonnaroo and Austin City Limits. In addition, the band has been featured on “LIVE! with Regis & Kelly” and the HBO original show “Treme,” among others. Make your way down to Charter for an alternative take on Lawnparties acts — one that will bring out your inner boogie instincts.
Spotify It: “New Funk,” “Funky Donkey,” “King Of The Party”
Cannon Dial Elm Club
Where will you (possibly) be able to find “Crazy In Love,” “Sweet Child of Mine,” “Empire State,” and “Wagon Wheel” all in one place on Sunday? At Cannon, where Hot Date will be performing! This Fireball Whisky-sponsored five-member party cover band from Long Island, N.Y., boasts a repertoire that spans the ’60s to today in genres from dance to rock to hip hop to country. And yes, all of those songs are on their song list — which is over 1,000 songs long.
YouTube It: “Fuck You by Cee Lo Green (Cover)”
Are you in the mood for some classy grooves to go along with your preppy attire? Then head on down to Cloister for Bellatonic for a modern trip to the Old Standards with modern indie influences. Marketed as “NYC’s ultimate millenial jazz-lounge group,” Bellatonic plays covers of classic jazz and rock for the 21st century, such as “I’ve Put a Spell On You” by Creedence Clearwater Revival, “Fly Me to Moon” by Frank Sinatra, and even Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black.” Performing songs from artists as varied as Radiohead, Oasis, Bjork, Dolly Parton, Louie Armstrong, Michael Jackson and “Gotye (not that one song),” Bellatonic is the perfect fuel to assume the ultimate Princetonian musical aesthetic while you listen to all the music you’ve heard on Spotify in your short time on Earth and on your grandparents’ radio with their lengthy time on Earth. Bellatonic appeals to literally everyone, whether you’re into Jack White or Johann Sebastian Bach. Embrace your inner contemporary F. Scott Fitzgerald attitude and make it to Cloister, ladies and gents, for a grand time this side of paradise.
YouTube it: Bellatonic Demo Reel
My Hero Zero
My Hero Zero, “State College PA’s most popular band,” is a five-piece band that covers and mashes up hits such as Flo Rida's “Good Feeling” and The Proclaimers’ “I Would Walk 500 Miles.” Dreadlocked and harmonica-wielding Jason Olcese is the lead singer (who also occasionally raps); the other four men in the band — Greg Folsom, Michael Lee, Noah Connolly, and Donovan O'Rourke — play guitar, keyboard, sax, and drums, to name just a few instruments. Oh, and like Hot Date Band, they’re sponsored by Fireball Whisky.
No one man should have all that power, but Ivy is taking power in stride this Lawnparties with cover band Power I. Based in the Delaware/Philadelphia area, Power I performs sets from both rock and hip-hop groups. The five-member group’s set list is diverse, performing songs as varied as Fall Out Boy, Michael Jackson, Of Monsters and Men, Gin Blossoms, Flo-Rida, Kanye and Weezer. Stop by Ivy for some Power I this Lawnparties.
YouTube it:?POWERi @ Dewey Bottle & Cork Jam