5 Under-the-Radar Acts to Catch at FYF Fest

"Missy...[checks notes]...Elliott?"

It seems like every year, FYF gets a little bit bigger, and this year’s no exception. In fact, it’s gotten much bigger, as LA’s premiere music festival has added a third day, and they’ve stacked it with so many splashy names they could’ve easily stretched it to a fourth (thank you, FYF, for not stretching it to a fourth).

And sure, we’re excited to see Missy and Björk and Frank (god willing) and Nine Inch Nails, but part of what makes FYF special is the depth of its booking; you could toss the proverbial dart at the poster and end up hitting your new favorite band. So with that in mind, we combed through this year’s lineup and teased out a few picks of our own.


Royal Headache — Friday, 7 p.m., Club

We put Royal Headache on our list of under-the-radar acts to catch at Pitchfork Fest last year. It’s a new summer, and they’re still under the radar, so we’re going to keep banging this drum for as long as we have to. The Aussie group’s still-potent 2015 LP High is a grease-smeared disc of soulful, organ-driven punk redolent with the swaggering romance of The Undertones and the chirpy and chipped melodicism of Ted Leo, all of it cut with a sighing sense of mourning for times past. They’ve been slowly making their way west all summer, and their Friday evening set is your last chance to see them before they hop a flight back to Oceania. — Marty Sartini Garner

Kelly Lee Owens — Friday, 7:45 p.m., Outer Space

Let’s say you’ve just seen Royal Headache and need a minute to collect yourself. That’s good, because you have precisely five of them to make your way to Outer Space, where Kelly Lee Owens will be piecing together the heavily textured building blocks of her excellent 2017 debut. We haven’t exactly hidden our love for the British beatmaker, whose uncluttered electronic palette on Kelly Lee Owens feels like a respite from the daily onslaught; tucked away in the corner of the FYF grounds, her set is bound to be a soft balm near the beginning of a long weekend. — MSG

Big Thief — Saturday, 4:20 p.m. (lol), Club

Certainly someone has to play the part, but Big Thief serving as a bottom-line act is rather surprising for any festival this late into 2017. After last year’s Masterpiece and this year’s Capacity, the Brooklyn group has more stellar material to work with than many of their festival circuit peers listed at a twenty-four point (or even thirty-six point!) font. Adrianne Lenker and Buck Meek are also two of the more compelling guitar players in the game right now, so don’t sleep on ’em if you’re one of those people worried about the current state of rock and roll. But your win overall on this one: Show up early on Saturday and reap the benefits of a low-key feels-fest. — Nate Rogers

Cherry Glazerr — Sunday, 3:15 p.m., Lawn

Until someone takes it upon themselves to name their band “Libby Denkmann,” Clementine Creevy’s Cherry Glazerr are going to continue to reign as the best band named after a radio personality. But they’re also currently reigning as possibly the best band mixing new-age glam arrangements with a decidedly punk outlook—which is really what glam was all about in the first place before it morphed into something more wholesome. Most of the band’s latest LP, Apocalipstick, sounds inviting, but it packs a mean bite—a nuclear bomb packaged into a lipstick tube. Fellow “trash people” are advised to drag their hungover selves to the Lawn Stage in time on Sunday to commiserate. — NR

Joey Purp — Sunday, 5:45 p.m., Club

Here’s what you need to know about Joey Purp. Last year, when UK grime king Skepta had to cancel his Lollapalooza set at the last minute, the up-and-coming Chicago rapper was quietly added as a replacement, and his mid-afternoon set on the EDM-heavy Perry’s stage kept the club kids turned up and the hip-hop heads bouncing. His iiiDrops mixtape, which dropped last May, is a sneakily complex piece of work that makes space for social commentary, hollaback anthems, and the kind of crossover hip-pop that are bound to push him higher and higher up festival posters. — MSG

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