What are two of the best things in the world? World peace and universal health care, you say? Close, but no cigar. The answer we were looking for is live music and tacos. And now you may be asking yourself, “At what paradise on Earth could I find such a heavenly combination?” Tropicália, that’s where. The annual music and taco festival will be returning to Queen Mary Park in Long Beach, California this November 3 and 4 for a two-day celebration of tacos and great music.
Headed by the likes of sadboy indie-rock legend Morrissey, the definitive star of 2018, Cardi B, as well as Mazzy Star, Kali Uchis, and Mac Demarco, Tropicália Fest is a cavalcade of not-to-miss acts this year. Yet, there is still so much more to discover and see, as the undercard consists of some of the best rising acts we’ve seen in quite some time.
So, grab an al pastor (or jackfruit if you’re a vegetarian) taco and follow our playlist to discover some of the best Tropicália has to offer.
Los Angeles’ The Marías has raised comparisons to everything from sex in the ‘70s and if silky smooth velvet were to be given sonic form. The five-piece band pulls from a range of timeless musical traditions, from jazz percussion, mesmerizing guitar riffs, to lounge jazz vocals that switch between English and Spanish, to give them a sound that is all their own. The otherworldly blend of jazz, psychedelia, funk, and dream pop aesthetics is an experience not-to-be-missed at Tropicália or throughout the remainder of The Marías fall tour.
If you’ve listened to music on YouTube in the past odd year, chances are you’ve been recommended the wonderful music video “Lover Boy.” The delightfully charming song and music video is courtesy of Thailand-born, New Zealand-raised Phum Viphhurit who is poised to be a new shimmering voice in the growing landscape of anti-pop. And while “Lover Boy” would be reason enough to see Viphurit, he also has plenty of similarly enchanting material to pull from thanks to his debut release Manchild and an infectious remix of “Lover Boy” with Higher Brothers and 88rising, aptly titled “Lover Boy 88.”
The consistently impressive British crooner first earned comparisons to the likes of King Krule when he entered the music scene with a soulful-take on indie rock, and it’s easy to see why. Both artists are far talented beyond their years and seem to exist in a musical realm separate from any of their supposed cohorts. However, as Yellow Days continues to evolve and master his craft, he similarly outgrows such past comparisons. His latest, “How Can I Love You?” is a blues-inspired indie dream that officially put him on his own plane entirely.
Finding his start in a garage/studio in Oakland, California, Still Woozy is the definition of a self-made artist. The Oakland native blends acoustic and electronic elements for a listening experience that is equal parts dance-inducing, intimate, and undeniably addictive. And while he may only have a handful of singles to his name, the modest collection serves as more than enough reason to see Still Woozy. Not only has he proven himself over the course of a few singles, including the standout “Goodie Bag,” but Tropicália will be one of the first places to hear new material.
Kero Kero Bonito
Kero Kero Bonito’s most popular song to date is titled “Flamingo,” and its main subject matter is well… flamingos and shrimps. What we’re trying to say here is that Kero Kero Bonito is a wondrously fun band that you need to catch live at least once in your life. Formed on the Internet and taking influence from Japanese tween pop and UK electronica, the eclectic band has become a cult sensation. Couple an expansive and varied discography with their recently released sophomore album Time ‘n’ Place, and you have a band that will have you jumping up and down like you’re on a trampoline.
New York artist Gus Dapperton won a songwriting contest in eighth grade. This may or may not have been the catalyst to him becoming one of the most fascinating figures in the world of bedroom pop. Whatever the reason may be, it’s apparent that Dapperton is a bedroom pop star in the making. His ingenious songwriting style, showcased in songs like “Prune, You Talk Funny,” “I’m Just Snacking,” and the more recent “World Class Cinema,” has led him to the forefront of the indie world. Throw this in with a quirky visual aesthetic that has been featured Vogue, and you have yourself a different pop star altogether.
Mild High Club
Psychedelic pop outfit Mild High Club makes the sort of music that would score an easygoing daydream. Over the course of two phenomenal albums, 2015’s Timeline and 2016’s Skiptracing, the Los Angeles band will take you by hand through their lush, meticulously-crafted worlds. And while the band has more than enough material to pull from to fill a perfect sun-soaked set, we’re guessing that the band will be unveiling some new material this time around. So, whether it’s for old or new material, you can catch us front-and-center vibing out to the mellow sounds of Mild High Club.
New York-based bedroom pop outfit Triathalon has an effortlessly laidback sound that we simply can’t wait to see live. The band’s distinctly dream sound and warped instrumentals completed by modern R&B elements and velvety-smooth vocals is near-impossible to not lose yourself in. To personify Triathalon’s music, it would be the feeling you get when you’re sitting fully content at a fairly empty beach and the sound of the waves drift you off to some magical, newfound shore. What we’re trying to say is, Triathalon is a band you need to catch at Tropicália or during their ongoing tour with The Marías.
Hailing from the Midwest, proudly Mexican, and carrying with him an otherworldly sound, we have rising bedroom pop phenomenon Omar Apollo. The multi-dimensional artist showcases his vast range in the musical dichotomies her forms throughout in his spellbinding tracks, pairing softly sung vocals in one line and delving into rap in the next. Apollo’s clear talent for musical diversity can be found throughout his debut EP Stereo and in his notable live show, which has led to near-constant sell-outs. This is a DIY artist doing it all.
Honduran-American vocalist and songwriter Empress Of crafts empowering and introspective electropop that demonstrates her remarkable vocal acrobatics. First releasing her debut album Me in 2015, the past few years have been sadly empty of a major Empress Of release – well, was true up until earlier this year. 2018 saw the release of Us, the artist’s highly-anticipated sophomore effort. The new material serves as an arresting reintroduction to Empress Of and her highly spontaneous and danceable sound. And there’s a certain place you can catch all the new material live first. You guessed it, Tropicália.