Now in its third year, FRZN Festival has solidified its role in Madison's music scene, bringing up-and-coming acts to town at a time of year the concert calendar gets mighty sparse. It also serves as a kickoff for the awesome shows to come in the early part of 2014.
The event, which takes place at the High Noon Saloon, begins at 8 p.m. on Jan. 16, then continues on Jan. 17 and 18 with 9 p.m. shows. Indie-rock icons Superchunk play the Jan. 19 show, which gets rolling at 8 p.m., but much of the heavy lifting will be done by bands from a place chillier than Madison: Minnesota's Twin Cities.
Thursday, Jan. 16
For her newest release, Half About Being a Woman, Smith incorporated the soul and R&B styles of childhood faves like TLC and Erykah Badu into the variety of indie folk she brought to previous albums.
Last year, this Minneapolis artist worked with Lazerbeak, made guest appearances on P.O.S. and Caroline Smith tracks, and had multiple bands going while putting out a solo album. These are just a few of the reasons she won City Pages' Best Female Vocalist of 2013 title. Catch her rap and soul before she starts playing bigger festivals.
Bad Bad Hats
Bad Bad Hats are a doughnut-crazed Minneapolis indie-pop band that sound as sweet as their favorite snack. They've decorated their Twitter page with pictures of the round pastries and braved subzero temperatures to grab a box of them during the polar vortex a few days ago.
The Traveling Suitcase
This Oshkosh three-piece play ear-pleasing traditional rock, but they have an unconventional element, too: Frontwoman Nicole Rae is both the singer and the drummer.
Friday, Jan. 17
San Fermin is the chamber-pop project of Ellis Ludwig-Leone, a Yale-educated, Brooklyn, N.Y.-based songwriter. The group's self-titled album is a 17-track love story that features multiple lead vocalists and orchestral arrangements that draw on pop and folk just as much as classical music.
Communist Daughter sounds like sitting on a sunny Lake Superior beach in the '70s while listening to AM radio. Founded in western Wisconsin by Johnny Solomon, formerly of Friends Like These, the band cemented his relationship with co-lead singer Molly Moore, who is now his wife.
Nashville duo Escondido sound like they've lived a few thousand miles west -- somewhere near Raising Arizona's Hi and Ed, in a desert-based mobile home -- playing country-western music on lawn chairs with the faint crackle of a Mexican radio station fading in and out every so often.
Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Milagres signed to Kill Rock Stars sight unseen when the label heard their infectious psych-pop. Violent Light, the forthcoming follow-up to their 2011 record, Glowing Mouth, is based on conversations the band's singer, Kyle Wilson, had with his grandfather about working on the hydrogen bomb.
Saturday, Jan. 18
Whether you need to warm up or let loose on Saturday night, the band formerly known as the Don Knotts Bowel Movement should be right up your alley. Equipped with four guitars, this six-piece Nashville pop-punk act looks to bring wild, Monotonix-like energy to their FRZN Fest show.
Weekend's dark sound is reminiscent of the Cure or Joy Division at their poppiest, in a good way. They've recently moved across the country, from San Francisco to New York City, and on their new album they've moved toward a glossier sound.
A recent addition to the Relapse Records roster, Philadelphia's Nothing blend gloomy and shoegaze-y sounds that recall Catherine Wheel and My Bloody Valentine.
This local band's loud and fantastic garage rock mixes a heavy dose of punk rock and a tab of acid.
Sunday, Jan. 19
It's been 25 years since Superchunk formed in Chapel Hill, N.C. Though that's a long lifespan for a rock band, they sound just as passionate about their fast-paced, guitar-driven indie rock now as they did on 1991's No Pocky for Kitty and 1993's On the Mouth.
Jered Gummere, formerly of the Ponys, teamed up with members of Mannequin Men and the 1900s to launch this band. In addition to trotting through some of the rock 'n' roll territory the Ponys traversed, they time-travel with their sonic odes to '80s greats like Echo & the Bunnymen.