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1. Modest Mouse
JUNE 23 AT 9:30 P.M. | ULINE WAREHOUSE STAGE
Frontman Isaac Brock is one of those names synonymous with the term “indie rock.” The band has been putting out underground indie hits since its debut in 1996, until breaking through to a mainstream audience with Good News for People Who Love Bad News in 2004 (those unfamiliar with the band might recognize the track “Float On”). The band released its first album in six years in 2021, meaning that the band will likely play old fan favorites as well as some new tracks.
JULY 9 AT 9:30 P.M. | GENERAC POWER STAGE
Sometimes the side project becomes the main project. That was definitely the case with Death Cab for Cutie, Ben Gibbard’s indie-rock project that began as a solo endeavor but evolved into a full band after positive feedback. Since then, Death Cab for Cutie has established itself as an indie-rock mainstay, particularly after the release of its fourth studio album Transatlanticism. If you’re look for a set to cry to at Summerfest this year, this is probably your best bet.
JULY 7 AT 10:15 P.M. | MILLER LITE OASIS STAGE
You’d be hard-pressed to find an indie-rock group that runs the festival circuit better than the Portugal. The Man. The band has performed over 1600 shows, cutting its teeth at festivals like Bonaroo and Lollapalooza. The band has recently popped back into the spotlight with the release of its 2017 album Woodstock, of which the song “Live in the Moment” achieved #1 status on Billboard’s Alternative Songs chart.
JULY 9 AT 1:45 P.M. | GENERAC POWER STAGE
Illuminati Hotties has been performing emotionally-charged indie rock since its 2018 debut album Kiss Yr Frienemies, effectively coining the term “tenderpunk.” The band is loud, at-times abrasive and other times silly, but always high energy and entertaining to watch. If you’d like proof, just check out the band’s music video for “Mmmoooaaaaayaya,” where frontman Sarah Tudzin has green ooze poured on her Nickelodeon style while she sings.
5. You Win!!!
JULY 8 AT 5:30 P.M. | JOHNSON CONTROLS WORLD STAGE
Milwaukee singer Amanda Huff and Milwaukee producer This Random Machine have come together to form a dark-pop electronic duo that takes inspiration from video games, Dungeons & Dragons and an assortment of other nerdy pastimes. The group’s music video for “Painmonger” has garnered over 10,000 views on Youtube and is a dark yet playful exploration of understanding pain.
6. Yum Yum Cult
JULY 7 AT 12 P.M. | ULINE WAREHOUSE STAGE
Milwaukee group Yum Yum Cult has been slowly but surely releasing dreamy, infectious indie rock, building up the anticipation for the release of its debut album. The band’s latest single, “If Talk’s All It Is,” is a chorus-soaked melancholic assessment of a relationship that could but maybe shouldn’t blossom into something more.