Arts, Column

Your New Favorite Artists at Boston Calling: Van Buren Records and More

(Boston Calling / Alive Coverage)

Van Buren Records

The local rap collective Van Buren Records took over the orange stage on Saturday evening. The group of rappers proudly talked about its roots in Brockton, Mass. as it started on its track “Lil Haiti,” which it said spoke to life in the industrial city.  

WBUR called the group of 13 rappers “the most promising rap collective coming out of Massachusetts in years.” Its Boston Calling set proved that the group delivers an incomparable live show and hinted at an expanding discography.

The large group of rappers spanned across the stage, handing off the microphones to each other, dancing with the crowd, and shouting out lines. Van Buren Records’ communal artistry comes through on its recorded works—including its 2021 EP BLACK WALL STREET

When the rappers seamlessly pass off the lyrics to each other, their songs feel like a moving act of collective storytelling. 

During “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” the group sang along to the catchy chorus and nodded to the beat that’s impossible to resist dancing to.

Toward the end of its set, the group performed an unreleased song, an eight minute–long piece commenting on capitalism, promising that its electric discography of rap music is still growing. 

Peach Tree Rascals

You might have heard their viral hit “Mariposa” while scrolling through your TikTok feed, but the Peach Tree Rascals also have a discography chock full of loose dance beats and catchy choruses perfect for the festival scene. 

The five members of the indie group ran onstage and started on “Song From Hell” as they danced around with each other to the swinging beat. 

The group’s indie sound makes it easy to sway and nod your head along with the bassline. With their second song “Fumari,” the band members called out to the audience and asked everyone to dance with them. The movement of the crowd proved that even if listeners didn’t know the words, the Peach Tree Rascals still provided a reliable bop for their audience. 

The group also played a new song set to come out later this month called “Let U Go.” The singers encouraged the audience to pre-save the song on Spotify, asking for the crowd to bolster the band’s burgeoning success. 

The Peach Tree Rascals have set out on their first tour after finding success purely through their social media presence and recorded performances. 

Crooked Coast

Throughout the festival, the orange stage became a platform on which lesser-known bands drew curious festival-goers and gained new fans. The alt-rock band Crooked Coast did just that with its set on Sunday. The four members walked out in front of a growing crowd, temporarily letting the music cut out to hear the cheers, before they started their first song. 

“This is one of the most exciting shows of our lives,” guitarist and vocalist Luke Vose said. 

The band is an example of how the festival highlights local musicians, as the members of Crooked Coast founded the group on their home of Cape Cod. With its live show, the group delivered a passionate set that enlivened the crowd. 

The passion in the band’s music also comes across listening to their discography, particularly the rich voice of singer John McNamara. 

At times, McNamara’s soaring voice elevates the band’s songs, and at other times, swinging guitar riffs come in to add the lightness of reggae music to the band’s rock-heavy sound. These combinations come through on their tracks “She’s Around” and “No, Caroline, No.” But then Vose comes in with steady rap lyrics, including on the band’s most recent release “Burn the Bridge,” as the group smoothly spans genres. 

June 8, 2022