Pygmalion Festival Countdown: Local Artists

Going Loud and Local:

Pygmalion fest is incredible because it brings so many top-tier acts to town every year. But we must not forget that we’ve got some top-tier acts right here all year round. CU is lucky to have such a vibrant and diverse music scene, from alternative rock to EDM, to hip hop, rap and R&B. It is always worth going out to see our many incredible local bands, but it is in many ways even more exciting to get to see them in a festival format. I will touch on a few that I am most excited about, but all of these bands are worth a visit – see a full list below!

Have a Happy Pygmalion!



Winder is an Illinois posthardcore fractured and fuzzy pop group, as they describe themselves, originally formed in Bloomington, IL. However three out of the four members call CU their home so for all intents and purposes Winder is local band already deeply imbedded in our music scene. While the band itself is fairly new, having just released their debut EP in May of this year, the members are total pros: Chris, of Werepire Day and Reduced to Instinct, Isaac of Withershins and Evil Tents, Jared of Bookmobile!, and Garrick of ZXO. We talked with Winder back in February regarding their first official single “Fertile/Feral/Fallow” and the formation of the band. They are such nice and interesting guys and it is probably still one of my favorite interviews to date. You can check that interview out here

And make sure to check them out on Saturday September 23rd at 51 Main.


CJ Run

CJ Run is probably one of the most interesting acts you will find at Pygmalion. CJ, originally from the UK is a Junior here at UIUC. The songs they write are important, not just good. They write from the heart and speak out about social justice through their music. Since starting school here in CU, they have released two full projects with another on the way and have played at many rallies and campus events. CJ is certainly become a staple in our music community. This is their second time playing Pygmalion festival and this year, they will be opening for Smino on September 21st  at Canopy Club.

You can hear their song, “R.A.C.E. (Ringleaders Always Conquer Everything)” regularly in our rotations!


When you think of the CU music scene, Motes is definitely one of the first bands that comes to mind. The post-punk dreampop band are known for their clever lyrics, imagery and a deliberate clash between rhythmic “messiness” and soft melodies. They have released one EP and one full-length album, with their next LP set to be released soon.

You can hear their single Freeway in our rotations right now, of course make sure to check them out on September 22nd at the Pygmalion Street Stage!


Snayl is often classified as psychedelic and electronic, but really he is in is own genre, a blend of many different styles. A highly conceptual artist, over the course of two EPs and one full length album, he tells a story of combating depression, near death experiences, and a new perception of the world. Snayl is more than just a musician – his music is a full-body experience that force the listeners to look into themselves introspectively and come back out not quite the same. His LP dreaming of ghosts was recently voted CU’s best experimental project.

Make sure not to miss his performance at Canopy Club on September 21st!


Other noteworthy local bands:

The Bashful Youngens – Americana indie folk


ZXO – American psychedelic slow jam


Curb Service – smooth beats, clever production, rap and turn of phrase


Trouble Chasin’ – A renowned hip-hop/rap, collaboration: Truth aka Trouble, and Chasing Baby with DJ Fidlin

Sleeping Okami – Jazz, hip-hop and soul

Marathon – psychedelic tones and ambient drones, inspired by minimalism


Sambolo – Brazilian Funk and Midwest Groove


Dewclaw – Folk and blues

The Kickback (previously local now based in Chicago)

Sunjacket (CU alumns, now based in Chicago)



by Bridget Mueller-Brennan