M3F Fest in Phoenix, Arizona is taking place from March 4-5, and Paste is very excited to touch down into the sunniness for some of the best pop, dance and electronic music coming out right now. M3F is unlike other festivals, and they are entirely non-profit. All proceeds go to meaningful charities, ranging from Habitat for Humanity to the Phoenix Children’s Hospital, as well as many other smaller, local charities to support a range of causes from animal rescue to domestic violence resources. This year’s lineup has a wide range of acts across all genres, including Paste favorites Kaytranada, Blu DeTiger and more. Check out some of our recommendations, and we will see you on the dancefloor!
Indie pop rising star Blu DeTiger may have brushed up on her chops while touring with Caroline Polachek and Kitten, but her talent expands far beyond that. Blowing up on TikTok certainly helped. DeTiger perfectly encapsulates that chill, cool-girl pop sound with infectious bass grooves and gorgeous harmonies. DeTiger is one to watch in the coming years.
Cautious Clay may have released Deadpan Love in the summer of last year, but bringing these songs to the stage breathes new life into the album. With a number of prolific collaborations under his belt ranging from Taylor Swift to John Legend, Cautious Clay’s talents as a solo artist take from everything he’s learned throughout his expansive career with his gorgeous R&B-flavored indie rock. Even then, those labels don’t do his versatility justice. You’ll just have to see him for yourself.
The name is misleading. There is no doom and gloom here, and Goth Babe’s indie electronica is purely a joyful experience. Whether leaning more into his indie roots with the hit single “Weekend Friend” or exploring the euphoria of house music with “I Wanna Help Your Mind,” Goth Babe’s ear for melody and groove makes for the perfect set to catch with friends to dance the night away. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself singing along too.
Bangladeshi-American electronic producer Jai Wolf is festival perfection, and the atmospheric, slow burns of his songs with soaring vocals are begging to be projected into the desert skies. Injected with traces of traditional Bangladeshi music, indie vocals and synth-pop melodies, Jai Wolf’s approach to electronic music appeals to audiences everywhere.
Jungle, the English electronic duo comprised of Josh Lloyd-Watson and Tom McFarland, may catch EDM heads by surprise at first, but they can win anyone over. Their infectious rhythms make for satisfying ear worms. Taking cues from the multi-layered distinct style of Justice, Jungle’s blend of funk, soul and dance music is simply thrilling.
You may have seen Kaytranada’s famous Boiler Room set, or you have probably heard his timeless collaborations with Syd and Nick Murphy. Whether DJing or producing, Kaytranada’s blend of house, electronic and hip-hop has made his sound so identifiable. His immersive live sets feature a mix of visual art and gorgeous mixes of classics and his own hits. There’s no better way to end the night.
Have you listened to Leon Bridges’ most recent collaborative album with Khruangbin yet? You’ll probably want to brush up on that then. The soul singer’s rich voice feels like a warm hug, and his brand of Neo-soul feels just as modern while scratching that classic itch similar to everyone from Luther Vandross to Sam Cooke. His star power is amplified on stage, and he echoes back to an era often imitated, but rarely perfected. Bridges is the exception.
Australian electropop band Parcels is one of the few who can boast a coveted collaboration with Daft Punk, and it’s easy to see why that came to be. The five-piece’s vibrant nu-disco takes upon influences of the melodies of The Beach Boys and the groove of Marvin Gaye, transporting listeners to a sunny day no matter where they are.
If you are on Tiktok, you have definitely heard Surf Mesa’s “ily,” and the Frankie Valli-sampling hit is just one of the many chilled-out, atmospheric electronic songs that the Los Angeles-based producer is known for. Surf Mesa is a testament to TikTok’s perfect algorithm, and proves that the app is bringing a new wave of young talent that’s here to stay.
ZHU has previously been compared to Daft Punk by the New York Observer after his acclaimed Coachella performance, and it’s easy to see why. His amalgamation of influences shine, whether it be R&B or Ibiza house. ZHU’s malleable electronic palette has lent itself well to collaborations with rappers such as 24kGoldn, and he shines when put together with fellow brilliant minds such as Tokimonsta and Bob Moses. His live sets, which feature dizzying lights and floor-shaking drops, adds a new facet to the ever-changing landscape of electronic dance music.
Check out the complete lineup for M3F below and stay tuned for further coverage.
M3F Fest Lineup:
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