Morningrise Fest 2023

Last Saturday, On June 24th, Morningrise Fest, a Minecraft indie festival, took place. Morningrise is a DIY indie label and was responsible for the organization of the event alongside the underground™ discord. The festival featured a lineup of talented artists who showcased their music in an immersive experience for the attendees. Many of the artists re-recorded their songs or performed unreleased content to make the show special. I’ll be reviewing their sets chronologically.

At the bottom of this article, there will be a list of my personal favorite songs from each performer.

First up was Swinford. With emotional lyrics following themes of foolishness and young love, Swinford infuses aspects of Alex G into his songwriting.

The song “Crunch” kicked off the festival, winding around his thoughts about heartbreak and worrying about all the potential what ifs of a girl named Molly.

“Zero Sugar,” off his debut album Horse, was a splendid showcase of Swinford’s storytelling ability. As the words, “well, well, well, what do we have here?” fell like feathers into our ears, guitars rocked us back and forth. 

My favorite track was “Desperate.” With childlike vocals, he expressed his disappointment with the small town around him, detailing a feeling of being stuck.

To get a sense of the song, here are the opening lyrics:
“It’s getting better at least I think / I mean it could be worse I guess”
I’m not hurting that bad / I’m just a little bit upset
This town drags me down (down)
This town can’t keep me around.”

“Prison” brought an intriguing twist of discordance to the set with its self-deprecating and country-inspired style.

Swinford closed out his set with a cover of a song by The Microphones, “I Can’t Believe You Actually Died.” The song consists of some pretty guitar playing and eerily vulnerable lyrics.

Listen to Swinford’s set here.

Taygaloo Cat:
Taygaloo Cat beautifully entwined a number of diverse elements into his songcraft on track 1, “stopper / spackle,” carrying the listeners away with valleys of vocals, twangy guitars, and free ranging harmonica playing.

His next song was an unreleased track, “sh.” As he breaks into falsettos over walls of acoustic strumming,  Taygaloo Cat takes us along for a ride. “Ooos” fill the sky of the track and that same ol’ twangy guitar brings the track to a close. 

Track 3, “jUiCe,” was one of my favorites from of Taygaloo’s set. I found the storytelling to be really endearing and I liked the way we were introduced to the two characters, Lucy & Tommy. I think little windows into people’s lives in lyrics are a really cool way to make a song feel more human, so maybe that’s why this one stuck out to me. I also just really enjoyed the guitar playing in this track.

Track 4 was “skob” was an airy ballad atop soft strumming. It fits very neatly into Taygaloo Cat’s set.

Lastly, he closed on what became my favorite track from his set, “bowl bowl.” The track was just brimming with sweet melodies that broke into acoustic cascades. Frustrated with the cycle of things, he outbursts, “I should be going the right way.”

Listen to Taygaloo Cat’s set here.


Gawshock began his set with a new song, blessing us with the honor of being the first to listen to it. Track 1 was “Grit,” an unreleased song that swelled up from light instrumental into soft-spoken delivery reminiscent of villagerrr. It sounds like rainfall to me.

Next, we were off to space with vocals that felt like transmissions from an astronaut on track 2, “Funny.” Melodies gracefully danced above a subtle drumbeat, and the song gradually took form. It flowed leisurely, resembling a tranquil river, guiding us through its brief two-minute duration with a sense of safety and serenity.

Song 3 of the set was another unreleased track, “Diary.” Fuzzy folk guitars and harmonicas filled our ears with lush sounds that brought me back to the feeling of first hearing Alex G’s Rocket. As he whispered stories in the background, a gentle guitar swayed back and forth.

The set closed with the track “Pen and Paper,” featuring duster-esque guitars and those same astronaut-esque vocals from before.

Gawshock was one of my favorite performances of the night and is an artist that I’ll definitely be exploring more in the coming weeks.

Listen to Gawshock’s set here.

24hr Video:
24hr Video’s set was divided into three long epics: Young Degenerates, Smoke (Inside), and Die Young (A Star Is Born). With vocals almost reminiscent of a sound found somewhere between Black Country New Road and LCD Sound System, 24hr Video tells tales of self discovery and introspection, but the true beauty of his music lies in the grandiose instrumental displays. It’s some crazy stuff.

BOOM, “Young Degenerates” blasts off like an F-Zero track as if powered forward by jet-propelled guitars. As the track flourished through various phases, it was clear that we were in for a ride.

Next up was slowburn track, “Smoke (Inside).” With each repetition of the phrase “slow this bird down,” the audience was further lulled into a musical hypnotism.

Their music was like the feeling of reentering Earth after a long journey through space.

The slowcore finale, “Die Young (A Star Is Born),” was reminiscent of (my favorite band) Dawning’s “Nosebleed,” repeating the riff as it grew through booming and blooming guitars.

24hr Video’s set displayed a mesmerizing blend of instrumental music, featuring firework flurries and slide guitars.

After the show, I talked with Isaiah (the owner of the underground discord) about which sets stood out the most to us, and we both brought up 24hr Video’s set for the sheer scale of it all.

If you’re in the mood for some longform lofi noise rock, be sure to check out 24hr Video.

Listen to 24hr Video’s set here.

Stoney Point:
Founder of Morningrise, Stoney Point, was up next. In their music, Stoney Point summons a sound storm of synthesizers, folky guitars, and thunderous drums, weaving them into slowcore tracks.

The song “Where Birds Meet To Die” exhibited this in grandiosity, creating a haunting atmosphere.

Their music felt like a black hole, with static tearing at the fringes of the track. As we descend into a sea of quiet strumming, a chorus of voices calls out to us, and within curious haunted hallucinations we find ourselves.

Overall, the set was incredibly ambient, seemingly influenced by artists like Slowdive, Duster, and Grouper.

Stoney Point has a single coming on July 31st and hinted at an album release in January as well as talks of a collaboration with sign crushes motorist in the future.

Listen to Stoney Point’s set here.

sign crushes motorist
sign crushes motorist was definitely the biggest name on the bill. He opened with some remarks on how the day was pretty gloomy over where he was and that these tracks sort of reflected that.

The first track was “Wish,” filled with soul-crushing lyrics about loss decorated by duster-esque slowcore riffs. sign crushes motorist delivered a chilling performance.

Softly we descend through yearning and heartache on track 2, “Left.” Liam strums lightly on an acoustic guitar while he sings out some depressing lines.

Next up was track 3, “Love Me,” out tomorrow (June 30th) with the release of his new album, Hurting.

Track 4 was “Boyhood,” the title track of an album off his side project Birth Day. As he stirs sadness around, he sings about the yearning behind thinking of someone all the time.

Up next was a slowcore cover of “Last Friday Night” by Katy Perry. His shaky voice brings a reflective aura that flips the traditionally pop powered track. This rendition was a lot smoother than scm’s album version and I loved it. I think it’s really cool whenever a cover can totally shift the vibe of the song, and this most certainly accomplishes that.

Quiet hills of guitar rolled by as Liam called for a singalong as he began track 6, “Better.”

He finished his set with “loser monologue.” This last track reminds me a lot of Dandelion Hands. Surprise, surprise, It’s soul-crushing.

Listen to sign crushes motorist’s set here.


Dissonance’s performance was explosive, an exploration into experimental house music.

What began with noisy slowcore guitars on track 1, “abrupt,” transformed into shimmery synths that lifted the listeners into the air. Reverb-coated vocals carved their way through the airspace in ethereal tones. A flush of risers shot in and some trap drums rattled in the mix.

On “untitled,” airhorns blast in almost rave fashion and an ethereal sample of “Love Story” plays.

Later in the set, folksy whirlpool of guitar spun beneath a churning synthesizer and Dissoance sang, “Their eyes are made of paper”’

The set was a really interesting blend of genres, with a storm of static flooding the audience in shoegaze fashion.

Listen to Dissonance’s set here.


Rain’s Room:
First of all, I wanna thank Rain’s Room for being the reason I knew about this event in the first place. While it was wonderful to explore a myriad of new artists, getting to hear the familiar yet ever-strange music of Rain’s Room was a catharsis of sorts.

First, a recording played: “Hey y’all, I’m Denise, I’m Rain’s mom, and I’m so super excited to show y’all all the beautiful music my son made.”

White noise, guitars, and leisurely singing meld together into a Lofi opener on the unreleased track “10/02/2019”. The song is chilled out, following some acoustic playing while voices talk in the background.

Next, we hear Rain say, “I’m gonna switch it up really quick, gimme one second,” followed by the sounds of a cassette tape being switched out. The transitions on this set remind me a lot of the transitions on Frank Ocean’s Nostalgia Ultra. It wasn’t long before we were immersed in the mesmerizing sounds of track 2, “Oceanwaves,” where ethereal voices entered the soundscape. “Oceanwaves” was one of my favorite tracks from Rain’s set based on the manipulation of his vocals to make this transcendent waterfall of voices.

Track 3, “あさかぜのこもりうた,” was serenity. Glowing orbs of ambiance enchanted listeners while in the background, a voice speaks about their excitement for a happy future, “I’m just so excited to spend my life with you… we’re gonna have a dog… and I’m gonna make you breakfast every morning.”

Introspective and emotive, track 4, “sunday, may 21,” takes a darker turn. Driven forward by a steady drum beat, each lyric helps paint a mental space that loops like its own instrumental.

“Laying in the park, I said I hope this never ends
I meant every single word, but you said it was just pretend”

As the track echoes through ripples, we delve deeper into the consciousness of Rain’s Room.

“And I’ll tell your friends I’m a piece of shit, which holds a bit of truth /
but don’t spend all of these days dwelling on this fucked up youth”

Finally, the song fades into this watery sound that seems to dissolve the track.

Next, a beautiful guitar melody opens track 5: the unreleased “try.” The sounds guide the listener through distorted words as it snakes forwards.

Psychedelic and complex, track 6, “the videostar” begins with hushed synths, and the words,
“It’s another day and I just want to sleep.”

As the song continues forward, it evolves into a jungle beat that darts between oceans of voices. It manages to accomplish a pace that is both tranquilly slow and, yet, a blitz. Acoustic guitars bring an end to the track.

Crushed bits and fairy synths create a light soundscape for the unreleased “cream colored walls,” a slight detour that explores a quiet state of suspension.

Up next was track 8, my favorite Rain’s Room song: “his feet don’t touch the floor.” What begins with a blast of vaporwave quickly speeds up into a jungle beat before a surge of angsty gain takes hold of the track. Finally, the guitar vanishes, and the track returns to ambience. Rain uses the opportunity to thank everyone who put the event together and everyone that attended.

Last up is track 9, “my nicotine addiction is worse than yours,” another unreleased track. Utilizing autotune, Rain Room sings atop soft guitar playing while reverb-soaked chords make waves throughout the track.

Rain’s Room was my favorite set of the night for making such cool genre-bending vaporwave, the creative manipulation of his vocals, and just the vastness of his creativity. Hearing these alternate renditions of his tracks was really special and I’m so excited to see what’s next.

Listen to Rain’s Room’s set here.

Benny Benji:
Kind of blue grass, kind of Alex G, Benny Benji’s fingerpicking style is mesmerizing as he meanders through his songs telling tales of young love and heartbreak.

Benny Benji performed 12 songs, my 2 favorites were “Don’t Think Twice” and “2 Pistols Long.”

“Don’t Think Twice” was a sad song about moving on. It feels like a journey, whistling along the way to distract yourself with a tune. Each time the chorus comes around, it’s a little more heartbreaking as Benny sings, “but don’t think twice, it’s alright.”

“2 Pistols Long” reminded me a bit of Trick era Alex G- specifically the track “Animals.” I love that the track makes such a strong impression with its short runtime of a minute and 30 seconds.

I thought Benny Benji’s set was a great showcase of his guitar playing and his songwriting ability. I’m excited to see what’s in store for him.

Listen to Benny Benji’s set here.


Theory Of Ducks:
Theory of Ducks opened with “Home Videos,” a quiet track that walks alongside acoustic strumming. It’s sweet and soothing.

Theory Of Ducks shouted out Starrycat as one of his influences for track 2, “but i love your smile” (the song will be releasing likely within the next month in a collaboration project with Swinford). I really enjoyed the lofi production on this track. It was cool hearing static crackle as a guitar melody danced around in it. “but i love your smile” will be coming out alongside a split with Swinford in late July, so keep your eyes peeled for the release.

Track 3 was “glass,” a short song about breaking a favorite glass of his. The track sparks up into flashy fires of gain that remind me a lot of Race era Alex G. This was my favorite track from Theory Of Ducks’ set. That gainy guitar sound is just way too cool.

Theory Of Ducks performed, “bad tripped watching django unchained,” as his last track for the night. This was another favorite of mine from the set for its hushed intensity; the whole track is coated in this blanket of white noise that adds a grit to the guitarwork and lofi drums. As he repeats the phrase, “this is how it ends,” Theory Of Ducks brings and end to his set.

“Shoutout ducks… they’re a pretty cool animal” – Theory Of Ducks

Listen to Theory Of Ducks’ set here.


The Apology Club:
Introverted songwriting took center stage as The Apology Club played a beautiful and soft set, giving listeners a smooth ride towards the end of the festival. Their short 5 minute set left a big impression on me and left me curious to hear more.

Listen to The Apology Club’s set here.


Mila Moon:
Mila Moon’s set kicked off with “Here.” I thought her voice was a perfect pairing for the sweet melodies that she conjured on guitar. Something akin to Alex G’s music sparked up in my mind when hearing this track but Mila Moon retained a strong sense of individuality in her implementation of these aspects.

With a shaky voice, Mila Moon sang shy lyrics on track 2, “Wood.” The song has a strong sense of groove in its guitar melody that effortlessly drives the track forward.

Up next was “Bus Waltz” (named after the fact that she wrote it on a bus). The track will be featured on her upcoming album. Introspective and moody, “Bus Waltz” was yet another gorgeous showcase of Mila Moon’s songwriting ability.

“Cover” was another beautiful track from Mila Moon. With sweet synth humming providing a backdrop to her guitar and vocal melodies, Mila Moon sang the words, “you can cover your eyes” over and over til, bringing her set to a close.

Mila Moon was an excellent addition to the festival and one of my favorite performances of the night.

Listen to Mila Moon’s set here.


S. Rabbit:
S. Rabbit’s set was a delightful blend of cute and eerie elements, creating an atmosphere that was both intriguing and captivating. I really appreciated the avant-garde elements that added a unique flair to her music. Her innovative approach and artistic expression is something that I’ll have to keep an eye on for the future.

Listen to S. Rabbit’s set here.

Boccmet opened his set with “rope brn,” a track off his newly released album, dud. The track utilizes a few minimalist elements like static and whistling to create an interesting listening experience.

Up next was “and they will always see you as your worst,” which began with a “Fitter Happier”-esque voice that says “it’s never going to improve.” Layered vocals over static flushes and valleys of folk guitar make this song feel so massive and dynamic. This was definitely my favorite track from Boccmet’s set.

“Chronically Online At 8” was a janky track but I kind of loved that about it. As the guitar melody jolted forward, vocals made themselves known in the background and contributed to the off-putting nature of the track. Finally, everything falls into place and syncs up into a perfect outro.

Listen to Boccmet’s set here.


Playboi Carti:
The last performer of the night was a surprise set from none other than the “Vamp King” himself, Playboi Carti. In the chaos, attendees burned down Morningrise Fest and proceeded to mosh until they reached bedrock.

Listen to Playboi Carti’s set here.


Closing Thoughts:
In conclusion, Morningrise Fest was a Minecraft show that transcended the virtual realm, bringing together indie music enjoyers and artists in a unique and immersive experience. Morningrise Fest showcased the diverse talents of these indie musicians, leaving a lasting impression on all who attended. It served as a reminder of music’s ability to unite and inspire, even in a digital setting. Thank you to everyone who performed and put this together.

UltraKraken recorded the entire festival so feel free to click here to watch the video.

And now as promised…

My favorite songs from each performer:
“Desperate” – Swinford
“bowl bowl” – Taygaloo Cat
“Grit” – Gawshock
“Smoke (Inside)” – 24hr Video
“Last Friday Night” – sign crushes motorist
“Where Birds Meet To Die” – Stoney Point
“untitled” – Dissonance
“oceanwaves” – Rain’s Room
“Two Pistols Long” – Benny Benji
“glass” – Theory Of Ducks
“School” – The Apology Club
“Wood” – Mila Moon
“jane says” – S. Rabbit
“and they will always see you as your worst” – Boccmet

2 thoughts on “Morningrise Fest 2023

  1. naomi says:

    i was there!!!! super duper awesome experience 🙂 can’t wait for the next festival!

    1. i’m super stoked too! i’ll see ya there! o7

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