Last week, we listed ten of our favourite “discoveries”. Since there are so many to list, we decided to list ten more! We hope you enjoy some of the musicians and bands that we have come to love.
Have you had a moment where you listen to a band for the very first time and was immediately won over by their breathtaking music? That was the case for me when I heard Ephrata for the first time. This “relationship” could not have happened if the foursome from Seattle didn’t make the first move and follow me on Twitter. Their orchestral pop is captivating, enticing, and gorgeous. I’m still looking forward to seeing them live for the first time. Right now, it’s just a long-distance relationship. ~~~Ben
Often when you meet an artist or a band, it’s usually a bit formal – or informally formal. You meet them, have an interview, maybe grab a drink, and then say goodbyes. You might get a chance to speak to them again in the future, but it’s usually just hellos and some small talk. Then there are the rare opportunities where you get to spend a lot of time with them and develop a friendship. This was the case with Marta Pacek, the wonderful singer-songwriter from Australia, whose indie folk-rock, alt-country, Americana music is heartbreaking, warm, and tender. She’s a woman that more people should get to know both musically and personally, and I have to thank her publicist for introducing Marta to me. ~~~Ben
Sharon Van Etten includes a list of recommended listening with each of her albums. I run a Sharon Van Etten fan tumblr and decided to make a post providing links to each of the bands she listed for Are We There. Some were easy like Nick Cave, but then there was Phosphene, I was intrigued, there’s another band out there called Phosphene, but I knew that wasn’t who Sharon meant. After some conveniently timed tumblr posts, I found the Phosphene. I listened to some singles dug them so much I wrote about them. Then they sent me a copy of their self-titled LP which is fantastic to be reviewed. Phosphene returned the favor, and included Sharon Van Etten along with The National in their liner notes, and fans of those two should definitely check out Phosphene. ~Rich
The Don Giovanni showcase shows are not to be missed. In February, I attended the Screaming Females’ headlining showcase, and that featured Priests. I had heard of Priests before, but this was my first real experience with the Washington DC based punk rockers. They put on an amazing show, on par with the headlining Screaming Females. Their music is punk rock at its core, tackling social issues and doing it loudly.
I’ve never met Luke Rathborne, but I feel like I know him extremely well after our 3-hour conversation. Gracious, opinionated, funny, adventurous, and intelligent, Luke Rathborne’s personality resonates in the music of his band. At times, you could be laughing. Other times, you’ll be dancing. And at other moments, you might be sitting back and reflecting on a past moment. The young man from Vermont is also honest and affable, as he’ll admit that maybe naming his album Soft and wearing a “Soft” t-shirt on stage weren’t his greatest ideas. However, his popularity has exploded in the past year, so he’s doing something right, such as finding people like me on Twitter. ~~~Ben
THE RICH HANDS
Badass rock and roll from San Antonio, Texas. There’s nothing not to like about The Rich Hands, the San Antonio Current called them the most underrated band of 2012. They’ve had various releases over the last couple of years, and released Out of My Head in May. If you dig The Strokes, The Hives, Fidlar, Speedy Ortiz, The Ramones or even mid 1960’s Who and Rolling Stones, check out The Rich Hands. ~Rich
Like we said last week, we’ll find music in strange ways. I attended a couple of Sharon Van Etten shows with my friend Laurence from Paris, we were of course talking about music, and Laurence had a few suggestions for me, one of those suggestions was Sophie Jamieson. Her music is gorgeous and melancholy much like many bands and musicians I like, including Torres, Daughter, and Polica. Jamieson’s voice is full of emotion, and her double-single she released earlier this year is simply stunning. ~Rich
Ummagma‘s singer Shauna McLarnon was one of the first musicians to reach out to me to write about them. I had written about Lights That Change and that caught their attention. I was sent some singles and tracks, and throughout the last year Ummagma has actually become one of my favorite bands. Whenever Ummagma releases anything, they’re in touch, and I’ll tell you, no two Ummagma releases are alike. They’re so creative and keep putting out great stuff ranging from original music, remixes by others, and great collaborations. ~Rich
THE WILD REEDS
If it wasn’t for Riot Act Media, I likely would have never discovered The Wild Reeds – or maybe it would have taken a few months if not years. The quintet from California’s Blind and Brave is one of my favourite albums of the year. Combining indie folk, the LA sound of the ’70s, and traditional folk, the band’s debut album is gorgeous, thoughtful, and simply outstanding. After they perform at Newport Folk Festival’s sister fest – Way Over Yonder – at the end of September, they won’t be California’s best-kept secret any longer. ~~~Ben
I have no recollection of how I came across Young Fathers‘ Dead album from earlier this year, but this fantastic record is one of our favourites. Like Ceiling Demons, their multi-genre approach is refreshing, innovative, and captivating. The songs are meaningful and poignant in today’s world where one must struggle between popularity and individuality. As the trio from Edinburgh, Scotland told me, they make music that they want to make, has soul, and challenges people. They’re not here to make music for the sake of it. Their fresh outlook on music is another reason why they’re among our favourite discoveries, plus they are pretty cool dudes. ~~~Ben
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