1. The Living Sisters – How Are You Doing
Set to release their debut album “Love to Live” on 3/30, the Los Angeles-based band, made up of the Bird and the Bee’s Inara George, Eleni Mandell and Lavender Diamond’s Becky Stark, creates music that somehow sounds both timeless and effortlessly hip. Their voices get along perfectly on this track, it’s almost impossible to imagine how they ever existed apart.
The Living Sisters – How Are You Doing
2. Sleigh Bells – Ring, Ring
Sleigh Bells = Derek Miller + Alexis Krauss from Brooklyn. According to the New York Times, “they met cute in a restaurant – he was her waiter.” Adorable. So is the song. Their MySpace blog lists them as currently “in the studio” so fingers crossed that we can expect an album from them this year. They are playing SXSW, Coachella and a bunch of other live shows along the way. Catch them if you can.
Sleigh Bells – Ring Ring
3. X.O. – She Posed To (pro. Soulful)
Washington, DC native X.O. (aka Jamaal Walton), is known for both his fantastic mixtapes and weekly open mic sessions. This track is just a small taste of his capabilities and I strongly recommend that you download his album ASAP. Studio 43 is offering it up for free HERE.
X.O. – She Posed To (pro. Soulful)
4. Dark Dark Dark – Bright Bright Bright
Dark Dark Dark hails from Minneapolis and met while traveling across America, forming a band by chance. They recorded their forthcoming EP “Bright Bright Bright”, out on 3/9, in an old church-turned-studio overlooking Lake Superior and the on location natural reverb can be heard throughout this song. The track is gorgeous; full of ghosts and beautifully mysterious. I found this over at Static Television and you can purchase the CD on their website HERE.
Dark Dark Dark – Bright Bright Bright
5. Helen Stellar – Sensation Blvd
Helen Stellar first came to my attention with their song “IO” from the movie “Elizabethtown.” I remember being so struck by that song, I actually specifically bought the soundtrack for it. After a 3 year break, Los Angeles-based Helen Stellar is back with a new album “If The Stars Could Speak They Would Have Your Voice” to be released this spring. I have had the chance to listen to it and can say it’s fantastic. They remind me of some of my favorite bands from the 90s and are just the type of melodic rock that is missing from so many of the hazy indie bands out at the moment. Also exciting is the fact that they have just confirmed a Monday night residency at LA’s very own Spaceland.
Helen Stellar – Sensation Blvd
6. Sade – In Another Time
I completely unabashedly love Sade. This track comes off of the just released album “Soldier of Love” which is Sade’s first studio album since “Lovers Rock” was released in 2000. Expectations for this album have been incredibly high and, while there are a few tracks that miss the mark a bit, it’s definitely one worth owning. This song in particular caught me as an example of Sade’s ability to just pull you in and make you want to get lost in her voice. The album is out now and you can buy it HERE. I can’t post the song in any type of legal fashion, so you can listen on the YouTube link video below:
7. FM Belfast – Par Avion
This month, Iceland’s FM Belfast finally got a proper US release of their album “How to Make Friends” (originally released in Iceland in 2008) and you can tell they were way ahead of the game when it comes to the current electro-pop heavy trend. Per the band, “One very cold winter day there was an article in the newspaper about an Icelandic girl that had moved to the Caribbean and was renting a house on the beach for a small amount of money. At the time it felt almost ridiculous to live on a frozen island and pay high rent for a tiny apartment. We just wanted to move right away. It helps singing this song, then you can go to the Caribbean for 3 minutes and 47 seconds.” They have summed it up perfectly. It’s a nice, summery, fun track that leaves me craving warmer days. You can buy their album now HERE.
FM Belfast -Par Avion
8. Jason Boesel – I Got The Reason #1
Jason is actually best known for his work as a drummer for Rilo Kiley, Bright Eyes and Conor Oberst and The Mystic Valley Band. He emerges as a solo artist with his just released album “Hustler’s Son” and very much echoes a Nashville Skyline-era Bob Dylan. You can buy the album HERE.
Jason Boesel – I Got the Reason #1
Oldie but worth a re-listen:
1. Ray Charles – Eleanor Rigby