Zella Day is an up-and-coming indie pop artist based out of Los Angeles who has been described as the “happier version of Lana Del Rey.” She came to attention in 2011 with her haunting, stripped-back cover of The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army,” which lead her to playing six shows at SXSW this year. With influences ranging from Mason Jennings, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, old western films and her Arizona mountain town upbringing; her eponymous debut EP showcases just that – with the addition of drum machines and electronics.
At only 18-years-old Swedish-born Didrick is a triple threat: DJ, producer and multi-instrumentalist. He’s done official remixes for Cazzette and Avicii & Nicky Romero, but he is also well known for remixing 78 tracks released by Monstercat Records into a single song, performed live. The track features a string quartet, swingin’ horns and a guitar solo even Slash would love. He’s definitely not your average electro house banger. If you breathe, sleep and eat EDM; Didrick should be your next course.
Self-proclaimed “perma-teenage mermaids,” buzzing two girl, two guy Orange County band The Aquadolls are currently a hot item in the Burger Records scene. They combine highly energetic garage pop melodies with sixties surf-guitar riffs in the vein of Shannon & The Clams, Best Coast and Black Lips. Wade into tracks like “Wander” and “We Are Free” off their upcoming album Stoked On You and get stoked for sunny Southern Californian sounds this winter. Read More →
LOLAWOLF is a new trio featuring the vocals of Zoe Kravitz, daughter of Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet. She’s also well known for her acting roles in Divergent and X-Men: First Class. The Lolawolf EP was characterized by Pitchfork as “surging electronic pop” while Neon Gold called their track “Drive (Los Angeles)” “…a perfect piece of distinctive, melody-driven, back-to-the-future synth candy.” We think it sounds like Kesha and Banks on a trap binge!
Jack + Eliza
Childhood friends turned collaborators Jack + Eliza take a stripped-down approach towards ‘60s psychedelia. Armed with just their vocals and electric guitars, they’ve teamed with producer Chris Zane (Passion Pit, Mumford & Sons) combining the harmonies of bands like The Beach Boys and The Mamas & The Papas with stripped-down contemporaries The xx and Father John Misty. Check out the duo’s catchy single “Hold The Line.”
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LION BABE are a soulful, buzzing New York duo made up of singer-songwriter/performance artist Jillian Hervey and instrumentalist/producer Lucas Goodman. Their track “Treat Me Like Fire” mixes Motown and 70s soul with contemporary production and their latest jam “Jump Hi” features an appearance by Childish Gambino. Both tracks are off their forthcoming major label debut EP.
Twang and Round
Check out one of the latest artists signed to Average Joes Entertainment, the Nashville label founded by Country music rapper Colt Ford. Twang and Round are country, southern rap and rock comprising members Duo Vernon Roach (aka “Kuntry Twang”) and Brad Davis (aka “Lil Round”). Their debut single “All Wired Up” was featured on the latest Muddiggers compilation. They also just released their debut EP Pour Another Round, featuring the track “Grand Daddy Long Legs” with an appearance by Tyler Wood from the Discovery Channel show Moonshiners. Read More →
Around mid October I went costume shopping and heard Christmas carols wafting from the store’s speakers – a full two weeks before Halloween! Does anyone care about timing anymore? We do. No matter what your taste in music is, Pandora’s Curation Team and I have your Halloween soundtracks covered. Our Family Halloween station is more fun than frightening – I’d love to teach my sister’s kids how do dance “The Monster Mash.” And if Ray Parker Jr. “…ain’t afraid of no ghost,” why should they be? A couple of the Halloween parties I’ve been invited to are Walking Dead themed. That’s why I’m loading up my phone with Halloween Party – it makes me want to drink pumpkin ale and dance like the zombies in “Thriller.” Also, you don’t have to enjoy Halloween ironically to dig Hipster Halloween. It’s got everything from Thee Oh Sees and Ty Segall to Dead Moon and The Black Keys. And should your inner goth be craving some darker cuts, tune into to Ghostly Grooves. Or for a more sophisticated way to induce goosebumps, click on Spooky Symphonies while reading some Edgar Allan Poe.
Of course, Halloween Metal is my favorite. While curating this station, I was getting all kinds of awesome memory flashbacks. Fittingly, one of my earliest metal memories took place on Halloween. In second grade, my best friend Dave and I convinced our parents to buy us KISS costumes. Back then you could get a plastic mask and accompanying Halloween smock in a grocery store for the price of a couple cheeseburgers. Dave wanted to be Gene Simmons and I wanted to be Ace Frehley (admittedly, part of me still wants to be Ace Frehley). But as Dave and I put on these costumes, I remember looking in the mirror and feeling kind of dumb. Because even back then I knew that the real “Space Ace” wouldn’t be caught dead wearing a plastic bib with a picture of himself that read, “Ace Frehley!” Still, that night our trick-or-treating efforts yielded tons of candy. Read More →
Bethany Mota is one of the most recognizable names on social media, most notably for her fashion and style video blogs with over 7 million YouTube subscribers (with 500 million views). The current Dancing With The Stars contestant released her debut pop single “Need You Right Now.” It was recorded with fellow YouTube star Mike Thomas and co-directed by Kevin Jonas (Jonas Brothers).
Called the “proud daughter and shining star of West Africa” and “the golden voice of Mali,” singer Awa Sangho has been active since the 1980s, having toured the world with the legendary Ensemble Koteba. From Mali, she relocated to New York in 2011 and recorded her debut album Ala Ta, bringing together traditional African sounds and instrumentation with slightly jazzy touches. She has performed and toured with artists like Salif Keita, Manu Dibango, Amadou & Mariam, Habib Koite and Oumou Sangare. Read More →
Without the tense, dissonant music supporting our most cherished nightmares, we’d hear only the entirely un-frightening stomp of blood-soaked boot heels, the tickling scrape of fingernails on the coffin lid, or the sing-song chirp of a final warning screech. For certain, horror without its musical accompaniment would be as mirthful and merry as any skip through a midnight cemetery overrun by a murder of rabid crows.
But add some music – discordant violin stabs, bludgeoning timpani thunder strokes, creeping bass synthesizers, or the solemn knell of funeral bells – and you turn a cheerful image like an empty noose swinging in an abandoned corn field beneath a sickle moon into something truly chilling. Read More →
Sweater Beats is a Brooklyn-based producer who makes music for the bedroom. Combining sampled R&B vocals with Trap and boogie beats, he creates futuristic slow jams for the next generation. Seducing his studio to create remixes and originals both on Kastle’s label Symbols and Bondax’ label Just Us; listen for the forthcoming release Cloud City on HW&W.
Otis Brown III
Otis Brown III is best known in jazz circles as one of the two drummers with Joe Lovano’s Us Five – and for backing up its original bassist Esperanza Spalding in her solo career. Brown has also just released his debut album The Very Thought Of You via Blue Note Records. He is joined by an impressive roll call of artists like pianist Robert Glasper, saxophonist John Ellis and singers Bilal, Gretchen Parlato and Nikki Ross on tracks like “You’re Still The One,” a gospel reinvention of the Shania Twain hit single. Read More →
SoShy began her rise to fame in 2009 with the international hit “Morning After Dark” which she co-wrote and sang with Timbaland and Nelly Furtado. She performed the song live across the world, including the American Music Awards and Late Night With Conan O’Brien. Her debut album Crack The Code drops this fall along with its single “Whaeva Man,” which she describes as ‘Street Pop.’
Known for remixing Diplo and A-Trak, Kid Kamillion has also collaborated with Kid Sister, Mannie Fresh, Boys Noize and Spank Rock. This young fella’s been busy! Born in New Orleans, Kid Kamillion’s experience with southern hip-hop, New Orleans bounce and electronic music clearly influences his style. His new single “Pump This Party” overflows with trap beats, quirky samples and a very danceable vibe. Read More →
More often, it seems like deep house is part of the pop vernacular – there’s a common producer behind many of today’s hits: Robin Schulz. Widely known for his remix of Mr. Probz’ “Waves,” Robin’s debut album Prayer finds him remixing “A Sky Full Of Stars” by Coldplay and “Prayer In C” by Lilly Wood & The Prick. Upon first listen one is struck by a unified sound with emotional pop vocals, catchy riffs and plenty of reverb tying it all together. It’s stylistically similar to the Saint-Germain-Des-Pres Café compilations, but with a lot less jazz. If you’re digging on Clean Bandit, Duke Dumont, or Kiesza; you’ll find a lot to like in Prayer.
Combining rock, soul, folk, jazz and country; RCA Records artist Elle King is preparing to release her much anticipated debut album featuring the single “Ex’s & Oh’s.” This track has been compared to Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass,” but with a naughtier edge. This “banjo slinging baby” is also the daughter of actor and comedian Rob Schneider (Saturday Night Live, Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo).
Owl John is the solo project of Frightened Rabbit singer Scott Hutchinson who recently released an album of the same name produced by band mate Andy Monaghan and Olympic Swimmers’ Simon Liddell. He has so far garnered accolades from Mojo and Under The Radar for his experimentation with atmospheric, electronic and bluesy influences as heard in the album’s opener “Hate Music.” Read More →
You know how music can bring back a flood of old memories, emotions and even certain smells or tastes? Building Pandora’s Progressive Bluegrass station totally did that to me. I was introduced to the genre by way of San Francisco’s beloved Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival – an annual weekend-long concert in Golden Gate Park featuring traditional bluegrass bands, non-traditional bluegrass bands and everything in between. I’ve been attending almost every year since its 2001 inception. Because the event always happens the first weekend of October, just listening to David Grisman, Steve Martin & The Steep Canyon Rangers, Carolina Chocolate Drops or Robert Plant & Alison Krauss brings back all kinds of autumnal vibes – the shedding trees, a crisper coastal air and darker beers.
The first time I’d ever heard there was a music genre called “progressive bluegrass,” I admittedly envisioned the guys in Rush playing banjos and fiddles. Up until then, the only time I’d ever heard the word “progressive” used in relation to music was when describing prog-rock. Bob Dylan went electric at Newport Folk Festival in 1965 – this was around the same time that The Byrds’ first album was released. So if adding amplifiers and drums to folk created the term “folk-rock,” why wasn’t progressive bluegrass simply named “bluegrass-rock?” While curating the songs on this genre station I learned why. Not all progressive bluegrass involves the simple addition of electric guitars and drum kits. In fact, most bands comprising the genre still adhere to playing classic acoustic instruments. But what’s progressive here is that these musicians have decidedly moved beyond the purists’ parameters of the traditional stringband blueprint to explore new and different possibilities. Read More →