• The Aces

    The Aces

    I Don't Like Being Honest EP

    Anyone who caught Utah’s The Aces during SXSW earlier in the year were treated to a Clearly Talented band on the way Up. One careening from teens into adulthood And Really you need only hear “Stuck”, their slinky and memorable lead single about toxic relationships, to grasp their appeal. Like all the best pop songs, it transcends specifics enough too to apply to Everyone. In Short–File Under: Going Places.


    The Aces cut their teeth as a live band early, using the teetotal, all-ages venue The Velour as their testing ground from age 13 onwards. It was in this environment that they gained confidence and thrived, their lineup solidifying a year later when McKenna met Katie in junior high, who, thanks to her older brother’s love of music, had a whole rehearsal space in her parent’s basement. The newly formed quartet would now blend McKenna and Katie’s alternative tastes (they grew up on The Cure, The Beatles and Depeche Mode) with those of Alisa and Cristal to truly find their sound.


    Now feels like an especially canny moment to make an entrance—not just because The Aces are ready, but because now more than ever, inclusivity and individualism is celebrated and outspokenness encouraged. “It’s great to feel like there are no limits,” says Katie. “We’re not bound by some stereotype, we can just come out and say what we want to say, however we want to say it—just like guys have always been able to. It’s a more even playing field than it ever has been and that feels amazing.”


    “Slinky pop that traces the missing link between Haim, The 1975, and Muna.”–NOISEY/Vice


    “Four girls about to rule the world emblazons the homepage for The Aces. That declaration sounds about right.”–The FADER


    “all the markings of a stellar debut…it’s fun–unpretentious, dreamy fun”–NYLON (on “Stuck”)


    “More honest than most pop songs.”–NPR

    Listen: The Aces – “Stuck”

    The Aces – “Stuck”

  • Blessed


    Love Letters EP

    It was the 17th of May 1992 and a sickness was sweeping through Accra, Ghana taking the lives of many infants. The two nervous parents doted on their newborn child, hoping they would be spared as they had already for years struggled to conceive. As the days and weeks went by they realized their healthy child was truly a blessing and the origin of the name BLESSED (Blessed Samuel Joe­Andah) was sealed.


    As this blessed child grew older, his father’s ministries took the family on a geographic and spiritual journey, moving from Zambia, Melbourne, Canberra ultimately to Sydney…and while his living situations were constantly fluid, music was always his steady companion…spending every Sunday in church where he taught himself to play drums and guitar. BLESSED was a shy kid, choosing to spend time with his music and no different than other outcasts in different parts of the world, found solace in punk rock, skateboarding and rap music.


    Early on, people noticed….and a rap project BLESSED was involved in was signed to Sony Australia, but quickly the restrictions and limitations of the music didn’t satisfy the sparks of Basquiat and Hendrix and Kanye exploding in his head. He left the deal and built a studio in Sydney over the course of a year with a with a collective of artists, producers and songwriters, where he immediately began work on the project that is “Love Letters” EP.

    Listen: Blessed – “Fairytale” (radio edit)

    Blessed – “Fairytale” (radio edit)

  • Two Feet

    Two Feet

    Momentum EP

    Two Feet‘s hazy and low-key “Had Some Drinks” is as subtle as it is unshakeable. Guitar riffs provocatively stacked against a low-key electronic background underline Two Feet’s Harlem influences and helps realize his mantra that less can be more.


    Since indie Majestic Casual Records debuted Two Feet‘s “First Steps” summer of 2016, the prior EP has garnered over 100 million listens across digital streaming platforms, creeping into major tastemaker playlists on Spotify, with lead track, “Go F*ck Yourself” sitting at over 24 million streams on Spotify, and hitting number 1 on the HypeMachine charts on a handful of occasions.


    Now, 23 year old Harlem based singer/songwriter/producer Two Feet (aka Bill Dess) is set to return with his sophomore EP, “Momentum”, fusing jazz and blues guitar with forward thinking electronic production.


    “I had been producing a lot of electronic music, so that was at the front of my mind, but I was listening to loads and loads of blues music, and I always had been – I learnt how to play blues guitar,” Dess explains. “So when I sat down to make my own music, all the influences were just sort of there…. and combined.”


    “‘Had Some Drinks’ is a sweet, smooth and funky track….heavily laced with guitar and bass. The 23-year-old’s sultry vocals float into each cut, creating an infectious jazz and electronic-infused sound.”–Billboard

    Listen: Two Feet – “Had Some Drinks” (clean radio edit)

    Two Feet – “Had Some Drinks” (clean radio edit)

  • The Districts
    districts art

    The Districts

    Popular Manipulations

    The Districts are a band that exists in the moment. Described by close friends and girlfriends as a well-oiled machine, filthily cult like, and also “normal dudes.”


    The Philadelphia four-piece channels its long-forged bonds into visceral, explosive genre blurring music. Informed equally by arrangements and dynamics, and a focus on lyrics, they take inspiration from a broad range of sounds and places. They are constantly evolving and hard to pin down.


    From their self-released  LP “Telephone,” to their 2015 label debut LP “A Flourish and a Spoil,” The Districts keep at work touring and recording. Formed in 2009, they have been going strong for quite a while now. An anonymous insider report claims they have recorded a new album and it is more realized and in your face than ever before. Be on the lookout.


    ’Ordinary Day’ deals with a sort of personal alienation and the realization that you and the world you’ve existed in have changed. Sort of the feeling of coming through a tunnel and having no way of relating to things in the same way as before. It was written in late summer/early fall and came together quite naturally….Personal lives were in flux and we were sitting around philly losing our minds.”–Rob Grote/The Districts


    “…let me play you this now, new music from a really special band, from Philadelphia called The Districts. I first saw them out at South By South West in Austin, Texas about three years ago, and they blew me away, they were like one of the toasts of the festival that year, they released a brilliant debut album, the follow-up is on the way this year, and this is the first new music from The Districts, it’s called Ordinary Day.–debut from Huw Stephens on BBC Radio 1

    Listen: The Districts – “If Before I Wake”

    The Districts – “If Before I Wake”

  • Songhoy Blues

    Songhoy Blues


    “Résistance” was recorded at The Pool studio in London with producer Neil Comber (Django Django, MIA) and lyrically and sonically, is a huge leap forward for Songhoy Blues. A musical snapshot of a band at the top of their game. Richer, more eclectic and musically adventurous, it captures a band who, for the last three years, have toured the world and soaked up music far beyond the borders of their native Mali.


    The band released their debut album, “Music In Exile”, in early 2015 receiving across the board praise, including a 5/5 rating in The Guardian who claimed, “they have all the makings of African-rock crossover heroes.” Rolling Stone named the band one of their 10 Artists You Need to Know, calling the album “a churning, loose-limbed garage-rock take on traditional Malian music.


    The band has appeared on ‘Later…with Jools Holland’ and NPR Tiny Desk, and has been featured by radio tastemakers worldwide including BBC 6Music, KEXP and KCRW. They have also received a wave of acclaim for They Will Have To Kill Us First, an award-winning film which told the story of Songhoy Blues and the struggle faced by musicians in Mali.


    With ‘Bamako’ we just wanted to write something fun and positive about where we come from. So much of what people hear about Africa is negative; bad news stories about war and famine just dominate the common image of Africa. But this track is about dispelling that image by describing something everyone can relate to – going out on a Saturday night – to show that Africa isn’t just what people see in the news, there’s so much more to it than that.”Aliou Touré


    “A skittering disco-tinged guitar vamp slinks through the track alongside spaced-out synth lines and brassy horn blasts.”–Rolling Stone


    “a sheer blast of positive energy.”–Clash

    Listen: Songhoy Blues – “Bamako”

    Songhoy Blues – “Bamako”

  • Tristen


    Sneaker Waves

    Tristen‘s upcoming “Sneaker Waves” is full of songs that function like little portraits of the human experience framed with her exceptional melodies and singularly poetic lyrics.


    “Sneaker Waves” (out 7/7) finds the middle ground between the “pop hooks and pure inspiration” (NPR’s All Things Considered) of Tristen‘s debut and the intricacy of its follow-up. Her third album is smart but accessible, meticulously constructed but undeniably infectious.


    Tristen‘s “Sneaker Waves” takes its name from a natural phenomenon–the sneaker wave, an unanticipated and powerful coastal wave–and serves as a metaphor for death. “All the good poetry is about death. Death, like a sneaker wave, can come at any moment. And so the truest currency for a human becomes time,” says the mononymous singer.


    “Some artists are interested in being complicated. They’re speaking another language to the connoisseur of the art. I have no interest in that. I want to be inclusive. I’ve always been interested in the purest form of the idea, so that it can communicate.”–Tristen


    “speaks to more weight than the song’s overall airy vibe suggests. Synths and guitars overlay the idea of being trapped and on display in something more like a prison than a home.”–Stereogum (on “Glass Jar”)

    Listen: Tristen – “Glass Jar” feat. Jenny Lewis

    Tristen – “Glass Jar” feat. Jenny Lewis

  • All We Are
    sunny hills all we are

    All We Are

    Sunny Hills

    Coming together as students at Liverpool’s Institute For Performing Arts in 2011, and remaining on the road honing their sound following up a self-titled release in 2015, All We Are started writing new material with a sense of urgency and power. Where “All We Are” was funky, liquid and seamless, “Sunny Hills” has a wobble to it, a human heartbeat and a grit that reflects the energy of the band’s thrilling live shows.


    Though based in England, the trio hail individually from Norway, Brazil and Ireland and as they put it: “All We Are is a Liverpool band. We have been formed by and have absorbed the spirit of the city. Liverpool is an immigrant city and has a proud history of welcoming everyone, drawing from the culture of the people who choose to live here and making that part of its own unique vibe.”


    It hasn’t escaped All We Are that the world seems to be spiraling into a period of darkness and through their music they want to say it’s okay to feel different. The resulting “Sunny Hills” is an irresistibly danceable, dark yet uplifting record about what it means to be alive right now and the power of friendship and togetherness in a world intent on driving us apart.


    “another fascinating vignette from a very special group.”–Clash (on “Human”)


    “‘Human’ sees All We Are veer into post-punk and krauty rhythms”–Line Of Best Fit

    Listen: All We Are – “Human” (radio edit)

    All We Are – “Human” (radio edit)

  • matt pond PA
    matt pond summer

    matt pond PA

    Still Summer

    All year round, it’s still summer. And indie rocker Matt Pond’s adventure continues. The brakes are shot, the pickup truck is rusted through and overheating. Everyone is out of their minds.


    On August 11, matt pond PA will release “Still Summer“, their twelfth full-length album and the second Pond is releasing under his independent label, 131 Records. “It’s not about reliving the past,” says Pond. “It’s about allowing the present to breathe. It’s about holding hands with ghosts and then letting go.”


    Along with “Winter Lives”, released in December 2016 by 131 Records, “Still Summer” will be the last album Pond releases as matt pond PA. Over time, a new track or take will be added to each — this is the never-ending conclusion of matt pond PA’s strange musical tour.


    There will be more music. Yet the serious ones say summer only lasts so long. Soon there will be different titles, unfamiliar names, unforeseen sounds associated with Matt Pond. As if the beginning and the end were one and the same.


    “Pond was already a master of couching wistful reflection in rousing anthems, and “Still Summer” demonstrates that skill to wondrous effect: Playfully retro synths and chant-along choruses (“I won’t let go / I won’t let go / I won’t”) all contribute to a hook-packed snapshot of late-summer love and its bittersweet aftermath. If “Still Summer” had been recorded by The Cars in 1984, it’d already be a classic.”–NPR All Songs Considered

    Listen: matt pond PA – “Still Summer”

    matt pond PA – “Still Summer”

  • Marika Hackman

    Marika Hackman

    I'm Not Your Man

    There’s an open-ended nature to Londoner Marika Hackman‘s “I’m Not Your Man”: the discussions within, conversations on femininity, sex and sexual identity, millennial ennui, the pressures of living in a social media bubble and the perils of being young in a fast-paced industry. Says Marika, “The record’s all about female relationships, romance and breakdowns, but there’s also a dim worldview going on. I’m Not Your Man can either mean, ‘I’m not your man, I’m your woman’, or it can mean, ‘I’m not a part of this…’,” explains Marika. It’s a fiery statement from a songwriter who no longer wants to be shackled to limiting descriptions.


    To help channel this fervid energy, Marika recruited her best mates – London quartet The Big Moon to play as her backing band on “I’m Not Your Man”. “They really captured the soul of what it all meant to me and brought a lot of fun and creativity,” says Hackman. The unspoiled nature of the recording environment has thrown up a truly dynamic, multi-genre sound. It’s all tied together via razor sharp wit and authenticity.


    “All rounded, chiming guitars, squealing string-bends and crunchy choruses—she’s witty, sardonic and coming to steal your lover just because she can.”–P4K (on “Boyfriend”)


    “contains a variety of themes, including sexual identity, social media anxiety and the angst of youth.”–PASTE (on “Boyfriend”)


    “Grungy dream-pop gloom” — The Guardian (UK)


    “Lean, mean and really, really funny.”  — NME


    “A muscular call to arms..” – CLASH

    Listen: Marika Hackman – “My Lover Cindy” (radio edit)

    Marika Hackman – “My Lover Cindy” (radio edit)

  • (Sandy) Alex G
    alex g

    (Sandy) Alex G


    “Rocket” is Philly artist (Sandy) Alex G’s eighth full-length release— an assured statement that follows a slate of humble masterpieces, many of them self-recorded and self-released.


    Amid the “Rocket” recording process, Alex made headlines for catching the attention of Frank Ocean, who asked him to play guitar on his two 2016 albums, “Endless” and “Blonde”. More than any stylistic cues, what Alex took from the experience was a newfound confidence in collaboration. “Rocket” wears this collaborative spirit proudly, and in its numerous contributors presents a restless sense of musical experimentation – effortlessly jumping from distorted sound collage to dreamy folk music to bouncing Americana.


    “Rocket” illustrates a cohesive vision of contemporary American experience; the cast of characters that (Sandy) Alex G inhabits have fun, fall in love, develop obsessions, get in trouble, and—much like rockets themselves—ultimately they burn out. Alex, though, in a collection of songs that’s both his tightest and most adventurous, is poised only for the ascent.


    “Giannascoli’s yearning ripples through his entire being as his voices aches and his guitar slaps as if bumping into a wall repeatedly. There’s no real climax in “Proud” because the longing is steadfast throughout.” –Pitchfork


    “a twangy rocker that unfurls slowly and deliberately like an instant-classic. It’s not clear if he’s talking about a lover, an idol, or a close friend, and the ambiguity in the song’s lyrics only adds to its strength.”–Stereogum


    “Sloppy, sentimental, frequently wonderful rock songs”–Washington Post


    “Rocket sees Giannascoli expanding upon the sounds he’s established over the past decade, and seemingly perfected”–AV Club


    “an ideal singer-songwriter—a compelling confessional artist for the angsty sixteen-year-old in all of us.”–Vogue


    “Listen back to old albums by Sebadoh or Sunny Day Real Estate or Quasi and you’ll find the genesis of Giannascoli’s phrases, but you won’t find anything quite the same. He borrows indie rock’s books, highlights lines, folds the corners on his favorite pages, tears out the ones he really loves, and then writes around the clips.”–NOISEY/Vice

    Listen: (Sandy) Alex G – “Proud” (clean edit)

    (Sandy) Alex G – “Proud” (clean edit)

  • Father John Misty

    Father John Misty

    Pure Comedy

    “Pure Comedy” is the highly anticipated follow-up to Father John Misty‘s internationally acclaimed “I Love You, Honeybear”. Josh Tillman wrote the majority of the album throughout 2015 and recorded all the basic tracking and vocals live to tape (in no more than two takes each) in March 2016 at LA’s United Studios (formerly known as Ocean Way Studios, favored by Sinatra and The Beach Boys).


    Tillman’s bent critiques, bared humanity and gently warped classic songwriting are all here in equal measure and, at 75 minutes, “Pure Comedy” delivers a ton of it (themes of progress, technology, fame, the environment, politics, aging, social media, human nature, human connection, and his own role in it all with his usual candor, and in terms as timely as they are timeless).


    Since 2012 Father John Misty, aka Josh Tillman, has unexpectedly emerged as a singular (if not undeniably idiosyncratic) voice. Whether by virtue of his lyrics, which routinely defy the presumed polarities of wit and empathy; his live performances which may perhaps be described best as “intimately berserk,” or the infuriating line he seems to occupy between canny and total fraud online or in interviews, Father John Misty has cultivated a rare space for himself in the musical landscape–that of real enigma.

    Listen: Father John MIsty – “Total Entertainment Forever”

    Father John Misty – “Total Entertainment Forever”

  • Hoops



    Hoops’ full-length debut, “Routines” is a bittersweet and honest record that sounds both warmly familiar and jarringly distinctive. Whereas their previous releases were recorded on four-track tape machines in living rooms and basements, “Routines” marks the band’s first sessions in an actual studio.


    After a few months of touring, Hoops returned to Indiana to set up their gear in their parents’ basements and began experimenting with the studio-recorded tracks. Some songs they only tinkered with, others they scrapped completely and rebuilt from the ground up. They were determined to make a record that sounded like Hoops. The result is the sharpest and clearest delineation of the band’s sound thus far, drawing from and emphasizing each members’ distinctive influences and personal styles: four guys making music that is larger than themselves.


    Hoops was born in frontman Drew Auscherman’s teenage bedroom as a solo ambient and beat-driven project. Auscherman named the band after the hoop houses at the nursery where he worked (not for his home state’s mania for basketball). Eventually he corralled a few of his friends to flesh out his songs (3 of the 4 members write and sing, each a frontman and a sideman simultaneously), and the music inevitably shifted toward something new: more melodic, more guitar-driven, more extroverted.


    “Hoops is on an upwards slope. ‘Rules’ is an expressionist, blissed-out pop song. Airy, uptempo guitars float on the surface, accompanied by bouncy bass and complex drum work.”–TheFADER


    “the irresistibly slick ‘Rules,’ which is loaded with the intoxicating guitar lines and murmured melodies we associate with this outfit. The single is a dizzying head rush that clocks in at just over two minutes and will surely have you pressing play several times in a sitting.”–PASTE


    “Propelled by ample grooving keys and guitar, ‘Rules’ is a two minute jaunt into the past when synths and subdued vocals were king.”–Stereogum

    Listen: Hoops – “Rules”

    Hoops – “Rules”

  • Little Hurricane
    Little Hurrican Same Sun Same Moon Mini

    Little Hurricane

    Same Sun Same Moon

    San Diego’s Little Hurricane ARE BACK with third album “Same Sun Same Moon”.


    Little Hurricane‘s narrative echoes the tale of a momentous journey: Formed in San Diego, having recently resumed playing drums after an eight-year hiatus, CC placed a musicians-wanted ad on Craigslist. Among the myriad of respondents was Tone, a studio engineer who’d worked with artists ranging from John Paul Jones to Gwen Stefani. The two musicians were neighbors who had never met, and bonded over mutual interests including the blues, unusual and vintage gear, and their individual experiences playing in high school jazz bands.


    Quick to follow, Little Hurricane won three San Diego Music Awards, including Album of the Year for 2011 debut “Homewrecker”. Little Hurricane’s explosive live show soon landed them slots at major festivals including Austin City Limits and Lollapalooza, and garnered media attention from outlets including Rolling Stone, which profiled them in an extensive behind-the-scenes piece at SXSW 2012.


    Little Hurricane incorporates new timbres and a broader emotional scope on “Same Sun Same Moon”, changes that underscore the band’s desire to transcend it’s dirty blues roots. This evolution is especially evident on first single “OTL,” a love song woven from understated keyboards and intertwined vocals. Married in summer 2016, the creative partners elected to openly share their happiness with listeners for the first time.


    “Little Hurricane might be a duo, but they have a big sound and they aren’t afraid to get messy.”–Rolling Stone


    “Packs as big of a punch, if not more, than a four or five-piece band.”–PASTE

    Listen: Little Hurricane – “Isn’t It Great”

    Little Hurricane – “Isn’t It Great”

  • The Weeks
    the weeks easy

    The Weeks


    The Weeks recorded “Easy” over the course of two weeks at Memphis, TN’s legendary Ardent Studios with producer Paul Ebersold. The band left Nashville to record in order to disassociate themselves from their everyday routines in the city, and to find a halfway point between their two homes old and new, Mississippi and Nashville. “Memphis has always been the capital of North Mississippi to us,” says guitarist Sam Williams. “We went there to be at Ardent. We knew Paul had learned everything from John Frye and John Hammond so we figured that was the spot. It’s important to keep those historic studios alive and not let them become museums.”


    The Weeks frontman Cyle Barnes says, “We called it ‘Easy’ because every time I make music with these guys, it’s easy. It feels good. But the other side of it is there’s nothing easy about being in a band. There’s nothing easy about staying together for ten years and still wanting to make music. We have the hardest and easiest job on the planet. But it works for us.”


    Thematically, ‘Easy’ explores new ground for the band. Bassist Damien Bone explains, “We just wanted to make a rock record. We weren’t as concerned making it a southern rock record. The southern thing is always going to part of what we do.”


    “powerful guitars and Southern-tinged vocals” —Paste



    “Driven by rowdiness, and a mix of pride and defiance about their origins.” —The Guardian (UK)



    “Their music still kicks with the same hard-bitten affirmations that made them better than weekends in the first place.” —American Songwriter

    Listen: The Weeks – “Talk Like That”

    The Weeks – “Talk Like That”

  • Pierce Fulton
    pierce fulton

    Pierce Fulton

    Borrowed Lives

    Los Angeles-via-Vermont’s Pierce Fulton‘s playful first single (and video!) to radio, the immediately uplifting earworm title track off the “Borrowed Lives” EP, is a sweet reminder (And Above All Else a catchy one!) to always enjoy the scenery and never take life too seriously. A blissful accompaniment as we morph into Springtime.


    Like many respected producers from the early wave of electronic music, Pierce Fulton‘s sound has evolved from electro and progressive to something nearly unrecognizable and infinitely more mature. The “Borrowed Lives” EP, puts himself out there as an artist in ways he never has before. Live instrumentation, his own vocals and finely tuned engineering work together to create one of the biggest blasts of fresh air we’ve heard in ages (and Wait until you see the imaginative and accompanying video!).


    Raised in Vermont and a prodigious musical talent from early on, from the age of six Fulton quickly learned how to play a wide range of instruments for family and friends. A defining feature of his sound and vision his interest in taking concepts from one instrument or genre and applying it to a vastly different instrument or style.


    On top of these already-developed abilities, Fulton also formally learned music theory and electronic production as he grew up. He dove deeply into the works of pioneers like Kraftwerk and Apex Twin and released his sonically unconventional deubt EP at the tender age of 18.
    “This collection of songs really means a lot to me because it’s the first time that I’m signing, writing, producing and I’m really doing everything that goes into one body of work. And for the first time, I have music that really feels like my own.”–Pierce Fulton

    Listen: Pierce Fulton – “Borrowed Lives” feat. NVDES (radio edit)

    Pierce Fulton – “Borrowed Lives” feat. NVDES (radio edit)

  • Dirty Projectors
    Dirty Projectors Album Art-thumb-633x633-554933

    Dirty Projectors

    Dirty Projectors

    As a follow up to new music specialty show fave “Swing Lo Magellan”, the new self-titled album does everything we want and expect from Dirty Projectors–but in a way we never could have imagined or anticipated. David Longstreth, the founding member and sole constant Projector, goes where the music is: he builds his band and arrangements around the songs he’s writing in that moment. As with previous Dirty Projectors albums, the newly released latest sees Longstreth lead a group of hugely talented contributors, including Solange Knowles, Tyondai Braxton, Mauro Refosco (Atoms For Peace, Red Hot Chili Peppers), and Dawn Richard (D∆WN and Danity Kane), in realizing his creative vision.

    Far from remaining idle in the years since the last Dirty Projectors release, Longstreth has spent the intervening years steadily at work with a range of collaborators, contributing to releases from Joanna Newsom, Rihanna, Kanye West, Paul McCartney (writing on “FourFiveSeconds” in 2015), and Solange Knowles (writing and production on “A Seat At The Table”).

    Listen: Dirty Projectors – “Cool Your Heart” feat. D∆WN

    Dirty Projectors – “Cool Your Heart” feat. D∆WN