is clearly influenced by their home city of Los Angeles, with the band eschewing the blues-based Nashville sound in favor of California’s sunny folk. Steven’s voice recalls the beautiful lilt of Alison Kraus but her straightforward lyrics (“there are birds that have wings/not all birds with wings can fly”) owe more to Joni Mitchell than Dolly Parton.
Download: “My Tears Are Wasted On You”
If you like M.I.A. or Lady Saw, then check out Lady Chann.
Lady Chann (a.k.a. Chanelle Williams) is the UK’s reigning queen of dancehall — at least that’s what the Brits tell us. What we know for sure is that her debut single “Sticky Situation” has the kind of catchy kind of hook that summer anthems are made of. The song was produced by UK wunderkind Sticky, who’s worked with the likes of Ms. Dynamite, and if it’s any indication as to what a full-length Lady Chann album will be like, sign us up.
Download: “Sticky Situation (Toddla T Remix)”
If you like Sneaker Pimps’ Becoming X or jj, then check out Phantogram .
If you long for the good old days when Kelli Dayton was the lead singer of Sneaker Pimps, go pick up electronic duo Phantogram’s debut album
. Right now. The band (Sarah Barthel on vocals and keyboards and Josh Carter on guitar and vocals) makes the kind of music that will make Brooklynites go crazy, but calls rural Saratoga Springs home. Barthel, also a visual artist, uses light projections and strobes to enhance the band’s already trippy sound for their live shows.
Download: “When I’m Small”
If you like The Go-Gos or Kate Nash’s new album, then check out The School.
Retro girl-group pop (especially coming from the UK) seems to be the thing these days. If you’re looking for another entry into this increasingly crowded field, look no further than Welsh band The School. The main difference between this motley crew of eight (fronted by vocalist Liz Hunt) and all the rest is that the sixties vibe is not just a gimmick to this bunch. Their debut album Loveless Believer proves The School’s dedication to authentically recreating the music that so clearly informed their sound.
If you like Letters To Cleo or Veruca Salt, then check out Palmdale.
Remember Letters To Cleo? Us too. Miss ’em? Us too. That’s why we’re excited about Palmdale, a new band that features Cleo’s lead vocalist Kate Hanley and producer and multi-instrumentalist Linus of Hollywood. Their debut EP Get Wasted is a five-song collection that would fit nicely right beside
. With poppy hooks and head bob-inducing guitar riffs, tracks like “Here Comes The Summer” and “West Coast Serenade” will make the perfect addition to you summer road trip playlist.
If you like The Distillers or L7, then check out Little Alice.
This unsigned band is a bit of an enigma, but the two tracks we’ve heard on their MySpace page give us high hopes that there’s great stuff to come once they finally do record an EP or full-length debut. This Leeds band’s sound is a mix of high-energy punk and poppy garage rock. Their Facebook page is inexplicably in Indonesian (Thank God for Google Translate) but they’re active, with an upcoming date at a small UK rock festival. For now, that’s all we got but here’s hopin’ Little Alice gives us more to write about in very near future.
If you like Tegan & Sara or Au Revoir Simone, then check out Spark.
“This is Spark. I love her.” So says Marina Diamandis (of Marina & The Diamonds, featured on the first version of this post several months ago). We love her, too. Her spacey brand of punk-pop is everything it should be: catchy but not so cheesy that we feel guilty about listening to it. She had only played one gig before Marina snatched her up to fill the opening slot on her UK tour. Spark’s (a.k.a. Jess Morgan) first single “Shut Out The Moon” will be officially released later this summer, but you can hear it (and a bunch of her other tunes) on her MySpace page.
Download: “Shut Out The Moon”
If you like The Grates or Raveonettes, then check out The Suzan.
The peppy, upbeat tempo and memorable (almost chant-worthy) melodies of Japanese quartet The Suzan captured the attention Brooklyn indie label Fool’s Gold Records, and they’re set to release the band’s debut album Golden Week for the Poco Poco Beat later this summer. The first single, “Home,” is a fun, infectious track that blends the riot grrrl sound of bands like Bratmobile with the indiepop stylings of Camera Obscura. We can’t get enough of it — and we think you won’t be able to either.
If you like I Blame Coco or Lissie Trullie, then check out Reni Lane.
She may look like fashion model Agyness Deyn in a firey red wig and one of her songs was featured in VH1’s heinous reality show Secrets of Aspen, but you should still love Reni Lane. Her debut album
showcases a diverse and impressive range of styles, from electro-tinged tunes like “Never Stop” to straight up anthemic rockers like “Drive.” After ditching Oregon for New York City when she was 18, Reni began playing gigs at The Sidewalk Café, the legendary spot where Suzanne Vega and Regina Spektor were discovered. Now, she’s teamed up with producers Sam Bisbee and Linda Perry and, we think, a star is born.
Download: “Place For Us (Will Eastman Remix)”