Music Spotlight On: Josh Jove Band — Blues at its Best

There’s no formula for what makes a performer uniquely great, but I sure do know it when I see it. And I see it in Josh Jove. He fronts a blues band in Los Angeles, and if my prediction is correct, they’re on their way to massive success. He started playing guitar at age 11, and he’s self-taught. If you see him perform live, you’ll understand just how impressive that last detail is. According to Jove, he practices an “embarrassing amount of hours per day,” which isn’t surprising. He’s damn good. Plus, he’s one of the nicest, most humble guys I know. Have I also mentioned he’s easy on the eyes? Listen below to hear a demo of his blues band cover JJ Cale’s “The Woman That Got Away.” The demo was recorded at Brick & Mortar Recording in Los Angeles.

Music Spotlight On: Sean Hayes

I don’t know much about Sean Hayes, but I know he’s good. I discovered his album, Alabama Chicken, on my Brett Dennen Pandora station, and I am eternally grateful for it. He’s released four albums, and his most recent is called Flowering Spade. I can’t find much information about the guy given that most interviews with him involve excessive questions about his love for the banjo. I’m just gonna have to fix the problem and commission him for an interview. Watch two of his videos below.

Music Spotlight On: Beirut

I discovered Beirut on NPR’s ‘Tiny Desk Concert‘ series, and I’ve been listening to their album, ‘The Rip Tide’, ever since. The band is currently comprised of six members, including Zach Condon, Perrin Cloutier, Nick Petree, Paul Collins, Kelly Pratt, and Ben Lanz. When researching the origin of Beirut, I found that my limited musical knowledge made it difficult to explain their musical influences. As a result, I’ve deicded to completely rip off another website’s description. Here goes: “The music combines elements of Eastern European and Balkan folk with Western pop music, fusing the American mainstream and indie-rock culture and the World Music market.” And there you have it. Listen to their performance below.

Foster the People — NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert — EXCELLENT!

Hearing a song’s acoustic version is a great way to test its quality. Can the band survive without auto-tune and all the other bells and whistles that go along with producing a record (and yes — “bells and whistles” is a technical music term)? In the case of ‘Foster the People’, I actually prefer the acoustic version of their music. They appeared on NPR’s ‘Tiny Desk Concert’ series, and sounded incredible. The band formed in 2009 and it has three members, including, Mark Foster (vocals, keyboards, piano, synthesizers, guitar, programming, percussion), Mark Pontius (drums and extra percussion), and Cubbie Fink (bass and backing vocals) Watch below.

Music Spotlight On: Gotye’s ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’

Without breakups, there would be no breakup songs. And without breakup songs, there wouldn’t be Gotye’s ‘Somebody That I Used to Know.” The song was written by Wouter De Backer (or “Gotye”), an Australian musician who is primarily known for his work with the indie pop band, The Basics. It appears on his third studio album, ‘Making Mirrors,’ and the music video below has over ten million YouTube hits. If you’ve ever had a breakup where your long-term partner abruptly cut-off all communication, then the video is especially haunting. Halfway through the song Gotye is joined by Kimbra, who tells her side of the breakup story. My favorite lyric is “you can be addicted to certain kind of sadness.” Watch below, and buy the album.

‘The Head and the Heart’ at The Music Box — MAGICAL!

This was one of the best concerts I’ve ever attended. I discovered ‘The Head and the Heart‘ from my Pandora ‘Mumford and Sons’ station, and I’ve since played their album on repeat. So when I heard they’d be at The Music Box, I immediately got tickets. The band formed in Seattle, Washington just two years ago, and there are six members, including: Josiah Johnson (vocals, guitar, percussion), Jonathan Russell (vocals, guitar, percussion), Charity Rose Thielen (violin, vocals), Chris Zasche (bass), Kenny Hensley (piano), and Tyler Williams (drums).

It’s always a gamble when you hear a band play live, because they sometimes don’t sound as good as their record. But ‘The Head and the Heart’ sounded better than their record. It’s magical to see a band before they become monstrously successful. These guys are still hungry, and their energy reflected that. Listen to ‘Cats and Dogs’ below.

Music Spotlight On: The Dodos

There is nothing more exciting than finding a new artist that has a strong album from start to finish. So when I found The Dodos, it took me about five seconds to purchase everything they’ve ever released.  The group is comprised of two members — Meric Long and Logan Kroeber, who met through a mutual friend. Apparently, Long is trained in West African ewe drumming. Though I have no idea what that is — Wikipedia made it sound very interesting. I’ve posted a song from their album ‘Visiter’ below. And no — that’s not a typo. The title of the album is based on a misspelled child’s drawing that was gifted to the band. Enjoy!

Music Spotlight On: Hazel

When I launched my blog, I had the dream of finding and promoting undiscovered artists. To be fair, a lot of the new artists I hear were actually discovered by KCRW, a popular public radio station in Los Angeles. Today’s artist is ‘Hazel‘, and upon doing further research, I know absolutely nothing about the band except that it is made up of: Angelica Garcia (lead vocals); Ivan Pyzow (vocals, piano); Luka Douridas (guitar); and Lukas Frank (drums). It doesn’t help that when they selected their name they didn’t account for Google, considering that my search for “Hazel ” returns a lot of results about color. Did I mention there is another band with the exact same name? If only these guys would have consulted with The Dishmaster before releasing their album. Enough about my internet expertise — listen to the song below. I love it. And you can download it for free from their site.

Music Spotlight On: Wolf Gang

Max McElligott, also known as “Wolf Gang,” has yet to release his debut album, entitled Suego Faults, but he’s already receiving a fair share of internet buzz.  When my friend pointed me to the song below, I was blown away.  The acoustic version of Back to Back is actually better than the studio version, which my musician tells me is an impressive feat.  If I could give Mr. McElligot any career advice on his way to the top, I’d tell him to quickly change his band name.  He’s impossible to Google, and my attempts were met with a lot of Mozart information.  In the age of online media, it’s important to be easily found.  If you like the song below, I’d encourage you to buy his EP.  You will not be disappointed.