In short, Essentials allows artists to put down their instruments and divulge about a specific topic, giving fans and the like the opportunity to connect with their interests and inspirations. It’s just unlike any other digital list feature, we’re totally okay with things getting weird, candid and uncensored. As longtime fans of every album he’s released, we asked Brooklyn songwriter KEVIN DEVINE to name five “new-er” artists you should look up. He did us a solid before his road trip to Bonnaroo and to be honest, his taste in music is spot on (see Sombear’s remix of “Redbird”).
Kevin Devine will be doing Bonnaroo’s New Music On Tap Lounge on June 14th; details here
Angel Olsen (Burn Your Fire For No Witness – Out Now)
I think she’s the real deal. Songs, words, voice, presence – she’s scary in the best possible way. Total ownership and commitment. I love how direct and fuss-free her music is. Exhibit A being above.
Waxahatchee (Cerulean Salt – Out Now)
More good songs and more bullshit-stripped presentation, though it’s a bit more… conversational. Waxahatchee’s songs feel more like eavesdropping than Angel Olsen’s stuff, which has a bit more mystery and ephemera in it. And this isn’t an all Tiny Desk concert shout out. I swear it.
Buried Beds (In Spirit – Out Now)
I may have a horse of sorts in this race, as this singular & delightful Philadelphia art/prog/folk/indie rock band are the only other people call Devinyl Records home to this point. But I really think they’re their own animal and it’s a beaut – vaguely reminiscent of some of the best, most adventurous and most tuneful aspects of the Arts & Crafts scene.
Speedy Ortiz (Real Hair EP – Out Now)
’90s indie guitar rock space (as in room) and spindle, Helium (Autoclave? Timony for sure), bits of Pavement… they sound like the music I grew up with/in, but updated. It’s confident and of its moment.
Tigers Jaw (Charmer – Out Now)
A band I’d heard a lot about, but hadn’t investigated. My friend Derrick Sherman is from a band called Sainthood Reps (I played guitar with them on a tour) and he raved about them, as did my recent tourmates Balance And Composure. When Jon from B&C finally played me their stuff on an overnight drive from Boston to Philadelphia, I could see why – it’s bracing, open, smart, dynamic guitar rock, and good-emo-inflected music (whatever the hell that means).