katie left the country, please leave a message.

okay, so I've been away an awful long time, what with exploring Europe and learning Spanish and trying not to hit children, yadda yadda. Since I can't send mix CDs here, here is a long list of my recent tunes: new artists or new CDs, it's all good.

1. John Mayer, Battle Studies
sounds like: John Mayer, please.
listen here

okay, so John Mayer gets a lot of crap. Some hate him, some like only his mad sweet guitar skillz, but I sadly admit I do really like most of his stuff. This CD sounds a lot like Heavier Things or Continuum, and nothing like the John Mayer Trio. If you like chill music with electric guitar, you've got it.
Recommend: Heartbreak Warfare

2. Howie Day, Sound the Alarm
sounds like: Graham Colton
listen here

Okay, so Howie Day as a person is kind of a DB. I liked his first two CDs, Austrailia and Stop All the World Now, way back in 2004, but i like to thing my music taste has matured since then. The new stuff is still a little dark, a little acoustic, with a few up-beat, studio numbers.
Recommend: Be There

3. Colin Hay
sounds like: Mike Doughty
listen here

Colin Hay doesn't have a listed labum because I don't one, and in general I've decided I just appreciate his quirky music. I was watching an old episode of Scrubs one day when Colin Hay appeared singing "Overkill", and I thought, who is that guy? anyway, he's a cute musician, take a listen.
Recommended: Beautiful World, Overkill

4. Milow, The Bigger Picture
sounds like: Stephen Speaks, any acoustic popster
listen here

Milow does an amazing cover of "Ayo Technology". I mean, it rivals the original (did i mention I recently started liking pop music? don't tell anyone.). Anyway, I torrented the rest of the album, and it's pretty good. There are a lot of cute acoustic songs, some studio versions, 'but Milow covers enough minor chordage in "You Don't Know" to make his stuff unique.
Recommend: Excuse to Try

5. Allie Moss, Passerby
sounds like: Ingrid Michaelson, Missy Higgins, Priscilla Ahn
listen here

If you like music that's played on Grey's Anatomy, and/or you like Ingrid Michaelson, you'll like Allie. Her voice is uniquely different than Ingrid but it's the same feel of music: acoustic, well thought and cute lyrics that make you think.
Recommend: Corner

6. Landon Pigg, The Boy Who Never
sounds like: Pete Yorn, Matt Hires
listen here

I had a hard time picking Pigg's sound-alikes. itunes genius had to help me. His stuff is pretty chill, studio cut, not acoustic, a little poppy, but generally likeable. On his earlier Album I was a pretty big fan of "Can't Let Go".
Recommend: This Far

7. The Hold Steady, Boys and Girls in America
sounds like: The New Pornographers, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Okkervil River
listen here

Duh, Katie, where have you been? The Hold Steady have been a mainstream-hipster favorite for awhile now. I really liked "Stuck Between Stations" when I heard it in 2006, but the rest of the album is a good mix of stuff as well. There's a couple acoustic songs, some roch-out songs, and the lyrics are provoking (I'll let you be the judge of that).
Recommend: Party Pit

8. Bess Rogers, Travel Back
sounds like: ~The Paper Raincoat, Erin McCarley
listen here

Bess Rogers, also featured on Grey's, is still in the acoustic-cute female singer genre, but she's on the rockier side. Everything is studio, and you can hear the acoustic guitar, but she's got something to say, and she's saying it.
Recommend: Everything to Lose

9. Brandi Carlile, Give Up the Ghost
sounds like: KT Tunstall, ~Indigo Girls
listen here

Brandi definitely has got the indie acoustic thing going. I liked "Story" and "Closer to You" a lot from her previous album. If you like the less studio, woodsy-ier sound, this is probably for you.
Recommend: Touching the Ground

10. Greg Laswell, Three Flights to Alto Nido, Off I Go EP
sounds like: Jon McLaughlin
listen here

Greg Laswell kind of borders on indie pop. He's got this really soothing and relaxing coupled with acoustic piano... it's dreamy. However, he manages to make some of his songs relatively upbeat regardless.
Reommend: Off I Go

11. Imogen Heap, Live Session iTunes Exclusive
sounds like: there is nothing like imogen heap.
listen here

Christ, if you haven't heard "Hide and Seek" by now, or at least the sample from "Whatchu Say", you've been stuck in your ipod too long. Imogen Heap is a style all her own. I really like Headlock when I saw it performed at TDC a few years ago, but the iTunes exclusive is so stripped down it's worth a download. (If you didnt know, iTunes has the artist make a stripped version of their best hits.) If you like techno backbeats mixed with an acoustic style lyricist and singer (think Postal Service) you'll like Imogen Heap.
Recommend: Goodnight and Go

12. Ingrid Michaelson, Everybody
sounds like: A Fine Frenzy, Erin McCarley, Regina Spektor
listen here

This is NOT to introduce Ingrid, she is a staple in my music diet. This is only to inform yáll of her newest CD, which came out in the summer. Her music has evolved a lot since Slow the Rain, it's become a little more poppy (think the evolution of Matt Nathanson). It's a little more studio but still provoking in almost every sense.
Recommend: All Love, Everybody, Turn to Stone

13. Kate Havnevik, Melankton
sounds like: A Fine Frenzy, Erin McCarley, Imogen Heap
listen here

I can't figure out the album title? Is it a weird derivative of plankton? I don't know. Anyway, Kate Havnevik is pretty well know, I guess, she's been on Grey's a bunch of times, etc. She's got a good mix going, upbeat and slow, poppy and sad. The sad stuff reminds me of Imogen Heap a little. Nothing is too original, nothing grabbed me, but I pretty much liked all of it.
Recommend: So:Lo

14. Katie Herzig, Live in Studio
sounds like: Yael Naim, Brett Dennen, Ingrid Michaelson
listen here

I just started listen to Katie Herzig, and I can't decide what to make of her voice. It reminds me about how I felt when I first heard Bright Eyes. Love it or hate it? Anyway, Katie is on the edge of the cute-acoustic-female-singer genre. She's not so poppy as those listed above, but she does have a few close-friend-of-pop songs, but also some kind of weirder ones. If you're into mainstream but also off the beaten track type stuff you'll probably like this.
Recommend: Charlie Chaplin

15. Unkle Bob, Sugar & Spite
sounds like: a less gloomy Howie Day
listen here

This dude keeps popping up on iTunes Genius, so, forced into submission by corporate media, I downloaded a couple tunes. This is pretty standard chill music, but I still liked it...

16. Mika, The Boy Who Knew Too Much
sounds like: Ferras, a less dirty Lady Gaga, a modern Queen

On a completely different note, Mika is the music you listen to when it's sunny and you're having a blast. I heard this song in H&M, if that's any indication. However, like Ferras (who's that? Remember the one-hit-wonder "Hollywood's Not America"?), he's got too sides, fun and acoustic piano. Luckily his fun stuff became famous ("Grace Kelly")
Recommend: We Are Golden

17. Owl City, Maybe I'm Dreaming
sounds like: Postal Service
listen here

best for last: I love owl city! I already "reviewed" his hit album, Ocean Eyes, last time, but the older one is great too. Owl City makes fun, treadmillworthy music. But it's more than that. The lyrics are art within themselves; descriptive and colorful and with a separate life. If you would like to have fun but not at the expense of dumbing yourself down to listen to ClearChannel Radio, Owl City is for you.
Recommend: Panda Bear

other new artists or EPs I've been into:
Ryan Cabrera, Radiohead, Nick Drake, Nickel Creek, Vampire Weekend, Across the Universe Soundtrack


you would think i would have found a lot of music in the woods, but not so much. here's some folky hipster-y favorites:

1. Meg Hutchinson, Come Up Full
sounds like: the Weepies, Deb Talan, Indigo Girls
listen here

Meg sounds a lot like the weepies. She doesn't have Deb Talan's characteristic voice, but she's sure got her lyrics down. Folksters will like this, but if you yearn for more than just a guitar (and who could want more?), then maybe not so much.

2. Five Times August, Brighter Side/Acoustic Sessions
sounds like: Matt Wertz (acoustic), John Mayer (acoustic), Tyler Hilton
listen here

I've been hesitant to ever mention Five Times August on here because I'm not quite sure how I feel about him. I love the guitar, and i love his voice. But sometimes the lyrics are really cliche and sappy. But not always. I'm a big fan of the acoustic pieces, but his other stuff is more polished and has got that pop-acoustic thing going on.

3. Owl City, Ocean Eyes
sounds like: BEN GIBBARD
listen here

You WILL think Owl City is fronted by Ben gibbard (death cab for cutie/ the postal service)/ I mean, how could it not be? It took an hour of googling for me to finally accept that this was a sound-alike. Anyway, normally I don't usually fall for anything electronic, but I think it's the cuteandslightlyquirky lyrics as well as the major chord changes that did me in. Personal Favee: "Fireflies"

4. We Are Scientists
sounds like: The Arcade Fire
listen here

I don't have an album listed on here because I don't have their album. I found them on the Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist Soundtrack. Rather embarassing, but really, it is a good soundtrack and quite hipster-y (something I like sometimes, but shy away from, because hipsters are scary when it comes to music.)

5. A Fine Frenzy
sounds like: Erin McCarley, Ingrid Michaelson, Regina Spektor
listen here

I feel very silly introducing A Fine Frenzy here because
1) I have been listening to her forever(thanks KC)
2) she is on plenty of commercials and is definitely well known.
But I haven't introduced her, so I will now. If you're looking for a female blend of pop and cute lyrics, this is the right place to turn. I haven't heard any acoustic sets from her, but maybe I'm not looking hard enough. Recommended Track: Blow Away, Life Size


a few new friends

Well, I've been in kind of a rut. Also, I only release the music I found, not music that was given to me via mix CDs. So I've only found a couple good artists recently... here you go.

1. Catie Curtis,
sounds like: Antje Duvekot, Indigo Girls, other women folksters
listen here

I don't know about you, but sometimes I just love pure folk. Not like twangy stuff, like real lyrics and a guitar- the bare minimum. That's pretty much what Catie is. She's got some nice lyrics and it's soft and lovely :)

2. Josh Auer, Dear You- EP
sounds like: Matt White
listen here

Josh Auer, while not having any soul moving lyrics or anything, is a fine mix between pop and acoustic. His songs don't all sound exactly the same, either. Sometimes he borders on alittle too pop for me, but he's pretty much a good find.

3. Matt Pryor, Confidence Man
sounds like: matt costa, Josh Ritter
listen here

Oh man, this is the only myspace I've found where you can listen to a bunch of songs! Matt is also pretty folky, and he's got this super raw voice that almost borders on the edge of maybe-you-should-write-the-songs-and-get-someone-else-to-sing-them syndrome. I also wouldn't recommend him if you don't like quirky folk stuff- like Josh Ritter for example.

on a side note, DMB and Matt Kearney have new CDs out which are pretty stellar.


wow, i really blew it. slash i have not found too much new music lately! but here is what i did find...

1. Lisa Hanigan, Sea Sew
sounds like: Erin McCarley
listen here

So I haven't given Hanigan a for serious listen, but I do enjoy the song "I Don't Know". She's got quite a mix going, some of the songs are techno/synth/pop, and others are straightup alternative folk (a genre I just made up and can be principally defined by, say, the Mountain Goats). I also like the light orchestral sound that floats in and out of her music.

2. Latchkey Kid, Miracle Mile
sounds like: Josh Rouse-ish
listen here

I heard this dude in the soundtrack to I Love You, Man (Which is a movie you should freals check out. seriously, stop everything). I wasn't necessarily moved by any of his stuff, but it's fun and light and acoustic guitar-y.

3. Matt Simons, Fall in Line -EP
sounds like: Gavin DeGraw, Eric Hutchinson
listen here

I found him as one of those ads on facebook that are oh-so personalized. It said he sounded like Matt Nathanson. He did not, at all, leaving me a little disappointed, but I like the rhythm he employs on the piano. Voice is not anything awesome, but it's good anyway.

4. Jukebox the Ghost, Let Live and Let Ghosts
sounds like: ZOX, Ben Folds (new stuff), the Format
listen here

This is weird. JTG sounds MORE punk rock-y on their album than they did when I saw them open for Ben Folds. Anyway, what I predominantly like about them is that they're fresh, their music takes turns and changes rhythms and it's fun.


While I don't think Gavin Degraw's new release, Free, is as good as Chariot, it is still WAYYYYY better than Gavin Degraw, which was a poppy mess. We're back.


so much new music

boy am i excited. so excited. here you go, peeps.

1. The Paper Raincoat, Safe in the Sound- EP
sounds like: Regina Spektor, the Weepies, Frou Frou, Vienna Teng
listen here

This band pushed my comfort zone, and I am so happy about it. The vocal are the soft blend of male and female (think the weepies). The background is heavily electronic. but LOADED with violins. I especially like "Brooklyn Blurs" and "Motion Sickness". The COOLEST thing about this duo (Alex Wong and Amber Rubarth, see below) is that the songs are revolved around a story about a woman's decisions in life that were changed in her father's dreams of making a paper raincoat. or something. read the site. but they're awesome, and probably different than any other stuff I've put up here.

2. Amber Rubarth, Unfinished Art
sounds like: Dar Williams
listen here

To be honest, I expected Rubarth to sound like her new collaboration, the Paper Raincoat. Not at all. It's just her and a guitar. Her lyrics are really unique and interesting and often tell a story (try "You will love this song"). She's also got a pretty cool life story, where she was an average high schooler, dropped out to make wood as art (or something), then dropped that to pursue music. awesome.

3. The Animators, How We Fight
sounds like: Ben Lee (vocals), Matt Nathanson (music)
listen here

This band, broken up in 2007, and headed by Alex Wong (The Paper Raincoat), has got a blend of pop and acoustic so similar on the few tracks I scanned (try "I Won't Tell")- well that's why. Not comparable on lyrics. Also, this band is way bigger on electronica. It seems to be heavy on production, but hey, it's electronica.
(also note, you can download their music FOR FREE)
check out Alex Wong's solo page here

4. Brandon Heath, What If We
sounds like: Mat Kearney (sans rapping)
listen here

Sometimes Christian music is good as long as it's not overwhelming. at least it's not a story about a guy getting dumped again, right? think the usual christian artist style music- a little poppy, guitar. A good listen, though- I like "Wait and See".

5. Greg Holden, A Word in Sideways
sounds like: Joshua James, Joshua Radin
listen here

Folksters, you will appreciate Greg Holden. His music is simple, his voice raw (and he's got an accent... hot). So if you like a boy and a guitar, and music with meaning, here you go.


not on itunes?!?

1. Chris Madin, Unreleased
sounds like: Marc Broussard
listen here

My browser now permanently tunes to Madin's myspace page. All of his sounds are good- a little poppy, maybe a little overproduced, but an amazing listen nonetheless. Madin also carries a wide range of styles (Compare "Jigsaw" to "Stay"). How this guy has managed to not put out an album... well, I don't know.

2. And then there were two, unreleased
sounds like: Tegan and Sara
listen here

okay, so maybe they were on the Hills. but still a find because they're unreleased, and awesome. I enjoy the raw but blended harmonies and kinda-angry acoustic guitar (what?). My word of advice to the band: find some new strum patterns.

3. Maria Taylor, Time Lapse Lifeline
sounds like: Schuyler Fisk, Erin Mccarley, Colbie Callait (?)
listen here

hurray for the emerging female singer songwriter. I usually label this particular genre into two subtypes: kind of poppy (think violins in the background), and folky (guitar only). Taylor falls into the first category. Her songs aren't extremely original, persay, but they're good and still maintains a folky edge (two part harmony, for example). A good listen.

4. Nate Campany,Patience EP
sounds like: Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers, acoustic Graham Colton
listen here

Campany is a perfect blend of folk,southern, and pop. His myspace lists him as a pop artist, but... I disagree. I would label him as folk with a propensity for a produced sound. I haven't thoroughly listened through his stuff, but his lyrics are original and (gasp) not all about love.




making up for lost time

okay guys, i'm back! here are some new hits that i've discovered... i've done 10 instead of 5 since i've been gone for a month or so.

1. Erin McCarley, Love, Save the Empty
sounds like: Ingrid Michaelson, Colbie Callait
listen here

Okay, well i'm pretty sure that Erin's about to become huge. I can't describe her any better than the two artists I've listed above. Her songs are a little polished, but she's got the kind of voice that is surely awesome live. I just acquired the entire CD, but "Pony (It's Okay)" and the title track are pretty good listens.

2. Eric James and the New Century, The City Lights- EP
sounds like: The Fray (music)
listen here

Unfortunately for all of us, this band is broken up. All that's available in the meantime is their EP. While not life changing, I really enjoy the rhythmic piano, underlying guitar... the usual stuff I fall for.

3. Sean Watkins, Blinders On
sounds like: Nickel Creek (duh), a little bluegrass, Ben Folds-type voice, country type music.
listen here

Sean Watkins, besides being lead singer of Nickel Creek, and just debuting an album as one half of Fiction Family, apparently also has a solo career. I'll admit, I'm not a great fan of the whole CD but I find Watkins' style refreshing and different. It's not polished at all. "Runaway girl" is pretty much just a guitar, Watkins and some violins. "No Lighted Windows" is my personal favorite, due to the fiddle and refreshing lightness.

4. Ben Jelen, Give It All
sounds like: Howie Day, Ryan Cabrera
listen here

Well, to start with the negatives, I have to agree with Jelen's reviews on iTunes. It seems as though Jelen could be his own type of singer songwriter if some commercial producer hadn't decided to overproduce this record and make it too poppy. He's got a breathy sort of voice, but it's almost hidden beneath all the synthesizers and background orchestra. Usually I like that stuff too. But before I dissuade you from clicking on him at all, remember, I liked him enough to put him on here. He'll probably be in Top 40s within the next few years. I recommend "She'll Hear You" and "Every Step".

5. Matt Hires, Live from Hotel Cafe (EP)
sounds like: Death Cab for Cutie (acoustic), Matt Wertz, Matt Nathanson (live)
listen here

Ahhh- the classic singer songwriter. Maybe it's just because this is a live record. But if Matt polishes this act up on a record he is destined for big things. Especially Mr. John "I win Grammys for songs i write just to make money" Mayer handpicked him to play on his Mayercraft tour in late March. Matt is young, and laidback, and his lyrics reflect some young love... ohhh so cute. My favorites are "Honey, let me sing you a song" and "Oh Sunrise".

6. Mike Dunn and the Kings of New England, P is for Panda: Mix Tape I
sounds like: The Weakerthans, Mae (?)
listen here

And now for something completely different. This band comes off a lot harder than I think they really are- I think it may be the electric guitar dominating the music tracks- but the sound is soft enough for me. I personally enjoy "The Queen", but the other songs up there are also good.

7. Lucy Kaplansky, Over the Hills
sounds like: Indigo Girls, Dixie Chicks, Antje Duvekot
listen here

for those who enjoy the female folk singer. Lucy is just on the line of too folky for me. I really enjoy her insightful lyrics, especially those of "Manhattan Moon". Apparently she has a really interesting life story, involving a mid life PhD in psychology.

8. Long-view, Mercury
sounds like:
listen here

Let's be honest: I found them on pandora today. Regardless, what I like about them is, surprise surprise, the acoustic guitar but mixed with electric, etc. Not life changing, but a good listen.

9. Emerson Hart, Cigarettes & Gasoline
sounds like: Gavin Degraw
listen here

Hart is not new to me, I was introduced to him via Pat McGee's blog about a year ago. But I figure you probably haven't heard of him. Although he does sound like Gavin, he's way more dark and brooding. "I Wish the Best For You" and "If You're Gonna Leave" are both so sad- good for a heartache.

10. Daphne Willis, Matter of Time- EP
sounds like: Jack Johnson, Tristan Prettyman
listen here

Daphne Willis is also not new to me. "My Shoes" is an amazing song that I love, and if you've ever received a mix from me, it's probably been on it. But I invite you to check out her other works. Apparently she has a new EP that was out in September 08. Her voice is unique, her lyrics quirky and witty, and her music laid back and easy.



10 things

just for fun: the last 10 songs to come up on shuffle (it's a good day):

1. Cellophane Girl- Graham Colton Band
2. Mend Your Heart- William Fitzsimmons
3. If You Have to Go- Stephen Kellogg (and Deb Talan)
4. Warm Whispers- Missy Higgins
5. Spit on a Stranger- Nickel Creek
6. Barrel of a Gun - Guster (throwback!)
7. Starve Them to Death- Sean Watkins
8. I Still Ain't Over You- Augustana
9. Oh! - Eric Hutchinson
10. Free Fallin' - John Mayer (covering Petty. amazing.)

links coming soon.


keeping secrets.

oh hey people. although I have MUCHO MUCHO new-to-me music to share, I really need to give out some mixes, and I don't want to spoil the surprise. So this week I'm going to preview some not new to me stuff. it's possible you could have gotten a little of it on a mix if I've made one for you. but maybe not. either way, these are tried and true favorites, so check them out.

1. Marc Broussard, Carencro
sounds like: Josh Kelley, bluesy pop, Marvin Gaye
listen here

Louisiana-born Marc Broussard's sophomore release (2004), is little bit of pop and acoustic mixed together- polished, but not too polished. Think maybe John Mayer and Marvin Gaye, in the South, but in a studio. Marc's voice has a certain raw but jazz sound that he plays up in his later records. My personal favorites are "The Wanderer", "Save Me", and "Where You Are".

2. Steve Tannen, Big Senorita
sounds like: howie day? hard to say.
listen here

As of yet I have not found anyone who shares my love for Steve Tannen. He's got this dark quality to his music, mysterious and speaking of hardship (see "Brother Uptown", for example). He also has amazing, ingenious lyrics that inspire me in the same way Jason Mraz's do... but completely different. They speak of lonliness that Tannen describes as only coming from "living alone with a one year old baby".
My absolute favorite Tannen song, and currently ranking number 6 all time in my iTunes... "San Francisco".

Note: if you want more Steve (and he does have another solo album)- you'll have to refer to The Weepies, a very well known indie band made up of Steve and his wife Deb Talan (oh, also, you should check her out.) If desperate, check out Steve's brother Greg.

3. Antje Duvekot, Big Dream Boulevard
listen here
sounds like: Ellis Paul, Indigo Girls

If you've ever gotten a mix cd from me, without a doubt there has probably been some Antje on it. Her songs are mystical and dark but also soul lifting- almost impossible to describe. "Dandelion" is a great song for anyone ever been rejected; "Long Way" for anyone who wants to take a roadtrip but doesn't have the time. Best of all, none of her songs are over polished- she is all about live, raw acoustic quality. Just Antje and the guitar.
(Thanks, BT)

4. The Wailin Jennys, 40 Days
sounds like: Indigo Girls
listen here

If you're looking for harmonies, you've found the right spot. The Wailin Jennys are a perfect blend of folk (but not too folk), Simon and Garfunkel, and the Indigo Girls. I often listen to "This is Where" and "Heaven when We're Home" when I'm having a bad day- their harmonies and insightful lyrics are very uplifting.

5. Howie Day, Australia
sounds like: Tyler Hilton with PMS
listen here
(note: the songs are all mixed up in order on this site, so you'll have to read my description to understand which CD is which.)

Okay, I know what you're thinking. If you listened to top 40's radio at ALL in 2005 you definitely heard Howie Day's song "Collide", which many middle schoolers made out to and also rocketed Day up in the we-can-almost-call-him-a-one-hit-wonder Hall of Fame. HOWEVER, this CD is the precursor to Day's popular Stop All the World Now. The difference? Much more acoustic, much darker. Day's voice is so raw it's done so much more justice with the raw, acoustic sound. "Ghost" is one of the best breakup songs maybe ever. Day also took "She Says"- very acoustic and raw on Australia- and polished it up, added some synthesizers, and put it on Stop All the World Now. If you must, listen to both, they're both good.

6. Ari Hest, Someone to Tell
sounds like: Matt Nathanson, acoustic Josh Kelley
listen here

Yeah, Ari Hest is starting to be popular now too. That's okay I guess, he deserves it- although Hest's lyrics are typical of the male singer songwriter- crooning about lost love and other stuff that make guys with guitars get girls- his voice is so rich and deep and emotion-ridden that it's hard not to pay attention. Let's be honest: some of the songs are sort of sappy ("Strangers Again"), but I'm a big fan of "Aberdeen" and "Holding On" regardless.


apparently I am in Georgia in my mind....

finally, people! i have found so much music! and most of it is from the south... here are my recent listens...

1. Peter Bradley Adams: Leavetaking
sounds like: William Fitzsimmons, Steve Tannen, James Taylor
listen here

Adams has a way of combining some folky, bordering on country style guitar, with a deep, soulful voice. His songs are underwritten with mysterious tones and well versed in some seriously good lyrics. I would recommend this CD for a rainy day.

2. Tim be Told: Getting By
sounds like: Matthew West, Bebo Norman
listen here

Usually I shy away from Christian pop. I don't like to mix my music with my religion. But The lead singer, Tim (aptly named) Ouyang has such a smooth, amazing voice that I was immediately captivated. Plus most of the songs are so uplifting and happy, it's easy to see the true message. I can live with that. The very clear piano melodies and underlying rhythmic guitar add for a rich, not overly produced sound. plus, there's a gospel choir in "Steady On"! And, according to Ellen, nothing is better than a gospel choir for saying, well, anything.

3. Andy Davis: Let the Woman
sounds like: Jon Mclaughlin (before he went pop)
listen here

According to Davis's myspace, he is "alternative pop". I would go with "singer/songwriter". Davis's voice is raw and not always flowing and super smooth, but that's what makes it so original and raw! I have yet to notice any outstanding lyrics, but for those of us who lose the singer songwriter genre... here you go. Pandora's already found him.

4. The Benjy Davis Project: Dust
sounds like: Pat McGee Band (currently on tour together!)
listen here

I seem to have developed quite an affinity for "Southern pop"- the genre BDP lists on their myspace. I find lead singer Benjy Davis (again, aptly named) 's voice a perfect match for the band's music. On the softer side, but still every song has a story to tell, which is what draws me to this genre of music. Plus, you can hear the clear emotional pain and rebuilding through the lyrics and vocals. I especially like the build up of instrumentals in "Tell Myself"; and my absolute favorite is "Green and Blue".

5. Fiction Family: Fiction Family
sounds like: Ben Folds, Guster in the Parachute days (circa 1996), Nickel Creek
listen here

Best for last, by far. This EP is the beautiful child of Jon Foreman (Switchfoot) and Sean Watkins (Nickel Creek). It's so fresh and different, definitely not any midpoint between the two aforementioned bands. Every song has its own flavor and character (I mean, compare "Elements Combined", which sounds a lot like 1996 Guster, versus "Out of Order", which sounds more like, I don't know, Death Cab?). I especially love "Elements Combined, which doesn't follow the typical recipe of any song, and integrates The Nickel Creek esque country guitar.


fresh from myspace...

my picks of the week, friends. new to me, new to you...

1. Matthew Mayfield: The Fire EP
listen here
sounds like: Bright Eyes

Given that I just bought this EP today, but after one listen, I gotta say, it's pretty good. Although I notice a lot of similar chord changes throughout the songs, I particularly am fond of "Dead to You". It's the only one that really picks up as the song goes along. But this EP is definitely worth a try for a quiet music day. Lots of acoustic guitar and singer singwriter-y feel, unlike Mayfield's old band, Moses Mayfield.

2. Tyler Hilton: The Tracks of Tyler Hilton
listen here
sounds like: Ryan Cabrera

I've been a fan of Hilton's cover of "Missing You" since it first made its way onto Pandora. I also have been a long time fan of "You'll Ask for Me", an entirely acoustic song that apparently was featured on One Tree Hill. Some of the songs from this album are a bit polished, and I definitely favor the more raw songs; but let's be honest, I think Hilton bridges the acoustic songwriter/ cute crooning boyband frontman gap well. My latest favorite song from this album is "Kiss On". (Hilton is also much less poppy than Ryan Cabrera, which makes me like him so much more...)

3. needtobreathe: Daylight, The Heat
listen here
sounds like: Coldplay infused with christian rock and minus the weird chords

I wish I could hate needtobreathe due to their emo-esque choice of name. Lead singer Bear Rinehart has an incredibly moving voice that manages to convey the evangelical sentiment of "Washed by the Water" to the upbeat and catchy( and my new workout song), "Shine On". And then there's my absolute, not-to-be-topped favorite "More Time", which combines the soft acoustic guitar and rhythmic piano I love so much. What I particularly love about this CD (which I've listened to more than any of the others featured here) is the variety of songs. They're acoustic, rock, fast, slow, and not (gasp!) all lyrics about a girl. Something fresh, so listen.

4. Pat McGee Band: Live from the Southland
listen here
sounds like: Train, Virginia Coalition, Stephen Kellogg

My friend Pat finally has released live versions of songs from his band's latest CD,These Days (The Virginia Sessions) . Although this is Pat's third (or so) live release, this live version is so much better than say Vintage Stages. Why? This CD opens up the heart of a PMB experience- the acoustic, raw quality that you definitely lose in a studio or a polished live version. My favorite? "Elizabeth" -written about his daughter's learning to ride a bike- at least buy the single, it's completely different than the studio version.

5. Ingram Hill: Cold in California
listen here
sounds like: Rascall Flatts, Better than Ezra

I've been a fan of Ingram Hill since 2005, when the song "Closer" jumped out at me. The trio has produced a disc which one reviewer called "contemporary country music"- probably a more accurate description than I could have come up with. Nevertheless, most of the songs on this album, while not terribly original, are pretty catchy. My personal favorites are "I Hear Goodnight" and "Four Letter Word", which boasts probably the best lyrics on the CD. Looking for a more acoustic sound? try their "Unplugged" EP.


who knew...

that evan and jaron (remember that song "crazy for this girl"?) were a legit band? they're a lot more acoustic, and less poppy, than i imagined. I guess last year they had a "52 new songs" project, where every sunday they released a new song via myspace. I can't believe I missed it. Evan apparently is a huge blogger, however, and so he can pass my time instead.

Also, I am a little mad at Schuyler Fisk for releasing songs on her myspace that can't be found ANYWHERE ELSE! what? they're good songs nonetheless. She has a very soulful, yet still folky, voice. check it out, kids.


a fruitful winter break

hm, so I started this blog to share my wonderful findings on my endless Internet searches(ahem, used CD stores) for new music. I realize that I enjoy finding new music much more than most people- I don't know, it's the satisfaction of knowing you've discovered something- and although the precious few receieve well crafted mix CDs, I believe it is time for something more.

okay. so after a long and music happy winter break, I am happy to share with you my recent (but now well listened to) music finds.

1. Jason Mraz: we sing we dance we steal things DELUX
yes, mraz fans, aren't we all sad that "i'm yours" hit the radio? This EP keeps the true love intact.Mraz presents 12 of his songs as they started out, raw and uncut, just him and the guitar (okay, and occasionally there's some backup singers). My favorites are "live high" and "if it kills me"- both sound like they are straight from a jam that happened to be recorded. There's none of the poppy, highly polished stuff from the actual album (what is WITH the voice recordings at the beginning of "details in the fabric" and "if it kills me"? it kills the song, jason.) Anyway, aside from the rant, Mraz doesn't fail to impress with his always witty and fresh lyrics and smooth, swaying vocals.

2. Virginia Coalition: Home This Year
sounds like: Pat Mcgee Band, Train, Stephen Kellogg
listen here
I rarely enjoy entire albums- I always find one song that I refuse to listen to, but there are none of these on this CD. My favorite song is "Stars Align", which one friend aptly put "sounds like the Jungle Book". the rhythmic piano is vibrant and light, and this is a feel good album with some great lyrics.

3. Jay Clifford: Driving Blind
sounds like: howie day, any male acoustic singer/songwriter
listen here
Interestingly, I found Jay while reading Zach Braff's blog (because I secretly wish Zach and I were friends so we could trade music) and apparently Zach directed Jay's new(ish) video, "Know When to Walk Away". I am more a fan of songs such as "Mexico" and "Don't Be Fooled". Let's be honest, I don't see anything in Jay that makes him stand out (YET),but one review described him as "tender, poetic lyrics; gorgeous melodies; and sophisticated harmonies".

oh, did i mention he was the lead singer for Jump (Little Children)? Yeah.

4. Pete Schmidt: No Safe Bet
listen here
I can't really tell you what Pete Schmidt sounds like because his voice makes him so different from most crooning male singer songwriters. It's not a brilliant voice, but just edgier and more raw. His music spans a wide genre from sappy ("Just So You Know") to a little poppy ("Graduation") to "romantically apologetic"("I Will Make it Up to You") If you like the singer songwriter, try him out before he gets too big.

5. Eric Hutchinson: Sounds Like This
listen here
sounds like: gavin degraw
Eric has developed a sound all his own. He's moved a little to the polished, studio versions (I have a version of "Rock and Roll" dating back to 2005), but nonethe less, his music is fun, and definitely doesn't fit the 145, 4 chord progression of the typical music I listen to. "Rock and Roll" is a pretty fun song, as is "All Over Now" and "Oh!". His music is refreshingly not sappy, romantic, regretful; just fun. I also recommend the song "Subtitles", though not on this CD. Watch out though, he's touring with OAR (boo), so he may get big soon.

other songs to watch out for:
lift you down- the turning
four letter word- ingram hill
rains in asia- jump little children
done hangin on maybe- evan and jaron
the swimmer- christopher jak
the longer i run- peter bradley adams
forget about you- graham colton band