I’m always listening to music, new and old, pop and indie. Today, I’d like to highlight four bands you’ve probably never heard of. Okay, maybe you’ve heard of Joanna Newsom, but I’d be surprised if you knew Derik LaRon, Cheyenne Marie, or This Will Destroy You. These are bands that I’ve discovered in the past few months and are all actively making records. Check their tour dates now while they’re playing in smaller venues and selling cheaper tickets!
Sounds like: Usher, Michael Jackson, Mary J. Blige. This selection is closest to my heart. I grew up with Derik Washington (stage name Derik LaRon) in Philadelphia. He has always had a deep love for songwriting and is one of the most compassionate people I know. In November, he released his first single, “Change Their Mind” on iTunes (song with lyrics below). He has the track available on several websites for 99 cents – I’m sure he’d appreciate your support to help him finish the album this spring. He isn’t on tour yet, but he does perform around town from time to time. “I Can’t” is another track that has been getting a lot of attention on the Facebook medley video teaser that he posted in December (@ the 49 second mark). I wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t mention Ron Moore, another friend of mine, frequent collaborator with Derik, and talented keyboardist; check out this “R&B/Pop Instrumental with a space element” sample from his YouTube page.
“Young people need to feel loved, be supported, and taught the right way to live and how to treat others. They also need boundaries and adults in their lives who will hold them accountable for their actions. I believe through love, support, and education, we can take back our streets and put an end to this.” – Derik LaRon
Sounds like: Norah Jones, She & Him. After living in Louisville for over 7 months, I’ve finally found a local artist to keep an eye on. Cheyenne Marie Mize enjoys collaborating with other artists, which is how I noticed her. In February, I went to an in-store performance of Ben Sollee and Daniel Martin Moore at ear X-tacy on their Dear Companion release day. She stood off to the side with her violin, but when the band started to play, you could tell she was much more than a backup vocalist. Check out her article in Velocity and “Friend” from her first solo album, released last month (gotta love Bandcamp where you can even download in FLAC). Below is a live performance of her covering Nina Simone’s “In the Dark”:
This Will Destroy You
Sounds like: Explosions In the Sky, NIN Ghosts I-IV, Caspian, Led Zeppelin “The Rain Song”. I’m a fan of long instrumental tracks and This Will Destroy You serves plenty of them. If you want to slap a label on it, they’re an “instrumental post-rock” band from San Marcos, Texas. “They Move On Tracks Of Never-ending Light” (below) and “Happiness: We’re All in This Together” are two of my favorites.
Sounds like: Björk, Tori Amos, Owen Pallett. A couple of weeks ago, I randomly featured one of her most popular videos, Sprout and the Bean, on the Tuesday Zep. Some may find Joanna Newsom‘s voice annoying, but due to vocal-cord nodules in 2009, she sounds arguably richer on her new 3-CD release, Have One On Me. I can’t stop listening to the first track, “Easy”: