Long time gone...I've been digging.

Iceland has given us Bjork. (Thanks?) But Iceland has also now given us Kaleo. Upon first listen this band is quite a mixture. Going from the sensitivity of early Coldplay and the delicate vocals of Bon Iver to the ground stomping of Mumford & Sons all in one song. Lead singer JJ Juliusson breathlessly goes from his falsetto to gritty soul on the standout track "All the Pretty Girls." This song starts with a simple acoustic guitar and builds and builds to a powerhouse climax vocal with Juliusson practically pleading with a  lover to "lay me down." (Marcus Mumford would be proud of such passion.)

Check out their pure blues rock on "Broken Bones" and "Rock 'n' Roller" to get a sense of their more rollicking side. With a move to Austin to record some new material for an EP due later this year, Kaleo seem to be poised to make 2015 a banner year. Their single "All the Pretty Girls" is currently free on iTunes. 

Kaleo- Facebook
All the Pretty Girls-

Rock N' Roller-


Young Braves

Releasing an EP, touring, and songwriting, on top of schoolwork leaves little room for my students to complain about having too much to do. The UK's Young Braves are juggling all of that and building buzz along the way. They released their self-titled debut EP last fall and it showcases a band with potential and the talent to back it up.

The single "For the Day" is propelled by lead vocalist Ollie Scott's knack for melody. With its shimmering guitars and songwriting maturity, "For the Day" is a nice yet unfulfilling first taste of the alt-rock band. I actually dug a little deeper and found much stronger tracks. "Youth" and "Long Time Coming" are more forceful and give a greater insight into what Young Braves are made of, with the latter finding Scott urging a change in his current relationship. ("We won't get that far living like we are.")

Young Braves have the skills to become a force to contend with and have much to say on their debut EP which is a reminder that sometimes youth can equal insight. 

Young Braves-Facebook
For the Day-


Lawrence Trailer

Sometimes I'm in the mood for an "everything and the kitchen sink" type of production and other times, simple is best. Lawrence Trailer is the latter. Armed with an acoustic guitar and intricate melodies, Trailer is a seasoned singer-songwriter that should be on your radar. 

"Savannah" is particularly strong track (especially for this Georgia-raised guy). Trailer sings about giving up and heading to this "Georgian town" but decides to give love another final shot, "We brace for the bottom, while we face being alone." The vocals on this song are Trailer's strength, singing every note in a beautifully raw, heart-wrenching tone. 

It's on his new single, "Old Love" where he hits me in the feels however. Trailer shifts the tempo a little on this track and ratchets up the emotional heft. He wishes his about to be married sister and his brother (with whom very little is spoken but much is said) "old love." It's a very sweet sentiment especially since my baby sister is getting married later this year. Trailer does a fine job mining life's smallest moments and turning them into heartfelt journeys. 

Lawrence Trailer- Facebook
Old Love-



Ryn Weaver

Should you feel badly for liking pop music? Well if it's Ryn Weaver' s brand of pop the answer is a resounding, "No!" Instantly catchy, insanely intricate, and forward thinking, Weaver has woven (no pun intended) herself into a nifty niche of the pop scene inhabited by a select few. Sky Ferreira and Ellie Goulding being a quick comparison. 

Ryn Weaver's break out single, "OctaHate," rewards on multiple listens. Co-written by Ryn and Charli XCX and produced by some of music's most innovative minds (Cashmere Cat, Passion Pit's Michael Angelakos, and Benny Blanco if you're keeping score), this tribal stomp with electronic touches is held together by Weaver's cool sonic warble. Why this song has not caught on at radio, I have no idea. "Promises" is another, ahem, promising track with its jittery vocal loops and laid back vibe. 

Ryn Weaver full length LP is due early 2015, but if her Promises EP is any indication of what to expect, 2015 is looking to become a red letter year. An artist to keep your eye on for sure in the new year. 

Ryn Weaver- Facebook


Sunset Sons

I love Tuesdays. It's a day where the music gods look down upon me and say, "Here you go. Try these bands out." And, boy, did they deliver today. Sunset Sons are 3 Brits and an Aussie who will undoubtedly be compared to Kings of Leon. Lead singer Rory Williams sounds uncannily like Caleb Followill in phrasing and tone. This quality alone will help Sunset Sons tune some ears. Their new EP No Bad Days, is a sonic adventure filled with hard driving piano, melodies, and superb vocals. 

On the catchy track "On the Road," Williams lets the verses fly at a breakneck speed before hitting the pounding chorus. This is a song that demands repeat listens and rewards the listener each time. "No Way Home" is bolstered by jittery guitar solos and pounding drums before calming down to a gentle refrain. 

Sunset Sons are melodic indie rock masters with their eyes set on the horizon of the rock scene. If this EP is any indication of where these guys are headed on their full length, don't expect these sons to fade into the sunset but rather rip the sky a new one. 

Sunset Sons- Facebook
On the Road-


Wild Party

Fellow music lovers. Look how long it has been since I posted last. It is not because I don't care. Yes, my real job has taken my attention away, but also, I have not been inspired by stuff I've been getting. Digging For Days was built on a no-hype philosophy. With that said, the band that has taken me out of my dry spell has produced one of the most cohesive efforts I have ever come across. The San Antonio based Wild Party truly deliver on their debut album Phantom Pop. 

A well-blended mixture of Passion Pit, The Killers, and Foster the People, Wild Party provide indie rock with danceable beats and undeniable hooks. Never before has a debut album come so fully formed. "When I Get Older" kicks off the album and is the archetype on which the rest of the album is built: sing-along choruses, bouncy beats, and synths melded and mixed with guitar. "Life's Too Short" is the closest these Texans come to slowing it down. Lead singer Lincoln Kreifels casually sings over breezy synths about the perils of being broke and in love, with lines like "I can't provide champagne, but you still stop and say hello."

Themes of growing older and love (both unrequited and romantic) come up often but are paired with melodies so catchy by the time the album closer comes along, you're ready to begin the journey over again. (I dare you not to sway your head on "Two Days with You")

Phantom Pop is so accurately named that even when the album is not being blared through you car stereo, the music is haunting your thoughts throughout the day, and you know what? You actually will want to hum along. Wild Party fully encompass modern indie rock with pop sensibilities. 

Wild Party- Facebook 
When I Get Older-



As summer is winding down for me, I'm wringing the last drops of sun and freedom. Vacationer caught my attention simply because their name seemed appropriate. Their new album Relief also seemed to fit the bill for my state of mind, and boy does this Philly band deliver. Filled with laid back grooves and easy melodies, Vacationer sure do know how to put the listener in a specific state of mind. 

The best of the bunch come in a duo of songs that have, rightly so, been released as singles-"The Wild Life" and "Paradise Waiting," with the latter being a musical representation of an actual paradise. A slow saloon piano groove plays throughout and even comes complete with the warming sounds that only a turntable playing a well worn record can create. Lead singer Kenny Vasoli paints an image of a paradise not only in the literal sense but what mood is created when you're anywhere with that special person. ("When you look in my eyes you'll find the pleasure is mine, there's a paradise waiting for us in summertime.")

Vacationer create feel good summery music that should be played while enjoying the last drops of summer. 

Vacationer- Facebook
Paradise Waiting-


Jesse Thomas

Jesse Thomas does not fit into today's pop music scene and that is a shame. Her brand of singer/songwriter tunes deserves a spotlight that lesser talented acts receive. Jesse's voice has a Stevie Knicks quality with sharp lyrics to boot. Her sophomore album Burn the Boats is a triumph in the smaller moments. 

She fills her album with introspection on relationships like on the heartbreaking "Beverly," where she sings about a break-up that should happen but can't quite pull the trigger. (I can't do this again turning lovers into friends I should know so much better by now)

The bouncy piano-driven "Leather Jacket" finds Jesse fending off a guy that is trying way too hard to impress, but she's smitten anyway singing, "I should have seen it coming like a freight train running down the tracks like a bullet screaming out like a warning." On the chugging "Stunner" which seems like a response to the guy in the aforementioned song, Jesse wraps tons of imagery in a blues soaked stomp. 

Jesse's voice is the star here with a quality that immediately pulls the listener in and demands that we hang on to every word. A talented artist that is definitely worthy of your attention. 

Jesse Thomas- Facebook


Animal Years

5 months. That's how long it's been since I have been excited enough about a new band to blog about. (Digging For Days doesn't post, just to post) Animal Years kind of came out of clear blue sky for me. A perfect blend of indie rock and Americana blues, this Brooklyn based band hits all the right notes for those looking for an up and coming band. "Let Go of Your Head" is a pounding track with a blistering opening line, "I wish a woman would say what she feels instead of me wondering if this thing is real." (Hits a little too close for me) And it is the songwriting that separates Animal Years from the others. "Heart on Heart" beautifully sums up falling in love, "You should hear the sound of your heart on my heart."

Lead singer Mike McFadden's emotional, searing vocals are allowed to soar and will continually bring the listener back for seconds. On closing track "Walking Slow," the band let's their rockabilly flag fly with banjo front and center. Animal Years have something for everyone- amazing vocals, catchy melodies, meaningful lyrics. One thing is certain this band will not remain under the radar very long.

Animal Years- Facebook
Let Go of Your Head-



OK, I'm taking a break from the rootsy stuff to bring you some good old fashioned alt-rock. 

Formed from the various pieces of other (pretty well known) bands, TEAM finds a way to take those pieces and build upon them. Each member brings their strength to solidify a stellar result. With several singles and an EP under their belt, this group specializes in thoroughly modern indie music. It's great to hear that not only are the vocal hooks strong, but also on songs like "Am I Alive," the guitars get equal time to shine. 

This soaring standout track questions a daily routine filled with repetition and what it means to actually live, singing "Am I alive or just breathing?" Another propulsive track that ruminates on the meaning of life is "Human War Machine." With its sing along chorus yearning to be "something other than machines," TEAM finds itself with a touch of '90s nostalgia guitar riffs

So far all of TEAM's pieces seem to fit the bill for an excellent upcoming EP. 

TEAM- Facebook
Am I Alive-


Grace and Tony

You've got punk music in my bluegrass. You've got bluegrass in my punk music. Like Reese's peanut butter cups before them, Grace and Tony are a perfect blend of two great tastes that taste great together. Hailing, from Tennessee Grace Schultz Tony White could very well stand on their on two feet as solo artists, but they combine the lilting melodies and storytelling of bluegrass music with the fierce power of punk rock to electrifying results. 

Their album November came out fittingly this past November via Kickstarter and it brings to mind that other dynamic folk duo The Civil Wars (It doesn't hurt that Tony's brother is John Paul White of The Civil Wars) And while that group may be on a permanent hiatus, Grace and Tony are more than capable to pick up the gauntlet that was thrown down. Their  voices are the stars here, his pipes showcase a well-worn grit while hers are sweet and smooth. Apart they are great, but it's when they sing together that the listener is truly transported. 

On tracks such as the mandolin toe-tapper, "Hey Grace, Hey Tony" they trade verses about how much they can't live without each other, and it's about as sweet and romantic as you can imagine with lines like, "Scooch right up beside me, peck me on my cheek, put your hand in my hand, baby just be sweet to me." And the the title track is musically dark and foreboding but the lyrics are full of the hope of finding that special someone. Again, the mixture of themes fits perfectly here.

Grace and Tony provide instantly enjoyable Americana music with a punk rock edge that will definitely make music fans, regardless of genre, sit up and take notice. 

Grace and Tony- Facebook
Hey Grace, Hey Tony-


The Tennessee Whalers

Let's chalk it up to the fact that I just got through watching O' Brother Where Art Thou? 6 times in a row, (I teach for a living) but I am really digging The Tennessee Whalers. These harmonizing, down home, mandolin playing guys have exactly 2 songs for consumption and one of them is a Christmas song! Nevertheless, the Whalers aim to meld crystal clear harmonies with a modern edge. 

On their gently scathing song "Locks," they sing about a love that did quite a number on them begging her to give their heart back while simultaneously warning not to "come around here no more cause if you do I'll lock the door." These contradictions perfectly captures the confusing nature of a break-up that wasn't so easy. The Tennessee Whalers meld Americana folk with pop sensibilities much in the same way that other band cough-Mumford-cough does. "Locks" is just a taste and I would encourage everyone to definitely come around to listen to these guys more. Grab their free EP on NoiseTrade

The Tennessee Whalers-Facebook