Bombastic. Anthemic. Soulful. Those three words pretty much sum up Satellite. Based in LA, Satellite has a tendency to build a song's crescendo to such a fever pitch that when lead singer Steven McMorran is hitting his stride you are right there with him. This is evident on the lead single off their EP Ring the Bells. "Say the Words" builds and builds until that moment when the band lets loose and you just get chills. McMorran sings like his life depends on it. On the exquisite "Silhouette," McMorran sings of finding hope in a hopeless situation. ("Honey your dreams are big enough/You've given everything but you've given up) Satellite's music is bursting at the seams. Now if only the build up were as good as the payoff, they would be unstoppable. Definitely give them a listen.

Satellite- Facebook
Say the Words-


The Dirty Guv'nahs

New music comes from everywhere, even my friends have some stuff up their sleeves. (Thanks Cate) Knoxville's The Dirty Guv'nahs provide their own foot-stomping blues rock with a Southern soul twist. Lead singer James Trimble is an enigmatic frontman with a voice that is as at home on barn burners such as "It's Dangerous" as he is on the beautifully sad "The Country." Youth is in Our Blood is the sophomore album that finds The Guv'nahs polishing up their hooks and ratcheting up their energy. Two stand-out tracks are the nostalgic "Baby We Were Young" and the yearning "Wide Awake." Both provide a glimpse into the two mindset of these "Dirty" guys: rocking out and quieting down. And with a live show that is wall to wall frenetic energy, these Guv'nahs are campaigning for buzz band of 2011.
The Dirty Guv'nahs- Facebook
Baby We Were Young-


Jack and White

Purposefully, deceptively, and yet brilliantly  named Jack and White consists of former American Idol contestant Brooke White and songwriting partner Jack Mantranga. I remember really liking Brooke on AI but then her solo stuff didn't really do anything for me. Well what a difference a duo makes. Jack and White are the perfect blend. Their harmonies are effortless and their songs singable. On their new EP Gemini, they embody a 70s pop vibe, with a summery feel on every note. "Double Trouble" is a laid back affair about a couple of troublemakers who do something troubling. (The singers themselves don't really have a clear answer on that) Jack and White produce such catchy melodies that you can't help but put the repeat button on. A definite surprise for anyone looking for a soundtrack to their next beach party. 

Jack and White- Facebook
Double Trouble-


Jon Fratelli

His voice is unmistakable. It's that guy from those iPod commercials. But when Jon Fratelli isn't making music with his band The Fratellis, he is keeping the groove going on his solo album Psycho Juekbox. Jon's raspy vocals are the star here alongside some pretty great songs. "Santo Domingo" is a slinky jam filled with start/stop guitars and a catchy as hell melody. "Daddy Won't Pay Your Bill" is about just what you imagine. It's filled with pounding drums and is just plain fun. "Flathead" may have put them on the radar here in the US, but frontman Jon is keeping the lights on with his solo album. 

Jon Fratelli- Facebook
Santo Domingo-


Now The Rabbit Has The Gun

There hasn't been a new band that I have completely gone crazy for but the streak is over. The awkwardly named Now The Rabbit Has The Gun is that band. No clue how I came across these guys, but I am extremely glad I did. Where NTRHTG (whew!) really shine is in the the hook of each song, expertly delivered by lead singer Mike Seminari. An earnestness is prevalent in their songs; a vastness that often times is hard to keep on the rails but they manage to do. Especially in the rollicking "The World is Bigger Than You Think," where the chorus literally takes off and doesn't back down. They can switch gears on a dime, with the absolutely heartbreaking "Divide the Knives," which lyrically tells the story of a marriage gone south and the realization that it is ending. (with lines like I know you're just here to pack your things, your half of the memories) AND, they are giving away their music. You can download their album for free here

Now The Rabbit Has The Gun- Facebook
The World Is Bigger Than You Think-



Ben Howard

Summer is basically killing me but somehow Ben Howard is making it seem picturesque. With his edgy folk music reminiscent of Mumford & Sons, Howard's vocals effortlessly transports you to another time. His new album Every Kingdom comes out in October and lead single "Old Pine" basically sums up Ben nicely; sweet harmonies mixed with a down home feel. Lyrically the song is just as good as the music. Howard sings "And we stood as steady as the stars...we grow older still," remembering a time in youth when you feel invincible. Ben Howard has the songwriting goods as well as the musical chops to really find an audience.

Ben Howard- Facebook
Old Pine-(long musical intro) 


Imagine Dragons

Imagine Dragons have Vegas opulence mixed with a pop/rock sensibility. Their new album It's Time could signify their sense of expectation and it should. Lead singer Dan Reynolds sings with passion and on the title track (their best) he employs, over a hand clap/stomp beat, that "It's time to begin, isn't it? I get a little bit bigger but I'll admit I'm just the same as I was." A good message for those who lose their way when they get a little taste of success. "Look How Far We've Come" is an upbeat track with dream-like guitar lines. Imagine Dragons works best when they really let themselves go and definite one to watch.

Imagine Dragons- Facebook
It's Time-


Charlie Simpson

3 years ago I blogged about Charlie Simpson's band, Fightstar, and was quite impressed. One of the biggest draws was Simpson's voice. It immediately draws you in with its rasp and tone. Charlie is now going at it alone with his solo album Young Pilgrim expected to drop on August 15th in the UK. (No word yet on a US release) 

First single "Down Down Down" has been on  a loop since I first heard it. A touching ballad that incorporates lush vocal harmonies and lyrics that cut to the bone. (My nights are so long without you and my days speed up, my God, I'll never let go of you now) After hearing a couple of tracks off the new album, Simpson is heading into a new territory. Less hard rock, more instrumentation; a more singer/songwriter vibe. He wouldn't be out of place at a Mumford & Sons concert oddly enough, especially on "Farmer and His Gun". The change is exquisite and works on so many levels. Fingers crossed that Young Pilgrim will make the jump across the pond.

Charlie Simpson- Facebook
Down Down Down-


Tally Hall

Tally Hall is as carefree as they come on "You & Me." With a pounding bass line and a summery chorus, Tally Hall have created a perfect open road radio song. Their second album, Good & Evil has a couple of similar songs but none quite hit the effervescence of their lead single. "&" is a distorted gem, with background vocals that repeat "and" over and (hey!) over again; very catchy. What Tally Hall lacks is sheer force they make up in catchy pop melodies. Beware this band will cause humming days later.

Tally Hall- Facebook
You & Me-


Sonia Leigh

Confession time. It was last year when a friend of mine told me about Sonia. She was getting married and had given me a list of songs she definitely wanted played at her wedding. "Poem From the Ocean Floor" was on that list. I completely forgot about this excellent artist until today. 

If you are a fan of Grace Potter or Brandi Carlile then Sonia Leigh needs to be in your playlist. Leigh has one of those voices that is soulful with a slight gruff that immediately draws you in. And a sound that is just this side of country rock. With a new album, 1978 December due in August, Sonia has released a new single called "My Name is Money." A mid-tempo toe-tapper, Leigh lyrically details all the highs and lows money can bring. Don't let it be a year (like I did) until you truly appreciate how great this artist is.

Sonia Leigh- Facebook
My Name is Money (Live)-



Not so much a new band, but SafetySuit have a new album coming out sometime soon. While initial reports have put it sometime in June, I think it's safe to say it'll be a little later. They had a modest hit with "Stay" off their debut Life Left to Go, I have a sneaking suspicion that their new single will surely propel them to a lot of radio play. "Get Around This" is a heartfelt apology of a song filled with strings and pleading vocals. (You and I, we had it all, I wonder why I let it fall) And bonus, if you "Like" them of Facebook, you can get a free download of this song.

Get Around This-


Taddy Porter

Take equal parts Southern rock, gnarling guitars, and raw energy and you've pretty much got Oklahoma's own Taddy Porter. While they may be confused as a single person, they are in fact 4 guys strong. Andy Brewer's lead vocals tear through every single song. (very reminiscent of Will Hoge) "Railroad Queen" is on a fast-paced tear, while "Shake Me" recalls '70s rock at its best with a danceable beat.  But it's "In the Morning" that really shows off Taddy Porter, combining catchy melodies with Brewer's soaring vocals. 

Anyone looking for a band that rips a raw nerve without leaving a scar, Taddy Porter is definitely for you. 

Taddy Porter- Facebook
In the Morning-



Much like Switchfoot, Abandon have found the sweet spot between mainstream rock and Christian rock. These five guys from Texas may be a Christian rock band but their lyrics are not overt about it. They provide a great message with their music all the while wanting the listener to dive deeper into the meaning. You may have heard one of their songs already without even realizing it because Food Network is currently using "Live It Out" in some of their commercials. I am not ashamed to say that is where I heard of them.) 

Upon further digging, Abandon live up to what "Live It Out" suggests- clean guitar riffs, danceable grooves, and catchy melodies. Their most recent album Control is filled with several danceable songs which akin back to early Killers. "Feel It In Your Heart" is as catchy as they come. And with lyrics like 'You can say all the right things but in the end what does it mean?', Abandon is getting you to ask yourself the hard questions without hitting you over the head. Don't let the label of "Christian rock" deter you from music this fun.

Abandon- Facebook
Feel It In Your Heart-


Plan B

Plan B (AKA Strickland Banks) specializes in retro soul...with rap? I know, it shouldn't work, it sounds like a terrible combination (like fish and chocolate), but Plan B completely pulls it off. With a nod to Mark Ronson, who in my opinion started the whole modern retro soul, Plan B is at his best on the slinky "She Said" and the frenzied violins of "The Recluse."

A bigger star over in the UK, Plan B's musical stylings is so effortless and that is what makes it so great. He is not trying too hard. After listening to his album The Defamation of Strickland Banks, I haven't found one song that I didn't like. And to top things off all of his music videos tell a narrative if watched in order. So if you're tired of the same ol' same ol', you can always fall back on Plan B. 
Plan B- Facebook
The Recluse-


The Gallery

In my real life, I'm a high school Literature teacher. Digging was put on the back-burner for a bit while school was getting a little insane. With school now out, the hope is that I can post more frequently. (that is if there are bands out there that I dig)

The Gallery. Where to start? This band was brought to my attention a while back and I liked them. Never got a chance to really sit down to listen. Well their new (to me at least)
EP Come Alive is absolutely filled to the brim with hook after hook. The Gallery infuse their down home guitar-driven songs with heart and soul. Lead singer Brendan Cooney has a sincere voice where every line he sings just hits you. The Gallery are very much feeling a Rooney vibe on the killer opening track "Catalyst." Chugging guitars give way to pounding drums mixed with great lines about that girl who leads you on but leaves you hanging. (You put a spark to this/You were the gasoline/You were the catalyst) Also, check out the mid-tempo "Ballroom of Broken Hearts" for a good representation of what The Gallery does best.

The Gallery- Facebook
Ballroom of Broken Hearts-



Chicago's Empires lives on the verge on spinning out of control. Their music is all controlled chaos without losing its way. And at the helm of the teetering on the edge is lead singer Sean Van Vleet. His voice is what makes Empires so interesting, especially on the rollicking "Damn Things Over." Van Vleet soars above ragged guitars singing "If there's a hell for lovers/I can be hell's loverboy." Antoher key track is "I Know You Know" a dark melodic song about unspoken feelings.

Empires is currently vying for a chance at a Rolling Stone cover. Be sure to vote for them here. A deluxe edition of their EP Bang will be released on March 9th.

Empires- Facebook
Damn Things Over-


Jamestown Revival

Forgive me readers for I have sinned. It has been much too long since my last post. But really I've not been impressed with a lot of stuff that's been sent my way. Until now...

Jamestown Revival is Jonathan Clay and Zach Chance. Hailing from Austin, Revival is musical equivalent of riding in the back of a truck on a spring day down a dirt road. There's a down home feel that runs through their EP titled Knives and Pipes

The simplicity on display here perfectly showcases the harmonies that Clay and Chance can achieve. From the chugging lines of "Looking For The Right Thing" (which brings to mind Johnny Cash) to the bluesy "Ain't It A Shame," Jamestown Revival proves that The Black Keys aren't the only ones who know their way around the blues. While they never quite reach the heights of the Keys, with their recent entry into the Rolling Stone cover competition, that is sure to change. Vote for JR to grace to cover of Rolling Stone here.

Jamestown Revival- Myspace
Heavy Heart-