Artists To Watch: Nashville
There’s a reason they call it Music City. Nashville has a long and storied history in popular music. People have devoted entire books to Nashville’s music scene. When you consider the city is barely a million strong in metro-area population, it’s staggering to consider artists like Kings of Leon, Jack White, The Black Keys, Paramore, and Ben Folds all still call Nashville home. While we’ve covered artists like these pop titans before, we figured we’d give you a closer look at the Music City music scene, scouring alleyways and creek beds for the hottest artists in Nashville right now. Let’s dive in.
The last city you’d expect electro-pop party animals to hail from is Nashville, but Music City’s resident bad boys, Cherub, proudly do just that. The duo started garnering solid attention for their Prince-indebted raunchy, sugar high R&B dance-pop in 2013 with their debut record titled MoM & DaD. Last week Cherub delivered their sophomore full-length, Year of The Caprese, on Columbia Records. Pick up a copy on iTunes and stream their single "Lifesaver," above.
JEFF The Brotherhood
Following in the vein of Weezer or fellow Nashvillian Jack White at his heaviest, fraternal duo JEFF The Brotherhood (yes, they’re actually brothers) make sludgy, no-fuss slacker rock. Even though these dudes have just begun to reach a larger audience, they’ve been honing their garage rock sound for a while. They’ve released five LP’s already, and played in the now-defunct band, Be Your Own Pet. This winter, JEFF The Brotherhood began work on a new batch of songs, continuing to carry the legacy of down ’n’ dirty guitar, drums, and vocals.
Growing up a traveling preacher’s son in the Deep South, Mikky Ekko was immersed in both country and gospel music, eventually settling in Nashville as a producer and songwriter. He quickly realized he preferred performing his own music and stepped into the limelight with his own tunes, which lead Ekko to be featured on Rihanna’s track “Stay.” The song, written by Ekko, launched his musical career into warp speed. With a killer live show and a solid set of tracks already released, Ekko is an intelligent and refreshing addition to the pop music conversation. Now all we need is an album!
Last year, Night Beds, newcomers to the Nashville scene, garnered plenty of praise for their country-inflected folk-rock. Winston Yelle and his band recorded their debut album in a house once owned by Johnny Cash, and took the tunes on the road opening for bands like Lord Huron and Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Their new single aims for the bleachers with anthemic bombast giving fans a lot to expect from Night Beds in 2014.
Keegan DeWitt fled Brooklyn for Nashville in 2008 in order to pursue music full-time, something he felt was exceedingly difficult to do in NYC. After working on film scores for a number of years, he struck out to form Wild Cub with other music industry professionals he met in Nashville. Their sound combines the exuberant jaunt of Tanlines with the cosmopolitan pop edge of Vampire Weekend.
Jason Isbell, the former frontman of The Drive-By Truckers never rested on his laurels. As he’s settled down both literally and metaphorically, he broke out towards a softer mode of alternative country falling somewhere in between Ryan Adams and Gram Parsons with a healthy dose of the modern country confessional. His most recent album, Southeastern, is a straightforward Americana diary in the keys of G and A minor.
Formed by former guitarist of Be Your Own Pet, Jonas Stein, Turbo Fruits lean heavily towards the no-frills garage rock persuasion. The band’s been featured on Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth’s Ecstatic Peace! label, as well as ARK recordings, and most recently on Fat Possum. They just finished recording their upcoming album last month, and while details are hazy, the band is sure to be up to the same garage-rock hi-jinks. Check out "Get Up Get On Down (Tonite)" on Soundcloud.
Pujol is the moniker of quirky intellectual lo-fi rocker Daniel Pujol, who churns out garage rock tunes a la Ty Segall or Jay Reatard. Since 2009, he’s released music with Jack White’s Third Man Records, JEFF The Brotherhood’s Infinity Cat Records, and Saddle Creek. Now, his newest LP, Kludge, is out May 20 on Saddle Creek and reinforces his brand of patchwork cassette-friendly rock. Hit his Soundcloud for a free download of "Pitch Black."
This Nashville-born-and-raised quartet grew up playing music together, culminating in the release of their debut LP Rebel Hill in 2012. They followed it up with their recently-released EP Stop Motion. Written and recorded in an old church sanctuary, the EP has a stark vibe that’s unexpected and refreshingly welcome coming from the largely-country Nashville scene.
The Features are a fixture in the Nashville music scene. The band grew up together in rural Tennessee, before playing gigs in Nashville and the nearby college town of Murfreesboro. Since they began cutting their teeth in the Nashville music scene in the mid-90s, this indie pop band was the first to be signed to the Kings of Leon’s imprint label, Serpents & Snakes.
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June 04, 2014 via Pepsi