Alex Zhang Hungtai is a musician who has spent his life drifting from home to home. His parents were children of communist China, and since setting out, he's lived in places as far-flung as Honolulu, Montreal and most recently, Berlin.
Under the name Dirty Beaches, Hungtai makes washy, dreamy rock music that often feels nostalgic. Hungtai's whole last album was dedicated to his father; he was inspired after finding out his dad had been in a doo wop cover band during his youth in China.
When Scotty Moore, Elvis Presley's former guitar player, tells you check out the music of Marshall Chapman, maybe you should give it a listen.
Moore is just one of many to sing Chapman's praises, but it's especially fitting that a member of the King's entourage should endorse her. Chapman says it was a 1956 Elvis concert that convinced her, at 7 years old, to make music.
"They mark time like A.D. and B.C., right?" she says. "For me, it's sort of B.E. and A.E. It was a life-changing event."
Clairy Browne & the Bangin' Rackettes are an Australian band whose sound is a little bit of soul fused with blues, doo-wop, jazz and R&B. That musical diet, rich in harmony, is the same one lead singer Clairy Browne grew up on.
"My dad had a band in South Africa in the '60s called Browne, and so he really brought that into our home," she says. "We were always around the kitchen table with a guitar and four-part harmonies, playing on late into the night.