In 2007, a dozen or so reggae and soul artists met in Los Angeles and eventually formed The Lions. Heavily inspired by the culture surrounding Jamaican music both old and new, the group is deeply rooted in soul, but also has a rough edge reminiscent of The Upsetters or The Rockers Band.
Members Deston Berry, Alex Désert and Malik Moore handle lead vocals, while Black Shakespeare produces the backing tracks. Guitarist Dan Ubick and bassist Dave Wilder also contribute, along with a mix of musicians who've played with Big Daddy Kane, De La Soul and Raphael Saadiq.
Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 8:54 am
Credit Courtesy of the artist
Kail Baxley is a young blues singer who grew up in the same South Carolina town as James Brown. Over the course of his childhood, he met the Godfather of Soul several times, and it had a profound effect on Baxley's development as a musician.
Naturally, the New York band The Henry Millers takes its name from the author, who was famous for creating his own genre of literature out of an assortment of preexisting ones. Miller was also notorious for his books' often-explicit sexual content, which was deemed illicit enough for his work to be banned in the U.S. While The Henry Millers' bright, buoyant songs aren't likely to cause a scandal, the band does share Miller's penchant for drawing from different styles — its debut album, Daisies, is equal parts indie-rock, folk and synth-pop.
Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 8:43 am
Credit Heidi Ross / Courtesy of the artist
The three members of Leagues — singer Thad Cockrell, guitarist Tyler Burkum and drummer Jeremy Lutito — have been known to say that they're inspired not by artists, but by specific songs. That intense focus on individual tracks is clearly put to work on Leagues' debut album, You Belong Here. There's a cohesive sound to the record as a whole, but it sounds like the band deliberately pushed for each song to stand on its own. As a result, the album plays like a collection of singles, each track as catchy as the next.