Ghislain Poirier* and TTC* Two primarily harmonic bands that rely on fresh, electronic hip-hop beats to draw in the listener. There’s a blatant lack of variety within each song, but the overall sound is original and unique.
Panthers* Self-described as a “hardcore rock band,” the Panthers have a very punk sound that relies on techno beats and soft lyrics while using atypical instruments like a tambourine and piano to capture the listener’s attention. A punk/rock sound not unlike The Bravery and Wolfmother, the Panthers are heavy rockers who won’t be going away any time soon.
Armand Van Helden* Primarily a remixer, Armand’s song “Witch Doktor,” off of his EP, incorporates street sounds, like a siren, with a heavy techno beat to create the perfect rave music.
Yellowman* Yellowman is a Jamaican reggae artist who has had a wide influence on the world of hip-hop. His hit “Zungguzungguguzungguzeng” is similar to work by artists like B.I.G., Tupac, and Mos Def. It boasts a steady rhythm and unmistakable sound that even the worst dancer can move to.
Betty Davis* In her song “If I’m in Luck I Might Get Picked Up,” Davis uses funky grooves and an eclectic guitar rift that slow down the song’s pace, allowing for an easy-listening song that is light-years ahead of elevator music. Davis’s raspy voice also adds to the song’s overall style.
Justin Vellucci, Terminal Harbor Justin Vellucci is a folk artist for the Internet generation, with a poetic style that rivals the greatest wordsmith. In his album Terminal Harbor, Justin Vellucci explores every aspect of indie singing and songwriting, creating a piece of artwork that cannot be tied down. A resident of Pittsburgh, Vellucci mixes in an array of bizarre yet pleasurable noises as background music to his singing and acoustic guitar.
Big Leg Emma, Live in 2007 This group of country-folk artists melds rock and hip-hop into its songs to create a unique genre that never leaves its folk roots. An acoustic guitar is prevalent, though a synthesizer and various other string instruments can be heard in their music, which varies in pace and sound ever so slightly. Big Leg Emma uses touching, hearty lyrics to woo listeners into a deep sense of emotion.
Alice Smith, For Lovers, Dreamers & Me With a powerful voice, jazzy soul singer Alice Smith broadly explores the range of emotion and feeling she is able to hit. Her smooth, strong, yet romantic style overpowers the senses on her debut album, For Lovers, Dreamers & Me. With accompanying instruments ranging from an electric violin to a trumpet, her beautiful, inspiring songs rise to new heights. Smith is definitely someone to watch out for in the coming years.
Nicole Atkins, Neptune City On her album Neptune City, also her Jersey hometown, Nicole Atkins blends traditional lyrics with a psychedelic sound to produce an inspiring and introspective look into her early life. Atkins’ lovely voice is accompanied by guitar, keyboard, and bass, giving her songs a groovy yet modern touch.
Soft, Gone Faded An indie rock band with a sound and feel of the Smashing Pumpkins, Soft’s debut album, Gone Faded focuses on quiet vocals accompanied by electric guitar. Lead singer John Reineck carries this band with a heavenly voice that touches every nerve. Although newcomers to the musical landscape, Soft is a group of wildly talented indie artists who seem destined to hit the big time. Gone Faded is a beautifully mastered debut album built with painstaking care and a joy to listen to.
Four Finger Five, Four Finger Five With influences ranging from the jazzy stylings of Al Green to punk rockers The Clash, Four Finger Five has crafted a unique style. The band’s music ranges in tone from soft elevator music to faster paced jazz-rock. The inclusion of trumpets, organs, and a saxophone results in a strange and varied musical style that’s hard to find today.