Influenced by artists ranging from Jeff Buckley to Arcade Fire, BANNERS is a musician from Liverpool, United Kingdom.
Fascinated by dreams, life, death, hope, and despair, he grew up singing in the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral Choir and the Liverpool Kop. His music is at once haunting and hopeful. His song “Start a Riot” has generated more than 50 million streams on Spotify. His recent single, “Someone to You,” reached the no. 1 position on Alt Nation as he prepares to release his highly anticipated EP, Empires on Fire.
After signing with Island Records, BANNERS first connected with audiences with his debut single, “Ghosts,” which rose to no. 2 at Hype Machine. “Shine a Light,” which has been certified gold for track sales in Canada, is featured in the official trailer for EA’s blockbuster game FIFA 16 Ultimate Team Legends and has appeared in spots on NBC, ESPN, E!, and FOX. BANNERS recently made his late night debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, followed by touring select markets in the United States with Milky Chance.
Ellevator is an experimental pop band from Hamilton, Ontario. Frontwoman Nabi Sue Bersche's nimble, raw lyricism is illuminated by a voice like holy fire: blistering and purifying. Focused guitar work dances with the hypnotic timbres and soaring melodies of analog synthesizers. Deft lines and dangerous grooves are intoned by a disciplined drum and bass combo. Chaos lurks beneath the surface of Ellevator's tight motifs and rhythmic trances, erupting into moments of prophetic ecstasy. Their live performances are wild affairs. Brimstone at their heels, Ellevator's contagious energy turns rooms into reveries.
Watch his video for “Someone to You”:
Common Deer formed while its members were still in college, centered around the harmonies of Graham McLaughlin (guitar, violin) and Sheila Hart-Owens (keyboards), with Sheila’s brother Adam Hart-Owens (guitar, cello, synthesizer), along with brothers Liam Farrell (drums) and Connor Farrell (bass). Through numerous sonic experiments and a shared love of stars, the group developed its sound, eventually working with producer Laurence Currie (Wintersleep, Hey Rosetta!) to release the EP I. The record was followed by a second set of five songs, II, recorded with Gus van Go (Arkells, the Stills).
Response to the records in Canada has been tremendous, garnering heavy airplay on CBC Radio 2 and two sessions on the iTunes Strombo Show, which included an Against Me! cover and tweet from Laura Jane Grace. “Wait” made CBC Music’s Top 100 Songs of 2017. “In many ways 2017 was a dark year,” noted CBC Music, “so Common Deer’s uplifting anthem about standing up and choosing a better way was a welcome rally cry.” The Toronto Star said the band’s “bright harmonies and synth hooks [are] reminiscent of stars at their swooniest.”
Music is a balm in anxious, isolated times. In the hands of this powerful Toronto quintet, it’s a vessel for camaraderie, an act of resistance against jaded nihilism. Though not explicitly political, the lyrics reflect the zeitgeist: addressing the anxiety of the modern age, crying out for a sense of connection. The band isn’t blindly peddling escapism, but its live shows are joyous, celebratory affairs, rich with a rousing, orchestral pop sound built for the masses. Some artists want to shine a light in the darkness; Common Deer comes with an arsenal of floodlights.
Emilia Ali, who currently attends Berklee, made waves in fall 2016 with her vocal performance on VALNTN's international hit, "Can't Let Go (feat. Emilia Ali)”. To date, the track has garnered more than 15 million global streams and 100,000+ downloads and equivalents. Shortly afterward, Ali released her Dreamland EP, which debuted at #24 on the iTunes Pop Chart and went viral on Spotify in multiple countries.
Watch Common Deer’s music video for “Glass (Redux)”:
At 22 years old, Lauren Ruth Ward had a career in hairstyling that was going quite well. She was ambitious, successful, and doing work she loved, yet something was missing. “I saw the music then, but I was behind a chair six days a week,” says Ward about coming to terms with pursuing another career. In 2015, Ward packed up her life and took a road trip to her new home: Los Angeles. After a challenging, perfectionistic pursuit, Ward formed a band with Liv Slingerland on bass, India Pascucci on drums, and fellow songwriter Eduardo Rivera on guitar.
Together, they created Ward’s debut album, Well, Hell, a nine-track sampler of what she calls the band’s “four modes.” The band’s chameleonic moods are punctuated by Ward’s playfulness with her bandmates on stage, her willingness to dance with the audience, and her signature white-dotted eyes. Ward’s music has gained her a dedicated international fanbase—in fact, three fans flew from France to be at the Well, Hell record release show in Los Angeles.
SLUGS is an indie rock band based in Los Angeles.
Grace Givertz is an indie folk singer-songwriter based out of Boston, MA.
Renowned for his eloquent Americana style, engaging live shows, and off-the-cuff clever observations, John Craigie carries on the legacy of classic singer-songwriters while blazing a trail of his own. Recently, that trail twisted and turned into new territory for the Portland, OR based performer, who the Stranger appropriately dubbed, “the lovechild of John Prine and Mitch Hedberg.” His music speaks loudly to both audiences and fellow artists. Todd Snider notably hand-delivered Craigie a gift on-stage, and Chuck Norris has sent him fan mail. His fifth full-length album, No Rain, No Rose, boasted two collaborations with Gregory Alan Isakov, “Highway Blood” and “I Am California.”
Clay Cook has made his living through many avenues in the music industry. An accomplished songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, he has recorded and toured with John Mayer, Sugarland, the Marshall Tucker Band, and Shawn Mullins. In 2009, he became a member of the multi-platinum, Grammy award-winning Zac Brown Band, but he still finds time to tour his brand of acoustic singer-songwriter music. His new album, Unobstructed View, was released late last year.
At two years old, Manu Delago began what would become a very musically inclined life as he sat behind his first drum kit. Four years later, he started playing the piano and at the age of ten, he began taking accordion lessons. As a teenager, Delago mainly played football and drummed for his rock band HotchPotch, which won the Austrian Band Contest in 2003. After graduating from high school in his hometown of Innsbruck, where he studied classical percussion, he moved to London, where he studied jazz drums and composition.
When Manu Delago discovered the Hang - an enchanting musical instrument that is manufactured by PanArt in Switzerland - he simultaneously discovered his passion for writing music. His Hang solo piece "Mono Desire" has become the most popular Hang video on the internet and was featured in the top 30 music videos on YouTube.
With his bands, Living Room and Manu Delago Handmade, Delago has released several albums and performed in prestigious venues all over the world. The Austrian musician also frequently collaborates with high class artists such as Björk, Anoushka Shankar, the Cinematic Orchestra, Joss Stone, Andreya Triana, Shpongle, Bugge Wesseltoft, Aurora Orchestra, and the London Symphony Orchestra.
“Awase”, a term from martial arts, means “moving together” in the sense of matching energies, a fitting metaphor for the dynamic precision, tessellated grooves, and balletic minimalism of Nik Bärtsch’s Ronin. Six years have passed since the last release from the Swiss group. In the interim, trimmed from quintet to quartet size and with new bassist Thomy Jordi fully integrated, Ronin has become a subtly different band. Bärtsch speaks of a new-found freedom and flexibility in the approach to the material, with “greater transparency, more interaction, more joy in every performance”. The freedom here extends to revisiting early Bärtsch modules alongside new compositions including, for the first time on a Ronin record, a piece by Reedman Sha. Awase was recorded at Studios La Buissonne in the south of France in October 2017 and was produced by Manfred Eicher.
The ohm is a unit of electrical resistance between two points of a conductor; OHMME lives in that resistance, creating electric chaos between the two points of Chicago’s Sima Cunningham and Macie Stewart. The energy from their musical upbringings enabled the two to create a vocal project that combines flawless harmonies with a gnarled guitar backbone. They veer towards experimentation while keeping tune in mind, choosing to push each other when they clash and to follow the sound rather than holding themselves to a rigid set of standards on how chords should be performed and arranged. The resulting sound is at once familiar yet beautifully unconventional.
An acoustic band born in the land of tech innovation, Front Country was unlikely to be accepted as an authentic American roots band out of the gate. Cutting their teeth in progressive bluegrass jams in San Francisco’s Mission District and rehearsing across the bay in Oakland, they fashioned their own take on roots music and indie folk. In a wood-paneled country dive bar in the shadow of the San Francisco skyline, Front Country forged a sound hell bent on merging the musical past with the future. The result lies somewhere between indie folk and Americana, in a nether region they've come to embrace as their own.
This West Coast outfit was just a group of friends playing a monthly gig until 2012 and 2013 when Front Country gathered around a single microphone at the RockyGrass and Telluride festivals, and won first prize in those prestigious band contests that once launched the careers of the Dixie Chicks, Greensky Bluegrass, and the Steep Canyon Rangers. The contest wins bolstered their confidence in their unique mix of original songwriting, vocal harmonies, and instrumental virtuosity, steeling their resolve to take a leap of faith and become a full time touring band.
Scott Helman is a Canadian singer-songwriter who is influenced by artists such as Arcade Fire, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, the Cure, Bon Iver, and Paul Simon. His debut full-length album, Hôtel de Ville, was recorded in Toronto at Revolution Recording and was produced by Tawgs Salter (Lights, Walk Off the Earth, USS). The album's first single is the irresistible alternative pop track "Kinda Complicated," which applies breezy, catchy songwriting and clever lyricism to either a failed relationship or his own daily struggle with ADHD. "The more that I write music, the more that I feel that I'm curing myself," Scott explains. "How am I gonna be a better person and how am I gonna be a better lover? I have to figure out all those things that are knocking around in my head."
In 2014, Scott Helman released the song "Bungalow" as the first single from his debut EP Augusta. The track was certified platinum and led to tours across Canada where he played with the likes of Tegan and Sara, Shawn Mendes, and Matthew Good. Opening for Walk Off the Earth on extensive tours of the U.S. and Europe, Helman stood alone on stage and, night after night, won over skeptical audiences and began building an international fan base. In January 2016, he topped the Teen Vogue list of voices to look out for that year over the likes of Melanie Martinez and Elle King. By the time Helman went back into the studio to begin work on Hôtel de Ville, he had been nominated for multiple MuchMusicVideo Awards in 2015 and Juno Awards in 2016, performing to massive national TV audiences on both award shows. Helman rang in 2017 with a raucous tribute to Leonard Cohen, performing "Bird On A Wire" in Cohen's hometown of Montreal in front of 50,000 people, along with countless others who watched the live broadcast on CBC TV.