Portland, Oregon (via Nevada City, California) native Alela Diane is a rising star in the music world. Earlier this year she was named Paste Magazine’s “The Best Of What’s Next 26″. Her critically acclaimed 2006 album ‘The Pirate's Gospel’ reminds me of Cat Power’s voice/music on her 1995-1998 albums Myra Lee and Moon Pix. Alela recently lent her vocals to the covers project Headless Heroes.
Her forthcoming album ‘To Be Still’ will be released on February 17 (pre-order).
The Avett Brothers is the best live band I’ve seen in the past 5 years. Brothers Scott, Seth and their platonic brother Bob Crawford, play with an explosive energy and enthusiasm as if each show was their last. 2008 was technically a breakout year for the band, but 2009 will expose them to a larger audience. They recently signed with Rick Rubin’s label American Recordings; Rubin also produced their 5th full-length album. The Brothers will open up for the Dave Matthews Band in March and April.
Singer-songwriter Keith Wood is the genius behind Hush Arbors. He’s been kicking around for years as a solo artist and contributing member of Six Organs of Admittance, Current 93, Wooden Wand and Sunburned Hand Of Man. 2008 should have been the breakout year for Wood; I cannot help but think if he recorded his recent album in a remote cabin in Wisconsin he would be a bigger star.
Wood recently told me that his best work is yet to come. His next album will be out this summer on Thurston Moore’s Ecstatic Peace label.
The Soft Pack – (Unsigned)
San Diego/ Los Angeles based group The Soft Pack are one of the hottest bands out today. Their self-titled EP has garnered well deserved praise from Rolling Stone, Pitchfork and Stereogum. The unsigned band has generated interest from the labels; look for them to sign early next year.
The Soft Pack play straight up Rock ‘n’ Roll. The band is influenced by The Velvet Underground and have drawn comparisons to The Strokes. They will be playing at The Echo 1/28, 2/4 and 2/13. Then they are heading to the UK to play several dates with The Black Lips and The Breeders.
The Boston-based band Tulsa is headed by talented singer/songwriter Carter Tanton. His reverb drenched vocals are reminiscent of Jim James’ earlier work. Tanton is currently working with producer Brian Deck (Califone and Iron & Wine) on the follow-up to their 2007 EP, I Was Submerged. Look for an early summer release.