bishop briggs + anna hamilton move mountains with vocal abilities as openers for dermot kennedy in kansas city

bishop briggs + anna hamilton move mountains with vocal abilities as openers for dermot kennedy in kansas city

Anna Hamilton was the newcomer most hadn’t been acquainted with, winning a contest to open for Dermot Kennedy as a local act. A Kansas native and one of 12 children in her family, Anna’s music dripped with bits of nostalgia and hopeful thoughts for the future. It was also an insanely beautiful experience, her sweet-as-honey vocals accompanied only by a guitar. It was mesmerizing.

By her third song, we caught a glimpse at specificity in a track about a boy that left her for a city – “Me For Barcelona.” The song had never been played in front of a live audience before and is not currently available, but is open for preorder via her link in bio at clever Instagram handle @a.ham.sandwich. Her fourth trach was about leaving Kansas to pursue her singing career in Tennessee, something so many artists struggle with. She has clearly found a safe haven and inspirational options in her relocation, as her last track – “Self Help” – was realized so early on. Of the track, she admitted that it was about taking care of yourself before allowing others to benefit from you. “You need to be 100% before your cup overflows and they can receive it.”

Bishop Briggs emerged, energetic as ever and donning a leather jacket on a pretty balmy night in the midwest. It was shed quickly, to reveal skeleton-printed fingerless gloves and delicate tattoos dancing across both forearms. The first time this town got acquainted with Bishop, she had barely edged into the world of tattoos. Now, you find yourself mesmerized by them as she jumps across the stage with every robust, belted line.

An artist that truly allows you to feel the songs with her, Bishop has cultivated a fandom that spans generations, cultures, and ideals. Perhaps the show’s littlest attendant – a young man no older than 10 or 11 – could be found belting out lyrics and clapping in time with his family during the intense track “Hi-Lo (Hollow)”. Her set included “Someone Else,” “Darkside,” and her most recognizable hit, “River”, among others.

top 7 male vocalists of 2018

top 7 male vocalists of 2018

When you think you’ve read all the end of year lists you can take, we’re still stringing our (very important) short ones out, to make sure there’s plenty of new music discovery at your fingertips throughout the month! 2018 was a year of insane amounts of music coverage, a bevy of incredible artists to choose from, and a really incredible list of new faces to dive into. While we don’t keep track of new artists vs. veterans, we would like to highlight some of our favorite vocalists of the moment with you. Trust us — this was a really hard decision process, which is why it took us a little longer to get it to post. We wanted to highlight people that both entertain like the most insane, and who we believe truly deserve the spotlight for it as well. You might not agree, but this may lead you on a tangent of music discovery, and we’re all for that. Without further ado, check out our Top 7 Male Vocalists of 2018 below!

by meredith schneider

Holy White Hounds is a group of guys we have been following for a while. Hailing from Des Moines, IA, the foursome emerges more triumphant and in-your-face with each new track, paving the way for their most recent full-length release – Say It With Your Mouth – which will make its debut on December 22nd. And don’t let their gritty attitudes and rough exterior fool you. Ambrose, Brent, James, and Seth are full of heart, a force in motion when they’re together, and really know how to relate to their audience. (While also making fun of them. But it’s charming, and we’re totally into it.) That, coupled with those edgy vocals, and we’ve got a rock band that just won’t quit! (Thankfully. Please don’t? We need you.)

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We may have been a little late to the game on this one, but pop/r&b singer/songwriter Dermot Kennedy is the Dubliner of everyone’s dreams. We were wandering SXSW this year when our friends at PlaylistPlay coerced us into popping into a church to listen to one of their favorite musicians. Honestly, we can’t think of a better way to first experience the insanely beautiful vocals Kennedy provides. His soundscapes are freeing, intense and wonderful in their  disposition. If you don’t trust us, take a listen to his debut EP Doves & Ravens, or his most recent single “Power Over Me”, which was released in October.

by meredith schneider

by meredith schneider

Atlanta, Georgia-based Algiers absolutely astonished us at Sasquatch Music Festival this year. Lead singer Franklin James Fisher approached the stage with a Jimi Hendrix flare, and vocals that just do not quit. There is an enticing, soulful energy to their sound, with just a hint of reverb and incredible vintage influence that keeps us coming back for more. We can’t wait to hear their follow-up to 2017’s The Underside of Power, but are totally keen on waiting patiently for their next stunner full-length.

via Facebook

You’ve heard of him. We’re not introducing this powerhouse to anyone, and we feel pretty darn good about that fact. Childish Gambino – aka the triple threat of everyone’s dreams – hits our list this year, if not only for his wildly eye-opening video for “This Is America“. We’ve been super into all of his work over the years, and our hearts swoon with each new line he spins, opening our eyes to an array of important – and often overlooked – issues. The man is an absolute enigma, and perhaps that’s what keeps us coming back for more time and time again.

by meredith schneider

We know we’ve harped on how incredible Judah & The Lion is, and now is not the time to stop. On December 12th, the (now) trio – who is joined by a rotating cast of instrumentalists and backup vocalists for their performances – released two singles, titled “Pep Talk” and “Quarter-Life Crisis”, landing themselves back on our radar. Check it out, and then dive into their catalogue if you haven’t already. Their music will throw you into that good mood you’ve been craving.

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Lionman – who we first experienced in May when he released the visual for his single “Don’t You Dare”. His vocals are directly associated with the term “smooth as honey”, and we’re drawn in from the first line. His hair is absolutely divine, His latest single “In My Letter” has a softer sound to it, and a rhythm that reminds us of some of our favorite OG Usher songs. This artist is definitely one to watch.

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If you’re into soulful, robust vocals that establish a mood, and somehow manage to get everyone in their vicinity to “feel the same way,” then Michael Kight is the way to go. In May, we had some thoughts on his track “Clear“, and still maintain that he was impressive on every level of musicianship. We count him as one of our favorite discoveries of the year, and look forward to more from him in the future!

top 7 non-male powerhouse vocalists of the year

top 7 non-male powerhouse vocalists of the year

These days, it can be difficult to determine one songstress from another, let alone save a track and keep the name of its creator in your music library. This time of year, everyone is posting their “Best of” lists for 2018. We aren’t doing a super deep dive. We’ve just chosen 7 of our favorite female vocalists that have really ignited our hearts in the last year or so – one we found as recently as a couple of weeks ago! – and we’re all about sharing! Check out some of our favorite non-male performers below, and then maybe go make an entire WHO RUN THE WORLD? playlist featuring each and every one of these powerhouses!

by meredith schneider

Billie Eilish wasn’t someone we saw coming. Having jammed out to a couple of her songs, Bonnaroo 2018 brought her to the stage in front of us for the first time. A look of vulnerability in her eyes, she gave that crowd more than what she had that day, throwing her body into her stage presence and really working the stage so that everyone felt like they were a part of it. Each new release brings with it an extended feeling of empowerment, and we’re keen on what’s to come for this incredibly talented young musician. (See video at the end of this piece: she is one of Tan France’s favorites!)

by christie mcmenamin

Lucy Dacus‘ voice is tranquil, delicate, and perfectly matched to her bittersweet, relatable lyrics. We’ve fallen in love with her as gently as her music progression over the years. We’re super pleased with her new supergroup boygenius (see: Julien Baker below), if not only because it gives us an additional reason to see her live more often. All the heart eyes going into 2019 on this lady!

by jeo taymany

by jeo taymany

Ness Heads is a Chicago-based artist who sings a soulful mixture of R&B and hip hop, with a bit of a pop flare. Her single “Flip Em” threw us for a loop during the summer of 2018, and we’re keeping that energy going through the next month as we hustle through our last minute year-end “to do” lists.

by christie mcmenamin

The world’s lead producer of sad music, Julien Baker stole our hearts a few years ago, but her stage presence and the incredible way she interacts with her fans is something of note. We were lucky enough to have seen her both locally and at 2018’s last ever Sasquatch Music Festival, and were floored on a number of occasions by her prowess. Check her out with new supergroup boygenius!

by erin p.s. zimmerman

by erin p.s. zimmerman

It was 2016 when we first had the unique pleasure of photographing Bishop Briggs, as she prepped for an evening performing at the Midland in Kansas City. Flash forward 2 years and we’ve seen her a number of additional times, photographed her once more (see above photo, SXSW 2017), and have continued to follow each and every impassioned song that she releases as she’s toured the country multiple times, played every festival known to mankind, and as her music has been placed in both television and film. Her energy is unlike any other when she steps on stage, and her compassion is limitless. (See: her recent haircut) Plus, she was just featured on JVN’s podcast, so she’s definitely “having a moment!”

by meredith schneider

Mess lead singer Allison Gliesman is a kind, hilarious, and obscenely generous human soul. We’re fortunate to know them as a friend, but their music stunned us even before we met them face to face. Flash forward to witnessing those powerhouse vocals one night at The Rino in KC and our world was changed forever. If you haven’t yet blasted a Mess song at full volume in your car, now is the time. Keep your eyes peeled for this one.

by dara munnis

by dara munnis

I was at Sasquatch Music Festival photographing a female-led band at one stage, when the music from another stage flooded my ears. Like a siren call, I followed it, toting my boyfriend like a rag doll. This. Woman. Has. Chops. Tash Sultana. After three songs, I turned and said, “She can do it all. Seriously. What can’t she do?” As if she could hear me, she got out a pan flute within 30 seconds… and started to beat box with it.

If you aren’t in love just with that statement, then I don’t know who you are. Insane. That’s the only word to describe it.

BONUS – While our other listing pieces will include just 7 representatives, we may have gone overboard BECAUSE WE ARE SO FLOORED BY SO MANY RAD NON-MALE VOCALISTS. So check out our list add-on below, and revel in the glory of 8 incredible humans!

by zyanya lorenzo

by zyanya lorenzo

If you ask Antoni from Queer Eye about his favorite artist (like I did!), he’s got a substantial amount to say about Maggie Rogers. And we don’t disagree. Her voice is absolutely captivating, the lyrics she weaves are catchy, touching, and the instrumentals always have “#1 single” written all over them. We are smitten.

“on this hill” – the latest from t-pain – is a thought-provoking, emotional ride

“on this hill” – the latest from t-pain – is a thought-provoking, emotional ride

It is basically a prerequisite that you must love T-Pain if you work with imperfect Fifth. Whether you enjoy his vocal stylings – autotuned or his incredible natural vocal range -, his entrepreneurial brain, or his giggle, there is something about him that is so delightful. Just consider it: have you ever met someone who had beef with T-Pain?

If you’re looking for a wholesome, emotional departure (about an emotional departure) from T-Pain’s quintessential party anthem vibe, “On This Hill” is it. But, more than intensely different from prior singles, this one really envelops the listener in its captivating melody. Thought-provoking lyrics evoke bold thoughts, exploring boundaries, and a sense of acceptance in pain.

“On This Hill” truly captures what it is like to have competing values or opinions – interests that clash and red flags that no one can ignore. While there is a sense of loss and heartache in the song, there is also hope for new beginnings that you can actually feel through his empowering option to hold to his own values.

His drive to hold true to who he is and the song’s dedication to self-love brings “On This Hill” to us during Mental Health Awareness Month. In honor of this, T-Pain has teamed up with Talkspace to provide free therapy to his fans for up to a year.

The video is tastefully and purposefully intimate. A soulful live performance in a cozy setting with vocal accompaniment that feels as though its acoustic resonance could move mountains. Take a peek below, and be sure to see your favorite performer on tour this summer. (T-Pain will be EVERYWHERE!)

MANSION IN WISCANSIN PARTY TOUR DATES:
May 29 – Houston, TX – 713 Music Hall *
May 30 –Dallas, TX  – South Side Ballroom *
June 4 – Waukee, IA – Vibrant Music Hall * SOLD OUT
June 6 – Windsor, ON – Caesars Windsor  The Colosseum *
June 8 – Milwaukee, WI – WISCANSIN FEST @ The Rave/Eagles Club ^ SOLD OUT
June 11 – Columbus, OH – Kemba Live! * SOLD OUT
June 12 – Pittsburg, PA – Stage AE * SOLD OUT
June 13 – Doswell, VA – Meadow Event Park *
June 19 – Los Angeles, CA – Juneteenth Celebration @ The Hollywood Bowl
June 21 – Asbury Park, NJ – Stone Pony SummerStage * SOLD OUT
June 23 – New York, NY – Central Park SummerStage *
June 25 – Baltimore, MD – Pier Six Pavilion *
June 26 – Charlotte, NC – Skyla Credit Union Amphitheatre *
June 27 – North Charleston, SC – Firefly Distillery Lawn *
June 29 – Atlanta, GA – Lakewood Amphitheatre *
June 30 – Birmingham, AL – Avondale Brewing Company * SOLD OUT
July 2 – Jacksonville, FL – St. Augustine Amphitheatre * SOLD OUT
July 3 – Miami, FL – The Fillmore Miami Beach *

* with LARussell, NandoSTL & Young Ca$h
^ with Akon, Dillon Francis, Pink Sweat$, Soulja Boy, LARussell, Ying Yang Twins, Yelawolf, Waka Flocka Flame, Flyana Boss, Myaap, Young Ca$hChayo Nash, NandoSTL & Djay Mando

T-PAIN FESTIVAL & VEGAS RESIDENCY DATES:
May 25 – Napa, CA – BottleRock Napa Valley
May 26 – Las Vegas, NV – Ayu Dayclub (residency date)
June 1 – Kansas City, MO – Tacos and Tequila Fest
June 14 – Manchester, TN – Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival
July 11 – Las Vegas, NV – Zouk Nightclub (residency date)
September 1 – Las Vegas, NV – Ayu Dayclub (residency date)

PARTY AFTER DARK TOUR DATES:
Wed Aug 21 – Bristow, VA – Jiffy Lube Live
Fri Aug 23 – Virginia Beach, VA – Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater
Sat Aug 24 – Hershey, PA – Hersheypark Stadium
Sun Aug 25 – Queens, NY – Forest Hills Stadium
Thu Aug 29 – Cuyahoga Falls, OH – Blossom Music Center
Fri Aug 30 – Tinley Park, IL – Credit Union 1 Amphitheatre
Sat Aug 31 – Milwaukee, WI – American Family Insurance Amphitheater
Sun Sep 01 – Noblesville, IN – Ruoff Music Center
Wed Sep 04 – Clarkston, MI – Pine Knob Music Theatre
Fri Sep 06 – Buffalo, NY – Darien Lake Amphitheater
Sat Sep 07 – Syracuse, NY – Empower FCU Amphitheater at Lakeview
Sun Sep 08 – Saratoga Springs, NY – Broadview Stage at SPAC
Thu Sep 12 – Wantagh, NY – Northwell Health At Jones Beach Theater
Fri Sep 13 – Hartford, CT – Xfinity Theatre
Sat Sep 14 – Bangor, ME – Maine Savings Amphitheater
Sun Sep 15 – Mansfield, MA – Xfinity Center
Wed Sep 18 – Burgettstown, PA – The Pavilion at Star Lake
Thu Sep 19 – Cincinnati, OH – Riverbend Music Center
Sat Sep 21 – Ridgedale, MO – Thunder Ridge Nature Arena
Sun Sep 22 – St. Louis, MO – Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
Wed Sep 25 – Salt Lake City, UT – Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre
Fri Sep 27 – Ridgefield, WA – RV Inn Style Resorts Amphitheater*
Sat Sep 28 – Auburn, WA – White River Amphitheatre
Thu Oct 03 – Chula Vista, CA – North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre*
Fri Oct 04 – Phoenix, AZ – Talking Stick Resort Amphitheatre
Sat Oct 05 – Albuquerque, NM – Isleta Amphitheater

* with Special Guest Lil Jon

danielia cotton’s spin on “kiss an angel good mornin'” is fresh for summertime

danielia cotton’s spin on “kiss an angel good mornin'” is fresh for summertime

Genre-bending Americana artist Danielia Cotton is squaring up to release a tribute EP titled Charley’s Pride: Songs from a Black Cowboy Vol. I. In anticipation of that, she is sharing songs from the release in the lead-up. The first single came on Charley Pride’s birthday in March, and yesterday, the second hint of work was released with “Kiss an Angel Good Mornin'”.

Cotton’s spin on the song brings a bit of brightness to the classic, with her signature soulful crooning taking center stage.

Explains Cotton: “The lyric, ‘Kiss an Angel Good Mornin’, and love ‘em like the devil when you get back home,’ speaks to the dichotomy of a woman with respect to the parts of herself she displays within her relationship to keep things fresh and new. The playfulness of the track musically and vocally reflects this, while the hook is infectious as a summer hit you play to let your hair down.”

What a wild time to be exploring this dichotomy, and a beautiful time of year to release such an amazing cover.

The song in its original form is being recognized this month as it is inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame at Grammy Museum’s inaugural Grammy Hall of Fame Gala and concert on May 21, 2024.

ferry townes’ new audible treat “t.g.f.k.” is a stupid cute ode to friendship

ferry townes’ new audible treat “t.g.f.k.” is a stupid cute ode to friendship

Julia Gargano is a mad talented singer-songwriter hailing from Staten Island. Her musical project, Ferry Townes – a clear homage to the Staten Island Ferry – blends her effortlessly sultry vocals with thoughtful lyrics and stand-out melodies. (I mean, if you have yet to hear her first single “Be Here”, check back in and agree with me later.)

Today, Ferry Townes releases her sophomore single. A mid-tempo release, Gargano’s raspy tinge on a wide range of notes is nothing short of captivating. This track is specific, incredibly moving, and entirely about a relationship that means a lot to her.

“’T.G.F.K’, which stands for ‘Thank God For Kyle’, is about my bestest friend,” explains Gargano. “The initial idea came from being so grateful that our relationship is what it is- that we’ll never have to fall in love and break up, but we will just be friends forever.”

The video is a true love letter in itself. Julia and Kyle are depicted throughout, having so much fun just living their lives in support of each other. The warm lighting, casual dancing, and adventure really make it feel like a montage in a romance film. And, if we are being honest, it totally is. How many relationships mean more to you than the ones you have with your best friends, truly?

Celebrate friendship this spring with the beautiful vocal stylings of Ferry Townes.

“dreamspeak” by nisa is a relatable, sad yet comforting, audible treasure

“dreamspeak” by nisa is a relatable, sad yet comforting, audible treasure

Alongside its artful visual comes the new track “Dreamspeak” from genre-bending artist Nisa. The song itself comes across as hyper-aware, but of whom, you can only guess. Explains Nisa: “‘Dreamspeak’ is about the push-and-pull of wanting to fit in while growing tired of the artifice.”Most people can certainly identify with that idea. This song is easily relatable through Nisa’s lyrics.

Nisa sings as though comforting someone — is it her past or present self? Is it someone else? Either way, her vocal delivery makes this song feel both severely hopeless and carefully hopeful at the same time. (You have to hear it to understand it — or it’s maybe also just me. That’s fine.)

The video feels a touch 90s in its presentation, delivered with shots reminiscent of Paula Cole’s “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?” and other videos featured on TRL at the time. The cool tones to the video create the coldness associated with the exhaustion the song is undoubtedly dealing with.

Feeling like you have to fit in is associated with feelings of comparison and high standards for your own life. It paralyzes people every day, and singing about it can and does help people destigmatize these thoughts a little bit further.

Get your first look at the song and its accompanying video below!

Catch Nisa LIVE On Tour This Spring!
Tour + tickets here
5/7: Brooklyn, NY @ Baby’s All Right
5/8: Washington, DC @ Pie Shop
5/11: Boston, MA @ Lilypad
5/12: Philadelphia, PA @ MilkBoy

matthew squires releases audible gem wrapped in satire, “poor men southeast of portland”

matthew squires releases audible gem wrapped in satire, “poor men southeast of portland”

Critically acclaimed Austin-based singer-songwriter Matthew Squires has been releasing thoughtful, meandering audible candy for over a decade now. While his work has taken on many forms, his vocal styling and talented lyricism have remained a constant over the years. His latest track “Poor Men Southeast of Portland” was released in January, a self-aware, modern commentary on the American dream.

For context, the song is complete satire, and was written in response to Oliver Anthony’s “Rich Men North of Richmond.” From the perspective of “a parallel universe’s version of Oliver Anthony,” Squires takes us on a ride with tortured vocals and a sense of humor that humbly brings a smile to your face, even with how hard everything seems to be right now. Further explains Squires of the song:

This song was written and passionately performed by Anthony Oliver, a parallel universe’s version of Oliver Anthony.

Oliver Anthony told Joe Rogan that he chose ‘Oliver’ as his stage
name in honor of his grandfather. He was nostalgic for a more
innocent time, when hardworking, God-fearing white men got a little
respect (he forgot to mention how that respect was at the expense of
everyone else’s, or how it was largely enabled by unions).

Meanwhile, in a parallel universe, Anthony Oliver told Roe Jogan his
name was inspired by Casey Anthony. He was nostalgic for a more
innocent time, when Americans could still unite around our fleeting
spectacles, and weren’t yet confused as to which ones were astroturfed
by right wingers.

The lyrics seem like a poignant call for justice. And they are, but in jest regarding privileged white males (who victimize themselves in a world where they have largely benefitted from every oppressive system ever built).

Baby, I’ve been working
for too damn long for too little pay
Don’t know nothin’ bout Marx or Freud
but I know what it’s like to play
the role that someone else designed
to make someone else’s day
but the tree of justice blooms upon
the top of every grave

Love’s a lot like dyin’
Love’s a lot like a Pepsi inside a church
Love’s a lot like flyin’
Love’s a lot like a heaven encased in Earth
Love’s a lot like cryin’
Love’s a lot like the space ‘tween death and birth

Poor men southeast of Portland
awake from their American dreams,
they enlist into the culture wars
to distract them from their screams
about how they feel about their shame
to look their children in the eyes
I guess the tree of justice blooms
upon the question “why?”

The unique way Squires expresses his rage is entertaining, and honestly an earworm. Check out the track below.

walking away from the workweek with the vaccines’ “love to walk away” on full blast

walking away from the workweek with the vaccines’ “love to walk away” on full blast

English indie rock outfit The Vaccines – made up of Árni Árnason (bass, vocals), Yoann Intonti (drums), Justin Young (lead vocals, guitars) and Timothy Lanham (guitars, keys, vocals) – dropped a track today that, at first look, could be considered misleading. The title “Love To Walk Away” gives off the impression that the song will be a positive one, perhaps one about finding empowerment in walking away. However, the lyrics come from the perspective of an outsider – an assumed lover – who is experiencing grief as the result of a crumbling relationship. They watch the runner prepare to run. With lyrics like “How come you’re always leaving?” it is implied that this is patterned behavior.

Sonically, there is a sunny disposition that just does not align with the lyrics, almost making the contemplative message more palatable. (Hey, who really loves confrontation or existentialism THAT MUCH?)

Says Young of the release, co-written with Andrew Wells: “This is the song responsible for the album’s direction sonically and thematically. Given the record’s central theme is not knowing what direction you’re headed in, it feels poignant that the music was so sure of itself so quickly.”

Check it out below.

The Vaccines 2024 US Tour Dates with The Kooks
Feb 29 – Atlanta, GA @ Tabernacle
Mar 1 – Asheville, NC @ Orange Peel
Mar 2 – Columbus, OH @ Newport Music Hall
Mar 4 – Toronto, ON @ QET History
Mar 5 – Montreal, QB @ Mtelus
Mar 6 – Albany, NY @ Empire
Mar 8 – Boston, MA @ MGM Fenway
Mar 9 – Philadelphia, PA @ Fillmore
Mar 11 – New York, NY @ Terminal 5
Mar 12 – Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Steel
Mar 13 – Washington DC @ Anthem
Mar 15 – Chicago, IL @ Riviera
Mar 16 – Minneapolis, MN @ Filmore
Mar 18 – Denver, CO @ The Fillmore
Mar 19 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Union
Mar 21 – Los Angeles, CA @ Palladium
Mar 22 – San Francisco, CA @ Fox Theatre