Category Archives: Artist You Should Know

Markus Burger’s Music to Headline Germany’s Hottest Late Night Show

Los Angeles-based German musician Markus Burger, has been selected to compose the title theme of what promises to be the hottest nightly ticket on German network TV.

“Gottschalk Live”, scheduled to debut January 23 on Germany’s ARD network (Das Erste), marks the triumphant return of TV legend Thomas Gottschalk to late night variety television.

Gottschalk achieved fame and went on to become a household name in the German-speaking world as the host of the long-running primetime show, “Wetten, das…?”, interviewing the world’s biggest celebrities, from Barack Obama to Lady Gaga and Madonna, to name a few.

Fresh off his European tour, Markus Burger‘s latest project, ‘Accidental Tourists: The L.A. Sessions’, the first of a series inspired by urban areas around the world, and the musicians that live in them, debuts in June 2012, on Challenge Records.

Check out the show’s official trailer and listen to a clip of the theme song:

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Watch: Big Deal’s New Video, “Chair”


Big Deal have just announced plans for their live debut in the US in March, performing at SXSW, with two other scheduled live shows in New York and one in Los Angeles.

The band will be performing songs from their debut album Lights Out (out January 24th) on Mute.

For those looking for an edgy, at times hypnotic, yet refreshing sound to add to their  playlist, this lo-fi pop duo, made up of American Kacey Underwood and Brit Alice Costelloe, might just fit the bill.

Their album Lights Out, co-produced by Underwood and Dean Reid, is filled with the sweet, gentle and sparse sounds of lo-fi guitars and emotive lyrics.

If you want a chance to catch Big Deal live, here are their upcoming US tour dates:

3/11–The Glasslands with 2:54–Brooklyn, NY

3/12–The Mercury Lounge with 2:54–New York, NY

3/13–3/18—-SXSW—Austin, TX

3/20–Echo with 2:54–Los Angeles, CA

And here’s the complete tracklist for Lights Out:

01 Distant Neighborhood

02 Chair

03 Cool Like Kurt

04 Swoon

05 Homework

06 Talk

07 With The World At My Feet

08 Locked Up

09 Summer Cold

10 Visions

11 Seraphine

12 Pi

And here’s Big Deal’s video for one of the tracks off their album,”Chair”.

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Exclusive! Watch Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves of Destiny in “Sweet Tooth Bird” (New Video)

A few weeks back, we introduced you to a brilliant emerging artist, Beth Jeans Houghton, and her band, The Hooves of Destiny. Click here for that article.

Like Lady Gaga– and we hope she’ll forgive the repeat comparisons-Beth Jeans Houghton is one to watch, if nothing else, because artistically, she embodies the “whole package”. What do we mean, you ask?

She’s unique in nearly every sense. Visually, she’s unmatched. Vocally, well, the girl can sing. The band’s music- unlike anything we’ve heard in a while. And, as we just discovered, she has a talent for directing.

On that note, we’re excited to bring you Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves of Destiny‘s most recent video, “Sweet Tooth Bird”, directed by none other than, you guessed it, the lead vocalist herself.

The track is off the band’s upcoming debut album, ‘Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose’, scheduled for release on February 28, on Mute.


Artist You Should Know: Boy

Image: Boy on Facebook

Meet Boy!

Only, Boy is actually female-make that two females- a duo made up of two very amazingly talented musicians, Swiss vocalist Valeska Steiner and German bassist, Sonja Glass.

The duo met and studied together some years back in Hamburg, Germany, making an instant musical connection. They spent the next two years writing music, much of it about their own lives and experiences, testing out different concepts until they felt confident they could go into the studio and record an album.

Steiner and Glass then enlisted the production talents of multi-instrumentalist and producer Philipp Steinke, along with none other than Phoenix‘s drummer, Thomas Hedlund, who plays in some of the tracks. The end result is ‘Mutual Friends’, their debut album, already a hit that has landed them at the top of the German charts.

The duo is now playing at clubs-mostly in Germany for now-in support of ‘Mutual Friends’, having already garnered a substantial fan base while receiving wide praise from critics for their melodic brand of indie pop, which they describe as a mix between the music of Phoenix, Feist and Bon Iver.

We’ve heard some of the tracks off ‘Mutual Friends’ and they are impressively strong. The vocals are solid, beautiful and clear. The arrangements are simple,  yet the songs have a great hook.  The lyrics are brilliantly written (lest we not forget their native language is German) and the album flawlessly produced.

As we’re always in search of that next breakthrough act, it is perhaps not surprising then that we’re utterly impressed by the musical talent of these two women (though we’re still warming up to the band name). So much so that it’s probably safe to assume that they will soon be finding fame and fans in a much wider scale-think Europe. No. Make that worldwide.

For now though, we’ll stick to our mission and share them with you, our readers around the world. We would be delighted to hear what you think of Boy.

Here are a couple of our favorite tracks: “Waitress”, an auto-biographical piece about Steiner’s life as a waitress. Listen for that Phoenix influence:

And “Little Numbers”-can you detect Feist?

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Lana Del Rey to Headline MTV Brand New for 2012 in London

MTV UK has announced its final shortlist of nominations for the most promising new acts of 2012.

One of our favorites break-out artists, singer/songwriter Lana Del Rey, has made it to the shortlist of ten nominees, and she will be sharing the stage with The Maccabees and Charli XCX on January 24.

For those less familiar, in the last four years MTV Brand New has identified a wide range of up-and-coming artists- a list that included the likes of Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber & Ke$ha, Tinie Tempah, Wretch 32 and Jessie J- as stars to watch. Also for the first time, this year’s list will also include the UK’s best unsigned act to fill the tenth nominee spot.

Other acts that made it to this year’s final shortlist, announced at KOKO on December 1, include Angel, Clement Marfo And The Frontline, Conor Maynard, King Charles, Lianne La Havas and Michael Kiwanuka.
Tickets go on sale on December 12 at 11am and you can get more details here.

Here’s The Maccabees with their latest single, “Pelican”, to be released January 1, 2012.


Janelle Monae Set to Release Two Albums in 2012

The one-of-a-kind and enormously talented singer, Janelle Monae is making big news today, announcing not one, but two albums in 2012.

If you’ve seen and heard her, you will not soon forget her, for Janelle Monae is not just an incredible singer, she’s the whole package-the next “it” girl, rising star, maverick, inexplicably authentic, the likes of whom we’ve not seen since Billie Holiday, Dianna Ross and Michael Jackson. She’s all that, plus more, neatly and beautifully wrapped in a petite bundle of soulful musical energy-an absolute must see.

We stumbled upon this music maven while listening to her collaboration with Kevin Barnes in Of Montreal‘s “Enemy Gene”, a track featured in their 2008 ‘False Priest’ album. Before long, we had become not just a fan, but a huge advocate of her success.

Monae recently returned to her native Kansas City to visit family and appear in her hometown’s Christmas Tree lighting ceremony, and during an interview with members of the local media, she dropped huge news about her two upcoming records. Here’s what she had to say:

Word is you’re working on the next record. What can you say about it?I am happy to be here and see my family, and I am eager to get back to the studio and work on finishing my album. I stopped touring so I could finish the album. Actually, I plan on releasing two albums next year.
Any idea when?

I will release them according to my soul clock; so I reserve the right to change that.  But I will try to stick to the scheduled release dates, which I know but can’t say. I will be thinking about Kansas City and all the people here who have supported me as I continue to write songs that empower, encourage and make you dance.

Will these new records build on the themes you established in your first two recordings?

Again, that’s all according to my soul clock. Right now all I can say is, the music comes from the space I’m in.

How far along are you in your wriitng?

I would say 84.799 percent of the writing is done.

Will you tour next year?

Oh, absolutely. We already have a tour set, but it hasn’t been announced yet. I’ll be with some really big artists. We’ll hit the Staples Center three nights in a row in L.A. It’s a really big band. I can’t say who it is. I think next week you should probably hear something.

You’ve performed in this area three times as an opening act: with Of Montreal in Lawrence; with Bruno Mars in Independence; and with Katy Perry at the Sprint Center. Will you headline a show in Kansas City next year?

Absolutely. Everything is about timing. This year was about the beginning of my career and working with established artists. Next year, we’ll step it up a little more.

And there you have it!

We should also mention that Janelle Monae will be performing in Oslo, Norway, on Dec. 11, joining Jill Scott, Sugarland, Ellie Goulding, David Gray and others in the Nobel Peace Prize Concert.

We congratulate the event organizers for the choice of performers.

Here she is in “Tightrope”:


Listen to Blind Pilot: “Keep You Right” (New Song)- Show at the El Rey Theater in Los Angeles Tomorrow (11/18)

Fans of the Portland-based (Oregon) indie folk band Blind Pilot in the L.A. area will be happy to hear that the band will be performing in Los Angeles, at the El Rey Theater, tomorrow, Nov. 18 at 8:00pm.

Blind Pilot has been touring North America extensively in support of their recently released second full-length album, We Are the Tide, (Expunged Records).  See below for remaining 2011 tour dates and to listen to their new song, “Keep You Right”:

  1. Sat, Nov 19
    7:00 pm
    Great American Music Hall
    San Francisco, CA  SOLD OUT – with Point Juncture, WA
  2. Sun, Nov 20
    8:00 pm
    Great American Music Hall
    San Francisco, CA  with Gregory Alan Isakov
  3. Wed, Nov 23
    8:00 pm
    Crystal Ballroom
    Portland, OR with Point Juncture, WA
  4. Thu, Dec 1
    8:00 pm
    The Wild Buffalo
    Bellingham, WA with Point Juncture, WA
  5. Fri, Dec 2
    8:00 pm
    Neptune Theatre
    Seattle, WA with Point Juncture, WA
  6. Sat, Dec 3
    8:00 pm
    Vancouver, BC with Point Juncture, WA

Meanwhile, here’s Blind Pilot with “Keep You Right”.

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First Listen: Birdy’s Beautiful Cover of Phoenix’s “1901”

Listen to this impressive cover of the band Phoenix‘s hit “1901.”

No, this is not Feist.

Her name is Jasmine Van den Bogaerde, also known by her stage name Birdy, and she’s from the UK.

Even more impressive is that this British singing phenom is only 15 years old!

The singer has just dropped her self-titled debut album Birdy, on Atlantic Records, and the track is off that album.

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Artist You Should Know: Beth Jeans Houghton and The Hooves of Destiny

Image: Beth Jeans Houghton

She had us at “Lilliputt!”

Picture a modern-day Joni Mitchell– airy vocals and poetic sound – in a collision course with Lady Gaga, at least when it comes to the bizarre visuals, though sans the couture. Toss in a bit of the quintessential irony ever present in British humor, and you’ve arrived at your final destination- Beth Jeans Houghton and The Hooves of Destiny.

Not that they will soon need much of an introduction, we suspect.

For now, it suffices to say that the Newcastle native met up with her Hooves- guitarist, trumpeter and roomate Ed Blazey, Dav Shiel (drums), Rory Gibson (bass) and facial reconstruction surgeon, now violinist, Findlay Macaskill-and arrived at their collective destiny, an awesome blend of psychedelic meets pop meets alternative meets indie folk.

Er, folk? Did you say folk? Just don’t mention it out loud around the lead, for she’s adamant that no such element could possibly be present in their music.

No matter.

The band’s debut album, Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose, is slated for release in January 2012, on Mute. The track “Lilliputt”, the first single off the album, was released on 7” back in October, and we had a chance to listen to it plus some other material and….wow!

One thing left to do and that is share it with the rest of you.

Once you’ve listened to Beth Jeans Houghton and The Hooves of Destiny, it becomes abundantly clear that the band is not only a unique tour de force, but one that will soon be taking the world of pop by storm. And can we say we’re so happy to share in their journey to stardom?

Here’s Lilliput:

And Dodecahedron:

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Artist You Should Know: Little Racer

Little Racer Splits for the Coast!

As part of our ‘Artist You Should Know‘ series, we’re bringing you a great little three-piece band from Brooklyn, New York, who will soon take the world by storm with their concoction of surf-indie-motown-pop. If you love the sound of bands like Best Coast, you’ll definitely fall in love with Little Racer‘s brand of surf meets indie dream pop.

The band, made up of Elliot Michaud, Ish Nazmi and Mike Seay, have recently signed with the London-based label Young and Lost Club and will be dropping their debut double-single “Split for the Coast”/”The Town” on Dec.12.

We have both tracks here for you, along with their self-titled track, and our favorite, “Little Racer.”

“Split for the Coast”

“The Town”

“Little Racer”

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