In the lead up to this year’s Pickathon, we’ve been sharing an exclusive series of videos from last year’s fest. One of the best things about Pickathon is its musical variety with indie rock nestling right up against Americana, hip-hop, and soul. It’s a potent mixture and the common denominator is that all of the acts are really good. Up today, we have a live performance from rock ‘n’ roller JD McPherson and band that’ll get you up off your seat and dancing around the cubicle. McPherson remains dedicated to the early rock ‘n’ roll and rockabilly of the 1950s, updating and enlivening the music for a whole new generation.
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New Orleans’ Sweet Crude are just coming off a win for “Best Rock Band” at the Big Easy Awards and they recently thrilled audiences at Jazz Fest. Now, they have a new EP Critters releasing June 8th, highlighted by this premiere track, “Mon Esprit”. “Rock” doesn’t totally fit this eclectic band that roots their music in the musical moods of Louisiana, but brings a melodic pop sense to the proceedings. Maybe we should just call it Louisiana rock. Sweet Crude is an extremely exciting new group with haunting and mesmerizing vocals sung in Louisiana French and English. This group is going places and will be hitting a bunch of festivals this summer, including Festival du Voyageur in Winnipeg, Gasparilla Festival in Tampa, Savannah Stopover, and FrancoFolies Festival in Montréal. Meanwhile, they plan to release their debut full-length album Créatures later this year with an extensive North American tour.
Country duo Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley found great success with their debut album, Before the Sun Goes Down, which earned a best bluegrass album nomination and showcased Ickes and Hensley’s enviable virtuosic musical skills. Now, they are back with a country blues album, fittingly entitled The Country Blues, that’s chock full of amazing country blues tracks, including takes on Hank Williams’ “May You Never Be Alone, Sonny Boy Williamson’s “One Way Out”, and Merle Haggard’s “I Won’t Give Up My Train”.
In Highland Kites’ new single “This War Inside”, vocalist Marissa Lamar certainly sounds as though she’s battling all manner of demons trying to assert their dominance from the inside. Her voice is vulnerable yet increasingly determined as the music swirls with a steadily building tension. With rapid-fire drums from Neil Briggs, the rhythm and percussion ratchet up momentum to give weight to Lamar’s confessional lyrics.
Among the slew of rising Michigan artists in the music industry, Grand Rapids’ Watching for Foxes are the ones with the most to prove. Reworking their process as a band from the bottom-up over the past year, the seven-piece folk outlet revitalized and refreshed their music into a brand that they’ve called “flannel rock”, pulling from influences such as Arcade Fire, Father John Misty, and Mumford & Sons to craft an amalgam experience not quite exactly like either of the aforementioned.
They have met their respective local music scene with a verve that had not previously been detectable since this latest realization, which has naturally brought a lot of interest to their upcoming album, Undone Bird, due out June 10. The band is premiering Undone Bird ahead of its release exclusively to PopMatters.
// Moving Pixels
"Knee Deep's elaborate stage isn't meant to convey a sense of spatial reality, it's really just a mechanism for cool scene transitions. And boy are they cool.READ the article